his bottle-companion, Lord Craven, whom he had saved from death some months earlier. By February 1711 Radcliffe was treating Swift for his dizziness; and on 26 March Swift complained that Harley's wound was neglected because ‘that puppy’ Radcliffe would admit none but his own surgeon (Journal to Stella, 10 April 1711).
Radcliffe was chosen M.P. for Buckingham on 25 Aug. 1713; two short speeches have survived, one in favour of the Malt-tax bill, and the other on behalf of the bill to prevent the growth of schism. About this time he began to recommend Dr. Mead, then a rising physician, to many of his patients. A kinsman, Richard Fiddes [q. v.], was, at Radcliffe's request, given the degree of B.D. of Oxford, for the university was looking forward to a generous benefaction from the doctor (Letters written by Eminent Persons in the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries, i. 261, Thomas Carte to Dr. Charlett, 8 Oct. 1713). Next year, when the Duke of Beaufort died, Radcliffe said he had lost the only person in whose conversation he took pleasure. Arbuthnot, who had already introduced Radcliffe into the ‘History of John Bull,’ 1712, proposed now to give him a place in the ‘Memoirs of Scriblerus.’ Radcliffe was to be painted at the corner of a map of diseases, ‘contending for the universal empire of this world, and the rest of the physicians opposing his ambitious designs with a project of a treaty of partition to settle peace’ (Arbuthnot to Swift, 26 June 1714).
Queen Anne was attacked by her fatal illness in July 1714. Charles Ford told Swift on 31 July that at noon on the previous day Radcliffe had been sent for ‘by order of council,’ but that he said he had taken physic and could not come. According to a letter in the ‘Wentworth Papers,’ it was reported that Radcliffe's answer was that to-morrow (31 July) would be time enough to wait on her majesty. According to Pittis, he was not sent for by either the queen or the privy council; but Lady Masham sent to him privately two hours before the queen's death, after Radcliffe had learnt from Mead that the case was hopeless. He was then at Carshalton, Surrey, suffering from a severe attack of gout, and he sent word that, in view of the queen's antipathy to him, he feared his presence would do her harm rather than good, and that, as the case was desperate, it would be best to let her majesty die as easily as possible. But if a letter given by Pittis is genuine, he also said he would have come, ill as he was, had he been sent for by the proper authorities. According to another letter, his life was afterwards threatened by several persons who were angry at his conduct. On 5 Aug. Radcliffe's old friend, Sir John Pakington (1671–1727) [q. v.], moved that the doctor should be summoned to attend in his place to be censured for not waiting upon the queen when sent for by the Duke of Ormonde, but the matter dropped (Boyer, Political State, viii. 152).
Radcliffe died on 1 Nov. 1714, after a fit of apoplexy. On 15 Oct. he wrote to the Earl of Denbigh that he should not live a fortnight, and that his life had been shortened by the attacks made upon him after the queen's death. He begged Lord Denbigh to avoid intemperance, which he feared he had encouraged by his example. His body lay in state at Carshalton until the 27th, and was then removed to Oxford, where it was buried on 3 Dec. in St. Mary's Church. By his will, dated 13 Sept. 1714, Radcliffe left most of his property to the university, and there was an imposing public funeral. The handsome annuities to his sisters and other relatives show that Peter Wentworth's charge—‘he had died like an ill-natured brute as he has lived; he left none of his poor relations anything’—is groundless (Wentworth Papers, p. 434). Property was left to University College in trust for the foundation of two medical travelling fellowships, for the purchase of perpetual advowsons for members of the college, for enlargement of the college buildings, and for a library. Other estates were left to his executors in trust for charitable purposes, as they might think best, and from these funds the Radcliffe Infirmary and Observatory were built and Bartholomew's Hospital enlarged; and since then money has been granted towards the building of the College of Physicians in London, the Oxford Lunatic Asylum, and St. John's Church, Wakefield. The Radcliffe Library was completed in 1747. Radcliffe's will was disputed by his heir-at-law, and the question was long before the court of chancery (Sisson, Historic Sketch of the Parish Church, Wakefield, 1824, p. 99).
It is difficult, as Munk remarks, to form a correct estimate of Radcliffe's skill as a physician. He was certainly no scholar, but he was ‘an acute observer of symptoms, and in many cases was peculiarly happy in the treatment of disease.’ He was often at war with other doctors and with the authorities of the College of Physicians. He was generally regarded as a clever empiric who had attained some skill by means of his enormous practice; but Mead said ‘he was deservedly at the head of his profession, on account of his great medical penetration and experience.’