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had not been initiated. The Clerks kept Case-books, but it was
customary for many notes to be entered by the Physician himself
upon the bed cards, upon which the prescriptions were also
entered. Dr Thompson used invariably to write out his notes
himself in that clear, fine, flowing hand which we all remember ;
and whenever he required these notes for the purpose of a
Clinical Lecture they would be copied out by the Clerk or House
Physician into the Case-book. Thus it came about that some
cases required quite a large sheaf of cards filled with the record
of salient facts fluently stated in clear and precise terms by the
Physician. These records were sufficient indeed for the purpose
for which they were intended, but sadly inefficient as a means
of clinical training for the student.

Dr Henry Thompson was bom at Workington, Cumber-
land, and his stalwart frame was doubtless inherited from the
Cumbrian "statesmen" to which his family belonged. He
i£ceived bis early education at Shrewsbury School, then under
the rule of Dr Samuel Butler, and famous for its classical
training. Young Thompson proved his aptitude for this study^
and some of his Greek and Latin verses find a place in the
pages of the volume "Sabrinae Corolla," that contains the
finest specimens of this literary culture. From Shrewsbury he
went to Cambridge, entering at St John's College, and in 1838
he was placed seventh in the Classical Tripos. He was elected
to a Fellowship of his College, and at the time of his death
was the Senior Fellow. Selecting Medicine as his profession
he studied at St George's Hospital, and took the M.D. degree
at Cambridge in 1853. He became a Fellow of the Royal
College of Physicians of London in 1858, having been elected
Assistant Physician to the Middlesex Hospital in 1855 to fill
the vacancy occasioned by the resignation of Dr Mervyn
Crawford. The other Assistant Physician was Dr Goodfellow,
the Physicians being Dr Hawkins, Dr Seth Thompson, and
Dr A. P. Stewart. Promotion was rapid, for in four years' time
we find that Dr Stewart had become Senior Physician and
Drs Goodfellow and H. Thompson, Physicians. In x866, on
Dr Stewart's resignation, Dr Murchison was made full Physician,
and in 1871 the vacancy caused by Dr Murchison's removal to
St Thomas's Hospital was filled by the appointment of Dr
Greenhow to the full staff. In the following year Dr Good-



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76 Obituary,

fellow's retirement made Dr H. Thompson Senior Physician,
whilst Dr Robert Liveing was promoted to be third Physician.
In the School Dr Thompson lectured on Materia Medica from
1855 to 1869. His lectures were, as we may well imagine,
most carefully prepared, but they were read from the manuscript
in so low a tone as, so I am informed, not to reach the ears
of a large part of the class. No doubt it was this low-pitched
delivery in marked contrast to the fine physical proportions of
the speaker that earned for him the sobriquet of ** Jupiter
tonans." Materia Medica can hardly be said to be an ex-
hilarating subject, or one that lends itself to oratorical display,
and it must have been more from a sense of duty than of choice
that Dr Thompson taught it ; still it gave him a command over
this side of therapeutics which we used to envy. His pre-
scriptions were flawless, but his dread of unnecessary or
excessive drugging was keen. Many a tale might be told of
his extreme scrupulousness in this respect, but it was at any
rate good discipline for his assistants, who learnt from it that
one great secret of the art of Medicine lay in accurate dosage,
and that the line between the beneficial and harmful action of
a drug varied with the individual case. Not once but often
has he been known to call at the Hospital on his way home
from the Club, somewhere about midnight, to revise or recon-
sider the dose of some narcotic or other powerful drug which
he had prescribed at his afternoon visit. He was, too, remark-
ably cautious in the prescription of purgatives, lest their action
should prove too exhausting for a feeble frame. Thus he had
an almost grotesque horror of the common sheet-anchor of
the House Physician — Haustus Sennce Compoiitus — as I can
myself testify. I can never forget the solemn and reproachful
terms with which he admonished me for what to him seemed
to be the incautious use of this familiar mixture In a case which
he thought might have been prejudicially affected by it. It is
even said, but I cannot personally vouch for the fact, that on
nnft nrcasion where local blood- letting was desired he, after
:ommuning, ordered ** half a leech " to be applied, for
Lt were the creature fully gorged the loss of blood would
e than it would be well for the patient to bear,
ough he did not cultivate systematic bedside instruction,
isequently was attended at his ward visits by few beside?
mse Physician and Clerks, those who understood his



