Highland Shepherd: James MacGregor, Father of the Scottish Enlightenment in Nova Scotia

By Alan Wilson

© 2015

In 1786, the Reverend James MacGregor (1759–1830) was dispatched across the North Atlantic to establish a dissenting Presbyterian church in Pictou, Nova Scotia. The decision dismayed MacGregor, who had hoped for a post in the Scottish Highlands. Yet it led to a remarkable career in what was still the backwoods of colonial North America. Industrious and erudite, MacGregor established the progressive Pictou Academy, opposed slavery, and promoted scientific education, agriculture, and industry. Poet and translator, fluent in nine languages, he encouraged the preservation of the Gaelic language and promoted Scottish culture in Nova Scotia.

Highland Shepherd finally bestows on MacGregor the recognition that he so richly deserves. Alan Wilson brings MacGregor and his surroundings to life, detailing his numerous achievements and establishing his importance to the social, religious, and intellectual history of the Maritimes.

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Product Details

  • World Rights
  • Page Count: 280 pages
  • Illustrations: 6
  • Dimensions: 6.3in x 0.9in x 9.3in
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SKU# SP003349

  • PUBLISHED AUG 2015

    From: $45.00

    Regular Price: $60.00

    ISBN 9781442644519
  • PUBLISHED JUL 2015

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    Regular Price: $60.00

Quick Overview

Alan Wilson brings MacGregor and his surroundings to life, detailing his numerous achievements and establishing his importance to the social, religious, and intellectual history of the Maritimes.

Highland Shepherd: James MacGregor, Father of the Scottish Enlightenment in Nova Scotia

By Alan Wilson

© 2015

In 1786, the Reverend James MacGregor (1759–1830) was dispatched across the North Atlantic to establish a dissenting Presbyterian church in Pictou, Nova Scotia. The decision dismayed MacGregor, who had hoped for a post in the Scottish Highlands. Yet it led to a remarkable career in what was still the backwoods of colonial North America. Industrious and erudite, MacGregor established the progressive Pictou Academy, opposed slavery, and promoted scientific education, agriculture, and industry. Poet and translator, fluent in nine languages, he encouraged the preservation of the Gaelic language and promoted Scottish culture in Nova Scotia.

Highland Shepherd finally bestows on MacGregor the recognition that he so richly deserves. Alan Wilson brings MacGregor and his surroundings to life, detailing his numerous achievements and establishing his importance to the social, religious, and intellectual history of the Maritimes.

Continue Reading Read Less

Product Details

  • World Rights
  • Page Count: 280 pages
  • Illustrations: 6
  • Dimensions: 6.3in x 0.9in x 9.3in
  • Reviews

    ‘Dr. Wilson is to be congratulated on a readable, informative, and fascinating treatment of a great and neglected Canadian original, giving James MacGregor his rightful place in the galaxy of Canadian pioneers.’


    Donald MacLeod
    Haddington House Journal vol 19:2017

    ‘Wilson has done a fine job of demonstrating MacGregor’s importance as a pioneer and organizer of Presbyterianism in Nova Scotia… The book excels at sketching the hard life of a frontier preacher.’


    Andrew R. Holmes
    Canadian Historical Review vol 98:03:2017

    In Wilson’s hands, MacGregor, long heroized as Pictou’s Presbyterian patriarch, proves to be a compelling and charismatic figure, bold and brilliant, who involved himself in all facets of community life and mellowed under the influences of family and frontier. The fact that Wilson is able to navigate the dense forest of Maritime Canada’s early Presbyterian history without losing his readers in the underbrush of detail is a testament to his skill as a writer and storyteller.
    Laurie Stanley-Blackwell, Department of History, Saint Francis Xavier University

    Highland Shepherd is a fine portrait of the struggles and triumphs of an important minister in colonial Nova Scotia. It is an evocative and sensitive re-creation of MacGregor’s character and circumstance and an important contribution to the literature on the influence of Scottish thought, institutions, and culture within early Canadian society.
    David Marshall, Department of History, University of Calgary
  • Author Information

    Alan Wilson is Professor Emeritus of History and Canadian Studies at Trent University.

  • Table of contents

    Preface and Acknowledgements

    Historiographical Introduction – by Barry Cahill

    Presbyterian Organization Relating to Macgregor’s Life

    Part 1: Getting There

    Chapter 1: Awaiting the Verdict

    Chapter 2: Honour Thy Father

    Chapter 3: New Beginnings for Father and Son

    Chapter 4: Glasgow and Alloa

    Chapter 5: In Passage

    Part 2: Adjusting

    Chapter 6: Orienting

    Chapter 7: Settling In and Broadening Out

    Chapter 8: Letter to a Minister

    Part 3: Missions

    Chapter 9: On the Road

    Chapter 10: Years of Trial

    Part 4: Partnering

    Chapter 11: A Threefold Cord and a Wedding

    Chapter 12: East Side, West Side

    Chapter 13: New Places, New Faces

    Part 5: Community & Union

    Chapter 14: Pictou & Progress

    Chapter 15: Onward Christian Soldiers

    Chapter 16: Last Calls

    Chapter 17: Erring Shepherds

    Chapter 18: The Dissenter as Moderator

    Chapter 19: An Enduring Spirit

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