Edward Nathaniel Bancroft, M.D., was born in London, and was the son of Edward Bancroft, M.D., F.R.S., the author of an Essay on the Natural History of Guiana, and of a work on the Philosophy of Permanent Colours. He received his early education under two of the most distinguished scholars of his age, Dr. Charles Burney and Dr. Parr, and was then entered at St.John’s college, Cambridge, and graduated bachelor of medicine in 1794. In the following year he was appointed physician to the army, and in this capacity served in the Windward Islands, in Portugal, the Mediterranean, Egypt, &c. Returning to England he proceeded doctor of medicine at Cambridge in 1804, and then settling in London, was admitted a Candidate of the College of Physicians 8th April, 1805, and a Fellow 31st March, 1806. He was Censor in 1808. Dr. Bancroft was elected physician to St. George’s hospital 18th March, 1808, but his health requiring a warmer climate, he resigned that office in 1811, and proceeded to Jamaica in the capacity of physician to the forces. He died there the 18th September, 1842, aged 70, being then deputy inspector general of army hospitals.
He was buried in the yard of the parish church of Kingston, and is commemorated on a mural tablet erected by the physicians and surgeons of Jamaica, in the cathedral church of that place. It bears the following inscription:—
Edward Nathaniel Bancroft, M.D., Cantab,
Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians, London,
and Deputy Inspector General of Army Hospitals,
(Erected by the Physicians and Surgeons of Jamaica).
Ob. at Kingston 18th Sept., 1842, æt. 70.
Dr. Bancroft’s writings "display not only the finished style of the classical scholar, but the acute and accurate reasoning of the logician. His inductions are generally drawn in a strong and masterly manner, and as a polemical writer he uses his pen with much energy and effect in turning the facts or arguments of an antagonist against himself."(1)
He was the author of—
A Letter to the Commissioners of Military Enquiry, containing Animadversions on the Fifth Report. 8vo. Lond. 1808.
A Refutation of various Misrepresentations published by Dr. McGregor and Dr. Jackson in their Letters to the Commissioners of Military Inquiry. 8vo. Lond. 1808.
An Essay on the Disease called Yellow Fever, with observations concerning Febrile Contagion, Typhus Fever, Dysentery, and the Plague. 8vo. Lond. 1811.
A Sequel to an Essay on the Yellow Fever, intended to prove by Facts and Documents that the Fever called Bulam, or Pestilential, has no existence as a distinct or a Contagious Disease. 8vo. Lond. 1817.
[(1) Authentic Memoirs of the most Eminent Physicians and Surgeons of Great Britain. 2nd edit. 8vo. Lond. 1818, p.68.]
Post publication addition
Bancroft was a military physician in Jamaica. When slavery was abolished in 1834, compensation was awarded to previous owners of enslaved people, based on the asset lists of their holdings. Bancroft was awarded £178 compensation in 1837 for 4 enslaved people in Kingston and 11 enslaved people in St Catherine.
https://www.ucl.ac.uk/lbs/person/view/13238 Accessed May 2021.