Hoffman, Maurice

, a physician, was born of a good family, at Furstenwalde, in the electorate of Brandenbourg, Sept. 20, 1621; and was driven early from his native country by the plague, and also by the war that followed it. His parents, having little idea of letters or sciences, contented themselves with having him taught writing and arithmetic; but Hoffman’s taste for books and study made him very impatient under this confined instruction, and he was resolved, at all events, to be a scholar. He first gained over his mother to his scheme; but she died when he was only fifteen. This, however, fortunately proved no impediment to his purpose; for the schoolmaster of Furstenwalde, to which place after many removals he had now returned, was so struck with his talents and laudable ambition, that he instructed him carefully in secret. His father, convinced at length of his uncommon abilities, permitted him to follow his inclinations; and, in 1637, sent him to study in the college of Cologne. Famine and the plague drove him from hence to Kopnik, where he buried his father; and, in 1638, he went to Altdorf, to an uncle by his mother’s side, who was a professor of physic. Here he finished his studies in classical learning and philosophy, and then applied himself, with the utmost ardour, to physic. In 1641, when he had made some progress, he went to the university of Padua, which then abounded with men very learned in all sciences. Anatomy and botany were the great objects of his pursuit; and he became very deeply skilled in both. Baitholin tells us, that Hoffman, having dissected a turkey-cock, discovered the panacreatic duct, and shewed it to Versungus, a celebrated anatomist of Padua, with whom he lodged; who, taking the hint, demonstrated afterwards the same vessel in the human body. When he had been at Padua about three years, he returned to Altdorf, to assist his uncle, now growing infirm, in his business; and taking the degree of doctor, he applied himself very diligently to practice, in. which he had abundant success, and acquired great fame. In 1648, he was made professor extraordinary in anatomy and surgery; in 1649, professor of physic, and soon after member of the college of physicians; in 1653, professor | of botany, and director of the physic-garden. He acquitted himself very ably in these various employments, not neglecting in the mean tiaie the business of his profession; in which his reputation was so extensive, that many princes of Gtrmany appointed him their physician. He died of an apoplexy in 1698, after having published several botanical works, and married three wives, by whom he had eighteen children. His works are, 1. “Altdorfi deliciae hortenses,1677, 4to. 2. “Appendix ad Catalogum Plantarum hortensium,” 16D1, 4to. 3. “Deliciae silvestres,1677, 4to. 4. “Florilegium Altdorfinum,1676, &c. 4to. 1


Niceron, vol. XVI. —Haller Bibl. Anat.