Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Carson, James

CARSON, JAMES, M.D. (1772–1843), physician, a Scotchman, was originally educated for the ministry, but his inclination leading him to the study of physic, he attended medical classes at Edinburgh, and graduated doctor of medicine there in the autumn of 1799 (inaugural essay, 'De Viribus quibus Sanguis circumvehitur'). He then removed to Liverpool, where he remained for the greater part of his professional career. In 1808 his name came prominently before the public in connection with the case of Charles Angus, a Liverpool merchant, who was charged with the murder of Miss Margaret Burns under what appeared to be circumstances of peculiar atrocity. At the trial held at Lancaster assizes on 2 Sept. of that year Carson in Angus's behalf stoutly maintained his opinion as to the cause of death against that of the four medical witnesses called for the crown, among whom was Dr. John Bostock the younger [q. v.] In the result a verdict of 'not guilty' was returned. Some angry pamphleteering ensued, and Carson defended himself in 'Remarks on a late Publication entitled "A Vindication of the Opinions delivered in Evidence by the Medical Witnesses for the Crown on a late Trial atLancaster,"' 8vo, Liverpool, 1808. He continued at Liverpool, and subsequently held several appointments there. He died at Sutton, Surrey, 12 Aug. 1843 (Annual Register, 1843, p. 286). He was elected a fellow of the Royal Society on 1 June 1837, having many years previously communicated a paper ‘On the Elasticity of the Lungs’ (Phil. Trans. cx. 29–44). Carson's other writings are: 1. ‘Reasons for colonizing the Island of Newfoundland,’ 8vo, 1813. 2. ‘A Letter to the Members of Parliament on the Address of the Inhabitants of Newfoundland to the Prince Regent,’ 8vo, 1813. 3. ‘An Enquiry into the Causes of the Motion of the Blood,’ 8vo, Liverpool, 1815 (second and enlarged edition under the title of ‘An Inquiry into the Causes of Respiration,’ &c., 8vo, London, 1833). 4. ‘A New Method of slaughtering Animals for Human Food,’ 8vo, London, 1839.

[Dict. of Living Authors, 1816, p. 56; Brit. Mus. Cat.]

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