Skip to main content

Full text of "American medical biography; or, Memoirs of eminent physicians; embracing principally those who have died since the publication of Dr. Thacher's initial work on the same subject"

See other formats

WVU - Medical Center Library 

Locked Cage R 153 W67a c.l WVMJ 

American medical biography; or, Mem / Williams, St 

3 0802 000020972 5 


Flu 2 k-67 






nBt mcmjE 

Digitized by tine Internet Arciiive 

in 2009 witii funding from 

Lyrasis IVIembers and Sloan Foundation 














" Biography is the very Eye of History." 














Ks most rcsjicctfuUaj, nxiti tofti) peculfar proprfetj, 






From the Boston Medical and Surgical Journal of Feb. 22, 1843. 

For a few weeks past Dr. Stephen W. Williams, of Deerfield, Mass. has 
been busily engaged in preparing a work upon the medical biography of 
some of the most distinguished medical men of America, who have died 
since Thacher published his work in 1825, and of such other distinguished 
characters of older date, as he has omitted to name. He has turned his 
attention to medical biography for many years, and already published 
biographical notices of Dr. Thomas Williams, Dr. Wm. S. Williams, and 
Dr. Josiah Goodhue, at some length, separately from those recorded in the 
late address before the Massachusetts Medical Society, which were highly 
spoken of by the press throughout the country. Having taken for a good 
many years the principal medical periodical journals in this country. Dr. 
Williams has been enabled to collect and compile a vast many facts in rela- 
tion to our most eminent deceased medical brethren. Such a volume with 
plates is very much wanted, and if well conducted it must be popular. We 
think well of Dr. Williams' qualifications for the task ; his industry and 
perseverance in the pursuit of this kind of knowledge is unrivalled. 


From Dr. J. V. C. Smith, M. D., Health Physician of the Port of Boston. 

Dear Doctor : — I am delighted with the plan of your operations, (Am. 

Med. Biography), and trust that posterity will -not be ungrateful for your 

labors in the important department of medical biography. Draw upon my 

pages as liberally as you please, and upon me individually. Write to me 

for whatever you want — resting assured of my hearty co-operation as far as 

practicable. Very truly yours, 

J. V. C. Smith. 
Boston, May !), 1843. 

From the venerable James Thacher, M. D., of Plymouth^ author of Ameri- 
can Med. Biography, published in 1828, of which this is a sequel. 

Plymouth, April 18, 1843. 
Dr. Williams, Dear Sir : — I rejoice to learn that a volume of Medical 
Biography in continuation of a work of that kind which issued from my 
efforts in my better days, is preparing by one so eminently qualified for the 
task as yourself. I feel a deep interest in your undertaking, and should it 
be published during my continuance in life, I shall be anxious to procure a 
copy of it. I dedicated my work to Dr. Holyoke when he was one hundred 
years old ; he departed to the world of spirits soon after. I hope to see the 
biography of that excellent man in your work. Many distinguished physi- 
cians have departed within a few years to receive their reward, leaving me 
almost alone. I feel indeed that I am in the hands of a good and gracious 
God, who has brought me to enter my ninetieth year of age, and is still sus- 
taining me, though laboring under many infirmities. Many distinguished 
physicians still remain without a biography. I wish you all prosperity and 
success. Respectfully your humble servant, 

James Thachek. 

From Dr. Alden, of Randolph, Massachusetts, Counsellor in the Mass. 

Med. Society. 

Randolph, Ap. 13, 1843. 
My Dear Sir : — I rejoice that you are about publishing a sequel to Dr. 
Thacher's Med. Biography, and if I have any materials which will be useful 


to you, they are entirely at your service. I have devoted considerable time 
in collecting facts connected with your subject, and the labor is much greater 
than any one who has never been engaged in it would imagine. I have 
notices more or less extensive of 296 deceased physicians of Massachusetts. 
Please command my services as freely as you may need. 

Yours truly, 

Eben'r Alden, M . D. 

Prof. James Jackson, M. D., of Boston, encourages me in the work, and 
he has furnished me with an interesting biography for it of the late Dr. Gor- 
ham, of Boston, and of his son, James Jackson, Jr. 

From Samuel B. Woodward, M. D., Superintendent of the. Lunatic Hospital 
at Worcester, Mass., <^c. 

Worcester, June 8, 1843. 
Dear Sir : — I shall be very glad to aid you in your very laudable under- 
taking, (Am. Med. Biography), and furnish you with some sketches, if you 
have room for them, and time to wait for them. I will aid you all that lies 
in my power in a work which is exceedingly desirable, and which should 
embrace the worthy and honorable in our profession. 

Yours very truly, 

S. B. Woodward. 

Dr. Woodward, as will be seen, has furnished me with several interesting 

George Sumner, M. D., of Hartford, Conn, encourages me in the work, 
and offers his co-operation and assistance. See his letter of March 13, 1843. 

Isaac Hays, M. D., of Philadelphia, editor of the American Medical 
Journal, has assisted me much in procuring materials for the work, and 
through his influence Dr. Randolph has furnished me his interesting memoir 
of Dr. Physick, Dr. Wood, of Dr. Parrish and Dr. Hodges, of Dr. Dewees 
and James. 


The venerable John Redman Coxe, M . D., late Professor in the Univer- 
sity of Pennsylvania, highly approves my plan and recommends my work. 
Speaking of my medical biographies in my address before the Mass. Med. 
Society, in 1843, Dr. Coxe observes, " Your notices of medical practitioners 
has greatly interested me." Dr. Hays, speaking of the same address, says 
of it, " Dr. Williams gives in it a very interesting medical history of the 
county of Franklin, Mass., with some brief notices of the physicians who 
formerly practised in that county, and have now passed away. There is 
good feeling'as well as good taste displayed in thus taking advantage of a 
public occasion to do homage to departed worth, and to place upon record 
some memorials of the early practitioners of this country." 

Col. William L. Stone, of New York, speaking also of the biography of 
the address, observes of it, "More interesting and curious still are the bio- 
graphical sketches with which the discourse abounds, of the more eminent 
members of the faculty who have advanced the profession of the country. 
These sketches are exceedingly valuable." 

Prof. John W. Francis, M. D., of New York, in a letter of March 25, 
1843, says, "I rejoice that you contemplate the biography of our medical 
worthies. It is an important undertaking. It will do good to a great extent. 
Within a day or two I will give you a life of our friend Hosack." 

Fro7n Prof. Charles A. Lee, M. D., of JVeic York, Feb. 13, 1843. 

" I think very highly of your contemplated work, and believe you are the 
best qualified to do it, of any of our physicians. You excel, I think, in 
biographical writing, and I am not alone in this opinion. I will lend you 
all the assistance in my power." Your sincere friend, 

C. A. Lee. . 

From Prof. Thos. Sewall, M. D., Washington City. 

" Dr. Williams, Dear Sir : — With regard to the biography. I am glad 
you are engaged in it. If it were not that I am about to embark for Europe, 
on a tour of professional observation, and for the benefit of my health, I 


would fiirnisli you witli the biographies of Profs. Potter, Davidge, and 
Eberle, but as I shall sail from Boston on the middle of April, I have no 
time left for such researches. If you write to Dr. Nathan R. Smith, he can 
give or procure for you all these. Respectfully yours, 

Thos. Sewall." 
Dr. Sewall furnished the memoir of Dr. Godman. 

From Prof. Amasa Trowbridge, M. D., of the Willoughby Medical College, 


" I am pleased with your undertaking for biographical collections. I will 

forward you a notice of a few physicians of the Black river country, who 

have died since its settlement, who had much merit as medical men. 

Yours truly, 

Amasa Trowbridge." 
Watertown, N. Y., March 28, 1843. 

From Prof. F. H. Hamilton, M. D., of Geneva Medical College, JYew York. 

" I am gratified at your intention to publish a Med. Biography. It will 

be an invaluable acquisition to the American Medical Library. 

Yours truly, 

F. H. Hamilton." 
Rochester, Mug. 9, 1843. 

From Prof. Valentine Mott, M. D., of the University of New York. 

New York, Nov. 3, 1843. 
*' Having been made acquainted with the plan and execution of the above 
work of Dr. Stephen W. Williams, and from my intimate personal know- 
ledge of his habits of research, and literary attainments, I have no hesitation 
in recommending his " Biography of Eminent American Physicians," to my 
brethren of the Medical Profession, as well as to the reading public generally, 
as a work of decided interest and utility, and one calculated to do credit to 
our literature." Valentine Mott, M. D. 



More than fifteen years have elapsed since the 
venerable Dr. Thatcher, of Plymouth, Massachusetts, 
published his inestimable work upon American Medi- 
cal Biography, which was most favorably received by 
the medical public. This space of time embraces 
nearly one half of a generation. During this period 
great numbers of the most eminent men in the profes- 
sion in America, have descended to the tomb. The 
memorials of many of these have been only published 
in the ephemeral journals of the day, like many of our 
newspapers ; some have been published in more valua- 
ble and durable medical periodicals. Many of these 
have had so limited a circulation that they are not seen 
by the great mass of the profession. Of others, no 
published biographies have appeared. 

It has been my object in the present work to collect 
these scattered materials, and place them in a more 
condensed and durable form. There are abundance 
of facts scattered tliroughout the country, to form in- 


teresting volumes upon this subject, but the grand 
difficulty is to draw them forth and present them to 
the public eye. Most men are so much occupied in 
their own pursuits that they can find but little time to 
write biographies, even of their dearest friends, how- 
ever well qualified they may be for the task. The 
labor of a work of this kind must, therefore, be ex- 
tremely onerous. The work has been delayed for 
several months on this account, and even now I am 
obliged to commit it to the press with the omission of 
the names of several very distinguished physicians. I 
regret this the less, as it is already sufficiently large for 
an octavo volume. I shall still be happy to receive 
communications for another volume, which will, pro- 
bably, succeed this. 

The work is necessarily, in a great measure, a com- 
pilation. Biographies must almost, as a matter of 
course, be so. No one man can grasp all the mate- 
rials of extended biographies in his own mind, be it 
ever so capacious. The facts at least, if not the very 
expression of them, must come from others. And who 
are better qualified for this than those who are most 
intimately acquainted with the deceased ? In many 
instances I have taken the liberty to abridge and alter 
the language of my correspondents, and the writers to 
whom I am indebted for many of the facts in this work, 
for which I hope they will excuse me. Indeed, the 


most laborious part of the undertaking has been the 
collecting, condensing, and compiling the work. Had 
I not taken this liberty, which some of my correspond- 
ents have granted me, the volume might have been 
enlarged to an unwieldy and cumbersome size. I 
hope I have done justice to the writers, and given 
them due credit for their productions. 

Some of the memoirs were written by myself on 
different occasions, such as those of Drs. Allen, Church, 
Hamilton, Haynes, Goodhue, Prentiss, Stone, Wing, 
Thomas and William S. Williams, Henry Wells, John 
Lee, and several others. I feel under great and last- 
ing obligations to my friends Drs. Sewall, of Washing- 
ton ; Coxe, Hays, Randolph, Wood and Hodge, of 
Philadelphia ; Charles A. Lee, Francis, Mott, &c., of 
New York ; Jackson, J. V. C. Smith, Thatcher, Alden, 
Woodward, Baylies, Haskell, and others, in Massa- 
chusetts ; Menzo White and Amasa Trowbridge, of 
Western New York, and to very many others, who, I 
trust, will pardon me for not enumerating their names, 
for the aid they have given me in the prosecution of 
the work, and for the assurance which they have given 
me, that such a publication from me was very desira- 
ble. The encouragement of such men is a guarantee 
that a production of this kind will meet the approbation 
of the public. 

To a medical man no species of writing is more 


interesting than medical biography. The repubhc of 
medicine contains but few ambitious aspirants for fame, 
beyond the immediate circle of their practice. Phy- 
sicians are called to move in a humbler sphere than 
clergymen, lawyers, and statesmen. Hence they are 
much less noticed by the great body of the people than 
these more prominent actors on the theatre of life. 
But we deny that tliey are less learned, useful, and 
good. This is not the place to discuss the priority 
of the learned professions ; but it is acknowledged by 
those who have investigated the subject that the 
profession of medicine is more philosophical and 
learned than either of the others, and that in its 
ranks have ever been found some of the most scien- 
tific men the world has ever produced. This is not 
to be wondered at, when we reflect that " the science 
of medicine is related to every thing." 

It has been truly said that " history is philosophy 
teaching by example." With how much greater force 
and truth does this assertion apply to biography, which 
has been termed the " very heart of history." The 
examples of the wise and good, as shown in their lives 
and characters, in their written memorials, must ever 
present most worthy patterns for imitation. Whose 
bosom is not animated by the description of the glow- 
ins fires of medical lore, which burned within the 
breasts of such men as Smith, Post, Hosack, Todd, 


Dewees and Physick, and their more youthful but not 
less zealous and worthy followers, Godman, Jackson, 
and Trowbridge ? These, and many more whose me- 
moirs are recorded in this work, will ever stand as pole 
stars to direct the course of the future traveller on the 
road to medical honor, distinction, and usefulness. 

Deerfield, Mass., Sept. 1st, 1844. 


Dr. Joseph Allen, of Buckland, in the county of 
Franklin and Commonwealth of Massachusetts, was 
born on Long Island in the year 1764. He came to 
Hardwick, Massachusetts, when only two years old, 
and resided there till he was old enough to study the 
profession of medicine. I know little or nothing of 
his early education, but I believe it was sufficient to 
qualify him for entering on the study of the healing 
art. At least, it was so considered at that early day. 
He studied the profession of medicine with Dr. Wil- 
liam Kittredge, then residing in the town of Conway, 
in this state. Dr. Kittredge was considered by the 
pubHc to be an eminent bonesetter and surgeon. Dr. 
Allen commenced his professional career in Coleraine, 
in the county of Franklin, where he continued one 
year, when he removed to Buckland, about twelve 
miles from Coleraine, where he had a great run of 
business till the time of his death, which occurred in 
1823, at the age of fifty-nine. His health for many 
years had been feeble, being troubled with dyspeptic 
complaints, but by a rigidly abstemious, and princi- 
pally a milk diet, he was enabled to bear up under his 


complaints, and even to perform a great amount of 
business, in a rough and hilly country. He joined the 
Massachusetts Medical Society in 1812, and resigned 
in 1818. He made considerable property by the prac- 
tice of his profession, and he was well thought of by 
his professional brethren. I beheve he performed 
some capital operations in surgery, and he was thought 
by many to be a superior bonesetter. Vide my Me- 
dical History of Franklin County. 

Dr. Milton Antony. This gentleman was a dis- 
tinguished Professor of Obstetrics in the Medical Col- 
lege of Georgia. The Southern Medical and Surgi- 
cal Journal thus speaks of him, while aimouncing his 
death. " It is with feelings of the most poignant sor- 
row that we have to announce the death of Dr. Mil- 
ton Antony, Editor of this Journal. He expired on 
Thursday afternoon (Oct. 18, 1839) after an illness of 
five days." The editor of the Boston Medical Journal 
observes, that " his loss is indeed a public calamity, 
and greatly to be deplored by the profession through- 
out the country. He retained the entire possession of 
his mind to the last, and the closing hours of an 
honorable and usel'ul life were brightened by the hopes 
of a glorious immortality." 

Dr. Nathaniel Walker Appleton was born at 
Boston, in the year 1755, and received his degree at 
Harvard College, in 1773. He was a grandson of 


Nathaniel Appleton, D. D., of Cambridge, who died 
in the year 1784, in the 91st year of his age. He 
studied the profession of medicine with the venerable 
Dr. Holyoke, of Salem, and established himself in 
Boston as a practitioner of medicine, not far from the 
year 1777. He was one of the founders of the Massa- 
chusetts Medical Society, and of the American Aca- 
demy of Arts and Sciences. 

He was very highly estimated as a physician. He 
was very active in promoting the interests of the 
Massachusetts Medical Society, and published several 
valuable papers in the transactions of that Society. 
He was the first Secretary of that Institution. He 
resigned his fellowship about the year 1794, with the 
intention of moving from the state, and as a token of 
his great regard for the Society, he made a donation 
to it of a part of his library and anatomical cabinet. 
He resided for a few years at Marietta, in Ohio, when 
he returned to Boston, about the year 1798, where he 
died, at the age of 43. — Aldeii's Notices of the Foun- 
ders of the Mass. Med. Society. 

Dr. William Atcherson, of Windham County, 
Vt., died on the 26th of January, 1823, in the meri- 
dian of life, and in the midst of extensive business. 
I am indebted to an address delivered before the Ver- 
mont Second Medical Society at their semi-annual 
meeting in June, 1833, by Dr. John H. Wells, ex- 
tracts from which were published in the 8th vol. of the 
Boston Medical Journal, for the following notice of 


his life and death. I regret that I am not able to ob- 
tain more particulars concerning him. The remarks 
contain more of eulogy than narrative. ' An afflic- 
tive providence has deprived this Society of one of 
its most valuable members. Long had he been a Fel- 
low of it, and his loss will be lastingly felt. As a 
practitioner of medicine he was respectable, and a 
careful investigator of cause and effect, judicious in 
his prescriptions, consequently successful. He pos- 
sessed abilities, and he was ever ready modestly to use 
them for the benefit of his fellow men. His integrity 
was unsuspected, his character liberal, and he was, we 
humbly hope, a friend of that God in whose immediate 
presence he now appears. At the very zenith of his 
prosperity and usefulness he was cut down, and will 
rise not till the last trump shall summon him. The 
forebodings of approaching dissolution awaken the 
keenest sensibilities of our nature ; the stoutest heart 
trembles at the prospect, and would fain yet linger a 
little longer on these mortal shores. ' O how myste- 
rious and inscrutable are the ways of Providence !' 
' Surely it is not in man to direct his steps.' But a 
few days since, as high a glow of health sat on his 
cheeks as that which flushes ours ; but a few days 
since that lifeless pulse could beat as well, those un- 
strung muscles could bound as high as ours ; pros- 
pects of health and long life, were as, bright and flat- 
tering as ours. 

' Dissolution, too, reigns throughout the world ina- 
nimate. Summer's green and verdant livery, in sickly 
yellow, pines away before the chilling breath of Au- 


tumn. The flowery tribes will scarce live out a sum- 
mer's sun. The stately oak which has endured the 
rude blasts of ages, threatening a kind of vegetable 
immortality, in rottenness dissolves, and lies unnoticed 
from the dust it shaded. The hills, by perpetual wash- 
ing, and by gravitation of looser particles, are sinking 
to a level with the valley. Yea, the great globe itself 
(with awe I name it), and these material heavens, 
shall dissolve, and like the unsubstantial fabric of a 
vision leave not a wreck behind.' 

' The same unerring law of nature pervades univer- 
sal creation. What myriads of insects flit and buzz 
away their hves in a summer's sun. What hecatombs 
of beasts are sacrificed to one revolving year ! And 
is man mortal too ? — man, who measures the earth, 
counts the stars, subjects nature ? Yes, my friends, 
immortal man is mortal. His life is swifter than a 
weaver's shuttle, and cradles do but rock him towards 
his tomb. What countless millions in successive gene- 
rations have chased one another through the long an- 
nals of time to their common home ! How soon will 
this assembly, should all the hopes in it be realized, 
moulder in the silent mansions of the dead ! How 
soon the mighty myriads, who now swarm on the face 
of the whole earth, surfeiting in unthinking mirth, or 
teeming with wise projects of future wealth, pleasures 
or honors, lie undistinguished from the dust they tread 
on ! No age, sex, or condition is privileged against 
the King of Terrors. The tender infant — the youth 
whose cheeks are flushed with health, whose tide of 
hfe runs high, who never thought of death but in 


distant prospect — the middle aged, and the old, may at 
an unexpected moment yield to the dread summons.' 

Dr. Wells then gives an account of his last sickness 
and death. ' He was taken unwell last September, 
immediately after a fall from his carriage, by which he 
was much hurt at the time ; but he did not then, nor 
indeed ever after, appear to attach much consequence 
to the circumstance. 

' In consequence of my own ill health, and that of 
my family, I did not see him until some time in the 
month of November. From that time till his death, 
which took place on the 26th of January, the symp- 
toms in his case were those, and only those, which 
usually accompany inflammation and suppuration of 
the liver. These have been so accurately described 
by authors who have devoted their time and talents 
to the subject, and they are so well understood by this 
audience, that it would be trespassing upon your time 
and patience for me to attempt a delineation of them. 
The remedial means made use of, were such as are 
usually resorted to in like cases. Yet suffice it to say, 
the disease progressed slowly, but steadily, to its fatal 

Dr. Samuel Baker. This highly respectable phy- 
sician was born at Baltimore, Oct. 31st, 1785. He 
was son of William Baker, who emigrated, when quite 
young, from Germany, and married a lady of Irish de- 
scent. He obtained his early education at an academy 
at Baltimore. At the age of fifteen he entered Chester- 


town college, a celebrated seminary of learning, un- 
der the superintendence of Dr. Ferguson. At the 
close of his pupilage here he entered an apothecary's 
store owned by Dr. Henry Wilkins, for the purpose of 
obtaining a practical knowledge of pharmacy. At the 
conclusion of his course with Dr. Wilkins, he com- 
menced the regular study of medicine, under the di- 
rection of Drs. Littlejohn and Donaldson. During the 
courses of 1806-7 and 1807-8 he attended the medi- 
cal lectures of the University of Pennsylvania, and 
was elected an honorary member of the Medical Ly- 
ceum and of the Medical Society of Philadelphia. 
He received the degree of Doctor of Medicine from 
the University in the year 1808. The subject of his 
dissertation was Chorea. In the spring of this year 
he returned to Baltimore and commenced the practice 
of medicine there. He was elected Professor of Ma- 
teria Medica in the Medical College of Baltimore in 
the year 1 809. He held this appointment till the spring 
of 1823, when he resigned the office and devoted him- 
self exclusively to the practice of his laborious pro- 
fession. Dr. J. Fonerden, an intimate friend of Dr. 
Baker, thus speaks of him in the Baltimore Atheneum 
for January 2nd, 1836. 'As a lecturer. Dr. Baker 
maintained to the period of his retirement, an undi- 
minished reputation for a comprehensive knowledge 
of the branch of knowledge which he taught. He 
made no parade of learning, and never attempted to 
amuse by fanciful and idle speculations. He culled 
the facts and opinions of the older writers with judi- 
cious skill, and he diligently searched the numerous 


volumes of his cotemporaries, for the results of the la- 
bors of a more enlightened age. The fruits of his 
own observation and judgment, added to the useful 
matters thus collected from books, both ancient and 
modern, were dehvered in a plain and lucid style. 
His criticisms were always flavored with modesty and 
respect, however erroneous he regarded the opinions 
against which they were directed ; and his award of 
praise to those whom he esteemed successful cultiva- 
tors of science, was frank and honorable. During 
the mention of medical facts that had'come under his 
own notice and when giving expression to the original 
reflections of his own mind, there was often in the 
lecture room a breathless silence, which indicated the 
profound respect entertained by the class for the judg- 
ment of the preceptor. He was a universal favorite 
with the students. The facts seen by himself and 
narrated to them, they believed as implicitly as if they 
had themselves been the observers, and his process of 
reasoning was rarely opposed by them in their conver- 
sational debates, without a serious mistrust of their 
own logic' 

Dr. Baker for many years held the office of Secre- 
tary to the Medical and Chirurgical Faculty of the 
state of Maryland, and was one of the censors for 
granting hcenses. He was also President of the Bal- 
timore Medical Society, and he was the originator of 
a motion for the establishment of the Library of the 
Medical and Chirurgical Faculty of Maryland, and he 
was the chairman of its board of directors as long as 
he lived. He was also one of the founders of the 


Baltimore Medico-Chirurgical Society, and he was 
President thereof at the time of his decease. The 
following extract from the writer of his biographical 
memoir, published in the 36th No. of the Am. Medi- 
cal Journal at the commencement of the last session 
of the Medical Department of the University of Ma- 
ryland, will show the estimation in which Dr. Baker 
was held by the writer, as well as by the public : 

* I cannot conclude this contemplation of frail mor- 
tahty without alluding to the loss which we in common 
with this community have recently sustained in the 
death of one whose office it was, year after year, to 
fulfil the duty which now devolves so unworthily upon 
me. Yes ! gentlemen, from this very place has the 
young investigator of the animal economy annually 
heard the precepts of experience from his lips, which 
are now hushed in the silence of the grave. Associat- 
ed with the Medical Department of the University of 
Maryland, almost from its first inception, as the Pro- 
fessor of Materia Medica ; largely concerned with the 
plan and execution of this fair fabric ; liberal indeed 
in his pecuniary advancements, at a time when embar- 
rassment existed to such an extent as to throw difficul- 
ties in the way of its completion. Dr. Baker has left 
behind him a monument which will endure, I trust, for 
ages. But this is a small part only of the gratitude 
that we owe him. What proposition has there been 
made for the improvement of medicine which did not 
receive his zealous support ? Where was the occasion 
on which he was not ready to extend the hand of 


more than justice, -in one case, at least — to the pro- 
fessional merits of another ? It was mainly, in conse- 
quence of the noble and disinterested conduct of our 
lamented friend, that 1 have now the honor of address- 
ing you. In a manner most complimentary to his 
successor, and with a self-denial most honorable to 
himself, he relinquished the emoluments and advan- 
tages of his chair to another, and that other at the time 
personally almost unknown to him. How rare for us 
to meet with such superiority to regards of private 
advantage ! and how highly ought we to cherish and 
commemorate it. I know, gentlemen, that there is a 
feehng of an amiable, but I think unfortunate, nature, 
which is as prevalent as it is injurious, and is em- 
bodied in the old maxim, that of the dead we should 
say nothing but what is favorable ; and accordingly, 
we are constantly doomed to find that many who have 
spent their worthless lives, disregarded and despised 
by all who knew them, receive after their decease 
commendations which they merit not ; or have their 
vices slurred over and mitigated whenever they be- 
come the topic of animadversion. It is a fault which 
originates in estimable feelings, but when ethically re- 
garded, it cannot be esteemed free from objections. 
The prospect of future rewards and punishments is 
confessedly an incentive to correctness of conduct; 
and the transmission of a fair name to posterity must 
enter largely into the consideration of the good, as 
one of those rewards ; but if the wicked and the tri- 
fling are to receive equal posthumous commendation 


with the upright and the distinguished, one great in- 
centive to distinction, intellectual or moral, is ren- 
dered nugatory. 

Very different from this — and much more in accord- 
ance with morality — was the practice of the ancient 
Egyptians. When any one of their fellow men died, 
an opportunity was afforded to every accuser to step 
forward ; and if it was proved that the conduct of the 
deceased had been dishonorable, his memory was made 
infamous, and his body was denied sepulture. If, on 
the other hand, he remained unscathed, the body was 
honorably interred. Even their kings were subjected 
to this ordeal, and some were deprived of inhumation 
by reason of an unfavorable verdict. When the 
judgment was propitious to the deceased, a funeral 
panegyric was passed on his merits; and in this 
panegyric, titles, dignity, birth, possessions, were set 
at nought, because they are the gifts of fortune, 
whilst the orator dwelt in eulogy, on piety towards 
the gods, justice towards his fellow men, and all the 
virtues which constitute the good man. These an- 
cient funeral orations might, indeed, be a model for 
those oraisons fu7iebres, which are so common in some 
countries, where the rank of the deceased has often 
more to do with the eulogium than exalted personal 

How brighdy would our departed friend have is- 
sued from such an ordeal as this ! His life was, in- 
deed, a beautiful model of all the virtues that can 
adorn a man. Throughout his laborious and useful 
career, the breath of calumny could not soil the bright 


mirror of his reputation. As a member of the Medi- 
cal Faculty of the University, his connection with his 
colleagues, during the many years of his association 
with them, was one of unalloyed courteousness, and 
of strenuous co-operation in every proposition for the 
advancement of the institution. As a member of his 
profession, he was unwearied in the application of his 
talents, and the benevolent feelings of his nature to 
the relief of his fellows ; and as a man, his motto 
was, ' peace and good will towards men.' I need 
not, in this community, dwell upon the many bene- 
volent acts of this exemplary individual — how many 
bleeding heajts he has consoled in their distresses — 
what expense of time, talent, and comfort, he ge- 
nerously appropriated to the relief of suffering huma- 
nity, without expectation of pecuniary reward. The 
scene doubtless witnessed by many of you, on the day 
when his mortal remains were consigned to the tomb 
— of the multitudes who crowded to exhibit their re- 
spect, and ere the grave closed over him, to obtain 
one last look of their friend or their benefactor, tes- 
tified in deep toned and affecting language to the 
excellence of the man, and to the value and extent 
of his services. He was eminently the attentive and 
benevolent physician, the untiring philanthropist, the 
pattern of rehgion and moral goodness. Can I, 
young gentlemen, present a fairer model for your 
emulation ? Can I conclude with a more suitable 
aspiration than that, at the termination of a long, and, 
I trust, successful career, you may merit the same 
honorable eulogy ?' 


For several of the last years of his life, Dr. Baker 
was attacked with several severe paroxysms of disease. 
The complaint of which he died was illusory, and no 
one apprehended that he was near his end until a 
day or two previous to his decease. He died on the 
16th of October, 1835, aged fifty years. R. D. 

Am. Med. Jour. 

Dr. Ebenezer Barnard was born at Deerfield, 
Massachusetts, in the year 1745. He was son of En- 
sign Joseph Barnard, whose ancestors came to Ame- 
rica about the year 1630, and settled at Salem, or 
somewhere in the neighborhood of Boston. Soon 
after the first settlement of Deerfield, in 1672, some 
of them removed to this place, and permanently es- 
tablished themselves here, amidst all the horrors and 
dangers of savage warfare. His grandfather, Mr. 
Joseph Barnard, was killed by an Indian in Deerfield 
south meadows in 1695, and his is the earliest grave 
stone which can be found in our ancient burying 
yard. The descendants of this man were the most 
wealthy in this section of the country for many years. 
Ebenezer was bred a scholar, and an affluent one. 
He graduated at Harvard University in 1765, at the 
age of 20. He then studied the profession of medi- 
cine for two years, the customary period at that time, 
with a relative. Dr. Lemuel Barnard, of Sheffield, 
Mass., a highly respectable practitioner. He then re- 
turned to Deerfield, and established himself in the 
practice of his profession here. He enjoyed the con- 


fidence of his brother practitioners, and was highly 
esteemed by them, as well as by his numerous patrons. 
His business was extensive, and he gave great satis- 
faction to his employers. He performed some of the 
capital operations in Surgery, such as amputation of 
the leg, &c. He kept pace with the important im- 
provements in his profession, as was evinced by his 
library, which contained the principal modern works 
which were then extant. I have several of these vol- 
umes in my library, and they are all of standard merit. 
Unfortunately I can procure none of his papers. He 
died in the year 1790 at the age of 45, the year that 
I was born, and his widow, or some of his friends, dis- 
posed of his papers, or deposited them in so obscure a 
place that I have never been able to obtain them, 
much to my regret. 

