Page:A biographical dictionary of eminent Scotsmen, vol 6.djvu/350

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144 SIR JOHN PRINGLF.


Scarcely anything of his personal history appears to be known. He seems to have become a minister of the Scottish church, and is mentioned in the Book of Assignations, 1601-8, as " minister of On-net." 1 Sir Robert Sibbald (De Histor. Scot. MS. Ad. Lib. p. 2.) mentions a pedestrian expedition undertaken by him, in 1608, to explore the more barbarous parts of the country. " He was," says bishop Nicholson," by nature and education a complete mathematician, and the first projector of a Scotch Atlas. To that great purpose, he personally survey- ed all the several counties and isles of the kingdom ; took draughts of 'em upon the spot, and added such cursory observations on the monuments of antiquity, and other curiosities as were proper for the furnishing out of future descriptions. He was unhappily surprised by death, to the inestimable loss of his countrey, when he had well nigh finish'd his papers, most of which were fortunately retrieved by Sir John Scott, and disposed of in such a manner as has been already re- ported. There are some other remains of this learned and good man, on the ' History of Agricola's Vallum, or Graham's Dike,' as are well worth the pre- serving." 2 The originals of the maps so drawn up are preserved in good or- der in the Advocates' library. They are minutely and elegantly penned, and have the air of such laborious correctness, as the science of the period ena- bled the geographer to attain. Pont appears to have penetrated to those wild and remote portions of the island, the surfaces of which have scarcely yet been accurately delineated. Sir Robert Sibbald mentions (De Histor. Scot ut supra), that after Font's death, his maps were so carelessly kept by his heirs, that they were in great danger of destruction from moths and vermin. King- James ordered that they should be purchased and given to the world ; but amidst the cares of government they were again consigned for a season to oblivion. At length Sir John Scott of Scotstarvet, to whose enlightened patronage we o\ve much of what is preserved of the literature of his times, prevailed with Sir Robert Gordon of Straloch to revise and correct them for the press. The task was continued by Sir Robert's son, Mr James Gordon, parson of Rothemay, and with his amendments they appeared in Bleau's celebrated Atlas.

PRINGLE, (SiR) JOHN, a distinguished physician and cultivator of science, was born at Stitchel house, in Roxburghshire, April 10, 1707. He was the youngest son of Sir John Pringle of Stitchel, Bart, by Magdalen Elliot, sister of Sir Gilbert Elliot of Slobs. His education was commenced at home under a private tutor, and advanced at the university of St Andrews, where he had the advantage of living with his relation, Mr Francis Pringle, professor of Greek. Having determined on physic as a profession, he spent the winter of 1727-8 at the medical classes in Edinburgh, and afterwards proceeded to Leyden, where, in 1730, he received his diploma, which was signed by the distinguished names of Boerhaave, Albinus, and Gravesande, under whom he had studied. He then settled as a physician in Edinburgh, and in a few years had so much distin- guished himself as to be, in 1734, appointed assistant and successor to the pro- fessor of pneumatics and moral philosophy in the university. He continued in this situation till 1742, when, chiefly by the influence of Dr Stevenson, (an eminent whig physician, and the patron of Dr Blacklock,) he was appointed physician to the earl of Stair, then in command of the British army in Flanders. By the interest of this nobleman, he was, in the same year, constituted physi- cian to the military hospital in Flanders. An extensive field of observation was thus opened to Dr Pringle; and that he cultivated it with advantage, is' suf- ficiently shown by his " Treatise on the Diseases of the Army," subsequently published. At the battle of Dettingen, he was in a coach with the minister 1 M'Crie's Melville, 2nd edition, ii. 428. * Scottish Historical Library, 24