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Maclaurin, John (1734-1796) (DNB00)


MACLAURIN, JOHN, Lord Dreghorn (1734–1796), Scottish judge, eldest son of Colin Maclaurin [q. v.], was born 15 Dec. 1734. He was educated at the high school and university of Edinburgh, and was admitted advocate 3 Aug. 1756. After some years of good practice he was appointed, a senator of the College of Justice, 17 Jan. 1788, took the title of Lord Dreghorn, and held the post till he died at Edinburgh, 24 Dec. 1796. Besides being a learned and able lawyer he was a man of considerable literary attainments, with a turn for satirical verse, and was author of 'The Philosopher's Opera,' 1757, a satire on David Hume and John Home, author of 'Douglas;' an ' Apology for the Writers against "Douglas,"' 1757; 'Observations on some Points of Law, with a System of the Judicial Law of Moses,' 1759; 'Considerations on Patronage,' 1766; 'Considerations on the Nature and Origin of Literary Property,' 1767; 'Essays in Verse,' pts. i. and ii. 1769, and 'Essays in Verse,' pt. iii. 1772. All these productions appeared anonymously, and for private circulation only at Edinburgh; some were privately printed with his own hand. The 'Keckiad,' London, 1760, a mock-heroic poem satirising an Edinburgh tailor named Jollie, and reprinted in 1824 by David Webster, is also ascribed to him. He published 'Arguments and Decisions in the High Court' in 1774. Most of his literary works were republished in 2 vols, in 1798, by his son Colin, an advocate, and the author, jointly with his brother George, a writer to the signet, of 'Poetical and Dramatic Works,' Edinburgh, 1812.

[Brunton and Haig's Senators of the Royal College of Justice; Books of Sederunt; Scots Mag. lviii. 865; Cat. Advocates' Libr.; Notes and Queries, 3rd ser. z. 392, 443, 603, xi. 261, 425; Halkett and Laing's Dict. of Anon. Lit]

J. A. H.