Dr. John Bartram was a grandson of Richard 
Bartram, who came from England to America with 
the friends of William Penn, towards the close of the 
seventeenth century. He settled in the town of Mar- 
pole, Chester Co., Pennsylvania, about twelve miles 
from Philadelphia. Richard had two sons, John and 
Isaac. The father of the subject of this memoir 
was John, who inherited the paternal estate at Mar- 
pole. John, the son, the celebrated naturalist and 
botanist, inherited an estate in Darby, a few miles 
from Marpole, which descended to him by his uncle 
Isaac. The country was then comparatively new, 
and John had but few advantages from the learning 


even of common schools or literature. Such, how- 
ever, as the common schools afforded he availed him- 
self of; and as opportunities presented, he studied 
such of the Latin and Greek grammars and classics 
as his circumstances enabled him to procure. He 
was always fond of and courted the society of the 
most talented and worthy men. 

There can be no doubt of the propriety of noticing 
him among the eminent physicians of our country, as 
he devoted much of his time and attention to the 
study of physic and surgery. He obtained some cele- 
brity in the practice of surgery, and he was somewhat 
useful in it, and he often administered rehef to his 
indigent neighbors, who were too poor to apply for 
medicines and advice to the physicians of Philadel- 
phia, where the nearest practitioners resided. Most 
of his medicines were derived from the vegetable 
kingdom, and it is highly probable that tliis circum- 
stance might indicate to him a wish for the cultivation 
of the science of Botany. He is spoken of by Dr. 
Haller in his Bibliotheca Anatomica, as a physician. 

I am indebted to his son, Mr. William Bartram, of 
Kingsessing, near Philadelphia, who was also one of 
our most celebrated naturalists, for the following no- 
tice of his worthy father, published in the first volume 
of Barton's Medical and Physical Journal, in the year 
1804. Dr. Bartram seemed to have been designed 
for the study and contemplation of nature and the 
culture of philosophy. Although he was bred a far- 
mer, or a husbandman, as a means of procuring sub- 
sistence, he pursued his avocations as a philosopher, 


being ever attentive to the works and operations of 
nature. While engaged in ploughing his fields and 
mowing his meadows, his inquisitive eye and mind 
were frequently exercised in the contemplation of 
vegetables ; the beauty and harmony displayed in 
their mechanism ; the admirable order of system 
which the great author of the universe has established 
throughout their various tribes, and the equally won- 
derful powers of their generation, the progress of 
their growth, and the various stages of their maturity 
and perfection. 

He was, perhaps, the first Anglo-American who 
ever conceived the idea of establishing a Botanic 
Garden, for the reception and cultivation of the vari- 
ous vegetables, natives of the country, as well as of 
narcotics, and of travelhng for the discovery and 
acquisition of them. He purchased a convenient 
piece of ground, on the banks of the Schuylkill, at 
the distance of about three miles from Philadelphia, 
a happy situation, possessing every soil and exposure 
adapted to the various nature of vegetables. Here 
he built, with his own hands, a large and comfortable 
house of hewn stone, and laid out a garden contain- 
ing about five acres of ground. 

He began his travels at his own expense. His 
various excursions rewarded his labors with the pos- 
session of a great variety of new, beautiful and useful 
trees, shrubs, and herbaceous plants. His garden at 
length attracting the visits and notice of many vir- 
tuous and ingenious persons, he was encouraged to 
persist in his labors. 


Not yet content with having thus begun the esta- 
bhshment of this school of science and philosophy, in 
the blooming fields of Flora, he sought farther means 
for its perfection and importance by communicating 
his discoveries and collections to the curious in Eu- 
rope and elsewhere, for the benefit of science, com- 
merce and the useful arts. 

Having arranged his various collections and ob- 
servations in natural history, one of his particular 
friends, Joseph Brentnal, merchant of Philadelphia, 
undertook to convey them to the celebrated Peter 
CoUinson, of London. This laid the foundation of 
that friendship and correspondence which continued 
uninterrupted, and even increasing, for near fifty 
years of the lives of these two eminent men. Col- 
linson, ever the disinterested friend, communicated, 
from time to time, to the learned in Europe the dis- 
coveries and observations of Bartram. It was prin- 
cipally through the interest of Collinson that he 
became acquainted and entered into a correspond- 
ence with many of the most celebrated literary 
characters in Europe, and was elected a member of 
the Royal Society of London, of that of Stockholm, 
&:c. Dr. B. S. Barton observes : It is beheved that 
there have been but two or three native Americans 
whose correspondence with the learned men of Eu- 
rope was so extensive as that of Mr. Bartram. 
The mere catalogue of his correspondents would fill 
a page. A few of the principal ones are mentioned : 
Linnaeus, Gronovius, Delibard, Sir Hans Sloane, Ca- 
terby, Dillenius, Collinson, Fothergill, George Ed- 


wards, Philip Miller, and Targioni. He likewise lived 
in habits of intimacy and friendship, or corresponded 
with most of the distinguished literary characters at 
that time in North America, among whom I may 
mention Dr. Franklin, Dr. Garden, Mr. Clayton, and 
Governor Golden. His large collection of letters to 
these and other celebrated men, is in the possession 
of the editor. Extracts from some of them have 
already been printed in this Journal, and many more 
will be given in subsequent numbers. It is much to 
be regretted that many of the letters are so injured 
by the ravages of time that they cannot in many 
places be read at all ; at least not without extreme 
difficulty. Parts of them are irrecoverably lost. 

He employed much of his time in traveling 
through the different provinces of North America, at 
that time subject to England. Neither dangers nor 
difficulties impeded or confined his researches after 
objects in natural history. The summits of our high- 
est mountains were ascended and explored by him. 
The lakes Ontario, Iroquois, and George ; the shores 
and sources of the rivers Hudson, Delaware, Schuyl- 
kill, Susquehanna, Alleghany and St. Juan, were visit- 
ed by him at an early period, when it was a truly 
perilous undertaking to travel in the territories, or 
even on the frontiers of the aborigines. 

He traveled several thousand miles in Carolina 
and Florida. At the advanced age of nearly seventy 
years, embarking on board of a vessel at Philadel- 
phia, he set sail for Charleston, in South Carolina. 
From thence he proceeded by land through part of 


Carolina and Georgia to St. Augustine in East Flo- 
rida. When arrived at the last mentioned place, 
being then appointed botanist for the king of Eng- 
land, for exploring the provinces, he received his 
orders to search for the sources of the great river St. 

Leaving St. Augustine, he traveled by land to the 
banks of the river, and embarking on board a boat at 
Picolata, ascended that great and beautiful river (near 
400 miles) to its sources, attending carefully to its 
various branches, and the lakes connected with it. 
Having ascended on one side of the river, he de- 
scended by the other, unto the confluence of the 
Picolata with the sea. 

In the course of this voyage, or journey, he made 
an accurate draught and survey of the various width, 
depths, courses, and distances, both of the main 
stream, and of the lakes and branches. He also not- 
ed the situation and quality of the soil, the vegetable 
and animal productions, together with other interest- 
ing observations, all of which were highly approved of 
by the Governor, and sent to the Board of Trade and 
Plantations in England, by whose directions they were 
ordered to be published, for the benefit of the new 

Mr. Bartram was a man of modest and gentle 
manners, frank, cheerful, and of great good nature ; 
a lover of justice, truth and charity. He was himself 
an example of filial, conjugal, and parental affection. 
His humanity, gentleness, and compassion, were mani- 
fested upon all occasions, and were even extended to 


the animal creation. He was never known to be at 
enmity with any man. During the whole course of 
his Me, there was not a single instance of his engaging 
in a litigious contest with any of his neighbors, or 
others. He zealously testified against slavery* and 
that his philanthropic precepts on this subject might 
have their due weight and force, he gave liberty to a 
most valuable male slave, then in the prime of life, 
who had been bred up in the family almost from his 

He was through life a striking example of tempe- 
rance, especially in the use of vinous and spirituous 
liquors ; not from a passion of parsimony, but from a 
principle of morality. His common drink was pure 
water, small beer, or cider mixed with milk. Never- 
theless he kept a good and plentiful table. Once a 
year, commonly on new year's day, he made a liberal 
entertainment for his relations and particular friends. 
His stature was rather above the middle size, and 
upright. His visage was long, and his countenance 
expressive of a degree of dignity, with a happy mix- 
ture of animation and sensibihty. He was naturally 
industrious and active, both in body and mind ; observ- 
ing that he could never find more time than he could 
employ to satisfaction and advantage, either in im- 
proving conversation, or in some healthy and useful 
bodily exercise ; and he was astonished to hear men 
complaining that they were weary of their time, and 
knew not what they should do. 

He was born and educated in the sect called 
Quakers. But his religious creed may, perhaps, be 


best collected from a pious distitch, engraven by his 
own hand, in very conspicuous characters, upon a 
stone placed over the front window of the apartment, 
which was destined for study and philosophical retire- 
ment : 

' 'Tis God alone, Almiglity Lord, 

The Holy One, by me adored.' J. B., 1770. 

This may show the simplicity and sincerity of his 
heart, which never harbored, or gave countenance to, 
dissimulation. His mind was frequently employed, 
and he enjoyed the highest pleasure in the contempla- 
tion of nature, as exhibited in the great volume of 
Creation. He generally concluded the narrations of 
his journies with pious and philosophical reflections 
upon the Majesty and Power, the Perfection and 
Beneficence, of the Creator. He had a high venera- 
tion for the moral and religious principles of the 
scriptures, both old and new. He read them often, 
particularly on the Sabbath day ; and recommended 
to his children and family the following precept, as 
comprehending the great principles of moral duty in 
man : " Do justice, love mercy, and walk humbly 
before God." 

He never coveted old age, and often observed to 
his children and friends that he sincerely desired tliat 
he might not live longer than he could afford assist- 
ance to himself ; for he was unwilling to be a burthen 
to his friends, or useless in society ; and that when 
death came to perform its office, there might not be 
much delay. His wishes in these respects were grati- 


fied in a remarkable manner ; for although he lived to 
be about 80 years of age, yet he was cheerful and 
active to almost the last hours. His illness was short. 
About half an hour before he expired, he seemed, 
though but for a few moments, to be in considerable 
agony, and pronounced these words : " I want to 
die." ' 

Dr. William Baylies was born at Uxbridge, in 
the county of Worcester, December 5, 1743. His 
father was Nicholas Bayhes, a native of Colebrook 
Dale, Shropshire, England, who early in hfe came 
with his father, Thomas Baylies, to this country, and 
settled at Uxbridge, where he resided several years, 
but subsequently removed to Taunton. He represent- 
ed the town of Taunton several years in the General 
Court, was much engaged in the transactions of the 
Revolutionary period, and was Chairman of the Coun- 
ty Committee of Correspondence. 

Wilham Baylies graduated at Harvard College in 
1760. He studied medicine with Dr. Elisha Tobey of 
New Bedford, (then Dartmouth) a physician of more 
extensive business than any other practitioner in the 
county. At the completion of his medical pupilage 
he married the daughter of the Hon. Samuel White 
of Taunton, Speaker of the House of Representa- 
tives in 1759, 1764, and 1765. He was also a mem- 
ber of the Council. 

Dr. Baylies, after residing a short time in Taunton, 
finally established himself as a physician in Dighton, 


where he remained till his death, with the exception of 
a few years towards the conclusion of the Revolu- 
tionary war, when he resided in Taunton. His prac- 
tice here was very extensive. He entered with great 
zeal into the political controversies of the times. He 
represented the town of Dighton in the General 
Court, and was a member of the three Provincial 
Congresses of Massachusetts, and also of several im- 
portant committees. He was a member of the State 
Convention that adopted the Federal Constitution. 
He was a Judge of the Court of Common Pleas for 
the county of Bristol for several years, and for a long 
time Register of Probate for that county. He was 
one of the Electors of President and Vice President 
of the United States in the year 1800. 

His principal pursuit, however, was his profession, 
the practice of which he never abandoned till a short 
time previous to his death. As a physician he en- 
joyed an extensive and permanent popularity, arising 
from the confidence reposed in his skill and integrity. 
He was much employed in consultation, for his pro- 
fessional brethren throughout the wide circle of his 
practice placed great reliance on his judgment and 
discretion. He disdained all that parade and artifice 
under which the impostors of the profession endeavor 
to hide their ignorance and deceive the people, and 
to which even physicians otherwise of fair reputation 
are sometimes, in their desire to gain practice and 
popularity, too ready to yield themselves. Applying 
his strong sense, aided by reading and observation, to 
the investigation of disease, he was seldom mistaken 


in his prognosis. He was a prudent and cautious, but 
not a timid, practitioner. He pondered much on 
his cases, and when his dehberations had convinced 
his judgment, he laid down his course of practice, 
from which he seldom found it necessary to deviate. 
When danger was imminent he acted with prompti- 
tude, decision, and energy. He was well acquainted 
with the sciences which had an immediate relation to 
that of medicine. He read much, and reflected 
much on what he read ; but he acknowledged no 
master. His discriminating mind enabled him to 
detect the sophistries of plausible theories, and to 
separate them from the sound and scientific principles 
with which they were blended ; and when the test of 
experience was applied, his judgment was seldom 
found to have been erroneous. He was never daz- 
zled with splendid novelties, nor bewildered with 
systems, nor led away from the maxims of sound 
practice, by the authority of great names. 

Notwithstanding his almost incessant labors in his 
practice, he found time for other studies than those 
immediately connected with his professional pursuits. 
He was well versed in metaphysics and theology. 
The science of government he had studied with 
much attention, and the fallacies of rash and daring 
innovators never lured him from the path of rational 
hberty. Though pleased with the originality and 
eloquence of " that self-torturing sophist, wild Ros- 
seau," he rejected those extravagant and visionary 
notions which could find no liberty for man but in 
the practical equality of savage hfe. He was for a 


government of laws — laws sufficiently strong to pro- 
tect person and property, and to give a consciousness 
of security. He was familiar with the works of the 
best English poets. He was an original member of 
the Medical and Historical Societies of Massachusetts, 
and also a member of the American Academy of 
Arts and Sciences. In 1807 he received from Har- 
vard University the honorary degree of M. D. 

For social pleasures and enjoyments, when not 
pushed to excess, he had a keen relish, and delighted 
in every species of genuine wit. In all the relations 
of life his conduct was exemplary. Though some 
of the physical infirmities of old age came upon him, 
the vigor of his mind remained but little impaired, 
until the sudden and brief illness that terminated his 
life on the 17th June, 1826. — Hon, William and 
Francis Baylies, in Aldenh Collectioiis. 

Dr. Lemuel Whittlesey Belden was a native of 
Wethersfield, Connecticut, where he was born in 
September, 1801. He was son of Dr. Joshua 
Belden of that place, a highly respectable physician 
and worthy man, who died of the mahgnant spotted 
fever, in June, 1808, in the midst of his usefulness. 
Dr. Lemuel W. Belden, the subject of this notice, 
was left an orphan, with three younger brothers, in 
the care of a judicious and sensible mother, at the 
age of seven years. She bestowed great attention 
upon his early education, allowing him all the advan- 
tages which the best teachers could bestow. He 


entered as a Freshman in Yale College in the year 
1817, at the age of sixteen. 

The following notice of him was first pubhshed in 
the Boston Medical and Surgical Journal, and after- 
wards appended in a note to the excellent address of 
Dr. A. L. Pierson of Salem, before the Massachu- 
setts Medical Society, at their annual meeting in 
1840. It was written by a friend who was amply 
qualified to do justice to his memory. 

* The loss which a community sustains in the death 
of an intelligent and beloved physician is severe, and 
often irreparable ? not so much that one of equal 
skill cannot be substituted, as that the confidence 
reposed in the one, cannot be immediately transferred 
to the other. Such a physician is not only the medi- 
cal adviser, but also the friend and confidant of the 
sick ; he sympathizes with them in their sufferings, 
enters into all their feelings, and is a comforter in all 
their trials. His presence and encouragement are 
often as beneficial as the medicines which he pre- 
scribes. When death removes him, they feel that 
their security is gone ; that life is less valuable, 
because more uncertain, and because one of the 
sources of enjoyment is removed, and that a severe 
trial awaits them in selecting another in whose know- 
ledge and judgment they can place the same confi- 
dence, and on whose integrity and friendship they 
can safely rely. 

These reflections have been awakened by the 
wide spread sorrow and lamentation occasioned by 
the death of that excellent man and estimable phy- 


sician, Dr. Lemuel W. Belden, of Springfield, Mass. 
who recently fell a victim to the malignant typhus 
fever, which has prevailed somewhat extensively in 
that vicinity. 

During his minority, and before he entered col- 
lege, young Belden was a modest, reserved youth, 
fond of his books, which had greater attractions for 
him at this early age than the sports and amusements 
of his associates. The traits of character most pro- 
minent in his childhood were, love of truth, sobriety, 
and consistency of conduct ; and these were no less 
conspicuous in all his after hfe. His reputation in 
college was always good, both for diligence as a 
scholar and for exemplary and discreet deportment. 
If he did not acquire as rapidly as some others, he 
was always prepared for what was expected of him — 
always ready, and acquitted himself with honor. He 
was scrupulously regardful of all college duties, was 
never absent from prayers, and rarely, if ever, from 
recitations, during the whole of his college life. 
One of his most respectable classmates and constant 
friends, writes thus of him : ' He was a diligent 
student; I tliink peculiarly so. It was evident that 
he never lost sight of the object for which he came 
there, and he attended to every study prescribed, with 
steady perseverance. I can look back now and see 
evidence of maturity and soundness of judgment in 
this respect, which was uncommon at that age. His 
college course did not present much of incident, as 
it partook of the stability and steady attention to the 
object for which he came, which was^ afterwards so 


prominent a trait of his character. The loss of his 
sound judgment and growing attainments to the 
medical profession, you can better appreciate than 
I can.' 

He received the honors of college at his gradua- 
tion, and the part assigned him on this occasion 
shows the estimation with which he was regarded by 
the authorities of the University, placing him among 
the most distinguished scholars of his class. After 
obtaining his first degree in September, 1821, he 
took charge of a respectable Academy at New 
Canaan, in his native state, where he continued 
two years, a very respectable teacher. In the au- 
tumn of 1823 he relinquished the employment and 
commenced the study of medicine with Dr. Wood- 
ward, then of Wethersfield, his native state, now the 
Superintendent of the State Lunatic Hospital at 
Worcester, Mass. As a student of medicine, he 
was a close applicant, and made rapid proficiency ; 
he availed himself of every means of acquiring pro- 
fessional knowledge ; he was not only a diligent 
scholar, but was careful to watch the progress of 
such cases of disease as he could witness in a circuit 
of extensive country practice. 

His first course of medical lectures was attended 
in Boston in the winter of 1825. The succeeding 
spring and summer he spent with his former precep- 
tor, and devoted much time in visiting the sick, to 
ascertain the character and progress of disease. The 
following winter was spent in New Haven, attending 
to the Medical Lectures in Yale College. In March, 


1826, he received the degree of Doctor of Medicine. 
In both these institutions he obtained a high reputa- 
tion as a scholar, and at his graduation he acquitted 
himself so well as to take the very first rank in his 

Returning from college he again entered the office 
of Dr. Woodward as assistant in his practice, where 
he continued more than a year, attending extensively 
to the sick, and teaching the preliminary branches of 
study to a class of medical students. During this 
long intercourse a warm friendship was formed be- 
tween preceptor and pupil, which continued until his 

Dr. Belden pursued the study of his profession with 
the ardor of a scholar and the spirit of a philanthro- 
pist. He loved his profession because he considered 
it honorable and useful ; he felt the responsibility 
that awaited him, and he was too conscientious to 
commence the practice of it without a thorough 
knowledge of its principles, and a faithful improve- 
ment of all the advantages for chnical knowledge 
and experience. 

In the autumn of 1827 he took up his residence 
in Springfield, where he soon gained a respectable 
practice, and became the favorite physician of many 
of the best families in the town. 

Dr. Belden had none of those shining qualities 
which commend themselves at first sight to the fancy 
of the many. He was not destined to be the popular 
man. He was pecuharly diffident and retiring; his 
manners were simple, but his deportment was digni- 


fied and reserved. He could obtain friends and 
business only on substantial merit. His success was 
not rapid, but permanent — "ftose who once employed 
him rarely failing to adhere to him ; the more exten- 
sive their acquaintance, the more they respected and 
loved him. To many he was ' the beloved physician ;' 
rendered no less so by the amiable qualities of his 
heart, his upright and honorable deportment amongst 
men, than by his sagacity and tact as a physician. 
He made no bustle in his business, and no display in 
the community in which he resided ; but now that he 
is dead, they will realize that a man is gone from 
amongst them, whose influence, though quiet and 
gentle as the evening zephyr, has been wide and 
salutary, diflusing intellectual light and moral beauty 
wherever it was felt and known — that a physician has 
departed from their midst, in whose skill there was 
safety, in whose integrity there was confidence, in 
whose character there was rectitude unwavering, and 
in whose countenance ever beamed benevolence and 

Unlike many young men. Dr. Belden continued 
the habits of study through life which he had early 
formed. In the intervals of his business he was 
rarely found absent from his 'study.' Here he 
applied himself closely to professional reading, litera- 
ture and general intelligence. He was a thorough 
scholar the last as well as the first year of his 
professional life. The readers of your Journal can- 
not have forgotten his lucid history of Jane C. Rider, 
well known as the ' Springfield Somnambuhst,' which 


occupied two weekly numbers of your periodical, 
and detailed with great accuracy and precision the 
wonderful phenomena of that remarkable case. This, 
with a popular work, published somewhat previously, 
on the same subject, constitutes all the writings from 
his pen which have been given to the public. There 
are many things, however, in manuscript, which show 
his dihgence in recording facts no less than his ardor 
in the pursuit of knowledge. 

During the last year. Dr. Belden had interested 
himself in efiecting a change in the Medical Society 
of this State. At their first annual meeting in the 
spring he presented his views to the Society in 
person, in so clear and perspicuous a manner as to 
induce those presenf to consider the subject seriously. 
A large and respectable committee was appointed to 
act upon it, of which Dr. Belden was a member. 
Their report is just published, which recommends 
such changes as to meet the views of all who have 
interested themselves in it, retaining many of the old, 
and adopting some of the new, principles proposed 
by their author. • 

Dr. Belden was married in May, 1829, to Miss 
Catherine Chester, daughter of Stephen Chester, 
Esq., late Sherift' of the county of Hartlbrd, Conn., 
an amiable and accomplished lady, who survives him 
to mourn the loss of one of the best of husbands, 
and kindest and most indulgent of men. He left no 
children, having lost an only son in early childhood. 

Few men are better situated to enjoy hfe, than was 
Dr. Belden at the time of the attack of his fatal 


disease. His domestic relation was peculiarly feli- 
citous ; he was in the midst of an intelligent and 
enterprising population, who justly appreciated his 
medical attainments and moral worth. Beloved by 
his friends, respected by all who knew him — rising 
in reputation in his profession by the surest of all 
means, knowledge of his business and devotion to 
his patients, he had gained a character of sterhng 
value in an extensive circle of practice. In the 
midst of this prosperity came the withering hand of 
disease and cut him off. 

Of the character of Dr. Belden, we may justly say 
it had no shades, no dark spots which his friends 
would desire to conceal or remove, no eccentricity 
which gave it the slightest irregularity. From his 
childhood he loved truth, simpHcity and virtue, and 
these were his eminent qualities. His well balanced 
mind led him to right views of every subject; he 
discriminated well and judged correctly. His acute 
moral sense kept him in the strictest path of recti- 
tude, A motive to do wrong never actuated him 
for a moment; his integrity was above suspicion. 
His mind was more distinguished for solid than for 
brilhant traits ; he had no dazzling qualities. He 
loved to investigate the truths of science and philo- 
sophy. His knowledge was of the substantial kind ; 
he made no display of it, but it came to his aid 
when and where he needed it. As a physician he 
had few equals of his age. He was a ripe scholar 
in the principles of his profession, and he made the 
best use of his experience. His Index Rerum 


shows how careful he was to note facts and refe- 
rences, and what stores of medical knowledge he 
was amassing. He was useful no less as a scholar 
than as a physician, and he was preparing for still 
greater usefulness and distinction. 

How desirable that such a man should live ! And 
now that he is gone, how desirable is it to the living 
as well as to the dead that he was such a man ! A 
long and intimate acquaintance with him left us 
ignorant of his faults ; if his character had blemishes, 
tliey were invisible, surrounded and swallowed up 
as they were in estimable and amiable qualities. 
We love to contemplate the man, to look upon one 
so pure and blameless in life, fulfilling the relations 
of son, husband and father, brother and friend, in a 
manner so acceptable to all. His life was exemplary 
and well spent, his death a dignified and calm depar- 
ture from scenes less congenial to his pure spirit, to 
the blessed fruition of an heavenly inheritance, pre- 
pared by his Redeemer above. 

His loss is great to us all ; to his family and 
relatives irreparable ; but hardly less deeply to be 
felt by that circle of friends, whose physician he was, 
whose affections he had secured, and who, on every 
return of affliction and suffering, will lament, with 
renewed sorrow, his premature departure.' 

Dr. Chauncey Brewer. From the pen of the 
Rev. Doctor Osgood of Springfield, Massachusetts. 
The subject of this memoir was the son of Dea- 



con Nathaniel Brewer, and grandson of Rev. Daniel 
Brewer, the third minister of the First Congregational 
Church in Springfield, Massachusetts. The Rev. Mr. 
Brewer was a native of Roxbury, was graduated at 
Harvard University, and was settled in Springfield 
in 1693. His wife was the daughter of the Rev. 
Nathaniel Chauncey, the second President of Harvard 
University. Thus it appears that the ancestors of 
Dr. Brewer were among the most respectable citi- 
zens of this Commonwealth, both as to talents and 
moral worth. 

Dr. Chauncey Brewer was born at Springfield, 
April 21, 1743. He graduated at Yale College in 
1762. Though he was young he maintained a very 
respectable standing in his class, and was highly es- 
teemed for his sobriety and good conversation in 
general. He commenced and completed his me- 
dical studies under Dr. Charles Pynchon, of Spring- 
field, who was for many years one of the most emi- 
nent physicians in this section of the state, and died 
at an advanced age, respected and beloved by a large 
circle of friends. 

Dr. Brewer commenced the practice of physic in 
West Springfield, where he remained several years, 
and was highly esteemed both as a physician and a 
citizen. The people of West Springfield manifested 
their confidence in his talents and integrity by choos- 
ing him to represent them in the second and third 
Provincial Congress of Massachusetts, at a period 
when the best and most prudent men were selected 
to manage the public affairs of the Commonwealth, 


which were every day becoming more perplexed by 
colKsion with the mother country. 

He was appointed Justice of the Peace in 1775. 
This appointment gave great satisfaction to the peo- 
ple of West Springfield, and when he soon afterwards 
removed to Springfield they felt that they had lost a 
valuable physician and a wise and faithful magistrate, 
at a time when talents, and probity, and firmness, 
were necessary in public men. 

Dr. Brewer was a firm friend to the cause of his 
country in the struggle which terminated in the es- 
tabhshment of its independence, and although his 
growing reputation as a physician, and the wider field 
of usefulness which was opened to him by the death 
of Dr. Pynchon, prevented him from engaging in his 
professional character in the scenes of the revolution, 
yet he was ever ready to sustain and encourage the 
authorities of the town in any measures which were 
deemed necessary to push forward an enterprise 
which he considered to be founded in justice, and so 
justly connected with the cause of human rights. 

For many years Dr. Brewer was regarded as one 
of the first in his profession in all this section of the 
country. He was consulted in all difficult cases, and 
he was so highly esteemed for his good judgment, and 
at the same time for his carefulness, that his opinion 
was received with great deference by all his brethren 
of the profession. 

He was a man who was possessed of great tender- 
ness of feeUng, so much so that he was often reluc- 


tant to perform difficult surgical operations where 
firmness of nerves was necessary, and he even pre- 
ferred that such business should be given to others. 
This trait in his character rendered him very popular 
in his profession. He readily entered into the feel- 
ings of his patients, and by the gentleness of his 
manners he won universal estimation. His judgment 
held out to extreme old age, so that when his infirmi- 
ties induced him to decline all applications to take 
the entire charge of the sick, his brethren were anx- 
ious to obtain his advice, and the writer of this arti- 
cle has heard more than one physician speak with 
admiration of the soundness of his opinions in diffi- 
cult cases, even in extreme old age. 

Dr. Brewer had no enemies, not even among his 
competitors in the profession. No one, perhaps, ever 
carried out the injunction " speak evil of no man," 
more thoroughly than he did. If he did not approve 
of the method of practice by any of his brethren, he 
never attempted to injure their reputation by severe 
animadversions. Young physicians ever found him 
easy and affable in his conversation, and ready to 
communicate any information within his power. 
Long before he relinquished the business of his pro- 
fession, which he retained much longer than his own 
inclinations prompted, he candidly discussed the pros- 
pects which the town afforded for any new candidate, 
whenever such person called upon him. He never 
tried to discourage any new applicant by darkening 
the prospects for success, but gave his views with 


great sincerity and left the person to decide for him- 
self. Hence he always retained the respect and con- 
fidence of his brethren. 

Dr. Brewer had very little selfishness. Though 
his practice was extensive, and he possessed the 
patronage of the most wealthy citizens of the town 
for many years, he was so moderate in his charges 
that he did not roll up a great estate. He ever 
seemed contented with a competence. He reared a 
numerous family, and ever provided for them liberally. 
Had he possessed the eagerness to acquire property 
which characterizes mankind in general, he might 
have been rich. But he seems to have prized " a 
quiet and peaceable hfe in all godliness and honesty," 
to a bustling and anxious one connected with great 
wealth. He was anxious to relinquish the business 
of his profession long before his friends were willing 
that he should do it. The writer of this article, when 
he came into Springfield, applied to him to become 
his family physician, and although then in good 
health, he replied, " I am an old man, and am not 
able to go abroad in the night, and you had better 
engage the services of a younger physician." This 
shows that he had nothing of that selfishness which is 
ever " seeking its own," or that jealousy which re- 
gards with evident dissatisfaction the prosperity of 
others who may be its competitors. 

Dr. Brewer was a man who " lived peaceably 
with all men." Though he was no time server, 
but formed his opinions upon all subjects with great 
deliberation and maintained them with firmness, yet 


he was so mild in his manner that he rarely excited 
the displeasure of an opponent. He sometimes 
administered rebuke, yet it was with such gentleness 
that it gave no offence. On one occasion he was 
called to a family, the head of whom was very 
impatient under his hands. He had already lost 
two children with a malignant fever which then 
prevailed, his wife was then dangerously sick, and 
a third child was dangerously seized. This was too 
much for the unsubmissive father. He exclaimed, 
" we may as well send for a butcher and have them 
killed at once." Dr. Brewer replied in a manner 
which made him feel his impiety, "I should think 
the work of death is going on fast enough without 
any additional help." 

