Tronchin, Theodore

, a celebrated physician, was apparently the grandson of Lewis Troncbin, and was born at Geneva in 1709. His father, John Robert Tronchin, having lost his property in the fatal Mississippi speculation, Theodore left home at the age of eighteen, and came to England to lord Bolingbroke, to whom he is said to have been related, we know not in what degree; but Bolingbroke had it not in his power to do much for him, and he went to Holland to study chemistry under Boerhaave, whose work on that subject had engaged his attention, and made him desiror.s of seeing the author. Boerhaave is said to have soon distinguished Tronchin from the general mass of his pupils, and in 1731 advised him to settle at Amsterdam, where he introduced him to practice, and in a, short time Tronchin was at the head of the physicians of Amsterdam. But having married a young lady of the family of the celebrated patriot De Witt, he fancied that the name would be disgraced by his accepting a place at court, and therefore he refused that of first physician to the stadtholder, and quitting Amsterdam when the stadtholderate was made hereditary, returned to Geneva, where he could live in a pure republic. Here the council gave him the title of honorary professor of medicine, but no duties were attached to it. It was not his intention, however, to be idle, and he | gave lectures on the general principles of medicine, in which he endeavoured to free the science from rooted prejudices and false theories. In 1756 he was called to Paris to inoculate the children of the duke of Orleans. He bad introduced this practice both in Holland and at Geneva, and, in the former at least, without almost any opposition; and the success he had in his Hrst trial in France, on these princes of the blood, having contributed not a little to his celebrity, he rose to the highest honours of his profession, and acquired great wealth. In 1765 he was invited to Parma to inoculate the royal children of that court. Although averse to accept any situations which might form a restraint upon his time or studies, he consented to the title of first physician to the duke of Orleans, and in 1766 fixed his residence at Paris. The arrival of an eminent physician in Paris is always accompanied by a revolution in practice. Tronchin brought with him a new regimen, new medicines, and new methods of cure, and many of them certainly of great importance, particularly the admission and change of air in sick rooms, and a more hardy method of bringing up children; he also recommend-ed to the ladies more exercise and less effeminacy in thair modes of living and in diet. His prescriptions were generally simple; but perhaps his fame was chiefly owing to his introducing the practice of inoculation, which he pursued upon the most rational plan. In all this he had to encounter long established prejudices, and being a stranger, had to contend with the illiberality of some of the faculty, obstacles which he removed by a steady, humane course, and his frequent success completed his triumph. He was in person a fine figure; there was a mixture of sweetness and dignity in his countenance; his air and external demeanour inspired affection, and commanded respect; his dress, voice, and manner, were graceful and pleasing: all which no doubt gave an additional luslre to his reputation, and perhaps an efficacy to his prescriptions. His extensive practice prevented his writing or publishing more than a few papers on some medical cases, one “De colica pictorum,1757, 8vo. He also prefixed a judicious preface to an edition of “Oeuvres de Baillou,1762. This eminent practitioner died Nov. 30, 1781. He was at that time a citizen of Geneva, a title of which he was very proud, a member of the nobility of Parma, first physician to the duke of Orleans, and to the infant duke of Parma, doctor of medicine cf the | universities of' Ley Jen, Geneva, and Montpellier, and a member of the academy of sciences of Paris, of that of surgery, of the Royal Society of London (elected 1762), and of the academies or colleges of Petersburgh, Edinburgh, and Berlin. 1


Eloges des Academiciens, vol. II.