Fordyce, David (DNB00)

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FORDYCE, DAVID (1711–1751), professor at Aberdeen, born at Broadford, near Aberdeen, and baptised 1 April 1711, was the second son of George Fordyce of Broadford, provost of Aberdeen. After attending Aberdeen grammar school he was entered of Marischal College in 1724, where he went through a course of philosophy under Professor Daniel Garden, and of mathematics under Mr. John Stewart. He took his M.A. degree in 1728. Being intended for the church he next studied divinity under Professor James Chalmers, and obtained in due time license as a preacher, though he never received a call. In 1742 he was appointed professor of moral philosophy in Marischal College. By Dodsley he was employed to write the article 'Moral Philosophy' for the 'Modern Preceptor,' which was afterwards published separately as 'The Elements of Moral Philosophy,' 12mo, London, 1754. It reached a fourth edition in 1769, and was translated into German, 8vo, Zurich, 1757. Previously to this Fordyce had attracted some notice by his anonymous 'Dialogues concerning Education,' 2 vols. 8vo, London, 1745-8. In 1750 he made a tour through France, Italy, and other countries, and was returning home in September 1751 when he lost his life in a storm off the coast of Holland. His premature end is noticed by his brother, Dr. James Fordyce [q. v.], in one of his 'Addresses to the Deity,' and a bombastic epitaph from the same pen will be found in the 'Gentleman's Magazine' for 1796 (vol. lxvi. pt. ii. pp. 1052–1053). Fordyce's posthumous works are:

  1. 'Theodoras: a Dialogue concerning the art of Preaching,' 12mo, London, 1752, which was often reprinted, along with James Fordyce's ' Sermon on the Eloquence, and an Essay on the Action of the Pulpit.'
  2. ' The Temple of Virtue. A Dream [by D. Fordyce]. Published [with some additions] by James Fordyce,' 16mo, London, 1757 (other editions in 1759 and 1775).

[Chalmers's Biog. Dict. 1814, xiv. 468-70; Chambers's Eminent Scotsmen, ii. 54-5; Irving's Book of Scotsmen, p. 149; Watt's Bibl. Brit.]

G. G.