Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Perry, Charles (1698-1780)

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PERRY, CHARLES (1698–1780), traveller and medical writer, born in 1698, was a younger son of John Perry, a Norwich attorney. He spent four years at Norwich grammar school, and afterwards a similar period at a school in Bishop's Stortford, Hertfordshire. On 28 May 1717 he was admitted at Caius College, Cambridge, as a scholar, and graduated M.B. in 1722 and M.D. in 1727. He was a junior fellow of his college from Michaelmas 1723 to Lady-day 1731. On 5 Feb. 1723 he also graduated at Leyden. Between 1739 and 1742 he travelled in France, Italy, and the East, visiting Constantinople, Egypt, Palestine, and Greece. On his return he published his valuable ‘View of the Levant, particularly of Constantinople, Syria, Egypt, and Greece,’ 1743, fol., illustrated with thirty-three plates; it was twice translated into German, viz., in 1754 (Erlangen, 3 vols.), and in 1765 (Rostock, 2 vols.). A reissue of the original, in three quarto volumes, in 1770, was dedicated to John Montagu, earl of Sandwich.

Perry appears to have practised as a physician after his return to England in 1742. He died in 1780, and was buried at the east end of the nave in Norwich Cathedral. An elder brother was buried in 1795 near the spot. The tablet, with a laudatory Latin inscription, seems to have been removed, and Blomefield misprints the date of death on it as 1730.

Perry published the following medical works: 1. ‘Essay on the Nature and Cure of Madness,’ Rotterdam, 1723. 2. ‘Enquiry into the Nature and Principles of the Spaw Waters … To which is subjoined a cursory Inquiry into the Nature and Properties of the Hot Fountains at Aix-la-Chapelle,’ London, 1734. 3. ‘Treatise on Diseases in General, to which is subjoined a system of practice,’ 2 vols., 1741. 4. ‘Account of an Analysis made of the Stratford Mineral Water,’ Northampton, 1744, severely criticised, from a chemical point of view, by William Baylies [q. v.] in his ‘Short Remarks,’ 1745. 5. ‘Mechanical Account and Explanation of the Hysterica Passio, with Appendix on Cancer,’ 1755, 8vo. 6. ‘Disquisition of the Stone and Gravel, with other Diseases of the Kidney,’ 1777, 8vo. He also communicated to the Royal Society ‘Experiments on the Water of the Dead Sea, on the Hot Springs near Tiberiades, and on the Hammarn Pharoan Water’ (Phil. Trans. Abridgment, viii. 555).

[Blomefield's Hist. of Norfolk (continued by Parkin), 1805, iv. 197; information kindly supplied by Dr. Venn and the librarian of Caius College; Peacock's Index of English Students at Leyden; Bibl. Univ. des Voyages, 1808, i. 220 (by G. B. de la Richarderie); Watt's Bibl. Brit. i. 747; Allibone's Dict. Engl. Lit. ii. 1566; Perry's Works.]

G. Le G. N.