LATHAM, JOHN, was born June 27, 1740, at Eltham in Kent, tho eldest son of a surgeon and apothecary of that place. He was educated at Merchant Taylor's school, but when only fifteen was removed in order to prepare himself for following his father's pro fession. He studied anatomy under Dr. William Hunter, and having completed his education at the London hospitals and schools of medicine, he commenced business at Dartford in 1763. He early addicted himself to the study of natural history, and in 1771 became the correspondent of Pennant, and almost immediately after con tributed his assistance to Sir A. Lever in the formation of his museum. In 1781 he published the first volume of his General Synopsis of Birds.' This was continued at irregular intervals by five others, and two supplementary volumes completed the work in 1787. In the preface to the supplement be announced that he was then contem plating the ' Index Ornithological"; which appeared in 1791 ; but Gmelin's edition of Linnteue's 'Systems Natural"' had appeared in 1788, and he had availed himself of Latham's labours so far that many of the birds there named were wholly unknown to Linnaeus, and only known to Gmelin through Latham. In 1775 he bad been elected a Fellow of the Royal Society; in 1778 a Corresponding Member of the Medical Society of London, and he was one of the founders of the Linnasan Society ; in 1795 he received the diploma of M.D. from the university of Erlangen, and was nominated a member
of the Natural History Society of Berlin and of the Royal Society of Stockholm ; and in 1792 ho became an F.S.A. In 1796 he retired from business and settled at Romsey in Hampshire. A reverse of fortune overtook him, and in 1819 he retired to the house of his eon-in-law, Mr. N. Wickham, at Winchester. He had always diligently pursued his studies in natural history, and in 1821 he commenced the publi cation of the General History of Birds,' which was completed in ten volumes 4to. The pintos of his original work had been all etched by himself from specimens all stuffed and prepared by himself, and for his history, when upwards of eighty, he retouched them. The works have always retained a high character for fidelity of representation and accuracy of description. We have here only mentioned the works on natural history, by which he is most widely known, but Dr. Latham also wrote on a great number of subjects, chiefly of a medical character, in the form of pamphlets, or of contributions to the 'Transactions' of the Societies with which be was connected. After a short illness, he died on February 4, 1837, and was buried in the abbey-church of Romney.