Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 7.djvu/561
A POPULAR VERDICT.
inent place as a student of large acquirements, and twice occupied the presidential chair of the Royal Physical Society before his graduation. On his first examination for the M. D., Knox was "plucked" in anatomy. Thrown upon his metal by this untoward circumstance, he took hold of the subject so thoroughly that he became profoundly interested, was captivated by it, and chose it as the work of his life. He became an able physician and surgeon, and was sent to Brussels by the government, to render aid to the wounded of Waterloo. He joined the army in 1817, and spent three years in Africa engaged in hospital-practice. But, with a capacity for wide observation, he occupied himself with physical geography and meteorology, and more especially with natural history and ethnology. He collected and dissected specimens from every division of the animal kingdom; but man being his chief study, he took every opportunity of dissecting the natives whose bodies fell in his way through the contingencies of war; and thus added much to what was known of their peculiar anatomical characters and physiological traits. He was a skillful horseman, an intrepid hunter, and an excellent shot. Long after his sojourn among the colonists of the Cape of Good Hope, he was remembered with admiration, and spoken of as a man of transcendent abilities and accomplishments. He returned to England in 1820, and, after receiving the thanks of the army medical department for his "industry, zeal, and talents," he got leave of absence for a year, to study in the medical schools of the Continent. In Paris he made the acquaintance of Cuvier, De Blainville, Larrey, and St.-Hilaire; and to the views of the latter on the higher anatomy he became a convert. A man of great industry and originality, he produced memoirs on a wide range of subjects, which were published in the Transactions of various societies.
In 1824, Dr. Knox submitted to the Edinburgh College of Surgeons a plan for the formation of a museum of comparative anatomy, which was accepted; the scientific arrangement and active management of the establishment devolving upon the proposer. He purchased Sir Charles Bell's collection for £3,000, and brought it from London to Edinburgh. He was conservator of the. museum thus formed, and classified, catalogued, and extended the collection, so as to make it most valuable for anatomical, surgical, and pathological students. After seven years' work, he left it one of the most extensive and valuable collections in Europe.
Edinburgh was at that time a prominent centre of medical study. The fame of its professors drew crowds of students to the university. But the teaching of anatomy was mainly an outside affair; that is, it was conducted in private institutions, independent of the university. Several eminent anatomists had lectured to preparatory classes in these schools, and in 1825 the leading man in this field was Dr. John Barclay, a thorough anatomist and accomplished lecturer, who had a large class of students. Dr. Barclay was the author of many valu-