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to have stood among the first of the profession minister for his liberation; it is at least certain in point of character and einployment.
that he constantly visited him in the Tower, When the plague of Marseilles in 1719 had attended his patients, and was one of his bail occasioned a great alarm in England, the se when enlarged. cretary of state, Craggs, applied to Dr. Mead In 1727 Dr. Mead was appointed physician for his opinion of the most effectual method of in ordinary to George II.“ His occupations preventing the contagion from spreading to this were now so numerous that he had little leisure country. In
In consequence of this application for writing; and it was not till 1747 that he he drew up “A short Discourse concerning published a treatise “ De Variolis et Morbillis," Pestilential Contagion and the Method to be which he had sketched near thirty years before. used to prevent it,” 1702, octavo, in which he Indeed his attention to the treatment of the decidedly maintained the doctrine, which had smallpox was of a much earlier date ; for it apbeen disputed in France, of the infectious pears from Dr. Freind's letter on the use of nature of the plague, and laid down a plan of purgatives in the secondary fever of the concutting off the communication by lazarettos fluent smallpox, that Mead had communicated and other means of seclusion. He was also in to him his sentiments on that practice in 1712. strumental in preventing the ravages of another This work contains many valuable observations contagious disease, the smallpox: for, being on both the diseases which are its subject, with physician to the family of the prince of Wales warm commendations of the practice of ino(afterwards George II.), he was directed in culation. There is subjoined to it a Latin trans1721 to assist at the experiment of the newly lation from the Arabic, of the commentary on proposed practice of inoculation, performed the smallpox by Rhazes, a copy of the manuon some criminals; and his report of it was so script of which, Mead had obtained from Leyfavourable that it contributed much to its in den by the means of Boerhaave. It was chiefly troduction.
through his solicitations that after many delays As no physician was ever more attentive to Mr. Sutton obtained an order for providing the support the credit of the profession by practis- king's ships with his machine for the extraction ing it in the most honourable manner, and of foul air from the hold; and to the descripa associating with it the character of a friend tion of it published by the inventor in 1749 he and patron of learning, so he publicly asserted added a "Treatise on the Scurvy,” in which he its dignity in early times, in his “Harveian ascribes that fatal disease to moisture joined to Oration" pronounced before the college in 1723. putridity. In the same year he published his In this piece he considered its condition among “Medicina sacra, seu de Morbis insignioribus the Greeks and Romans, and attempted to qui in Bibliis memorantur," ociavo. It was the prove that the healing art was exercised by se- purpose of this work to consider on medical veral Roman families of distinction. To his principles the diseases recorded in the Scriporation, when printed, was added a dissertation tures, and to account for them as much as poson some coins struck by the people of Smyrna sible on natural grounds. In particular, he in honour of physicians. This publication supported the opinion maintained by some called forth an answer from Dr. Conyers Mid- divines, that the demoniacs mentioned in the dleton, who undertook to prove the servile con- New Testament were only melancholic, insane dition of the ancient physicians; and a contro or epileptic persons. Whatever be thought of versy was so by foot, in which Dr. Mead en
his success in these reasonings, it can scarcely giged on his sidė Dr. Ward, the rhetoric-pro- be doubted that his purpose was to remove fessor Giesham college. On the whole, the objections which had been made against the areight of erudition seemed to be in favour of sacred historians. :Middle ain's put the dispute was conducted in His concluding work was “ Monita et Præ
Biz hodourable to both parties. In the cepta Medica,” 1751, octavo, the legacy of his same year he gave an example of the conduct. mature experience to his brethren of the proproper to be observed from one member of a fession. In this volume he shows himself inliberal profession to another, though a rival in clined to the Stahlian theory of morbific matter; fame and business, by the services he rendered the substance of the work is, however, entirely to Dr. Freind, who had been committed to the practical, consisting of detached observations Tower on suspicion of being concerned in on a variety of diseases and medicines, many Atterbury's plot. (See the article FREIND). He of which have been adopted by modern pracis supposed to have been very urgent with the titioners. It is written, as well as his other
Latin works, in a pure and classical style. It corresponded with La Lande, whom he was de. was frequently reprinted, and was translated rous of assisting in his labours. At that pe. into English. The infirmities of age from this riod of his life, La Lande sent him the priof time rendered him incapable of farther exer- sheets of his “ Astronomy," and informs us tions, and he sunk quietly under debility in that he was then capable of discovering and February 1754, in the eighty-first year of his correcting errors in them. In 1772, Mechain age. He was interred in the Temple church, was invited to Paris, where he was employed and a monument to his memory was erected by by M. Zanoni at the depôt of the marine, his son in Westminster abbey. He was twice and assisted M. Darquier in correcting his obmarried, but had issue only by his first wife, of servations. . Here his merit brought him acwhich, one son and three daughters survived quainted with M. Doisy, director of the depôt, him. Two of his daughters were married to who gave him a more advantageous situation at eminent physicians, sir Edward Wilmott, and Versailles. At this place he diligently observed Dr. Frank Nicholls.
