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Memoir of the late Dr. Cogan.
COGAN, of whom a own family, of this period of his life. was born at Rowell, in Northampton- it appears, that he was in Holland, in shire, in 1736, of a respectable Dis: 1759, officiating as a preacher: it is senting family, who had been long conjectured, that he was assistant to seated in that place. His father was the Rev. Benjamin Sowden, minister an apothecary of considerable reputa- of the English Church, on the Dutch tion, who possessed a great fondness establishment, at Rotterdam. for metaphysical studies, and em
We next trace him by his papers to ployed his leisure in publishing in Southampton, where he seems to have several pamphlets the result of his exercised his ministry in the years inquiries. The subject of this me- 1762 and 1763. The high tone of moir was placed under the care of opinions, held by the congregation, Mr., afterwards Dr. Aikin, who kept did not accord with his own state of a flourishing school at Kibworth, in mind.
On original sin and some Leicestershire;* and the pupil always other points, he was more than sus. spoke of the tutor with affectionate pected of heresy. The consequence respect, and expressed regret that he was, his withdrawment. had not longer enjoyed his valuable
He returned to Holland, with the instructions. He was accustomed to prospect of being junior minister speak with peculiar pleasure of the in one of the English churches esta. familiar theological lectures which the blished in that country, and for a preceptor was in the habit of deliver. considerable period filled this situaing to his scholars on the Sunday tion with high credit; but for reasons evening; declaring, that he always which cannot at this distance of time looked forward to them with delight, be fully ascertained, he at length deand, though educated in the strictest termined to quit the profession of diCalvinism, owed to them his first re- vinity for that of medicine. He was ligious impressions.
subject to pulmonary complaints, At fourteen years of age he left which might alarm him for the conschool, and passed the two succeeding sequences of continuing to exert years under his father's roof. His himself as a public speaker. He had, views were now turned towards the always, besides, a strong inclination Christian ministry, and he entered the to the medical profession, and whilst Dissenting Academy, at Mile End, of he was minister at Southampton had which Dr. Conder was the Divinity walked the hospitals in London. The Tutor; but being dissatisfied with the change was certainly not owing to conduct of the institution, he, with one any dereliction of faith or decay of or two others, removed to the acade- religious feeling. my at Hoxton.
Before he commenced his new Little is now known, even in his studies he paid a short visit to En
gland, where, after delivering a few
sermons with no small reputation, he An interesting memoir of Dr. Aikin, dropt the character of a preacher. from the pea of Mr. Turper, was inserted Returning to Holland, he entered in our VIIIth volume, pp. 161–172. himself of the University of Leyden,
then the most celebrated school of sition. The practicability of resuscimedicine in Europe. Having com- tation was denied. He ascertained its pleted his course, he delivered for his practicability, by advertising to redegree, a Thesis “On the Influence of ward persons, who, between Westthe Passions in causing and healing minster and London bridges, should, Diseases." This inaugural disserta. within a certain time after the action may be considered as the first cident, rescue drowned persons from draught of his work on the Passions. the water, and bring them ashore to
Having graduated, he began to places appointed for their reception, practise as a physician in Holland; where means might be used for their İcd, probably, to the choice of this recovery, and give immediate notice country for his residence by his having to him. Many lives were thus saved obtained in marriage the daughter of by himself and other medical men; an opulent merchaut, of the name of wbich would otherwise have been Groen, of Amsterdam, with whom he lost. For twelve months he paid received a considerable fortune. He the rewards in these cases; which resided successively at Amsterdam, amounted to a considerable sum. Dr. Leyden and Rotterdam. His growing Cogan remonstrated with him on the reputation induced him to try his injury which his private fortuve would profession in his own country, and he sustain from a perseverance in these accordingly came to London and took expenses; he therefore consented to up bis abode in Paternoster-Row. He share them with the public. They devoted himself chiefly to midwifery, accordingly agreed to unite their in which he had, for some years, an strength, and each of them to bring extensive practice. The severe duties sixteen friends to a meeting at the of his profession, and the confinement Chapter Coffee-house, with the exof the metropolis brought on a liver press intention of establishing a Hucomplaint; and in the year 1780, he mane Society in London: this was resigned his connexion to Dr. John happily accomplished in the summer Sims, who is still a practitioner in high of 1774. The object of this Society repute.
