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Kay's Originals Vol. 1


BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES. No. CIII. DR. WILLIAM CULLEN. 253 THIS etching of one of the great fathers of modern medicine was executed iu 1784, and represents the Doctor at the venerable age of seventy-five. DR, WILLIAM CULLEN was born in the parish of Hamilton, county of Lanark, in the year 1710. He received the first part of his education under Mr. Brisbane, at the grammar-school of Hamilton ; and, having chosen medicine as a profession, he was apprenticed to a surgeon-apothecary in the city of Glasgow. It does not appear that he went through a regular course of education at the University, so that the chief means of improvement he possessed at this time were derived from observing his master’s practice, and perusing such medical works as fell in his way. It is not known at what age he went to Glasgow, nor how long he continued there ; but in very early life he engaged as a surgeon to a vessel that traded between London and the West Indies, and performed several voyages in that capacity. Disliking a seafaring life, he attempted to get into medical practice in his native country, and first settled in the parish of Shotts. He remained there only for a short time, and then removed to Hamilton, where he was chosen one of the magistrates of that burgh. The Duke of Hamilton happening to be taken suddenly ill, Dr. Cullen was called in ; and admission. A most minute search took place. The room in which Lord Pitsligo was concealed did not escape. Miss Gordon’s bed was carefully examined ; and she was obliged to suffer the scrutiny of one of the party, by feeling her chi, to ascertain that it was not a man in lady’s night-dress. Before the soldiers had finished their examination in this room, the confinement and anxiety increased Lord Pitsligo’s asthma SO much, and his breathing became so loud, that it cost Miss Gordon, lying in bed, much and violent coughing, which she counterfeited, in order to prevent the high breathings behind the wainscot being heard. It may easily be conceived what agony she would suffer, lest, by overdoing her part, she should increase suspicion, and in fact lead to a discovery. The ruse was fortunately successful. On the search through the house being given over, Lord Pitsligo was hastily taken from his confined situation, and again replaced in bed j and as soon as he was able to speak, his accustomed kindness of heart made him say to his servant, ‘ James, go and see that these poor fellows get some breakfast, and a drink of warm ale, for this is a cold morning ; they are only doing their duty, and cannot bear me any ill-will.’ When the family were felicitating each other on his escape, he pleasantly ohserved, ‘A poor prize had they obtained it-an old dying man I”’ By degrees the heat of civil raucow ceased, and Lord Pitsligo, like others in his situation, was permitted to steal back into the circle of his friends, unpersecuted and unnoticed. The venerable old nobleman was thus suffered to remain at his son’s residence of Auchiries unmolested during the last years of an existence protracted to the extreme verge of human lie. He died on the 21st December 1762, in the eighty-fifth year of his age. The character of Lord Pitsligo was of the most amiable description, and he embarked in the cause of the exiled Stuarts from national feeliigs alone. He was a Protestant, of the Episcopal Church, and sincerely attached to his religion. He was of a literary turn of mind ; and left behind him several manuscript essays, which were published shortly after his death. To one of these-entitled “Thoughts Concerning Man’s Condition and Duties in this Life, and his Hopes in the World to come :” Edinburgh, Whyte & Co.-an interesting memoir of his life ia pretixed,
Volume 8 Page 355
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