Lister, Martin

, an English physician and natural philosopher, was born at Radcliffe, in Buckinghamshire, about 1638, and educated under his great uncle sir Martin Lister, knt. physician in ordinary to Charles I. and president of the college of physicians, one of a Yorkshire family which produced a considerable number of medical practitioners of reputation. Our author was sent to St. John’s college, in Cambridge, where he took his first degree in arts in 1653; and was made fellow of his college by a mandate from Charles II. after his restoration in 1660. He proceeded M. A. in 1662; and, applying himself closely to physic, travelled into France in 1668, for further improvement. Returning home, he settled in 1670 at York, where he followed his profession many years with good repute, and took every opportunity which his business would permit, of prosecuting researches into the natural history and antiquities of the country; with which view he travelled into several parts of England, especially in the North.

As this study introduced him to the acquaintance of Mr. Lloyd, keeper of the Ashmolean museum at Oxford, he enriched that collection with several altars, coins, and other antiquities, together with a great number of valuable natural curiosities. He also sent several observations and | experiments, in various branches of natural philosophy, to the same friend; who communicating some of them to the royal society, our author was recommended, and elected a fellow. In 1684, resolving by the advice of his friends to remove to London, he was created doctor of physic, by diploma, at Oxford; the chancellor himself recommending him as a person of exemplary loyalty, of high esteem among the most eminent of his profession, of singular merit to that university in particular, by having enriched their museum and library with presents of valuable books, both printed and manuscript, and of general merit to the literary world by several learned books which he published. Soon after this, he was elected fellow of the college of physicians.

In 1685 he published his “Historia sive Synopsis Conchyliorum,” 2 vols. fol. containing very accurate figures of all the shells known in his time, amounting to upwards of a thousand; and what renders the book a singular curiosity is, that they were all drawn by his two daughters, Susanna and Anne. The copper-plates of this work becoming the property of the university of Oxford, a new edition was published there in 1770, under the care of Huddesford, keeper of the Ashmolean museum. This edition wants two or three of the plates belonging to the original; but to make up for this deficiency, two or three new plates have been added, and notwithstanding the progress which the study has since made, the work still retains its value, and is indispensable to the student of^conchology.

In 1698, he attended the earl of Portland in his embassy from king William to the court of France; and having the pleasure to see his “Synopsis Conchyliorum” in the king’s library, he presented that monarch with a second edition of the treatise, much improved, in 1699, not long after his return from Paris. Of this journey he published an account, with observations on the state and curiosities of that metropolis; which, containing some things of a trifling nature, was pleasantly ridiculed by Dr. Wm. King, in another, entitled “A Journey to London.” In 1709, upon the indisposition of Dr. Hannes, he was made second physician in ordinary to queen Anne; in which post he continued to his death, Feb. 2, 1711-12. He was buried in Claphamchurch, near the body of his wife Hannah, who died in 1695, leaving six children. One of his daughters, who | died in 1758, was the wife of the rev. Owen Evans, of St. Martin’s, Canterbury. Besides the books already mentioned, he published, 1. “Historiae Animalium Angliae tres Tractatus,” &c. 1678. 2. “John Goedertius of Insects,” &c. 1682, 4to. 3. The same book in Latin. 4. “De Fontibus medicalibus AnglitE,” Ebor. 1682. There is an account of most of these in Phil. Trans. Nos. 139, 143, 144, and 166. 5. “Exercitatio anatomica, in qua de Cochleis agitur,” &c. 1694, 8vo. 6. “Cochlearum & Limacum Exercitatio anatomica; accedit de Variolis Exercitatio,1695, 2 vols. 8vo. 7. “Conchy liorum Bivalvium utriusque Aquae Exercitatio anatom. tertia,” &c. 1696, 4to. 8. “Exercitationes medicinales,” &c. 1697, 8vo. In his medical writings he is rather too much attached to hypotheses, and preserves too great a reverence for ancient and now untenable doctrines; but his reputation is well founded on his researches in natural history and comparative anatomy. 1

1 Ath. Ox. vol. I. and II. Bioc;. Brit. Granger, and Granger’s Letters, p. 140, and 400. Thomson’s Hist, of the Royal Society, Lysons’s Environs, vol. I.