Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Badham, Charles (1780-1845)

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BADHAM, CHARLES, M.D. (1780–1845), medical and poetical writer, was born in London on 17 April 1780. After receiving a sound classical education he applied himself to the study of medicine, and proceeded to Edinburgh, where he graduated M.D. in 1802, on which occasion he published his inaugural dissertation, 'De Calculis.' He was admitted a licentiate of the Royal College of Physicians of London in 1803, and about that time entered Pembroke College, Oxford, as a gentleman commoner. As a member of that house he graduated B.A. in 1811, M.A. in 1812, M.B. and M.D. in 1817. In March 1818 he was elected a fellow of the Royal Society, and in September the same year admitted a fellow of the Royal College of Physicians. He was censor of the college in 1821, and wrote the Harveian oration which was delivered in 1840.

Badham began to practise his profession in London in 1803, and before long he was appointed physician to the Duke of Sussex. He also became physician to the Westminster General Dispensary, and in conjunction with Dr. Crichton of Clifford Street, he delivered lectures in London on physic, chemistry, and the materia medica. After the conclusion of peace in 1815 he determined to enlarge his stores of scientific information and of general knowledge by a visit to the continent. Accordingly he spent two years in travelling through Europe. Traversing the less-known parts of the kingdom of Naples, he passed to the Ionian Islands and thence to Albania, where he was consulted by Ali Pasha. He then pursued his course over Mount Pindus, through Thessaly, and by Thermopylæ to Athens, and thence by the isthmus and gulf of Corinth to the Neapolitan coast. Badham's fondness for travel, in which he spent nearly the half of his days, and his taste for classical literature, were unfavourable to his attaining that celebrity and extent of practice which, had he remained in the metropolis, would, with ordinary diligence, assuredly have been his portion; but he preferred the easier, though less lucrative, occupation of travelling physician to persons of high degree.

In 1808 he gave proof of his attainments as an observant practical physician by the publication of 'Observations on the Inflammatory Affections of the Mucous Membrane of the Bronchiæ' (Lond., 12mo), a second edition of which, corrected and enlarged, appeared in 1814 under the title of 'An Essay on Bronchitis, with a Supplement containing Remarks on Simple Pulmonary Abscess.' In this treatise bronchitis, acute and chronic, was for the first time separated from peri-pneumony and pleurisy and the other conditions with which it had previously been confounded, and its history, differential diagnosis, and treatment established.

In 1812 he published at Oxford 'Specimens of a New Translation of Juvenal,' which was followed by a forcible and elegant version of 'The Satires of Juvenal, translated into English verse' (Lond. 1814, 8vo; reprinted 1831). These works were very severely criticised in the 'Quarterly Review' by Dr. Gifford, himself the author of a translation of the same satirist. Dr. Gifford was, however, constrained to admit that Badham's performance was not without merit, and that in some passages, in which he had had to contend with Dryden, he had 'well sustained the contest.'

When, in 1827, the chair of the practice of physic at Glasgow became vacant, Badham was recommended by his friend Sir Henry Halford to the Duke of Montrose as one whose talents and accomplishments would tend to increase the fame of a rising university; and although Scotchmen were not pleased at seeing an Englishman preferred before them, his lectures displayed so much ability that they soon found they had reason to be proud of the services of so brilliant and remarkable a professor. At Glasgow Badham was but little solicitous of medical practice, and devoted himself almost exclusively to the duties of his chair. The vacations he spent in travel, mostly in the south of Europe. He died in London 10 Nov. 1845.

He was contributor to 'Blackwood's Magazine.' There appeared in April 1829 his 'Lines written at Warwick Castle,' which had been printed with notes, for private circulation, in 1827, 4to. He prepared for the press an 'Itinerary from Rome to Athens,' but it was never published.

Badham was twice married; in early life to the beautiful Miss Margaret Campbell, first cousin of Thomas Campbell the poet, and for whose hand the poet is understood to have been an unsuccessful suitor. About 1833 Badham married, secondly, Caroline, eldest daughter of Admiral Sir Edward Foote, K.C.B. Two of his sons are noticed in separate articles.

[Private information; St. James's Chronicle, 15 Nov. 1845; Quarterly Review, viii. 60, xi. 377; Biog. Dict. of Living Authors (1816), 11; Gent. Mag. N.S. xxv. 99; Munk's College of Physicians, 2nd edit., iii. 190; Times, 26 June 1840.]

T. C.