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learn physic by experiments alone, which must | which they were published, and asserted, but necessarily be made at the hazard of life. without proof, that they were composed by him in English, and translated into Latin by Dr. Mapletoft.
What can be demanded beyond this by the most zealous advocate for regular education? What can be expected from the most cautious and most industrious student, than that he should dedicate several years to the rudiments of his art, and travel for further instructions from one university to another?
It is likewise a common opinion, that Sydenham was thirty years old before he formed his resolution of studying physic, for which I can discover no other foundation than one expression in his dedication to Dr. Mapletoft, which seems to have given rise to it by a gross misinterpretation; for he only observes, that from his conversation with Dr. Cox to the publication of that treatise thirty years had intervened.
Whatever may have produced this notion, or how long soever it may have prevailed, it is now proved beyond controversy to be false, since it appears that Sydenham, having been for some time absent from the university, returned to it in order to pursue his physical inquiries before he was twenty-four years old; for in 1618 he was admitted to the degree of bachelor of physic.
That such reports should be confidently spread, even among the contemporaries of the author to whom they relate, and obtain in a few years such credit as to require a regular confutation; that it should be imagined that the greatest physician of the age arrived at so high a degree of skill, without any assistance from his predecessors; and that a man eminent for integrity practised medicine by chance, and grew wise only by murder: is not to be considered without astonishment.
Whether Dr. Mapletoft lived and was familiar with him during the whole time in which these several treatises were printed, treatises written on particular occasions, and printed at periods considerably distant from each other, we have had no opportunity of inquiring, and therefore cannot demonstrate the falsehood of this report: but if it be considered how unlikely it is that any man should engage in a work so laborious and so little necessary, only to advance the reputation of another, or that he should have leisure to continue the same office upon all following occasions; if it be remembered how seldom such literary combinations are formed, and how soon they are for the greatest part dissolved; there will appear no reason for not allowing Dr. Sydenham the laurel of eloquence as well as physic.*
It is observable, that his Processus Integri, published after his death, discovers alone more skill in the Latin language than is commonly ascribed to him; and it surely will not be suspected, that the officiousness of his friends was continued after his death, or that he procured the book to be translated only that, by leaving it behind him, he might secure his claim to his other writings.
It is asserted by Sir Hans Sloane, that Dr. Sydenham, with whom he was familiarly ac quainted, was particularly versed in the writings of the great Roman orator and philosopher; and there is evidently such a luxuriance in his style, as may discover the author which gave him most pleasure, and most engaged his imitation.
But, if it be, on the other part, remembered, About the same time that he became bachelor how much this opinion favours the laziness of of physic, he obtained, by the interest of a relasome, and the pride of others; how readily some tion, a fellowship of All Souls' College, having men confide in natural sagacity, and how willingly submitted by the subscription required to the aumost would spare themselves the labour of accu-thority of the visitors appointed by the parliament, rate reading and tedious inquiry; it will be easily upon what principles, or how consistently with discovered how much the interest of multitudes his former conduct, it is now impossible to diswas enaged in the production and continuance of cover. this opinion, and how cheaply those, of whom it was known that they practised physic before they studied it, might satisfy themselves and others with the example of the illustrious Sydenham.
It is therefore in an uncommon degree useful to publish a true account of this memorable man, that pride, temerity, and idleness may be deprived of that patronage which they have enjoyed too long; that life may be secured from the dangerous experiments of the ignorant and presumptuous: and that those who shall hereafter assume the important province of superintending the health of others, may learn from this great master of the art, that the only means of arriving at eminence and success are labour and study.
