Page:A cyclopedia of American medical biography vol. 2.djvu/163

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MacNEVEN


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MacNEVEN


Macneven, William James (1763 — 1841).

William James Macneven was born at Ballynahowne, County Galway, Ireland, on March 21, 1763. His ancestors were country gentlemen, living on their own estate, which was transmitted in a direct Hne froin father to son.

He was the eldest of four sons and at the age of ten or twelve was sent for by his uncle. Baron Macneven, to receive his education in Germany where he had an excellent one at the college at Prague; subsequently passing through the med- ical college, and taking the degree of Doctor in Physic at Vienna, in 1874. The same year he returned to Dublin and began to practice.

His intimacy with Lord Edward Fitz- gerald, with Jones, O'Connor, and other individuals of note; his entrance as a member of the Secret Society, in which he was joined by Thomas Addis Emmet; his arrest on the twelfth of March, 1798; his confinement in Ililmainham and subsequent removal to Fort George, are among the foremost occurrences most worthy of detail.

After the liberation of the state prisoners from Fort George, he passed the summer and autumn of 1802 in a pedestrian tour through Switzerland, and wrote an account of his journey, called "A Ramble through Switzerland." At the completion of this tour, he visited his relations in Germany.

New resolutions now animated him. The cause of liberty in his own country had sustained a blow, the effects of which paralyzed further effort. He accordingly set sail from Bordeaux for New York in June, 1804, and arrived on the afternoon of the fourth of July in the midst of the rejoicings of the American nation in commemoration of the Declaration of Independence. He lost no time in making known his intentions of becoming an American citizen, fixing upon New York as his permanent home, and imme- diately entering into practice there. The M. D. was conferred on him at Columbia College.

In 1810 he married Mrs. Jane Margaret


Tom, the widow of Mr. John Tom, merchant, of New York, and daughter of Mr. Samuel Riker, of Newton, Long Island. By this marriage Dr. Macneven had a family of several sons and daugh- ters, most of whom died of consumption.

In March, 1838, he was attacked with an alarming illness, and lay some days dangerously sick, but the attack at length terminated in a severe fit of the gout. His professional pursuits were now both irksome and injurious to him, and he determined on retiring to the country. In November, 1840, he re- ceived a severe injury of the leg, which, together with a shock from a fall, occasioned him a long and painful illness. From this time his strength gradually failed him, and on July 12, 1841, he died.

Dr. Macneven, at the opening session of the College of Physicians and Surgeons, in 1807, deUvered a long course on clinical cases as they occurred in the New York Almshouse, where, with Dr. Hos- ack, he was an associate physician. In 1808 he received from the Regents the appointment of professor of midwifery. In 1810 a reorganization of the school took place, when Samuel Bard was placed at the head. Dr. Macneven was now chosen professor of chemistry, and, in 1816, while Dr. Francis was in Europe, materia medica was added to his chair. This arrangement continued until 1820, when they were separated. Dr. Mitchell, being assigned that duty wth natural history.

He wrote "Pieces of Irish History," and numerous poHtical tracts. His "Exposition of the Atomic Theory," printed in 1820, was received with favor, and reprinted in the " French Annals of Chemistry." As co-editor of the "New York Medical and Philosophical Journal," a work which, made up chiefly of selec- tions, he projected with Dr. Benjamin De Witt in 1812, he wrote several papers on subjects strictly medical. He also published, in 1821, with emendations, an edition of " Brande's Chemistry."

Eminent American Physicians and Surgeons. S. D. Gross.