Page:Dictionary of National Biography, Second Supplement, volume 2.djvu/533

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MacDermott
MacDonald
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the now republican government. Lamartine made MacDermott and his friends a glowing speech of welcome but published so disappointingly colourless a report of the interview in the official 'Moniteur' as to convince them of the impossibility of practical help. Lamartine appears to have understood the Irishmen to ask for armed aid, whereas they only looked for moral support (cf. Gavan Duffy, Four Years of Irish History, pp. 567, 568). MacDermott remained in Paris as the representative of the 'Nation,' but soon after its suppression in 1848 went to Birkenhead, where he completed his training in a local architect's office. Coming to London after 1850, he entered the office of (Sir) Charles Liddell, and was employed chiefly on the stations of the Metropolitan railway extension. He obtained the post of chief architect to the Egyptian government, and spent some years in Alexandria from 1866 onwards. Some twelve years later he retired and settled in London. His subsequent years were devoted to literary work. In 1879 he translated Viollet-le-Duc's 'Essay on the Military Architecture of the Middle Ages.' A constant correspondent of Sir Charles Gavan Duffy [q. v. Suppl. II], he was intimately associated with him in 1892-5 in his scheme of the 'New Irish Library,' a series of books designed to continue the successful national library inaugurated in 1843. For the series, which was not well supported, MacDermott prepared an anthology of Irish poetry called 'The New Spirit of the Nation,' 1894. He died at his residence at Cotham, Bristol, on 25 April 1905.

MacDermott's poems are few and of homely quality. Two of them, 'The Coulin' and 'Exiles Far Away,' have achieved great popularity. He is represented in 'Brooke and Rolleston's Treasury of Irish Poetry' (1905) by 'Girl of the Red Mouth.' Besides the publications already cited, MacDermott edited 'Irish Poetry' for the 'Penny Poets' series ; 'Poems and Ballads of Young Ireland' (1896); and, with additions, Thomas Moore's 'Life of Lord Edward Fitzgerald' (1897). He married about 1860 Miss Martha Melladew of Liverpool, and by her had nine children, of whom three sons and three daughters survived him.

[Freeman's Journal, 27 April 1905; correspondence with present writer; information kindly supplied by Miss Maud MacDermott of Taunton; the Architect and Contract Reporter, May 1905; personal knowledge; Duffy's Young Ireland.]

D. J. O'D.

MACDONALD, GEORGE (1824–1906), poet and novelist, born on 10 Dec. 1824 at Huntly, West Aberdeenshire, was descended from one of the 120 MacDonalds who made good their escape from the massacre of Glencoe in Feb. 1692. His Jacobite great-grandfather was born on 16 April 1746, the day of the battle of Culloden, in which hie great-great-grandfather, a red-haired piper, lost his sight. From Portsoy in Banffshire the family ultimately moved to Huntly, where George MacDonald's grandfather, who spoke Gaelic, was farmer and banker. The author's father, also George MacDonald, grew up on the farm, marrying as his first wife Helen, daughter of Captain MacKay, R.N., of Celtic lineage, and sister of the Gaelic scholar, Mackintosh MacKay [q. v.]. His parents were congregationalists. Of five sons, George was the youngest. His mother dying soon after his birth, his father married as his second wife, in 1839 Margaret MacColl, who proved a kind stepmother to George and his brothers. George began his education on his father's farm and then at a small school at Huntly. In the autumn of 1840 he won at King's College, Aberdeen, a Fullerton bursary of 14l. as 12th bursar, and he attended college for four years from 1840-1 to 1844-5, omitting 1842-3. He studied hard to the injury of his health, eking out his narrow means by teaching. Sir William Duguid Geddes [q. v. Suppl. I] was among his contemporaries. George took the third prize in chemistry and was fourth prizeman in natural philosophy.

Already a poet who saw symbolic meanings in what others found commonplace, he was regarded by the students as something of a visionary. Of his university life he gave a graphic picture in his poem 'Hidden Life' (in Poems, 1857). He graduated M.A. in March 1845, and on 28 February 1868 his university made him hon. LL.D.

Seeking a livelihood in tutorial work, MacDonald removed to London soon after graduating, and in Sept. 1848 he entered the theological college at Highbury to prepare for the congregational ministry.

Finding the ways of Highbury College uncongenial, he did not finish his course there, but he was duly ordained to his first and only charge, the Trinity congregational chapel at Arundel, in 1850. His spiritual and intellectual independence dissatisfied his congregation. Proposals to reduce his small stipend on the ground of lack of doctrine in his sermons led to his resignation at the close of 1853. Resolving to devote