Clark, Andrew (DNB01)

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For works with similar titles, see Andrew Clark.

CLARK, Sir ANDREW, M.D. (1826–1893), first baronet, physician, born at Aberdeen on 28 Oct. 1826, was son of Andrew Clark, 'a medical man residing at Ednie in the parish of St. Fergus, Aberdeenshire' (Journal of Pathology, ii. 255). His mother died at his birth, and his father when he was seven years old. He was educated at the Tay Square academy in Dundee, and became a serving-boy to Dr. Matthew Nimmo, a practitioner of that town, and afterwards an apprentice to a Dr. Webster. Soon after 1839 he began to study as an extra academical student in Edinburgh, and on 31 May 1844 took the diploma of member of the Royal College of Surgeons of England. He then returned to Edinburgh and worked at medical studies, especially pathology, and on 1 Sept. 1846 joined the medical service of the royal navy. He never served afloat, but was employed at Haslar till 1853, when he retired from the navy, and was appointed curator of the museum of the London Hospital, and in 1854 assistant physician to that hospital. In the same year he was admitted a member of the Royal College of Physicians of London, and graduated M.D. at the university of Aberdeen, a proceeding which then required no residence and little examination. He was elected a fellow of the College of Physicians in 1858, was Croonian lecturer in 1868, and Lumleian in 1885. He soon attained reputation as a teacher of medicine, and on 14 Aug. 1866 became physician to the London Hospital, and continued in office till 1886.

In 1866 Clark became acquainted with Mrs. Gladstone, who used to visit the hospital, and through this introduction came to have medical charge of her husband, the distinguished statesman. Clark soon had many other celebrated patients, and acquired a larger practice than any other physician of his time. He began practice in Montague Street, Bloomsbury, but in 1867 moved to a large house at the north-west corner of Cavendish Square, where the rest of his life was spent. In 1883 he was created a baronet, and on 4 June 1885 he was made F.R.S. On 26 March 1888 he was elected president of the Royal College of Physicians, and held office till his death. He was most regular in attendance on the onerous duties of the office, and, in spite of his large practice, sat on numerous committees. He presented to the college a solid and handsome revolving bookcase, containing all the works likely to be useful to the censors in conducting their examinations. He took part in every debate, and on one occasion in a committee of fourteen, over which he presided, made thirty-eight distinct speeches, having at the beginning declared that it was desirable that no one should speak more than once. He was, however, rather eager to seize every point than prolix in discussing it, and he was always just to his adversaries. His manner was natural and sympathetic, and every patient felt that Clark was anxious for his well-being. He wrote more elaborate directions as to regimen than had been the fashion since the time of Mayerne. They were marked by good sense, and, though copied by his inferiors in medicine, and sometimes laughed at by his equals, were generally useful to the patient and contributive to his cure. It was an accident of his kind intention and minute care that most of the hypochondriacs of the time spoke of him as their dearest friend. When he became president of the College of Physicians those fellows who had criticised him before were constrained to admit that he was a high-souled man, devoted to medicine, jealous of the honour of physicians, and careless of pecuniary gain. His generosity to persons in distress was universal and extraordinary. Moral science, metaphysics, and theology were his favourite reading, and he was ready on all occasions to talk on these subjects. He was elected president of the Royal Medical and Chirurgical Society in 1892, and presided over that body as well as the College of Physicians at the time of his death. He was attacked by cerebral hæmorrhage while talking with a friend in the morning of 19 Oct. 1893, and died on 6 Nov. at his house in Cavendish Square. Shortly before his death he had bought a country house near Hatfield in Hertfordshire, and was buried near it at Essenden.

Clark was twice married: first, in 1851, to Seton Mary Percy, daughter of Captain Forster, R.N.; and, secondly, to Helen Annette, daughter of Alphonso Doxat of Leytonstone; and left a son, Surgeon-major James Richardson Andrew Clark, who succeeded to his baronetcy.

Clark published no large book, but made many contributions to medical knowledge, besides numerous lectures and addresses. A complete list of his writings, including more than one hundred such publications, has been made by Sheridan Delépine, and is printed in the 'Journal of Pathology and Bacteriology,' 1894, ii. 265. His portrait was painted by Frank Holl, R.A., and by Mr. G. F. Watts, R.A.

[W. S. Church's Memoir in Medico-Chirurgical Transactions, vol. lxxvii. 1894; S. Delépine's Memoir prefixed to list of papers; obituary notices in Lancet and British Medical Journal, 11 Nov. 1893; personal knowledge.]

N. M.