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den warm and urgent, and his friends at Utrecht, / grandsons, and a catalogue of the King of though unwilling to be deprived of him, yet not France's library, presented to him by the comzealous enough for the honour and advantage of mand of the King himself, and expressed some their university, to endeavour to detain him by satisfaction on all these occasions; but soon digreat liberality.
verted his thoughts to the more important conAt his entrance upon this new professorship, sideration of his eternal state, into which he which was conferred upon him in 1715, he pro- passed on the 31st of March, 1741, in the 73d nounced an oration upon the duty and office of a year of his age. professor of polite literature; “ De publici hu- He was a man of moderate stature, of great manioris Disciplinæ professoris proprio officio et strength and activity, which he preserved by munere ;” and showed, by the usefulness and temperate diet, without medical exactness, and perspicuity of his lectures, that he was not con- by allotting proportions of his time to relaxation fined to speculative notions on that subject, hav. and amusement, not suffering his studies to exing a very happy method of accommodating his haust his strength, but relieving them by freinstructions to the different abilities and attain- quent intermissions; a practice consistent with ments of his pupils.
the most exemplary diligence, and which he Nor did he suffer the public duties of this sta- that omits will find at last, that time may be tion to hinder him from promoting learning by lost, like money, by unseasonable avarice. labours of a different kind; for besides many In his hours of relaxation he was gay, and poems and orations which he recited on different sometimes gave way so far to his temper, natuoccasions, he wrote several prefaces to the works rally satirical, that he drew upon himself the of others, and published many useful editions of ill-will of those who had been unfortunately the the best Latin writers, with large collections of subjects of his mirth ; but enemies so provoked notes from various commentators.
he thought it beneath him to regard or to pacify; He was twice rector, or chief governor of the for he was fiery, but not malicious, disdained university, and discharged that important office dissimulation, and in his gay or serious hours with equal equity and ability, and gained by his preserved a settled detestation of falsehood. So conduct in every station so much esteem, that that he was an open and undisguised friend or when the professorship of history of the United enemy, entirely unacquainted with the artifices Provinces became vacant, it was conferred on of flatterers, but so judicious in the choice of him, as an addition to his honours and revenues, friends, and so constant in his affection to them, which he might justly claim; and afterwards, that those with whom he had contracted familias a proof of the continuance of their regard, arity in his youth, had for the greatest part his and a testimony that his reputation was still in- confidence in his old age. creasing, they made him chief librarian, an office His abilities, which would probably have enwhich was the more acceptable to bim, as it abled him to bave excelled in any kind of learnunited his business with his pleasure, and gave ing, were chiefly employed, as his station rehim an opportunity at the same time of
super-quired, on polite literature, in which he arrived intending the library, and carrying on his stu- at very uncommon knowledge, wbich, however, dies.
appears rather from judicious compilations than Such was the course of his life, till, in his old original productions. His style is lively and age, leaving off his practice of walking and other masculine, but not without harshness and conexercises, he began to be afflicted with the straint, nor perhaps, always polished to that scurvy, which discovered itself by very torment. purity which some writers have attained. He ing symptoms of various kinds; sometimes dis- was at least instrumental to the instruction of turbing his head with vertigos, sometimes caus- mankind by the publication of many valuable ing faiptness in his limbs, and sometimes attack- performances, which lay neglected by the greating his legs with anguish so excruciating, that est part of the learned world; and, if reputation all his vigour was destroyed, and the power of be estimated by usefulness, he may claim a walking entirely taken away, till at length his higher degree in the ranks of learning than some left foot became motionless. The violence others of bappier elocution, or more vigorous of his pain produced irregular fevers, deprived imagination. him of rest, and entirely debilitated his whole The malice or suspicion of those who either frame.
did not know, or did not love him, had given This tormenting disease he bore, though rise to some doubts about his religion, which he not without some degree of impatience, yet with took an opportunity of removing on his deathout any unbecoming or irrational despondency, bed by a voluntary declaration of his faith, his and applied himself in the intermission of his hope of everlasting salvation from the revealed pains to seek for comfort in the duties of reli- promises of God, and his confidence in the gion.
merits of our Redeemer, of the sincerity of While he lay in this state of misery he receiv- which declaration bis whole behaviour in his ed an account of the promotion of two of his long illness was an incontestable proof; and he
concluded his life, which had been illustrious “Quintilianus," 2 vols. 4to.
“ Ovidius,” 3 vols. 4to.
“ Buchanani Opera,” 2 vols. 4to.
Cum notis variorum.
