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Page:Dictionary of National Biography volume 34.djvu/139

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the parish of St. Peter le Poer, and is described as ‘Doctor Lopus, a portingale, house-holder denizen,’ who ‘came into this realm about twelve years past to get his living by physic.’ Lewis Lopez, a brother, is mentioned as living with him (Notes and Queries, 2nd ser. viii. 448). Lopez rapidly reached the highest places in the medical profession in London. He was the first to hold the office of house physician at St. Bartholomew's Hospital. In 1575, while he was living at the hospital, his ‘parlour was boarded’ on condition that ‘he should be more painful in his care of the poor’ (St. Bartholomew's Hospital Reports, 1882). One of his colleagues at the hospital, William Clowes [q. v.], in a medical work on ‘Gunshot wounds’ (1591), remarks that Lopez ‘showed himself to be both careful and very skillful, not only in his counsel in dieting, purging and bleeding, but also for his direction of Arceus' apozema,’ a remedy which Lopez caused his assistants at St. Bartholomew's to adopt. Before 1569 Lopez had become a member of the College of Physicians, and in that year he was selected to read the anatomy lecture at the college (Munk, Coll. of Phys. i. 69). He declined this service to the annoyance of his colleagues, and in 1571 he was directed to return a fee which he had received from a servant of Lord Burghley on undertaking to cure a swelled shin bone (‘Coll. of Physicians MSS.’ in Hist. MSS. Comm. 8th Rep. p. 227 a). His practice grew in spite of charges of unprofessional practices. In 1571 he was attending the queen's secretary, Sir Francis Walsingham (Walsingham, Diary, Camd. Soc. Miscell. vol. i.) In 1575 his name stands near the head of a list of the chief London doctors, printed by Stowe. A year or two later he had become chief physician in the household of the Earl of Leicester. In ‘Leicester's Commonwealth’ (1584), a libel on Leicester, the physician is described as ‘Lopez the Jew,’ and is credited with skill in poisoning and other arts. A friend of Leicester speaks of him, on the other hand, as ‘a very honest person and a zealous’ (Lodge, Illustrations, ii. 224); and Francis Bacon, who was never well-disposed towards him, wrote of him as ‘a man very observant and officious, and of a pleasing and pliable behaviour.’ He maintained a large correspondence with friends and relatives in Antwerp and Constantinople, for some of whom he procured passports to England. At one time he lived in Wood Street; at another he had a house in Holborn called Mount Joy's Inn, which a patient built and gave to him, and he rented some property of Winchester College (Birch, Memoirs).

In 1586, Lopez became chief physician to Queen Elizabeth. She treated him with consideration, and in 1589 granted him a monopoly for the importation of aniseed and sumach into England. Gabriel Harvey made at this period some comments on the chief doctors of the day in manuscript notes, written on his copy (now in the British Museum) of ‘In Ivdaeorvm Medicastrorum Calumnias et Homicidia pro Christianis pia exhortatio … A Georgio Mario Vyreceburgio Doctore Medico Marpurgi et aliis,’ 1570. Of Lopez Harvey writes that, though ‘descended of Jews,’ he was himself a Christian. ‘He is,’ Harvey continues, ‘none of the learnedest or expertest physitians in the court, but one that maketh a great account of himself as the best, and by a kind of Jewish practis hath growen to much wealth and sum reputation as well with ye queen herself as with sum of ye greatest Lordes and Ladyes.’

Lopez's attendance at court soon brought him the acquaintance of the Earl of Essex. He was an accomplished linguist, and had friends in Spain. Essex was eager to gain political intelligence from that country, and he suggested that Lopez could be useful to him; but Essex's offer of employment was rejected by the doctor, who caused the earl additional irritation by communicating the negotiation to the queen. Lopez consented, however, to act as interpreter to Antonio Perez, a victim of persecution at the hands of Philip of Spain, whom Essex and his friends brought to England in 1590 in order to intensify the hostility of the English public to Spain. Antonio proved a querulous and exacting master, and Lopez's relations with Essex did not improve. In the summer of 1593 the doctor divulged to Antonio and his friends some professional secrets, ‘which did disparage to the Earl's honour’ (Goodman, Court of James I, i. 153).

Meanwhile Spanish spies in London were endeavouring to bribe Antonio's attendants to murder their master and Queen Elizabeth. Lopez was approached, and was offered fifty thousand crowns to take a part in the plot. He is reported to have so far closed with the proposal as to have declared ‘that Don Antonio should die the first illness that befell him,’ and to have accepted ‘a very good jewel garnished with sundry stones of good value’ from one of King Philip's emissaries, but he seems to have received with misgivings the suggestion that he was favourably placed for getting rid of Queen Elizabeth by poison, and to have treated the proposal ambiguously.

The existence of the plot soon came to the council's knowledge. One of Antonio's attendants, De Gama, was arrested at Lopez's house.