Page:Dictionary of National Biography volume 46.djvu/439

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Prowse
Prowse
427


treatise his 'Chemistry, Meteorology, and the Function of Digestion considered with reference to Natural Theology' (2nd edit. 1834; 3rd edit. 1845). The book has little value from either a scientific or a theological point of view. Prout died on 9 April 1850, in Sackville Street, Piccadilly, and was buried at Kensal Green.

Some years before his death he became deaf, and abandoned society. A good portrait of him by Hayes and a miniature (of which a copy was made by Henry Phillips, jun., for the Royal College of Physicians) are in the possession of his family.

While Prout's work in physiological chemistry and medicine is notable, it is as the inventor of 'Prout's hypothesis,' which has up till now remained a subject of discussion among chemists, that he is chiefly remembered. It was welcomed and supported by Thomas Thomson, M.D. (1773-1852) [q. v.], but rejected by Berzelius, though not without hesitation; by Edward Turner (1796-1837) [q. v.]; and by Frederick Penny. Revived again by Dumas and Stas in 1839 and 1840, and supported by Marignac, it was thought at one time to be finally overthrown by the redetermination of atomic weights by Stas, which was undertaken to test its validity between 1860 and 1865. Recently, however, it has again been brought forward by competent chemists, but its validity is still undetermined (Mendeleéf, Principles of Chemistry, ii. 406). It has proved a powerful stimulus to the exact experimental investigation of atomic weights.

The Royal Society's catalogue enumerates thirty-four papers by Prout.

[Besides the sources mentioned, Prout's own papers; Munk's Coll. of Phys. iii. 110, 400; Gent. Mag. 1850. ii. 442; Sketch of the Philosophical Character of Prout in Daubeny's Miscellanies, ii. 123; Archives of the Royal Society; Thomson's Annals of Philosophy, 1816, vii. 17; Daubeny's Atomic Theory, 1st edit. p. 62, 2nd edit. p. 49; Œuvres Complètes de J.S. Stas, Pref. pp. 308, 419 and passim; Liebig's Organic Chemistry of Physiology and Pathology, 1842, pp. 112, 139; Kopp's Gesch. der Chemie, ii. 392; Becker's Atomic Weight Determinations, 1880, pp. 139 et seq., and Clarke's Recalculation of the Atomic Weights, 1882, pp. 261 et seq., both in the Smithsonian Collection; Mendeléef in Trans. Chem. Soc. 1889, p. 643; Turner in Phil. Trans. 1833, pp. 523 et seq.; Penny in Phil. Trans. 1839. pp. 13 et seq.]

P. J. H.

PROWSE, WILLIAM (1752?–1826), rear-admiral, born in Devonshire, the son of parents in a humble station, was probably bred from boyhood on board a trading vessel. From November 1771 to February 1776 he was an able seaman on board the Dublin, guardship in Hamoaze; and from November 1776 to August 1778, on board the Albion, one of the ships which sailed for North America in June 1778, under the command of Vice-admiral John Byron [q. v.] Early in 1778 Captain George Bowyer [q. v.] was appointed to the Albion, and on 31 Aug. he rated Prowse as a midshipman, in which capacity, or later as master's mate, he was present at the actions off Grenada on 6 July 1779, and near Martinique on 17 April, 15 and 19 May 1781 [see Rodney, George Brydges, Lord]. He was paid off from the Albion on 21 Dec. 1781; on 17 Jan. 1782 he passed his examination, being described in his certificate as 'more than twenty-seven;' he was quite three years more. He afterwards served in the Atlas and Cyclops, and on 6 Dec. 1782 was promoted to the rank of lieutenant. He continued in the Cyclops on the coast of North America till March 1784, after which, for several years, his service was intermittent, much of the time being probably spent in command of merchant ships. During the armament of 1787 he was for a couple of months in the Bellona with Bowyer, and in 1790 in the Barfleur and Stately with Captain (afterwards Sir Robert) Calder [q. v.] From August 1791 to January 1793 he was in the Duke, carrying the flag of Lord Hood at Portsmouth; in March 1793 he joined the Prince with Bowyer, now a vice-admiral, and Captain Cuthbert (afterwards Lord) Collingwood [q. v.], whom in December he followed to the Barfleur, and with them took part in the action of 1 June 1794. From July 1794 to October 1795 he was with Calder in the Theseus, and went out to the Mediterranean with him in the Lively. From her he joined the Victory, carrying the flag of Sir John Jervis (afterwards Earl of St. Vincent) [q. v.], with whom Calder was captain of the fleet. On 20 Oct. 1796 Prowse was promoted to the command of the Raven, in which he was present in the action off Cape St. Vincent on 14 Feb. 1797. On 6 March he was posted by Jervis to the command of the Salvador del Mundo, one of the prizes, which he paid off in the following November.

From August 1800 to April 1802 he was flag-captain to Calder in the Prince of Wales, and in August 1802 commissioned the Sirius frigate, for the next three years attached to the fleet off Brest and in the Bay of Biscay, and especially during 1804 and 1805 with Calder off Rochefort and Ferrol. In the action off Cape Finisterre on 22 July 1805, the Sirius had more than