1798 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Dr. William Perfect

David Rivers, in Literary Memoirs of Living Authors (1798) 2:130.



William Perfect, Esq. M.D., a surgeon of West Malling in Kent, Member of the London Medical Society, and Provincial Grand Master of Masons for the county of Kent. This gentleman was born at Oxford, in 1740, and is son of the Rev. William Perfect, formerly Vicar of East Malling in Kent. He is celebrated for his skill in the cure of persons afflicted with insanity, and for his activity as a member of the brotherhood of Free and Accepted Masons. Dr. Perfect communicated several articles to the Medical Museum; among them are, An Attempt to improve Medical Prognostication; The Case of a Catalepsy; and The Appearances on dissecting a Woman who died of eating too much Cucumber. In 1778, he published Methods of Cure in some particular Cases of Insanity, an octavo pamphlet; and, in 1781, Vol. I. (in octavo) of Cases in Midwifery, to which Vol. II. was soon afterward, added. The last mentioned work was founded on the literary correspondence of the late learned and ingenious Dr. Colin Mackenzie, and contains the only traits of his practice which have, hitherto, been submitted to the public eye. In 1784, Dr. Perfect published an Address to the Public on the Subject of Insanity, notifying that he had opened houses at West Malling for the reception of insane persons; and, three years afterward, he produced an octavo volume of select Cases in the different Species of Insanity, Lunacy, or Madness, with the Modes of Practice as adopted in the Treatment of each. Since that time, Dr. Perfect's only production, in this class of publications, has been a pamphlet, entitled, A remarkable Case of Madness, with the Diet and Medicines used in the Cure. This remarkable case is a boy at the age of eleven, and the cure is an addition proof of the author's skill, in the treatment of confirmed mania.

Dr. Perfect is also a Versifier, as well as a writer on medical subjects. He published, so early as the year 1765, a Bavin of Bays, in a duodecimo volume; an Elegy on the great Storm in 1773, which was a good deal read; the Snowy Day, a pastoral sketch; and Poetical Effusions, published in 1796. His verses cannot be said to tower very highly above mediocrity.