George Atherton Aitken.

The life and works of John Arbuthnot, M.D., fellow of the Royal College of Physicians online

. (page 41 of 47)
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tea. Sick, verj^ sick : call for my man : order him to bring the
folio in manuscript, of my own Life and Times. Consider what a
great name I shall leave behind me. Doctor W[elwo]od stole his
Memou's^ from my conversation. If he has gained a great
reputation, I shall certainly. Better than Thuanus. Man
brings the book. Begin to read : an excellent Preface : very
happy at Prefaces. Courts of Charles and James : juggling, trick-
ing, mistresses, whores spuitual and temporal, French money,
more money ; slaveiy. Popery, ai-bitrary power, liberty, plots,
Italy, Geneva, Rome, Titus Gates, Dangei-field ; money again ;
peace, war, war, peace ; more money. Lay down the book.
Reflect how I came to know all this : my Lord L[auderd]ale, a good

deal : R 1, a good deal more : the King some. Conferences

•svith great men : informations : multitudes of pamphlets.
Cabinetted twice in one day : absconded a week : appeared
again : run away : hactenus Jiaec : call for dinner : dine alone :
Wish health to friend Benjamin '". Hear a knocking at the door :
two letters out of the country : one from Geneva. Mem.
to answer the latter this night. Ask my man how I look?
answered, better than when he played the part of Death to me.
Sicken immediately after dinner. Fumed : want of digestion.
Drink a glass of wine. Tiy to go to sleep in my easy chair :
nod a little : wake better. Return to my book : read and drink
tea till night : much about myself : vacancies of places ;
bishoprics, deaneries, livings : new oaths : clergy obstinate,
Sherlock alone : South and Sherlock : FenAA^ck, Collier : parlia-
ment against us. Tories prevail : miserable times : preach
against them. Interrupted : friend comes in by Jonathan's
mistake. Good news however : all of our side. Public
justice : no security like it. Talk of indifferent matters. Pity

* Memoirs of the most matericd trans- bj- James Welwood, M.D., 1700.
actions in England for the last hundred - Dr. Hoadley.

years preceding the Revolution in 1688,

Gg 2


poor L[or]d Thomas's son. It must be dissolved. Afflictions
fall to the righteous : sons are strange giddy things : think of
my Tom. Eead a page of my book to my friend : he is in
raptures. I am much better : talk cheerfully ; drink some
sack : clock strikes nine : he goes. Walk about a little. Feet
weak. Giddiness in the head. Call for my quilted cap. Look
on the glass. Cap falls over my eyes : sad token. New fears.
Mem. to send for a physician in the morning : human
means necessaiy ; man must co-operate. Grow worse : go to
bed. Forget that it was Sunday.

Monday, March 14.
Nemo mortalium omnibus horis sapit. — LiUy.

No folding of the hands to sleep, no slumber all night : can't
lie in bed for fear. Kise at one. Asthma a fatal distemper.
Consider how much my lungs should be distempered : used
them with great vehemence in my younger days. Could not
leave it off at last. Think if it could proceed from some other
reason. Hope not. I don't remember : all from the violent
pulpit-motions : could not possiljly help it : the power of the
spirit certainly straitened the organs of the body. Call my
servant in haste : send for opium and balsams : flesh is grass :
certainly grass. Life is like many things ; a shadow, a bird, a
line in the water, an old story : fiimiis ct umhra sumus, a good
motto for a chimney, or a black gown : head swims : get out,
Tories : I have nothing to say to you. A pei-verse generation.
Convocation. Dr. S[na]pe \ Let them do what they will. No
good. Chaplains too. Honest Ben. a double portion for him.
Present settlement. Kissing goes by f^ivour. Butter the rooks"
nest, said Sir Thomas Wyatt at the Reformation, and then
you may do what you please. All joy to great Caesar, to little
Caesar. Another good saying of Sir Thomas, it is a strange
thing a man can't repent of his sins, without the leave of the
Pope. Pshaw, how came the Pope into my head? Give me
the drops ; I'll tiy to forget everything. Doze until four.
Opium an excellent medicine. Many debates in my mind
about a proper doctor. Dr. W[oodwarJd, he is my countryman ;
don't care to trust him : G[art]h, he will laugh at me, and tell

