[Biography by H. Lonsdale, M.D., prefixed to Goodsir's Anatom. Memoirs, 2 vols., Edinb., 1868; Proc. Roy. Soc. vol. xvi.; Edinb. Med. Journ. 1867.]
raised the department from the state into which it had fallen in the incompetent hands of Monro tertius. He took great pleasure in dissection, especially in displaying the muscular system. He worked much for the university museum, making preparations mostly of the invertebrata. He dissected the horse twice, and left written descriptions of the anatomy, which were brought out after his death by Strangeways (1870). Electric fishes were also a favourite subject with him. Upwards of a thousand specimens prepared by himself and his assistants are striking evidence of the reality of his work. He gave for several years a course of summer lectures on the invertebrata, the first in 1847. He was consulted on questions of pisciculture and agriculture, and took part in the examination of veterinary students. In his proper anatomy lecture he was heard with interest, not for his good speaking, but on account of the numerous ideas, suggestions, and comparisons that he threw out. He would often expound at great length, and with more of enthusiasm than when lecturing, to a few pupils who stayed behind to put questions. At the outset of his career as professor he intended to join private and hospital surgical practice to his other work. With that end he took a house in George Square, and in 1848 applied for the vacant post of assistant-surgeon to the infirmary. He was greatly disappointed at not being elected, and told the managers that he had been unfairly treated. After this his domestic life became careless. He removed to a smaller house in the New Town, then to Trinity on the shore of the Firth, then back to Edinburgh for a year and a half, and finally to Edward Forbes's old cottage at Wardie (also on the Firth), where he spent the last ten years of his life. He saw no company, slept on a sofa in the midst of his papers and preparations, took his meals irregularly, and did nearly everything for himself. In his later years his sister kept house for him. The long illness of which he died (wasting of the spinal cord) began in 1853. His health was completely shattered by the gratuitous labour which he took upon himself in lecturing for the invalid professor of natural history in the summer of 1853; instead of reading the old lectures he gave an original and brilliant course, remembered long after, which prostrated him so much that he required a year's leave of absence abroad. He came back greatly set up, but fell into his old careless way of living. From that time he had to delegate much of his work to assistants, and at last spent most of the day in the museum, except the lecture hour. When on visits to Vienna, Berlin, and Paris in the vacations he spent nearly all his time in the anatomical collections and in seeking out new pieces of ‘philosophical’ or physiological apparatus. Of the latter he brought home the first collection that came to this country, which was acquired after his death for the use of the physiological laboratory. The favourite speculation of his later years was that the triangle was the ground-plan of all organic forms; in this way he sought to bring living organisms into the same view with crystals, man being a tetrahedron. His various papers ‘On the Dignity of the Human Body’ and other morphological subjects were collected, together with his scientific memoirs of an earlier period, in two posthumous volumes, Edinburgh, 1868. In 1850 he issued the first part of the ‘Annals of Anatomy,’ consisting of original papers by pupils and others; but the serial stopped at the third number. The progressive disease from which he suffered doubtless prevented him from leaving more work (apart from his museum work) in a finished state. He began the winter session as usual in 1866, but broke down exhausted, and died on 6 March 1867. He was buried in the Dean cemetery, next to the grave of his early friend Edward Forbes.
GOODSON, RICHARD, the elder (d. 1718), organist, was organist of New College and of Christchurch, Oxford; proceeded Mus. Bac.; and became in 1682 professor of music to the university. Goodson died on 13 Jan. 1718, and was buried in the chapel adjoining the choir of Christchurch. His will, signed 1714, made provision for his widow, Mary, a daughter, Ann Hobson, and two sons, Richard and William, and directed that 10l. should be spent upon his funeral.
Richard Goodson the younger (d. 1741), proceeded Mus. Bac. from Christchurch, Oxford, 1 March 1716; was organist at Christchurch and New College, and succeeded his father as professor of music in 1718. He was also the first organist of Newbury. Goodson died in January 1741, and was buried near his father. He bequeathed to Christchurch library some of his own and his father's manuscripts, comprising a service, four anthems, and some chants, together with his collection of music, except some few articles left to the Music School.[Hawkins, p. 768, Burney, iii. 66; Oxford Graduates, p. 265; P.C.C. Registers of Wills, Tenison, 176; Cat. of Music, Christchurch Library.]