Culpepper, Nicholas

, student, as he calls himself, in physic and astrology, was born in London, Oct. 18, 1616. He was the son of a clergyman, by whom he was sent, after receiving a preparatory education, to the university of Cambridge, at the age of eighteen. There making but a short stay, he was put apprentice to an apothecary, under whom he appears to have acquired a competent knowledge of the materia medica, and of the method of preparing and compounding medicines. On completing the term of his apprenticeship, he came to London, and settled in Spital-fields about 1642. By the whole tenor of his writings we find he joined, or at least favoured the Puritans, and those who were engaged in those unhappy times in overturning the constitution of the country. But his warfare was with the college of physicians, whom he accused of craft and ignorance. Like the popish clergy, he says they endeavoured to keep the people in ignorance of what might be useful either in preserving or restoring health. To counteract their endeavours, he published, in 1649, a translation of the “Dispensary of the College of Physicians,” in small 4to, adding to the account of each drug and preparation a list of their supposed virtues, and of the complaints in which they were usually given. He also published an “Herbal,” which has passed through several editions, and is still in repute as a sort of family guide. He tells in this book under what planet the plants are to be gathered, which he | thinks essential in preserving their virtues; but Dr. Pulteney says his descriptions of common plants are drawn up with a clearness and distinction that would not have disgraced a better pen. He intended to treat of the diseases incident to men at the different periods of their lives, and as a beginning, gave a directory to midwives, on the method of insuring a healthy progeny, and then of the management of new-born children. Though this book is of very small value, it passed through many editions. He died at his house in Spital-fields, Jan. 10, 1653-4. 1


Rees’s Cyclopedia, from the —Gent. Mag. vol. LXVII. where those who can feel any interest in Culpepper’s history, may meet with many other particulars.