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plished profession.' We leave therefore some chapters, filled with what seems low-enough merriment, and occasional verses, in which we
can discover nothing but dismal imbecility, to be explored by those who are curious in such matters. Cooper's own chief distinction amidst these scenes of festivity appears to have depended on joyous hilarity, practical jokes (inuch in the style of his youth at Yarmouth), and, above all, the incessant audacity
It is, however, well attested that he was even then a very different sort of converser in a tête-à-tête. When shut up by chance in the same carriage with any man of talents, the tenacity of his memory -the searching sagacity with which he had observed whatever the course of life had brought under his view—and the unaffected frankness of his temperament, seem to have been more than sufficient to render his talk richly diverting. To hear him thus, we suppose, was like being present at one of the best of his easy colloquial lectures on comparative anatomy. The truth is, he was then, as at his lecture, enjoying the exertion of his powerful faculties. In the favoured conviviality of the evening he thought only of unbending them; or if, indeed, he had come at last to confound boisterous pleasantry with the fascinations of wit, we must not forget how easily almost any man who is much flattered learns to flatter himself; and that of all weaknesses the most harmless, as well as the most common, is vanity.
Of his memory his nephew gives some striking examples; and they will be considered as of great importance by those whose experience has brought them to our own conclusion-namely, that this faculty is almost always in exact proportion to the general capacity and vigour of the intellect. It may be greatly strengthened by culture: but where it has not been largely given, or successfully improved, all other talents are vain and fruitless. We are aware that some people on the verge of idiotcy will exhibit an all but miraculous power of memory as to some one particular class of objects; but we speak of cases where the mind is not actually incomplete or deformed—where there is the usual set of faculties to be measured and appreciated.
His sagacity was shown in some remarkable extra-professional incidents. Being called in to see Mr. Blight of Deptford when wounded in 1806, the aspect of the partner, Mr. Patch, instantly conveyed to him conviction of his being the assassin. When, on examination of the localities, he signified that the shot must have been fired by a left-handed man, the attendants, who were far from having taken up any similar suspicion, exclaimed that there was no left-handed person near except friend Patch -who was tried and condemned, and who confessed before his
execution. In like manner when Nicolson, the trusted and respected old servant of Mr. and Mrs. Bonar, arrived in Broad Street with the news of that midnight catastrophe, the man's countenance satisfied Astley Cooper that the murderer was before him. We all know how slow the family were to adopt this opinion and also that he too confessed his crime. In neither of these cases, however, could the acute anatomist pretend to define the
source of his impressions. He could only say · There was an 1 indescribable something.'
To illustrate the happy exercise of these gifts within Sir Astley's professional department would be to write his life - as it has not yet been written.
By 1815 the change in city habits was well advanced, and he had besides come into very great practice among the nobility and gentry at the other end of London. He therefore made up his mind to do as Cline had done before him, and established himself in the neighbourhood of the Court-New Street, Spring Gardens—where he continued a course of life not much unlike that of Broad Street, except that he had now retired from his professorship at the Royal College, and begun to affect more silkiness of manner and finery of habits.
With his private patients he was, we believe, more popular than any other contemporary practitioner in either branch. His goodly person had its effect with the ladies-his good-nature with all and the varnish of feeling with most. With oil enough for every wound, he was the conveyer of more comfort than any one of his more sensitive brethren. We know, from Cheselden's account of himself, that the greatest of surgeons may feel his profession a burden and torment all through the most successful of lives. John Hunter turned pale as death whenever he had to use the knife. Abernethy, in our own time, whom many took for a coarse man merely because of his rough humour, could never think of an operation without heart-sickness. It was the same with that great and ill-requited genius, Sir Charles Bell-we must not name living names. But all came and went more easily with Astley Cooper. When a friend of ours, returning casually with him from a consultation one day, dropped something in a melancholy tone about the anxieties of their common profession, · I don't understand you,' said he; “upon my word I think ours a very pleasant life. Is it such a hardship to chat with a succession of well-bred people every morning, and seal up a round sum for
as often as you get home?' But we must not understand such sayings too literally. No man had a better right to the natural satisfaction of reflecting that human sufferings had been largely relieved by his ministry.
If Mr. Bransby Cooper had thought fit, we dare say he might have produced extracts from the Notes of this period which would have gratified abundantly the malicious curiosity of the public. As it is, they supply but little amusement, and very seldom demand censure. The most interesting passages are perhaps those about the late Lord Liverpool, the Duke of York, and George IV.; but even these contain nothing novel as regards characters or even manners. Mr. Cooper was not on the royal establishment when the king first chose him to operate on his person. There was an ugly tumour on the head; and it was understood at the time that, for once, Cooper's nerves rather failed him, and that Cline had to complete the job; and the biographer, though he does not confirm the common story, says nothing that distinctly contradicts it. He mentions Cline as present, and, casually as it were, that he did something. The king, however, made Cooper his serjeant-surgeon soon afterwards, and in due time, most properly, a baronet (with remainder to his eldest nephew)--and our author says he continued to grow in favour until he made an unlucky lapsus--that is, told his illustrious patient a certain offensive anecdote. But though Mr. Bransby Cooper twice promises to give his readers this anecdote, he reaches finis without having screwed his courage to the point. It must, we suppose, have been something far more awful than what he does mention as having occasioned a little interruption in the intercourse-namely, Sir Astley's waiting on His Majesty one morning just after performing an operation :- The King's face darkened -- the jocular baronet was abruptly dismissed-and discovered, as he entered his chariot, that there was blood on his wristband-Out, damned spot!' It would not be difficult for us to cap that story if we chose.