He was very pleasant and interesting in social life. 
He had a fund of anecdote which he knew well 
how to apply, and no person could be long in his 
society without being delighted and profited by his 

It remains for us to say something of him as a 
Christian. At what period of his hfe he became 
particularly interested in the subject of religion as a 
personal concern, we have no means of ascertaining. 
He had the advantage of early education from pious 
parents, and " from a child he knew the holy scrip- 
tures." He was admitted to the church in West 
Springfield, under the ministry of that eminent 
servant of Christ, the Rev. Dr. Lathrop. His 
views were decidedly evangelical, embracing all 
those distinguishing doctrines which were held by 


the Puritans. He loved to converse upon subjects 
which were connected with the prosperity and pro- 
gress of the church in the world. He was eminently 
a holy man, and spent a considerable portion of his 
time during the last twenty years of his hfe in 
reading the scriptures. He was particularly fond of 
the writings of Baxter, Flavel, and Doddridge, and 
when the commentary of Dr. Scott was published, 
he manifested great dehght in perusing it. He was 
also much interested in the cause of missions. The 
publication of Dr. Buchanan's sermon entitled " The 
Star in the East," inspired his benevolent heart with 
fervent desires for the conversion of the heathen, 
and he manifested the greatest interest in those com- 
munications which came from our missionaries in 
the East, and the Isles of the Sea. Dr. Brewer 
enjoyed uninterrupted health till the day of his 
death. He possessed a robust constitution, which 
was never weakened by excess or irregularity. He 
was early elected a deacon of the First Church in 
Springfield, and he continued to serve in this office 
until within a few years of his death. He enjoyed 
as much of life as falls to the lot of man. 

He was more free from corroding care and anxiety 
than almost any man. He always had a competency 
of worldly goods, and some to spare for the repeated 
calls which were made upon his benevolent heart, 
and having made the Lord his trust he appeared to 
be fully satisfied, and to feel that a " man's life does 
not consist in the abundance of the things he pos- 
sesses, but in righteousness and peace and joy in the 


Holy Ghost." His mental as well as bodily powers 
continued strong and bright to the end of his life, 
which was prolonged to the period of eighty-seven 
years. The day previous to his death he walked 
abroad, and seemed as vigorous as usual, spent the 
evening in cheerful and pleasant conversation with 
his children, several of whom lived with him, and he 
retired to rest about the usual hour. During the 
night his son, who slept with him, thought he heard 
an unusual noise, as if his respiration was difficult ; 
he immediately raised him up, and found him expiring 
without a struggle or a groan. Of him it might be 
literally said, " having served his own generation, by 
the will of God he fell asleep " 

DocT. Thomas Brown was an eminent physician 
of Charles county, Maryland. He received his medi- 
cal education at Edinburgh, and graduated at that 
University in 1768. The inaugural thesis which he 
wrote and defended was on Animal Heat. On his 
return to America, he settled in his native place, and 
through the whole of his life he had an extensive 
practice. Dr. Rush, who was cotemporary with Dr. 
Brown at Edinburgh, used to say of him, that he was 
not second to any student of the University at that 
period. Dr. Brown was not only a well read phy- 
sician, and an able practitioner of medicine, but a 
good classical scholar, and indulged his taste for 
general reading during the whole course of his labo- 
rious practice. It is said that he used but few reme- 


dies in his practice, and those of a most efficient 

Drs. Gustavus Brown and William Brown were 
nephews of the preceding, and were educated at 
Edinburgh at nearly the same period. They were 
both eminent practitioners of medicine, the former 
in St. Marys county, Maryland, and the latter in 
Alexandria. It is not known that either of these 
gentlemen left any medical writings behind them, ex- 
cept the inaugural theses, which they defended at the 
time of their graduation. — Letter from Dr. Causin, in 
SewalVs Lecture. 

Dr. Peter Bryant, father of the poet, William 
Cullen Bryant, was born at Bridgewater in the State 
of Mass., in the year 1767. He was an eminent phy- 
sician and surgeon, and established himself in early 
life in his profession at Cummington, in the county 
of Hampshire and State of Massachusetts. Here he 
soon attained the highest reputation among his 
employers and professional brethren. His library 
was the most select and extensive in the interior of 
the state, and all his leisure hours were spent in the 
retirement of it ; storing his mind with the rich lega- 
cies of his fathers and cotemporaries in the profes- 
sion of medicine. This is the only way to establish 
a lasting and well founded reputation in the science, 


and without a resort to this course the applause of 
any physician, however popular he may be for a httle 
period, must be evanescent and ephemeral. Dr. 
Bryant thus obtained his reputation, which will not 
soon be forgotten. His townsmen frequently elected 
him their representative in the state legislature, and 
while at the emporium of the state he became inti- 
mately acquainted with the most eminent physicians 
in the capital. Here, as elsewhere, he was always 
strenuous in his exertions for promoting the cause of 
science and literature, particularly of medical science. 
Dr. Warren says of him that he was " as remarkable 
for a modest and reserved demeanor as for his 
acuteness, love of study, and profound knowledge of 
his profession." He was elected a Fellow of the 
Massachusetts Medical Society in the year 1 806, and 
continued his fellowship till his decease in the year 
1820. He was often elected a counsellor and censor 
in tlie Society. The appointment of delivering the 
annual dissertation before that Society was twice con- 
ferred upon him, and while he was making prepara- 
tions to go to Boston for this purpose in June, 1819, 
he was seized with the complaint of which he died, 
after a lingering illness, in the year 1820, at the age 
of fifty years. Dr. Bryant was fourth son of Dr. 
Philip Bryant, who practiced physic in North Bridge- 
water, Mass., for more than sixty years. Dr. Abiel 
Howard, the first native of Bridgewater, educated at 
Harvard University, was his maternal grandfather, 
and in the well furnished library of this gentleman 


he found the means of gratifying an early and a 
predominating passion for study. After a preparato- 
ry education he entered upon the study of medicine 
with his father, and subsequently became a pupil of 
Laprilete, a French surgeon, settled in Norton, in 
Bristol county, and a man of great dexterity and 
knowledge in his art. He completed his studies in 
1790, and the next year went to Hampshire county, 
where he married, and continued for the most part 
of the practice of his profession to the time of his 
death. In the early part of his professional life 
he went in a surgical capacity to the Indian Ocean, 
visiting on his way the Cape of Good Hope, and 
remaining for some months in the Isle of France, 
where he learned the French language and laid the 
foundation of that familiarity with the French htera- 
ture which he afterwards attained. He was for 
many years a member of the Massachusetts House 
of Representatives, where he exerted himself in 
conjunction witli several of his friends to procure 
the enactment of certain regulations, the object of 
which was to raise the standard of education and 
knowledge among the members of the medical fa- 

After many unsuccessful attempts they prevailed, 
and in the year 1813 a system of rules was adopt- 
ed in relation to the examination and licensing of 
practitioners of physic and surgery, which has con- 
tinued with very little alteration to this day. Dr. 
Bryant was chosen a member of tlie electoral Col- 


lege of Massachusetts, on the election of President 
and Vice President of the United States in 1816. 
The next year he was returned to the Senate of his 
native State. He was an early member of the 
Massachusetts Medical Society, and for many years 
held the place of Counselor in that body. While 
preparing to dehver the anniversary discourse before 
the Society, he was attacked with the disease which 
put an end to his life. He died of consumption 
on the 10th of March, 1820. Dr. Bryant was pro- 
foundly versed in the learning of his profession, the 
authors of which he collected with diligence and 
studied with eagerness, seldom sitting down without 
a book in his hand, and making that a recreation 
which most men regard as a labor. In surgery he 
was a delicate and dextrous operator. He was 
the author of many compositions, both in prose and 
verse, which appeared in the publications of the 
day. They were mostly on professional and politi- 
cal subjects, and of a humorous cast, and were 
distinguished for their point and polish. His man- 
ners were modest and retiring, and he was not less 
beloved for his private virtues than respected for the 
qualities of his intellect. — Wm. Cullen Bryant^ in 
Knapp's Am. Biography. 

Dr. Thomas Bucklin, of Hopkinton, was born 
in Rehoboth, Bristol county, Mass., Sept. 28, 1772. 
His father, Mr. John Bucklin, was a respectable 


farmer of that town. His advantages for an educa- 
tion were ordinary for that day. He commenced his 
professional studies when about 18 years old, with 
Dr. Humphrey of Pawtucket, R. I., and continued 
with him about one year. He then put himself 
under the tuition of the late Dr. Thurber of Men- 
don, with whom he continued two years. 

In May, 1793, Dr. Buckhn commenced his profes- 
sional life in Hopkinton, Mass., where he pursued the 
practice of medicine fifty years. He was admitted 
a member of the Massachusetts Medical Society in 
1812, and was a Counselor of that Society more 
than twenty years. 

Few physicians have reached a more eminent 
standing in the community, than the late Dr. Buck- 
lin. When young in the profession he gave evidence 
of promise. He was naturally zealous and enthusi- 
astic, and followed up his investigations of disease 
with great industry and earnestness. Prompt to his 
business, attentive to his patients, and happy in his 
results, he soon became a noted physician in his 
town and vicinity. During the last forty years of his 
life, no medical man was more devoted or more 
laborious in his pursuits. He was emphatically a 
student during his whole hfe, and his strong powers 
of perception and retentive memory made him rich 
in facts, which he had been accumulating during a 
long hfe of experience. His urbanity, his hospitality, 
and his love for a social hour, will not soon be forgot- 


Dr. Bucklin's manners in the sick room were most 
benignant and affable ; he seemed always to be in 
unison with the sick man's feelings. No one sympa- 
thized more readily, more actively, with the suffering ; 
and his sympathy could not be restrained — it was 

His moral sensibilities were exalted and refined. 
But if there was any one quality of his heart that 
prevailed — that seemed to act as a presiding divinity 
over the man — it was his benevolence. The com- 
munity in which he lived will not forget or cease to 
feel the influence of his generous acts. In every 
pubhc improvement, in every effort for moral eleva- 
tion, or intellectual advancement, or for enhancing 
the interests and comforts of the community, the 
heart and hand of Dr. Buckhn were readily enhsted. 
The loss of so worthy a man, and so able a physician, 
must be felt by the pubhc, and especially by those 
who depended upon him in sickness. 

We make no attempt to represent the value of 
such a man as Dr. Bucklin in the family relation- 
ship. Those who enjoyed his company daily, must 
realize how difficult this would be. His example as 
a husband, a parent, and neighbor, will have the 
deepest impression on those who knew him most 

That Dr. Bucklin had no faults, we would not 
say — for we cannot say that of any man. We knew 
him to have one sin — but it was an amiable one — 
the sin of tolerating an opinion differing from his 


own, especially if that difference was of no practical 
advantage ; and if his view of it had an important 
bearing upon results, his manner of correcting that 
opinion was most lenient and christian. 

Thus briefly we have alluded to our deceased 
friend ; and if what we have written should serve to 
retain in a more compact form the elements of his 
character, or prove an humble tribute of respect to 
his memory, it will be sufficient for our purpose. 
Bost. Med. and Surg. Jotcr., Jan. 1844. 

Dr. John Apthorp Bulfinch was born at Boston 
on the 26th of March, 1806. He commenced his 
education, and studied the classics in the Latin 
school in that place until the year 1818, when he 
removed with his father to the city of Washington, 
where the latter was appointed architect of the 
Capitol of the United States. Here he continued 
his studies, under an able teacher, until the year 
1821, when he entered Columbia College in the 
city of Washington. After finishing his collegiate 
course reputably, he commenced his professional 
studies in the medical school of the same college, 
under the instruction of Dr. Thomas Sewall, the 
distinguished Professor of Anatomy, and after three 
years of devoted attention received the degree of 
M. D. He now visited his friends in Boston, 
intending to commence the practice of his profes- 
sion there, but finding the field so much crowded 


he returned to Washington, where he remained for 
a few months. He afterwards went into Virginia, 
where he took charge of a family of children in a 
respectable house, with the privilege of attending 
occasionally to medical practice, where he remained 
a year. Another year he acted as Principal of a 
large Academy at Warrenton, Geo., near Augusta, 
where his brother, the Rev. S. G. Bulfinch, was 
settled as pastor of the Unitarian Church. Thus 
with the usual alternations of hope and disappoint- 
ment, which so commonly attend the young practi- 
tioner, without abandoning his profession he availed 
himself of temporary occupations, till a favorable 
opening for professional practice should be presented. 
At the close of his engagement at Warrenton,* he 
declined renewing it for another term, though solici- 
ted to do so by the trustees ; but urged by a fondness 
for his profession, removed to Augusta, and became 
connected with Dr. Alexander Cunningham, an emi- 
nent physician in full practice. While at Augusta, 
the situation which he accepted and continued to 
hold for the short remainder of his life, presented 
itself at Hebron, a small town situated seventy miles 
from Augusta, and, twelve from Milledgeville, the 
capital of the state of Georgia. To this place he 
removed in 1834, and found himself among intelli- 
gent and friendly people, with a sphere of usefulness 
opening upon him. The writer of this notice, which 
is taken from the Boston Medical and Surgical 
Journal, has received an interesting letter from the 


Rev. Mr. Bulfincli, from which he has permitted 
him to make the following extracts : 

' My brother had mentioned in one of his letters 
that he had been unwell ; but spoke of it so slightly 
that I considered it an attack which had passed over. 
He fell a victim to his professional fidelity. The 
sickness of which he wrote me had confined him 
to the house about three days, and was undoubtedly 
brought on by over exertions. He was looking 
forward to some relaxation, and preparing for a 
promised visit to Augusta, when he was seized with 
the sickness which cut him down, in the prime of 
his opening usefulness. On the day when he show- 
ed symptoms of a return of his sickness, he went 
the distance of half a mile to visit a patient, and 
could hardly be persuaded to go back. A physician 
was sent for, who came and passed the next night 
with him. He says that when he first saw him he 
made those convulsive motions with his arms, which 
are the indications of the most fatal kind of typhus 
fever. A degree of delirium, or rather a condition 
of dreamy forgetfulness, continued to the last. His 
last struggle was easy. He could of course give 
no indications of a rehgious character, beyond those 
exhibited by an exemplary fife of energetic, self- 
sacrificing usefulness, always sustained by professed 
Christian principles. He was buried on Sunday, 
and a very large number attended. His host un- 
dertook the arrangements, which were higlily re- 
spectable. He was buried near the Baptist meeting 


house, about half a mile from his place of residence. 

I found tliat my brother had been engaged in 
practice far beyond my expectation. He was con- 
scientiously attentive to all, remaining with the sick 
sometimes through the night ; and never sparing 
himself when it was possible to relieve a fellow 
being. To use the words of a neighbor, ' he always 
seemed more attentive to a person that could not 
pay, tlian to one that could.' His success in the 
cases he had was great. The most entire confi- 
dence was reposed in him by all around, and the 
deepest feelings of respect and affection that could 
exist towards one almost a stranger, exhibited by all 
with whom I have spoken of him. He had been 
solicited to remove to Saundersville and to Milledge- 
ville, but he felt under obligations to the kind people 
of the neighborhood, and wisely, as far as he could 
foresee, determined to remain among them, or at 
least against any immediate change.' 

Dr. Bulfinch was one of those who have not 
their reward on earth. This was to him a scene 
of trial and discipHne for heaven ; but I thank God 
he was permitted to hve thus long, to give convinc- 
ing proofs of his talents and energy. I forego, 
then, with something like resignation, the course 
of extensive usefulness, reputation and earthly hap- 
piness, which he appeared to have entered upon, 
for he has a better inheritance on high. Dr. Bul- 
finch was about thirty-one years of age when he 
died. — Boston Med. and Surg. Jour., Jan., 1836. 


Dr. Asa Burbank was born in Williamstown, Mas- 
sachusetts, in the year 1773. He devoted his early 
life to study, and graduated at Wilhams College in 
the year 1797. In the year 1798 he was appointed 
a tutor in that college, which office he held two years. 
In the year 1800 he commenced tlie study of medi- 
cine in the office, it is beheved, of the celebrated Dr. 
Towner, a distinguished surgeon in Williamstown. 
He attended one or two courses of medical lectures 
in the medical school of the city of New York, 
under the direction and instruction of the eminent 
Dr. Post and other distinguished Professors in that 
celebrated institution, then connected with Columbia 
College. He then commenced the practice of his 
profession in Lanesboro' in the county of Berkshire 
and State of Massachusetts. Here he continued in 
extensive and lucrative practice, not only in this, but 
in most of the neighboring towns, giving universal 
satisfaction to all his numerous patrons and employers. 
In 1824 he removed to Albany, the capital of the 
State of New York, where he remained four years, 
till he was attacked with dropsy of the brain, which 
was probably brought on by a fall, and injury of the 
head, in 1824, and which induced him to leave 
the theatre of his active usefulness at Albany, and 
return to Williamstown, the place of his nativity, 
the last year of his hfe. Here he became blind, and 
remained so for nine months, when death terminated 
his sufferings in the year 1829, at the age of fifty six. 


Dr. Burbank stood high in the estimation of his 
professional brethren, as well as of the public. In 
the year 1822, about the time of the establishment of 
the Berkshire Medical Institution connected with 
Williams College, he was appointed Professor of 
Obstetrics in that celebrated school, and continued 
his useful labors there for two years, giving great 
satisfaction to the students, when he resigned, and 
removed to Albany. I was intimately acquainted with 
him in this institution, where I was a fellow laborer 
with him in the department of medical jurisprudence, 
and I can bear ample testimony to his worth and 
usefulness. He was one of the most companionable 
and facetious of men, and his happy turn of relating 
anecdotes, of which an abundance was stored in his 
capacious mind, often kept an assemblage of his 
friends in a roar of laughter. He had a most happy 
and enviable faculty of cheering up the minds of his 
patients, even in the most desponding cases, and often 
of smoothing their pillows in their descent to the 
grave. No one can doubt that he was both a moral 
and a highly religious man. 

Dr. James P. Chaplin. Dr. Chaphn was born 
at Groton, in the county of Middlesex, Mass., twenty 
miles from Boston, where his father, a venerable 
clergyman, is still hving. He studied medicine as 
a pupil of the late Dr. Warren, in Boston, took 
the degree of Doctor of Medicine in Harvard Uni- 


versity, and settled as a practitioner in that part 
of Cambridge called Cambridgeport. After obtain- 
ing a high reputation and extensive business in this 
town, he added to his other labors the formation 
of an establishment for the reception and care of 
insane persons. The number of patients received 
w^as for some years small. But his success with 
them was so remarkable that he was induced to 
enlarge his buildings, and to place his asylum on 
a more extended plan, so as to afford all necessary 
accommodations for the comfort and cure of those 
put under his care. His reputation increased and 
spread so widely that he had applications for many 
more than he could receive, from every part of the 
United States ; and his success kept pace with his 
reputation. Probably no institution of the kind in 
any country ever presented a greater number of 
cures. His method was a moral one. In common 
cases he used no medicines but occasional purga- 
tives. Coercion and confinement were but httle 
employed, and violence made no part of the system. 
It was by his pecuhar, calm, commanding man- 
ner, and admirable judgment in conversing with 
his patients that he succeeded in softening the 
obstinate, and controlling the violent. To moral 
modes of treatment he added careful regimen and 
great exercise. 

Dr. Chaplin's private character was highly amiable 
and interesting. His friends knew where to find 


He united himself with the Massachusetts Medi- 
cal Society in the year 1803, and for many years 
he was an officer in that institution. In that So- 
ciety his opinion was received with great respect, 
and he was therefore generally called on to assist 
in arranging and deciding on the most important 
concerns of the Society. Of late years he took a 
deep interest in the subject of religion, and became 
remarkable for his devotion to pious and benevolent 
objects. Cut off" in the full career of his exertions, 
and in the vigor of his experience, his loss will be 
deeply felt and with difficulty supplied. He died in 
1828, at the age of 46. A long account of his 
complicated complaints and death may be found in 
the Boston Medical and Surgical Journal, from which 
the above notice was taken, in 1828. 

Dr. Samuel Church was born at Amherst in the 
county of Hampshire and State of Massachusetts, 
about the year 1756. He graduated at Harvard 
University in 1778, and studied the profession of 
medicine with Dr. Coleman of Amherst, a man of 
a good deal of celebrity in those days. Soon after, 
he commenced the practice of his profession in Sun- 
derland, an adjoining town, where he resided much 
esteemed to the time of his death, which occurred 
in the year 1826, at the age of 70 years. He was 
admitted a Fellow of the Massachusetts Medical So- 
ciety in 1816, and he resigned in 1823. 


Dr. Church was always a judicious, but rather a 
timid, practitioner of medicine. His judgment in 
relation to diseases was discriminating and very cor- 
rect, but he never administered his remedies with so 
bold and unsparing a hand as many of his profes- 
sional brethren. He nevertheless enjoyed the con- 
fidence of his professional brethren to a great extent, 
and he was on terms of great intimacy with such 
men as the venerable Dr. Wells of Montague, Dr. 
Hunt of Northampton, Dr. William S. Williams of 
Deerfield, and many others. In his manners he was 
affable and polite, but modest and retiring. He 
never sought business, but was always ready to attend 
his calls, whenever they were made. In size he 
was about the middling height and proportions. He 
was very plain in his dress as well as in his manners. 
He was considered to be a very good and correct 
writer, but he never published many of the produc- 
tions of his pen. I understand he kept some man- 
uscript volumes of medical notes, but I have also 
been informed that they were probably lost with an 
only son, who perished on board the ill-fated Lex- 
ington on Long Island Sound, in January, 1840. He 
was a poet of no mean abihties. I have before me 
three manuscript volumes, the productions of his pen, 
in poetry, which fully justify the truth of the above 
assertion. In addition to these a pamphlet was pub- 
hshed a good many years ago, containing a humorous 
controversy between himself and the former minister 
of Shelburne, in poetry. The doctor's poem was 
considered to be very witty and ingenious. I am 


sorry my limits do not allow me to extract from it. 

Doctor Church had always a great vein of humor, 
which he sustained to the day of his death. I had 
the charge of him during his last sickness, and I 
shall never forget his cheerfulness and good spirits, 
although laboring under a distressing complaint which 
he bore with christian fortitude. Suffer me to relate 
an instance of his good humor, and his apt reply to 
a witty attack. Dr. Hunt of Northampton, who kept 
a drug store there, and of whom Dr. Church pro- 
cured his medicine, was also a man of unbounded 
humor. He once called upon Dr. Church for the 
settlement of a bill in the following words : — " Dr. 
Church, Dear Sir : I am in want of a fat hog ; 
please send it, or — Ebenezer Hunt." Dr. Church 
replied as follows : — " Dr. Hunt, Dear Sir : I have no 
fat hog ; and if I had — Samuel Church." 

Dr. Church for many years held the office of 
Justice of the Peace, and was considered a. most able 
and upright magistrate. In a few of the last years 
of his life he did much more business in his legal 
than in his medical capacity, though most of his old 
patrons continued . to employ him* as a physician as 
long as he lived. — See my Address before the Mass. 
Med. Society, May, 1842. 

Dr. Nehemiah Cleaveland of Topsfield, Mass. 
The following biographical notice of this distinguish- 
ed physician, was forwarded to the Boston Medical 
and Surgical Journal, and published in the No. for 


June, 1839, by Dr. A. L. Pierson of Salem. It 
was written by his son, Mr. N. Cleaveland of By- 
field. It was read by Dr. Pierson before the Essex 
South District Medical Society, of which Doct. 
Cleaveland was a much respected member. Doct. 
Pierson remarks of him previous to giving the 
notice of him by his son, that ' No man amongst 
us set a better example of professional integrity 
and honor, and his son has drawn his character in 
colors, which from the natural fear of being charg- 
ed with filial partiality, are the reverse of being 
extravagant. The few who could boast of his 
friendship, will long remember with pleasure the 
virtuous, kind hearted old man, whose influence 
was uniformly and efiiciently exerted in supporting 
good order and the true advancement of society. 

He died on the 25th of February, 1837, of a 
most painful disorder. Inflammation and slow ulce- 
ration attacked the stomach, and after occupying 
the superior third of the mucous and muscular 
coats, finally, a few days before his death, pene- 
trated the diaphragm, and opened a communication 
with the thorax. The whole of this process occu- 
pied about a year, during every day of which his 
character beautifully developed the results of reh- 
gious training and cheerful resignation to the will 
of God. Our American patent of nobility is to come 
of a good stock, and this inheritance the late Nehe- 
miah Cleaveland, M. D., both received and trans- 

Mr. Cleaveland observes: 'My father was born 


at Ipswich, on the 20th of August, 1760. His 
father, the Rev. John Cleaveland, was for more 
than fifty-two years minister of the parish then 
known by the ancient Indian name Chebacco, and 
since incorporated as the town of Essex. I have 
no recollection of my grandfather, who died when 
I was but four years old. But his image, derived 
from oft repeated description, is vivid before me : 
a clergyman of the old school — of erect port — 
urbane, yet dignified — an ardent, animated preacher 
— a faithful pastor, and a christian patriot. In the 
French war he served as chaplain at Louisburgh, 
and at Ticonderoga. In the war of the Revolution 
he again became attached to an army ; and at Cam- 
bridge, in New Jersey, and New York, was heard 
imploring blessings on a cause which he believed 
to be that of justice and of God. 

Catching his spirit and following his example, 
three of his sons enlisted in the army. John, the 
eldest, had a commission as lieutenant. After his 
term of service expired, he devoted himself to theo- 
logical studies, became an exemplary minister of the 
gospel, and died lamented, about twenty-two years 

Parker, who was about two years younger, studied 
medicine, and had commenced the practice in Row- 
ley (Byfield parish) before the revolutionary war 
broke out. He then obtained the appointment of 
assistant surgeon in the army. After serving a few 
months in that capacity he returned to the more 
quiet scenes of domestic hfe and a country practice. 


He had a mind uncommonly active and discrimina- 
tive. Besides being a most observant, judicious 
and skillful physician, he was a thorough politician 
and sound theologian. He certainly had the ability 
and merit to have filled a sphere wider and more 
brilliant than that in which it was his lot to move. 
But he lacked the tact and worldly wisdom which en- 
ables one to make the most of his advantages, natural 
or acquired. It was a common remark in regard to 
Dr. Parker Cleaveland, that as a physician he was 
too honest. He was by no means the only instance 
in the annals of medical men, where solid merit has 
been left to pine in neglect and poverty, while the 
ignorant and empirical, by flattering the caprices 
and indulging the whims of patients, have secured 
the business and enjoyed its emoluments. Dr. C. 
died eleven years ago, at the age of seventy-four. 
Two sons survive him, who inherit his talents, and 
stand high in public estimation : Parker Cleaveland, 
Professor of Chemistry and Mineralogy in Bowdoin 
College, and Rev. J. P. Cleaveland, President elect 
of a College in Michigan. 

Nehemiah was in his sixteenth year when he en- 
listed as attendant on his father in the army, then 
investing Boston. At a later period he served as a 
common soldier in New Jersey and at West Point, 
The remaining years of his minority were passed at 
home. Stripling though he was, on him devolved 
at that critical and distressing period the ahnost 
entire support of tlie family. He restored to good 
order the httle farm which had suffered from ab- 


sence, neglect and mismanagement. He devised 
ways and means — he labored hard with his own 
hands, and formed those habits of order, frugality 
and industry, which he maintained through life. 

It was his father's wish and conditional promise 
that he should have a college education. But the 
formidable expense — the res angustcB domi — and the 
importance of his services at home, concurred to 
prevent. His early opportunities for instruction 
were extremely limited. The extent to which, amid 
cares and business, he supplied these defects in 
later life, strikingly exhibited the energy of his mind 
and character. 

As soon as he was at liberty to do so, he entered 
his name as a student in medicine with Dr. John 
Manning of Ipswich, a good physician, at that time 
enjoying an extensive practice. He remained with 
Dr. Manning somewhat more than a year, and then 
completed his medical studies with his brother at 
Byfield. Just as he got ready to practice, a vacan- 
cy was made in Topsfield, by the death of Dr. 
Dexter. He removed to that place at the close of 
the year 1783. Dr. Dexter left a handsome estate, 
the fruits of a practice somewhat extensive and lucra- 
tive. His library and stock of medicines were sold 
at auction. My father purchased them. The libra- 
ry — hear it, ye ill starred doctors, of later times, who 
must toil through many a wearisome tome, and 
whose shelves groan under a weight of medical lore 
— the library of this popular and successful physi- 
cian consisted of just two books. 


My father soon found employment. He early 
secured, and ever retained, so long as his health per- 
mitted him to attend to it, the larger and better part 
of tlie medical practice of the place. He was like- 
wise often called into the neighboring towns, Ipswich, 
Hamilton, Wenham, Middleton, Boxford, and parti- 
cularly Danvers. 

Very soon after coming to Topsfield he received 
a commission of Justice of the Peace, at that time 
a distinction of some value. This appointment open- 
ed to him an additional field of labor. He turned 
his attention to those points of law and statute which 
come within the jurisprudence of the civil magistrate, 
and soon qualified himself to discharge his duties 
with accuracy and fidelity. 

In 1787 he married Lucy, eldest daughter of his 
instructor, Dr. Manning. She was a lady of great 
excellence, but died in 1791 without issue. In the 
following year he was married again to Experience, 
daughter of Dr. Elisha Lord of Pomfret, Connecticut. 

By this connection he had nine children. Three 
died in infancy. The others with their mother sur- 

At this period of his hfe he was often employed 
as a referee ; often on committees for laying out roads 
and other matters of the kind, which require a 
knowledge of business and a sound judgment. In 
1811 he was chosen into the Senate of this Com- 
monwealth. In 1812 he was ousted by ttie operation 
of the Gerrymander law. But the change in public 
sentiments produced by that high handed measure 


restored him in 1815. He retained his seat by suc- 
cessive elections until 1819, when he declined being 
a candidate. I am not aware that while a member 
of this body he ever engaged in debate. In this 
respect he felt probably an unnecessary diffidence. 
In comparing himself with others, he thought too 
much of his early disadvantages. But his weight 
of character, his knowledge, judgment and good 
sense, were felt and acknowledged by his associates 
at that board. Among them there were some of the 
first men in the State — men whose approbation was 
praise — and who then, and ever after, when occasion 
offered, evinced that he had secured their esteem 
and regard. 

In 1814 he was appointed a Session Justice of 
the Circuit Court of Common Pleas. From 1820 to 
1822 he was Associate Justice of the Court of Ses- 
sions, and in 1823 he was appointed Chief Justice. 
For this station he was well fitted by his knowledge 
of business, his sound discretion, and his unyielding 
firmness on all questions of principle and duty. This 
station he held until 1828. From that time he was 
engaged in no public business. 

In 1824 he received from Harvard University the 
honorary degree of Doctor in Medicine. This at- 
tention was not less pleasing, in that it was equally 
unsought and unexpected. 

