CollectionGB 0231 University of Aberdeen, Special Collections
Ref NoMS 2814
TitlePapers relating to Thomas Reid, Professor of Moral Philosophy, his ancestors, family and descendants, and to the families of Forbes, Fraser, Gregory, Leslie and others
Extent6 boxes: 1.98 metres
Administrative HistoryThomas Reid (1710-1796), the son of Lewis Reid, minister of Strachan in Kincardineshire, and his first wife Margaret Gregory, daughter of David Gregory (1627-1720), was born at Strachan on 26th April 1710. He was therefore related to two distinguished families who were connected with the Aberdeen Universities as graduates, members of staff or benefactors. A graduate himself of Marischal College, A.M. 1726, D.D. 1762 and librarian 1733-?1736, he was minister of New Machar from 1737 before being appointed regent and professor of moral philosophy at King's College in 1751. In 1764 he was elected to the same chair at Glasgow University and remained there until his death in 1796.

In 1740 he married his cousin Elizabeth (died 1792), daughter of his uncle, Dr George Reid, but they were survived by only one daughter Martha (1744-1804), wife of Dr Patrick Carmichael. In 1735 his father married secondly Janet Fraser (died 1798) a relative of Rev. James Fraser (1634-1709) of the family of Fraser of Phophacy, by whom he had several children, including Margaret (died 1829), wife of Alexander Leslie (1733-1807), minister of Fordoun in Kincardineshire.

Several members of the Leslie family attended Marischal College, including James Leslie (1681-1745) A.M. 1697, his son Alexadner, A.M. 1755, grandsons Alexander, alumnus of class 1787-1791 and James, alumnus of class 1801-1805, and great-grandson Alexander, alumnus of class 1822-1826.
Custodial HistorySome of the biographical notes are believed to be by Reid himself, which were used by Dougal Stewart when writing his life of Reid published in 1802. Many of the earlier documents or transcripts appear to have been collected or preserved to assist in the tracing of genealogy of the Leslie family and their connections by marriage. It has also been found that there is inter-relationship between this collection and other MSS deposited previously in the archives, e.g. MS 2131 (papers of Thomas Reid), MS 2201, MS 2493, MS 805 and MS 848 (Genealogies of the Leslie surname), MS 2342 (account books of Rev. James Leslie, which are complimentary with accounts in MS 2814/5), MS 995 and MS 2206 (relating to the Gregory family), MS 2538 (James Fraser, Triennial Travels, see MS 2814/1/10), MS 2219 and MS 2221 (Forbes of Waterton). When the collection was received a large part of it was stored in a wooden chest decorated with coats of arms of families from which descent was claimed.
SourcePresented in 1973 Miss Cornish-Browne, niece of Hilda ML Paterson of Birkwood, Banchory. Miss Paterson was a grand-daughter of Alexander Leslie of Birkwood and had formerly presented MSS including 2131, 2342 and 2538.
DescriptionThere is little material here concerning his philosophical writings, apart from a few letters, but there are biographical notes. The majority of the papers concern the ramifications of the Reid, Gregory, and Leslie families and their connections by marriage with the families of Forbes, Gordon, Hogarth, Ligertwood, Melville, Seton and others. This includes genealogical information, accounts, writs concerning their estates or bequests and correspondence. There is also a letter by Walter Scott ro Rev. Mr Walker, Dunottar in 1796 (MS 2814/6/31). There are also a series of letters by James Leslie (1786-1873), Montreal merchant and member of the Canadian Legislature for many years, to his cousin, Rev. James Leslie, Fordoun, and other relatives, and by the latter's nephew, Alexander, when employed by the Montreal firm.
ArrangementA number of early MSS were filed in no apparent order between the black pages of a volume intended for use as a commonplace book by one of the Leslie family. They have been distributed, but the volume has been preserved with the collection. Printed volumes, pamphlets and collections of cuttings have been trasferred to the main library
Access StatusOpen
Physical DescriptionLeaves have been excised from some volumes 5/3, 5/4, 5/8. In 8/4 an edition of the Authorised Version of the Bible is wanting the title page is bound up with a 1669 edition of the Metrical Psalms, contains marginalia notes by James Fraser (1634-1709).
Related MaterialMS 2131 (papers of Thomas Reid)
MS 2201, MS 2493, MS 805 and MS 848 (Genealogies of the Leslie surname)
MS 2342 (account books of Rev. James Leslie)
MS 995 and MS 2206 (relating to the Gregory family)
MS 2538 (James Fraser, Triennial Travels)
MS 2219 and MS 2221 (Forbes of Waterton)
Publication Note'Letters and papers of Thomas Reid and his descendants, including the family of Leslie'. Northern Scotland, Volume 3, No. 1 (1977-78), p.97.
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