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BOERHAAVE.

TAE following account of the late Dr. BOER- students, not well acquainted with the constitu MAAVE, so loudly celebrated, and so universally tion of the human body, sonetimes fly for relief lamented through the whole learned world, will, to wine instead of exercise, and purchase tempowe hope, be not unacceptable to our readers : rary ease by the hazard of the most dreadful conwe could have made it much larger, by adopting sequences. dying reports, and inserting unattested facts; a The studies of young Boerhaave were, about close adherence to certainty has contracted our this time, interrupted by an accident, which denarrative, and hindered it from swelling to that serves particular mention, as it first inclined him bulk at which modern histories generally arrive. to that science, to which he was by nature so well

Dr. Herman Boerhaave was born on the last adapted, and which he afterwards carried to so day of December 1663, about one in the morn- great perfection. ing, at Voorhout, a village two miles distant from In the twelfih year of his age, a stubborn, pain Leyden ; his father, James Boerhaave, was mi. ful, and malignant ulcer, broke out upon his left nister of Voorhout, of whom his sen,* in a small thigh ; which, for near five years, defeated all the account of his own life, has given a very amiable art of the surgcons and physicians, and not only character, for the simplicity and openness of his afflicted him with most excruciating pains, but exbehaviour, for his exact frugality in the manage- posed him to such sharp and tormenting applicament of a narrow fortune, and the prudence, ten- tions, that the disease and remedies were equally derness, and diligence, with which he edacated a insufferable Then it was that his own pain numerous family of nine children. He was emi- taught him to compassionate others, and his expently skilled in history and genealogy, and perience of the inefficacy of the methods then in versed in the Latin, Greek, and Hebrew lan- use incited him to attempt the discovery of others guages.

more certain. His mother was Hagar Daelder, a tradesman's He began to practise at least honestly, for he daughter of Amsterdam, from whom he might, began upon himself; and his first essay was a perhaps, derive an hereditary inclination to the prelude to his future success, fər, having laid study of physic, in which she was very inquisitive, aside all the prescriptions of his physicians, and and had obtained a knowledge of it not common all the applications of his surgeons, he at last, by in female students.

tormenting the part with sali and urine, effected This knowledge, however, she did not live to a cure. communicate to her son ; for she died in 1673, That he might, on this occasion, obtain the asten years after her marriage.

sistance of surgeons with less inconvenience and His father finding himself encumbered with expense, he was brought by his father, at fourthe care of seven children, thought it necessary to teen, te Leyden, and placed

in the fourth class of take a second wife, and in July 1674, was mar- the public school, after being examined by the ried to Eve du Bois, daughter of a minister of master : here his application and abilities were Leyden, who, by her prudent and iinpartial con- equally conspicuous. In six months, by gaining duct, so endeared herself to her husband's chile the first prize in the fourth class, he was raised to dren, that they all regarded her as their own the fifth : and in six months more, upon the same mother.

proof of the superiority of his genius, rewarded Herman Boerhaave was always designed by with another príze, and translated to the sixth : his father for the ministry, and with that view in- from whence it is usual in six months more to be stricted by him in grammatical learning, and the removed to the university. first elements of languages; in which he made such Thus did our young student advance in learna proficiency, that he was at the age of eleven ing and reputation, when as he was within view years, not only master of the rules of grammar, of the university, a sudden and unexpected blow but capable of translating with tolerable accu- threatened to defeat all his expectations. racy, and not wholly ignorant of critical niceties. On the 12th of November, in 1692, bis father

At intervals, to recreate his mind, and strength- died, and left behind him a very slender provision en his constitution, it was his father's custom to for his widow and nine children, of which the send him into the fields, and employ him in agri- eldest was not yet seventeen years old. culture and such kind of rural occupations, which This was a most afflicting loss to the young he continued through all his life to love and prac. scholar, whose fortune was by no means suffitise ; and by this vicissitude of study and exer- cient to bear the expenses of a learned education, cise preserved himself, in a great measure, from and who therefore seemed to be now summoned those distempers and depressions which are fre- by necessity to some way of life more immediate quently the consequences of indiscreet diligence, ly and certainly lucrative; but with a resolution and uninterrapted application ; and from which equal to his abilities, and a spirit not so depressed

and shaken, he determined to break through the Erat Hermanni Genitor Latine, Græce, Hebraice obstacles of poverty, and supply, by diligence, the sciens : peritus valde historiarum et gentium. Vir want of fortune. aportus, candides, simplex ; paterfamilias optimus He therefore asked and obtained the consent amore, cura, diligentia, frugalnate, prudentia. Qui non of his guardians to prosearte his studies, so long dis, exempem

præbuit singulare, quid exacta parsimo- as his patrimony would support him ; and, conwia polleai, et frugalitas.-Orig. Edit

tinuing his wonted industry, gained another prize.

