Notes and Records of The Royal Society

Published by Royal Society, The
Online ISSN: 1743-0178
Publications
Article
George Ent (FRS 1663), a distinguish physician, was in Rome in 1636, visited the notable collector Cassiano dal Pozzo and saw his Paper Museum. After he returned to London he carried on a correspondence with Cassiano in letters of more than ordinary interest. Cassiano had sent Ent specimens of fossil wood and a table made from fossil wood. They had come from the estates at Acquasparta belonging to Prince Federico Cesi, the founder of the Accademia dei Lincie. The specimens and the table were shown to early meetings of The Royal Society and had a significant part in the developing debate on the origin of fossils. The letters also record exchanges of books between London and Rome. Among medical matters there is news of William Harvey and his works.
 
Article
Nehemiah Grew’s The Anatomy of Plants (1682) was one of the most important botanical books published in the seventeenth century. In this compendium of his research, Grew combined an unprecedentedly detailed study of the structure of plants with an attempt to understand their functions. Working independently of, but in parallel with, his Italian contemporary, Marcello Malpighi, Grew justifiably saw himself as a pioneer in a new field, and between them these two scientists revolutionized biological knowledge. Grew ’s outstanding work has attracted various appraisals, the most detailed of them appearing in the pages of this journal, but no full scrutiny has ever been made of the role of the Royal Society in assisting these investigations. Not only did the Society arrange for the publication of Malpighi’s Anatome Plantarum in two parts in London in 1675 and 1679, in itself a tribute to the Society’s role in European science. In the case of Grew, its influence was even greater, for a decisive stimulus to the completion and publication of his work was provided by the Society’s offer of a research post to him in 1672, and by its continued support thereafter: Grew himself claimed that without the Society’s encouragement in the project, he ‘would scarcely have ventured upon it’. Indeed the 1672 episode has a wider significance, as one of the earliest cases of a scientific institution sponsoring a specific research project. The Royal Society had by then employed Robert Hooke for nearly a decade, during which he had published research of great importance: but the capacity in which he had been retained by the Society had been more that of a demonstrator, and other employees had been clerical or more menial in function. In France, of course, the state support provided when the Academie des Sciences was founded in 1666 assured a number of salaries for scientists: but the voluntary nature of the Royal Society imposed financial constraints which made such patronage far harder to organize.
 
Article
The Accademia del Cimento, founded by the Medici princes, Ferdinando II, Grand Duke of Tuscany, and his brother, Leopoldo, later Cardinal, had members and programmes of research very different from earlier academies in Italy. The Cimento foreshadowed later European academies and institutions specifically devoted to research and improvement of natural knowledge. It issued only one publication, the Saggi di naturali esperienze, and most of the observations and experimental results from its brief life remain unpublished. The Roman Accademia fisica-matematica, associated with Queen Christina of Sweden, continued to some extent its emphasis on experiment, while The Royal Society, with which it maintained links, placed even greater reliance on experiment and its validation through unvarnished publication. Comparisons between the Cimento and its contemporaries, The Royal Society and the French academy, illuminate the origin of scientific institutions in the early modern period.
 
Article
Among seventeenth-century scientific groups, the Royal Society was remarkable for its formal organization and its large size. In contrast to the earlier, more casual scientific conclaves that preceded it in England, the Royal Society was a legally incorporated institution, established by Royal Charter, served by elected officers and with a fixed membership, proposed and elected, which was advertised annually on printed lists. On the other hand, as contemporaries noted, in contrast to the equally ‘established’ Académie des Sciences founded in Paris in 1666, which was served by a small group of scientific research-workers funded by the government, the Royal Society was an almost entirely amateur body, ‘a great assembly of Gentlemen', drawn from various occupational backgrounds. The membership totalled 131 m 1663, rising to 228 by 1669, and the large size and finite nature of the list of Fellows elected to the Society in its early years have assured it attention from historians in a statistically-minded age. In recent years more than one writer has used it in an attempt to illustrate by quantitative means ‘the psychological and sociological origins of modern science’.
 
Article
Italy has often held a special place in the view of cultivated Englishmen, and this is especially the case for Italian sciences in the seventeenth century (1). At the first beginnings of the Royal Society in 1645 the young men who met for discussions in London held Italian science in high esteem. So much was this the case that among their topics of discussion, as John Wallis, by then Savilian Professor at Oxford, recalled in 1678, were the valves in the veins (whose description by Fabricius of Aquapendente had so impressed William Harvey), Galileo s telescopic discoveries and Torricelli s barometric experiment, all part of that ‘New Philosophy’ which he took to have been founded by Galileo and Bacon. This last was certainly the view to which most of the early Fellows of the Royal Society subscribed, paying constant tribute to Galileo’s role in the foundation of the new experimental science as well as in the advancement of the Copernican theory, as can be seen from the works of Robert Boyle and, later, Newton. The chronological point, self-evident but not always remembered, that living men are not constrained by dates, although historians may wish to be, is exemplified in the case of Newton’s respect for Galileo enunciated in 1687 in the first edition of the Principia , maintained through all the vicissitudes of revision in 1713 and 1723, and as long as the Principia was read, as it was throughout the seventy-five years after Newton’s death (1727), his 1687 tribute to Galileo remained fresh. Similarly, the works of post-Galilean Italian scientists by no means lost their influence because time had worn on into the eighteenth century and they had published in the seventeenth; even today a fifty-year-old book in a new edition may excite new readers, and this of course was even more true in the past when scientific advances approximated in their rate of development to those of, say, economics or psychology today.
 