From these false reports it is probable that another arose, to which, though it cannot be with equal certainty confuted, it does not appear that entire credit ought to be given. The acquisition of a Latin style did not seem consistent with the manner of life imputed to him; nor was it probable that be, who had so diligently cultivated the ornamental parts of general literature, would have neglected the essential studies of his own profession. Those therefore who were determined, at whatever price, to retain him in their own party, and represent him equally ignorant and daring with themselves, denied him the credit of writing his own works in the language in
When he thought himself qualified for practice, he fixed his residence in Westminster, became doctor of physic at Cambridge, received a license from the college of physicians, and lived in the first degree of reputation, and the greatest affluence of practice, for many years, without any other enemies than those which he raised by the superior merit of his conduct, the brighter lustre of his abilities, or his improvements of his science, and his contempt of pernicious methods supported only by authority, in opposition to sound reason and indubitable experience. These men are indebted to him for concealing their names, when he records their malice, since they have thereby escaped the contempt and detestation of posterity. It is a melancholy reflection, that they who have obtained the highest reputation, by preserv
Ward's Lives of the Professors of Gresham College: Since the foregoing was written, we have seen Mr. who, in the Life of Dr. Mapletoft, says, that in 1676 Dr. Sydenham published his Observationes riedica circa morborum acutorum historiam et curationem, which he author had translated them into Latin; and that the dedicated to Dr. Mapletoft, who at the desire of the other pieces of that excellent physician were translated into that language by Mr. Gilbert Havers of Trinity College, Cambridge, a student in physic and friend of Dr. bring any proof of his assertion, the question cannot Mapletoft. But as Mr. Ward, like others, neglects to fairly be decided by his authority.-Orig. Edit.
ing or restoring the health of others, have often been hurried away before the natural decline of life, or have passed many of their years under the torments of those distempers which they profess to relieve. In this number was Sydenham, whose health began to fail in the 52d year of his age, by the frequent attacks of the gout, to which he was subject for a great part of his life, and which was afterwards accompanied with the stone in the kidneys, and, its natural consequence, bloodyurine.
These were distempers which even the art of Sydenham could only palliate, without hope of a perfect cure, but which, if he has not been able by his precepts to instruct us to remove, he has, at least, by his example, taught us to bear; for he never betrayed any indecent impatience, or unmanly dejection, under his torments, but supported himself by the reflections of philosophy, and the consolations of religion, and in every in
terval of ease applied himself to the assistance of others with his usual assiduity.
After a life thus usefully employed, he died at his house in Pall-mall, on the 29th of December, 1689, and was buried in the aisle, near the south door of the church of St. James, in Westminster. What was his character, as a physician, appears from the treatises which he has left, which it is not necessary to epitomize or transcribe; and from them it may likewise be collected, that his skill in physic was not his highest excellence; that his whole character was amiable; that his chief view was the benefit of mankind, and the chief motive of his actions the will of God, whom he mentions with reverence, well becoming the most enlightened and most penetrating mind. He was benevolent, candid, and communicative, sincere and religious; qualities, which it were happy if they could copy from him, who emulate his knowledge, and imitate his methods.
THERE is always this advantage in contending with illustrious adversaries, that the combatant is equally immortalized by conquest or defeat. He that dies by the sword of a hero will always be mentioned when the acts of his enemy are mentioned. The man, of whose life the following account is offered to the public, was indeed eminent among his own party, and had qualities which, employed in a good cause, would have given him some claim to distinction; but no one is now so much blinded with bigotry, as to imagine him equal either to Hammond or Chillingworth; nor would his memory, perhaps, have been preserved, had he not, by being conjoined with illustrious names, become the object of public curiosity. FRANCIS CHEYNEL was born in 1603, at Oxford, where his father, Dr. John Cheynel, who had been fellow of Corpus Christi College, practised physic with great reputation. He was educated in one of the grammar schools of his native city, and in the beginning of the year 1623, became a member of the university.
It is probable that he lost his father when he was very young; for it appears, that before 1629, his mother had married Dr. Abbot, bishop of Salisbury, whom she had likewise buried. From this marriage he received great advantage; for his mother being now allied to Dr. Brent, then warden of Merton College, exerted her interest so vigorously, that he was admitted there a probationer, and afterwards obtained a fellowship.
Having taken the degree of master of arts, he was admitted to orders according to the rites of the church of England, and held a curacy near Oxford, together with his fellowship. He continued in his college till he was qualified by his years of residence for the degree of bachelor of divinity, which he attempted to take in 1641, but was denied his grace,§ for disputing concerning predestination, contrary to the King's injunctions.
First printed in The Student, 1751.—H.
