William Godwin's Diary


Lectures by Sir Anthony Carlisle (1768-1840), an anatomist, surgeon at Westminster Hospital and friend of Godwin’s. His scientific career included the discovery of electrolysis – together with William Nicholson (another friend of Godwin’s) – and a pioneering essay in geriatrics. He was surgeon-extraordinary to the Prince Regent and counted Godwin, Coleridge and Montagu among his patients at 12 Soho Square. Carlisle was called by Godwin when Wollstonecraft was dying and stayed in the house for four days and nights, approving the wine diet she was given. An advertisement in the Oracle and Public Advertiser, 22 October 1796 announces 'Mr. CARLISLE will repeat his Course of Lectures on the ELEMENTS OF ANATOMY, accompanied with suitable Demonstrations from various Animals. Their principal intention is to exhibit the Science of Anatomy as a branch of Natural Philosophy. The plan has been arranged so as to be adapted to two classes of Hearers,- the first, Gentlemen of general information who may be desirous of gaining a knowledge of the Structure and Phenomena of Animal Bodies. The second, Young Persons who are designed for the Study of Medecine. The whole Course will occupy about Eighteen Lectures; each of an hour's continuance. The first will be given on Monday, the 24th of October at One o'clock, and the remainder of the successive Wednesdays, Fridays, and Mondays,at the same hours, until the end. Terms for the Course, Two Guineas. No 52, Frith Street, Soho.' Throughout his career Carlisle had a predilection for unusual and even bizarre lecture topics, including the breeding of eels and the anatomy of oysters.

See DNB; St Clair, passim; Locke, passim; Marshall, passim; Duncan Wu, ‘Hazlitt’s Unpublished History of English Philosophy: The Wider Context’, The Library 7.1 (2006) 25-64 and R.J. Cole, ‘Sir Anthony Carlisle, F.R.S. (1768-1840)’, Annals of Science 8.3 (1952) 255-70.