Lives of the fellows

James Vaughan

b.1740 d.19 August 1813
MD Edin(1762) Ex LRCP(1762)

James Vaughan, M.D.—This estimable man and sound practical physician (the father of four sons of distinguished eminence in their respective professions, the elder of whom was Sir Henry Halford, the President of the College of Physicians), was the son of Henry Vaughan, a surgeon at Leominster, where he was bom and baptised in 1740. He began the study of medicine at Worcester under Dr. John Wall, and then went to Edinburgh, where he took the degree of doctor of medicine in June, 1762 (D.M.I. de Polypo Cordis); and was admitted an Extra-Licentiate of the College of Physicians 8th September, 1762. Dr. Vaughan then settled at Leicester, where he practised with great success and reputation for nearly forty years. He was physician to the Leicester infirmary, and, as I was informed by one who was his contemporary at Leicester, and knew him well,—the late Dr. Robert Bree,—was a practitioner of no ordinary attainments. Acute perception, accurate observation, and a just appreciation of the practically important circumstances of disease, were his medical characteristics, to which were added a well-founded reliance in the efficacy of medicine, and no ordinary skill in its adaptation to the special requirements of the case before him. His doses of medicine are said to have been large, but they were administered with a confidence and success which afforded ample proof of his sagacity and their correctness. Dr. Vaughan married Hester, the second daughter of William Smalley, esq., alderman of Leicester, by Elizabeth, daughter of sir Richard Halford, bart., of Wistow, co. Leicester. He had six sons, viz. :—
1. James, who died 29th May, 1788, in the twenty-third year of his age.
2. Sir Henry Halford, bart., G.C.H. M.D., President of the College of Physicians, to be mentioned in a subsequent page.
3. The Right Honourable Sir John Vaughan, knt., one of the judges of the Court of Common Pleas, a privy councillor, D.C.L., &c., &c.
4. The Very Reverend Peter Vaughan, D.D., dean of Chester, and warden of Merton college, Oxford.
5. The Right Honourable Sir Charles Richard Vaughan, G.C.H., formerly envoy extraordinary to the United States of America, and a privy councillor.
6. The Reverend Edward Vaughan, vicar of St. Martin’s, Leicester, and the author of several valuable publications on religious subjects.

To each of these Dr. Vaughan gave a most liberal education. When his sons attained the age at which their education should commence, Dr. Vaughan had already acquired a moderate competency, and he determined for the future to apply the whole of his annual professional receipts to their education, trusting that they would reap the harvest by success in their respective professions. All his sons were educated at Rugby, and five of them received a complete university education—the four elder at Oxford, and the youngest at Cambridge. The gratitude of his sons for this act of self-denial and confidence in their exertions was unbounded; and Sir Henry Halford,'in a biographical sketch of his brother, Mr. Justice Vaughan, thus feelingly expressed himself: "All the sons of the late Dr. Vaughan, of Leicester, acknowledge with deep and sincere gratitude their father‘s generosity, as well as his prudence in resolving as he did to lay out the annual produce of his profession in affording them the advantage of a liberal education, whereby they might be enabled to make their own fortunes, rather than to accumulate resources not to be made available for any purposes of theirs until his death. He sent four of them therefore to Oxford when they had left Rugby school, and the youngest subsequently to Cambridge—and not one of them asked or received further pecuniary assistance from him after he had finished his education, and commenced his own efforts to provide for himself. The success of these brothers in their several callings, with the distinctions acquired by each of them, has abundantly justified their parent’s sagacity and his liberality, and we record the anecdote with pleasure, as furnishing a good and useful example of the result of so much prudence and so generous a self-denial." I may add, that Dr. Vaughan survived not only to be a witness of the success and eminence of Sir Henry Halford, but to receive from him for several years an annuity of 300l. In augmentation of his own pecuniary resources. Dr. Vaughan died at Leicester on the 19th August, 1813, in the seventy-fifth year of his age. He was buried at Wistow, where a tablet, erected by Sir Henry Halford, commemorates him thus:
Sacred to the memory of
James Vaughan, M.D. and of Hester his wife,
who are interred beneath this Tablet.
James Vaughan was descended from a respectable family in
and practised physic in Leicester about forty years,
with that facility and success which a quick perception, a sound
and a perfect knowledge of the resources of his art were calculated
to command.
He died Aug. the 19th, 1813, in the 75th year of his age.
Hester Vaughan was the second daughter of William Smalley, esq.
Of Leicester,
by Elizabeth his wife, daughter of Sir Richard Halford, bart.
Of this place,
and was one of the gentlest and most amiable of women.
She died April the 2nd, 1791, in the 51st year of her age.
By this connection with the house of Wistow, and by the.
kind distinction .
of Sir Charles Halford, bart. The last male heir of the Halfords, .
Henry, eldest surviving son of James and Hester Vaughan,
succeeded to.
the possessions of that ancient and loyal family.

A portrait of Dr. Vaughan is in the great hall of the mansion at Wistow. The doctor was the author of—
Cases and Observations on the Hydrophobia, with an account of the Cæsarian Section, &c. 8vo. Leicester. 1778.

William Munk

(Volume II, page 235)

<< Back to List