Millingen, John Gideon (DNB00)

MILLINGEN, JOHN GIDEON (1782–1862), physician and writer, born at 9 Queen's Square, Westminster, on 8 Sept. 1782, was younger brother of James Millingen [q. v.] At the age of eight he was taken by his father to Paris, and lived through the horrors of the revolution. During the imprisonment of his brother, whose liberation he claims to have tried to effect, he, according to his own story, repeatedly met Robespierre, Danton, Barère, and other Jacobin leaders, although he was only ten or eleven years old at the time (cf. his Recollections of Republican France). He matriculated at the École de Médecine, and after studying under Sue and Boyer obtained a medical degree. On 26 Jan. 1802 he joined the British army as assistant-surgeon in the 97th foot (Queen's Own), and was ordered to Egypt. On 16 Nov. 1809 he was appointed surgeon in the 31st (Huntingdonshire) foot, and full surgeon to the forces on 26 May 1814. He served in all the Peninsular campaigns under Wellington and Lord Hill, and he was present at Waterloo as principal surgeon of cavalry and at the surrender of Paris. He was afterwards sent to the West Indies, but loss of health compelled him to retire on half-pay in 1823, with the Waterloo and other medals. After leaving the army he lived for some time in Boulogne, where he brought out in 1826 his ‘Sketches of Ancient and Modern Boulogne.’ He was connected in a medical capacity with the Military Lunatic Asylum at Chatham, and in 1837 was appointed, on the resignation of Sir William Ellis, resident physician to the Middlesex Pauper Lunatic Asylum at Hanwell. On resigning this post early in 1839, he is said to have opened a private lunatic asylum in Kensington. He died in London in 1862.

Millingen's first literary work seems to have been the libretto of a musical farce by Horn, entitled ‘The Bee-Hive,’ which was produced at the Lyceum by the Drury Lane Company 19 Jan. 1811, and published in the same year. His other dramatic writings are: ‘Who'll Lend me a Wife?’ a farce in two acts and in prose; ‘Borrowed Feathers,’ a farce in one act and in prose (both these were published in Duncombe's edition of the ‘British Theatre,’ London, 1825, &c.); ‘The Miser's Daughter,’ a drama in two acts, London, 1835; ‘The Illustrious Stranger, or Married and Single,’ a farce in one act and in prose, in collaboration with James Kenney [q. v.], published in ‘Home Plays,’ pt. i., London, 1862; ‘Ladies at Home, or Gentlemen, we can do without you,’ a female interlude, in one act and in prose, published in Lacy's ‘Acting Edition of Plays,’ London, 1850.

He also published:

  1. ‘Adventures of an Irish Gentleman,’ a novel, London, 1830.
  2. ‘Curiosities of Medical Experience,’ a laborious compilation, similar in design to Disraeli's ‘Curiosities of Literature,’ London, 1837.
  3. ‘Popular View of the Homœopathic Doctrine,’ London, 1837.
  4. ‘Stories of Torres Vedras,’ 3 vols., London, 1839.
  5. ‘Aphorisms on the Treatment and Management of the Insane, with Considerations on Public and Private Lunatic Asylums, pointing out the Errors in the present System,’ London, 1840.
  6. ‘The History of Duelling, including Narratives of the most Remarkable Personal Encounters, &c.,’ 2 vols., London, 1841 (cf. Edinburgh Review, July 1842.
  7. ‘Jack Hornet, or the March of Intellect,’ London, 1845.
  8. ‘Mind and Matter, illustrated by Considerations on Hereditary Insanity,’ London, 1847.
  9. ‘Recollections of Republican France from 1790 to 1801,’ a somewhat highly coloured narrative of juvenile experience, vol. i., London, 1848, with portrait.

[Millingen's Recollections of Republican France; Notes and Queries, 7th ser. x. 384; information from descendants; Brit. Mus. Cat.; Army Lists, 1803, 1815, 1824.]

T. B. S.