T. Percy C. (Thomas Percy Claude) Kirkpatrick.

History of the medical teaching in Trinity college, Dublin and of the School of physic in Ireland online

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every of the said candidates in the several parts of
Physick, & of his and their respective fitness & qualifica-
tions to be the King's Professor of Physic.'

These examinators were to report the result of
their judgement to the guardians, who included
the Archbishop of Dublin, Viscount Skeffington,
or his heirs male, Patrick Dun of Taerty, or his
heirs male, as also the heirs male of the three
sisters of Sir Patrick, Catherin Mitchell, Rachel


More, and Elizabeth Anderson, and of John Jeph-
son, nephew of Lady Dun, the Rev. William
Joseph Jephson, brother of Lady Dun, and her
brother-in-law, the Rev. Enoch Reader. Notice
was to be given to these guardians by the examina-
tors causing

' a notice in writing under their hands of such an examina-
tion having been made in order to fill up the said place
of Professor of Physick and of the time and place where
they shall be ready to declare their opinion of the persons
standing Candidates to be fixed on the Tholsell in our
said city of Dublin and on the gates of Trinity College
near Dublin fourteen days at least before the time
appointed to declare their said opinion.'

Preference was to be given, other qualifications
being equal, to the descendants of these guardians
who were relations of Sir Patrick Dun, in the order
above named, if any such happened to be can-

The emoluments of the professorship were to
consist of the estates of Sir Patrick Dun after the
death or re-marriage of his widow. The Professor
was to have Dun's house on the Inns Quay, pay-
ing the rent of the same and keeping it in order ;
to the President and Fellows of the College of
Physicians being reserved the right of a convenient
room or hall in it for their meetings. The Professor
was to be elected a Fellow of the College on the
first vacancy, and was to give a bond of 2,000
to the Master of the Rolls for the safe keeping of
Dun's library. A catalogue in parchment was to
be made of this library and annexed to the bond


given to the Master of the Rolls, while three copies
of the catalogue were to be made, of which one
was to be given to the Archbishop of Dublin,
another to the President of the College, and the
third annexed to the instrument appointing the

The Professor was diligently to apply himself
to reading public lectures on ' Osteology, bandage
and the operations of Chirurgy and in reading
public botanick lectures, and in the Materia Medica,
and other parts of Physick, or dependent there-
upon, and in making public anatomical dissections
of the several parts of human bodies, and of the
bodies of other animals, and shall publickly demon-
strate plants for the information and instruction
of students in Physick, Chirurgy, and Pharmacy,
which lectures shall be read twice every week in
term time.'

Though Lady Dun was still alive, and there
were consequently no emoluments for the Pro-
fessor, notice was given in the Dublin Gazette of
March 16, 1716/7, of an election, and Dr. Robert
Griffith was appointed first King's Professor, the
examinators being Benjamin Pratt, Provost ;
Thomas Molyneux, Professor of Physic ; Richard
Helsham, President of the College of Physicians ;
and William Smyth and James Grattan, the Senior
Censors. Dr. Griffith died in 1719, and was suc-
ceeded as Professor by Dr. James Grattan, who
remained in office till 1748.

The management of Dun's estate was by no
means settled by the charter of George I, and


much litigation ensued, which was not settled till
1740, when a decree was obtained from the Court
of Chancery, with the consent of all parties.

The appointment of the King's Professor does
not seem to have made any difference in the
medical teaching in Trinity College. As Lady
Dun says in a letter to the Archbishop, dated l
' May ye 3d 1716 ', ' As there is no present sallary :
So there is no present business required from such
a Professor.' The lecturers appointed to teach in
Trinity College continued their work in the School,
and the President and Fellows of the College of
Physicians continued to examine the candidates
for the degrees of Bachelor and Doctor of Physic.
On September 8, I7i6, 2 ' Dr. Robinson and
Surgeon Green were by the Provost and Senior
Fellows appointed to officiate in the Anatomy
School as Lecturer and Anatomist,' but on the
I7th of June following, ' Dr. Robinson was by a
majority of voices turned out from being Anatomist
& Dr. Hoyle elected to the same.' 3

No further information is given in explanation
of this curious resolution either in the Register of
Trinity College or the Minutes of the College of
Physicians. It has been suggested that Robinson
was deprived of his office in consequence of a
refusal to reside in Dublin in the neighbourhood
of the School, a somewhat similar step having
been taken by the authorities of Cambridge Uni-
versity in the case of one of their Professors for
this reason. We find, however, that Robinson was

1 Belcher, p. 61. 2 Reg., vol. iii, p. 477. * Ibid., p. 480.


at this time a regular attendant of the meetings
of the College of Physicians, which would be un-
likely were he not living in the city. There may
possibly have been some dispute as to the manage-
ment of the School, for the next entry in the
Register : ' Ordered that the Bursar pay sixty
pounds to Surgeon Green in order to purchase
preparations for illustrating several parts of the
human body.'

