Matthew Dobson, born in Yorkshire, was the son of a nonconformist minister and had planned at one time to follow his father's professional path.1 When he decided upon medicine, he became a student at the University of Edinburgh; there he graduated in 1756 upon presentation of a dissertation on menstruation. Dobson commenced practice in Liverpool, served on the staff of the Liverpool Infirmary, and, in 1770, was advanced to physician, a position held for a decade until ill health forced him to retire to Bath where he died.
The uncertainty regarding Dobson's birth date is consistent with the lack of information concerning many details of his personal and public life. He has been described as a natural philosopher, an experimental physiologist, and a skilled clinical observer. A Medical Commentary on Fixed Air (carbon dioxide), dedicated to William Cullen, was the only subject that received monographic treatment. His experiments on