COOPER, SIR ASTLEY, was born in the village of Brooke in Norfolk, where his father, Dr. Cooper, was curate. His mother was a popular authoress in her day, nod published several novels and other literary productions, the object of which was to elevate and dignify the position of woman in society. Astley Cooper was born on the 23rd of August 1768, and was the fourth son. As a boy he was remarkable rather for his liveliness and good.humour than for appli cation to study ; but the following incident determined his choice of surgery as a profession :—A youth had fallen down in front of a cart, one wheel of which paqsed over his thigh, lacerating it and wounding the femoral artery. No surgeon was near, and the boy was in danger of dying from loss of blood, when young Astley Cooper bound his handkerchief sufficiently tight over the upper part of the thigh to prevent circulation in the artery, and thus stopped the bleeding till a surgeon arrived.
When in his thirteenth year his father was presented with the living of Great Yarmouth in Norfolk, to which place he immediately removed.
In August 1784 young Cooper left home for London. His uncle, William Cooper, who was then a surgeon at Guy's Hospital, not being able to receive him into his house, he was placed with Mr. Cline, who was at that time surgeon to St. Thomas's Hospital, and one of the most distinguished surgeons of his day. To his connection with Mr. Cline, and the influence of his example, Sir Aetley attributed much of his success in afterlife.
In London he began to devote himself with earnestness to his new pursuit. He early perceived the importance of Correct anatomical knowledge to the study of surgery, and made such advances by an habitual attendance in the dissecting-room, as to lead others to consult him in their difficnitles. He also at this time attended the lectures of John Hunter, and was one of the few who comprehended the real value of this great man's theories and experiments. In 1787 he visited Edinburgh, and on his return was made demonstrator of anatomy at St. Thomas's Hospital. This led to his being in 1791 permitted to take part of the lectures on anatomy and surgery, which were then delivered together, with Mr. Cline. He was married in the same year, and after the close of the winter session paid a visit to Paris in 1792, where he was on the breaking out of tho Revolution on the LOth of August. In the next course of lectures which he gave he Lectured on eurgery alone, and this was one of the first courses in London given on that subject independent of anatomy. It was per.
rectly succeasfuL He was also this year appointed professor of anatomy st Surgeon's Hall, and was re-appointed in 1794 and 1795.
The earliest of Sir Aetley Cooper's literary productions appeared in s volume of papers entitled 'Medical Records and Researches,' which was published in 1798. In these essays, the caution in collecting fact; and fearlessness in coming to conclusions when his facts were sufficient, which characterised him through life, are evident. Up to this time, although his reputation was increasing, his income was small. From the time he first commenced, he says, "My receipt for the first year was Si. 5s.; the second, 26/.; the third, 64/. ; the fourth, H/. ; the fifth, 100/. ; the sixth, 2001. ; the seventh, 400l. ; the eighth, 610/." On the death of his uncle in 1800 he was appointed to the office of surgeon at Guy's Hospital, but not without BOMB difficulty, on account of his having been intimate with Horne Tooke and Thelwall, and others who held the same political opinions : a con venient change of politico however removed the difficulty, and ho received the appointment. In this and the following year he read two papers before the Royal Society, On the effects which take place from the destruction of the membrane tympani, with an account of an operation for the removal of a particular species of deafness.' Although the operation here proposed was apparently aucceesful, its benefits seemed to be only transient, and the practice of it was abandoned. For these papers the author had awarded to him the Copleian medal of the Royal Society for 1802. lu 1805 he was elected a Fellow of the Royal' Society. In the same year he took an active part in the formation of the Medico-Chirurgical Society, which originated in some disagreement which took place in the London Medical Society. After some trouble the members of the Medico Chirurgical Society obtained a royal charter, and it now takes the first position amongst the medical debating societies of London. In the first volume of the Transactions' of this Society is recorded a case o f carotid aneurism, in which the artery was tied by Mr. Cooper. Although the case terminated unfavourably, the merit is due to him of having first attempted this operation, which has been successful iu the hands of many subsequent operators.