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EWIS MORIN was born at Mans, on the 11th of July 1635, of parents eminent for their piety. He was the eldest of fixteen children, a family to which their eftate bore no proportion, and which, in perfons lefs refigned to Providence, would have caused great uneasiness and anxiety.
His parents omitted nothing in his education, which religion requires, and which their fortune could fupply. Botany was the ftudy that appeared to have taken poffeffion of his inclination, as foon as the bent of his genius could be discovered. A countryman, who fupplied the apothecaries of the place, was his first mafter, and was paid by him for his inftructions with the little money that he could procure, or that which was given him to buy fomething to eat after dinner. Thus abftinence and generofity discovered themselves with his paffion for botany, and the gratification of a
Tranflated from an eloge by Fontenelle, and first printed in the Gentleman's Magazine for 1741.
defire indifferent in itself was procured by the exercise of two virtues.
He was foon mafter of all his inftructor's knowledge, and was obliged to enlarge his acquaintance with plants, by obferving them himself in the neighbourhood of Mans. Having finished his grammatical ftudies, he was fent to learn philofophy at Paris. Whither he travelled on foot like a ftudent in botany, and was careful not to lofe fuch an opportunity of improve
When his course of philofophy was compleated, he was determined, by his love of botany, to the profeflion of phyfic, and from that time engaged in a course of life, which was never exceeded either by the oftentation of a philofopher, or the severity of an anchoret; for he confined himself to bread and water, and at most allowed himself no indulgence beyond fruits. By this method, he preferved a conftant freedom and ferenity of fpirits, always equally proper for study; for his foul had no pretences to complain of being overwhelmed with matter.
This regimen, extraordinary as it was, had many advantages; for it preserved his health, an advantage which very few fufficiently regard; it gave him an au · thority to preach diet and abftinence to his patients; and it made him rich without the affiftance of fortune; rich, not for himself, but for the poor, who were the only perfons benefited by that artificial affluence, which, of all others, is most difficult to acquire. It is easy to imagine, that, while he practifed in the midst of Paris the fevere temperance of a hermit, Paris differed no otherwife with regard to him, from a hermitage, than
as it fupplied him with books, and the converfation of learned men.
In 1662 he was admitted doctor of phyfic. About that time Dr. Fagon, Dr. Longuet, and Dr. Galois, all eminent for their skill in botany, were employed in drawing up a catalogue of the plants in the Royal Garden, which was published in 1665, under the name of Dr. Vallot, then firft phyfician: during the prosecution of this work, Dr. Morin was often confulted, and from those conversations it was that Dr. Fagon conceived a particular esteem of him, which he always continued
After having practifed phyfic fome years, he was admitted Expectant at the Hotel Dieu, where he was regularly to have been made Penfionary phyfician upon the first vacancy; but mere unaffifted merit advances flowly, if, what is not very common, it advances at all. Morin had no acquaintance with the arts neceffary to carry on fchemes of preferment; the moderation of his defires preferved him from the neceffity of ftudying them, and the privacy of his life debarred him from any opportunity.
At last, however, juftice was done him in fpite of artifice and partiality; but his advancement added nothing to his condition, except the power of more extenfive charity; for all the money which he received as a falary, he put into the cheft of the hospital, always, as he imagined, without being obferved. Not content with serving the poor for nothing, he paid them for being served.
His reputation rose so high in Paris, that madamoiselle de Guife was defirous to make him her phyfician, but it was not without difficulty that he was pre
vailed upon by his friend, Dr. Dodart, to accept the place. He was by this new advancement laid under the neceffity of keeping a chariot, an equipage very unfuitable to his temper; but while he complied with thofe exterior appearances which the public had a right to demand from him, he remitted nothing of his former aufterity in the more private and effential parts of his life, which he had always the power of regulating according to his own difpofition.
In two years and a half the princefs fell fick, and was defpaired of by Morin, who was a great mafter of prognofticks. At the time when she thought herself in no danger, he pronounced her death inevitable; a declaration to the highest degree difagreeable, but which was made more easy to him than to any other by his piety and artlefs fimplicity. Nor did his fincerity produce any ill confequences to himfelf; for the princess affected by his zeal, taking a ring from her finger, gave it him as the last pledge of her affection, and rewarded him ftill more to his fatisfaction, by preparing for death with a true Christian piety. She left him by will an yearly pension of two thousand livres, which was always regularly paid him.
No fooner was the princefs dead, but he freed himfelf from the incumbrance of his chariot, and retired to St. Victor without a fervant, having, however, augmented his daily allowance with a little rice boiled in
Dodart, who had undertaken the charge of being ambitious on his account, procured him, at the restoration of the academy in 1699, to be nominated affoeiate botanist; not knowing, what he would doubtJefs have been pleased with the knowledge of, that he introduced
introduced into that affembly the man that was to fucceed him in his place of Penfionary.
Dr. Morin was not one who had upon his hands the labour of adapting himself to the duties of his condition, but always found himfelf naturally adapted to them. He had, therefore, no difficulty in being conftant at the affemblies of the academy, notwithstanding the distance of places, while he had ftrength enough to fupport the journey. But his regimen was not equally effectual to produce vigour as to prevent diftempers; and being 64 years old at his admiffion, he could not continue his affiduity more than a year after the death of Dodart, whom he fucceeded in 1707.
When Mr. Tournefort went to pursue his botanical enquiries in the Levant, he defired Dr. Morin to fupply his place of Demonftrator of the Plants in the Royal Garden, and rewarded him for the trouble, by infcribing to him a new plant which he brought from the east, by the name of Morina Orientalis, as he named others the Dodarto, the Fagonne, the Bignonne, the Phelipee. Thefe are compliments proper to be made by the botanists, not only to thofe of their own rank, but to the greatest perfons; for a plant is a monument of a more durable nature than a medal or an obelisk; and yet, as a proof that even thefe vehicles are not always fufficient to transmit to futurity the name conjoined with them, the Nicotiana is now fcarcely known by any other term than that of tobacco.
Dr. Morin advancing far in age, was now forced to take a fervant, and, what was yet a more effential alteration, prevailed upon himfelf to take an ounce of wine a day, which he measured with the fame exactnefs