Dr. Cleaveland was just sLx feet in height. His 
form was erect, dignified, and commanding. Until 
past thirty, he was spare and slender. He afterwards 
became corpulent, weighing at one time two hundred 


and sixty-five pounds. Yet such were the height and 
proportions of his frame that his corpulence never 
materially injured its symmetry. His health until 
about fifty years old, was uncommonly firm. He 
shrunk from no exposure, sunk under no hardship. 
His first severe sickness he supposed at the time 
to be an attack of colic. A repetition of the attack, 
attended by clearer symptoms convinced, him that 
his sufferings arose from urinary calculi. The de- 
bility and emaciation produced by these attacks of 
excruciating pain were very great. He felt that his 
constitution was broken up, and that his lease of hfe 
had probably dwindled to a span. Though he at 
length recovered in a good degree his strength and 
resumed attention to business, he never afterwards 
regained his former firm health. He continued to 
be subject to attacks of severe pain and confinement 
and scarcely ever rode without feehng more or. less 
uneasiness. A sulkey, which he used constantly for 
the last twenty-five years, was the only vehicle in 
which he could ride with tolerable comfort. Whether 
this was owing to its greater easiness, or the peculiar 
nature of its motion, may be a question of some 
interest with medical men. 

A brief allusion to some of his personal traits will 
not, I trust, be deemed unbecoming. A slight ac- 
quaintance with my father would suffice to identify 
him with a school which has passed or is fast passing 
away. He was nursed in the puritan strictness of 
earlier times. His character, early formed and invigo- 
rated under the pressure of hardship and stern neces- 


sity, and amid the thrilling scenes of the revolution, 
exhibited in his maturer years the strength and firm- 
ness which might be expected from much training. 
There was no effeminacy about him. He regulated 
his hfe with the closest regard to principle. If his 
strictness sometimes bordered on severity, his severity 
was of the wholesome kind. With all this, his natu- 
ral sensibilities were quick and tender. 

In public affairs and political questions, he took 
from his first entry into active life a hvely interest. 
Of his political opinions his children will never feel 
ashamed, for they can say that they were those of 
Hamilton, Jay, and Washington. In pohtics his 
course was decided and unwavering. With the 
class so numerous of late years, who fashion ' their 
doctrines to the varying hour,' he had neither fel- 
lowship nor sympathy. 

As a physician he was much esteemed by those 
who had an opportunity to learn his worth. He 
made, indeed, no pretensions to extensive medical 
lore — he attempted no difficult surgical operation. 
But he had — what all tlie schools of medicine cannot 
of themselves supply — an observing mind, a reten- 
tive memory, a good judgment, and a high sense of 
responsibihty. Nor did he, like too many country 
physicians, neglect the reading of medical books and 
journals. His practice was always prudent and cau- 
tious — qualities which young and ardent physicians 
are not apt sufficiently to admire. He was punctual 
in attending to calls, and kind and cheerful in the 
sick room. He possessed in a high degree the 


qualities which ensure to the physician the confidence 
and attachment of his patients. These feelings were 
often and very strongly manifested. Amid the strife 
of parties and the collision of rival interests, a man 
so decided and active could not be without oppo- 
nents. These he had, and bitter ones. Yet it was 
no uncommon thing to hear even the bitterest say 
that Dr. Cleaveland was a good physician — while they 
gave every proof of sincerity by employing him still. 
The position gf a medical man in a small country 
village is, in some respects, very different from that 
of a city practitioner. The division of labor in large 
towns very naturally shuts the physician up to his 
chosen, appropriate sphere. But the country doctor 
will find many opportunities and calls to do good, for 
which the faculty, as such, give no prescriptions. 
Happy he who has the power and disposition to meet 
such calls. During the fifty years of my father's 
practice in Topsfield, few days probably passed 
when his opinion or assistance was not sought in 
some matter aside from his profession. I believe, 
too, that I shall be borne out by those who knew him 
best and longest, in saying that there were kw occur- 
rences or questions incident to common life in regard 
to which he had not formed an opinion, or could not 
give judicious advice. Indeed, the mere fact that 
through so long a series of years confidence contin- 
ued undiminished — the oracle being consulted even 
to the last — proves that the responses had not been 
found unsafe or fallacious. The happy influences of 


SO long a course of beneficent actions are not to be 
estimated. How many quarrels have been arrested — 
how many law suits prevented — how much needless 
expense and trouble saved, in a thousand instances, 
by the timely and un-feed advice of a judicious and 
peace-making neighbor. 

Dr. David Cobb, late Lieutenant Governor of 
Massachusetts. I am indebted to the Hon. Francis 
Baylies, of Taunton, Mass., for the following just 
eulogium upon the character of this distinguished 
man, pronounced at Taunton, soon after the decease 
of General Cobb. 

David Cobb was born at Attleborough, in Mass., 
in September, 1748 ; his father, Thomas Cobb, Esq., 
having at that time a temporary residence at Attle- 
borough, although he generally resided at Taunton. 
His paternal grandfather was Morgan Cobb, of 
Welch descent. His mother was a daughter of 
James Leonard. Paternally and maternally he was 
descended from the ancient setders of Taunton. 

Beincr a favorite son of his father he was designed 
for a liberal education, and very early in life was 
placed under the instruction of Mr. Marsh, an emi- 
nent schoolmaster at Braintree, (now Quincy). In 
1766 he was graduated at Harvard College. His 
chum, or room-mate, was that celebrated, popular 
orator. Dr. Charles Jarvis. He married a daughter 
of Ebenezer Bradish, Esq., of Cambridge, and pre- 


pared himself for the profession of a physician under 
the direction of Dr. Perkins, an eminent practitioner 
in Boston. 

An industrious student, and possessing a pecuhar, 
practical aptitude for the several branches of his 
profession, when he left his instructor he was ac- 
comphshed in his art ; knowing in its ancient lore 
and modern improvements. His excellent educa- 
tion, native sagacity, and quickness of mind, enabled 
him in the outset of life to compete with those whose 
skill had been perfected by years of practice and 
long experience. 

His first essay in his profession was made at Bos- 
ton under flattering circumstances, and with hopeful 
prospects of success ; but at the urgent sohcitation 
of his father he returned to the county of Bristol, 
and pursued his profession in the country. 

He returned at a period when the controversy 
between the British Parliament and the Province 
of Massachusetts Bay began to assume an alarming 
aspect. His father was an Episcopalian, advanced 
in years, and possessed of a large estate ; and al- 
though no Tory, was of moderate principles, and 
dreaded a convulsion. The son threw himself into 
the very front rank of the revolutionists, and led 
on by an ardent temperament, he brought to the 
controversy all the energies of youth, and a deep 
knowledge of the principles on which the rights of 
the Province were based, and from the outset was 
determined to try the worst. Young as he was tlie 
eyes of the people were turned to him, for tliis was 


not the period for impudent and superficial dema- 
gogues to operate upon the pubhc mind. In the 
hour of danger and distress, talent and wisdom 
and energy assume, as a matter of course, their 
appropriate place at the head of political society, 
and in the primary assemblies of the people he took 
the lead because he was fitted for it. 

In 1774 he represented Taunton in the first Pro- 
vincial Congress of Massachusetts, as the colleague 
of his brother-in-law, Robert Treat Paine, one of 
the Signers of the .Declaration of Independence, 
and when the resort to arms was made, he went 
through the Roxbury campaign in his calling as a 

But it was not for him to be satisfied with sup- 
porting a good cause merely by his services as a 
civihan. He was impatient to share the perils and 
the glory of the field, and when the opposition as- 
sumed the character of regular resistance on milita- 
ry principles, he assumed the sword and entered 
the army as Lieutenant Colonel of a Continental 
Regiment, commanded by Colonel Henry Jackson. 
In this regiment he encountered some hard service, 
particularly in New Jersey, and on Rhode Island, 
where he led what might be called a Forlorn Hope 
— to delay, with twenty men, the progress of a Hes- 
sian regiment of cavalry. 

His activity, talent, and high military qualities, 
attracted the attention of the Commander-in-Chief, 
and he was invited into his military family as an 
Aid-de-Camp. In that station he remained till the 


termination of the war, although he was appointed 
to the command of the regiment in which he had 
entered the service. When the army was disbanded 
he was a full Colonel, and a Brigadier General by 

He was with Washington during all the greater 
operations of the war, and during many of those 
periods of trial in which that great Commander 
was placed. He was with him at the time of the 
treason of Arnold, the capture of Cornwallis, and 
when the army, maddened by neglect, had resolved 
with their own arms to redress their own wrongs. 

The councils which were holden in Washington's 
tent were no petty caballings for offices and distinc- 
tions. His counselors applied themselves to their 
mighty tasks with the wisdom of sages, the purity 
of patriots, and the energy of heroes. 

Washington had that rare discrimination which 
could select from amongst his followers the very 
person best adapted to the service to which he was 
designated, and under his vigorous administration 
of army affairs, no talent was suffered to be wasted 
which could be profitably employed in the public 
service. To Colonel Cobb the duty was assigned 
of entertaining and doing the honors to the French 
officers, to whom, from the gaiety and vivacity of 
his manners, and his martial bearing, he was pecu- 
liarly acceptable, and to him he entrusted the nego- 
tiation with Sir Guy Carleton, the British commander, 
for the evacuation of New York. 

On one occasion Colonel Cobb exposed himself 


to the hazard of giving mortal offence to the French 
officers at Yorktown. When Lord CornwaUis invad- 
ed Virginia, he seized upon a beautiful and valuable 
horse called Black-and-all-Black, which belonged to 
one of the back settlers. On his surrender, the 
French officers, without any particular understanding, 
appropriated Black-and-all-Black to themselves, and 
Colonel Cobb, whose taste and judgment in horses 
were duly appreciated, was called upon by them 
daily to admire his lofty bearing and symmetric 
proportions, and consequently he knew his place of 
concealment, and from frequent visits had gained an 
accurate knowledge of its localities. The owner 
came down from the upper country to reclaim his 
horse, but his entreaties were in vain. It was de- 
cided that Black-and-all-Black should visit France. 
In his despair the poor Virginian endeavored to 
obtain access to General Washington, but he ha- 
ving some intimation of his purpose, and unwilling 
to embroil himself with the French officers, avoided 
him. The love of the Virginian for his horse was 
like the love of an Arab, and the horse constituted 
his whole property. In his distress he applied to 
Colonel Cobb, told the story of his misfortune with 
all the eloquence of grief, and with streaming eyes 
entreated him to obtain for him an interview with 
Washington. Cobb was always moved with the 
sight of distress, but he knew that it would be un- 
pleasant to Washington to interfere. 'My good 
fellow,' said he, ' don't apply to the General, and 1 
will put you in the way to get your horse.' He 


then informed him of the place of concealment, 
described the localities with so much accuracy, and 
devised such an ingenious plan for the abstraction, 
that the Virginian, profiting by his counsel, was 
enabled during one dark night to steal his own horse. 
Dire was the commotion in the French camp, and 
dire were the execrations against the fugitives from 
the British army, to whom the theft was imputed. 
Colonel Cobb kept his own counsel, and was un- 
suspected by all, save one. Several days after 
the occurrence, when Black-and-all-Black was safe 
amongst his native hills, Washington, with his pecu- 
liar, cold and significant smile, said to his Aid — 
' Colonel Cobb, can you inform me where Black- 
and-all-Black is stabled ?' 

During his mihtary life Col. Cobb formed some 
close and intimate friendships, particularly with Ge- 
nerals Greene and Knox, and Colonel Jackson. He 
had been associated not only with the great and 
heroic men of his own country, but with the war- 
riors of Frederic the Great, the fiery spirited Polan- 
ders, and the splendid chivalry of France ; with men 
who afterwards acquired immortal names, and con- 
vulsed Europe with revolutions. 

Early in 1784 he resumed his profession. He 
had now seen life in all its varieties — in the city — 
in the country — and in the camp ; in the highest 
circles of fashion, and in the obscurest recesses of 
poverty. By this extensive acquaintance with every 
variety of the human character, he had attained 
some knowledge which he soon had occasion to use. 


Soon after his return he received from Governor 
Hancock an appointment to the bench of the Court 
of Common Pleas, and from the Legislature the 
office of Major General of the Fifth Division of Mi- 
litia, and in both his civil and military capacity he 
was called upon to encounter the tempests of 1786, 
and to uphold the civil institutions of the State, 
threatened with subversion by an insurgent popu- 
lace. He met this crisis with manly firmness. The 
escutcheon of the State had heretofore borne none 
but honorable emblems, but there was danger that 
it might be stamped with bankruptcy and fraud. 
The government had been stable, but the founda- 
tions were loosened ; and there was danger that the 
whole fabric might fall. Men rose to resist the 
laws, to besiege — not hostile fortresses, but Court 
Houses — to direct their arms, not against armed 
men, but against the Judges who adjudicated on 
the laws. 

In June, J 786, a mob appeared on Taunton Green 
for the avowed purpose of preventing the sitting of 
the Court of Common Pleas. General Cobb, acting 
as a Judge, had devised a plan to save the laws from 
violation, satisfy the people, and preserve peace. 
He proposed that the Court should be opened, the 
actions entered to preserve attachments, and that 
the Court should adjourn without entering the judg- 
ments. By this means the debtors might gain time, 
and possibly save their property from ruinous sacri- 
fices. All the Judges concurred. The mob, wild 
with distress, and ferocious with despair, were utter- 


ing threats against the Court, but to give some 
appearance of moderation to their proceedings, a 
deputation was sent to confer with them. The plan 
was explained, the committee were satisfied, but were 
unable to explain it to their constituents, the mob, 
who called loudly on Judge Cobb to appear. He 
instantly went amongst them alone, and unarmed, 
and using the ready and clear elocution with which 
he was gifted, the mob comprehended the plan — 
were satisfied and dispersed — shouting his praises. 

The next term of the Court of Common Pleas 
was in September. The day arrived ; the people 
were not reheved; their debts were increased, and 
their means of payment lessened. The spirit of 
discontent was marked with deeper ferocity, and 
amongst the malcontents the determination that the 
Courts should not sit was general. 

Although Gen. Cobb was indulgent and humane, 
yet he never temporized when great principles were 
at stake. He perceived that a crisis had arrived 
when the laws must be supported by force, or yield- 
ed to anarchy. The executive government of the 
State had thrown the whole responsibility of defend- 
ing the laws on the Courts, the Sheriffs, and the 
Major Generals ; and Cobb was obliged to assume a 
double responsibility. But he was equal to the crisis. 
He would not believe that crimes involving treason 
against the commonwealth were the excesses of pas- 
sionate zeal ; the destruction of social order, a re- 
dress of grievances, or that rebellion and civil war 


were the outward evidences of the existence of 
liberty ! 

The tenderness of his nature led to no misgivings. 
He was determined to support the court and the 
laws, even to the shedding of blood. The militia 
were ordered out. Court day arrived. The robe 
of tlie Judge was thrown aside. The military plumes 
waved over his head, and the sword of the warrior 
flashed bright in the sunbeams! Sounds ominous 
and threatening arose from the mob : — ' the blood of 
the people — the blood of the people is to be shed,'' — 
was the cry for tlie onset. But when steady at their 
posts tlie citizen soldiers were seen extended in 
double lines from the door of the court house, 
when the resolute demeanor of the commander was 
observed, the tone of defiance sunk to supphca- 
tion, and he was entreated to withdraw the soldiers. 
* Away with your whining,' was his determined and 
memorable reply ; ' I will sit this Court if I sit it 
in blood — I will sit els a Judge, or I will die as a 
General ! ' In an instant all was quiet. Secret 
and silent the mob stole off, and the laws triumphed 
— yet the spirit was not quelled. 

The Supreme Court commenced a session at 
Taunton in October. All the western counties of 
the State were in open rebellion, and the spirit of 
insurrection pervaded the county of Bristol. A large 
body of armed insurgents appeared on Taunton 
Green, under the command of David Valentine. A 
large portion of the most substantial population of 


the county were Quakers, whose services, of course, 
were not available in such a crisis. With the excep- 
tion of the militia of one town, it was difficult to 
rally one entire company in either of the towns to 
the defence of the government, and General Cobb 
was compelled to rely on volunteers, and on a full 
regiment from Bridgewater. He drew up his force 
before the doors of the court house in which the court 
was then sitting. The insurgents faced him with the 
appearance of spirit, and amongst them were two or 
three revolutionary officers. Cobb's single cannon 
was charged, and the match was waving. Valentine, 
the rebel leader, suddenly dismounted, and preceded 
by music, approached Cobb's hue. He met him 
half way. His last orders from the Executive were 
peremptory, to defend the court to the last extremity. 
Drawing a line along the ground with his sword, he 
said to the rebel leader — " Pass that line and I fire 
— the blood will be on your own head." Valentine 
approached the line — paused — turned his back and 
retired. The laws triumphed once more ; the court 
sat in peace. In the night the insurgents dispersed, 
and no more mobs assembled in the county of Bris- 
tol. The energy of Cobb not only sustained the 
laws, but prevented the effusion of blood. 

General Cobb encountered these perils and ren- 
dered himself obnoxious to the resentment of a large 
body of desperate and factious insurgents to protect 
the rights of property, — yet he had no property to 
protect; he had shared the common inheritance of 
the officers of the revolutionary army, hardship, and 


suffering, and poverty, and he had more reason to 
dread the processes of the law against debtors, than 
any who resisted such processes in arms. He led, as 
country physician, a harder life to gain a bare subsis- 
tance than any day laborer amongst the rebels. He 
would have prospered by an Agrarian law. But poor 
as he was, unpopular as was his command, he would 
have done his duty and defended the courts had his 
name been borne on half its entries as a defendant 
debtor, and had its judgments and executions reduced 
him to beggary. 

In 1789, and in three succeeding years, he was 
elected a representative to the General Court, and 
each year held the Speaker's chair. 

His faculty of arranging, simplifying, and despatch- 
ing the legislative business was remarkable. He 
presided with dignity ; and in reading, his emphasis, 
voice and manner imparted an interest to the 
most ordinary technical document. 

In 1792, according to a peculiar mode of choice 
then in operation, he was elected a representative in 
the third Congress for the whole State. At Phila- 
delphia he was received with great satisfaction by 
his old companions in arms. Washington was Presi- 
dent, Hamilton Secretary of the Treasury, Knox 
Secretary of War, Pickering Post Master General, 
Edmund Randolph the Attorney General, and Jona- 
tlian Trumbull the Speaker of the House of Repre- 
sentatives, some of whom had belonged to Washing- 
ton's military family. Many revolutionary officers 
were serving in both branches of Congress — a Con- 


gress illustrious by the names of Fisher Ames, Ma- 
dison, Giles, Dexter, King, Strong, Cabot, and many 
other statesmen of renown. 

When the House of Representatives went into 
Committee of the Whole, General Cobb was usu- 
ally called to the chair, and presided with the same 
dignity and efficiency as he had done previously in 
Massachusetts. He was sometimes impatient under 
the prosings of dullness, but a flash of genius, no 
matter in what association it was found, no matter 
from what party it proceeded, always irradiated his 
countenance with a triumphant smile. 

Having an offer from William Bingham of a land 
agency in Maine, he thought his fortunes might be 
bettered, and declined a re-election. His term ex- 
pired March 3, 1795, and soon afterwards he left 
Taunton and became an inhabitant of Oldsborough, 
near the eastern frontier of Maine. He devoted 
himself to the business of his agency, and to the 
cultivation and improvement of his farm, for the love 
of agriculture was with him a passion. In tlie seclu- 
ded spot in which fortune had placed him he delight- 
ed in the practices of hospitality ; Mr. Bingham, the 
Viscount Noailles, Lord Ashburton, General Knox, 
Mr. Laboucheire, and other distinguished persons, 
were occasionally his guests. The Indians shared the 
plenty of his kitchen, and many was the weary way- 
farer who was cheered and refreshed under his hos- 
pitable roof. 

He soon received the appointment of Chief Jus- 
tice of the Court of Common Pleas for the county 


of Hancock, over which he presided several years, 
and by his long experience in the courts he became 
a well informed and judicious lawyer. 

In 1802 he was elected a Senator from the East- 
ern District in Maine, and was immediately called 
to the chair of the Senate, and officiated as Presi- 
dent until 1805. In 1808 he was elected a Council- 
or, and in 1809 Lieutenant Governor of the State of 
Massachusetts (Maine was then a Province of Mass- 
achusetts). In 1812 he was again elected a Coun- 
cilor and soon afterwards Major General of the 10th 
Division of Militia, and with Gen. Heath and Col. 
Pickering constituted the Board of War for the State. 
He remained in the Court several years, and after 
he withdrew from public hfe, his latter years were 
passed at Taunton. Being afflicted with a chronic 
complaint he sought relief at the General Hospital 
in Boston, and there, on the 17th day of April, 1830, 
his life was closed, at the age of 82. In his last 
hours his early associations were in full force. 

" Et dulces moriens reminiscetur Argos." 

He chose his grave in Taunton, and there it was 

It will be perceived that but a few years of the 
long hfe of General Cobb were devoted to his origi- 
nal profession. He had not been in practice more 
than four or five years when the revolution com- 
menced. After the disbanding of the army, his pro- 
fessional pursuits were much interrupted by his civil 
and military duties, and after his election to Congress 


in 1792, he resumed them. His cotemporaries re- 
present him as having been exceedingly skillful in 
midwifery, an expert surgeon, and in his general 
practice bold, sagacious and judicious — somewhat 
inclined to the Brunonian system, but not to its 
extravagances. A case or two may illustrate his 
practice. A gentleman of considerable note in 
Taunton was attacked with dysentery. His con- 
stitution was very feeble, and he sunk under the 
disorder, hiccough ensued, and his attending physi- 
cians gave him up. At the time of the attack Gen. 
Cobb was absent ; when he returned he found him 
almost in extremis. Knowing something of his con- 
stitution he ventured to guess that his disorder had 
been much aggravated by an acid stomach, and he 
ventured on the experiment of counteracting the 
acid with alkali, and ordered him to chew and swal- 
low the juice of tender beef steaks, and afterwards 
to try brandy. He effected a cure, and the world 
wondered. He had cured by a remedy which, ac- 
cording to the notions of the day, was death. On 
another occasion he cured a farmer's wife in the 
lowest stage of debility, arising from a deranged 
stomach, and occasioned, as he said, by drinking sour 
cider and eating brown bread — by putting her on a 
more generous diet, with a shght infusion of brandy. 
His sagacity in discovering those hidden diseases 
which often baffle the penetration of the faculty, and 
are only ascertained by post mortem examinations, is 
represented as having been wonderful. He brought 
much comfort to the bed of the sick, and had much 


faith in the efficacy of hope. He would not deceive, 
but was wilUng to cheer his patient back to health. 

As a soldier he was fearless and intrepid : calm 
and collected in danger — rapid and decisive in judg- 
ment, and prompt in execution. 

In the Courts, his clear perceptions and strong 
sense enabled him to detect sophistry, and to remove 
the impediments with which artifice and legal inge- 
nuity too often contrive to embarrass the progress of 

As a statesman he was distinguished for his love 
of order, and his attachment to the constitution. 
He was never turned aside from an honorable 
course by any considerations of interest or popu- 
larity. He shunned no responsibilities, and regard- 
ed only the great and permanent interests of his 
country. Reared in the old Federal school, his 
principles were strictly conservative. He was too 
proud to flatter the people, and too honest to de- 
ceive them. 

Graceful and dignified when presiding over a pub- 
lic body, he was quick to perceive, and prompt to 
explain. He despatched the public business with 
facility, and by his impartial deportment satisfied 
even his adversaries. 

His conversation, always elegant, was sometimes 
terse and epigrammatic. After the termination of 
the war, Gen. Washington was lamenting the cheer- 
less prospects of the New Englanders. ' You will 
lose,' said he, ' your trade with the British colonies 
— you raise no grain sufficient for your bread — you 


have no staple export, and your condition will be 
worse than ever — what will your people do ?' ' Sir,' 
said Cobb, ' we never had any thing but our heads 
and our hands, and having these left we shall find 
something to do with them !' 

He was impatient of contradiction, and sometimes 
irritated by the pertinacious assumptions of igno- 
rance, and the mawkish complacencies of self-con- 
ceit : incensed by sophistries and falsehoods, and 
transported by the ardor of his temperament to give 
way to gusts of passion, and affronted many who 
were unable to appreciate the real excellence of his 
moral and mental qualities. The wounds of self- 
love are difficult to heal, and many imputed what 
they called rudeness to a domineering and arrogant 
spirit, when in fact it was no more than a burning 
zeal for truth, and a consciousness of rectitude. 

As time paralyzes the strength and tames the pas- 
sions — as contemporaries drop away — it is one of 
the calamities of the aged to depreciate the social 
comforts and enjoyments, and to institute querulous 
comparisons between times present and times past. 
They hnger in the world as strangers, imbibing their 
scanty draughts of pleasure from the fountains of 
recollection. Not so with General Cobb; he never 
lingered in the race of life — he kept even with the 
times. He went into the great world, and extract- 
ed all its comforts. He used the true philosophy 
of life, and multiplied his pleasures by taking a 
lively interest in the happiness of his friends and 
neighbors. He rejoiced in their prosperity. He 


felt none of that miserable and rancorous envy 
which induces some to regard the thrift of others 
as so much deduction from their own. He had no 
narrow views. He delighted to watch the progress 
of all improvements in science and the arts, and to 
witness their application to the purposes of life. 
This disposition induced him to seek the society of 
the young, and of those in active hfe, and none en- 
joyed with keener pleasure the efforts of childhood, 
when it called up its puny powers to grasp new 
objects of knowledge, and with a perception and 
taste almost intuitive, he understood all the delicate 
peculiarities of the female mind, and made his con- 
versation deeply interesting to women. His social 
powers were of tlie first order. The stream of his 
conversation was no shallow rill. He never magni- 
fied trifles, paraded truisms or affected learning. He 
threw oft' from the superabundance of his mental 
riches, maxims which might have instructed sages 
and statesmen, and fancies which sparkled and blaz- 
ed and burned with all the fire of a poet ; and this 
power of conversation, (so to speak) was equally 
adapted to all classes of society. At the table of 
Washington, his wit and humor, his fund of anec- 
dote, and his power of narration, gave a blander 
character to the feasts of heroes ; and even the high 
bred cavaliers of Rochambeau's army found that 
genius and wit and polished manners existed in the 
wild vallies of the Hudson, as well as in the salons 
of Paris. He never imposed on his companions his 
own topics, but seizing theirs, he discovered such 


facility of illustration, such a glowing imagination, 
such a poetical flow of language, and such varied 
and universal knowledge, that if he failed to con- 
vince, he never failed to charm. This power of 
pleasing he could exercise alike in the splendid pa- 
vilion of the General, and in the humble tent of the 

" For trained to camps he knew the art 
*' To win the soldier's hardy heart." 

This faculty remained to the last, brightening the 
evening of life, and well might the apostrophe of 
Anacreon have been addressed to him : 

" How I love the mellow sage, 
" Smiling through the veil of age, 
" And whene'er the man of years 
"In the dance of joy appears, 
"Age is on his temples hung, 
" But his heart — his heart is young." 

On the whole David Cobb was a learned and saga- 
cious physician, a true patriot ; a gallant soldier ; an 
accomplished legislator ; a tasteful scholar ; a dehght- 
ful companion ; a man of universal knowledge, and 
a liberal christian who loved the whole human race, 
and was always ready to return good for evil. Edu- 
cated in the revolutionary school he had a high sense 
of personal honor, and a distinterested spirit which 
sought no other reward than the consciousness of 

When he was laid in the quiet place ' where the 
wicked cease from troubhng and the weary are at 
rest' — no banner waved over his coffin, no martial 


dirge sent forth its mingled strain of wail and of tri- 
umph, no thunder from the cannon announced that 
a companion of Washington had gone to his eternal 
rest. He well knew the heartlessness of pubhc exhi- 
bitions of sorrow, and refused to have his grave pro- 
faned with the mockery of woe. 

His family were numerous, but most of them are 
dead ; William was an Ensign in the army of the Uni- 
ted States, and after discovering great gallantry and 
prowess was killed in the disastrous battle of Gen- 
eral St. Clair with the AVestern Indians. David was 
also killed by the Indians in an affair on the North 
West Coast. Thomas was Clerk of the Courts in the 
county of Hancock, and David G. W., Register of 
Probate in the county of Bristol. Two other sons 
are supposed to be living in Maine. One of the 
daughters died young and unmarried. One married 
Allen Smith, Esq., another James Hodges, Esq., an- 
other Judge Wilde of the Supreme Court of Mas- 
sachusetts, who was the mother of the late Honora- 
ble Caleb Gushing. His only surviving daughter is 
the wife of Col. John Black, of Ellsworth, Maine. 

Dr. Mason Fitch Cogswell. In an introduc- 
tory lecture dehvered before the Medical Class at 
Yale College, Nov. 2nd, 1838, by the distinguished 
Professor Jonathan Knight, M. D., I have found 
the following notice of Dr. Cogswell. 

Mason Fitch Cogswell was born in Canterbury, 
Connecticut, in the year 1761. His father, the 


Rev. James Cogswell, a native of Saybrook, was 
the clergyman of Canterbury for many years. From 
this place he removed to Scotland, a parish of Wind- 
ham, where he resided until, as we are informed by 
the Rev. Dr. Strong, in a sermon preached at his 
funeral, ' being rendered incapable of public ministe- 
rial services, through the natural infirmities of age, 
it became necessary for his comfortable support, to 
remove him to the family of his son. Dr. Mason 
Fitch Cogswell, of this place. This was a com- 
fortable retreat to the venerable parent, and here 
the Lord repaid to him in kind, his filial duty to 
his own parents in their old age ; here he hath been 
nourished with the most tender aflfection, which may 
God reward, until January 2nd, 1807.' His mother, 
whose maiden name was Fitch, the daughter of 
Jabez Fitch, Esq., of Canterbury, belonged to a 
family from which have sprung many men of great 
eminence and worth. She died when he was quite 
young ; and in consequence of this event he was 
placed in the family of Gov. Huntington of Nor- 
wich. Here he pursued his studies preparatory to 
entering College. He graduated at Yale College in 
1780. As a proof of his talents and assiduity, it 
may be mentioned that although the youngest mem- 
ber of a class which contained as his competitors, 
such men as Matthew and Roger Griswold, Jona- 
than O. Moseley, and others of great respectability, 
yet he received the appointment of valedictory ora- 
tor. After leaving College he pursued his pro- 
fessional studies under the direction of his elder 


brother, Dr. James Cogswell, who after the close 
of the war of the revolution, and I believe before 
its commencement, was a respectable practitioner in 
the city of New York. At this period there were 
no public lectures on medicine, except at Philadel- 
phia; and these were much interrupted by the 
events of the war. Dr. James Cogswell was a sur- 
geon in the American army, and his brother was 
for several years his assistant. Here he undoubt- 
edly acquired that fondness for surgery, and that 
knowledge of its principles and practice which dis- 
tinguished him through life. While in the army, 
he was stationed for a time in Stamford, where he 
formed friendships with the best portion of the inha- 
bitants, which were permanent. 

