Gwinne, Matthew

, an English physician of considerable eminence in his day, was the son of Edward Gwinne, descended from an ancient family in Wales, who at this time resided in London. His son was educated at Merchant Taylors’ school, whence in 1574 he was elected a scholar of St. John’s college, Oxford, took the degree of B. A. May 14, 1578, and was afterwards perpetual fellow of the college. It was the custom at that time in Oxford for the convocation to appoint a certain number of regent | masters, to read each of them upon some one of the liberal arts two years, for which they received a small stipend, levied upon the younger scholars. This provision was made, before the public professorships were settled and supported by fixed salaries. Agreeably to this practice, Mr. Gwinne was made regent-master in July 1582, and appointed to read upon music, and there is extant a manuscript oration of his upon that subject, spoken Oct. 15, of that year, in which he calls himself prelector musica publicus. When he had taken his degrees in arts, he studied physic, and practised in and about Oxford for several years. In 1588 he was chosen junior proctor of the university, and in 1592 distinguished himself in a disputation at Oxford before queen Elizabeth. On July 17, 1593, he was created doctor of physic. He obtained leave of the college in 1595, to attend sir Henry Union, ambassador from queen Elizabeth to the French court, and continued with him during his absence abroad.

Upon the settlement of Gresham college, he vras chosen the first professor of physic about the beginning of March 1596, being one of the two nominated by the university of Oxford. On the 25th June, 1604, he was admitted a candidate of the College of Physicians of London; at the beginning of 1605 was made physician of the Tower; and on Dec. 22 in the same year, was chosen a fellow of the college. In the month of August of that year, king James and his queen, with prince Henry and their courts, went to Oxford, where they were entertained with academical exercises of all kinds, in which Dr. Gwinne again distinguished himself, particularly in a question respecting the salutary or hurtful nature of tobacco, proposed in compliment to his majesty, who was a professed enemy to that weed. In the evening of the same day, a Latin comedy was acted at St. John’s college, written by Dr. Gwinne, and entitled “Vertumnus, sive Annus recurrens.

Dr. Gwinne kept his professorship at Gresham college till Sept. 1607, and then quitted it very probably upon his marriage. After he left Gresham college, he continued to practise in London, and was much esteemed both in the city and couit. In 1620, he, and seven others, were appointed commissioners by his majesty, for garbling tobacco; and a power was granted to any five or more of them (one of whom was to be a physician, another a merchant, a third a grocer, and a fourth an apothecary), to draw up | orders and directions in writing for garbling and distinguishing that commodity before it was exposed to sale. Dr. Gwinne died, at his house in Old Fish-street, in 1627. “He was,” says Dr. Ward, “a man of quick parts, a lively fancy and poetic genius, had read much, was well versed in all sorts of polite literature, accurately skilled in the modern languages, and much valued for his knowledge and success in the practice of physic. But his Latin style was formed upon a wrong taste, which led him from the natural and beautiful simplicity of the ancients, into points of wit, affected jingle, and scraps of sentences detached from old authors; a custom which at that time began to prevail both here and abroad. And, he seems to have contracted this humour gradually, as it grew more in vogue; for his ‘ Oratio in laudem musicæ,’ is not so deeply tinged with it, as his ‘Orationes duse,’ spoken many years afterwards in Gresham college.

He published the following works: 1. “Epicedium in Obitum illustr. Herois, Henrici Comitis Derbiensis, 77 Oxon. 1593. 2.Nero, Tragcedia nova, 77 Lond. 1603. 3. “Orationes duag, Londini habitas in Ædibus Greshamiis, 77 1605. 4.Vertumnus, sive Annus recurrens, 77 1607. 5. “Aurum non Aurum, 77 &c. 1611, 4to, against Dr. Francis Anthony’s” Aurum potabile, 77 a quack medicine. 6. “Verses in English, French, and Italian. 77 7.A Book of Travels.“8.” Letters concerning Chemical and Magical Secrets." 1


Ath. Ox. vol. I. Ward’s Lives of the Gresham Professors.