Haslam, John (DNB00)

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HASLAM, JOHN (1764–1844), medical writer, was born in London in 1764 and received his medical education at the United Borough Hospitals and at Edinburgh, where he attended the medical classes in 1785 and 1786. After acting for many years as apothecary to Bethlehem Hospital, London, thus obtaining a practical knowledge of diseases of the brain, he was created a doctor of medicine by the university of Aberdeen, 17 Sept. 1816, and established himself as a physician in London. To comply with the regulations of the College of Physicians in London, he entered himself at Pembroke College, Cambridge, and kept some terms there, but took no degree. He was admitted a licentiate of the College of Physicians, 12 April 1824. Haslam was long distinguished in private practice by his prudent treatment of the insane, while his scientific publications and his contributions on general literature to the periodicals gave him a wide reputation. He died at 56 Lamb's Conduit Street, London, 20 July 1844, aged 80.

Haslam wrote:

  1. ‘Observations on Insanity, with Practical Remarks on the Disease and an Account of the Morbid Appearances on Dissection,’ 1798. The second edition was entitled ‘Observations on Madness and Melancholy,’ 1809.
  2. ‘Illustrations of Madness, with a Description of the Tortures experienced by Bomb-bursting, Lobster-cracking, and Lengthening the Brain,’ 1810.
  3. ‘Observations of the Physician [Dr. Thomas Monro] and Apothecary of Bethlem Hospital upon the Evidence before the House of Commons on Madhouses,’ 1816; Haslam's observations are on pp. 37–55.
  4. ‘Considerations on the Moral Management of Insane Persons,’ 1817.
  5. ‘Medical Jurisprudence as it relates to Insanity,’ 1817.
  6. ‘A Letter to the Governors of Bethlehem Hospital, containing an Account of their Management for the last Twenty Years,’ 1818.
  7. ‘Sound Mind, or Contributions to the History and Physiology of the Human Intellect,’ 1819.
  8. ‘A Letter to the Lord Chancellor on Unsoundness of Mind and Imbecility of Intellect,’ 1823.
  9. ‘On the Nature of Thought and its Connexion with a Perspicuous Sentence,’ 1835.

Haslam read three papers—‘On Restraint and Coercion,’ 1833, ‘An Attempt to Institute the Correct Discrimination between Crime and Insanity,’ 1843, and ‘On the Increase of Insanity,’ 1843—before the Society for Improving the Condition of the Insane; these were printed with others by J. C. Sommers in 1850. A portrait of Haslam by G. Dawe was engraved in mezzotint.

[Munk's Coll. of Phys. 1878, iii. 282; Literary Gazette, 27 July 1844, p. 484; Gent. Mag. September 1844, p. 322; Catalogue of Library in Surgeon-General's Office at Washington, 1884, v. 871.]

G. C. B.