Glisson, Francis

, an English physician, was son of William Glisson, of Rampisham, in Dorsetshire, and grafidson of Walter Glisson, of the city of Bristol. He appears to have been born in 1596. Where he learned the first rudiments of his grammar is not known; but he was admitted June 18, 1617, of Caius college, in Cambridge, apparently with a view to physic. He first, however, went through the academical courses of logic and philosophy, and proceeded in arts, in which he took both degrees, that of B. A. in 1620, and of M. A. in 1624; and being chosen fellow of his college, was incorporated M. A. at Oxford, Oct. 25, 1627. From this time he applied himself particularly to the study of medicine, and took his doctor’s degree at Cambridge in 1634, and was appointed regius professor of physic in the room of Ralph Winterton; which office he held forty years. But not chusing to reside constantly at Cambridge, he offered himself, and was admitted candidate of the college of physicians, London, in 1634, and was elected fellow, Sept. 30, the ensuing year.

In the study of his art, he had always set the immortal Harvey before him as a pattern; and treading in his steps, he was diligent to improve physic by anatomical dissections and observations. In 1639 he was appointed to read Dr. Edward Wall’s lecture, and in executing that office, made several new discoveries of great use in establishing a rational practice of physic; but on the breaking out of the civil wars, he retired to Colchester, and followed the bu* siness of his profession with great repute in those times of public confusion. He was thus employed during the | memorable siege and surrender of that city to the rebels in 1648; and resided there some time after.

Amidst his practice he still prosecuted his anatomical researches, and from observations made in this way published an account of the rickets in 1650, in which he shewed how the viscera of such as had died of that disorder were affected*. This was the more interesting, as the rickets had been then first discovered in the counties of Dorset and Somerset, only about fifteen years before. In this treatise he had the assistance of two of his colleagues, Dr. George Bate, and Dr. Ahasuerus Regemorter; and these with other fellows of the college, requesting him to communicate to the public some of his anatomical lectures which had been read before them, he drew those up in a continued discourse, printed with the title “Anatomia Hepatis,” Lond. 1654, which brought him into the highest esteem among the faculty, and he was chosen one of the electors of the college the year following, and was afterwards president for several years. He published other pieces besides those already mentioned; viz. 1. “De Lymphaxluctis nuper repertis,” Amst. 1659, wuh the “Anatomica prolegomena & Anatomia Hepatis.” 2. “De naturae substantia energetica, seu de via vitae naturae ejusque tribus primis facultatibus,” &c. Lond. 1672, 4to. His last work was a “Treatise of the Stomach and Intestines,” printed at Amsterdam in 1677, not long before his death, which happened that year in the parish of St. Bride, London, in his eighty-first year.

Wood observes, that he died much lamented, as a person to whose learned lucubrations and deep disquisitions in physic not only Great Britain, but remoter kindoms, owe a particular respect and veneration, and it is certain that he was exceeded in judgment and accuracy by none of the English anatomists, who followed the steps of Harvey. Boerhaave terms him “omnium anatomicorum exactissimus,” and Haller speaks in praise of all his writings.


The title, of it is, “De Rachitide; ?ivemorbo puerili qui vulgo the Rickets dicitur,” Lond. 1650. But though this disease was then modern, yet a treatise had been published before this of our author, in 1645, 8vo, by Dr. Whistler, afterwards president of the college, with the title of “Paedouplanchnosteocace,” from the viscera being judged to be the parts principally affected. In which opinion he was followed by our author; but th cause and nature of the disorder was better explained afterwards by Dr. John Mayow, in a small treatise published upon it in 1668, 12mo, and again in 1681,

| Several of his original manuscripts, which were in sir Hans Sloane’s possession, are now in the British Museum. 1
1 Gen. Dict. Wood’s Fasti, p. 238. Aikin’s Biog. Memoirs of Medicine. Cole’sMS Athenae in Brit. Mus. Birch’s History of the Royal Society.