Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Armstrong, George

ARMSTRONG, GEORGE, M.D. (fl. 1767), brother of John Armstrong, the poet, after practising pharmacy at Hampstead, qualified himself as a physician, removed to London, and established in 1769 a dispensary, supported by contributions, for the relief of poor children. This beneficentinstitution continued to exist for more than twelve years, and it was calculated that not less than 35,000 children were relieved during that time. But it met with small pecuniary support, and in December 1781 its career of usefulness was closed. In 1767 he published an 'Essay on the Diseases most fatal to Infants;' a second edition appeared in 1771, and a third edition, dedicated to Queen Charlotte, in 1777. An enlarged edition appeared in 1808, edited by A. P. Buchan, M.D. To the third edition was appended 'A General Account of the Dispensary for the Infant Poor,' which had been printed, in a shorter form, in 1772. Armstrong claimed that 'no charitable institution was ever established whereby so much good has been done, or so many lives saved at so small an expense,' as by the dispensary he had founded. He dwells with emphasis on the fact that it was the only institution where children were received 'without any letters of admission, provided the parents are really indigent, the case dangerous, and requiring speedy relief.' The date of his death is unknown. In 'Rees's Cyclopaedia' he is said to have died 'in obscurity.' He left three daughters (to whom their uncle had bequeathed his property) and a widow.

[Rees's Cyclopædia; Works.]

A. H. B.