Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
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MACLEAN, John, educator, born in Glasgow, Scotland, 1 March, 1771 ; died in Princeton, New Jersey, 17 February, 1814. He studied chemistry and surgery at Edinburgh, London, and Paris, completed his medical course at Glasgow, and was admitted a member of the faculty of that city at the age of twenty-one. While in Paris he became an adherent of the new theories of chemistry that had been developed by Lavoisier. Embracing republican views, he determined to become an American citizen, and emigrated to the United States in April, 1795. He settled in Princeton, New Jersey, where he delivered a course of lectures on chemistry, and on 1 October, 1795, was appointed professor of chemistry and natural history in the college. In April, 1797, he was appointed professor of mathematics, and natural philosophy also. His chemical instructions embraced the practical applications of chemistry to agriculture and manufactures as well as theoretical science. In the second year of his instructions at Princeton he wrote two "Lectures on Combustion " in answer to a pamphlet by Dr. Joseph Priestley that upheld the phlogistic theory, and a controversy between Priestley and Maclean was carried on for some time in the columns of the New York "Medical Repository." In 1812 Dr Maclean accepted the chair of natural philosophy and chemistry at William and Mary college, but at the end of the college year was compelled by sickness to resign. His "Memoir" was written by his son John (printed privately, Princeton, 1885).--His son, John, educator, born in Princeton, New Jersey, 3 March, 1800" died there, 10 August, 1886, was graduated at Princeton in 1816, taught for a year, entered the Princeton theological seminary in 1818, and was tutor of Greek in the college while attending theological lectures for two years. In 1822 he was appointed professor of mathematics and natural philosophy. In 1829 he exchanged this chair for that of ancient languages. In 1847 he was relieved' of the charge of the Latin department. In 1854 he succeeded Dr James Carnahan as president of the college, which office he resigned in 1868. He was given the degree of D. D. by Washington college, Pennsylvania, in 1841, and that of LL. D. by the University of the state of New York in 1854. The legislature of New Jersey, in establishing the common-school system of the state, followed the suggestions of a lecture on " A School System for New Jersey," delivered by Dr. Maclean before the Literary and philosophical society of New Jersey in January, 1828, and afterward published and widely distributed in pamphlet-form (Princeton, 1829). In the discussion of the questions that divided the Presbyterian church into the old-and new-school branches he took an active part, publishing a series of letters in "The Presbyterian," afterward issued in pamphlet-form, in de fence of the action of the assembly of 1837. Notable among his many contributions to the "Princeton Review" were two articles in 1841 controverting the argument that, unfermented grape-juice was used by Jesus Christ in instituting the sacrament of the supper, as affirmed in two prize essays that were widely circulated by the temperance societies of England and the United States. After retiring from the presidency he prepared a "History of the College of New Jersey" (Philadelphia, 1877).
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