Lives of the fellows

Robert Wright

b.? d.16 September 1646
MD Leyden(1642) MD Cantab(1642-3) FRCP(1643)

Robert Wright, MD, was born in London. Having had the misfortune, while yet a youth, to lose both his parents, and to be left perfectly destitute of means, he entered the service of Dr Fludd (Robertus de Fluctibus), the Rosicrucian philosopher and physician, in Coleman-street, City. Here he was chiefly engaged as amanuensis; but, having some spare time, he devoted it to the study of languages and philosophy.

On the death of Dr Fludd, in 1637, he was commended by certain friends to the notice of Dr Fox, at that time President of our College, who, seeing in the young man promise of future excellence, and pitying his forlorn condition, generously took upon himself the charge of his maintenance and education. The latter, Dr Fox himself superintended, directing him first to botany, and then to anatomy, human as well as comparative. In these studies he made most rapid progress; and so gratified was his patron, Dr Fox, with his young friend and protégé, that on his death, in 1642, he bequeathed to him the amount necessary for his admission to the College of Physicians.

For the rest, and for the further direction of his studies, he was confided by Dr Fox to the good offices of Dr Hamey, who sent Mr Wright to Leyden, where he was permitted, by the intercession of Dr Hamey and other influential persons to present himself at once for examination, and proceeded doctor of medicine 11th September, 1642. (DMI de Lue Venerea.) He passed his examinations at the Censors’ board in the autumn of the same year, and having been incorporated at Cambridge, on his Leyden degree, 15th February, 1642-3, he was admitted a Candidate of the College of Physicians 6th March, 1642-3, and a Fellow 11th November, 1643. This promising physician was named Gulstonian lecturer for 1647, but did not live to perform the duties of that office, and died 16th September, 1646.(1)

William Munk

[(1) Dr Hamey’s account of his friend is so interesting and instructive, that the following extract, though long, will not be out of place “Reversus (à Leida) continuò petit Cantabrigiam, confirmando Doctoratûs titulo; mox etiam Londini, causâ subeundi examinis Censorum, nomen dat Collegio: quibus omnibus ritè peractis, conduit ædes, vale me et vade, satis lautas, bellèque instruit, semitamque pristinam anatomicæ industriæ et famæ insistit; nec multò post Annam Boteler, Thomæ et Gulielmi, Equitum Auratorum, filiam et sororem ambit ducitque, filiamque cognominem ex illâ suscipit, fidejubente uxore meâ in baptismo. Interea nomen ejus, supra annorum sortem, per urbem crebrescit, et a Chirurgis in prælectorem anatomicum, et a Collegio nostro ad prælectionem Gulstonianam eligitur a quo etiam in Harvæi professoris anatomici locum destinatur. Praxi etiam abundare cœpit, speciosus ipse, comis, lepidus, nitidus, sedulusque et gnarus, præsertim ob prosectionum peritiam, quâ non solum bene audiebat, sed etiam in ægrorum morte, ne male audiret satis cavit, aperto mox cadavere, et patefactâ adstantium oculis necessitate moriendi. Quâ nonnunquam de causâ, licet juvenis, facilius quàm seniorum doctissimi, querimonias orborum evasit: hi enim sæpè, præ dolore, rationi non auscultant, cùm interim oculis suis abrogare fidem non soleant, et præ anatomici spectaculi admiratione, nescio quo abrepti, ejulare desinant. Eâdem etiam non rarò de causâ, licet prius non admotus curæ laborantium, accersitur tamen posteà, ubi de causâ morbi medicis aut amicis minus constabat, ad defunctorum anatomen. Et hâc denique causâ paulatim cum primariis medicis adhibetur in consultationem, obviâ prorsus illatione: ilium tantopere in omne morborum genus cadaveribus versatum, momentum aliquod afferre posse, ad eruendum effectum, si non ad profligandum: unde contigit, ut vixdum trimulus Doctor (quod mihi sine arrogantiâ dictum esse voluit) mille admodum Coronatus annuo spacio lucraretur. Verumenimvero, tot quotidie obeundis, totque cum expectatione non parvâ susceptis negotiis, hinc stimulante gloriâ, illinc invitante auro, corpus nostri nuper Collegæ plurimum attritum est, accedente in cumulum intestino malo, perpetuâ valetudine uxoris, quâ paucissimæ quas somno tribuere solebat horas plerumque interturbabantur, cum gravi illius incommodo, quem semper obnoxium maciei, et non ita pridem tabi, refici non minus somno oportuisset quàm cibo. Tam imbecilli tororum vallo munitum, decimo Septembris, anno hujus sæculi 46, acutissima febris oppugnat, vim suam virusque prodens, oborto in sinistrâ axillâ tumore, et sexto post die, irritis auxiliaribus amicorum copiis, expugnat, tam exsucco corpore, cum quovis antidoto, prorsus impari tantæ hostis impressioni.”]

(Volume I, page 235)

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