Article
Medical historians have traditionally regarded Bethlehem Hospital as something of a nadir in the care of the mentally ill. Accordingly, therapeutics at the hospital have often been depicted as virtually non-existent; its administration as concerned rather with the distribution of alms than with cure. Its early practitioners (except for Edward Tyson) have commonly been portrayed (in the shadow of a stolid 'dynasty’ of Monros) as arch-conservatives, content merely to repeat the array of evacuative, ‘lowering’ and irritant treatments, used by their predecessors. In support of this tradition, however, very little research has been done on the hospital, let alone on the record of its individual practitioners, or on their place within the contemporary medical world as a whole.
 
Article
Between October 1670, when Martin Lister arrived in York, and September 1683, when he removed to London, he was at the centre of an informal group of virtuosi - naturalists, artists and antiquaries - who either lived in the provincial capital or visited regularly. ¹ Part of the medical establishment at York, and keenly interested in physiological phenomena, Lister was to become nationally renowned as a scientist and naturalist. ² The Philosophical Transactions carried 28 non- illustrated scientific communications from Lister between 1669 and 1673. Over the following 10 years his published papers and books were increasingly illustrated. A study of the association between Martin Lister and the amateur artists William Lodge and Francis Place provides the opportunity to consider: the relationship between the scientist and his illustrators; the visual conventions being developed in scientific publishing; and the value the scientific community placed on the visual representation of their observations, scientific collections and published communications. How far does a study of the association of Lister and his illustrators illumine general issues pertinent to the history of science? What value have later scholars placed on the work of Lister’s illustrators?
 
Article
Publication. No work on vital statistics by Hales appears under his name in the British Library’s Catalogue o f Printed Books. Professor D. V. Glass kindly sought out Stephen Hales’s publications in the library o f the Royal Society, and has consulted the Librarian there, and he informs me lift, that no book by Hales nor any paper in the Philosophical Transactions by him is on vital statistics. As presumptive evidence that the Collection of.some Observations was not generally known in the mid-eighteenth century, we have Short’s analysis o f vital statistics (9) from more than 160 parishes, since these include neither Farringdon nor Teddington. (Short’s ‘Country Parish, Hampshire’, the only parish unnamed, is without data after 1658.) In six demographical papers in the Philosophical Transactions o f the Royal Society, William Brackenridge, writing between 1754 and 1758, makes no mention o f Hales. Price (10), in 1769, draws attention to the difference between town and country in the mortality o f early childhood
 
Article
A portrait of William Harvey in the Royal Society since 1683 is a copy by an unknown artist after a portrait, now lost, painted by Sir Peter Lely ca. 1650. Three other unattributed copies besides a copy bought from Lely's studio on his death by the Earl of Bradford have been located. The present labelling of the Royal Society portrait should be corrected.
 
Article
Newton grew up with a vulnerable and eccentric character besides having a low self-esteem, and he was someone who only uncommonly developed any close relationships. On review it is argued that his distrust and suspicions of others, and the fear that he might be harmed by criticism and his discoveries stolen, followed from his mother's separation from him in childhood and not, as has been claimed, from the developmental disorder of Asperger's syndrome. It is further firmly argued that his 'madness' of 1692 and 1693 was due to mercury poisoning from his alchemical experiments and not to clinical depression.
 
Article
Recent papers in this journal by Johnson and W olbarsht (1) and by Spargo and Pounds (2) suggest that, in the period 1692—3, N ew ton suffered from mercurialism (poisoning by mercury). The suggestion is interesting and the thoroughness with which a variety o f sources have been consulted must be appreciated. Nevertheless there are strong reasons for the more prosaic view that N ew ton suffered from a fairly common depressive illness entirely unconnected with his chemical experiments. These reasons are developed in this article. The grounds for supposing that N ew ton suffered from mercurialism can be arranged under three heads (i) the symptons of N ew ton’s illness in relation to the symptoms of mercurialism (ii) N ew ton’s exposure to mercury in his chemical experiments and in making mirrors, and (iii) the results of neutronactivation analysis of four hairs, believed to be from N ew ton. Let us now consider these in turn. The symptoms of Newton’s illness The evidence that Newton was ill in the period 1692—3 is mainly derived from the correspondence of N ew ton (3) though some biographers, who wrote before the correspondence was published, followed Biot (4) in asserting that Newton suffered ‘a derangement of the intellect’ in 1693. The letters which are considered to imply mental illness are:
 
