Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Yonge, James (1646-1721)

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YONGE, JAMES (1646–1721), medical writer, son of John Yonge, surgeon, and his wife Joanna (1618–1700), daughter of Nicholas Blackaller of Sharpham, Devonshire, was born at Plymouth on 11 May 1646. He was sent to Plymouth grammar school in 1654, and after two years there was bound apprentice to Silvester Richmond of Liverpool (preface to Currus), surgeon to the ship-of-war Constant Warwick. He was appointed surgeon's mate to the Montague, one of Lord Sandwich's fleet in the Downs, and was at the ineffectual bombardment of Algiers in 1662. In May of that year he was paid off in England, and acted for four months as assistant to an apothecary at Wapping; then he assisted in his father's practice till February 1663, when he made a voyage in the Reformation to Newfoundland. In 1664 he visited the west coast of Africa and the Mediterranean in the Bonaventure. On a second voyage, in December 1665, in the same ship, he was captured by the Dutch, and was detained as a prisoner of war at Amsterdam till September 1666. He got back to Plymouth and practised there till February 1668, when he made a final voyage to Newfoundland, after which he settled in Plymouth in September 1670, and soon did well in practice. He married, on 28 March 1671, Jane, daughter of Thomas Crampporne of Buckland Monachorum in Devonshire. He was appointed surgeon to the naval hospital at Plymouth at the rate of five shillings a day, and in 1674 became also deputy surgeon-general to the navy. He published papers in the ‘Philosophical Transactions’ on a bullet in the trachea, on two huge gallstones, and on an intestinal concretion.

Yonge visited London in 1678, and as a result of a discussion there published in 1679 ‘Currus Triumphalis e Terebintho,’ two letters on the use of turpentine in the control of hæmorrhage. In 1682 he published ‘Wounds of the Brain proved Curable,’ a treatise based on some of his own cases. He became mayor of Plymouth in 1694. In 1702 he was examined and admitted to the license of the Royal College of Physicians of London. The examination was conducted at the house of Sir Thomas Millington, the president, in Lincoln's Inn Fields, and Yonge has left a full account of it, which was printed in the ‘St. Bartholomew's Hospital Journal’ for November 1899. He had before practised on the license of the bishop of Exeter. On 3 Nov. 1702 he was elected F.R.S., and in 1707 he embalmed the body of Sir Clowdisley Shovell. He died on 25 July 1721, and is buried in the church of St. Andrew, Plymouth, where his monument is still to be seen. His eldest son James (1672–1745), who married in 1726 Mary, daughter and heir of John Upton of Puslinch, was great-great-grandfather of Charles Duke Yonge [q. v.]

Yonge corresponded with Sir Hans Sloane, and was a friend of Walter Charleton [q. v.], of Francis Atterbury [q. v.], of Dr. Edward Browne [q. v.], of Edward Tyson [q. v.], and of Charles Bernard [q. v.], the surgeon. He was a royalist first, and afterwards a tory, and published ‘Several Evidences’ to prove that Charles I wrote ‘Eikon Basilike.’ He also published ‘Considerations’ on the Newfoundland trade in 1670; ‘Medicaster Medicatus,’ a reply to William Salmon (1644–1713), in 1685; and ‘Sidrophel Vapulans’ in 1699. His journal, in manuscript, is in the library of the Plymouth Institution.

[Edinburgh Medical and Surgical Journal, 1849, vol. lxxi.; Munk's Coll. of Phys. ii. 2; Norman Moore's Lecture on Principles and Practice of Medicine, St. Bartholomew's Hospital Journal, November, 1899; Works; R. N. Worth's Hist. of Plymouth, ed. 1890, passim; Burke's Landed Gentry; Brit. Mus. Cat. s.v. ‘Young.’]

N. M.