Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Addenbrooke, John

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ADDENBROOKE, JOHN (1680–1719), founder of the hospital which bears his name at Cambridge, was born in 1680 at Swinford Regis in Staffordshire. He was educated at Catharine Hall, Cambridge, graduated B.A. 1701, M.A. 1705, and was elected a fellow of the college. In 1706 he was admitted an extra-licentiate of the College of Physicians, and took a M.D. degree at Cambridge in 1712. Of his practice nothing is known. In 1714 Dr. Addenbrooke published ‘A Short Essay upon Freethinking.’ He praises Bentley's reply to Collins, and gives as his reason for joining in the controversy that freethinkers are so set against clergymen that they may care more for what a layman says. A man may think as freely, he says, who believes a proposition as one who does not. Two things are essential to true freethinking—absence of prejudice and the full exertion of abilities of thought. The understanding may be distempered, and is so more often than the body. Hence no man can determine the guilt of another in having erroneous opinions. These are the chief points of Addenbrooke's rather indefinite essay. He died in 1719, and bequeathed about 4,000l. ‘to erect and maintain a small physical hospital’ at Cambridge, a foundation which has since been of the greatest service to the study of physic in that university. There is a tablet to his memory in the chapel of St. Catharine's.

[Munk's College of Physicians, ii. 14.]

N. M.