Article
On the 25 April 1763 a letter was sent from Chipping Norton in Oxfordshire to the Right Honourable George Parker, Earl of Macclesfield, then President of the Royal Society, extolling the use of willow bark in curing agues and other feverish complaints. The writer describes how about a pound of bark taken from a common white willow (Salix alba) was dried in a bag over a baker's oven for more than three months, pulverized and then used to alleviate the agues, ‘intermitting disorders’ and distempers of 50 afflicted people. The undoubted medicinal properties of bark from willow and other Salix species were not new. They were known to a number of preindustrial cultures and also, in a more systematic way, to the medical philosophers of classical Greece and Rome. However, by the eighteenth century in Western Europe, they were in disuse or had been relegated to the level of folk medicine. The letter, duly printed in Philosophical Transactions, is often credited with having brought the anti–inflammatory, antipyretic and analgesic properties of these barks, to the attention of the emerging chemists of the late eighteenth century. Attempts to identify the active principles, and then to synthesize them, led to the discovery of salicylic acid and its derivatives, and eventually to the introduction of acetyl salicylic acid––aspirin––possibly the most widely used of all synthetic drugs. This history is periodically reviewed both for general and specialist audiences; the seminal letter is referred to whenever there is a new monograph on these anti–inflammatory drugs, and is the subject of frequent queries to the Royal Society's library. It would seem, therefore, to be useful to remove a confusion surrounding the name of its author, who has been variously referred to as either Edward or Edmund Stone.
 
Article
Humphrey Jackson’s certificate of 30 March 1772, recommending him for membership of the Royal Society, singled him out as a chemist who had discovered a method of making isinglass from British materials and ‘likewise for his invention of preserving Naval Timber from speedy decay’ (1). And yet, shortly after Jackson’s death in 1801, the compilers of the abridged Philosophical Transactions dismissed him as a charlatan (2), and Thomson’s History of the Royal Society referred to his ‘infamous practices’ (3). This paper aims at unravelling the truth by examining his activities and writings. Humphrey Jackson, born in 1717, would seem to have been the son of Thomas Jackson of Stockton-on-Tees, from whom he inherited a considerable fortune in 1746 (4). The son was apprenticed to a Stockton apothecary and surgeon in 1735 (5). Moving to London he set up as a chemist, married Elizabeth Savory in July 1743, and acquired property in Upper East Smithfield two years later (6). Jackson wrote three books and a tract under the name of ‘H. Jackson, chemist’. A cataloguer erroneously thought the author was ‘Henry’, so that all Humphrey’s works have been attributed to Henry Jackson in the British Library’s General Catalogue of Printed Books . The confusion spread to other libraries in Britain and the United States, with the result that no assessment has been made of Humphrey Jackson’s output as a whole. Nevertheless, internal as well as external evidence shows the authorship to have been his alone.
 
Article
The deed of conveyance of 1722, by which Sir Hans Sloane gave the Society of Apothecaries control of their ‘Physick Garden at Chelsey’ in perpetuity, forged an important link between the Apothecaries and the Royal Society, one that has lasted to the present day. For the next 75 years the Apothecaries paid an annual tribute of dried plant specimens to the Royal Society as proof that they were continuing to use the garden for its proper purpose. These specimens, which have survived the centuries with remarkably little damage, now provide important evidence of what was being grown in the garden at the time and may also be nomenclaturally important as representing plants given botanical names by Philip Miller in 1768. A careful search in the herbarium collections of the Department of Botany in the Natural History Museum at South Kensington, where the Royal Society specimens are now held, has resulted in the location of all but a small number of the 3750 specimens that were sent. Tracing them has not been easy for a number of reasons, not least because they are now dispersed among the several million specimens in the Museum’s collections. The names of the plants used by the Apothecaries in the lists that were the starting point for the search were those current at the time, hence of pre-Linnaean character, and had first to be linked to present-day names before the work could begin. Some lists of names were found to be inaccurate and some were entirely misleading.
 
Article
Educated at Aberdeen and Edinburgh at the height of the 'golden age' of Scottish medicine, George Fordyce came to London, where he began to lecture on chemistry and medical subjects. As a physician at St Thomas's Hospital he became an authority on fevers, but his scientific interests remained wide. He studied the animal fluids involved in digestion, the effects of heat on the body, the applications of chemistry to agriculture and industry, and the gain in weight of metals on calcination, among other problems. His work was highly regarded in his lifetime, but an eccentric lifestyle and a lack of concern for the social graces tended to reduce his standing among medical colleagues. He made no significant discoveries and although his contributions to medical education were important, he has been largely neglected.
 
Article
In London in 1865, James Hunt’s Anthropological Society was getting into its stride. Among its early activities was the commissioning of translations of anthropological treatises from Latin, French and German originals; not unnaturally a beginning was made with the works of J. F. Blumenbach, regarded as a cornerstone in the development of modern anthropology (2). The translator and editor was Thomas Bendyshe, a Cambridge scholar (3) who decided to include in the volume a thesis which had earned, at Edinburgh in 1775, the same year that saw the publication of Blumenbach’s De generis humani varietate nativa , the degree of M.D. for one, John Hunter.
 
