This page contains sources of information relating to Patrick Matthew that don’t fit into the categories I’ve created elsewhere on this website.
- In 1797, “Patrick Matthew, farmer” and “John Matthew, farmer” are named as subscribers to “The Cause of Truth, containing, besides a great variety of other matter, a refutation of errors in the political works of Thomas Paine, and other publications of a similar kind, in a series of letters, of a religious, moral, and political nature”, by Robert Thomas, Minister of Abdie (1797). The subscribers, by paying an advance subscription, would have received the book at a reduced price. The two Matthews are listed under “Mr Thomas Martin, Edinburgh” (presumably the principal subscriber of this group), along with “Robert Matthew, baker, Perth”, “Thomas Matthew” and “James Maule, W. S. Edinburgh”. It’s not 100% certain this refers to our Patrick Matthew (he would have been only 7 at the time), but his father’s name was indeed John, and he was a farmer. It’s interesting to speculate that Matthew may have read this work by Robert Thomas as a young boy, and then been so angered by it that it motivated him to adopt contrary positions later on in life. For example, in stark contrast to Matthew’s later support of Chartism and Universal Suffrage, Letter XXI in Robert Thomas’ book is entitled “Universal Suffrage contrary to Common Sense”.
- In 1844, Patrick Matthew’s idea of creating a “Peace Corps”, from his book Emigration Fields, is briefly referred to in Fisher’s Colonial Magazine and Journal of Trade, Commerce and Banking, New Series Vol 1, p.14.
- Robert Hogg‘s “The Apple and its Varieties” (1859) mentions three varieties of apple from the orchard at Gourdiehill – the “Baudrons” (p.216), the “Flat Anderson” (p.233), and the “Green Virgin” (p.238). He also gives thanks “To Mr. A. Gorrie, of Annat, and Robert Mathew, Esq., of Gourdiehill, in the Carse of Gowrie, for much valuable information, and specimens of the fruits of that great orchard district of the North” on p.ix of the Preface. Hogg also mentions the “bud sport on an old tree of the Golden Pippen in an orchard at Gourdie Hill, in the Carse of Gowrie, Perthshire, the property of Robert Mathew, Esq., who pointed it out to me when I was on a visit to him in 1846” on p.206 of “The Fruit Manual” (1884). Patrick Matthew did have a son called Robert, and although Robert would not have been the owner of Gourdie Hill in 1846 (he would have been 26 at that time) he may well have been left in charge of the estate while Patrick visited his estates in Germany. Note that Hogg misspells “Mathew”.
- In 1886, a “Mr Matthew of Gourdiehill” is mentioned twice in the Proceedings of the Perthshire Society of Natural Science, Vol 1 (1886). The first notes that “he knew well the value of fruit” and that “in one year, from Gourdiehill orchards, which are about 30 acres in extent, £1400 was obtained”. The second notes that a special presentation pair of antlers were “presented to the Museum by Mr Matthew of Gourdiehill”.
- Page 128 of “The historical castles and mansions of Scotland: Perthshire and Forfarshire” by A. H.. Millar (1890) reports “The Genealogie of the Lords Oliphant as it was written in the Castell of Duplin”, a document in the possession of Patrick Matthew’s daughter Euphemia. The author notes the genealogy “was originally copied by James Duncan, Chamberlain to Hay of Balhousie, in the reigns of Charles II and James VII, who resided at Mill of Moor near Dupplin. He was younger son of Robert Duncan of Gourdie Hill, who married Christian Oliphant”. Item 5 of the genealogy states (with my translation from the Older Scottish Tongue in square brackets): “Schir [Sir] Walter Oliphant son to the said Sr William mareit [married] King Robert brucis dochtir [daughter]”. From information provided by Howard Minnick (here and here). For additional genealogical notes by Howard Minnick, see here.