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He was now to quit the school for the univer- | metaphysicians adopted as articles of faith. Ho sity, but on account of the weakness yet remain- found difficulties raised by niceties, and fomented ing in his thigh, was at his own entreaty continued to bitterness and rancour. He saw the simplicity six months longer under the care of his master, of the Christian doctrine corrupted by the private ihe learned Winschotan, where he once more fancies of particular parties, while each adhered was honoured with the prize.

to its own philosophy, and orthodoxy was conAt his removal to the university, the same ge- fined to the sect in power. nius and industry met with the same encourage- Having now exhausted his fortune in the purment and applause. The learned Triglandius, suit of his studies, he found the necessity of apone of his father's friends, made soon after pro- plying to some profession, that, without engrossfessor of divinity at Leyden, distinguished him in ing all his time, might enable bim to support a particular manner, and recommended him to himself; and, having obtained a very uncommon the friendship of Mr. Van Apphen, in whom he knowledge of the mathematics, he read lectures found a generous and constant patron.

in those sciences to a select number of young He became now a diligent hearer of the most gentlemen in the university. celebrated professors, and made great advances in At length, his propension to the study of physic all the sciences ; still regulating his studies with grew too violeni to be resisted ; and, though he a view principally to divinity, for which he was still intended to make divinity the great employoriginally intended by his father, and for that rea- ment of his life, he could not deny himself the son exerted his utmost application to attain an satisfaction of spending some time upon the mediexact knowledge of the Hebrew tongue. cal writers, for the perusal of which he was so

Being convinced of the necessity of mathema- well qualified by his acquaintance with mathe tical learning, he began to study those sciences matics and philosophy. in 1637, but without that intense industry with But this science corresponded so much with his which the pleasure he found in that kind of natural genius, that he could not forbear making knowledge induced him afterwards to cultivate that bis business which he intended only as his them.

diversion ; and still growing more eager as he In 1690, having performed the exercises of the advanced farther, he at length determined wholly university with uncommon reputation, he took to master that profession, and to take his degree his degree in philosophy; and on that occasion in physic, before he engaged in the duties of the discussed the important and arduous subject of ministry. the distinct natures of the soul and body, with It is, I believe, a very just observation, that such accuracy, perspicuity, and subtlety, that he men's ambition is generally proportioned to their entirely confuted all the sophistry of Epicurus, capacity. Providence seldom sends any into the Hobbes, and Spinosa, and equally raised the cha- world with an inclination to attempt great things

, racters of piety and erudition.

who have not abilities likewise to perform them. Divinity was still his great employment, and to have formed the design of gaining a complete the chief aim of all his studies. He read the knowledge of medicine by way of digression from scriptures in their original languages, and when theological studies, would have been little less difficulties occurred, consulted the interpretations than madness in most men, and would have only of the most ancient fathers, whom he read in or- exposed them to ridicule and contempt

. But der of time, beginning with Clemens Romanus. Boerhaave was one of those mighty geniuses

, te In the perusal of those early writers, * he was whom scarce any thing appears impossible, and struck with the profoundest veneration of the who think nothing worthy of their efforts but simplicity and purity of their doctrines, the holi- what appears insurmountable to common underness of their lives, and the sanctity of the disci- standings. pline practised by them; but, as he descended to He began this new course of study by a dilithe lower ages, found the peace of Christianity gent perusal of Vesalius, Bartholine, and Fallobroken by useless controversies, and its doctrines pius ; and, to acquaint himself more fully with sophisticated by the subtleties of the schools. He the structure of bodies, was a constant attendant found the holy writers interpreted according to upon Nuck’s public dissections in the theatre, and the notions of philosophers, and the

chimeras of himself very accurately inspected the bodies of

different animals. "Jungebat his exercitiis quotidianam patrum lec knowledge, he began to read the ancient physka

Having furnished himself with this preparatory exorsus, et juxta seriem seculorum descendens : ut Jesu cians in the order of time, pursuing his inquiries Christi doctrinam in N. T. traditam, primis patribus in. downwards from Hippocrates through all the terpretantibus, addisceret. ^ Horum simplicitatem sincera doctrinæ, disciplina

Greek and Latin writers. sanctitatem, vitæ Deo dicatæ integritatem adorabal. Sub.