Article
The area of Newington, to the South of Edinburgh Medical School, belonged briefly in the eighteenth century to the Crichton family (1), distant descendents of the sixteenth-century soldier of fortune, James Crichton, known to history as ‘The Admirable Crichton’ (2). In the nineteenth century two members of this family (3, 4), Sir Alexander Crichton and his nephew Sir Archibald W illiam Crichton, served as physicians to the Tsars of Russia (5, 6). Sir Alexander’s grandfather, Patrick Crichton, was a saddler and ironmonger in the Canongate, Edinburgh (7), a man of some means who acquired Newington House from W illiam Tytler the Clerk to the Signet, in 1749 (8). Tw o years later he became the owner of the remainder of the Newington estate, and on his death in 1759 the property passed to the two surviving sons of his twenty-two children: William, a London alderman and High Sheriff of Middlesex, and Alexander, a coachmaker in Newington (7). Alexander had a thriving business, frequently sending carriages abroad to travelling Scotsmen, and a letter to him from the diplomatist Robert Liston survives, praising the carriage received in Madrid, adding that ‘it may put it in my power to send you more orders of the same kind’ (9). Indeed, Liston’s carriage had already attracted a further order before leaving Crichton’s Edinburgh workplace in Greenside, for as the coachmaker replied ‘The chariot sent you has been much admired here by our own countrymen and the English and I am happy to inform you that Dr Rogerson of Petersburg and a gentleman from Moscow were so much pleased with it that they have ordered carriages exactly the same’ (10).
 
Article
In the eighteenth and early nineteenth century assistant-surgeons in the Navy possessed an inferior status compared with their equivalents in the Army, despite protestations from the Physician of the Navy, Sir William Burnett FRS; lack of promotion was a major complaint. By abolishing the title physician in the Navy, Sir Richard Dobson, FRS, surgeon to Greenwich Hospital, did much to rectify this injustice. Instead of only two promotions in 26 years, 26 medical officers were, as a result of his exertions, advanced to the rank above that of Surgeon in two years.
 
Article
Once the preliminaries of peace had been signed in January 1783, after the war of American independence, exchanges between British and French men of science resumed their normal course. On a visit to Paris in 1783, the francophile Charles Blagden (with the encouragement of Joseph Banks) made a number of contacts that fostered relations between the Royal Society and the Académie royale des sciences. In the course of this and several subsequent visits to France, Blagden became especially intimate with the chemist Claude-Louis Berthollet. His correspondence, now in the Royal Society, is a rich source for our understanding of some of the leading scientific debates of the day, in particular concerning the nature of water, which forms the main subject of this article.
 
Article
WILLIAM PROUT was born in a farm which adjoined the small village of Horton in Gloucestershire, where his family had been established for several generations. He proved to be a shining example of that phenomenon of the early nineteenth century, namely, the bright boy of humble origin who was educated by his own exertions and became an outstanding figure in the newly emerging class of semi-professional scientists. Under the denomination of Natural Philosophy they assembled an encyclopaedic understanding of that triad of infant sciences, chemistry, physics and mechanics, upon which, as the result, the Industrial Revolution was largely built.
 
Article
Since the early beginnings of medicine there has been a need for convenient dosage forms. The fluids, whether solutions, suspensions or emulsions, were easily administered in measured doses. As for solid single-dose units, pills were developed at an early date, and different kinds are mentioned in the Ebers Papyrus (c. 1500 B. C.). The old Greek physicians and their successors referred to them as catapotium, and as such they are included in the treatise De Medicina by Aulus Cornelius Celsus (c. A. D. 30). Such were the available dosage forms until the nineteenth century, when within a span of thirty-three years from 1833 to 1866 were added hard and soft capsules, compressed and moulded tablets, and single-dose injections in ampoules. O f these innovations, the compressed tablet and its modifications were to revolutionize pharmaceutical dispensing practices more thoroughly than any other single introduction (1), and lead eventually to the current widespread use of factory-made pills and tablets. Yet its inventor had no demonstrable connexion with medical and pharmaceutical practices. He was William Brockedon, who invented and patented in 1843 ‘a mode of manufacturing pills and medicated lozenges by causing the materials, when in a state of powder, granulation, or dust, by pressure in dies, so as to solidify the same’ (2). William Brockedon was born in 1787, at Totnes, the son of a watchmaker in comfortable circumstances; the family had owned a mill and other property in the area since the reign of Henry IV (3). The small private school which he attended in Totnes was of no particular merit, but his father amply supplemented his education and instilled in the boy an early taste for scientific and mechanical matters. In later life he proudly remembered his part (‘cutting the fly-pinion out of the solid steel’) in the making of a new clock for the local parish church when he was only about thirteen.
 
Article
Bethnal Green Asylum was the most notorious of the scandalous early nineteenth-century private madhouses exposed in two parliamentary Select Committees of 1815/16 and 1827. From being vilified as the worst asylum in the country, this huge and important institution was transformed over 15 years into one of the best by two determined men, both Fellows of The Royal Society, John Warburton MD, the proprietor, and Charles James Beverly, the medical superintendent, former naval surgeon, naturalist and Arctic explorer. This paper describes their hitherto unrecorded biographies.
 