This refusal of his degree he mentions in his dedication to his account of Mr. Chillingworth: "Do not conceive that I snatch up my pen in an angry mood, that I might vent my dangerous wit, and ease my overburdened spleen; no, no, I have almost forgotten the visitation of Merton College, and the denial of my grace, the plundering of my house, and little library: I know when, and where, and of whom to demand satisfaction for all these injuries and indignities. I have learnt centum plagas Spartana nobilitate concoquere. I have not learnt how to plunder others of goods, or living, and make myself amends by force of arms. I will not take a living which belonged to any civil, studious, learned delinquent; unless it be the much neglected commendam of some lordly prelate, condemned by the known laws of the land, and the highest court of the kingdom, for some offence of the first magnitude."
It is observable, that he declares himself to have almost forgot his injuries and indignities, though he recounts them with an appearance of acrimony, which is no proof that the impression is much weakened; and insinuates his design of demanding, at a proper time, satisfaction for them.
These vexations were the consequence, rather, of the abuse of learning, than the want of it; no one that reads his works can doubt that he was turbulent, obstinate, and petulant; and ready to instruct his superiors, when he most needed instruction from them. Whatever he believed, (and the warmth of his imagination naturally made him precipitate in forming his opinions,) he thought himself obliged to profess; and what he professed he was ready to defend without that modesty which is always prudent, and generally necessary, and which, though it was not agreeable to Mr. Cheynel's temper, and therefore readily condemned by him, is a very useful associate to truth, and often introduces her by degrees, where she never could have forced her way by argument or declamation.
A temper of this kind is generally inconvenient
and offensive in any society, but in a place of education is least to be tolerated; for, as authority is necessary to instruction, whoever endeavours to destroy subordination by weakening that reverence which is claimed by those to whom the guardianship of youth is committed by their country, defeats at once the institution; and may be justly driven from a society by which he thinks himself too wise to be governed, and in which he is too young to teach, and too opinionative to learn. This may be readily supposed to have been the case of Cheynel; and I know not how those can be blamed for censuring his conduct, or punishing his disobedience, who had a right to govern him, and who might certainly act with equal sincerity and with greater knowledge.
assembly of divines, who were to meet at Westminster for the settlement of the new discipline. This distinction drew necessarily upon him the hatred of the cavaliers; and his living being not far distant from the king's head-quarters, he received a visit from some of the troops, who, as he affirms, plundered his house and drove him from it. His living, which was, I suppose, considered as forfeited by his absence, (though he was not suffered to con tinue upon it,) was given to a clergyman, of whom he says, that he would become a stage better than a pulpit; a censure which I can neither confute nor admit, because I have not discovered who was his successor. He then retired into Sussex, to exercise his ministry among his friends, in a place where, as he observes, there had been little of the power of religion either known or practised. As no reason can be given why the inhabitants of Sussex should have less knowledge or virtue than those of other places, it may be suspected that he means nothing more than a place where the Presbyterian discipline or principles had never been received. We now observe that the metho
With regard to the visitation of Merton College, the account is equally obscure. Visiters are well known to be generally called to regulate the affairs of colleges, when the members disagree with their head, or with one another; and the temper that Dr. Cheynel discovers will easily Incline his readers to suspect that he could not long live in any place without finding some occa-dists, where they scatter their opinions, represent sion for debate; nor debate any question without themselves as preaching the gospel to unconcarrying opposition to such a length as might verted nations; and enthusiasts of all kinds have Inake a moderator necessary. Whether this was been inclined to disguise their particular tenets his conduct at Merton, or whether an appeal to with pompous appellations, and to imagine themthe visiters' authority was made by him or his ad-selves the great instruments of salvation; yet versaries, or any other member of the college, is not to be known; it appears only, that there was a visitation, that he suffered by it, and resented his punishment.
He was afterwards presented to a living of great value, near Banbury, where he had some dispute with Archbishop Laud. Of this dispute I have found no particular account. Calamy only says, he had a ruffle with Bishop Laud, while at his height.
Had Cheynel been equal to his adversary in greatness and learning, it had not been easy to have found either a more proper opposite; for they were both, to the last degree, zealous, active, and pertinacious, and would have afforded mankind a spectacle of resolution and boldness not often to be seen. But the amusement of beholding the struggle, would hardly have been without danger, as they were too fiery not to have communicated their heat, though it should have produced a conflagration of their country.
About the year 1641, when the whole nation was engaged in the controversy about the rights of the church, and necessity of episcopacy, he declared himself a Presbyterian, and an enemy to bishops, liturgies, ceremonies, and was considered as one of the most learned and acute of his party; for, having spent much of his life in a college, it cannot be doubted that he had a considerable knowledge of books, which the vehemence of his temper enabled him often to display, when a more timorous man would have been silent, though in learning not his inferior.
