Friday 17 June 2011

A Royal Autopsy: Prince Sobieski of Poland

Tollbooth and Canongate, Edinburgh.
Mentioned in a previous blog was John Stuart Sobieski and here is another mention of a Sobieski, an exiled Prince from Poland. Alexander Carmichael collected this rather unusual anecdote from Dr Aisley, Killiemor House, Mull, which tells of how he dissected a royal subject while at the University of Edinburgh when he was acting as an assistant to a Professor of Anatomy, John Goodsir (1814–1867), who was also a pioneer in the study of the cell. The royal subject was none other than Prince Sobieski of Poland, who had been wounded in battle and had eventually escaped to Edinburgh. He later died in the infirmary of his wounds. The anecdote is rather truncated and eventually trails off which may indicate that Carmichael was interrupted either when he was writing it down at the time or, more likely perhaps, from memory afterwards:

Coillimore house Tuesday
Night 17 Aug[ust] 1886.
Dr. Aisley mar[ried] to niece
of Mrs Colin Maciver here
says he dissected a royal
subject in Edinburgh Uni[versi]ty
when assist[ant] to Professor
G[o]odsir Dr Go[o]dsir came
round and said you will
oblige me much by dis
cont[inuin]g you. Often on that
subject. Young. Subject
was Prince Sob[i]eski
of Poland wounded in the
tibia at the battle of [words omitted]
He found his way as refugee
to Scotland became re-
[?] lived in the Cannon
gate supp[orted] by a 2 or 3 friends
of whom I am I happily
was one. He got ill went
into the infirmary where he
died three days ago unknown
to us. You will find a
bullet wound in [words omitted]
I wish to bury him &c
All the wounds were as described

CW122, fos. 10v–11r.
Tollbooth and Canongate, Edinburgh.

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Stone whorls WHM 1992 13 2.4

Stone whorls WHM 1992 13 2.4
Stone whorls collected by Alexander Carmichael, held by West Highland Museum (ref. WHM 1992 13 2.4). [©]