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It was desired by the aldermen, that the testimonials of churchwardens and overseers should be admitted ; and that all hired fervants, and all apprentices to handicraftsmen, should be considered as poor. This likewise was granted by the College.
It was then considered who should distribute the medicines, and who should settle their prices. The physicians procured some apothecaries to undertake the difpenfation, and offered that the warden and company of the apothecaries should adjust the price. This offer was rejected; and the apothecaries who had engaged to assist the charity were considered as traytors to the company, threatened with the imposition of troublesome offices, and deterred from the performance of their engagements. The apothecaries ventured upon publick opposition, and presented a kind of remonstrance against the design to the committee of the city, which the physicians condescended to confute: and at last the traders seem to have prevailed among the fons of trade; for the proposal of the college having been considered, a paper of approbation was drawn up, but postponed and forgotten.
The physicians stiil persisted; and in 1696 a subscription was raised by themselves, according to an agreement prefixed to the Dispensary. The poor were for a time supplied with medicines; for how long a time, I know not. The medicinal charity, like others, began with ardour, but soon remitted, and at last died gradually away.
About the time of the subscription begins the action of the Dispensary. The poem, as
its subject was present and popular, co-operated with passions and prejudices then prevalent, and with such auxiliaries to its intrinsick merit, was univerfally and liberally applauded. It was on the side of charity against the intrigues of interest, and of regular learning against licentious afarpation of medical authority, and was therefore naturally favoured by those who read and can judge of poetry.
In 1697, Garth fpoke that which is now called the Harveiano Oration; which the authors of the Biographia mention with more praise than the passage quoted in their notes will fully justify. Garth, speaking of the mischiefs done by quacks, has these expreffions : “ Non tamen telis valnerat ista agyr“ tarum colluvies, sed theriacâ quadam " magis perniciosa, non pyrio, sed pulvere “ nescio quo exotico certat, non globulis « plumbeis, fed pilulis æque lethalibus inter“ ficit. This was certainly thought fine by the author, and is still admired by his biographer. In October 1702 he became one of the censors of the College.
Garth, being an active and zealous Whig, was a member of the Kit-cat club, and by consequence familiarly known to all the great men of that denomination. In 1710, when the government fell into other hands, he writ to lord Godolphin, on his dismission, a short poem, which was criticised in the Examiner, and so successfully either defended or excufed by Mr. Addison, that, for the sake of the vindication, it ought to be preserved.
At the accession of the present Family his merits were acknowledged and rewarded. He
was knighted with the sword of his hero, Marlborough ; and was made physician in ordinary to the king, and physician-general to the army.
He then undertook an edition of Ovid's Metamorphoses, translated by several hands; which he recommended by a Preface, written with more oftentation than ability: his notions are half-formed, and his materials immethodically confused. This was his last work. He died Jan. 18, 1717-18, and was buried at Harrow-on-the-Hill.
His personal character seems to have been social and liberal. He communicated himself through a very wide extent of acquaintance; and though firm in a party, at a time when firmness included virulence, yet he imparted his kindness to those who were not supposed to favour his principles. He was an early encourager of Pope, and was at once the friend of Addison and of Granville. He is accused of voluptuousness and irreligion; and Pope, who says that “ if ever there was a good “ Christian, without knowing himself to be “ so, it was Dr. Garth,” seems not able to deny what he is angry to hear and loth to confess.
His poetry has been praised at least equally to its merit. In the Dispensary there is a strain of smooth and free versification; but few lines are eminently elegant. No passages fall below mediocrity, and few rise much above it. The plan seems formed without just proportion to the subject; the means and end have no necessary connection. Resnel, in his Preface to Pope's Essay, remarks, that Garth exhibits no discrimination of characters; and that what
any any one says might with equal propriety have been said by another. The general design is perhaps open to criticism; but the compofition can seldom be charged with inaccuracy or negligence. The author never slumbers in self-indulgence; his full vigour is always exerted; scarce a line is left unfinished, nor is it easy to find an expression used by constraint, or a thought imperfectly expressed. It was remarked by Pope, that the Dispensary had been corrected in every edition, and that every change was an improvement. It appears, however, to want something of poetical ardour, and something of general delectation ; and therefore, since it has been no longer supported by accidental and extrinsick popularity, it has been scarcely able to support itself.
W ILLIAM KING was born in Lon. don in 1663, the son of Ezekiel King, a gentleman. He was allied to the family of Clarendon.
From Westminster-school, where he was a scholar on the foundation under the care of Dr. Busby, he was at eighteen elected to Christ-church, in 1681; where he is said to have prosecuted his studies with so much intenseness and activity, that, before he was eight years standing, he had read over, and made remarks upon, twenty-two thousand odd hundred books and manuscripts. The books were certainly not very long, the manuscripts not very difficult, nor the remarks very large ; for the calculator will find that he dispatched seven a-day, for every day of his eight years, with a remnant that more than satisfies most other students. He took his degree in the most expensive manner, as a grand compounder ; whence it is inferred that he inherited a considerable fortune.
In 1688, the same year in which he was made master of arts, he published a confutation of Varillas's account of Wickliffe ; and, engaging in the study of the Civil Law, pe