Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Dunbar, James

DUNBAR, JAMES, LL.D. (d. 1798), philosophical writer, was educated at King's College, Aberdeen, of which he was elected a ‘regent’ in 1766, and in that capacity he taught moral philosophy there for thirty years. He published: 1. ‘De Primordiis Civitatum Oratio in qua agitur de Bello Civili inter Magnam Britanniam et Colonias nunc flagrante,’ London, 1779, 4to. 2. ‘Essays on the History of Mankind in rude and uncultivated ages,’ London, 1780, 8vo; 2nd edition 1781. The latter work deals with such topics as the ‘Primeval Form of society,’ ‘Language as an Universal Accomplishment,’ ‘The Criterion of a Polished Tongue,’ ‘The Hereditary Genius of Nations.’ Dunbar was in favour of the amalgamation of King's College with Marischal College. He died in his rooms at King's College on 28 May 1798.

[Fasti Aberdon. (Spalding Club), vol. lxxxviii.; Thom's Aberdeen, vol. ii. app. i. 13, 14, 52; Nichols's Lit. Illustr. iv. 822; Gent. Mag. (1798), pp. 539, 622.]

J. M. R.