1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Elliotson, John

ELLIOTSON, JOHN (1791–1868), English physician, was born at Southwark, London, on the 29th of October 1791. He studied medicine first at Edinburgh and then at Cambridge, in both which places he took the degree of M.D., and subsequently in London at St Thomas’s and Guy’s hospitals. In 1831 he was elected professor of the principles and practice of physic in London University, and in 1834 he became physician to University College hospital. He was a student of phrenology and mesmerism, and his interest in the latter eventually brought him into collision with the medical committee of the hospital, a circumstance which led him, in December 1838, to resign the offices held by him there and at the university. But he continued the practice of mesmerism, holding séances in his home and editing a magazine, The Zoist, devoted to the subject, and in 1849 he founded a mesmeric hospital. He died in London on the 29th of July 1868. Elliotson was one of the first teachers in London to appreciate the value of clinical lecturing, and one of the earliest among British physicians to advocate the employment of the stethoscope. He wrote a translation of Blumenbach’s Institutiones Physiologicae (1817); Cases of the Hydrocyanic or Prussic Acid (1820); Lectures on Diseases of the Heart (1830); Principles and Practice of Medicine (1839); Human Physiology (1840); and Surgical Operations in the Mesmeric State without Pain (1843). He was the author of numerous papers in the Transactions of the Medico-Chirurgical Society, of which he was at one time president; and he was also a fellow both of the Royal College of Physicians and Royal Society, and founder and president of the Phrenological Society. W. M. Thackeray’s Pendennis was dedicated to him.