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ACADEMICAL CELEBRITIES

DAVID ST.CLAIR. PROFESSOR OF MATHEMATICS, UNIVERSITY OF PARIS (flourished 1603-1622)

This professor was a man eminent in his time. There are extant some Latin tracts of his, one of them forming sixteen quarto pages of hexameters, celebrating the coming of James the Sixth to the English throne in 1603, and finishing appropriately with an astronomical diagram of the king's horoscope. There also survive thirteen Latin pages of his criticism of Euclid and Archimedes. His skill in drawing procures for him from one of his admirers the title of Eruditissimus Apelles, while Le Sieur de Philalethe, Disciple de Monsieur de sainct Clair, Conseiller et Professeur du Roy et sciences mathematiques attempts under his auspices the squaring of the circle. In 1607 David addresses Latin verses to the Queen of France, Margaret of Valois, on political grounds. Two lines of the poem by "A.M." in his own praise may complete notice of this distingue:

Ergo te (Sanclare) manent tua debita landis
Praemia; et ingenio debita palma tuo."
from The Sinclairs of England

His works are:

  1. De Inauguratione Jacobi [Paris, 1603, quarto;
  2. Pro Archimede et Euclide, 1622, folio
  3. Direction Cyclometrique, par le Sr. de Philathe, 1622, folio
[Allibone]

JOHN SINCLAIR, A.M. REGENT IN ST.LEONARD'S COLLEGE, ST.ANDREW'S

[Satan's Invisible World Discovered, Preface]

was presented to the church and parish of Ormiston in East Lothian in 1646, and admitted 1647; member of Assembly 1648; visitor to Edinburgh University 1649. An adherent of the Protestors, in 1654 the Protector named him for visiting universities, etc. His sister Catherine is cited 8th and 9th October 1679, for bounding and sending people to the rebellion. In December 1682, he was deposed by public order of the Bishop of Edinburgh, when he removed to Holland and started an academy to prepare compatriots sojourning there for the university. Elected to the congregation at Delft in 1683, his admission was delayed till 1684, the Scottish Government having raised process against him for treasonable practices, ending in his forfeiture September 1604. He died in 1687, aged about 69 years. His son John, minister of Kirkpatrick Irongray in 1690, died in 1623; much given to mathematical studies, but unfortunately disposed to melancholy; by Jean Maxwell, his wife, he had a daughter Sarah.

GEORGE SINCLARE, PROFESSOR AT GLASCOW UNIVERSITY 1654-1696

[Satan's Invisible World Discovered, Preface]

GEORGE SINCLAIR or SINCLARE, brother of the Rev. John Sinclar, Regent of St.Andrew's, elected Professor of Philosophy in the University of Glasgow 1654, and ejected in 1662 for refusing to comply with the episcopal form of church government, was restored in 1688, and retained his professorship (to which in 1691 that of mathematics was added) until his death in 1696. There is also a record of the Town Council of Edinburgh paying £10 sterling in 1672 as salary for one year to George Sinclair, one of the Regents, for acting in the capacity of Tutor of Mathematics. [Edinburgh University] In 1665 a George Sinclair was Regent of Philosophy at the University of Edinburgh. The Regents of Philosophy taught in rotation the four classes in the Curriculum of Arts; the "Bajans", the "semi-Bajans", the "Bachelors", and the "Magistrands" as the students of the first, second, third, and fourth years were respectively styled. Each Regent therefore taught every subject in the curriculum - the Regent of Humanity (Latin) being subordinate to the Regent of Philosophy, and being employed as a tutor in Classics to unmatriculated students. This system continued till 1708, when separate Professors were substituted for the Regents in the various chairs of the Facultv of Arts.

Chambers Domestic Annals inform us that the almost sole active cultivator of physics in Scotland during that age was the celebrated George Sinclair, Professor of Philosophy in the University of Glasgow. He took a considerable interest in the operation of diving bells in connection with wreck recovery, and in a work entitled "Hydrostatical Experiments" describes an invention of his own - a kind of diving-bell which he called an ark. Referring in another work, "Ars Nova et Magna Gravitatus et Levitatus", to the recovery of some ordnance from the sunken wreckage of the Florida, he says the salvors were surprised to find that the bullets employed for the guns were stone instead of metal. The work by which he is most remembered, however, is "Satan's Invisible World Discovered". This curious book in defence of the belief in witchcraft was endowed by the Lords of the Privy Council with a copyright of eleven years. Notices of Professor Sinclair will he found in Wodrow's "Life of David Dickson", Hutton's Dictionary, Chambers' and Thomsons Biography, Dictionary of Eminent Scots, 1855 edition, Number 263

[Allibone]

ANDREW ST.CLAIR, PROFESSOR OF MEDICINE, UNIVERSITY OF EDINBURGH (flourished 1720-1747)

[Edinburgh University]

ANDREW ST.CLAIR, born about 1693, graduated in Arts 6th July 1720, and Medicine 10th July 1720, in the University of Angers, in France. He occupied one of the chairs in the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Edinburgh, and when a rearrangement was made in 1726, by which the four professors then (9th February) appointed divided the teaching among themselves, the Chair of the Institutes of Medicine was allotted to him. In lecturing he took for his text book the "Institutiones Medicae of Boerhaave", and did not go beyond what was therein contained. His lectures were delivered in Latin, as indeed all those of the Medical Faculty then were, with the exception of those in Anatomy. Sinclair's Latin was considered remarkably elegant. On February 4, 1733, Dr. St.Clair was appointed by George III, "our first physician within that part of Great Britain called Scotland" at an annual salary of £100. He wrote on the "Histories of Fever", etc. Ed. Med. Ess., 1733.

His health failing, he withdrew from the professorial position, it is said in 1741, but from papers in the possession of Lord Sinclair it appears that he died before 28th Septemher 1742, when the widow of Dr. St.Clair is referred to.

Another of the gens, PATRICK SINCLAIR, occupied the Chair of Hebrew and Oriental Languages in the Faculty of Divinity at Edinburgh University in 1692. He is doubtless the "Patricius Sinclarus" whose Eucomium of "Satan's Invisible World" and its author appear included in that work.

NOTE - "Satan's Invisible World Discovered": This title has recently been travestied by Stead of the Review of Reviews in his book styled "Satan's Invisible World Displayed".

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