Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Paterson, Nathaniel

PATERSON, NATHANIEL, D.D. (1787–1871), author, was born in the parish of Kells, Kirkcudbrightshire, in 1787, and was the eldest son of Walter Paterson, stone-engraver, and grandson of Robert Paterson [q. v.], ‘Old Mortality.’ His mother was Mary Locke. He was educated at Balmaclellan, where the only prize he is known to have gained was one for cock-fighting, then a recognised school sport. In 1804, when sixteen years of age, he matriculated at Edinburgh University, and studied for the ministry of the church of Scotland. In 1821 he became minister of Galashiels, where he wrote ‘The Manse Garden’ (Glasgow, 1836), a work which passed through many editions. He enjoyed the friendship of Sir Walter Scott, but after a time explained to Scott that the invitations to Abbotsford being usually for Saturday, his preparation for Sunday services was interfered with. Sir Walter took no offence, but thenceforth invited him on some earlier day of the week. On 8 Feb. 1825 he married Margaret, daughter of Robert Laidlaw, Scott's friend, and George Thomson, the Dominie Sampson of ‘Guy Mannering,’ was one of his most constant visitors. In 1833 he was translated to the charge of St. Andrew's parish church, Glasgow. When, in 1843, the disruption took place in the church of Scotland, Paterson followed Dr. Chalmers; and in the autumn of that year he formed one of a deputation to the north of England to explain the principles of the free church and plead its cause. In 1844 he visited the southern counties. At the same time the many members of his congregation who with him joined the free church formed the congregation known as Free St. Andrew's, Glasgow, of which he remained minister till his death. In 1850 he was chosen moderator of the free church assembly, the highest honour which that church can bestow. His appearance in his later years was highly picturesque. His hair fell on his shoulders in wavy curls white as snow. He died at Glasgow on 25 April 1871. All his life occupied actively with ministry, Dr. Paterson had also a keen interest in angling and mechanics. He was a man of great geniality and courtesy, and did much for the progress of the free church in the west of Scotland. He published several sermons and tracts. His portrait, by John J. Napier, was exhibited in the ‘Old Glasgow’ exhibition held in Glasgow in 1894.

[Letters to his Family by Nath. Paterson, D.D., with Memoir by the Rev. Alex. Anderson, 1874; Hew Scott's Fasti Eccl. Scoticanæ, ii. 551, iii. 25; private knowledge.]

W. G. B-k.