Marshal, Andrew

, a late eminent anatomist and physician, was born in Fifeshire, in 1742, at Park-hill, a large farm on the side of the Tay, near Newburgh, held | by his father, Mr. John Marshal, of the earl of Rothes. His lather had received a classical education himself; and being desirous that his son should enjoy a similar advantage, sent him first to the grammar-school at Newburgh, and afterwards tothat of Abernethy, then the most celebrated place of education among the Seceders, of which religious sect he was a most zealous member. Here he was regarded as a quick and apt scholar. From his childhood he had taken great delight in rural scenery. One day, while under the influence of feelings of this kind, being then about fourteen years old, he told his father that he wished to leave school, and be a farmer, but he soon shewed that it had not arisen from any fondness for ordinary country labours. In the following harvest-time, for instance, having been appointed to follow the reapers, and bind up the cut corn into sheaves, he would frequently lay himself down in some shady part of the field, and taking a book from his pocket, begin to read, -utterly forgetful of his task. About two years after, however, he resumed his studies, with the intention of becoming a minister: and soon after, he was admitted a student of philosophy at Abernethy; and next became a student of divinity. In his nineteenth year he went to Glasgow, and divided his ­time between teaching a school, and attending lectures in the university. The branches of learning which he chiefly cultivated were Greek and morals. At the end of two years passed in this way, he became (through the interest of the celebrated Dr. Reid, to whom his talents and diligence had recommended him), tutor in a gentleman’s family, of the name of Campbell, in the Island of Islay. He remained here four years, and removed to the university of Edinburgh, with Mr. -Campbell’s son, whom the following year he carried back to his father. Having surrendered his charge, he returned to Edinburgh, where he subsisted himself by reading Greek and Latin privately with students of the university; in the mean time taking no recreation, but giving up all his leisure to the acquisition of knowledge. He still considered himself a student of divinity, in which capacity he delivered two discourses in the divinity-hall; and from motives of curiosity began in 1769 to attend lectures on medicine. While thus employed, he was chosen1 member of the Speculative society, where, in the beginning of 1772, he became acquainted with lord Balgonie, who was so much pleased with the | display which he made of genius and learning in that society, that he requested they“should read together; and in the autumn of the following year made a proposal for their going to the Continent, which was readily accepted. They travelled slowly through Flanders to Paris, where they stayed a month, and then proceeded to Tours, where they resided eight months, in the house of a man of letters, under whose tuition they strove to acquire a correct knowledge of the French language and government. They became acquainted here with several persons of rank, among whom were a prince of Rohan, and the dukes of Clioiseul and Aguilon, at whose seats in the neighbourhood they were sometimes received as gnests. An acquaintance with such people would make Marshal feel pain on account of his want of external accomplishments; and this, probably, was the reason of his labouring” to learn to dance and to fence while he was at Tours, though he was then more than thirty years old. He returned to England in the summer of 1774; and proceeded soon after to Edinburgh, where he resumed the employment of reading Latin and Greek with young men. Hitherto he seems to have formed no settled plan of life, but to have bounded his views almost entirely to the acquisition of knowledge, and a present subsistence. His friends, however, had been induced to hope that he would at some time be advanced to a professor’s cl; ir and it is possible that he entertained the same hope himself. In the spring of 1775, this hope appeared to be strengthened by his being requested by Mr. Stewart, the professor of humanity at Edinburgh, to officiate for him, as he was then unwell: Marshal complied, but soon after appears to have given up all hopes of a professorship, and studied medicine with a determination to practise it. In the spring of 1777, he was enabled by the assistance of a friend, Mr. John Campbell of Edinburgh, to come to London for professional improvement; and studied anatomy under Dr. W. Hunter, and surgery under Mr. J, Hunter. After he had been here a twelvemonth, he was appointed surgeon to the S3rd, or Glasgow regiment, through the interest of the earl of Leverv, the father of his late pupil, lord Balgonie. The first year after was passed with his regiment, in Scotland. In the following he accompanied it to Jersey, where he remained with it almost constantly till the conclusion of the war in the beginning of 1783, when it was disbanded. In this situation he | enjoyed, almost for the first time, the pleasures best suited to a man of independent mind. His income was more than sufficient for his support; his industry and knowledge rendered him useful; and his character for integrity and honour procured him general esteem. From Jersey he came to London, seeking for a settlement, and was advised by Dr. D. Pitcairn (with whom he had formed a friendship while a student at Glasgow) to practise surgery here, though he had taken the degree of doctor of physic the preceding year at Edinburgh; and to teach anatomy at St. Bartholomew’s hospital, it being at the same time proposed, that the physicians to that hospital (of whom Dr. Pitcairn was one) should lecture on other branches of medical learning. He took a house, in consequence, in the neighbourhood of the hospital; and proceeded to prepare for the execution of his part of the scheme. This proving abortive, he began to teach anatomy, the following year, at his own house; and at length succeeded in procuring annually a considerable number of pupils, attracted to him solely by the reputation of his being a most diligent and able teacher. In 1788 he quitted the practice of surgery, and commenced that of medicine, having previously become a member of the London college oF physicians. In the ensuing year a dispute arose between John Hunter and him, which it is proper to relate, as it had influence on his after-life. When Marshal returned to London, he renewed his acquaintance with Mr. Hunter, who thought so well of him, that he requested his attendance at a committee of his friends, to whose correction he submitted his work on the venereal disease, before it was published. He became also a member of a small society, instituted by Dr. Fordyce and Mr. Hunter, for the improvement of medical and surgical knowledge. Having mentioned at a meeting of this society, that, in the dissection of those who had died insane, he had always found marks of disease in the head, Mr. Hunter denied the truth of this in very coarse language. The other members interfering, Mr. Hunter agreed to say, that his expressions did not refer to Dr. Marshal’s veracity, but to the accuracy of his observation. Marshal, not being satisfied with this declaration, at the next meeting of the society demanded a.i ample apology; but Mr. Hunter, instead of making one, repeated the offensive expressions; on which Marshal poured some water over his head out of a bottle which had stood near them. | A scuffle ensued, which was immediately stopped by the other members, and no father personal contention between them ever occurred. But Marshal, conceiving that their common friends in the society had, from the superior rank of Mr. Hunter, favoured him more in this matter than justice permitted, soon after estranged himself from them. He continued the teaching of anatomy till 1800, in which year, during a tedious illness, the favourable termination of which appeared doubtful to him, he resolved, rather suddenly, to give it up. While he taught anatomy, almost the whole of the fore-part of the day, during eight months in the year, was spent by him in his dissecting and lecture rooms. He had, therefore, but little time for seeing sick persons, except at hours frequently inconvenient to them; and was by this means prevented from enjoying much medical practice; but as soon as he had recovered his health, after ceasing to lecture, his practice began to increase. The following year it was so far increased as to render it proper that he should keep a carriage. From this time to within a few months of his death, an interval of twelve years, his life flowed on in nearly an equable stream. He had business enough in the way he conducted it to give him employment during the greater part of the day; and his professional profits were sufficient to enable him to live in the manner he chose, and provide for the wants of sickness and old age. After having appeared somewhat feeble for two or three years, he made known, for the first time, in the beginning of last November, that he laboured under a disease of his bladder, though he must then have been several years affected with it. His ailment was incurable, and scarcely admitted of palliation. For several months he was almost constantly in great pain, which he bore manfully. At length, exhausted by his sufferings, he died on the 2nd of April, 1813, at his house in Bartlett’s- buildings, Holborn, being then in the seventy-first year of his age. Agreeably to his own desire, his body was interred in the church-yard of the parish of St. Pancras. His fortune, amounting to about bOOO/. was, for the most part, bequeathed to sisters and nephews.

