(1757), and 'A Letter to the Author of the Critical Review,’ anon., London, 1757, in Brit. Mus. 274 D 4.
Hunter's papers in the 'Philosophical Transactions' 'On the Articulating Cartilages' (xlii. 514), 'On Bones (now known to be those of Mastodon found near the Ohio, U.S.A.) '(Iviii. 34), and 'On the Nyl-ghau' (lxi. 170), are interesting as early accounts of subjects now much better known. His magnum opus, however, is his work (On the Human Gravid Uterus,' the material for which was collected with unremitting care during twenty-five years. In his preface Hunter acknowledges his indebtedness in most of the dissections to the assistance of his brother John. The plates and the descriptions attain a very high degree of accuracy and lucidity. Hunter had also intended to write a history of concretions in the human body, and collected much material for the work, which, with the intended illustrations, was considerably advanced at his death, but was never published.
As to his anatomical and other discoveries, Hunter was most tenacious of his claims. His 'Medical Commentaries' (parts i. and ii.), with the supplement and second edition, contain most of his contributions to the controversy with the Monros as to injection of the tubuli testis, in which the priority belonged to Haller in 1745; as to the proof of the existence of the ducts in the human lachrymal gland; and as to the origin and use of the lymphatic vessels. The latter were important discoveries, but both Monro and Hunter were anticipated in large part by Pecquet, Rudbeck, and Ruysch. Hunter deserves much credit for good work in demonstrating the course of the lymphatics and their absorbing powers. In reference to the controversy with the Monros, see also ' Observations, Physiological and Anatomical,' by A. Monro secundus, Edinburgh, 1758. Hunter assigned a comparatively low place to William Harvey as a discoverer, alleging that so much had been discovered before that little was left for him to do but 'to dress it up into a system '(Introductory Lectures, p. 47).
As a collector of coins, medals, &c., Hunter showed considerable judgment and great acquisitiveness. He secured from Matthew Duane the valuable series of Syriac medals, Roman gold and Greek royal and civic coins and medals, which had been part of Philip Carteret Webb's collection (Nichols, Lit. Anecd. ii. 280, iii. 498). They included a noble series of Carausius and Allectus (ib. v. 451). He also acquired Thomas Sadler's collection (ib. vi. 110), and part of Thomas Simon's (ib. ix. 97), and duplicates from Flores's collection through Francis Carter (ib. iii. 23). Carter, writing to Nichols (ib. iv. 607), referring to the fate of some coins, says: `In all probability they sunk into the Devonshire or Pembroke cabinets, as all now do into Dr. Hunter's. God grant I may be able to keep mine from their clutches. He had the impudence to tell me, in his own house, last winter, that he was glad to hear of my loss by the capture of the Granades, as it might force me to sell him my Greek coins' (cf. Charles Combe, Nummorum veterum Populorum et Urbium qui in Museo Gul. Hunter asservantur Descriptio Figuris illustrata,' 4to, London, 1783, with a dedication to the queen by Hunter). In natural history, besides Dr. Fothergill's collection, he purchased largely from John Neilson's collection (Nichols, Lit. Anecd. ix. 813). Hunter also bought manuscripts and books from De Missy's library (ib. iii. 314), the Aldine 'Plato' of 1513, on vellum, and other treasures, from Dr. Askew's collection (ib. iii. 404, 496), and the folio ' Terentianus Maurus,' Milan, 1497 (ib. iy. 514). A manuscript was left by Hunter giving full details of his purchases for the museum; a copy is in the department of antiquities in the British Museum.
Besides papers above referred to, Hunter wrote:
- 'Medical Commentaries; Part I. Containing a Plain … Answer to Professor Monro, jun., interspersed with Remarks on the Structure, Functions, and Diseases of the Human Body,' 2 pts., London, 1762-4, 4to; second edition, 1777.
- 'Anatomia Uteri humani gravidi Tabulis illustrata,' J. Baskerville, Birmingham, 1774, elephant folio, thirty-four plates; new edition by Sydenham Society, 1851.
- 'Two Introductory Lectures delivered by W. H. to his last course of Anatomical Lectures. To which are added some Papers relating to Dr.Hunter's intended Plan for establishing a Museum in London for the Improvement of Anatomy,' London, 1784, 4to.
- 'An Anatomical Description of the Human Gravid Uterus and its Contents,' edited by M. Baillie, London, 1794, 4to; second edition, by E. Rigby, London, 1843, 8vo.
Several volumes of Hunter's lectures, in manuscript, are in the library of the Royal Medical and Chirurgical Society.