Michael Scott Scotland Jamaica

Biography of Michael Scott

Michael Scott became a student at the University of Glasgow in 1801, aged twelve. He attended the University until 1805, studying Latin, Greek and Logic.

Scott was one of four brothers to attend the University, and their father was Allan Scott, of an established Glasgow merchant family and a partner in the firm Bogle and Scott. One of premier Glasgow-West India merchant firms, they specialised in the import of slave-grown produce before branching out into the ownership of sugar estates and enslaved people to be managed by younger relatives.

On leaving the university, Scott went to Jamaica and there learned the business of the mercantile trade and estate management. In 1810 he started work for Robert Bogle's mercantile house in Kingston, and in 1818 in Glasgow he married Margaret, Robert Bogle's daughter. The couple returned to Jamaica for a few years where they likely lived as a privileged Scottish ‘plantocracy’. Scott and his wife had two daughters in Jamaica and both were baptised in the Scots Kirk in Kingston in 1819 and 1822. That was the year the family departed Jamaica and settled in Glasgow.

Scott's travel and his knowledge of Jamaica were the basis of Tom Cringle's Log, about a young man's adventures when he joins the navy. The book began as a series of stories published anonymously in Blackwood's magazine between 1829 and 1833 and was published in book form in 1834. The Cruise of the Midge also appeared serially in Blackwood's magazine in 1834 and 1835 and was published as a book in 1836. It was only after Scott's death that the public became aware of the author's identity.

Scott died in Glasgow on 7 November 1835, a successful businessman and author and the father of eight children. Scott may have written part of Tom Cringle's Log at Raymond Hall, in the Blue Mountains near Kingston. A huge cotton tree in Jamaica came to be known as Tom Cringle's Tree as Michael Scott was believed to have rested in its shade. The tree fell in 1971 and its demise was reported in The Jamaica Gleaner.


Other Online Resources

Archival Materials

  • Addison, W. Innes, The Matriculation Albums of the University of Glasgow, 1728-1858
  • R 9/1 Class Catalogue (Arts) 1794-1858


Michael Scott
Born 30 October 1789.
Died 7 November 1835.
GU Degree: Arts, 1801-1805;
University Link: Student
Occupation categories: merchants; writers
English snippet: Merchant and author of 'Tom Cringle's Log' and 'The Cruise Of The Midge'
Record last updated: 2nd Jul 2019

Country Associations

Scotland Scotland, Glasgow
Place of Birth

Scotland Scotland, Glasgow
Place of Death

Jamaica Jamaica, No Region

University Connections

University Roles

  • Student