a surname derived from the superintendent of a grange, the name of a
farm anciently belonging to some religious house.
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
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,
Febris Anomalae Batavae, annorum 1746-7-8, accedunt Mantita Syphilica
de modo excitandi Phyalismum. Edin. 1753, 8vo.
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.
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.
case of Dysentery, cured by Lime Water. Ess. Phys. And Lit. ii. P.
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.