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James Hinton Edit Profile

physician , Surgeon , author

James Hinton was an English surgeon and author.


Hinton was born on November 26, 1822 in Reading, England, the son of John Howard Hinton, Baptist minister and author of the History and Topography of the United States and other works.


Hinton was educated at his grandfather's school near Oxford, and at the Nonconformist school at Harpenden, and in 1838, on his father's removal to London, was apprenticed to a woollen-draper in Whitechapel.


After working in Whitechapel for about a year Hinton became clerk in an insurance office. His evenings were spent in intense study, and this, combined with a concentration on moral problems, so affected his health that, aged eighteen, he tried to seek refuge from his own thoughts by running away to sea. His intention having been discovered, he was sent, on the advice of his doctor, to St Bartholomew's Hospital to study for the medical profession. After receiving his diploma in 1847, he was for some time assistant surgeon at Newport, Essex, but the same year he went out to Sierra Leone to take medical charge of the free labourers on their voyage thence to Jamaica, where he stayed some time. He returned to England in 1850, and entered into partnership with a surgeon in London, where he soon had his interest awakened specially in aural surgery, and also studied physiology. After being appointed aural surgeon to Guy's Hospital in 1863, he soon acquired a reputation as the most skillful aural surgeon of his day. In the 1870s his health began to break down, and in 1874 he gave up practice. He died the following year at the Azores of "acute inflammation of the brain". His career as an author started in 1856 with papers on physiological and ethical subjects to the Christian Spectator; and in 1859 he published Man and his Dwellingplace. A series of papers entitled "Physiological Riddles, " in the Cornhill Magazine, afterwards published as Life in Nature (1862), as well as another series entitled Thoughts on Health (1871), proved his aptitude for popular scientific exposition. His specialist field of aural surgery was the subject of An Atlas of Diseases of the membrana tympani (1874), and Questions of Aural Surgery (1874). In addition to the works already mentioned, he was the author of The Mystery of Pain (1866) and The Place of the Physician (1874). On account of their fresh and vigorous discussion of many of the important moral and social problems of the times his writings had a wide circulation on both sides of the Atlantic.


  • Hinton was a British surgeon and author, notable for his rather radical works.


Hinton was a radical advocate of polygamous relationships. The notoriety of his writings on polygamy led to accusations in polite society of actual immorality leading to a renunciation of them just before he died.


Hinton was married to a woman named Margaret.

John Howard Hinton