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The Scottish Nation

GILLIES, a surname evidently the plural of the Gaelic Gillie, a servant or henchman. Mr. Lower (Essays on English Surnames, vol. I. P. 168) fancifully but erroneously derives it from the baptismal name of Giles.

      Adam Gillies, a lord of session under the title of Lord Gillies, was the youngest son of Robert Gillies, Esq. of Little Keithock, Forfarshire, and the junior, by twenty-one years, of his brother, Dr. John Gillies, the historian of Greece, of whom a memoir is given below. Born at Brechin in 1766, he passed advocate, 14th July 1787, and was appointed sheriff-depute of Kincardineshire on 26th March, 1806. He was raised to the bench of the court of session on 30th November 1811. Opposed as he was to the party then in power, being a Whig in politics, he owed his appointment entirely to his legal knowledge and eminence at the bar. In 1812 he was made a lord of justiciary, and on 10th July 1816, he was nominated one of the lords commissioners of the jury court. In 1837 he was appointed judge of the court of Exchequer in Scotland, when he resigned his seat as a lord of justiciary. He died 24th December, 1842.

GILLIES, JOHN, D.D., an eminent divine of the Church of Scotland, author of the Life of Whitfield and several theological works, was born in 1712. He was the son of the Rev. John Gillies, minister of Caraldstone (now Carriston), in the presbytery of Brechin, and of Mrs. Mary Watson, his wife, descended from a respectable family in Galloway. Little is known of his early history. When a student of divinity, he was successively employed as a tutor in several families of distinction. He was ordained one of the ministers of Glasgow, July 29, 1742. Though greatly addicted to literary pursuits, he did not permit them to encroach upon his ministerial or other duties. One of his most favourite books was Milton’s ‘Paradise Lost,’ the greater par of which he could repeat by heart.

      Besides generally delivering three discourses every Sabbath, several years of Dr. Gillies’ life were distinguished by his instituting public lectures and serious exhortations, twice and often thrice every week. For some time he published a religious weekly paper, addressed to the consciences and hearts of his people; which was productive of much good in awakening the attention of many to what concerned their spiritual welfare. Having been fifty-four years minister of one church, he had baptized and married the larger portion of his congregation. He died March 29, 1796. He was twice married: first, to Elizabeth, eldest daughter of the Rev. John M’Laurin of Glasgow, who died soon after the birth of her eighth child, August 6, 1754; and, secondly, to Joanna, youngest daughter of John Stewart, Esq., and twin sister of Sir Michael Stewart of Blackhall, baronet. Their only child, Rebecca, was married to the Hon. Colonel David Leslie, second son of the earl of Leven. A brief sketch of Dr. Gillies’ life and character, drawn up by his friend, Dr. Erskine, of Old Greyfriars parish, Edinburgh, will be found inserted in the Supplement to Dr. Gillies’ ‘Historical Collections,’ edited and published by Dr. Erskine in 1796.

      Dr. Gillie’s works are:

      Historical Collections of the Success of the Gospel. Glasgow, 1754, 2 vols. 8vo.

      Devotional Exercises on the New Testament. London, 1769, 8vo. New edition 1810.

      Memoirs of the Life of the Rev. George Whitfield, M.A. London, 1772, 8vo. Dedicated to the Countess of Huntingdon. 2d edition, 1812, 8vo.

      Essays on the Prophecies relating to the Messiah. Edin. 1773, 8vo.

      Milton’s Paradise Lost, illustrated with texts of Scripture, London, 1788. 12mo.

GILLIES, JOHN, LL.D., an eminent historian, and king’s “Historiographer for Scotland,’ son of Robert Gillies, Esq. of Little Keithock, Forfarshire, and elder brother of Lord Gillies, a lord of session, mentioned above, was born at Brechin, Forfarshire, on January 18, 1747. He received his education at the university of Glasgow, where he was patronized by Principal Leechman and Professor Moore, from the latter of whom he is believed to have imbibed his admiration of Greek learning, and his knowledge of Greek literature. While yet under twenty years of age, he was chosen to teach the Greek class, on the illness and decline of the then aged professor of Greek in that university. He soon, however, resigned that appointment, and went to London, with the view of making literature his sole pursuit. In furtherance of this object, he spent some time at Paris and other parts of the continent, in acquiring facility in the modern languages. Soon after his return, being yet a young man, John, the second earl of Hopetoun, to whom he had been introduced by his eldest son, Lord Hope, (afterwards third earl of Hopetoun) invited him to travel with his second son, Henry; and, as he was induced, for that purpose, to relinquish some honourable and lucrative literary engagements, he lordship settled upon him, in 1777, an annuity for life.

      His young charge, Henry Hope, having died at Lyons, Mr. Gillies returned home; and in a few years went again to the continent with the earl’s younger sons, John, afterwards the celebrated military commander, Sir John Hope, Baron Niddry, and earl of Hopetoun; and Alexander, afterwards Sir Alexander Hope, G.C.B., lieutenant-governor of Chelsea Hospital. Mr. Gillies returned to England with his companions in 1784, when he resumed his literary labours, and took his degree of LL.D., previously to the publication of the first part of his ‘History of Ancient Greece,’ which appeared in 1786, and immediately became a standard work. In 1792 he married, and the following year, on the death of his friend Dr. Robertson, Dr. Gillies was appointed Historiographer to the King for Scotland. He died at Clapham, February 5, 1836, in the 90th year of his age. He was F.R.S., F.A.S., and a member of many foreign societies.

      His works are:

      Orations of Isocrates, and those of Lysias, translated, with some account of their Lives, and a Discourse on the History, Manners, and Character of the Greeks, from the conclusion of the Peloponnesian war, to the battle of Chaeronea. London, 1778, 4to. The success of this work prompted him to prosecute still farther his studies in Grecian literature and history.

      History of Ancient Greece, its Colonies and Conquests, from the earliest accounts till the division of the Macedonian Empire in the East, including the History of Philosophy, Literature, and the Fine Arts; with maps. London. 1786, 2 vols. 4to; also in 4 vols, 8vo.

      Aristotle’s Ethics and Politics; comprising his Practical Philosophy, translated from the Greek. Illustrated by Introductions and Notes, the Critical History of his Life, and a New Analysis of his Speculative Works. London, 1786-97, 2 vols. 4to. 2d edition 1804, 2 vols. 8vo.

      Supplement to the Analysis of Aristotle’s Speculative Works. London, 1804, 4to.

      A View of the Reign of Frederick II. Of Prussia; with a Parallel between that Prince and Philip II. Of Macedon. London, 1789, 8vo.

      History of the World from the reign of Alexander to that of Augustus, comprehending the latter ages of Europe, Greece, and the History of the Greek Kingdoms in Asia and Africa, from their foundation to their destruction. With a Preliminary Survey of Alexander’s conquests, and an estimate of his plans for their consolidation and improvement. Lond. 1807-1810, 2 vols. 4to.

            Aristotle’s Rhetoric, translated. London, 1823, 8vo.

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