Lodge Canongate Kilwinning No 2

James Gregory 1753-1821


In 1776 he became Professor of Physick in Edinburgh University, and in 1790 he was appointed Professor of the Practice of Medicine. His Conspectus Medicinae Theoreticae (widely read in its day) was published in 1780. He disliked 'meddlesome medicine', believed in fresh air and exercise, and was an able lecturer. He was the inventor of 'Gregory's Powder', long prescribed as a laxative. Burns submitted his poem 'The Wounded Hare' to Dr Gregory for criticism, which he gave freely, complaining both of the stanza form and the 'coarseness' of the language. Burns seems to have been quite taken aback by his strictures. In one of Burns's letters to Dugald Stewart from Ellisland, 20th January 1789, the poet mentioned 'the justness (iron justice, for he has no bowels of compassion for a poor poetic sinner) of Dr Gregory's remarks'. In 'Willie's Aw', Burns listed 'worthy Gregory's Latin Face' as one of those to be seen habitually at Creech's levees.