Moufet, Thomas

, a physician and naturalist of the sixteenth century, was born in London,

1 Biog. Dram.
| in or near St. Leonard’s-* parish, Shoreditch, as Wood conjectures, where he received his early education. He was then sent to Cambridge, as we learn from his “Health’s Improvement,” and not to Oxford, as Wood says; and afterwards travelled through several of the countries of Europe, contracting an acquaintance with many of the most eminent foreign physicians and chemists. Before his return he had taken the degree of M. D. in which he was incorporated at Cambridge in 1582, and settled in London, where he practised ph) sic with considerable reputation. It appears also, that he resided for some time at Ipswich. He was particularly patronized by Peregrine Bertie, lord Willoughby, and accompanied him on his embassy, to carry the ensigns of the order of the ganer to the king of Denmark. He likewise was in camp with the earl of Essex in Normandy, probably in 1591. He spent much of the latter part of his life at Bulbridge, near Wilton, in Wiltshire, as a retainer to the Pembroke family, from which he received an annual pension. He died in that retirement, about the end of queen Elizabeth’s reign.

Dr. Moufet appears to have been among the first physicians who introduced chemical medicines into practice in England. He published in 1584, at Francfort, an apology for the chemical seer, which was then beginning to prevail in Germany, though much opposed by the adherents of the school of the ancients: it was entitled “De jure et praestantia Chemicorum Medicamentorum, Dialogus Apologeticus.” The work, which displays a good deal of learning and skill in argumentation, was republished in the “Theatrum Chemicum,” in 1602, with the addition of “Epistolae quinque Medicinales, ab eodem Auctore conscript,” which are all dated from London in 1582, 3, and 4. These epistles contain a farther defence of the chemical doctrines, some keen remarks on the fanciful reasonings of the Galenists, and many sensible observations against absolute submission to the authority of great names. The last of these letters treats of the benefits of foreign travel to a physician, and describes Padua as the best medical school. His liberality, as well as his learning, was evinced in the publication of another work, “Nosomantica Hippocratica, sive Hippocratis Prognostica cuncta, ex omnibus ipsius scriptis, methodice digesta, Libri ix.Franc. 1588; for the writings of the father of physic were treated with contempt by Paracelsus, and the majority of | the chemical sect. The last medical work of Moufet’s is entitled “Health’s Improvement; or, rules comprising and discovering the nature, method, and manner of preparing all sorts of food used in this nation.A corrected and enlarged edition of this book was printed by Christopher Bennet at London, 1655, 4to. It is a curious and entertaining performance, on account of the information which it contains respecting the diet used in this country at that time. He was, however, most particularly distinguished as a naturalist; and he enlarged and finished, with great labour and expence, a work entitled “Insectorum, sive minimorum Animalium Theatrum; olina ab Edw. Wottono, Conrado Gesnero, Thomaque Pennio inchoatum.” It was left in manuscript, and published in London, in 1634, by sir Theodore Mayerne, who complains of the difficulty he found in getting a printer to undertake it. An English translation of it was published in 1658. Though not free from the imperfections of an infant science, this was really. a respectable and valuable work; and Haller does not scruple to place the author above all other entomologists previous to Swammerdam. 1


Tanner. —Ath. Ox. vol. I. Aikin’s Memoirs of Medicine. Rees’s Cyelopaed.