Page:Dictionary of National Biography. Sup. Vol II (1901).djvu/409

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.

was presented to Mrs. Hart. There is a better likeness in the picture by Mrs. Solomon J. Solomon, A.R.A., of 'A Welcome Home Dinner at Sir Henry Thompson's,' which was exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1893, and is now in the possession of Mrs. Hart. He was twice married: first, in June 1855, to Rosetta, daughter of Nathaniel Levy; and secondly, in 1872, to Alice, daughter of A. W. Rowlands of Lower Sydenham. He left no children.

Hart was before all things a journalist and an organiser. He was also a sanitary reformer, a political economist, a surgeon, and an art collector of no mean capacity. His first and last efforts were devoted to improving the social position of the medical profession. In 1854 he led the agitation which compelled the admiralty to remove naval assistant surgeons from the 'cockpit' to more fitting quarters; in 1888 he made strenuous efforts to ameliorate the lot of military medical officers; and in 1892 he called attention to the grievances of the Irish dispensary doctors.

He was occupied throughout his life with questions of sanitary reform. His earliest investigations were carried out in connection with the 'Lancet' commission upon the nursing of the sick poor in the metropolitan workhouse infirmaries. His exposure in 1872 of the wickedness attending the system of baby farming was instrumental in leading to the passage of an act for the protection of infant life, made more stringent by the amendments of 1897. Coffee taverns, the National Health Society, the abatement of the smoke nuisance in large towns, and efforts to secure the better training and regulation of plumbers, had his strongest support. He was keenly alive to the advantages of vaccination, and never wavered in advocating it as a duty the state owed to the people. He founded in 1883 the Medical Sickness, Annuity, and Life Assurance Society, which soon became a financial success. In 1894 he was engaged in a campaign against the system of barrack schools, in which hundreds of pauper children were herded together until they became subject to chronic disease, and where they were drilled until they were little better than automata. He was urgent in every matter which could prevent the spread of disease, and in 1894-5, in the course of a visit to India, he presented the unique spectacle of a Jew addressing a large meeting of Mohammedans gathered at Hyderabad upon the sanitation of their holy places.

During the short time that he practised as a surgeon he introduced a new method of treating aneurysm of the popliteal artery by bending the knee-joint, and he achieved considerable success in ophthalmic practice.

The chief energy of his life, however, was devoted to furthering the interests of the British Medical Association. When he first entered upon his duties as editor of the 'British Medical Journal' the association included about 2,000 members; when he died there were upwards of 19,000. The 'Journal' then consisted of twenty pages a week; he increased the size of each sheet and published sixty-four pages. As chairman of the parliamentary bills committee of the British Medical Association (1872-97), he systematically studied and fearlessly criticised all proposals for legislation affecting the medical profession and the public health of the community, and he was a strong supporter later in his life of the medical education of women.

From 1884 he collected a series of objects belonging to almost every branch of art and art industry in Japan. The collection was exhibited at the rooms of the Society for the Encouragement of Art, Sciences, and Commerce in 1886, and at the jubilee exhibition at Saltaire and elsewhere.

Hart published numerous addresses, lectures, pamphlets, and other works. The more important are: 1. 'On Diphtheria,' 1859, 12mo. 2. 'On some of the Forms of Diseases of the Eye,' 1864, 8vo. 3. 'A Manual of Public Health,' 1874, 8vo. 4. 'Hypnotism and the New Witchcraft,' 1893, 8vo; new and enlarged edition entitled 'Hypnotism, Mesmerism, and the New Witchcraft,' 1896, 8vo. 5. 'Essays on State Medicine,' 2 pts. 1894, 8vo. He also originated in 1897 a series of biographies entitled 'Masters of Medicine.'

[Personal knowledge; British Medical Journal, i. 1898; Jewish Chronicle, 14 Jan. 1898; private information.]

D’A. P.

HART, JOHN (1809–1873), pioneer colonist and premier of South Australia, was born in Great Britain on 25 Feb. 1809, and apparently went to sea as a boy; he first sighted South Australia when in 1834 and 1835 he was employed on a sealer along the south coast of the colony. His seamanship attracted the notice of a Tasmanian merchant, who early in 1836 sent him to London to buy a vessel for the colonial trade. On 1 Sept. 1836 he left England for Launceston, Tasmania, as captain of the Isabella, and on arriving shipped for South Australia the first livestock landed in the new colony; on the return voyage to Tasmania he was wrecked and lost everything.