JA311ESON, JOHN, D.D. (so he himself spelt the name, though he made his children drop the i), was born March 3, 1759, in Glasgow, where Ills father, the Rev. John Jameson, was pastor of one of the two congregations of Seceders, which then comprised all the persons of their denomination in that city. The subject of the present notice remained throughout his life a steady, but by no means a narrow minded Seceder. His mother', relations, the Brucea of Kennet in Clackmannan, early introduced him extensively into general society, and hie literary tastes and associations further helped to liberalise him. Yet even long after he numbered among his intimate acquaintances and friends many persons of great eminence and influence, and had become known in literature, his worldly circumstances continued extremely narrow. The chronology of his life may be given in a few sentences. Ile was sent to the University of Glasgow when he was only nine years old, an unusually early age for the commencement of academic education even in Scotland. The urgent motive in this case seems to have been not any extraordinary precocity, or appearance of precocity, in the boy, an much a., the anxiety of his father, who had no other son surviving and nothing to leave to his family, to see him established as a clergyman before he should be himself, and he was in very broken health, removed from the world. Ile commenced the study of theology at the age of fourteen, under the Rev. William 31oncrieff, who lectured on that subject to the young men intended for the Secession ministry, at Alloa. After having been a session at Alioa however he attended the lectures of Dugald Stewart in the University of Edinburgh. In July 1779, having just completed his twentieth year, he was licensed as a preacher by the Seceder Presbytery of Glasgow. For some time be was employed, as the practice in his communion was, to do duty without any pastoral appointment; first at Colmonell in Ayrshire, then in the Irle of Bute, then at Cowal in Argylethire, then at various places in I'erthshlre. At last ho received at the same time calls, or popular invitations, from congregations in Forfar, Dundee, and Perth ; upon which the synod appointed him to that at Forfar, the poorest and in all other respects the least desirable of the three. Here he managed to exist upon an uucertala stipend of fifty pounds a year, for a dozen years or more. About a year after aettliug at Forfar, he married, and ho soon had a numerous family. While thus situated he made several journeys to Loudon, and both there and in Scotland formed many literary acquaintanceship& lie had when very young contributed some verses to Ituddiunne's ' Weekly Magazine,' and he bad also communicated some pipers on the antiqui ties of Forfarshire to the Literary and Antiquarian Society of Perth, of which he was a member ; but he first properly came out as an author in 1780, when be published, under the title of 'Social:mien Unmasked,' an examination of certain opiniona deemed heretical which bad been promulgated through the press by Dr. Macgill, one of the established ministers of Ayr. This work procured him considerablo reputation in the religious world, and it was followed in 1789 by ' The Sorrows of Slavery, a poem ;' in 1790 by two octavo volumes of 'Sermons on the Heart;' and in 1791 by Congal and Few:ills,' a metrical tale, in two parts.
After he had been ten or twelve years at Feder he received a call to be their pastor from the Seceder congregation of Nicolsonsitreet, Edinburgh, which however the synod would not allow him to accept. But when, a few years after, he was again unanimously invited by the same congregation, the synod did not make any further oppositiou ; and he accordingly removed to the Scottish metropolis with its literary society and other advantages of position, and exchanged his fifty pounds a year for an income of perhaps four times the amount. In this situation Jamieson remained for the rest of his life. To the last much of his time continued to be given to literature; and in addition to the works already mentioned he published, among others of a slighter nature, in 1795, ' A Reply to Dr. Priestley,' in 2 vols. See; in 179S, a poem ; in 1799, 'Remarks on Rowland Hill's Journal ; ' in 1802, ' The Use of Sacred History,' iu 2 vole. 8vo. ; in 1806, An important Trial in the Court of Conscience;' in 1808, his ' Etymolo gical Dictionary of the Scottish Language,' in 2 vole. 4to; in 1818, ' An Abridgment of the Scottish Dictionary,' in 1 voL 8vo.; in 1811, 'An Historical Account of the Ancient Culdees of Iona ; ' in 1814, 'Hermes Scythicus, or the Radical Affinities of the Greek and Latin Languages to the Gothic,' 8vo. ; in 1825, a 'Supplement to his Scottish Dictionary,' in 2 vols. 4to; and subsequently, 'Au Historical Account of the Royal Palaces of Scotland.' He also produced, in 1820, an edition of Barbour's poem of ' The Bruce,' and Harry the Minstrel's 'Sir William Wallace,' in 2 vole. 4to. Hero then was at any rate no want of industry. Neither Jamieson's learning however, nor his critical acuteness, was of a high order; and scarcely anything that he has done, with the exception of his ‘Sesttish Dictionary,' retains much value. His 'Hermes Scythicus' is founded upon a mere examination of the vocabularies of some of the northern languages, and has been long superseded. Nor has his 'Dictionary' (of which a second edition has been published) any merit as a critical performance; but it is valuable as by far the most extensive collection that has been formed, both of old words and phrases, and of notices of old customs, peculiar to Scotland, a large portion of the matter it contains being derived from the people themselves, their conversation and traditions, and being thus rescued from the probably imminent danger of irrecoverable oblivion.
Jamieson early in life received the diploma of a Doctor in Divinity from the college of New Jersey in the United States; he was for many years secretary to the Society of Scottish Antiquaries; and he received a pension of 1001. a year as an associate of the Royal Society of Litera ture from its institution till the general withdrawal of the allowances ou the accession of William IV. In 1833 a pension to the same amount was assigned to him from the civil list. He died at Edinburgh on the 12th of July 1838.