Monday, June 17, 2013
A failed revolutionary, but a geologist, who became famous in medicine.
Dr. James Parkinson, was a socialist and author of provocative pamphlets like "Revolution without bloodshed". In 1794 he was accused in a conspiracy to shoot King George III, in the neck with a poisoned dart. Dr. James was hauled before the Privy Council for questioning his role in the plot, now called 'The pop-gun plot'. He was nearly dispatched to a prison in Australia, but then charges against him were quietly dropped one fine day. Dr. James then became very quiet and conservative for the rest of his life and never caused trouble again. He developed interest in Geology and became one of the founding members of the Geological Society. His book "Organic Remains of a Former world" remained in print for decades and possible became the only person to ever win a natural history museum in a raffle. In 1785, the museum in London's Leicester Square, had been founded by Sir Ashton Lever, but he drove himself to bankruptcy, with his unrestrained collecting of Natural wonders. Dr. James kept the museum until 1805, and later sold it. We all may not know Dr. James for all the above mentioned anecdotes, but one study of his has made him a household name. He studied an affliction, then called the "shaking palsy" but known ever since as 'Parkinson's disease'