Shaw, Duncan (DNB00)

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SHAW, DUNCAN (1725–1795), Scottish divine, son of Lachlan Shaw [q. v.], minister of the parish church, Elgin, was born at Cawdor in 1725. He was educated at the Elgin Academy, and afterwards at King's College, Aberdeen, where he graduated in 1747. Continuing his theological studies, under a bursary won at Aberdeen, he went to Edinburgh University in 1749, and was licensed to preach three years later. In 1753 he was appointed minister to the parish of Rafford, Elginshire. There he remained for thirty years, until, in November 1783, he went to Aberdeen, as third of the ministers attached to the parish church. He filled this place until his death, on 23 June 1795. In 1774 Marischal College, Aberdeen, conferred upon him the title of doctor of divinity, and in 1786 the general assembly of the church elected him moderator. He married, in 1754, Jean, daughter of George Gordon, minister of Alves, Elgin, and she survived him one year. By her he had three sons and four daughters.

Shaw was ‘a sensible and learned man’ (Nichols, Lit. Illustr. iv. 823), and it was largely owing to his interest that Alexander Adam [q. v.] was able to rise from a Rafford croft to the rectorship of the high school, Edinburgh. His learning was in historical theology, and his chief works were: 1. ‘A Comparative View of the Several Methods of promoting Religious Instruction, from the earliest down to the Present Time,’ London, 1776, 2 vols. 2. ‘The Philosophy and History of Judaism,’ Edinburgh, 1787, a defence of the Mosaic system against Hume. 3. ‘The Centurion,’ Edinburgh, 1793.

[Hew Scott's Fasti, iii. 187, 472; New Statistical Account (Elginshire), p. 245; Stevens's Hist. of the High School of Edinburgh, p. 109.]

J. R. M.