Son of Lauchlin Maclaine. Brother of the gentleman highwayman James Maclaine (d. 1750).1 He was a fellow student of Adam Smith at Glasgow University, where he studied under Francis Hutcheson. He was admitted as co-pastor of the Presbyterian church in The Hague in 1747, a charge he kept until his resignation in 1796.
Maclaine was a renowned scholar in his own time, particularly famous for his 1764 annotated translation from Latin of John Lawrence Mosheim's An Ecclesiastical History Antient and Modern from the Birth of Christ to the Beginning of the Eighteenth Century. Because of this, he was even at one point preceptor to the Prince of Orange.2
The religious writer Hannah More (1745-1833) later referred to him as "that truly elegant, candid, and accomplished scholar and most amiable man, the late Rev. Dr. Archibald Maclaine".3
- 1James Maclaine became known as the gentleman highwayman when he wrote a letter of apology to Horace Walpole, after having robbed and, accidentally, fired his gun at him.
- 2See also Archibald Maclaine's entry in the Dictionary of National Biography.
- 3See The Works of Hannah More (1834), vol. 4, p. 337
Boswell dined at Maclaine's in The Hague on December 24, 1763. He recorded some of the ensuing conversations in his papers. Maclaine made a comment that Belle de Zuylen "is not a natural character". Also present was Arend van Reede, who sprung to Belle's defence.
On December 27, Boswell again visited Maclaine, this time talking about "religion and morals, particularly women". In the spring of 1764, Maclaine and Boswell saw each other occasionally, and on April 25, Boswell told Maclaine about his having been a Roman Catholic for a short while, one of his best-kept secrets. Boswell also told him about his "melancholy turn".
Maclaine's translations of Jean Jacob Vernet's Dialogues on some Important Subjects and Moseheim's An Ecclesiastical History Antient and Modern from the Birth of Christ to the Beginning of the Eighteenth Century are both occasionally available from used bookstores on AbeBooks.