Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Home, Everard

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1395214Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900, Volume 27 — Home, Everard1891George Thomas Bettany

HOME, Sir EVERARD (1756–1832), surgeon, born at Hull on 6 May 1756, was son of Robert Boyne Home, army surgeon, afterwards of Greenlaw Castle, Berwickshire, and of Mary, daughter of Colonel Hutchinson. He became a king's scholar of Westminster School in 1770, and was elected to Trinity College, Cambridge, in 1773, but almost immediately resigned his scholarship to become a pupil of John Hunter, the surgeon, who married his only sister (Welch, Alumni Westmonast. pp. 397–8; Home, Life of Hunter, pp. xxi, xxii). Home assisted Hunter in many of his anatomical investigations, studying under him at St. George's Hospital, and in the autumn of 1776 he partly described Hunter's collection. Having qualified at Surgeons' Hall in 1778, he was appointed assistant surgeon at the newly finished naval hospital at Plymouth. Later he went to Jamaica as staff surgeon, whence he returned in August 1784, and went on half-pay. He resumed his assistancy with Hunter, was elected fellow of the Royal Society in 1785, and in 1788 received the gold medal of the Lyceum Medicum Londinense (a society founded by Hunter and Dr. George Fordyce [q. v.]) for a dissertation on the ‘Properties of Pus.’ In 1786 he took charge of Hunter's patients while Hunter was ill, and lived in Hunter's house from this time till 1792, when he married and removed to a few doors off. In 1787 Home was appointed assistant surgeon under Hunter at St. George's Hospital. In 1790–1 he lectured for Hunter, and in 1792 definitely succeeded him as lecturer on anatomy. He was elected surgeon to St. George's Hospital after Hunter's death in 1793, was joint executor with Dr. Baillie to Hunter's will, and in 1793–4 he saw through the press Hunter's important work ‘On the Blood, Inflammation, and Gunshot Wounds.’ Home obtained a large surgical practice, and became keeper and afterwards one of the trustees of the Hunterian collection (1817). He was chosen a member of the court of assistants of the College of Surgeons in 1801, member of the court of examiners in 1809, master in 1813, and president (the first who bore that title) in 1821. From 1804 to 1813, and again in 1821, he was professor of anatomy and surgery at the college, but did not lecture till 1810, giving another course in 1813; in 1814 and in 1822 he was Hunterian orator. His influence at the college as Hunter's brother-in-law and executor was great, and not always beneficial. By patent dated 2 Jan. 1813 he was made a baronet, and in 1808 sergeant-surgeon to the king. He was in 1821 made surgeon to Chelsea Hospital, where he died at his official residence on 31 Aug. 1832, aged 76. He had resigned the surgeoncy to St. George's Hospital in 1827, and was made consulting surgeon.

Home married in 1792 Jane, daughter of the Rev. Dr. Tunstall, and widow of Stephen Thompson, by whom he had two sons, Sir James Everard Home, born in 1798, afterwards captain R.N., and William Archibald Home, and four daughters. His portrait was painted by Sir W. Beechey, from which, presumably, an engraving is given, prefixed to the first volume of his ‘Lectures on Comparative Anatomy,’ 1814.

Home was a good practical surgeon, and was genuinely attached to the study of comparative anatomy. His earlier papers, published in the ‘Philosophical Transactions,’ were of considerable value, and he often delivered the Croonian lecture before the Royal Society, but in his later years the Society printed many insignificant or worthless papers by him.

The great blot upon Home's memory is his destruction of Hunter's manuscripts. Shortly before the Hunterian collection was delivered to the College of Surgeons in 1800, Home had the many folio volumes and fasciculi of manuscripts containing descriptions of the preparations, and of investigations connected with them, conveyed by William Clift [q. v.], the curator, to his own house. For many years afterwards the college begged Home to produce the catalogue, which, refusing the co-operation of others, he promised to draw up unaided; but a synopsis only was printed in 1818. Meanwhile Home was more or less using these manuscripts in preparing his numerous papers for the Royal Society (see Sir B. C. Brodie, Autobiography, pp. 163–5). In July 1823 Home told Clift that he had destroyed Hunter's papers, and had almost set fire to his house in the process. Clift, in his evidence in 1834 before the parliamentary committee on medical education, said that he knew Home had used these papers very largely in writing the third volume of his ‘Comparative Anatomy.’ Home alleged that Hunter, when he was dying, ordered him to destroy these papers, but this was impossible, as Home was not present, and he had admittedly kept the papers thirty years after Hunter's death. Clift further testified that he had frequently transcribed parts of Hunter's original papers and drawings into the papers which were to appear in Home's own name. Some few portions of the manuscripts which escaped destruction were afterwards recovered [see Hunter, John].

Besides over one hundred papers in the ‘Philosophical Transactions,’ some of which were reprinted separately, Home wrote: 1. ‘A Dissertation on the Properties of Pus,’ London, 1788, 4to. 2. ‘A short Account of the Life of John Hunter, prefixed to Hunter's Treatise on the Blood, Inflammations, and Gunshot Wounds,’ London, 1794, 4to. 3. ‘Practical Observations on the Treatment of Strictures in the Urethra and in the Œsophagus,’ London, 1795; 2nd edit., vol. i. 1797, vol. ii. 1803, vol. iii. 1821, the latter volume containing also an account of gouty attacks on the urethra, and a new mode of performing the high operation for stone; 3rd edit. of vol. i., 1805. 4. ‘Practical Observations on the Treatment of Ulcers on the Legs, considered as a branch of Military Surgery,’ London, 1797, 8vo; 2nd edit., enlarged, 1801. 5. ‘Observations on Cancer, connected with Histories of the Disease,’ London, 1805, 8vo. 6. ‘J. Hunter's Treatise on the Venereal Disease,’ edited by Sir E. Home, London, 1810, 4to. 7. ‘Practical Observations on the Treatment of the Diseases of the Prostate Gland,’ vol. i. 1811, vol. ii. 1818, London, 8vo. 8. ‘Lectures on Comparative Anatomy, in which are explained the Preparations in the Hunterian Museum,’ London, 4to, 1814, vol. i. text, vol. ii. plates, from drawings by W. Clift; these lectures were delivered in 1810 and 1813. Vols. iii. (text) and iv. (plates), containing lectures delivered in 1822, were published in 1823, with many microscopical drawings by Bauer, and anatomical drawings by Clift; vols. v. and vi. (supplementary), published in 1828, contain additional researches. Although this work is without system or true scientific insight, it is still of interest as containing many of the results of Hunter's investigations. 9. ‘On the Formation of Tumours, and the peculiarities in the Structure of those that have become Cancerous, with their Mode of Treatment,’ London, 1830, 8vo.

[Gent. Mag. October 1832, vol. cii. pt. ii. p. 384; English Encyclopædia, Supplement, 1872; Home's Life of John Hunter, 1794; Ottley's Life of Hunter, 1835; Sir W. Jardine's Life of John Hunter (Naturalist's Library, x. 78–80); W. Clift's evidence before the parliamentary medical committee, Lancet, 11 July 1835, pp. 471–6, 488, 489; Sir B. C. Brodie's Autobiog., 1865, passim; Brodie's Hunterian Oration for 1837; Hunter's Posthumous Essays and Observations, copied by W. Clift, and arranged and revised by Sir R. Owen, 2 vols. 8vo, London, 1861, with appendix by W. Clift. See also Jesse Foot's Review of Home's Practical Observations on the Prostate Gland, London, 1812; Thomas Whately's Observations on Home's Treatment of Strictures of the Urethra, London, 1801.]

G. T. B.