* Andrew Snape^ D.D.


stories : why can't <i man do without them ? necessaiy evils.
Kesolve to ask advice of Jonathan about it. Give my mind to
contemplation : William the Conqueror : Eufus : the Third,
happy day ! grand restorative : pleasant to think of these
things : cough again twice. Distempers will not be flattered :
I wish they would. Nobody could do it better. Jonathan
comes in : looks with a sad air. Don't like such looks at all.
Order the family to come up stairs at seven : resolved to preach
before them extempore. Not much matter what the text is :
easy to run off from the subject, and talk of the times. Late
order about preaching : it cannot relate to chamber-practice.
Bid my man set the great chair ready. Family comes up.
Sui'vey them with delight : the damsel Jane has a wicked eye :
Eobin seems to meet her glances : unsanctified vessels ! children
of wrath ! lust of the eye : evil concupiscence. No flock with-
out these evil ones. Look again at Jane : a tear of penitence in
her eye : sweet droj^s ! grace triumphs, sin lies dead. Wish
Tom were present : he might be reformed. Consider how
many sermons it is probable Tom hears in one year : afraid not
one. Alas, the Temple ! alas, the Temple ! The law eats up
divinity : it corrupts manners, raises contentions among the
faithful, feeds upon poor vicarages, and devours wddows' houses
without making long prayers : alas, the Temple ! never liked
that place since it harboured Sa[chever]ell : he certainly spread an
infection there. A swimming of my head : seem to hear the
noise of tumults, riots, seditions : fresh noises of High Church,
the doctor ; what would the multitude have ? why are they
incensed ? who of our order has offended ? impeach, silence,
hang, behead ! That the name of a man should turn one's head
to a giddiness ! Say a short mental prayer : cool by degrees.
Jane petitions not to hear the sermon, but make her beds.
There is no dealing with youthful inclinations : they are
unsteady in every path : they leave the direct way : walk
in bye-places and corners. Give her leave to depart. Eesolved
within myself to deny Robin to go, if he should ask. Robin
asks. Reprove him thus: — 'I have watched your mutual
temptations, and the snares you laid for each other ; you,
Robin, I say, and the damsel Jane : forbear j'^our iniquity,
struggle with sin ; make not excuses to follow the handmaid :
thou shalt stay here, and hear, and edify'. — Prepare to preach :
hem thrice : spread my hands : lift up my eyes : attempt to


raise myself : sink backwards : faint suddenly : don't know
what is done for half-an-hour : awakened to life by cold water,
and many cries : rub my eyes : ask where I have been ?
Servants tell me strange things. All press for a doctor :
consent ; send for G[ar]th \ Think of a chapter in praise of
physicians : no commentatoi's guess who was the author. It
must be apocryphal : never was bvit one saint of the faculty : liei
mihi ! Eeligio Medici ^ ; where shall one find more than the title ?
Send for Mr. Boyle's receipts : he was an excellent man : I
knew him. ' Eead in the book : for a cough, honey and brim-
stone. Can't take it ; — fling away the book. G[art]h comes :
takes up Mr, Boyle's receipts : begins to fall into a discourse
with me to this purpose, looking into the title-page :

Doct. Sir, I am sorry to see you so ill ; but egad I think
you deserve it, if this piece of quackery has been your regimen :
an idle, trifling collection of old women's, corn-cutters', and
farriers' recipes : is this a directory for a man of your parts
and sense ?

Patient. Why Doctor, Mr. Boyle was a great man, and
kept company with the best physicians of the age, and was
respected by them.

