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Significant Scots
John Rutherford


RUTHERFORD, JOHN, a learned physician of the eighteenth century, was the son of the reverend Mr Rutherford, minister of the parish of Yarrow, in Selkirkshire, and was born, August 1, 1695. After going through a classical course at the school of Selkirk, and studying mathematics and natural philosophy at the Edinburgh university, he engaged himself as apprentice to a surgeon in that city, with whom he remained till 1716, when he went to London. He there attended the hospitals, and the lectures of Dr Douglas on anatomy, Audré on surgery, and Strother on materia medica. He afterwards studied at Leyden, under Boerhaave, and at Paris and Rheims; receiving from the university of the latter city his degree of M.D. in July, 1719.

Having, in 1721, settled as a physician in Edinburgh, Dr Rutherford was one of that fraternity of able and distinguished men,--consisting, besides, of Monro, Sinclair, Plummer, and Innes,—who established the medical school, which still flourishes in the Scottish capital. Monro had been lecturing on anatomy for a few years, when, in 1725, the other gentlemen above mentioned began to give lectures on the other departments of medical science. When the professorships were finally adjusted on the death of Dr Innes, the chair of the practice of medicine fell to the share of Dr Rutherford. He continued in that honourable station till the year 1765, delivering his lectures always in Latin, of which language it is said he had a greater command than of his own. About the year 1748, he began the system of clinical lectures; a most important improvement in the medical course of the university. After retiring, in 1765, from his professional duties, Dr Rutherford lived, highly respected by all the eminent physicians who had been his pupils, till 1779, when he died in the eighty-fourth year of his age. This venerable person, by his daughter Anne Rutherford, was the grandfather of that eminent ornament of modern literature, Sir Walter Scott.


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