Leake, John

, an English physician and writer, was the son of a clergyman who was curate of Ainstable in Cumberland. He was educated partly at Croglin, and partly at the grammar-school at Bishop Auckland. He then went to London, intending to engage in the military profession: but finding some promises, with which he had been flattered, were not likely soon to be realized, he turned his attention to medicine. After attending the hospitals, and being admitted a member of the corporation of surgeons, an opportunity presented itself of improving himself in foreign schools; he embarked for Lisbon, and afterwards visited Italy. On his return, he established himself as a surgeon and accoucheur in the neighbourhood of Piccadilly; and about that time published “A Dissertation on the Properties and Efficacy of the Lisbon Dietdrink,” which he professed to administer with success in many desperate cases of scrophula, scurvy, &c. Where he obtained his doctor’s diploma is not known; but he became ere long a licentiate of the College of Physicians, and removed to Craven-street, where he began to lecture | on the obstetric art, and invited the faculty to attend. ID 1765 he purchased a piece of ground on a building lease, and afterwards published the plan for the institution of the Westminster Lying-in- Hospital and as soon as the building was raised, he voluntarily, and without any consideration, assigned over to the governors all his right in the premises, in favour of the hospital. He enjoyed a considerable share of reputation and practice as an accoucheur, anJ as a lecturer; and was esteemed a polite and accomplished man. He added nothing, however, in the way of improvement, to his profession, and his writings are not characterized by any extraordinary acuteness, or depth of research; but are plain, correct, and practical. He was attacked, in the summer of 1792, with a disorder of the chest, with which he had been previously affected, and was found dead in his bed on the 8th of August of that year. He published, in 1773, a volume of “Practical Observations on Child-bed Fever;” and, in 1774, “A Lecture introductory to the Theory and Practice of Midwifery, including the history, nature, and tendency of that science,” &c. This was afterwards considerably altered and enlarged, and published in two volumes, under the title of “Medical Instructions towards the prevention and cure of various Diseases incident to Women,” &c. The work passed through seven or eight editions, and was translated into the French and German languages. In the beginning of 1792, ^a short time before his death, he published “A practical Essay on the Diseases of the Viscera, particularly those of the Stomach and Bowels.1


Hutchinson’s Biog. Medica. Hutchinson’s History of Cumberland. —Gent. Mag. LXIII.