In the year 1789, he established himself perma- 
nently as a physician and surgeon in the city of 
Hartford. In this place there have always been 
physicians of deserved reputation and eminence. I 
know not, however, that he was immediately pre- 
ceded by any distinguished surgeon. Whether it 
was so or not, he soon took a high rank in this 
branch of his profession. Although he had not 
those opportunities of acquiring a knowledge of ana- 
tomy which most students enjoy, yet he is known 
to have pursued the study of anatomy by dissection, 
and suffered in consequence of it a severe attack 
of Erythema Anatomicum. In this way he obtained 
such an acquaintance with surgical anatomy as ena- 
bled him to perform with skill every necessary opera- 
tion ; so that I have never heard a want of anatomi- 


cal knowledge attributed to him. For the perform- 
ance of surgical operations he was peculiarly fitted. 
In addition to what Chesselden mentions as having 
contributed largely to his own success, ' a mind that 
was never ruffled or disconcerted, and a hand that 
never trembled during any operation,' Dr. Cogswell 
possessed in a greater degree than any surgeon 
whom I have ever known, that happy dexterity in 
the use of instruments which gave him the power of 
operating with great accuracy, neatness and rapidity. 
I have been told that he amputated a thigh in forty 
seconds. He first introduced in the region where 
he practised, the most important operations on the 
eye. In the performance of them, especially for ca- 
taract, he was peculiarly successful. The operation 
which he performed was that of extraction. 

He was the first person in this country who se- 
cured the carotid artery by a hgature. The neces- 
sity for this arose during the removal of a schirrous 
tumor from the neck, which enveloped the artery. 
The ligature came off from the artery on the four- 
teenth day. The patient lived till the twentieth day, 
and then sunk in consequence of a slight hemorr- 
hage from a small vessel near the angle of the jaw, 
acting upon a system enfeebled by a long standing 
disease. This was in November, 1803. A year or 
two before, the artery had been secured under similar 
circumstances on the continent of Europe, and by 
Mr. Abernethy in London. There is, however, no 
reason to believe that Dr. Cogswell was acquainted 
with these facts ; and he is fully entitled to the credit 


of having originated the operation. At the present 
day, when operations upon the arteries are so fre- 
quent, it is difficult to estimate rightly the boldness 
and judgment necessary to place a ligature upon so 
large and important an artery as the carotid. Dur- 
ing his whole life he was engaged in performing the 
various surgical operations which would fall in the 
way of one who enjoyed the confidence of a widely 
extended circle of professional friends ; and it is well 
known that patients resorted to him from great dis- 
tances to avail themselves of the benefit of his kind- 
ness and skill. 

In one branch of his profession. Obstetrics, he was 
nearly unrivaled. The delicacy and kindness of his 
attention to parturient patients in a time of great 
anxiety and distress, both mental and bodily; his 
abandonment of many customs formerly prevalent by 
which the sensitive feehngs of females were often 
wounded, as well as his great professional skill, gain- 
ed him at once confidence and esteem. It is ques- 
tionable whether any person ever practised this 
branch of medicine more skillfully and acceptably, 
or more extensively in proportion to the population 
of the place where he Hved. 

As a physician Dr. Cogswell was extensively em- 
ployed and much esteemed. 

No man whom I have known, enjoyed more en- 
tirely the confidence, esteem, and respect of all with 
whom he was in any way associated, than the subject 
of this sketch. To account for this great uniformity 
of kind feelings towards him, we must look to some- 


thing beyond his mere professional attainments and 

He was, as all who knew him agree, a kind, 
benevolent, and noble spirited man. The fruits of 
these traits of his character were bestowed upon his 
patients in full measure. Assiduous in his attention 
to them, mindful of all their wants, full of compas- 
sion for their sufferings, especially to those who were 
both sick and destitute, and from whom he could hope 
for no reward ; he was the comforter of their distress 
in sickness, and the sympathizing sharer of their 
happiness when health with her spirit-stirring joy- 
ousness revisited them. It was this obvious sympathy 
with their feelings, prompting all his efforts to do them 
every good in his power, which so uniformly made 
his patients his personal friends. He also possessed 
strong and kind social feelings. In the domestic 
circle, and in the society of his friends, he was 
polite, cheerful, and abounding in pleasant and in- 
structive conversation. In amenity of manners and 
in gentlemanly deportment he was rarely excelled. 

He was an assiduous and successful cultivator of 
polite literature, especially of poetry. In these pur- 
suits he was the companion and the compeer of Dr. 
Hopkins, Judge Trumbull, Rev. Dr. Strong, Mr. 
Richard Alsop, Mr. Theodore Dwight, and others 
of a kindred spirit. 

In music he was a proficient. It is said that while 
residing in Stamford, he instructed the choir in that 
place not only in the common psalm tunes, but also 
in an anthem or other piece of set music for every 
Sabbath in the year. 


He was the active friend and supporter of every 
plan for the rehef of the misfortunes and distress 
of his fellow men. It was a misfortune to him, but 
the means of great blessing to many others, that one 
of his daughters, in consequence of sickness in her 
early childhood, became a deaf mute. This led him 
to examine what modes had been adopted for the 
relief of those who were thus afflicted. Upon learn- 
ing that a successful mode of instructing these un- 
fortunate persons was in operation in France and 
England, he took measures to ascertain what the 
method was, and how the benefits of it might be 
brought within the reach of those similarly situated 
in this country. The result of his exertions, aided 
as he was by others of kindred feelings, was the es- 
tablishment of the Asylum for the Deaf and Dumb 
in Hartford, one of the noblest institutions for the 
relief of the unfortunate which this country can 
boast. That this Asylum owes its existence to the 
exertions of Dr. Cogswell, in the first instance, is 
as familiarly known as the institution itself. For his 
exertions in this cause, the benediction of thousands 
who cannot speak his praise will rest upon his me- 

He was also the active friend and supporter of 
the Retreat for the Insane in Hartford, and of the 
Hospital in this city. He was one of the original 
members of the Connecticut Medical Society, and 
was always interested in its proceedings; and was 
the friend of every measure by which the profession 
of medicine might be advanced in respectabihty and 
usefulness. The feeling which was entertained to- 


wards him by his professional brethren may be gath- 
ered from the fact that he was successively Secretary, 
Vice President, and for ten years President, of the 
State Medical Society. 

I may here remark that few men have ever lived 
in habits of more free and friendly intercourse with 
the members of their own profession than he did, or 
enjoyed such intercourse more highly. And although 
he did not escape the censure of those with whose 
notions he could not agree, when during the preva- 
lence of a severe epidemic disease the opinions of 
medical men were much divided, and feelings arose 
which threatened, and to a certain extent accom- 
plished, the destruction of the harmony which ought 
to exist among them ; yet here, the amenity of his 
manners, his gentlemanly deportment, and the uni- 
form mildness of his conduct, disarmed even pro- 
fessional hostility of the weapons of its warfare. 

As an instructor Dr. Cogswell was much resorted 
to by young men for pursuing the study of medicine. 
For this business he was well qualified. He was 
himself a scholar, and continued his habits of study 
during his life. It was his custom to spend several 
hours in the evening, after the labors of the day were 
over, and usually after his family had retired, in read- 
ing, principally professional books. His library was 
one of the best in the State. By directing his stu- 
dents to the best authors, by studying with them such 
subjects as were not well known to him, such as 
chemistry and botany, by allowing them to witness 
his practice, and by exciting them to diligence, he 


probably rendered them more lasting service than 
if he had devoted more time than he did to oral in- 
struction. He was also careful to instil into their 
minds correct principles of manners and morals ; 
often warning them against such conduct as would 
be derogatory to the character of a gentleman and 
a christian. His wish evidently was to make them 
good christians and good men. 

It was thought highly desirable by those who were 
engaged in the establishment of the Medical Insti- 
tution at Yale College, that some gentleman of es- 
tablished reputation and known experience should 
be placed in the chair of surgery. There was no 
one in this place or neighborhood who was suffi- 
ciendy prominent, in these respects, to occupy that 
situation. Application was made to Dr. Cogswell, 
who had long been known as one of the most accom- 
plished and skillful surgeons in New England, to 
lend his assistance in this department. After much 
hesitation on account of the difficulty which would 
attend the delivery of a course of lectures here, 
while residing in Hartford, and his unwillingness to 
leave permanently a situation so desirable as that 
which he occupied there, he consented to make such 
arrangements as would afford the institution the 
benefit of his learning and experience. When, how- 
ever, it was soon after ascertained that Dr. Nathan 
Smith, then Professor of Physic and Surgery in Dart- 
mouth College, would consent to remove here if in- 
vited, he willingly relinquished to him a situation 
which he had reluctantly consented to occupy ; so 


that although regularly appointed a Professor in the 
Institution, he did not join it in that capacity. 

It can hardly be necessary to remark, that sustain- 
ing all relations of domestic life, and enjoying as he 
did, most fully, its pleasures, he was kind, judicious, 
and aftectionate in the performance of its duties. 
He married in early life the daughter of Col. Austin 
Ledyard, who was killed at the fort in Groton when 
it was captured by the British, as it is said, with his 
own sword, after it was surrendered into the hands 
of his captors. She is still hving. His children, 
several of whom survive him, may well remember 
with gratitude his kind care, his judicious instruction, 
and his ready assistance ; and if he was not careful 
to accumulate riches to bequeath to them, he left 
them what is far better, an honorable parentage, 
and the bright example of a life devoted to the best 
interests of his fellow men. 

He died of pneumonia typhodes, in December, 
1830, in the 70th year of his age. 

Dr. Alexander Coventry of Utica, New York. 
The following notice of this distinguished physician 
is from the tenth volume of the American Journal 
of Medical Science. 

Died on the 9th of December, 1831, Alexander 
Coventry, M. D., late of Utica, New York. Dr. 
Coventry was son of Capt. George Coventry, who 
commanded an independent company raised in the 
then Colony of New York, in the year 1761, and 


served in the forces of his Majesty George III. in 
the old French war, as it has usually been called. 
Dr. Coventry was born at Fair Hill, the seat of his 
father, near Hamilton, Scotland, 27th of August, 
1766; was educated in the schools of Hamilton and 
GlasgOAV, and studied the profession of medicine 
under Drs. Stewart and Cross at the former place. 
In 1783-4 he attended the medical lectures at Glas- 
gow ; and in the winter of 1784-5, the lectures of 
Monro, Cullen, Hope, and Gregory, at Edinburgh. 
In 1785 he was admitted a Burgher of the town of 
Hamilton. In July of the same year he sailed for 
America to attend to some property which had been 
left him there by his father. Dr. Coventry first 
settled at Hudson, New York, and soon became 
actively engaged in agricultural pursuits in conjunc- 
tion with the practice of his profession. In 1787 
he married Elizabeth, daughter of Mr. John Butler, 
of Branford, Connecticut, by whom he had eleven 
children, ten of whom are now living. Mrs. Co- 
ventry died in Deerfield, near Utica, in 1815. The 
Doctor left Hudson and settled at Romulus, on the 
east side of Seneca Lake, about the year 1790. It 
was while residing in this new and then unhealthy 
district, that he had an opportunity of studying the 
endemic fevers of the country, in all their forms 
and grades. He has been heard to say that on one 
occasion he had fourteen sick of fever in his own 
house. In notes made at the time he observes that 
on his return from a journey to Albany, in August, 
1792, he found two thirds of the citizens of Geneva 


sick, and in his own family two only remained well. 
In his own person he had repeated attacks of the 
prevailing fever. On account of the sickness of 
himself and family, he left the ' Lake country,' and 
moved to Utica, then ' Fort Schuyler,' in the year 
1796, and entered into mercantile business with Mr. 
John Post. At the time, it was his wish to abandon 
the practice of medicine, as his attention was directed 
to other pursuits. But finding, on further experi- 
ence, the mercantile business uncongenial to his 
tastes and habits, and yielding to the frequent calls 
and solicitations of his friends and acquaintances, 
he relinquished that business to his partner, and pur- 
chased a farm on the north side of the Mohawk river, 
and once more engaged in his favorite pursuits of 
agriculture and horticulture. From this period un- 
til death, his time and attention were divided be- 
tween his farm, his books, and the practice of his 
profession. In the year 1800 Dr. Coventry was 
elected a member of the society for the promotion of 
agriculture, arts and manufactures. During several 
successive years he was President of the Medical 
Society of the county of Oneida. In 1822 he was 
elected a permanent member of the Medical Society 
of the State of New York, and in 1823 was elected 
President of the same body, and re-elected in 1824. 
During the same year he was appointed by the Re- 
gents of the University of New York, one of the 
Trustees of the Western Medical College at Fair- 
field. In 1823 he was elected a member of the 
Albany Lyceum ; and in 1 826, Corresponding mem- 


ber of the Linnaean Society of Paris. On the or- 
ganization of the Oneida Agricultural Society, he 
was appointed Corresponding Secretary, and deli- 
vered the first address before that body. From the 
period of his emigration to the west to the time of 
his death. Dr. C. was an occasional contributor to 
the political and agricultural papers of the day. His 
principal medical writings are his addresses before the 
State Medical Society, on Endemic Fever — a short 
article on Yellow Fever, published in the Edinburgh 
Medical and Surgical Journal — an article on Goitre, 
and one on Dysentery, in the New York Medical and 
Physical Journal. Dr. Coventry possessed naturally a 
healthy constitution. After his removal from the west 
he rarely if ever complained of indisposition, except 
from an occasional attack of rheumatism, a few years 
before his death. His habits were uniformly correct 
and regular ; in his living, plain and frugal — always 
temperate in eating and drinking. During the last 
few years of his life he devoted himself more regu- 
larly and steadily to his profession, the duties of 
which in town and country were too arduous, it is 
beheved at his time of hfe ; and yet it seemed im- 
possible it should be otherwise, for as a family phy- 
sician he was eminently distinguished ; and not only 
in our own, but in the adjoining counties, he acquired 
and maintained to his death a standing no less re- 
spectable, as a consulting physician. Hence, his 
medical and other friends and acquaintances felt 
happy and safe whenever they could secure his skill 
and experience. No man of the profession within 


our little circle of acquaintance was more devoutly 
engaged in the glorious work of relieving the ills 
to which poor human flesh is heir than our venera- 
ble, illustrious Coventry during the few last years 
of his life. He seemed, like the celebrated Dr. 
Priestley, determined to finish his own work himself, 
appropriating all his spare time in bringing up and 
completing his journal, in which during forty years 
he had noted daily whatever he conceived useful or 
important in his profession, in politics, in agriculture 
and in science, besides devoting himself with un- 
wearied assiduity to all calls in the practice of his 
profession. In his journal are probably to be found 
his most valuable writings, and here, as in other in- 
stances of his daily conduct through life, he has left 
us a bright example, worthy of imitation even in 
these days of human perfectibility. Like the soldier 
who falls in the defence of his country's cause, our 
lamented friend and compeer in the midst of a suc- 
cessful and most delightful practice, and while absent 
from his own house, attending a severe and dange- 
rous case of indisposition, in the family of one of his 
best and most generous patrons, fell the victim of 
an attack of the ' epidemic catarrh,' or ' influenza ' 
as it is usually denominated. And it was not until 
by his skill and unremitted attention to the case in 
the family of his friend, during several days and 
nights, he had been enabled to conquer the fearful 
malady, that he stopped to address sufficient means 
to his own. For a time these, as in a thousand cases 
which had yielded to his skillful and judicious man- 


agement, seemed to give assurance of ultimate suc- 
cess. But it soon became manifest that the mighty 
destroyer would triumph over human skill and the 
best directed efforts of the heahng art, and that little 
else remained for his medical attendants than to 
behold the perfect calmness and philosophical resig- 
nation, which characterized him throughout his ill- 

As a general reader Dr. Coventry kept pace with 
the publications of the day, especially in his profes- 
sion. And amid all the speculations, theories, and 
systems in medicine advanced in his time, he always 
reposed on the surer foundations of personal obser- 
vation and practical experience. Most truly may 
it be said of him, that he was never the first to aban- 
don an old remedy or plan of treatment to try the 
new, however sustained by high names and exalted 
by public applause. His uniform deportment towards 
his professional brethren, and to the sick committed 
to his care, obtained for him unrivaled esteem, affec- 
tion and respect. His judgment was clear, deliberate, 
and pecuharly discriminating, and few ever fulfilled 
with more conscientious rectitude the various profes- 
sional and relative duties and charities of life. Thus 
we have attempted a very brief outline of the cha- 
racter of our departed friend, not indeed sufficient, we 
confess, to show forth its true and striking features in 
all their strength and beauty. The means by which 
he attained his distinction, and sustained himself at 
the head of the medical profession in the western 
district of our State for thirty years, would naturally 


afford a subject for honest inquiry among the mem- 
bers of the medical profession. We have only to 
remark, that personal worth and professional merit 
were his only passports to honor and celebrity. No 
hireling flatterers or fawning sycophants ever sounded 
the note of praise in his behalf — no newspaper puf- 
fings or exclusive claims were urged in his favor to 
procure business, or advance his professional stand- 
ing. His peculiar forte was to retain business rather 
than to acquire it. Would that the community gene- 
rally understood and appreciated the true difi'erence 
in these two opposite traits of the medical character. 
The writer knew the subject of this obituary notice 
long and well ; perhaps no one knows better than he 
does, the high and refined sense which Dr. C. enter- 
tained of professional etiquette and medical ethics. 
And it is believed if all were to emulate his example, 
the unworthy would rarely be enabled to push them- 
selves forward where men of modesty and worth would 
fear to tread. j. m. c. 

Dr. Asa Crosby was an uncommon man. At 
the age of 21 he commenced practice in Stafford Co., 
N. H., and continued in full practice forty-six years, 
i. c, until the age of 67. He was a distinguished 
member of the profession, both in physic and surgery ; 
and in the latter branch he performed some very im- 
portant and difiicult operations. Indeed, for many 
years he was the principal operator for an extensive 
district of country. He was one of those self- 


taught men, whose force of intellect breaks through 
the most appalling obstacles, and rises unaided, to 
skill and reputation. Although deprived of a system- 
atic course of professional instruction, having com- 
menced practice before medical schools were esta- 
blished in New England, he furnished himself with a 
good library, and spent his leisure hours, and even 
moments, among his books. By his constant industry 
and exertions he raised himself to a position in the 
profession so important as to draw around him for 
some years a number of young men as pupils — be- 
tween twenty and thirty of whom may be reckoned as 
educated by him ; and what is much to his credit, 
many of them are now distinguished men. 

The medical profession in New Hampshire is not a 
little indebted to Dr. Crosby, inasmuch as he was one 
of the few who interested themselves in procuring the 
charter of the State Medical Society, of which Insti- 
tution, as well as of a District Society, he was an ac- 
tive and zealous member for thirty years. 

This gentleman reared a large and worthy family. 
Of seventeen children ten remain. One of his sons 
established himself in the profession of the law; two 
have distinguished themselves as physicians ; and 
another is a much valued professor of Latin and 
Greek in one of the New England colleges. 

Dr. Crosby never brought reproach upon our pro- 
fession by the avowal of infidel sentiments ; so far 
from this, he was for many years a member of the 
Church of Christ, and died in the full hope of a better 


He died at Hanover, N. H., on the 12th of April, 
1836, at the age of 70, of rupture of the gall blad- 
der. — R. D. Mussey, M. D., in the Bost. Med. ^ 
Surg. Joiir., Vol. 14. 

Dr. Ezekiel Dodge Gushing. The destroying 
angel has slain another victim. Dr. Ezekiel Dodge 
Gushing died at Hanover, Massachusetts, on the 5th 
of April, 1828, at the age of 38, ere his arrival at 
the ' noon of life.' Inheriting from a heakhy pa- 
rentage a robust constitution, his early years gave 
promise of a long life. He was the son of the late 
Mr. Nathaniel Gushing of Pembroke, graduated at 
Harvard University in the year 1808, commenced the 
study of medicine with Dr. Nathan Smith, at Ha- 
nover, N. H., extended his medical education by 
attendance on the hospital and lectures at Philadel- 
phia, and afterwards went to London, where he 
became a dresser in St. Thomas' Hospital, under 
Mr. Birch, and simultaneously attended on the 
lectures of Abernethy and Gooper and Haighton. 
From London he went to Paris, in the hospitals 
of which, while the allies occupied that city, he 
enjoyed the opportunity of witnessing an extensive 
surgical practice. His education had been practi- 
cal, and he had acquired to an eminent degree the 
tact of the profession. He commenced the practice 
of medicine and surgery in Boston, and but for the 
surplus of skill beyond the public demand, his suc- 
cess had been brilliant ; a great proportion of his 


cases, and severe cases too, terminated favorably. 
Some years back he had been in an epileptic state. 
Since his removal from Boston to Hanover, his 
practice in difficult cases extended even to towns 
quite distant. His opinions had given great satis- 
faction to both the attendant physician and patient. 
His last sickness, which terminated in a paralytic 
attack on the muscles of one side of the face and 
organ of speech, while traveling to visit a patient, 
was an atrophy connected with an entire prostration 
of the tone of the stomach. His sickness and death 
has shrouded in gloom his whole neighborhood. To 
his family his loss is irreparable. The odor of an 
honest fame is the only inheritance he has left to 
his wife and children. His wisdom had been for 
his neighborhood, and not for himself or family. 
His discretion had been discovered in good offices 
to the sick and suffering, and not in the ingather- 
ing harvest for his family. As Dr. Gushing cast his 
bread upon the waters, may his wife and children, 
after many days, under the blessing of the widow's 
God, and the father of the fatherless, gather it up. 
Dr. Gushing joined the Massachusetts Medical 
Society in 1819, and died in 1828. — Shattuck^s An- 
nual Dissertation before the Mass. Med. Society, 1828. 

Dr. Edward Cutbush was formerly a highly re- 
spected resident of the city of Washington. He was 
born in Philadelphia in the year 1772 ; he was a pu- 
pil of Dr. Benjamin Rush, and commenced his medi- 


cal career in the Pennsylvania Hospital, in which he 
was physician for seven years. The record of that 
institution bespeaks his ability, assiduity and worth. 
In the year 1794 he was Surgeon General in Wash- 
ington's expedition against the insurgents of Pennsyl- 
vania. In 1799 he entered the navy as surgeon un- 
der Commodore Barry in the frigate United States, 
and was chief surgeon of the fleet in the Mediterra- 
nean. While in that capacity the Doctor made an 
extensive collection of specimens in the arts and 
of antiquity. He rose to the head of the profession 
in that service, and while discharging the duties of 
his office in Washington in 1829, was suddenly order- 
ed by the Secretary of the Navy to sea service, on 
hoard of a schooner. The Doctor deeming this order 
very derogatory to his pretensions, resigned his com- 
mission, after thirty years of faithful service. He 
retired to Geneva, New York, where he was placed 
in the Chemical chair in the college in that place, and 
became Dean of the Medical Faculty therein. Dr. 
Cutbush was emphatically an honest man in every 
relation of life ; he was devoted to the improvement 
of science, and while a resident at Washington was 
among the foremost who began the movement that 
has resulted in the establishment of a National Insti- 
tute. He was a prudent and successful physician 
and surgeon ; his counsel was sought to the very 
verge of his life, and he has died regretted and re- 
spected by all who knew him. — /. G. S. in the Na- 
tional Intelligencer. 

Dr. Cutbush died at Geneva in the year 1 843, aged 


71 years. He was a distinguished writer, and his 
communications may be found in Coxe's Medical Mu- 
seum, and several other of the medical periodicals of 
the day. He was an Honorary Member of the Phi- 
ladelphia Medical and Chemical Society — of the Lin- 
nsean Society of Philadelphia — of the American 
Medical Society — Corresponding member of the New 
Orleans Medical Society — Member of the Medical 
Society of Ontario County, N. Y. — Corresponding 
member of the Yale Natural History Society — Mem- 
ber of the Natural History Society of Geneva Col- 
lege — Corresponding member of the National Insti- 
tute at Washington for the promotion of science — 
elected in 1842 — and formerly President of the Co- 
lumbian Institute at Washington, revived by the Na- 
tional Institute. 

Dr. William Potts Dewees. The following 
memoir of this distinguished physician is from the 
pen of his former associate in the Medical depart- 
ment of the University of Pennsylvania, Hugh L. 
Hodge, M. D., Professor of Obstetrics in that Uni- 
versity. It was read before the Medical class in 
that school, Nov. 5th, 1842, and is shghtly abridged 
by the Editor of the American Medical Journal. I 
can scarcely do justice to the subject, if I curtail a 
word of his observations. 

Dr. William Potts Dewees, the late Professor of 
Midwifery in the University of Pennsylvania, was 
one of the most distinguished individuals that have 

Wmo^e. WMWim^ji'.'^ 

I^' CShai'MS l.ifh.Mn.mfr,. 


ever graced the annals of our profession in this 
country ; his name is indissolubly associated with the 
history of our science ; he found it strugghng in the 
weakness of infancy, and left it fully established in 
the strength and privileges of manhood. 

Of the parentage and early hfe of our departed 
professor, litde is known. His great-grandfather, 
and probably his grandfather, was among the emi- 
grants from Sweden, the original setders of Delaware 
Bay and river, and maintained for a series of years 
a respectable and influential character. His grand- 
mother belonged to the family of Farmer, which 
appears to have been of Irish descent, their ances- 
tors enjoying much wealth, part of which was in- 
vested in the purchase of immense tracts of land 
in this country. His mother was the daughter of 
Thomas Potts, a highly respectable English gentle- 
man, whose family first settled and gave name to 
Pottsgrove (or Pottstown) on the river Schuylkill. 

Dr. Dewees was born on the 5th of May, 1768, 
at Pottsgrove, and being early left fatherless, and 
with very little property, he had not the advantagesof 
a collegiate education. It is difficult however — not 
to say impossible — to restrain genius even by the 
chains of poverty and neglect. Young Dewees im- 
proved all the means at his command, and must have 
made some proficiency in the languages, as his 
knowledge of Latin and French, in after hfe, was 
sufficient for all necessary purposes. He is repre- 
sented by those best qualified to judge, as docile, 
industrious, very aflfectionate, and amiable. 


He early determined to study medicine, and was 
for this purpose placed by his father in the establish- 
ment of a Dr. Phyle, practicing apothecary, as was 
very customary at that period, when the proper 
distinction between the business of the apothecary 
and of the physician had not been generally made. 

Under the superintendence, for two or three years, 
of Dr. Phyle, he appears to have acquired his know- 
ledge of pharmacy and its collateral sciences. After- 
wards he placed himself in the office of Dr. William 
Smith, to prosecute more especially his professional 
studies. During his connection with Dr. Smith, and 
his residence in Philadelphia, in the year 1787, '8 
and '9, he attended lectures in the University of Penn- 

During the infancy of medical instruction in tliis 
country, the degree of Doctor in Medicine was sel- 
dom sought after, and in accordance therefore with 
the almost universal custom of the day. Dr. Dewees 
commenced the practice of his profession without re- 
ceiving a regular diploma from his preceptors, in the 
summer of 1789. He was then twenty-one years of 
age, about the medium height, well proportioned, of 
a florid complexion, brown hair, rather slender make, 
and remarkably youthful in his appearance, so that 
great objections were frequently made to employing a 
physician apparently so young. 

He commenced the arduous duties of our profes- 
sion about fourteen miles north of Philadelphia, at 
the village of Abington, where he soon engrossed all 
the valuable practice, notwithstanding the objections 


made to his youth and inexperience, and the deficien- 
cies of his education. His talents, united with great 
industry and perseverance, his aftectionate and ami- 
able disposition, secured the attachment, and very 
soon the confidence, of his patients. In this compa- 
ratively retired spot, thrown at an early age upon his 
own resources, with no means of securing patronage 
but his character and attainments, without pecuniary 
assistance. Dr. Dewees, by sedulous attention to busi- 
ness, by careful observation of physiological and pa- 
thological phenomena, laid the foundation of his fu- 
ture usefulness and celebrity. He would often in 
after life allude to observations made, or to treatment 
pursued, by him while a youth at Abington, confirm- 
atory of his future theoretical and practical views. 
He was soon called to a more extensive field of use- 

At this important epoch in the medical history of 
our city and of the country, he found the confidence 
of the pubHc was resting upon a Kuhn, a Shippan, 
a Rush, a Wistar, and a Grifhtts. Dr. Rush soon 
ascertained the talents and abilities of Dewees, and 
threw his commanding influence in his favor. An 
intimacy also took place between Physick and De- 
wees, and as their course was different, the former 
professing Surgery and the latter Obstetrics, they 
assisted each other in prosecuting their respective 
plans for professional advancement. 

Independently of any collateral assistance which 
Dr. Dewees might have received from the friend- 
ship of Dr. Rush, he enjoyed one of the finest op- 


portunities that could be possibly presented for a 
medical man to rise to wealth and fame. At that 
period the science of Obstetrics was hardly known 
in America. The physicians who occasionally en- 
gaged in its practice had received no instruction, 
with the exception of a few, who, having visited 
Europe, brought home a general knowledge of the 
subject ; but who, from prejudices existing against 
the employment of such practitioners, had few op- 
portunities and fewer inducements to perfect their 
knowledge. Hence Midwifery existed almost uni- 
versally as an art ; the aged and imbecile nurse 
was almost universally preferred to the physician. 
Women were generally the practitioners of mid- 
wifery, as few imagined any particular instruction 
necessary for an attendance on labor ; at least any 
beyond that derivable from prolonged experience. 
Our science, however, was too essentially connected 
with the lives and happiness of individuals and fami- 
lies to remain, for a long time, in such obscurity, 
when knowledge and science on other subjects were 
elevating the character and developing the resources 
of the community. As the arts and luxuries of hfe 
increased, the danger and difficulties of the parturi- 
ent process increased also. Experience lamentably 
demonstrated that the attentions of the nurse, how- 
ever experienced, were unavailing ; yea, that the 
officious interference of ignorant practitioners in a 
process so wonderful and so abstruse as that of 
parturition, was too often productive of the most 
fatal consequences to the child and its mother, thus 


destroying the comfort and happiness of families. 
In such extremities, all notions of false delicacy are 
thrown to the winds ; the cry for help arising from 
the emergencies of the case is imperative ; but alas, 
who was prepared to respond to the cry ? Who to 
render the necessary assistance ? The physician, 
who, on such emergencies was called, was unpre- 
pared to afford rehef; his former studies had been 
imperfect ; his experience in midwifery trifling ; his 
observations of severe cases very hmited ; and you 
may imagine the embarrassing and horrible condi- 
tion in which such a practitioner must be placed, 
when a human being, and that a female in agony, 
supplicated for relief — when to him all eyes were turn- 
ed — when on him rested every hope of a despair- 
ing husband, or a broken hearted mother, and he 
felt conscious that he ought to be able, but still 
could not afford the proper assistance. Such was 
the condition of our community some fifty years 
ago — such, we are sorry to affirm, is the state of 
many communities, in various portions of our coun- 
try, at the present day — when often, very often, the 
cry for help bursts from the agonized bosom, and 
there is no suitable response from the instructed ob- 

The opportunity thus providentially occurring, was 
embraced by the subject of our address. He felt 
and realized his own deficiences, but was determin- 
ed to overcome them. To attain the victory — to 
prepare himself for the elevated station to which he 
aspired — could only be effected by rendering himself 


equal to the emergency. He reviewed his observa- 
tions made during four years at Abington, at the 
bedside of his patients, — he compared these results 
with the experience of others ; he went still further — 
he commenced again an examination of the founda- 
tions of his science, the fundamental principles of 
Obstetrics ; and on these he built his stable super- 
structure, which has and will last, to his own credit, 
and to the reputation of our school, our city, and 
our country. He made himself familiar with the 
then modern authorities — the Osbornes and Den- 
mans of England ; the Levrets and Baudelocques 
of France ; and hence derived accurate notions of 
the science and practice of Midwifery. 

