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He assisted at most of their general meetings and com-
*A medical society instituted by Dr. their privileges: where, it should seem, Fothergill, and other respectable phy. this eulogy was intended to be pro. sicians, licentiates, in vindication of nounced.
joined to learning, observation, and sound reasoning. Let us hope that his example and spirit will animate all his colleagues; and that those practitioners who are in the same circumstances will be induced to join their brethren, sure to find amongst them those great blessings of life, freedom, equality, information, and friendship. As long as these great principles shall subsist in this society, and I trust they will outlast the longest liver, there is no doubt but the members will meet with the reward honest men are ambitious of, the approbation of their conscience, the esteem of the virtuous, the remembrance of posterity." !
PARSONS (JOHN), another learned and amiable physician, though less known as an author, the son of major Parsons, of the dragoons, was born in Yorkshire, in 1742. He was educated at Westminster school, whence in 1759 he was elected to a studentship in Christ Church, Oxford. Having made choice of medicine as a profession, he prosecuted the study of it with uncommon assiduity, not only at Oxford, but also at London and Edinburgh. But while he bestowed much attention on every branch of medical knowledge, he at first showed a particolar predilection for natural history and botany, and in the latter branch made a very distinguished figure during his stay at Edinburgh. In 1766 he had the honour of obtaining the prize medal given by Dr. Hope for the most extensive and elegant hortus siccus, and the same year took his degree of M. A. This, however, was only a prelude to more distinguished honours. In 1769, when he took his degree of M. B. he was appointed to the anatomy lecture at Oxford, and was also the first reader in anatomy at Christ Church, on the institution of John Freind and Matthew Lee, M. D. and students of that house. In consequence of this appointment, his attention, it may naturally be supposed, was more particularly directed to anatomy, and under his direction a very commodious anatomical theatre was built ; and for the instruction of his pupils he provided a set of anatomical preparations, which for neatness and elegance have seldom been surpassed. · From the time of his appointment he read two courses of anatomical lectures every year; and although they were calculated rather for the general philosopher than the medical practitioner, yet they were not only highly instructive to all his audience, but afforded incontestable evidence of bis genius and abilities.
He was soon after elected one of the physicians to the Radcliffe infirmary, and in June 1772 proceeded M. D. He had a considerable share also of private practice, and froin his attention and success his reputation with the public kept pace with the esteem in which he was held by the university. In 1780 he was elected the first clinical professor on the foundation instituted in 1772 by George Henry, earl of Lichfield, late chancellor of the university. In this department also he read lectures during the winter montbs with much credit to himself. But it is not improbable that the various active employments in which he was engaged, and which necessarily exposed him to fatigue and danger, had some share in overthrowing a constitution naturally strong. He was not, however, cut off by any tedious or painful ailment, but died of a fever April 3, 1785, in the forty-fourth year of his age, and was buried in the north transept of the cathedral, where four of his children were buried before him.'
PARSONS (PHILIP), an English divine, and miscellaneous writer, was born at Dedham, in Essex, in 1729. His family was ancient, and settled at Hadleigh, in Suffolk, as early as the reign of Henry VII. where some of their descendants still reside. He lost his father when very young, and owed the care of his education to his maternal uncle, the rev. Thomas Smythies, master of the grammar school at Lavenham, in Suffolk, with whom he continued till he went to Cambridge, where he was entered of Sidney Sussex college, and took his degrees there of B. A. in 1752, and M. A. in 1776. After he had taken orders he was appointed to the free school of Oakham in Rutlandshire, and remained there till 1761, when he was presented to the school and curacy of Wye by Daniel earl of Winchelsea and Nottingham. In the sedulous discharge of the twofold duties of this preferment he was engaged upwards of half a century, and was distinguished by his urbanity, diligence, and classical talents, nor was he less esteemed in his clerical character. He was also presented to the rectory of Eastwell, in 1767, by the same patron, and to the small rectory of Snave in 1776, by archbishop Corn, wallis, who enhanced the value of this preferment .by a very kind letter, in which his grace testified his high respect for the character and talents of the new incumbent.
