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Dawson, Thomas (DNB00)

DAWSON, THOMAS, M.D. (1725?–1782), physician, born about 1725, was the son of Eli Dawson, a dissenter, whose father was one of the ejected ministers of 1662. He himself began life as the minister of a congregation at the Gravel Pit Meeting-house in Hackney, but preferring the practice of physic, he gave up the pulpit, went to gow College 1749, and graduated M.D. at the latter 8 June 1753. He soon after began practice in London, occasionally going round the wards of Guy's Hospital. One day he found a Miss Corbet, a patient of his, sitting in her room gazing at the seventh verse of the twelfth chapter of the second book of Samuel, and taking the words on which her eyes were fixed, ‘Thou art the man,’ to express a wish which she had perhaps suggested less directly before, made her an offer of marriage and became her husband 29 May 1758 (Nichols, Literary Anecdotes, ix. 694). He was elected physician to the Middlesex Hospital 1 Feb. 1759, but only held office for two years. On 22 Dec. 1762 he was admitted a licentiate of the College of Physicians of London. Two years later (3 Oct.) he was elected physician to the London Hospital, and continued there till 5 Sept. 1770 (Calendar of the London Hospital, 1886). He used to see patients at Batson's coffee-house in Cornhill, and in 1774 published ‘Cases in the Acute Rheumatism and the Gout, with cursory Remarks and the Method of Treatment.’ The cases are not sufficiently numerous to prove the efficiency of the treatment, which consists in giving half-ounce doses of tincture of guaiacum during the painful stage of both rheumatic fever and gout. Brocklesby had previously made some experiments in the same direction, and it was no doubt suggested by the then fashionable use of guaiacum in chronic rheumatism. Dawson's method has not stood the test of time, and is now forgotten in practice. His only other work is ‘An Account of a Safe and Efficient Remedy for Sore Eyes and Eyelids,’ London, 1782. He died 29 April 1782.

[Munk's Coll. of Phys. 1878, ii. 240; Works; Calendar of the London Hospital Session, 1886–1887.]

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