Article
Neil Arnott became a Fellow of the Royal Society on 25 January 1838. At a time when many members were non-scientists his nominees included both engineers, such as Wheatstone, and medical men like Sir James Clark, Physician in Ordinary to the Queen and later prominent in the scandal of the unfortunate Lady Flora Hastings. During this century Arnott’s achievements have been unjustifiably neglected. He was a notable medical practitioner, a public health reformer, a practical innovator, an educator and general man of affairs whose standing justifies our re-appraisal. The intention of this paper therefore is to reconstruct and analyse Arnott’s contribution to nineteenth century society. The account of his life in the Dictionary of National Biography is largely based on two lectures given by Professor Alexander Bain to the Philosophical Society of Aberdeen. Much of the domestic and personal background needs no repetition but the elapse of a century warrants a re-assessment of his career from the perspectives of our own time.
 
Article
Marshall Hall was born on 18 February 1790 at Basford near Nottingham, the sixth of eight children of Robert Hall, a cottonmanufacturer and bleacher. Like many other late eighteenth-century entrepreneurs— bankers, iron-masters, traders and merchant clothiers— Robert Hall was a dissenter. He belonged to the Methodists and had been personally acquainted with John Wesley (1). Unlike his older brothers, Marshall Hall never joined the Wesleyans, although he remained an avowed Christian throughout his life. Nevertheless, the more sober standards of conduct and morality which marked the life-style of evangelicals, or Bible people as they were called, would have been part of H all’s early background and they made an enduring impression on him. Throughout his life, Hall’s personality and character were marked by seriousness, conscientiousness (2), self-discipline and self-respect, a high sense of duty and, it could be added, something of an air of self-righteousness. As Methodists, Hall’s family was not associated with those evangelicals who remained within the Anglican Church and who regarded the Methodists as conspicuously ill-bred and unworldly. Many of these establishment evangelicals, including the Clapham Sect, were socially well placed and their homes provided a particularly stimulating atmosphere for their children (3). It is not surprising that some of these offspring went on to become leading figures in the public and intellectual life of Victorian England.
 
Article
THE standard accounts of Thomas Thomson (1) pay little attention to the pre-1811 period—what may be referred to as his Edinburgh period—and reiterate only the standard obituary material in the main. Although it is still not possible to give a full account of his Edinburgh period, enough new material has come to light that may provide the incentive for further study of these years. Thomas Thomson was born in Crieff, Perthshire, in 1773 and, after two years at the Parish School at Crieff, he spent a further two years at the Stirling Grammar School whose headmaster Dr David Doig, was a classical scholar, thought by Robert Burns to have been ‘a queerish figure and something of a pedant’ (2). Thomson’s classical education at Stirling led to his becoming a Foundation Bursar in 1788 at St Andrews University which entitled him to board and lodging for three years.
 
Article
JOHN MACCULLOCH is an important figure in the early history of geology. He was the first geologist employed in government service in Britain and his geological map of Scotland was the first geological map of any country to be based on an official survey and to be published by a government. The first paper published by the Geological Society of London was written by him and he was an early President of that Society. The present account is based on Ordnance records preserved in the Public Records Office at Kew and in a letter book in the Ordnance Survey Library at Southampton. These papers contain details of his early life in the Ordnance. They also reveal how he came to take on the task of surveying (single handed) the whole of Scotland for a geological map.
 
Article
Thomas Beddoes's and Humphry Davy's accounts of the nitrous oxide experiments carried out at the Pneumatic Institution in 1799 include extravagant descriptions of its mind-altering effects. Many people, both at the time and subsequently, have considered these descriptions to be the product not of the gas but of its subjects' overheated imaginations. To what extent were these effects 'all in the mind' of the experimenters? Modern understandings of nitrous oxide throw new light on this question; but it was also considered, and resolved in different ways, by Beddoes and Davy themselves.
 
Article
MIGRAINE (‘sick headache’) is a common malady, primarily comprising a characteristic visual disturbance (shimmering or scintillating zigzag ‘scotoma’) associated with headache and nausea. The condition is considered to be of very ancient origin, albeit the extreme vagueness of many of the claims for early accounts cited as indicative of migraine. By the 18th century, however, there appear descriptions connoting certain symptoms which undeniably can be construed as migraine, although it was not really until the 19th century that the disease received really serious scientific or medical analysis. The present century, particularly the past twenty-five years, has witnessed considerable research into migraine, and an impressive body of literature, which grows daily, exists on the subject (1). The primary purpose of the present paper is to draw attention to a historically important but overlooked original contribution to the study of migraine made over a century ago by Sir George B. Airy (1801-1892; F.R.S. 1836; P.R.S. 1871; R. S. Copley, and Royal, Medallist) as several of his observations have subsequently become well established clinical entities in the large array of symptoms now recognized as pathognomonic, or variants, of migraine.
 
Article
On 22 April 1802, The Times carried the following notice: On Sunday morning [18 April], while writing in his study, died, at the Priory near Derby, to which he had lately removed, DR. DARWIN, without the least previous indisposition [our italics]. This Gentleman justly held a high rank in the literary world, by his writings of the Botanic Garden, Zoonomia, Phytologia, &c. However, he had had previous health problems, and this cursory account of the death of Erasmus Darwin, F.R.S. (1731–1802) cannot be accepted at face value. The idea that Erasmus suffered a sudden cardiac death, probably with an ischaemic basis, has been accepted by subsequent biographers. However, evidence from recently available manuscripts is not consistent with this view.
 
