Page:Dictionary of National Biography, Second Supplement, volume 3.djvu/12

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Neil
Neil
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1895-1907). Neil's own contribution forms part of vol. iii. During these years Neil was also busy with much classical work. For many years he had in the press an edition of Aristophanes' 'Knights,' which but for the introduction was completed at his death and was issued soon afterwards by the Cambridge University Press. Here in brief space is concentrated a great amount of sound scholarship and delicate observation of Aristophanic Greek. The history of Greek comedy, Pindar, and Plato were subjects on which Neil frequently lectured and on which he accumulated great stores of knowledge. He was also thoroughly familiar with all work done in the comparative philology of the classical languages, Sanskrit, and Celtic. His emendation of a corrupt word, ἀσαγεύοντα, in Bacchylides into αωτεύοντα was at once accepted by Prof. (Sir) Richard Jebb [q. v. Suppl. II]. Besides his professional work as a classical lecturer and as university lecturer on Sanskrit—a post to which he was appointed in 1884—Neil took much interest in architecture both ancient and mediæval, and had a wide and intimate knowledge of the cathedrals of the western countries of Europe. He was interested in women's education, and before his college work became very heavy lectured at both Girton and Newnham. But his greatest influence was manifested in work with individual students, where his kindliness, care, and quiet humour attracted even the less scholarly. He was popular in Cambridge society, and amid his multifarious duties could always spare time to solve difficulties for his friends. He was for long a syndic of the University Press, where he helped many young scholars with advice and oversight of their work as it passed through the press. He served for four years upon the council of the senate, but the work was not congenial to him, and he refused to be nominated a second time.

In 1891 Aberdeen University conferred upon him the honorary degree of LL.D. Neil took a keen interest in Scottish history and literature, and was for long a member of the Franco-Scottish Society. In 1900, on the death of Mr. C. H. Prior, he took with some hesitation the work of senior tutor of Pembroke. He died after a brief illness on 19 June 1901, and was buried in the churchyard at Bridge of Gaim, not far from his birthplace. He was unmarried. In appearance Neil was a little over the average height and strongly built, with brown hair and large expressive eyes. There are several good photographs of him.

[Obituary notices by personal friends in Cambridge Review (Dr. Adam, October 1901); British Weekly, 27 June 1901 (Sir W. Robertson Nicoll, a class mate at Aberdeen); Alma Mater, the Aberdeen University Mag., 20 Nov. 1901 (Dr. J. F. White); information from the family, and personal knowledge for nineteen years.]

P. G.


NEIL, SAMUEL (1825–1901), author, born at Edinburgh on 4 August 1825, was second of three sons of James Neil, an Edinburgh bookseller, by his wife Sarah Lindsay, a connection of the Lindsays, earls of Crawford. On the death of the father from cholera in 1832, the family went to live at Glasgow. After education at the old grammar school at Glasgow, Neil entered the university; while an undergraduate he assisted the English master in the high school and worked for the 'Glasgow Argus' (of which Charles Mackay [q. v.] the poet was editor) and other newspapers. For a time he was a private tutor and then master successively of Falkirk charity school in 1850, of Southern Collegiate School, Glasgow, in 1852, and of St. Andrew's school, Glasgow, in 1853. Finally he was rector of Moffat Academy from 1855 to 1873.

With his school work Neil combined much literary activity. He promoted in 1857, and edited during its existence, the 'Moffat Register and Annandale Observer,' the first newspaper published in Moffat, and wrote regularly for other Scottish periodicals and educational journals.

In 1850 Neil planned, and from that date until 1873 edited, the 'British Controversialist' (40 vols. in all), a monthly magazine published in London for the discussion of literary, social, and philosophic questions. He himself contributed numerous philosophical articles, many of which he subsequently collected in separate volumes. Of these his 'Art of Reasoning' (1853) was praised for its clarity and conciseness by John Stuart Mill, George Henry Lewes, Archbishop Whately, and Alexander Bain. Other of his contributions to the 'British Controversialist' were published independently, under the titles of 'Elements of Rhetoric' (1856), 'Composition and Elocution' (1857; 2nd edit. 1857, 12mo), 'Public Meetings and how to conduct them' (1867, 12mo).

On resigning his rectorship of Moffat Academy in 1873 Neil settled in Edinburgh, devoting himself to English literature, and especially to Shakespeare. He founded