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Updated 04/24/2013


Alexander Duff's
Hamish Moore

Alexander Duff is a traditional Scottish tune arranged here by Hamish Moore.  Alexander Duff, D.D. LLD. (April 15, 1806 Sidmouth February 12, 1878), shown above, was a Christian missionary of Scottish heritage who worked in India Alexander Duff was born in the heart of Scotland, at Auchnahyle, in the parish of Moulin, Perthshire. His parents were James Duff, gardener and farmer at Auchnahagh and Jean Rattray. After receiving his initial schooling at a local country school, he studied at the University of St. Andrews. He then accepted an offer made by the foreign mission committee of the Church of Scotland's general assembly to become their first missionary to India, and was ordained in August 1829.

After an adventurous voyage during which he was twice shipwrecked, Duff arrived in Calcutta on May 27, 1830. He at once identified himself with a policy which had far-reaching effects. Christian missions in India had been successful only in converting a few low-caste groups from a needy socio-economic background. The upper caste Hindu and Muslim communities had been practically untouched. Duff shrewdly assessed that these affluent communities could not be accessed by traditional evangelical methods. He recognized that holding out the prospect of upward mobility, by offering a western education, would bring the children of the affluent classes into his range of influence, which could then be extended to encompass religion. Duff devised the policy of an educational mission.

Duff opened a school in which all kinds of secular subjects were taught, from the rudiments upwards to a university standard, alongside the Bible. The English language was used as the medium of instruction on the grounds that it was the key to Western knowledge. Duff wrote a pamphlet on the question, entitled A New Era of the English Language and Literature in India. A government minute was adopted on March 7, 1835, to the effect that in higher education, the object of the British government in India should be the promotion of European science and literature among the natives of India, and that all funds appropriated for purposes of education would be best employed on English education alone.

In 1849, Duff returned to Britain. He was moderator of the Free Church assembly in 1851. He gave evidence before various Indian committees of parliament on matters of education.  In 1856, Duff returned to India, where the mutiny broke out the following year; his descriptive letters written during this period were collected in a volume entitled The Indian Mutiny - its Causes and Results (1858). During this stint in India, Duff gave much thought and time to the University of Calcutta, which owes its examination system and the prominence given to physical sciences to his influence.

Alexander Duff died on February 12, 1878.

Hamish Moore

After graduating as a veterinary surgeon in 1975, Hamish Moore worked as a vet until 1986 when he retired from The Ministry of Agriculture in order to play music and make bagpipes professionally. Through his recordings, teaching, and pipe-making he has done much to promote the bellows blown pipes of Scotland.

Due to the social, political and religious history of this country much of the rich, colorful diversity of piping culture has been tragically lost and Hamish has been at the fore-front of a renaissance promoting a pre-military style of piping. This has been achieved principally through his integrated approach to teaching, where the music is taught through the medium of Gaelic song and as part of the old step dance rhythms.

The melody is a traditional Irish reel that goes by a number of names, "Duffy the Dancer," "The Gauger," and "Sandy Duff."  Robin Morton (1976) says the tune was originally the Scots "Sandy Duff," transplanted to Ireland where it gained currency. It is in O'Neill as "Duffy the Dancer."