Macdonald, Alexander (1755-1837) (DNB00)


MACDONALD, ALEXANDER (1755–1837), Gaelic scholar, born in the west highlands in 1755, was received at the age of eleven into the Roman catholic seminary of Bourblach, in North Morar, by Bishop Hugh Macdonald [q.v.] He was afterwards sent to the Scots College in Rome, where he was ordained priest by dispensation at the age of twenty-three. In 1782 he returned to Scotland, and being a good Gaelic scholar, he was placed at Balloch, near Drummond Castle, Perthshire, to attend the highlanders resident in that mission. He was appointed missionary of the Gaelic chapel in Blackfriars' Wynd, Edinburgh, in 1792. Afterwards he returned to Balloch, and eventually he built a chapel at Crieff, where he passed the remainder of his life, except for a short interval in 1827-8, when be took charge of the congregation at Leith. He died at Crieff on 13 July 1837.

He was an admirable classical and Gaelic scholar, and was employed to give the Latin significations of the words of two letters of the alphabet in the 'Dictionarium Scoto-Celticum: a Dictionary of the Gaelic Language,' published under the direction of the Highland Society of Scotland, 2 vols. Edinburgh, 1828, 4to. He himself published 'Phingateis, sive Hibernia Liberata, Epicum Ossianis Poema, e Celtico sermone conversum, tribus præmissis disputationibus, et subsequentibus notis,' Edinburgh, 1820, 8to, dedicated to Augustus Frederick, duke of Sussex.

[Stothert's Catholic Mission in Scotland, p. 586; Pref. to Dictionarium Scoto-Celticum.]

T. C.