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Richard Morton (1637-98) and his Phthisiologia.
  1. R Y Keers


    Richard Morton was one of the outstanding physicians of the seventeenth century. After graduating BA at Oxford he elected to enter the Church, becoming ultimately Vicar of Kinver in Staffordshire. On the Restoration he found himself unable to comply with the requirements of the Act of Uniformity and was ousted from his Staffordshire living. He disappeared for eight years but reappeared in 1670 when, on the sponsorship of the Prince of Orange, the degree of MD was conferred on him by the University of Oxford. He set up in practice in London and was elected a Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians in 1678. He has left a lasting memorial in the form of his book Phthisiologia which deals with all aspects of phthisis, the word being interpreted in its widest sense to denote any disease associated with wasting. It is not known where Morton obtained his medical education nor is there anything in his writings to indicate where he spent the eight years between 1662 and 1670. It is suggested that he may have been in Holland for part of those years attending the University of Leyden and making the acquaintance of the Prince of Orange whose patronage was to prove so useful at Oxford in 1670.

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