Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
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LEITCH, William, Canadian educator, born in Rothesay, Scotland, in 1814; died in Kingston, Canada, 9 May, 1864. He was educated at the grammar school of Greenock, and at the University of Glasgow, where he received the degree of M. A. in 1836. After studying in the Divinity hall of Glasgow, in 1838 he was licensed as a preacher in the Church of Scotland. He was minister of the parish of Monimail from 1843 till 1859, when he resigned on his appointment as principal of Queen's university, Kingston, Canada. By virtue of his office he was a member of the synod of the Presbyterian church of Canada, and in 1862 was elected moderator. He was also a member of the senate of the University of Toronto, and was an examiner in that institution. He was in favor of maintaining a great Canadian university, with all properly organized colleges throughout the country rallying around it, on such terms as would best secure a collegiate education for the various sections of the country, and at the same time promote a generous rivalry among the various colleges constituting that university. His scheme is still advocated in Canada, but with little prospect of success. He was an enthusiastic student of science, lectured in Glasgow university on astronomy while studying there, and for several years acted as assistant to Professor Nichol, the astronomer. For some time he conducted a series of investigations on the subject of partheno-genesis and alternate generation, as illustrated by the phenomena of sexual development in hymenoptera, the result of his researches being published in the "Transactions of the British Association for the Advancement of Science" and in the "Annals of the Botanical Society of Canada." In addition to several publications on the subject of national education in Scotland and India, he wrote a work entitled "God's Glory in the Heavens" (New York, 1866).
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