Page:A biographical dictionary of eminent Scotsmen, vol 6.djvu/167

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COLIN MACLAURIN. 537


contrived means to convey a good telescope into the castle, and to supply the garrison with provisions.

Dr Thomas Herring, then archbishop of York, hearing that Mr Maclaurin had taken refuge in the north of England, invited him in the most friendly manner to reside with him during his stay in that part of the country. Mr Maclaurin gladly accepted the invitation, and soon after expresses himself thus in a letter to a friend : " Here," says he, " I live as happily as a man can do who is ignorant of the state of his family, and who sees the ruin of his country." His grace of York, of whose talents and goodness Mr Maclaurin ever retained the highest veneration, held a frequent correspondence with him ; and when it was suspected that the rebels might again enter Edinburgh on their retreat from Eng- land, he invited his former guest, for ease and security, to his hospitable mansion. While at York, it was remarked that Mr Maclaurin appeared more than usually meagre and sickly ; but he, at that time, feeling no apprehension of danger, did not consider it necessary to call in medical aid. Having fallen from his horse, however, on his journey southward, and, when the Pretender's army entered Eng- land, having, on his return home, been exposed to excessive cold and tempes- tuous weather, he complained upon his arrival of being seriously indisposed. His disease Avas soon discovered to be a dropsy in the abdomen, to remove which a variety of medicines were prescribed by the most eminent physicians of the day, and three tappings were resorted to, with little or no effect. While suffering under this painful malady, his behaviour was such as became a philo- sopher and Christian ; calm, cheerful, and resigned ; retaining his senses and judgment in their full vigour, till within a few hours of his death. Then, for the first time, while engaged in dictating to his amanuensis the last part of the last chapter of his Account of Sir Isaac Newton's Discoveries, in which he proves the goodness of God, his amanuensis perceived him to falter. Dr Monro came in shortly afterwards, and he conversed with him after his accustomed manner, and requested him to account for flashes of fire, as it were, darting from his eyes, though his sight was gradually decaying, so that he could scarcely distinguish one object from another. His hands and feet were already cold, and no pulse could be traced in any part of his body. In a short time he desired to be laid upon his bed, where he breathed his last, on the 14th June, 1746, aged forty-eight years and four months. His wife, two sons, and three daughters, survived him. John, the eldest son, studied the law, and after making a distinguished figure at the bar, was promoted to the bench, 17th January, 1789, under the designation of lord Dreghorn. He was an excellent scholar, and erected a monument to his father in the Grey Friars' churchyard, with an inscription which has often been quoted for its simple and expressive eloquence. Lord Dreghorn also published various pieces in prose and verse, which, in their day, enjoyed some reputation, and have been oftener than once printed.

Colin Maclaurin was not only distinguished by his great genius and learn- ing, hut by the qualities of his heart, his universal benevolence, and unaffected piety. Dr Monro, in an oration spoken at the first meeting of the university after his death, (from which much of the foregoing account is taken,) draws a sublime and affecting picture of his friend's great qualities, and professes that, after an intimacy with him for so many years, he had but half known his worth, which only disclosed itself in its full, lustre, when it came to suffer the severe test of that distressful situation in which every man must at last find himself, and which only minds prepared like his, armed with virtue, can bear with dignity.

If we look back upon the numerous writings of Mr Maclaurin, and the

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