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The Scottish Nation
Arbuthnot


ARBUTHNOTT, viscount of, a title possessed by a family of ancient descent, bearing that surname, in Kincardineshire; the first of whom, Hugo de Aberbothenoth, flourished in the reign of King William the Lion, and derived his name, in 1105, from lands which came to him by marriage with a daughter of Osbertus Oliphard, sheriff of Mearns. Those lands now form the greater part of the parish of Arbuthnott, and have passed to the present viscount through no less than twenty-two generations. Previous to the twelfth century the name was Aberbothenothe; about 1335, it had become Aberbuthuot, and about 1443, Arbuthnott.

      The name of Aberbothenothe is understood to mean "the confluence of the water below the baron’s house," being derived from Aber, the influx of a river into the sea, or of a smaller stream into a larger; Both, or Bothena, a dwelling, a baronial residence; and Neth or Neoth-ea, the stream that descends or is lower than something else in the neighbourhood; a derivation which is perfectly applicable to the site of the ancient castle, and to the present residence of the noble family of Arbuthnott. (See Statistical Account, vol. xi.)

      In the reign of Alexander the Second, Duncan de Aberbothenothe was witness to a donation of that sovereign in 1242. His son, Hugh, is witness, along with his father, designed Duncanus Dominus de Aberbothenoth, to a charter of Robert, the son of Warnebald, to the monastery of Aberbrothwick. His son and successor, Hugh, called from the flaxen colour of his hair, Hugo Blundus or le Blond, to distinguish him from two predecessors of the same name, was laird of Arbuthnott in 1282, in which year he bestowed the patronage of the church of Garvock, in pure alms, on the monastery of Arbroath, " for the safety of his soul," which patronage, with many others, at the Reformation, fell into the hands of the king. Along with the patronage he gave one ox-gang of land, lying adjacent to the church of Garvock, with pasturage for 100 sheep, 4 horses, 10 oxen, and 20 cows. Hugo le Blond died about the end of the thirteenth century, and was buried at Arbuthnott, where there is an ancient full-length stone statue of him, in a reclining posture, with the face looking upwards, and the feet resting on the figure of a dog. His own and his wife’s arms, the latter being the same with those of the once powerful family of the Morevilles, constables of Scotland, are cut on the stone on which the statue lies.

      In 1355 Philip de Arbuthnott, fourth direct descendant from Hugh le Blond, was a benefactor to the church of the Carmelite friars, Aberdeen. His son and heir, Hugh Arbuthnott, was accessary with several other gentlemen of the Mearns, upon great provocation, to the slaughter of John Melville, of Glenbervie, sheriff of that county, about 1420. According to tradition, Melville had, by a strict exercise of his authority as sheriff; rendered himself obnoxious to the surrounding barons, who teased the regent, Murdoch, duke of Albany, by repeated complaints against him. At last, in a fit of impatience, the regent incautiously exclaimed to Barclay, laird of Mathers (ancestor of Captain Barclay Allardice of Urie), who had come to him with another complaint against Melville, "Sorrow gin that sheriff were sodden, and supped in broo." Most of those who have related this story state, that it was the king, James the First, who made this exclamation, but his majesty was then a prisoner in England. Barclay, immediately returning home, assembled his neighbours, the lairds of

      Lauriston, Arbuthnott, Pitarrow and Halkerton, who appointed a great hunting party in the forest of Garvock, to which they invited the devoted Melville; and having prepared a large fire and cauldron of boiling water in a retired place, they decoyed the unsuspecting Melville to the fatal spot, knocked him down, stripped him, and then threw him into the cauldron. After he was boiled or sodden for some time, they each took a spoonful of the soup. To screen himself from justice, Barclay built a fortress in the parish of St. Cyrus, called the Kaim of Mathers, on a perpendicular and peninsular rock, sixty feet above the sea, where, in those days, he lived quite secure. The laird of Arbuthnott claimed and obtained the benefit of the law of clan Macduff; which, in case of homicide, allowed a pardon to any one within the ninth degree of kindred to Macduff, Thane of Fife, who should flee to his cross, which then stood near Lindores, on the march between Fife and Strathern, and pay a fine. The pardon is still extant in Arbuthnott House. The rest were outlawed. He died in 1446.

