meetings of the Westminster Medical Society, where on 16 Oct. 1841 he read a paper on ‘Asphyxia and on the Resuscitation of New-born Children.’ In 1852 the society, which afterwards became the Medical Society of London, selected him orator for the ensuing year, and on 10 March 1855 he was inducted into the president's chair. He acted for a short time as lecturer on forensic medicine at the Aldersgate Street school of medicine, an appointment which lapsed when the school came to an end in 1849.
To Snow's scientific insight was due the theory that cholera is communicated by means of a contaminated water-supply, and his essay upon the mode of communication of cholera, which was first published in 1849, was awarded by the Institute of France a prize of 1,200l. In 1855 a second edition was published, with a much more elaborate investigation of the effect of the water-supply on certain districts of South London in the epidemic of 1854. Meanwhile, in 1846, Snow's attention was arrested by the properties of ether, then newly adopted in America as an anæsthetising agent. He made great improvements in the method of administering the drug, and then obtained permission to demonstrate his results in the dental out-patient room at St. George's Hospital. These proved to be so satisfactory that he won the confidence of William Fergusson [q. v.], and thus the ether practice in London came almost entirely into his hands. But though he had practically introduced the scientific use of ether into English surgery, Snow had so well balanced a mind that he appreciated the value of other anæsthetising agents, more particularly chloroform, a drug which he administered to the queen on 7 April 1853, during the birth of Prince Leopold, and again on 14 April 1857 at the birth of Princess Beatrice. Snow died unmarried on 16 June 1858, and was buried in the Brompton cemetery.
An autotype reproduction from a presentation portrait made in 1856 is prefixed to Sir B. W. Richardson's ‘Memoir.’ Snow's published works, apart from contributions to medical periodicals, are: 1. ‘On the Mode of Communication of Cholera,’ 8vo, London, 1849; 2nd ed. 1855; this work was translated into German, Quedlinburg, 1856. 2. ‘Chloroform and other Anæsthetics, edited, with a Memoir, by B. W. Richardson,’ 8vo, London, 1858. Snow was engaged on this work at the time of his death.
[Memoir by Sir B. W. Richardson, prefixed to Chloroform and other Anæsthetics (see above), and reprinted in the Asclepiad, 1887, iv. 274–300.]
SNOW, WILLIAM PARKER (1817–1895), mariner, explorer, and author, son of a lieutenant in the navy who had served at Trafalgar and through the war, was born at Poole on 27 Nov. 1817. His father died in 1826, leaving the family ill provided for; but the boy was admitted to the hospital school at Greenwich, and four years after was sent as apprentice in a small brig bound to Calcutta. The hardships and cruel usage suffered in a second voyage sickened him of the sea, and at the age of sixteen he made up his mind to emigrate to Canada; the project, however, fell through, and he was obliged to ship on board a bark bound to Australia. At Sydney he got employment in a shop, but, tiring of that and getting into bad company, fled into the bush, where for some time he led a wild, if not criminal life. He at length reached Sydney in extreme want, and by good fortune got a berth on board a ship trading to the islands, in which, after some experience among the natives, then but little known, he returned to England in 1836. His mother was dead, his family and friends dispersed. He fell again into bad company, lost all his money, and entered on board a ship of war. The restraint was irksome, and he deserted; he was arrested, sent on board, and punished.
After a year's service on the coast of Africa he obtained his discharge—in reward, it is said, for his gallantry in jumping overboard to save a man from a shark. He had always had an inclination to the pen, and on his return to England, with some pay and prize-money to go on with, he began to write for the papers, and met with some success. But he was robbed of all his money, and for a time suffered from blindness. When he recovered—weak, destitute, and helpless—he married a young woman as poor as himself. They raised enough to emigrate to Melbourne, where they became managers of an hotel. In a few months they cleared 200l.; but Snow's health broke down, and after many wanderings they returned to England. Snow now resumed his literary work; he obtained a situation as amanuensis to a retired naval officer, and after him to others, including Macaulay, for whom he transcribed the first two volumes of the ‘History.’ He consulted Macaulay as to his literary projects, which included a history of the Jews; but Macaulay pointed out that he had not sufficient scholarship for that task, and suggested a detailed life of Nelson.
After a year in America, Snow returned in 1850 to volunteer for one of the expeditions in search of Sir John Franklin. To this step he was prompted by a dream, which