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favourite maxim, “ That sobriety, temperance, and moderation, are the best preservatives, and the most powerful that Nature has vouchsafed to mankind.”
He had scarcely recovered from his first attack when his desire to pursue his medical studies (the profession he had selected) induced him to visit London, for the purpose of obtaining advantages in this way which he could not hope to find in Ireland. Soon after his arrival he placed himself with Stafforth, the first chemist of the day, who was brought up under the illustrious Stahl; and by his instructions he became perfectly acquainted with the nature and preparation of the various articles which formed the materia medica of that period. He also studied botany at the Apothecaries' Garden, Chelsea, which had been opened in 1673, for the benefit of young students. He attended all the public lectures on anatomy and medicine then given in the metropolis, and neglected nothing which had any reference, however remotely, to the profession in which he had embarked.
But he was no less distinguished as a naturalist than as a physician. His enthusiasm for this interesting study introduced him to the acquaintance of Mr. Boyle and Mr. Ray, and to them he communicated every striking fact or object of curiosity that came under his observation. His intimacy with these two great men continued till their death, and his remarks often excited their wonder, and obtained their unqualified approbation. After four years intense study in London, Mr. Sloane resolved to visit foreign countries, for further improvement. With this view he set out for France, accompanied by two other students. Having been at Paris, where he attended the lectures of the celebrated Tournefort, and other emi. nent professors, and visited the literati and the scientific, he directed his steps to Montpellier, where he spent a whole year in collecting plants, and in pursuing his botanical studies. He returned to England in 1684, with the intention of pursuing the medical profession, at the early age of twenty-four. Immediately on his arri. val he visited his illustrious friends Mr. Boyle and Mr. Ray, and to the latter he transmitted a variety of plants and seeds, which this author has described in his Historia Plantarum, with proper ac. knowledgements.
Soon after his return from abroad, Mr. Sloane was elected a Fel. low of the Royal Society, and, in the year 1687, of the College of Physicians. This last election happened on a very extraordinary nccasion, of which we think it worth while to give a short notice. At a meeting of the Society on the 19th of October, 1685, the president, Sir Thomas Witherley, one of the king's physicians, having acquainted them that a writ of quo warranto was to issue against their charter in the next term, it was put to the vote and carried nem. con., that the College should themselves deliver up their charter into his Majesty's hands; which surrender was subscribed by all the Fellows. On the 29th of March, 1686, the president acquainted the College it was his Majesty's pleasure that the number of Fellows should be increased from forty to sixty or eighty; and on the 12th of April, 1687, the Diploma of King James II. was brought to the College, and solemnly accepted by the Society, and thirty new Fellows were that day admitted, among whom were Dr. Hans Sloane, afterwards the founder of the British Museum, and Dr. John Radcliffe, the founder of the celebrated library at Oxford. Dr. Sloane, some time afterwards, took an opportunity of bearing witness to Dr. Radcliffe's great merit as a physician. In order to express his utter contempt of those who seek to depreciate the talents of their contemporaries, he observes, in the Introduction to the second volume of The Natural History of Jamaica, that such shallow persons would “ needs persuade him that Dr. Radcliffe could not cure a disease, because he had seen a recipe of his where the word pilula was spelled with two ls.”
When only in his twerty-eighth year, Sir Hans Sloane accom. panied the Duke of Albemarle on his appointment to the government of the island of Jamaica, in the quality of physician, being chiefly induced by his attachment to natural history to under. take a voyage which was not thought, at that time, to be altogether free from danger. As he was the first man of learning whom the love of science alone had led from England to that part of the globe, and was, besides, of an age when both activity of body and ardour of mind concur to vanquish difficulties, his travels were eminently successful. To say nothing of the other curiosities with which he enriched his native country, he brought home from Jamaica and the adjacent islands at which he touched, no fewer than 800 different species of plants; a number much greater than had ever been previously imported into England by any indi. vidual. His stay in Jamaica did not exceed fifteen months, when the governor and the doctor returned home, and settled in London. His friend Mr. Ray was astonished at the results of his science and industry. “When I first saw,” says Asr. Ray, “ the author's stock of dried plants collected in Jamaica and some of the Caribbee Islands, I was surprised at the great variety of capillary plants, not thinking there had been so many to be found in both the Indies.”
So great was the admiration of these extraordinary novelties, that many of them were purloined by the curious visitors, to the no small vexation of their learned proprietor.
“ When I returned,” says Dr. Sloane, “ from Jamaica, I brought with me a collection of dried specimens of some very strange plants, which excited the curiosity of the people who loved things of that nature to see them, and who were welcome, till I observed some so very curious as to desire to carry part of them privately home with them, and injure what they left. This made me upon my guard with them.”
