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Biography of Richard Maurice Bucke, M.D.
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Maurice Bucke, medical superintendent of the Asylum for the Insane, at London, and one of the best educated medical men of the younger class in the Province of Ontario, was born at Methwold, county of Norfolk, England, March 18, 1837. Dr. Bucke is a great-great-great-grandson of the celebrated Prime Minister, Sir Robert Walpole, first Earl of Orford, and grand-nephew of Charles Bucke, author of works on the “Beauties of Nature,” and the “Ruins of Ancient Cities,” works still published by Harper Brothers, New York; and son of Rev. Horatio W. Bucke, a minister of the Church of England, who moved with his family to Upper Canada when Maurice was one year old, and who died in 1855. His mother was Clarissa Andrews, of Mildenhall, Suffolk.
The family settled three miles east of London, and our subject was brought up on a farm not a hundred rods from the Asylum which he now superintends.
He was educated at the London grammar school; in 1853 he started on a traveling tour going to California by the overland route, and returning by Panama in 1858; spent four years in medical and surgical studies at McGill University, Montreal, where he was graduated as first prize student in the spring of 1862; then gave two additional years to professional studies in London and Paris; and on returning to this country, made, in 1864, a second trip to California, this time in the interest of the Gould and Curry Silver Mining Company.
Returning to Canada in the summer of 1865, Dr. Bucke settled in Sarnia, and was there in the practice of his profession ten years. On the 1st of January 1876, he was appointed medical superintendent of the Asylum for the Insane at Hamilton, and in February of the next year, on the demise of Dr. Landor, medical superintendent of the similar institution at London, Dr. Bucke was promoted to that office. He seems to be admirably adapted to the position, and the institution is under excellent management throughout. Additions in the line of buildings, &c., are made from time to time, and the grounds are being improved from year to year, and everything seems to be done that can be to render the patients comfortable and happy.
The writer is acquainted with several institutions of the kind, particularly in the United States, and knows of none better managed, or batter arranged for the convenience and health of such unfortunates, than the London Asylum, which is the largest in the Province.
The thesis which Dr. Bucke wrote on graduating, and which took the first prize, was on “The Correlation of the Vital and Physical Forces.” It was so able and so valuable that it was published in pamphlet form and had a wide circulation.
He is the author of a work on “Man’s Moral Nature,” published in the summer of 1879. A work on which he expended a great deal of time and thought, and which has been well received on the part of the public and the press.
The following are a few extracts from notices of this book:
We recommend all who believe with Pope that “the proper study of mankind, 13 man,” to read this book. Hamilton Spectator.
It is such treatises as this, which awaken and quicken thought, and open up almost boundless fields for speculation. Hamilton Evening Times.
It is a work of thought, and altogether remarkable. It is an original work, displaying a wide range of information, a power of acute and independent thought, such as a philosopher ought to possess, and no common ability to embody conclusions in simple words, so as to awaken reflection in the mind of those who may ponder over its chapters. London Free Press.
Whatever opinion may be held as to the soundness of the views advanced by Dr. Bucke, there is no question that the book is an interesting contribution to the discussion of an important subject. London Daily Advertiser.
Without attempting an analysis of the argument, we may describe it as the work of a man who writes with intelligence and in a charming spirit of candor. The style is clear and strong, and the moral tone pure. The Christian Register, Boston, Mass.
At every page we are struck by the originality of thought, and the felicity of seine unexpected illustration, and by these a flash of light is thrown on many a subject which before seemed quite obscure. Ottawa Free Press.
It will undoubtedly attract attention and give rise to discussion, for it is not at all one of those compilations so common at the present day, but a fresh, original, and suggestive work.Canada Presbyterian, Toronto. It is full of suggestive ideas Detroit Free Press.
There is no small gratification in reviewing a book so replete with substantial, clever, and courageous writing, as the little volume now before us. The Canada Lancet.
The book is worth reading, even should the peruser differ from the writer, and all must admire the ingenious way many facts are brought in to uphold this material theory of the origin of man’s moral nature. The Canadian Journal of Medical Science.
The volume is a treat to the lover of good sense, good science, and good English New Preparations, Detroit.
In 1865 Dr. Bucke married Miss Jessie Maria Gurd, of Moore, Ontario, and they have six children living, and buried their first born.
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