THOMAS SYDENHAM was born in the year 1624, | himself, that he was withheld from the univerat Windford Eagle in Dorsetshire, where his sity by the commencement of the war; nor is it father, William Sydenham, Esq. had a large known in what state of life he engaged, or where fortune. Under whose care he was educated, he resided during that long series of public comor in what manner he passed bis childhood, motion. It is indeed reported that he had a whether he made any early discoveries of a commission in the King's army, but no particugenius peculiarly adapted to the study of nature, lar account is given of his military conduct; nor or gave any presages of his future eminence in are we told what rank he obtained when he enmedicine, no information is to be obtained. We tered into the army, or when, or on what occamust therefore repress that curiosity which sion, he retired from it. would naturally incline us to watch the first at- It is, however, certain, that if ever he took uptempts of so vigorous a mind, to pursue it in its on him the profession of arms, he spent but few childish inquiries, and see it struggling with years in the camp; for in 1648 he obtained at rustic prejudices, breaking on trifling occasions Oxford the degree of bachelor of physic, for the shackles of credulity, and giving proofs, in which, as some medicinal knowledge is necessary, its casual excursions, that it was formed to shake it may be imagined that he spent some time in off the yoke of prescription, and dispel the phan- qualifying himself. toms of hypothesis.
His application to the study of physic was, as That the strength of Sydenham's understand he himself relates, produced by an accidental acing, the accuracy of his discernment, and ardour quaintance with Dr. Cox, a physician eminent of his curiosity, might have been remarked from at that time in London, who in some sickness his infancy by a diligent observer, there is no prescribed to his brother, and, attending him reason to doubt. For there is no instance of frequently on that occasion, inquired of him any man, whose history has been minutely re- what profession he designed to follow. The lated, that did not in every part of life discover young man answering that he was undeterminthe same proportion of intellectnal vigour; but ed, the Doctor recommended physic to him, on it has been the lot of the greatest part of those wbat account, or with what arguments, it is not who have excelled in science, to be known only related; but his persuasions were so effectual, by their own writings, and to have left behind that Sydenham determined to follow his advice, them no remembrance of their domestic life, or and retired to Oxford for leisure and opportuprivate transactions, or only such memorials of nity to pursue his studies. particular passages as are, on certain occasions, It is evident that this conversation must have necessarily recorded in public registers.
happened before his promotion to any degree in From these it is discovered, that at the age of physic, because he himself fixes it in the interval eighteen, in 1642, he commenced a commoner of of his absence from the university, a circumMagdalen-Hall in Oxford, where it is not pro- stance which will enable us to confute many bable that he continued long; for he informs us false reports relating to Dr. Sydenham, which
have been confidently inculcated, and implicitly believed.
It is the general opinion that he was made a Originally prefixed to the New Translation of Dr. S sdenhan's Works, by John Swan, M. D. or physician by accident and necessity, and Sir Newcastle, io Staffordshire, 1742. H.
Richard Blackmore reports in plain terms ( Pre
face to his Treatise on the Small Por,] that he en- his art, and travel for further instructions from gaged in practice without any preparatory study, one university to another? or previous knowledge, of the medicinal sci- It is likewise a common opinion, that Sydenences; and affirms, that, when he was consult- ham was thirty years old before he formed his ed by him what books he should read to quality resolution of studying physic, for which I can him for the same profession, he recommended discover no other foundation than one expresDon Quixote.
sion in his dedication to Dr. Mapletoft, which That he recommended Don Quixote to Black- seems to have given rise to it by a gross misinmore we are not allowed to doubt; but the re- terpretation; for he only observes, that from later is hindered by that self-love which dazzles his conversation with Dr. Cox to the publicaall mankind from discovering that he might in- tion of that treatise thirty yeurs had intervened. tend a satire very different from a general cen- Whatever may bave produced this notion, or sure of all the ancient and modern writers on how long soever it may have prevailed, it is now inedicine, since he might perhaps mean, either proved beyond controversy to be false, since it seriously or in jest, to insinuate that Blackmore appears that Sydenham, having been for some was not adapted by nature to the study of physic, time absent from the university, returned to it and that, whether he should read Cervantes or in order to pursue his physical inquiries beHippocrates, he would be equally unqualified fore he was twenty-four years old ; for in 1648 for practice, and equally unsuccessful in it. he was admitted to the degree of bachelor of
Whatsoever was his meaning, nothing is more physic. evident than that it was a transient sally of an That such reports should be confidently in agination warmed with gayety, or the negli- spread, even among the contemporaries of the gent effusion of a mind intent upon some other author to whom they relate, and obtain in a few employment, and in haste to dismiss a trouble-years such credit as to require a regular confusome intruder; for it is certain that Sydenham tation ; that it should be imagined that the did not think it impossible to write usefully on greatest physician of the age arrived at so high medicine, because he has himself written upon a degree of skill, without any assistance from it; and it is not probable that he carried his his predecessors; and that a man eminent for vanity so far, as to imagine that no man bad integrity practised medicine by chance, and ever acquired the same qualifications besides grew wise only by murder : is not to be conhimself. He could not but know that he rather sidered without astonishment. restored than invented most of his principles, But, if it be, on the other part, remembered, and therefore could not but acknowledge the how much this opinion favours the laziness of value of those writers whose doctrines he some, and the pride of others; how readily adopted and enforced.
