Feyjoo, Benedict Jerom

, was a learned physician of the order of St. Benedict, born in Spain, who died in 1765. By his writings many have thought that he contributed as much towards curing the mental diseases of his compatriots and reforming the vitiated taste of his countrymen, by introducing liberal notions in medicine and philosophy, as the great Michel Cervantes had done those of a preceding age, by his incomparable history of Don Quixote. In the “Teatro Critico, sopra los Errores communes,” which he published in fourteen volumes, are many severe reflections against the ignorance of the monks, the licentiousness of the clergy, ridiculous privileges, abuse ef pilgrimages, exorcisms, pretende-d miracles, &c. &c. by which he made a formidable host of enemies, and would certainly have been also a martyr, had the numerous calls of vengeance been listened to by those in power. The learned part of the nation, however, undertook his defence, and he escaped the grasp of the inquisition; and, notwithstanding the freedom he had taken with the faculty, the medical college at Seville conferred on him the degree of doctor, and honoured him with a seat at their board. M. Bourgoing observes, that Dr. Feyjoo, or Feijoo, was one of those writers who treated this conjectural art in the most rational manner, but he is certainly far from consistent, and sometimes lays down a doctrine which he is obliged afterwards to abandon. A considerable part of tis “Teatro Critico” was translated into French by D’Hermilly, in 12vols. 12mo; and several of his Essays have been published at various times in English, the largest collection of which is entitled “Essays or Discourses, selected from the works of Feyjoo, and translated from the Spanish, by John Brett, esq.1780, 4 vols. 8vo. The best are those on subjects gf morals and criticism. 2