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John Dawson (bap. 1735, d. 1820) by William Whiston Barney, pubd 1809 (after Joseph Allen) © National Portrait Gallery, London

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Dawson, John (bap. 1735, d. 1820), mathematician and surgeon, was born at Raygill Farm in Garsdale, near Sedbergh in Yorkshire, the younger of the two sons of William Dawson and his wife, Mary, and was baptized on 25 February 1735. Accounts of his life have tended to stress the extreme poverty of his background. But ...