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Holland, Sir Henry, Bart

HOLLAND, SIR HENRY, BART. (1788-1873), English physician and author, was born at Knutsford, Cheshire, on the 27th of October 1788. His maternal grandmother was the sister of Josiah Wedgwood, whose grandson was Charles Darwin; and his paternal aunt was the mother of Mrs Gaskell. After spending some years at a private school at Knutsford, he was sent to a school at Newcastle-on-Tyne, whence after four years he was transferred to Dr J. P. Estlin's school near Bristol. There he at once took the position of head boy, in succession to John Cam Hobhouse, afterwards Lord Broughton, an honour which required to be maintained by physical prowess. On leaving school he became articled clerk to a mercantile firm in Liverpool, but, as the privilege was reserved to him of passing two sessions at Glasgow university, he at the close of his second session sought relief from his articles, and in 1806 began the study of medicine in the university of Edinburgh, where he graduated in 1811. After several years spent in foreign travel, he began practice in 1816 as a physician in London according to his own statement, " with a fair augury of success speedily and completely fulfilled." This "success," he adds, "was materially aided by visits for four successive years to Spa, at the close of that which is called the London season." It must also, however, be in a great degree attributed to his happy temperament and his gifts as a conversationalist qualities the influence of which, in the majority of cases belonging to his class of practice, is often of more importance than direct medical treatment. In 1816 he was elected F.R.S., and in 1828 F.R.C.S. He became physician in ordinary to Prince Albert in 1840, and was appointed hi 1852 physician in ordinary to the queen. In April 1853 he was created a baronet. He was also a D.C.L. of Oxford and a member of the principal learned societies of Europe. He was twice married, his second wife being a daughter of Sydney Smith, a lady of considerable literary talent, who published a biography of her father. Sir Henry Holland at an early period of his practice resolved to devote to his professional duties no more of his time than was necessary to secure an income of 5000 a year, and also to spend two months of every year solely in foreign travel. By the former resolution he secured leisure for a wide acquaintance with general literature, and for a more than superficial cultivation of several branches of science; and the latter enabled him, besides visiting, " and most of them repeatedly, every country of Europe," to make extensive tours in the other three continents, journeying often to places little frequented by European travellers. As, moreover, he procured an introduction to nearly all the eminent personages in his line of travel, and knew many of them in his capacity of physician, his acquaintance with "men and cities" was of a species without a parallel. The London Medical Record, in noticing his death, which took place on his eighty-fifth birthday, October 27, 1873, remarked that it " had occurred under circumstances highly characteristic of his remarkable career." On his return from a journey in Russia he was present, on Friday, October 24th, at the trial of Marshal Bazaine in Paris, dining with some of the judges in the evening. He reached London on the Saturday, took ill the following day, and died quietly on the Monday afternoon.

Sir Henry Holland was the author of General View of the Agriculture of Cheshire (1807) ; Travels in the Ionian Isles, Albania, Thessaly and Greece (1812-1813, 2 "d ed., 1819); Medical Notes and Reflections (1839); Chapters on Mental Physiology (1852); Essays on Scientific and other Subjects contributed to the Edinburgh and Quarterly Reviews (1862) ; and Recollections of Past Life (1872).

Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)

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