Lives of the fellows

William (Sir) Paddy

b.1554 d.December 1634
MD Leyden LRCP(1590) MD Oxon FRCP(1591)

Sir William Paddy, M.D., was a native of Middlesex, educated first at Merchant Taylor's school, and subsequently at St. John's College, Oxford, whence he passed over to Leyden and there proceeded doctor of medicine. He was examined at the College of Physicians for a licence, and approved 23rd December, 1589, but was not sworn and admitted a Licentiate until the 8th May following (1590). He was admitted a Fellow 25th September, 1591. "He stands in the public register of the university," says Wood, "as twice incorporated at Oxford, viz., 22nd October, 1591, and 11th July, 1600." He was Censor in 1595, 1597, 1598, 1599, 1600, Elect 25th October, 1606, in place of Dr. Langton, deceased; was Consiliarius 1615, 1619, 1621, 1622, 1624, 1629, 1630, 1631, 1633, 1634; and President 1609, 1610, 1611, 1618.

We are told by Wood that Sir William was esteemed one of the prime physicians of his time; was physician to king James I, from whom he received the honour of knighthood, and was highly valued by the chief men of his faculty, especially by Sir Theodore de Mayerne, then confessedly at the head of his profession in London.

Of the esteem in which he was held by his colleagues in the College, our Annals afford abundant proof. One instance may suffice. In 1614, when some members of the College had been required to find arms, Sir William Paddy, accompanied by the registrar, Dr. Lister, was deputed to appear on behalf of the College before the Lord Mayor, the Recorder Sir Henry Montague, and the Court of Aldermen, and plead in virtue of certain Acts of Parliament complete immunity for all the Fellows, Candidates, and Licentiates from the charge of service for men or armour. Sir William argued the point at considerable length, and with so much effect, that the Recorder was convinced, and the immunity claimed was judicially confirmed. A correct Catalogue of the Members of the College, Fellows, Candidates and Licentiates, then forty-one in number, was requested by the Court, lest others, not of the College, should claim a privilege to which they were not entitled.

Sir Willliam Paddy died in December, 1634, and was buried in the chapel of St. John's college, Oxford, where a monument has the following inscription: -
Memoriæ Sacrum
GULIELMI PADDÆI, animæ incomparabilis, hujus Collegii
Commensalis, doctoratu in Medicinâ, equestris dignitatis
splendore ornati: quorum utrique major ipse splendor.
Vixit annos LXXX, quando vitâ, quam tamdiu arti suæ debuit,
satiatus: vice tot animarum quas ipse morti eripuerat,
tandem poscitur; mortem tamen et tunc quâ licuit
elusit, vitæque studuit, quam noluit naturæ, vel ultra
arti suæ nisi benefaciendi, debere; Bibliothecam libris adeo
instruxit, ut Bodleianam tantum non provocare posset;
Organa pneumatica, quæ preces cælo solennius
commendarent, sacravit; libras ---- in chorum
erogandas legavit, cum ipse jam cælestem chorum esset
aucturus: Inspuer -- libras in studiosorum dedit
alimenta: cum ea fecisset, quibus quantuscunque
angustus est tumulus, Magnæ Britanniæ salus mundum
pro suâ arte jussit, bene valere nobisque, quibus adeo
benefecit, reliquit tamen plorare.
Obiit Decemb. anno salutis MDCXXXIV.

Sir William left to the College of Physicians twenty pounds, which was paid in March, 1635. His portrait in his doctor's robes is at St. John's College, Oxford, to which it was presented by William Gibbons, M.D., a fellow of that house and of our own college(1).

William Munk

[(1) "Gulielmus Paddy, eques auratus, medicus, socius, ac Collegii aliquoties Præses senectam diem obiit anno 1634, sub initium Decembris. Vir quem Lipsius, Thorius, Mayernius, extra temporis injuriam, editis elogiis posuerunt. Ille suâ ad Brunium medicum nostratem, Harvæi socerum, epistolâ cum Paddæus Leydæ promotus ad suos reverteretur: Thorius in suis de Pæto: ac Mayernius novissimè in elegantissima præfatione ad Muffetti Insecta: quemque meritô suô Parens meus dilexit, coluitque ac in mutuis colloquiis prædicare solebat unice." Bustorum aliquot Reliquiæ, authore Bald. Hamey, M.D.]

[New Scientist 23 Oct 1969: William Paddy, physician, born 1554, entered Merchant Taylors School in 1569 and among his schoolfellows were Lancelot Andrewes, Giles Thomson and Thomas Dove who later became bishops respectively of Winchester, Gloucester and Peterborough. Paddy went on to St John's College, Oxford, and then Leyden, and duly became a fellow of the Royal College of Physicians, where he eventually became president no less than four times.
Paddy's only published work appeared in 1603, some Latin verses lamenting the death of Queen Elizabeth and praising her successor as a Solomon, which caused James I to appoint him his physician and to knight him.
When James I came to Oxford Paddy argued before him against two scientific medical theses of great interest at the time: "Whether the morals of nurses are imbibed by infants with the milk", and "Whether smoking tobacco is favourable to health". The King had personal worries about the former and strong feelings on the latter; Paddy's practice grew even larger. But when James became acutely ill Paddy did have the courage to warn him of the end; the king died two days later.
In 1614 Paddy argued before the Lord Mayor that "physicians are by their science chirurgeons without further examination", which gained his college immunity from arms bearing.
Paddy died in 1634, leaving a fortune to his Oxford college - derived, as well as his medical practice, from his post as commissioner for garbling (sifting the refuse from) tobacco.]

(Volume I, page 100)

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