James Hutchinson Stirling was born in Glasgow on 22 June 1820 and died from pneumonia near Portobello on 19 March 1909. He was the sixth and youngest child of William Stirling and Elizabeth Christie. Although his family was close-knit during his early years, with the death of his mother in 1828 things greatly changed. The Stirling home was, as his daughter would later write, ‘robbed of its comfort and happiness’ (A.H. Stirling, 1912, p. 18). Of the period immediately following his mother's death, there is little record. We do know that Stirling attended Young's Academy until 1833, and that after leaving Young's he entered (at the age of thirteen) the University of Glasgow. Stirling remained at Glasgow for five years, and while there he took great interest in mathematics and philosophy. His first love, however, was literature. And, as for so many of his generation, it was the work of Thomas Carlyle that most attracted him. Stirling entered into correspondence with Carlyle at the age of eighteen (a correspondence that would span some twenty-eight years). And it was Carlyle's advice that helped Stirling settle on a medical career.
From The Continuum Encyclopedia of British Philosophy in Oxford Reference.