HUNTER

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HUNTER, William ; a celebrated anatomist and medical practitioner, born May 23, 1718, at Kilbride, in the county of Lanark, in Scotland. At the age of 14, he was sent to the university of Glasgow, and engaged himself as the pupil, and afterwards as the partner, of Cullen, at Hamilton. The result of this connexion has been already partially related. (See Cullen, William.) Mr. Hunter went to reside at Hamilton in 1737; and, after having passed the winter of 1740 at Edinburgh, he went to London in 1741. He soon evinced his ability by a paper On the Structure and Diseases of Articulating Cartilages, which he communicated to the royal society in 1743, and which was inserted in the Philosophical Transactions. He determined to establish himself in London as a teacher of anatomy, and commenced lecturing on that subject in 1746, having previously been engaged to assist Mr. Samuel Sharpe as a lecturer on surgery. In 1747, he was admitted a member of the corporation of surgeons; and in the spring of the following year, soon after the close of his lectures for the season, he went to I <eyden and Paris. On his return home, he devoted himself to the practice of midwifery, and was chosen surgeonaccoucheur, first to the Middlesex hospital, and then to the British lyingin hospital. In 1750, he entirely relinquished mere surgical practice, though much consulted as a physican in cases requiring peculiar anatomical skill for their investigation. In 1755, he became physician to the British lyingin hospital, and was soon after elected a member of the medical society. In the first volume of Observations and Inquiries, published by that association in 1757, appeared doctor Hunter's History of an Aneurism of the Aorta; and he was an important contributor to the subsequent publications of the society, of which he was chosen president on the death of doctor Fothergill. In 1762, he published a work, entitled Medical Commentaries (4to.), to which was subsequently added a Supplement, the object of which was to vindicate his claim to some anatomical discoveries, in opposition to professor Monro, of Edinburgh, and others. In 1764, he was appointed physicianextraordinary to the queen. Doctor Hunter was elected a fellow of the royal society in 1767; and, in 1768, on the establishment of the royal academy of arts, he was appointed professor of anatomy. He was made a foreign associate of the royal medical society at Paris in 1780, and of the royal academy of sciences in 1782. The most elaborate and splendid of his publications, the Anatomy of the human Gravid Uterus (folio, illustrated by 34 large plates), appeared in 1775. In 1777, he joined Mr. Watson in presenting to the royal society a Short Account of the late Doctor Maty's Illness, and of the Appearances on Dissection; and, in 1778, he published Reflections on the Section of the Symphysis Pubis, designed to show the impropriety and inutility of that surgical operation, which had become fashionable among accoucheurs on the continent, and especially in France. Two Introductory Lectures to his Anatomical Course, which he had prepared for the press, were published after his death. About 1765, he presented a memorial to Mr. Grenville, then minister, requesting a grant from government of the site of the long's mews, whereon he offered to erect an edifice at the expense of £7000, and endow a professorship in perpetuity. But his proposal was treated with neglect, in consequence of which he purchased a spot of ground in Great Windmill street, Haymarket, where he built a house, anatomical theatre, and museum, for his own professional purposes, and thither he removed in 1770. Here, besides objects connected with the medical sciences, he ultimately collected a library of Greek and Roman classics, and a valuable cabinet of medals. The latter furnished the materials for a publication, entitled Nummorum veterum Populorum et Urbium qui in Museo Crulielmi Hunter asservantur Description Figuris illustrata, Op. et Stud. Caroli Combe, SR. et SA. Sec. (1783, 4to.). In 1781, the museum was augmented by the addition of shells and other natural curiosities, which had been collected by doctor Fothergill, who had given testamentary directions that his cabinet of natural history should be offered to doctor Hunter for £500 less than the appraised value; and he accordingly purchased it for £1200. He continued to attend to his avocations till within a very short time of his death, which took place March 30,1783. He bequeathed his museum to his nephew for the term of 30 years, after which it was removed to the university of Glasgow, where it is now deposited.