Playfair, Travels in the Footsteps of Bruce (London, 1877).
In 1805 he was elected to succeed John Playfair in the chair of mathematics at Edinburgh, not, however, without violent though unsuccessful opposition on the part of a narrow-minded clerical party who accused him of heresy in something he had said as to the "unsophisticated notions of mankind" about the relation of cause and effect.
In 1819, on the death of Playfair, he was promoted to the more congenial chair of natural philosophy, which he continued to hold until his death, and in 1823 he published, chiefly for the use of his class, the first volume of his never-completed Elements of Natural Philosophy.
JOHN PLAYFAIR (1748-1819), Scottish mathematician and physicist, was born at Benvie, Forfarshire, where his father was parish minister, on the 10th of March 1748.
In 1785 when Dugald Stewart succeeded Ferguson in the Edinburgh chair of moral philosophy, Playfair succeeded the former in that of mathematics.