Yeats, Grant David (DNB00)

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YEATS, GRANT DAVID (1773–1836), medical writer, born in Florida in 1773, was the son of David Yeats, a physician of East Florida. He matriculated from Hertford College, Oxford, on 21 Jan. 1790, graduating B.A. on 15 Oct. 1793, M.A. on 25 May 1796, M.B. on 4 May 1797. He was incorporated M.B. at Dublin in 1807, and graduated M.D. from Trinity College, Oxford, on 7 June 1814. He spent two winter sessions in Edinburgh and one in London, and then commenced to practise at Bedford, where he assisted in the establishment of the Bedford general infirmary, and at a later period of the lunatic asylum near the town. He was nominated physician to each of these institutions. While at Bedford he acquired the friendship of Samuel Whitbread [q. v.] and of John Russell, sixth duke of Bedford [see under Russell, Lord John, first Earl Russell].

Yeats's most important work, ‘Observations on the Claims of the Moderns to some Discoveries in Chemistry and Physiology’ (London, 8vo), was published in 1798, after he had settled at Bedford. In it he called attention to the experiments of John Mayow [q. v.], whose merits Thomas Beddoes [q. v.] had discovered two years before. Like most of Mayow's admirers, Yeats applauded with too little discrimination, but he assisted to rescue his achievements from oblivion.

On the Duke of Bedford's nomination to the lord-lieutenancy of Ireland Yeats accompanied him to Dublin in March 1806 as his private physician. While at Dublin he was instrumental in establishing the Dublin Humane Society, and was made a member of Trinity College. On the duke's return to England in 1807 he resumed his position at Bedford. About 1814 he removed to London, where he was admitted a candidate of the College of Physicians on 30 Sept. 1814, and a fellow on 30 Sept. 1815. He was Gulstonian lecturer in 1817, censor in 1818, and Croonian lecturer in 1827. He was elected a fellow of the Royal Society on 1 July 1819, and died at Tunbridge Wells on 14 Nov. 1836. He married a daughter of Patrick Colquhoun [q. v.]

Yeats was the author of:

  1. ‘An Address on the Nature and Efficacy of the Cowpox in preventing the Smallpox,’ London, 1803, 8vo.
  2. 'A Statement of the Early Symptoms which lead to Water on the Brain, London, 1815, 8vo; 2nd edit., London, 1833, 8vo.
  3. 'A Biographical Sketch of the Life and Writings of Patrick Colquhoun,' London, 1815, 8vo.

He also published many papers in 'Annals of Medicine,' the 'Medical and Physical Journal' and in 'Medical Transactions.'

[Munk's Coll. of Phys. iii. 137-8; Foster's Alumni Oxon. 1716-1886; The Pantheon of the Age, 1825; Gent. Mag. 1836, ii, 886; Biogr. Dict of Living Authors, 1815.]

E. I. C.