Hektoen International

A Journal of Medical Humanities

Peter Mark Roget, MD, FRS of the Thesaurus

Peter Mark Roget

Peter Mark Roget, 1834
Print from Medical Portrait Gallery by Thomas Pettigrew

His obituary as it appeared in the British Medical Journal on Sept. 25, 1869


Dr. Peter Mark Roget died on September 10th, at Malvern, in the 91st year of his age. He was the son of the Rev. John Roget, a descendant of a Swiss family, and minister of one of the Swiss churches in London; his mother being a sister of the late Sir Samuel Romily. Having chosen medicine as his profession he proceeded to Edinburgh, where he completed the usual course of medical studies at the University. He took the degree of Doctor of Medicine in 1798. He afterwards attended the London medical schools as the pupil of Baille, Cruikshank, Wilson, Heberde, and Hope. When the Continent became open to English travellers by the conclusion of the Peace of Amiens, Dr. Roget went to Paris and Geneva, where he remained for two years. On the abrupt resumption of hostilities between France and England, Bonaparte suddenly resorted to the unjustifiable measure of seizing on all Englishmen who happened to be within the French territory, and Dr. Roget was among the détenus. After being retained as a prisoner for two months, he obtained his liberty by means of a passport which was granted to him in virtue of the privileges belonging to him as the son of a citizen of Geneva. Returning to England, he became the travelling attendant of the Marquis of Lansdowne. On the termination of this engagement he started in practice in Manchester, and soon obtained the appointment of the physician to the Infirmary; and he resided there four years. In 1808 he quitted this place for London, where he was admitted a licentiate of the College of Physicians. In 1811 he was chosen one of the secretaries of the Medical and Chirurgical Society of London, and in 1829 and 1830 was elected president. To the Transactions of the Society, he contributed some papers. In 1814 a valuable paper contributed by him the Royal Society obtained for him the fellowship of that institution. In 1820, and for many subsequent years, he held the appointment of Physician to the Spanish Embassy. In November 1827, on the retirement of Sir John Herschel from the office of Senior Secretary of the Royal Society, Dr. Roget was appointed his successor. In 1833 he wrote his Bridgewater Treatise in Animal and Vegetable Physiology. To the general public Dr. Roget is well known by his admirable Thesaurus of English Words and Phrases, a twentieth edition of which he was engaged at his death. An interesting and extended life of Dr. Roget is given in Pettigrew’s Medical Portrait Gallery.



Highlighted in Frontispiece Spring 2012 – Volume 4, Issue 2
Sections  |  Literary Vignettes

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