Lives of the fellows

Isaac Schomberg

b.? d.4 May 1780
MD Leyden MD Cantab(1749) LRCP(1765) FRCP(1771)

Isaac Schomberg, M.D., is now remembered only for his lengthened contest with the College of Physicians. He was the eldest son of Meyer Low Schomberg, M.D., a Licentiate of the College, and received his early education at Merchant Taylors’ school, but his medical studies were pursued at Leyden, where he took his degree of doctor of medicine. Returning to England,he commenced practice in London under the auspices of his father, and in February, 1745-6, was summoned by the Censors’ board to present himself for examination as a Licentiate. This he declined to do; and in place of appearing, sent a letter of excuse, which (to quote the words of the Annals) was judged improbable and indecent. There can be little doubt that he was incited to this course by his father, who at that period was under the heavy displeasure of the College, having recently been convicted by the Censors of some very disreputable conduct to a professional brother, for which he had been fined and censured. My space will not allow me to give a full account of all the circumstances which ensued: suffice it to say, that in the early part of 1747, Dr. Isaac Schomberg was entered at Trinity college, Cambridge; and on the 3rd April in that year he appeared before the Censors to notify the fact, and at the same time request that he might be permitted to practise until he should have taken his degree at Cambridge. This, under the circumstances, was, not unnaturally, refused; and the College, to whom the matter had been referred by the Comitia Minora of 25th June, 1747, ordered that he should be formally interdicted practice "till he shall have given proper satisfaction to the President and Censors." On the 21st July, 1749, Dr. Schomberg was created doctor of medicine at Cambridge by royal mandate, and shortly afterwards applying for leave to be examined, it was resolved by the College "that the Censors be desired not to examine him until such time as his prohibition from practice be taken off, upon making proper satisfaction to the President and Censors." On the 1st December, 1749, he came before the Censors’ board and proffered an explanation of his former conduct, with an apology, which, although deemed sufficient by some of the board, was not so regarded by all. He again attended on the 2nd February, 1749-50, and on this occasion demanded his examination for admission into the order of Candidates as a right derived from his Cambridge degree. The examinations were allowed—the Censors, however, reserving their opinion as to the right—and he was found fully competent for practice. At the Comitia Majora next ensuing, the College negatived his admission as a Candidate by a very large majority. The interdict on his practice still continued. He made repeated applications for admission as a Candidate, but was as frequently refused; he was told, however, that if he required a licence to practise, he was at liberty to apply to the College for that purpose. This he declined to do; whereupon he preferred his appeal to the Visitors appointed under the charter of Charles II, which they at first entertained, but afterwards dismissed, on the ground that they had in reality no jurisdiction. The doctor, thus foiled in his endeavours to enforce admission as a right, then expressed himself ready to solicit it as a favour, on the terms which the College had previously offered; but they, having incurred the expense of a protracted litigation, now refused to concede it. On the 23rd December, 1765, he was admitted a Licentiate of the College. It was not until after the lapse of many years that the feeling engendered by these occurrences was removed. In the meantime, the elder Schomberg had died; many of the fellows who had been most concerned had also departed; and Dr. Isaac Schomberg’s conduct had, it would seem, been correct and conciliatory; and with the view, doubtless, of marking their approval, the College eventually determined to admit him to the much-coveted Fellowship. He was admitted a Fellow 30th September, 1771; was Censor in 1773 and 1778; and died at his house, in Conduit-street, on the 4th May, 1780. His portrait, by Hudson, was engraved by Sherlock.

William Munk

(Volume II, page 295)

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