When the war broke out, Mr. Cheynel, in consequence of his principles, declared himself for the Parliament; and as he appears to have held it as a first principle, that all great and noble spirits abhor neutrality, there is no doubt but that he exerted himself to gain proselytes, and to promote the interest of that party which he had thought it his duty to expose. These endeavours were so much regarded by the Parliament, that, having taken the covenant, he was nominated one of the
it must be confessed that all places are not equally enlightened; that in the most civilized nations there are many corners which may be called barbarous, where neither politeness nor religion, nor the common arts of life, have yet been cultivated; and it is likewise certain, that the inhabitants of Sussex have been sometimes mentioned as remarkable for brutality.
From Sussex he went often to London, where, in 1643, he preached three times before the Parliament; and returning in November to Colchester, to keep the monthly fast there, as was his custom, he obtained a convoy of sixteen soldiers, whose bravery or good fortune was such, that they faced and put to flight more than two hundred of the king's forces.
In this journey he found Mr. Chillingworth in the hands of the Parliament's troops, of whose sickness and death he gave the account, which has been sufficiently made known to the learned world by Mr. Maizeaux, in his life of Chillingworth.
With regard to this relation, it may be observ ed, that it is written with an air of fearless veracity, and with the spirit of a man who thinks his cause just, and his behaviour without reproach; nor does there appear any reason for doubting that Cheynel spoke and acted as he relates: for he does not publish an apology, but a challenge, and writes not so much to obviate calumnies, as to gain from others that applause which he seems to have bestowed very liberally upon himself for his behaviour on that occasion.
Since, therefore, this relation is credible, a great part of it being supported by evidence which cannot be refuted, Mr. Maizeaux seems very justly, in his life of Mr. Chillingworth, to oppose the common report, that his life was shortened by the inhumanity of those to whom he was a prisoner; for Cheynel appears to have preserved, amidst all his detestation of the opinions which he imputed to him, a great kindness to his person, and veneration for his capacity; nor does he ap pear to have been cruel to him, otherwise than by
that incessant importunity of disputation, to which he was doubtless incited by a sincere belief of the danger of his soul, if he should die without renouncing some of his opinions.
of the church of England, were offended at the emptiness of their discourses, which were noisy and unmeaning; at the unusual gestures, the wild distortions, and the uncouth tone with which they were delivered; at the coldness of their prayers for the king, and the vehemence and ex
for the blessed councils and actions of the Parliament and army; and at, what was surely not to be remarked without indignation, their omission of the Lord's Prayer.
The same kindness which made him desirous to convert him before his death, would incline him to preserve him from dying before he was con-uberance of those which they did not fail to utter verted; and accordingly we find, that when the castle was yielded, he took care to procure him a commodious lodging: when he was to have been unseasonably removed, he attempted to shorten his journey, which he knew would be dangerous; when the physician was disgusted by Chilling-rence, and they proceeded in their plan of reformaworth's distrust, he prevailed upon him, as the symptoms grew more dangerous, to renew his visits; and when death left no other act of kindness to be practised, procured him the rites of burial, which some would have denied him.
But power easily supplied the want of reve
tion; and thinking sermons not so efficacious to conversion as private interrogatories and exhortations, they established a weekly meeting for freeing tender consciences from scruple, at a house that, from the business to which it was appropriated, was called the Scruple-shop.
