Robert Gordon Latham, an English philologist and ethnologist, born at Billingborough, Lincolnshire, in 1812. He was educated at Cambridge, and subsequently took the degree of M. D. He then travelled in northern Europe, and while in Norway studied the idioms of the Scandinavian tongues. Upon his return to England he published a translation of Bishop Tegner's poem. "Alexis and Frithiof " (1839); "Norway and the Norwegians " (2 vols., 1840); an " Abstract of Rask's Essay on the Sibilants;" and an "Address to the Authors of England and America," the object of which was to effect a modification of the existing alphabet. In 1840 he was appointed professor of English literature in University college, London, and while so engaged he published a series of works on the English language. The chief among these was his " Treatise on the English Language " (2 vols., 1841), of which a number of editions have appeared. He next gave his attention to ethnology, and published " Natural History of the Varieties of Mankind" (1850), and "Man and his Migrations" (1851). He has also published "Ethnology of the British Colonies" (1851), "Ethnology of Europe," "Ethnology of the British Islands," "Descriptive Ethnology" (2 vols., 1859), "Nationalities of Europe " (1863), and several other works.
In 1853 he commenced a new edition of Johnson's dictionary, the last number of which was published in 1870. He has produced an edition of the Germania of Tacitus, with notes historical and philological (1850), and has read many important papers before the British association for the advancement of science. As a physician he has held a high position, and lectured on medical jurisprudence at the school of the Middlesex hospital.