Payne, Joseph Frank (DNB12)

PAYNE, JOSEPH FRANK (1840–1910), physician, son of Joseph Payne [q. v.], a schoolmaster, professor of education at the College of Preceptors, by his wife Eliza Dyer, also a teacher of great ability, was born in the parish of St. Giles, Camberwell, on 10 Jan. 1840. After school education under his father at Leatherhead, Surrey, he went to University College, London, and thence gained in 1858 a demyship at Magdalen College, Oxford. He graduated B.A. in 1862, taking a first class in natural science, and afterwards obtained the Burdett-Coutts scholarship in geology (1863), the Radcliffe travelling fellowship (1865), and a fellowship at Magdalen, which he vacated on his marriage in 1883, becoming an honorary fellow on 30 May 1906. He also took a B.Sc. degree in the University of London in 1865. He studied medicine at St. George's Hospital, London, and graduated M.B. at Oxford in 1867, and M.D. in 1880. He became a member of the College of Physicians in 1868, and was elected a fellow in 1873, being the junior chosen to deliver the Goulstonian lectures. His subject was 'The Origin and Relation of New Growths.' In accordance with the terms of Dr. Radcliffe's foundation he visited Paris, Berlin, and Vienna, and made good use of their pathological opportunities. He described his foreign experiences in three articles published in the 'British Medical Journal' in 1871. His first post at a medical school in London was that of demonstrator of morbid anatomy at St. Mary's Hospital in 1869, and he became assistant physician there as well as at the Hospital for Sick Children in Great Ormond Street. In 1871 he left St. Mary's on becoming assistant physician to St. Thomas's Hospital, an office which he held till appointed physician in 1887. In 1900 he had reached the age limit, and became consulting physician. He was also on the staff of the Hospital for Skin Diseases at Blackfriars, and was thus engaged in the active practice and teaching of his profession for over thirty years.

Pathology, epidemiology, dermatology, and the history of medicine were the subjects in which he took most interest, and he made considerable additions to knowledge in each. In September 1877 he was the chief medical witness for the defence at the sensational trial in London of Louis Staunton and others for the murder of his wife Harriet by starvation, and effectively argued that cerebral meningitis was the cause of death, a view which in spite of the prisoner's conviction was subsequently adopted (Atlay's Trial of the Stauntons, 1911, pp. 176 et passim). He edited in 1875 Jones and Sieveking's 'Manual of Pathological Anatomy,' and in 1888 published a full and original 'Manual of General Pathology,' besides reading many papers before the Pathological Society, of which he became president in 1897. He delivered at the College of Physicians in 1891 the Lumleian lectures 'On Cancer, especially of the Internal Organs.' In 1879 he was sent to Russia by the British government with Surgeon-major Colvill to observe and report upon the epidemic of plague then existing at Vetlanka (Trans. Epidemiological Soc. vol. iv.). The Russian government did little to facilitate the inquiry, and a severe illness prevented Payne from accomplishing much, but he always retained a warm interest in epidemiology, and wrote articles on plague in the 'Encyclopædia Britannica' (9th edit.), 'St. Thomas's Hospital Reports,' 'Quarterly Review' (October 1901), and 'Allbutt's System of Medicine,' vol. 2, 1907. He took an active part on a committee of the College of Physicians in 1905 on the Indian epidemic of plague and was chosen as the spokesman of the committee to the secretary of state. He printed in 1894, with an introduction on the history of the plague, the 'Loimographia' of the apothecary William Boghurst, who witnessed the London plague of 1665, from the MS. in the Sloane collection. Payne also made numerous contributions to the 'Transactions' of the Epidemiological Society, of which he was president in 1892-3. In 1889 he published 'Observations on some Rare Diseases of the Skin,' and was president of the Dermatological Society (1892-3). Many papers by him are to be found in its 'Transactions.'

Payne's first important contribution to the history of medicine was a life of Linacre [q. v.] prefixed to a facsimile of the 1521 Cambridge edition of his Latin version of Galen, 'De Temperamentis' (Cambridge, 1881). In 1896 he delivered the Harveian oration at the College of Physicians on the relation of Harvey to Galen, and in 1900 wrote an excellent life of Thomas Sydenham [q. v.]. He had a great knowledge of bibliography and of the history of woodcuts, and read (21 Jan. 1901) a paper before the Bibliographical Society 'On the "Herbarius" and "Hortus Sanitatis."' In 1903 and 1904 he delivered the first FitzPatrick lectures on the history of medicine at the College of Physicians. The first course was on 'English Medicine in the Anglo-Saxon Times' (Oxford, 1904), the second on 'English Medicine in the Anglo-Norman Period.' The history of Gilbertus Anglicus and the contents of his 'Compendium Medicinæ' had never before been thoroughly set forth. Payne showed that Gilbert was a genuine observer of considerable ability. The lectures of 1904 which Payne was preparing for the press at the time of his death did much to elucidate the writings of Ricardus Anglicus and the anatomical teaching of the Middle Ages. Payne demonstrated that the 'Anatomy of the Body of Man,' printed in Tudor times and of which the editions extend into the middle of the seventeenth century, was not written by Thomas Vicary [q. v.], whose name appears on the title-page, but was a mere translation of a mediæval manuscript of unknown authorship. He wrote long and valuable articles on the history of medicine in the 'Encyclopædia Britannica,' and in Allbutt's 'System of Medicine' (vol. i. 1905), besides several lives in this Dictionary. During the spring of 1909 he delivered a course of lectures on Galen and Greek medicine at the request of the delegates of the Common University Fund at Oxford. His last historical work was entitled 'History of the College Club,' and was privately printed in 1909.

In 1899 he was elected Harveian librarian of the College of Physicians, a post for which his qualifications were exceptional.

He gave many valuable books to the library, and opened the stores of his mind to everyone who sought his knowledge. He was for eight years an examiner for the licence of the College of Physicians, was a censor in 1896-7, and senior censor in 1905. He discharged in 1896 the laborious duty of editor of the 'Nomenclature of Diseases,' and in addition to these public services sat on the royal commission on tuberculosis (1890), on the general 'medical council as representative of the University of Oxford (1899–1904), on the senate of the University of London (1899–1906), and on the committee of the London Library. He collected a fine library, the medical part of which, except five manuscripts and two books which he bequeathed to the College of Physicians, was sold to one purchaser for 2300l. He had a large collection of editions of Milton's works and a series of herbals. His conversation was both learned and pleasant, and though full of antique lore he was an earnest advocate of modern changes. He was below the middle height and had a curious jerky manner of expressing emphasis both in public speaking and in private conversation. Among the physicians of London there was no man of greater general popularity in his time. He lived at 78 Wimpole Street while engaged in practice, and after his retirement at New Barnet. Failing health interrupted the literary labours of his last year, and he died at Lyonsdown House, New Barnet, on 16 Nov. 1910, and was buried at Bell's Hill cemetery, Barnet. He married, on 1 Sept. 1882, Helen, daughter of the Hon. John Macpherson of Melbourne, Victoria, by whom he had one son and three daughters. A fine charcoal drawing of his head, made by Mr. J. S. Sargent shortly before his death, hangs in the dining-room of the College of Physicians.

[The Times, 18 Nov. 1910; Lancet, and Brit. Med. Journal, 26 Nov. 1910; Sir T. Barlow, Annual Address to Royal Coll. of Physicians; Macray, Reg. Fellows Magd. Coll. vi. 170-1 and vii.; Sotheby, Cat. of Library, 12 July 1911; personal knowledge.]

N. M.