Daffy, Thomas (DNB00)

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DAFFY, THOMAS (d. 1680), inventor of Daffy's ‘elixir salutis,’ was a clergyman, who in 1647 was presented by the Earl of Rutland to the living of Harby in Leicestershire. His conduct as rector appears to have given offence to the Countess of Rutland, a lady of puritanical views, and in 1666 he was removed at her instigation to the inferior living of Redmile in the same county. There he remained to his death, which occurred in 1680. In what year the medicine by which Daffy's name has been handed down was invented is not now known, but the following passage from Adam Martindale's ‘Autobiography’ (Chetham Society's Publications, iv. 209) seems to show that in 1673 (the year in which Adam's daughter Elizabeth Martindale died of a severe cold and cough) it had already achieved considerable reputation: ‘That which seemed to doe her most good was elixir salutis, for it gave her much ease (my Lord Delamere having bestowed upon her severall bottles that came immediately from Mr. Daffie himself), and it also made her cheerful; but going forth and getting new cold she went fast away. I am really persuaded that if she had taken it a little sooner in due quantities, and been carefull of herself, it might have saved her life.’

In an advertisement inserted by Daffy's daughter Catherine in the ‘Post Boy,’ 1 Jan. 1707–8, it is stated that during the inventor's lifetime the elixir was sold by his son Daniel, an apothecary at Nottingham, and that the secret of its preparation was also imparted to his kinsman Antony Daffy. The widow of the latter seems to have disputed Catherine's right to call herself proprietress of the popular soothing syrup. Thomas Daffy's eldest son, who bore the same name, and in ‘Gent. Mag.’ vol. lxxxv. pt. ii. 493 is confused with his father, graduated M.A. at St. John's College, Cambridge, in 1673, and became headmaster of Melton Mowbray school.

[Nichols's Leicestershire, vol. ii. pt. i. pp. 302, 422; Notes and Queries, 3rd ser. iv. 77.]

A. V.