Milman, Francis (DNB00)

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MILMAN, Sir FRANCIS, M.D. (1746–1821), physician, was born on 31 Aug. 1746 at East Ogwell, Devonshire. His father, Francis Milman, was rector of that parish, and vicar of Abbots Kerswell, in the same county. On 30 June 1760 he matriculated at Exeter College, Oxford, whence he graduated B.A. 9 May 1764, M.A. 14 Jan. 1767, M.B. 7 July 1770, M.D. 23 Nov. 1776. In 1765 he was elected to a college fellowship, and in May 1771 a Radcliffe travelling fellow. He was elected physician to the Middlesex Hospital (1777–1779), and a fellow of the College of Physicians of London 30 Sept. 1778. He had made the acquaintance of the Duke of Gloucester at Rome, and by his influence obtained practice in London. In 1785 he was made physician extraordinary to the king's household, and in 1806 became physician in ordinary to the king. At the College of Physicians he delivered the Gulstonian lectures on scurvy in 1780, was five times censor between 1779 and 1799, delivered the Croonian lectures in 1781, and the Harveian oration, which was not printed, in 1782. He was elected president in 1811 and 1812, and resigned 6 Oct. 1813. In 1800 he was created a baronet. His published works are only two, and appeared respectively in 1782 and 1799. The former, ‘Animadversiones de Natura Hydropis ejusque curatione,' is dedicated to the Radcliffe trustees, and is in part based upon observations made during his travels abroad. It never rises above the level of a moderately good graduation thesis, and shows that its author did not distinguish between dropsies due to cirrhosis of the liver, to malignant growth of the peritoneum, and to renal disease. He recommends purgatives and tonics, and thinks that the patient's fluid food need not be restricted. His other book, ‘An Enquiry into the Source from whence the Symptoms of the Scurvy and of Putrid Fevers arise,’ is dedicated to Lord Southampton, and is a compilation showing little practical acquaintance with the disease. He agrees in general with James Lind [q. v.], whom he quotes, and almost the only original passage in the 230 octavo pages is one in which he comments on a passage of Strabo, bk. xvi., and shows that the disease from which the army of Ælius Gallus suffered in Arabia in the reign of Augustus was a form of scurvy. He died at Pinner Grove, Middlesex, 24 June 1821, and was buried in the church of St. Luke at Chelsea. He was a courtly person, of no great medical attainments.

Milman married, 20 July 1779, Frances, daughter of William Hart of Stapleton, Gloucestershire. His eldest son, William George, succeeded him in the baronetcy, and was father of Robert Milman [q. v.]; his youngest son, Henry Hart Milman [q. v.], was dean of St. Paul's.

[Works; Munk's Coll. of Phys. ii. 316; Gent. Mag. 1821; Annual Reg. 1821; Foster's Alumni Oxon.; Boase's Reg. Coll. Exon. xxiv. 107; information from Dr. J. B. Nias.]

N. M.