Wall, John

, a learned physician and medical writer, was born at Powick, in Worcestershire, 1708. He was the son of Mr. John Wall, an opulent tradesman of the city of Worcester, who served the office of mayor in 1703. He received the early part of his education at a grammar-school at Leigh-Sinton, and at the college school of Worcester, whence he was elected scholar of Worcester-college, Oxford, in June 1726. In 1735, he was elected fellow of Merton -college, soon after which he took the degree of bachelor of physic, and removed to the city of Worcester, where he was many years settled in practice. In 1759, he took the degree of M. D. Besides an ingenious “Treatise on the virtues of Malvern-waters,” which he brought into reputation, he enriched the repositories of medical knowledge with many valuable tracts, which, since his death, have been collected into an octavo edition, by his son, the present learned Dr. Martin Wall, F. R. S. clinical-professor of. the university, and were printed at Oxford in 1780. He married Catherine youngest daughter of Martin Sandys, esq. of the city of Worcester, barrister at law, and uncle to the first lord Sandys. Dr. Wall was a man of extraordinary genius, which he improved by early and indefatigable industry in the pursuit of science; but he was more particularly eminent in those branches of natural philosophy which have an immediate connexion with the arts, and with medicine. He was distinguished likewise through his whole life by an uncommon sweetness of manners, and cheerfulness of disposition, which, still more than his great abilities, made his acquaintance courted, and his conversation sought, by persons of all ranks and ages. His practice, as a physician, was extended far | beyond the common circle of practitioners in the country, and he was particularly eminent for benevolence, courtesy, penetration, and success. His native country still boasts many monuments of the application of his eminent talents to her interests. To his distinguished skill in chemistry, and his assiduous researches (in conjunction with some other chemists) to discover materials proper for the china-ware, the city of Worcester owes the establishment of its porcelain-manufacture. Besides the improvements he suggested and put in execution for the accommodation of visitors at Malvern, it was to his zeal and diligence the county of Worcester is in no small degree indebted for the advantages of the infirmary, which he regularly attended during his whole life. His principal amusement was painting; and it has been said of him, that, if he had not been one of the best physicians, he would have been the best painter of his age. This praise is perhaps too high, yet his designs for the two frontispieces to “Hervey’s Meditations,” that for Cambridge’s “Scribleriad,” and for the East window of the chapel of Oriel-college, Oxford, are very creditable specimens of his talents. He died at Bath, after a lingering disorder, June 27, 1776, and lies buried in the abbey-church. The tracts published by his son, are, 1. “Of the extraordinary effects of Musk in convulsive disorders.” 2. “Of the use of the Peruvian Bark in the small-pox.” 3. “Of the cure of the putrid sore-throat.” 4. “Mr. Oram’s account of the Norfolk-boy.” 5. “Observations on that case, and on the efficacy of oil in wormcases.” 6. “Experiments and Observations on the Mal­* vern- waters.” 7. “Letters to Sir George Baker, &c. on the poison of lead, and the impregnation of cyder with that metal.” 8. “A Letter to Dr. Heberden on the Angina Pectoris.” 9. “Supplement; containing an account of the epidemic fever of 1740, 1741, and 1742.” The editor has enriched this publication with various notes, which discover an extensive acquaintance with the subjects in question, and a candid and liberal turn of mind. To the treatise on Malvern-waters Dr. Martin Wall has also subjoined an appendix of some length, containing an experimental inquiry into their nature; from which it appears, that the Holywell-water at Malvern owes its virtues principally to its extreme purity, assisted by the fixed air which it contains. 1


Nash’s Hist, of Worcestershire. Month. Rev. vol. LXIV. Chalmers’s Hist. of Oxfurd.