Young, John (1750?-1820) (DNB00)

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YOUNG, JOHN (1750?–1820), professor of Greek at Glasgow, second son of John Young, cooper, was born in Glasgow about 1750. He matriculated in Glasgow University in 1764, graduating M.A. in 1769. On 9 June 1774 he was installed professor of Greek in Glasgow University, and proved a very efficient and popular teacher. Thomas Campbell (1777–1844) [q. v.] remembered him as ‘a man of great humour,’ ready to laugh heartily with his students over the whimsicalities of Lucian and Aristophanes (Beattie, Life and Letters of Campbell, i. 159). Captain Hamilton eulogises his scholarship and oratory, comparing his energetic sympathy with that of Burke (Cyril Thornton, chap. vii.). Wilson dedicated to Young and his colleague George Jardine [q. v.] ‘The Isle of Palms and other Poems,’ 1812, and, writing of ‘Homer and his Translators,’ he recalls how Young's reading of the ‘Iliad’ ‘gave life to every line’ (Wilson, Works, viii. 36). A large portion of Letter lxviii. in ‘Peter's Letters to his Kinsfolk,’ vol. iii., is a eulogy of Young, with whose reading of Greek and his enthusiasm over the value of a particle or the sublimity of a poetical passage the writer was deeply impressed. A similar tribute occurs in Gleig's ‘Quarterly’ article on Lockhart's ‘Life of Scott’ (see Quarterly Review, lxxxv. 37, and Lang, Life and Letters of John Gibson Lockhart, i. 22). Young was devoted to the classical stage and enamoured of Kean (Strang, Glasgow and its Clubs, p. 193). After filling his chair for nearly half a century, Young died in Glasgow on 18 Nov. 1820.

On 25 Sept. 1780 Young married Jean Lamont, daughter of Colin Lamont of Knockdow, Argyleshire, who survived him with seven children. His eldest son, John (1781–1852), received the honorary degree of LL.D. from Glasgow in 1810; was for a time chaplain of the East India Company; and died rector of Newdigate, Surrey, on 13 May 1852 (Gent. Mag. 1852, ii. 105). Charles, the fourth son (1796–1822), a classical scholar of great promise, died at Glasgow on 17 Dec. 1822 (Foster, Alumni Oxon.; Gent. Mag. 1823, pt. i.).

Although Young's ripe scholarship was mainly utilised in his class-room, he contributed some valuable notes to Dalziel's ‘Collectanea Græca Majora’ (1820). His metrical translation of the ‘Odes’ of Tyrtæus, and his jeu d'esprit after Dr. Johnson on Gray's ‘Elegy,’ are not of much account.

[Authorities in text; information from Emeritus Professor Dickson, Glasgow, Mr. W. Innes Addison, clerk, and Mr. James Lymburn, librarian, Glasgow University; Glasgow Matriculation Album.]

T. B.