JDoct. So I keep company with some great divines ; but the
devil is in it if any man will therefore say, that I am a parson :

So diamonds take a lustre from their foil,
And to a Bentley 'tis we owe Charles Boyle.

Not Eobert, egad ! it is true, he is a good naturalist : the world
are obliged to him ; — but for physic, is as great a dunce as the
late R[adcli]ffe.

Patient. But, Doctor, to the purpose : I will give up Boyle,
and E[adclijffe too, if you will but ease me.

Doct. I can no more promise that, than you can to save
me ; I know you hate infallibility in all faculties : but I will
try, for it is pity to lose a good horse, though a man has
twenty sets : let us see your hand ; by Jove I don't like it.

Patient. Don't shake your head so, dear Doctor : tell me
plainly what hopes you have of me ; I don't love to be flattered,
I never flattered anybody myself.

Doct. No ! — that's strange indeed ; flatter nobody, I wonder

^ Samuel Garth,whowasknighted ^ Sir Thomas Browne's Avork,

in 1715. published in 1642.


how you lived so long then. Come, put out your tongue,
that must be viewed too.

Patient. Why, Doctor, you don't pretend to tell by one's
tongue whether one has flattered, or no : come, to oblige you —
see it —

JDoct. A strange tongue ! an unflattering tongue, truly : for
it tells a sad truth, I am sure, at present.

Fatient. Pray what's that ?

Docf. Only you have got a lurking fever ; and your church-
bellows are so inflamed, that I dare prognosticate, they can't
blow much longer.

Patient. Ay, Doctor, I have used them, I fear, with too
much vehemence : they have been serviceable lungs for our
cause. But give me a little better comfort before you leave me.

Doct. If blood-letting, coolers, lambatives, and pectorals are
comforts, I shall prescribe you enough, never fear : but I have
your own word, not to flatter you.

Patient. But do you think I may weather it, or how long is
it probable I shall last ?

Doct. 'Till you stink, as far as I know : you should have
sent for me sooner ; and yet I am not certain but that you
may survive it. I would have you cheer up, son of thunder : a
good spuit is an half cure in many cases : beside, I know you
black gentlemen have a good trick of deceiving the d — 1 : it is
your busmess to do it ; stand upon your guard ; for it is pro
aris etfocis, now.

Patient. I will, I will ; — but prithee don't be so irreligious.
Doctor; I have a great respect for your constancy in a good
cause, and your name has done us service in verse and prose.

Doct. Why, Sir, have you the vanity to thmk that religion
ever did our cause any service ! If that comes into your head,
and you squeak at last, it is time for me to bid you good night.

Patient. I will do anything you order me ; but I must
confess, that I begin to think a man can't die easily without

Doct. Farewell then ; my time is past ; there can be no
hopes if you talk at this rate : I'll tell the Kit-Cat Club of
you, and it shall be known to every man at C[our]t that you die
like a pedant. Farewell.

Consider with myself what the world will say if this
dialogue is made public : yet it is true. Most doctors so : a


great pity in a man of his parts. Call for my servant. Resolve
to forget G[art]h was with me. Order the man to read a chapter
in the Revelations. Nothing about me there : yet I am sick :
I will seek the Lord in prayer. Praying a mighty good
thing. No help in it. Apothecary comes : talk with him
about the doctor. Shakes his head : talks over words I don't
understand : resolve to follow his advice however. Takes his
leave with three bows. Meditate on the vanities of resj)ect,
and art of compliments. Best things corrupted are the worst.
Good manners necessary. Stomach begins to recoil : what
shall I do ? much dubitation. Go to bed : order another
chapter to be read by my bedside. Isaiah talks finely, and
rapturously. It is not worth while to live : it is. Recant all

things : suppose the Metropolitan should an excellent

supposition. Gi-ow much worse. Sleep, O sleep ! but it will
not come. Toss, and think of ten thousand things all night.


