Page:A biographical dictionary of eminent Scotsmen, vol 6.djvu/303

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DAVID PANTHER. MUNGO PARK. 97


PANTHER, DAVID, (whose name is diversely spelled Panter and Paniter,) a learned diplomatic character of the sixteenth century, was descended from an ancient family near Montrose. He successively held the ecclesiastical offices of vicar of Carstairs, prior of St Mary's Isle, commendator of Cambuskenneth, and bishop of Ross, and in the latter part of the reign of James V., and for some years later, was principal secretary of state. In this latter character, he wrote many official letters to foreign courts, which have been highly praised for the extraordinary elegance of their Latinity. In 1722, Ruddiman published two well-known volumes, entitled " Epistolae Jacobi Quarti, Quinti, et Mariae Regi- lue Scotorum, eorumque Tutorum et Regni Gubernatorum, ad Imperatores, Reges, Pontifices, Civitates et Alios, ab Anno 1505 ad Annum 1 545 ;" of which the whole of the second is the composition of David Panther, while the first contains letters written in a similar official character, by Patrick Panther, his near relation.

Panther subsequently acted for seven years as ambassador of Scotland at the French court After a life distinguished by high services, but, it appears, by no great purity of morals, he died at Stirling, October 1, 1558.

PARK, MCNQO, a distinguished, but unfortunate traveller, was born at Fowl- sliiels, in Selkirkshire, September 10, 1771. His father, who rented the farm of Fowlshiels from the duke of Buccleuch, had thirteen children, of whom Mungo was the seventh. Notwithstanding his limited resources, he kept a pri- vate tutor in his house, for the education of his family ; and of the advantage of this arrangement, the subject of the present memoir largely partook. He was afterwards sent to the grammar school of Selkirk, where he made astonish- ing progress, not so much by his ready talents, as by his remarkable perse- verance and application ; and, despite of many disadvantages, uniformly kept the place of dux, or head of his class. This early devotion to study and apti- tude of acquirement, together with his thoughtful and reserved disposition, seemed to his father to point out the church as his future profession, but upon his son's expressing a decided preference for that of medicine, he at once agreed, and bound him apprentice for three years to Mr Thomas Anderson, surgeon in Selkirk. At the close of his indenture in 1789, being then eigh- teen years of age, he went to Edinburgh, and attended the classes for three successive sessions, continuing to exhibit the same thirst of knowledge, and un- wearied application to all the studies connected with his profession, particularly botany. In the latter, he is said to have been greatly assisted and encouraged by a brother-in-law, Mr James Dickson, who, from an origin even more humble and obscure than that of Park himself, subsequently raised himself to fame and fortune, and became celebrated as one of the first botanists in the kingdom. He had gone to London in search of employment as a journeyman gardener, and procured an engagement, in that humble capacity, with a nurseryman at Hammersmith, where he had the good fortune to attract the notice of Sir Jo- seph Banks, to whose kind friendship and patronage he was mainly indebted for his future success and celebrity.

After qualifying himself in his profession at Edinburgh, young Park went to London in search of employment, and was very speedily appointed assistant- surgeon on board the Worcester, East Indiaman, through the interest of Sir Joseph Banks, to whom Mr Dickson had introduced him. Mr Park showed