Bisset, Charles

, an ingenious physician, was born at Glenalbert, near Dunkeld in Perthshire, Scotland, in 1717. After a course of medical studies at Edinburgh, he was appointed in 1740, second surgeon to the military hospital in Jamaica, and spent several years in the West India islands, and in admiral Yemen’s fleet, where he acquired a knowledge of the diseases of the torrid zone. Having in 1745, contracted a bad state of health at New Greenwich in Jamaica, he was under the necessity of resigning his place of second surgeon to the hospital, and returning to England. In May 1746, he purchased an ensigncy in the forty-second regiment, commanded by lord John Murray; and by this transition, his attention being turned from | medical pursuits to military affairs, fortification became his favourite study. After a fruitless descent on the coast of Brittany in France in September 1746, and passing a winter at Limerick in Ireland, they were, in the beginning of the next campaign, brought into action at Sandberg, near Hulst in Dutch Flanders, where one Dutch regiment and two English suffered very much. Here, having drawn a sketch of the enemy’s approaches, with the environs, and some time after, a pretty correct one of Bergen-op-Zoom, with the permanent lines, the environs, and the enemy’s first parallel, which were presented by lord John Murray to his royal highness the late duke of Cumberland, his highness ordered Mr. Bisset to attend the siege of that fortress, and give due attention daily to the progress of the attack, and to the defence, in order to take accurate journals of them. These journals, illustrated with plans, were delivered daily to lord John Murray, who forwarded them to the duke, by whose application to the duke of Montague, then master of the ordnance, Mr. Bisset received a warrant as engineer extraordinary in the brigade of engineers which was established to serve in the Low Countries during the war and he was also promoted to a lieutenancy in the army. The brigade of engineers being re-formed at the end of the war, and he being at the same time put upon the half-pay list as lieutenant, he continued to employ great part of his time in the study of fortification and in 1751, after visiting France, published his work “On the Theory and Construction of Fortifications,” 8vo, and some time after, being unemployed, he resumed the medical profession to which he had been originally destined, and retired to the village of Skelton, in Cleveland, Yorkshire, where, or in the vicinity, he ever after continued,

In 1755, when a French war was impending, he published a “Treatise on the Scurvy, with remarks on the cure of scorbutic ulcers,” 8vo, and in 1762, an “Essay on the Medical Constitution of Great Britain.” In 1,765 the university of St Andrew’s conferred upon him the degree of M. D. In 1766, he published a volume of “Medical Essays and Observations,” Newcastle, 8vo, containing various papers on the climate and diseases of the West Indies. A few years before his death, he deposited in the library of the infirmary at Leeds, a manuscript volume of 700 pages of medical observations; and presented a | treatise on fortification to his royal highness the prince of Wales. He published also a small tract on the naval art of war, which, with some political papers and Mss. in the possession of his widow, form the whole of his works published and unpublished. He died at Knayton, near Thirsk, in May 17il, in the seventy-fifth year of his age. 1


Gent. Mag. vol. LXI. pp. 588, 965.