Abbildungen der Seite

church appears


enemy, and honoured by all the learned for his abilities, and by the good for his integrity. His detestation of the corruption of the Roman

in all his writings, but particularly in this memorable passage of one of his letters : “ There is nothing more essential than to ruin the reputation of the Jesuits, by the ruin of the Jesuits, Rome will be ruined, and if Rome is ruined, religion will reform of itself.”

He appears by many passages of his life to have had a high esteem of the church of England; and his friend, Father Fulgentio, who had adopted all his notions, made no scruple of administering to Dr. Duncomb, an English gentleman that fell sick at Venice, the communion in both kinds, according to the Common Prayer which he had with him in Italian.

He was buried with great pomp at the publick charge, and a magnificent monument was erected to his memory.



The following account of the late Dr. Boerhaave, so loudly celebrated, and so universally lamented through the whole learned world, will, we hope, be not unacceptable to our readers : We could have made it much larger, by adopting flying reports, and inserting unattested facts; a close adherence to certainty has contracted our narrative, and hindered it from swelling to that bulk, at which modern histories generally arrive.

Dr. Herman Boerhaave was born on the last day of December, 1668, about one in the morning, at Voorhout, a village two miles distant from Leyden ; his father, James Boerhaave, was minister of Voorhout, of whom his son*, in a small account of his own life, has given a very amiable character, for the simplicity and openness of his behaviour, for his exact frugality in the management of a narrow fortune, and the prudence, tenderness, and diligence, with which he educated a numerous family of nine children. He was eminently skilled in history and genealogy, and versed in the Latin, Greek, and Hebrew languages.

*“ Erat Hermanni Genitor Latine, Græce, Hebraice sciens: peritus valde historiarum et gentium. Vir apertus, candidus, simplex : paterfamilias optimus amore, cura, diligentia, frugalitate, prudentia. Qui non magna in re, sed plenus virtutis, novem liberis educandis exemplum præbuit singulare, quid exacta parsimonia polleat, et frugalitas.” Orig. Edit.

His mother was Hagar Dælder, a tradesman's daughter of Amsterdam, from whom he might, perhaps, derive an hereditary inclination to the study of physick, in which she was very inquisitive, and had obtained a knowledge of it not common in female students.

This knowledge, however, she did not live to communicate to her son; for she died in 1673, ten years after her marriage.

His father, finding himself encumbered with the care of seven children, thought it necessary to take a second wife, and in July, 1674, was married to Eve du Bois, daughter of a minister of Leyden, who, by her prudent and impartial conduct, so endeared herself to her husband's children, that they all regarded her as their own mother.

Herman Boerhaave was always designed by his father for the ministry, and with that view instructed by him in grammatical learning, and the first elements of languages; in which he made such a proficiency, that he was, at the age of eleven years, not only master of the rules of grammar, but capable of translating with tolerable accuracy, and not wholly ignorant of critical niceties.

At intervals, to recreate his mind, and strengthen his constitution, it was his father's custom to send him into the fields, and employ him in agriculture and such kind of rural occupations, which he continued through all his life to love and practise; and by this vicissitude of study and exercise preserved himself, in a great measure, from those distempers and depressions which are frequently the consequences of indiscreet diligence, and uninterrupted application; and from which students, not well acquainted with the constitution of the human body, sometimes fly for relief to wine instead of exercise, and purchase temporary ease by the hazard of the most dreadful consequences.

The studies of young Boerhaave were, about this time, interrupted by an accident, which deserves a particular mention, as it first inclined him to that science, to which he was by nature so well adapted, and which he afterwards carried to so great perfection.

In the twelfth year of his age, a stubborn, painful, and malignant ulcer, broke out upon his left thigh ; which, for near five years, defeated all the art of the surgeons and physicians, and not only afflicted him with most excruciating pains, but exposed him to such sharp and tormenting applications, that the disease and remedies were equally insufferable. Then it was that his own pain taught him to compassionate others, and his experience of the inefficacy of the methods then in use incited him to attempt the discovery of others more certain.

He began to practise at least honestly, for he began upon himself; and his first essay was a prelude to his future success, for, having laid aside all the prescriptions of his physicians, and all the applications of his surgeons, he, at last, by tormenting the part with salt and urine, effected a cure.

That he might, on this occasion, obtain the assistance of surgeons with less inconvenience and expense, he was brought, by his father, at fourteen, to Leyden, and placed in the fourth class of the publick school, after being examined by the master :

here his application and abilities were equally conspicuous. In six months, by gaining the first prize in the fourth class, he was raised to the fifth ; and in six months more, upon the same proof of the superiority of his genius, rewarded with another prize, and translated to the sixth ; from whence it is usual in six months more to be removed to the university.

Thus did our young student advance in learning and reputation, when, as he was within view of the university, a sudden and unexpected blow threatened to defeat all his expectations.

On the 12th of November, in 1682, his father died, and left behind him a very slender provision for his widow and nine children, of which the eldest was not yet seventeen years old.

This was a most afflicting loss to the young scholar, whose fortune was by no means sufficient to bear the expenses of a learned education, and who therefore seemed to be now summoned by necessity to some way of life more immediately and certainly lucrative; but, with a resolution equal to his abilities, and a spirit not so depressed and shaken, he determined to break through the obstacles of poverty, and supply, by diligence, the want of fortune.

He therefore asked and obtained the consent of his guardians to prosecute his studies as long as his patrimony would support him; and, continuing his wonted industry, gained another prize.

He was now to quit the school for the university, but, on account of the weakness yet remaining in his thigh, was, at his own entreaty, continued six months longer under the care of his master, the learned Winschotan, where he once more was honoured with the prize.

« ZurückWeiter »