some men confide in natural sagacity, and how That he engaged in the practice of physic willingly most would spare themselves the la. without any acquaintance with the theory, or bour of accurate reading and tedious inquiry; knowledge of the opinions or precepts of former it will be easily discovered how much the interwriters, is undoubtedly false ; for he declares, est of multitudes was engaged in the production that after he had, in pursuance of his conversa- and continuance of this opinion, and how tion with Dr. Cox, determined upon the profes. cheaply those, of whom it was known that they sion of physic, he applied himself in earnest to it, practised physic before they studied it, might and spent several years in the university (aliquot satisfy themselves and others with the example annos in academica palæstra,] before he began of the illustrious Sydenham. to practise in London.
It is therefore in an uncommon degree useful Nor was he satisfied with the opportunities to publish a true account of this memorable of knowledge which Oxford afforded, but tra- man, that pride, temerity, and idleness may be velled to Montpellier, as Desault relates [ Dis-deprived of that patronage which they have ensertation on Consumptions,] in quest of farther joyed too long ; that life may be secured from information ; Montpellier being at that time the dangerous experiments of the ignorant and the most celebrated school of physic ; so far was presumptuous : and that those who shall hereSydenham from any contempt of academical arter assume the important province of superinstitutions, and so far from thinking it reason- intending the health of others, may learn from able to learn physic by experiments alone, this great master of the art, that the only means which must necessarily be made at the hazard of arriving at eminence and success are labour of lite.
and study. What can be demanded beyond this by the From these false reports it is probable that most zealous advocate for regular education? another arose, to which, though it cannot be What can be expected from the most cautious with equal certainty confuted, it does not apand most industrious student, than that he pear that entire credit ought to be given. The should dedicate several years to the rudiments of acquisition of a Latin style did not seem consistent with the manner of life imputed to him; him most pleasure, and most engaged his imi. nor was it probable, that he, who had so dili- tation. gently cultivated the ornamental parts of gene- About the same time that he became bachelor ral literature, would have neglected the essen- of physic, he obtained, by the interest of a relatial studies of his own profession. Those there. tion, a fellowship of All Souls college, having fore who were determined, at whatever price, submitted by the subscription required to the to retain him in their own party, and represent authority of the visitors appointed by the parhim equally ignorant and daring with them- liament, upon what principles, or how consiste selves, denied him the credit of writing his ently with his former conduct, it is now imposown works in the language in which they were sible to discover. published, and asserted, but without proof, that When he thought himself qualified for practhey were composed by him in English, and tice, he fixed his residence in Westminster, betranslated into Latin by Dr. Mapletoft.
came doctor of physic at Cambridge, received a Whether Dr. Mapletoft lived and was fa- license from the college of physicians, and lived miliar with him during the whole time in in the first degree of reputation, and the greatwhich these several treatises were printed, trea- est affluence of practice for many years, without tises written on particular occasions, and any other enemies than those which he raised printed at periods considerably distant from by the superior merit of his conduct, the brighter each other, we have had no opportunity of in- lustre of his abilities, or his improvements of quiring, and therefore cannot demonstrate the his science, and his contempt of pernicious falsehood of this report: but if it be considered methods supported only by authority in opposi. how unlikely it is that any man should engage tion to sound reason and indubitable experience. in a work so laborious and so little necessary, These men are indebted to him for concealing only to advance the reputation of another, or their names, when he records their malice, since that he should have leisure to continue the same they have thereby escaped the contempt and deoffice upon all following occasions; if it be re- testation of posterity. membered how seldom such literary combina- It is a melancholy reflection, that they who tions are formed, and how soon they are for the have obtained the highest reputation, by pregreatest part dissolved; there will appear no serving or restoring the health of others, have reason for not allowing Dr. Sydenham the lau- often been hurried away before the natural derel of eloquence as well as physic.
cline of life, or have passed many of their years It is observable, that his Processus Integri, under the torments of those distempers which published after his death, discovers alone more they profess to relieve. In this number was skill in the Latin language than is commonly Sydenham, whose health began to fail in the ascribed to him; and it surely will not be sus- 520 year of his age, by the frequent attacks of pected, that the officiousness of his friends was the gout, to which he was subject for a great continued after his death, or that he procured part of his life, and which was afterwards acthe book to be translated only that, by leaving companied with the stone in the kidneys, and, it behind him, he might secure his claim to his its natural consequence, bloody urine. other writings.
