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Unfortunately, having returned one day from a ramble among the hills, heated and fatigued, he threw himself on a couch and fell asleep, near to a window which he had not observed to be open. A severe chill was the result. Knowing his danger, he hurried back to London next morning. Inflammation of the lungs had already set in. He had the best advice and care, and the disease was overcome, but the fragile frame gave way under the treatment some months afterward. In the midst of occupations stirred by the great monetary reforms which were on the eve of accomplishment, and of scientific labours the ultimate results of which have scarcely had time to teach the scientific world, he passed away. His brilliant career was finished at the age of sixty-four. His body has been laid in a resting-place not far from his birthplace -- in the ground around the Cathedral.
No complete account of his life and works has been written. Indeed there are few competent to undertake such a work.
Shortly after his death a very interesting sketch by the late Dr. Bryce, of the High School, appeared in Macmillan’s Magazine.
Professor Hoffman, his former collaborateur in the Mint, read to the Chemical Society of Berlin a careful and interesting paper, to be found in translation.
There is another by Professor Odling, which was delivered as a lecture at the Royal Institution. There is a shorter notice by Professor Williamson, and another by Dr. Angus Smith, written for the Royal Society.
There is also a full list and description of ‘The Chemical and Physical Researches of Thomas Graham,” collected and printed for presentation only, the preface and analytical contents by Dr. R. Angus Smith. We have seen copies in the hands of those who received them from James Young and R. Angus Smith, by favour of the agents of his trustees, Messrs. Nicholson, Macwilliam & Co., writers, Glasgow.
Hoffman says in the sketch referred to, “As one who, during a quarter of a century, has lived with Graham on the greatest intimacy, who with him has roamed over the pleasant country of Italy, the Alps of Switzerland, as well as the mountains of Scotland, I may be permitted to render homage to this incomparable man. He gave proof in his private relations of the same noble simplicity, of the same modesty, of the same exactness in regard for others, of the same love of truth which characterised all his scientific works. Devoid of all vanity, he less than any one made his superiority felt. No one rejoiced more than he did in the success of others. Inflexible to himself, he was able to forgive the faults of others. Faithful to his duty, he would not retire before any difficulty. Taking part in every noble cause, he was ever generous in assistance, especially when the advancement of science was in question. As a master and friend his devotion and fidelity were beyond words.”
As showing Graham’s relations with his former pupils, we cannot do better than quote from the following letter from one who was born on the south side of the Square, Sir Lyon Playfair, M.P., and who also attended his class with Young and Livingstone.
“With Graham I kept up the closest relations all through my future life after being a pupil. On one occasion we were likely to become opponents when he was nominated Master of the Mint. He came to me before becoming a candidate and said he would not become one if I wished to obtain the post. I thought he had better claims than myself and I declined to stand in his way.