Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Dickson, David (1780-1842)

DICKSON, DAVID, the younger (1780–1842), presbyterian divine, was born in 1780 at Libberton, N.B., of which parish his father, David Dickson the elder [q. v.], was minister, and was educated at the parish school of Bothkennar and afterwards at Edinburgh University. In 1801 he was accepted as a preacher in the established church of Scotland, and appointed early in 1802 to a chapel at Kilmarnock, which he held until in 1803 he was chosen junior minister of St. Cuthbert's Church, Edinburgh. After the death of the Rev. Sir Henry Moncrieff in 1827 he was made senior minister, a position he held till his death. In 1808 he married Janet, daughter of James Jobson of Dundee, by whom he had a family of three sons and three daughters, and in 1824 the university of Edinburgh conferred on him the degree of D.D. He had some reputation as a Hebrew scholar; his sermons were plain and sound; in private life he was genial and benevolent, and he avoided mixing in the doctrinal disputes which culminated in the disruption of the Scotch church. On the occasion of Sir Walter Scott's funeral he was chosen to hold the service in the house at Abbotsford. Dickson was secretary of the Scottish Missionary Society for many years; wrote several articles in the ‘Edinburgh Encyclopædia’ and in the ‘Christian Instructor’ and other magazines; and published ‘The Influence of Learning on Religion’ in 1814, and a small volume of sermons in 1818. ‘Discourses, Doctrinal and Practical,’ a collection of his homilies, was published in 1857. He also published five separate sermons (1806–31), and edited ‘Memoir of Miss Woodbury,’ 1826; Rev. W. F. Ireland's sermons, 1829; and lectures and sermons by the Rev. G. B. Brand, 1841. He died 28 July 1842, and was buried in St. Cuthbert's Church, where a monument was subsequently erected to his memory, which shows an accurate likeness of him in his later years.

[Old and New Edinburgh, ii. 134; Hew Scott's Fasti Eccl. Scot. sect. i. 127, iii. 177; Crombie's Modern Athenians, p. 6 (with portrait).]

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