User:Rich Farmbrough/DNB/C/h/Charles Bisset

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{{subst:Quick infobox|Charles, M.d. Bisset|1717|1791|}} Charles, MD Bisset (born 1717 died 1791), physician and military engineer, was son of a lawyer of that name of some local repute for his attainments in Latin and in Scots law, and was born at Glenalbert, near Dunkeld, Perthshire, in 1717. He studied medicine at Edinburgh, and in 1740 was appointed second surgeon of the military hospital, Jamaica. He afterwards served on board Admiral Vernon's fleet, by some accounts as a naval surgeon, and by others as surgeon of one of the marine regiments subsequently disbanded. After spending five years in the West Indies and America he returned home in il1-health in 1745. In May 1746 he obtained an ensigncy in the 42nd Highlanders, then commanded by Lord John Murray, with which corps he served in the unsuccessful descent on the French coast near L'Orient in September the same year. After wintering with his regiment at Limerick, he accompanied it to the Low Countries, where it was first engaged at Sandberg, near Hulst, in Dutch Flanders. in April 1747. A military sketch of this affair, and another of the defences of Bergen-op-Zoom, drawn by him, having been submitted by Lord John Murray to the Duke of Cumberland, Bisset was ordered to the latter fortress to pre re reports of the progress of the siege. lair his brave and skilful performance of this duty he was recommended by the Duke of Cumberland for the post ot' engineer-extraordinary in the brigade of engineers attached to the army, in which capacity he served with credit during the remainder of the war. At the peace of 1748 the engineer brigade was broken up, and Bisset was placed on half-pay as a lieutenant of the reduced additional companies of Lord John Murray's Highlanders, under which heading his name appeared in the annual army lists up to his death. After travelling in France he published his 'Theory and Construction of Fortifications', with plans, quarto (London, 1751). He subsequently reverted to the medical profession, and went into practice at the village of Skelton, near Cleveland, Yorkshire, where he continued during the rest of his life. When war threatened in 1755, he published his 'Treatise on Scurvy, with remarks on Scorbutic Ulcers; Svo (dedicated to the lords of the admiralty); and in 1762 he brought out 'An Essay on the Medical Constitution of Great Britain, to which is added Observations on the Weather and the Diseases which appeared during the period from lst January 1758 to the summer solstice of 1760. Together with an account of the Throat Distemper and Miliary Fever which were epidemic in 1760' (London, octavo). This work, to which was also appended a paper on the properties of bearsfoot (hellebore) as a vermifuge, was translated into German by J. G. Moeller (Breslau, 1779). In 1766 the University of St. Andrews conferred on Bisset the degree of doctor of medicine, and the same year he published 'Medical Essays and Observations' (Newcastle-on-Tyne, octavo), of which a German translation by Moeller was published in 1781, and an Italian one about 1790. Bisset wrote several minor works on medical subjects, and is stated to have likewise published a small treatise on naval tactics and some political essays. . manuscript treatise by him on 'Permanent and Temporary Fortifications and the Attack and Defence of Temporary Defensive Works', which is dedicated to George, prince of Wales, and dated 1778, is preserved in the British Museum (Add. manuscripts 19695). Bisset presented to the Leeds Infirmary a manuscript of observations for his 'Medical Constitution of Great Britain', extending over 700 pages, all traces of which are now lost (information supplied by Leeds Philosophical Society). A copy of Cullen`s 'First First of Practice of Physic', with numerous manuscript notes by him, is preserved in the library of the London Medical Society. An interesting medical correspondence between Drs. Bisset and Lettsom is published in Pettigrew's 'Memoirs and Correspondence of Dr. Lettsom'. Bisset, who is described as thin in person and of weakly habit, had a very extensive country practice in which he amassed an ample fortune. He died at Knayton, near Thirsk, on 14 June 1791, in his seventy-fifth year. [Gentlemen's Magazine lxi. i. page 598, ii. page 965 (particulars stated to he taken from memoranda in possession of Mrs. Bissett; Cannon's Hist. Record 42nd Highlanders ; Watts's Catalogue. Printed Books; Rose'a Bing. Dictionary volume iv.; British Museum Catalogue][1]


  1.  This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain

    H. M. C.

    (1886). "Bisset, Charles (DNB00)". In Stephen, Leslie. Dictionary of National Biography 05. London: Smith, Elder & Co. p. 0.

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