I Life in the Edinburgh Medical Commentaries, vol. X. and published so parately at Edinburgh, 1786.-Continuation of Wood's Annals by Gutcha
Mr. Parsons was the author of several publications, among which were, The vine first papers in the second volume of the “ Student,” published in 1750 *; “On advertising for Curates ;” a paper in The World; “ The inefficacy of Satire, a poem,” 1766, 4to; “ Newmarket, or an Essay on the Turf,'' 1774, 2 vols.; “ Astronomic Doubts, a pamphlet, 1774 ; “ A volume of Essays," 1775; “Dialogues of the Dead with the Living," 1782 ; “ Simplicity," a poem, 1784 ; and “ Monuments and Painted Glass in upwards of 100 churches, chiefly in the eastern part of Kent," 1794, 4to. This work, which is interspersed with judicious remarks and interesting anecdotes by the compiler, is become scarce, owing to the fire in Mr. Nichols's premises, but is highly valuable to the antiquary and lover of such researches. Mr. Parsons also established a Sunday school at Wye; and recommended and contributed much to their establishment in the county of Kent by a sermon and some letters which he published on this occasion. The last years of his life were passed in great retirement; alternately engaged in the discharge of his ministerial functions, and in literary pursuits and correspondence, which, however, were interrupted by the loss of his sight about a year before his death, and at the same time by a very painful disorder. He bore these trials with exemplary patience and resignation. It was his frequent practice, when on his bed, and free from the more excruciating pains of his disorder, to compose moral, lively, and religious pieces, which he afterwards dictated to a faithful amanuensis, who wrote them down. He died at Wye, June 12, 1812, in the eighty-third year
of his age.
PARSONS, or PERSONS (ROBERT), in both which ways he wrote his name, a celebrated English Jesuit, was the son of a blacksmith, at Nether Stowey, near Bridgewater in Somersetshire, where he was born in 1546; and, appearing to be a boy of extraordinary parts, was taught Latin by the vicar of the parish, who conceived a great affection for him t, and contributed to his support at Oxford, where he was admitted of Baliol college in 1563. In the university he became so remarkable, as an acute disputant in scholastic exercises, then much in vogue, that, having taken his first degree in arts in 1568, he was the same year made probationer fellow of his college. He soon after became the most famous tutor in the society, and when he entered into orders, was made socius sacerdos, or chaplain fellow. In 1572 he proceeded M. A. was bursar that year, and the next dean of the college ; but it is said that being charged by the society with incontinency, and embezzling the college-money, to avoid the shame of a formal expulsion, he was permitted, out of respect to his learning, to resign, which be did in Feb. 1674, obtaining leave to keep his chamber and pupils as long as he pleased, and to have his commons also till the ensuing Easter. These last circumstances have induced some writers to think that it was merely a change of religious principles which occasioned his resignation.
* This is not accurate.
+ He was suspected to be his real have been a contributor to the “ Sty- father! and it is said that Baliol college dent,” but could not have written either had a certificate that he was a bastard. the nine first, or the first rine papers of Foulis's Life of Parsons, in his “Histhe second volume.
tory of Romish Treasons.” . Gent. Mag. vol. LXXXII.
He had till this time openly professed himself a protestant, and was very zealous in introducing books of that religion into the college library : but soon after his resignation, he quitted Oxford for London, and went thence, June 1574, to Louvain : where, meeting with father William Good, his countryman, a Jesuit, he spent a week in the spiritual exercises at the college of that order, and began to entertain an affection for it. He proceeded, however, to Padua, in consequence of a determination be had formed before he left England, which was to study physic as a profession; but he bad not been long at Padua, before the unsettled state of his mind and fortune excited in him a curiosity to visit Rome, where meeting with some English Jesuits, he gave up all thoughts of the medical profession for that of the church. He now went back to Padya, settled his affairs there, and at Rome in May 1575, was chosen a member of the society of Jesus, and admitted into the English college.
He was indeed in all respects qualified to make a figure in this society, being, according to Camden, fierce, turbulent, and bold; and he soon answered every expectation his new friends could entertain. Having completed the course of his studies, he became one of the principal penitentiaries; and was in such credit with the pope in 1579, that he obtained a grant from his holiness to change an hospital at Rome, founded in queen Mary's time, into a college or seminary for the English, by the name of “ Col.