Camper, Peter

, an eminent physician and surgeon, the son of Florence Camper, a minister of the reformed church, was born at Leyden May 11, 1722, and was first taught design and painting, which enabled him in his future studies to draw his anatomical preparations. He afterwards studied medicine under Boerhaave, and the other eminent professors of Leyden, and in 1746 took his degree of M. D. In 1748, he attended the hospitals and anatomical lectures in London, and afterwards at Paris. In 1749, he was appointed professor of philosophy, medicine, and surgery at Franeker; and in 1755 taught these sciences at Amsterdam, which he quitted in 1761. After two years’ residence at his country-house in Friesland, he was appointed professor of medicine, surgery, anatomy, | and botany at Groningen, where he resided until June 1773, when he settled at Franeker, in order to superintend the education of his sons* In 1762, he had been appointed a representative in the assembly of the province of Friesland; but in 1787, he was nominated one of the council of state, and was therefore obliged to reside at the Hague, where he died in April 1789, in the sixty- seventh year of his age. The immediate cause of his death was a pleurisy, but his eulogist seems to attribute it remotely to his patriotic exertions, and the grief which oppressed him when he saw the independence of his country attacked. Whichever account be true, he was lamented as a learned and ingenious promoter of science, and an ornament to his country. He was at the time of his death a member of the royal society of London, and of the academies of Petersburg!), Berlin, Edinburgh (the college of physicians), Gottingen, Manchester, Haerlem, Rotterdam, &c. and other learned societies in various parts of Europe.

His works, if not numerous, are highly valuable, and contain many important facts, and successful experiments and improvements. He published, l. “Demonstrationum Anatomico-Pathologicarum liber primus, continens brachii humani fabricam et morbos, in folio maximo, cum quatuor figuris,” Amst. 1760. 2. “Liber secundus, continens pelvis human se fabricam et morbos,1762. 2. “An account of a method of performing the operation of Lithotomy at two different times,” published in a Dutch journal. The operation is performed at twice, that is, on the first day the surgeon makes the incision into the bladder; the patient is then to be put to bed, and the extraction of the stone deferred until the second, third, or fourth day; but this method has not been attended with the advantages expected from it. Camper’s other works were published by his son: 3. “A Dissertation on the fracture of the patella and olecranon,1789, 4to, 4. “A Treatise on the natural difference of features, &c.” which was translated by Dr. Cogan, and published at London in 1794, under the title “The Works of the late professor Camper, on the connection between the science of anatomy and the arts of drawing, painting, statuary, &c. &c. in 2 books containing a treatise on the natural difference of features in persons of different countries and periods of life; and on beauty, as exhibited in ancient sculpture, &c.” This is unquestionably a work of great curiosity and importance | to artists, and is one of the best translated scientific books in our language. In 1803, a collection of Camper’s works was published at Paris, in 3 vols. 8vo. with a folio atlas of plates, containing his various dissertations on natural history, physiology, and comparative anatomy. To these is prefixed an account of his life by his son. Camper was! not less amiable in private life, than celebrated in his public character. 1


Life by his son.—Eloges des Academicians, vol. V.—Rees’s Cyclopædia.