Dick, Thomas, 1774-1857

Titles by this author
The telescope and microscope

Dick was brought up in the strict tenets of the Secession church of Scotland, and his father, Mungo Dick, a small linen manufacturer hoped that he would take over the trade. The appearance of a great meteor when he was nine years old inspired a passion for astronomy and he read every book on the subject, built a telescope, and began observations. He became an assistant in a school at Dundee, and in 1794, he entered the University of Edinburgh. After finishing his studies, he set up a school, became licensed to preach (1801) and officiated as probationer at Stirling and elsewhere. He was invited to become a teacher at the Secession school at Methuen and remained there for ten years. The Christian Philosopher, or the Connexion of Science and Philosophy with Religion was published in 1823 and ran quickly through several editions (Clerke 18). In fact, he was often referred to as The Christian Philosopher after the title of his most popular work. Several of his works were translated into other languages, and The Solar System was translated into Chinese. Dr. Dick also contributed to the periodicals of his period (Allibone 499). He gave up teaching in 1827 and built a small cottage with an observatory and library on a hill overlooking the Tay at Broughty Ferry, near Dundee. Here, he wrote a number of his scientific, philosophical, and religious works and was later awarded a pension of 50 pounds by the crown. He was admitted to the Royal Astronomical Society on 14 January 1853, and Dick edited the first three volumes of the Educational Magazine and Journal of Christian Philanthropy, published in London, 1835 - 1836. He died at the age of eighty-three on 29 July 1857 (Clerke 18).

His publications include:

The Christian Philosopher, or the Connection of Science with Religion, 1823.

The Philosophy of Religion, or an Illustration of the Moral Laws of the Universe, 1825.

The Philosophy of a Future State, 1828.

The Improvement of Society by the Diffusion of Knowledge.

On the Mental Illumination and Moral Improvement of Mankind, 1835.

Christian Beneficence Contrasted with Covetousness, 1836.

Celestial Scenery, 1838.

The Practical Astronomer, 1845.

The Solar System, 1846.

The Telescope and Microscope, 1851.

Allibone, Austin S. A Critical Dictionary of English Literature and British and American Authors Living and Deceased From The Earliest Accounts to the Latter Half of the Nineteenth Century. Philadelphia: Lippincott, 1870. 499.

Clerke, A.M. "Dick, Thomas." Dictionary of National Biography. Vol. XV. Leslie Stephen, ed. London: Smith, Elder, & Co., 1888. 18.

Written by Stephen Rachman