Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Garthshore, Maxwell

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1180487Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900, Volume 21 — Garthshore, Maxwell1890George Thomas Bettany

GARTHSHORE, MAXWELL (1732–1812), physician, son of the Rev. George Garthshore (d. 24 Jan. 1760, aged 72; see Gent. Mag. lxxxii. 387–8), fifty years minister in Kirkcudbright, was born at Kirkcudbright on 28 Oct. 1732. After being educated at the Kirkcudbright grammar school, he was apprenticed to a medical man in Edinburgh at the age of fourteen, and attended medical classes in the university. Before proceeding to his degree, Garthshore entered the army as surgeon's mate when in his twenty-second year. In 1756 he settled at Uppingham, succeeding (by the aid of his cousin, Robert Maitland, a prosperous London merchant) to the practice of Dr. John Fordyce [q. v.] After practising successfully at Uppingham for eight years, Garthshore was encouraged to remove to London, and to support his position there he graduated M.D. at Edinburgh 8 May 1764, and was admitted a licentiate of the London College of Physicians on 1 Oct. 1764. He obtained a large practice as an accoucheur, was appointed physician to the British Lying-in Hospital, and became a fellow of the Royal and Antiquarian Societies. He was a formal, fashionable physician of the old school, a sincere orthodox Christian, and extremely liberal to the poor, although parsimonious in his personal expenditure. It is stated that on one occasion he gave in a single gratuity more than his whole annual income (Gent. Mag. loc. cit.). The widow of the celebrated John Hunter was indebted to him for a comfortable provision when in very poor circumstances (Ottley, Life of Hunter, p. 139). His first wife, who brought him the small estate of Ruscoe in Kirkcudbrightshire, died in 1765, leaving him one son surviving. His second wife, Mrs. Murrel, whom he married in 1795, died some years before him. He died on 1 March 1812, and was buried in Bunhill Fields cemetery.

Garthshore bore a striking resemblance to the first Earl of Chatham, and was once pointed out in a debate in the House of Commons as the earl, whom every one believed to be present (Gent. Mag. loc. cit. p. 391). His portrait, by Slater, was engraved by Collyer. His only publications were his inaugural dissertation at Edinburgh, ‘De papaveris usu … in parturientibus ac puerperis,’ 1764; two papers read before the Society of Physicians in 1769, and published in the fourth and fifth volumes of ‘Medical Observations;’ some ‘Observations on Extra-uterine Cases, and Ruptures of the Tubes and Uterus,’ published in the ‘London Medical Journal,’ 1787; and ‘A Remarkable Case of Numerous Births,’ ‘Phil. Trans.,’ vol. lxxvii.

William Garthshore (1764–1806), son of the above, was born in London on 28 Oct. 1764. He was educated at Westminster School and Christ Church, Oxford, where he graduated M.A. in 1789, and became a tutor. He afterwards was tutor to the Marquis of Dalkeith, and made an extensive tour in Europe with him. Returning in 1792, he was recommended to the government by the Duke of Buccleuch, and was appointed private secretary to Mr. Dundas (afterwards Lord Melville) when secretary for war in 1794. In the same year he married Miss Jane Chalié, daughter of a wealthy wine merchant. He was elected M.P. for Launceston in January 1795, and for Weymouth in September of the same year, and retained his seat till his death. In 1801 he was appointed a lord of the admiralty by Mr. Addington, which post he held till 1804; but the death of his father-in-law, his wife, and only child within a few days of one another (5 and 9 Aug. 1803) overthrew his reason, and he died on 5 April 1806. His property went to his father, who used to say, ‘When William lived he made me poor; at his death he made me rich.’

[Gent. Mag. (1803), lxxiii. 793, 794, (1806) lxxvi. 389, (1812) lxxxii. pt. i. 300, 387–91, 673; Beatson's Parl. Reg. ii. 21, 94; Funeral Sermon by the Rev. George Greig, 1812; Georgian Era, ii. 399; Ottley's Life of John Hunter, pp. 28, 29, 114, 139; Welch's Alumni Westmon. (ed. 1852), p. 415; Foster's Alumni Oxon. vol. ii.]

G. T. B.