Sydenham, Thomas (DNB00)


SYDENHAM, THOMAS (1624–1689), physician, born on 10 Sept. 1624 at Wynford Eagle, Dorset, was the fourth son of William Sydenham, gentleman, of Wynford Eagle, by his wife Mary, daughter of Sir John Jeffrey, kt., of Catherston, whom he married in 1611. The family was originally of Sydenham, near Bridgewater, Somerset. The Dorset branch began with Thomas Sydenham, who bought the manor of Wynford Eagle in the time of Henry VIII, and was the great-grandfather of Sydenham's father.

William Sydenham was a man of good estate, and of importance in the county. On the outbreak of the civil war he, with his family, actively supported the puritan party, and four, if not five, sons (i.e. all but two who died in infancy) appear to have served in the army of the parliament (cf. Hutchins, Hist. of Dorset, 3rd ed. 1864, ii. 703). Of these brothers, William [q. v.] was afterwards well known as Colonel Sydenham.

Francis, born 24 April 1617, was acting in 1643 as captain at Poole, and took part in a notable defence of Poole against an attempt of the royalists, under the Earl of Crawford, to obtain possession of the town by treachery, when the royalists suffered a severe repulse. He was killed in battle, 9 Feb. 1644–5 (Rushworth, Collections; Whitelocke, Memorials, pp. 116).

John, the sixth son, born 26 Feb. 1626–7, served under his brother William, took part in the war in Ireland, became major of Sir Arthur Hesilrigge's regiment of horse and governor of Stirling, and was mortally wounded in a skirmish with the Scots in April 1651 (Mercurius Politicus, 6–13 March, 17–24 April, 1651).

Richard, the youngest son, is described as ‘captain’ in the register of his death, but his military services cannot be traced. He had important civil employment under the Commonwealth as trustee of crown rents (Green, Cal. State Papers, Dom. 1655 and 1655–6, passim), and was buried on 27 Jan. 1657.

A tragic fate overtook Sydenham's mother, who was killed in Dorset in July 1644 by the royalist Major Williams under unknown circumstances [see under Sydenham, William].

Sydenham entered Magdalen Hall, Oxford, as a fellow-commoner on 20 May 1642. His stay in the university cannot have exceeded a few months, as the civil war broke out in August of that year. Leaving Oxford for his native county, he engaged in military service with the parliamentary forces there, according to the positive statements of at least two contemporaries—Sir Richard Blackmore (Treatise on the Small-Pox, preface) and Dr. Andrew Broun (A Vindicatory Schedule, &c., Edinburgh, 1691, p. 81, quoted in Dr. John Brown's Horæ Subsecivæ, 1858, p. 461). Moreover, in a petition in Sydenham's own handwriting, preserved in the record office, Sydenham states explicitly that he served the parliament faithfully, and suffered much loss of blood. Sydenham's military service began in 1642 in his native county. The importance and zeal of his family procured for him at once a commission as captain of horse. He seems to have been at Exeter when the town was taken by the royalists on 4 Sept. 1643, and was a prisoner for nine or ten months from that date. He must have been concerned with his brothers in several other operations, though in one instance only can his name be traced. In July 1644 we find that Colonel and Major Sydenham, with their forces, repulsed a royalist attack on Dorchester from Wareham with great success, and in this engagement ‘Captain’ Sydenham, who had been prisoner a long time to the royalists in Exeter, behaved himself very bravely (Hutchins, History of Dorset, 3rd ed. ii. 344). This could be no one else than Thomas Sydenham, since his next brother, John, was not yet eighteen. His military service ceased in the autumn of 1645, when the royal garrisons in Dorset were finally reduced by Fairfax and Cromwell.

When Oxford and the other royal garrisons surrendered in 1646, the war was virtually at an end, and Sydenham resigned his commission. On his way to London in order to return to Oxford, from which the troubles of the first war had so long separated him, he chanced to meet with Dr. Thomas Coxe [q. v.], who was attending his brother; and it was by his advice that he was induced to apply himself to medicine (Observationes Medicæ, 1676, dedication to Mapletoft). In a letter of later date to Dr. Gould (Sloane MS. 4376, Brit. Mus.), Sydenham says that he entered Wadham College in the year in which Oxford was surrendered, meaning, as the college register shows, 1647, when the university was taken possession of by the parliamentary visitors. On 14 Oct. 1647 he became a fellow-commoner of Wadham (Gardiner, Registers, 1889, i. 165). The name ‘Sidnam’ appears among the M.A.'s of Magdalen Hall (4 May 1648) as submitting, but perhaps does not refer to Thomas Sydenham. Sydenham was appointed one of the visitors' delegates on 30 Sept. 1647. On 3 Oct. 1648 he was elected by the visitors to a fellowship in All Souls' College; and on 29 March 1649 he was appointed senior bursar of the college (Burrows, Visitation of Oxford, p. 566).