      His descendant, Sir Robert Arbuthnott of Arbuthnott, was knighted by King Charles the First, and for his enduring loyalty ennobled in 1641, by being created Viscount Arbuthnott and Lord Inverbervie. Robert the second viscount of Arbuthnott succeeded his father in 1655, and died in June 1682. By his first wife, Lady Elizabeth Keith, second daughter of William seventh earl Marischal, he had a son Robert, third viscount, and a daughter, and by his second wife, Catherine, daughter of Robert Gordon of Pitlurg and Straloch, he had three sons and three daughters. The Hon. Alexander Arbuthnott, the second son by the second marriage, who was appointed one of the barons of the Court of Exchequer in Scotland at the union of 1707, married Jean, eldest daughter of Sir Charles Maitland of Pitrichie in Aberdeen— shire, heir to her brother, Sir Charles, who died in 1704, and he in consequence assumed the name and arms of Maitland.

      John, the seventh viscount of Arbuthnott, married in December 1775, Isabella, second daughter of William Graham, Esq. of Morphie, county of Kincardine, and by her, who died in 1818, he had John, the eighth viscount, General Hugh Arbuthnott, long M.P. for Kincardineshire, five other sons, and two daughters.

      The eighth viscount succeeded on his father’s death 27th February 1800, and in June 1805 he married Margaret, daughter of the Hon. Walter Ogilvy of Clova, sister of the ninth earl of Airlie, with issue, six sons and two daughters.

      To the noble family of Arbuthnott belonged the subjects of the two following notices:—

ARBUTHNOT, ALEXANDER, an eminent divine, and zealous promoter of the Reformation in Scotland, was the second son of Andrew Arbuthnot of Pitcarles, the fourth son of Sir Robert Arbuthnott of Arbuthnott, and the brother of the baron or proprietor of Arbuthnott, in Kincardineshire, and not the baron himself, as generally stated by his biographers. His mother was Elizabeth, daughter of James Strachan of Monboddo, and sister of Alexander Strachan of Thornton. He was born in 1538. According to Archbishop Spottiswood, he studied at the university of St. Andrews, but Dr. Mackenzie says that he received his education at King’s college, Aberdeen. (Mackenzie’s Lives of Scots Writers, vol. iii. p. 186.)

      The former is likely to be correct, as in the year 1560 his name appears the ninth in a list of young men at St. Andrews best qualified for the minis-try and teaching, given in to the first General Assembly. (Calderwood’s History of the church of Scotland, vol. ii. p. 45.) In 1561 he went to France, and for the space of five years prosecuted the study of the civil law at Bourges, under the famous Cujacius. This has led his biographers to state that it was with the view of following the profession of an advocate in his native country; but it was then usual for students of divinity to make civil law a branch of their studies. He returned to Scotland in 1566, and was soon after licensed as a minister of the Reformed church. On the 15th July 1568 he received a presentation to the church of Logie Buchan, one of the common kirks of the cathedral of Aberdeen. He was a member of the General Assembly which met at Edinburgh on the first of July of that year, and was intrusted with the charge of revising a book entitled ‘The Fall of the Roman Church,’ published by one Thomas Bassenden, a printer of that city, which had given great offence and incurred the censure of the Assembly, chiefly on account of an assertion contained in it, that the king was the supreme head of the church. For this, and for having printed at the end of the Psalm-Book, an indecent song called ‘‘Welcome Fortune,’ the Assembly ordained Bassenden to call in all the copies of these books which he had sold, and to sell no more of them, and to abstain for the future from printing anything without the license of the magistrates, and the revisal by a committee of the church of such books as pertain to religion. (Booke of the Universall Kirk of Scotland, p. 100.)

