Sermon [on Is. xi. 10],’ 8vo, Dundee, 1797. On his return he wrote ‘A Journal of a Mission to part of the Highlands of Scotland in summer and harvest 1797, by appointment of the Relief Synod, in a series of Letters to a Friend,’ pp. 189, 8vo, Edinburgh, 1799. It gives an interesting description of the Relief minister's difficulties with the rude highland ‘cateran’ and with the jealous clergy. At this time he issued proposals for publishing the Psalms and New Testament in Gaelic, but had to abandon his design from want of encouragement. Having resigned his charge at Dundee, he removed to Edinburgh in 1798, and afterwards to Greenock. In 1805 Douglas had settled in Stockwell Street, Glasgow. About 1809 he seceded from the Relief Church to set up on his own account as a ‘preacher of restoration,’ or ‘universalist preacher.’ As such he published ‘King David's Psalms (in Common Use), with Notes, critical and explanatory. Dedicated to Messiah,’ pp. 638, 12mo, Glasgow, 1815. An appendix follows, ‘Translations and Paraphrases in Verse of several passages of Sacred Scripture. Collected and prepared by a Committee of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland. In order to be sung in Churches. With an Improvement now to each,’ pp. 132, 12mo, Glasgow, 1815. In 1817 Douglas, when promulgating his restoration views in Glasgow, fell into the hands of the law. Although sixty-seven years of age, and, to use his own phrase, ‘loaded with infirmities,’ he was on 26 May of that year duly arraigned before the high court of justiciary, Edinburgh, upon an indictment charging him with ‘sedition,’ in drawing a parallel between George III and Nebuchadnezzar, the prince regent and Belshazzar, and further with representing the House of Commons as a den of thieves. Jeffrey and Cockburn were two of four advocates retained for him. Cockburn, after referring to Douglas as ‘a poor, old, deaf, obstinate, doited body,’ says: ‘The crown witnesses all gave their evidence in a way that showed they had smelt sedition because they were sent by their superiors to find it. The trial had scarcely begun before it became ridiculous, from the imputations thrown on the regent—and the difficulty with which people refrained from laughing at the prosecutors, who were visibly ashamed of the scandal they had brought on their own master’ (manuscript note on flyleaf of Douglas's Trial in Brit. Mus.) A unanimous verdict of acquittal was returned, and the old preacher left the court loyally declaring that ‘he had a high regard for his majesty and for the royal family, and prayed that every Briton might have the same.’ He went prepared for the worst, as he published after the trial ‘An Address to the Judges and Jury in a case of alleged sedition, on 26 May 1817, which was intended to be delivered before passing sentence,’ pp. 40, 8vo, Glasgow, 1817. Douglas died at Glasgow on 9 Jan. 1823, aged 73 (Scots Mag. new ser. xii. 256). He married a cousin of the first Viscount Melville, who died before him. His only surviving son, Neil Douglas, was a constant source of trouble to him and narrowly escaped hanging (see his trial for ‘falsehood, fraud, and wilful imposition,’ 12 July 1816, in Scots Mag. lxxviii. 552–3). His other writings are: 1. ‘Lavinia; a Poem founded upon the Book of Ruth, and some other select pieces in poetry. To which is added, A Memoir of a worthy Christian lately deceased,’ 8vo, Edinburgh. 2. ‘Britain's Guilt, Danger, and Duty; several Sermons from Is. xxvi. 8.’ 3. ‘The African Slave Trade, with an expressive frontispiece, &c.; and Moses' Song paraphrased; or the Triumph of Rescued Captives over their incorrigible Oppressors.’ 4. ‘Thoughts on Modern Politics. Consisting of a Poem upon the Slave Trade,’ &c. 5. ‘The Duty of Pastors, particularly respecting the Lord's Supper; a Synod Sermon,’ 1797. 6. ‘The Royal Penitent; or true Repentance exemplified in David, King of Israel. A Poem in two parts,’ pp. 52, 12mo, Greenock, 1811. 7. ‘The Analogy; a Poem (of '46). Four-line stanza.’ This, purporting to be by Douglas, will be found in ‘A Collection of Hymns’ for the universalists, 12mo, Glasgow, 1824. Besides these he wrote numerous tracts, such as ‘Causes of our Public Calamity,’ ‘The Baptist,’ A Word in Season,’ and others. A quaint portrait of Douglas by J. Brooks, engraved by R. Gray, is prefixed to his ‘King David's Psalms.’ Another, taken during his trial, represents him sitting at the bar, with Dan. v. 17–23 below, being the text which brought him into trouble, and is signed ‘B. W.’ A correspondent in ‘Notes and Queries’ (3rd ser. i. 139), however, asserts it to be the work of J. G. Lockhart .
[Irving's Book of Scotsmen, p. 100; Scots Mag. lxxix. 417–22; Struthers's Hist. of the Relief Church, 8vo, Glasgow, 1843, chap. xxii. and note x. in Appendix; Notes and Queries, 2nd ser. xii. 472, 3rd ser. i. 18, 92, 139; The Trial of Neil Douglas, &c., 8vo, Edinburgh, 1817; An Address to the Judges and Jury, &c.; prefaces and advertisements to Works.]
DOUGLAS, Sir NEIL (1779–1853), lieutenant-general, was the fifth son of John Douglas, a merchant of Glasgow, and a descendant of the Douglases, earls of Angus, through the Douglases of Cruxton and Stobbs.