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national unity the different tribes and languages spread over the country which he ruled. The more perfect this fusion the more glorious has been the result. France affords a splendid example of the early development of nationality; and, owing to this instinct of self-preservation, France has withstood all the convulsions she has undergone.
In gathering round him all the lay and unfeudal forces, it was natural for the king to cultivate the learned classes. He secured them to himself, as he did the boroughs, by granting them certain privileges by charter. The university of Paris enjoyed many immunities by royal favour, and the degrees it conferred gave political rights as well as social advantages. To be a member of any royal college was then a great benefit, and one partaken of largely by members of the medical faculty. Besides this general favour shown to physicians in virtue of their learning, they often exercised a powerful influence by their personal attendance upon royalty. It has been the policy of kings, for the most part, to select as their medical advisers, men of general eminence in their profession, and to confer on them marks of honour by which they have been elevated into the class of lesser nobility; and, on the whole, when we look over the list of physicians to royalty, there is no reason to be ashamed of such representatives at Court. There have, however, been some notorious exceptions to this rule. We have an example of the danger a king incurs by employing a greedy adventurer, in the end of the wily, cruel, superstitious, powerful monarch, Louis the XIth. When he was getting old, he
feared to lose his power and his life, and clung to both with convulsive tenacity. Having dismissed his ordinary physicians, he called to his aid one of the name of Coltier de Poligny, who is said to have ordered him to bathe in the blood of young children, and to drink it to renew his youth. Philip de Comines, the great contemporary autho
rity, tells us :-"He had about him his physician, Dr. James Coltier, to whom in five months he gave 54,000 crowns ready money, besides the Bishoprick of Amiens for his nephew, and other good offices for him and his friends. Yet this doctor used him so rudely, one would not have given his servant such language as he gave the king-who stood in such awe of him, he durst not command him to be gone. It is true he complained of him after, but he durst not change him as he had done all the rest of his servants, because he had told him most imprudently "-rather most prudently" one day, 'I know some time or other you will turn me away, as you have done the rest; but be sure (with an oath) you shall not live eight days after it: with which expression he was so frightened, that ever after he did nothing but flatter and present him, which must needs be a great torment to a man who had been obeyed all along by so inany brave men much above the doctor's quality " Our author goes on to describe the king's death; and tells us that, feeling his end approaching, he sent for his confessor, but made a short shrift, because, having touched for the king's evil only the previous week, he had, before proceeding to this exercise of royal power, made his confession according to the custom. Here we observe, that in the Middle Ages, when modern kingship took its rise, the king, besides being the personification of law, was endowed in the estimation of his subjects with a sacred function derived from the Jewish kings, and which (attached to the possession of the throne, not to the family), enabled him to cure scrofulous swellings.
This belief seems to have prevailed, both in England and France, for many centuries-almost without question even from the more enlightened men of the age-extending to a period long after the Reformation. We may take it, as a tacit evidence of the natural tendency of the
1 Memoirs of Philip de Comines.
human mind to associate something mysterious or sacred with disease; which, being a modification of life, has been, and will continue to be, the one great mystery holding by the hand the other mystery of the soul, with its relations to the unseen and eternal world, and thus ever tending to reunite the offices of physician and priest. It was in virtue of his priesthood that the king exercised this divine prerogative of healing. The term, Most Sacred, as applied to majesty, has thus a wholly different signification from any ordinary title of courtesy.
We are apt to cry out on the credulity of those ages in which men universally believed much that we now know to be false, and think absurd; but we are apt to forget that then there existed no standard of scientific credibility. Can we wonder that nothing seemed impossible to an age which had seen the invention of gunpowder, and the discovery of America? The printing-press, too, had begun its marvellous work; and, as production always precedes criticism, it supplied the wondering time with food for which it had an intense, but wholly indiscriminating appetite. When, towards the end of the fifteenth century, the sweating sickness broke out in Germany, it called forth a multitude of pamphlets; and these new "unfounded little books," as Dr. Bayer' calls them, were addressed not to the medical clergy, as all such writings had been, but to the vulgar. Here was the inauguration of a new era in human progress-the appeal to the people. The consequence, in the religious world, was the Reformation of Luther; how it affected the history of medicine, we shall learn by examining the influence exerted upon that art by Theophrastus Bombastes Paracelsus.
His Sex-His Name-His Wanderings-His famous Sword-His Conformity to his Age His Style.-His Notions of Trinity in Unity-His Alchemy and Heroic Treatment-Epilepsy and Apoplexy-His Arcanum.
THE opinions expressed by persons to all appearance equally capable of forming a just estimate of Paracelsus, are so conflicting, that it is an unusually difficult task for the historian to form an impartial and satisfactory judgment in regard to a man whose fate it was to live a considerable portion of his life in a blaze of notoriety, and to sink before his death into obscurity.
According to Von Helmont, he "was the forerunner of true medicine, God-sent and armed with knowledge to decompose bodies by fire, and his excellent cures put all Germany into commotion." Again the same author