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Spalding, William

edinburgh logic

SPALDING, WILLIAM (1809-1859), logician and literary historian, was born in Aberdeen in 1809. After a thorough education at the grammar school and at Marischal College there, he came to Edinburgh in 1830, where he was called to the bar in 1833. In that year he published a Letter on Shakespeare's Authorship of the Two Noble Kinsmen, which, by its critical acumen and the knowledge of the old dramatists which it displayed, attracted the notice of Jeffrey and procured the author an invitation to become a contributor to the Edinburgh Review. Before settling down to the business of the bar he undertook a prolonged Continental tour. He was absent fifteen months, the greater part of the time being spent in Italy, and in 1841 the fruits of his stay appeared in three volumes entitled Italy and the Italian Islands from the Earliest Ages to the Present Time. This learned and comprehensive work went through five editions in a few years. His attempts to gain a legal practice not proving successful, he became a candidate in 1838 for the chair of rhetoric in Edinburgh university, which he held till 1815, when he was appointed professor of logic in the university of St Andrews. He held the latter post till his death on the 16th November 1859.

Besides the works already mentioned, and various articles contributed to the Edinburgh Review and Blackwood's Magazine, lie was the author of a concise History of English Literature, which has many merits and has been much used as a text book. He also wrote the articles " Logic " and " Rhetoric " (as well as a number of literary biographies) for the eighth edition of the Encyclopxdia Britannica. The former article, written mainly on Hamiltonian lines, constitutes a systematic treatise on Formal Logic, and is honourably distinguished by its clear scientific exposition. By these two articles and his History of English Literature Spalding is chiefly remembered.

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