George Husband Baird

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George Husband Baird

Birthplace: Scotland
Death: Died
Immediate Family:

Son of James Baird and Marion Baird
Husband of Isabella Elder
Father of Marion Spottiswood Bayley; Thomas Elder Baird, of Forneth; Emelia Husband Baird; James Baird and Emelia Husband Baird
Brother of Janet Baird; Marion Baird; Thomas Baird and Thomas Baird

Managed by: Private User
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About George Husband Baird

"Scotland, Births and Baptisms, 1564-1950," George Baird, 1761

  • name: George Baird
  • gender: Male
  • baptism/christening date: 27 Jul 1761
  • baptism/christening place: , BO'NESS, WEST LOTHIAN, SCOTLAND
  • birth date: 13 Jul 1761
  • father's name: James Baird
  • mother's name: Marion Spottiswood
  • indexing project (batch) number: C11663-5
  • system origin: Scotland-VR
  • source film number: 1066613
  • reference number: 2:17GR8JS

Source Citation

Baird, George Husband 1761-1840 [ Minister - University Principal ]

"Was born in 1761 in a now-demolished house attached to the holding of Bowes, in the hollow to the west of Inveravon farm-house, in the Parish of Borrowstounness. His father, James Baird, while a considerable proprietor in the county of Stirling, at that time rented this farm from the Duke of Hamilton. Young Baird received the rudiments of his education at the Parish School of Borrowstounness. Upon his father removing to the property of Manuel the boy was sent to the Grammar School at Linlithgow and in his thirteenth year he entered as a student in Humanity at Edinburgh University.

In 1787 he was ordained minister of Dunkeld, and in 1792 was appointed minister of Greyfriars Kirk, Edinburgh. In the same year he became Joint Professor of Oriental Languages in Edinburgh University. Then in 1793 he became Principal of Edinburgh University at the early age of thirty-three. Baird had married the eldest daughter of Lord Provost Elder, who had paramount influence in the Council, and exercised it for the election of his youthful and untried son-in-law. We believe it use to be jocularly said that his chief claim to the Principalship was as "Husband" of the Lord Provost's daughter. Nevertheless the appointment turned out well and Baird held the Principalship for the long period of forty-seven years. He lived through many long battles and litigation., and died leaving the Senatus still at war.

Early in 1791, Baird wrote to Robert Burns telling him that he was preparing an edition of the poems of Michael Bruce, the proceeds to be used to alleviate the condition of Bruce's elderly mother. George Baird wanted Burn's to consider Bruce's manuscript, and to supply some memorial couplet's for Bruce's tombstone. Burns replied asking: "Why did you, my dear Sir, write to me in such a hesitating style on the business of poor Bruce? Don't I know, and have I not felt the ills, the peculiar ills, that Poetic flesh is heir to?" He then offered the choice of 'all the unpublished poems' he had among them, apparently, 'Tom o' Shanter.' News of this offer leaked out among Bruce's admirers, and Baird was prevailed upon not to use Burns's masterpiece in a context which, to the admirers of Bruce's religious poems, seemed inappropriate. Bruce's poems were published in 1799

Towards the close of his life he threw his whole soul into a scheme for the education of the poor in the Highlands and Islands of Scotland. He submitted his proposals to the General Assembly in May, 1824, advancing them with great ability and earnestness. Next year the Assembly gave its sanction to the scheme, and it was launched most auspiciously. So intense was his interest in this work that in his sixty-seventh year, although in enfeebled health, he traversed the entire Highlands of Argyll, the west of Inverness, and Ross, and the Western Islands from Lewis to Kintyre. The following year he visited the Northern Highlands and the Orkneys and Shetlands. Through his influence Dr. Andrew Bell, of Madras, bequeathed £5000 for education in the Highlands of Scotland. In 1832 the thanks of the General Assembly were conveyed to him by the illustrious Dr. Chalmers, then in the zenith of his oratorical powers. Baird died 1840 at his family property at Manuel, and is buried in Muiravonside Churchyard".

See also

Fasti Ecclesiæ Scoticanæ: the Succession of Ministers in the Church of Scotland from the Reformation (1915-), Scott, Hew, (9 volumes. Edinburgh: Oliver and Boyd, 1915-), FHL book 941 D3s; FHL microfiche 6026402., vol. 1 p. 68.

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George Husband Baird's Timeline

July 13, 1761
July 27, 1761
West Lothian, Scotland
December 1, 1793
Age 32
September 30, 1795
Age 34
July 13, 1797
Age 36
December 27, 1799
Age 38
October 22, 1801
Age 40
January 14, 1840
Age 78