Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Hawkins, Cæsar Henry

HAWKINS, CÆSAR HENRY (1798–1884), surgeon, born 19 Sept. 1798 at Bisley, Gloucestershire, was son of the Rev. Edward Hawkins, and grandson of Sir Cæsar Hawkins, bart. [q. v.] He received his early education at Christ's Hospital, and after serving as pupil to a Mr. Sheppard was admitted a student of St. George's Hospital under Sir Everard Home and Brodie in 1818. He became member of the Royal College of Surgeons in 1821, taught anatomy with Sir Charles Bell in the Hunterian School, Windmill Street, was appointed surgeon to St. George's Hospital in 1829, and held this office till 1861, when, on his resignation, he was appointed consulting surgeon. He was president of the Royal College of Surgeons in 1852 and again in 1861; was examiner for many years, and delivered the Hunterian oration before the college in 1849. In 1862 he was appointed sergeant-surgeon to the queen, having previously been one of her majesty's surgeons. He was elected a trustee of the Hunterian Museum in 1871, and was also a fellow of the Royal Society.

Hawkins was an eminent and successful surgeon, who throughout his long life won the respect of the whole profession by his attainments and character. His opinion was especially valued in difficult cases. While in comparative retirement as consulting surgeon he was often seen in the wards of St. George's Hospital, where he gave his colleagues the benefit of his long experience. He was noted as being for a long time the only surgeon who had performed the operation of ovariotomy with success in a London hospital, and he did much to popularise the operation of colotomy. But, though a successful operator, he always leaned to what is called conservative surgery, and it was said of him that ‘he was always more anxious to teach his pupils how to save a limb than how to remove it.’

Hawkins contributed many memoirs and lectures to the medical journals, which were collected and printed for private circulation with the title ‘The Hunterian Oration, Presidential Addresses, and Pathological and Surgical Writings,’ 2 vols. 8vo, London, 1874. Among the more important are ‘The Hunterian Oration for 1849;’ ‘On the relative Claims of Sir Charles Bell and Magendie to the Discovery of the Functions of the Spinal Nerves;’ ‘Experiments on Hydrophobia and the Bites of Serpents;’ ‘On Excision of the Ovarium;’ ‘On Stricture of the Colon treated by Operation;’ and valuable ‘Lectures on Tumours.’

Hawkins died 20 July 1884. He was twice married: his first wife was a Miss Dolbel; his second wife, who survives him, was Miss Ellen Rouse. He left no issue.

[Times, 21 July 1884 (Memoir by Mr. Charles Hawkins); British Medical Journal, 16 Aug. 1884; Lancet, 26 July 1884; Dr. A. W. Barclay in Medico-Chirurgical Transactions, 1885, lxviii. 16.]

J. F. P.