Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Dodds, James (1812-1885)

DODDS, JAMES (1812–1885), religious and general writer, was born at Annan in Dumfriesshire in 1812, and educated at the university of Edinburgh, where he obtained the highest distinction in the class of Professor Wilson (‘Christopher North’). Studying for the ministry in the established church, he was first appointed to the parish of Humbie in East Lothian, but in 1843, joining the Free church, was called to Dunbar, where he remained to the close of his life. As a Dumfriesshire man he early became acquainted with Thomas Carlyle, and had much correspondence with him. Dodds was of literary habits, and when other engagements permitted made much use of his pen. ‘Famous Men of Dumfriesshire’ consists of sketches of honourable names in the annals of his native country, marked by the strong local sympathies of one born and brought up on its soil. ‘The Lily of Lammermoor’ is a story of disruption times, and ‘A Century of Scottish Church History’ is a sketch of the religious history of Scotland from the first secession to the disruption in 1843. He was the author of a brief biographical sketch of his friend, Dr. Patrick Fairbairn, principal of the Free Church College in Glasgow, and author of the ‘Typology of Scripture,’ ‘Coast Missions, a Memoir of the Rev. Thomas Rosie,’ 1862, and other well-known theological works. He wrote also the memoir of his cousin, James Dodds [q. v.], prefixed to his posthumous volume ‘Lays of the Covenanters,’ which he edited and annotated. He was a frequent contributor to various periodicals, the ‘Christian Treasury,’ ‘Sunday at Home,’ ‘Leisure Hour,’ &c. Though neither original nor brilliant, he was a sensible and useful writer, and personally he was held in great esteem by those among whom he lived. He died in 1885.

[Haddingtonshire Advertiser, 11 Sept. 1885; Scott's Fasti; personal acquaintance.]

W. G. B.