That discrimination was exercised in selecting
those who were to get the degrees of the University
is shown by the case of David Cockburn, Doctor
of Physic of Edinburgh, who was on December 9,
1721, l given leave ' to perform Acts for the degrees
of Batchelor and Doctor in Physick '. On the
2 ist of May following at the meeting of the College
of Physicians,

' Dr. Molyneux, being Professor of Physick & Censor, hath
laid before the College the Preelection of Mr. Cockburn
for his Batchelor of Physic's Degree, and that de Liene
was read through, and found so deficient in the sense,
being unintelligible in several parts, and in the Latin
being not grammatical in many places, that we are of
opinion that the Professor ought not to recommend him
to the College for his Batchelor's degree in Physick.

' Ordered, that the President and Fellows attend the
Provost and make a report in relation to the Praelection
that Mr. Cockburn has read for his Batchelor's degree in

As a result of this report we hear no more of
Mr. David Cockburn in connexion with Trinity

1 Reg., vol. iii, p. 513.


The lectures in natural philosophy formed an
important part of medical teaching, and on
October 31, I722, 1 we find the Board deciding to
expend the sum of 100, ' to buy such instruments
as are necessary for the course of experimental
Philosophy and that the Professors do pay the
house yearly the sum of six pounds as interest for
the same.'

On February 14, I722/3, 2 the Board formally
1 resolved that no person be admitted to take
a degree in Physick or Laws unless he first com-
mence a Batchelor in Arts.'

About this time there were many changes in the
staff of the Medical School. Richard Helsham,
who had been appointed Medicus in January,
1706/7, resigned his Senior Fellowship, probably
on account of his marriage, on January 16, 1729/30.
Edward Hudson was chosen Medicus in his place,
but resigned a year later, and on February 8,
1730/1, was succeeded by Edward Molloy. Both
these Fellows were clergymen, and neither of them
held a medical degree. Molloy resigned on May 23,
1733, and was succeeded by William Clements, who
continued as Medicus till his resignation in 1781.

Richard Hoyle, who was the first Lecturer in
Anatomy, and who had been re-appointed in place
of Bryan Robinson in 1716, died in August, 1730.
The Board at their meeting on the ist of October
following appointed Thomas Madden Lecturer in
Anatomy. This Thomas Madden was the son of
John Madden, M.D., who had been elected a

1 Reg., vol. iii, p. 523. * Ibid., p. 524.


Fellow of the College of Physicians in 1684. It was
a nephew of this John Madden, a son of Samuel
Madden, who in 1798 bequeathed to the College the
money to found the Madden Fellowship Prize. 1

On the 22nd October, 1733, Mr. Vessy Shaw,
surgeon, was elected ' Anatomist to assist the
Anatomy Lecturer ', and on May 2ist following
Francis Foreside was elected Lecturer in Anatomy.

Foreside, an Englishman, 2 had entered College
as a Sizar at the age of 20 on May 30, 1715,
and graduated B.A. in 1720, taking his M.B. and
M.D. in the summer of 1727 and 1730 respectively.
He was admitted a Candidate and Fellow of the
College of Physicians in April, 1735. He resigned
the Lecturership in January, 1741/2, and in the
following month succeeded Henry Cope as Pro-
fessor of Physic. 3 He died in 1745.

In 1717 Dr. William Smyth, senior, had suc-
ceeded Dr. Griffith as Lecturer in Chemistry.
William Smyth entered Trinity College on June 10,
1684,* at the age of 19, and graduated M.B. in
the spring of 1688, and M.D. in 1692. He was the
son of the Rev. William Smyth of Armagh, and
had been educated in that town. In the Charter
of 1692 he was nominated one of the Fellows of
the King and Queen's College of Physicians, and
held the office of President of the College in the
years 1704, 1708, 1719, and 1721. His son William
Smyth, junior, was also a distinguished Fellow of

1 Stubbs, Hist., p. 341 ; Webb, p. 322.

* Entrance Book, T. C. D. Reg., vol. iv, p. 19.

