Lives of the fellows

Thomas Dover

b.? d.c.1741
MB Cantab(1687) LRCP(1721)

Thomas Dover, M.B. — This extraordinary character was a native of Warwickshire, and a bachelor of medicine of Cambridge of 1687.(1) He was an acquaintance and friend, probably a pupil, of the great Sydenham, in whose house he resided. After taking his degree he settled at Bristol, and, having made money there, joined with some merchants of that city in fitting out two privateers for the South Seas, in one of which, the "Duke," he himself sailed from Bristol 2nd August, 1708. On the passage out they touched at the island of Juan Fernandez, where Dover, on the 2nd February, 1708-9, found Alexander Selkirk, who had been alone on the island for four years and four months, and whom Dover brought away in the "Duke." In the April following Dover took Guiaquil, a city or town of Peru, by storm. In December, 1709, the two privateers took a large and valuable prize—a ship of 20 guns and 190 men— into which Dover removed from the "Duke," taking Alexander Selkirk with him as master, and finally reaching England in October, 1711.(2) On Dover’s return to England he resumed practice at Bristol, and from the number of patients he says he visited each day daring an epidemic fever, must have obtained the confidence of the inhabitants of that city. Sometime about 1721 he settled in London; and on the 30th September of that year was admitted a Licentiate of the College of Physicians. He resided in Cecil-street, Strand, where he continued for some years, but in the latter part of 1728 he returned to Gloucestershire (to what part is not stated in his work), and there remained for four or five years, when he finally settled in London, and fixed his abode in Lombard-street, but attended regularly at the Jerusalem coffee-house, to which he had his letters addressed, and where he would seem to have received most of his patients. In 1736 he moved westward, to Arundel-street, Strand, where he probably died in the latter part of 1741, or beginning of 1742, as his name disappears from the College list of the last-named year. His "Ancient Physician’s Legacy to his Country" is well known. It was a work very popular out of the profession, and in the course of a few years ran through a large number of editions. To Dr. Dover we are indebted for the valuable powder of opium and ipecacuanha, which is still known by his name.

William Munk

[(1) So I was informed by the late Mr. C. H. Cooper, the learned author of the Athenœ Cantabrigienses. The degree is not given in the Graduati Cantabrig.
(2) A Cruising Voyage round the World. First to the South Sea, thence to the East Indies, and homewards by the Cape of Good Hope; begun in 1708 and finished in 1711. By Captain Woodes Rogers. 2nd Edition. 8vo. Lond. 1718]

(Volume II, page 79)

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