Though Dr. Marshal’s genius, with the assistance of great industry, enabled him to attain a very considerable proficiency in many different parts of learning, it was not equally well adapted for every purpose of a literary | man. It was better fitted to acquire than digest, to heap up than arrange, to make a scholar than render its possessor a, philosopher; and hence he often appeared to less advantage in conversation than other persons of much inferior possessions. The successful exertion of his talents had given him a confidence in them, which otherwise would have been justly regarded as presumptuous. At the age of forty-one, with little previous knowledge of the subject, he began to prepare for being a teacher of anatomy in London, and, in the following year, actually gave a course of lectures upon it. These lectures were not superficial: they were, on the contrary, remarkable for minuteness of description and copiousness of illustration. When he could derive assistance from his other studies, as while speaking ofthe uses of the bones and muscles, he was particularly full and instructive. In his lectures, however, his want of a methodical mind would not unfrequently appear; for he often seemed to be seeking for a thought which was not readily to be found, and sometimes confessed that what he said was not so clear, from want of proper words, as he wished it to be. Though he began thus late to cultivate anatomy, it was ever after a favourite pursuit with him, particularly that part which relates to the ascertaining the seats of diseases. He kept in his house, for many years after ceasing to lecture, at no inconsiderable expense, a person for the purpose of assisting him in anatomical inquiries.

