Sanches, Antonio Nunps Ribeiro

, a learned physician, was born March 7, 1766, at Penna-Macor, in Portugal. His father, who was an opulent merchant, and iritended him for the bar, gave him a liberal education; but, being displeased at finding him, at the age of eighteen, obstinately bent on the profession of physic, withdrew his protection, and he was indebted to Dr. Nunés Ribeiro, his mother’s brother, who was a physician of considerable repute at Lisbon, for the means of prosecuting his medical studies, which he did, first at Coimbra, and afterwards at Salamanca, where he took the degree of M. D. in 1724; and the year following procured the appointment of phvsician to the town of Benevente in Portugal; for which, as is the custom of that country, he had a small pension, His stay at this place, however, was hut short. He was desirous of seeing more of the world, and of improving himself in his profession. With this view he came and passed two years in London, and had even an intention of fixing there; but a bad state of health, which he attributed to the climate, induced him to return to the continent. Soon after, we find him prosecuting his medical studies at Leyden, under the celebrated Boerhaavc; and it will be a sufficient proof of his diligence and merit to observe, that in 1731, when the Empress of Russia (Anne) requested Boerhaave to recommend -to her three physicians, the professor immediately fixed upon Dr. Sanches to be one of the number. Just as he was setting out for Russia, he was informed that his father was lately dead; and that his mother, in an unsuccessful law-suit with the | Portuguese admiralty, had lost the greater part of her fortune. He immediately assigned over his own little claims and expectations in Portugal for her support. Soon after his arrival at St. Petersburg, Dr. Bidloo (son of the famous physician of that name), who was at that time first physician to the empress, -ave him an appointment in the hospital at Moscow, where he remained till 1734, when he was employed as physician to the army, in which capacity he was present at the siege of Asoph, where he was attacked with a dangerous fever, and, when he began to recover, found himself in a tent, abandoned by hjs attendants, and plundered of his papers and effects. In 1740, he was appointed one of the physicians to the court, and consulted by the empress, who had for eight years been labouring under a disease, the cause of which had never been satisfactorily ascertained Dr. Sanches, jn a conversation with the prime minister, gave it us his opinion, that the complaint originated from a stone in one of the kidneys, and admitted only of palliation. At the end of six: months the empress died, and the truth of his opinion was confirmed by dissection. Soon after the death of the empress, Dr. Sanche*s was advanced by the regent to the office of first physician; but the revolution of 1742, which placed Elizabeth Petrowna on the throne, deprived him of all his appointments. Hardly a day passed that he did not hear of some of his friends perishing on the scaffold; and it was not without much difficulty that he obtained leave to retire from Russia. His library, which had cost him 1200 pounds sterling, he disposed of to the academy of St. Petersburg, of which he was an honorary member; and, in return, they agreed to give him a pension of forty pounds per annum. During his residence in Russia, he had availed himself of his situation at court, to establish a correspondence with the Jesuits in China, who, in return for books of astronomy and other presents, sent him seeds or plants, together with other articles of natural history. It was from Dr. Sanche*s that the late Mr. Peter Cqllinson first received the seeds of the true rhubarb, but the plants were destroyed by some accident; and it was not till several years afterwards that rhubarb was cultivated with success in this country, from seeds sent over by the late Dr. Mounsey. In 1747, he went to reside at Paris, where he remained till his death. He enjoyed the friendship of the celebrated physicians and philosophers of that capital, | and, at the institution of a Royal Medical Society, he was chosen a foreign associate. He was likewise a member of the royal academy of Lisbon, to the establishment of which his advice had probably contributed, as he drew up, at the desire of the court of Portugal, several memorials on the plans necessary to be adopted for the encouragement of science. Some of these papers, relative to the establishment of an university, were printed during his lifetime in Portuguese, and the rest have been found among. his manuscripts. His services in Russia remained for sixteen years unnoticed but, when the late empress Catherine ascended the throne, Dr. Sanches was not forgotten. He had attended her in a dangerous illness when she was very young; and she now rewarded him with a pension of a thousand roubles, which was punctually paid till his death. He likewise received a, pension from the court of Portugal, and another from prince Gallitzin. A great part of this income he employed in acts of benevolence. Of the liberality with with he administered to the wants of his rela T tions and friends, several striking instances, which our limits will not permit us to insert, have been related by Mr. de Magellan. He was naturally of an infirm habit of body, and, during the last thirty years of his life, frequently voided small stones with his urine. The disposition to this disease increased as he advanced in years, and for a considerable time before his death, he was confined to his apartments. The last visit he mad was, in 1782, to the grand duke of Russia, who was then at Paris. In September 1783, he perceived that his end was approaching, and he died on the 14th of October following. His library, which was considerable, he bequeathed to his brother, Dr. Marcello Sanches, who was likewise a pupil of Boerhaave", and who resided at Naples. His manuscripts (amorig which, besides a considerable number of papers on medical subjects, are letters written by him to Boerhaave. Van Swiften, Gaubius, Halter, Werlhof, Pringle, Fothergill, and other learned men) are in. the possession of Dr. An dry. His printed works, on the origin of the venereal disease and other subjects, are well known to medical readers; but his knowledge, it seems, was not confined to his own profession; he possessed a fund of general learning, and is said to have been profoundly versed in politics. 1


Supplement to the c<l;t. of this Dict. 178-9, from the London Medical Journal.