Andrew Duncan: Physician of the Enlightenment is the first book to give an account of Dr Andrew Duncan (1744-1828), a remarkable medical figure during the Scottish Enlightenment whose influence continues to this day. His name lives on in the Andrew Duncan Clinic, established in 1965 as part of the Royal Edinburgh Hospital.
Born the son of a Fife shipmaster, Duncan rose to become Physician to the King and was twice President of the Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh. He saw the need for a Dispensary for the Sick Poor, and a Lunatic Asylum in Edinburgh where inmates were treated humanely. A champion of public health, he founded, in the face of opposition, a Chair of Medical Jurisprudence and Public Health at the University of Edinburgh, the first in Britain. A man of wide interests, Duncan was a very sociable character with impressive organisational vigour who founded many societies and dining clubs including the Aesculapian and Harveian Societies, and the Royal Caledonian Horticultural Society, all of which still survive. He realised the value of excerise and founded a gymnastic club where, among other sports, he engaged in his favourite recreation of golf. He climbed Arthur's Seat regularly on the first of May until his 82nd year.