He had probably never, without aid, conducted a patient through an acute and dangerous disorder, before he was appointed surgeon to the Glasgow regiment, at which time he was nearly thirty-six years of age. He must, therefore, have less readily acquired, the faculty of distinguishing diseases as they occur in nature, than if he had entered upon the exercise of medicine at an earlier period of life; and it was probably, in part, owing to this circumstance, that, even in his later years, he was slower in the examination of the sick, and more distrustful of his opinion respecting their ailments, than many physicians of much less talent and experience. A strong conscientiousness, however, contributed greatly to the production of these effects. That he might be the less liable to err, he look upon the spot short notes of the states of his patients; these formed the bases of entries which he afterwards made in his Case Book, an employment which for many years | occupied nearly three hours every evening. His practice in the army is said to have been bold; that it was successful, is evident from a fact related in his inaugural dissertation, but modestly ascribed by him to the excellent regulations established by his colonel, that, in the regiment in which he served, consisting of about 1000 men, and, from being hastily formed, containing more than the usual proportion of persons unfit for a military life, only sixteen died of disease in the course of nearly four years, and of these, four were not under the management of their own officers at the time of their decease. In London, from having patients to operate upon for the most part originally less strong than soldiers, and afterwards rendered still weaker by long residence in impure air, his mode of treating diseases was necessarily different, and during the last eight years of his life, it was somewhat too inert.

Dr. Marshal’s many amiable qualities placed him high in the estimation of those who knew him well; but unfortunately the alloy mixed with them was considerable. His temper was extremely irritable; and, when he had once taken offence, he seldom returned to his former state with respect to the person who had given it, if an equal or superior, though he might afterwards discover that his resentment was without sufficient cause. He seemed to be afraid, in this case, that a confession of error would be attributed to some base motive for when he found that he had taken offence improperly with persons beneath him, with his servants for instance, he was very ready to avow his fault, and atone for it. He was, besides, of a. melancholy disposition; and, like other men of this temperament, frequently believed, that persons of the most honourable conduct were conspiring to betray and to ruin him. From the nature of his early pursuits, these parts of his character seem not to have exhibited themselves very strongly before he returned to London in 1783; but when he came to mix and jostle in this great city with a crowd of persons intent on their own concerns, and little regardful of those of others, when he found himself neglected by some on whom he fancied he had claims for assistance, and experienced unexpected opposition from others, they became very conspicuous, and often rendered him miserable. The causes of irritation, indeed, ceased in a great measure with his lecturing, and the remainder of his life was passed with comparative tranquillity; but he was now | almost without a friend to whom he could freely communicate his thoughts, and, from long disuse, with little relish or fitness for the pleasures of society. In this desolate state his chief amusement consisted in reading the ancient classics, after he had closed his professional labours for the tiay. He generally carried one of these to bed, and read it there till he composed himself for sleep. The Greek authors were more frequently used by him in this way than the Latin; and of the former, Plato more frequently than any other.

It is not known that he ever published any literary works besides an “Essay on Composition,” when at Edinburgh; an “Essay on Ambition,” written also very early in life; a translation of the three first books of Simson’s “Conic Sections,” apparently undertaken at the suggestion of a bookseller; and a treatise on the “Preservation of the Health of Soldiers.” He had, indeed, meditated a variety of other publications, principally on physiology and pathology; but, having pursued a subject with great keenness till he had gained what he wanted, he could not bring himself to be at the trouble of preparing for the eye of the world what he had acquired, more especially as new objects of research presented themselves in quick succession. A paper upon Hernia, illustrated by drawings taken nearly 20 years ago, and another upon the appearances of the brain in mania, drawn up from dissections made more than 20 years ago, were left in a state fit for publication; and the latter has just been published under the title of “The Morbid Anatomy of the Brain, in Mania and Hydrophobia,” by Mr. Sawrey, formerly assistant-lecturer to Dr. Marshal. To this volume, in 8vo, is prefixed a life of Dr. Marshal, from which the above particulars are taken, but to which we may refer as containing many more of considerable interest. 1


Life as above, the substance of which was originally published in the Great. Maj. vol. LXXXIII.