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Obituary. 7 7

methods were always repaid for "going round" with him.
His skill in diagnosis, perfected by long years of Hospital
experience, became proverbial, and there could be no question
as to his auscultatory powers, which were all the more surprising
considering his deafness. He would detect the slightest
variation in the character of the cardiac sounds and would
often draw attention to the faint indications of mitral obstruction
in what he termed a ** prefix " to the first sound, or the fore-
warning of pericarditis in the altered rhythm of the action of
the heart. He had great facility in his expression of the signs
observed, the terseness and fidelity of his descriptions being
most noticeable, whilst his interpretation of signs and symptoms
was singularly exact. He insisted on the great value of post-
mortem examinations as a means of verifying or confuting the
interpretation of signs observed during life. At the close of
his examination of a new case he would write his diagnosis on
the card, but did not hesitate to make alterations in it subse-
quently should renewed examination prove that the first
impression was incorrect. No Physician could be more fr^e
from dogmatism, or more open to conviction, and often when
baffled by some unusual feature of a case he would return again
and again to its scrutmy before venturing upon a definite con-
clusion. It was seldom that this conclusion was wrong, whilst
this precision in the art of diagnosis made him to excel in
prognosis.

Dr Thompson's clinical lectures were, it is needless to say,
adniirable in composition. He was no pedant, but he insisted
on the paramount importance of preserving the puriiy of the
English language, and his delicate and refined scholarship was
shocked at the solecisms and inaccuracies of current medical
literature. He abhorred the barbarities that were creeping
into terminology, marking the decadence of learning in a
miscalled "learned" profession. His own words and phrases
were well chosen, sometimes even painfully precise, but always
most expressive and suitable. I doubt if any modern medical
writer has equalled him in this qualitv of terse and accurate
phraseology. Thus every lecture, always carefully prepared
and read, was a finished production. Then, as now, it was
the custom for each Physician to deliver a set clinical lecture
once in three weeks. Sometimes this was utilized by the
lecturer to give a systematized course upon some branch of



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78 Obituary.

medicine, and it was thus that Dr Murchison's admirable
" Clinical Monograph on Diseases of the Liver " and Dr
Greenhow's •* Studies of Bronchitis" came to be published.
But Dr Thompson preferred to restrict his subjects to the
material close at hand, and invariably his lectures consisted of
commentaries of cases then or recently in the wards. He
mostly selected such as had been completed, so that the full
lesson they taught could be imparted to his hearers. In the
preparation of these studies he delighted, and the pains he
took to make them exact was remarkable. The lecture was
given in the week following that upon which fresh cases were
admitted to the wards of the " Physician of the week," whilst
in the third week there was comparative leisure from assiduous
ward work. It was then that he commenced to think of the
subject of his next lecture, and armed with the clinical and
post-mortem notes he would devote himself to its study. I
believe that most of his writing was done at his Club, and that
he would often in the course of the composition revise and
rewrite passages which did not satisfy his critical conscience.
Frequently he would refer to the Registrar or Pathologist for
the purpose of clearing up ambiguities in the notes of a case.
Thus when the lecture came to be delivered, we who knew the
thought he had bestowed upon it and valued it accordingly,
sought front row benches in order not to miss the pungent
commentary, full of wit and wisdom, that was read in the low
monotone that did scant justice to the matter of the lecture.
It was only towards the latter third of the period of his tenure
of office that any medical contributions of his were published,
a tardiness that stands in striking contrast to the haste with
which most of us run into print. But Thompson had the
modesty of true genius, and placed too low a value on his own
productions. From that time onward, however, an occasional
lecture in the Medical Journals, or a paper read before the
Clinical Society, of which he was an original member (but I
doubt if he ever attended its meetings), made known to the
world the talents of our Senior Physician which had been too
long concealed. On his resignation he was persuaded to
collect and republish some of these writings, with the result
that a volume entitled Clinical Lectures and Cases with Cant'
mentaries was published in 1880 (Churchill). Many of us could
have wished that the selection could have been wider than it



