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trait of him was painted by Sir Joshua Reynolds, and from it a mezzotinto was scraped, the print whereof, as he was little known, sold only to his friends; a singular use however was made of it: Bell, the publisher of the English poets, caused an engraving to be made from it, and prefixed it to the poems of Mr. John Dyer.
I have been thus particular in the history of this accomplished and hopeful young man, whom I once loved with the affection of a brother, with a view to shew the tendency of idleness, and 'to point out at what avenues vice may gain admittance in minds seemingly the most strongly fortified. The affailable part of his was laxity of principle: at this entered infidelity, which was followed by such temptations to pleasure as he could see no reason to resist: these led on desires after the means of gratification, and the pursuit of them was his destruction.
M'Ghie was a Scotchman by birth, and educated, in one of the universities of that country, for the profeffion of physic. In the rebellion in 1745, he, with a party
young men who, as volunteers, had affociated on the side of government, bore arms, and was engaged in the skirmish at Falkirk, which he ever spoke of as an ill-conducted business. When matters were become pretty quiet in Scotland, he took a doctor's degree, and came to London, where, trusting to the friendship of his countrymen he hoped to succeed in practice, but the town was overstocked with Scotch physicians, and he met with small encouragement, though, by the favour of Dr. Benjamin Avery, the treasurer of Guy's hospital, who had
been a diffenting teacher, and at that time was at the head of that interest, he got to be elected one of the physicians of that charity. He was a learned, ingenious, and modeft man ; and one of those few of his country whom Johnson could endure. To fay the truth, he treated him with great civility, and may almost be said to have loved him. He inherited a patrimony too small for his subsistence, and failing in his hope of getting forward in his profession, died of a broken heart, and was buried by a contribution of his friends.
Barker, being by education a disenter, was sent to study physic at Leyden, from whence he returned about the time I am speaking of. He was introduced to us by Dyer, and had been a fellow-student with him and with Akenside, Askew, Munckley, Mr. Dyson of the house of commons, and others, few of whom are now living. From the conversation of these persons, he learned the principles of lord Shaftefbury's philosophy, and became, as most of them were, a favourer of his notions, and an acute reasoner on the subject of ethics. He was an excellent classical scholar, a deep metaphysician, and had enriched his fancy by reading the Italian poets ; but he was a thoughtless young man, and in all his habits of dress and appearance so novenly as made him the jest of all his companions. Physicians in his time were used to be full dressed; and in his garb of a full suit, a brown tye-wig with a knot over one shoulder, and a long yellow-hilted sword, and his hat under his arm, he was a caricature. In his religious principles he professed himself an unitarian, for which Johnson so often
snubbed him, that his visits to us became less and lefs frequent. After such a description as that above, it is needless to add that Barker succeeded ill in his profession. Upon his leaving us, he went to practise at Trowbridge in Wiltshire, but at the end of two years returned to London, and became librarian to the college of physicians, in the room of Edwards the ornithologit; but for some misbehaviour was displaced, and died in obscurity.
Dr. Richard Bathurst was a native of Jamaica, and the son of an eminent planter in that island, who coming to settle in England, placed his son in Londo:1, in order to qualify him for the practice of phyfic. In the course of his studies he became acquainted with Johnson, and was greatly beloved by him for the pregnancy of his
parts and the elegance of his manners. Besides these he pofleffed the qualities that were most likeiy to recommend him in his profesion; but, wanting friends, could make no way in it. He had just interest enough to be chosen physician to an hospital that was supported by precarious donations, and which yielded him little or no recompence for his attendance, which, as it was only a few hours on certain days in the week, left him, in a great measure, mafter of his time. Of this he was a good manager, emplossit in the studies reiative to his profession, and the improvement of himself in polite literature. In conjunction with Johnson, Hawkesworth, and others, he wrote the Adventurer,' a periodical paper that will hereafter be spoken of, pursuing at the fanie time the most prudent and probable methods for acquirins reputation and advancing himself in his profefion; but missing of success, he embraced the
offer of an appointment of physician to the army that was sent on the expedition against the Havannah, where, soon after his arrival, he was seized with a fever that then raged among the troops, and which, before he could be a witness of the reduction of the place, put a period to an innocent and useful life.
The Spaniards have a proverb, that he who intends to be pope must think of nothing else. Bathurst thought of becoming an eminent London physician, and omitted no means to attain that character: he studied hard, dressed well, and associated with those who were likely to bring him forward, but he failed in his endeavours, and shortly before his leaving England confessed to Johnson, that in the course of ten years' exercise of his faculty, he had never opened his hand to more than one guinea.
The failure of three such persons as those abovementioned, in a profession in which very many ignorant men have been known to succeed *, was matter of wonder to Johnson and all that knew them. He obeyed that precept of Scripture, which exhorts us to honour the physician, and would frequently say of those of this country, that they did more good to mankind, without a prospect of reward, than any profession of men whatever. Bathurst's want of encouragement affected him much : he often expressed to me his surprize, that a young man of his endowments and engaging manners, should succeed no better, and his disappointment drew from him a reflection, which he has inserted in his life of Akenside, that by an acute observer who had looked on the tranfations of the
So ignorant as to request of the college the indulgence of an examination in English,
medical world for half a century, a very curious book might be written on the fortune of physicians. Such a book I should be glad to see; and if any person hereafter shall be induced to pursue Johnson's hint, he may possibly think the following reinarks which have occurred to me in the course of a long intimacy with some of the most eminent of the profession, not altogether beneath his notice.
Of the professors of medicine, in cities remote from London and in country towns, I know but little ; but in the metropolis I am able to say, that in my time not only the track of a young physiciąn was pretty plainly pointed out, and it is curious to follow it, but that the conduct of such an one was reducible to a system. Mead was the son of a non-conforming minister the teacher of a numerous congregation, who trusting to his influence over them *, bred his fon a physician, with what success is well knownt. He raised the medical character to such a height of dignity as was never seen in this or any other country. His example was an inducement with others of the dissenting ministers to make phy
• The interest which the diffenting teachers had with the members of their several congregations, though now but little known, was formerly very great, and in my memory was such, that scarcely any member of a separate congregation would dispose of a daughter, or make a purchase, or advance a sum of money on a mortgage, without first consulting his pastor.
+ I have heard it said, that when Mead began to practise, he was a constant frequenter of the meeting at Stepney, where his father preached ; and that when he was sent for out of the assembly, which he often was, his father would in his prayer insert a petition in behalf of the fick person. I once mentioned this to Johnson, who said it was too gross for belief; but it was not so at Batson's; it passed there as a current tradition.