Lives of the fellows

John Burges

b.1745 d.2 April 1807
AB Oxon(1764) AM(1767) MB(1770) MD(1774) FRCP(1775)

John Burges, M.D., was born in London in 1745, and was educated at Westminster. He was entered at Christ church, Oxford; and, as a member of that house, proceeded A.B. 27th October, 1764; A.M. 25th June, 1767; M.B. 30th April, 1770; M.D. 14th June, 1774. He was admitted a Candidate of the College of Physicians 30th September, 1774; and a Fellow 30th September, 1775; was Censor in 1776, 1780, 1785, 1790, 1794, 1797; and was named an Elect, 26th June, 1797, in place of Dr. Richard Warren, deceased. Dr. Burges was elected physician to St. George’s hospital, 8th April, 1774, and resigned that office 23rd February, 1787, when he was succeeded by Dr. Matthew Baillie. He died at his house in Mortimer-street, Cavendish-square, 2nd April, 1807.

" Dr. Burges was a man of strict principle, acknowledged erudition, and classical attainments, and devoted to his profession; but, as his health did not allow him to enter into general practice, he lived very quietly with his two maiden sisters upon his patrimonial property. He had made the study, and his collection, of the materia medica, his occupation and amusement, and his zealous perseverance in this pursuit was continued as long as his health permitted. Taking advantage of opportunities fortunately afforded by the assistance of a near relative, Sir James Bland Burges, for some time under-secretary of state in the Foreign Office, his collection thus became remarkable for its extent and authenticity; and he frequently gave gratuitous lectures upon particular subjects, sometimes public, more frequently private, and always had pleasure in imparting information to others." (1) The nature and extent of Dr. Burges’ collection had become so well known that various applications were made to him respecting its disposal. Particular feelings which he had upon the subject of its possession and care induced him to leave it by will to Mr. E. A. Brande, a former pupil of his, and a son of one of his oldest friends, by whom it was presented in 1809 to the College of Physicians, upon the sole condition that they would engage to take all necessary steps for its preservation, and for its being made of use to the public. This trust the College have faithfully fulfilled. By the purchase of Dr. Combe’s collection, and by subsequent donations, among which must be mentioned one of Cinchona barks, by Mr. Howard of Stratford, the original cabinet of Dr. Burges has been considerably extended, and rendered one of the most complete, as it is, probably, the most curious now existing in the United Kingdom.

William Munk

[(1) See a MS. Memoir of Dr. Burges, by E. A. Braude, esq., in the College Library]

(Volume II, page 306)

<< Back to List