Hamey, Baldwin (1600-1676) (DNB00)

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HAMEY, BALDWIN, the younger, M.D. (1600–1676), physician, eldest son of Baldwin Hamey [q. v.], M.D., was born in London 24 April 1600, and entered at the university of Leyden as a student of philosophy in May 1617. He visited Oxford for a time in 1621, and studied in the public library there. In August 1625 he went to Hastings, intending to sail thence to Holland. He supped with the mayor, and was to sail next morning; but the mayor, perhaps excited to suspicion by Hamey's learned conversation, dreamed that the stranger ought to be detained, and accordingly set a guard at the inn, which prevented his sailing with sixty other passengers, who were all lost in a storm which arose less than an hour after the ship sailed. When the mayor, who could not explain why he had prevented Hamey's embarkation, found that his life had thus been saved, he caressed him as the darling of heaven. Another vessel conveyed him to Holland, and he graduated M.D. at Leyden 12 Aug. 1626, writing a thesis ‘De Angina.’ He then visited the universities of Paris, Montpelier, and Padua; and after travels in Germany, France, and Italy, was incorporated M.D. at Oxford 4 Feb. 1629. He was admitted a fellow of the College of Physicians of London 10 Jan. 1633, was eight times censor, from 1640 to 1654, was registrar in 1646 and 1650 to 1654, and treasurer 1664–6. In 1647 he delivered the Gulstonian lectures. He married Ann Petin of Rotterdam, and settled in practice in the parish of St. Clement's, Eastcheap. Dr. Pearson's sermons on the Creed were preached in the parish church, and he became one of Hamey's friends. During the great rebellion he at one time thought of leaving London; but an attack of inflammation of the lungs changed his intention. The day he was convalescent a roundhead general consulted him, and, delighted with his promise of cure, handed him a bag of gold. Hamey thought the fee too great, and handed it back; whereupon the puritan took a handful of gold pieces from the bag, put them into the physician's pocket, and went away. Hamey's wife was waiting dinner, and he handed his fee of thirty-six broad pieces to her. She was pleased, and told him how, during his illness, she had paid away that very sum to a state exaction rather than trouble him with discussion. Hamey thought this incident an omen against migration, remained in London, and soon had many patients among the parliament men. He complied with the times so far as to go and hear the sermons of the sectaries, but used to take with him either an octavo Aldine Virgil in vellum, or a duodecimo Aristophanes in red leather with clasps. The unlearned crowd took them for Bible and Greek Testament, and lost in their study he was saved the annoyance of the sermon. He must have earned many fees, for he bought a diamond ring of Charles I bearing the royal arms for 500l., and several times sent gifts to Charles II. The ring he gave to Charles II at the Restoration. The king would have knighted him, but he declined the honour. He retired from practice in 1665, and went to live at Chelsea, where he died, 14 May 1676. He was buried in the chancel of the parish church, wrapped in linen, without coffin, and ten feet deep, and with no monument but a black marble slab bearing his name, the date of his death, and the sentence: ‘When the breath goeth out of a man he returneth unto his earth.’ The longer gilt inscription, with his arms, which is still visible, was put up some years after, and has recently been restored by the College of Physicians. He had no children, and as he had a good inheritance as well as a lucrative practice he was always well off, and used his wealth with generosity throughout life. When only thirty-three he paid the expenses of the education at school and at Oxford of a deserving scholar, John Sigismund Clewer (Palmer, Life, p. 20). He gave 100l. towards the repairs of St. Paul's Cathedral, and also contributed liberally to the fabrics of All Hallows Barking, of St. Clement's, Eastcheap, and of St. Luke's, Chelsea. He also gave a great bell to Chelsea Church, with the inscription, ‘Baldwinus Hamey Philevangelicus Medicus Divo Lucæ medico evangelico, D.D.D.’ He was still more generous to the College of Physicians, and became its largest benefactor. He gave a large sum towards its rebuilding after the fire of 1666, and wainscoted the dining-room with carved Spanish oak, some of which, with his arms, is preserved in the present college. In 1672 he gave the college an estate near Great Ongar in Essex. The rents of this, among other objects, were to pay annual sums to the physicians of St. Bartholomew's, provided that hospital accepted the nominees of the College of Physicians. On a vacancy the college is informed of it by letter and makes a nomination, which is rejected by the hospital, while the senior-assistant physician is appointed. Thus the physicians of St. Bartholomew's have never received Hamey's benefaction; but to make up to them the hospital pays each one hundred guineas a year, so that, circuitously, his good wish is carried out. Hamey's thesis was his only printed work, but several of his manuscripts remain in the College of Physicians. They are: 1. ‘Bustorum aliquot Reliquiæ ab anno 1628, qui mihi primus fuit conducti seorsim a parentibus non inauspicato hospitii.’ Besides the original there is a beautiful copy of this manuscript, and another copy exists in the British Museum. It begins with an account of Theodore Goulston [q. v.], and then gives histories of fifty-three other physicians, contemporaries of Hamey. 2. ‘Universa Medicina,’ a folio book of notes on medicine. 3. ‘Gulstonian Lectures.’ 4. ‘Notes on Aristophanes.’ After his death Adam Littleton edited in 1693 Hamey's ‘Dissertatio epistolaris de juramento medicorum qui ὅρκος Ἱππoκράτους dicitur.’ Vandyck painted his portrait in 1638 (Palmer, manuscript). A portrait of him at the age of seventy-four, at present in the great library of the College of Physicians, is by Snelling. In it busts of Hippocrates and Aristophanes, his favourite Greek authors, lie before him.

[Munk's Coll. of Phys. i. 207; Hamey's Bustorum Aliquot Reliquiæ, manuscript copy in the College of Physicians' Library; Palmer's Life of the Most Eminent Dr. Baldwin Hamey, original manuscript in College of Physicians' Library.]

N. M.