in 1798, 1807, 1820, and 1823; was Lumleian lecturer from 1811 to 1822; and delivered the Harveian oration in 1808. He had considerable chemical knowledge, and published ‘Heads of Lectures on Chemistry’ in 1796. He was one of the revisers of the ‘Pharmacopœia Londinensis’ in 1809, and published a translation of that edition. On 30 Sept. 1808 he was appointed secretary to the commissioners for regulating madhouses, and on 13 April 1810 he read, at the College of Physicians, ‘Observations upon the Comparative Prevalence of Insanity at Different Periods,’ afterwards published in the ‘Medical Transactions of the College of Physicians of London,’ vol. iv. In the same volume he published ‘Observations on the Internal Use of Nitrate of Silver,’ in which he recommends its use in chorea and in epilepsy, an opinion which he modified in a subsequent paper on further cases of the same diseases, read on 17 April 1815. On 20 Dec. 1813 he read ‘Observations upon some cases of Paralytic Affection’ (Medical Transactions, vol. v.), in which simple facial palsy was for the first time described. Sir Charles Bell [q. v.], in the course of his researches on the nervous system, afterwards redescribed and explained this affection; but the credit of its first clinical description belongs to Powell, who also initiated a method of treatment by warm applications which is still in use, and is often efficacious. In the following year (2 Dec.) he read ‘Some Cases illustrative of the Pathology of the Brain,’ a description of thirteen cases of interest. In the course of the paper he describes several diseases which have since become well known, but had then scarcely been noticed—such as hæmatoma of the dura mater, meningitis following necrosis of the walls of the inner ear, and new growth of the pituitary gland. On 7 May 1818 he read a paper ‘On certain Painful Affections of the Alimentary Canal’ (Med. Trans. vi. 106), which describes a variety of acute but recurring enteric inflammation associated with the formation of flakes of false membrane. He also published an account of a case of hydrophobia. He gave some attention to the study of the history of St. Bartholomew's Hospital; and on 27 Nov. 1817 a letter from him to Dr. William George Maton [q. v.] was read, describing the most ancient charter preserved in the hospital and its seal. He printed for the first time the whole text of this charter (Archæologia, vol. xix.), which is a grant from Rahere [q. v.] in 1137. Powell lived in Bedford Place, London, for some years, and, after he retired from practice, in York Terrace, Regent's Park, where he died on 18 Aug. 1834. His portrait hangs in the committee-room of St. Bartholomew's Hospital.
[Munk's Coll. of Phys. ii. 456; Kirby's Winchester Scholars, p. 273; Foster's Alumni Oxon.; Records of Court of Governors of St. Bartholomew's Hospital; Minute-book of Abernethian Society of St. Bartholomew's, vol. i. MS.; Minute-book of Medical Council of St. Bartholomew's, vol. i. MS.; St. Bartholomew's Hospital Journal, vol. i. No. 1; Works.]
POWELL, ROBERT (fl. 1636–1652), legal writer, was probably related to the Powells of Pengethley, Herefordshire. To that family belonged his client in 1638, Sir Edward Powell (d. 1653), a master of requests. Powell describes himself in 1634 as ‘of Wells, one of the Society of New Inn,’ and as having enjoyed for twenty-five years a good practice as a solicitor in Gloucestershire (Life of Alfred, ded.). As late as 1652 he was bailiff and deputy-sheriff of the county (State Papers, Dom. Jac. I. cliii. 17). He is perhaps the Robert Powell of Westminster who was licensed to marry Katherine Smith of St. Margaret's, Westminster, on 13 Aug. 1618 (Marriage Licenses, Harl. Soc. xxiii. 24).
Powell wrote: 1. ‘The Life of Alfred, or Alured; the first Instituter of Subordinate Government in this Kingdome and Refounder of the University of Oxford, together with a Parallel of our Sovereign Lord, King Charles, untill this Yeare 1634,’ London, 1634; dedicated to Walter Curle, bishop of Winchester. He says ‘I was first set on to this work by reading’ the ‘Regia Majestas,’ (1613), by Sir John Skene [q. v.] 2. ‘Depopulation arraigned, convicted, and condemned by the Lawes of God and Man,’ London, 1636; dedicated to Sir John Bankes [q. v.], attorney-general. At page 1 Powell says, ‘I have in another treatise handled the great offence of forestallers and ingrossers of corn.’ Of this treatise nothing is now known. 3. ‘A Treatise of the Antiquity, Authority, Uses, and Jurisdiction of the Ancient Courts of Leet or View of Franck Pledge and of Subordination of Government derived from the institution of Moses, and the first Imitation of him in the Island of Great Britaine by King Alfred, together with additions and alterations of the Modern Lawes and Statutes inquirable at those Courts until the present Year, 1643,’ London, 1642; dedicated to the members of the parliament, the speaker, and John Selden. The work was examined by Sir Edward Coke in 1634 and was referred by Coke to Thomas Tesdall, esq., of Gray's Inn, who perused it and sanctioned it on 13 July 1636. Its publication was delayed by the decree of the Star-chamber limiting the press.