Finding, as he tells us himself

, that Hippocrates tilitatem scholarum divina postmodum inquinasse dole.

was the original source of all medical knowledge, sectis sophistarum peci : et Platonis, Aristotelis, Thomæ transcribers from him, he returned to him with bat. Ægerrime

culit

, Sacrorum interpretationem ex and that all the later writers were little more than Aquinatis, Scoti; suoque tempore Cartesii, cogitata me. taphysica adhiberi pro legibus, ad quas castigarentur

more attention, and spent much time in making sacrorum scriptorum de Deo sententiæ. Experiebatur extracts from him, digesting his treatises into meacerba dissidia, ingeniorumque eubllissimorum acerri- thod, and fixing them in his memory. contraria paci cum Deo et homine. Nihil hic magis illi whom none engaged bim longer, or improved

He then descended to the moderns, among obslabat; quam quod omnes asserant sacrum scriptu. him more, than Sydenham, to whose merit he had Ocorpénovav singuli definiant ex placitis sua metaphysices left this attestation, “ that he frequently perused Horrebat, inde dominantis sectæ prævalentem opinio- him, and always with greater eagerness.", nem, orthodoxir modum, et regulas, unice dare juxta dicta a metaphysicorum, non sacrarum literarum ; unde

His insatiable curiosity after knowledge efte tam rariæ senteniice de doctrina simplicissima." --Origin. gaged him now in the practice of chemistry, Edit

which he prosecuted with all the ardour of a péz

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losopher, whose industry was not to be wearied, This was observed by a stranger who was in and whose love of truth was too strong to suffer the boat with them; he inquired of his neighbour him to acquiesce in the reports of others. the name of the young man, whose question had

Yet did he not suffer one branch of science to put an end to the discourse, and having learned withdraw his attention from others : anatomy did it, set it down in his pocket-book, as it appears, not withhold him from chemistry, nor chemistry, with a malicious design, for in a few days it was enchanting as it is, from the study of botany, in the common conversation at Leyden, that Boerwhich he was no less skilled than in other parts haave had revolted to Spinosa. of physic. He was not only a careful examiner It was in vain that his advocates and friends of all the plants in the garden of the university, pleaded his learned and unanswerable confutabut made excursions for his farther improvement tion of all atheistical opinions, and particularly into the woods and fields, and left no place un- of the system of Spinosa, in his discourse of the visited where any increase of botanical knowledge distinction between soul and body. Such calumcould be reasonably hoped for.

nies are not easily suppressed, when they are In conjunction with all these inquiries he still once become general. They are kept alive and pursued his theological studies, and still, as we supported by the malice of bad, and sometimes are informed by himself,“ proposed, when he had by the zeal of good men, who, though they do made himself master of the whole art of physic, not absolutely believe them, think it yet the seand obtained the honour of a degree in that science, curest method to keep not only guilly, but susto petition regularly for a license to preach, and pected men out of public employments, upon this to engage in the cure of souls," and intended in principle, that the safety of many is to be preferhis theological exercise to discuss this question, red before the advantage of few. "why so many were formerly converted to Chris- Boerhaave, finding this formidable opposition tianity by illiterate persons, and so few at present raised against his pretensions to ecclesiastical by men of learning."

honours or preferments, and even against his deIn pursuance of this plan he went to Harde- sign of assuming the character of a divine, thought wich, in order to take the degree of doctor in it neither necessary nor prudent to struggle with physic, which he obtained in July, 1693, having the torrent of popular prejudice, as he was equally performed a public disputation, “de utilitate ex- qualified for a profession, not indeed of equal dig. plorandorum excrementorum in ægris, ut sig. nity or importance, but which must undoubtedly norum."

