Senac, John

, a distinguished French physician, wag born in Gascony about the close of the seventeenth century, and is said to have been a doctor of the faculty of physic of Rheims, and a bachelor of that of Paris; which last degree he obtained in 1724 or 1725. He was a man of profound erudition, united with great modesty, and became possessed, by his industry in the practice of his profession, of much sound medical knowledge. His merits obtained for him the favour of the court, and he was appointed consulting physician to Louis XV. and subsequently succeeded Chicoyneau in the office of first physician to that monarch. He was also a member of the royal | academy of sciences at Paris, and of the royal society of Nancy. He died in December 1770, at the age of about Seventy-seven years.

This able physician left some works of great reputation, particularly his “Traite de la Structure du Coeur, de son Action, et de ses Maladies,Paris, 1749, in two volumes, 4to. An essay “De recondita febrium intermittentium et reuiittentium natura,” Amst. 1759, is generally ascribed to Senac. He also published an edition of Heister’s Anatomy, Paris, 1724, and afterwards “Discours sur la Methode de Franco, et sur celle de M. Rau touchant l’Operation de la Taille,1727. “Traite des Causes, des Accidens, et de la Cure de la Peste,1744. A work under the assumed name of Julien Morison, entitled “Lettres sur la Choix des Saignees,1730, was from his pen; but the “Nouveau Cours de Chymie suivant les Principes de Newton et de Stahl,Paris, 1722 and 1737, has been attributed by mistake to Senac; it was in fact a compilation of notes taken at the lectures of Geoffroy by some students, and is unworthy of his pen.

His son Gabriel Senac de Meilhan possessed political talents which promoted him in the reigns of Louis XV. and XVI. to the places of master of the requests, and intendant for several provinces. On the breaking out of the revolution, he left France, and was received at some of the German courts with distinction. He afterwards went to St. Petersburgb, where Catherine II. gave him a pension of 6000 roubles, and wished him to write the annals of her reign. On her death he removed to Vienna, where he died Aug. 16, 1803. He published, “Memoires d'Anne de Gonzague,” “Consideration sur les Richesses et le Luxe;” a translation of Tacitus; and some political works on the revolution, with two volumes 8vo, of “Oeuvres phiJosophiques et litteraires.1


Eloy, —Dict. Hist. de Medicine. Rees’s Cyclopædia, —Dict. Hist.