Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Dun, Patrick

DUN, Sir PATRICK (1642–1713), Irish physician, was born at Aberdeen in January 1642, being second son of Charles Dun, dyer, by his second wife, Katherine Burnet. His granduncle, Dr. Patrick Dun, was principal of Marischal College, Aberdeen, and endowed Aberdeen grammar school. There is no authentic record of Dun's education, but there is presumptive evidence that he studied at Aberdeen and on the continent. He appears in 1676 in Dublin as ‘physician to the state and my lord-lieutenant’ (according to Sir John Hill, quoted in Culloden Papers, Lond. 1865), and was elected one of the fourteen fellows of the Dublin College of Physicians in 1677. From 1681 to 1687 he was president of the college, and again in 1690–3, in 1696, 1698, and 1706. He was one of the founders of the Dublin Philosophical Society in 1683, before which he read a paper on ‘The Analysis of Mineral Waters;’ and the first record of a public dissection in Dublin was in 1684 by a Mr. Patterson, on the body of a malefactor procured by Dun. That he became M.D. of Dublin is proved by his subsequent incorporation at Oxford in 1677, as given in the ‘Catalogue of Oxford Graduates, 1772.’ Dun was evidently a leading physician in Dublin, and had great social influence. He was the friend and medical adviser of Archbishop King (1650–1729), and of many other influential people. In 1688 he espoused the winning side in politics, and was appointed physician to the army in Ireland, and accompanied the army for some time in 1689 and 1690, but could not obtain payment for his services, although he with others similarly situated petitioned parliament several times, their accounts being passed, but never paid (‘Petition of Sir P. Dun and others,’ 1706? in British Museum). In 1696 he was knighted by the lords justices, and in 1704, having represented that there was a hospital for the sick of the army in Dublin without a physician, he was appointed in 1705 physician-general of the army, at a salary of 10s. a day.

In September 1692 Dun was returned to the Irish parliament as member both for Mullingar (Westmeath) and Killileagh (Down), and elected to sit for the latter. He was again returned for Mullingar in 1695 and in 1703. He does not appear to have taken an active part in parliament, but in 1707 he petitioned to have a charge put on the Earl of Granard's estate in his favour, the earl owing him money at ten per cent. interest.

After Dun became president of the College of Physicians in 1690, he was active in procuring a new charter, which was granted in 1692, and rendered the college independent of Trinity College. In 1694 Dun married Mary, daughter of Colonel Jephson, by whom he had one son, who died young. In 1711 Dun made his will, by which he left the residue of his estate, after certain payments to his widow, to found a professorship of physic in the Dublin College of Physicians, and to carry out the intentions he had previously (in 1704) expressed in a scheme for providing one or two professors of physic, and for reading public lectures and making public anatomical dissections, also for lectures on osteology, operations of surgery, botany, materia medica, &c., for the instruction of students of physic, surgery, and pharmacy. He died at Dublin on 24 May 1713, and was buried in his own vault in St. Michan's Church, Dublin.

Dun's house was given to the College of Physicians for a meeting-place, and his library was also given to the college. In 1715 a charter was obtained incorporating the professorship he had endowed, under the title ‘The King's Professorship of Physic in the city of Dublin.’ Disputes arose as to the carrying out of the trust between Lady Dun, Dr. Mitchell (Dun's brother-in-law), and the college, and it was not until 1740 that a complete settlement took place. In 1743 an act of parliament was obtained for establishing in place of the king's professor three professors of physic, of surgery, and midwifery, and of pharmacy and materia medica. Additional professorships were founded in 1785. In 1800 a further act was obtained, founding a hospital known as Sir Patrick Dun's Hospital, and considerably developing the ‘School of Physic in Ireland.’

A fine portrait of Dun in the robes of a doctor of physic, by Sir Godfrey Kneller, is in the convocation hall of the Dublin College of Physicians. An engraving from it by W. H. Lizars accompanies Belcher's memoir, and is also printed in the ‘Dublin Quarterly Journal of Medical Science,’ 1846 and 1866.

[Belcher's Memoir of Sir Patrick Dun, Dublin Quarterly Journal of Medical Science, 1866, vol. xlii., second edition, enlarged, published by the Dublin College of Physicians, 1866; notice (by Sir W. Wilde) in Dublin Quarterly Journal of Medical Science, 1846, ii. 288–93; Osborne's Annals of Sir Patrick Dun's Hospital, 1844; other authorities quoted by Belcher.]

G. T. B.