- In 1892, Patrick Matthew’s part in introducing specimens of Sequoia gigantea (Giant Redwood) to the UK, from seeds sent him by his son John D. Matthew, is once again recounted in a volume of the Journal of the Royal Horticultural Society devoted to a “Report on the Conifer Conference”: Journal of the Royal Horticultural Society, Vol 14 (1892), pp.307-8. The original report from Patrick Matthew is in Matthew (1854), and articles attributing the introduction to him can also be found in “1866d” and “1872b“.
- In 1912, William Thomas Calman published a brief review of Patrick Matthew’s life and work to commemorate the return of the annual meeting of the British Association for the Advancement of Science to Dundee. In his 1996 book on Matthew, William Dempster notes that Calman, in a private letter to D’Arcy Thompson, referred to Matthew as “an old bore”. In April 2016, Mike Sutton made the original source of this reference available on his website. Both Calman and Thompson had connections to Dundee, and the letter shows that both were involved in organising the BAAS meeting (see also here). Calman actually refers to Matthew as “a bit of a bore”, but it still shows that Calman was not impressed with Matthew’s writings outside of his remarkable writings on the origin of species in his 1831 book. For my additional comments on Calman’s letter, see here.
- (2015.05.23) The location of Patrick Matthew’s grave has been pin-pointed to a specific headstone within Errol Churchyard. From information provided by Peter Symon.
- Mary Young’s 2004 PhD thesis “Rural society in Scotland from the Restoration to the Union: challenge and response in the Carse of Gowrie, circa 1660-1707” contains information on the Gourdiehill estate in the 17th and 18th centuries. Young’s primary source for this information appears to be “GD316: Records of the Matthew family of Gourdiehill, Perthshire”, stored in the National Records of Scotland. From information provided by Howard Minnick.
- William Dempster wrote three books with Matthew as either the central theme or as a very important component. Insights into the genesis of his second book, “Evolutionary concepts in the Nineteenth Century: Natural Selection and Patrick Matthew” (1996), are provided by private letters between Dempster and Ian Hardie, made available on Mike Sutton’s website in April 2016. Ian Hardie was, at the time of these “Wavertree letters”, the solicitor for the estate of John Matthew, one of Patrick Matthew’s descendants. Along with Min Hunter, he set up the Patrick Matthew Trust to promote Patrick Matthew’s memory. They decided that funding a second edition of Dempster’s 1983 book was the best way to do this. Interestingly, Letter #2 reveals that the Trustees tried to persuade Dempster to soften his confrontational tone against Darwin and “Darwin Lobbyists”, but Dempster refused. Letter #1 (28.08.94), #2 (22.09.94), #2b (30.12.94), #3 (26.08.95), #4 (7.10.95), #5 (8.11.95), #6 (15.01.97), #7 (17.2.97), #8 (26.08.97), #9 (17.05.98), #10 (undated, but the reference to “Simmonds will not be going to Dundee” suggests after Letter #7).
- Further insights into William Dempster’s thinking are also seen in his annotations on Darwin’s Historical Sketch (see also my comments here) and his essay on Punctuated Equilibrium (see also my comments here).
- (2016.07.08) A new family history, written by Howard Minnick’s Great Grandfather Charles Patrick Matthew, has been discovered (see here). This has revealed new details about the fate of Patrick Matthew’s son John D. Matthew. John was first in California, then briefly with his brothers James and Charles in New Zealand in 1854, before moving on to western Australia where he died in 1857.
- (2017.06.14) “Rentall of the County of Perth, by act of the estates of parliament of Scotland, 4th August, 1649; contrasted with the valuation of the same county, 1st January, 1835” (Gloag, 1835) contains a reference to Patrick Matthew’s land-holding at Gourdiehill. The book also provides a valuable reference for investigating names and places referred to in GD316. From information provided by Julian Derry.
- (2017.06.14) “Perthshire OS Name Books, 1859-1862” contains several references to place-names where Patrick Matthew is listed as one of the “Authorities for spelling”, including for Gourdiehill. From information provided by Julian Derry.
Page created: 26 January 2015
Last modified: 14 June 2017