Page:A biographical dictionary of eminent Scotsmen, vol 6.djvu/351

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SIR JOHN PRINGLE.


145


lord Carteret, and, at one particular crisis of the action, was involved in con- siderable danger. On the resignation of the earl of Stair, he also proposed re- signing, but was prevented by his lordship, whom he accompanied, however, forty miles on his way to England, as a mark of his respect. Having gained equal favour with the duke of Cumberland, Dr Pringle was, in March, 1745, appointed physician-general to the forces in the Low Countries, and physician to the royal hospitals in the same countries. He now resigned his Edinburgh professorship, the duties of which had been performed by deputy in his absence. In the latter purt of the year 1745, he returned to Britain, in attendance upon the forces which were brought over to suppress the rebellion. In passing through London in October, he was chosen a Fellow of the Royal Society. Early in the ensuing year, he accompanied the duke of Cumberland to Scot- land, and remained with the army, after the battle of Culloden, till its return to England, in the middle of August. In 1747 and 1748, he again attended the army abroad.

After the peace of Aix-la-Chapelle, in the latter year, he settled as a physi- cian in London, under the patronage of the duke of Cumberland, who, in April, 1749, appointed him his physician in ordinary, In 1750, Dr Pringle published his first work, a pamphlet on the Jail and Hospital Fever, hastily prepared, to meet the exigency of the breaking out of that distemper in Lon- don. It was afterwards revised, and included in the work on the diseases of the army.

About this time, Dr Pringle commenced his scientific career, by reading a series of papers to the Royal Society, on septic and antiseptic substances, and their use in the theory of medicine; which procured for their author the honour of Sir Godfrey Copley's gold medal, and not only gave him reputation as an experimental philosopher, but helped to stimulate the spirit of physical inquiry, then rising into force in Britain. A great variety of other papers by Dr Pringle are found in the Transactions of the Society, during the four ensuing years. In 1752, he married Charlotte, the second daughter of Dr Oliver, an eminent physician in Bath ; who died a few years after, leaving him no children. In the same year, he published his great work on the diseases of the army, which instantly placed the author in the first rank of medical writers. In 1761, he was appointed physician to the household of the young queen Charlotte ; an honour which was followed, in rapid succession, by the appointments of physi- cian extraordinary, and physician in ordinary, to her majesty. He now be- came an intimate and confidential person in the family of the king, who, in 1766, raised him to the dignity of a baronet of Great Britain. In 1768, he was appointed physician in ordinary to the king's mother, the princess of Wales, with a salary of one hundred pounds a-year.

After having for many years acted as a member of the council in the Royal Society, he was, in November, 1772, elected president of that distinguished body ; by far the highest mark of honour he ever received. It has always, on the other hand, been acknowledged, that the zeal and assiduity displayed by Sir John in this situation, communicated an impulse to the exertions of the society, of which the most sensible proofs are to be found in its Transactions, published during the years of his presidency. The last medical honour conferred on Sir John Pringle was his appointment, in 1774, as physician extraordinary to the king.

It would be wearisome to repeat the list of honours showered upon him by foreign learned bodies ; we shall only allude to his succeeding Linnaeus, in 1778, as one of the eight foreign members of the French Academy.

Long ere this period, Sir John had acquired a considerable fortune by his