Lives of the fellows

Richard Palmer

b.? d.c.1625
AB Cambridge(1579) AM(1583) LRCP(1593) FRCP(1596/7)

Richard Palmer, M.D., was born in London, and educated at Cambridge. As a member of Christ College he proceeded A.B. 1579, when, removing to Peterhouse, he commenced A.M. 1583. He was admitted a Licentiate of the College 9th April, 1593, being then only master of arts. Where or when he graduated M.D. is not stated. He was admitted a Fellow 25th February, 1596-7; was Censor 1599, 1600, 1605, 1608, 1611, 1612, 1616, 1619; Elect 9th April, 1616, in place of Dr. Forster deceased; Treasurer, 1621 to 1624 inclusive; Consiliarius, 1624; President, 1620. He was certainly dead on the 19th April, 1625.Dr. Palmer must have stood high in the estimation of his contemporaries, for he and Dr. Gifford were called to prince Henry, the eldest son of James I., when the physicians in attendance were at variance as to the treatment. The particulars are curious, and may be here inserted from the "Desiderata Curiosa." I may premise that Sir Theodore de Mayerne was first physician to the King and Queen, and possessed their entire confidence. Dr. Atkins was also physician to the King, and had recently been President of the College. Dr. Hammond was physician in ordinary to the prince himself, and Dr. Butler, who was famed as much for his eccentricities as his skill, had been summoned from Cambridge where he resided.

"6th November, 1612. Dr. Atkins, a physician of London, famous for his practyce, honestie, and learninge, was sent for to assiste the rest in the cure. He (the Prince) got worse, whereupon bleedinge was again proposed by Dr. Mayerne and the favourers thereof, alledging that in this case of extremity they must (if they meant to save his life) proceed in the cure as though he was some meane person. This was not agreed to, and next day the physicians, chirurgeons, and apothecaryes seemed to be dismayed as men perplexed, yet the most part were of opinion that the crisis was to be seene before a final dissolution. This day a cock was cloven by the backe, and applyed to the soles of his feete. But in vayne. Shortly after it was announced that all hope was gone. His Majesty then gave leave and absolute power to Dr. Mayerne to do what he woulde of himselfe without advice of the rest; but the doctor did not, it seems, like this, for hee, weighing the greatness of the cure, and the eminencye of the danger, would not for all that adventure to doe anythinge of himself without the advice of the rest, saying that it should never be said in after ages that he had kylled the kynge's eldest sonne. Bleeding was again proposed by Mayerne, but Drs. Hamond, Butler and Atkins could not agree upon it, instead of which they doubled and tripled the cordials. Then came to assist the rest Dr. Palmer and Dr. Giffard, famous physicians for their honestie and learninge. The result of their consultation was diascordium, which was given in the presence of many honourable gentlemen." The prescription, however, was of no avail, and the unfortunate Prince died shortly after.

William Munk

[Dr Palmer was probably a Roman Catholic John Gle in A Catalogue of Popish Physicians in and about the City of London in 1624 - writes "Dr Palmer of the College much suspected" Foleys Records of the English Province of the Society of Jesus 8oo Lond. 1877 Vol.i. p.682.]
[P: See also Welwood's Memoirs, App. p.272.]

(Volume I, page 110)

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