Article
The origins of forensic chemistry are to be found in the practice of A forensic medicine in past centuries. When one considers the evolution of the ancient professions of law and medicine it is obvious that some interaction had to occur in the areas of murder, suicide, and public health. Since poisons could be involved, it is not surprising that early medico-legal records reveal that physicians had to be acquainted with the toxicological aspects of arsenic, mercury, lead and copper and plant poisons such as opium and hemlock (1). The pace of legal codification and medical discovery increased markedly in the sixteenth century. In the latter half of that century the medical men on the Continent began regarding forensic medicine as a speciality, as evidenced by the appearance of publications and the initiation of the first systematic instruction in the subject. The seventeenth century witnessed interest and understanding of the field. Germany was the dominant country in this expansion, followed by France and Italy, with Great Britain registering little impact. Some scattered and generally unsatisfactory beginnings to eliminate this last deficiency appeared in the late eighteenth century (2). The turn of the new century saw a significant advance in the establishment of the first chair of medical jurisprudence at the University of Edinburgh in 1807, occupied initially by Andrew Duncan (1744—1828). W ith the foundation of this professorship British forensic medicine fairly blossomed and entered the mainstream of the study alongside the Continental countries. By the end of the first quarter of the nineteenth century every medical student in Great Britain had access to a course in the forensic applications of his field either through a university professor or the extra-mural practitioners of this subject.
 
Article
Many leading nineteenth-century physicians recognized the need to reduce the empirical element in medicine and to base both diagnosis and treatment more firmly upon scientific principles. In an age when chemistry was a rapidly developing science it seemed that animal chemistry, dealing with the materials and functions of living organisms, might well offer the best solution to the problem. Thus the development of the subject for medical purposes became one of the main objectives of animal chemists, although from hindsight it is clear that neither the techniques nor the chemical knowledge available were at all adequate for solving the complex problems involved. Yet chemists like Fourcroy and Berzelius tried to understand the chemistry of life and their results seemed to support the widely held view that a knowledge of the composition of animal tissues, together with an understanding of the natural functions in health, would aid medical diagnosis and treatment by exposing the faults present in disease. In early nineteenth-century England there was a lively interest in this subject (I) and some physicians became very successful in applying chemical principles to medicine, but despite the evident value of animal chemistry the novelty of the subject caused medical schools to be reluctant to introduce it into their curricula. Medical students continued to receive instruction in the classics but the physical sciences were frequently neglected.
 
Article
If, as Hazlitt put it, prejudice is the child of ignorance, then it was perhaps Ainevitable that William Rutherford the man of science should have fallen victim to William Rutherford the man. During his own lifetime, as well as since his death, only a genuinely dispassionate appraisal of his contributions to physiology might have guaranteed the survival of his early reputation, despite the burden of Victorian censure that fell so heavily upon his later career. Where Rutherford doubted not his work but himself, many of his scientific peers, and indeed successors, found it convenient to ignore his physiology for reasons that tell us less about its intrinsic merit than about his critics’ perception of socially acceptable behaviour. Thus was it possible that ‘one of the most considerable of the younger school of physiologists’ could, a generation later, die ‘ misunderstood and misjudged by many... lamented only by the few’ (1).
 
Article
William Dallinger illustrates a social outsider concerned with the application of science to the physical, intellectual and spiritual health of his homeland, who forced his way into the scientific life of his nation. His path was encouraged by mentors such as William McKenny who steered him into the Methodist ministry, James Drysdale who helped him get established as a scientist and John Tyndall, Thomas Huxley and Charles Darwin who encouraged his scientific efforts and smoothed his way into his nation's highest scientific circles. The shadowy figures of John Wesley and John Ray played a role in affirming the validity of his scientific interests and concerns for science education.
 
Article
This is a study of how scientific knowledge reached common citizens in nineteenth-century Portugal, using newspapers as the main source. Despite the population's limited access to written material, each leading newspaper might be read by 30 000 people a day in Lisbon. This made newspapers the most widely available vehicle for the diffusion of the latest scientific information to the general public. With a cholera morbus epidemic affecting the second largest Portuguese town and all the northern regions, as well as the Algarve, reports on the course of the epidemic were considered essential. The author bases her study on a database of news about the disease in 1855 and 1856, especially with regard to prevention and treatment.
 
Article
ON 30 March 1908, there was a sale of drawings and pictures in London, at Christie’s, and many of them came from the home of Mrs Caleb Rose of Ipswich—she died in May 1907 at the age of 89. Mrs Rose, the widow of Dr Caleb Rose, had been previously the wife of James Norton Sherrington of The Hall, Caister, near Norwich, and she was the greatly beloved mother of Charles Scott Sherrington. Looking back over exactly half a century I can place the Christie sale as the turning point of my father’s life; it meant for him that the home he had loved so much was gone for ever and, from that time onwards, the outlook was concentrated on the future not on the past, except for those unutterably happy memories which remained vivid to him until the very end, for he spoke to me of them with some yearning the evening before his death.
 
