Baker, Sir George

, an eminent physician, was the son of the Rev. George Baker, who died in 1743, being then archdeacon and registrar of Totness. He was born in 1722, educated at Eton, and was entered a scholar of King’s college, Cambridge, in July 1742, where he took his degree of B. A. 1745, and M. A. 1749. He then began the study of medicine, and took the degree of doctor in 1756. He first practised at Stamford, but afterwards settled in London, and soon arrived at very extensive practice and reputation, and the highest honours of his faculty, being appointed physician in ordinary to the Jking, and physician to the queen. He was also a fellow of the Royal and Antiquary Societies, created a baronet Aug. 26, 1776, and in 1797 was elected president of the College of Physicians, London. Besides that skill in his profession, and personal accomplishments, which introduced him into the first practice, and secured him a splendid fortune, he was a good classical scholar and critic, and | his Latin works are allowed to be written in a chaste and elegant style. He died June 15, 1809, in his eighty-eighth year, after having passed this long life without any of the infirmities from which he had relieved thousands.

Sir George Baker, as an author, is to be estimated rather from the value than the’bulk of his works. His very extensive practice, while it enriched his own treasures of experience, left him little leisure for writing, and he never went beyond the extent of a tract or dissertation. Those he published were, 1. “De affectibus animi et morbis hide oriundis, dissertatio habita Cantabrigiae in scholis publicis, 5 kalend. Feb. 1755,London, 1755, 4to. 2. “Oratio ex Harveii institute, habita in theatro coll. reg. Medicorum Lond. Oct. 19, 1761. Calci orationis accedit Commentarius quidam de Joanne Caio Anatomise conditore apud nostrates,” 4to, ib. 1761. This contains an elegant eulogy on Dr. Stephen Hales, and an argument to prove that Dr. Caius was the founder of anatomy in this country. Dr. Baker also adverts to Dr. Conyers Middleton’s essay on the servile condition of physicians in ancient Rome, which, he imagined, glanced at the honour of the profession itself. 3. “De Catarrho, et de Dysenteria Londinensi, epidemicis utrisque anno 1762, libellus,” 4to, ib. 1763. 4. “An Inquiry into the merits of a method of inoculating the Small Pox, which is now practised in several counties in England,” 8vo, ib. 1766. This produced two letters from Dr. Glasse, addressed to Dr. Baker, on the same subject. 5. “An essay concerning the cause of the Endemial Colic of Devonshire, which was read in the theatre of the College of Physicians, June 29, 1767,” printed at first for private distribution, but afterwards inserted in the Medical Transactions, vol. I. In this he derives the Devonshire colic from an impregnation of lead in the making of cyder, lead being very much used in the vessels employed in that operation. It was immediately followed by “Some observations on Dr. Baker’s Essay, by Francis Geach, surgeon at Plymouth,” 8vo, in which he endeavours to invalidate Dr. Baker’s theory, by proving that lead is not used in the preparation of cyder but this pamphlet was also immediately answered by Dr. Saunders, 8vo, and in 1769 Mr. Geach published “A Reply to Dr. Saunders’s pamphlet,” 8vo, and was supported by the Rev. Thomas Alcock in a pamphlet entitled, “The Endemical Colic of Devon not caused by a solution of lead in the cyder,1769, 8vo. At a | considerable distance, in point of time, appeared “A candid examination of what has been advanced on the Colic of Poitouand Devonshire, by James Hardy, M.D. of Barnstaple, Devonshire,1778, 8vo. This writer, while inclined to agree with Drs. Baker and Saunders, as to the cholic arising from a solution of lead, wished to transfer the evil from the cyder- utensils to the drinking vessels, which are of glazed earthen ware, the vitreous coating of which contains a large proportion of lead but the argument is rather feebly supported. In 1771, Dr. Baker re-published the three first tracts, under the title of “Opuscula.” His other treatises were published in the Medical Transactions, vol. I. II. and III. 1


Nichols’s Life of Bowyer, vol. III. p. 70.—Monthly Rev. see Index.—Francklin, in his translation of Lucian, has introduced an elegant piece of Latin pleasantry, written by sir George Baker, “an epitaph on the wife of Van Butchell,” a noted empiric, who employed John Hunter the celebrated surgeon, more than thirty years ago, to embalm this wife in such a manner, that she has been preferred ever since in his house.