Sydenham's medical degree was obtained in a somewhat irregular manner. He was created bachelor of medicine on 14 April 1648 by command of the Earl of Pembroke, chancellor of the university, without having taken a degree in arts (Wood, Athenæ, ed. 1721, ii. 639; Fasti, pp. 63–5). He must at some time later have become M.A., since he is so styled in the archives of the College of Physicians. As Sydenham had been only six months resident in the university, his medical degree would have been rather the starting point than the goal of his medical studies. He himself says that after a few years spent in the university he returned to London for the practice of medicine (Obs. Med. loc. cit.). There is, however, reason to believe that his studies were interrupted by a second period of military service. He resigned his fellowship in 1655 (All Souls' Archives, ed. C. T. Martin, London, 1877, p. 381). Having obtained a medical degree with little or no knowledge of medicine, Sydenham used his position at All Souls' for the prosecution of his studies. For these, however, Oxford offered but scanty facilities. Anatomy was taught by Dr. Petty (afterwards Sir William) as deputy for the regius professor of physic, Dr. Clayton; and there is evidence that he actually obtained bodies for dissection. Medicine was taught by the regius professor, but his lectures consisted merely in reading the ancient medical classics, with which, except Hippocrates, Sydenham never showed any familiarity. There was no hospital for clinical study. From such teaching as was available he seems to have been diverted by a new commission as a captain of horse.

Sydenham has been confused in the index to the calendar of domestic state papers, 1649–51, with his brother John, Captain (afterwards Major) Sydenham, who was in 1649–50 serving in Ireland. Thomas was, however, in all probability the Captain Sydenham who in 1651 was in command of a troop of horse in Colonel Rich's regiment, forming part of three thousand horse raised out of the militia for special service. At that time John was serving under Cromwell in Scotland as a major. The only other possible Sydenham, Richard, was at this time a permanent official in London (Brit. Mus. Add. MS. 21419, fol. 226). Sydenham's troop was in the first horse regiment, of which the commissions are dated 21 April 1651. It was of some importance since urgent messages were sent by the council of state to the committee of Essex to complete his numbers (Cal. State Papers, 1651, pp. 195, 196, 514, &c.). It would appear therefore that, experienced officers being required for this large force of cavalry, Sydenham was called from his retirement and received a new commission as captain. Rich's force was ordered to lie in the neighbourhood of Leicester and Nottingham in order to secure the midland counties during Cromwell's absence in Scotland. Later in the year this force was sent for by Cromwell and placed in a post of observation on the border (Carlyle, Cromwell's Letters, Nos. 177, 180, dated 26 July and 4 Aug. 1651). When Charles II and the Scottish army marched into England, Rich's horse (with Harrison's) was ordered to follow their movements, and fought some sharp engagements in Lancashire. Either there or in the final battle of Worcester Sydenham may have seen some hard fighting, and it was possibly on one of these occasions that he was (as Andrew Broun informs us) ‘left in the field among the dead,’ and suffered the loss of blood of which he afterwards speaks. It is also to this period that we must refer a well-known anecdote of Sydenham's military life. When a captain at his lodgings in London, a drunken soldier entered his bedroom and discharged a loaded pistol at his breast. But the soldier accidentally interposed his own left hand, which was shattered by the bullet, and the captain was unhurt (Andrew Broun, from Sydenham's own lips; op. cit. p. 81).

