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FOR OCTOBER, 1817.
MEMOIRS OF THE LATE WILLIAM SAUNDERS, M.D. .F.RS. AND F.S.A. FELLOW OF TAE ROYAL COLLEGE OF PHYSICIANS OF LONDON, PHYSICIAN EXTRA
ORDINARY TO THE PRINCE WEGENT, SENIOR PHYSICIAN TO GUY'S HOSPITAL,
&c. &c. (WITH A PORTRAIT, ENGRATED BY UENRY MEYER, FROM AN ORIGINAL DRAWING
BY R. W.SATCHU ELL.] * Honour a physician with the honour due unto him for the uses which ye may have of him; the Lord hath created lim; for of the Most High cometh healing.
Jesus, the son of Sirach. T
it, and hy the aid of whose labours would hope that our readers may of learning and ability, their succeshave participated is the same, to trace sors have reached those heights of rethe characters of personal worth and nowu on which they stard. professional excellence in the Memoirs Amid the numerous branches of sci. of many eminent persons who still live ence that most essentially conduce to to adorn and benctii society; and it is a the advancement of man's welfare, as record of the present age, in which it relates to bis personal condition, thit every cotemporary may justly exult, of medicine may be considered the most that in all ile evidences of knowledge important; - wisich in ail its various and skill, the domestic history of our dependencies blends the most abstract country cannot boost a brighter page subjeuls of philosophic research with than that which the nineteenth century the most difficult appropriations of opens to our contemplation :---od while practical skill. Perhapen, indeed, there we mark with delight the march of supe. is no application of the human inteiriority with which national talent oul. lect which requires more absirune siudy, strips the progress of foreign competi. in union with more general knowledge, tion, we ei joy the additional gratifica. than the medical profession. The antition of kuowing, ihat Great Britain is mal, vegetable, aid mineral worlds, in universally acknowledged as displaying all their most subile implications of a standard of genius, by which every construction and combination, cemaid other part of the civilized world is the minutest inquiry and the closest auxious to regulate its efforts of im attention of the student. The elenienis provement in all the various depart themselves must be thoroughly investiments of science through which lies galed, and understood by him in ail the path to individual tan.e and public their simple a::d component propera happines,
· ties ;-aud that wonderiul machine the But in the enjoyment of this pre human body, with all its complexities eminence, and is the conviction of what of internal and external structure, pay, we owe to those of our countrymen even the mind itself, with all its alcawbom we see pursuing with inuetati lions, must be familiar to his cognigable zeal and unwearied study every zance, and brought within the very tact object that can advance the literary of his hand. Thus the numerous pure and scientific reputation of the cra suits of natural bistory, chemnity, elecwhich they still dorn, we must rvi tricity, anatomy, and pathology, each pass by in sileuce those who rank among of which may well be extinvared as llie ibe wortbies of that which preceded study of a whole life, have all a clairc
upon his assiduity and in the well. judicious physician ; and the benefit educated and skilful pbysician, all these which accrues to the patient and bis faacquirements are expected to be com mily can never be measured by the mere bined ;--a union of knowledge, taletit, pecuniary offering of remuneration; and intelligence, which in na other for although the skill may be purchased, country more amply than in our own is there is no valuation of it which can seen to complete that learned, useful, be equivalent to the blessing secured : and responsible cbaracter ;
when the chief of a family, a father or « responsible," for in addition to the a mother, is restored to health, and to burden of acquirement is the weight their foreboding children ; or when a of responsibility that attaches to it; child, a son or a daughter, is rescued -aod in proportion to the efficiency from the premature grave, and re. with which this is fulfilled, the acquisi. establisbed in the vigour of youth, to tion of credit and reputation is always the joy of the desponding parents. found to be commensurate. Hence In these and similar instances the phy, it is that in the medical profession sician becomes the agent of Heaven's the greatest anxiety of mind must ac- healing mercies, and to the grateful company the practice- since the life participators in the blessing appears to of tbe palicut may, and the character be arrayed with a semblance of little of the practitioner must, depend fre. less than divive interposition. quently upon the result of his skill But it is not enough tbat professional and advice ; -- and this anxiety will be eminence should thus be individually apalways found to operate most strongly preciated - Its beneficial application ex. in him who best comprehends the case tends itself into a universal good, and for which his aid is required. Indeed, the cultivation of the medical art beit may be truly said, that no small comes a national concern with every portion of firmness of mind, as well people to whom the prolongation of as a rooted attachment to bis profes- life continues, as it does to the inha. sion, is indispensable to uphold the bitants of this happy land, the enjoy. medical man under all the conflicts of ment of every privilege and satisfac. circumstances and events to which he tion, both public and private, that can is exposed :-to these requisites also make existence desirable. In proportion may be added, without any pretext of also as the population of every couptry affected pbilanthropy, an earriest desire is the source of its strength, that proto proipote the confort and secure the fession by which it is preserved, under welfare of bis suffering fellow-crea- ibe providence of the Supreme Being, tures :-pør can any reflection more from incidental diminution and in proreadily compensate for the constant gressive increase, can no longer be estiexcitement of his niost painful sym. inated merely as a personal benefit, but as pathies, than the consciousness that he a public advantage. The