A Roll of the Graduates of the University of Glasgow

From 31st December, 1727 to 31st December, 1897 

With Short Biographical Notes

Matriculation Office, University of Glasgow, June, 1899.



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A Roll of the Graduates of the University of Glasgow

From 31st December, 1727 to 31st December, 1897
With Short Biographical Notes

 Compiled by
W. Innes Addison
Assistant to the Clerk of Seriate Glasgow
James MacLehose & Sons, 61 St. Vincent Street
Publishers and Booksellers to the University




The present volume is the outcome of two less ambitious schemes.

The Munimenta Alme Universitatis Glasguensis, published in 1854 by the Maitland Club under the editorship of Mr. Cosmo Innes, contains, interalia, chronological Lists of the Laureati or Graduates from the foundation of the University in 1450-51 down to the close of the year 1727, and an alphabetical Index Nominum affords the means of easy reference to any name appearing in these Lists.

The subsequent graduations have been recorded, either in special Registers or in the Minute Books, with, on the whole, praiseworthy completeness and accuracy ; but as no index of this portion had ever been made, the constantly occurring task of tracing individual graduates was always attended with great labour and much uncertainty.

To remedy this state of matters, the compiler commenced a series of Indices to the various Registers, but, after proceeding some considerable way, it occurred to him that the materials which he had collected were worthy ot better utilization, and that a General Alphabetical Roll of all the Graduates — showing at a glance the several degrees (if more than one) held by each person — would be more serviceable and satisfactory.

This scheme was duly carried out, when a further development suggested itself, namely, that short biographical notes should, where possible, be appended.

When that had been accomplished in regard to the large majority of the names, there still remained some the particulars of whose after life could not be ascertained. In reference to these an attempt was made to discover at least their parentage or birthplace. The Matriculation Entries, as throwing light on such points, have, therefore, in many instances been quoted, and in others the nationalities, as appearing in the Graduation Albums, are subjoined.



The remaining names (pleasingly few in number) represent graduates whose identity has baffled inquiry.

Curiously enough, no separate Registers of Honorary Degrees were kept till the foundation of the New University Buildings in 1868. It thus became necessary to examine all the Minutes of Faculty, Senate, etc., from 1727 downwards, and to make up therefrom the requisite Lists. This inspection of the records afforded an opportunity of noting a few quaint cases of discipline, etc., of checking and verifying the contents of the other Graduation Registers, and, in some early years, of adding names — many of them highly important — which had not been recorded in the ordinary books.

The process of compilation has necessarily been attended with somewhat formidable difficulties. The three chief obstacles were (1) identification or differentiation in cases where two or more degrees (e.g., M.A. and M.D.) were granted to persons of the same name at different times ; (2) the ascertainment of full Christian and middle names — a point which had been rather overlooked in the records ; and (3) the collection of biographical matter.

It was found that the Matriculation Albums from 1728 to 1858 were unindexed, and to render them serviceable an index of the 17,083 names which they contain had to be prepared. It was also thought desirable to index the Old Class Rolls, contained in four large M.S. volumes, and to collect as many as possible of the Prize Lists prior to the printed set which commences with 1833. These have accordingly been copied from the Glasgow newspaper files for a period of 56 years — namely, 1777 to 1832.

The great bulk of the biographical information had, however, to be sought for outwith the academic records. Prior to the commencement in 1859-60 of a General Council Register, the University preserved little trace of its graduates, save in the cases where honorary degrees were conferred, or ordinary degrees granted in special circumstances. From that date to the institution of a Parliamentary Register of Council in 1868, the aid afforded by the Registers was but slight. Even then registration was merely optional, and though, in 188 1, it became compulsory, the remissness of graduates themselves in announc- ing changes of address or occupation, and the neglect of representatives to intimate deaths, have tended greatly to lessen the usefulness of these records as sources of information. They, and the Registration Books on which they are founded, have, however, been exhaustively examined, and their contents have been utilized so far as they seemed reliable.

Besides many individual biographies and other publications (such as Calendars, Post-Office Directories, newspapers, etc.) occasionally referred to — not to mention Death Registers and Tombstones — the following are the principal authorities laid under contribution, and most of them have been compared, name-by-name, with the entries in the Roll :

The Dictionary of National Biography, volumes I. to LII.

The Imperial Dictionary of Universal Biography, 3 volumes.

Anderson's Scottish Nation, 3 volumes.

Chambers' Lives of Illustrious and Distinguished Scotsmen, 4 volumes.

Appleton's Cyclopaedia of American Biography, 6 volumes.

The Dictionary of Australasian Biography.

Glasgow, Past and Present, 3 volumes.

Peter Mackenzie's Old Reminiscences ot Glasgow and the West of Scotland, 2 volumes.

Memoirs and Portraits of One Hundred Glasgow Men, 2 volumes.

The Old Country Houses of the Old Glasgow Gentry.

