Cleghorn, George

, a learned physician, was born of reputable parents, at Granton, in the parish of Crammond, near Edinburgh, on the 13th of December 1716. His father died in 1719, and left a widow and five children. George, who was the youngest son, received the rudiments of his education in the grammar-school of Crammond, and in 1728 was sent to Edinburgh to be further instructed in the Latin, Greek, and French; where, to a singular proficiency in these languages, he added a | considerable stock of mathematical knowledge. In the beginning of 1731 he resolved to study physic and surgery, and had the happiness of being placed under the tuition of the late Dr. Alexander Monro, and under his roof. In one of his letters his pupil appeared to dwell with peculiar pleasure upon this circumstance; observing, that “his amiable manners and unremitting activity in promoting the public welfare, endeared him to all his acquaintance, but more particularly to those who lived under his roof, and had daily opportunities of admiring the sweetness of his conversation, and the invariable benignity of his disposition.” For five years he continued to profit by the instruction and example of his excellent master, visiting patients in company with him, and assisting at the dissections in the anatomical theatre; at the same time he attended in their turn the lectures in botany, materia medica, chemistry, and the theory and practice of medicine; and by extraordinary diligence he attracted the notice of all his preceptors. On Dr. Fothergill’s arrival from England at this university in 1733, Dr. Cleghorn was introduced to his acquaintance, and soon became his inseparable companion. These twin pupils then studied together the same branches of science under the same masters, with equal ardour and success; they frequently met to compare the notes they had collected from the professors, and to communicate their respective observations. Their moments of relaxation, if that time can be called relaxation which is devoted to social studies, were spent in a select society of fellowstudents, of which Fothergill, Russel, and Cuming, were associates; a society since incorporated under the name of The Royal Medical Society of Edinburgh.

Early in the year 1736, when young Cleghorn had scarcely entered into his twentieth year, so great had been his progress, and so high a character had he acquired, that at the recommendation of Dr. St. Clair he was appointed urgeon in the 22d regiment of foot, then stationed in Minorca, under the command of Gen. St. Clair. During a residence of thirteen years in that island, whatever time could be spared from attending the duties of his station, he employed either in investigating the nature of epidemic diseases, or in gratifying the passion he early imbibed for anatomy, frequently dissecting human bodies, and those of apes, which he procured from Barbary, and comparing structure with the descriptions of Galen and Vesalius. | In these pursuits he was much assisted by his correspondent Dr. Fothergill, who he acknowledges was indefatigable in searching the London shops for such books as he wanted, and in forwarding them by the earliest and best opportunities.

In 1749 he left Minorca, and came to Ireland with the S2d regiment; and in autumn 1750 he went to London, and, during his publication of “The Diseases of Minorca,” attended Dr. Hunter’s anatomical lectures. In the publication of his book he was materially assisted by Dr. Fothergill. This work not only exhibits an accurate state of the air, but a minute detail of the vegetable productions of the island; and concludes with medical observations, important in every point of view, and in some instances either new, or applied in a manner which preceding practitioners had not admitted. We are indebted to Dr. Cleghorn for recommending acescent vegetables in low, remittent, and putrid fevers, and the early and copious exhibition of bark, which had been interdicted from mistaken facts, deduced from false theories.

In 1751 the doctor settled in Dublin; and, in imitation of Monro and Hunter, began to give annual courses of anatomy. A few years after his coming to Dublin he was admitted into the university as lecturer in anatomy. In 1784 the college of physicians there elected him an honorary member; and since that time, from lecturer in anatomy he was made professor; and had likewise the honour of being one of the original members of the Irish Academy for promoting arts and sciences, which is now established by royal authority. In 1777, when the royal medical society was established at Paris, he was nominated a fellow of it. About 1774, on the death of his only brother in Scotland, he sent for his surviving family, consisting of the widow and nine children, and settled them in Dublin under his own eye, that he might have it more in his power to afford them that protection and assistance which they might stand in need of. His elder nephew William he educated in the medical profession; but after giving him the best education which Europe could afford, and getting him joined with himself in the lectureship, his hopes were unfortunately frustrated by the young gentlesnan’s death, which happened about 1784. He died universally and sincerely regretted by all who knew him, on | account of his uncommon abilities and most amiable disposition.

Dr. Cleghorn, with an acquired independence, devoted his moments of leisure from the severer studies of his profession, to farming and horticulture; but his attention to this employment did not lessen his care of his relations, who, from a grateful and affectionate regard, looked up to him as a parent; the duties of which station he so tenderly filled up, as to induce Dr. Lettsom, from whose memoirs this account is taken, to apply to him the words of Horace, “Notus in fratres animi paterni.” Dr. Cleghorn died in December 1789. 1


Letteom’s Memoirs of Medicine.