John Arbuthnot Bibliography

An Essay on the Usefulness of Mathematical Learning 1701
A plea for greater emphasis on Mathematics in the university curriculum.  In 1704 Arbuthnot, who was a close friend of Pope, Swift, and Gay, became a member of the Royal Society and was one of Queen Anne’s physicians from 1705 until her death in 1714.  Arbuthnot cared for and brought “Wild Peter” to England; Peter (1725-85), suffering from autism, had been found wandering on all fours in the woods of Hameln in Hanover.  Swift and Defoe were among those who wrote about him, and Monboddo, in his Origin and Progress of Language (1773-92), mentioned Peter, whom he met in 1782, in the context of his evolution theory.  Ferguson also found occasion to write in An Essay on the History of Civil Society: “A wild man . . . caught in the woods, where he had always lived apart from his species, is a singular instance, not a specimen of any general character.”
The History of John Bull 1712
Collection of five pamphlets previously published separately. A political and comic allegory, modeled on Swift’s Conduct of the Allies, which advocates an end to war with France; its chief actors, concerned with the treaty of Utrecht, are caricatured as Lord Strutt (Charles II of Spain), Lewis Baboon (Louis XIV), Nicolas Frog (the Dutch) and John Bull (the English). John Bull, “in the main . . . an honest plain dealing fellow, choleric, bold, and of a very unconstant temper”, is a national hero who is nearly tricked by the duplicities of the other national heroes and by the self-centredness of Humphrey Hocus the attorney (the duke of Marlborough).
The Art of Sinking in Poetry 1727
Essay concerning the nature of Ailments 1731