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SIR HENRY HALFORD.*

This biography, remarks Dr. Munk, has been written at the request formally expressed to him by the College of Physicians, with the object of perpetuating the knowledge of a distinguished ohysician and scholar, and to rescue Sir Henry Halford's memory from the oblivion into which it was fast falling. In carrying out this object, and possibly having in view the charges of unprofessional and ignoble conduct that were once brought against Sir Henry, the author goes on to say: "I have striven to place myself in the period of which I am speaking, and out of that in which I am actually writing. A due degree of candour is needed, alike by the author and the reader, in judging between the conventional opinions of the present time and of those which then prevailed. We have to judge of men according to their actual environments, and I have sought to place Sir Henry Halford, his personality and character, in due relation to his contemporaries and surroundings, and to the spirit of the time in which he lived." Dr. Munk states that he is indebted to the present Sir H. St. John Halford, the physician's grandson, for the use of all the letters, diaries, pocket and note books, engagement and fee books which are preserved at Wistow, among them being some notes made by the second Baronet, who at one time intended to write his father's biography. Henry Vaughan, afterwards Sir Henry Halford, was second of the many distinguished sons of James Vaughan, M.D., of Leicester, and was born in that town on the 2nd of October, 1766. The father devoted the whole of his professional income to the education of his sons, among whom were John Vaughan, Judge of the Court of Common Pleas, who died in 1839; Peter, who became Dean of Chester; Charles Richard, diplomatist, and for some years Minister to the United States; and Edward Thomas, vicar of St. Martin's, Leicester, and the father of Dean Vaughan, lately Master of the Temple. Henry Vaughan went at an early age to Rugby, whence in due course he proceeded to Christ Church, Oxford, and took his degree of M.A. in 1788. On quitting Oxford he studied medicine, anatomy, and chemistry at Edinburgh, which at the time ranked among the highest | schools of medicine in Europe. His degree as M.D. was taken at Oxford in 1791. after which he for a time assisted his father at Leicester, and practised as a physician at Scarborough. He then determined to try his fortune in London, and. having borrowed £1,000, he established himself in the great city, where his high attainments, pleasing manners, and influential friends soon secured for him a social success. His marriage in 1795 with the daughter of Lord St. John of Bletsoe confirmed his position, and when in 1802 he settled down at No. 16, Curzon-street he was in command of a large and lucrative practice. What brought him into still higher repute was his diagnosis of the disease from which Georgina, the beautiful Duchess of Devonshire, died in 1806. "Lady Halford told Dr. Francis Hawkins that from the time of the Duchess of Devonshire's death the door bell in Curzon-street was rarely still, and that thenceforth there was never any want of patients," a long list of whom is given by Dr. Munk. Some curious information is added about the professional incomes made by Dr. Vaughan and other eminent physicians of the time. From a table presented of Dr. Vaughan's income it appears that when he started in 1792 his professional receipts for the year were £220, which sum increases year by year till 1809, when they had reached £9,840. In the year last named Dr. Vaughan was called to Windsor to attend the Princess Amelia, and soon afterwards was appointed Physician-in-Ordinary to George III. and to the Prince of Wales, afterwards Prince Regent, and from that time till the death of William IV. Dr. Vaughan's professional income was about £10,000 a year, and occasionally reached £12,000. The incomes of other physicians like Dr. Chambers and Halford's friend, Dr. Matthew Baillie, ranged between £7,000 and £10,000 a year. In 1809 also Dr. Vaughan, as the now eldest surviving son of Dr. James Vaughan, became heir to the Halford estate of Wistow, changed his name to Halford, and was created a baronet. Sir Charles Halford's widow, afterwards Countess of Denbigh, died in 1814, and Sir Henry Halford then succeeded to the estate, about which he often declared to his friends that he was a rich man before he came into Wistow, but had been a poor man ever

OF THE

ROYAL COLLEGE OF PHYSICIANS

OF LONDON;

COMPILED FROM THE ANNALS OF THE COLLEGE

AND FROM OTHER AUTHENTIC SOURCES.

BY

WILLIAM MUNK, M. D.

FELLOW OF THE COLLEGE,

ETC. ETC. ETC.

VOL. II.

1701 TO 1800.

LONDON:

LONGMAN, GREEN, LONGMAN, AND ROBERTS,

PATERNOSTER ROW.

MDCCCLXI.

B

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