Lives of the fellows

Pelham Warren

b.1778 d.2 December 1835
MB Cantab(1800) MD(1805) FRCP(1806)

Pelham Warren, M.D., was born in London, and was the ninth son of Richard Warren, M.D., F.R.S., one of the most popular and successful physicians of the last century, who died in 1797. Dr. Pelham Warren was educated in the first instance at Dr. Thompson’s school at Kensington, and then at St. Peter’s, Westminster, whence he proceeded to Trinity college, Cambridge, and graduated M.B. 1800; M.D. 2nd July, 1805. He commenced the practice of his profession in London immediately after he had taken his first degree in medicine, and on the 6th April, 1803, was elected physician to St. George’s hospital, an office he resigned in April, 1816, before which period he had already obtained a large share of business, and he subsequently enjoyed one of the largest medical practices in the metropolis.

Dr. Warren was admitted a Candidate of the College of Physicians 30th September, 1805, a Fellow 30th September, 1806, He was Censor in 1810; Harveian orator 1826, and Elect 11th August, 1829. On the 24th July, 1830, he was gazetted physician extraordinary to the king, but he declined the honour, as the appointment had been made without previous conference with himself. He died of malignant disease of the liver at Worting-house, near Basingstoke, 2nd December, 1835, in the fifty-eighth year of his age. He had married a daughter of Dr. Shipley, dean of St. Asaph, who, with seven children, survived him.

He was buried in Worting church, where there is a tablet with the following inscription from the pen of his friend and schoolfellow, Dr. Bayley, canon of Westminster:—
Near this place lies
Pelham Warren, M.D., F.R.S.,
Membre de l’lnstitut,
9th son of Richard Warren, M.D.,
and heir of his father’s fame and virtues.
He early studied the ancient Masters of the medical art,
and to scientific research added practical experience.
He rose to the highest eminence of his profession.
Gifted with a sound understanding and singular quickness,
he was at once cautious in investigation,
and prompt in decision;
whilst his almost intuitive knowledge of character
commanded the willing confidence of his patients.
An original thinker, an accurate reasoner,
his powers of conversation were heightened
by the animation of his eye
and the play of his countenance.
He was firm in friendship,
he had an honest heart,
a spirit of independence,
and a hand of liberality.
His last illness was borne
with Christian calmness and self possession,
and his sympathy with the sufferings of others
ceased only with his life.
He died December 2, 1835, aged 57, leaving a widow and seven children to cherish the memory of domestic excellence. But his name will be with those of whom it is written, "Honour a physician with the honour due unto him, for the Lord hath created him."

Dr. Warren was an accurate and careful observer of disease, and a very sound, practical physician. "His character and conduct were well calculated to support the profession to which he belonged. His sentiments were in all respects those of a gentleman; and as he was too independent not to express them when the occasion required, titled impertinence has more than once been overmastered by the caustic bitterness of his retort. His manners were peculiar and not always pleasing, being generally cold and sometimes abrupt He took a prodigious quantity of snuff, and was plain and untidy in his dress, perhaps to affectation. For many years he appeared to take no more exercise than in walking from his carriage to the sick chamber, and looked much older than he really was; but he had a remarkably keen black eye, which retained its vivacity long after the effects of disease were visible on his coun tenance. He moved in the highest rank of his profession, and though long in indifferent health, continued to discharge the duties of a very extensive practice up to the accession of the illness which proved fatal to him."(1) Dr. Warren’s portrait (by John Linnell and engraved by him), is at the College. It was presented by his widow in 1837.

William Munk

[(1) Medical Gazette, December, 1835.]

(Volume III, page 41)

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