Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 47.djvu/128

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search
This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.
120
THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

wick. The governors of the university insisted on a retraction. To Andala's recantation Boerhaave replied with fine courtesy that the most agreeable satisfaction he could receive was that so eminent a divine should have no more trouble on his account.

Boerhaave was through life cheerful and desirous of promoting mirth by a facetious and humorous conversation. He was never soured by calumny and detraction, nor ever thought it necessary to confute them, "for they are sparks" he said, "which if you do not blow them will go out of themselves."

In 1728 he was elected a member of the Royal Academy of Sciences in Paris, and in 1730 a member of the Royal Society.

He accumulated an immense fortune, estimated by some at two millions of florins, and yet through life no one appealed in vain to his generosity. "The poor," he said, "were his best patients, for God paid for them."

About the middle of the year 1737 he began to suffer from cardiac disturbances, from dyspnœa, and from dropsy. If for a moment

PSM V47 D128 Boerhaave monument.jpg

he fell asleep, the respiration was interrupted, and rest was prevented by a terrible sensation as of strangling. Yet in a letter he writes, "I have lived to upward of sixty-eight years, and always cheerful."

In the library of the Faculty of Medicine in Paris there were found in 1877 ninety letters from Boerhaave to his friend Baron Bassand, physician to the Duke of Lorraine, afterward the Emperor Francis I. In one of these, written two weeks before his death, and intended for private eyes only, he says: "My malady gathers in force. The cardiac oppression due to polypi is constant, and of the last degree of cruelty. God wishes it thus. His perfect and sovereign will be glorified by the submission of his creature, who loves and adores only the infinitude of the eternal."[1]

He died on the 27th of September, 1738. His monument in the St. Peter Church, where his body was interred, bears the inscription "Salutifero Boerhaavii Genio."

  1. Article by Chireau, L'Union Médicale, 1877, p. 584.