Strang's Glasgow and its Clubs.

Cleland's Annals of Glasgow, 2 volumes.

The University of Glasgow, Old and New, 1450-1891.

Duncan's Memorials of the Faculty of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow.

W. J. Duncan's Literary History of Glasgow.

History of the High School of Glasgow.

Scott's Fasti Ecclesiae Scoticanae, 3 volumes.

Brown's Annals of the Disruption.

M'Kelvie's Annals and Statistics of the United Presbyterian Church.

Scott's Annals of the Original Secession Church.

Reid's History of the Presbyterian Church in Ireland, 3 volumes.

Killen's History of Congregations of the Presbyterian Church in Ireland.

Grant's Church Almanac, 15 volumes.

Catalogue of the Graduates in Arts, Divinity, and Law of the University of Edinburgh, 1858.

Foster's Alumni Oxonienses, 17 15-1888, 2 volumes.

Munk's Roll of the Royal College of Physicians of London, 3 volumes.

Cameron's History of" the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland.

History of the Society of Writers to Her Majesty's Signet.

Members of Parliament for Scotland, 135 7-1 882.

Debrett's Peerage, Baronetage, Knightage, and Companionage.

Oliver & Boyd's Edinburgh Almanac (and its predecessors), 83 volumes.

The Medical Directory from 1852 onwards.

The Medical Register from 1859 onwards.

As might be expected, the cases in which no details of career have been ascertained are mostly those of the earlier graduates, and several circumstances serve to account for this. The lack already referred to of any means whereby the University could keep in touch with alumni resulted in the loss of all trace of graduates who died early, and of those who went abroad. The Edinburgh Almanacs were not in existence till nearly the end of the eighteenth century. There was no regular Medical Directory till 1845, and no Medical Register till 1859. Church Almanacs, Law Lists, and Post-Office Directories were practically unknown, and any obituary or other notices in newspapers and Annual Registers related only to men of eminence or notoriety. The ordinary rank and file of mankind were simply ignored. Thanks to Scott's Fasti and the United Presbyterian and Secession Annals, clergymen have been fairly well accounted for, but in all other departments of professional life very little information could be gleaned. The want of printed Lists of Members of the Faculty of Advocates in Edinburgh, and the Faculty of Procurators in Glasgow, was specially felt.

Where written and printed records failed, whether in regard to ancient or modern names, recourse was had to correspondence with surviving graduates, the representatives or successors of deceased graduates, ministers of all denominations, and the officials of the various Universities, Presbyteries, Assemblies, and other public bodies. The readiness and courtesy with which information has been supplied by such correspondents (over 2000 in number) call for the most grateful recognition.

To those who were consulted in more than single cases, special thanks are due — as, for example, the late Professor Cowan, M.D., LL.D. ; William H. Hill, LL.D. ; John Oswald Mitchell, B.A., LL.D. ; James Finlayson, M.D. ; John Glaister, M.D. ; Alexander Duncan, B.A., Secretary and Librarian to the Faculty of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow; P. J. Anderson, LL.B., University Librarian, Aberdeen ; J. T. Clark, Librarian to the Faculty of Advocates ; John F. Orr, Clerk to the Faculty of Procurators in Glasgow ; and the Rev. Alexander Gordon of Manchester.

Cordial acknowledgments are owing to Professor Stewart, D.D., Clerk of Senate, for unlimited access to the manuscript records of the University; to Professor Dickson, D.D., LL.D., Curator of the Library, and Mr. James Lymburn, Librarian, for special arrangements with regard to the consultation of the biographical collections under their charge ; to Mr. James L. Galbraith, Sub-Librarian, for invaluable and almost daily aid in difficult and doubtful cases ; to Professor Young, M.D., for unwearied interest and countless fruitful hints, as also for reading all the proof sheets; to Professor Ferguson, LL.D., for much kindly advice and encouragement ; to Mr. James Coutts, M.A., for the loan of General Council Registers and Registration Books ; to Mr. Alex-

ander Sinclair (Manager of the Glasgow Herald), and the Directors of Stirling's Library, for facilities in the copying of the old Prize Lists ; and to the Trustees of Dr. Williams' Library, London, for permitting extracts to be taken from a manuscript in their possession relative to the careers of Williams' Scholars.

A few words may be necessary regarding the phraseology of entries which are not altogether self-explanatory. " Scotus," "Anglus," " Hibernus," etc., bearing to be taken from the Graduation Albums, are therein inscribed by the graduates themselves, and may be held as correctly stating the countries of birth in these particular cases. " F.N.," which often occurs in matriculation entries, is a contraction for "Alius natu," and " V.D.M." represents " Verbi Dei Ministri." The localities (other than nationalities) noted after the names of medical graduates are meant to show the successive places where, according to the Medical Directories, they have resided or practised. Such an entry as " Ship Surgeon ; Glasgow ; Edinburgh ; London," would mean that the graduate commenced his professional life on shipboard, and that he subsequently resided or practised, first in Glasgow, second in Edinburgh, and finally in London.