* Entrance Book, T. C. D.


the College of Physicians. On February 27,
1732/3, ' the Provost and Fellows chose William
Stevens Lecturer in Chymistry in ye place of
Dr. Smith deceased.' This William Stevens, or
Stephens, as his name is more usually spelled,
was no relative of Richard Steevens, Professor of
Medicine in 1710, who had bequeathed money to
found the hospital which still bears his name.
William Stephens had graduated M.B. and M.D.
in the spring of 1724, having three years previously
been admitted a Candidate of the College of
Physicians. He was elected Fellow of the College
on St. Luke's Day, 1728, and filled the office of
President in 1733 and again in 1742. He was one
of the Trustees appointed by Mrs. Mary Mercer
in the indenture by which she founded Mercer's
Hospital on the 2Oth May, 1734. For many years
he served as physician to that hospital, and was
nominated as one of its medical governors by the
Act of Parliament passed for its incorporation in
1749. He was also for many years physician to
Steevens' Hospital. There is no mention in the
College records of Stephens having taught botany,
yet in 1727 he published a small book of some
fifty pages, entitled Botanical Elements for the
use of the Botany School in the University of Dublin.
This book he dedicated to the ' Learned Provost,
Fellows and Scholars of Trinity College near
Dublin ', and states that he published it ' to avoid
the trouble of dictating yearly so many pages to
the students in Botany'. It is possible that at
this time Stephens was a demonstrator to the



lecturer in botany, or he may have been one of
those private teachers or grinders who later assisted
so much in College teaching. The book has no great
merit, as may be judged from the following note on
it kindly made by the present Professor of Botany :

' The Botanical Elements is merely a much abridged out-
line of Tournefort's elegant classification of Plants. The
book exhibits neither originality nor critical faculty. At
the time when it was written Ray's classification was avail-
able, yet Stephens ignores it and the recent splendid work
of Grew and Malpigi, selecting by preference Tournefort's
highly artificial method. In one respect the author shows
himself independent of Tournefort's influence, namely in
admitting the sexual functions of the stamens and pistil
which Tournefort denied.'

Stephens continued to discharge the duties of
Lecturer in Chemistry till his death in 1760.

It appears that about the close of the year 1732,
Dr. Henry Nicholson, the first Lecturer in Botany,
died, and on March 4, I732/3, 1 the ' Provost and
Fellows chose Dr. Chemys to be Professor of
Botany '. This Charles Chemys, the son of Ludo-
vicus Chemys or Kemys, was born in Dublin in
1700. He entered Trinity College as a Pensioner
at the age of 15, and was elected Scholar in 1717.
In 1720 he graduated B.A., taking his M.B. in the
spring of 1724, and M.A. in the summer of 1727.
He was admitted a Candidate and elected a Fellow
of the King and Queen's College of Physicians on
December 14, 1730. Chemys only held the office
of Lecturer in Botany for a few months, as on
September 13, I733, 2 ' the Provost and Fellows

1 Reg., voL iii, p. 601. Ibid., p. 604.


chose Mr. Clements Lecturer in Botany in ye place
of Dr. Chemys'. William Clement, or Clements,
had, as we have seen, been elected ' into the Physic
Fellowship ' in the room of Mr. Molloy on the
26th May previously. He was destined for the next
fifty years to occupy a very large place in College
life. He entered College as a Pensioner on
April 28, 1721, at the age of 14, being the son of
Thomas Clements, merchant, and having been
born at Carrickmacross, Co. Monaghan. In 1724
he was elected Scholar, and he graduated B.A. in
1726 and M.A. in 1731. In 1733 he was elected
a Fellow, succeeding Mr. Molloy as Physic Fellow.
In May, 1743, he was co-opted a Senior Fellow,
and in January, 1744/5, succeeded Dr. Cartwright
as Lecturer in Natural and Experimental Philosophy
on the foundation of Erasmus Smith, which post
he held till 1759. He graduated M.B. in 1747, and
M.D. in the following year. He was Donegall
Lecturer in Mathematics from 1750 to 1759, and
was also Auditor, Librarian, and Vice-Provost of
the College. On February I, 1761, he was elected
Professor of Physic, and held that office till
November 15, 1781. In 1761 he was also elected
one of the representatives of the University in
Parliament. During the Provostship of Hely
Hutchinson there were many disputes among the
Fellows, and the Provost was anxious to secure for
himself the support of as many of the Senior and
Junior Fellows as he could. There were at that
time three Senior Fellows who were married,
Dr. Clements, Dr. Leland, and Dr. Dabzac, and


consequently liable to be deprived of their Fellow-
ships. Hutchinson tried to persuade Lord Har-
court to procure a dispensation for the two latter
Fellows, but Lord Harcourt declined to do so
unless the name of William Clements, Vice-Provost,
was included in the list. The Provost strongly
objected to this course, but Lord Harcourt insisted
on extending the royal favour to the Vice-Provost. 1
Clements resigned the Lectureship of Botany in
1763, but continued Vice-Provost till his death on
the i5th January, 1782.