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Obituary, 79

was, but he was as particular in this as in all his work. Some
of the contents of this volume deal with cases interesting mainly
for their rarity, but some convey most useful and practical
lessons. Perhaps the most noteworthy are his comments upon
Rheumatic Hyperpyrexia, to the study of which he had paid
particular attention, and the description he gives of the
prodromal indications of that alarming complication is one
that has no counterpart in any other treatise on the subject.
The value of this account lies in the fact that it gives the
warning signal to the practitioner to prepare for the resort to
the only treatment known to avert a fatal result, that of the
cold bath. Every Middlesex man should read this volume, for
apart from its intrinsic merits, its author states in his preface
that in publishing it his "main purpose is to leave it as a
legacy to the Middlesex Hospital — in memon'amy

His was a striking personality, so unlike the common con-
ception of the professional man, but denoting vigour of mind
and body in spite of the premature appearance of signs of age.
The tall and broad figure, massive head, and genial face marked
him out from his fellows, and made one feel that the cognomen
of *' handsome Harry '* applied to him in his youth must have
been very appropriate. He was the type of an English gentle-
man, and one could not help perceiving how much reserve
force lay behind this calm and massive exterior. Indeed the
word "gentle" in its generally accepted sense best denotes
his nature, for he was unruffled by the conflicts that raged
around him, and never allowed passion to overbear judgment.
It was an enviable temperament which permitted him to take
a far more philosophical view of things than that of the
enthusiast or man of unresting energy. He had a keen sense
of humoar, and was in all things most upright; in many
respects his character resembled that of the finest type amongst
our venerated worthies — Campbell de Morgan. His mode of
life harmonized with his temperament, and he enjoyed it. It
accorded, too, with his lifelong celibacy, being most methodical
and regular both in work and play. Indeed to him all work
was play, and duties were done without a break and without
a murmur. When the time approached for his annual summer
flitting to the North he would set apart one day in his
"off week" at the Hospital to visit the City and select his
fishing tackle with as much deliberation as he would have kept



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So Obiluary.

an important professional engagement. All he did was done
deliberately and with studied care. I once asked him whether
he would not miss his daily round of Hospital duty when the
time came for him to abandon it. His reply was characteristic
of the man and his bent of mind. It was in the negative, for
he said it would enable him to devote himself to other pursuits,
and he intimated that he thought of replacing the study of
medicine by that of philosophy. I do not know whether he
really carried out this intention, but he continued to spend
the chief part of the year in London, and only on the rarest
possible occasions did he revisit the Hospital. Until advancing
years with their hampering physical infirmities came upon him
his life must have been a pleasant one, passed without effort,
without care ; he was contented rather than indolent, capable
doubtless of more than he actually accomplished, but still
effecting not a little, and above all earning the gratitude of
many for having first given them a true insight into the
principles and practice of medicine. By his death one more
link with the past is severed. No member of our Staff remains
who was on it when he joined forty-two years ago, and even
in the seventeen years that have passed since he left us the
changes in our ranks have been many and frequent. It is
inevitable that this should be so, but neither change nor years
should make us forgetful of those whose names are inseparably
linked with the fortunes of our Hospital, and whose work,
like that of Henry Thompson, is best known to those who
shared it with him, glad to serve one whom they held in such
affectionate regard.

Sidney Coupland.



Samuel Laing M.A.



Mr Samuel Laing, whose death occurred on the 6th of August
last at his residence, Rockhills, Sydenham Hill, was for many
years a prominent figure in the Railway world. He was the
eldest son of Mr Samuel Laing of Papdale, Orkney, and was
born in Edinburgh on the iith of December 1812. He was a
nephew of Mr Malcolm Laing, author of the History of Scotland.
Mr Laing was educated at Houghton le Spring Grammar School,
and was for a short time under the private tuition of Mr Richard
Wilson (B.A. 1824), Fellow of the College. He entered St



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Obituary^ 8i

John's as a Pensioner 5 July 1827. Mr Laing took his degree
as Second Wrangler in 1831 and was also Second Smith's
Prizeman. He was elected a Fellow of the College 17 March
1834, and apparently resided for a short time in Cambridge as
a mathematical coach. He had been admitted a student of
Lincoln's Inn 10 November 1832, and was called to the Bar
9 June 1837. Shortly after his call he was appointed private
secretary to the late Mr Labouchere, afterwards Lord Taunton,
then President of the Board of Trade. Upon the formation of
the Railway Department of that Office, he was appointed
Secretary, and thenceforth distinguished himself under suc-
cessive Presidents of the Board of Trade.