      In the year 1569, Mr. Alexander Anderson, the principal of King’s college, Aberdeen, with the sub-principal and three of the regents of that university, having been ejected from their offices, on account of their adherence to popery, and refusal to sign the Confession of Faith, Mr. Arbuthnot was promoted to the vacant principalship on the 3d July of that year, and three weeks afterwards he was presented to the church of Arbuthnott in Kincardineshire, "provyding he administrat the sacraments of Jesus Christ, or ellis travell (that is, labour) in some others als necessar vocation to the utility of the kirk, and ãpprovit by the samen." The emoluments of his two parochial charges were probably his only support as principal, the funds of the college having been greatly dilapidated by his predecessor, Principal Anderson, when he found that he was likely to be deprived for his adherence to popery. To the university Principal Arbuthnot rendered the most important services, both in the augmentation of its funds, and by his assiduity and success in teaching. "By his diligent teaching and dexterous government," says Archbishop Spottiswood, "he not only revived the study of good letters, but gained many from the superstitions whereunto they were given." In 1572 he was a member of the General Assembly held at St. Andrews, which strenuously opposed a scheme of church government called ‘The Book of policy,’ proposed by the regent Morton and his party, for the purpose of restoring the old titles in the church, and retaining among themselves all the temporalities annexed to them. The same year he established his character as a man of learning, by the publication at Edinburgh, in quarto, of his ‘Orationes de Ongine et Dignitate Juris,’ a production which was honoured with an encomiastic poem by Thomas Maitland, who represents Arbuthnot as one of the brightest ornaments of his native country. (Delitiae Poetarum Scotorum, tom. ii. p. 153.) "To enhance the value of this eulogium," says Dr. Irving, "it must be recollected that Maitland was a zealous Catholic."

        From this time Arbuthnot began to take a lead in the General Assembly, and during the minority of James the Sixth, he appears to have been much employed on the part of the church, in its tedious contest with the regency, concerning the plan of ecclesiastical government to be adopted. Of the General Assembly which met at Edinburgh 6th August, 1573, he was chosen moderator. In that of Edinburgh March 6th, 1574, he was appointed, with three others, to summon before them the chapter of Murray, accused of giving their letters testimonial in favour of George Douglas, bishop of that see, "without just trial and due examination of his life, and qualification in literature." (Calderwood’s Hist. of the Church of Scotland, vol. iii. p. 304.) This assembly also authorized him, with Mr. John Row and others, to draw up a plan of ecclesiastical polity for the approval of the members. He was at the Assembly which met at Edinburgh in August, 1575. "Efter the Assemblie," (says James Melville,) "we passed to Anguss in companie with Mr. Alexander Arbuthnot, a man of singular gifts of lerning, wesdome, godliness, and sweitness of nature, then principal! of the collage of Aberdein; whom withe Mr. Andro (Melville) communicat anent the haill ordour of his collage in doctrine and discipline, and aggreit as therefter was sett down in the new reformation of the said collages of Glasgow and Aberdein." (Melville’s Diary, p. 41.) He was again chosen moderator of the General Assembly which met at Edinburgh 1st April 1577. In the Assembly which met in that city in October of the same year he was appointed, with Andrew Melville and George Hay, to attend a council which was expected to meet at Magdeburg for the purpose of establishing the Augsburg Confession. (Booke of the Universall Kirk of Scotland, page 169.) The council, however, was not convened. A copy of the heads of the policy and jurisdiction of the church having been, by order of that General Assembly, presented to the earl of Morton as regent of the kingdom; for the solution of doubts and the removal of difficulties, he was referred to Principal Arbnthnot, Patrick Adamson, and Andrew Melville, and nine other commissioners of inferior eminence. (Ibid. p. 171.) In the General Assembly which met at Edinburgh 24th April 1578, it was resolved that a copy of the same should be presented to the king, and another to his council; and that if a conference should be demanded, they, on their part, would nominate Arbuthnot, Andrew Melville, and ten others, to attend at any appointed time. (Ibid. p. 175.) In the Assembly which convened at Stirling, 11th June of the same year, Arbuthnot, with some others, was empowered to confer with several of the nobility, prelates, and gentry, relative to the polity of the church. In the General Assembly which met at Edinburgh on the 24th April 1583, Arbuthnot, with David Ferguson and John Durie, was directed to wait upon the king and council, to request, in name of the Assembly, the dismissal of M. Manningville, the French ambassador, whose popish practices had excited much alarm, as well as to complain of sundry other grievances. He was also named in a commission, with Mr. Robert Pont and five others, or any four of them, to visit the university of St. Andrews, for the purpose of inquiring how the rents thereof were bestowed, what order and diligence were used by the regents or professors in teaching, and how order was kept among the students. With Messrs. Andrew and George Hay he was also empowered to present to the king and council such heads, articles, and complaints as the Assembly might determine, and to confer, treat, and reason thereupon, and to receive his majesty’s answer to the same. (Calderwood, vol. iii. pp. 707, 708.) The leading part which he took in ecclesiastical matters seems to have rendered him an object of suspicion and displeasure to James the Sixth; for when, in the same year (1583), he was appointed by the Assembly minister of St. Andrews, the king commanded him to remain in his college, under pain of horning. The Assembly saw in this arbitrary exertion of the royal prerogative, an infringement of their rights. They therefore remonstrated against it, but his majesty answered generally that he and his council had good grounds and reasons for what had been done. Arbuthnot is said to have had some bias towards the episcopal form of ecclesiastical polity, but whatever might be his private sentiments, he adhered with steadiness to the presbyterian party. It is thought, and indeed Dr. Mackenzie confidently asserts, that he had given offence to the king by printing Buchanan’s History of Scotland, in the year 1582, (Lives of Scots Writers, vol. iii. p. 192,) and other authors have also supposed that he was the identical Alexander Arbuthnot who at that period held the office of king’s printer. On this point Dr. Irving particularly quotes James Man, who, in his ‘Censure of Ruddiman’s Philological Notes on Buchanan,’ (p. 99. Aberdeen, 1753, 12mo,) maintained, "with ridiculous pertinacity," as Chalmers in his Life of Ruddiman says, that Principal Arbuthnot was indeed the printer of Buchanan’s History. The mistake has been corrected by Chalmers, who, on referring to the writ of privy seal, found that the Alexander Arbuth not therein mentioned as king’s printer was denominated a burgess of Edinburgh, and therefore was a different person from the principal of King’s college, Aberdeen. (Life of Ruddiman, p. 72.)