was then, like that at Amsterdam, While he was a physician in Lon- confined to the recovery of persons don, Dr. Cogan had the satisfaction who were apparently dead from and honour of being instrumental in drowning. the establishment of the Royal Humane « For the first six years Dr. Cogan Society. The idea of such an institu. prepared the Reports of the Society tion was first conceived in Holland, from year to year; nor was Dr. Hawes where accidents by water are frequent. less attentive in aiding the designs and In the year 1767, was formed at Am. promoting the views of this Institusterdam, a society, which offered pre- iion." miums to such as should save the life The Royal Humane Society has, of a citizen in danger of perishing by since this period, grown to a pitch of water: it also proposed to publish the usefulness and prosperity which its methods of treatment, and to give an wise and benevolent projectors could account of the cases of recovery. The bave scarcely hoped.+ Whilst he first publication of these memoirs ex, lived, Dr. Cogan took a lively interest cited great and universal interest, and in its proceedings, and, when opporin 1773, Dr. Cogan translated them tunity permitted, failed not to attend into English, “ in order to convince the annual meetings, where he of all the British public of the practicabi- others must have been gratified by lity, in many instances, of recovering the procession of the persons restored persons who were apparently dead, to life by the Society's methods. By from drowning. No sooner were they translated, than they engaged the humane and benevolent mind of Dr.
* Annual Report of the Royal Humane
Society, 1818, pp. 2-4. Hawes. His very soul was absorbed
+ li is stated in the Monthly Magazine, with the animating hope of saving the XIV. p. 136, that in the period of ten years, lives of his fellow-creatures : but, in that is from 1774 to 1784, about three making the attempt, he had to en
thousand persons bad been rescued by the counter both with ridicule and oppo- Society's weans from premature death.
his will he bequeathed to bis favourite choose such objects as were useful to institution the sum of one hundred mankind. Of farming, as a business, pounds. The Society, as has been he used to say that “it is never profijustly remarked, will be a standing table, except the farmer drive the monument of what may be accom- plough, his wife be dairy-maid and the plished by individual persevering ex. children scarecrows." ertions in the cause of humanity, and Whilst he lived at Bath, Dr. Cogan will transmit the names of Hawes and published, under the name of “A Cogan to posterity as benefactors to Layman," the well-known Letters to the human race.*
Mr. Wilberforce on Hereditary DeIn 1780, Dr. Cogan again retired to pravity, in which he combats with Holland, where he continued, enjoying complete success this favourite tenet of himself in literary and pbilosophical the pious sepator. This pamphlet has pursuits, and contributing to the en- passed through several editions and joyment of others by his amiable man- has, perhaps, contributed more than ners and pleasant and instructive dis- any work ever published to correct course, until the storm of the French dark views of human nature, and conRevolution drove him back, for shel- sequent despondency with regard to ter, to England. During this last re- the plans of Providence. It merits the sidence on the Continent, he had praise bestowed by Johnson on Bur. visited Germany, and on his return to net's Life of Rochester : “ the critic this country he collected and revised may read it for its elegance, the philothe notes which he made on his tour, sopher for its arguments, and the saint and published them in two Volumes for
its piety.* 8vo., under the title of “The Rhine." During his residence at Bath, he There are few more interesting books published, also, first the Philosophical of travels than this. The charm of the and then the Ethical Treatise on the work is, that the reader feels himself Passions, which were followed at long to be a companion of the author's, and intervals by three other volumes of enters into his whole character; and moral and theological Disquisitions; Dr. Cogan's was a character that forming together the complete system could not be knowu without being of the author with regard to the chahighly esteemed.