Having done thus far justice to the humanity of Cheynel, it is proper to inquire how far he de- With this project they were so well pleased, serves blame. He appears to have extended none that they sent to the Parliament an account of it, of that kindness to the opinions of Chillingworth, which was afterwards printed, and is ascribed by which he showed to his person; for he interprets Wood to Mr. Cheynel. They continued for some every word in the worst sense, and seems indus-weeks to hold their meetings regularly, and to adtrious to discover in every line heresies, which might have escaped for ever any other apprehension: he appears always suspicious of some latent malignity, and ready to persecute what he only suspects, with the same violence as if it had been openly avowed: in all his procedure he shows himself sincere, but without candour,
About this time Cheynel, in pursuance of his natural ardour, attended the army under the command of the Earl of Essex, and added the praise of valour to that of learning; for he distinguished himself so much by his personal bravery, and obtained so much skill in the science of war, that his commands were obeyed by the colonels with as much respect as those of the general. He seems, indeed, to have been born a soldier, for he had an intrepidity which was never to be shaken by any danger, and a spirit of enterprise not to be discouraged by difficulty, which were supported by an unusual degree of bodily strength. His services of all kinds were thought of so much importance by the Parliament, that they bestowed upon him the living of Petworth, in Sussex. This living was of the value of 700!. per annum, from which they had ejected a man remarkable for his loyalty, and therefore, in their opinion, not worthy of such revenues. And it may be inquired, whether, in accepting this preferment, Cheynel did not violate the protestation which he makes in the passage already recited, and whether he did not suffer his resolutions to be overborne by the temptations of wealth.
In 1646, when Oxford was taken by the forces of the Parliament, and the reformation of the University was resolved, Mr. Cheynel was sent, with six others, to prepare the way for a visitation; being authorised by the Parliament to preach in any of the churches, without regard to the right of the members of the University, that their doctrine might prepare their hearers for the changes which were intended.
When they arrived at Oxford, they began to execute their commission, by possessing them selves of the pulpits; but, if the relation of Wood is to be regarded, were heard with very little veneration. Those who had been accustomed to the preachers of Oxford, and the liturgy
* Vide Wood's Hist. Antiq. Oxon.-Orig. Edit.
mit great numbers, whom curiosity, or a desire of conviction, or a compliance with the prevailing party, brought thither. But their tranquillity was quickly disturbed by the turbulence of the Independents, whose opinions then prevailed among the soldiers, and were very industriously propagated by the discourses of William Earbury, a preacher of great reputation among them, who, one day, gathering a considerable number of his most zealous followers, went to the house appointed for the resolution of scruples, on a day which was set apart for the disquisition of the dignity and office of a minister, and began to dispute with great vehemence against the Presbyterians, whom he denied to have any true ministers among them, and whose assemblies he affirmed not to be the true church, He was opposed with equal heat by the Presbyterians, and at length they agreed to examine the point another day, in a regular disputation. Accordingly, they appointed the 12th of November for an inquiry, "Whether, in the Christian church, the office of minister is committed to any particular persons?"
On the day fixed the antagonists appeared, each attended by great numbers; but when the question was proposed, they began to wrangle, not about the doctrine which they had engaged to examine, but about the terms of the proposition, which the Independents alleged to be changed since their agreement; and at length the soldiers insisted that the question should be, “Whether those who call themselves ministers have more right or power to preach the gospel than any other man that is a Christian?" This question was debated for some time with great vehemence and confusion, but without any prospect of a conclusion. At length, one of the soldiers, who thought they had an equal right with the rest to engage in the controversy, demanded of the Presbyterians, whence they themselves received their orders, whether from bishops, or any other persons? This unexpected interrogatory put them to great difficulties; for it happened that they were all ordained by the bishops, which they durst not acknowledge, for fear of exposing themselves to a general censure, and being convicted from their own declarations, in which they had frequently condemned Episcopacy as contrary to Christianity; nor durst they deny it, because they
might have been confuted, and must at once nave sunk into contempt. The soldiers, seeing their perplexity, insulted them; and went away boasting of their victory; nor did the Presbyterians, for some time, recover spirit enough to renew their meetings, or to proceed in the work of easing
Earbury exulting at the victory, which, not his own abilities, but the subtilty of the soldier had procured him, began to vent his notions of every kind without scruple, and at length asserted, that "the Saints had an equal measure of the divine nature with our Saviour, though not equally manifest." At the same time he took upon him the dignity of a prophet, and began to utter predictions relating to the affairs of England and Ireland.
His prophecies were not much regarded, but his doctrine was censured by the Presbyterians in their pulpits; and Mr. Cheynel challenged him to a disputation, to which he agreed, and at his first appearance in St. Mary's church addressed his audience in the following manner:
"Christian friends, kind fellow-soldiers, and worthy students, I, the humble servant of all mankind, am this day drawn, against my will, out of my cell into this public assembly, by the double chain of accusation and a challenge from the pulpit. I have been charged with heresy; I have been challenged to come hither in a letter written by Mr. Francis Cheynel. Here then I stand in defence of myself and my doctrine, which I shall introduce with only this declaration, that I claim not the office of a minister on account of any outwerd call, though I formerly received ordination, nor do I boast of illumination, or the knowledge of our Saviour, though I have been held in esteem by others, and formerly by myself. For I now declare, that I know nothing, and am nothing, nor would I be thought otherwise than as an inquirer and seeker."