The restriction placed on him by King James is supposed to have seriously affected his health and spirits. He fell into a decline, and died unmarried, at Aberdeen, on the 10th of October 1583, before he had completed the age of forty-five. On the 20th of the same month his remains were interred in the chapel of King’s college.

      Principal Arbuthnot appears to have possessed a degree of good sense and moderation which eminently qualified him for the conduct of public business, and his death was regarded as a severe calamity to the national church and to the national literature. Andrew Melville honoured his memory by an elegant epitaph in Latin, which will be found in Irving’s Life of Arbuthnot (Lives of Scots Poets, vol. ii. p. 177), quoted from the Delitiae Poetarum Scotorum, (tom. ii. p. 120). James Melville, in his Diary, has pronounced Arbuthnot one of the most learned men of whom Europe could at that time boast. His character has been thus delineated by Archbishop Spottiswood: "He was greatly loved of all men, hated of none, and in such account for his moderation with the chief men of these parts, that without his advice they could almost do nothing; which put him in a great fashrie, whereof he did oft complain; pleasant and jocund in conversation, and in all sciences expert; a good poet, mathematician, philosopher, theologue, lawyer, and in medicine skilful; so as in every subject he could promptly discourse, and to good purpose." Notwithstanding the violence of the times in which he lived, the name of Principal Arbuthnot has never been found subjected to censure. Even the papists themselves appear to have revered his virtues. Nicol Burne, in his ‘Admonition to the Antichristian Ministers of the Deformit Kirk of Scotland,’ written in 1581, while be has treated the rest of the Protestant clergy with the utmost contempt, thus respectfully speaks of Arbuthuot:

"Bot yit, gude Lord, quha anis thy name hes kend,
May, or thay de, find for thair saulis remeid:
With thy elect Arbuthnot I commend,
Althocht the lave to Geneve haist with speed."