These were distempers which even the art of It is asserted by Sir Hans Sloane, that Dr. Sydenham could only palliate, without hope of Sydenbam, with whom he was familiarly ac- a perfect cure, but which, if he has not been quainted, was particularly versed in the writ-able by his precepts to instruct us to remove, he ings of the great Roman orator and philosopher; has, at least, by his example, taught us to bear; and there is evidently such a luxuriance in his for he never betrayed any indecent impatience, style, as may discover the author which gave or unmanly dejection, under his torments, but
supported himself by the reflections of philosophy, and the consolations of religion, and in
every interval of ease applied himself to the as* Since the foregoing was written, we have seen sistance of others with his usual assiduity. Mr. Ward's Lives of the Professors of Gresham Col
After a life thus usefully employed, he died lege: who, in the Life of Dr. Mapletoft, says, that in 1676 Dr. Sydenham published his Observationes
at his house in Pall-mall, on the 29th of Demedicæ circa morborum acutorum historium et cura-cember, 1689, and was buried in the aisle, near tionem, which he dedicated to Dr. Mapletoft, who at the south door, of the church of St. James, in the desire of the author bad translated them into Westminster. Latin ; and that the other pieces of that excellent What was his character, as a physician, apphysician were translated into that language by Mr.
pears from the treatises which he has left, which Gilbert Havers of Trinity College, Cambridge, a stu. deut in physic and friend of Dr. Mapletoft. But as
it is not necessary to epitomize or transcribe; Mr. Ward, like others, neglects to bring any proof and from them it may likewise be collected, of bis assertion, the question cannot fairly be decided that his skill in physic was not his highest exby his authority. Orig. Edit.
cellence; that his whole character was amiable;
that his chief view was the benefit of mankind, communicative, sincere, and religious ; qualiand the chief motive of his actions the will of ties, which it were happy if they could cops God, whom he mentions with reverence, well from him, who emulate his knowledge, and becoming the most enlightened and most pene- imitate his methods. trating mind. He was benevolent, candid, and
There is always this advantage in contending | divinity, which he attempted to take in 164), with illustrious adversaries, that the combatant but was denied his grace,* for disputing conis equally immortalized by conquest or defeat. cerning predestination, contrary to the King's He that dies by the sword of a hero will always injunctions. be mentioned when the acts of his enemy are This refusal of his degree he mentions in his mentioned. The man, of whose life the follow- dedication to his account of Mr. Chillingworth: ing account is offered to the public, was indeed “ Do not conceive that I snatch up my pen in eminent among his own party, and had quali- an angry mood, that I might vent my dangerous ties, which, employed in a good cause, would wit, and ease my overburdened spleen ; no, no, have given him some claim to distinction ; but I have almost forgotten the visitation of Merton no one is now so much blinded with bigotry, as College, and the denial of my grace, the plunto imagine him equal either to Hammond ordering of my house, and little library: I know Chillingworth ; nor would his memory, per- when, and where, and of whom, to demand haps, have been preserved, had he not, by being satisfaction for all these injuries and indignities. conjoined with illustrious names, become the I have learnt centum plagas Spartana nobilitate object of public curiosity.
concoquere. I have not learnt how to plunder Francis CHEYNEL was born in 1608, at Ox- others of goods, or living, and make myself ford,+ where his father, Dr. John Cheynel, amends by force of arms. I will not take a livwho had been fellow of Corpus Christi College, ing which belonged to any civil, studious, learnpractised physic with great reputation. He ed delinquent; unless it be the much neglected was educated in one of the grammar schools of commendam of some lordly prelate, condemned his native city, and in the beginning of the year by the known laws of the land, and the highest 1623, became a member of the university. court of the kingdom, for some offence of the
It is probable that he lost his father when he first magnitude." was very young; for it appears, that before It is observable, that he declares himself to 1629, his mother had married Dr. Abbot, bishop have almost forgot his injuries and indignities, of Salisbury, whom she had likewise buried. though he recounts them with an appearance of From this marriage he received great advantage; acrimony, which is no proof that the impression for his mother being now allied to Dr. Brent, is much weakened ; and insinuates his design of then warden of Merton College, exerted her demanding, at a proper time, satisfaction for interest so vigorously that he was admitted there them. a probationer, and afterwards obtained a fellow- These vexations were the consequence, rather, ship. I
of the abuse of learning, than the want of it; Having taken the degree of master of arts, he no one that reads his works can doubt that he was admitted to orders according to the rites of was turbulent, obstinate, and petulant; and the church of England, and held a curacy near ready to instruct his superiors, when he most Oxford, together with his fellowship. He con- needed instruction from them. Whatever he tinued in bis college till he was qualified by his believed (and the warmth of his imagination years of residence for the degree of bachelor of naturally made him precipitate in forming his
opinions) he thought himself obliged to profess;
First printed in The Student, 1751. + Vide Wood's Ath. Ox. Orig. Edit.
# Vide Wood's Hist. Univ. Ox. Orig. Edit.