Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Simson, Andrew (1638-1712)

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SIMSON, ANDREW (1638–1712), Scottish divine, born in 1638, was the son of Andrew Simson, a minister of the Scottish church. The elder Simson was the author of a ‘Lexicon Anglo-Græco Latinum’ (London, 1658, fol.), and probably of ‘A Commentary or Exposition upon the Divine Second Epistle Generall, written by St. Peter’ (London, 1632, 4to), which is often ascribed to Archibald Simson [q. v.] He also published in 1655 a new edition of Wilson's ‘Christian Dictionary.’

The son Andrew studied at Edinburgh University, and graduated M.A. on 19 July 1661. He was licensed for the ministry by the bishop of Edinburgh on 23 Jan. 1663, and admitted to the parish of Kirkinner in Wigtonshire in the same year. Although an episcopalian, he claims that he treated the presbyterians with moderation, and that he gained so far on their affections that only two of his parishioners joined the presbyterian rising of 1666. In 1679, however, when the reaction against episcopacy was at its height, he was obliged to take shelter with Alexander Stewart, earl of Galloway, whose ‘con-disciple at Edinburgh he had been.’ After his return his congregation gradually dwindled to two or three persons. On 15 Oct. 1684 Simson, in common with the other Galloway ministers, was obliged to furnish a list of the ‘disorderly’ in his parish, and among those included therein was Margaret Lauchlanson, one of the ‘Wigtown martyrs’ (Stewart, Wigtown Martyrs, 1869, p. 27).

In 1686 he was presented to the parish of Douglas in Lanarkshire by James, marquis of Douglas; but after the Revolution he was ‘outed’ by the people, because ‘he had been obtruded upon them without their lawful consent and call.’ He retired to Dalclithick in Glenartney, Perthshire. In 1698 he was living at Edinburgh as ‘a merchant burgess,’ and shortly after he carried on business as a printer, being chiefly employed by Jacobite and nonjuring friends to publish party pamphlets. He died suddenly on 20 Jan. 1712, leaving by his wife, Jane Inglis, three sons, Alexander, David, and Mathias, rector of Moorby and canon of Lincoln. Simson possessed an extensive library, sold by auction after his death, when a catalogue was printed, entitled ‘Bibliotheca Symsoniana’ (Edinburgh, 1712).

Simson published: 1. ‘Octupla, hoc est, octo paraphrases poeticæ Psalmi civ.’ Edinburgh, 1696, 8vo. 2. ‘The Song of Solomon, called the Song of Songs,’ Edinburgh, 1701, 12mo. 3. ‘Tripatriarchicon, or the Lives of the Three Patriarchs in English Verse,’ Edinburgh, 1705, 8vo. 4. ‘A Volume of Elegies,’ n.d., 8vo. 5. ‘De Gestis Gulielmi Vallæ,’ Edinburgh, 1705, 12mo. 6. ‘Unio Politico-Poetico-joco-seria,’ Edinburgh, 1706, 4to. He also edited Mackenzie's ‘Laws and Customs of Scotland in Matters Criminal,’ together with Seton's ‘Treatise of Mutilation and Demembration, and their Punishments,’ Edinburgh, 1699, fol.

But Simson left his most important work in manuscript. While at Kirkinner he received a series of queries circulated through Scotland by Sir Robert Sibbald [q. v.], with a view to obtain information for constructing a Scottish atlas, and in consequence he drew up his ‘Large Description of Galloway,’ which, though sometimes inaccurate, contains much valuable information on the local antiquities of the district. It was edited by T. Maitland in 1823 (Edinburgh, 8vo), and was republished by Mackenzie in his ‘History of Galloway’ (Kirkcudbright, 1841, 8vo).

[Scott's Fasti Eccl. Scot. i. ii. 735, ii. i. 325; Campbell's Introduction to the Hist. of Poetry in Scotland, p. 143; Mackenzie's Hist. of Galloway, vol. ii.; Tripatriarchicon, dedication and reader's preface; Notes and Queries, 1st ser. xii. 452, 2nd ser. x. 490, 3rd ser. xii. 348.]

E. I. C.