1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Abercromby, David
ABERCROMBY, DAVID, a 17th-century Scottish physician who was sufficiently noteworthy a generation after the probable date of his death to have his Nova Medicinae Praxis reprinted at Paris in 1740. During his lifetime his Tuta ac efficax luis venereae saepe absque mercurio ac semper absque salivatione mercuriali curando methodus (1684) was translated into French, Dutch and German. Two other works by him were De Pulsus Variatione (London, 1685), and Ars explorandi medicas facultates plantarum ex solo sapore (London, 1685–1688). His Opuscula were collected in 1687. These professional writings gave him a place and memorial in A. von Haller's Bibliotheca Medicinae Pract. (4 vols. 8vo, 1779, tom. iii. p. 619); but he claims notice rather by his remarkable controversial books in theology and philosophy than by his medical writings. Bred up at Douai as a Jesuit, he abjured popery, and published Protestancy proved Safer than Popery (London, 1686). But the most noticeable of his productions is A Discourse of Wit (London, 1685), which contains some of the most characteristic and most definitely-put metaphysical opinions of the Scottish philosophy of common sense. It was followed by Academia Scientiarum (1687), and by A Moral Treatise of the Power of Interest (1690), dedicated to Robert Boyle. A Short Account of Scots Divines, by him, was printed at Edinburgh in 1833, edited by James Maidment. The exact date of his death is unknown, but according to Haller he was alive early in the 18th century.