Sir Alexander Crichton, a surgeon, physician, author, and geologist, was born on 2nd December 1763 at Newington, Edinburgh. He was the second son of Alexander Crichton Sr. of Woodhouselee and Newington.
Ancestry of Sir Alexander Crichton
Sir Alexander Crichton was distantly related to the 16th century Soldier of Fortune, James Crichton. His grandfather, Patrick Crichton, was a saddler in the Canongate and acquired the Newington Estate. Upon his death, his estate was passed on to two of his sons William and Alexander.
Education and Career of Sir Alexander Crichton
His initial education was in his native place, Edinburgh under the guidance of surgeon, Alexander Wood. In 1784, at the age of 21, he came to London. Further, in life, he studied at places like Paris, Stuttgart, Vienna, and Halle and returned to London.
In May 1789, he became a member of the corporation of surgeons and started practicing as a surgeon. He, however, developed a dislike in the practice of surgery. Dissociating himself from the Corporation of Surgeons, he got admitted as a Licentiate of the College of Physicians and pursued studying medicine at Leyden.
In the year 1794, he was elected physician to the Westminister Hospital. He became Fellow of the Linnean Society of London in 1793, a society dedicated itself to the study of, and dissemination of information concerning natural history, evolution and taxonomy.
A few years later, in 1798, his studies on mental derangement appeared which made him a renowned person in England and abroad. Resultantly, he was appointed a physician to the Duke of Cambridge and in 1804, as a physician in ordinary to Alexander I of Russia. He became Fellow of Royal Society in 1800.
Sir Alexander Crichton was a highly acclaimed physician in the royal circle of Russia. He went on to shoulder the responsibility of the head of civilian medical services. His services, in that capacity, were utilized by the dowager empress in the construction and implementation of charitable institutions.
Sir Alexander Crichton strove tirelessly to contain the epidemic in the south-eastern states of Russia. His tireless efforts and contribution towards the control of the epidemic were acknowledged by the Emperor and he was conferred upon, The Knight grand cross of the order of St. Anne and St. Vladimir (third class). He went on to acquire the same honor in the second class in 1814.
In 1819, he returned to England, citing health reasons, but was called back to Russia to take charge of Grand Duchess Alexandra and accompany her to Berlin for convalescence.
Achievements of Sir Alexander Crichton
In the year 1794, he was elected physician to the Westminister Hospital.
He became Fellow of the Linnean Society of London in 1793
Became Fellow of Royal Society in 1800.
Received the Knight grand cross of the order of St. Anne and St. Vladimir.
Received The Knight Grand Cross of The Red Eagle, (Second Class) in 1820.
In 1821, he was conferred knighthood by George IV.
In the year 1830, Emperor Nicholas conferred upon him the Grand.Cross of St.Annes.
Sir Alexander Crichton’s works on mental Derangement
As early as in 1798, Sir Alexander Crichton wrote a book, AN INQUIRY INTO THE NATURE AND ORIGIN OF MENTAL DERANGEMENTCOMPREENDING A CONCISE SYSTEM OF THE HUMAN MIND AND A HISTORY OF THE PASSIONS AND THEIR EFFECTS.
Therein he has described a mental state with all the features of the inattentive subtype of ADHD. He has attributed this trait of inability of attending to anyone subject with considerable constancy, to the condition of the nerves. He wrote about the attention deficit, restlessness, early onset and its effects on schooling.
Sir Alexander Crichton Facts
During his travel and stay in various countries around the globe, Sir Alexander Crichton collected various mineral specimens. These included specimens from Siberia, Russia, Hungary, Norway, Germany, U.K, U.S, and India. Upon retiring to England, he devoted his time to writing several books on medicine and geology and became a member of The Royal Geological Society.
Sir Alexander Crichton had 240 slaves and received handsome compensation when slave ownership was outlawed by The British Government in 1833.
Sir Alexander Crichton died on 4th of June,1856 at Kent.