Keill, James

, an eminent physician of the mathematical sect, and brother to the preceding, was born in Scotland March 27, 1673. Having received the early part of his education in his native country, he went abroad with the view of completing it in the schools of celebrity on the continent; and obtained such a degree of knowledge as distinguished him soon after his return to England. He had early applied to dissections, and pursued th study of anatomy, under Duverney, at Paris; whence he was enabled to give anatomical lectures, with great reputation, in both the English universities. He was honoured with the degree of M. D. by the university of Cambridge. In 1703 he settled at Northampton, and began the practice of his profession, in which he attained considerable fame and success. In 1706 he published a paper in the Philosophical Transactions, No. 306, containing “an account of the death and dissection of John Bayles, of that town, reputed to have been 130 years old.” The circumstances which he detailed very much resembled those that were observed by the celebrated Harvey in the dissection of | old Parr. Dr. Keill, like his brother John, was well skilled in mathematical learning, which he applied to the explanation of die laws of the animal economy. His first publication was a compendium of anatomy, for the use of the pupils who attended his lectures, and was entitled “The Anatomy of the Human Body abridged,” Lond. 1698, 12mo, and was taken chiefly from Cowper it went through many editions. In the year 1708, he gave the world a proof of his mathematical skill, in “An Account of Animal Secretion, the quantity of blood in the human body, and muscular motion,London, 8vi. This work was reprinted in 1717, with the addition of an essay, “concerning the force of the heart in driving the blood through the whole body,” and under the title of “Essays on several parts of the Animal Œconomy.” He likewise published the same treatise in Latin, with the addition of a “Medicina Statica Britannica.” The essay concerning the force of the heart drew him into a controversy with Dr. Jurin, which was carried on in several papers, printed in the Philosophical Transactions of the royal society, of which Dr. Keill had been elected a member; and was continued to the time of the death of the latter, which took place at Northampton, July 16, 1619, in the vigour of his age. He had for some time laboured under a very painful disorder, viz. a cancer in the roof of his mouth, to which he had applied the cautery with his own hands, in order, if possible, to procure some relief, but in vain. He was buried at St. Giles’s church at Northampton. An handsome monument and inscription were placed over him by his brother, John Keill, to whom he left his estate, being never married; but who survived him, as we have seen, little more than two years. 1


Biog. Brit/—Gen. Dict.—Martin’s Biog. Phil.—Rees’s Cyclopædia.