learning and has left nothing out of the course of his talents of our medical men have long reading and professional application warranted such an inference ; and for which may better enable him to con, many ages, but in none more eminently fer the desired relief;,and should the than in the present, has the experience extremity of disease sender 'his skill of the inhabitants of these realms abun. unavailing, he draws a consolatory con. dantly justified it. There deyer was (clusion from the fatal prevalence itself, a period in which the practitioners that if a remedy were to be found with in every branch of the profession had in the limits of the cause and con a stronger claim upou our veneration sequence of the maļady, be could have and esteem, 'for there never was a pedevised it. When, therefore, all this riod in which medical practice has worn acquirement and responsibility and anxi- a more decided character of skilful ety are summed up in one general aggre- ability, and in which the acquirements gate of obligation, it must be allowed; of the man' have given a more elevated that there is no character which is more tone to the talents of the practitioner. entitled to the consideration of sociely in the practice of surgery, the ganses of on its owo account, than the medical a Cline, an 'Abernethy, a Blizzard, and a practitioner ; nor can there be any Cooper, may vie in well-earned repútaeffort of success in the promotion of tivu' and intrinsic qualifications with its object more deserving of the gra- those of the most famed sorgeons of any. titude of mali, as a member of society, previous age: -- and in the practice of thao that wbich is made by a skilful and physic, a Baillie, a Halford, a Babington,
2 Frampton, and a Farre, are Dames relieving him in the discharge of bis which will descend to posterity in the public duty, by exbibiting in the Theatre applauding voice of a grateful people, various experiments necessary to illusas loog as memory retains the power of trate the subjects upon which he lecreminiscence. One there is, over wbom tured. the grave has closed, but who no less : !t is obvious, that in selecting those eminently merits our eulogium than individuals, the professor could have those whose living excellence still claims no design of indulging a predilection our acknowledgment, and this One, for any one-for his choice must have is the subject of the present Memoir. been necessarily confined to those who A SAUNDERS can never be forgotten were able to follow hiin, and enter into #bile private and professional worth the spirit of his lectures, as well as to continue dear to the beart and judg. display the experiments accurately and ment of man ;-and it is with pride simultaneously with the precepts' deliand pleasure that we find ourselves pos- vered : hence, therefore, the discrimi. sessed of the present opportunity of nating judgment of the estimable Culpresenting our readers with a Portrait len, who adopted young Saunders among and Memoir of that estimable man and the vumber of his assistants, is entitled eminent physician, who by his science to as much praise as the acquirements and talent no less advanced the progress which merited his preference. than be increased the dignity of that In this capacity the eager pupil re. honourable profession to which he be- maioed the last years of his residence Jonged.
at Edinburgh, burning with desire to In our Obituary of the month of June,' prove himself worthy of the distinction we had the painful task of announcing conferred upon him, and assiduously the death of William Saunders, M.D. treasuring up to himself, and as it were F.R-S.* - That we may acquit our. making his own, all the information selves of a more pleasing duty, we now that fowed in private intercourse as lay before our readers a biographical well as at public lecture from the lips of sketch of his professional life, from the bis enlightened and beloved instructor. first opening of those talents, which The interval between his matricu. when matured produced a rich harvest tion and the prescribed period for taking of professional fame.
his degree in the university having been
thus employed, the hitherto successfol DR. WILLIAM SAUNDERS, who student presented himself, in 1766, for a was born on the 9th of July, 1743, diploma; on such an occasion, it is son of an eminent Physician in the North ordained that the candidates should write of Scotland, who was well qualified to a thesis upon some branch of their prodirect his inquiring turn of mind, and fession-- Mr. Saunders chose for his subwas so happy in conveying the first ele. ject the use of antimony—and the per. mentary principles of instruction, that formance displayed so much chemical the son at the age of twelve years became knowledge, that he was afterwards perfit for admission into the College at suaded to publish it with considerable Aberdeen ;-be accordingly went thi- additions. ther in 1753; and in the space of four Invested now with a degree, he was years passed through the usual course of privileged to enter upon the practice academical studies with so much credit, of physic; and in fixing upon a resithat it was deemed prudent to encou dence for that purpose, he was greatly rage his inclination for that of medicine. assisted by his frieod and preceptor Dr. In pursuance of this design, he was, in Cullen, who sanctioned his own idea 1760, removed to Edinburgh, which of settling in London : confirmed, has been justly considered as one of therefore, by mature advice, Dr. Saunthe first schools for physic in Europe: ders took the bold direction of the Capibere he was placed under Dr. Cullen, tal for the field on which he was to conwho then filled the chair,
tend for profissional fame-He accordThe bigh character of this celebrated ingly arrived in the English Metropolis physician and lecturer had assenubled in 1766, when be bad not yet completed under bim such a vast concourse of his twenty-third year. students, as to make it expedient for About this period, Sir George Baker him to fix op two or three of his pupils was engaged in an enquiry into the to reside in his family, for the purpose of nalure of the colic of Devonshire ;
and in opposition to the received opiVol. LXXI. page 561. Divp, that it proceeded from an intcm.
