Lives of the fellows

Joseph Letherland

b.1699 d.31 March 1764
MD Leyden(1724) MD Cantab(1736) FRCP(1737)

Joseph Letherland, M.D., was born in Warwickshire, and received his medical education at Leyden. He was inscribed on the books of that university 30th September, 1722, and attended the lectures of Boerhaave, Albinus, and Oosterdijk Schacht. He proceeded doctor of medicine there in 1724 (Spec. Inaug. Veterum. Medicorum sententias de Phrenitide curandâ complectens, 4to.). He was created doctor of medicine at Cambridge, by royal mandate, 9th April, 1736; was admitted a Candidate of the College of Physicians 30th September, 1736; and a Fellow 30th September, 1737. He was Censor 1742, 1749; Consiliarius, 1757; and was named an Elect 28th April, 1757. Dr. Letherland was a man of deep and very extensive learning, but of retired habits, and very little known even in his own profession, although he contributed by his literary information to the popularity of more than one of his colleagues. Much of the valuable matter in Dr. Fothergill's Account of the Putrid Sore Throat, Lond., 1748, is generally allowed to have been derived from Dr. Letherland. He was much esteemed by Dr. Heberden, and in 1761, when that physician’s extensive practice made it inconvenient for him to accept the appointment of physician to the queen, the king, who had always shown towards Dr. Heberden the greatest esteem and regard, readily adopted his disinterested recommendation of Dr. Letherland, who was thereupon appointed to the situation. Dr. Letherland was elected physician to St. Thomas’s hospital in 1736, and resigned that office in 1759. He died on the 31st of March, 1764, and was buried in the church of St. Mary Aldermanbury, where there is a plain tablet with the following inscription:—
In memory of

Joseph Letherland, late of this parish, M.D.
Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians,
One of the physicians to the Queen,
And some time one of the physicians to St. Thomas’s Hospital.
He was born at Stratford-upon-Avon, a.d. 1699,
And departed this life March 31, 1764;
Not less eminent for the integrity of his heart,
And benevolence of his disposition,
Than for his knowledge in all parts of polite and useful literature.(1)

He was the author of—
Notæ breves in Diss: de Medicorum apud Romanos conditionc à C. Middleton editam. 8vo. Lond. 1726.

William Munk

[(1) "Inter eruditos non prætereundus est Letberlandus, senio defunctus post vitam literatam civibus suis utilissimam. Huic debemus, ni fallor, notas quasdam breves, quibus refelleret calumniam a viro doctissimo, iisque non indigno, medicis Romanis illatam. Sed quod majoris est momenti, ipse nostratium primus faucium ulcera gangrænosa animadvertit, felicemque medendi rationem non casu, sed é libris, Hispaniorum præcipuè, diligenter perlectis et observationibus collatis investigatam, cum Collegis suis communicavit." Oratio Harveiana anno MDCCXV habita, auctore Tho. Healde]

(Volume II, page 135)

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