Conringius, Hermannus

, one of the eminent publicists of Germany, and one of the most illustrious ornaments of the German schools, was born at Embden Nov. 3, | 1606, and was educated at Leyden, where he made himself acquainted with the whole circle of sciences, but chiefly applied to theology and medicine; and during his residence here, is said to have been supported by Matthias Overbek, a Dutch merchant, and by G. Calixtus, one of the professors. His eminent attainments soon procured him distinction; and he was appointed professor, first of natural philosophy, and afterwards of medicine, in the university of Brunswick. Turning his attention to the study of history and policy, he became so famous in these branches of knowledge, as to attract the attention of princes. Christina, queen of Sweden, who professed to be a general patroness of learned men, invited Conringius to her court, and upon his arrival received him with the highest marks of respect. The offer of a liberal appointment could not, however, induce him to relinquish the academic life, and after a short time he returned to Juliers. But his uncommon talents for deciding intricate questions on policy were not long suffered to lie dormant. The elector Palatine, the elector of Mentz, the duke of Brunswick, the emperor of Germany, and Louis XIV. of France, all consulted and conferred upon him honours and rewards. And, if universal learning, sound judgment, and indefatigable application, can entitle a man to respect, Conringius merited all the distinction he obtained. The great extent of his abilities and learning appears from the number and variety of his literary productions. His polemic writings prove him to have been deeply read in theology. His medical knowledge appears from his “Introduction to the medical art,” and his “Comparison of the medical practice of the ancient Egyptians, and the modern Paracelsians.” The numerous treatises which he has left on the Germanic institution, and other subjects of policy and law, evince the depth and accuracy of his juridical learning. His book, “De hermerica Medicina,” and his “Antiquitates academicae,” discover a correct acquaintance with the history of philosophy. It is to be regretted, that this great man was never able wholly to disengage himself from the prepossession in favour of the Aristotelian philosophy, which he imbibed in his youth. Although he had the good sense to correct the more barren parts of his philosophy, and was not ignorant that his system was in some particulars defective, he still looked up to the Stagyrite as the best guide in the pursuit of truth. It was owing to his partiality for ancient | philosophy, particularly for that of Aristotle, that Conringius was a violent opponent of the Cartesian system. He died Dec. 12, 1681. His works were published entire in six volumes folio, Brunswick, 1730, which renders it unnecessary to specify his separate publications. Bibliographers place a considerable value on his “Bibliotheca Augusta,” Helmstadt, 1661, 4to, an account of the library of the duke of Brunswick, in the castle of Wolfenbuttle, which then contained 2000 Mss. and 116,000 printed volumes. The history of literature is yet more illustrated by his “De antiquitatibus academicis dissertationes septem,” the best edition of which is that of Gottingen, 1739, 4to, edited by Heuman, in all respects a most valuable work. Of Conringius’s enthusiasm in the cause of learning, and his love of eminent literary characters, we have a singular instance, quoted by Dr, Douglas, from Pechlinus’s “Observationes Physico-mediciK.” It is there said, on the authority of his son-in-law, that Conringius, when labouring under an ague, was cured, without the help of medicines, merely by the joy he felt from a conversation with the learned Meibomius. 1


Moreri. -—Brucker. Morhoff Polyhist. Douglas’s Criterion, p. 170. Dibdin’s Bibliomania, —Saxii Onomast. Epistolæ, with his Life, Helmstadt, 1694, 4to.