Parsons, John

, another learned and amiable physician, though less known as an author, the son of major Parsons, of the dragoons, was horn in Yorkshire, in 1742. He was educated at Westminster school, whence in 17:. 9 he was elected to a studentship in Christ Church, Oxford. Having made choice of medicine as a profession, he prosecuted the study of it with uncommon assiduity, not only at Oxford, but also at London and Edinburgh. But while he bestowed much attention on every branch of medical knowledge, he at first showed a particular predilection for natural history and botany, and in the latter branch made a very distinguished figure during his stay at Edinburgh. In 1766 he had the honour of obtaining the prize medal given by Dr. Hope for the most extensive and elegant hortus siccus, and the same year took his degree of M. A. This, however, was only a prelude to more distinguished honours. In 1769, when he took his degree of M. B. he was appointed to the anatomy lecture at Oxford, and was also the first reader in anatomy at Christ Church, on the institution of John Freind and Matthew Lee, M. D. and students of that house. In consequence of this appointment, his attention, it may naturally be supposed, was more particularly directed to anatomy, and under his direction a very commodious anatomical theatre was built; and for the instruction of his pupils he provided a set of anatomical preparations, which for neatness and elegance have seldom been surpassed. From the time of his appointment he read two courses of anatomical lectures every year; and although they were calculated rather for the general philosopher than the medical practitioner, yet they were not only highly instructive to all his audience, but afforded incontestable evidence of his genius and abilities. | He was soon after elected one of the physicians to the Radcliffe infirmary, and in June 1772 proceeded M. D. He had a considerable share also of private practice, and from his attention and success his reputation with the public kept pace with the esteem in which he was held by the university. In 1780 he was elected the first clinical professor on the foundation instituted in 1772 by George Henry, earl of Lichfield, late chancellor of the university. In this department also he read lectures during the winter months with much credit to himself. But it is not improbable that the various active employments in which he was engaged, and which necessarily exposed him to fatigue and danger, had some share in overthrowing a constitution naturally strong. He was not, however, cut off by any tedious or painful ailment, but died of a fever April 3, 1785, in the forty-fourth year of his age, and was buried in the north transept of the cathedral, where four of his children were buried before him. 1


Life in the Edinburgh Medical Comnaentaries, vol. X. and published separately at Edinburgh, 1786.—Continuation of Wood’s Annals by Gutch.