1859 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Rev. Alexander Gerard

William Anderson, in Scottish Nation (1859-66) 2:290-91.



ALEXANDER GERARD, D.D., a learned divine of the Church of Scotland, and ingenious writer of polite literature, eldest son of the Rev. Gilbert Gerard, minister of Chapel Church, Aberdeenshire, was born there February 22, 1728. He received the rudiments of his education first at the parish school of Foveran, and afterwards at the grammar school of Aberdeen, whither he was removed on the death of his father, when he was only ten years of age, and two years later was entered a student at Marischal college. He took the degree of M.A. in 1744, and immediately commenced his theological studies in the divinity hall of Aberdeen, which he afterwards completed in the university of Edinburgh. In 1748 he was licensed to preach the gospel, and in 1750 he was appointed to lecture on natural philosophy in Marischal college, Aberdeen, in the room of Professor David Fordyce, who had gone on a visit to the Continent. Two years thereafter, on that gentleman being unfortunately drowned on the coast of Holland on his return home, Mr. Gerard succeeded to the vacant chair. He had the merit of introducing into the university an improved plan of theological education, and, in 1755, printed at Aberdeen a well-written pamphlet on the subject, which he had drawn up by order of the faculty of his college. In 1756 he gained the prize of a gold medal offered by the Philosophical Society of Edinburgh for the best Essay on Taste, which he afterwards published. He belonged to a literary society at Aberdeen, which numbered among its members Drs. Blackwell, Gregory, Reid, Campbell, and Beattie, men who not only raised the character of the university which they adorned, but shed a lustre on the literature of their country.

In 1759 Mr. Gerard was ordained minister of Greyfriar's church, Aberdeen; in 1760 he was chosen professor of divinity in the Marischal college, and about the same period he took his degree of D.D. Having, in 1771, resigned both his church, and his professorship in Marischal college, he was preferred to the theological chair in King's college, Old Aberdeen, where he remained till his death, on his 67th birthday, February 22, 1795. His funeral sermon was preached by his friend and pupil, Dr. Skene Ogilvy of Old Aberdeen. His works are [list omitted].