Lives of the fellows

John Whitehead

b.c.1740 d.7 March 1804
MD Leyden(1780) LRCP(1782)

John Whitehead, M.D., was born in Lancashire of humble parents, about the year 1740. Early in life he became connected with the Wesleys, and under their auspices preached at Bristol and elsewhere. He soon however left them, and started as a linen draper at Bristol; but failed in business, when he came to London and joined the society of Friends. By some leading members of that body he was established in a school at Wandsworth, where many of their children were educated. Some time after this Mr. Barclay, wishing his son to travel on the continent, proposed to Whitehead to become his companion, offering him an annuity of one hundred pounds for life, and paying all the expenses of the tour. He accepted the offer, and in course of travel they reached Leyden, where Whitehead, then thirty-nine years of age, was on the 16th September, 1779, inscribed on the physic line. He graduated doctor of medicine at Leyden 4th February, 1780 (D.M.I. de Causa Reciprocarum Contractionum Cordis et Arteriarum). He was admitted a Licentiate of the College of Physicians 25th March, 1782. Dr. Whitehead on the death of Dr. Kooystra in 1781 became physician to the London dispensary, and in 1784 the Friends made a vigorous effort to secure his election as physician to the London hospital. On the 28th July in that year he was returned as elected, but almost immediately afterwards the election was declared not valid, and Dr. John Cooke was appointed to the vacant office. Soon after this Dr. Whitehead seceded from the society of Friends, and united himself again to the Wesleys. Thenceforward he preached often in their connection, and was highly esteemed therein, both as physician and preacher, so much so indeed, that he attended Wesley in his last illness as his physician, and preached his funeral sermon. Dr. Whitehead died in London 7th March, 1804, aged sixty-four. He was the author of—
A Report of a New, Easy, and Successful Method of treating the Childbed or Puerperal Fever, made use of by M. Doulcet. From the French. 8vo. Lond. 1783.
Letter on the difference between the Medical Society of Crane court and Dr. Whitehead. 8vo. Lond. 1784.
The Life of the Rev. John Wesley, A.M., sometime fellow of Lincoln College, Oxford, collected from his Private Papers and printed Works, and written at the request of his Executors. 2 vols. 8vo. Lond. 1793-96.

William Munk

(Volume II, page 328)

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