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NATHANIEL GREATRAKES, Esq. Native of Waterford County,



& most Remarkable for Curing many Disorders by the Stroke or Touch of his Hand only.

Pub. by Alar. Hegg, 16 Paternoster-row, March 1-1803.





for entering Trinity College, Dublin. At this time the rebellion broke out, and owing to the then diftracted state of the nation, he was obliged, with his mother (who had feveral other small children) to fly for refuge into England, where they were relieved by his uncle, Mr. Edward Harris ; after whose death, young Greatrakes was committed to the care of Mr. John Daniel Getfeus, a German, and then minifter of Stoke-Gabriel in the county of Devon, who for feveral years inftructed him in theology, philofophy, &c. About the year 1634 he returned to his native country, but was so exceedingly affected by the miferable and reduced state it was in, that he retired to the caftle of Caperquin, where he spent a year in serious contemplation on the viciffitudes of ftate and fortune. In the year 1649 he became lieutenant in the regiment of Roger, lord Broghill, afterwards earl of Orrery, then acting in Munster against the Irish and papists; but, upon the regiment being disbanded (1656), he retired to his estate at Affane, and was soon after appointed clerk of the peace for the county of Cork, and register for transplantation, and juftice of the peace. About the year 1662, he began to conceive himself poffeffed of an extraordinary virtue, in being able to remove the king's evil, or other diseases, by touching or ftroking the parts affected with his hand. This imagination he concealed for fome time, but at last revealed it to his wife, who ridiculed the idea. Refolved however to make a trial, he began with one William Maher, who was brought to the house by his father for the purpose of receiving fome affiftance from Mrs. Greatrakes, as this lady was always ready to relieve the fick and indigent, as far as lay in her power. This boy was forely afflicted with the king's evil, but was, to all appearance cured, by Mr. Greatrakes laying his hands on the parts affected. Several other persons having appeared to be cured in the fame manner, of different dif. orders, he acquired confiderable fame in his neighbour


hood. But being cited into the bishop's court at Lif more, and not producing a licence for practising, he was prohibited from laying his hands on any perfon for the future, but ftill continued to do fo till January, 1665-6, when he came to England at the request of the earl of Orrery, in order to cure the lady of the lord viscount Conway, of Ragley in Warwickshire, of a continual vio lent head-ach. He ftaid at Ragley about a month, but failed in his endeavours to relieve this lady, notwithstanding he is faid to have performed several miraculous cures in those parts, and at Worcester, and was fent for to Whitehall by his majefty's orders; and is likewise said to have wrought many remarkable cures here in the prefence of feveral eminent and fkilful perfons. A declaration of his cures at Warwickshire, was published by Mr. Stubbe (who was witnefs) at Oxford, in 4to. in which the author maintained" that Mr. Greatrakes was poffeffed of a peculiar temperament, as his body was compofed of fome particular ferments, the effluvia whereof being introduced, fometimes by a light, fometimes by a violent friction, reftore the temperament of the debilita. ted parts, re-invigorate the blood, and diffipate all heterogeneous ferments out of the bodies of the deceased, by the eyes, nofe, mouth, hands, and feet." This publication was a "Letter, addreffed to the Hon. Robert Boyle, Efq." who, in a private letter to the author, expreffed his displeasure at being thus publicly addressed on fuch a fubject, particularly as Mr. Stubbe endeavoured to show that Mr. Greatrakes's gift was miraculous. Mr. Glanville alfo imputed his cures to a fanative quality inherent in his conftitution; and others (perhaps with greater probability) to the force of imagination in his patients. Mr. Boyle, having feen Mr. Greatrakes's performances in April, 1666, acknowledged his remarkable cures. This extraordinary man afforded much matter for the prefs,


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