Page:Dictionary of National Biography. Sup. Vol II (1901).djvu/179

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Duncan
Duncan
167

rapidly and without erasure, even in the midst of conversation.

He was promoted major on 4 Feb. 1874, and in May 1876 he was sent to Jamaica, where he drew up a report on the island and its defences. On 15 Jan. 1877 he was appointed an instructor in gunnery, and was employed for the next five years in the instruction of militia and volunteer artillery at the Repository, Woolwich. Having himself entered the army direct from a university, without passing through the Royal Military Academy, Duncan was anxious to give future officers the opportunity of university training. He had helped to write a pamphlet on the subject in 1872 'The Universities and the Scientific Corps' and he took part in the foundation of the Oxford military college, which was opened in September 1876, and became chairman of the committee of management of it a year afterwards. He was a zealous and indefatigable member of the order of St. John, which he had joined in 1875, and was director of the ambulance department. He was active in other philanthropic movements. He became lieutenant-colonel in the army on 1 July 1881, and in the royal artillery on 1 Oct. 1882. At the end of that year he accepted the command of the Egyptian artillery, and held it from 18 Jan. 1883 till 19 Nov. 1885. At Cairo, as the Khedive said, 'he did the work of two men,' and at Wady Haifa in 1884 he did much to forward the Gordon relief expedition, of which he gave an account at the Artillery Institution on 6 Oct. 1886. He became colonel in the British army on 15 June 1885, and was made C.B. on 25 Aug. He also received the order of the Osmanieh (3rd class). On 26 Nov. he was returned as M.P. in the conservative interest for the Holborn division of Finsbury, and was re-elected in July 1886. He had previously stood unsuccessfully for Morpeth in 1874, and for Durham city and Finsbury in 1880. He spoke frequently on professional and other subjects on the conservative side. His speech in seconding the address on 9 Feb. 1888 was described by Gladstone as one of the shortest and one of the very best he had heard on such an occasion. Duncan went to Nova Scotia in the autumn to obtain rest from overwork, but he died shortly after his return, on 16 Nov. 1888, at Woolwich. He married, on 24 Aug. 1858, Mary Kate, daughter of Rev. William Cogswell, rector of St. Paul's, Halifax, Nova Scotia, who survived him. He was a fellow of the geological and other societies, LL.D. of Aberdeen, and D.C.L. of Durham.

He wrote, besides lectures and pamphlets:

  1. 'Our Garrisons in the West; or Sketches in British North America,' 1864.
  2. 'History of the Royal Regiment of Artillery,' 1872-3, 2 vols.; 2nd edit. 1874.
  3. 'The English in Spain; or the Story of the War of Succession, 1834-40,' 1877.
  4. 'The Royal Province of New Scotland and her Baronets,' 1878.

[Life by Rev. H. B. Blogg, 1892; Times, 17 Nov. 1888.]

E. M. L.

DUNCAN, JAMES MATTHEWS, (1826–1890), physician, fifth child of William Duncan, a merchant, and his wife Isabella Matthews, was born in April 1826 in Aberdeen. After education in the grammar school he entered Marischal College, Aberdeen, and graduated M. A. in April 1843. He began the study of medicine at the same college, continued it at Edinburgh in 1845, and, returning to Aberdeen, there graduated M.D. before he was twenty-one. He spent the winter of 1846-7 in Paris attending the lectures of Cruveilhier, Andral, Orfila, and Velpeau. He returned in April 1847, and soon after became the assistant in Edinburgh of Professor James Young Simpson [q. v.], whose friendship he had acquired in 1845. He assisted Simpson in his experiments in anaesthetics, and on 4 Nov. 1847 experimentally inhaled chloroform to the point of insensibility, and thus is entitled to a share in the discovery of its usefulness (Miller, Surgical Experience of Chloroform, 1848).

At the end of 1849, after some months of travel in attendance on the Marquis of Bute, Duncan began practice in Edinburgh, chiefly as an obstetrician. He became a fellow of the Edinburgh College of Physicians in 1851, and in May 1853 began a course as an extra-academical lecturer on midwifery. He soon attained considerable practice, and in 1861 was made physician to the ward for diseases of women in the Edinburgh Royal Infirmary. He read numerous papers on obstetrics, and from 1873 to 1875 was president of the Obstetrical Society of Edinburgh. He published in 1866 'Fecundity, Fertility, and Sterility,' the first exact inquiry in English into those subjects; a second edition appeared in 1871. The work is divided into ten parts (1) On variations in fecundity; (2) on the size of newborn children and the conditions affecting it; (3) on the production of twins; (4) on the laws of fertility in various ages, conditions. and races; (5) on the laws of sterility; (6) on fertility and fecundity considered together; (7) on the mortality of childbed; (8) on the age of nubility; (9) on the dura-