Lower, Richard

, an eminent physician and anatomist, was born at Tremere, in Cornwall, about 1631. He | was descended from a good family, and received a liberal education, being admitted as king’s scholar at Westminster school, and thence elected to Christ-church college, Oxford, in 1649, where he took the degree of M. A. in 1655, and then studied medicine. The celebrated Dr. Willis, who employed him as coadjutor in his dissections, found him so able an assistant, that he afterwards became his steady friend and patron, and introduced him into practice. In 1665, Lower took the degree of M. D.; and in the same year published a defence of Dr. Willis’s work on fevers, entitled “Diatribae Thomae Willisii M. D. et Prof. Oxon. de Febribus Vindicatio adversus Edm. de Meara Ormondiensem Hibern. M. D.” 8vo, a work of considerable learning and force of argument, but not without some fallacies, as he afterwards himself admitted. But his most important work was, his “Tractatus de Corde, item de motu et calore Sanguinis, et Chyli in eum transitu,” which was first printed in London in 1669. In this work the structure of the heart, the origin and course of its fibres, and the nature of its action, were pointed out with much accuracy and ingenuity. He likewise demonstrated the dependance of its motions upon the nervous influence, referred the red colour of the arterial blood to the action of the air upon it in the lungs, and calculated the force of the circulation, and the quantity and velocity of the blood passing through it. The work excited particular notice, in consequence of the chapter on the transfusion of blood from the vessels of one living animal to those of another, which the author had first performed experimentally at Oxford, in February 1665, and subsequently practised upon an insane person before the royal society. Lower claims the merit of originality in this matter; but the experiment had certainly been suggested long before by Ia­bavius (see Libavius), and experience having soon decided, that the operation was attended with pernicious consequences, it was justly exploded. Lower had removed to London soon after the commencement of these experiments, and in 1667 had been a fellow of the royal society, and of the college of physicians. The reputation acquired by his publications brought him into extensive practice and after the death of Dr.- Willis,. he was considered as one of the ablest physicians in London. But his attachment to the Whig party, at the time of the Popish plot, brought bun iufao discredit at court, so that his practice | dedlned considerably before his death, Jan 17, 1690-91. He was buried at St. Tudy, near his native place, in Cornwall, where he had purchased an estate. In addition to the writings above-mentioned, he communicated some papers containing accounts of anatomical experiments to the royal society; a small tract on catarrh, which was added, as a new chapter, to the edition of the treatise de Corde of 1680; and a letter on the state of medicine in England. He is said to have been the first discoverer of Astrop Wells. 1


Biog. Brit. —Ath. Ox. vpl. II. —Rees’s Cyclopedia.