BABER, SIR ,JOHN, M.D. (1625-1704)


Physician to Charles II, was the son of John Baber, recorder of Wells, Somersetshire, and was born 18 April 1625. He was educated at Westminster ,school, whence he was elected in 1642 a student of Christ's College, Oxford.

He graduated bachelor of medicine 3 Dec 1646, being admitted by virtue of the letters Colonel John Lambert, governor of the garrison for Oxford. Proceeding to the continent, he studied medicine at I,eyden, and on 10 Nov. 1648 took the degree of M.D. at Angers. On his return to England he was made M.D. at Oxford 18 July 1650, candidate of the College of Physicians, London, 4 July 1661, and a fellow 17 Aug.1657. He commenced to practise in London, his residence being in King Street, Covent Garden.

Through the recommendation of a near neighbour, Dr. Manton, rector of St. Paul's Covent Garden, who·with other Presbyterian divines, had taken prominent part in the restoration Charles II, He was made physician to the king, the honour of knighthood being also bestowed on him 19 March 1660. Baber was frequently made use of by Charles in his negotiations with the puritans. North, who styles him ‘ a man of finesse,’ states that he was ‘in possession of the protectorship at court of dissenting preachers.’ In September 1669 he informed Dr Manton of the king’s intention to do his utmost to ‘get them accepted within the establishment;’ but it would appear that Charles made use of him to inspire trust in intentions which were at the best feeble and vacillating. Baber died in 17 04. He was three times married, and had three sons by his first marriage, but no issue by the other two marriages.

[ Le Neve's Knights in Harl. Soc. Pub. vol. viii; Woods Fasti, i.503, ii. 91 (163) ; Burrows's Register of the vistors of Oxford (1881), 484; North's Examen; Manton’s Memoirs; Baxter’s Reliquiae; Munk’s Roll of the Royal College of Physicins, i 277; Donne’s Humble Petition of Convent Garden against a Physician (1661); the Grateful Nonconformist (1665).]

Dictionary of National Biography (1885) Edited by Leslie Stephen, Published by Smith Elder & Co London

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