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he did not like, nay, what he knew would injure him, rather than go home with an idea that his skill had been exerted without recompence. "Had," said Johnson, "all his patients maliciously combined to reward him with meat and strong liquors, instead of money, he would either have burst, like the dragon in the Apocrypha, through repletion, or have been scorched up, like Portia, by swallowing fire."-But let not from hence an imputation of rapaciousness be fixed upon him. Though he took all that was offered him, he demanded nothing from the poor, nor was known, in any instance, to have enforced the payment of even what was justly his due.

His person was middle-sized and thin; his visage swarthy, adust, and corrugated. His conversation-except on professional subjects-barren. When in dishabille, he might have been mistaken for an alchymist, whose complexion had been hurt by the fumes of the crucible, and whose clothes had suffered from the sparks of the furnace.

Such was Levett, whose whimsical frailty, if weighed against his good and useful qualities, was—

"A floating atom, dust that falls unheeded
Into the adverse scale, nor shakes the balance."

I am, Sir,


Your most humble servant, &c.

Just after Mr. Levett's death, Dr. Johnson sent Dr. Lawrence the following account of it:


Jan. 17, 1782.

OUR old friend Mr. Levett, who was last night eminently cheerful, died this morning. The man who lay in the same room, hearing an uncommon noise, got up, and tried to make him speak, but without effect. He then called Mr. Holder, the apothecary, who, though when he came he thought him dead, opened a vein, but could draw no blood. So has ended the long life of a very useful and very blameless


1785, Feb.

I am, Sir, your most humble servant,


XXXVII. Biographical Memoirs of FRANK NICHOLLS, M.D.

DR. Frank Nicholls was born in London, in the year 1699. His father was a barrister at law. Both his parents were of good families in Cornwall. They had two other sons and a daughter. The eldest son, William, was bred a merchant, but never pursued business. The youngest son and daughter both died young.

Frank, after receiving the first rudiments of his educa tion at a private school in the country, where his docility and sweetness of temper endeared him equally to his master and his school-fellows, was in a few years removed to Westminster, and from thence to Oxford, where he was admitted a commoner (or sojourner) of Exeter college, under the tuition of Mr. John Haviland, on March 4, 1714. There he applied himself diligently to all the usual academical studies, but particularly to natural philosophy and polite literature, of which the fruits were most conspicuous in his subsequent lectures on physiology. After reading a few books on anatomy, in order to perfect himself in the nomenclature of the animal parts then adopted, he engaged in dissections, and then devoted himself to the study of nature, perfectly free, and unbiassed by the opinions of others.

On his being chosen Reader of Anatomy in that university, he employed his utmost attention to elevate and ilJustrate a science, which in this country had been long depressed and neglected, and by quitting the beaten track of former lectures, and minutely investigating the texture of every bowel, the nature and order of every vessel, &c. he gained a high and a just reputation. He did not then reside at Oxford, but, when he had finished his lectures, used to repair to London, the place of his abode, where he had determined to settle. He had once an intention of fixing in Cornwall, and for a short time practised there with great reputation; but being soon tired of the fatigues attendant on that profession in the country, he returned to London, bringing back with him a great insight, acquired by diligent observation, into the nature of the miliary* fever, which was attended with the most salutary effects in his subsequent practice at London.

About this time he resolved to visit the Continent, partly

* So called from the eruptions resembling ripe millet-seed.

with a view of acquiring the knowledge of men, manners, and languages, but chiefly to acquaint himself with the opinion of foreign naturalists on his favourite study. At Paris, by conversing freely with the learned, he soon recommended himself to their notice and esteem. Winslow's was the only good system of physiology at that time known in France, and Morgagni's and Santorini's of Venice, in Italy, which also Dr. Nicholls soon after visited. On his return to England, he repeated his physiological lectures in London, which were much frequented, not only by stu dents from both the universities, but also by many surgeons, apothecaries, and others. Soon after, his new and successful treatment of the miliary fever, then very prevalent in the southern parts of England, added much to his reputa tion. In 1725, at a meeting of the Royal Society, he gave his opinion on the nature of Aneurisms,* in which he dis sented from Dr. Friend, in his History of Physic.

At the beginning of the year 1728, he was chosen a fel low of the Royal Society, to which he afterwards commu nicated the description of an uncommon disorder (published in the Transactions), viz. a polypus resembling a branch of the pulmonary vein (for which Tulpius has strangely mis taken it) coughed up by an asthmatic person. [He also made Observations (in the same volume of the Transactions) on a Treatise by M. Helvetius, of Paris, on the Lungs.] Towards the end of the year 1729, he took the degree of M. D, at Oxford. On his return to London, he underwent an examination by the President and Censors of the College. of Physicians, previous to his being admitted a candidate, which every practitioner must be a year before he can apply to be chosen a fellow, Dr. Nicholls was chosen into the College on June 26, 1732, and, two years after, being elected Gulstonian Reader of Pathology, he made the structure of the heart, and the circulation of the blood, the subject of his lectures.