The next piece of evidence bearing upon Sydenham's military career is a remarkable petition in his own handwriting presented to Cromwell in March 1653–4, and endorsed ‘Captain Sydenham's petition’ (State Papers, Dom. Ser. 1654, p. 14. Original in Record Office; State Papers, Interregnum, vol. lxvii. f. 37, published by Dr. Gee, St. Bartholomew's Hospital Reports, vol. xix.). The petitioner states that there was due to his brother, Major John Sydenham, slain in Scotland, a considerable arrear for his services; that the petitioner, besides being legally entitled to these arrears, had advanced money to his brother to buy horses for his services in Scotland, but all his brother's papers being lost, he could not recover these sums or arrears in the ordinary way. He himself had faithfully served the parliament with the loss of much blood, by which he was much disabled. He also insists on the services of another brother, Major Francis Sydenham, slain in the west, whose executors never received full satisfaction of his arrears. The Protector (3 March) recommended this petition in a special manner to the council, and 600l. was awarded to Sydenham, which was actually paid on 25 April 1654. The revenue committee was also directed to give him ‘such employment as he is most capable of,’ which was done five years later (Green, 1654, pp. 33, 123). In these documents he is officially styled Captain Thomas Sydenham, but evidently was not on active service after 1651.

The Protector's grant of money probably facilitated Sydenham's marriage and entrance into professional life, both of which events took place in 1655, the year in which he resigned his fellowship at All Souls. He married, at Wynford Eagle, Mary Gee, in 1655 (Parish Register of Toller Fratrum cum Wynford Eagle, examined by Rev. W. L. James; Hutchins gives 1685 in error).

Sydenham began to practise as a physician in Westminster about 1655; but it was probably in a somewhat fitful way, for he was still concerned in the politics of his party. He was candidate for Weymouth in the parliament of Richard Cromwell, summoned January 1658–9, and, though unsuccessful, he was, on 14 July 1659, appointed to the office of ‘comptroller of the pipe’ (Hutchins, Hist. Dorset, supr. cit. ii. 433; Green, Cal. State Papers, Dom. Ser. 1659, 14 July).

It was possibly on the strength of this appointment that Sydenham determined to prosecute his medical studies at Montpellier. The fact is recorded by Desault, a French surgeon of the eighteenth century, who states that a friend of his, a M. Emeric, knew Sydenham well at Montpellier (Desault, Dissertation sur les Maladies Veneriennes, &c., Bordeaux, 1733, p. 359). It may have been as early as 1655, but more likely in 1659; for on 28 July 1659 a pass was issued from the council of state for Mr. Sydenham and Mr. Briggs to travel beyond seas (Cal. State Papers, 1659–60, p. 561), which probably refers to the physician, though no christian name is given in the original document. It may be conjectured that his travelling companion was a patient; possibly a brother of Dr. William Briggs [q. v.] (Ward, Lives of Gresham Professors, manuscript additions in Brit. Mus. copy, p. 258). Additional probability is given to this date by the fact that Sydenham is stated to have been a pupil of Barbeyrac, a popular teacher at Montpellier; and this physician, who was five years younger than Sydenham, did not become noted before 1658 (Picard, Sydenham, pp. 19, 21). A distinct advance in his medical knowledge is perceptible in 1661, from which year he dates his observations of the epidemic diseases of London. He began to practise in King Street, Westminster, but moved in 1664 to Pall Mall.

In 1663 Sydenham obtained the license of the Royal College of Physicians. He passed the three obligatory examinations on 24 April, 8 May, 5 June, and on 25 June was admitted licentiate of the college. Legally, Sydenham ought not to have practised without this license; but the laws against unlicensed practitioners were not strictly enforced until about 1663. Sir Edward Alston, president of the college, took great pains to bring all physicians practising in London within the collegiate fold. Sydenham never obtained any higher rank in the college than that of licentiate. No one could be elected a fellow unless he were full doctor of medicine, and Sydenham did not take this degree till 1676. As an Oxford M.B. he was admitted member of Pembroke College, Cambridge, on 17 May 1676, and took the M.D. degree at the same time. The reason for his selecting this college was probably that his eldest son had been for two years a pensioner there. No definite explanation is given of his not taking this degree at Oxford, but it was probably on political grounds. After 1676 he was eligible for the fellowship of the College of Physicians, yet, having an assured position and being in delicate health, he probably did not value the honour sufficiently to undergo the necessary candidature and examination. He certainly never applied for the fellowship, but Dr. Munk has shown that when he was mentioned officially by the college, it was always with marked cordiality (Munk, Coll. of Phys. 1878, i. 311).

