Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Dugald Stewart

‘…While attending Mr. Dugald Stewart's class, in the winter of 1790-1, Scott produced, in compliance with the usual custom of ethical students, several essays besides that to which I have already made an allusion, and which was, I believe, entitled, " On the Manners and Customs of the Northern Nations." But this essay it was that first attracted, in any particular manner, his professor's attention. Mr. Robert Ainslee, well known as the friend and fellow-traveller of Burns, happened to attend Stewart the same session, and remembers his saying ex cathedra, "The author of this paper shows much knowledge of his subject, and a great taste for such researches." Scott became, before the close of the Session, a frequent visiter in Mr. Stewart's family, and an affectionate intercourse was maintained between them through their after-lives…’

There’s no way to truly value the worth of a great teacher, but often that worth is reflected in the achievement of one or more of his/her pupils.  Such was the case with the Common Sense philosopher Dugald Stewart and his student Walter Scott.  Stewart was himself influenced by Adam Ferguson and more importantly, Thomas Reid.  The paragraph above comes from Lockhart’s “Memoirs of the Life of Sir Walter Scott”.  Dugald Stewart was born on November 22, 1753.

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