He then advanced his former position in stronger terms, and with additions equally detestable, which Cheynel attacked with the vehemence which, in so warm a temper, such horrid assertions might naturally excite. The dispute, frequently interrupted by the clamours of the audience, and tumults raised to disconcert Cheynel, who was very unpopular, continued about four hours, and then both the controvertists grew weary, and retired. The Presbyterians afterwards thought they should more speedily put an end to the heresies of Earbury by power than by argument; and, by soliciting General Fairfax, procured his removal.
Mr. Cheynel published an account of this dispute under the title of "Faith triumphing over Error and Heresy in a Revelation," &c.; nor can it be doubted but he had the victory, where his cause gave him so great superiority.
out to a considerable length; and the papers on both sides were afterwards made public by Dr. Hammond.
In 1647, it was determined by Parliament, that the reformation of Oxford should be more vigorously carried on; and Mr. Cheynel was nominated one of the visitors. The general process of the visitation, the firmness and fidelity of the students, the address by which the inquiry was delayed, and the steadiness with which it was opposed, which are very particularly related by Wood, and after him by Walker, it is not necessary to mention here, as they relate not more to Dr. Cheynel's life than to those of his associates.
There is, indeed, some reason to believe that he was more active and virulent than the rest, because he appears to have been charged in a particular manner with some of their most unjustifiable measures. He was accused of proposing that the members of the University should be denied the assistance of counsel, and was lampooned by name as a madman, in a satire written on the visitation.
One action, which shows the violence of his temper, and his disregard both of humanity and decency, when they came in competition with his passions, must not be forgotten. The visitors, being offended at the obstinacy of Dr. Fell, Dean of Christchurch, and Vice-chancellor of the University, having first deprived him of his vice-chancellorship, determined afterwards to dispossess him of his deanery; and, in the course of their proceedings, thought it proper to seize upon his chambers in the college. This was an act which most men would willingly have referred to the officers to whom the law assigned it; but Cheynel's fury prompted him to a different conduct. He, and three more of the visitors, went and demanded admission; which being steadily refused them, they obtained by the assistance of a file of soldiers, who forced the doors with pickaxes. Then entering, they saw Mrs. Fell in the lodgings, Dr. Fell being in prison at London, and ordered her to quit them; but found her not more obsequious than her husband. They repeated their orders with menaces, but were not able to prevail upon her to remove. They then retired, and left her exposed to the brutality of the soldiers, whom they commanded to keep possession, which Mrs. Fell, however, did not leave. About nine days afterwards she received another visit of the same kind from the new chancellor, the Earl of Pem broke; who having, like the others, ordered her to depart without effect, treated her with reproachful language, and at last commanded the soldiers to take her up in her chair, and carry her out of doors. Her daughters, and some other gentlewomen that were with her, were afterwards treated in the same manner; one of whom predicted, without dejection, that she should enter the house again with less difficulty, at some other time: nor was she mistaken in her conjecture, for Dr. Fell lived to be restored to his deanery.
Somewhat before this, his captious and petulant disposition engaged him in a controversy, from which he could not expect to gain equal reputation. Dr. Hammond had not long before published At the reception of the chancellor, Cheynel, his Practical Catechism, in which Mr. Chey- as the most accomplished of the visitors, had the nel, according to his custom, found many errors province of presenting him with the ensigns of implied, if not asserted; and therefore, as it was his office, some of which were counterfeit, and much read, thought it convenient to censure it in addressing him with a proper oration. Of this the pulpit. Of this Dr. Hammond being inform-speech, which Wood has preserved, I shall give ed, desired him in a letter to communicate his ob- some passages, by which a judgment may be jections; to which Mr. Cheynel returned an an- made of his oratory. swer, written with his usual temper, and therefore somewhat perverse. The controversy was drawn
Of the staves of the beadles he observes, that "some are stained with double guilt, that some