Sydenham seems gradually to have made his way in the profession by force of character and success in the treatment of disease. In 1665, the year of the great plague, he, like many London physicians, left town with his family, as he says, at the urgent entreaties of his friends. For this he has been blamed, but, considering his character and antecedents, it is unlikely that want of courage could be laid to his charge. The practice of a physician in those days lay little among the poor, the chief sufferers from the pestilence, unless he were connected with a hospital, which Sydenham was not. The bulk of the wealthy classes, among whom were his patients, sought safety in flight. Hence his own practice must have vanished away. He left about June, before the epidemic had reached its height, and did not return till the autumn, when it was beginning to decline. Then, though a young physician (as he modestly says), he was often employed in the absence of his seniors. But his observations on this disease are less valuable than they might have been had he remained to study and treat it.

Sydenham made good use of his enforced leisure, for early in the next year he brought out his first book, ‘Methodus Curandi Febres,’ a small octavo of 156 pages, dedicated to Robert Boyle. This was afterwards expanded into the ‘Observationes Medicæ’ (1676), a work regarded as of great importance in the history of medicine. The success of this little book was considerable. It was favourably noticed in the ‘Philosophical Transactions,’ and reprinted at Amsterdam in the same year. It rapidly spread the reputation of the author through Europe.

The remainder of Sydenham's life was uneventful, though troubled owing to much ill-health. He began to suffer from gout and calculus in 1649, and on several occasions was laid up with one or other of these diseases. His personal experience enabled him to write his celebrated description of gout, which is still regarded as unsurpassed in its kind; and he has left an interesting account of the mode of life which he adopted to ward off or control its attacks. In 1689 he suffered severely from calculus, and died on 29 Dec. at the house in Pall Mall which he had occupied for many years. He was buried on 31 Dec. in St. James's Church, Westminster. The original memorial having been destroyed, a mural tablet was erected in 1810 by the College of Physicians, commemorating the great physician in Virgilian phrase as ‘Medicus in omne ævum nobilis.’ It appears from his will (an executor of which was Mr. Malthus, a Pall Mall apothecary and great-grandfather of Robert Malthus, the economist [q. v.]) that his wife died before him.

Sydenham left three sons—William, Henry, and James, all of whom were alive at the time of his death. William, the eldest, entered Pembroke College, Cambridge, as a pensioner, about 1674. He became licentiate of the College of Physicians in 1687, and died about 1738. Sydenham speaks of him with great affection, mentioning some of the illnesses for which he treated him, and wrote for his use the practical manual of medicine called ‘Processus Integri,’ which was published after the author's death; and he bequeathed to him his lands in Hertfordshire and Leicestershire. Three children of this William Sydenham were also living at the date of the physician's death. Another grandson, Theophilus Sydenham, was living in 1747, when he presented a portrait of his grandfather to the College of Physicians. Sydenham's niece Mary married Walter Thornhill and became the mother of Sir James Thornhill [q. v.], the well-known painter. By Sydenham's will thirty pounds were bequeathed to aid the professional education of the young artist, his nephew. The family of Sydenham can be traced in the next century, and representatives of it are, it is believed, still living.

Sydenham's personal character has been universally recognised as noble, modest, and sincere. His dominant trait was his earnest endeavour to work for the good of mankind, both in his own immediate circle and in times to come. He had only done his duty in making his observations as accurately as possible, and publishing them for the public advantage. ‘For I have always thought,’ he says, ‘that to have published for the benefit of afflicted mortals any certain method of subduing even the slightest disease, was a matter of greater felicity than the riches of a Tantalus or a Crœsus’ (Epistolæ Responsoriæ, addressed to Dr. Brady, Latham's edition, ii. 5). Among the instances of his practical benevolence is that of his lending one of his own horses to a poor patient for whom he thought horse exercise would be beneficial. The only suggestion of an unfavourable side to his character is that of an occasional bitterness of speech, and this is confirmed by the strong undercurrent of resentment against those whom he regarded as his enemies, which is traceable in his works. His writings exhibit deep piety and strong religious convictions, such as might be expected from his parentage and education. That he thought deeply upon theological subjects is evident from a letter addressed to him by Charles Blount the ‘deist’ (quoted in Biographia Britannica, 1747, ii. 837), and from the extant manuscript fragment entitled ‘Theologia Rationalis.’