His investigations, when compared with the re- 
sults of his own experience, excited a partiahty for 
French, in preference to English obstetrics. He 
chose Baudelocque for his teacher, and often de- 
clared that he was indebted to the most distinguish- 
ed French obstetrician for all that he knew himself 
of midwifery. The disciple was worthy of his mas- 

Thus armed for the conflict with the ignorance 
and prejudice of the community — with the irregular, 
the uneducated, or the imperfectly educated practi- 
tioners of the art, he was ready for the emergencies 
that might occur. Such emergencies were not un- 
frequent ; for, unfortunately, difficult cases of deli- 
very were at that period the result not only of natural 
causes, but very frequently of the bad and officious 
practice of ignorant pretenders to the art, who made 


that labor difficult or laborious, which without their 
interference, would have been natural and compara- 
tively easy. On such occasions Dewees was often 
consulted ; and a large portion of operative mid- 
wifery fell into his hands. For him this was every 
way advantageous ; his theoretical knowledge became 
practical — his dexterity in operating, as well as his 
tact in the difficult art of diagnosis, was perfected ; 
his reputation was diffiised through the community, 
and his practice, of course, became more extensive 
and profitable. In a short period, therefore, after 
his establishment in Philadelphia, under the conjoint 
influences of the causes mentioned, but especially 
by his own worth and decision of character, his suc- 
cess was complete, and he felt that he might safely 
enlarge his responsibilities and assume new duties, 
while he added to his comfort and happiness. 

About this period he married Miss Martha Rogers, 
daughter of Dr. Rogers of New England. Not 
many years after, this lady, still in the bloom of 
youth and beauty, became the sudden victim of an 
acute disease — to the destruction, for the time at least, 
of that domestic comfort and support to which her 
husband had aspired, and which is so needful for all, 
especially for a physician, whose mind and heart are 
so constantly engrossed with the sufferings of his fel- 
low beings, and whose periods of relaxation are so 
rare and imperfect. 

Dr. Dewees soon after this period conceived the 
idea of rendering himself useful, not only as a prac- 
titioner, but also as a teacher of Midwifery ; the 


science and practice of Obstetrics being little under- 
stood in our country, for very few necessary attempts 
had been made to impart even a general knowledge 
of this most important subject. Dr. Wilham Ship- 
pen, one of the founders of the University, has the 
enviable title of being the first teacher of Anatomy, 
of Surgery, and of Midwifery, in this country ; his 
Professorship embracing these various subjects. So 
extensive were the duties incumbent on this Profes- 
sor, so fundamentally important was the subject of 
Anatomy, and so urgent were the calls for instruction 
in the elements of Surgery, that Midwifery was ne- 
cessarily almost wholly neglected in his course of 
instruction. A few general directions for the gui- 
dance of the practitioner, constituted nearly all the 
information imparted to the student at the close of 
the Professor's lectures. 

As no one could realize more fully than Dr. Dewees 
the want of more extensive and efficient instruction 
on the subject of practical Midwifery, we find that he 
has the high honor of first attempting a full course of 
lectures on Obstetrics in America. In a small office 
he collected a few pupils, and in a familiar manner 
indoctrinated them with the principles of our sci- 
ence ; toihng, year after year, in opposition to the 
prejudices, not only of the community, but even of 
the profession, who could not perceive that so much 
effort was necessary for the facihtating the natural 
process of parturition. 

Thus favorably introduced to the citizens of Phi- 
ladelphia as a practitioner, and to the professional 


public as a teacher of the science of Obstetrics, his 
practice became extensive, and his income greatly 

He again determined to seek the advantages and 
pleasures of domestic life, and in the year 1802 be- 
came ftnited to his second wife. Miss Mary Lorrain, 
daughter of a respectable merchant in Philadelphia. 
In this connection he was greatly blessed ; Mrs. De- 
wees was preserved in health and strength as the part- 
ner of his prosperity and adversity, enjoying with him 
the innumerable favors which Providence in the 
course of a long hfe had abundantly bestowed, and 
sharing with him those painful reverses that occurred 
in the latter periods of his life. By this marriage Dr. 
Dewees became the father of eight children, three 
daughters and five sons, most of whom survive him. 

Thus successful in his public exertions, blessed in 
his domestic relations, the object of attention to a 
large circle of friends, with whom he reciprocated 
those social attentions to which the natural warmth 
of his feelings and the sincerity of his friendships 
constantly inclined him. Dr. Dewees pursued the 
steady course to a still more extensive reputation and 

The practice and science of Midwifery were daily 
gaining importance in the judgment of an enlighten- 
ed community. Their immense value in preserving 
hfe, in ameliorating suffering, in preventing contin- 
ued and destructive disease, were more and more 
recognized. The necessity, positive and imperious, 
of employing as practitioners only those who were 


suitably indoctrinated, became acknowledged. The 
practice of allowing females to officiate was constant- 
ly diminishing ; and the public attention became more 
steadily fixed upon a Dewees and a James as the 
proper representatives of Obstetric science, as those 
best calculated to give it practical efficiency. It soon 
became evident that Midwifery would be regarded in 
its proper light by the Trustees and Professors of the 
University of Pennsylvania ; that the time could not 
be far distant when it would be detached from its effi- 
cient and subordinate connection with the anatomical 
chair, and be separately taught in this model school 
of American Medicine. 

To be prepared for this event in every respect was 
now no easy task. Competition had already existed 
for several years with many distinguished individuals, 
especially with Dr. Thomas C. James, his cotempo- 
rary, and who, in addition to the possession of fine 
talents, an excellent education, great personal attrac- 
tions and influence, was also a lecturer on the science 
of Obstetrics, having commenced his course of in- 
struction with the late Dr. Church in 1801. New 
competitors were also appearing ; and one, although 
young in the profession, a graduate of 1801, who had 
just returned from Europe, yet by the brilliancy of 
his talents, his popular address, and the influence of 
his former friends in Virginia, and his social connec- 
tions in this city, obtained an influence as a practition- 
er, and soon as a teacher in Obstetrics, which threat- 
ened to distance all his rivals. I allude to the dis- 
tinguished Dr. Chapman, Prof, of the Theory and 


Pract. Med. in the University, who, on the death of 
Dr. Church, was associated as a lecturer on Obste- 
trics with Dr. James, in 1805. 

Dr. Dewees immediately determined to strengthen 
his position in public estimation, by attending to the 
forms, as he had to the essentials, of the profession. 
He applied in the spring of 1806 to his Alma Mater 
for a diploma, that he might be fully entitled to the 
appellation of Doctor in Medicine, as he had for 
years been engrossed with the duties and responsi- 
bihties of the profession. On this occasion he wrote 
an elaborate Thesis on the means of moderating or 
relieving pain during the process of parturition, in 
which he assumed the broad ground that pain was 
an accidental or morbid symptom of labor — the re- 
sult of artificial modes of living and treatment, to be 
moderated or destroyed by medical means. What- 
ever opinions may be entertained as to this general 
proposition, there is little discrepancy of sentiment 
as to the efficacy of the remedy chiefly relied upon 
by Dr. Dewees, which was copious blood-letting ; 
nor as to the fact that to him the profession, and 
through it, females universally are under the highest 
obligations for the introduction of this measure into 
efficient practice. The Professor of Anatomy, Dr. 
Shippen, declared that ' it marked an era in the his- 
tory of Medicine,' and exclaimed, ' how much misery 
might I have prevented had I known it forty years 

The anticipated crisis respecting the establishment 
of Midwifery as a distinct professorship, did not occur 


until the year 1810; so slow is the progress of truth, 
so difficult to illuminate the minds of men to their 
true interests. 

For this elevation of Obstetrics to its legitimate 
station, we are much indebted to the late Professor 
of x^natomy, Dr. Caspar Wistar, who in January, 
1809, soon after he succeeded Dr. Shippen as Pro- 
fessor of Anatomy and Midwifery, urged, in a written 
communication, the Trustees of the University to 
have Obstetrics separately taught in the school. An- 
other year was suffered to elapse, and it was not till 
the 11th of April, 1810, that the resolution passed 
the Board, constituting Midwifery a distinct Profes- 
sorship ; even then, with the miserable provision that 
an attendance on its lectures should not be essential 
to graduation. 

The struggle for the new Chair in the University 
was very warm, and the claims of opposing candi- 
dates, and the influence of their respective friends, 
rendered the event doubtful. The strong claims of 
Dr. Dewees, his talents, his industry, his attainments, 
— his dexterity, boldness, decision, and judgment, as 
a practitioner, his great success in the practice of the 
art, and as a teacher of its principles — his popula- 
rity, supported by the strongest testimonials from 
many distinguished men in the profession, including 
Rush and Physick, were met by analogous claims of 
opposing candidates. Dr. James and Dr. Chapman. 

On the 29th of June, 1810, the decision was made 
by the election of Dr. Thomas C. James to the new 
Professorship, the first in this country. This disap- 


pointment to the long cherished hopes and expecta- 
tions of Dr. Dewees was certainly great, but involved 
no loss of reputation, as the most ample testimony 
was borne as to his qualifications and character, and 
the public confidence in his skill was entirely una- 
bated. It could only be said that his influence with 
the Board of Trustees proved to be weaker than that 
of his rivals. 

Dr. Dewees, turning his attention from the teach- 
ing to the practice of Obstetrics, devoted himself 
with renewed energy and success to the active duties 
of his profession, occasionally allowing himself some 
relaxation in the pleasures arising from social inter- 
course, and also from indulging a natural taste for 
painting and music. For these arts he early mani- 
fested a decided inclination ; and although he never 
allowed himself time to study them in detail, yet for 
both he entertained the feelings and enthusiasm of 
an amateur, and was often refreshed by their agency 
amidst the anxieties of his self-denying and engross- 
inor affection. 

So devoted, however, was he to business, that his 
health, although it had been generally excellent, could 
not withstand the baneful influences arising from 
want of sleep, irregular hours, laborious occupation, 
and continued mental and moral excitement, to which 
every practitioner of medicine, especially an Obste- 
trician, is constantly exposed. His breast became 
delicate, and on several occasions he was threatened 
with hemorrhage from the lungs. 

This dangerous indication of pulmonary affection, 


conjoined with a tempting pecuniary investment, 
induced Dr. Dewees, in 1812, to resign his profes- 
sion, with all its honors and tempting aspects, and to 
remove to Phillipsburgh, where he invested the pro- 
ceeds of a life of toil and self-denial. Disappointment 
followed the speculation, and a few years sufficed to 
destroy the property Dr. Dewees had been years in 
accumulating. His health, however, improved, and 
all fears of pulmonary disease having vanished, he 
returned in the fall of the year 1817, to the scene 
of his former prosperity ; again a poor man, as re- 
garded pecuniary matters, with a large family depen- 
dent on him entirely for support, but rich in reputa- 
tion for talents, industry and success in his profes- 

His immediate wants being supplied by the kind- 
ness of professional friends, he resumed his private 
course of instruction to medical students on Mid- 
wifery, and the practice of his profession. He soon 
became connected with Drs. Chapman and Horner 
in the Medical Institute of Philadelphia, founded 
originally by Dr. Chapman, about the year 1817, 
and to its success Dr. Dewees greatly contributed, 
from the period mentioned until 1832, when age, 
and other pressing circumstances, induced him to 

As a practitioner his success was again complete ; 
his former patients welcomed his return ; and his 
increased reputation, supported now by the observa- 
tions and experience of a long course of active pro- 
fessional duty, soon enabled him to discharge his 


pecuniary obligations, and to furnish him with the 
comforts and luxuries of life. 

He now resolved to record, for his own reputation, 
and for the great benefit of the public, the results of 
his experience and observations on the nature and 
treatment of diseases, and especially as regarded 
his favorite science of Obstetrics ; thus obeying the 
good old fashioned and common sense rule, first to 
study — then to practice — and finally to teach and 
write ; in opposition to the practice of very many 
who undertake to publish books before they have an 
opportunity of verifying their opinions by their prac- 

The first pubHcation was a second edition of his 
inaugural essay. The subsequent experience of prac- 
titioners has abundantly corroborated the advice of 
Dr. Dewees urged in the essay as to the advan- 
tages of free bleeding in cases of rigidity ; advantages 
not only of a positive character in favor of relaxa- 
tion, lessening pain, and hastening the process of 
parturition, but also of a negative character, perhaps 
still more valuable in preventing a vast amount of 
suffering, mental agitation, disease, and also of death. 
Would that his precepts were still more extensively 
studied, and more frequently acted on. Would that 
many, eminent in the profession, would sit at the 
feet of this Gamaliel, this teacher in medicine, and 
imbibe some fundamental notions of the importance 
of medical, and the dangers of surgical, measures 
in cases of tension and rigidity of the soft parts dur- 
ing the process of labor. We should then, no doubt, 


hear less of some of the terrible cases in Midwifery 
than at present. 

After this, Dr. Dewees collected his scattered es- 
says, which had been occasionally published in perio- 
dicals of the day, and re-published them in a distinct 
volume. This was in 1823. The character of these 
essays is generally practical ; indeed, all have a bear- 
ing on the opinions and duties of a practitioner, 
although some are of a theoretical and controversial 
character. In all of them we find displayed the great 
good sense, clearness and precision of their author, 
who seems to improve every subject he touches, and 
to carry forward the principles and teaching of his 
predecessors to a still greater degree of perfection. 
These observations are made, not with any design 
of endorsing all the opinions of Dr. Dewees — for this 
cannot be done, as no doubt many of them are un- 
tenable, especially those which are merely speculative, 
and those which are connected with the very imper- 
fect physiology of the day ; but with the important 
object of characterizing the writings of an individual 
who has accomplished more for Obstetrics than any 
man in our country, and who has elevated himself, by 
the character of his publications, to a station of high 
authority in the profession. He is our representa- 
tive to other nations on the science of Obstetrics, and 
as such is continually quoted by European authorities, 
such a Ramsbotham, Rigby, Clark, &c., in our pro- 
fession. This is high distinction, and the more wor- 
thy of admiration as attained by mere force of cha- 
acter — by talent, industry, and sedulous attention to 


business without any assistance from education, 
wealth, or other accidental influences. 

By his essays Dr. Dewees has done much in ameli- 
orating suffering and prolonging hfe, by inculcating 
good principles, and insisting on a better practice. 
For example, in one paper he ably sustains the im- 
portant idea that labor in the human species, and es- 
pecially in the upper walks of life, ought not to be so 
exceedingly painful as it is usually observed ; and 
that by proper attentions, even under all the disadvan- 
tageous influences of civihzed hfe, suflfering may be 
materially lessened. 

He also ably and successfully notices Dr. Denman's 
celebrated aphorisms for the use of the forceps, de- 
monstrating their inconsistency and their dangerous 
tendencies, especially by restricting too much the use 
of those invaluable instruments. 

He has introduced very advantageously into prac- 
tice, the more extensive and precise use of the am- 
moniated tincture of guaiacum in the treatment of 
some of the varieties of dysmenorrhoea and amenor- 
rhoea. His observations on puerperal convulsions, and 
particularly on the essential importance in these hor- 
rible cases of the free use of the lancet, are invaluable. 
To him we are indebted for the full establishment of 
a decided practice in such cases — a practice so effi- 
cient, that puerperal convulsions are no longer one'of 
the opprobria medicorum ; a death now being about as 
rare an event as a recovery was formerly. 

The views of uterine hemorrhage, of retroversion 
and inversion of the uterus, and the criticisms upon the 


directions given by some high authorities upon Ob- 
stetrics, are almost equally important, and would alone 
constitute a most powerful claim to the gratitude of 
all those interested in the health and hves of females. 

After the publication of these essays, Dr. Dewees 
commenced the preparation of a series of systematic 
works upon which, after all, his reputation must even- 
tually depend. The reputation acquired by any one 
as a practitioner of medicine, as a successful teacher 
or lecturer, is, after all, ephemeral. It lives at the ut- 
most only during the lives of the recipients of favors 
thus conferred. The wave of another generation 
carries the names thus acquired, to a silent obhvion. 
He who would live in the memories and hearts of 
men ; or rather, he who would be useful after his 
body has been decomposed in the grave, must record 
results of a hfe of observation and labor. 

The first systematic work of Dr. Dewees is proba- 
bly his best, upon which he bestowed most thought 
and labor, viz : his ' System of Midwifery for the use 
of Students and Practitioners.' Few or no publica- 
tions had been made on this subject in America, and 
few of the foreign works circulated to any extent. 
Dr. Dewees was among the first to diminish this evil 
by republishing in 1807, Heath's translation of Bau- 
delocque ; Dr. Chapman in 1810 published an edition 
of Mr. Burns' (of Glasgow) Principles of Midwifery ; 
and Dr. Bard, of New York, the President of the 
College of Physicians and Surgeons, about the same 
time issued a Compendium of the Theory and Prac- 
tice of Midwifery, designed rather to diftbse among 


ignorant midwives and practitioners, a knowledge 
of the rules for practice, as laid down by the best 
European authorities, rather than make any attempt 
to enlarge the boundaries of science. At this junc- 
ture Dr. D.s' book opportunely appeared — the first 
regular systematic work of which our country could 
boast, although to Dr. Bard the credit belongs of 
being the first to instruct upon a large scale the phy- 
sicians of our country in the art of Midwifery. 

To an American, therefore, the appearance of De- 
wees' book on Midwifery is an important epoch in 
the history of our science, as being the first regular 
attempt to think for ourselves on Tokology, and to 
contribute to the onward progress of this important 
division of medical science. It is more important 
from the intrinsic value of the work, which, with all 
its deficiencies, probably constitutes now, at the ex- 
piration of twenty years from its original publication, 
the best practical book in our profession, a book 
which every one of you as Obstetricians, and es- 
pecially as American Obstetricians, should undoubted- 
ly obtain, and carefully study. It is founded on the 
French system of Obstetrics, especially on that of 
Baudelocque. It takes a stand in advance of Den- 
man, Osborne, Burns, and other English authorities 
in general use in our country at that period, and even 
of Baudelocque himself, in throwing aside from his 
excellent system much that was useless, and, it may 
be said, imaginative. 

That the work is not perfect, is to say that it is a 
human production ; that it is not embellished by fine 


writing, and that occasionally it is diffuse, indefinite, 
and illogical, is the misfortune, not the fault, of the 
author. On the contrary, these very few defects 
show the obstacles he had to overcome, and contri- 
bute to indicate more fully the talent, the good sense, 
the great industry and the practical efficiency of our 
great American Bmidelocque, whose name is inscribed 
upon the roll of fame, as one of the first of Obstetric 
authorities — our representative in the great republic 
of science on the subject of Obstetrics. Nine edi- 
tions of the System of Midwifery have appeared, and 
no doubt a long period will elapse before subsequent 
authorities will be preferred to one now so eminent 
at home and abroad. 

Having contributed so much for the welfare of 
mothers, by his work on Midwifery, he has contribut- 
ed greatly to the suitable management of infants 
by his most systematic work, " A Treatise on- the 
Physical and Medical Treatment of Children," pub- 
lished in 1825, and which has now passed through 
seven editions. 

As its predecessor, this work is in advance of the 
doctrines and practice of the day ; and for all prac- 
tical purposes, irrespective of certain pathological 
views, and scientific details, may still be regarded as 
unrivalled, notwithstanding the numerous publications 
on the management of infants and children with 
which the press has been loaded. To him we are 
indebted simply for fixing attention on the physical 
management of children, independently of the high 
value of the directions ; for prior to this period, the 


profession in this country left the details almost exclu- 
sively in the hands of nurses and midwives, with all 
their tormenting ignorance and officiousness. 

In 1826, only one year after the publication of the 
work on children, appeared an elaborate volume, ' A 
Treatise on the Diseases of Females,' another stand- 
ard work in our medical literature. Such a publi- 
cation was much wanted, and was readily received by 
the community, as well as by the profession, as high 
authority. It circulated, as well as its predecessor, 
very rapidly in every part of our land ; and it 
became, what it still is, the book for reference in all 
questions of practice, on the important, delicate, and 
difficult subjects which it embraces. 

On the subject of prolapsus and retroversion of 
the uterus, it may be remarked, that to no one indi- 
vidual are females so much indebted in our country, 
as to Dr. Dewees, for fixing professional attention on 
the prevalence of these complaints, their importance, 
their distressing character, their proper treatment by 
means of pessaries, and especially for his improve- 
ment in the form of these instruments, and the mate- 
rials of which they are composed ; recommending 
the glass or metallic instruments in preference to the 
perishing materials previously employed, and which 
from this cause chiefly, were the source of so much 
irritation as to bring these invaluable assistants into 
great disrepute. 

The last of the systematic works issued by our 
professor was on the Practice of Medicine, in the 
year 1830. Encouraged by the success of his for- 


mer appeals to the public, as well as professional 
attention, and anxious that those individuals who 
were remote from medical advice on the frontiers of 
our country should have some means at command to 
assist in the management of their complaints, Dr. 
Dewees was induced to prepare a digest of his ex- 
perience on the various diseases of the human sys- 
tem, with a view to popular as well as professional 
patronage. He in part succeeded, as no one can 
deny the excellency of the practice usually inculcated 
by Dr. Dewees. Still the book has no pretensions to 
a scientific arrangement or treatment of diseases ; 
and being prepared hastily, and with reference to 
popular use, does not partake largely of the confi- 
dence of the profession. 

While thus much engaged, during a period of 
more than seven years, in making large and valuable 
additions to our medical literature, the attention of 
Dr. Dewees was in no degree diverted from his 
practice. How he accomplished so much is wonder- 
ful ; how a man engaged night and day in the gene- 
ral practice of his profession, and especially in the 
harassing duty of Obstetrics, could so rapidly and 
efficiently labor with his pen, can only be explained 
by allowing him a happy combination of physical as 
well as mental powers ; as rare as it is desirable. 
His mind, indeed, never seemed to be fatigued ; 
always on the alert, it would, even after great phy- 
sical exertion, after the loss of rest and sleep, revert 
from one object of thought and anxiety to another, 
and at any moment be directed from the anxious 


contemplation of a dangerous case of disease or of 
labor, to the quiet but engrossing business of an 
author, with its memory, acuteness, judgment, and 
every other faculty, ready for active exercise. 

And the explanation is, that Dr. Dewees v^^ell knew 
the value of moments of time, and could well im- 
prove them. He never suffered them to be lost, and 
could, as he often affirmed, carry on a train of thought 
or an argument for a few moments, and then after 
hours of interruption resume the current of his 
thoughts, and immediately prosecute his writing. 

During this portion of the life of Dr. Dewees, 
various changes by death and otherwise had occur- 
red in the University of Pennsylvania, to which we 
need not allude at this time, excepting to state, that 
the health of Dr. Thomas C. James, the Professor of 
Midwifery, had visibly declined, so that he stood in 
need of assistance in carrying on the course of lec- 
tures. This had been partially rendered as regarded 
tlie anatomical portion of the lectures, for some years, 
by Dr. Homer; but in 1825 it was resolved by the 
trustees, at the request of Dr. James, that an adjunct 
should be appointed to the chair, and on the 15th of 
November, 1 825, Dr. Dewees was unanimously elect- 
ed to this station, during the existence of the then 

Dr. Dewees, on his entrance into the University, 
was fifty-seven years of age, in full possession of his 
mental and corporeal faculties. His figure had spread 
considerably, so that he could be termed portly ; 
while he maintained a comparatively youthful appear- 


ance, from his florid complexion and brown hair, 
still without the silvery gloss of age. The duties of 
the professorship gradually devolved more and more 
upon him as Dr. James declined in health, and were 
discharged in a manner very acceptable to the stu- 
dents. Of course there was no great display of elo- 
quence or erudition in his lectures, but he was always 
clear, decided, precise, and minute in his directions, 
speaking in rather a conversational style, with the 
promptitude and confidence of a man who had form- 
ed his own opinions by his own observations, and 
illustrating all that he taught by a rich fund of cases 
and anecdotes, drawn, in a great measure, from what 
he had himself witnessed. Such a teacher could not 
be otherwise than interesting, and, from the whole 
character of his mind, with its endowments natural 
and acquired, you may readily conclude he must 
have been exceedingly valuable. His popularity was 
great, and his usefulness became thus greatly extend- 
ed ; his pupils distributing his fame, as well as his 
valuable instructions, through the extent of our coun- 

For several successive years, Dr. Dewees reaped, 
in every way, the harvest resulting from his long and 
persevering efforts in the cause of medical and ob- 
stetric science. His income from his practice, his 
books and his professorship, was ample for his pre- 
sent and prospective wants ; he was admired, beloved, 
and trusted in the community in which he moved ; 
he enjoyed an enviable reputation in America and 
Europe, and was continually receiving testimonials 


in various ways, of the estimation in which his cha- 
racter and works were held. He had been for a long 
series of years a member of the American Philo- 
sophical Society, and was continually receiving cer- 
tificates or diplomas from medical and other scientific 
bodies in the United States, in the Canadas, and in 
Europe, with the gratifying intelligence that they 
considered themselves honored by adding his name 
to the list of their members ; while private letters 
from distinguished physicians confirmed, and render- 
ed still more gratifying, these pubhc manifestations 
of rejxard and confidence. In the domestic and so- 
cial circles, his prosperity was equally great, and his 
warm heart was continually engaged, as far as more 
important business would permit, in reciprocating 
convivial enjoyments with his friends and fellow la- 
borers, within and without the profession ; while, 
notwithstanding the lapse of years, his health and 
strength continued vigorous and active. 

These blessings were continued without interrup- 
tion until February, 1834, when a comparatively 
trivial accident, a sprain of his ankle, became the 
turning point of his prosperity — the commencement 
of a series of trials which continued to the close of 
hfe. Owing, probably, to the confinement to the 
house, in consequence of this accident, his system 
became gradually plethoric, and he suflfered from the 
want of his accustomed enjoyment of air and exer- 
cise. In the month of April he suddenly became 
apoplectic, but owing to the timely assistance of his 
friends Drs. Hays and Chapman, the dangerous 


symptoms were arrested, but his corporeal faculties 
were decidedly impaired. Cessation from business, 
traveling, and recreation, were so far successful, that 
in the fall of 1834 he was able to return to his prac- 
tice, and received from the trustees of the University 
the unanimous appointment of Professor of Mid- 
wifery ; Dr. James, from his great infirmities, having 
resigned this office, which he had the honor to occu- 
py for 24 years. 

With some of his former vivacity. Dr. Dewees was 
enabled to discharge the duties of his professorship 
during the ensuing winter. The exertion was, how- 
ever, too great. In the spring his health was more 
impaired, and, notwithstanding every exertion from 
his medical friends, and the influence of air and 
travel, the autumn of 1833 found him weakened in 
mind and body. He made an attempt to dehver the 
winter course of lectures, but it was apparent to 
himself, as well as to others, that it was altogether 
futile, and on the 10th of November he resigned his 
Professorship in the University of Pennsylvania. 

This mournful event, to his colleagues, to the 
students assembled to recieve the results of his long 
tried observations, to the University, and to the pub- 
lic, was not suffered to pass unnoticed. Flattering 
resolutions, expressive at the same time of their 
sympathy and regret, were passed respectively by 
the board of trustees, by the medical faculty, and by 
the assembled students. The latter were characteriz- 
ed by the warmth of feehng so interesting in young 
men ; by the expression of tlieir high respect and 


confidence in his talents and attainments, in his honor 
and rectitude of purpose ; of their gratitude for the 
favors received at his hands, and especially for the 
invaluable services he had rendered them and the 
medical public by his lectures and his works, his 
oral and written instructions. Anxious to honor their 
afflicted teacher, to bear testimony to the sincerity of 
their declarations, and, at the same time, to evince to 
posterity the gratitude and affection which his talents, 
industry and virtue had excited in his pupils, they 
resolved to present to the retiring Professor a magni- 
ficent silver vase, with the following inscription : 

' Presented to William P. Dewees, M. D., late 
Professor in the University of Pennsylvania, by 
the Medical Class of that Institution, as a testi- 
monial of their respect for his exalted worth and 
talents. Philadelphia, Nov., 1835. Sempe honos, 710- 
menque hium, laudesque manebunt.^ 

Thursday, the 25th November, 1835, was the day 
appointed to make the presentation. The scene was 
most interesting, and could never be forgotten by 
those who were witnesses and actors on the mournful 
occasion. To behold this room, the arena of his 
former efforts to instruct and edify, crowded to excess 
by physicians and students, anxious to pay their last 
respects to one so respected and beloved — to behold 
the venerable professor, famous in both worlds, for 
his contributions for the alleviation of human misery, 
himself the sufferer, unable to sustain himself with- 
out assistance, seated in the centre of that beloved 
circle of students, to whom he was anxious to impart 


instruction, but to whom he was about to bid a long, 
a last farewell — to witness the great man, the bold, 
decided, energetic practitioner, bowed down under 
the influence of physical feeling, and the overpower- 
ing moral sentiments by which his bosom was agitat- 
ed — to hear the chosen representatives of affectionate 
pupils proclaim his talents, his virtues, his attain- 
ments, and to testify by words and actions their gra- 
titude and affection — to discover that the deserved 
recipient of all these attentions was so overwhelmed 
by conflicting feelings, by the remembrance of the 
past, the solemnities of the present, and the prospects 
of the future, that words failed to express his grati- 
tude, — that another individual, his long tried friend 
and colleague. Dr. Chapman, had to pour forth the 
acknowledgment of his grateful heart, for such sin- 
cere and lasting testimonials from his beloved disci- 
ples — all constituted a scene so impressive that the 
voice of eloquence alone could do it justice. It was 
a scene for the painter, or for the poet. It was one 
of those delightful manifestations of the best feelings 
of the human soul, rarely, it is true, to be witnessed, 
but the more impressive for its rarity in this world, 
where selfish feelings too generally predominate, and 
stifle the warm aspirations of a generous and noble 

This hour may be considered the last of the pro- 
fessional life of Dr. William P. Dewees. He retired 
from the scene of his labors to embark for Havana, 
in the Island of Cuba, in search of health and 
strength. The experiment was not wholly in vain. 


He recovered sufficiently to attend to some of the 
lighter duties of a practitioner in medicine, which he 
discharged chiefly at Mobile, in Alabama, where he 
spent most of the time for more than four years, 
receiving marks of confidence and attention from 
his professional brethren of the south — most of them 
his professional pupils. 

