Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Caverhill, John

CAVERHILL, JOHN (d. 1781), physician, a Scotchman, was admitted a licentiate of the London College of Physicians in 1767. He died at Old Melrose, Roxburghshire, on 1 Sept. 1781. He wrote a ‘Treatise on the Cause and Cure of Gout,’ 8vo, London, 1769, in which he put forward the theory that the matter of nerves was earthy, and descended through the nerves to form the bones, and that the friction of this earthy substance, in its way to the bones, gave rise to animal heat. He followed this by ‘Experiments on the Causes of Heat in Living Animals,’ 8vo, London, 1770, in which he attempted to prove his theory by a large number of barbarous experiments on rabbits, destroying various nerves or portions of the spinal cord, and awaiting the death of the animals. He also wrote a ‘Dissertation on Nervous Ganglions and Nervous Plexus,’ 8vo, London, 1772, and an ‘Explanation of the Seventy Weeks of Daniel,’ 8vo, London, 1777.

[Munk's Coll. of Phys. 1878, ii. 281; Caverhill's works.]

G. T. B.