Where a graduate is stated to have been intended for the ministry in " South Britain," it may be taken that he was a Williams' Scholar. The Brunton Memorial Prize is awarded to the most distinguished graduate in Medicine, and the Logan Medal and Prize to the most distinguished graduate in Arts, of each year.

The omission, except in a few very special instances, of all reference to the published writings of Graduates was made intentionally. To obtain absolutely complete particulars on such a point was clearly impossible, and, in any case, their inclusion would have swelled the book to undue dimensions. The alter- native of making a selection was equally objectionable, and would have proved an extremely delicate and invidious task.

Where such a mass of names, dates, and facts is concerned, it would be vain to expect that no inaccuracies have crept in. It is earnestly REQUESTED THAT ALL SUCH AS ARE DETECTED MAY BE NOTIFIED TO THE COMPILER, WHO WILL ALSO WELCOME ANY DETAILS TENDING TO SUPPLY, SUPPLEMENT, OR AMEND THE BIOGRAPHIES OF GRADUATES.

Among the Appendices will be found a Table showing the numbers of persons on whom the various degrees were conferred in each year of the period covered, the grand total of degrees being 15,360. The total number of graduates, as distinguished from degrees, is 10,780. It will be observed that there is one D.C.L. (the Earl of Selkirk, 1745), the only instance in which that high degree has ever been bestowed by this or any of the other Scottish Universities. The Bachelorship of Surgery, instituted in 18 19, was evidently not a success, for only seven persons received it, and none after 1822. It has, however, been revived by Ordinance of the recent Universities Commission.

In order to bring the work completely down to the date of publication, all additional biographical information arising or obtained after the main Roll (ending with the Graduates of 1896) had gone to press is noted in the Appendix, and the names of the Graduates of 1897 have also been added.

There is likewise inserted a List of the Members of Senate from 1727 to 1897, w i tn biographical notices of those whose names do not appear in the Roll. This is followed by a List of the Subscribers to the volume.

Though this work is published with the sanction of the University Court, it must be understood that the compiler is alone responsible for its contents and its shortcomings.

W. I. A.
Matriculation Office,
University of Glasgow,
February, 1898.


ROLL OF GRADUATES, 1727 to 1896, 1


I. Additional Biographical Information regarding Graduates on "Roll," 671

II. Degrees conferred during 1897 on Persons already Graduates, 673

III. Degrees conferred during 1897 on Persons not already Graduates, 675

IV. Table showing number of Degrees granted in each year, - 678

V. Members of Senate, 1727 to 1897, 682

VI. List of Subscribers, 691



BARR, ROBERT BROWNLEE, M.B., CM. 1895. Lugar; Carluke.

BROWNLEE, ALEXANDER JOHN, M.B., CM. 1893, M.D. 1895. Newmains.

BROWNLEE, HUGH RODGER, B.Sc. 1894. Assistant to the Harbour Engineer, East London, Cape Colony.

BROWNLEE, JAMES, M.A. 1822. "F. n. max. Jacobi, Viri Reverendi Falkirk" [Matric. Alb. 18 17].

BROWNLEE, JOHN, M.A. 1889, M.B., CM. 1894. Glasgow.

BROWNLEE, JOHN INNES, M.B., CM. 1884. Glasgow.

(1) Pastor of two Associate Churches in Washington County, Pa.;
(2) Pastor of Associate Church, Philadelphia, 1813;
(3) Rector of the Grammar School in New Brunswick, N.J., 181 7 ; (4) Pastor of Presbyterian Church in Baskingridge, N.J., 1817;
(5) Professor of Latin and Greek at Rutgers, 1825;
(6) One of the Ministers of the Collegiate Reformed Dutch Church in New York, 1826; Editor of The Protestant Vindicator; born in Lanarkshire, 1784; died in New York, 10th February, 1860.

BROWNLEE, WILLIAM STEVENSON, M.A. 1890, B.D. 1893. Licentiate of the Church of Scotland.

BROWNLIE, WILLIAM, M.A. 1876. Minister of (1) Kelvinhaugh, (2) Lenzie.

BROWNLOW, NATHANIEL, M.D., CM. 1842. Banbridge, Co. Down; died 22nd May, 1861.


WEIR, JAMES BROWNLEE, M.B. 1871, M.D. 1873. Auchencairn, Kirkcudbrightshire; Silverstone, Northamptonshire.

II. Degrees Conferred during the Year 1897 on Persons already Graduates of this University, and whose names consequently appear in the "Roll."

Brownlee, John, M.A. 1889, M.B., CM. 1894.

VI. List of Subscribers.

Brownlee, Rev. John, West Manse, Rutherglen.

Biography index