[Dr] Edward Barry

Life
fl.1745 [occas. confused with Sir Edward Barry]; prob. b. Cork; Physician Gen. of Army, 1745; Pres. Royal College of Physicians in 1749; Prof. of Physic at TCD; lived at College Green; published A Treatise on a Consumption of the Lungs and Nutrition, and of the Structure and Use of the Lungs (Dublin 1726; 2nd edn London 1727); also a 400-page Treatise on the Three Different Digestions and Discharges of the Human Body, and the Diseases of their Principle Organs (1759), and Observations, Historical, Critical, and Medical, on the Wines of the Ancients, and on the Analogy between them and Modern Wines; with Observations on the Principle Qualities of Waters, and particularily those of Bath (London 1775); deemed eccentric as believing that pulsation caused death by slow attrition.

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Commentary
Sir John Gilbert, History of Ireland, 3 vols. (Dublin: James McGlashan 1854-59) 8o. Vol. 3, makes reference to a Dr. Barry [the same] whose conversation Benjamin Victor reports in a letter from Dublin to his kinsman the Irish actor Spranger Barry. Boswell has Dr. Johnson saying with reference to his system of physic, ‘He was a man who had acquired a high reputation in Dublin, came over to England, and brought his reputation with him, but had not great success. His notion was, that pulsation occasions death by attrition and that, therefore, the way to preserve life is to retard pulsation; but we know that pulsation is strongest in infants and that we increase in growth while it operates in its regular course, so it cannot be the cause of destruction.’ (Gilbert, op. cit., p.25)

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