Dum Testamenta condimus liaeredi laetitiam paramus. — Grot.
Abstulit clai'um cita mors Acliillem,
Longa Tithonum minuit senectiis. — Kw.

Mind disturbed with fears all night : fancy I shall not
recover. Who will succeed me? who is worthy? me, mortuo
maria et terrae commisceantur ! A little prophane : Tom might
have said it : it had become him. Servant enters. Order hun

to bring my will : read. In the name of God, I bequeath

my worldly goods in form and manner following. It is very
moving, melts the very heart of me : what will become of poor
Tom? Money will make him mad. Sad thoughts! that an
harlot or a sharper should devour the fruits of my spiritual
labours ! Think how odd successions are in some families ; a
parish boy rises into a divine, a divine mounts to a B[ishopric] ;
his son a beau, his son a beggar ; corruptlo optlmi sit pessima.
Thus the Lord mortifies the vanities of human creatures !
The heathens called this fortune. Great ignorance ! Look

upon the will again ; item, I give to the poor of, &c. Gi'eat

mind to scratch that paragraph out. Must give them some-
thing too. Charities are abused : resolve to ask Tom's opinion
about it : he studies the law. Tom comes to see me. More
than I expected : the powers of grace not quite extinguished !
he looks as if he had been crying : poor soul ! what, for me ?


Perhaps sitting up and drinking might make his eyes look red :
begin to fear it was that. Gi'ow positive in the last opinion.
Tom asks me how I do. Kind, very kind. Talk with him
thus :

Fatli. You see, Thomas, that this frail body, this tabernacle
of clay, is hastening to its dissolution : you will lose me in a
short time ; I am ready to be snatched from your eyes.

Tom. The will of the Lord be done.

Fatli. That is very pious indeed. Tommy ; I see you have not
forgot all your Sci-ipture : but you owe some dutiful wishes
to me still ; you would not have me die, son, I am sure.

Tom. I am not sure of that : if you live, pen and paper,
print and pul^lish, are the words : if you die, five thousand
at least : I shall neither turn miser nor usurer.

FaOi. Ay, thou hast hit upon two things, that grieve me
much : in the first place, I desire you would never dabble with
your ink-pot any more : read more, and write less : don't forget
a chapter in Proverbs eveiy day

Tom. Sir, if you please, I'll drink your health ; I can't hear
all this stuff for nothing : what has the Scripture to do with the
law, only to denounce woes against us, and send us to the
d— 1?

Fatli. Fie ! 1>e not profane with unseasonable wit : j^ou
have, Tom, writ well enough for a young fellow of no learning ;
but pray leave it off, I command you to do it.

Tom. Sir, you may command, and I may promise : but it
would be strange if one who has broke best part of all the
commandments he ever knew, should keep yours : I am no more
to be depended upon than the Kmg of France. Stipulate I
may, but stand by it I cannot.

Fatli. Give hun a glass of sack, Jonathan : the confession is
ingenious, and I hope more from thee now, than I could if you
had promised : but look here, Tom, I shall leave you, shall
leave you just — —

Tom. I wish you'd say something. Sir ; if you don't die, it may
do me sei-vice ; for I can borrow .£20 upon the reputation of a
good legacy.

Fatli. O Thomas, Thomas ! I see the miquities of thy heart :
thy wishes are impious — but I will leave you

Tom. Pray, Sir, let me be sure of something ; and I know
one way that may make my legacy doubled in a short tune


Faili. What is that, child ? I find you have a thriving genius,
tell me what you mean ?

Tom. Why, a certain book written by a certain grave man
about certain Times, which I hope certainly to pubHsh, and get a
round sum for the copy.

Faih. Tom, I have taken care of thee : thou shalt have
nothing to do with it : depart. Sir, I want to meditate alone.

Tom. Well, if I never see you any more Farewell.