Article
K. E. Rothschuh remarked in his History oj Physiology that when Frederick Gowland Hopkins (1861—1947) went to Cambridge to teach physiological chemistry in 1898, ‘there were no true biochemists [in England]’ (1). That statement poses questions both about the nature of a true biochemistry and about the scope of biography and its place in the history of biochemistry. While there has been for some time an awareness of the importance of Hopkins’s contribution to the emergence of biochemistry in this country (2) many of his contemporaries and predecessors, who would have claimed an interest in ‘biochemistry’ or ‘chemical physiology’ have eluded the historian’s attention. Among that large group one thinks of William Roberts (1830-1899) (3), Arthur Gamgee (1841—1909) (4), A. Sheridan Lea (1853—1915) (5), Cornelius O ’Sullivan (1842—1907) (6), Horace Brown (1848-1925) (7), Joseph Green (1848-1914) (8), and the subject of this biographical essay, William Dobinson Halliburton, F.R.S. (1860—1931) (9). Gowland Hopkins, himself, in a retrospective assessment, came to regard Halliburton as a pioneer in his own discipline: ‘He was the first in this country, by his works and his writing, to secure for biochemistry general recognition and respect’ (10).
 
Article
This essay follows Alfred Russel Wallace back from the field in 1862, tracing how his views on human evolution developed after his field experiences in the East Indies and how he articulated them within the social structure of British science during the 1860s. It analyses his involvement in the metropolitan scientific institutions dedicated to the study of man, the Ethnological Society of London and its breakaway counterpart, the Anthropological Society of London, which offered differing visions for a science of man and its intersection with political commitments. Using evidence from his participation in society meetings, the reception of his own anthropological papers, and the responses to the views he expressed in his field travel narrative, The Malay Archipelago, I show that although Wallace's involvement was initially enthusiastic, over time his views came into conflict with both groups. His involvement in established human science institutions declined, and Wallace turned towards other social locations for cultivating his knowledge of and engagement with questions involving the study of humanity.
 
Article
Sir Leonard Rogers made enormous research contributions to 'medicine in the tropics', especially in Bengal where the spectrum of disease was already well delineated. He also did much to enhance the formal discipline of tropical medicine. But perhaps his most lasting memorial lies in the Calcutta School of Tropical Medicine--that occupied a decade of politicking and stress--which survives to this day and is a timely reminder of a past era in India. It is not widely appreciated, however, that the original impetus for this institution came not from Rogers but from a young medical practitioner, Alfred McCabe-Dallas, attached to an Assam tea plantation.
 
Article
This essay explores evolutionary reasoning and notions of progress at the turn of the twentieth century by focusing on the various interpretations used to understand eoliths. These 'dawn' (Greek eos) 'stones' (Greek lithos) were contested objects and I focus on three geographic episodes in which they were used to support scientific, and sometimes socially inspired, accounts of human origins. Particular attention is paid to the work of Gabriel de Mortillet (1821-98), James Reid Moir (1879-1944) and Henry Fairfield Osborn (1857-1935).
 
Article
In the last half of the 19th century the English biologist-educator—rhetorician, Thomas Henry Huxley (1825—95), was a leading expositor and advocate of science, and of Darwinism in particular. At scientific meetings and conventions, in classroom lectures, public presentations, commemorative addresses, after-dinner speeches, books and essays, articles, book reviews and letters to newspapers, he clarified and defended the world of science, often duelling en route with orthodox theology and the older conservative scientists. Friend and foe attested to his rhetorical expertise. His fame and influence was by no means limited to Great Britain, for the European continent and the United States soon knew him well, and indeed the English-speaking world and other areas also came to know of his works.
 
Article
On Christmas Eve, 1873, the 79-year-old Johns Hopkins died, and the birth process of The Johns Hopkins University and The Johns Hopkins Hospital began. From a devout Quaker family, Mr. Hopkins had become one of Baltimore’s wealthiest citizens through his success first in the wholesale grocery business, and then in banking and finance, though he had little formal education. A bachelor, Johns Hopkins had created in 1867 a Board of 12 distinguished trustees whose task it would be at his death to establish a university and a hospital. In his will1 Hopkins donated $3,500,000 to each venture and also his 330-acre country estate (Clifton), an incredibly generous endowment for that time. Virtually no restrictions were to be attached. The Board now moved quickly, seeking advice from many quarters, including the presidents of Harvard, Cornell and Michigan, on educational policies and potential candidates for president. The Board was strongly recommended to secure Daniel Coit Gilpian (1831-1908) who, in 1873 at the age of 42, had begun serving as the president of the new University of California at Berkeley.
 
Article
In 1879 the novelist George Eliot (Marian Evans) established, in memory of her close companion, the writer and amateur scientist George Henry Lewes, a studentship for the support of physiology ‘the science least adequately studied in England’ (1). At this time there was much public and professional concern about the role of science and the inadequate level of its funding in Britain. There were several recurring, overlapping needs: for educational reforms, to encourage scientific teaching in schools and advanced training at the universities: for proper endowment, to provide salaries for scientists both to teach and to research, and adequate facilities for their studies; and for recruitment of more scientists and the use of scientific methods in industrial manufacture. Meetings and editorials, articles and letters, particularly, but not exclusively, reported in the pages of Nature, reflected a growing and increasingly vocal apprehension (2). Creating a studentship in physiology was a small but important step in the development of professional science in Britain. Although the Lewes Trust is extant and active, its unique importance was during its early years when it helped some of the country’s most eminent scientists at the beginning of their careers. Of the early holders, listed in table 1, fourteen were elected Fellows of the Royal Society (two becoming President) and three (Dale, A. V. Hill and Sherrington) were awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine (3).
 