Intellectually, Sydenham's most striking characteristic was his independence and repudiation of all dogmatic authority in matters of science. He had indeed been trained in the school of revolt. Further, he claimed to be as little influenced by theory as by tradition. His aim was not to frame hypotheses about the operations of nature, but to observe them directly, as Bacon advised. He may be said to have set the example of studying diseases as natural objects, without being led astray by the attempt to explain them. In his own words, ‘I have been very careful to write nothing but what was the product of faithful observation, and neither suffered myself to be deceived by idle speculations, nor have deceived others by obtruding anything upon them but downright matter of fact’ (Sloane MS. 4376, letter to Gould). Furthermore, he possessed the synthetic power of genius which enabled him to combine his observations into pictures of disease, the value of which remains unaffected by change of opinion or increase of knowledge.

Sydenham was not much in sympathy with the progress of natural science in his own day, and sometimes displays remarkable ignorance of contemporary discoveries in anatomy and physiology, while he allows somewhat grudgingly the importance of anatomy in medicine. He never belonged to the Royal Society.

His chief contributions to medicine were: first, his observations on the epidemic diseases of successive years, which have been the model of many similar researches; next, that he gave the first description or clear discrimination of certain special diseases, such as chorea, hysteria, and several others; finally, in practical medicine he introduced the cooling method of treating the small-pox, which was new at all events in English practice, and he helped to bring in the use of bark in agues. By these discoveries, and by the method of studying diseases which he introduced, Sydenham is admitted to have made an epoch in medical science. Haller has used his name to denote a period in the history of medicine; Boerhaave never mentioned it without a tribute of respect.

Sydenham's reputation, as is often the case with innovators, rose more rapidly abroad than at home. Schacht, the eminent professor of Leyden, constantly recommended Sydenham's works to his students (C. L. Morley, De Morbo Epidemico, London, 1680, p. 112). Ettmüller of Leipzig, Spon of Lyons, Doleus, and other eminent continental physicians are said to have publicly professed their adhesion to his doctrines before 1691. At the beginning of the eighteenth century his fame grew to an equal height in his own country; he began to be called the English Hippocrates, and has always been regarded since as one of the chief glories of British medicine. As a commemoration of his services to medicine, the Sydenham Society, founded at London in 1845, issued thirty volumes down to 1857, from which date down to the present day the periodical issue of medical monographs and translations (nearly seventy in number) has been carried on by the New Sydenham Society.

Although in his works and private letters Sydenham often refers with some bitterness to the hostility of his medical brethren, evoked, as he thought, by his innovations in practice, he had many devoted friends among the most eminent and orthodox physicians. Dr. Mapletoft, Gresham professor of medicine, was perhaps the most intimate. Paman, also a Gresham professor, and Brady, regius professor of medicine at Cambridge, by asking his advice in very flattering terms, elicited two of his medical treatises. Dr. Cole of Worcester performed a similar service to medicine by causing the ‘Epistolary Dissertation’ to be written. Goodall, the historian of the College of Physicians (to whom the ‘Schedula Monitoria’ was dedicated), was one of Sydenham's staunch defenders. The dedication of the treatise on gout to Short denotes a mutual respect. Micklethwaite, president of the College of Physicians, publicly avowed his adhesion to Sydenham's new doctrines (Andrew Broun). Walter Needham's friendship is acknowledged by Sydenham himself. Walter Harris and a greater man, Richard Morton, pay him the warmest eulogiums. Sydenham's friendship with Boyle and with Locke is well known. Boyle, to whom the first edition of the ‘Methodus Curandi’ is dedicated, and by whose persuasion the work was undertaken, accompanied Sydenham, with characteristic scientific zeal, in his visits to patients.

Locke was a still more intimate friend. He wrote Latin verses prefixed to the second edition (1668) of the ‘Methodus Curandi,’ and is mentioned in the dedication of the ‘Observationes Medicæ’ (1676) with high praise and as approving of Sydenham's methods. Locke, as a physician, agreed with Sydenham, and his medical opinions, expressed in his letters, are even more revolutionary. The ‘Shaftesbury Papers,’ quoted in Fox-Bourne's ‘Life of Locke,’ contain medical notes and observations by the two friends, in which the hands of both may be recognised. The manuscript printed in 1845 as ‘Anecdota Sydenhamiana,’ containing medical observations partly taken down from Sydenham's own lips, is recognised by Mr. Fox-Bourne as being in the handwriting of Locke. Sydenham was also consulted by his friend about some of his medical cases.

