Thomas Dempster

(1579—1625) writer

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Thomas Dempster was born in Cleftbog, near Turriff, Aberdeenshire and died of a fever in Bologna on 6 September 1625. He was buried in Bologna in the church of San Domenico. Dempster was the son of Thomas and Jean Leslie. His father was laird of Muiresk, Auchterless and ‘Killesmont’ (not on modern maps). Thomas the father got into deep debt and disinherited young Thomas's elder brother James, who had stolen his mistress and sold all the family possessions. Young Thomas studied first under Andrew Ogston at Turriff, whom he disliked, and later under Thomas Cargill in Aberdeen, attending also some classes given by David Mackenzie there. Following the advice of his uncle John Dempster, a lawyer in Edinburgh, Thomas sought a career abroad. He first went to Pembroke Hall, Cambridge in 1589, thence to France, where in a bitter winter he was despoiled of his goods by French soldiers; lacking clothing, he and his pedagogue scarcely made Monstreuil. Encouraged by a Scots soldier, he made his way to Paris, his pedagogue dying en route. He took up study there, encouraged by James Leith, George Galloway and a kinsman, John Fraser. From Paris he went in 1593 to Louvain, studying under Lipsius, but was soon dispatched from the Scots College to Rome. After a trying journey through Germany and Italy, he reached the Roman College and received a pension to cover his costs. But the Rome air brought on sickness and, with Andrew Crichton, he journeyed by way of Switzerland to Tournai, to James Cheyne, the Aberdonian geographer. Thence, on a pension from the Archduke of Austria, he proceeded to Douai, and, after taking his MA, began teaching at Tournai.


From The Continuum Encyclopedia of British Philosophy in Oxford Reference.

Subjects: Philosophy.

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