1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Hinton, James

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HINTON, JAMES (1822–1875), English surgeon and author, son of John Howard Hinton (1791–1873), Baptist minister and author of the History and Topography of the United States and other works, was born at Reading in 1822. He was educated at his grandfather’s school near Oxford, and at the Nonconformist school at Harpenden, and in 1838, on his father’s removal to London, was apprenticed to a woollen-draper in Whitechapel. After retaining this situation about a year he became clerk in an insurance office. His evenings were spent in intense study, and this, joined to the ardour, amounting to morbidness, of his interest in moral problems, so affected his health that in his nineteenth year he resolved to seek refuge from his own thoughts by running away to sea. His intention having, however, been discovered, he was sent, on the advice of the physician who was consulted regarding his health, to St Bartholomew’s Hospital to study for the medical profession. After receiving his diploma in 1847, he was for some time assistant surgeon at Newport, Essex, but the same year he went out to Sierra Leone to take medical charge of the free labourers on their voyage thence to Jamaica, where he stayed some time. He returned to England in 1850, and entered into partnership with a surgeon in London, where he soon had his interest awakened specially in aural surgery, and gave also much of his attention to physiology. He made his first appearance as an author in 1856 by contributing papers on physiological and ethical subjects to the Christian Spectator; and in 1859 he published Man and his Dwelling-place. A series of papers entitled “Physiological Riddles,” in the Cornhill Magazine, afterwards published as Life in Nature (1862), as well as another series entitled Thoughts on Health (1871), proved his aptitude for popular scientific exposition. After being appointed aural surgeon to Guy’s Hospital in 1863, he speedily acquired a reputation as the most skilful aural surgeon of his day, which was fully borne out by his works, An Atlas of Diseases of the membrana tympani (1874), and Questions of Aural Surgery (1874). But his health broke down, and in 1874 he gave up practice; and he died at the Azores of acute inflammation of the brain on the 16th of December 1875. In addition to the works already mentioned, he was the author of The Mystery of Pain (1866) and The Place of the Physician (1874). On account of their fresh and vigorous discussion of many of the important moral and social problems of the time, his writings had a wide circulation on both sides of the Atlantic.

His Life and Letters, edited by Ellice Hopkins, with an introduction by Sir W. W. Gull, appeared in 1878.