Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Lipscomb, George

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LIPSCOMB, GEORGE, M.D. (1773–1846), historian of Buckinghamshire, born on 4 Jan. 1773 at Quainton, Buckinghamshire, was the son of James Lipscomb, surgeon R.N., by Mary, daughter of Jonathan George, yeoman, of Grendon Underwood in the same county. After attending schools at Quainton and Aylesbury, and receiving some medical instruction from his father, he betook himself to London to study surgery under Sir James Earle [q. v.] In 1792 he was appointed house-surgeon of St. Bartholomew's Hospital. In 1794 he became lieutenant of the North Hampshire militia, and in 1798 captain commandant of the Warwickshire volunteer infantry, for whom he wrote an ‘Address to the Volunteers on their Duty to their King and Country.’ In 1798 also he was chosen deputy recorder of Warwick. On 6 June 1806 he obtained from Marischal College, Aberdeen, the diploma of M.D. During 1811 he became co-editor of the ‘National Adviser,’ a newspaper projected by Henry Redhead Yorke. Numerous articles from his pen appeared in the ‘Gentleman's Magazine,’ chiefly under the signature of ‘Viator,’ and various essays on subjects connected with political economy, statistics, and general literature were contributed by him to the ‘Literary Panorama’ and other periodicals. He suggested the plan of the Society for the Encouragement of Agricultural Industry in an able essay, for which he received a premium and a silver medal from the board of agriculture of Great Britain. In 1832 Lipscomb delivered a series of lectures on cholera at the London Mechanics' Institution and the North London Literary and Scientific Institution, which he afterwards published in the form of a treatise ‘On the Nature, Symptoms, Treatment, and Cure of Cholera Morbus, with preliminary Remarks on Contagion and the Regulations of Quarantine,’ accompanied by his correspondence with Lord Melbourne on the subject.

Lipscomb died on 9 Nov. 1846, and was buried in the graveyard of St. George the Martyr, Southwark. He married in 1803 the widow of Richard Hopkins of Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwickshire, and third daughter of Thomas Wells of that place, but had no children. On his wife's death in 1834 her whole fortune, Lipscomb's chief resource, passed to her own family.

Lipscomb's great work, ‘The History and Antiquities of the County of Buckingham,’ is chiefly based upon his own collections and those bequeathed to him by Edward Cooke (1772–1824). His prospectus produced a liberal list of subscribers. The first part appeared in 1831, after which the work had to be suspended, owing to Lipscomb's pecuniary embarrassments. Ultimately a spirited publisher came to his aid, and before he died he had the satisfaction of knowing that the last portion (pt. viii.) was in the press. The book, considering the difficulties of its publication, is very creditable, although Lipscomb was unable from want of means to make full use of his materials. It fills four quarto volumes, with title-pages dated 1847.

His other topographical works are:

  1. ‘A Journey into Cornwall through the Counties of Southampton, Wilts, Dorset, Somerset, and Devon,’ 8vo, Warwick, 1799.
  2. ‘A Journey into South Wales,’ 8vo, London, 1802.
  3. ‘A Description of Matlock-bath, with an Attempt to explain the Causes of the Heat, and of the Petrifying Quality of the Springs, to which is added some Account of Chatsworth and Kedleston, and the Mineral Waters of Quarndon and Kedleston,’ 12mo, Birmingham, 1802.
  4. ‘A Journey round the Coast of Kent,’ 8vo, London, 1818, reputed to have been compiled by L. Fussell.
  5. ‘The Sandgate, Hythe, and Folkstone Guide,’ 8vo, Sandgate, 1823.

His medical writings are:

  1. ‘An Essay on the Nature and Treatment of a putrid, malignant Fever which prevailed at Warwick in 1798,’ 8vo, Warwick, 1799.
  2. ‘Observations on the History and Cause of Asthma, and a brief Review of a Practical Inquiry into disordered Respiration,’ 8vo, London, 1800.
  3. ‘Inoculation for the Small-pox vindicated,’ 8vo, London, 1805.
  4. ‘A Manual of Inoculation for the use of the Faculty and Private Families … extracted from the Writings of Dimsdale, Sutton,' &c., 8vo, London, 1806.
  5. 'A Dissertation on the non-Infallibility of the Cow-pox, with an Examination of the principal Arguments of Drs. Jenner, Pearson, Woodville, Lettsom, Adams, and Thornton,' 8vo, London, 1806.
  6. 'Cow-pox exploded, or the Inconsistencies, Absurdities, and Falsehoods of some of its Defenders exposed,' 8vo, London, 1806.
  7. 'A Dissertation on the Failure and Mischiefs of the Cow-pox,' 8vo, London, 1806.
  8. 'Cautions and Reflections on Canine Madness, with the Method of preventing the Hydrophobia in Persons who have been bitten,' 8vo, London, 1807.
  9. 'A History of Canine Madness and Hydrophobia,' 8vo, London, 1809.
  10. 'Observations on Contagion as it relates to the Plague and other epidemical Diseases, and refers to the Regulations of Quarantine,' 8vo, London, 1819.
  11. 'A Grammar of Medicine, with Plan of the Grammar of Chemistry,' 8vo.

His miscellaneous works include:

  1. 'The Grey Friar, or the Black Spirit of the Wye,' 8vo, London, 1810.
  2. 'Modern Times, or Anecdotes of the English Family,' 8vo.
  3. 'The Capricious Mother,' 8vo.
  4. 'Observations on the High Price of Provisions and the Monopoly of Farms,' 8vo.

He edited the 'Clerical Guide' for 1821, and published two volumes of 'Sermons,' besides furnishing divines with many single discourses. He likewise composed hymns and anthems for charity schools on various occasions.

[Gent. Mag. 1847, pt. i. pp. 88-90.]

G. G.