Fuchs, Leonard

, an eminent German physician and botanist, was born at Wembding, in Bavaria, in 1501. After a classical education at Hailbrun and Erfurt, he went in his nineteenth year to Ingoldstadt, where he pursued the study of the learned languages under Capnius and Ceporinus, two eminent professors, who had embraced the doctrines of the reformation, which they imparted to their pupil. He received the degree of master of arts in 1521, and having also studied medicine, was admitted to his doctor’s degree in 1524. He first practised at Munich, where he married, and had a large family, and in 1526 he removed to Ingoldstadt, and was made professor of medicine; but his religion occasioning some trouble, he settled at Onoltzbach about two years afterwards, under the patronage and protection of George, | margrave of Bayreuth. Here he was very successful as a practitioner, and published some treatises on the healing art. In 1533, the management of the university of Ingoldstadt being committed, by William duke of Bavaria, to Leonard Eccius, a celebrated lawyer, acquainted with the merit of Fuchs, he procured his return to his former professorship; but his zeal for the reformed religion was still too prominent not to give offence, especially, we should suppose, to John Eccius (see Eccius), then a professor there, and he returned to Onoltzbach. Two years after, however, he found an honourable asylum in the university of Tubingen, which Ulric, duke of Wirtemberg, had determined to supply with protestant professors, and where he provided Fuchs with an ample salary, and every encouragement. In this place he remained until his death, May 10, 1566. He died in the arms of his wife and children, full of faith and fortitude, having in the course of his illness been observed to experience no relief from his sufferings, but while conversing with his friends on the subjects of religion and a future state, which made him forget every thing else, and he expressed himself with all his usual energy and perspicuity. He was interred, the day after his death, in a burying-ground adjoining to the town, where his first wife had been deposited but little more than three years before.

Some botanical remarks of Fuchs, relating principally to the Arabian writers, are found in the 2d volume of the “Herbarium” of Brunfelsius. But the work on which his reputation in this study chit-fly rests, is his “Historia Plantarum,” published at Basil in 1542, fol. with numerous wooden cuts. A German edition appeared the following year. In this work he chiefly copies Dioscorides, adding a few remarks of his own, and falling, as Haller observes, into the common error of the writers of his* time, who expected to find in their own cold countries the plants of those more genial climates where the ancients studied botany and medicine. The publication of Fuchs, though nearly on a par with those of other learned men of his time, would probably have been long since forgotten, were it not for the transcendant merit of its wooden cuts, inferior to those of Brunfelsius alone in execution, and far exceeding them in number. They chiefly indeed consist of pharmaceutical plants, which though mere outlines, are justly celebrated for their fidejity and | elegance. These original editions are become very rare; but copies and translations of them, various in merit, are common throughout Europe. Amongst the poorest of these is a French duodecimo* printed at Lyons, under the title of Le Benefice Commun, in 1355, for which our author is certainly not responsible, and it is ralher hard in Linnæus to class him, on account of some such spurious editions, under the heads of monstrosi aud rudes in his “Bibliotheca Botanica,” though indeed he there properly stands amongst the usitatissimi with respect to h>s original edition. By some of his writings, especially his “Cornarus furens,” published in 1545, against Cornarus, who had attacked his “Historia Plantarum” in a work entitled “Vulpecula excoriata,” he appears to have been vehement in controversy, but in his general character and deportment he is said to have been dignified and amiable, with a fine manly person, and a clear sonorous voice. His piety y temperance, and indefatigable desire to be useful, were alike exemplary. As a lecturer he was peculiarly admired and followed, especially in his anatomical courses. The famous Vesalius was present at one of his lectures, in which he found himself criticized. He afterwards familiarly addressed the professor, saying, “why do you attack me who never injured you?” “Are you Vesalius” exclaimed Fuchs. “You see him before you,” replied the former. On which great mutual congratulations ensued, and a strict friendship wag formed between these learned men. Fuchs was so famous throughout Europe, that the great Cosmo duke of Tuscany invited him, with the offer of a salary of 600 crowns, to become professor of medicine at Pisa, which he declined. The emperor Charles V. also bore testimony to his merit, by sending him letters with the insignia of nobility, which honour also Fuchs for some time declined. He was indifferent to money, as well as to all other than literary fame. His great ambition was, whenever he undertook in his turn the rectorship of the university, to promote good order, industry, and improvement among the students, whom he governed with paternal assiduity and affection. Two colleges were always under his immediate care, one of them founded by duke Ulrie for students of divinity alone, and more amply endowed by his son and successor. 1


Melchior Adam in vit. German, medic.—Niceron, vol. XVIII.—Haller Bibl. Bot.—The latter part from Dr. Smith in Rees’s Cyclopæd.—Saxii Onomast.