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The Scottish Nation

LOWE, PETER, founder of the faculty of physicians and surgeons of Glasgow, was born in Scotland about the middle of the sixteenth century. In his ‘Discourse on the whole Art of Chirurgery,’ published at Glasgow in 1612, in the title-page of which he styles himself Arelian Doctor in the faculty of surgery at Paris, and chirurgeon ordinary to the king of France and Navarre, he informs us that he had practised twenty-two years in France and Flanders; that he had been two years surgeon-major to the Spanish regiment at Paris; and that he subsequently followed his royal master, Henry IV. of France, six years in his wars. At what precise period he returned from the Continent, and took up his residence at Glasgow, is now known; but he mentions that in 1598, in consequence of his complaints of ignorant persons intruding into the practice of surgery, James VI. granted him a privilege, under the privy seal, of examining all practitioners in surgery in the western parts of Scotland. He refers to a former work of his own, entitled ‘The Poor Man’s Guide,’ and speaks of an intended publication concerning the diseases of women. He died in 1612. His works are:

      The whole Course of Chirurgerie; wherein is briefly set down, the Causes, Signes, Prognostications, and Curations of all sorts of tumours, Wounds, Vicers, Fractures, Dislocations, and all other Diseases, usually practised by Chirurgeons, according to the opinion of all our ancient doctours in chirurgerie. Compiled by Peter Lowe, Scotchman. Whereunto is annexed, the Booke of the Presages of Denyne Hippocrates, devided into three partes; also the Protestation which Hippocrates caused his Scholars to make. The whole collected and translated by Peter Lowe, &c. London, 1596, 1597, 1612, 1634, 1654, 4to. This is considered to be a book of very great merit, and was translated into a variety of languages, and printed in Fr. 1612, Port. 1614; Gunz. 1634; Port. 1657.

      An Easy, Certain, and Perfect Methode to Cure and Prevent the Spanish Sickness, &c. Lond. 1596, 4to.

LOWE, JOHN, sometimes called also ALEXANDER, author of the well-known song, ‘Mary’s Dream,’ to which he owes all his fame, was born in Kenmure, in Galloway, in 1750. He was the eldest son of the gardener at Kenmure castle, and being intended by his father to follow the humble business of a weaver, at the age of fourteen he was put apprentice to Robert Heron, father of the unfortunate author of that name. Young Lowe afterwards found means to obtain a regular academical education at the university of Edinburgh, and while studying divinity was engaged as tutor in the family of Mr. M’Ghie of Airds. The fate of a young surgeon of the name of Alexander Miller, who was unfortunately lost at sea, and who had been attached to Mary, one of Mr. M’Ghie’s daughters, was the cause of Lowe’s writing his beautiful and affecting ballad of ‘Mary, weep no more for me.’ Having no prospect of obtaining a church in his native country, in 1773 Lowe embarked for America, being invited out as tutor to the family of a brother of General Washington. He afterwards opened an academy in Fredericksburgh, Virginia, but is not succeeding, was at length given up. At a subsequent period he was for some time minister of the Episcopal church of that place. Before quitting Airds, he had interchanged vows of unalterable constancy with a sister of Mary, which were doomed never to be kept. He fell in love with a beautiful Virginian lady, who rejected his suit, and united herself to another. Her sister, however, became passionately fond of him, and he married her, as he said himself, “from a sentiment of gratitude.” This step blasted his happiness for ever, as his wife turned out a most worthless character. Poor Lowe, to drown the recollection of his domestic griefs, unfortunately had recourse to the bottle; and intemperance, poverty, and disease, soon brought him to an untimely grave. He died in 1798, in the 48th year of his age. Besides his ‘Mary’s Dream.’ he wrote several pieces, among which is mentioned ‘A Morning Poem,’ but none of these has been printed.

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