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Hunter
Hunter
290

the development of the collateral circulation. His procedure was justified by the patient's recovery in six weeks (see Home, Trans. Society for Improvement of Med. and Chir. Knowledge, i. 138). Operations of a similar kind have since saved very many lives. In 1786 he published his 'Treatise on the Venereal Disease,' after many years' study, and also his ' Observations on certain parts of the Animal Ĺ’conomy,' both being printed in his own house. In the same year, on the death of Middleton, he was appointed deputy surgeon-general to the army, and in 1790, on the death of Adair, surgeon-general and inspector-general of hospitals. In 1787 he received the Copley medal from the Royal Society for his discoveries in natural history.

The death of Pott in December 1788 left Hunter the undisputed head of the surgical profession. Soon afterwards he secured the services of Home as assistant-surgeon at St. George's, and in 1792 Home undertook the delivery of Hunter's surgical lectures with the aid of his manuscripts. Hunter now devoted much of his spare time to completing his great work on ' The Blood. Inflammation, and Gunshot Wounds,' which he did not live to publish. Early in 1792, on the resignation of Charles Hawkins, Thomas Keate, then assistant to John Gunning [q.v.], the senior surgeon at St. George's, was chosen surgeon by a considerable majority, in opposition to Home, who was Hunter's candidate. At the conclusion of the acrimonious contest Hunter announced his intention of no longer dividing with the other surgeons the fees he received for pupils, on the ground that they neglected to instruct them properly. The surgeons denied his right to take this action, and the subscribers to the hospital supported them. A letter addressed to the subscribers by Hunter on 28 Feb. 1793 (see Lancet, 3 July 1886) details the efforts he had made to induce his colleagues to improve their teaching. The other surgeons, in concert with a committee, drew up rules for the admission and regulation of pupils, without consulting Hunter. One rule forbade the entry of pupils without previous medical instruction. Two young Scotchmen ignorant of the rule came up in the autumn and appealed to Hunter, who undertook to press for their admission at the next board meeting on 16 Oct. 1793. On the morning of that day he expressed his anxiety lest a dispute should occur, being convinced that the excitement would be fatal to him. His life, he used to say, was 'in the hands of any rascal who chose to annoy and tease him.' At the meeting, while Hunter was speaking in favour of his request, a colleague (probably Gunning) flatly contradicted one of his statements. Hunter immediately ceased speaking and retired into an adjoining room, where he almost immediately fell dead in the arms of Dr. Robertson, physician to St. George's. Autopsy revealed that the mitral valves and coronary arteries were ossified, and that the heart was otherwise diseased. He was buried on 22 Oct. in the vaults of St. Martin-in-the-Fields. On 28 March 1859 his remains, having been identified by Francis Trevelyan Buckland [q.v.], were removed, at the cost of the Royal College of Surgeons of England, to Abbot Islip's Chapel, on the north side of the nave of Westminster Abbey. In 1877 a memorial window to Hunter was placed in the north transept of Kensington Parish Church by public subscription. His widow survived till 1821. Of his four children, two survived him: John, who became an officer in the army, and Agnes, who married Captain James Campbell, eldest son of Sir James Campbell; neither left issue.

In person Hunter was of middle height, vigorous, and robust, with high shoulders and rather short neck. His features were strongly marked, with prominent eyebrows, pyramidal forehead, and eyes of light blue or grey. His hair in youth was a reddish yellow, and in later years white. The fine portrait by Sir Joshua Reynolds (painted in May 1785) in the possession of the Royal College of Surgeons was a happy and sudden inspiration, due to Hunter's falling into a reverie. A copy by Jackson is in the National Portrait Gallery, and another is in St. Mary Hall, Oxford. Sharp's engraving from it (1788) is one of his best works.

Hunter often rose at five or six to dissect, breakfasted at nine, saw patients till twelve, and visited his hospital and outdoor patients till four. He was most punctual and orderly in his visits, leaving a duplicate of his visiting-book at home, so that he could be found at any time. He dined at four. For many years he drank no wine, and sat but a short time at table, except when he had company. He slept for an hour after dinner, then read or prepared his lectures, made experiments, and dictated the results of his dissections. He was often left at midnight, with his lamp freshly trimmed, still at work. He wrote his first thoughts and memorandums on odd scraps of paper. These were copied and arranged, and formed many folio volumes of manuscript. Hunter would often have his manuscripts rewritten many times, making during the process endless corrections and transpositions.

In manners Hunter was impatient, blunt, and unceremonious, often rude and overbearing, but he was candid and unreserved to a fault. He read comparatively little, and