Meditate on my discourse with Tom, Desj^air of him, and
myself. It grows upon me. Languor of spuits. G[art]h
comes again : look indifferently at him : he sings, and repeats
verses : twirls his cane : tells a story of my Lord Thomas :
feels my pulse : talk about my journey's end. I tell him an
account of my life : cry profusely at the end of it. The doctor
smiles : an infidel no doubt. Ask hun seriously about my
condition : very bad : he says I may eat and drink anything that
I can : nothing can make me better or worse : miserable sen-
tence ! Desu'e G[art Jh to give my blessing to a young N[oblema] n
of great hopes, and make him a compliment in my name. Think
what the world will say of it after I am dead : imagine myself
that it looks heroical, and with an air of a great soul. The world
ought to be cheated. Feel many apprehensions within myself :
resolve to say nothing of them. Put a good face upon a bad
matter. Fain Hve to see what this PLarliamenjt will do : there must
be glorious work : if I should not, the world will lose a good
speech : resolve to give it away, and order it to be printed in my
name : A Sj)eech designed to have been spoke at the trial

of . It will do very well. Doctor asks me what I am

musing on ? Tell him. He approves the project : repeats ten
lines about death stolen from heathen poets, and common-
place books :

To die, is landing on some silent shore,
Where tempests never break, nor billows roar.

Ask him about an epitaph. Eeplies he can't write Latin ;
that his last dedication ransacked all he had left, but he will tiy
to get a fine one. Thank him : give him a ring that a great
man gave me to remember him. He jests upon me, and says I
mistime my present, it should be left to my executors. Takes
his leave, repeating Virgil :

— Dono Damoetas mihi quam dedit olim,

Et dixit moriens, Te nunc habet ista secundum.


Meditate how pleasant life is to careless tempers : a great
duke died with as little ceremony, and as good an air, as he
went out of the room. It is wonderful ! call my man : drink
some cordial : try to compose myself. Messengers every minute
from great folks to know how I do : smile, and send a great
many compliments to them all. Think of what importance
I am to the world : a kindness ought not to be forgotten : when
old Dr. W[ar]d was ill, I used to send every day to know how he
did : I succeeded him without my own seeking ' . Two footmen
from foreign ladies : it is mighty kind : I can't do them any
service now : return a thousand thanks. Call for a bundle of
papers : order some of them to be burnt : puts me in mind
of the usage some of my writings received from the public :
vain spite ! they will live ; they have a spirit of immortality.
Spend all the afternoon in returning compliments, and giving
orders about my papers. Grow worse at night : fancy tea would
do me good : drink twenty dishes : all in vain : sudden fit of
convidsions. Am put to bed. My head feels deliiious : variety
of strange tlioughts. Order a man to sit by me all night.
Kesolve to minute eveiything I can remember of myself 'till
I depart this life.

Wednesday, March 16.
Tu Pater es, tu Patronus, ne deseras. — Ter.

Much disturbed all night with a cry in my ears, The Church,
the Church : the worst of all the London cries. Wake at six :
my inflammation increased with preaching in my sleep against
the Whore of Babylon. Call for the cordial : small relief.
Vehement temptations in my soul to break charity with Doctor

S , and many others. Strive with the iniquity : overcome it

by degrees. Seem to see a spirit : frightened into a sudderr
shivering : bid my man keep near me always, and not stir oirt of
the room : order him to bring a glass : my eyes look sunk in my
head : my nose is sharpened, pinched up at the end : my nails
not turned however : poor hoi^es. Eepeat Psalms out of
Buchanan. That is not right. Latin no fit language to pray

