REID, THOMAS (1791–1825), naval surgeon, born of protestant parents in 1791, was educated near Dungannon, co. Tyrone. He passed his examination at the Royal College of Surgeons in England on 7 May 1813, when he was found qualified to act as ‘surgeon to any rate.’ He was admitted on 3 Nov. 1815 a member of the Royal College of Surgeons in England, and at the end of 1817 he made a voyage in the Neptune to New South Wales as superintendent of male convicts. A few years later he went in the same capacity in the female convict ship Morley. He revisited his native country in 1822, and made an extended tour through the central, northern, and southern parts of the island. He died at Pentonville on 21 Aug. 1825.
Reid was a sincerely religious man who laboured earnestly to ameliorate the condition of the prison population of the country. In early life he drew attention to the conditions attending the transportation of convicts, male as well as female, to the penal settlements in Australia. He showed how bad was the discipline to which they were subjected on board ship during their transference, and how atrocious were the arrangements made for their reception when they arrived in New South Wales. He strongly advocated that convicts should no longer remain idle, but should be employed in a rational manner.
Reid's works are:
- ‘Two Voyages to New South Wales and Van Diemen's Land, with a Description of the Present Condition of that Colony … Observations relative to … Convicts; also Reflections on Seduction,’ London, 8vo, 1822; this book is dedicated to Mrs. Elizabeth Fry. The language, if somewhat inflated, gives a vivid picture of the treatment received by convicts at the beginning of last century.
- ‘Travels in Ireland in the year 1822, exhibiting brief Sketches of the Moral, Physical, and Political State of the Country,’ London, 1823, 8vo. The book is prefaced with a brief history of the country. The second part contains an account of the tour in the form of a diary. The condition of the poor and of the prisoners is carefully considered.
[Gent. Mag. 1825, ii. 377; information kindly given by the secretary of the Royal College of Surgeons of England.]
REID, WILLIAM (1764–1831), minor poet, born in Glasgow on 10 April 1764, was the son of Robert Reid, baker, and Christian Wood, daughter of a farmer at Gartmore, Perthshire. After leaving school he was apprenticed to a typefounder, and then learned bookselling with Messrs. Dunlop & Wilson, Glasgow. In 1790 he entered into partnership with James Brash, with whom he developed an excellent bookselling business, which flourished for twenty-seven years. Reid seems to have been a pleasant, sociable man. He died in Glasgow on 29 Nov. 1831. His wife, Elizabeth Henderson, daughter of a linen-printer, survived him, with two sons and five daughters.
Reid wrote humorous verse in Scottish dialect, some of which appeared in ‘Poetry Original and Selected,’ published by his firm between 1795 and 1798. He wrote supplementary verses to Burns's ‘Of a' the airts the winds can blaw’ and ‘John Anderson my jo’ (cf. Scots Mag. 1797), as well as to Robert Fergusson's ‘Lea Rig:’ and his ‘Monody on the Death of Burns’ is given with commendation in Hogg and Motherwell's edition of Burns (v. 282). He is said to have been on friendly terms with Burns, but the stories that the poet invited Reid's firm to publish his poems before the Kilmarnock edition appeared and that Burns encouraged him to make additional verses to some of his songs may be safely rejected.
[Johnson's Scots Musical Museum, iv. 212*, ed. 1853; Currie's Life of Burns; Scot Douglas's Burns, i. 268, ii. 225; Strang's Glasgow and its Clubs; Grant Wilson's Poets and Poetry of Scotland.]
REID, Sir WILLIAM (1791–1858), major-general royal engineers, and colonial governor, eldest son of James Reid, minister of the established church of Scotland at Kinglassie, Fifeshire, and of his wife Alexandrina, daughter of Thomas Fyers, chief engineer in Scotland, was born at Kinglassie on 25 April 1791. The family of Reid was formerly of Barra Castle, Aberdeenshire. Reid was educated at Musselburgh and at the Edinburgh Academy. He entered the Royal Military Academy, Woolwich, in 1806, and before obtaining a commission he was sent to learn practical surveying under Colonel William Mudge [q. v.] He was gazetted a second lieutenant in the royal engineers on 10 Feb. 1809, and promoted first lieutenant 23 April 1810. In the same month he joined the British army under Wellington at Lisbon.
On landing in Portugal, Reid was employed in the construction of the defensive lines of Torres Vedras. In April 1811 he was sent to Elvas to take part in the first siege of Badajos. Ground was broken on 8 May. On 10 May the garrison made a daring sortie, and Reid, who played a gallant part in the encounter, was wounded in the knee. The first siege was raised on 13 May.