Henry Cline


Henry ClineHenry Cline was born in London in 1750 and educated at the Merchant Taylors' School. He apprenticed to Mr. Thomas Smith and was a student of the famous surgeon, John Hunter. Cline became a surgeon for St Thomas's Hospital in 1767. He taught anatomy at St Thomas's Hospital from 1781-1811. He served as an examiner at the College of Surgeons in 1810, was Master of the College of Surgeons in 1815 and delivered the Hunterian oration in the years 1816 and 1824. He became President of the College of Surgeons in 1823.

Cline was the mentor of Astley Cooper (1768-1843) a well known surgeon who was later knighted. When Cooper arrived in London at the age of 16, he lived with Cline. Cooper reported on Cline's surgery performed on the historian Edward Gibbon. He commented that Cline "drew off six quarts of fluid" that developed from a testicular tumor.

Gibbon refers in a letter to Lord Sheffield to the condition which he had for over thirty years, but for which he had not sought medical advice, as it had not been painful (and to which he does not refer to at all in his Autobiography). After the condition had become "almost as big as a small child", Gibbon consulted a surgeon, who sought the advice of Cline. He says that "the medical gentlemen, who never speak quite plain, intimate to me the possibility of inflammation, of fever, etc." Their worst fears were realised: both these consequences ensued and Gibbon died soon after. (Gibbon p. )

Cline was the person to whom John Thelwall addressed his famous work on elocution. Thelwall was affiliated with Cline through his politics. Thelwall also attended lectures given by Cline at st Thomas's Hospital in London.

Writings by Henry Cline

Cline, H. (1805) On the form of animals. London: Bulmer & Co.