Lives of the fellows

Gideon Harvey

b.c.1669 d.1754
MD Leyden(1690) MD Cantab(1698) FRCP(1702/3)

Gideon Harvey, M.D., was born about the year 1669, and on the 12th May, 1688, was inscribed on the philosophy line at Leyden. He graduated doctor of medicine at Leyden in 1690 (D.M.I, de Febre Ardente, 4to), and was created doctor of medicine at Cambridge (per literas Regias) in 1698 as a member of Catherine hall. Dr. Gideon Harvey was admitted a Candidate of the College of Physicians 3rd April, 1699, and a Fellow 22nd March, 1702-3. He was Censor in 1714, 1726 ; Consiliarius in 1736, 1737, 1742, 1743, 1744, 1747, and was named an Elect in 1716. He died in 1754 or the following year, being then the father of the College. Dr. Harvey held the lucrative appointment of physician to the Tower of London. " About the latter end of king Williams reign," says Mr. Wadd, " there was a great debate who should succeed the deceased physician to the Tower. The contending parties were so equally matched in their interests and pretensions that it was extremely difficult to determine which should have the preference. The matter was at length brought to a compromise, and Gideon Harvey was promoted to that office for the same reason that Sextus V was advanced to the pontificate, because he was in appearance sickly and infirm, and his death was expected in a few months. He, however, survived not only his rivals, but all his contemporary physicians, and died after he had enjoyed his sinecure above fifty years."(1)

William Munk

[(1) Gideon Harvey, the physician to the Tower, is not to be confounded, as has hitherto been done, and was so by me in the former edition, with another person of his name, probably his father, Gideon Harvey, M.D., the author of the "Conclave of Physicians," and many other small books of questionable character, who was not of our London College. This Gideon Harvey, M.D., senior, was born about 1637, and educated in the Low Countries, where he acquired a good knowledge of Latin and Greek. He was admitted at Exeter college, Oxford, but left that university without taking a degree. Going thence to Leyden, where I meet with him in January, 1657, he studied under Vander Linden, Vanhorne, and Vorstius, all teachers of acknowledged excellence. He was taught chemistry by a German then residing at Leyden, and there also he learned the practical part of surgery and the business of an apothecary. After this he visited France, and on his return to Holland was appointed physician in ordinary to king Charles II, then in exile. On the title page of one of his books, " A New Discourse of the Small Pox and Malignant Fevers," 16mo., Lond., 1685, he styles himself, "in the time of the Rebellion, Fellow of the College of Physicians at the Hague." Harvey subsequently returned to England, and was shortly sent to Flanders, as physician to the English army there ; but getting tired of his appointment he resigned his commission, travelled through Germany into Italy, spent some time at Padua, Bologna, and Rome, and then returned through Switzerland and Holland to England. He had probably taken a doctor’s degree at Leyden, ere leaving that university. The date of his death thus far escapes me. His books, which were numerous, attained a certain notoriety in their day, but were never esteemed by the profession. He seems, says one account of him, to have been "an hypothetical prater throughout, and to have differed just as much from his great namesake, the discoverer of the circulation, as a quack differs from a true physician." The following list includes the chief of his publications :—
Archeologia Philosophica Nova, or New Principles of Philosophy. 4to. Lond. 1668.
A Discourse of the Plague. 4to. Lond. 1665.
Morbus Anglicus, or the Anatomy of Consumptions. 12mo. Lond. 1666.
Little Venus Unmasked, or a perfect discovery of the French Pox. 12mo. Lond. 1671.
Great Venus Unmasked, or a more exact discovery of the Venereal Disease. 8vo. Lond. 1672.
De Febribus Tractatus theoreticus, et practicus præcipuè, quo Praxin curandarum Febrium continuarum modernam esse lethiferam et barbaram abundè patefit. 8vo. Lond. 1672.
The Disease of London, or a New Discovery of the Scurvy. 8vo. Lond. 1674.
The Conclave of Physicians, in two Parts, detecting their Intrigues, Frauds, and Plots against their Patients, &c. 12mo. Lond. 1683.
The Family Physician and the House Apothecary. 18mo. Lond. 1676.
A Memorable Case of a Nobleman ; moreover the Art of Curing the most dangerous of Wounds by the first Intention. 8vo. Lond. 1685.
The Art of Curing Diseases by Expectation. 12mo. Lond. 1689.
The Vanities of Philosophy and Physic. 3rd edit. 8vo. Lond. 1702.
A Treatise of the Small Pox and Measles. 12mo. Lond. 1696.
His portrait, probably at Exeter college, Oxford, was engraved by Pierre Phillippe]

(Volume II, page 10)

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