Continually roaming over the country in the exercise of his profession of survey or, he came much into contact with the Indians, upon whom he made many acute and trustworthy observations; but the natives began after a time to suspect that his surveying operations cloaked some designs upon their lands. He was accordingly seized in 1712, hard by the river Neuse, by the Tuscarora Indians, together with a Swiss, Baron de Graffenreid. The latter was suffered to ransom himself, but Lawson was put to death, probably in the gruesome manner described in a chapter of his book upon the cruelties of the Indians, resinous pine splinters being driven into the prisoner's flesh and then set alight. This is the generally received account, but William Byrd, in his 'History of the Dividing Line between Virginia and Carolina' (ed. 1866, 174, 214), says 'he was waylaid and had Throat cut from Ear to Ear.'
Lawson's impressions of travel were recorded in 'one of the most valuable of the early histories of the Carolinas.' It appeared in London in 1709, under the title 'A New Voyage to Carolina, containing the exact Description and Natural History of that Country, together with the present state thereof, and a journal of a Thousand Miles Travel'd through several Nations of Indians, giving a particular Account of their Customs, Manners, etc..' forming the second part of 'A New Collection of Voyages and Travels into several parts of the World, none of which ever before printed in England.' completed in 1711 by the publisher, John Stevens. Other issues of the same sheets, with slightly different title-pages, appeared in 1714 and 1718. A German version by M. Vischer, entitled 'Allerneuste Beschreibung der Provinz Carolina in West-Indien.' was printed at Hamburg in 1712; 2nd edit. 1722. The work was accompanied by an interesting map; it is by no means devoid of literary style, and is, according to Professor Tyler, 'an uncommonly strong and sprightly book' (Hist. of American Literature, u. 282).
[Field's Indian Bibliography, p. 228; Winsor's Hist. of America, v. 345; Appleton's Dict. of American Biog. iii. 642; Nichols's Literary Anecdotes, iv. 492; Lawson's Works in Brit. Mus. Library.]
LAWSON, JOHN (1712–1759), writer on oratory, was born in 1712 at Omagh, co. Tyrone, of which parish his father was curate. Entering Trinity College, Dublin, as a sizar, he became a scholar in 1729, fellow in 1735, senior fellow in 1743, and first librarian. He graduated B.A. in 1731, M.A. in 1734, and D.D. in 1745 (Dublin Graduates, 1869). In 1753 he was appointed lecturer in oratory and history on the foundation of Erasmus Smith. He died on 9 Jan. 1759.
Lawson's acquaintance with European languages was wide, and he excelled as a preacher. He acquired some reputation by his 'Lectures concerning Oratory.' 8vo, Dublin, 1758; other editions 1759, 1760, to which is appended 'Irene: carmen historicum, ad vice-comitem Boyle.' Of this poem a revised edition, with an English translation by William Dunkin, was published at Dublin in 1760. A selection from his sermons appeared in 1764 as 'Occasional Sermons written by a late eminent Divine;' other editions 1765, 1776. Appended is a Latin oration delivered by Lawson on 4 Oct. 1758 at the funeral of Richard Baldwin, provost of Trinity College.
[Notice of Lawson prefixed to his Occasional Sermons, ed. 1776; Webb's Compendium of Irish Biog.; Ryan's Worthies of Ireland; Notes and Queries, 3rd ser. vi. 311; Nichols's Lit. Anecd. ii. 311; Allibone's Dict.; Cotton's Fasti Eccl. Hibern. ii. 286 n.; Taylor's Univ. of Dublin, p. 412; Cat. of Library of Trinity Coll. Dublin.]
LAWSON, JOHN (1723–1779), mathematician, born in 1723, was eldest son of Thomas Lawson, vicar of Kirkby, Lincolnshire. After attending Boston grammar school he was, on 15 Dec. 1741, admitted sizar of Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge, and was elected chapel clerk on 14 Jan. 1741-2, foundation scholar on 16 Jan. 1745-6, fellow on 3 Dec. 1747, mathematical lecturer in 1749, and tutor in 1751 (College Register). He graduated B.A. in 1745, M.A. in 1749, and B.D. in 1756 (Graduati Cantabr.) In 1759 he was presented to the rectory of Swanscombe, Kent, by the college (Sparvel-Bayly, Hist. of Swanscombe, p. 29). He died unmarried at Chislehurst on 13 Nov. 1779 (Gent. Mag. 1. 50).
In 1774 Lawson printed anonymously at Canterbury a 'Dissertation on the Geometrical Analysis of the Antients, with a Collection of Theorems and Problems without Solutions.' A general desire was expressed that the solutions should be also published, and Lawson announced on a flyleaf attached to some copies of the work that he would be glad to correspond with mathematicians. Among his correspondents Ainsworth, Clarke, Merrit, and Power appear to have furnished him with original solutions. A portion, if not the whole, of the solutions in manuscript was in Ainsworth's possession in 1777; but it was never printed, and its fate appears to be unknown (Notes and Queries, 1st ser. vii. 526-7). A compilation based on the above work, entitled 'An Introduction to