Todd, Charles Hawkes (1782–1826), surgeon, was born 6 November 1782 in Sligo, son of a surgeon apothecary and Alicia Todd (née Hawkes). He was educated in Dublin and subsequently indentured (1797) to James Henthorn (1744–1832), the much esteemed surgeon of the House of Industry Hospitals, Dublin, and became licentiate (1803) and member (1805) of the RCSI. As a student he was a secretary (1801) of the Medico-Philosophical Society of the House of Industry Hospitals and was later appointed (1809) surgeon there, and taught anatomy and surgery at the Richmond Hospital Medical School. Appointed assistant secretary (1804–26) of the RCSI, he became a prominent figure in the college, becoming assistant librarian (1811), a founding member of the museum committee (1819), professor of anatomy and physiology (1819–26), professor of surgery (1819–26), and president (1821).
According to ‘Erinensis’, the satirical columnist of the Lancet, he was respected for the accuracy of his anatomical knowledge and his ‘clear and concise manner of instruction . . . so minute . . . were his demonstrations, that it is said here that . . . the vertebral and other ligaments expanded to a degree beyond what nature had intended’; his lecturing skills, however, were considered as ‘lamentably deficient’ due to his ‘cold temperament . . . spiritless manner’, and his ‘doleful voice, scarcely audible, something like the melancholy moan of the midnight breeze’ (Fallon, 27–32). He made a significant contribution to surgical technique in establishing the Dublin method of treating aneurysm by compression. In 1816 he performed a caesarean section; the child survived but the mother died.
Todd was one of the four founding editors of the Dublin Medical and Physical Essays (1807–8); the first Irish medical journal known to have run to several issues, it published original communications, critical analyses of recent publications, and medical and physical intelligence, including extracts from British and foreign medical journals. It attracted contributions from prominent doctors in Ireland, including Todd; but for reasons unknown, only six quarterly issues appeared. Together with John Cheyne (qv), Edward Percival (d. 1827) and Abraham Colles (qv), Todd also founded and contributed to the Dublin Hospital Reports (1817–30), the second medical journal published in Ireland. Well produced and illustrated, ‘it provided a valuable record of the work of the Irish medical school’ (Kirkpatrick, 330).
‘Full, fat, and forty’ (Fallon, 26), Todd died 19 March 1826 at his home, 3 Kildare St., Dublin. His early death left his wife and children without adequate provision, and a subscription list by his Dublin colleagues was organised and given ample publicity by the Lancet. A bust by Joseph Robinson Kirk (qv) was erected in the RCSI, and a memorial tablet placed in St Patrick's cathedral by the medical students of Dublin. He married Elizabeth Bentley (d. 1862); they had nine sons and six daughters. His sons all entered the professions: Robert Bentley Todd (qv), MD, became professor of anatomy and physiology in King's College, London. The Rev. James Henthorn Todd (qv), MRIA, was an eminent antiquarian and Gaelic scholar, and John Hawkes Todd (1813–94), QC, was vicar-general of the diocese of Derry and Raphoe.