In 1844 he published the results of his experience in A Report
on British and Foreign Railways^ and gave much valuable evidence
before a Committee of the House of Commons on Railways.
To his suggestion the public are mainly indebted for the con-
venience of parliamentary trains at the rate of one penny per
mile. In 1845 Mr Laing was appointed a member of the
Railway Commission, presided over by Lord Dalhousie, and
drew up the chief reports on the railway schemes of that period.
Had his recommendations been followed, much of the com-
mercial crisis of 1845 would, as he has since proved, have been
averted. The Report of the Commission having been rejected
by Parliament, the Commission was dissolved, and Mr Laing,
resigning bis post at the Board of Trade, returned to his practice
at the Bar. In 1848 he accepted the post of Chairman and
Managing Director of the Brighton Railway Company, and
under his administration the passenger traffic of the line was in
five years nearly doubled. In 1852 he became Chairman of the
Crystal Palace Company, from which he retired in 1855, as well
as from the Chairmanship of the Brighton line. In July 185a
Mr Laing was returned to Parliament in the Liberal interest for
the Wick district, which he represented until 1857. H® ^*«
again re-elected in April 1859. He was Financial Secretary to
the Treasury from June 1859 until October i860, but resigned
this as well as his seat in Parliament on proceeding to India as
Finance Minister. On his return from India he was again
elected M.P. for Wick in July 1865, but failed to be re-elected
in 1868. He was, however, returned as M.P. for Orkney and
Shetland in 1872, and was re-elected in 1874 and 1880, retiring
from Parliament in 1885.

vol.. XX. 2f



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82 Obituary.

He had been again appointed Chairman of the London,
Brighton and South Coast Railway in 1867, and he continued
to hold this post until a year or two ago. His great position in
the Railway world made him well known in the city of London.
The success of the line under his control was greatly due to his
foresight and business ability. And like many successful men
be had great capacity for choosing able subordinates, whose
enthusiastic support he secured by loyally backing them up and
standing by them in difficulties. He was also connected with
other Companies, but even these were Companies in regard to
which his knowledge of Railways and their management was of
importance. These were the Railway Share Trust and Railway
Debenture Trust, and Mr Laing was for many years Chairman
of both.

Late in life, when his official career had closed, and his
parliamentary and other duties no longer demanded his energies,
Mr Laing turned his attention to literature. In 1886, the year
after his retirement from the House of Commons, there appeared
Modem Science and Modem Thought, a volume which was at the
time very widely read. Written in an easy and interesting style,
it expressed what was in the minds of many people who had
given some attention to the modern developments of scientific
investigation without going into them very deeply, or pursuing
any line of original research for themselves. The book aimed
at being popular rather than technical, and had a decided .success.
His later works are A modem Zoroastrian 1887 ; Problems of the
Future and 9ther Essays 1889 ; The Antiquity of Man 1891 ; and
Human Origins 1892. Without possessing in themselves any
very great scientific value, these works showed their author's
reading to have been very wide, and furnished many people
with general ideas on important subjects which, if discussed in
a less attractive form, would probably have passed unheeded by
them.

Mr Laing was a man who attached no importance to titular
distinction of any kind. When he had done a piece of work, it
was for him done with, and he preserved no note or notice of it.
He never talked of himself or what he had achieved, so that it
is difficult to find any record of much which at the time was of
high value «nd importance to individuals or the state. The
above therefore is but the merest outline of what was really a
most varied and remarkable life's work. In 1841 he married



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Obituary. 83

Mary, daughter of Captain Cowan R.N , and leaves issae. He
was buried at Brighton on August loih in the presence of a large
number of personal and business friends.



Richard Benyon M.A.



