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John Arbuthnot

1667 - 1735

John Arbuthnot
©2018 Gazetteer for Scotland

John Arbuthnot

Physician and satirist. Born in Inverbervie (Aberdeenshire). Educated at Marischal College (Aberdeen), Oxford and St. Andrews, Arbuthnot became a successful physician, writing on the value of diet in the fight against disease and was eventually appointed Physician-in-Ordinary to Queen Anne (1704). However, it is as a political satirist that he is best remembered, developing the character John Bull as the typical Englishman which appeared in a collection entitled The History of John Bull (1727).

Arbuthnot had a significant part in creating the Memoirs of Martinus Scriblerus published posthumously in 1741, which was a mocking exposure of pedantry, perhaps the precursor of our own enjoyment of seeking out official jargon and bureaucracy.

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