Monro, Alexander (1773-1859) (DNB00)

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MONRO, ALEXANDER, tertius, M.D. (1773–1859), anatomist, son of Alexander Monro secundus, was born at Edinburgh 5 Nov. 1773. He was sent to the high school there, and afterwards to the university, where he graduated M.D. in 1797, writing a thesis, 'De Dysphagia.' In 1798 he was appointed to assist his father in his lectures, but the appointment was nominal, as he went to London, and there worked at anatomy under Wilson. After also visiting Paris, he returned to Edinburgh in 1800, and was appointed conjoint professor (with his father) of medicine, surgery, and anatomy. From 1808 he delivered the whole course, and from 1817 to 1846 was sole professor. His lectures were less popular than those of his father and grandfather (An Answer to several Attacks which have appeared against the University of Edinburgh, 1819, p. 65), but among his pupils were Christison, Syme, Listen, Edward Forbes, Abercrombie, Bright, Marshall Hall, Sir Henry Holland, and Sir Humphry Davy. He published in 1803 'Observations on Crural Hernia;' in 1811, 'Morbid Anatomy of the Human Gullet, Stomach, and Intestines;' in 1813, 'Outlines of the Anatomy of the Human Body;' in 1814, 'Engravings of the Thoracic and Abdominal Viscera;' in 1818, 'Observations on the different kinds of Small-pox;' in 1827, 'Morbid Anatomy of the Brain,' vol. i., 'Hydrocephalus' and 'Anatomy of the Pelvis of the Male;' in 1831, 'The Anatomy of the Brain;' in 1840, 'Essays and Heads of Lectures of A. Munro secundus, with Memoir;' and in 1842, 'Anatomy of the Urinary Bladder and Perinseum in the Male.' None of his works are of permanent value, and those written when he was in the prime of life are as confused, prolix, and illogical as his senile productions. A basis of notes made by his more industrious father and grandfather is to be detected throughout, and to this he has added only imperfect observations and superficial reading. Thus in his account of lead colic he shows no acquaintance with the recent and admirable discoveries of Sir George Baker [q. v.] He died at Craiglockhart, near Edinburgh, 10 March 1859. He married first, in 1800, the daughter of Dr. Carmichael Smyth, by whom he had twelve children, one of whom, Sir David Monro, is separately noticed; and secondly, in 1836, the daughter of David Hunter, who survived him. A portrait by Kenneth Macleay is in the National Portrait Gallery, Edinburgh.

[Lancet, 1859, i. 331; Works.]

N. M.