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EMINENT MEN OF FIFE,
OF PAST AND PRESENT TIMES,
NATIVES OF THE COUNTY, OR CONNECTED WITH IT BY
PROPERTY, RESIDENCE, OFFICE, MARRIAGE,
M. F. CON O L L Y,
AUTHoR of THE “LIFE of Bishop Low,” “PROFESSOR TENNANT,” &c.
Sir Robert Sibbald, in his History of Fife and Kinross, informs us that “in the ancient language of the Picts it (Fife) was called Ross, which signifieth a peninsula, and that it was the best part of their kingdom, where their kings had their royal seat.” Hence it has been the custom to designate it the “Kingdom of Fife,”—a popular phrase retained to this day; and doubtless there are some little kingdoms on the Continent less deserving of the title. Fife is an extensive and important county. It is, as above stated, in the form of a peninsula, having the waters of Tay on the north, and the Firth of Forth on the south, and terminating in a point on the east, in the German Ocean, commonly called the “East Neuk.” Its total area is about 300,000 acres. It lies between 56° 3' and 56° 25' north latitude. It contains sixty-one entire parishes, besides portions of two others, seventeen Royal Burghs, eight weekly newspapers, a University, and 153,989 of population, per census 1861. “Fife,” as has been well observed, “has always occupied a prominent place in the history of Scotland.” Though this prominence may be partly owing to the circumstance that both a royal residence and a University were situated therein, still, much must be due to that energy and enterprise which for centuries have characterised the native inhabitants, who have proved themselves equally ready to defend their country from foes, and to forward its best rights and interests. In all the contests of the people for the maintenance of their civil and religious liberties, we never find the “men of Fife” behind in the discharge of their proper duties; but on the contrary, always foremost in the path of honour—as patriots, philosophers, and men of renown. To this fact, an influential foreign journal recently testified in strong terms. Speaking of one of our most eminent hydrographers it says, “He