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in Norwich, with this inscription on a mural monument, placed on the south pillar of the altar :
HIC SITUS EST
THOMAS BROWNE, M.D.
A. 1605. LONDINI NATUS
GENEROSA FAMILIA APUD UPTON IN AGRO CESTRIENSI ORIUNDUS.
SCHOLA PRIMUM WINTONIENSI, POSTEA
IN COLL. PEMBR.
APUD OXONIENSES BONIS LITERIS
HAUD LEVITER IMBUTUS.
IN URBE HAC NORDOVICENSI MEDICINAM
ARTE EGREGIA, ET FELICI SUCCESSU PROFESSUS,
SCRIPTIS, QUIBUS TITULI, RELIGIO MEDICI
ET PSEUDODOXIA EPIDEMICA ALIISQUE
PER ORBEM NOTISSIMUS
VIR PIENTISSIMUS, INTEGERRIMUS, DOCTISSIMUS;
OBIIT OCTOBR. 19. 1682.
PIE POSUIT MESTISSIMA CONJUX
Da, DOROTH. BR.
NEAR THE FOOT OF THIS PILLAR LIES
SIR THOMAS BROWNE, KNIGHT,
AND DOCTOR IN PHYSICK, AUTHOR OF RELIGIO MEDICI, AND OTHER LEARNED BOOKS,
WHO PRACTIC'D PHYSICK IN THIS CITY 46 YEARS,
AND DIED OCTOBER 19, 1682, IN THE 77 YEAR OF HIS AGE.
IN MEMORY OF WHOM
DAME DOROTHY BROWNE,
CAUSED THIS MONUMENT TO BE ERECTED.
Besides his lady, who died in 1685, he left a son and three daughters. Of the daughters nothing very remarkable is known; but his son, Edward Browne, requires a particular mention.
He was born about the year 1642; and after having passed through the classes of the school at Norwich, became bachelor of physick at Cambridge; and afterwards removing to Merton College in Oxford, was admitted there to the same degree, and afterwards made a doctor. In 1668 he visited part of Germany, and in the year following made a wider excursion into Austria, Hungary, and Thessaly; where the Turkish Sultan then kept his court at Larissa. He afterwards passed through Italy. His skill in natural history made him particularly attentive to mines and metallurgy. Upon his return he published an account of the countries through which he had passed; which I have heard commended by a learned traveller, who has visited many places after him, as written with scrupulous and exact veracity, such as is scarcely to be found in any other book of the same kind. But whatever it may contribute to the instruction of a naturalist, I cannot recommend it as likely to give much pleasure to common readers: for whether it be, that the world is very uniform, and therefore he who is resolved to adhere to truth, will have few novelties to relate; or that Dr. Browne was, by the train of his studies, led to enquire most after those things, by which the greatest part of mankind is little affected; a great part of his book seems to contain very unimportant accounts of his passage from one place where he saw little, to another where he saw no more.
Upon his return, he practised physick in London ;
6 Besides his lady, fc.] Her monument is given in the Supplementary Memoir.
was made physician first to Charles II, and afterwards in 1682 to St. Bartholomew's hospital. About the same time he joined his name to those of many other eminent men, in “ A translation of Plutarch's lives." He was first censor, then elect, and treasurer of the college of physicians; of which in 1705 he was chosen president, and held his office, till in 1708 he died in a degree of estimation suitable to a man so variously accomplished, that King Charles had honoured him with this panegyrick, that “He was as learned as any of the college, and as well bred as any of the court."
Of every great and eminent character, part breaks forth into public view, and part lies hid in domestic privacy. Those qualities which have been exerted in any known and lasting performances, may, at any distance of time, be traced and estimated; but silent excellencies are soon forgotten; and those minute peculiarities which discriminate every man from all others, if they are not recorded by those whom personal knowledge enabled to observe them, are irrecoverably lost. This mutilation of character must have happened, among many others, to Sir Thomas Browne, had it not been delineated by his friend, Mr. Whitefoot, who “esteemed it an especial favour of Providence, to have had a particular acquaintance with him for two thirds of his life.” Part of his observations I shall, therefore, copy.?