Mr Richard Benyon, who died at his residence Englefield
House near Reading on the t5th of July last, was the third, but
second surviving son of William Henry Fellowes Esq., of Ramsey
Abbey, Hunts, by his wife Emma, daughter of Mr Richard
Benyon, of Englefield House and Gildea Hall, Essex. He was
born II November iSii and came to St John's from the
Charterhouse. Mr. Fellowes, as he then was, took his degree
as a Senior Optime in the Mathematical Tripos of 1833. He
was admitted a student of Lincoln's Inn 11 November 1835 and
was called to the Bar 23 November 1837. In 1854 h£ succeeded
to the estates of his maternal uncle Mr Richard Benyon de
Beauvoir of Englefield House, and thereupon by royal licenca
assumed the surname and arms of Benyon in lieu of his patro-
nymic. He married 25 March 1858 Elizabeth Mary, second
daughter of Robert Clutterbuck of Watford House. Herts, He
was a Magistrate and large property owner in Berks, Hants^
Essex and North London, and the patron of eight livings. For
nearly half a century he took a leading part in public affairs in
Berkshire. He was High Sheriff in 1857. He was a Magistrate
and Deputy Lieutenant of the County, and was for some time
Chairman of Quarter Sesssions, and Alderman of the County
Council and High Steward of Reading. He was returned M.P.
for Berkshire at the elections of May i860, 1865, 1868, 1874
and February 187b. Shortly after the latter election, owing to
failing health, he was obliged to accept the Chiltern Hundreds.
His colleagues in the representation of Berkshire throughout
the greater portion of this time were the late Mr John Walter
and the present Lord Wantage.

He was a liberal supporter of all philanthropic, charitable,
and church work. He is believed to have built more churches
than any other man of modern times. He was a warm friend
of Bradfield school, and he gave his support to elementary
education also, subscribing not only to the National Society but
also directly to individual Church Schools, often giving unasked
if bis knew of a special need. He was a munificent supporter



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84 Ohiiuary.

of the Royal Berkshire Hospital, was President and one of the
Founders of the Royal Berkshire Friendly Societies, and was
prominently associated with many other public institutions both
metropolitan and provincial. His name appears as the donor
of jfis to the Building Fund of Bishop Fisher's Hostel at the
College Mission. He gave first at home, his was a model
parish, but he never let his charity stop there, and of no man
could it be so literally affirmed that his left hand did not know
what his right hand did. He was not only respected, but
beloved, and his memory will long be kept green for the noble
example of an unselfish life and unstinted benevolence.



Rev Prebendary Edgar Huxtable M.A.

The Rev Prebendary Huxtable died on lo July at his
residence 19 Montpelier Terrace, Ilfracombe, aged 87. We
take the following account of him from The Guardian of
August 18.

One has left us whose life was not in vain, although his quiet
old age has not kept him in sight of our younger men. Nor did
the character which Prebendary Huxtable cultivated so reverently
allow him to play a very ostensible part in the world.

He was a devout student, who read that he might pray, and
learnt that he might help young men. His study was an introit
to the altar, and he trod his daily road by those altar lights.

Yet he was a soldier as well as a scholar, for he faced every
difficulty full in front, and wrestled with each honest doubt that
stood in his path, till the heart that came out of the battlefield
was rich in the spoils of the enemy, strong in a faith that had
been tried to the uttermost, and tender in a sympathy with all
who feel the difficulties of belief, a great sympathy that carried
men on his shoulders, and found oil and wine to heal and
refresh those who lay wounded by the wayside.

Edgar Huxtable was the son of a physician, born at Willilon
in Somerset, May 3rd 18 10, and baptised and confirmed in the
Church of England. Talent and its service were the properties
of his family, for one of his brothers became Archdeacon of
Sarum, a man who had read every book worth reading that had
come out in the last thirty or forty years of his life, and was
himself an author on scientific, agricultural, and theological
subjects, a man who succeeded in living the main part of each^



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Obituary. 85

day in the conscious Presence. Another brother became Bishop
of Mauritius. And the eldest, who died soon after taking his
M.D. degree, was reputed the cleverest of the four brothers.

At Cambridge (St. John's) Edgar Huxtable*s rank was high —



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