Lives of the fellows

Jonathan Goddard

b.c.1617 d.24 March 1674/5
MB Cantab(1638) MD(1643) FRCP(1646) MD Oxon(1651/2) FRS(1663)

Jonathan Goddard, MD, was the son of Henry Goddard, a wealthy ship-carpenter, of Deptford, and was born at Greenwich in or about the year 1617. He was entered a commoner of Magdalen hall, Oxford, in 1632; and, after staying there three or four years, left the university without taking any degree. He then travelled for a time upon the continent, and on his return proceeded MB 1638, MD 1643, at Cambridge, as a member of Catherine hall. He was admitted a Candidate of the College of Physicians 22nd December, 1643, and a Fellow 4th November, 1646. He read the Gulstonian lectures in 1648; was Censor in 1660, 1661, 1664, 1665, 1666, 1668, 1670, 1672; and was named Elect 7th March, 1671-2.

For some few years after his admission to the College he practised in London, but was then appointed first physician to the army, and in that capacity accompanied Oliver Cromwell to Ireland in 1649, and to Scotland the following year, returning to London with Cromwell after the battle of Worcester, September, 1651. He was appointed warden of Merton college, Oxford, 9th December, 1651 - “auspiciis parliamentariis, sed nunquam socius vel scholaris fuit,” - says Wood; and was incorporated MD in that university 14th January, 1651-2. Cromwell was then chancellor of Oxford, and returning to Scotland in order to incorporate that kingdom into one commonwealth with England, he appointed Dr Goddard, with four others, to act as his delegates in all matters relating to grants or dispensations that required his assent. This document bore date 16th October, 1652. His powerful patron having dissolved the Long Parliament, called a new one in 1653, named the Little Parliament, wherein the warden of Merton sat sole representative of the university, and was appointed one of the council of state the same year.

Such a series of honours and favours bestowed by the protector, whose interests Dr Goddard constantly promoted, could not fail of bringing him under the displeasure of Charles II who, shortly after the Restoration, removed him from his wardenship, by a letter dated 3rd July, 1660, and, claiming the right of nomination during the vacancy of the see of Canterbury, appointed another warden. The new warden was Dr Edward Reynolds, then chaplain to the king, and soon after bishop of Norwich, who was appointed expressly as successor to Sir Nathaniel Brent, no notice being taken of Dr Goddard. Driven thus from Oxford, he removed to Gresham college, where he had been chosen professor of physic 7th November, 1655.

Here he frequented those meetings which gave birth to the Royal Society; and upon its establishment by royal charter in 1663, he was nominated one of the first council. Owing to the great fire of 1666, which consumed the Royal Exchange, our professor with the rest of his brethren, had to remove from Gresham college, to make room for the merchants who assembled there. In 1671 he returned to his lodgings in the college, where he continued prosecuting experiments in philosophy till his death.(1) Dr Goddard was a good practical chemist and the inventor of certain volatile drops, the Guttæ Goddardianæ vel Anglicanæ, as they were termed on the continent, long in great repute and commended by Sydenham, who gave them a preference over all other volatile spirits whatsoever, for “energetically and efficaciously attaining the end, for which they are applied.”

Dr Goddard is said also to have made with his own hands the first telescope ever constructed in this country. He was accustomed to meet a select number of friends at the Crown tavern, in Bloomsbury, where they discoursed on philosophic subjects. Returning thence, in the evening of 24th March, 1674-5, he was seized with an apoplectic fit, which was almost immediately fatal. He was buried in the middle of the chancel of Great St Helen’s Bishopsgate. Dr Goddard was a warm supporter of the rights of his order, and a fearless exposer of the abuses of apothecaries. He was the author of -
Observations concerning the nature and similar parts of a Tree. Fol. Lond. 1664.
The Fruit Tree’s Secrets. 4to. Lond. 1664.
A Discourse concerning Physick and the many Abuses thereof by Apothecaries. 8vo. Lond. 1668.
Discourse setting forth the unhappy condition of the Practice of Physic in London. 4to. Lond. 1669.

Besides these, several papers of his are to be found in the “Philosophical Transactions.”(2)

William Munk

[(1) Dr Seth Ward, afterwards bishop of Salisbury, who knew Dr Goddard well testifies to his extensive learning, professional skill, generous disposition, and benevolence to all good and learned men. In the treatise “In Ismael Bulliardi Astronomiæ Philolaicæ fundamenta, Inquisitio brevis.” 4to. Oxon. 1653, which Ward dedicated to Dr Goddard when warden of Merton college, he writes:- “Tu in omni literarum genere excellens, in physica rerumve naturalium cognitione profundissimè versatus, in rebus chymicis Collegii Me¬dicorum Londinensis judicio peritissimus, in lingnis eruditis omnibus accurate doctus, quinetiam in medicina practica præclarus atque felicissimus, in rebus civilibus summa prudentia atque integritatis gloria clarissimus. Etiam in mathematicis teipsum maxime cum laude exercuisti. Diu est, ex quo telescopia præstantissima primus, quantum ego scio, Anglorum ipse fecisti. Nempe, tu laminas, globulos, instrumenta omnia, sumptu tuo parasti, tu operarios conduxisti; tu opus universum consilio, ingenio, atque mathematicarum artium scientiâ juvasti et gubernasti. Neque rerum jucundissimarum praxi contentus, ea, quæ a communi hominum sensu remotioræ sunt geometria atque astronomia, speculatus es.” Ward’s Gresham Professors, p. 271.
(2) Wood's Athenæ Oxon.]

(Volume I, page 240)

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