Ware, James (1756-1815) (DNB00)

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WARE, JAMES (1756–1815), surgeon, born at Portsmouth on 11 Feb. 1756, was son of Martin Ware, who was successively the master shipbuilder of the royal dockyards of Sheerness, Plymouth, and Deptford. James Ware was educated at the Portsmouth grammar school, and went upon trial to Ramsay Karr, surgeon of the King's Yard in Portsmouth on 3 July 1770. He was bound apprentice to Karr on 2 March 1771, to serve for five years from the previous July. During his apprenticeship he attended the practice of the surgeons at the Haslar Naval Hospital, and, having served a part of his time, his master allowed him, as was then the usual custom, to come to London for the purpose of attending the medical and surgical practice of one of the general hospitals. Ware selected St. Thomas's, and entered himself as a student on 25 Sept. 1773. Here he remained for three years, making such progress that Joseph Else appointed him in 1776 his demonstrator of anatomy. On 1 Jan. 1777 he began to act as assistant to Jonathan Wathen, a surgeon who devoted himself principally to diseases of the eye; and on 25 March 1778 he entered into partnership with Wathen, taking a fourth share. The partnership was dissolved in 1791, after which Ware began to practise upon his own account, chiefly but not entirely in ophthalmic surgery. In 1788 he became one of the founders of the Society for the Relief of the Widows and Orphans of Medical Men in London and its vicinity, a society of which he was chosen president in 1809. In 1800 he founded the school for the indigent blind, in imitation of a similar institution which had been established at Liverpool ten years earlier. He was elected a fellow of the Society of Antiquaries on 18 Jan. 1798, and on 11 March 1802 he was admitted a fellow of the Royal Society.

He practised his profession in New Bridge Street, and died at his country house at Turnham Green on 13 April 1815. He was buried in the family tomb in the Bunhill Fields burial-ground. He married, in 1787, the widow of N. Polhill, and daughter of Robert Maitland, by whom he had a large family of sons and daughters.

It is the peculiar merit of Wathen and of his pupil Ware that they elevated ophthalmic surgery from the degraded condition into which it had fallen. Originally a branch of general surgery, but always invaded by quacks, it fell into dishonest hands, from which the disinterested efforts of men like Ware first rescued it.

A half-length oil painting, by M. Brown, is in the possession of James T. Ware, esq., F.R.C.S. Engl., of Tilford, Surrey. It was engraved by H. Cook, and a copy of the engraving is prefixed to Pettigrew's ‘Life of Ware,’ as well as to the notice of Ware in the ‘New European Magazine’ for 1815.

Ware published: 1. ‘Remarks on the Ophthalmy, Psorophthalmy, and Purulent Eye,’ London, 1780, 8vo; 2nd edit. 1785; reprinted 1787; 3rd edit. 1795; another edit., called the second, was published in 1805, and the 5th edit. in 1814. This work was translated into Spanish, Madrid, 1796, 16mo. 2. ‘Chirurgical Observations relative to the Epiphora or Watery Eye, the Scrophulous and Intermittent Ophthalmy, the Extraction of the Cataract, and the Introduction of the Male Catheter,’ London, 1792, 8vo; 2nd edit. 1800. 3. ‘An Enquiry into the Causes which have most commonly prevented Success in the Operation of Extracting the Cataract,’ London, 1795, 8vo. 4. ‘Chirurgical Observations relative to the Eye,’ London, 1798, 2 vols. 8vo; 2nd edit. 1805–12; translated into German, Göttingen, 8vo; 2te Bd. 1809. 5. ‘Remarks on the Fistula Lachrymalis,’ to which are added observations on hæmorrhoids and additional remarks on the ophthalmy, London, 1798, 8vo. 6. ‘Remarks on the Purulent Ophthalmy which has lately been epidemical in this country,’ London, 1808, 8vo. 7. ‘Observations on the Treatment of the Epiphora;’ edited by his son, Martin Ware, London, 1818, 8vo, and Exeter. 8. ‘On an Operation of largely Puncturing the Capsule of the Crystalline Humour in Gutta Serena,’ London, 1812, 8vo. He published several papers of professional importance in the ‘Transactions’ of the Medical and of the Medical and Chirurgical societies, of which the most interesting are the cases of recovery of sight after long periods of blindness. He also edited Reade's ‘Practical Observations on Diseases of the Inner Corner of the Eye,’ London, 1811, 8vo; and he translated Wenzel's ‘Treatise on Cataract,’ 1791, 8vo.

[Pettigrew's Biographical Memoirs of the most Celebrated Physicians, Surgeons, &c., vol. iii.; Wadd's Nugæ Chirurgicæ, London, 1824. Additional information kindly given by A. M. Ware, esq., a great-grandson of James Ware.]

D’A. P.