Spalding, William (DNB00)

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SPALDING, WILLIAM (1809–1859), author, son of James Spalding, advocate, of Aberdeen, by his wife Frances Read, was born in Aberdeen on 22 May 1809, and graduated M.A. at Marischal College in 1827. He was afterwards writer to the signet for some years in Edinburgh, where he passed advocate in 1833. In the same year he published a notable ‘Letter on Shakespeare's Authorship of the two Noble Kinsmen, a Drama commonly ascribed to John Fletcher,’ Edinburgh, 8vo, of which a reprint was issued by the New Shakspere Society in 1876. He had made an exhaustive study of the Shakespearean and Elizabethan drama, and to the ‘Edinburgh Review’ he contributed articles on ‘Shakespearean Literature,’ July 1840; Hallam's ‘Literature of Europe,’ October 1840; on Beaumont and Fletcher, April 1841 and July 1847; editions of Shakespeare, April 1845; and ‘Shakespeare's Critics,’ July 1849. Through the interest of Jeffrey he was elected on 2 Nov. 1840 to the chair of rhetoric and belles-lettres in the university of Edinburgh, which he exchanged in 1845 for that of logic, rhetoric, and metaphysics at St. Andrews. The latter he held until his death, 16 Nov. 1859. By his wife Agnes, born Frier (married 22 March 1838), he left a daughter Mary.

In early life Spalding travelled in Italy (cf. Blackwood's Magazine, November 1835), of the history of which country he contributed to the ‘Edinburgh Cabinet Library’ an admirable compendium, entitled ‘Italy and the Italian Islands,’ 1841, 3 vols. 12mo; New York, 1843, 3 vols. No less meritorious was his ‘History of English Literature, with an Outline of the Origin and Growth of the English Language,’ Edinburgh, 1853, 8vo; 13th edit. 1875; new edit. continued to 1876, 1877; German translations, Halle and Breslau, 1854. To the ‘Penny Cyclopædia’ Supplements, 1846 and 1858, Spalding contributed biographical memoirs; to the ‘Encyclopædia Britannica’ (7th and 8th edits.) the articles on Addison, Bacon, Demosthenes, fable, fallacy, logic, rhetoric, Sir Walter Scott, slavery, and Tasso. A reprint of the article on logic, entitled ‘An Introduction to Logical Science,’ appeared in 1857, Edinburgh, 8vo, and that on rhetoric in a volume of contributions by George Moir [q. v.]

[Life by John Hill Burton, LL.D., prefixed to the New Shakspere Society's reprint of the Letter above mentioned; Information from the librarian of the University of Aberdeen; Gent. Mag. 1860, i. 191; Scotsman, 19 Nov. 1859; Irving's Book of Scotsmen; Allibone's Dictionary of English Literature.]

J. M. R.