Page:Dictionary of National Biography volume 07.djvu/431

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tion in Well Walk, Hampstead. His ministry was successful, and a new church was built. In 1863 a manse was added. Burns was a man of catholic spirit; he admitted, as a member of his church, one who frankly said he ‘was not a strict presbyterian,’ and who professed simply to be a Christian. His preaching was practical and emotional, rather than dogmatic; its effect was much assisted by a voice which is said to have resembled that of Maurice. His personal influence was stronger than his pulpit work. In the man there was a vein of kindly humour, which never lighted up his preaching. He was one of the examining board of the English Presbyterian Theological College. In church courts he took little part; but going in 1863 to the English presbyterian synod at Manchester, and thence on a deputation to the Free church assembly in Edinburgh, he contracted a severe cold. In January 1864 he went to Mentone. In May he resorted to Switzerland, but returned to Mentone in October, and there died on Sunday, 27 Nov. 1864. He married, in the autumn of 1859, Margaret, daughter of Major-general John Macdonald, of the Bengal service, and widow of Lieutenant A. Procter, of the same. He published:

  1. ‘The Vision of Prophecy, and other Poems,’ Edin. 1854, 8vo (the ‘Vision’ is poor, and its prominence injured the book, but it came to a second edition, Edin. 1858, 8vo).
  2. ‘The Heavenly Jerusalem, or Glimpses within the Gates,’ 1856, 16mo (poems).
  3. ‘The Climax, or on Condemnation and no Separation, a sermon [Rom. viii. 17, 18], with an Illustration by another Hand,’ 1865, 8vo.

Besides these he contributed the article ‘Hymns’ to the eighth edition of the ‘Encyclopædia Britannica;’ and a series of papers on the cities of the Bible to the ‘Family Treasury,’ edited by Rev. A. Cameron. His ‘Remains’ (see below) consist of hymns and miscellaneous verse, thirty-nine translations from German hymns, versions of six psalms, selections from an unpublished poem called ‘The Evening Hymn,’ thirteen sermons, and two prose fragments.

[Reminiscences of the late J. D. Burns (1864), reprinted from the Weekly Review, 17 Dec. 1864; Hamilton's Memoir and Remains of J. D. Burns, 1869 (portrait); catalogues of British Museum and Advocates' Library, Edinburgh; Gent. Mag. 1865, p. 120.]

A. G.

BURNS, JOHN, M.D. (1774–1850), author of the ‘Principles of Midwifery,’ the eldest son of the Rev. John Burns, minister of the Barony parish, Glasgow, and the grandson of John Burns, author of ‘Burns's English Grammar,’ was born in Glasgow in 1774. His father was ordained 26 May 1774, and died 26 Feb. 1839, in the ninety-sixth year of his age and the sixty-fifth of his Glasgow ministry. He wrote the account of Barony parish for Sinclair's ‘Statistical Account of Scotland’ (Hew Scott's Fasti, iii. 40). The son's original intention was to become a manufacturer, but a disease of the knee-joint having unfitted him for learning the loom, as was then the usual custom, he began the study of medicine at Glasgow University. At the opening of the Royal Infirmary of Glasgow for the reception of patients in 1792 he was appointed surgeon's clerk. Instead of commencing as a general practitioner, he began a course of extramural lectures to students in anatomy. His lectures soon became extremely popular, but it was discovered that he had made use of subjects for dissection which had not been procured in a legitimate manner, and the magistrates agreed to quash proceedings against him only on condition that he discontinued his lectures on the subject. This he accordingly did, but they were taken up by his brother Allan [q. v.], while he himself commenced to lecture on midwifery. His earliest publication of importance was the ‘Anatomy of the Gravid Uterus,’ 1799. This was followed in 1800 by a ‘Dissertation on Inflammation,’ in two volumes, which raised him to a high position as a medical writer. At an early period he became surgeon to the Royal Infirmary, and subsequently he began a general practice, which in time grew to be large. In 1809 he published the ‘Principles of Midwifery,’ which greatly extended his reputation, and, besides reaching numerous editions, was translated into several foreign languages. In 1811 he published ‘Popular Directions for the Treatment of the Diseases of Women and Children.’ He was also a contributor to the ‘Edinburgh Encyclopædia.’ On the institution of the professorship of surgery in Glasgow University in 1815, he was nominated by the Duke of Montrose for the chair. In this position he was remarkably popular as a lecturer, but his ‘Principles of Surgery,’ published in 1830, did not meet with much success. He also published ‘Principles of Christian Philosophy’ (1828). He perished in the wreck of the Orion steamer (belonging to the Cunard Company, of which his brothers were founders and partners), near Portpatrick, on 18 June 1850. He was a fellow of the Royal Society, London, and a member of the Institute of France.

[Old Country Houses of the Glasgow Gentry, p. 219; Gent. Mag. 2nd ser. xxiv. 332–3; Anderson's Scottish Nation.]