Biography of William Richardson
William Richardson was Professor of Humanity at the University from 1773 to 1815. He was elected Clerk of Senate in 1778.
Born in Aberfoyle, Richardson studied at the University from 1757 until 1763, graduating MA. He became tutor to the sons of Charles Cathcart, 9th Earl Cathcart and sailed to Russia with the family in 1768 when Cathcart was appointed British Ambassador at St Petersburg. Cathcart became Rector of the University and, with the Chancellor, the 2nd Duke of Montrose, was instrumental in securing Richardson's appointment to the Chair of Humanity in 1773.
Richardson was a popular lecturer and many of his students boarded in his home. He worked with the Foulis brothers as an editor and was a member of the Literary Society of Glasgow.
In 1784, Richardson published Anecdotes of the Russian empire; in a series of letters, written, a few years ago, from St. Petersburg, which provides a thorough account of contemporary eighteenth-century Russian society, noting economic, intellectual, religious and political influences.