Page:Dictionary of National Biography. Sup. Vol II (1901).djvu/180

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Duncan
Duncan
168

tion of labour; and (10) on the duration of pregnancy. All these are discussed in numerous chapters, and the exact method of treatment rather than any conclusions of great originality at once obtained a wide and deserved reputation for the book. A large proportion of the previous writings of obstetricians consisted of loosely arranged experiences or of advertisements of the writers' skill. Duncan's was obviously a scientific book, and he was ever after considered throughout Europe and America as an authority in obstetrics. In 1868 he published 'Researches in Obstetrics,' in 1869 'Treatise on Parametritis and Perimetritis,' and in 1870 'The Mortality of Childbed and Maternity Hospitals.' These books have all the same characteristic of precision, and so have his numerous papers in the 'Proceedings' of medical societies, and his subsequent writings 'Papers on the Female Perineum,' 1879; 'Clinical Lectures on Diseases of Women,' 1879, 1883, 1886, 1889; and 'Sterility in Women,' 1884.

In 1870, on the death of Sir James Young Simpson, Duncan was a candidate for the professorship of midwifery at Edinburgh, but was not elected. His steady increase of practice and reputation as one of the chief authorities in his subject showed that his profession and the public valued him more justly than the university court. In 1877 the staff of St. Bartholomew's Hospital, at a meeting at the house of Sir William Savory [q. v.], unanimously decided to ask him to accept the lectureship on midwifery, then vacant in their school, with the post of obstetric physician to the hospital. He was elected, and came to live at 71 Brook Street, Grosvenor Square, London. Such was his perfect straightforwardness and his geniality that in a few months he was as much a part of the place and of the staff as if he had been bred at St. Bartholomew's. He immediately passed the examination and became a member of the College of Physicians of London, and in 1883 was elected a fellow, and delivered the Gulstonian lectures. He was elected F.R.S. on 7 June 1883, and in the same year was nominated by the crown a member of the General Council of Medical Education and Registration. His lectures at St. Bartholomew's were clear and interesting and largely attended. His practice became very large, and his standing in his profession was higher than that of any earlier obstetrician. His just indignation was easily aroused and clearly expressed when aroused; his professional opinions were usually definite and stated in few words, and throughout life his universal kindness as well as his inflexible character was felt by all who came in contact with him. He was a warm admirer of William Harvey [q. v.], of William Hunter [q. v.], and of William Smellie [q. v.] In 1890 his health began to fail, and he did not finish his usual course of lectures. He went abroad in July, and after several attacks of angina pectoris he died at Baden-Baden on 1 Sept, 1890. He married, in 1860. Miss Jane Hart Hotchkis, and had thirteen children.

[Memoir by Sir William Turner in St. Bartholomew's Hospital Reports, 1890, vol. xxvi.; Works; personal knowledge.]

N. M.

DUNCAN, PETER MARTIN (1821–1891), geologist, was born at Twickenham on 20 April 1821, his father, Peter King-Duncan, a descendant of an old Scottish family, being a leather merchant; his mother was daughter of Captain R. Martin, R.N., of Ilford, Essex. The son received his earlier education first at the grammar school, Twickenham, next at Nyon, by the lake of Geneva, after which he was apprenticed in 1840 to a medical practitioner in London. In 1842 he entered on the medical side at King's College, London, passing through it with distinction, and being elected an associate in 1849, after graduating as M.B. at the university of London in 1846. For a time he was assistant to Dr. Martin at Rochester, and in 1848 took a practice at Colchester. Here he was also active in municipal affairs, and in 1857 was elected mayor, holding the office for a second time. The natural history and archaeology of the district also greatly attracted him, and the arrangement of the town museum was largely his work. His first scientific paper, 'Observations on. the Pollen Tube,' was published in 1856 in the 'Proceedings' of the Edinburgh Botanical Society, but it was soon followed by others. In 1860 he removed to Blackheath, thus obtaining more time for science, and devoting himself especially to the study of corals.

More complete freedom was obtained by election to the professorship of geology at King's College in 1870, of which he became a fellow in the following year, and shortly afterwards he was appointed professor of geology at Cooper's Hill College. In 1877 he settled in London near Regent's Park, residing there till 1883, when he removed to Gunnersbury.

Duncan became F.G.S. in 1849, was secretary from 1864 to 1870, and president 1876 to 1878, receiving the Wollaston medal in 1881. He was president of the geological section of the British Association at the