the heavens, and in 1774, sent to the Royal The medical character has rarely obtained Academy of Sciences a“ Memoir” relative to more respectability than in the person of Dr. an eclipse of Aldebaran, observed by him on Mead. He was not only in high and general the fifteenth of April, which was honoured esteem on account of his professional skill, but with the approbation of that body. He calcuhe stood in the very first rank as a patron of lated the orbit of the comet of 1774 ; and disscience and polite literature. His ample in- covered that of 1781. From this time he concome was expended in a noble and hospitable tinued to render constant service to the science way of living, in gratuities to men of learning of astronomy. In 1782, he gained the prize and the encouragement of learned publications, of the Academy on the subject of the comet, and in the collection of scarce and valuable of 2661, the return of which was eagerly exbooks and manuscripts, and literary curiosities of pected in 1790; and in the same year he was which no individual of his time in this king- admitted a member of the Academy, and soon dom possessed so choice a museum. Of these selected for the superintendence of the “ Contreasures he made the most liberal use, freely noissance des Tems.” That work he conducts admitting learned men of all countries to see ed with distinguished ability, enriching it and examine them, whom he likewise enter- every year with his labours ; by which means tained at his table and treated with singular ur- the volumes from 1788 to 1794, are perhaps banity. The enlargement of his mind was superior to any that have appeared since the shewn by his total disregard of party in the commencement of the work in 1679. In the choice of friends, or of objects for his patron- year 1790, M. Mechain discovered his eighth age ; and though he was in principle attached comet, and communicated to the Academy his to the political system which produced the observations on it, together with his calcularevolution and the accession of the house of tions of its orbit. In 1792, he undertook, conHanover, he cultivated an intimacy with several jointly with M. Delambre, the labour of meaeminent persons of opposite politics. He held suring the degree’s of the meridian, for the a correspondence with many distinguished purpose of more accurately determining the foreigners, and was constantly visited by all magnitude of the earth and the length of a strangers whom the love of science and letters
an undertaking which La Lande procalled into England.
nounces not to be worth the time which it The collected works of Dr. Mead have fre- cost those able astronomers, and to be lamentquently been published in various countries of ed from the injury which it occasioned to Europe. A French translation of them by science by hastening their deaths. It was an Coste, 1774, two volumes octavo, is esteemed enterprize, however, which was eagerly urged for its numerous notes. Biogr. Britan. Hal- by M. Borda, to demonstrate the advantage of leri Bibl. Med. et snatom.--A.
his whole circles, which he had brought into MECÆNAS. See MÆCÆNAS.
very general use, and of which he considered MECHAIN, Peter FRANCIS ANDREW, a himself to be the inventor. very able French mathematician and astrono. In the month of June 1792, M. Mechain set mer in the eighteenth and the beginning of the out to measure the triangles between Perpigpresent century, was born at Laon, in the year nan and Barcelona; and, notwithstanding that 1744. At an early age he discovered a strong the war occasioned a temporary suspension of inclination for mathematical pursuits, and while his labours, he was enabled to resume and he was yet under the instructions of his tutors, complete them during the following year.
