Beddoes. I. Thomas, an English physician and author, born at Shiffnal, Shropshire, April 13, 1760, died at Clifton in December, 1808. He was educated at Oxford, studied anatomy in London, became a pupil of Sheldon, and published a translation of Spallanzani's "Dissertations on Natural History." He removed in 1784 to Edinburgh, where he published in 1785 a translation of Bergman's "Essays on Elective Attractions," to which he added many valuable notes. He was an active member of the scientific societies of Edinburgh. In 1786 he visited France, formed an intimacy with Lavoisier and other chemists, and on his return to England was elected to the chemical lectureship at Oxford. His talents and position drew around him many men of learning, including Gilbert and Erasmus Darwin; and in 1790 he published a dissertation, in which he claimed for the speculative physician Mayow the discovery of the principal facts in pneumatic chemistry.
His sympathy with the French revolution damaging his position at Oxford, he resigned in 1792, after which he published his work "On the Nature of Demonstrative Evidence, with an Explanation of certain Difficulties con-curring in the Elements of Geometry," in which he claimed, in opposition to ontological theories, that mathematical reasoning depends essentially upon experiment, and proceeds only by evidence of the senses. He anticipated new improvements in medicine from the science of galvanism, which was now arising in Italy; and in his first medical work, embracing observations on calculus, sea scurvy, consumption, catarrh, and fever, and conjectures on other objects of physiology and pathology, he showed his tendency to found medical science upon chemistry. The most popular of all his works, and that which best reveals his imagination and taste, as well as judgment, was his " History of Isaac Jenkins," written in favor of temperance, for the benefit of the working classes, of which more than 40,000 copies were rapidly sold.
He was enabled in 1798 to establish a pneumatic institution at Bristol, with the assistance of his father-in-law, Richard Lovell Edgeworth, and of Thomas Wedgwood. The superintendent of this institution was Humphry Davy, then a young man, whose first discoveries were made here. The numerous publications of Dr. Beddoes at this time had reference to his favorite theory of the efficacy of the permanently elastic fluids, and of the possibility of curing all diseases by breathing a medicated atmosphere. He was especially sanguine in his expectations from the brilliant discovery by Davy of the respirability and intoxicating qualities of nitrous oxide; and he issued treatises in rapid succession till near the time of his death. Dr. Stock published his memoirs in 1811, and Sir Humphry Davy gave him credit for talents "which would have exalted him to the pinnacle of philosophical eminence, if they had been applied with discretion." II. Thomas Lovell, an English poet, son of the preceding and nephew of Maria Edgeworth, born in Clifton, July 20,1803, died in Basel, Jan. 26, 1849. He was brought up under the care of Mr. Davies Giddy (afterward Sir Davies Gilbert), and educated at Pembroke college, Oxford. "The Bride's Tragedy" (London, 1822), though ill adapted for the stage, was highly praised, and Mr. Beddoes was regarded as a reviver of English tragedy.
Discouraged by the unwillingness of managers to produce his plays, he went to Gottingen in 1824 to study medicine, and thenceforward chiefly resided in Germany and Switzerland. Two posthumous volumes (London, 1851) contain his tragedies '"Death's Jest Book" and the "Second Brother."