perate use of cyder, he supposed it to To teach the elements of a science, arise from an impregnation of lead in to awaken and to hold the attention that liquor. To conquer prejudice, and fixed in the chair of instruction, require to establish a fact of such medical im a mind cast in no ordinary mould: it portance, it was necessary to proceed by must be simple to please, brilliant to experiment, and the chemical know
attract, and sportive to enliven; it Jedge of Dr. Sauuders emipently qua must also possess within itself extenlified him for the procedure. In the sive resources of knowledge, to be able course of tbis successful iovestigation, to satisfy that thirst of inquiry and, Sir George formed so high an opinion research which the dexterous use of its of Dr. S 's professional acumen, that he own various endowments had previously did not besitate to propose him, and to excited in the audience. In this cha. procure his election as fellow of the racter Dr. Saunders stood unrivalled s College of Physicians, the bye-laws to while lecturing he never used a notethe contrary being, upon this occasion book; he proceeded with the utmost of extraordinary honour, specially su Huency to explain his subject in a col. perseded.
Joquial and cheerful manner ; and the A favour so solid on the one hand, diversity of points in which he always and merit so conspicuous on the other, presented it to view, never failed to did not fail to cement a lasting friend. 'impress the remembrance of his pustrip between Dr. S. and his patron, pils; nor did he permit the less alienfounded on mutual esteem ; and in the tive to dissipate their time in trilling Harveian oration annually delivered by levity-for wherever he observed a the fellows, Dr. Saunders particularly wandering gaze, he immediately turned noticed this act of disinterested patron to that quarter, and approaching with age—be distinctly says, “quin fortasse playful wit and the greatest good baingratus esse, etiam vobis judicibus, ture, he was heartily welcomed as a viderer, si eum silerem, cui in primis lively guest, and listened to with such illud acceptum referre debeo, quòd eagerness and respect, that they who vester sind, quòd he fores mihi palve but a moment before appeared insenrint, quod in tautâ, tamque ornatis sible to their happy opportunity of simâ Doctorum virorum frequentia acquiring informatiou, were seen hang. dicere mihi concessuin fuerit- apd jog in mute alleption upon their then he goes on to pay a just tribule teacher. Cpon occasions like these, to Sir George as a philosopher, a scho. when the necessity for repetition arose, Jar, and a physician.
he so abounded in variety of illustraDr. Saunders had shone so conspicuous tion as never to fatigue, and yet never in the above inquiry, that he becaine to disspiss a precept until he was satis, generally known io the faculty, alihongh fied that it had taken fast hold of all he had not been much more than a year and each of his pupils. His lectures in London; and he was consequently were thus not only delivered impres. clected in 1770, without opposition, sively, but were furnished with every Physician to Guy's Hospital. This ap new clncidation of the disease under pointment was of advantage to the pa- discussion ; and hence the hospital, tients tbus placed under bis care, and under bis auspices, suon acquired, wiat also to the profession- for Dr. Saunders it continues to relain, the character of considered it to be within the sphere the first medical school. of his duty to attempt, for the first It was here that Dr. Saunders first time in London, to reduce the teaching became acquainied with those abililies of medicine to a regular sysiem, in which have placed Dr. Babington upon which occasional practice could be at. so high an eluence; and as Dris. tached to theoretical instruction : he
was always eager to lead forth merit therefore applied to the Governors, into notice, he supporled him with wlio liberally sanctioned his proposals a warmth of generous patronage alike to build a iheatre and laboratory for honourable to each ; and when he dethe purpose within the walls of the hos. ter:nined to retire from Guy's Hospital, pital. The wisdom of their decision he felt that the chair which himself had soon hecame apparent in the number ai first raises, and had adorned for of young men who enrolled themselves thiriy years, could not be more worthily meinbers of the establishment with filled iban by his friend and coadjutot the sole view of learning their proses. Dr. Balinton, who was, it 1803, onasiun.
uimuusiy clected to it by the Goverisors.