Three Scottish poems, published in Pinkerton’s ‘Ancient Scottish Poems,’ have been attributed to Principal Arbuthnot. Dr. Irving in his Life of Arbuthnot gives extracts from two of these, ‘The Miseries of a Pure (poor) Scholar,’ and ‘The Praises of Wemen,’ which show the author to have been an ingenious and pleasing poet. The Maitland MSS. preserve several of his pieces not hitherto published. (See Irving’s Lives of Scottish Poets, vol. ii. p. 169.) Principal Arbuthnot left in manuscript an account of the Arbuthnott family, entitled ‘Originis et incrementi Arbuthnoticae familiae descriptio historica,’ which is still preserved. It was afterwards translated by George Morrison, minister of Benholme, and continued to the period of the Restoration by Alexander Arbuthnott, episcopalian minister of Arbuthnott, the father of the celebrated wit, the subject of the succeeding notice.

ARBUTHNOT, JOHN, M.D., one of the most conspicuous, and certainly the most learned, of the wits of Queen Anne’s reign, was the son of Alexander Arbuthnott, episcopalian clergyman at Arbuthnott in Kincardineshire, and a near relative of the noble family of that name, and his wife, Margaret Lamy, from the parish of Maryton, near Montrose. He was born in the parish of Arbuthnott in April 1667, and received the elementary part of his education at the parish school. About the year 1680 he and his elder brother Robert, afterwards a banker in Paris, went to Marischal college, Aberdeen, where he applied himself diligently to all the academical branches of instruction, and after finishing his medical studies, he took his doctor’s degree. At the revolution his father, not complying with the new order of things, was deprived of his living, and in consequence retired to the castle of Haligreen near Bervie, in the neighbourhood of which he possessed, by inheritance, a small property called Kingorney; and his two sons were compelled to trust to their own exertions for getting forward in the world. The subject of this memoir accordingly resolved to push his fortune in London, and on his arrival there, he was hospitably received into the house of a Mr. William Pate, a woollen-draper. For some time he supported himself by teaching the mathematics, and soon distinguished himself by his writings. His first work appeared in 1697, entitled an ‘Examination of Dr. Wood-ward’s Account of the Deluge,’ being an answer to a work of that gentleman bearing the title of an ‘Essay towards a Natural History of the Earth,’ which had appeared two years. before. This laid the foundation of Arbuthnot’s fame, which was much extended by an able treatise published by him in 1700, ‘On the usefulness of the Mathematics to young students in the universities.’ In 1704, in consequence of a curious and instructive dissertation ‘ On the Regularity of the Births of both sexes,’ communicated to the Royal Society, and published in the Philosophical Transactions of that year, No. 328, he was elected a member of that learned body. It would appear from the signature to his letters, that on first going to London he himself continued to spell his name with the two t’s at the end of it, as is the correct way, but in process of time one of the t’s was dropped as unnecessary.

In 1705 Prince George of Denmark, the consort of Queen Anne, was suddenly taken ill at Epsom. Dr. Arbuthnot, happening to be on the spot, was called to his assistance, and, under his care, his royal highness soon recovered. Arbuthnot was, in consequence, appointed physician extraordinary to the queen, and in the month of November, 1709, he was promoted to be fourth physician in ordinary to her majesty; that is, one of her domestic physicians. His skill having been the means of recovering her majesty from a dangerous illness, drew from his friend Gay the following elegant pastoral compliment:

"While thus we stood, as in a stound,
And wet with tears, like dew, the ground,
Full soon, by bonfire and by bell,
We learnt our liege was passing well:
A skilful leech, so God him speed,
They say had wrought this blessed deed;
This leech ARBUTHNOTT was yclept;
Who many a night not once had slept,
But watch’d our gracious sovereign still,
For who could rest when she was ill?
Oh! may’st thou henceforth sweetly sleep!
Sheer, swains! oh, sheer your softest sheep,
To swell his couch, for well I ween
He saved the realm who saved the queen."

