Meara, Edmund (DNB00)

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MEARA or O'MEARA, EDMUND (d. 1680), physician, son of Dermod or Dermitius Meara [q. v.], was born in Ormond, co. Tipperary, and graduated M.D. at Rheims in 1636. He practised at Ormond and in Dublin, studied medicine at Oxford, where he appears, however, to have taken no degree, and was in December 1664 admitted an honorary fellow of the Royal College of Physicians. He published in 1665 'Examen diatribæ Thomæ Willisii Doctoris Medici et professoris Oxoniensis de Febribus … cui accesserunt historiæ aliquot medicæ rariores,' London, 8vo. The work, which contains a fine engraved title, and is dedicated to Sir Kenelm Digby, was keenly resented by Willis's friend and ally, Richard Lower (1631-1691) [q. v.] He at once produced a 'Vindicatio Diatribæ Willisii,' and 'therein,' says Ware, 'handles our Ormondian very coarsely' (Irish Writers, p. 190). This was followed by 'Willisius male vindicatus, sive medicus Oxoniensis mendacitatis et inscitiæ detectus,' Dublin, 1667, which was at least inspired by Meara. Lower's animosity was unextinguished in 1669, when in the dedicatory epistle to his 'Tractatus de Corde' he spoke bitterly of the ignoramuses who amused themselves by obstructing scientific progress with their blundering criticisms, 'inter quos summæ proterviæ et stuporis Meara quidam Hybernus, cæteris omnibus palmam præripere videtur.' Meara subsequently practised with much success in Bristol, where he died in 1680. Among his friends was John Maplet [q. v.], who also practised in Bristol, and in some important cases called in Meara for advice. He left three sons: William, who was also a physician, and prefixed a copy of Latin verses to his father's 'Examen:' Edmund, a Jesuit; and Francis. Francis, the second son, was named a burgess in James II's charter of 1687 to the town of Wicklow, and was granted a commission of horse in Tyrconnel's regiment in the same year. He was sheriff of co. Wicklow in 1688, and was killed at the battle of the Boyne, being then a major, on 1 July 1690.

[Munk's Coll. of Phys. i. 337; Webb's Compend. of Irish Biog. p. 404; Ware's Irish Writers, p. 190; Wood's Athenæ Oxon. ed. Bliss, ii. 275; Chalmers's Biog. Dict.; D'Alton's James II's Army Lists, pp. 53, 75; Clarke's James II, ii. 400; Eloy's Dict. Hist. de la Médecine, ii. 210; Brit. Mus. Cat.]

T. S.