Russel, Alexander

, physician to the English factory at Aleppo, was born at Edinburgh, and by his father devoted, at an early period, to medicine. After studying grammar, he spent two) ears in the university, and was then>laced under the care of his uncle, an eminent practitioner in physic. In 1732, 3, and 4, he continued his studies under the professors of Edinburgh, till the time of his coming to London, from which place he embarked for Turkey in 1740, and settled at Aleppo. Here he assiduously applied himself to acquire a knowledge of the language, and to form an intimate acquaintance with the most experienced practitioners; but he soon attained a superior distinction, and was consulted by all ranks and professions, Franks, Greeks, Armenians, Jews, and even Turks themselves. The Pascha of Aleppo particularly admitted him to his familiarity and confidence, which enabled Dr. Russel to render the most important services to the factory; the Pascha, indeed, die] not fail to consult him in every act of importance, and many of the criminals who were natives owed their lives to Dr. Russet’s interposition. The Pascha carried his esteem for him so far, that he sent some valuable presents to his aged father, saying to him, “I am obliged for your friendship and assistance.” His valuable “History of Aleppo” was first published in 1755; and has been translated into different European languages, and a new edition was more recently published, on a very enlarged scale, by his brother Dr. Patrick Russel. It is not necessary here to expatiate in praise of this publication, but the remarks on the plague have been found of utility to every European nation; and, possibly, have tended to check the progress of that dreadful scourge. On his return to England, he chose the metropolis for his residence, and in 1759 was elected physician of St. Thomas’s Hospital, in which situation he continued to the time of his death, which happened in 1770. The Royal Society are obliged to Dr. Russel for many valuable communications, and the Medical Society were under obligations to him for many important papers. His character was that of a constant, sensible, and upright friend, a physician of great skill and experience, a pleasing companion, and a benevolent man.

His brother, Dr. Patrick Russel, who died July 2, 1805, in his seventy-ninth year, succeeded him as physician to the English factory at Aleppo. He published a copious “Treatise on the Plague,” in 1791, 4to, having | had ample opportunities of treating that pestilential disease during the years 1760, 1761, and 1762. In this work, bcbides a journal of the progress, and a medical history of the plague, Dr. Russel inserted a full discussion of the subjects of quarantine, lazarettoes, and of the police, to be adopted in times of pestilence. He likewise published “Descriptions and figures of two hundred Fishes collected on the coast of Coromandel,1803, 2 vols. fol. and prevjousiy to this, in 1794, a new edition of his brothers “Natural History of Aleppo,” upon a very enlarged scale. He was a man of learning and wit: spoke the Arabic, which he acquired during his residence at Aleppo, with the fluency of his mother-tongue: and was, like his brother, of a friendly and benevolent disposition. 1


Gent. Mag. vol. XLI. and LXXV.