Helvetius, John Frederic

, a physician, was born of a noble family in the principality of Atihalt,about 1625. He obtained at an early age a considerable reputation for his knowledge of medicine and chemistry; and having settled in Holland about 1649, he practised at the Hague with so much success, that he was appointed first physician to the States-general, and to the prince of Orange, he died August 20, 1709. His works serve, however, rather to prove his devotion to the absurdities of the alchemists, physiognomists, and such visionaries of his time, than his advancement in true science; and therefore it may be sufficient to refer for their titles to our authorities His son Adrian [Helveticus], who was born in 1656, journeyed to Paris, without any design of fixing there, and only to see that new world, and sell some medicines, but accident detained him very unexpectedly. The dysentery then prevailed in that city-, and all who applied to him are said to have been infallibly cured. His success was celebrated; and Louis XIV. ordered him to publish the remedy which produced such certain and surprising effects. He declared it to be Ipecacuanha, and received 1000 louis-d’ors for the discovery. He settled in Paris, became physician to the duke of Orleans, and was also made inspector-general of the military hospitals. He died in 1721, leaving some works behind him, of little value; the principal of which is, “Traité des Maladies de plus frequentes, & des Remedies specifiques pour les guerir,” 2 vols. 8vo. 2