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JOHN ARMSTRONG (1709-1779)

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Originally appearing in Volume V02, Page 591 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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JOHN ARMSTRONG (1709-1779), British physician and writer, was born about 1709 at Castletown, Roxburghshire, where his father was parish minister. He graduated M.D. (1732) at Edinburgh University, and soon afterwards settled in London, where he paid more attention to literature than to medicine. He was, in 1746, appointed one of the physicians to the military hospital behind Buckingham House; and, in 176o, physician to the army in Germany, an appointment which he held till the peace of 1763, when he retired on half-pay. For many years he was closely associated with John Wilkes, but quarrelled with him in 1763. He died on the 7th of September 1779. Armstrong's first publication, an anonymous one, entitled An Essay for Abridging the Study of Physic (1735), was a satire on the ignorance of the apothecaries and medical men of his day. This was followed two years after by the Economy of Love, a poem the indecency of which damaged his professional practice. In 1744 appeared his Art of Preserving Health, a very successful didactic poem, and the one production on which his literary reputation rests. His Miscellanies (1770) contains some shorter poems displaying considerable humour.
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