JAMES

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JAMES, Robert, an ingenious physician and medical writer, but best known as the inventor of a specific for the cure of fever, was born in 1703, He practised medicine in London, and engaged in the compilation of a medical dictionary, which appeared in 1743, in three volumes, folio. In this work James is said to have been assisted by his friend doctor Johnson, who has warmly eulogized his professional skill, in his Lives of the Poets. He published, in 1751, a Dissertation upon Fevers, the purpose of which was to recommend a peculiar medicine, since known by the name of James's powder. For this preparation he procured a patent, and sold it as a secret remedy, by which he exposed himself to the hostility of his professional brethren, who looked upon his conduct as inconsistent with the dignity of the medical character. James's powder is now known to be antimoniated phosphate of lime ; and a preparation very similar to it, if not exactly the same, has long had a place in the London Pharmacopoeia. The general respectability of his character as a man of science and literary acquirements, enabled him, in a great degree, to triumph over the prejudices excited by a mode of conduct which placed him so near the level of those pests of society, the majority of advertising empirics and venders of patent medicines. In 1760, he published a work entitled the Practice of Physic (2 vols., 8vo.), and subsequently a treatise on canine madness, and a dispensatory. One of his last literary labors was, a Vindication of the Fever Powder, not published till after his death, which took place in 1776.