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JOHN MACCULLOCH (1773-1835)

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Originally appearing in Volume V17, Page 209 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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JOHN MACCULLOCH (1773-1835), Scottish geologist, descended from the Maccullochs of Nether Ardwell in Galloway, was born in Guernsey, on the 6th of October 1773, his mother being a native of that island. Having displayed remarkable M'CULLOCH powers as a boy, he was sent to study medicine in the university of Edinburgh, where he qualified as M.D. in 1793, and then entered the army as assistant surgeon. Attaching himself to the artillery, he became chemist to the board of ordnance (1803). He still continued, however, to practise for a time as a physician, and during the years 1807–1811 he resided at Blackheath. In 1811 he communicated his first papers to the Geological Society. They were devoted to an elucidation of the geological structure of Guernsey, of the Channel Islands, and of Heligoland. The evidence they afforded of his capacity, and the fact that he already had received a scientific appointment, probably led to his being selected in the same year to make some geological and mineralogical investigations in Scotland. He was asked to report upon stones adapted for use in powder-mills, upon the suitability of the chief Scottish mountains for a repetition of the pendulum experiments previously conducted by Maskelyne and Playfair at Schiehallion, and on the deviations of the plumb-line along the meridian of the Trigonometrical Survey. In the course of the explorations necessary for the purposes of these reports he made extensive observations on the geology and mineralogy of Scotland. He formed also a collection of the mineral productions and rocks of that country, which he presented to the Geological Society in 1814. In that year he was appointed geologist to the Trigonometrical Survey; and in 1816–1817 he was president of the Geological Society. Comparatively little had been done in the investigation of Scottish geology, and finding the field so full of promise, he devoted himself to its cultivation with great ardour. One of his most important labours was the examination of the whole range of islands along the west of Scotland, at that time not easily visited, and presenting many obstacles to a scientific explorer. The results of this survey appeared (1819) in the form of his Description of the Western Islands of Scotland, including the Isle of Man (2 vols. 8vo, with an atlas of plates in 4to), which forms one of the classical treatises on British geology. He was elected F.R.S. in 182o. He continued to write papers, chiefly on the rocks and minerals of Scotland, and had at last gathered so large an amount of information that the government was prevailed upon in the year 1826 to employ him in the preparation of a geological map of Scotland. From that date up to the time of his death he returned each summer to. Scotland and traversed every district of the kingdom, inserting the geological features upon Arrowsmith's map, the only one then available for his purpose. He completed the field-work in 1832, and in 1834 his map and memoir were ready for publication, but these were not issued until 1836, the year after he died. Among his other works the following may be mentioned: A Geological Classification of Rocks with Descriptive Synopses of the Species and Varieties, comprising the Elements of Practical Geology (1821); The Highlands and Western Isles of Scotland, in a series of letters to Sir Walter Scott (4 vols. 1824); A System of Geology, with a Theory of the Earth and an Examination of its Connexion with the Sacred Records (2 vols. 1831). During a visit to Cornwall he was killed by being dragged along in the wheel of his carriage, on the 21st of August 1835. In penning an obituary notice, C. Lyell in 1836 (Prot. Geol. Soc. ii. 357) acknowledged " with gratitude " that he had " received more instruction from Macculloch's labours in geology than from those of any living writer." M'CULLOCH, JOHN RAMSAY (1789-1864), British economist and statistician, was born on the 1st of March 1789 at Whithorn in Wigtownshire. His family belonged to the class of " states-men," or small landed proprietors. He was for some time employed at Edinburgh as a clerk in the office of a writer to the signet. But, the Scotsman newspaper having been established at the beginning of 1817, M'Culloch sent a contribution to the fourth number, the merit of which was at once recognized; he soon became connected with the management of the paper, and during 1818 and 1819 acted as editor. Most of his articles related to questions of political economy, and he delivered lectures in Edinburgh on that science. He now also began to write on subjects of the same class in the Edinburgh Review, married by Hugh Macdonald of Armadale. She was brought up under the care of the chief of her clan, Macdonald of Clanranald, and was partly educated in Edinburgh. In June 1746 she was living in Benbecula in the Hebrides when Prince Charles Edward (q.v.) took refuge there after the battle of Culloden. The prince's companion, Captain O'Neill, sought her help. The island was held for the government by the local militia, but the secret sympathies of the Macdonalds were with the Jacobite cause. After some hesitation Flora promised to help. At a later period she