Page images


Her Letters were contemporary with the Legacy of Dr. John Gregory, a physician of great skill and eminence, and admired perhaps yet more as a man of general taste and literature, and a Christian philosopher. He was born at Aberdeen in 1725, of a family long distinguished both in Scotland and England in the learned world. After being educated at the University of Aberdeen, he went to Edinburgh in 1742, to study medicine, and from thence, for farther improvement, he went to Leyden and Paris, On his return to his native city, he was appointed Professor of Philosophy in the King's College, and for some years gave Lectures on Mathematics, Natural and Experimental Philosophy, Ethics, and Moral Philosophy.

In 1754 he went to London, where he was chosen a Fellow of the Royal Society, and obtained the friendship of many distinguished persons, particularly Lord Lyttelton and Mrs. Montague. From this journey he was recalled to succeed his brother Dr. James Gregory, as Professor of Physic. In this situation he remained until the year 1766, when he was appointed his Majesty's First Physician in Scotland, and Professor of the Practice of Physic in the University of Edinburgh, and afterwards he exchanged with 1)r. Cullen, and became Professor of the Institutes of Medicine. During his life-time, he published “The Comparative View of the State and Faculties of Man with those of the Animal world ;” —“Observations on the Duties and Offices of a Physician, and on the method of prosecuting Enquiries in Philosophy;”—and, lastly, “Elements of the Practice of Physic, for the Use of Students.” The work now before the reader was prepared by him, when, from an inveterate gouty affection, he had reason to think his days would be shortened, and his death probably sudden, which was exactly verified. On the 10th of February 1773, he was found dead in his bed. In 1774, his son, the present Professor of Medicine at Edinburgh, published “The Father's Legacy to his Daughters,” which was written solely for their use, when death had deprived them of their mother. On such an occasion we cannot be surprized that he was inspired with the most tender

[ocr errors]

solicitude for their welfare. Parental love and anxiety are manifested here without disguise or restraint. It shews in a most conspicuous point of view, the goodness of his heart as a man, and his merit as a philosopher. Mr. Hayley says, that he united the noblest affections of the heart, to great elegance of mind; and is justly ranked among the most amiable of moral writers. Dr. Beattie, who was long his intimate friend, paid a tribute to his memory in the following beautiful lines of his Minstrel:

“Adieu, ye lays, that fancy's flowers adorn,
The soft amusement of the vacant mind!
He sleeps in dust, and all the Muses mourn;
He, whom each virtue fir’d, each grace refin'd,
Friend! teacher! pattern darling of mankind'
He sleeps in dust!—Ah, how should I pursue
MIy theme'—To heart-consuming grief resign'd,
Here ou his recent grave I fix my view;
And pour my bitter tears—Ye flow'ry lays, adieu!
Art thou, my Gregory, for ever fled!
And am I left to unavailing woe
When fortune's stoms assail this weary head,
Where cares long since have shed untimely snow,
Ah! now for comfort whither shall I go!
No more thy soothing voice my anguish cheers:
Thy placid eyes with smiles no longer glow,
My hopes to cherish, and allay my fears.-
'Tis meet that I should mourn—Flow forth afresh,
my tears.”

« PreviousContinue »