claim the second place among those which are of Then returning to Leyden full of his pious the greatest benefit to mankind. designs of undertaking the ministry, he found to He therefore applied himself to his medical his surprise unexpected obstacles thrown in his studies with new ardour and alacrity, reviewed way, and an insinuation dispersed through the all his former observations and inquiries, and was university that made him suspected, not of any continually employed in making new acquisitions. slight deviation from received opinions, not of any Having now qualified bimself for the practice pertinacious adherence to his own notions in of physic, he began to visit patients, but without doubtful and disputable matters, but of no less than that encouragement which others, not equally deSpinosism, or, in plainer terms, of Atheism itself. serving, have sometimes met with. His business

How so injurious a report came to be raised, was, at first, not great, and his circumstances by circulated, and credited, will be doubtless very no means easy; but still, superior to any diseagerly inquired; we shall therefore give the rela- couragement, he continued his search after knowtion, not only to satisfy the curiosity of mankind, ledge, and determined that prosperity, if ever he but to show that no merit, however exalted, is was to enjoy it, should be the consequence not of exempt from being not only attacked, but wound- mean art, or disingenuous solicitations, but of real ed, by the most contemptible whispers. Those merit, and solid learning. who cannot strike with force, can however poison His steady adherence to his resolutions aptheir weapon, and, weak as they are, give mortal pears yet more plainly from this circumstance : wounds, and bring a hero to the grave: so true is he was while he yet remained in this unpleasing that observation, that many are able to do hurt, situation, invited by one of the first favourites of but few to do good.

King William III. to settle at the Hague, upon This detestable calumny owed its rise to an very advantageous conditions ; but declined the incident from which no consequence of impor- offer. For having no ambition but after knowtance could be possibly apprehended. As Boer- ledge, he was desirous of living at liberty, without haave was sitting in a common boat, there arose any restraint upon his looks, his thoughts, or his a conversation among the passengers upon the im- tongue, and at the utmost distance from all conpious and pernicious doctrine of Spinosa, which, tentions, and state parties. His time was wholly as they all agreed, tends to the utter overthrow taken up in visiting the sick, studying, making of all religion. Boerhaave sat, and attended chemical experiments, searching into every part silently to this discourse for some time, till one of of medicine with the utmost diligence, teaching the company, willing to distinguish himself by his the mathematics, and reading the scriptures, and zeal, instead of confuting the positions of Spinosa those authors who profess to teach a certain by argument, began to give a loose to contume- method of loving God.* lous language, and virulent invectives, which Boerhaave was so little pleased with, that at last

" Circa hoc tempus, lautis conditionibus, lautiori. he could not forbear asking him whether he had bus promissis, invitatus, plus vice simplici, a viro pri

marie dignationis, qui gratia Oagrantissima florebat ever read the author he declaimed against. regis Gulielmi III. ui Hagam comitum sedem caperet

The orator, not being able to make much an- fortunarum, declinavit constans. Contentus videlicet swer, was checked in the midst of his invectives, vita libera, remota a turbis, studiisque porro percolendis but not without feeling a secret resentment against unice impensa, ubi non cogeretur alia dicere et simulare,

affectuum studiis rapi, regt. the person who had at once interrupted his ha- Sic tum vita erul, ægros visere, mox domi in musæo se rangue, and exposed his ignorance.

condere, officinam Yulcaniam exercere ; omnes reci

BOERRAAVE This was his method of living to the year 1701, | highest dignities of the university, and in the when he was recommended by Van Berg to the same year made physician of St. Augustine's university as a proper person to succeed Drelin hospital, in Leyden, into which the students are curtius in the professorship of physic, and elected admitted twice a week, to learn the practice of without any solicitations on his part, and almost physic. without his consent, on the 18th of May. This was of equal advantage to the sick and to

On this occasion, having observed, with grief, the students, for the success of his practice was that Hippocrates, whom he regarded not only as the best demonstration of the soundness of his the father but as the prince of physicians, was principles. not sufficiently read or esteemed by young stu

When he laid down his office of governor of dents, he pronounced an oration, "De commen- the university, in 1715, he made an oration upon dando Studio Hippocratico ;" by which he re- the subject of "attaining to certainty in natural stored that great author to his just and ancient philosophy,;" in which he declares, in the strong. reputation.