In 1 840 he left Mobile for Philadelphia, where he 
arrived, after spending some months in New Orleans, 
on the 22nd of May, 1840, but he was an altered 
man ; his physical frame had dwindled away under 
the influence of disease, and although his mind re- 
tained much of its original acuteness, he appeared 
as the representative of the past, rather than a mem- 
ber of the present, generation. 

Our cold weather proved unfavorable to his strength 
and health, causing congestion of his vital organs, 
and producing so much distress and suffering that he 
was anxious to be released from a world in which he 
felt that he had finished his work. Such, however, 
was the strength of his constitution, that this solemn 
event did not occur until the 20th of May, 1841, 
when his anxious spirit was released from its earthly 
and suffering tabernacle. 

On the news of his death a special meeting was 
called by the Philadelphia Medical Society, and re- 
solutions passed expressive of their deep regret at 
the decease of their fellow member and late Vice 
President — of their high sense of the beneficial in- 
fluences exerted by his talents, attainments, and pro- 
fessional character — and their desire that I should 


prepare a memoir of their late admired Professor. 
His funeral was attended on the 22nd of May, 
exactly one year after his return to Philadelphia, by 
his former colleagues, the Professors in the Univer- 
sity, by the members of the Medical Society, by the 
physicians and students then resident in the city, as 
well as by many of his former friends and patients 
who were anxious to pay their respects to the me- 
mory of their friend and physician. ' Sic transit gloria 

Dr. Aaron Dexter was son of Richard Dexter, 
and was born in Maiden, Massachusetts, in Nov. 1750. 
He graduated at Harvard College in 1776. For 
many years he was a highly reputable physician in 
Boston. He was a Professor of Chemistry in the 
same college for a series of years. 

Dr. Dexter studied the profession of medicine with 
the late Dr. Samuel Danforth of Boston. At the 
close of his pupilage he established himself as a phy- 
sician in Boston towards the close of the revolutiona- 
ry war. Previous to this, however, he made several 
voyages to Europe as a medical officer. In one of 
these voyages he was taken prisoner by the British. 

He was elected Erving Professor of Chemistry and 
Materia Medica in the medical department of Har- 
vard College in 1783. He sustained the arduous 
and responsible duties of this office until the year 
1816, when the late celebrated and lamented Dr. 
John Gorham was elected Professor emeritus. He re- 


tained this office until the time of his death, which 
occurred at Cambridge, rather from the effects of old 
age than from any apparent disease, on the 28th of 
February, 1829, at the age of 79. 

Dr. Dexter was remarkable for his urbanity and 
kindness, and was universally respected as a physician 
and as a citizen. A dissertation on the use of blisters 
in diseases of the articulations, which was read before 
the Medical Society in 1809, and published in the 
second volume of their communications, affords prac- 
tical evidence of his knowledge of the profession, and 
his desire to contribute to its usefulness. ' His suc- 
cessful efforts during a long and active life to esta- 
blish and maintain the literary and charitable institu- 
tions of his country, furnish a claim of no ordinary 
character to thg grateful remembrance of his fellow 
citizens.' Alden, Family Records, Christian Register. 

Dr. George Bartlett Doane. The following 
notice of this distinguished physician is from the 
New England Quarterly Journal of Medicine and 
Surgery for April, 1843. It was written by a friend, 
Dr. G. C. Shattuck, of Boston, with a request that 
it might be inserted in that Journal. 

George Bartlett Doane, M. D., the subject of tliis 
notice, was born in Boston, in tlie year of our Lord 
1793. The family from which he descended had 
been merchants for several generations. His grand- 
father, Elisha Doane, of Wellfleet, had accumulated 
a large fortune in commerce and the fisheries, hav- 


ing early entered into the whale fishery. Col. EU- 
sha Doane amassed in that spot 120,000 pounds 
sterling. Thomas Boylston, of Boston, whose be- 
quest to his native town secured his name to the 
public school-house on Fort Hill, and to the school 
for young children at the House of Industry, and 
Elisha Doane of Welliieet, were estimated by their 
fellow citizens the two richest men in the province 
of Massachusetts Bay. Isaiah Doane, the eldest son 
of Elisha, and the father of George, was educated at 
Harvard University, where he received his degree in 
1774. He became a merchant, settled in Boston, 
married Hannah Bartlett, of Plymouth, a direct de- 
scendant from the Pilgrims, and carried on business 
largely as a shipping merchant, until British cruisers 
at the commencement of the French xe volution swept 
his ships from the ocean. A numerous family of chil- 
dren was the fruit of this marriage, viz., five sons 
and five daughters. George was the youngest of 
the sons. The loss of fortune, followed by the loss 
of health, and that again by early death on the 
part of the father, imposed on the widowed mother 
a care that calls into exercise all the active virtues 
so characteristic of the pilgrim race. The mother, 
by example and precept, taught her children self- 
denial and activity. She gathered up the fragments, 
put her diminished fortune at nurse, retired to the 
country in the neighborhood of a good school, and 
there instructed her children in the lessons of prac- 
tical wisdom. The widow's God and the father to 
the fatherless blessed her bereaved household. The 


unshrinking fortitude of the mother was not unoh- 
served by our young school-boy. He strove by dih- 
gence to recommend hiniseU" to his beloved parent. 
In 1808, at fifteen, he was admitted into Harvard 
University. In the year 1812, at 19, he graduated 
a reputable scholar, in a class that now reflects ho- 
nor on its Alma Mater. The severe mental labors 
of the mother in training unaided her numerous 
children, had impaired her health. The hope of 
contributing to the reinstatement of the health of his 
beloved mother, decided the young graduate in the 
choice of a profession. In the autumn of 1812 he 
accordingly entered on the study of medicine, re- 
solved to study as a science what might contribute 
to gratify his ruling passion, filial piety, which sought 
the renovation of his mother's decayed strength. 
Although a succession of paralytic shocks experi- 
enced by the mother, interrupted his original purpose 
of becoming the instrument of her cure, still he un- 
tiringly devoted himself to the study of the elements 
of medicine, and never lost the opportunity to do 
good at the bedside of the sick. Anatomy and 
morbid anatomy he studied with unwearied assiduity. 
His pupilage was filled up with self-denial and con- 
tinued painful toil. He never flinched from duty 
while the cry of suffering was heard. Nights has 
he kept vigil at the bedside of the poor, who had 
submitted to painful and perilous surgical operations, 
while the curative process was commencing. The 
lack of nursing among the sick poor always imposes 
heavy labor on the physician and the faithful student. 


So decided had been his character as a faithful 
medical student and upright man, that one of the 
best educated physicians of his times, detailed on 
duty as a regimental surgeon to the mihtia detached 
for duty at South Boston, during an early period in 
the last war with Great Britain, selected and recom- 
mended him for a companion as his assistant sur- 
geon. This tour of duty, though short, was faith- 
fully performed by the young pupil. The officers of 
the regiment esteemed him as a gentleman and scho- 
lar, while the soldiers loved him as a skillful physician 
and kind friend. The odor of his good name reach- 
ed the capital, and at the close of the year 1814, 
while yet in his pupilage, he received a commission 
as an assistant surgeon in the United States navy. 
In the spring of 1815 he was ordered to repair to 
the city of New York and report himself to Com- 
modore Jones, who sent him on board the Macedo- 
nian, bound to the Mediterranean. On the voyage 
he writes, ' Never was hfe so divested of all rational 
comfort as this.' After a few days he writes again, 
' I read, write, and think as well in any situation, 
although the apartment I occupy is so far below the 
surface of the sea, that the rays of the sun never 
penetrate, thereby being entirely shut out from the 
hght of heaven.' 

July 2nd, 1815, he arrived at Gibralter, where 
he was appointed acting surgeon on board the Con- 
stellation until her arrival at Port Mahon. This was 
the naval station for the American fleet, where a Hos- 
pital was founded for the sick, to which Dr. M. 


Reynolds had been appointed as the surgeon, and 
Dr. Doane as the assistant surgeon. Dr. M. Rey- 
nolds had sailed, leaving to Dr. Doane the entire 
charge of the establishment for several months. On 
the return of Dr. M. Reynolds, Dr. Doane writes 
in his journal, ' I have been more than three months 
entirely alone, the only responsible person here, and 
burdened with every thing, attending personally to 
every article of provision, medicine, clothing, pur- 
chasing and expending, paying all bills, examining 
all accounts, and at the expiration of every month, 
making a settlement of every thing, and having also 
by night and day the constant care of the sick to 
prescribe, and give all the medicine with my own 
hand ; yet, from habitual method, there is no con- 
fusion, no irregularity. This is a situation which 
calls forth and holds in exercise all the energies of 
my mind. I have also become engaged in quite an 
extensive practice among the poor, and as I attend 
them all gratis, between thirty and forty children are 
brought to me daily. They express much gratitude, 
and it is impossible to attend on the poor and sick 
without feeling for them the sincerest compassion. 
Here the poor never beg, except of God, and of 
him for patience only.' While on the tour of duty 
in the Mediterranean, small pox broke out in the 
fleet, the cases of which were committed to the 
treatment of Dr. Doane on board the frigate United 
States, which was selected for quarantine. The sick 
were sent to the island of Minorca in this vessel. 
He thus describes in his journal his situation : ' I 


have learnt to accommodate myself to disappointment 
and privation, have entirely discarded from my 
thoughts all pleasure, and am now influenced by mo- 
tives of improvement only.' He proceeds : ' I have 
now been in quarantine twenty-one days, with thirty- 
eight men and one midshipman sick of small pox ; 
many of them have had the disease to a most dread- 
ful degree. I have had the good fortune to lose 
but three cases. On this island it is fatal to a most 
desolating extent. I have seen death and disease in 
all their varied forms, but never did I conceive of 
any thing so loathsome and disgusting. All disease 
here seems nothing compared to it ; and as Burke 
says, ' all the horrors of sickness before known or 
heard of, seem mercy to this noxious havoc' He 
subsequently writes, ' The sick nearly all recovered, 
and the term of quarantine has nearly expired. Yet, 
although confined to this small island, I am contented 
and happy, and find constant occupation with my 
sick and my studies.' When Commodore Decatur, 
off Cape De Gatt, had crippled and conquered the 
Algerine fleet, Dr. Doane was ordered on board the 
Meeshanda, the flag ship of the enemy, to take charge 
of the wounded. Here his sympathies were well 
tried. The barbarous custom of inflicting corporeal 
punishment on criminals by the mutilation of their 
limbs, had awakened among the Algerines a horror 
of surgical operations, as badges of disgrace. These 
brave warriors preferred death to dishonor. Dr. 
Doane had much to encounter from this prejudice, 
as those whose mutilated limbs had been amputated 


reluctantly endured the dressings essential to the cure. 
With the zeal of an apostle he besought their patient 
endurance of the necessary treatment, and succeeded 
in disabusing their minds of their unnatural preju- 

When his kindness and skill had won them back to 
the love of life, their gratitude was unbounded. They 
besought him to accompany them to Algiers, where 
they promised him a life of ease, the great boon of 
existence in warm climates. Exemption from the ne- 
cessity to labor, all men covet. In the low latitudes 
it is the summum bomim of human bliss. When the 
Dey of Algiers had ratified his treaty of peace be- 
tween the Regency and the United States, dictated 
at the cannon's mouth by Commodore Decatur, the 
Algerine fleet was restored. Dr. Doane was then 
ordered to Carthagena, where he remained until the 
arrival of the United States ship of the line Inde- 
pendence and her squadron, when he accompanied 
them in their cruise to Leghorn and Pisa. At the 
latter place he mentions a valuable Medical Garden, 
with the following singular inscription on the gate at 
its entrance : ' Enter with the eyes of Argus, but not 
with the hands of Briareus.' The diligence, skill, 
and urbane manners of Dr. Doane had won for him 
the love and confidence of all observers. He had 
acquired a competent knowledge of the French, 
Spanish and Italian languages, to profit by the new 
scenes to which he had been introduced. His previ- 
ous classical education had imbued his mind with a 
curiosity to see what had been said and sung by the 


historians and poets of Rome and Greece. His let- 
ters and his journal contain graphic descriptions of 
the interesting objects, both of nature and art, abound- 
ing in those countries, exhibiting great enthusiasm in 
the admiration of the sublime and beautiful. He re- 
turned from the Mediterranean in 1819, when he re- 
signed his commission. His brother officers under 
whose command he had sailed, bear testimony to his 
character in the following language : ' Dr. Doane 
has been distinguished by his zeal, attention to the du- 
ties of his profession, and gentlemanly deportment.' 
This is an extract of a letter of Capt. W. M. Crane 
to the Secretary of the Navy, recommending him for 
promotion as a Surgeon. In another letter he writes, 
' his skill, his correct gentlemanly deportment, se- 
cured him the respect and regard of his brother offi- 
cers. He was several months the acting surgeon of 
the Naval Hospital at Port Mahon, in Minorca, and 
gave great satisfaction in the discharge of his duties.' 
This letter is dated Gosport, Oct. 6th, 1820. Capt. 
John Shaw writes of him, the letter dated U. States 
Ship Independence, Charlestown, Sept. 27th, 1820: 
' His skill, kindness and humanity were manifested in 
the arduous duties of an assistant Hospital Surgeon 
on a foreign station. The police and general good 
condition of the men under his charge, reflected cre- 
dit on his exertions, and draws from me the expression 
of my high approbation of his official character and 
service while under my command.' In 1820, Dr. 
Doane submitted to an examination for a degree 
as Doctor of Medicine, after which he commenced 


a practice in Boston, his native city. His well 
known good character had secured him the respect 
and good wishes of several among the eminent physi- 
cians of the town, as shown in a written recommenda- 
tion, at the head of which stands the name of Samuel 
Danforth, the patriarch of the Faculty in Boston at 
that time. Dr. Doane was recommended to his neigh- 
bors and fellow citizens as a practitioner of medicine 
and surgery, and his humanity and skill while in the 
navy well declared the origin of the recommendation. 
The following is the concluding sentence in the re- 
commendation : ' Diligence, decorum and integrity 
have uniformily characterized his manners and habits.' 
With such preparation and recommendation. Dr. 
Doane did not wait long for opportunity to signalize 
himself. Two cases of gun-shot wounds fell under 
his treatment, both very severe, but were successfully 
treated by the young aspirant after literary fame. 
In one case, a young man had attempted suicide by 
the discharge of a pistol under his chin, the contents 
of which passed up through the roof of his mouth 
and shattered the bones of the nose, as they had 
passed through that organ. In the other case the 
accidental discharge of a rifle had thrown a bullet 
into the head through the external angle of the eye, 
without leaving any trace of its direction or lodge- 
ment. The fortunate treatment of both cases secur- 
ed the young surgeon reputation for skill in the seve- 
ral neighborhoods of their residence. Still, as the 
general surgery of Boston had been engrossed by his 
seniors, strong in the confidence of the community, 


Dr. Doane turned his attention to a miscellaneous 
practice, in which he soon gained the confidence of 
the people. On the 12th of Feb. 1821, Dr. Doane 
was unanimously elected physician to the Boston 
Asylum for Indigent Boys. A further expression of 
the confidence of the community in Dr. Doane's 
professional character may be found in the records 
of the Trustees of the Massachusetts General Hos- 
pital, by whom he was unanimously chosen one of its 
consulting surgeons in Feb. 1837. Such were the 
dehcacy of his manners and devotion to his cases, 
that he early acquired a large Obstetrical practice, 
and practice among children. More than three 
thousand cases of Midwifery are recorded on his 
books, between the commencement of his practice 
in 1820, and his death in 1842, which is an average 
of over one hundred and thirty-five per annum 
through the entire term. During seven years are 
recorded one thousand and seventy cases, which 
makes an annual average of more than one hundred 
and fifty-two cases. During his last three years of 
practice, more than six hundred cases are on record, 
which equals nearly four per week. The extent of 
his other practice taken into the account, it is a 
large practice in Midwifery, although exceeded by 
the practice of some of his contemporaries during 
their most palmy days. 

Dr. Doane was never married. His philanthropy 
was therefore more diffusive than otherwise it might 
have been. His sisters shared largely in their bro- 
ther's affections, and participated freely in the fruits 


of his prosperity. The poor, particularly the sick 
poor, found in him a friend. His time, his labor and 
his money, were freely employed in the efforts to 
alleviate the condition of suflering humanity. * His 
benevolence knew no limits in the effort to aid risinor 
merit, and its onward struggles. So general had 
been his kindness to all within his reach, that he was 
universally hailed as a benefactor and philanthropist 
by his contemporaries. His generous labors literally 
wore him out and broke him down. He visited pa- 
tients on the very day preceding the night of his 
death. It is supposed that an affection of the heart, 
aggravated by unremitting professional toil, might 
have caused his sudden death. In a paroxysm of 
dyspnoea, he had but just time to alarm a beloved 
sister, in whose arms he quietly breathed out his life. 
Medical aid had been summoned, but in vain. 

Dr. John Eberle, late Professor of the Theory 
and Practice of Physic, in the Ohio Medical College, 
and in Jefferson Medical College. The following 
notice of him, is from the graphic pen of Professor 
John W. Francis of New York. 

John Eberle, M. D. and P. He was born in 
Hagerstown, Maryland, on the 10th of December, 
1787 ; studied the profession of medicine under Dr. 
Carpenter of Lancaster, and Dr. Clapp, senior, of 
Philadelphia, and graduated Doctor of Medicine at 
the University of Pennsylvania in 1809. The subject 
of his inaugural discourse W£is Animal Heat. He 


entered upon the practice of his art, first in Man- 
heim, Lancaster county, when, after a few years 
he removed to Lancaster city, where, after a short 
time* he accepted of a commission as Surgeon to 
the Lancaster Mihtia, and was at the battle at Bal- 
timore in 1814. Soon after this occurrence he re- 
moved to Philadelphia, where he received an appoint- 
ment as Physician of the city for the ' out door poor.' 

In 1815 he began in Philadelphia his career as a 
public writer, as editor of the Medical Recorder, and 
was afterwards associated with Dr. Ducachet in the 
continued publication of that periodical Journal. 
The year after, the Linnaean Society of that city elect- 
ed him a member of their body, and in 1822 the 
Berlin Medico-Chirurgical Society enrolled his name 
in their list of foreign members. In 1825 he was 
chosen a member of the Academy of Natural Sci- 
ences of the same city. 

He was active in promoting the interests of the 
Jefferson Medical College, and may be considered 
one of its most efficient founders. In this Institution 
he was appointed the Professor of the Practice of 
Physic in 1825, and in 1830 he was transferred to the 
chair of Materia Medica in the same College. He 
also lectured on Obstetrics. In the fall of 1831 he 
removed with his family to Cincinnati, and was select- 
ed as the Professor of Materia Medica in the Ohio 
Medical College. In the changes which necessarily 
occurred on this occasion, he was called upon to re- 
sume the branch he had formerly taught in Jefferson 
College, and the practice of medicine again came 


within the immediate duty of his professional chair. 
He continued to discharge this responsible trust until 
1837, when he was induced, from many circumstances, 
once more to change the scene of his labors, and he 
removed to Lexington, Kentucky. The Professor- 
ship of the Practice of Medicine was now tendered 
to him in the medical department of Transylvania 
University. He died at Lexington on the second of 
February, 1838, aged fifty years, one montli, and six- 
teen days. 

Besides his literary labors with the Medical Recor- 
der, he is the author of several distinct Treatises, which 
will long render his name familiar to the medical 
student. In 1823 he published the first edition of 
his admirable work on Therapeutics and Materia 
Medica, in two volumes, octavo, a performance of 
great merit, and in which he has philosophically 
considered the nature of remedial agents on the dis- 
orders of the human constitution. In this treatise 
he has also greatly added to the knowledge we pre- 
viously possessed of the American vegetable kingdom, 
as derived from tlie works of Schoef, Barton, and 
Thacher. This work has already had an extensive 
sale, and reached a fifth edition. In 1 830 appeared 
his Practice of Physic in two vols, octavo, deservedly 
a popular work, and several times re-printed. In 
1833 he issued his first edition of his Treatise on the 
Diseases of children. The two former ones have 
been honored with a German translation. 

From the preceding sketch it is evident that the 
fife of Dr. Eberle was closely appropriated to die 


advancement of the profession he had selected as the 
business of his existence. His knowledge, the result 
of great individual effort, often under the most dis- 
couraging circumstances, was extensive and various. 
To modern science he added a famihar acquaintance 
with Hippocratic medicine, and his regard to the 
ancients, sometimes led him to estimate somewhat 
unduly their merits. That he labored not in vain, 
may be inferred from the extensive circulation of his 
writings and the estimation in which they are gene- 
rally held, both by the students of science and by 
men of clinical experience. 

Dr. Alban Goldsmith, who was for five years a col- 
league of Dr. Eberle in the Medical College of Ohio, 
in a letter to Dr. Francis of New York, thus writes 
of his lamented friend : ' In a wide survey of medi- 
cal men with whom I have had intercourse, I have 
rarely encountered one who possessed a larger share 
of professional knowledge in the several branches of 
healing than Dr. Eberle. To great extent of infor- 
mation he united a kind and courteous demeanor, 
and was never obtrusive in enforcing his practical 
opinions, except when they were assailed by igno- 
rance and unwarrantable assurance. During the pe- 
riod that we labored together he was a constant and 
indefatigable student, taking a wide survey of the 
philosophy of medicine. His lectures were always 
of a practical nature, and his hospital clinics filled 
with the most valuable facts, the result of a careful 
observation. His deportment towards the junior 
members of the profession was universally kind and 


paternal, and he was always ready to offer them aid 
in their inquiries. He was totally free from all profes- 
sional envy, and in his intercourse with his colleagues 
was characterized by the strictest laws of etiquette. 
Medicines or money were dispensed by him with like 
liberality, to remove the sufferings or alleviate the 
calamities of the poor. In short, he was liberal to a 
fault, and often careless of his own proper interests. 
He deserves to be recorded as a successful pioneer in 
that valuable corps who have promoted the diffusion 
of real science in the great west, and his medical 
writings, I think, may be justly estimated as having 
added to the claims which indigenous literature and 
science hu/e upon the confederation of the Ameri- 
can Medical Faculty.' 

Dr. Joshua Fisher, a distinguished patron of 
Harvard University, was born at Dedham, Massachu- 
setts, in May, 1749, and was graduated at Harvard 
College, in 1766.* After studying medicine he com- 
menced practice ; but on the declaration of hostilities 
between Great Britain and the United States in 1775, 
prompted by the spirit of enterprise or patriotism, he 
embarked as surgeon on board a private armed ship, 
and was subjected to the perils of this species of 
warfare. He was captured, escaped into France, en- 
tered again into the same service, and after successes 
and reverses of fortune, returned and established him- 
self in his profession at Beverly, in Massachusetts. 
As a physician he is represented by his biographer, 


Dr. Walter Channing, who wrote a life of him, enti- 
tled ' A brief memoir of Joshua Fisher, M. D., late 
President of the Massachusetts Medical Society,' as 
' being largely gifted with those moral and intellectual 
qualities which give honor and usefulness to his pro- 
fession,' as ' having professed extraordinary powers 
of observation and reflection ; as understanding how 
to select with wonderful taste from a multitude of 
facts, just what was most worthy of consideration,' 
and as ' displaying in his practice great independence 
and originahty.' His reputation was great ; he was 
beloved by his patients, and his practice as a consult- 
ing physician extended over a very wide circuit. But 
' most especially is he remembered for the purity of 
his mind and heart, which gave to his intellectual 
nature great beauty, power and attractiveness. It 
constituted the tone of his mind and was the atmos- 
phere in which it expanded, and by which it was in- 
vigorated. Such a mind was admirably fitted for the 
study of nature, and few in this country have felt 
and acknowledged a deeper interest in Natural His- 
tory than Dr. F. His strong power of observing, 
comparing and remembering, singularly fitted him for 
this branch of science, and he devoted himself to it 
whenever opportunity served. He was a genuine 
lover of nature. He felt its beauty in its truth, and 
derived perpetual pleasure from the perception of it.' 
At the close of his life, which occurred in March, 
1 833, at the advanced age of eighty-four, his zeal and 
interest in this science was manifested by his be- 
queathing ' to the President and Fellows of Harvard 


College, the sum of twenty tliousand dollars, the in- 
come of it to be appropriated to the support of a 
Professor of Natural History, comprehending the 
three kingdoms, animal, vegetable, and mineral, or a 
part of them.' Quincy^s History of Harvard College. 

Dr. Oliver Fiske was son of the Rev. Nathan 
Fiske of Brookfield, Mass., and was born September 
2nd, 1762. Samuel Jennison, Esq., says of him that 
his early education was superintended by his father, 
whose productive ftuwe, during most of the revolu- i'77k* 
tionary war, was, from necessity, principally confined 
to his management. In the summer of 1780 a re- 
quisition for recruits was made. The quotas of men 
had, thus far, been furnished without compulsory 
process ; but levies had been so frequent that none 
would enlist freely, at a season so busy. The com- 
pany then commanded by the late Major General 
John Cutler, was ordered to meet for a draft. Ex- 
empted by the courtesy extended to clergymen, from 
military duty, and never having been enrolled, Dr. 
Fiske offered himself as a volunteer, with the appro- 
bation of his father, who applauded the patriotic spirit, 
while the personal sacrifice it involved was severely 
felt. Animated by the example, the requisite number 
came from the ranks on the parade. The regiment 
in which they were embodied, was ordered to West 
Point, and was stationed in the vicinity of that post 
at the defection of Arnold, and the capture and exe- 
cution of Andre. On being dismissed he returned 


to the farm, and was employed in its cultivation until 
the close of the war, in 1783, when he entered Har- 
vard College. At the breaking out of Shay's insur- 
rection he was instrumental in reorganizing the Mar- 
tin Mercurian band of the University, in obtaining 
an order from Gov. Bowdoin for sixty stand of arms 
at Castle William, and was second officer of the 
Company. When the Court commenced at Concord, 
he was the organ of petition from this corps to march 
in support of government, which was properly de- 
clined by the authorities of the institution. In the 
winter vacation of 1786-7, he took a school at Lin- 
coln, but hearing of the threatened movements of 
the malcontents to stop the judicial tribunals at Wor- 
cester, he procured a substitute to assume his engage- 
ment, exchanged the ferule for appropriate weapons, 
and hastened to this place. Finding the enemy dis- 
persed, and the troops on their way to Springfield, 
he went out to visit his father. On the heights of 
Leicester, the report of Gen. Shepherd's artillery di- 
verted him from his course. Uniting himself to a 
body of light horsemen, then on their route, he join- 
ed Gen. Lincoln's army. When the rebellion was 
suppressed he resumed his studies, without censure 
for his long absence, and graduated in 1787, after 
the usual preparation, under the tuition of Dr. Ath- 
erton, of Lancaster. He commenced business in 
Worcester in 1790. He was active in forming a 
county Medical Association, and in obtaining the es- 
tablishment of the present district organization of the 
Massachusetts Medical Society. Soon after the for- 


mation of the last named body in the second medical 
district, he was elected President, and was elected 
Counsellor and Censor until he retired from the pro- 
fession. In Feb. 1803 he was appointed Special Jus- 
tice of the Court of Common Pleas. During five 
years succeeding 1809, he was a member of the Exe- 
cutive Council. The commissions of Justice of the 
Peace, and of the Quorum, and throughout the Com- 
monwealth, were successively received, and the latter 
has been renewed to the present time. Dr. Fiske 
was Corresponding Secretary of the Linnaean Society 
of New England in 1815; of the Worcester Agri- 
cultural Society, from 1824; and Counsellor of the 
American Antiquarian Society. He was Register of 
Deeds during the triennial term from 1816 to 1821. 
From this period an increasing defect in the sense of 
hearing, induced him to retire from busy life, and 
devote himself to the pursuits of horticulture and 
agriculture — those employments, in his own graceful 
language, ' the best substitute to our progenitors for 
their loss of Paradise, and the best solace to their 
posterity for the evils they entailed.' The results of 
that taste and skill in his favorite occupations, early 
imbibed, ardently cherished, and successfully cultivat- 
ed, have been freely and frequently communicated 
to the public in many essays ; useful and practical in 
matter, and singularly elegant in manner. He died 
at Boston in 1836, aged seventy-four years. 

Dr. Fiske was also a member of the American 
Academy of Arts and Sciences. Bradford, in his 
New England Biography, says, ' he was a scientific 


physician, being well acquainted with natural philo- 
sophy, chemistry, and physiology, so far as contri- 
buted to a correct and successful practice.' 

I have understood that he was a popular physician, 
and had he devoted himself more particularly to his 
profession, would have continued to share an exten- 
sive patronage and employment. When the Spotted 
Fever suddenly appeared in this vicinity, exciting 
greater alarm for a time than any other epidemic 
which had been known in the same region during 
the last century, excepting the Cholera, he was called 
to visit cases in several of the towns of Worcester 
county, and great confidence was manifested in his 
skill in the treatment of the disease. But the ver- 
satility of his mind led him to engage in other pur- 
suits ; 'in merchandize, in the superintendence, in 
connection with others, of the construction of the 
Boston and AVorcester Turnpike ; and in pohtical life, 
so that he was gradually withdrawn from medical 
practice, a result to which the growing infirmities of 
deafness also contributed. 

He was never unmindful, however, of the dignity 
of the medical profession. He maintained that a 
good education was necessary to qualify the practi- 
tioner for his duties, and would not willingly have 
dispensed with any of the required formalities of 

In politics he was a Federalist, and exerted no 
small influence in party management, and in the 
frequent contests of the day. He was a ready writer 
on topics of current interest, terse and epigrammatic 


in his style, and often humorous. For some time he 
was the Editor of the ' Massachusetts Spy,' an old 
and prominent political paper at Worcester. 

He was generous and public spirited, ready to 
engage to the full extent of his ability in the pro- 
motion of objects of public utility, and for the relief 
of private suffering. The circumstances under which 
he was placed seemed to afford him the means of 
acquiring wealth, but a want of method and watch- 
fulness in the management of pecuniary affairs, pre- 
vented its attainment. In the latter years of his hfe 
he found his greatest pleasure in the cultivation of 
his garden, and in horticultural labors and experi- 

He published an oration delivered at Worcester by 
him in 1797 ; and the annual Agricultural address 
before the Worcester County Society in 1823 and 
1831, were published ; also an Essay on the epidemic 
disease called the Spotted Fever, forming a part of 
the Transactions of the Massachusetts Medical So- 
ciety. I have seen in manuscript many of his early 
compositions, both in prose and verse, written while 
in college and pursuing his studies, at Lancaster, 
which evinced a cultivated taste, but have seldom 
recognized many of them in print. 

He married Sarah, only daughter of Andrew Dun- 
can, a native of Glasgow, who, before the revolution, 
established himself at Worcester as a merchant. Ro- 
bert T. P. Fiske, M. D., of Hingham, is his son. 