In 1736, at the request of the President, he again read the Gulstonian lecture, taking for his subject those parts of the human body which serve for the secretion and discharge of the urine, and the causes, symptoms, and cure of the dis eases occasioned by the stone.

In 1739, he delivered the anniversary Harveian Oration.

*A disease in the arteries, in which, either by a preternatural weakness of any part of them, they become excessively dilated, or by a wound through their coats, the blood is extravasated amongst the adjacent cavities. Sharp. In the orifice there was a throbbing of the arterial blood, as in an aneurism. Wiseman,

In 1743, he married Elizabeth, youngest daughter of the celebrated Dr. Mead, by whom he had five children, two of whom died young. Two sons and a daughter survived him.

In 1748, Dr. Nicholls undertook the office of Chirurgical Lecturer, beginning with a learned and elegant Dissertation on the Anima Medica.* About this time, on the death of Dr. John Coningham, one of the Elects of the College, Dr. Abraham Hall was chosen to succeed him, in preference to our author, who was his senior, without any apparent reason. With a just resentment, he immediately resigned the office of Chirurgical Lecturer, and never afterwards attended the meetings of the fellows, except when business of the utmost importance was in agitation.

In 1751, he took some revenge in an anonymous pamphlet, intituled, "The Petition of the Unborn Babes to the Censors of the Royal College of Physicians of London,' in which Dr. Nesbitt [Pocus], Dr. Maule [Maulus], Dr. Barrowby [Barebone], principally, and Sir Wm. [Browne], Sir Edward [Hulse], and the Scots, incidentally, are the objects of his satire.]

In 1753, on the death of Sir Hans Sloane, Bart. in bis ninety-fourth year, Dr. Nicholls was appointed to succeed him as one of the king's physicians, and held that office till the death of his royal master in 1760, when this most skilful physician was superseded to make way for one who, not long before, had been an army surgeon, of the lowest class. By this exchange the upstart rose to dignity and riches.

Quales ex humili magna ad fastigia rerum
Extollit quoties voluit Fortuna jocari,

The offer of a pension, which, it was suggested, he might have had if he would ask it, Dr. Nicholls rejected with disdain.

The causes, &c. of the uncommon disorder of which the late king died, viz. a rupture of the right ventricle of the heart, our author explained in a letter to the Earl of Macclesfield, president of the Royal Society, which was published in the Philosophical Transactions, Vol. L.

[In 1772, to a second edition of his Treatise "De Animâ Medica," he added a Dissertation "De Motu Cordis et Sanguinis, in Homine nato et non nato," inscribed to his learned friend and coadjutor, the late Dr. Lawrence.]

* On Dr. Stahl's system. See Dr. Cullen's Preface to his "First Lines of Physic," p. xii. &c.

Tired at length of London, and also desirous of superintending the education of his son, he removed to Oxford, where he had spent, most agreeably, some years in his youth. [It is remarkable that he resided in the house that had been occupied by Bishop Berkeley, and for the same purpose] But when the study of the law recalled Mr. Nicholls to London, he took a house at Epsom, where he passed the remainder of his life in a literary retirement, not inattentive to natural philosophy, especially the cultivation of grain, and the improvement of barren soils, and contemplating also with admiration the internal nature of plants, as taught by Linnæus.

His constitution never was robust. In his youth, at Oxford, he was with difficulty recovered from a dangerous fever by the skill of Doctors Frampton and Frewen; and afterwards at London he had often been afflicted with a catarrh, and an inveterate asthmatic cough, which, returning with great violence at the beginning of the year 1778, deprived the world of this valuable man on January 7, in the eightieth year of his age.

Dr. Lawrence, late president of the College of Physi cians, who gratefully ascribed all his physiological and medical knowledge to his precepts, and who, while he lived, loved him as a brother, and revered him as a parent, two years after printed, and gave to his friends, a few copies of an elegant Latin Life* of Dr. Nicholls (with his head prefixed, a striking likeness, engraved by Hall, from a model of Gosset, 1779), from which the above particulars are chiefly extracted. The few that are added are inclosed within crotchets, thus [ ].

1785, Jan.


Anecdotes of PARTRIDGE, the Almanack-Maker.


Mortlake, Jan. 1.

IN the church-yard of this parish, lies buried the famous Doctor Partridge, under whose name an almanack is still

"Franci Nichollsii, M. D. Georgii Secundi, Magnæ Britanniæ Regis, Medici Ordinarii, Vita, cum Conjecturis ejusdem de Natura et Usu Partium Humani Corporis Similarium. Scriptore Thoma Lawrence, M. D. e Collegio Sanctæ Trinitatis, Oxon. et Collegii Medicorum Londinensis Socio. Lond. quarto, 1780. pp. 106.”

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