Two physicians are known as having been actual pupils of Sydenham—viz. Sir Hans Sloane and Thomas Dover (‘Dover's powder’), buccaneer and physician. The latter lived in Sydenham's house, and describes how he was treated by him for the small-pox (see The Ancient Physician's Legacy). Sir Richard Blackmore more than once acknowledges his debt to Sydenham's advice and teaching. When a student he asked Sydenham's advice as to what books he should read for the study of medicine. The answer was a jest: ‘Read “Don Quixote,”’ meaning evidently that books were of no use (cf. Blackmore, On the Small-Pox, 1723, preface; On the Gout, 1726, preface).

The question whether Sydenham's works were originally written in Latin or English has been much controverted. They were all published in the learned language, but it has been stated that the Latin version was due to two of Sydenham's friends. This rumour was current from the beginning of his literary career, and there seems little doubt that, although he was generally acquainted with Latin, he had the assistance of better latinists than himself in preparing his works for the press. His first work, ‘Methodus Curandi’ (1666 and 1668), is referred to in 1671 by Henry Stubbs or Stubbe (1632–1676) [q. v.], the polemical physician of Warwick, who quotes a passage and then adds, ‘'Tis true he did not pen it Latine, but another (Mr. G. H.) for him, and perhaps his skill in that tongue may not be such as to know when his thoughts are rightly worded.’ Stubbe was a contemporary of Sydenham at Oxford in the puritan times, and was author of the only contemporary publication which directly attacked Sydenham's views. Sydenham does not seem to have replied to it, but omitted in later editions a theoretical explanation of the smallpox that Stubbe had sharply criticised. Stubbe's statement respecting Sydenham's method of composition is ill-natured, but seems too positive to be a mere invention. Mr. G. H. means Gilbert Havers of Trinity College, Cambridge (Stubbe, The Lord Bacon's Relation of the Sweating Sickness examined, with a defence of Phlebotomy, in opposition to Dr. Sydenham, &c., London, 1671, 4to, p. 180). Ward, in his lives of the Gresham professors, says positively that Dr. Mapletoft translated the ‘Observationes Medicæ’ (1676) into Latin at the request of the author, and that his later pieces were translated by Mr. Gilbert Havers. Ward's statement being questioned, he supported it by a letter from the Rev. J. Mapletoft, son of the doctor, who affirmed that his father had translated all Sydenham's works as they appeared in the edition of 1683, and that the ‘Schedula Monitoria’ (1686) was translated by Gilbert Havers (Ward, Lives of the Professors of Gresham College; Gent. Mag. 1743, p. 528).

Sydenham wrote a plain English style which was rendered into somewhat ambitious and rhetorical Latin in the publications that appeared under his name.

Sydenham published five works in his lifetime, and one was issued after his death. The following list gives the titles and dates of the original and of many subsequent editions: 1. ‘Methodus curandi Febres propriis observationibus superstructa,’ London, 1666, sm. 8vo, Amsterdam, 1666; 2nd edit. London, 1668, 8vo (enlarged); 3rd edit. with new title, ‘Observationes Medicæ circa morborum acutorum historiam et curationem,’ London, 1676, 8vo (greatly enlarged); 4th edit. London, 1685, 8vo. Some other continental editions are mentioned. 2. ‘Epistolæ Responsoriæ duæ, prima de Morbis Epidemicis ab 1676 ad 1680 ad Robertum Brady, M.D., secunda de Luis Venereæ historia et curatione ad Henricum Paman, M.D.,’ London, 1680, 8vo.; 2nd edit. London, 1685, 8vo. 3. ‘Dissertatio epistolaris ad Gulielmum Cole, M.D., de observationibus nuperis circa curationem variolarum confluentium necnon de affectione hysterica,’ London, 1682, 8vo; 2nd edit. London, 1685, 8vo. 4. ‘Tractatus de Podagra et Hydrope,’ London, 1683, 8vo; 2nd edit. London, 1685. 5. ‘Schedula monitoria de Novæ febris ingressu,’ London, 1686, 8vo; 2nd edit. London, 1688, 8vo (Greenhill). 6. ‘Processus Integri in morbis fere omnibus curandis;’ first printed by Dr. Monfort in 1692 from Sydenham's manuscript, but only in about twenty copies, of which none can be traced. Reprinted same year in ‘Miscellanea Curiosa,’ Nuremberg, 1692, 4to, Dec. ii. Ann. 10, App. pp. 139–396. First definite edition, London, 1693, 12mo; also at London, 1695, 1705, 1712, 1726, &c., and at Amsterdam, Geneva, Lyons, Venice, Edinburgh, and elsewhere. English by William Salmon (with additions of his own), London, 1695, 8vo 1707. English (anonymous) Dr. Sydenham's ‘Compleat Method of curing almost all Diseases,’ many editions; 5th edit. 1713, 12mo. To these should be added ‘Compendium Praxeos Medicæ Sydenhami in usum quorundam commodiorem, editum a Gulielmo Sydenhamo, M.D., Thomæ filio natu maximo,’ London, 1719, 12mo (partly at least from Sydenham's manuscripts by his son).