While further prosecuting his undertaking, he the year 1586. When he was about ten years met with an accident which greatly affected of age, both he and his father fell sick of the his constitution, and obliged him to return to smallpox, which proved fatal to the latter ; Perpignan at the conclusion of the year 1795. after which the superintendence of Joseph's Afterwards he encountered a variety of hard- education devolved on a Mr. Gower, his moships on the dangerous summits of the Pyre- ther's second husband, who sent him to school. nees, and experienced numerous difficulties till He was instructed in grammar-learning, first he was joined by M. Delambre in 1798; of at Hoddesdon in Hertfordshire, and afterwards which a relation is given by La Lande in his at Weathersfield in Essex.
While he was at “ Bibliography.” Having returned to Paris to- this last school, during a visit which he paid to wards the close of the year last mentioned, London, he bouglat Bellarmine's “ Hebrew he was for a long time occupied in drawing Grammar;" and though his master, who was up an account of liis labours; and he was af- ignorant of that language, told him that it was terwards employed in arranging the observa- not a book fit for him, yet so great was young tory, for which La Lande, when he was direct- Mede's thirst for knowledge, that in a little time or, had procured a mural quadrant worthy of he attained no small skill in the Hebrew tongue. his care. Undaunted by the hardships which he Encouraged by his promising parts, and assie' had undergone, and the injury which his health duous industry, in the year 1602, his friends sent had sustained, M. Mechain was desirous of him' to Christ's-college in the university of prolonging the meridian to the island of Yvica, Cambridge, where, by his extraordinary talents, that the forty-fifth parallel inight be in the application, and proficiency, he attracted the middle of the total arch. On this design he notice not only of his own college, but of the quitted Paris in 1805 ; and after his arrival in whole university, notwithstanding that he had Spain, took infinite trouble in fixing upon all an uncommon impediment in his speech, which the stations where he was to make his obser- prevented him from displaying his learning and vations. Having finished at Espadan, in the abilities to advantage. By patience and persemonth of August, he set out for the station of verance, however, he in time attained a consiDesierto, near cape Oropesa. This was the derable degree of mastery over this infirmity. fourth station, and he hoped to complete his In the year 1610, he was admitted to the deobservations at the four others during the same gree of M. A. ; at which time he had made so year. Unhappily, however, he was attacked uncommon a progress through the various deby the summer-fever, occasioned by the ex- partments of academical studies, that he was halations from the rice-grounds, which annu- universally esteemed a most accomplished schoally proves fatal to multitudes of persons on the lar. He was, it is said, an acute logician, coast of Valencia. To this disease he fell a an accurate philosopher, a skilful mathemavictim on the twentieth of September, at Cas- tician, a great philologer, a master of many tellon de la Plana, in the sixty-second year of languages, an excellent anatomist, and a good his age. La Lande deplores his loss, as that proficient in history and chronology. Of his of not only one of the best French astronomers, learning he gave a specimen in a Latin treatise, but one of the most laborious, the most cou “de Sanctitate relativa,&c.' addressed to bishop rageous, and the most robust. His last obser- Andrews; which in his maturer years he cenvations and calculations of the eclipse of the sured as a juvenile performance, and therefore sun on the eleventh of February, are inserted in never published it. However, that celebrated the “ Connoissance des Tems” for the year prelate, who was a consummate judge and fifteen; and he also published a great number patron of learning, was so well pleased with it, in the “ Ephemerides” of M. Bode of Berlin, that he made the author an offer of the situawhich he preferred to the former work, after tion of his donic-stic chaplain; which Mr. La Lande became its editor. A more exten- Mede gratefully declined, esteeming the liberty sive memoir of his labours may be seen in of pursuing his studies above any hopes of Baron Zach's " Journal” for July preferment, and the freedom which he enjoyed 1800. La Lande's Hist. of Astronomy for in his cell, by which term he used cheerfully 1804.-M.
