Burnett Prizes, The

Burnett Prizes, The are two theological premiums, founded by Mr. Burnett, of Dens, Aberdeenshire. This gentleman (born 1729, died 1784) was a general merchant in Aberdeen, and for many years during his lifetime spent £300 annually on the poor. On his death he bequeathed the fortune he had made to found the above prizes, as well as for the establishment of funds to relieve poor persons and pauper lunatics, and to support a jail-chaplain in Aberdeen. He directed the prize-fund to be accumulated for 40 years at a time, and the prizes (not less than £1200 and £400) to be awarded to the authors of the two best treatises on the evidence that there is a Being all- powerful, wise, and good, by whom everything exists; and particularly to obviate difficulties regarding the wisdom and goodness of the Deity, and this independent of written revelation and of the revelation of the Lord Jesus, and from the whole to point out the inferences most necessary and useful to mankind. The competition is open to the whole world, and the prizes are adjudicated by three persons appointed by the trustees of the testator. together with the ministers of the Established Church of Aberdeen, and the principals and professors of King's and Marischal Colleges, Aberdeen. On the first competition, in 1815, 50 essays were given in; and the judges awarded the first prize, £1200, to Dr. William Lawrence Brown, principal of Marischal College and University of Aberdeen, for an essay entitled The Existence of a Supreme Creator; and the second prize, £400, to the Rev. John Bird Sumner, afterward archbishop of Canterbury, for an essay entitled Records of Creation. On the second competition, in 1855, 208 essays were given in; and the judges, Rev. Baden Powell, Mr. Henry Rogers, and Mr. Isaac Taylor, awarded the first prize, £1800, to the Rev. Robert Anchor Thompson, Lincolnshire, for an essay entitled Christian Theism; and the second prize, £600, to the Rev. Dr. John Tulloch, principal of St. Mary's College, St. Andrew's, for an essay on Theism. The above four essays have been published in accordance with Mr. Burnett's deed. — Chambers, Encyclopaedia; Thompson, Christian Theism (preface).

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