racter of the Creator, and the moral On his final settlement in England, constitution, duties and expectations Dr. Cogan made Bath his first resi- of man. Ju the philosophical part of dence. Here be indulged his taste this extended work the arraugement for agriculture. He was an active is clear, the definitions correct and the member of the West-of-England Agri- illustrations happy; in the ethical it is cultural Society, and followed expe. proved that virtue and happiness are rimental farming with so much suc- identical; and in the theological the cess on some land which he occupied Jewish and Christian revelations are in the neighbourhood of Bath, that fully vindicated, and are shewn to be he obtained several of the Society's means by which the universal Father premiums. He continued this pursuit is educating his children for final hapin his subsequent removals to Clapton piness and glory. But excellent as and Woodford, and at the time of his these volumes are, they would probadecease held a small farm in the vici- bly have been more useful if they had nity of Southampton, to which he been published as distinct works, and used to retire occasionally from his lodgings in London. His inclination towards agriculture was not prompted # The writer once heard Dr. Cogan reby the hope of gain; it was matter late that a popular and eloquent Calvinistic of taste; perhaps it was something minister, on being asked his opinion of the higher, for he had so active a mind Layman's Letters, made this declaration :that he could not be content without “ I would not undertake to refute all the some object before him, and his prin- author's arguments, but I have this one if the latest of them had been an. which I mean the last few days of pounced under somewhat different his illness, exhibited a spectacle such titles. But an author must be allowed as has not often been witnessed. The to choose his own plan of writing; vigour of mind which he displayed and in Dr. Cogan's mind all truth in his reflections on any subject that resolved itself into one idea, the moral came before him, the vivacity with perfection of God, including by ne- which he made his remarks on the cessary consequence the bappiness of occurrences of the moment, and the all his creatures. He had once pro- dignified composure with which he posed to himself to enlarge and repub. louked forward to the change which Jish his letters to Mr. Wilberforce as he pronounced to be approaching, a part of the series; with which he de. excited the wonder of all who saw clared that his design would be com- him, and frequently prompted the plete. The last work that he actu- involuntary exclamation, What an exally published, the Ethical Questions, traordinary man! which made its appearance in 1817, is “ When he first gave up all expec. evidently a continuation of his suhtation of a recovery, he said with ject; and though he seems to soar into animation, Why should I wish to the region of metaphysics, he never recover? I should only have all this leaves in reality his favourite province to endure again. I have liad a long of morals. *
answer to make to them all, God owns our ciples and feeliugs induced him to
way of preaching," Is not this equal to
saying, that the preacher who has the Annual Report of the Royal Humane largest auditory has the sarest evidence of Society, 1818, p. 5.
being in the right?
and a happy life, and I ought to deThus employed, Dr. Cogan scarcely part contented.
And I have many felt the advances of old age. His reasons for considering this as the friends found him the same instructive fittest time for me to die, though I and pleasing companion that he had cannot look forward to death alto. ever been, and indulged themselves gether without a feeling of awe, I have with the hope of enjoying his valuable a firm confidence in the goodness of society for years to come. But there God; and though I may deserve more is an “ appointed time for man upon of chastisement than I have had in the earth." On the last day of the this life, I have no fear whatever for year 1817, he had walked in a very the final result.' thick fog from his lodgings in Hen- “ On one occasion he said, “I shall rietta Street, Covent Garden, to visit not die triumphantly, but I shall die a friend in St. Mary Axe, which happily ;' on another, • The nearer I brought on a cough more than usually advance to the grave, the brighter are troublesome; indisposition ensued; and my prospects.' with a presentiment that he should " When speaking on the subject not recover, he went on Saturday, of religion, he dwelt chiefly on the January 24th, to his brother's, the benevolence of the Deity, expressing Rev. !. Cogan, at Walthamstow, his persuasion of the final happiness where he expired on Monday, the of all mankind, and his decided con2d of February, in the 82d year of viction of the falsehood of the Cal
vinistic system. One of the last things The following account of his death that he said to me (after having comwas drawn up by one best fitted by mented at some length on a part of situation and character to describe the 15th chapter of the first epistle justly the dignified scene :
to the Corinthians) was verbatim as Many know how he lived, and follows: When I could not sleep some may wish to know how he died. last night, I was reflecting on the For the gratification of such a wish, affecting parable of the prodigal son, the following brief sketch is intended: which is so beautifully, so beautifully, “ The closing scene of his life, by told. Where is your vindictive justice
bere? Where is your personal re• The Ethical Questions are reviewed in
sentment?' He probably would have our XIIth Vol. pp. 226_236; and in Vol. XIII. pp. 18-20, there is a letter of Dr. proceeded, but was fatigued with Cogan's upon the subject of the review. speaking. About twelve hours before By a pelancholy coincidence, the number his decease, he dictated three letters containing this letter did not appear till the with a solemnity and dignity of manday of his death. See the obituary of the ner which none who were present next No., XIII. p. 142.
will ever forget. A short paragraph