William Thomson ~ Writer

William Thomson (1746-1817) – writer – was born at Burnside (Forteviot) in 1746 and was educated at the grammar school in Perth before entering St Andrews University to study theology. He later attended Edinburgh University. At university, he gained a post with the Earl of Kinnoull (chancellor of the university) as his private librarian. By 1776, Thomson having been ordained was made assistant to the minister of Monivaird. The church proved a difficult vocation for Thomson and his parishioners complained of his unsuitable behaviour. After about two years, Thomson left the church and moved to London to pursue a literary career. In this he was supported financially by the Earl of Kinnoull. Thomson wrote prolifically, often under pseudonyms. His writing includes fiction and non-fiction (history, travel, biography, memoirs, natural history and military tactics) and his fiction was both political and philosophical: History of Philip II of Spain (Books 5 and 6 – 1783); The Man in the Moon (1783); History of Great Britain from the Revolution of 1688 to the Accession of George (1787); Mammuth, or, Human nature displayed on a grand scale in a tour with the tinkers into the central parts of Africa (1789); and, Memoirs Relative to Military Tactics (1805). Thomson also contributed to Dodsley’s Annual Register; the English Review (which he owned for a period); the Analytical Review; the European MagazineThe Oracle; and, the Whitehall Evening Post. The University of Glasgow awarded Thomson an honorary LLD in 1783. He married twice in his life and died in 1817 in London.