Lives of the fellows

Samuel Foart Simmons

b.17 March 1750 d.23 April 1813
MD Leyden(1776) Ex LRCP(1777) LRCP(1778) FRS(1779)

Samuel Foart Simmons, M.D., was born at Sandwich, co. Kent, 17th March,1750, and educated at a seminary in France, where he obtained not only a competent knowledge of the classics, but a minute and critical knowledge of the French language, which he wrote and spoke with the same ease and correctness as his own. His medical studies were commenced at Edinburgh, where he continued three years. He then passed over to Holland, and at Leyden proceeded doctor of medicine in 1776 (D.M.I. de Rubeolâ). Dr. Simmons then visited Groningen, where he made the acquaintance of the celebrated Camper, and proceeded thence to Aix-la-Chapelle, visiting different parts of Germany, and stopping for a time at each of the principal universities in that country. At Berne he became known to Haller, who afterwards ranked him among his friends and correspondents. On his way from Berne to Geneva he paid his respects to Voltaire, at Ferney, and after spending a few weeks at Montpelier proceeded homewards through Bordeaux to Paris. His intention was to have practised in his native county, Kent, and with this view he came before the College of Physicians, and on the 1st July, 1777, was admitted an Extra-Licentiate. Within a few months, however, he determined on settling in London, and was admitted a Licentiate of the College 30th September, 1778. Dr. Simmons was elected a fellow of the Royal Society in 1779, and of the Society of Antiquaries in 1791, as he had before been of the different academies of Nantes, Montpelier, and Madrid. He was an honorary fellow of the College of Physicians of Lorraine, a foreign fellow of the Royal Society of Medicine of Paris, an honorary member of the Medical Society of Edinburgh, and of the Philosophical Society of Manchester. In 1780 he was appointed physician to the Westminster dispensary, and in 1781 physician to St. Luke’s hospital. From this time to the period of his death he devoted himself almost exclusively to the treatment of insanity, in which department he attained a high reputation, and from it accumulated an ample fortune. In 1803 Dr. Simmons was called into attendance on the king, and in May, 1804, was appointed one of his Majesty’s physicians extraordinary. He resigned his office at St. Luke’s hospital in February, 1811; when the governors, as a mark of their esteem and respect, appointed him consulting physician, an office created expressly for him and allowed to lapse on his decease. Dr. Simmons died at his house in Poland-street, 23rd April, 1813, aged sixty-three, and was buried in the churchyard of St. Clement’s, Sandwich, Kent. His tomb bears the following inscription:—
Within this tomb lieth
Samuel Foart Simmons, M.D.,
Physician Extraordinary to his Majesty,
Fellow’ of the Royal Society,
and Physician to the hospital of St. Luke’s, in London.
He was a native of this town and port,
and after a life zealously devoted to his profession,
and the pursuits of science,
died on the 23rd day of April, 1813, aged sixty-three years.
His widow and son have caused this monument
to be erected in grateful affection for his memory.
Here are also deposited the remains of
Susanna, wife of Samuel Foart Simmons, M.D.,
who died on the 20th of June, 1820.

He left one son, Richard Simmons, M.D., a Fellows of the College.

Dr. Simmons was a voluminous writer. He was for many years the sole editor of the "London Medical Journal," and of the " Medical Facts and Observations." He was also the originator and compiler of the "Medical Register "—the prototype of the Medical Directories of the present day. Papers from his pen are to be found in the "Philosophical Transactions," the "Medical Commentaries," and in other periodical publications. Of his separate works, the following is, I believe, a complete list:—
Elements of Anatomy and the Animal Economy. Translated from the French of M. Person, with Notes. 8vo. Lond. 1775.
Observations on the Cure of the Gonorrhoea. 8vo. Lond. 1780.
An Account of the Tenia, and the Method of treating it, as practised at Morat, in Switzerland. 8vo. Lond. 1778.
Practical Observations on the Treatment of Consumption. 8vo. Lond. 1780.
An Account of the Life and Writings of Dr. William Hunter. 8vo. Lond. 1783.

William Munk

(Volume II, page 318)

<< Back to List