Simmons, Samuel Foart

, a late learned physician, and physician extraordinary to the king, was born March 17, 1750, at Sandwich, in Kent, where his father, who followed the profession of the law, was so respected, that, at the coronation of their present majesties, he was deputed by the cinque ports one of their barons to support the king’s canopy, according to ancient custom. His mother, whose maiden name was Foart, and whose family was likewise of Sandwich, died when he was an infant. He was educated at a seminary in France, where he not only improved himself in the learned languages, but acquired such a perfect knowledge of the French tongue, as to be able to write and speak it with the same facility as his own. He pursued his medical studies for nearly three years at Edinburgh, and afterwards went to Holland, and studied during a season at Leyden, where he was admitted to the degree of doctor of physic: he chose the measles for the subject of his inaugural discourse, which he inscribed to Cullen, and to Gaubius, both of whom hud shewn him particular regard. After taking his degree at | Leyden, he visited and became acquainted with professor Camper in InesKuul, who had at that time one of the finest anatomical museums in Kurope. From thence he proceeded to Aix-lct-Chapelle and the Spa, and afterwards visited different parts of Germany; stopped for some time at the principal universities; and wherever he went cultivated the acquaintance of learned men, especially those of his own profession, in which he was ever anxious to impr >ve himself. At Berne, in Switzerland, he became known to the celebrated Haller, who afterwards ranked him among his friends and correspondents. He came to reside in London towards the close of 1778, being then in his 2Stii year, and was admitted a member of the College of Physicians, and was elected a fellow of the Royal Society 1779, and of the Society of Antiquaries 1791, as he had been before of different foreign academies at Nantz, Montpellier, and Madrid: he was afterwards admitted an honorary member of the Literary and Philosophical Society at Manchester, and of the Royal Society of Medicine at Paris, at which place he was elected one of the Associes Etrangers de l‘Ecole de Medicine; and in 1807, Correspondant de la Premiere Classe de I’Institut Imperial. Previous to 1778, he had written an elementary work on Anatomy, which was greatly enlarged and improved in its second edition, 1781: and he had communicated to the Royal Society the History of a curious case, which was afterwards published in their Transactions, “Phil. Trans.” vol. LXIV. He became also the sole editor of the LondonMedical Journal;” a work which, after going through several volumes, was resumed under the title of “Medical Facts and Observations’.” these two works have ever been distinguished for their correctness, their judicious arrangement, and their candour. About this time he published an account of the Tape-worm, in which he made known the specific for this disease, purchased by the king of France. This account has been enlarged in a subsequent edition. — He likewise distinguished himself by a practical work on “Consumptions,” which, at the time, became the means of introducing him to considerable practice in pulmonary complaints. In 1780, he was elected physician to the Westminster General Dispensary; a situation he held for many years, and which afforded him ample scope for observation and experience in the knowledge of disease. These opportunities he did not neglect; and though, | from his appointment soon after to St. Luke’s Hosr he was led to decline general practice, and to attach himself more particularly to the diseases of th mi-.;, continued to communicate to the publick such facts and remarks as he considered likely to promote the extension of any branch of professional science. With this view, he published some remarks on the treatment of Hydrocephalus internus (“Med. Comment, of Edinburgh, vol. V.”), and in the same work a case of Ulceration of the Œsophagus and Ossification of the Heart. He wrote also an account of a species of Hydrocephalus, which sometimes takes place in cases of Mania (London Med. Journal, vol. VI.) and an account of the Epidemic Catarrh of the year 1788, vol. IX. He had given an account also of the “Life of Dr. William Hunter,” with whom he was personally acquainted, a work abounding in interesting anecdote, and displaying an ingenuous and impartial review of the writings and discoveries of that illustrious anatomist. From the time of his being elected physician to St. Luke’s Hospital to the period of his death, he devoted himself, nearly exclusively, to the care and treatment of Insanity; and his skill in this melancholy department of human disease, became so generally acknowledged, that few, if any, could be considered his superiors. In the year 1803, it was deemed expedient to have recourse to Dr. Simmons, to alleviate the mournful malady of his sovereign, of whom he had the care for nearly six months, assisted by his son: the result was as favourable as the public could have wished; and on taking their leave, his majesty was pleased to confer a public testimony of his approbation, by appointing Dr. Simmons one of his physicians extraordinary, which took place in May 1804. — In the unfortunate relapse, which occurred in 1811, Dr. Simmons again attended; and, in conjunction with the other physicians, suggested those remedies and plans which seemed most likely to effect a cure. In February of that year he resigned the office of physician to St. Luke’s, in a very elegant letter, in which he assigned his age and state of health as the reasons for his resignation. The governors were so sensible of the value of his past services, and the respect due to him, as immediately to elect him a governor of the charity. They also proposed his being one of the committee; and, expressly on his account, created the office of Consulting Physician, in order to have the advantage of | his opinion, not merely in the medical arrangement, but in the domestic ceconomy of the hospital. His last illness began on the evening of the 10th. of April, 1813, when he was seized with sickness, and a violent vomiting of bile, accompanied with a prostration of strength so sudden, and so severe, that on the second day of the attack he was barely able to stand; and a dissolution of the powers of life seeming to be rapidly coming on, he prepared for his departure with methodical accuracy, anticipated the event with great calmness, and, on the evening of the 23d of the same month, expired in the arms of his son. He was buried May 2, at Sandwich in Kent, and, according to the directions expressed in his will, his remains were deposited in a vault in the church-yard of St. Clement, next to those of his mother. In private life, Dr. Simmons was punctiliously correct in all his dealings; mild and unassuming in his manners, and of rather retired habits, passing Ins time chiefly in his study and in his professional avocations. He was one of the earliest proprietors of the Roy;d Institution and, in 1806, became an hereditary governor of the British Institution for the promotion of the Fine Arts. He has left one son, who is unmarried, and a widow, to deplore his loss. 1


Gent. Mag. vol. LXXXIII.