Imatges de pÓgina
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GART H.

AMUEL GARTH was of a good

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family in Yorkshire, and from fome school in his own country became a ftudent at Peter-house in Cambridge, where he refided till he commenced doctor of phyfick on July the 7th, 1691. He was examined before the College at London on March the 12th, 1691-2, and admitted fellow July 26th, 1692. He was soon so much distinguished, by his conversation and accomplishments, as to obtain very extenfive practice; and, if a pamphlet of those times may be credited, had the favour and confidence of one party, as Ratcliffe had of the other.

He is always mentioned as a man of benevolence; and it is just to suppose that his defire of helping the helpless, disposed him

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to fo much zeal for the Difpenfary; an undertaking of which fome account, however fhort, is proper to be given.

Whether what Temple fays be true, that phyficians have had more learning than the other faculties, I will not ftay to enquire; but, I believe, every man has found in phyficians great liberality, and dignity of fentiment, very prompt effufion of beneficence, and willingness to exert a lucrative art, where there is no hope of lucre. Agreeably to this character, the College of Phyficians, in July 1687, published an edict, requiring all the fellows, candidates, and licentiates, to give gratuitous advice to the neighbouring

poor.

This edict was fent to the Court of Aldermen; and a question being made to whom the appellation of the poor should be extended, the College answered, that it should be sufficient to bring a testimonial from a clergyman officiating in the parish where the patient refided,

After a year's experience, the phyficians found their charity fruftrated by some malignant

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lignant oppofition, and made to a great degree vain by the high price of phyfick; they therefore voted, in Auguft 1688, that the laboratory of the College fhould be accommodated to the preparation of medicines, and another room prepared for their reception; and that the contributors to the expence fhould manage the charity.

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It was now expected that the Apothecaries would have undertaken the care of providing medicines; but they took another course, Thinking the whole defign pernicious to their intereft, they endeavoured to raise a faction against it in the College, and found fome physicians mean enough to folicit their patronage, by betraying to them the counfels of the College. The greater part, however, enforced by a new edict in 1694, the former order of 1687, and fent it to the mayor and aldermen, who appointed a committee to treat with the College, and settle the mode of adminiftring the charity.

It was defired by the aldermen, that the teftimonials of churchwardens and overfeers fhould be admitted; and that all hired fervants, and all apprentices to handicraftsmen,

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fhould be confidered as poor. was granted by the College.

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This likewise

It was then confidered who should diftribute the medicines, and who should fettle their prices. The phyficians procured fome apothecaries to undertake the difpenfation, and offered that the warden and company of the apothecaries should adjust the price. This offer was rejected; and the apothecaries who had engaged to affift the charity were confidered as traytors to the company, threatened with the impofition of troublesome offices, and deterred from the performance of their engagements. The apothecaries ventured-upon public oppofition, and prefented a kind of remonftrance against the design to the committee of the city, which the phyficians condescended to confute: and at laft the traders feem to have prevailed among the fons of trade; for the propofal of the college having been confidered, a paper of approbation was drawn up, but poftponed and forgotten.

The phyficians ftill perfifted; and in 1696 a fubfcription was raised by themfelves, according to an agreement prefixed to the

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Difpenfary. The poor were for a time fupplied with medicines; for how long a time, I know not. The medicinal charity, like others, began with ardour, but foon remitted, and at last died gradually away.

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About the time of the subscription begins the action of the Difpenfary, The Poem, as its fubject was present and popular, cooperated with paffions and prejudices then prevalent, and, with fuch auxiliaries to its intrinfick merit, was univerfally and liberally applauded. It was on the fide of charity against the intrigues of intereft, and of- regular learning against licentious ufurpation of medical authority, and was therefore na turally favoured by those who read and can judge of poetry.

In 1697, Garth spoke that which is now called the Harveian Oration; which the authors of the Biographia mention with more praise than the paffage quoted in their notes will fully justify. Garth, fpeaking of the mischiefs done by quacks, has these expresfions: "Non tamen telis vulnerat ifta agyr"tarum colluvies, fed theriacâ quadam ma"gis perniciofa, non pyrio, fed pulvere nefcio

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