Lives of the fellows

William MacMichael

b.1784 d.10 January 1839
AB Oxon(1805) AM(1807) MB(1808) MD(1816) FRCP(1818)

William Macmichael, MD, was born in 1784, in Shropshire, and was the son of a banker at Bridgnorth, in that county. The failure of this bank at the time when Dr Macmichael was about to commence his career was a great embarrassment to him. He was educated at the Bridgnorth grammar school and at Christchurch, Oxford, as a member of which he proceeded AB 21st March, 1805; AM 8th April, 1807; MB 12th May, 1808. In 1811, he was elected to one of the Radcliffe travelling fellowships, and in that capacity passed several years abroad, in Greece, Russia, Moldavia, Wallachia, Bulgaria, Turkey, Palestine, &c. He was also for a short time physician to Lord Londonderry while ambassador at Vienna.

He graduated MD at Oxford, 27th June, 1816, and was admitted a Candidate of the College of Physicians 30th September, 1816, and a Fellow 30th September, 1818. He then settled in London, was Censor in 1820 and 1832, Registrar from 6th February, 1824 to 1829, and Consiliarius 1836. Dr Macmichael was elected physician to the Middlesex hospital in May, 1822, but resigned his office there in November, 1831. In 1829, he was appointed physician extraordinary to the king; in March, 1830, librarian to the king in succession to Dr Gooch, deceased; and in May, 1831, physician in ordinary to the king. For these appointments he was indebted to the active friendship of Sir Henry Halford, by whom he was also patronised in practice, but with less result than might have been expected in a person of such ability and varied attainments as were those of Dr Macmichael.

Sir Thomas Watson, one of the very few of Dr Macmichael’s friends who still survive, writes to me as follows:- “Dr Macmichael was fond of society, and qualified alike to enjoy and to embellish it. Having travelled long and seen many cities and the manners of many men, he possessed a large stock of general information, was fertile in various and amusing anecdote, and was wont to mix, with a certain natural ease and grace, in lively and interesting discourse, without making his own share in it unduly prominent. His cheerfulness, equanimity of temper, and kindness of heart, endeared him to a large circle of devoted friends, of whom a very few only, at the time of this writing, survive to commemorate his engaging qualities, and to regret his loss.”

An attack of paralysis about two years before Dr Macmichael’s death, compelled him to withdraw from active life. He retired to Maida-hill, where he died 10th January, 1839, aged fifty-five. He was the author of two delightful biographical works, The Gold-headed Cane, and The Lives of British Physicians, in Murray's Family Library, and of -
A Journey from Moscow to Constantinople in the years 1817, 1818. 4th. Lond. 1819.
A New View of the Infection of Scarlet Fever: illustrated by Remarks on other Contagious Disorders. 8vo. Lond. 1822.
A Brief Sketch of the progress of Opinion upon the Subject of Contagion, with some Remarks on Quarantine. 8vo. Lond. 1825.
Is the Cholera Spasmodica of India a Contagious Disease? The Question considered in a Letter to Sir Henry Halford, Bart, MD. 8vo. Lond. 1831.

William Munk

(Volume III, page 182)

<< Back to List