Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Long, John St. John

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LONG, JOHN St. JOHN (1798–1831), empiric, second son of John Long, basket-maker and jack-of-all-trades, by Anne St. John, was born at Newcastle, co. Limerick, in 1798, and was bred to his father's various occupations, but showing some gift for drawing was, in 1816, provided by some charitable people with the means of attending the Dublin school of design. After two years passed in Dublin he returned to his native place, and maintained himself by giving drawing lessons. He also painted some pictures of still life and made some attempts at landscape and portrait painting. In 1822 he came to London, where he soon exchanged art for medicine, having lit upon an entirely original method of treating consumption, rheumatism, and other complaints, viz. the application of corrosive liniments and friction. He began practice in Howland Street, Fitzroy Square, in 1827, and found it so lucrative that after a few months he removed to 41 Harley Street, where for some years he was quite the 'médecin à la mode.' One of his patients, however, having died from the effects of his treatment, he was tried at the Old Bailey, and was found guilty of manslaughter on 23 Oct. 1830, but was discharged on paying a fine of 250l. Another trial on a similar charge ended in an acquittal. He himself died of a consumption, which he would not treat by his own method, on 2 July 1834. He bequeathed his property, including his 'secret,' which he valued at 10,000l., to his brother William.

Long published: 1. 'Discoveries in the Science and Art of Healing,' London, 1830, 8vo; 2nd edit. 1831. 2. 'A Critical Exposure of the Ignorance and Malpractice of certain Medical Practitioners in their Theory and Treatment of Disease,' &c. London, 1831, 8vo.

[Ann. Biog. xx. 436; Gent. Mag. 1830 pt. ii. p. 461, 1834 pt. ii. p. 656; Tate's Observations upon the System of Mr. John St. John Long;, Cheltenham, 1831, 8vo; A Defence of John St. John Long, Esq., &c, London, 1831, 8vo.]

J. M. R.