Clover, Joseph

, an ingenious professor of the veterinary art, was born at Norwich, Aug. 12, 1725. His father was a blacksmith, in humble life, and could only afford to allow his son a short time for instruction, in the elements of reading, writing, and arithmetic. He was taken from school before he had made much progress in his education; and when he was seventeen years old, he was obliged, by the death of his father, to carry on the business for the benefit of his mother and her family, which consisted of four children. About the year 1750, he was first noticed by Dr. Kirwan Wright, an eminent physician, and a man of learning, who encouraged him to direct his mind to the investigation and treatment of the diseases of horses. To this pursuit he devoted his attention with great zeal and success. Through the same friend he was induced to acquire a knowledge of the Latin and French languages, in. order to make himself acquainted with the best authors on farriery and medicine, but particularly Vegetius and La Fosse. His Latin teacher was a Mr. Pagan, under whose tuition he made a rapid progress: and in French he instructed himself without the help of any master. He was much assisted in his Latin studies by acting as an amanuensis, and sometimes read in^ Latin books, to Dr. Wright, who had the misfortune to be deprived of his sight. During this time he was a hard worker as well as a hard student. He used to work at the forge, the regular hours, from sixo’clock in the morning until eight at night, and then frequently got ready the nails requisite for his men the next day. To his labours as a blacksmith, a veterinary practitioner, a student of Latin and French, he added others, as a student of mathematics. He became a member of a society established in Norwich, among men of original minds and small incomes, for improvement in mathematics and experimental philosophy, under the direction of Mr. Peter Bilby. Here ho associated with John Fransham, with Mr. Arderon, F. 11. S. a friend and correspondent of Baker, whose inquiries with the microscope excited general interestat that time, and with other working and thinking men. Mr. Clover had a greater quickness of apprehension, and excelled Fransham in mathematics; but the latter had made a greater proficiency in the classics, and was therefore qualified to become his master. After his return from his eccentric excursion to Newcastle, Mr. Clover employed Fransham occasionally to ride the horses | home after they were shod, and whilst the iron was heating, they used both to be employed in Latin exer^ses and mathematical problems, worked upon a slate hung against the forge. Thus the tutor assisted in all the labours of his pupil, and, ' after correcting an exercise, or discussing the properties of a circle, he earned his frugal meal by conducting home the horses which his pupil had shod. Natural philosophy, natural history, and botany, engaged much of this little Bilbean society’s attention. Mr. Clover demonstrated at several of their meetings the origin and progress of the bots found in the stomach and intestines of horses, so early as 1753. He discovered the manner in which the larvae of these insects f&strus equij are conveyed from the coat of the horse, where they are deposited by the fly, into the animal’s stomach; and he illustrated, by many experiments, the whole progress of their transformation, which has been since so well described by Mr. B. Clarke, in the Linnean Transactions for 1796. In 1765, Mr. Clover’s reputation had increased so much that he relinquished working at the forge, and devoted himself wholly to the veterinary art. In this he was assisted by the most eminent medical practitioners of those days, particularly Mr. Gooch, who has inserted in the second volume of his surgical cases, a letter from Mr. Clover, giving a description and a drawing of an ingenious machine invented by him for the cure of ruptured tendons and fractured legs in horses. For many years Mr. Clover was severely afflicted with giddiness and pain in his head, which obliged him to decline business in 178!. He continued, however, to interest himself in every improvement that was made, and always took delight in recounting the results of his extensive experience. One of his greatest amusements was to talk with those who studied physic and surgery; and he continued to read the new medical publications, and to deliver short private lectures on the theory and practice of the healing art, with a lively interest, until the very day of his death. It is to be regretted that he never could be prevailed upon to extend the usefulness of his knowledge and experience in the diseases of animals, by any publication of his observations; but he felt a diffidence and fastidiousness in writing that could never be overcome, though his readiness to communicate information was universally acknowledged. The latter end of his life was cheered by the amusement of gardening, in which he excelled. He | marked the gradual decay of his bodily organs with perfect tranquillity and composure, and watched his declining pulse when he expired Feb. 19, 1811, in the eighty-sixth year of his age. With an understanding vigorous and acute, and n. power of discrimination and discernment peculiar to himself, Mr. Clover possessed the external advantage of a strong muscular frame of body, which was tall and well proportioned. 1


Gent. Mag. vol. LXXXI. Part II.