Lives of the fellows

Nathaniel Hodges

b.13 September 1629 d.10 June 1688
AB Oxon(1651) AM(1654) MD(1659) FRCP(1672)

Nathaniel Hodges, MD, was born at Kensington, 13th September, 1629, and was the son of the vicar of that place, Dr Thomas Hodges, afterwards dean of Hereford. He was educated at St Peter’s, Westminster, whence he was elected in 1646 to Trinity college, Cambridge, but in 1648 was appointed by the parliamentary visitors a student of Christ church, Oxford. As a member of that house he took the two degrees in arts, AB 13th February, 1651; AM 31st May, 1654; when, turning his attention to physic, he accumulated his degrees therein, proceeding doctor of medicine 20th June, 1659.

Settling in London, he was admitted a Candidate of the College of Physicians 30th September, 1659, and a Fellow 2nd April, 1672. He was Censor in 1682,(1) and Harveian Orator in 1683. Dr Hodges acquired a great name among the citizens of London; for when Sydenham and almost all the other physicians fled from the metropolis during the plague, he remained at his post and continued in unremitting attendance on the sick. He himself was twice attacked with the disease. During the latter part of his life he received a regular stipend from the city of London, for the performance of his charitable office.

Latterly, Dr Hodges fell into reduced circumstances, was confined in Ludgate prison for debt, and died there 10th June, 1688.(2) He is commemorated in St Stephen’s church, Walbrook, by a monument bearing the following inscription:-
Disce dies numerare tuos, nam præterit ætas
Furtivo pede, sinceram fugit umbra quietem,
Quærens mortales nati ut succumbere possint,
A tergo lector, dum spiras victima mortis;
Ignoras horam quâ te tua fata vocabunt;
Marmora dum spectas, perit irrevocabile tempus.
Hie jacet in tumulo NATHANIEL HODGES, medicus,
In spe cælorum, nunc terræ filius, olim
Qui fuit Oxonii, scriptis de peste superstes.
Natus Sept 13, A D 1629.
Obiit 10 Junii, 1688.

Dr Hodges was the author of -
Vindiciæ Medicinæ et Medicorum: an Apology for the Profession and Professors of Physic. Lond. 8vo. 1660.
Λοιμολογια, sive Pestis nuperæ apud Populum Londinensium grassantis Narratio Historica. 8vo. Lond. 1672;
a translation of which into English, by Dr John Quincy, appeared in 1720. In 1721 was published, 8vo. Lond. -
A Collection of very valuable and scarce Pieces relating to the last Plague in 1665;
among which is -
An Account of the first rise, progress, symptoms, and cure of the Plague, being the Substance of a Letter from Dr Hodges to a person of quality. Dated from his house in Watling Street, 8th May, 1666.
This narrative is valuable, and is the most authentic account of the Great Plague which we possess.

William Munk

[(1) Dr Hodges, in the year he was Censor, gave to the College a fire engine:- “1682. Dec. xxii. Machina D D Hodges hydraulica ad incendium extinguendum in bonam partem a Societate accipiebatur, quindecim libris de subscriptione suâ eo nomine illi concessis.”
(2) “Dum peste gravi inclementer hujus civitatis afflictæ domus omnis funebri fere ploratu resonaret, et plurimi homines spe vitæ destituti, morbo intenti misere decubuerint, eodemque sæpe in dormitorio mortuus alter, ingemens et alter suspirio mortis, lugubri spectaculo et modis plane miserandis animas efflarent. Tristes hæc rerum facies a medendo plurimos et ab ægrorum ministerio quam plures absterrebat at non Hodgesio, non Glissono aliisque nostratibus prostravit penîtus spem, attamen non sine gravissimo ipsorum sane mutuo affectu animos quidem erexit ut humanorum atrocissimum maloram Pestis averteretur suis remediis opem ferendo ægros hilari vultu invisendo et suavitate verborum eos demulcendo et vota operamque suppliciis muliebribus præstantiorem pro hominum sanitate faciundo. Hodgesius insuper ad novos casus veterum consiliorum rationibus prodesse volens, aureum de Peste tractatum in posterorum usum conscripsit ex quo innotesceret, quemadmodum venturos id genus morbos medicamine oppugnare conveniret. Quales igitur et a nobis non ipse mereatur honores qui tot subiit pericula, qui tantis sese objecit discriminibus, qui tam gravia et injucunda propter humanitatem perpessus est, qui tantas demum molestias propter benevolentiam sustentaverat. Hic tamen idem, heu! sicut in depictis tabellis Belisarius, observatum sese, ab amicis desertum et inopiæ miseriis adopertum, advesperascente jam vitâ, tandem experiebatur. Sed moribunda libertate publica alget inter homines ingenii aut virtutis amor.” Eulogium Medicum sive Oratio Anniversaria Harvæana habita die xviii Oct. 1760, Auctore Richardo Brocklesby, pp. 10 and 11.]

(Volume I, page 361)

<< Back to List