Page:A biographical dictionary of eminent Scotsmen, vol 6.djvu/124

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494 GEORGE LOW.


preferred before the church judicatories by Mr Sydserf, minister of Dumbarton, " who," says Chalmers, "after a judicial trial, was obliged to make a public apology, for having maliciously accused calumniated innocence." In October, 1735, he was appointed one of the masters of the high school of Edinburgh, and in 1737, with the assistance of Ruddiman and Robert Hunter, he edited a very handsome edition of the Translation of the Psalms of Buchanan, which at- tracted the notice of the duke of Buccleuch, and obtained for the editor in 1739 the rectorship of the grammar school of Dalkeith ; a situation which has for a long period been deemed of considerable importance, and very ably filled, but which would not now be considered an advancement from that which Love previously enjoyed. In the following year he engaged in the controversy about the respective merits of Johnston and Buchanan as translators of the Psalms, known by the name of Bellum Grammaticale, and already referred to in our memoir of Arthur Johnston. He was of course the supporter of the work he had edited. " The conquests which Love had made over Trotter and Lauder," says Chalmers, " probably gave him a fondness for controversy." In 1749, he published " A Vindication of Mr George Buchanan," a work levelled at the imputations of Camden on the one part, and the reflections of Ruddiman, his former friend, on the other. It says much for the candour of Love, that Chal- mers allows him to have been actuated by " honest zeal." The chief subject of discussion was the alleged penitence of Buchanan on his deathbed, on account of his attacks on the character of queen Mary. In July, 1749, in his old age, Ruddiman published an answer, termed " Animadversions on a late pamphlet, entitled A Vindication of Mr George Buchanan." The venerable grammarian survived his opponent, who died on the 20th September, 1750, at the age of fifty-five. Chalmers admits that " he was certainly an eminent scholar, an ex- cellent teacher, and a good man."

LOW, GEORGE, an ingenious naturalist, was born at Edzel in Forfarshire, in the year 1746. He was educated at the universities of Aberdeen and St Andrews, and afterwards was tutor in the family of Mr Graham at Stromness in Orkney. During his residence at this place, Mr (afterwards Sir Joseph") Banks and Dr Solander arrived at the island, on their return from the last voyage of discovery, in which captain Cook lost his life ; and Mr Low, having acquired a taste for natural history, was much noticed by these distinguished philosophers, and was requested to accompany them in their excursions through the Orkneys, and also to the Shetland islands, which he accordingly did.

In 1774, he was ordained to the ministerial charge of the parish of Birsay and Staray, on the mainland of Orkney, to which he devoted the remainder of his life, employing his leisure in the study of nature. Considering the disad- vantages of his situation, his success was highly creditable. Sir Joseph Banks, with his accustomed zeal for the promotion of science, introduced him to Mr Pennant, by whose advice he engaged to undertake a " Fauna Orcadensis," and a " Flora Orcadensis." Before these works could be given to the world, he died, in 1795. The MSS. of the former work, with his zoological collections, and the manuscript of a translation of Torfjeus's History of Orkney, executed by Mr Low, came into the possession of Mr George Paton, the eminent anti- quary, at whose decease they were sold to different persons. The " Fauna* 1 was published in 1813, 4to, by W. F. Leach, M.D., F.L.S., arid forms a very in- teresting addition to the natural history of the British Islands. The " Flora " has not been discovered. A tour through Orkney and Shetland, containing hints relative to their ancient, modern, and natural history, was also prepared for the press by this industrious individual, but, owing to his premature death, was never published.