Collected editions.—Latin: 1. ‘Th. Sydenham Opuscula omnia,’ Amsterdam, 1683, 8vo (contains 1, 2, and 3), portrait. 2. ‘Opera Universa,’ London, 1685, 8vo, with portrait, called ‘editio altera,’ but an earlier London edition cannot be traced, though it is stated there was one in 1683 (contains 1, 2, 3, 4). 3. London, 1705, 8vo (contains 1, 2, 3, 4, 5); also at Geneva, 1716, 4to; 2 vols. 4to, 1723, 1736, 1749, 1757, 1769; Venice, 1735, fol. (Billings), 1762, fol.; Padua, 1725 (Billings); Leyden, 1726, 8vo, 1741, 1754; Leipzig, ed. C. G. Kühn, 1827, 12mo; London, Sydenham Society, ed. W. A. Greenhill, 1844, 8vo, 2nd edit. 1846 (best edition).

English translations.—1. Whole works, translated by John Pechey, London, 1696, 8vo; 11th edit. 1740. 2. Works, newly made English by John Swan, with a life (anonymous, but by Samuel Johnson), London, 1742, 8vo, 3rd edit. 1753; revised by G. Wallis, London, 1788, 2 vols. 8vo. 3. Works, translated from the Latin edition of Dr. Greenhill, with a life of the author by R. G. Latham, M.D., Sydenham Society, London, 1848, 8vo, 2 vols. German Translations.—Transl. J. J. Mastalir, Vienna, 1786–7, 8vo (Billings); ‘Auszug,’ transl. H. G. Spiering, Leipzig, 1795, 1802 (Billings). French translation by A. F. Jault, 8vo, Paris, 1774, 1781, 1789 (Billings); revised by J. B. Th. Baumes, Montpellier, 1816 (Picard). Italian translation by Campanelli, Pavia, 1816, 2 vols. 12mo (Ebert. Picard).

Manuscripts.—1. ‘Medical observations by Thomas Sydenham, London, Martii 26o, 1669,’ Library of College of Physicians; the name and apparently some of the manuscript in Sydenham's handwriting. It contains observations on diseases, written at various dates from 1669 onwards. A final note refers to the published ‘Observationes,’ and must have been written after 1676. This was evidently a first sketch of ‘Observationes Medicæ,’ some passages being pretty closely translated in that work, others entirely rewritten, others omitted. 2. ‘Theologia rationalis, by Dr. Thomas Sydenham;’ manuscript in Cambridge University Library; two copies are in British Museum (Sloane, 3828, f. 162; Add. MS. 6469, f. 107); a short treatise on natural theology, containing arguments for the existence of God, moral obligation, &c., a fine and even eloquent composition. It is probably by Sydenham, though the authorship is not absolutely proved; printed (incomplete) in Latham's edition of ‘Works,’ ii. 307. 3. ‘Extracts of Sydenham's Physick Books, and some good letters on various subjects.’ Manuscript, English, imperfect, Bodleian (Rawlinson, C. 406). In the handwriting of John Locke. Internal and other evidence shows it to have been compiled in or after 1685 (Fox Bourne, Life of Locke, 1876, i. 230, 454, &c.). It contains extracts from Sydenham's manuscripts and notes taken down from his lips, often agreeing with the ‘Processus Integri.’ Published by W. A. Greenhill, Oxford, 1845, 16mo; 2nd edit. 1847, as ‘Anecdota Sydenhamiana.’

