Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Duff, William

DUFF, WILLIAM (1732–1815), miscellaneous writer, a Scotch minister and M.A., was licensed by the presbytery 25 June 1755, called 18 Sept., and ordained 8 Oct., when he was appointed to the parish of Glenbucket, Aberdeenshire. Thence he was transferred to Peterculter in the same county, 24 Oct. 1766, being admitted 4 March 1767. He was nominated minister of Foveran, also in Aberdeenshire, in February 1774, and took up his residence a twelvemonth later. There he got a new church built in 1794, and died father of the synod, 23 Feb. 1815, in the eighty-third year of his age, and sixtieth of his ministry (Scots Mag. lxxvii. 319). On 4 Sept. 1778 he married Ann Mitchell, by whom he had two sons and four daughters. Duff is author of: 1. ‘An Essay on Original Genius and its Various Modes of Exertion in Philosophy and the Fine Arts, particularly in Poetry’ (anon.), 8vo, London, 1767, a work which exhibits considerable acquaintance with classical authors. A sequel is 2. ‘Critical Observations on the Writings of the most celebrated Original Geniuses in Poetry,’ 8vo, London, 1770. 3. ‘The History of Rhedi, the Hermit of Mount Ararat. An Oriental Tale’ (anon.), 12mo, London, 1773. 4. ‘Sermons on Several Occasions,’ 2 vols. 12mo, Aberdeen, 1786. 5. ‘Letters on the Intellectual and Moral Character of Women,’ 8vo, Aberdeen, 1807. 6. ‘The Last Address of a Clergyman in the Decline of Life,’ 8vo, Aberdeen, 1814. Duff also furnished an account of Foveran to Sir J. Sinclair's ‘Statistical Account of Scotland’ (ed. 1791–9, vi. 62–70, xxi. Appendix, pp. 135–7).

[Hew Scott's Fasti Eccl. Scot., vol. iii. pt. ii. pp. 513, 555, 608; Brit. Mus. Cat.; Cat. of Library of Advocates, ii. 680.]

G. G.