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James Copland
And his Dictionary of Practical Medicine

He was born in November 1791 in Orkney, the eldest of nine children. He went to school at Lerwick, and in November 1807 entered the University of Edinburgh. His studies were at first in theology, but he graduated M.D. in 1815. He went to London, but finding no work that suited him, after eighteen months, he took a post in the Gold Coast as medical officer to the settlements of the African Company.

Copland landed at Goree, and in Senegal, The Gambia, and Sierra Leone, studying the tropical diseases. On his leaving Sierra Leone, three-quarters of the ship's crew went down with fever; and a gale carried away the masts. Copland then landed and made his way along the coast, sometimes on foot, sometimes in small trading vessels or in canoes, till he reached Cape Coast Castle, where he lived for some months.

In 1818 Copland returned to England, but shortly started on travels through France and Germany. In 1820 he became a licentiate of the College of Physicians of London, and settled in Walworth. In 1822 he took a house in Jermyn Street. In 1825 he lectured on medicine at a medical school then in Little Dean Street, and somewhat later at the Middlesex Hospital.

Copland was elected Fellow of the Royal Society in 1833, and of the College of Physicians in 1837. He attained a good practice. Among his patients was Dyce Sombre.

Copland was president of the Pathological Society, but without the respect of some of the practical morbid anatomists who attended its meetings. He was Croonian lecturer 1844, 1845, 1846; Lumleian lecturer 1854, 1855, and Harveian orator 1857. He gave up practice about a year before his death, which took place at Kilburn 12 July 1870.

From Tait's Edinburgh Magazine

A Dictionary of Practical Medicine. By James Copland. Longman & Co.

Our admiration of this work, as a composition of practical utility, is lost in the consideration of the Herculean task which Dr. Copland has achieved; it is one of the most imposing and successful efforts of human industry and research to be found in the annals of medical literature. The labour, the patience, the unwearied diligence, which the learned author must have, for years, bestowed upon the collection of the vast mass of materials brought together, for the due accomplishment of this great undertaking, is equalled only by the skill with which they have been made profitably available; by the capital arrangement displayed in each article; and by the discriminating judgment and profound learning exhibited by him in the treatment of every subject.

Upon one alone, the Brain, there are quoted nearly three hundred authorities, German, French, Italian, Latin, and English, enumerated in all the perspicuity of volume, chapter, and page; the patience of the investigation, the sound judgment thus evinced in the separation of the peck of dross from the grain of pure metal, must have been immense; and entitles the compiler to the respect and admiration of every member of society, whether in or out of the profession.

Dr. Copland has wisely apportioned to each subject the precise degree of consideration which its comparative importance demands; he writes as though he had not a useless line to throw away; his language is a happy, clear, and nervous exposition of facts; there is no “show" writing, no holyday tinsel, no bending the matter to the manner; every word tells, and is to the point. He speaks as a man who has made himself thoroughly master of a question viewed in all its bearings; and declares, in simple, but impressive terms, whatever is worthy to be known of it, and no more.

But taking the work as we find it, as the production of one unassisted hand, or the combined labour of forty, it is beyond all doubt the most useful and excellent Medical Dictionary ever published in this country; superior to any in our own language, and ranking second to none in any other. To the Practitioner it will, when completed, be invaluable ; indeed no professional library will be complete without it: to the medical student it will be a treasure of inestimable price; and we strongly and sincerely recommend it as his best companion and guide, containing a body of vast practical information collected from an infinity pf sources, and compressed into a compass well adapted to facilitate his present studies in pathology and therapeutics, and for after-life constant reference.

You can download this 9 volume set here in pdf format...

Volume 1 A - C
Volume 2 D - E
Volume 3 E - H
Volume 4 H - I
Volume 5 I - O
Volume 6 P - P
Volume 7 P - S
Volume 8 S - T
Volume 9 T - Z

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