Letters.—Besides the petition to Cromwell cited above, the British Museum contains two autograph English letters: 1. To Dr. Gould of Wadham College, Oxford, dated 10 Dec. 1687, already quoted as containing biographical details (Sloane, 4376, f. 75). Printed by Dr. J. Brown, ‘Horæ Subsecivæ,’ 2nd edit. 1859. 2. To Major W. Hale, dated 11 Dec. 1687, a letter of advice to a patient (Add. MS. 33573, f. 158, unpublished). 3. An interesting letter to R. Boyle is printed in Latham's life (Works, vol. i. p. lxxii) from Boyle's works. 4. A letter of advice about a child, not dated, is reproduced in facsimile by Sir B. W. Richardson in ‘Asclepiad,’ ix. 385.

The College of Physicians possesses three portrait heads of Sydenham in oils: 1. Presented by William Sydenham the son in 1691. It is evidently the head by Mary Beale, engraved by Blootelink for ‘Observationes Medicæ,’ 1676, and ‘Opera,’ 1685; and copied in other editions. The presumed age is fifty-two; hair brown. 2. Presented by Theophilus Sydenham, grandson, in 1747. Attributed to Mary Beale, but probably by Sir Peter Lely, as suggested by Dr. Nias. It is older than No. 1; the hair grey. Engraved by Houbraken as by Lely for Birch's ‘Heads,’ 1743–52. The engraving was copied by Goldar and others. 3. Presented by Mr. Bayford in 1832; apparently a copy. A bust in marble was executed by Wilton in 1758 at the expense of the college. A life-size statue in stone by Pinker was presented to the University Museum, Oxford, in 1894, by Sir Henry Acland and others (Munk, Coll. of Phys. 1878, iii. 401; Nias, Facts about Sydenham, infra cit.).

[There are several Lives of Sydenham. The memoir in Biographia Britannica, 1747, vi. 3879, was followed by the Lives by Dr. Samuel Johnson, prefixed to Swan's translation of Works, 1742; by C. G. Kühn, Opera, 1827; by W. A. Greenhill (based on Kühn), Opera, 1844; by R. G. Latham, Works, 1848; and by Frédéric Picard, ‘Sydenham, sa Vie, ses Œuvres,’ Paris, 1889 (by far the best life). The Lives of British Physicians and similar collections add nothing new. See also Wood's Athenæ, ed. 1721, p. 839, and Fasti, p. 65; Hutchins's Hist. of Dorset, 3rd edit. vol. ii. 1864; Green's Cal. State Papers, Dom. Ser., passim; Rushworth's Hist. Collections, 1692, pt. iii. vol. ii.; Whitelocke's Memorials, 1732; Montagu Burrows's Register of the Visitors of Univ. Oxford (Camd. Soc.), 1881, 4to; Clarendon's Hist. of the Rebellion; Dr. J. Brown's Horæ Subsecivæ—Locke and Sydenham, 2nd edit. 1859; Gee's An Anecdote of Sydenham, St. Bartholomew's Hospital Reports, xix. i. 1883; Nias's Some Facts about Sydenham, St. Bartholomew's Hospital Reports, xxvi. 187, 1890; Mackenzie Walcott's Memorials of Westminster, 1851; Handbook of St. James's, Westminster, 1850; Sir B. W. Richardson's Asclepiad, ix. 385, 1892; Haeser, Geschichte der Medizin, ii. 387, 1881; Gurlt and Hirsch, Lexicon der Aerzte, v. 592, 1887; Milroy in Lancet, 1846 vol. ii. 1847 vol. i. and ii.; Gent. Mag. 1743 p. 528, 1788 i. 34, 1789 ii. 1131, 1801 ii. 684, 1071; Acland, Unveiling the Statue of Sydenham, Oxford, 1894.]

J. F. P.

Dictionary of National Biography, Errata (1904), p.262
N.B.— f.e. stands for from end and l.l. for last line

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247 i 10 Sydenham, Thomas: for 3 March 1626, read 26 Feb. 1626-7,