William James MacNeven
Distinguished Irish-American physician and medical educator, b. at Ballynahowna, near Aughrim, Co. Galway, Ireland, 21 March, 1763; d. at New York, 12 July, 1841. His ancestors were driven by Cromwell from the North of Ireland where they held large possessions to the wilds of Connaught. William James MacNeven was the eldest of four sons. At the age of twelve he was sent by his uncle Baron MacNeven, to receive his education abroad, for the penal laws rendered education impossible for Catholics in Ireland. This Baron MacNeven was William O'Kelly MacNeven, an Irish exile physician, who for his medical skill in her service had been created an Austrian noble by the Empress Maria Theresa. Young MacNeven made his collegiate studies at Prague. His medical studies were made at Vienna where he was a favourite pupil of the distinguished professor Pestel and took his degree in 1784. The same year he returned to Dublin to practise. A brilliant career opened before him in medicine, but he became involved in the revolutionary disturbances of the time with such men as Lord Edward Fitzgerald, Thomas Addis Emmet, and his brother Robert. He was arrested in March, 1798, and confined in Kilmainham Jail, and afterwards in Fort George, Scotland, until 1802, when he was liberated and exiled. In 1803, he was in Paris seeking an interview with Bonaparte in order to obtain French troops for Ireland. Disappointed in his mission, Dr. MacNeven came to America, landing at New York on 4 July, 1805.
In 1807, Dr. MacNeven delivered a course of lectures on clinical medicine in the recently established College of Physicians and Surgeons. Here in 1808, he received the appointment of professor of midwifery. In 1810, at the reorganization of the school, he became the professor of chemistry, and in 1816 was appointed in addition to the chair of materia medica. In 1826 with six of his colleagues, he resigned his professorship because of a misunderstanding with the New York Board of Regents, and accepted the chair of materia medica in Rutgers Medical College, a branch of the New Jersey institution of that name, established in New York as a rival to the College of Physicians and Surgeons. The school at once became popular because of its faculty, but after four years was closed by legislative enactment on account of interstate difficulties. The attempt to create a school independent of the regents resulted in a reorganization of the University of the State of New York. Dr. MacNeven's best known contribution to science is his "Exposition of the Atomic Theory" (New York, 1820), which was reprinted in the French "Annales de Chimie". In 1821 he published with emendations an edition of Brande's "Chemistry" (New York, 1829). Some of his purely literary works, his "Rambles through Switzerland" (Dublin, 1803), his "Pieces of Irish History" (New York, 1807), and his numerous political tracts attracted wide attention. He was co-editor for many years of the "New York Medical and Philosophical Journal".
More Catholic Encyclopedia
Browse Encyclopedia by Alphabet
The Catholic Encyclopedia is the most comprehensive resource on Catholic teaching, history, and information ever gathered in all of human history. This easy-to-search online version was originally printed in fifteen hardcopy volumes.
Designed to present its readers with the full body of Catholic teaching, the Encyclopedia contains not only precise statements of what the Church has defined, but also an impartial record of different views of acknowledged authority on all disputed questions, national, political or factional. In the determination of the truth the most recent and acknowledged scientific methods are employed, and the results of the latest research in theology, philosophy, history, apologetics, archaeology, and other sciences are given careful consideration.
No one who is interested in human history, past and present, can ignore the Catholic Church, either as an institution which has been the central figure in the civilized world for nearly two thousand years, decisively affecting its destinies, religious, literary, scientific, social and political, or as an existing power whose influence and activity extend to every part of the globe. In the past century the Church has grown both extensively and intensively among English-speaking peoples. Their living interests demand that they should have the means of informing themselves about this vast institution, which, whether they are Catholics or not, affects their fortunes and their destiny.
Browse the Catholic Encyclopedia by Topic
Copyright © Catholic Encyclopedia. Robert Appleton Company New York, NY. Volume 1: 1907; Volume 2: 1907; Volume 3: 1908; Volume 4: 1908; Volume 5: 1909; Volume 6: 1909; Volume 7: 1910; Volume 8: 1910; Volume 9: 1910; Volume 10: 1911; Volume 11: - 1911; Volume 12: - 1911; Volume 13: - 1912; Volume 14: 1912; Volume 15: 1912
Catholic Online Catholic Encyclopedia Digital version Compiled and Copyright © Catholic Online