John Freind

(1675—1728) physician

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John Freind was born at Croton in Northamptonshire and died of a fever in London on 26 July 1728. The son of a rector, he was educated at Westminster School and Christ Church, Oxford, which he entered in 1694. At Oxford, he fell under the influence of the High Church leader Francis Atterbury, and espoused the Jacobite cause. He also attended the lectures of John Keill, who introduced him to the natural philosophy of Newton. Although he distinguished himself in classical studies, he chose medicine as his career, graduating MD in 1707 (BA, 1698; MA, 1701; MB, 1703). He was physician to the English forces under the Earl of Peterborough during the Spanish campaign of 1705, then in Italy and Flanders under the Duke of Ormonde. Returning to England in 1709, he married and established a successful medical practice in London. He became a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1712. In 1722 he became MP for Launceston, Cornwall, in the Tory interest. Shortly after this, he was implicated in Atterbury's Jacobite plot and imprisoned in the Tower. With the assistance of his medical ally and political opponent Richard Mead, Freind was released from the Tower, and was even appointed physician to the royal children, then in 1727 to Queen Caroline herself – an astonishing honour for a known Jacobite.


From The Continuum Encyclopedia of British Philosophy in Oxford Reference.

Subjects: Philosophy.

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