Schomberg, Isaac

, one of a family of physicians of some note in their day, was the son of Dr. Meyer Schomberg, a native of Cologne, a Jew, and, as it was said, librarian to some person of distinction abroad, which occupation he left, and came and settled in London, where he professed himself to be a physician; and, by art and address, obtained a lucrative situation amidst the faculty. In 1740 he had outstripped all the city physicians, and was in the annual receipt of four thousand pounds. He died March 4, 1761. This, his son, was born abroad, and at the age of two or three years was brought to England, where he received a liberal education, and afterwards studied at Leyden. After his return to London he set up in practice, but had a dispute with the college of physicians, as, we are told, his father had before him. The particulars of this dispute are not uninteresting in the history of the college.

After Dr. Schomberg had practised some years as a physician in London, he received a notice from the college of their intention to examine him in the usual form, and to admit him a licentiate. This notice he was thought to have treated with contempt; for, instead of submitting tothe examination, he objected to the names of some persons vyho were to be examined at the same time, and behaved, it is said, with some haughtiness to those of the college who, he complained, had used him ill, in ordering him to be examined in such company. The college considering themselves the sole judges of what persons they should | upon, refused to attend to the doctor’s objection, but examined the persons against whom he seemed most to except; but this not tending to make up the dispute, they proceeded to interdict the doctor from practice until he had given such satisfaction as his conduct required. In the mean time the doctor submitted to be examined, and in 1750 procured the degree of doctor of physic to be conferred on him by the university of Cambridge; and, thus supported, demanded his admittance a second time, not as a licenciate, but one of the body. This demand was refused to be complied with, and it was objected, that the doctor, though naturalized, could not hold the office of censor of the college, which was an office of trust; and this refusal brought the determination of the business to the decision of the lawyers. A petition was presented to the king, praying him, in the person of the lord chancellor, to exercise his visitatorial power over the college, and restore the licenciates to their rights, which, by their arbitrary proceedings, the president and fellows had for a succession of ages deprived them of. This petition came on to be heard at Lincoln’s Inn hall, before the lord chief justice Willis, baron Smythe, and judge Wilmot, lords commissioners of the great seal; but the allegations therein contained not being established, the same was dismissed. This attack on the college was the most formidable it erer sustained.

In this dispute Dr. Schomberg was supposed to have Employed his pen against his adversaries with considerable effect. It is certain he was well supported by his friends; One of whom, Moses Mendez, esq. exposed his opponents to ridicule, in a performance entitled “The Battiad,” since Reprinted in Billy’s Repository.

From this period Dr. Schomberg took his station in the medical profession, with credit and approbation, though without the success that inferior talents sometimes experienced. On the last illness of David Garrick, he was fcalled in, and hailed, by his dying friend, in the affectionate terms of “though last not least in’our dear love.” He survived Garrick but a short time, dying at his house in Conduit-street, the 4th of March, 1780; and the following character was given of him by one who seems to have known him well:

"His great talents and knowledge in his profession, were universally acknowledged by the gentlemen of the | faculty; and his tenderness and humanity recommended him to the friendship and esteem, as well as veneration, of his patients. He was endued with uncommon quickness and sagacity in discovering the sources, and tracing the progress of a disorder; and though in general a friend to prudent regimen, rather than medicine, yet, in emergent cases, he prescribed with a correct and happy boldness equal to the occasiom He was so averse from that sordid avarice generally charged, perhaps often with great injus* tice, on the faculty, that many of his friends in affluent cii> cumstances found it impossible to force on him that reward for his services which he had so fairly earned, and which his attendance so well merited. As a man he was sincere and just in his principles, frank and amiable in his temper, instructive and lively in conversation; his many singulari* ties endearing him still further to his acquaintance, as they proceeded from an honest plainness of manner, and visibly flowed from a benevolent simplicity of heart. He was, for many days, sensible of his approaching end, which he encountered with a calmness and resignation, not easily to be imitated by those who now regret the loss of so good a man, so valuable a friend, and so skilful a physician/‘

Dr. Schomberg had a younger brother, Ralph Schom­Berg, M. D. who first settled at Yarmouth as a physician^ and published some works on professional subjects that indicated ability, and others from which he derived little reputation. Of the former kind are, 1. “Aphorismi practici, sive observationes medicse,” for the use of students, and in alphabetical order, 1750, 8vo. 2. “Prosperi Martiani Annotationes in csecas praenotationes synopsis,175 1 * 3. “Van Swieten’s Commentaries” abridged. 4. “A Treatise of the Colica Pictonum, or Dry Belly-ache,1764, 8vo. 5. “Duport de signis morborum libri quatuor,1766. Of the latter, are some dramatic pieces of very little value, and 6. “An Ode on the present rebellion,1746. 7. “An Account of the present rebellion,1746. 8. “The Life of Maecenas,1767, 12mo, taken without acknowledgment from Meibomius. 9. “A critical Dissertation on the characters and Writings of Pindar and Horace, in a letter to the right hon. the earl of B” also a shame* ful instance of plagiarism from Blondell’s “Comparison de Pindare et D’ Horace.” It would have been well if his pilferings had only been from books; but after he had removed to Bath, and practised there some years with considerable | success, he tried his skill upon the funds of a public charity, and, detection following, was obliged to make a precipitate retreat from Bath, and from public practice. He appears to have hid himself first at Pangbourn in Berkshire, and afterwards at Heading, where he died June 29, 1792. In the obituary he is called “Ralph Schornberg, Esq.1


Europ. Mag. for 1803.—Nichols’s Bowyer.—Minutes of Proceedings of the Royal college of Physicians, relating to Dr. Isaac Schomberg, from Feb. 5, 1746, to Dec. 22, 1753, 8vo, 1754.