Maty, Matthew

, M. D. an eminent physician and polite writer, was born in Holland in 1718. He was the son of Paul Maty, a protestant clergyman, and was originally intended for the church; but, in consequence of some mortifications his father received from the synod, on account of particular sentiments which he entertained about the doctrine of the Trinity, he turned his thoughts to physic*. He took his degree at Leyden, and in 1740, came to settle in England, his father having determined to quit Holland for ever.

In order to make himself known, in 1750 he began to publish, in French, an account of the productions of the English press, printed at the Hague, under the name of

*

Mosheim has accounted for Mr. Maty’s “mortifications” very satisfactorily. It appears that Maty published at the Hague in 1729, a work entitled “Lettre d’un Theologien a un autre Theologien sur le mystere de la Trinite,” in which his doctrine is, that ' The Father is the pure Deity; and that the Son and the Holy Ghost are two olher persons, in each of whom there are two natures; one divine, which is the same in all the three persons, and with respect to which they are one and the same God, having the same numerical divine essence; and the other a finite and dependent na ture, which is united to the divine nature in the same manner in which the orthodox say, that Jesus Christ is God and Man. The publication of this hypothesis, says Mosheim’s translator, was unnecessary, as it was destitute even of the merit of novelty, being very little more than a repetition of what Dr. Thomas Burnet, prebendary of Sarum, (see his article, vol. VII. p, 393) had said, about ten years before, which nothing but presumption can make any man attempt to render intelligible. Mosheim, vol. VI. p. 37, edit. 1811.

| the “Journal Britannique.*
*

Mr. Duncombe, in a letter to archbishop Herring, Nov. 16, 1754, says, “I have lately commenced an acquaintance with a fellow of the Royal Society, Dr. Maty, a man of learning and genius. He published every two months at the Hague, une femlle volanle (as the French phrase it), entitied ‘Journal Britannique.’ He has continued it five years. In his last number there is an ingenious eulogium on Dr. Mead. The memoirs were communicated to him by Dr. Birch. The doctor is in easy circumstances, and knows nothing of my mentioning his name here.

This humble, though useful labour, says Gibbon, “which had once been dignified by the genius of Bayle, and the learning of Le Clerc, was not disgraced by the taste, the knowledge, and the judgment of Maty; he exhibits a candid and pleasing view of the state of literature in England during a period of six years (Jan. 1750 December 1755); and, far different from his angry son, he handles the rod of criticism with the tenderness and reluctance of a parent. The author of the ‘ Journal Britannique’ sometimes aspires to the character of a poet and philosopher: his style is pure and elegant; and in his virtues, or even in his defects, he may be ranked as one of the last disciples of the school of Fontenelle.” This Journal, whatever its merits, answered the chief end he intended by it, and introduced him to the acquaintance of some of the most eminent literary characters in the country he had made his own; and it was to their active and uninterrupted friendship, that he owed the places he afterwards possessed. In 1758,

Some French verses by Dr. Maty, on the death of the count de Gisors, were printed in “The Gentleman’s Magazine,1758, p 438.

he was chosen fellow, and, in 1765, on the resignation of Dr. Birch (who died a few months after, and made him his executor), secretary to the Royal Society. He had been appointed one of the under-librarians of the British Museum at its first institution in 1753, and became principal librarian at the death of Dr. Knight in 1772. Useful in all these posts, he promised to be eminently so in the last, when he was seized with a languishing disorder, which, in 1776, put an end to a life uniformly devoted to the pursuit of science, and the offices of humanity. His body being opened, the appearances which presented themselves were thought so singular as to be described before the Royal Society by Dr. Hunter, whose account is inserted in vol. LXVII. of the Philosophical Transactions.

He was an early and active advocate for inoculation; and when there was a doubt entertained that one might have the small-pox after inoculation a second time, tried | it upon himself, unknown to his family. He was a member of the medical club (with the doctors Parsons, Templeman, Fothergill, Watson, and others), which met every fortnight in St. Paul’s church-yard. He was twice married, viz. the first time to Mrs. Elizabeth Boisragon; and the second to Mrs. Mary Deners. He left a son and three daughters. A portrait of Dr. Maty, by his own order, was engraved after his death by Bartolozzi, to be given to his friends; of which no more than 100 copies were taken off, and the plate destroyed. He had nearly finished the “Memoirs of the Earl of Chesterfield” which were completed by his son-in-law Mr. Justamond, and prefixed to that nobleman’s Miscellaneous Works, 1777, 2 vols. 4 to. 1

1

Nichols’s Bowyer. Gibbon’s Memoirs, vol. I. p. 87, 4to edit.