Article
Clifford Dobell, whose birth was a century ago this year, became a leading protozoologist. His two books on the subject (1, 2) are detailed and thorough and are characterized by carefully executed diagrams and drawings of organisms, which he made himself with Indian ink and water colour and which stand as classical examples of microbiological artwork. In terms of diagnostic authority and taxonomic insight, his publications are exemplary milestones in the study of the protozoa that infect the intestinal tract of mankind. Yet the volume with which Dobell’s name is inextricably linked lies not in the realm of laboratory science but is one of the classical biographies in the history of biology. I refer to his work on Antony van Leeuwenhoek (3) in which details of this remarkable Dutchman were recounted at length. When Dobell’s own biographers looked back on his life-time of work (4-16) it was on this masterly volume that their eulogies often centred. The book is detailed and was drawn with loving care from a lengthy study of Leeuwenhoek’s writings, his life and his work.
 
Article
Through the great kindness of Professor Guiseppe Moruzzi I learned of the valuable collection of Sherrington’s letters that were in the possession of Professor Gastone Lambertini, who was a distinguished pupil of Professor Ruffini’s. Professor Lambertini has generously provided me with copies of sixteen letters of Sherrington’s from 1896-1903. These letters are of remarkable interest because they tell a wonderful story of the scientific associations between investigators in different countries. They provide a valuable documentation of the true spirit of science as it was practised around the turn of the century. I am indebted to Professor Lambertini for preparing specially for this publication a brief biographical sketch of Professor Angelo Ruffini which now follows.
 
Article
EDGAR SCHUSTER, a member of a distinguished family, was one of that select group of men who devote themselves, not to personal research, but to helping the research of others. His contribution to physiological and pharmacological science, and the help he gave to many Fellows of the Society, notably to G. L. Brown and H. H. Dale, was characteristic and indispensable. The detail of much of his achievement can no longer be recovered, but in what follows we attempt to sketch his career and his personality, and to illustrate the nature of his work by his publications (Appendix A) and by the list of an exhibition of equipment he had made, shown at a meeting of the Physiological Society shortly after his death (Appendix B).
 
Article
The method of improving the human genetic constitution divides into positive and negative eugenics. Positive eugenics is the policy of encouraging and promoting the procreation of those with socially desirable faculties and abilities. Negative eugenics on the other hand is designed to limit the procreation of those with a poor, disadvantageous genetic constitution which may be transmitted to their offspring. Policy proposals to achieve the aims of positive eugenics included family allowances, grants towards the education of children of able families, counselling, physical and psychological testing, medical examination to facilitate ssortative marriage of desirable parents and banking sperm of outstanding men for insemination of comparable women. These were all vigorously advocated. Fisher stated in a review of an article by Leonard Darwin that Galton's work in fact left no room for doubt that if the methods of the stockyard were applicable to mankind the human race could be improved in any desired direction, within a short historical period, to an extent exceeding existing differences between widely different races. Despite continued vigorous approbation the practical outcome of positive eugenics proposals seems very little in terms, for instance, of government enquiries, formal scientific trials or earnest attempts at practical application.
 
Article
Lionel Penrose was born in London. His father, James Doyle Penrose a portrait painter, and his mother, Elizabeth Josephine (née Peckover) Penrose, were both members of the Society of Friends (Quakers) as their ancestors had been for 200 years. As Dr Harry Harris F.R.S., a colleague and author of Penrose's memoir in Biographical Memoirs of the Royal Society , observes, Lionel and his three brothers ‘were brought up strictly according to the religious principles of the Society of friends ... in later life though he remained a member of the Society of Friends he was not particularly zealous about religious meetings. However, his Quaker upbringing no doubt played an important part in determining his extreme dislike of show and pretensiousness and his pacifist outlook. Also he never acquired a taste for fiction’.
 
Article
Ernest H. Starling FRS (1866-1927) is remembered as a great physiologist; nevertheless a paper of his that is of substantial historical interest has dropped out of sight. It is a quantitative analysis of the effects of the Allied food blockade during World War I on the energy available to the German population and of the failure by the German government to distribute the available energy fairly. He shows that by 1919 a substantial proportion of the urban Germans were starving. His data are summarized in this article. Starling concluded that empty stomachs were a major reason for the German capitulation. His analysis grew out of his work as the second chairman of the Food [War] Committee of The Royal Society and as one of the two British members of the International Scientific Food Commission, pioneering bodies in using science to help to set public policy.
 
Top-cited authors
Faidra Papanelopoulou
  • National and Kapodistrian University of Athens
Edwin Rose
  • University of Cambridge
Elizabeth Le Roux
  • University of Pretoria
Josep María Montserrat Martí
  • Spanish National Research Council
Neus Ibáñez
  • Institut Botànic de Barcelona