^ Burnet was consecrated Bishop Bishop of St. Asapli, but the King

of Salisbury on March 31, 1689, answered that he had another per-

upon the death of Dr. Seth Ward. son in view, and on the following

Burnet asked William III to bestow day Burnet himself was nominated,
the bishopric upon Dr. Lloyd,


in : Hopkins and Sternhokl much Letter : say three Stanzas
softly. Hear G[art]h coming up stairs : now for my last
sentence : how shall I receive it ? What shall I say to him ?
order my servant to give ten pieces : that may soften him
perhaps. He comes in singing : looks with a bad aspect :
recommends an undertaker to me. Sigh often. The doctor
smiles ; bows, and says, no good can be done ! sad words !
abundance of sei"\'-ants with messages to know my condition :
send word little hoj)es : think with myself about Church-
prayers : ineffectual. Consider of my funeral : jirivate inter-
ment : no vanities, and ceremonies : privacy makes a man more
enquired after. No High Church, not a man : easy to insult
a dead lion. Send for a particular friend : comes mimediately :
wish hmi to send Le Clerc ^ an account of me : desu-e the good
man to do me justice. In two languages at least : to hint that
the world may expect my famous postluim^ous work ^ : say all the
kind things of it imaginable : eveiybody in Holland will
believe it. Eeflect, that a prophet is not renowned in his own
country. My enemies numerous : good fortune to overcome so
many of them. Bar-le-duc : can't helj:) thmking of politics.
Ought to remember my sins. K[ennet]t's Doctrine of Repentance
very comfortable to persons of distinction : right or wrong, a
sti-ong faith is all. Let the world alone, and that will let you
alone ; a plausible sentence ! but how shall a man restrain the
ardency of the spirit, or stop the illusions of grace ? A thought
about funeral sermons and rosemaiy. I preached many full of
panegyrics : they will rise up against me : conscience, !
conscience : call for a glass of sack : make a long soliloquy in
the postulations with my own heart : get the better of all
qualms that rise from past adventures. Eesolved to leave
my New Model of Church Government to be printed after my
death : many faults in the present scheme : recommend it to
Benjamin's perusal : give him a full liberty to add and improve.
Think what a noise it will make in the world : the works of a
great man follow hun. Consider how to mortify some vain
thoughts rising in my carnal mmd. The words of Solomon,
in writing many books is much folly, meant only of fooHsh

* .Jean le Clerc published !,i7i4- tion of literature.

1 721) at Amsterdam, an annual - The History of his own Time, of

volume called BihUotheque Ancienne which the first volume appeared in

et Moderne, devoted to the considera- 1724 and the second in 1734.


books. Pray a little. Eesolve to suj^port my spirits by
sending messages to several persons of distinction. Death is
like a thief : use him in his own way : steal as much from him
as I can. He is also like a serpent : there were ways of old to
charm serpents : a cunning animal, arts against arts necessaiy.
All methods of deceit that are j^racticable are good upon just
occasions : none more i:)roper than the present. Order a chapter
to be read. Order it to be let alone. Enquire after Tom : no
message from him all day : wonder at his want of filial piety,
his manners, his life, his Letter : tiy to get him out of my head :
he grieves me : hope he may reform : years of discretion must
come. Inflammation increases mightily : I can't live 'till to-
morrow : resolved to order my man to take down all I say when
I lose my senses : bid him get pen, ink, and paper ready.
There is a great deal of discovery in those rhapsodies : the mind
acts more freely when the organs of the body are affected by
sickness. Tom comes in, and overhears my orders : talks with
me about madness : veiy impudent, and ungracious : order him
to read a sermon : takes out a book and reads a piece of
nonsense of SLacheverel^l's : call him fool and blockhead: he
pretends to explain his meaning : ridiculous, very ridiculous :
desire him to depart : he says he'll drink a l^ottle and come
again : glad to get rid of him, with a l:)lessing imasked for.
Find my head grows deluious ; order Jonathan to be in
readiness to write : he writes.

! my head . Take care of the bed, it is all in flame.

Online LibraryGeorge Atherton AitkenThe life and works of John Arbuthnot, M.D., fellow of the Royal College of Physicians → online text (page 41 of 47)