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James Hinton was born in 1822, the son of a Baptist minister and author. In his youth he was educated at a school run by his grandfather, and at the Nonconformist school in Harpenden. His  father moved the family to London in 1838, and the young Hinton was apprenticed to a woolen-draper in Whitechapel. He remained apprenticed there for about a year, then became a clerk in an insurance office. He spent every night studying, and began to focus intensely on moral issues. At the age of eighteen he tried to flee his problems by fleeing to the sea, but was stopped before he was able to go through with his plan. He was sent to St. Bartholomew's Hospital where he received his education in medicine. He received his degree in medicine in 1847. After graduation he spent some time as an assistant surgeon before travelling to Sierra Leon to act as a medical officer aboard a ship heading to Jamaica.  
He stayed there until 1850, when he returned to England and set himself up as an aural surgeon in a partnership with a London surgeon and studied physiology. In 1856 he published his first written works, most of them essays regarding ethical and moral concerns, and many on physiological issues. In 1863 he was appointed aural surgeon at Guy's Hospital, which is where he first met William Gull. He was noted as the most skillful aural surgeon at the time. In 1866 he published The Mystery of Pain. In 1874 he published three works, An Atlas of Diseases of the membrana tympani, The Place of the Physician, and Questions of Aural Surgery. His health declined rapidly in 1874 and he retired to the Azores, where he died of acute cerebral inflammation on December 16th 1875 at the age of 53   

In Other Media

Hinton is best remembered for his association with William Gull, and because of this he has often been associated with the Jack the Ripper case following the naming of Gull as a suspect in the 1970s. In Eddie Campbell and Alan Moore's From Hell he is portrayed as an idealistic and metaphysically-minded man who is preoccupied with the problem of prostitution in the East End of London, in contrast to the less caring, more material Gull.  
Hinton's association was mentioned in Stephen Knight's Jack the Ripper: the Final Solution and Iain Sinclair's White Chappell, Scarlet Tracings. He tends to not be mentioned outside of proponents of the theory of Gull as murderer, due mainly to the fact that he died thirteen years before the murders. 

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