Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Lind, James (1736-1812)

LIND, JAMES, M.D. (1736–1812), physician, born in Scotland on 17 May 1736, went out as surgeon in an East Indiaman in 1766 and visited China. In 1768 he graduated M.D. at Edinburgh, and his inaugural dissertation, ‘De Febre Remittente Putrida Paludum quæ grassabatur in Bengalia A.D. 1762,’ was published at Edinburgh in 1768, 8vo. In 1769 he observed the transit of Venus at Hawkhill, near Edinburgh, and he sent an account of his observations to the Royal Society, in whose ‘Transactions’ it is printed, with remarks by Nevil Maskelyne, the astronomer royal (Phil. Trans. lix. 339). His account of an observation of an eclipse of the moon made by him at Hawkhill, in a letter to Maskelyne 14 Dec. 1769, was also read before the Royal Society (ib. p. 363). On 6 Nov. 1770 he was admitted a fellow of the College of Physicians, Edinburgh, and in 1772 he published a ‘Treatise on the Fever of 1762 at Bengal,’ translated from his inaugural dissertation. Pennant expresses himself greatly indebted to Lind for the true latitude of Islay, and for a beautiful map of the isle, from which he derived his measurements (Tour to the Hebrides, ed. 1790, p. 262). Lind accompanied Mr. (afterwards Sir) Joseph Banks [q. v.] on his voyage to Iceland, the expedition setting sail 12 July 1772. A paper by him, on a portable windgauge, was read before the Royal Society 11 May 1775, and printed with a letter from him to Colonel Roy, in which he alludes to a wind-gauge sent by him to Sir John Pringle (Phil. Trans. lxv. 353). He was elected a fellow of the Royal Society of London 18 Dec. 1777. About the same time he seems to have settled at Windsor, where he afterwards became physician to the royal household. Whether he obtained much of a private practice is doubtful. ‘With his love of Eastern wonders and his taste for tricks, conundrums, and queer things,’ says Madame d'Arblay, ‘people were afraid of his trying experiments with their constitutions, and thought him a better conjuror than a physician.’ When the coffin of Edward IV was opened and examined at Windsor in 1789, Lind made an analysis of the liquid found in it. In 1795 he printed in 12mo, at his private press at Windsor, ‘The Genealogy of the Families of Lind and the Montgomeries of Smithson, written by Sir Robert Douglas, Baronet, author of the “History of Scotland.”’ Charles Knight mentions mysterious little books which Lind printed from characters which he called ‘Lindian Ogham,’ cut by himself into strange fashions from battered printing-types given to him by Knight's father. Dr. Burney describes Lind as extremely thin—‘a mere lath;’ and in her ‘Diary’ Miss Burney (afterwards Madame d'Arblay) refers to his collection of drawings and antiquities, and to his ‘fat handsome wife, who is as tall as himself, and about six times as big.’ His sweetness of disposition is generally acknowledged. Shelley, when at Eton, became intimate with Lind, of whom he said, ‘I owe to that man far, ah! far more than I owe to my father; he loved me, and I shall never forget our long talks, where he breathed the spirit of the kindest tolerance, and the purest wisdom.’ On one occasion Lind, according to the doubtful testimony of Hogg, was the means of preventing Shelley from being consigned by his father to a private madhouse. Hogg's further statement that Lind was Shelley's ‘Mentor in the art of execrating’ his father and George III may safely be rejected, since Lind was devotedly attached to the king. He ‘lives in Shelley's verse,’ as the old hermit in ‘Laon and Cythna’ and as Zonoras in the fragment ‘Prince Athanase.’ He died at the house of his son-in-law, William Burnie, esq., in Russell Square, London, on 17 Oct. 1812. His wife was Ann Elizabeth Mealy.

[Annual Register, xv. 116, 139; Madame d'Arblay's Diary and Letters, ii. 303, 308, iii. 73, 74, 187; D'Arblay's Memoir of Dr. Burney, iii. 73, 74; Life and Letters of Mary Granville (Mrs. Delany), vi. 171, 172; Gent. Mag. 1812 ii. 405, 1865 ii. 627; Gough's Sepulchral Monuments, ii. 279, 280; Memoir of Mrs. Grant of Laggan, i. 166; Herald and Genealogist, ii. 63, iii. 384; Dowden's Life of Shelley, i. 33 sq.; Hogg's Life of Shelley, i. 31, 139; Knight's Passages of a Working Life, i. 44; Lysons's Berkshire, 210 n.; Nichols's Illustr. Lit. vi. 498; Thomson's Royal Society, App. p. lvi; Weld's Royal Society, ii. 35–7, 108; Watt's Bibl. Brit.]

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