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nity of learning, and that to be admired it is necessary not to be understood.

His profession of botany made it part of his duty to superintend the physical garden, which improved so much by the immense number of new plants which he procured, that it was enlarged to twice its original extent.

In 1714 he was deservedly advanced to the highest dignities of the university, and in the same year made physician of St. Augustin's hospital in Leyden, into which the students are admitted twice a week, to learn the practice of physick.

This was of equal advantage to the sick and to the students, for the success of his practice was the best demonstration of the soundness of his principles.

When he laid down his office of governor of the university in 1715, he made an oration upon the subject of "attaining to certainty in natural philosophy;" in which he declares, in the strongest terms, in favour of experimental knowledge, and reflects with just severity upon those arrogant philosophers, who are too easily disgusted with the slow methods of obtaining true notions by frequent experiments, and who, possessed with too high an opinion of their own abilities, rather choose to consult their own imaginations, than inquire into nature, and are better pleased with the charming amusement of forming hypotheses, than the toilsome drudgery of making observations.

The emptiness and uncertainty of all those systems, whether venerable for their antiquity, or agreeable for their novelty, he has evidently shown; and not only declared, but proved, that we are entirely ignorant of the principles of things, and that all the knowledge we have is of such qualities alone as are discoverable by experience, or such as may be deduced from them by mathematical demonstration,

This discourse, filled as it was with piety, and a true sense of the greatness of the Supreme Being, and the incomprehensibility of his works, gave such offence to a professor of Franeker, who professed the utmost esteem for Des Cartes, and considered his principles as the bulwark of orthodoxy, that he appeared in vindication of his darling author, and spoke of the injury done him with the utmost vehemence, declaring little less than that the Cartesian system and the Christian must inevitably stand and fall together, and that to say we were ignorant of the principles of things, was not only to enlist among the Sceptics, but sink into Atheism itself.

So far can prejudice darken the understanding, as to make it consider precarious systems as the chief support of sacred and unvariable truth.

This treatment of Boerhaave was so far resented by the governors of his university, that they procured from Franeker a recantation of the invective that had been thrown out against him; this was not only complied with, but offers were made him of more ample satisfaction; to which he returned an answer not less to his honour than the victory he gained, “ that he should think himself sufficiently compensated, if his adversary received no farther molestation on his account."

So far was this weak and injudicious attack from shaking a reputation not casually raised by fashion or caprice, but founded upon solid merit, that the same year his correspondence was desired upon Botany and Natural Philosophy by the Academy of Sciences at Paris, of which he was, upon the death of count Marsigli, in the year 1728, elected a member.

Nor were the French the only nation by which this great man was courted and distinguished, for two years after he was elected fellow of our Royal Society.

It cannot be doubted but, thus caressed and honoured with the highest and most publick marks of esteem by other nations, he became more celebrated in the university; for Boerhaave was not one of those learned men, of whom the world has seen too many, that disgrace their studies by their vices, and by unaccountable weaknesses make themselves ridiculous at home, while their writings procure them the veneration of distant countries, where their learning is known, but not their follies.

Not that his countrymen can be charged with being insensible of his excellencies till other nations taught them to admire him ; for in 1718 he was chosen to succeed Le Mort in the professorship of chemistry; on which occasion he pronounced an oration “ De Chemia errores suos expurgante,” in which he treated that science with an elegance of style not often to be found in chemical writers, who seem generally to have affected not only a barbarous, but unintelligible phrase, and to have, like the Pythagoreans of old, wrapt up their secrets in symbols and ænigmatical expressions, either because they believed that mankind would reverence most what they least understood, or because they wrote not from benevolence but vanity, and were desirous to be praised for their knowledge, though they could not prevail upon themselves to communicate it.

In 1722, his course both of lectures and practice was interrupted by the gout, which, as he relates it in his speech after his recovery, he brought upon himself, by animprudent confidence in the strength of his own constitution, and by transgressing those rules which he had a thousand times inculcated to his pupils and acquaintance. Rising in the morning before day, he went immediately, hot and sweating, from his bed into the open air, and exposed himself to the cold dews.

The history of his illness can hardly be read without horror: he was for five months confined to his bed, where he lay upon his back without daring to attempt the least motion, because any effort renewed his torments, which were so exquisite, that he was at length not only deprived of motion but of sense. Here art was at a stand, nothing could be attempted, because nothing could be proposed with the least prospect of success. At length having, in the sixth month of his illness, obtained some remission, he took simple medicines * in large quantities, and at length wonderfully recovered.

His recovery, so much desired, and so unexpected, was celebrated on Jan. 11, 1723, when he

*“ Succos pressos bibit Noster herbarum Cichoreæ, Endiviæ, Fumariæ, Nasturtii aquatici, Veronicæ aquaticæ latifolia, copia ingenti; simul deglutiens abundantissimè gummi ferulacea Asiatica." Orig. Edit.

opened his school again with general joy and publick illuminations.

It would be an injury to the memory of Boerhaave not to mention what was related by himself to one of his friends, that when he lay whole days and nights without sleep, he found no method of diverting his thoughts so effectual as meditation upon his studies, and that he often relieved and mitigated the sense of his torments by the recollection of what he had read, and by reviewing those stores of knowledge which he had reposited

in his memory

This is perhaps an instance of fortitude and steady composure of mind, which would have been for ever the boast of the Stoick schools, and increased the reputation of Seneca or Cato. The patience of Boerhaave, as it was more rational, was more lasting than theirs; it was that patientia Christiana which Lipsius, the great master of the Stoical Philosophy, begged of God in his last hours; it was founded on religion, not vanity; not on vain reasonings, but on confidence in God.

In 1727 he was seized with a violent burning fever, which continued so long that he was once more given up by his friends.

From this time he was frequently afflicted with returns of his distemper, which yet did not so far subdue him, as to make him lay aside his studies or his lectures, till in 1726 he found himself so worn out that it was improper for him to continue any longer the professorships of botany and chemistry, which he therefore resigned April 28, and upon his resignation spoke a “Sermo Academicus,” or oration, in which he asserts the power

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