Lives of the fellows

Richard (Sir) Blackmore

b.1653 d.9 October 1729
AB Oxon(1674) AM(1676) MD Padua FRCP(1687)

Sir Richard Blackmore, MD, was the son of Robert Blackmore, an attorney, and was born at Corsham. He received his rudimentary education at a country school, whence he was removed to St Peter’s, Westminster. He was entered at St Edmund’s hall, Oxford, 19th March, 1668; and proceeded AB 4th April, 1674, AM 3rd June, 1676. He is said to have been engaged for some short time as a schoolmaster, a circumstance with which he was in after life often reproached.(1) He travelled for a time upon the continent, for improvement in physic; visited Italy, and took his degree of doctor of medicine at Padua. Returning to England, he settled in London; was created a Fellow of the College of Physicians by the charter of king James II, and was admitted as such at the Comitia Majora Extraordinaria of 12th Apri1, 1687. He evinced an early attachment to the principles of the Revolution, a fact which recommended him to the notice and favour of king William III, who, in 1697, appointed Dr Blackmore one of his physicians in ordinary, and subsequently conferred on him the honour of knighthood. He was Censor in 1716; and was named an Elect 22nd August, 1716, in place of Dr Colebrook, deceased. Sir Richard Blackmore resigned his office of Elect, 22nd October, a year before which he had re¬tired into the country. He died at an advanced age 9th October, was buried at Boxted, Essex, in the church of which there is an elegant mural monu¬ment bearing a long inscription to the memory of his wife, Dame Mary Blackmore, and of himself. That to Sir Richard Blackmore is as follows:
Richardi Blackmore Equ Aur:
et MD
Liber ad Ædum spiritus avolat oras
Sanguinis hic recubat corpus inane meum
Judice sed Christo tandem redeunte resurgens
(Id spero) vitam non moriturus agam.
Tu quoque quæ dormis taciti Collega sepulchri
et dudum Consors chara cubilis eras
Emergens meum situi clangore tubente
Tu scandes sociâ regna beata fugâ
Dumque arces cæli Christum resonare docemus
Fundimus et Patri cantica sacra Deo
Pectora præduIcis saturabit nostra voluptas
Quæ fluit æternum pura et amore Dei Æt: 76
Ob: Octob 9, 1729.

Sir Richard was very voluminous and discursive writer, in prose and verse, on religion, history, and medicine. Leaving untouched the disputed question of his claims to the character of a poet, and making no mention of his writings in other departments of science or literature, I proceed to give a list of his medical publications:-
A Discourse on the Plague, with a prefatory account of Malignant Fevers. 8 vo. Lond. 1720.
A Treatise on the Small Pox, and a Dissertation on the Modern Practice of Inoculation. 8vo. Lond. 1723.
A Treatise on Consumptions and other Distempers belonging to the Breast and Lungs. 8vo. Lond. 1723.
A Treatise on the Spleen and Vapours, or Hypochondriacal and Hysterical Affections; with three Discourses on the Nature and Cure of the Cholic, Melancholy and Palsy. 8vo. Lond. 1725.
A Critical Dissertation on the Spleen. 8vo. Lond. 1725.
Discourses on the Gout, Rheumatism, and King’s Evil. 8vo. Lond. 1726.
Dissertations on a Dropsy, Tympany, the Jaundice, Stone, and Diabetes. 8vo. Lond. 1727.(2)

William Munk

[(1) “By nature form'd, by want pedant made
“Blackmore at first set up the whipping trade
"Next quack commenced; then fierce with pride he swore
“That toothache, gout and corns should be no more
“In vain his drugs as well as birch he tried
“His boys grew blockheads and his patients died.”
(2) Biographia Britannica, vol. ii]

(Volume I, page 467)

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