Lives of the fellows

James Monro

b.2 September 1680 d.4 November 1752
AB Oxon(1703) AM(1708) MB(1709) MD(1722) FRCP(1729)

James Monro, M.D., was the only son of Alexander Monro, D.D., principal of the university of Edinburgh, who just before the Revolution of 1688 was nominated by James II to the then vacant see of Argyle. The alterations which took place in the church of Scotland at that period prevented his obtaining possession of the bishopric; and, Dr. Monro and the government of William III not agreeing in their political opinions, he was fetched to London by a messenger in September, 1691, and there remained until his death, which occurred in or about the year 1700. Dr. Alexander Monro (as we learn from the family pedigree) was descended from the chiefs of the Highland clan of Monro, whose ancestors fell at Bannockburn, Halidon-hill, Pinkie, &c., fighting in the cause of their country, and who are described as having been invested with the barony of Fowlis, in Ross-shire, by Malcolm Canmore, A.D. 1024. This ancient clan are said by Macaulay and other writers to have adhered to the side of William of Orange, and to have been hostile to the last of the Stuarts; but Dr. Alexander Monro seems to have inherited the more ancient royalist sentiments of the family, who are described by Buchanan as coming to the aid of Mary queen of Scots, with their followers, when attacked by the reformers of those days.

Dr. James Monro was born in Scotland 2nd September, 1680, and accompanied his father to England in 1691. At a proper age he was entered at Balliol college, Oxford, and as a member of that house proceeded A.B. 15th June, 1703; A.M. 3rd June, 1708; M.B. 25th May, 1720; and M.D. 9th July, 1722. He commenced practice in London, was admitted a Candidate of the College of Physicians 23rd December, 1728, and a Fellow 22nd December, 1729. Dr. Monro was elected physician to Bethlem hospital 9th October, 1728; he delivered the Harveian oration in 1737; and, dying at Sunning-hill, Berks, in the night of the 4th November, 1752, aged seventy-two, was buried in the church there. His son, Dr. John Monro, in his " Remarks on Dr. Battieā€™s Treatise on Madness," 8vo. Lond. 1758, writes thus of this estimable physician: "He was a man of admirable discernment, and treated this disease (insanity) with an address that will not soon be equalled. He knew very well that the management requisite for it was never to be learned but by observation; he was honest and sincere; and, though no man was more communicative upon points of real use, he never thought of reading lectures upon a subject that can be understood no otherwise than by personal observation: physic he honoured as a profession, but he despised it as a trade. However partial I may be to his memory, his friends acknowledge this to be true, and his enemies will not venture to deny it."

A good portrait of this physician has recently been presented to the College by his descendant, Henry Monro, M.D., a Fellow of the College.

William Munk

(Volume II, page 113)

<< Back to List