He was chosen secretary to the Royal Society in 1693, when he revived the publication of its Transactions, which had been for some years suspended, and continued to edit them till 1712. In 1696 he published his Catalogus Plantarum Insulæ Jamaicæ, etc., which he dedicated to the Royal Society and the College of Physicians. Laudari à laudato viro is always an honour to be coveted ; and, this occasion, it was justly awarded to him by his friend Mr. Ray, who in the Philosophical Transactions, has ably dilated upon the value and importance of this masterly work. About this time, Dr. Sloane established a Dispensary, the first known, for supplying the poor with medicines at prime cost. His eager pursuit of natural history, amidst all his other employments, never ceased to enrich his collection with every thing curious and valuable that this or any other country could produce; and in 1701 his Museum was consi. derably increased by the purchase of Mr. Courten's large collection, on condition that he should pay certain legacies and debts with which it was charged. This duty he strictly performed, although the amount to be paid rendered the purchase a dear one. In 1694, Dr. Sloane was chosen physician to Christ's Hospital, which appointment he held for thirty-six years, and exhibited a rare exam. ple of munificence by devoting the whole of the money he received to the benefit of such objects in this establishment as most needed his assistance. Two years afterwards he married Elizabeth, daughter of Alderman Langley, of London, who died in 1724, after she had brought him one son (who died at an early age) and three daughters, the youngest of whom died, also, in her infancy. Sarah, the eldest, married George Stanley, Esq., of Poultons, in the county of Hants; and Elizabeth, the second, married the Right Hon. the Lord Cadogan, colonel of the second regiment of horse guards, and governor of Tilbury Fort and Gravesend.*
By the act of incorporation of the British Museum (26th of Geo. II.), Lord Cadogan and Hans Stanley, Esq., were appointed family trustees, and the present Earl Cadogan and Lord Stanley are now the representatives of this trust.
In 1704, Dr. Sloane sustained a great affliction in the loss of his intimate friend and the companion of his pursuits in natural history, Mr. Ray. He had now enjoyed his society for more than twenty years, and had corresponded with him during this long period. Several of the letters are printed in the Collection of Correspondence between Mr. Ray and his Friends; and others are preserved among the Sloane MSS. in the British Museum.* The following is the last letter ever written by Mr. Ray, about ten days before his death, and presents an affecting, but consolatory, picture of the state of mind of this great and good man, at that awful period.
“ Dear Sir,—The best of friends : these are to take a final leave of you in this world. I look upon myself as a dying man. God requite your kindness, expressed any ways towards me, an hundred fold; bless you with a confluence of all good things in this world, and eternal life and happiness hereafter: grant us an happy meeting in heaven.
I am, Sir, eternally your's, Black Notley, Jan. 7,
John Ray. 1704-5. Postscript.- When you happen to write to my sincere friend, Dr. Hatton, I pray tell him I received his most obliging and affectionate letter, for which I return thanks ; and acquaint him that I was not able to answer it, or
Here his strength failed him—he could write no more. Dr. Sloane, soon after the death of his friend, was fortunate enough to become acquainted with the celebrated Dr. Sydenham, who was so much attached to the subject of this memoir, that he took him into his house, and strongly recommended him to his patients.
* A list of such of the MSS. as relate to Sir Hans Sloane, will, we think, be acceptable to our readers :No. 1968 Miscellaneous Letters and Papers. 2824 Catalogue of a Collection of Medals made in Spain, bought by him. 3328-9 Miscellaneous Papers. 3400 A Poe presented to Sir H. S. by W. Howard. 3516 Other Poems to him. 3692 Epigram to, by M. Mattaire. 3962 His Letters to Mr. Charleton. 3984, 4034 Medical Papers; on the Plague and on College of Physicians ;
and Letters to him. 3998 Medical Papers. 4020, 4025 Papers on Natural History. 4032 A Pocket-book, containing Medical Cases, in 1682. 4036 to 4070 Letters to Sir Hans Sloane. 4075-8 Medical Papers. 4288 His Letters to R. des Maizeaux. 4298 Transcripts, by Dr. Birch. 4318 Letters to Dr. Birch.
In 1707, Sir Hans Sloane published, in folio, the first volume of his “ Voyage to the Islands of Madeira, Barbadoes, Nieves, St. Christopher's, and Jamaica, with the Natural History of the herbs and trees, four-footed beasts, fishes, birds, insects, reptiles, fc., illustrated with the figures of the things described, which had not heretofore been engraved, in large copper-plates as big as the life.” was his first contribution to the general stock of knowledge, and when questioned on the subject of his voyage, he was used to say, that, independently of the gratification of a laudable curiosity, he deemed it a sort of duty in a medical man to visit distant countries; for that the ancient and best physicians were 'wont to travel to the places whence their drugs were brought, to inform themselves concerning them. Speaking of the part of the globe which he had visited, he never ceased to deplore the irreparable loss of fame which this country had suffered in not being the first to partake in the glory of its discovery. - When Bartholomew Columbus” said Sir Hans," was sent to England by his brother Christopher, in 1488, to persuade Henry VIII. to fit him out for this expedition, a seachart, of the parts of the world then known, was produced, and a proposal made to the king; but, after much delay and many untoward circumstances, both the map and the proposal were disregarded, and the money that had been first set apart for the purpose, and thought sufficient for the discovery of the new world, was ultimately expended in the purchase of a suite of fine tapestry hangings, brought from Antwerp, and afterwards used for the decoration of Hampton Court."
Notwithstanding the war between England and France at this period, the Doctor was elected a foreign member of the Royal Aca. demy at Paris. His fame, indeed, as a physician, now rapidly increased. He was consulted by the nobility and by royalty itself. Queen Anne often sought his advice, and was attended by him in her last illness. When George I. came to the throne, in 1716, the Doctor was created a Baronet, an honour which had never before been conferred on any English physician; the king also made him physician-general to the army, which he enjoyed till 1727, when he was appointed physician in ordinary to George II., and continued to prescribe for the royal family till his death. He was a particular favourite with Queen Caroline, who placed the greatest confidence in his prescriptions. Sir Hans Sloane was elected president of the College of Physicians in 1719, an office which he held for sixteen