told the duke of Cumberland, son of George III. and commander-in-chief in Scotland, that she acted from charity and would have helped him also if he had been defeated and in distress, a statement which need not be accepted as quite literally true. The commander of the militia in the island, a Macdonald, who was probably admitted into the secret, gave her a pass to the main-land for herself, a manservant, an Irish spinning maid, Betty Burke, and a boat's crew of six min. The prince was disguised as Betty Burke. After a first repulse at Waternish, the party landed at Portree. The prince was hidden in a cave while Flora Macdonald found help for him in the neighbourhood, and was finally able to escape. He had left Benbecula on the 27th of June. The talk of the boatmen brought suspicion on Flora Macdonald, and she was arrested and brought to London. After a short imprisonment in the Tower, she was allowed to live outside of it, under the guard of a " messenger " or gaoler. When the Act of Indemnity was passed in 1747 she was left at liberty. Her courage and loyalty had gained her general sympathy, which was increased by her good manners and gentle character. Dr Johnson, who saw her in 1773, describes her as " a woman of soft features, gentle manners and elegant presence." In 1750 she married Allen Macdonald of Kingsburgh, and in 1773 they emigrated to America. In the War of Independence he served the British government and was taken prisoner. In 1779 his wife returned home in a merchant ship which was attacked by a privateer. She refused to leave the deck during the action, and was wounded in the arm. She died on the 5th of March 1790. There is a statue to her memory in Inverness. Flora Macdonald had a large family of sons, who mostly entered the army or navy, and two daughters. See A. C. Ewald, Life and Times of Prince Charles Edward (1886). The so-called Autobiography of Flora Macdonald, published by her grand-daughter F. F. Walde (187o) is of small value. his first contribution being an article on Ricardo's Principles of Political Economy in 1818. Within the next few years he gave both public lectures and private instruction in London on political economy. In 1823 he was chosen to fill the lecture-ship established by subscription in honour of the memory of Ricardo. A movement was set on foot in 1825 by Jeffrey and others to induce the government to found in the university of Edinburgh a chair of political economy, separate from that of moral philosophy, the intention being to obtain the appointment for M`Culloch. This project fell to the ground; but in 1828 he was made professor of political economy in London University. He then fixed his residence permanently in London, where he continued his literary work, being now one of the regular writers in the Edinburgh Review. In 1838 he was appointed comptroller of the stationery office; the duties of this position, which he held till his death, he discharged with conscientious fidelity, and introduced important reforms in the management of the department. Sir Robert Peel, in recognition of the services he had rendered to political science, conferred on him a literary pension of £200 per annum. He was elected a foreign associate of the Institute of France (Acadcmie des sciences morales et politiques). He died in London, after a short illness, on the 11th of November 1864, in the seventy-sixth year of his age. To his personal character and social qualities very favourable testimony was borne by those who knew him best. In general politics he always remained a Whig pure and simple; though he was in intimate relations with James Mill and his circle, he never shared the Radical opinions of that group. M'Culloch cannot be regarded as an original thinker on political economy. He did not contribute any new ideas to that science, or introduce any noteworthy correction of the views, either as to method or doctrine, generally accepted by the dominant school of his day. But the work he did must be pronounced, in relation to the wants of his time, a very valuable one. His name will probably be less permanently associated with anything he has written on economic science, strictly so called, than with his great statistical and other compilations. His Dictionary of Commerce and Commercial Navigation (1832) and his Statistical Account of the British Empire (1837) remain imposing monuments of his extensive and varied knowledge and his indefatigable industry. Another useful work of reference, also the fruit of wide erudition and much labour, is his Literature of Political Economy (1845). Though weak on the side of the foreign literature of the science, it is very valuable as a critical and biographical guide to British writers. McCULLOUGH, JOHN EDWARD (1837—1885), American actor, was born in Coleraine, Ireland, on the 2nd of November 1837. He went to America at the age of sixteen, and made his first appearance on the stage at the Arch Street Theatre, Philadelphia, in 1857. In support of Edwin Forrest and Edwin Booth he played second roles in Shakespearian and other tragedies, and Forrest left him by will all his prompt books. Virginius was his greatest success, although even in this part and as Othello he was coldly received in England (1881). In 1884 he broke down physically and mentally, and he died in an asylum at Philadelphia on the 8th of November 1885.
End of Article: JOHN MACCULLOCH (1773-1835)
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