In the mouth of April, 1710, he was admitted a Fellow of the Royal college of physicians. The confidence reposed in him by his royal mistress appears by the terms in which he is spoken of by Dean Swift, who calls him "the queen’s favourite physician," and again, "the queen’s favourite." Being thus distinguished by his professional abilities, his influence at court, and his literary attainments, Arbuthnot acquired the friendship not only of the leading men of the Tory party, to which he belonged, such as Harley and Bolingbroke, but that of all the wits and scholars of his time. On Swift’s visit to London in 1710, a strict intimacy was formed between them, and soon after Pope was added to the number of his friends, as were also Prior and Gay.

      In the year 1712, appeared the first part of ‘The History of John Bull,’ of which it has been justly said, that "never was a political allegory managed with more exquisite humour, or a more skilful adaptation of characters and circumstances." The doubt entertained respecting the author of this satire has been dispelled by Swift and Pope, who both distinctly attribute it to Dr. Arbuthnot. Pope declared that Arbuthnot was the "sole author." The object of this highly humorous production was to throw ridicule upon the splendid achievements of Marlborough, and to render the country discontented with the war then raging with France. Arbuthnot, who was one of the literary phalanx attached to the fortunes of Harley and the Tories, was aware how entirely that minister’s power depended on a peace with France, and, therefore, he applied all the vigour of his wit to the accomplishment of that end. The ingenuity of the story contained in the ‘History of John Bull,’ united to its intelligible, straightforward, comic humour, procured for it a favourable reception everywhere; but to politicians, the exquisite skill of its satire gave it a peculiar relish. After the accession of the house of Hanover, a supplement to the ‘History’ appeared; but it has been doubted whether this is a genuine production of Arbuthnot’s pen. Some are of opinion that the first two parts as printed in Swift’s works, are all that proceeded from Arbuthnot.

      Early in the year 1714 he entered into an engagernent with Pope and Swift, jointly to write a satire on the abuses of human learning, in the style of Cervantes. The name by which the intended hero was to be called was assigned to that assemblage of wits and learned men of which these three formed the nucleus, and it was called the ‘Scriblerus’ Club.’ Harley, Atterbury, Congreve, and Gay, were members; and of them all no one was better qualified than Arbuthnot, both in point of wit and erudition, to promote the object of the society, which was to ridicule the absurdities of false taste in learning, under the character of a man of capacity enough, but no judgment, who had industriously dipped into every art and science. But the prosecution of this noble design was prevented by the queen’s death, which deeply affected Pope, Swift, and Arbuthnot, who were all warmly attached to Lord Oxford’s ministry; and a final period was afterwards put to the project, by the separation and growing infirmities of Dean Swift, by the bad health of Dr. Arbuthnot, and other concurring causes. The work in consequence was never completed, the first book of ‘the Memoirs of Martinus Scriblerus’ being only a part of it. "Polite letters," says Warburton, the editor of Pope’s works, "never lost more than in the defeat of this scheme; in the execution of which work each of this illustrious triumvirate would have found exercise for his own peculiar talents, besides constant employment for those they had all in common. Dr. Arbuthnot was skilled in every thing which related to science; Mr. Pope was a master in the fine arts; and Dr. Swift excelled in the knowledge of the world. Wit they had all in equal measure; and this so large that no age perhaps ever produced three men to whom nature, had more bountifully bestowed it, or in whom art had brought it to higher perfection." The first book of ‘Martinus Scriblerus’ was published after the death of Dr. Arbuthnot in 1741, in the quarto edition of Pope’s prose works, and there seems to be every reason to believe that Arbuthnot was the sole author. It has, it is true, been printed in the collected editions of the works both of Swift and Pope; yet the internal evidence is sufficient to prove it the entire production of Arbuthnot, to whom Warton has attributed the fifth, sixth, seventh, eighth, tenth, and twelfth chapters, whatever may be determined of the other parts of the memoirs. The medical and antiquarian knowledge displayed in the other chapters, and the ridicule on Dr. Woodward in the third, afford strong presumption of their having had the same authorship as the rest. The humorous essay concerning the origin of the sciences, usually appended to the ‘Memoirs of Martinus Scriblerus,’ appears from Spence to have been a joint production of Arbuthnot, Pope, and Parnell.

