Page:A biographical dictionary of eminent Scotsmen, vol 6.djvu/248

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42 DR. MONRO, SECUNDUS.


active secretary, published the third and last volume of their Essays and Obser- vations, Physical and Literary. This volume, among many other valuable es- says, is enriched by a production of Dr Monro, entitled, An Attempt to Deter- mine, by Experiments, how far some of the most powerful Medicines, Opium, Ardent Spirits, and Essential Oils, affect Animals, by acting on those Nerves to which they are primarily applied, and thereby bringing the rest of the Nervous System into sufferance, by what is called Sympathy of Nerves ; and how far these Medicines affect Animals after being taken in by their Absorbent Veins, and mixed and conveyed with their Blood in the course of circulation ; with Physio- logical and Practical Remarks. This elaborate dissertation, highly interesting in the practice of Medicine, afforded ample proofs of the genius, the judgment, and the industry of the author.

In 1783, Dr Monro published a large folio volume, entitled, Observations on the Structure and Functions of the Nervous System. This volume, which was illustrated by numerous engravings, was soon afterwards translated into German and into other modern European languages ; and, high as his reputation w f as before, it tended both to support and to increase his fame.

The same consequences also resulted from another folio volume which he published in the year 1785, entitled, The Structure and Physiology of Fishes, explained and compared with those of Man and other Animals, illustrated \\illi Figures. In 1788, he published a third folio volume, entitled, A Descrip- tion of all the Bursae Mucosae of the Human Body ; their Structure explained, and compared with that of the Capsular Ligaments of the Joints ; and of those Sacs which line the cavities of the thorax and abdomen, with Remarks on the Accidents and Diseases which affect these several Sacs, and on the operations ne- cessary for their cure.

For these three works, the folio form was necessary, on account of the size of the plates with which they were illustrated, and which had been engraved at a very great expense. Although all these three folios were presented to the learned world within the short space of five years, yet they may be considered as the scientific fruits of the best part of Dr Monro's life. For, although a large portion of his time was necessarily occupied in teaching anatomy to numerous classes, and in extensive practice as a physician, yet, amidst all his important avocations, he prosecuted with unwearied assiduity the extension of discovery, and neglected no opportunity of increasing our knowledge of the philosophy of the human body. Of his success in these interesting pursuits, the three works now mentioned, will transmit incontrovertible evidence to the latest posterity.

Dr Monro primus, as already noticed, had officiated for more than thirty years as secretary to a Medical Society in Edinburgh, which was formed of the most eminent physicians of the city at that time. During this period, he had published in their name, six volumes of Medical Essays, which had ob- tained the approbation of the most eminent physicians in every country of Eu- rope, insomuch, that the illustrious Haller had represented it as a book quern nemo carere potest. But about the year 1750, a proposal was made to unite the physicians and philosophers of Edinburgh into one Society. This poposal was strenuously supported by Henry Home, afterwards lord Kames, and Mr David Hume. The union was accordingly accomplished ; and in place of the Medical, they assumed the name of the Philosophical So- ciety of Edinburgh. Dr Monro primus still continued to be one of their secretaries, and had conjoined with him Mr David Hume, the historian, for the philosophical department. This society published three volumes of Essays and Observations, Physical and Literary. The first volume, as has already been observed, contains some papers written by Alexander Monro secundus,