Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Bernard, Francis (1627-1698)

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search

BERNARD, FRANCIS (1627–1698), physician, was incorporated M.D. at Cambridge in 1678, having received his degree earlier in the same year from the Archbishop of Canterbury. He became a fellow of the College of Physicians in 1687, having been nominated by James II's charter, and he had been elected an honorary fellow seven years earlier (Munk, Coll. of Phys. i. 449). He was elected assistant-physician to St. Bartholomew's Hospital 20 Nov. 1678 (MS. Journal St. Bartholomew's Hospital), was appointed physician-in-ordinary to James II, and died 9 Feb. 1698 (monument in St. Botolph, Aldersgate). His house was in Little Britain, near St. Bartholomew's Hospital, and it contained a great library. Besides the learned languages, Dr. Bernard knew French, Spanish, and Italian, and it was said that he had read through all the volumes of his vast collection. Bernard's memory was extraordinary, and his friends were often astonished at his full, ready, and exact replies to abstruse questions of literature. His books were collected for use, and he had no care for gilt backs and wide margins. The medical part of his library was reputed to be the largest collection of books on physic ever made in England. Though of delicate constitution, he never allowed ill-health to prevent his studies, and continued them to the end of his life. In his last illness he expressed regret that he had not made notes in some of his books to indicate the grounds on which he valued them, or the particular and little-known passages some of them contained. His wife put up a monument to his memory in their parish church of St. Botolph, Aldersgate. Among the Sloane MSS. is one of his casebooks. It is made out of an old vellum manuscript, and in addition to notes of visits to patients contains several Greek and Latin mottoes. It shows that Sir Robert Walpole's father was one of his patients.

As Dr. Francis Bernard and Sergeant Charles Bernard [q. v.] were for ten years contemporaries on the staff of St. Bartholomew's, and as they had the same tastes and the same political connections, it is not improbable that they were akin, but no record of the relationship has been discovered.

[Catalogue of the Library of the late learned Dr. Francis Bernard, London, 1698.]

N. M.