      The death of Queen Anne in July 1714 put an end to Arbuthnot’s connexion with the court, and completely destroyed the hopes of the Tory party. He felt severely the change in his circumstances, but his satirical humour and spirit of wit enabled him to derive some relief even from his altered prospects. In a letter to Swift, dated 12th August, he thus writes: "I have an opportunity calmly and philosophically to consider that treasure of vileness and baseness that I always believed to be in the heart of man, and to behold them exert their insolence and baseness; every new instance, instead of surprising and grieving me, as it does some of my friends, really diverts me,—and in a manner proves my theory." In a subsequent letter, alluding to the dispersion of the queen’s courtiers on her death, he says, "The queen’s poor servants are like so many poor orphans exposed in the very streets." To divert his chagrin he paid a visit to his brother Robert at Paris, under whose care he left two of his daughters. On his return, in the beginning of September, having been deprived of his apartments in St. James’ palace, he took a house in Dover Street, where he assiduously devoted himself to the practice of his profession and to literary occupation. His spirits appear to have suffered considerably at this time, for, in a letter to Pope, dated September 7th, 1714, he says, "I am extremely obliged to you for taking notice of a poor, old, distressed courtier, commonly the most despisable thing in the world. This blow has so roused Scriblerus that he has recovered his senses, and thinks and talks like other men. From being frolicsome and gay, he is turned grave and morose." This depression of spirits, however, had not given him a distaste for the society of his friends: "Martin’s office," he adds, in allusion to his ‘Martinus Scriblerus,’ "is now the second door on the left hand in Dover Street, where he will be glad to see Dr. Parnell, Mr. Pope, and his old friends, to whom he can still with a regard to your own safety; and study more to reform than chastise, though the one cannot be effected without the other. A recovery in my case, and at my age, is impossible; the kindest wish of my friends is euthanasia (meaning a happy and easy death). Living or dying I shall always be yours."           

      Finding no relief from the change of air, Arbuthnot left Hampstead, and returned to his house in London, situated in Cork Street, Burlington—gardens, where he died, on the 27th February, 1735. His only surviving son, George, filled the lucrative post of secondary in the Exchequer-office, under Lord Masham, and was one of the executors of Pope. He died 8th September 1779, aged 76. He also left two daughters, one named Anne, who both died unmarried. The portrait of Dr. Arbuthnot [portrait of Dr. Arbuthnot] is taken from an engraving from a scarce print formerly in the collection of Sir William Musgrave, Bart.

Among Arbnthnot’s more humorous pieces, besides the ‘History of John Bull’ already mentioned, ‘A. Treatise concerning the Altercations or Scoldings of the Ancients,’ and ‘The Art of Political Lying,’ are the most celebrated. He did not excel in poetry, and seldom attempted it. In Dodsley’s Collection there is a didactic poem written by him, remarkable for its philosophical sentiment, with the title of ‘Know Thyself!’ His well known epitaph on Colonel Chartres, a noted usurer of the time, beginning " Here continues to rot," &c. is a masterly specimen of his powers of satire. He was also skilled in music; and Sir John Hawkins mentions an anthem and a burlesque song of his composition. (Hist. of Music, vol. v. p. 126.) In 1751 two 12mo volumes were published, entitled ‘The Miscellaneous Works of the late Dr. Arbuthnot,’ containing some of his genuine productions, but the greater portion of the contents were declared by his son to be spurious.

      By his brother wits Dr. Arbuthuot was held in high estimation. Pope dedicated to him his ‘Prologue to the Satires,’ and Swift has more than once mentioned him with praise in his poems, for instance when he feelingly laments that he was

"Far from his kind Arbuthnot’s aid,
Who knows his art, but not his trade."