Sir Hans Sloane's baronetcy, given by George I., was the first title of hereditary honour granted to any medical gentleman in this country. The profession has since furnished at least its fair share of recruits to the baronetage. Between 1796 and 1837 that rank was, if we reckon aright, conferred on seventeen physicians and surgeons, one oculist, and two apothecaries.
The complete change which time and prosperity had wrought in Sir Astley's political sentiments is evident from some of his Notes.
· The first time I ever saw George the Fourth was at the time he was Prince Regent. He was walking with the Duke of York and the Duke of Bedford, and he looked far superior to either. They were the three finest men in England, but he was the prince of grace and dignity.'
Here is some mistake. The Duke of Bedford who was a 'fine man'-Francis—died a dozen years before George JV. was
Regent: nor do we think that Cooper ever saw them walking together.
• He often awoke carly, and read from five or six o'clock in the morning until nine or ten, and thus he became acquainted with all the new books, which he read of every description--novels, pamphlets, voyages, travels, plays—and he liked to talk of them. He usually received me at from ten to eleven o'clock, in his bed. He chatted with me for half an hour or an hour, and was generally very agreeable, although vow and then irritable. He was not strictly attentive to facts, but embellished all his stories to render them more amusing, so that it would not answer always to repeat his sayings of others.
'When ill the King would never allow that it was caused by his own imprudence. One morning his tongue was white, and he was much heated. “By G-,” said he, “it is very extraordinary that I should be thus heated, for I lived very abstemiously, and went to bed in good time--I must have some beaume de vie, sir.” When we went out of the room, W said, “You must not professionally act upon what His Majesty said: he was drinking maraschino at two o'clock this morning."
He was a good judge of the medicine which would best suit him.* He bore enormous doses of opiates--one hundred drops of laudanum, for instance. In bleeding, also, I have known from twenty to twentyfive ounces taken from him several times.
The King was irregular in his times for eating and drinking. “ Bring me cold chicken,” he would say at eleven, before he rose.
Yes, sire.” Bring it, and give me a goblet of soda-water.” Soon after he ate again, and at dinner largely; but he did not in general drink much at dinner unless tempted by the society of men he liked.'
It is hardly fair for a gentleman who visits a Prince only in his medical capacity to volunteer descriptions of the patient's ordinary habits. When out of sorts the King's meals were, we suppose, irregular enough; but in general, we believe, he abstained entirely from meat of a morning. Probably he was, like ourselves, of the sect whose tenet it is that no man eats luncheon who has a proper respect for his dinner.
' The King would sometimes be coarse in his conversation and anecdoies, but again nobody could be more refined and polished when he chose. Every story of a character about town, every humorous anecdote, he was perfectly acquainted with, and was constantly seeking means of adding to his stock, and then took the greatest pleasure in relating them
* The biographer says :--
- He had been very early instructed in anatomy, by the desire of his father, at whose request John Hunter made a complete set of preparations, especially for the use and information of the young prince and his brothers. He frequently conversed on the subject; and on several occasions, when an account reached his ears of something novel or extraordinary being met with in the course of anatomical investigation, he had the actual specimen brought to him for his inspection, His knowledge of medicine was so acute that I have heard my uncle say he was obliged to be unusually careful when writing a prescription for the King.'
to others. He was himself witty, but the points of his conversation consisted principally in anecdote and the relation of jokes.
The King was iodolent, and therefore disposed to yield, to avoid trouble; nervous, and therefore anxious to throw every onus from his own shoulders, He was the most perfect gentleman in his manners and address-possessing the finest person, with the most dignified and gracious condescension, yet excessively proud ; familiar himself, but shocked at it in others; violent in his temper, yet naturally kind in his disposition. I have seen him spurn from him, yet in ten minutes say that he liked nobody so much about him, and that no one but he should do any:hing for him.
George the Fourth had an extraordinary memory,-he recollected all that he had read or seen,--and had the faculty of quickly comprehending everything. If he saw a steam-engine, he would describe not only its principles of action, but enter minutely into its construction. He could recount anecdotes of everybody, and could quote the beauties of almost all the works, in prose or verse, in English literature. He also prided himself on his knowledge of Latin, being, in fact, an excellent classic, and frequently quoted Horace. Dates, also, in history he could well recollect; and it was dangerous to differ with him concerning them, as he was sure to be right. The connexions and families of the nobility he was quite familiar with.
' He spoke German and French as well as his own language, and knew a liitle of others. He spoke remarkably well, but did not write so well, because he would not give himself the trouble, and therefore always sought assistance from others. His life had been, since the age of sixteen, conversational, from which time he had given very little attention to writing or composition. He told me that from the time he was sixtecn he knew everything, bad and good, and that he had entered into every amusement that a gentleman could engage in. His judgment was good as regarded others, and as respected his country. If I had wanted to decide upon what I ought to do, nobody would have given me better advice; but he very likely would have practised just the contrary himself.
The abilities of George the Fourth were of the first order. He would have made the first physician or surgeon of his time, the first lawyer, the first speaker in the House of Commons or Lords, though, perhaps, not the best divine. As a king he was prosperous, for he had the good sense to be led by good ministers, although, however, he did not like them all.'- vol. ii.
347-352. In all this about the king we see nothing to complain of. Of some of the accomplishments above mentioned the Serjeant-surgeon was little qualified to judge: but if he formed an extravagant opinion of His Majesty's natural talents, he at least erred in good company. Sir Astley's thinking it worth record that the King of England was well versed in the family history of the English nobility is very good. We doubt as to the criticism on the King's writing. The letters printed in Sir W. Knighton's VOL. LXXI. NO. CXLII.