Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Barrowby, William

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This article muddles a father and son of the name.

BARROWBY, WILLIAM (1682–1751), physician, the son of Dr. William Barrowby, a physician established first in Oxford and afterwards in London, was born in London, and proceeded to Trinity College, Oxford, whence he passed to Emmanuel College, Cambridge, and there took the degrees of M.B. in 1709, and of M.D. in 1713; he was elected a fellow of the College of Physicians in 1718, and F.R.S. in 1721. He published ‘Syllabus Anatomicus prælectionibus annuatim habendis adaptatus,’ London, 1736. He translated two medical works by Astruc in 1737–8. He is stated, on somewhat doubtful authority, to have been one of the authors of ‘A Letter to the Real and Genuine Pierce Dod, M.D., actual physician of St. Bartholomew's Hospital: plainly exposing the low absurdity or malice of a late spurious pamphlet falsely ascribed to that learned physician, 1746.’ A controversy about inoculation was going on, and Dr. Dod had published some notes of cases which illustrated his view that the practice was dangerous. He had added other cases and an empty Latin letter. The long pamphlet of Dod is written in a pompous style, and contains very little medical information. The title of the attack by Barrowby and Schomberg indicates its method of ridicule. The task was an easy one, but the performance is abusive, coarse, and without scientific merit. The only happy hit in it is on the case of Lord Dorchester, who had taken an overdose of opium. Dod had mentioned among many irrelevant facts that the nobleman when recovering sent for his chaplain to read to him, and Barrowby says: ‘We have a beautiful instance of the pious simplicity of past ages, p. 34, in the marquis's calling for his chaplain to read to him when he grew less desirous of sleep, whereas we observe most modern lords employ their chaplains chiefly from an aversion to all other opiates.’ In the Rawlinson MSS. (in the Bodleian) it is said of Barrowby that ‘this wretch, tho' a monster of lewdness and prophaneness,’ took part in the riots at the Drury Lane Theatre in December 1743. He is satirised in a book called the ‘World Unmasked’ (1738). Barrowby became Dr. Dod's colleague at St. Bartholomew's in 1750, when for the first time the hospital had three physicians instead of two. Dr. Barrowby held office for less than two years, and died on 30 Dec. 1751 of cerebral hæmorrhage. His portrait was painted by T. Jenkins, and has been engraved.

[Munk's Roll, ii.; Manuscript Journals of St. Bartholomew's Hospital; Watt's Bibl. Brit. (sub ‘Barroughby’); Morning Advertiser for December 1743.]

N. M.