In November, 1729, the President and Fellows
of the College of Physicians remodelled the regula-
tions for conducting the examination for medical
degrees in the University. It was then decided
that a Candidate Bachelor should be examined in
(i) Anatomy, (2) Materia Medica, Pharmacy, and
Botany, (3) Chemistry, and (4) Pathology. The
examination for the degree of Doctor or Licentiate
in Physic was to include these four subjects,
together with the therapeutic part or Methodus
Medendi of Pathology, as well as ' practical cases
in internal and external diseases to be proposed
by the President, together with an explanation of
Hippocrates's Aphorisms '. The President and the
four Censors of the College were to conduct this
examination, each taking a separate part. After
this examination a report on the fitness of the
candidate was made to the Board, on which
depended the granting of a grace for his degree.

1 Stubbs, Hist., p. 235.


THE litigation arising out of Sir Patrick Dun's
will dragged on from trial to trial, till at length,
in 1740, a decree was obtained from the Court of
Chancery, with the consent of all parties, securing
to the College of Physicians the reversion of the
estate on the death of Lady Dun. The estate in
Waterford bequeathed to the College at the time
of Dun's death only produced a profit rent of
58 a year, 1 but it was contemplated, even by
Dun himself, that on the expiration of the leases,
new leases of the lands might be granted which
could produce a rent of at least 200 a year. This
expectation was soon realized, the estates con-
siderably improved in value, and there was good
reason to believe that the improvement would

Under these circumstances the College decided
to enlarge the scope of Dun's scheme by the
appointment of three Professors instead of one.
In order to effect this an Act of Parliament was
obtained in the fifteenth year of George II (1741),
' for vacating the Office of the King's Professor of
Physick in Dublin upon the death or surrender
of the present King's Professor, and for erecting

1 Dun's deed.


three Professorships of Physick in the said City
instead thereof.'

This Act, though expressly declared to be a
' Public Act ', is not printed in the Statutes of
the Realm, and in subsequent Acts is referred to
as of the twenty-first year of George II. Robert
Perceval, in his Account of the Bequest of Sir
Patrick Dun, 1 refers to this Act as printed in 1747,
but no copy of this date is now known to exist.
The Act was transcribed from the original existing
in the Record Office, and in 1867 printed by Trinity
College at the University Press. Its provisions
are of the greatest importance in the history of
the Medical School of Trinity College. Having
recited the bequest of Sir Patrick Dun and detailed
the subsequent enactments concerning it, the Act
proceeded to state that since the estates were so
much increased in value, and likely to increase
further, it was considered that they were com-
petent to provide for three Professorships instead
of one as formerly. Further, since some of the
subjects, for the teaching of which Dun made
provision, were now taught in Trinity College by
Professors appointed subsequent to the execution
of Dun's deed, it would be of great advantage to
the students of Medicine if three Professors were
appointed to teach in the following subjects :
(i) Theory and Practice of Medicine ; (2) Surgery
and Midwifery ; and (3) Ancient and Modern
Pharmacy and Materia Medica. In consequence
of these advantages it seemed good to Parliament,

1 Perceval, Account.


' at the suit of the President of the King and
Queen's College of Physicians in Ireland and of
Dr. James Grattan, King's Professor of Physick
in the City of Dublin,' to recommend ' His Excel-
lent Majesty ' to pass this Act. On the next
vacancy in the King's Professorship, the Professor-
ship was to be ' utterly dissolved, cease and to
be void to all intents and purposes ', and in place
of it three Professorships in the subjects named
above were to be constituted, and come to have
' perpetual continuance and succession '. The
electors and the rules governing the elections
were identical with those laid down in the Charter
of George I, granted in 1715, the candidates being
required to submit to examination on three
separate days for two hours on each day. A
similar preference to that given in the Charter of
George I to the descendants of Sir Patrick Dun,
was extended to those persons by this Act. It
was, however, enacted ' that all Papists and per-
sons professing the Popish religion, or who by any
law in this kingdom are deemed Papists, shall be
utterly incapable of being elected into any of the

