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by [?]

The following account of the late Dr. Boerhaave, so loudly celebrated, and so universally lamented through the whole learned world, will, we hope, be not unacceptable to our readers: we could have made it much larger, by adopting flying reports, and inserting unattested facts: a close adherence to certainty has contracted our narrative, and hindered it from swelling to that bulk, at which modern histories generally arrive.

Dr. Herman Boerhaave was born on the last day of December, 1668, about one in the morning, at Voorhout, a village two miles distant from Leyden: his father, James Boerhaave, was minister of Voorhout, of whom his son [34], in a small account of his own life, has given a very amiable character, for the simplicity and openness of his behaviour, for his exact frugality in the management of a narrow fortune, and the prudence, tenderness, and diligence, with which he educated a numerous family of nine children: he was eminently skilled in history and genealogy, and versed in the Latin, Greek, and Hebrew languages.

His mother was Hagar Daelder, a tradesman’s daughter of Amsterdam, from whom he might, perhaps, derive an hereditary inclination to the study of physick, in which she was very inquisitive, and had obtained a knowledge of it, not common in female students.

This knowledge, however, she did not live to communicate to her son; for she died, in 1673, ten years after her marriage.

His father, finding himself encumbered with the care of seven children, thought it necessary to take a second wife, and in July, 1674, was married to Eve du Bois, daughter of a minister of Leyden, who, by her prudent and impartial conduct, so endeared herself to her husband’s children, that they all regarded her as their own mother.

Herman Boerhaave was always designed, by his father, for the ministry, and, with that view, instructed by him in grammatical learning, and the first elements of languages; in which he made such a proficiency, that he was, at the age of eleven years, not only master of the rules of grammar, but capable of translating with tolerable accuracy, and not wholly ignorant of critical niceties.

At intervals, to recreate his mind and strengthen his constitution, it was his father’s custom to send him into the fields, and employ him in agriculture, and such kind of rural occupations, which he continued, through all his life, to love and practise; and, by this vicissitude of study and exercise, preserved himself, in a great measure, from those distempers and depressions, which are frequently the consequences of indiscreet diligence and uninterrupted application; and from which students, not well acquainted with the constitution of the human body, sometimes fly for relief, to wine instead of exercise, and purchase temporary ease, by the hazard of the most dreadful consequences.

The studies of young Boerhaave were, about this time, interrupted by an accident, which deserves a particular mention, as it first inclined him to that science, to which he was, by nature, so well adapted, and which he afterwards carried to so great perfection.

In the twelfth year of his age, a stubborn, painful, and malignant ulcer, broke out upon his left thigh; which, for near five years, defeated all the art of the surgeons and physicians, and not only afflicted him with most excruciating pains, but exposed him to such sharp and tormenting applications, that the disease and remedies were equally insufferable. Then it was, that his own pain taught him to compassionate others, and his experience of the inefficacy of the methods then in use, incited him to attempt the discovery of others more certain.

He began to practise, at least, honestly, for he began upon himself; and his first essay was a prelude to his future success, for having laid aside all the prescriptions of his physicians, and all the applications of his surgeons, he at last, by tormenting the part with salt and urine, effected a cure.