Page:A biographical dictionary of eminent Scotsmen, vol 6.djvu/352

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146 SIR HENRY RAEBURN.


practice and from other sources, and lived in a style of dignified hospitality, suitable to his high character. He was in the habit of holding conversations on the Sunday evenings, which were attended by men of literature and science from all countries. After passing his seventieth year, feeling his health de- clining, he resigned the presidency of the Royal Society, in which he Mas succeeded (1778) by Mr (afterwards Sir) Joseph Banks, and formed the resolution of retiring to spend the remainder of his days in his native country. Having passed the summer of 1780 very pleasantly in Scotland, he purchased a house in Edinburgh, sold off that in which he had long re- sided in London, and in the spring of 1781 made a decided remove to the Scottish capital. It seems to have been the hope of the declining veteran, that he might more agreeably sink to rest amidst the friends and the scenes of his youth, than amongst strangers; and he also contemplated much plea- sure in the regular evening conversations, for which he intended to throw open his house. It is painful to relate, that he was disappointed in his views. The friends of his youth had almost all passed away ; the scenes were changed to such a degree, that they failed to suggest the associations he expected. The society of Edinburgh he found to be of too limited a nature, to keep up a sys- tem of weekly conversations with the necessary degree of novelty and spirit. He also suffered considerably from the keen winds, to which Edinburgh is so remarkably exposed. These evils were exaggerated by his increasing infirmi- ties, and perhaps by that restlessness of mind, which, in the midst of bodily complaints, is still hoping to derive some benefit from a change of place. He determined, therefore, to return to London, wheie he arrived in the beginning of September.

Sir John Pringle did not long survive this change of residence. On the evening of the 14th of January, 1782, while attending a stated meeting of scientific friends in the house of a Mr Watson, a grocer in the Strand, he was seized with a fit, from which he never recovered. He expired on the 18th, in the seventy-fifth year of his age, and was interred in St James's church. Sir John left the bulk of his fortune to his nephew, Sir James Pringle of Stitchel, who also inherited from him the British baronetcy, in addition to that of Nova Scotia, which the family had previously possessed. As a physician and a philo- sophical inquirer, his character was of the first order ; nor were his private virtues less eminent. He never grudged his professional assistance to those who could not afford to remunerate him ; and he was a sincere, though liberal and rational, professor of the truths of religion. His conduct, in every relation of life, was upright and honourable. He informed Mr Bosuell and few gentle- men of that period could make such a boast that he had never in his life been intoxicated with liquor. There is a monument to Sir John, by Nollekins, in Westminster Abbey.


RAEBURN, (Sra) HKNHT, a celebrated portrait-painter, was the younger son of Mr William Raeburn, a respectable manufacturer at Stockbridge, near Edinburgh, where he was born, 4th March, 1756. While very young he had the misfortune to lose both his parents ; but this want was supplied to him, as much as it could be by his elder brother William, who succeeded to the busi- ness, and acted always to him the part of a father. It has been represented by some of Sir Henry's biographers (perhaps with a view of making the after