"His good morals," Pope used to say, "were equal to any man’s; but his wit and humour superior to all mankind." "He has more wit than we all have," said Swift to a lady, who desired his opinion of him, "and his humanity is equal to his wit." His character is thus given by Dr. Johnson: "Arbuthnot was a man of great comprehension, skilful in his profession, versed in the sciences, acquainted with ancient literature, and able to animate his mass of knowledge by a bright and active imagination ; a scholar, with great brilliance of wit; a wit, who, in the crowd of life, retained and discovered a noble ardour of religious zeal; a man estimable for his learning, amiable for his life, and venerable for his piety." He was distinguished in an eminent degree for genuine benevolence and goodness, while his warmth of heart and cheerfulness of temper rendered him much beloved by his family and friends, towards whom he displayed the most constant affection and attachment. Notwithstanding his powers of satire, all his contemporaries seem to have united in his praise. "His very sarcasms," says Lord Orrery, "are the satirical sarcasms of good nature; they are like slaps on the face given in jest, the effects of which will raise a blush, but no blackness will appear after the blows, He laughs as jovially as an attendant upon Bacchus, but continues as sober and considerate as a disciple of Socrates. He is seldom serious, except in his attacks upon vice, and there his spirit rises with a manly strength, and a noble indignation. No man exceeded him in the moral duties of life, a merit still more to his honour, as the united powers of wit and genius are seldom submissive enough to confine themselves within the limitations of morality." In the Biographia Britannica Arbuthnot is said, but at what particular period we are not informed, to have been for some time steward to the corporation of the Sons of the Clergy. He was in the habit of writing essays on the current events of the day in a great folio paper book, which used to lie in his parlour, and such was his good nature and indulgence to his children, that he suffered them to tear out his manuscript at one end for their kites, while he was writing them at the other.

        No correct list of his productions has ever been given. The following is as near as can be ascertained:

Examination of Dr. Woodward’s Account of the Deluge, &c., with a Comparison between Steno’s Philosophy and the Doctor’s, in the case of Marine Bodies dug up out of the Earth. By J. A., M.D. With a Letter to the Author, concerning an Abstract of Agostino Scilla’s Book on the same subject, by W. W. Lond. 1695, 1697, 8vo.

Essay on the Usefulness of Mathematical Knowledge. Lond. 1700.

Sermon preached to the People at the Mercat-cross of Edinburgh, on the subject of the Union. Lond. 1707, 8vo. A Satire supposed to have been written by Arbuthnot.

Law is a Bottomless Pit, or the History of John Bull, exemplified in the case of the Lord Strutt, John Bull, Nicholas Frog, and Louis Baboon, who spent all they had in a lawsuit, in 4 parts; with an appendix. Lond. 1712, 8vo.

Tables of the Grecian, Roman, and Jewish Measures, Weights, and Coins, reduced to the English Standard, and Explained and Exemplified in several Dissertations. Lond.

1705, 8vo. The same, by his son, with a Poem to the King. Lond. 1727. 4to.

Miscellaneous Pieces by him, Swift, Pope, and Gay. Lond. 1727, 3 vols. 8vo.

Essay, concerning the Nature of Aliments, the Choice of them, &c. Lond. 1731. Another edition, with Practical

Rules of Diet in the various Constitutions and Diseases of Human Bodies. Lond. 1732, 8vo. 1751, 1756, 8vo. In German. Hamb. 1744, 4to.

An Essay on the Effects of Air on Human Bodies. Lond. 1733, 1751, 1756, Svo. In French. Paris, 1742, 12mo.

Miscellaneous Works of the late Dr. Arbuthnot. Glasg. 1750, 2 vols. 8vo. These volumes, now very scarce, were disclaimed in an advertisement by the author’s son, dated, London, Sept. 25, 1750.

Oratio Anniversaria Harvejana, Anni 1727, in his miscellaneous works. 1751, 8vo.

Argument for Divine Providence, drawn from the equal number of births of both sexes. Phil. Trans. 1700, Abr. v. p. 606.


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