est terms, in favour of experimental knowledge, He now began to read public lectures with and reflects, with just severity, upon those arrogreat applause, and was prevailed upon by his gant philosophers, who are too easily disgusted audience to enlarge his original design, and in- with the slow methods of obtaining true notions struct them in chemistry.

by frequent experiments, and who, possessed This he undertook, not only to the great ad- with too high an opinion of their own abilities, vantage of his pupils but to the great improve- rather choose to consult their own imaginament of the art itself, which had hitherto been tions than inquire into nature, and are better treated only in a confused and irregular manner, pleased with the charming amusement of formand was little more than a history of particular ing hypotheses, than the toilsome drudgery of experiments, not reduced to certain principles, making observations. nor connected one with another: this vast chaos The emptiness and uncertainty of all those he reduced to order, and made that clear and systems, whether venerable for their antiquity, or easy, which was before to the last degree difficult agreeable for their novelty, he has evidently and obscure.

shown; and not only declared, but proved, that His reputation now began to bear some pro- we are entirely ignorant of the principles of portion to his merit, and extended itself to dis- things, and that all the knowledge we have is of tant universities ; so that, in 1703, the professor- such qualities alone as are discoverable by expeship of physic being vacant at Groningen, herience, or such as may be deduced from them by was invited thither; but he refused to leave mathematical demonstration. Leyden, and chose to continue his present course This discourse, filled as it was with piety, and of life.

a true sense of the greatness of the Supremne This invitation and refusal being related to the Being, and the incomprehensibility of his works, governors of the university of Leyden, they had gave such offence to a professor of Franeker, so grateful a sense of his regard for them, that who professed the utmost esteem for Des Cartes, they immediately voted an honorary increase of and considered his principles as the bulwark of his salary, and promised him the first professor- orthodoxy, that he appeared in vindication of his ship that should be vacan.

darling author, and spoke of the injury done him On this occasion he pronounced an oration with the utmost vehemence, declaring little less upon the use of mechanics in the science of than that the Cartesian system and the Christian physic, in which he endeavoured to recommend a must inevitably stand and fall together, and that rational and mathematical inquiry into the causes to say that we were ignorant of the principles of of diseases, and the structure of bodies; and to things, was not only to enlist among the Skepshow the follies and weaknesses of the jargon tics, but sink into Atheism itself. introduced by Paracelsus, Helmont, and other So far can prejudice darken the understanding chemical enthusiasts, who have obtruded upon as to make it consider precarious systems as the the world the most airy dreams, and instead of chief support of sacred and invariable truth. enlightening their readers with explications of na- This treatment of Boerhaave was so far reture, have darkened the plainest appearances, sented by the governors of his university, that and bewildered mankind in error and obscurity. they procured from Franeker a recantation of the

Boerhaave had now for nine years read physi- invective that had been thrown out against him: cal lectures, but without the title or dignity of a this was not only complied with, but offers were professor, when by the death of professor Hot- made him of more ample satisfaction ; to which ten, the professorship of physic and botany fell to he returned an answer not less to his honour him of course.

than the victory he gained, “ that he should think On this occasion he asserted the simplicity and himself sufficiently compensated, if his adversary facility of the science of physic, in opposition to received no farther molestation on his account." those that think obscurity contributes to the dig- So far was this weak and injudicious attack nity of learning, and that to be admired it is ne- from shaking a reputation not casually raised by cessary not to be understood.

fashion or caprice, but founded upon solid merit, His profession of botany made it part of his that the same year his correspondence was deduty to superintend the physical garden, which sired upon Botany and Natural Philosophy by the improved so much by the immense number of Academy of Sciences at Paris, of which he was, new plants which he procured, that it was en- upon the death of Count Marsigli, in the year larged to twice its original extent.

1728, elected a member. In 1714, he was deservedly advanced to the Nor were the French the only nation by which

this great man was courted and distinguished; cine partes acerrime persequi ; mathematica etiam aliis for, two years after, he was elected fellow of our tradere ; sacra legere, et auctores qui profitentur docere Royal Society. rationem certam arandi Deum.- Orig. Edit.

It cannot be doubted but, thus caressed and

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