In this enactment we see the influence of that
fear of Jacobitism which at the time was intro-
ducing so much bitter religious feeling into the
country, and was responsible for the penal laws
that so long disgraced the Statute Book. A very
wise provision was introduced into this Act, by
which no person was allowed to hold at the same
time more than one of the Professorships on


Dun's foundation, nor was such a Professor allowed
to hold at the same time the chair of either
Anatomy, Chemistry, or Botany, in Trinity Col-
lege. The duty of the Professors was to read
lectures in the Latin tongue in their respective
subjects three times in each week from November
to April during term, the lectures to be given in
Trinity College. The appointment once made was
for life, but any Professor might be deprived of
his chair by the President and Fellows of the
College of Physicians if it were proved on oath
that he continued, after admonition, guilty of
either neglect or misbehaviour in the performance
of his duties. The whole of the personal and real
estate of Sir Patrick Dun was, on the death of
Lady Dun, to be vested in the College of Physicians
for the support of these three Professors, each of
whom was to receive an equal share of the residue
after the payment of the necessary charges. The
only exception to this was Dun's library, which
was to be vested in the President and Fellows,
who were, with the consent of the Archbishop and
any two of the Professors, to deposit it ' in some
convenient place in or near the City of Dublin
for the use of the said College of Physicians and
of all the said Professors and their successors'.

Lady Dun died in January 1748/9, and was
buried in St. Michan's Church beside her husband, 1
and in the same year also Dr. James Grattan, the
King's Professor of Physic, died, just as he had
entered into the enjoyment of the emoluments of

1 Belcher, Memoirs, p. 63.


his Professorship. On May 20, 1749, Richard
Baldwin, Provost, Bryan Robinson, Professor of
Physic, Robert Robinson, President of the College
of Physicians, with Thomas Lloyd and John
Anderson, the two eldest Censors, met in the
Provost's house, Trinity College, and fixed Mon-
day, Tuesday, and Wednesday, September 25, 26,
and 27, at one o'clock in the afternoon, for the
examination of candidates for the new Professor-
ships. 1 They also drafted the form of advertise-
ment which was to appear in the gazettes, in
which, besides defining the duties of the Pro-
fessorships according to the Act, it was stated
that the present emolument of each Chair was
expected to be 90 a year, with the likelihood
of an increase. This notice was printed in the
London Gazette between the 8th and i8th of
July, and in the Dublin Gazette between July 4
and September 23.

A full description of the subsequent events con-
nected with this election has been preserved in
the College of Physicians in a manuscript known
as the ' Book of Electors' Proceedings '. We read
that the Examinators attended at the Anatomy
School in Trinity College on Monday, the 25th
of September, 1749, about one o'clock in the
afternoon. The following candidates presented
themselves William Stephens, M.D. Dublin ;
Constantine Barbor, M.D. Dublin ; Anthony
Rehlan, M.D. Dublin ; Henry Quin, M.D. Padua ;
John M'Michan, M.D. Edinburgh ; and Nathaniel

1 Book of Electors' Proceedings, Col. P.


Barry, M.D. Rheims. The Archbishop adminis-
tered the oath to the Examinators, and on the
first day Dr. Robert Robinson examined in Ana-
tomy and Animal Oeconomy. On the 26th Dr.
Lloyd examined in Surgery and Midwifery, and
Dr. Anderson in Materia Medica. On the 27th
Dr. Bryan Robinson examined in the Theory and
Practice of Physic, and the Provost (Dr. Baldwin)
in the Aphorisms of Hippocrates. On October 2,
the Examinators met in the Provost's house and
signed a report recommending Henry Quin for the
Professorship of Physic, Dr. Nathaniel Barry for
the Professorship of Chirurgery and Midwifery,
and, with the Provost dissenting, Constantine
Barbor for the Professorship of Materia Medica
and Pharmacy. This report was published as
required by the Act, and on October 25, the
Examinators, with the exception of the Provost,
met at the Archbishop's Palace to declare the elec-
tion. As, however, none of the other Guardians
attended, the Archbishop adjourned the meeting
till November 4, when Archdeacon Reader attended
and the election was declared.

With the appointment of the King's Professors
the teaching staff of the School was constituted
as follows :

Online LibraryT. Percy C. (Thomas Percy Claude) KirkpatrickHistory of the medical teaching in Trinity college, Dublin and of the School of physic in Ireland → online text (page 7 of 24)