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ounce of wine a day, which he measured with the same exactness as a medicine bordering upon poison. He quitted at the same time all his practice in the city, and confined it to the poor of his neighbourhood, and his visits at the Hôtel Dieu ; but his weakness increasing, he was forced to increase his quantity of wine, which yet he always continued to adjust by weight*.
At 78 his legs could carry him no longer, and he scarcely left his bed; but his intellects continued unimpaired, except in the last six months of his life. He expired, or, to use a more proper term, went out, on the first of March, 1714, at the age of 80 years, without any distemper, and merely for want of strength, having enjoyed by the benefit of his regimen a long and healthy. life, and a gentle and easy
death. This extraordinary regimen was but part of the daily regulation of his life, of which all the offices were carried on with a regularity and exactness nearly approaching to that of the planetary motions.
He went to bed at seven, and rose at two, throughout the year. He spent in the morning three hours at his devotions, and went to the Hôtel Dieu in the summer between five and six,
* The practice of Dr. Morin is forbidden, I believe, by every writer that has left rules for the preservation of health, and is directly opposite to that of Cornaro, who by his regimen repaired a broken constitution, and protracted his life, without any painful infirmities, or any decay of his intellectual abilities, to more than a hundred years : it is generally agreed, that as men advance in years, they ought to take lighter sustenance, and in less quantities; and reason seems easily to discover that as the concoctive powers grow weaker, they ought to labour less. Orig. Edit.
and in the winter between six and seven, hearing mass for the most part at Notre Dame. After his return he read the holy scripture, dined at eleven, and when it was fair weather walked till two in the royal garden, where he examined the new plants, and gratified his earliest and strongest passion. For the remaining part of the day, if he had no poor to visit, he shut himself up, and read books of literature or physick, but chiefly physick, as the duty of his profession required. This likewise was the time he received visits, if any were paid him. He often used this expression, “Those that come to see me, do me honour; and those that stay away, do me a favour.” It is easy to conceive that a man of this temper was not crowded with salutations : there was only now and then an Antony that would pay Paul a visit.
Among his papers was found a Greek and Latin index to Hippocrates, more copious and exact than that of Pini, which he had finished only a year before his death. Such a work required the assiduity and patience of an hermit*.
There is likewise a journal of the weather, kept without interruption, for more than forty years, in which he has accurately set down the state of the barometer and thermometer, the dryness and moisture of the air, the variations of the wind in the course of the day, the rain, the thunders, and even the sudden storms, in a very commodious and
* This is an instance of the disposition generally found in writers of lives, to exalt every common occurrence and action into wonders. Are not indexes daily written by men who neither receive'nor expect very loud applauses for their labours ? Orig, Edit.
concise method, which exhibits, in a little room, a great train of different observations. What numbers of such remarks had escaped a man less uniform in his life, and whose attention had been extended to common objects!
All the estate which he left is a collection of medals, another of herbs, and a library rated at two thousand crowns. Which make it evident that he spent much more upon his mind than upon his body.
PETER BURMAN was born at Utrecht, on the 26th day of June, 1668. The family from which he descended has for several generations produced men of great eminence for piety and learning ; and his father, who was professor of divinity in the university, and pastor of the city of Utrecht, was equally celebrated for the strictness of his life, the efficacy and orthodoxy of his sermons, and the learning and perspicuity of his academical lectures.
From the assistance and instruction which such a father would doubtless have been encouraged by the genius of this son not to have omitted, he was unhappily cut off at eleven
age, being at that time by his father's death thrown entirely under the care of his mother, by whose diligence, piety, and prudence, his education was so regulated, that he had scarcely any reason, but filial tenderness, to regret the loss of his father.
He was about this time sent to the publick school of Utrecht to be instructed in the learned languages; and it will convey no common idea of his capacity and industry to relate, that he had passed through the classes, and was admitted into the university in his thirteenth year.
This account of the rapidity of his progress in the first part of his studies is so stupendous, that though it is attested by his friend, Dr. Osterdyke, of whom it cannot be reasonably suspected that he is himself deceived, or that he can desire to deceive others, it must be allowed far to exceed the limits of probability if it be considered, with regard to the methods of education practised in our country, where it is not uncommon for the highest genius, and most comprehensive capacity, to be entangled for ten years, in those thorny paths of literature, which Burman is represented to have passed in less than two; and we must doubtless confess the most skilful of our masters much excelled by the address of the Dutch teachers, or the abilities of our greatest scholars far surpassed by those of Burman.
* First printed in the Gentleman's Magazine for 1742.
But, to reduce this narrative to credibility, it is necessary that admiration should give place to inquiry, and that it be discovered what proficiency in literature is expected from a student, requesting to be admitted into a Dutch university. It is to be observed that in the universities in foreign countries, they have professors of philology, or humanity, whose employment is to instruct the younger classes in grammar, rhetorick, and languages; nor do they engage in the study of philosophy, till they have passed through a course of philological lectures and exercises, to which, in some places, two years are commonly allotted.
The English scheme of education, which with regard to academical studies is more vigorous, and sets literary honours at a higher price than that of any other country, exacts from the youth, who are initiated in our colleges, a degree of philological knowledge sufficient to qualify them for lectures