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The Scottish Nation

GRANGER, or GRAINGER, a surname derived from the superintendent of a grange, the name of a farm anciently belonging to some religious house.

GRAINGER, JAMES, an eminent physician and poet, was born at Dunse, in Berwickshire, in 1724. He was the son of John Grainger, Esq., formerly of Houghton Hall, in the county of Cumberland, but who, from some unfortunate mining speculations, had been obliged to sell his estate, and accept of an appointment in the excise. In early life young Grainger was placed as an apprentice with Mr. George Lauder, surgeon in Edinburgh, where he attended the medical classes; and, on the completion of his studies, he entered the army as surgeon in Pulteney’s regiment of foot, with which he served during the rebellion of 1745. He afterwards went with his regiment to Germany, where he remained till the peace of Aix-la-Chapelle in 1748, when he returned home; and, quitting the army, took the degree of M.D., and settled as a physician in London. Not meeting at first with the success which he expected, he attempted to bring himself into notice by the publication in 1753 of an able Latin treatise on the diseases of the army, entitled, ‘Historia Febris Anomalae Batavae, annorum 1746-7-8,’ &c. Which having been anticipated by Sir John Pringle’s work on the same subject, did not attract much attention. In 1755 he contributed to Dodsley’s collection ‘An Ode on Solitude,’ which, though an imitation of Milton’s Allegro and Penseroso, at once procured for him a high reputation as a poet, and introduced him to the society and friendship of Shenstone, Glover, Dr. Percy, Dr. Johnson, Sir Joshua Reynolds, and other distinguished men of the time. Soon after Dr. Grainger became tutor to a young gentleman of fortune, who settled upon him an annuity for life. In 1758 he published a translation of the Elegies of Tibullus, and of the Poems of Sulpicia, with Notes. This work having been criticised with great severity by Dr. Smollett in the Critical Review, Dr. Grainger replied in a Vindicatory Letter, in which he assailed Smollett’s character and writings in a style of personal invective that provoked an equally hostile rejoinder.

      A short time after the publication of Tibullus, Dr. Grainger was induced to go out to the island of St. Christopher’s to practise as a physician; and having, during the voyage, formed the acquaintance of Mrs. And Miss Burt, the wife and daughter of the governor, he married the latter soon after his arrival on the island. He thus commenced practice there under the most advantageous circumstances. At the peace of 1763, he paid a visit to England, where, the year following, he published a didactic poem, in blank verse, entitled ‘The Sugar Cane.’ He also furnished Dr. Percy with the beautiful ballad of ‘Bryan and Pereene,’ which appeared in the first volume of the ‘Reliques of English Poetry.’ He returned to St. Christopher’s in 1765, and resumed his practice, but died at Basseterre of an epidemic fever, December 24, 1767.

      His works are:

      Historia Febris Anomalae Batavae, annorum 1746-7-8, accedunt Mantita Syphilica de modo excitandi Phyalismum. Edin. 1753, 8vo.

      A Poetical translation of the Elegies of Tibullus, and of the Poems of Sulpicia. With the original Text, and Notes, Critical and Explanatory. With his Life prefixed. London, 1758, 2 vols. 12mo.

      A Letter to Tobias Smollett, M.D., occasioned by his Criticism on Dr. Grainger’s late Translation of Tibullus. Lond. 1759, 8vo.

      The Sugar Cane; a Poem, in iv. Books; with Notes. Lond. 1764, 4to.

      An Essay on the more common West India Diseases; and the Remedies which that Country itself produces. To which are added, some Hints on the Management of Negroes. Lond. 1764, 8vo. Anon. Edin. 1802, 8vo.

      An obstinate case of Dysentery, cured by Lime Water. Ess. Phys. And Lit. ii. P. 257. 1756.

      Besides these works, he was the author of ‘Translations from Ovid’s Heroic Epistles,’ and a “Fragment of the Fate of Capua, a Tragedy,’ inserted in Dr. Anderson’s edition of his works.

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