Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Lewis, William (1714-1781)

LEWIS, WILLIAM (1714–1781), chemist, son of John Lewis of London, was born in 1714. He matriculated at Christ Church, Oxford, on 17 March 1730–1, graduated B.A. in 1734, and proceeded M.A. 1737, M.B. 1741, M.D. 1745. At the opening of the Radcliffe Library in 1749 Lewis delivered the oration. He practised as a physician, and in 1745 was living in Dover Street, London, but shortly afterwards removed to Kingston-upon-Thames. On 31 Oct. 1745 he was admitted F.R.S.; he died on 21 Jan. 1781. Lewis was eminent for his writings on the Pharmacopœia. His chief works were: 1. ‘A Course of Practical Chemistry,’ London, 1746, 8vo. 2. ‘Pharmacopœia Edinburgensis,’ London, 1748, 8vo. 3. ‘The New Dispensatory,’ London, 1753, 8vo, Edinburgh, 1781, 1791. 4. ‘Experimental History of the Materia Medica,’ London, 1761, 4to; 2nd edit. 1768; 3rd edit. by J. Aiken, 1784; German translation, 1771. 5. ‘Commercium Philosophico-Technicum,’ London, 1763–6, 4to. He also published translations of Caspar Neuman's chemical works in 1759, and (posthumously) of Hoffman's ‘System of the Practice of Medicine,’ 1783. Two papers by him upon platinum appeared in the ‘Philosophical Transactions’ for 1754 and 1757 respectively. In 1767 the Society for the Improvement of Arts, Manufactures, &c., of which he was one of the founders, awarded him a gold medal for an essay upon ‘Potashes.’

[Nichols's Lit. Anecd. ix. 764; Foster's Alumni Oxon. 1715–1886; Georgian Era, iii. 484; Thomson's Hist. Royal Soc.; Watt's Bibl. Brit.]

W. A. J. A.