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Peter Shaw

(1694—1763) physician and author


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Peter Shaw was born at Lichfield and died at Wimbledon, near London, on 15 March 1763. A son of the Master of Lichfield Grammar School, he acquired a ready competence in Latin which he put to use by translating many Latin works into English. Nothing is known of his life before 1723 when he published A Treatise of Incurable Diseases and an edition of John Quincy's Praelectiones pharmaceuticae. Shaw refers to himself on the title-pages as MD but there is no record of where this qualification was acquired. What little evidence there is seems to suggest that he was in fact an autodidact in chemistry and medicine. In 1733 Shaw moved to Scarborough just as it was becoming fashionable as a spa. He soon became the town's leading physician and made many influential connections during each season. By 1738 he was back in London but now attracted criticism from medical pamphleteers as one of those who merely pretend to have a doctor's degree. Accordingly, Shaw applied for, and was awarded, a licence to practise medicine from the Royal College of Physicians. He became personal physician to the Duke of Newcastle and later (1760) to George III. He received an MD from Cambridge in 1751, and was elected Fellow of the Royal Society in 1752 and Fellow of the College of Physicians in 1754.

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From The Continuum Encyclopedia of British Philosophy in Oxford Reference.

Subjects: Philosophy.


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