? copy.) Mr. Whitefoot's being the “ Some Minutes for the Life of Sir earliest existing biographical sketch of Thomas Browne, by John Whitefoot, M.A. our author, and the work of a contempo- late Rector of Heigham, in Norfolk. rary, and an intimate friend, I had felt “ Had my province been only to preach strongly disposed to print it entire, rather a funeral sermon for this excellent perthan give Dr. Johnson's extracts. But son, I might, perhaps, have been allowed, as he has omitted only the commence- upon such a singular occasion, to have ment, and two or three paragraphs in the chosen my text out of a book, which midst, I have thought it better to present though it be not approved to be canoniDr. Johnson's Biography just as it stood, cal, yet is not permitted only, but ordered supplying bis omissions in notes. Here to be read publickly in our church, and follow the introductory paragraphs, thus for the eminent wisdom of the contents, headed :
well deserving that honour, I mean that of Syracides, or Jesus, the son of Syrach, precept, that is said to have come down commonly called Ecclesiasticus, which, from heaven, quãdo GÉQUTOV, ‘Know thyin the thirty-eighth chapter, and the first self.' Two things there are in nature, verse, hath these words : • Honour a phy. which are the greatest impediments of sician with the honour due unto him ; for sight; viz. nearness and distance of the the uses which you may have of him, for object, but of the two, distance is the the Lord hath created him; for of the greater ; in ordinary cases every man is most High cometh healing, and he shall
“For a character of his person, his complexion and hair was answerable to his name, his stature was moderate, and habit of body neither fat nor lean, but ενσάρκος. .
“In his habit of clothing, he had an aversion to all finery, and affected plainness, both in the fashion and ornaments. He ever wore a cloke, or boots, when few others did. He kept himself always very warm, and thought it most safe so to do, though he never loaded himself with such a multitude of garments, as Sue
too near himself, others are too far disreceive honour of the King ?' (as ours tant from him, to observe his imperfecdid that of knighthood from the present tions; some are greater strangers to king, when he was in this city.) “The themselves than they are to their neighskill of the physician shall lift up his bours; this worthy person had as comhead, and in the sight of great men shall plete an intelligence of himself as any be in admiration.' So was this worthy other man, and much more perfect than person by the greatest men of this nation most others have, being a singular obthat ever came into this country, by
server of every thing that belonged to whom also he was frequently and person- himself, from the time that he became ally visited.
capable of such observation, whereof he “ But a further account of his extraor. hath given several remarkable instances dinary merits, whereby he obtained so
in his Religio Medici, of which I shall great a degree of honour from all that have occasion to speak more hereafter. knew him, remains to be given in the
“I ever esteemed it a special favour of history of his life. And had that been
Divine Providence to have had a more written by himself, as hath been done by particular acquaintance with this excelmany eminent persons, both antient and lent person, for two thirds of his life, modern, Hebrews, Greeks, Latins, and than any other man that is now left others, *
would not only have gratified, alive; but that which renders me a wilbut obliged, the world beyond what is ling debtor to his name and family, is the possible to be done by any other hand, special obligations of favour that I had much more by that, into which (upon from him above most men. divers particular obligations) that task is
“ Two and thirty years, or therefallen : "For what man knows the things abouts, of his life was spent before I had of a man, save the Spirit of a Man, which
any knowledge of him, whereof I can is in him.'t And though that must give no other account than I received from needs know more of any man, than can his relations; by whom I am informed, be known by others, yet may it be, and that he was born in the year 1605, in the generally is, (being blinded with that city of London." original sin of self-love,) very defective in ( Then follows the text, to foot of the habit and practice of that original
* Moses, Josephus, Antoninus, Cardan, Junius, Bishop Hall, &c.
+1 Cor. ii, 11.