to call his college-apartment, as the crown of MEDE, JOSEPH, one of the most learned his nost ambitious wishes. This disposition, English divines who flourished in the seven- indeed, he had discovered while a school-boy : teenth century, was descended from a respect-, when, having been sent for by his uncle, Mr. able family, and born at Berden in Esses, in Richard Mede, a merchant, who had no chile
dren, and offered to adopt him for his son, if greatest entertainments, was to meet and conhe would live with himn; he refused the offer, verse with men eminent for their literary aca preferring, even then, a life of study to any lu- quirements. His principal delight, however, crative advantages. Some time after he had was in his study, where his enquiries were ditaken his degree of M. A. he was elected fel- rected to the most abstruse branches of learnlow of his college, through the particalar in- ing, and to subjects the most remote from comterest of bishop Andrew's, having been repeat- mon investigation. In his younger years, he edly passed over when vacancies had occurred, spent no little time and labour in sounding the owing to a suspicion which was entertained of depths of astrological science, and he blotted his being favourable to puritanical principles. much paper in calculating the nativities of his He now became an eminent and faithful col near relations and fellow students ; but his lege-tutor, and adopted an excellent method of good sense led him afterwards to be convinced teaching his pupils the exercise of their reason of the vanity and folly of this fanciful art. ing powers.
After he had grounded them well When he relinquished it, he applied to the in the classics, logic, and philosophy, by fre- study of history and antiquities, particularly of quent conversations with them he ascertained those mysterious sciences which made the anwhat particular studies they might respectively cient Chaldeans, Egyptians, and other nations, be employed in to the greatest advantage ; and, so famous; tracing them, as far as he could instead of constantly confining himself and have any light to guide him, in their oriental them to precise hours for le tures, he set each schemes and figurative expressions, and likeof them a daily task. In the evening, when wise in their hieroglyphics. He also studied they all came to his rooms, the first question the oneirocritics of the ancients, conceiving which he was accustomed to ask each of them in that their labours would be found useful in his order was, “Quid dubitas ?” What doubes illustrating the language of the prophets. His have occurred to you in your studies to-day? classical and mathematical studies, likewise, he For he was of opinion, that to doubt nothing, made subservient to his acquiring a more perwas nearly the same with understanding no fect knowledge of divinity; as he did his curithing. After hearing and answering their ous and laborious researches into antiquities doubts, examining their progress, and shewing relating to religion, whether the Pagan, Jewthem how to proceed in their future enquiries, ish, Christian, or Mahometan. In short, he it was his practice to recommend them and cultivated most diligently every branch of their studies to the divine protection and bless- learning, sacred and profane, which could furing, and then to dismiss them to their apart- nish him with assistance in obtaining an intiments. Soon after his election to the fellow- mate knowledge of the sacred writings. How ship, Mr. Mede was appointed Greek lecturer well he succeeded in the application of his rich on sir Walter Mildmay's foundation; which stores of various literature to this great design, office, by leading him to make Homer his fre- his writings bear sufficient testimony. In the quent text book, made him perfectly conver year 1618, Mr. Mede took the degree of bachesant in that author. He was also a diligent lor of divinity; but his great modesty and collator of the Greek with the Hebrew, Chal- humility prevented him from proceeding to dee, and Syriac, and made himself familiarly the degree of doctor. In the year 1627, he acquainted with the peculiar idioms of all published at Cambridge, in quarto, his “Clathose languages. So entirely did he devote vis Apocalyptica, ex innatis et insitis Visionum himself to the study of all useful knowledge, Characteribus eruta et demonstrata ;” to which that he made even the time which he spent in he added, in 1632, “In sancti Joannis Apocahis recreations subservient to the acquisition lypsin Commentarius, ad amussim Clavis Apoor improvement of it. For, as the chief exer- calypticæ.” This “ Clavis'' was afterwards recise which he allowed himself was walking, when , printed at London, and in English, in 1650, he was abroad with others in the fields, or in quarto. Both these pieces were received with the college-garden, he would take occasion to great approbation, in England, and in foreign expatiate on the beauty, distinguishing charac- countries; where they were considered, by ters, and useful properties of the plants which the ablest and most dispassionate judges, as they met with ; and he is said to have been a containing the most rational and satisfactory curious Aorist, an accurate botanist, as far as explanation of those obscure prophecies, so far the science was then understood, and profound- as they had at that time been fulfilled. And ly skilled in the book of nature. One of his they have contributed materially to assist the
His own pru
enquiries of the most judicious commentators he was sensible that it had great difficulties to since his time, both at home and abroad, who surmount, yet he thought it feasible. He was have endeavoured to throw light on the book of not so extravagant as to imagine, that it would revelation.
