Lives of the fellows

Francis Hawkins

b.? d.13 December 1877
BCL Oxon(1819) MB(1820) MD(1823) FRCP(1824)

Francis Hawkins, M.D., was born at Bisley, in Gloucestershire, of which parish his father, the Rev. Edward Hawkins (youngest son of Sir Cæsar Hawkins, bart., a successful and eminent surgeon), was the vicar. His father was afterwards rector of Kelston, in Somersetshire, and left at his decease a young but numerous family, of whom three have achieved distinction in their respective professions, viz., the Rev. Edward Hawkins, D.D., the present provost of Oriel college, Oxford, and prebendary of Rochester; the subject of our present notice; and Mr. Cæsar Hawkins, long surgeon to St. George’s hospital, and serjeant surgeon to the queen.

Dr. Francis Hawkins received his early education at Merchant Taylor’s school, and was elected thence in 1812 a probationary fellow of St. John’s college, Oxford. He gained the Newdigate prize in 1813, and as a member of St. John’s proceeded B.C.L. 28th January, 1819, M.B. 2nd June, 1820, M.D. 16th April, 1823. He was admitted an Inceptor-Candidate of the College of Physicians 16th April, 1821, a Candidate 30th September, 1823, and a Fellow 30th September, 1824.

Dr. Hawkins was elected physician to the Middlesex hospital 18th December, 1824, and was selected to fill the important office of professor of the theory and practice of medicine in King’s college, London, in the arrangements for opening that institution as a medical school, in 1831. The latter appointment he resigned in 1836; that at the Middlesex hospital in 1858; on which occasion a portrait of Dr. Hawkins, which had been painted at the request of the students of the Middlesex hospital, was presented by them to the governors, and placed in the board room of that institution.

Dr. Hawkins was physician to the royal household during the whole reign of William IV, an office he now holds in the household of her Majesty the Queen. For many years he was physician in ordinary to her late royal highness the duchess of Gloucester.

Dr. Hawkins’s name is inseparably connected with the College of Physicians with which he was for so long a period officially and honourably associated. He was Gulstonian lecturer in 1826, and in that capacity delivered the first lecture ever heard in the present college in Pall-mall East. He served the office of Censor in 1827, was Croonian lecturer in 1827, 1828, 1829; Lumleian lecturer in 1832, 1834, 1840, 1841; Harveian orator 1848; he was constituted an Elect 14th November, 1850, and was Consiliarius in 1859, 1860, 1861, 1863, 1864, 1865, and 1869.

But the great event in Dr. Hawkins’s connection with the College of Physicians was in the capacity of Registrar, to which important office he was elected on the 30 th September, 1829. He served the College in that office for the long period of twenty-nine years, and resigned it, to the regret of all his colleagues, in 1858, when he was chosen Registrar of the General Council of Medical Education and Registration.

We read in the Annals, under the date of December 11,1858, that "The Fellows of the College desire to record how deeply sensible they are of the able and zealous manner in which Dr. Francis Hawkins has so long and faithfully discharged the duties of Registrar of the College; and upon his resignation of that office, they tender to him their best thanks, and assure him that they will ever retain a grateful remembrance of the eminent services he has rendered to the College and on the 25th June, 1859, it was unanimously resolved, on the proposition of the President, "That the sum of one hundred guineas be presented to Dr. Francis Hawkins, to purchase a piece of plate, as a token of the high estimate entertained by the College of the eminent services rendered by him for thirty years as Registrar."

Dr. Hawkins continued the Registrar of the General Medical Council for eighteen years, resigning that office in 1876, and with marks of approval and respect from the members of the Council similar to those which had been expressed for him by the Fellows of our College in 1859. On the 5th June, 1876, it was moved at the Council, seconded and carried by acclamation, "That the General Medical Council, whilst accepting Dr. Hawkins’s resignation of the registrarship, desire to express their deep sense of the courtesy and ability with which he has for eighteen years discharged his duties to the Council. The Council beg Dr. Hawkins to accept this resolution as a sincere acknowledgment of the great value of his services." And the Finance Committee of the General Council in their Report of the 17th May, 1877, agreed to by the Council on the 24th of that month, say, "The Committee is unwilling to believe that the Council, when it expressed to its late Registrar on his retirement the deep sense it entertained of the courtesy and ability with which for eighteen years he discharged bis duties to the Council, desired that no other acknowledgment of his valuable services should be offered to him. On the contrary, the committee believes that it speaks the general wish of the Council in recommending that two hundred guineas be presented by the Council to its late Registrar, Dr. Hawkins, in recognition of his long and faithful services."

Dr. Hawkins is the author of—
Lectures on Rheumatism and some Diseases of the Heart and other Internal Organs. 8vo. Lond. 1826.

William Munk

(Volume III, page 286)

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