"ever be brought to pass by a full decision of In the year 1627, likewise, an honourable the controversies ; but only by abating of that tribute of respect was paid to the merits of vast distance which contention hath made, and Mr. Mede, by his being elected to the provost approaching the differences so near, as that ship of Trinity-college, Dublin, on the parti- either party may be induced to tolerate the cular recommendation of his intimate friend, other, and acknowledge them for brethren and archbishop Usher. This dignity our author's members of the same body." modest diffidence in his own powers, and his dence and moderation, either in declaring or aversion to being placed in a situation which defending his private opinions, were very rewould force him from his beloved studies to markable ; and he was a friend to freedom of mix in the bustle of the world, led him to de- enquiry. He was accustomed to say, that “he cline ; as he did also when it was offered him a never found himself prone to change his hearty second time, in the year 1630. His highest affection to any one for mere difference in ambition was, only to have had some small opinion.” “ I cannot believe,” said he, “ that sine-cure added to his fellowship, or to have truth can be prejudiced by the discovery of been placed in some collegiate church, or rural truth ; but I fear that the maintenance thereof deanery; where, retired from the noise and by fallacy or falsehood may not end with a tumult of the world, and possessed of a com- blessing: With these sentiments and dispopetent support, he might have pursued his sitions, he must have viewed with concern and studies without interruption. When, there- abhorrence the tyrannical and persecuting profore, a report was propagated that he was made ceedings of Laud against the Puritans; and his chaplain to the archbishop of Canterbury, he mind appears to have been impressed with a thus expressed himself in a letter to a friend : melancholy foreboding of the dreadful cala“ that he had lived, till the best of his time was mities, in which they greatly contributed soon spent, in tranquillitate et secessu; and now that afterwards to involve his country. But he did there is but little left, should I,” said he, “ be not live to see these evils, as he died on the so unwise, suppose there were nothing else, as first of October 1638, when in the fifty-second to enter now into a tumultuous life, where I year of his age, having spent more than two should not have time to think my own thoughts, thirds of his days in studious retirement at his and must of necessity displease others, or my- college. self? Those who think so, know not my dispo In person, Mr. Mede was middle sized, and sition in this kind to be as averse, as some per- well proportioned. His eye was full, lively, haps would be ambitious.” Though possess- and sparkling. His countenance was grave ing only the narrow income arising from his and sedate, and such as commanded reverence; fellowship and college-lecture, Mr. Mede was but at the same time tempered with an engaguncommonly generous and charitable, invari- ing sweetness. Of his great and extensive ably devoting a tenth part of it to pious and learning, his indefatigable application, his benevolent purposes. That he might be ena ardent thirst for knowledge, and his freedom bled to do so, he constantly exercised the ut- from ambition, the preceding narrative affords most frugality and temperance. He carefully sufficient evidence. His piety also was ardent avoided every occasion of unnecessary expence; and rational, and his morals irreproachable and and when he saw others lavishly squandering exemplary. He was free from pride, anger, more than their circumstances could afford, he and selfishness; and eminent for his meekness, used to say, that “they wanted the estimative patience, and every other virtue. As a comfaculty." What he eat and drank was rather panion, he was friendly, affable, and cheerfor the sake of satisfying nature, than of in. ful, and he would frequently intermix with his dulging his appetite, and seldom consisted of conversation much inoffensive pleasantry. any thing more than his college-commons. The Among the instances of his pointed or lively generous design of bringing about an union sayings, and of his facetiousness, the following among all Protestants, was a subject which are recorded by the author of the appendix to frequently employed his thoughts, as appears his life. “He who cannot hold his tongue, from letters which passed between him and the can hold nothing." Those fellow-commoners celebrated John Dury and others; and though who came to the university merely for the