Dr. John Frink, Senior, was an eminent practi- 
tioner of medicine in Rutland, in the county of 
Worcester, and State of Massachusetts. He was one 
of the founders of the Massachusetts Medical So- 
ciety, and he was also one of the most distinguished 
physicians in the county of Worcester. He studied 
the profession of medicine with Dr. Goffe, of Marl- 
borough. He had two daughters, one of whom mar- 
ried Dr. Russell, of Paxton, the other Professor Ad- 
ams, late of Dartmouth College. He had a son who 
served in the revolutionary army, and received a pen- 
sion, and another son. Dr. John Frink, who succeed- 
ed his father in the practice in Rutland, and who 
was respectable. This son died in Bristol, R. Island, 
in the year 1838. Dr. Frink died at Rutland in 

In dress Dr. Frink was said to be particularly neat. 
His manners were extremely urbane and affable. He 
was, also, very facetious. The late Dr. Stone of 
Springfield, whose biography will be found in another 
place, has related to me, in former days, some anec- 
dotes illustrative of this position, but they have most- 
ly escaped my memory. Dr. Stone studied the pro- 
fession of medicine with Dr. Frink. In one of his 
visits to his patients. Dr. Stone accompanied him. 
Upon examining the patient he was found not to be 
very sick, but he was anxious to see several other 
physicians, some of whom were empirics. Upon 
their leaving the house Dr. Frink observed to Dr. 
Stone, ' Johnny' (a familiar mode of expression with 


him,) ' Johnny, that man has the running fever.' The 
running fever, sir ? I do not recollect to have read 
any thing about such a fever. ' Why, yes,' says Dr. 
Frink, ' he has the running fever. He is for runninsf 
after every physician within the circle of his ac- 
quaintance.' He is said, also, to have had somewhat 
peculiar views in relation to consultation. ' Two 
physicians,' he would observe, ' were enough in all 
conscience, but three were enough to kill the Devil.'. 
He was hardly willing to allow of the rapid improve- 
ment of medicine. On one occasion, within little 
more than half a century, while some one was extol- 
ling the writings of Cullen, he with a great deal of 
warmth repelled the defence, and observed with 
great emphasis that ' the works of Boerhaave would 
stand the test of ages.' What would he not have said 
had he lived at the present time, when the writings 
of Cullen, of Brown, of Darwin, and innumerable 
others, are cast into the shade ? 

Through the politeness of Dr. Woodward of Wor- 
cester, I have been favored with the following notice 
of Dr. Frink, in an extract of a letter from the Rev. 
Josiah Clarke, of Rutland, to the Rev. Geo. Allen of 

Dr. John Frink, junior, was the son of Dr. John 
Frink, whose biography I have just given, who was 
the son of the Rev. Thomas Frink, the first ordained 
minister of Rutland. Dr. John Frink, senior, was 
born in Rutland, Sept. 7, 1731. He not only rank- 
ed high as a physician, but as a patriotic and trust- 
worthy citizen. He was a justice of the peace, when 


it was considered some mark of distinction to be one. 
He was also a member of the Convention that form- 
ed the Constitution of Massachusetts, and the first 
President of the Worcester ounty Medical Society. 
And I have been informed that but few physicians 
had more extensive practice. 

The late Dr. John Frink, Jr., was born in Rutland, 
in 1762. He spent most of his days in his native 
place, but I believe he passed a few years in Charles- 
ton, S. C, with his uncle Samuel, a respectable 
clergyman of that city. He was a Surgeon in the 
army at the time of Shays' insurrection, and I have 
the impression, though I am not certain, that he was 
a few months a Surgeon or Surgeon's Mate in the 
revolution. His brother Samuel is a revolutionary 
pensioner, and is hving either in Paxton or Leicester. 

The late Dr. John Frink's education was respect- 
able, though not liberal. He had in early and mid- 
dle life an extensive practice, and was esteemed as 
a safe and skillful physician. He emphatically, in 
manners and practice, belonged to the old school. 
He was strongly tinctured with aristocratic notions 
and family pride, and if he had the power, he had 
not the will, to accommodate himself to modern man- 
ners or practice. 

Dr. Frink, though a man of accomplished man- 
ners, and of a refined mind, could not be said to be 
a scientific man. He was better as a practitioner 
than as a theorist. He belonged to that class of men 
who exercise correct judgment without being able to 
give a reason for it. He seemed to me to acquire 


his skill and reputation more from experience, or 
from long practice with his father, than from mental 
discipline or investigation. He possessed, however, 
many excellent traits of character. His moral dis- 
cernment was quick and delicate. No one could 
sooner or more correcdy discover beauties or ble- 
mishes in the conduct or writings of others. He was 
a constant reader and admirer of English literature. 
At the head of his family he appeared to great ad- 
vantage, and his house was for a long time a favorite 
place of resort for people of taste and refinement, 
and no pains were spared to make the guests sociable 
and happy. Dr. Frink might with great propriety 
be called a christian gentleman. After his wife died 
in 1834, the Doctor passed part of his time with his 
son in New York. In 1837 he went to Bristol, R. 
I., to spend a few months with his younger son, who 
was a member of the Bristol Wm. Penn sect in re- 
hgion, and died there July 18th, 1838. 

Dr. Joseph Glover, late of ChaYleston, South 
Carohna. A committee composed of John BelHnger, 
M. D., chairman, J. C. Whitridge, M. D., and T. G. 
Porcher, M. D., were appointed by the Medical So- 
ciety of South Carohna, in the year 1 840, to prepare 
an account of the more important facts which occur- 
red in the practice, and the principal operations per- 
formed by Joseph Glover, M. D., one of their Fellows, 
with a biographical sketch of his career. The fol- 
lowing facts are abridged from their report. 


The committee who were appointed to report upon 
that part of Dr. Glover's biography which relates to 
his connection with this Society, and to bring to your 
notice such cases which occurred in his practice as 
might interest the profession generally, beg leave to 
state, that, having examined the Records of the So- 
ciety, Dr. Glover's Note Book, and other sources of 
information, they have found abundant materials for 
their purpose. In using these materials they have 
endeavored to be concise. 

The committee have been gratified in discovering 
that, from the commencement of Dr. Glover's career, 
success and distinction waited on his efforts. As a 
candidate for the medical Diploma of the University 
of Pennsylvania, he submitted to the Provost and Fa- 
culty a Thesis on Digestion, which was published 
among Dr. Caldwell's Selected Theses. It is entitled 
to a full share of the encomium with which the editor 
introduces the second volume of that collection to the 
Medical public ; i. e. that those essays, ' considered 
as separate specimens of intellect and investigation, 
do great credit to the individual writers ; and taken 
together, constitute a monument peculiarly honora- 
ble to the Medical School of Philadelphia.' He 
graduated in 1800, and in September of that year 
was elected a member of this Association. 

One of the objects contemplated by the founders 
of the Medical Society of this city was a Dispensary 
— an institution for furnishing medicines and medi- 
cal attendance to the poor. A plan of such a chari- 
ty was drafted cotemporaneously with the Constitu- 


tion of the Association, an appropriate address to the 
citizens was prepared and pubHslied, and an anxious 
effort made to accomplish tlieir benevolent designs. 
Notwithstanding the failure of this attempt — for it 
did fail — the society renewed their exertions in the 
year 1801 ; a committee, of which Dr. Glover was 
a member, was appointed to organize a plan of a 
Dispensary. A report from them was presented and 
circulated among the members, and having been dis- 
cussed and amended, was transmitted, with a suitable 
explanation, to the city council ; which body, in con- 
sequence of the strong recommendations of the Me- 
dical Society, enacted an ordinance founding a Dis- 
pensary, and authorizing the Society to nominate 
physicians and surgeons to the same. Dr. Glover 
was one of the number who offered their services 
gratuitously to the poor ; and in 1 805 received in 
common with his brother practitioners a vote of 
thanks from the trustees ' for their diligent, skillful 
and humane attention,' rendered ' without any pe- 
cuniary compensation.' 

The next important item of public business with 
which Dr. Glover was concerned, was a preparation 
of a Report upon the causes of our ' Endemial Cau- 
sus,' or Yellow Fever. A considerable portion of 
this report is upon the subject of burial grounds with- 
out the city, and upon removing offals and other 
filth from the streets, stores, wharves, cellars, &c., 
which was considered to be very complete, and it is 
even now often referred to. 


Among the suggestions made to the city council 
by the Medical Society in 1795, was that trees should 
be planted before the houses of citizens; and in 
Dr. Glover's Report in 1808, the advantages to 
health of a luxuriant growth of trees were pointed 
out ; and the chemical changes produced in the at- 
mosphere by animal and vegetable respirations ex- 

Eminent as several of the medical faculty of this 
city have been as physicians, it is believed that of 
those who entered the profession previous to Dr. 
Glover, no one had devoted much attention to Sur- 
gery ; that brilliant department of our science was 
comparatively neglected. He commenced practice, 
therefore, at a juncture favorable for rapid success. 
Frequent opportunities occurred for the exhibition 
of his judgment, boldness, and address ; and in a few 
years his reputation as a surgeon was established. 
One of the first capital operations he performed, was 
the rare one of excising part of the spleen. The 
patient, a negro, belonging to Major Pinkney, was 
stabbed with a knife on the 12th of August, 1801, at 
Moultrieville. The weapon penetrated obhquely the 
hypochondriac region, making a wound of four or 
five inches in length ; the cartilage of one or two 
of the false ribs was divided ; and some of the omen- 
tum, together with a considerable portion of the 
spleen, protruded. Surgical assistance could not be 
obtained — the next morning he was brought to the 
city, and at 11 o'clock, A. M., was visited by Drs. 


Matthew Irvine and Joseph Glover. He had lost 
much blood. The protruded parts presented so gan- 
grenous an aspect that their removal was decided on. 
A small piece of the omentum, and a large part of 
the spleen, were cut away with the scalpel ; a branch 
of the splenic artery was secured with a needle and 
hgature; the remaining parts having been properly 
cleaned were returned into their abdominal cavity. 
The wound was closed with interrupted sutures, which 
were secured by the necessary plasters and bandages. 
The ligatures separated early ; and the whole process 
of healing was as rapid as that of a wound in any 
part of the flesh similarly neglected at first would 
have been. In some of its circumstances this case 
resembles the one reported by Cheselden in vol. xi. of 
the Philosophical Transactions, which, strange to say, 
has escaped the notice of the very acute and indus- 
trious Hennen, who cites the only three other in- 
stances, so far as our research extends, in which the 
removal of the spleen or a part of it has been ac- 
complished by British surgeons. 

Among the earliest of Dr. Glover's cases, were 
operations upon the eye. For a number of years 
he ahiiost monopolized the practice of this branch 
of surgery ; and so considerable was his reputation 
as an Oculist, that patients from the interior of our 
own, and from the neighboring states, frequently re- 
sorted to this city, for the advantage of being treated 
by him. For cataracts, he operated either by ex- 
tracting, or by depressing the lens. Many of his 
patients were ' elderly' persons, and he ascertained 


and has recorded the ages of a few old persons upon 
whom he operated with great success. As it is un- 
certain at what age operations for cataract may not 
be undergone, with a fair prospect of rehef, we men- 
tion the ages of three of these, ' very elderly' indi- 
viduals, i. e. 65, 70, and 83 years. 

The next important operation he performed was 
lithotomy. Calculous diseases are so rare in this 
locality that to have cut for stone in the bladder 
constitutes an era in the professional career of any 
of our surgeons. As late as 1808, only three ope- 
rations of this kind could ' be distinctly and certainly 
recollected as having been performed' in Charles- 
ton. Two of these were done by Dr. Turner, of 
Connecticut, (tradition relates that this distinguished 
operator visited our city by invitation for the pur- 
pose ;) the third was by Dr. Glover, and all were 
successful. Since that date, six similar and likewise 
fortunate operations have been performed ; of these 
two cases came from abroad. So that up to the 
present time, (December, 1840) only seven operations 
for stone in the bladder have been performed upon 
persons who were natives, or who had been for many 
years residents of Charleston. 

Excision of the prolapsed or inverted uterus^ al- 
though reprobated by Ruysch, has within the present 
half century been in repeated instances safely per- 
formed. The committee regret that Dr. Glover's 
interesting case has been so loosely reported, as to 
allow of a doubt whether the tumor excised was a 
polypus or the uterus itself; of the causes of defi- 


ciency in the publication they do not feel at liberty 
to remark. In addition to the history contained 
in the 4th volume of the American Medical and 
Philosophical Register, they have been furnished with 
notes of the case, taken at the time by Dr. Glover 
himself. From these it is clear, that all who examin- 
ed the tumor, both before and after its removal, were 
convinced of its nature ; and the expression of Dr. 
Baron, as significant of the opinions of all, is pre- 
served : ' if this is not an inverted uterus, I have 
never seen one.' Of Dr. B.'s competency to judge 
the committee deem it superfluous to argue. Dr. 
Glover also relates, that in 1834 he had visited his 
former patient, Mrs. H., whom he found in good 
health, and that he was assured that she had never 
menstruated since this operation. 

The committee then gives the detail of the opera- 
tion, which is too long to insert here. 

The next operation which we will notice is one 
towards which the hopes of the profession are at the 
present time anxiously directed ; we allude to punc- 
turing the head for the evacuation of water. This 
has shared the fate commom to all important proce- 
dures of surgical practice, having been by some 
strongly condemned, and by others warmly advocat- 
ed. As it is now in high repute, and as we con- 
ceive that they, by whom in modorn times this ope- 
ration has been performed, have been unjustly slight- 
ed by the manner in which Dr. Conquest's cases 
have been celebrated by a portion of the English 


medical press, we shall demonstrate that puncturing 
the head has been repeatedly resorted to and prac- 
ticed in the last half century, as a remedy for chronic 
hydrocephalus. The committee then go on to cite 
numerous English and American authorities in proof 
of the truth of the position laid down. After quot- 
ing numerous authorities, they observe : as punctur- 
ing the ventricles had been heretofore regarded as 
* impossible,' or as ' not to be attempted,' the com- 
mittee are disposed to ascribe to Dr. Charles Alfred 
Lee, of New York, the credit of having first dis- 
tinctly advised a resort to the puncture, even of the 
ventricles.' The committee must not dismiss this 
subject without a distinct avowal of what is due to 
the doctor ; that his communication is written ' in a 
modest and philosophical tone (blemished, however, 
by a paradoxical compliment intended for some of 
his friends) and that although silent respecting the 
prior operations of others, he himself has advanced 
no preposterous claims to originality. 

The history of Dr. Glover's case was published in a 
pamphlet form by the Medical Society of South Caro- 
lina in July, 1818. It was reported in the New York 
Medical and Physical Journal of the same year. 
The case was copied into the Philad. Journal of Med. 
and Phys. Sciences for 1821 ; it is also noticed in the 
Ed. Med. and Surg. Jour, for 1828, in the review of 
the essay of Oppenheim, by whom it is cited ; it has 
been quoted at considerable length by Brechtenau in 
his article on Compression in the cure of Dropsy, in 


the Arch. Gen. for 1832, and is mentioned by Cop- 
land in his Did. of Pract. Medicine^ now in course of 

Ahhough we claim for Dr. Glover the credit of 
having contributed to revive an operation which had 
been neglected by British and American surgeons for 
forty years, (no instance of its performance having 
been pubhshed in the interval between his in 1818 
and Dr. Remmett's in 1778) we desire to be under- 
stood as having no faith in its supposed curative influ- 
ence over hydrocephalus. Our settled opinion is that 
the past experience of the profession will undergo 
no change in consequence of Dr. Conquest's ten 
cases, which * were hving when last heard from.' 

One other of Dr. Glover's cases deserves to be 
remembered ; it is that which he related in the ora- 
tion delivered in 1809, of a patient whom he treated 
successfully for ascites, principally by tapping. He 
regarded paracentesis not merely as a palliative, but 
as a curative means, and advocated its early and re- 
peated performance. In the instance to which we 
refer, it was resorted to fifteen times. 

The committee refrain from enumerating the 
more common operations performed by Dr. Glover, 
as, although numerous, they were not attended by 
circumstances sufficiently curious to entitle them to 
particular notice. They conclude their Report by 
expressing the behef that at home he will long be 
remembered for his zealous promotion of the objects 
of our association, and for his boldness, dexterity, 
and success as a surgeon ; whilst abroad his fame 


will rest upon his having fearlessly undertaken, and 
having skillfully accomplished, operations, for the per- 
formance of which the records of medicine furnish 
so few precedents. 

Dr. John D. Godman. This distinguished phy- 
sician died on the 17th of April, 1830. He died a 
victim to pulmondfry consumption, brought on by in- 
tense application to the pursuit of science, and from 
great exertions in the discharge of professional du- 
ties, too severe for the strength of his personal frame, 
in the thirty-fourth year of his age. 

The following just tribute to his memory is from 
a ' Memoir of Dr. Godman, being an Introductory 
Lecture, delivered Nov. 1, 1830,' to the Class in Co- 
lumbian College. By Thomas Sewall, M. D., Pro- 

' There are occasions, gentlemen, when it is pro- 
per, when it is profitable, to pause in the career of 
life, not only to mark the progress of things, but to 
observe the character of men, and more especially 
of men distinguished for eminent success, or signal 
failure, that we may imitate the examples of the one, 
and shun the misfortunes of the other. The present 
is such an occasion ; and if properly improved, can- 
not fail to instruct as well as to gratify. 

There has recently appeared among us a man so 
remarkable for the character of his mind, and the 
qualities of his heart — one whose hfe, though short, 
was attended with such briUiant displays of genius, 


with such distinguished success in the study of our 
profession and the kindred sciences, that to pass him by 
without tracing the history of liis career, and placing 
before you the prominent traits of his character, as 
exhibited in the important events of his hfe, would 
alike be an act of injustice to the memory of eminent 
worth, and deprive you of one of the noblest exam- 
ples of the age. 

I refer to Professor Godman, whose death has been 
announced since we last assembled within these walls. 

This remarkable man was born not far from us, in 
a place already renowned for having given birth to an 
unusual proportion of eminent men, the city of An- 
napolis, the metropolis of the ancient State of Ma- 

But few of the incidents of Dr. G.'s childhood and 
youth have come to my knowledge. I have learn- 
ed, however, that he was early deprived of the fos- 
tering care which flows from parental solicitude and 
affection. His mother died before he was a year old, 
and his father did not survive long. On the death of 
his mother he was placed under the care of an aunt, 
then residing at Wilmington, in the State of Dela- 
ware ; a lady who, for the superiority of her intellect 
and education, as well as the sweetness of her disposi- 
tion, and her elevated piety, was eminently qualified 
to unfold, impress and direct the youthful mind. Un- 
der such culture he received the first rudiments of 
his education and his earliest moral impressions. His 
alphabet was taught him upon the knee of his grand- 


mother, and before he was two years old he was able 
to read in the Psalms. 

At the age of four his aunt removed from Dela- 
ware to Chestertown, upon the eastern shore of Ma- 
ryland, and here she first placed the interesting or- 
phan at school. He had already become the idol 
of the family, but now he manifested such a precoci- 
ty of intellect, such a fondness for books, and an apti- 
tude to learn, and withal evinced so much sensibility, 
frankness, and sweetness of disposition, that he gain- 
ed the affection and excited the admiration of all. 
His reverence for truth was such, from infancy, that 
he was never known to equivocate. At the age of 
six his aunt died, and he was left without any suitable 
protector or guide, exposed to the adversities of for- 
tune, and the snares of an unfriendly world. It ap- 
pears, however, that the moral and religious impres- 
sions which had already been made upon his mind, 
though obscured for a time, were never wholly obli- 
terated. During his last illness he was often heard 
to speak in raptures of his aunt, and say, ' if ever I 
have been led to do any good, it has been through 
the influence of her example, instruction and pray- 
ers.' His father had lost the greater part of his estate 
before his death, and that which remained never 
came into the hands of his children. Young God- 
man, therefore, was early taught to rely upon his own 
talents and industry. In this situation he was indent- 
ed an apprentice to a printer in the city of Balti- 
more ; but the occupation was not congenial to his 


taste ; and after a few years he left the business in 
disgust, and at the same time entered as a sailor on 
board the Flotilla, which was then, in the fall of 1814, 
stationed in the Chesapeake Bay. At the close of 
the war, having arrived at the age of fifteen, he was 
permitted to pursue the inclination of his own mind, 
and he immediately commenced the study of medi- 
cine. He first placed himself under the instruction 
of Dr. Luckey, of Ehzabethtown, in Pennsylvania, 
but soon removed to Baltimore, and entered the office 
of Dr. David ge, at that tune Professor of Anatomy 
in the University of Maryland. 

Here he pursued his studies with such diligence 
and zeal as to furnish, even at that early period, 
strong indications of future eminence. So indefati- 
gable was he in the acquisition of knowledge, that 
he left no opportunity of advancement unimproved, 
and notwithstanding the deficiencies of his prepara- 
tory education, he pressed forward with an energy 
and perseverance that enabled him not only to rival, 
but to surpass, all his fellows. 

As an evidence of the distinguished attainments he 
had made, and of the confidence reposed in his abi- 
lities, he was called to the chair of Anatomy in the 
University some time before he graduated, to supply 
the place of his preceptor, who was taken from the 
lectures in consequence of the fracture of a lower 
extremity. This situation he filled for several weeks 
with so much propriety, he lectured with so much 
enthusiasm and eloquence, his illustrations were so 
clear and hap])y, as to gain universal applause ; and 


at the time he was examined for his degree, the 
superiority of his mind as well as the extent and 
accuracy of his knowledge were so apparent, that 
he was marked by the professors of the University 
as one destined at some future period to confer high 
honor upon the profession. Upon this occasion a 
prize medal was awarded him for the best Latin 

After he graduated he settled at New Holland, in 
Pennsylvania, but soon left this situation and repaired 
to a small village in Anne, Arundel County, in his 
native State, and established himself as a practitioner 
of medicine. Here he entered on the active duties 
of his profession with the same energy and diligence 
which had distinguished him while a pupil, devoting 
all the hours he could spare to professional and other 
studies. It was at this time that he commenced the 
study of natural history, a science in which he be- 
came so distinguished an adept, and for which he ever 
after evinced so strong a passion. But the place was 
too hmited for the exercise of his powers ; and not 
finding all those advantages which he wished, for 
the cultivation of his favorite pursuits, he removed 
to Baltimore, where he could enjoy more ample 
opportunities for the study of Anatomy, which he 
justly regarded as the foundation of medical science. 

About this time he formed a connection by mar- 
riage ; an event which contributed equally to his do- 
mestic happiness and literary advancement. Soon 
after his marriage he removed to Philadelphia, but 
had scarcely settled in that city when he received a 


pressing invitation to accept the professorship of 
Anatomy in the Medical College of Ohio, an insti- 
tution then recently established. During his western 
tour, he encountered difficulties which would have 
broken down a spirit less energetic than his own ; 
but he bore up under his accumulated labors and 
privations with unshaken firmness and steady perse- 
verance. He however remained but one year, and 
returned to Philadelphia ; and here commenced that 
career of research and discovery which had laid the 
foundation for his future eminence. 

More ambitious of fame, and more eager for the 
acquisition of knowledge, than the accumulation of 
wealth. Dr. Godman, on settling at Philadelphia, ra- 
ther retired from the field of practice, that he might 
employ all his time, and exert all his powers, in sci- 
entific pursuits. He there found himself at once re- 
moved from the pitiful rivalries and jealousies of the 
profession, and placed in a situation in which he 
could enjoy the friendship, without alarming the fears, 
of his brethren. 

His main object was to make himself a thorough 
anatomist, and to qualify himself for teaching the 
science. To this end he opened a room, under the 
patronage of the University, for giving private de- 
monstrations ; and the first winter he drew around 
him a class of seventy students. He now found him- 
self occupying a field which furnished ample scope 
for the exertion of all his powers, as well as for the 
gratification of his highest ambition ; and it was 
while engaged in the discharge of the duties of this 


Station that the foundation was laid of that fatal dis- 
ease of which he died ; for so eager was he to ac- 
quire knowledge himself, as well as to impart it to 
those around him, that he would not only expose him- 
self to the foul atmosphere of the dissecting room 
during the whole day, but often subject himself to the 
severest toil for a considerable part of the night ; and 
the moments which were spared from his anatomical 
labors, instead of being spent in relaxation, or in ex- 
ercise in the open air for the benefit of his health, 
were employed in composing papers for the medical 
journals, in copying the results of his anatomical and 
physiological investigations, in preparing parts of his 
natural history, or in carrying on other hterary and 
scientific studies. It is impossible that a constitution 
naturally delicate, could long remain unimpaired un- 
der such strenuous and unremitting exertion. 

After Dr. Godman had prosecuted his Anatomical 
studies in Philadelphia, for four or five years, his 
reputation as an Anatomist became so generally 
known, his fame so widely extended, that the eyes of 
the profession were directed to him from every part 
of the country ; and in 1 826, he was called to fill the 
chair of Anatomy in Rutgers' Medical College, es- 
tablished in the city of New York. There could 
scarcely have been a stronger testimony of the high 
estimation in which he was held, or of his reputation 
as a teacher of Anatomy, than in his appointment to 
this station ; an institution around which several of 
the most eminent professors of the country had 
already been ralhed, and which was called into ex- 


istence under circumstances of rivalry that demanded 
the highest qualifications in its instructors. This in- 
stitution, as well as every other in which he had been 
placed, he sustained with a popularity almost unpa- 
ralleled. He never exhibited in pubhc but he gather- 
ed around him an admiring audience, who hung with 
delight upon his lips. But the duties of the chair, 
together with his other scientific pursuits, were too 
arduous, and the climate too rigorous, for a consti- 
tution already subdued by labor, and broken by dis- 
ease ; and before he had completed his second course 
of lectures, he was compelled to retire from the 
school, and seek a residence in a milder climate. 

He repaired with his family to one of the West 
India islands, and remained till the approach of sum- 
mer, when he returned and settled in Germantown. 
In this place, and in Philadelphia, he spent the re- 
sidue of his life, mainly by the strong sohcitations of 
Drs. Mott, Francis and Hosack. 

From the time Dr. Godman left New York his 
disease advanced with such a steady pace as to leave 
but little hope, either to himself or his friends, of 
his final recovery. He, however, continued almost 
'to the last week of his hfe to toil in his literary and 
scientific employments ; and this too, with all that 
ardor and enthusiasm which distinguished the more 
youthful part of his career. 

But for what purpose did he thus toil ? Not for 
the acquisition of wealth, for this he could not enjoy ; 
not for posthumous fame, for this he did not desire. 
It was, a^ he affectingly tells us, for tlie more noble 


purpose, the support of his family, and the good of 
his fellow creatures. 

The productions of Dr. Godman's pen, and the 
fruits of his labors, are too numerous to be specified. 
Among them will be found ' Anatomical Investiga- 
tions, comprising a description of various Fasciae of 
the human body' — ' An account of some irregula- 
rities of structure and morbid Anatomy' — ' Contribu- 
tions to Physiological and Pathological Anatomy' — 
' A system of Natural History of American Quadru- 
peds' — ' An edition of Bell's Anatomy with Notes' — 
' Rambles of a Naturalist' — several articles on Natu- 
ral History for the American Encyclopedia — beside 
numerous papers which have appeared in the peri- 
odical journals of the day. At one time he was the 
principal editor of the ' Philadelphia Journal of the 
Medical Sciences.' Some time before his death he 
published a volume of addresses which he had deli- 
vered on different public occasions. 

Most of these admired productions have been be- 
fore the public for a considerable time ; and have 
been received with high approbation, and several of 
them favorably noticed, and even republished in fo- 
reign countries. 

Those of his works which are purely medical have 
been read with great interest by the profession, and 
contain much new and valuable information. His 
investigation of the fasciae of the human body, and 
his description of the intricate parts of the animal 
structure, while they disclose some important disco- 
veries which he made, exhibit the whole subject in 


a manner so plain and simple as to divest it of its 
obscurity and bring it to the comprehension of the 
youngest student ; — a subject which, till his research- 
es had been made known, was but litde understood, 
even by the best anatomists. His contributions, also, 
to the physiological and pathological anatomy, though 
but the scattered fragments of a great work which 
he had designed, contained discoveries and observa- 
tions which will be read with the deepest interest 
by the inquirer after truth. Of his works not imme- 
diately connected with the profession, his Natural 
History of the American Quadrupeds is the most 
elaborate, and is published in three volumes. This 
production will long remain a splendid monument of 
the genius and industry of its author, and be regard- 
ed as a model of composition for works of this de- 
scription. It should have a place upon every table 
in the family, and be put into the hands of all the 
youths of our country. Among the latest produc- 
tions of his pen are his essays entitled Rambles of a 
Naturalist, which were written in the intervals of 
extreme pain and debility. For strong, hvely, and 
accurate descriptions, they have scarcely been sur- 
passed. He always came to his subject as an inves- 
tigator of facts — one who had nothing to learn, but 
every thing to discover ; and like the celebrated Buf- 
fon, never availed himself of the labor of others till 
he had exhausted his own resources. It was this 
spirit which enabled him to discover so many new 
truths, and which gave to all his works the stamp 
of originahty. The value which he placed on origi- 


nal observations, as well as the zeal with which he 
sought information from this source, may be learned 
from a single fact, ' that in investigating the habits 
of a common shrew mole, he walked many hundred 

The volume of his public addresses has been greatly 
admired for the pure and elevated sentiments they 
contain, as well as for their high wrought eloquence, 
in which respect they rank among the finest compo- 
sitions in our language. 

But his public works constituted but a part of the 
labors of his pen ; and many things which he sent 
forth were only fragments of a great system, or the 
commencement of future researches. He had form- 
ed vast plans for prosecuting new investigations in 
various departments of science, which he did not hve 
to accomplish. 

Though he wrote with great rapidity, and some- 
times without much care, yet all his works bear the 
impress of a mind naturally vigorous, bold and ori- 
ginal, and much disposed to draw from its own re- 
sources ; and most of them are written in a style of 
great elegance and beauty. 

Dr. Godman's intellectual character was very extra- 
ordinary. He possessed naturally all the characteris- 
tic features of a mind of the highest order. Natural- 
ly bold, ardent and enterprising, he never stopped to 
calculate consequences so far as they regarded him- 
self; but rushed forward with impetuosity to perform 
whatever he undertook. Great and lofty intellectual 
purposes seemed to be die natural element in which 



he lived. His perception was quick and accurate, 
his memory exceedingly retentive, and he possessed 
an uncommon facility of abstracting his attention 
from surrounding objects, and of concentrating all 
his powers upon the subject of his pursuits. It was 
this latter trait of mind, no doubt, which gave such 
effect to all his efibrts : while he was indebted to the 
power of his memory for the remarkable facility he 
possessed of acquiring languages ; for although his 
early education had been exceedingly limited, he had 
acquired such a knowledge of the Latin, Greek, 
French, German, Danish, Spanish and Italian lan- 
guages, as to read and translate them with elegance. 
His quick and discriminating powers of observation 
naturally inclined him to notice the habits and eco- 
nomy of animals, and gave him taste for the study of 
natural history. 

But the most striking character of his mind was 
undoubtedly philosophical imagination. It was this 
trait which conferred upon him such powers of de- 
scription and illustration, and imparted freshness and 
splendor to every thing he touched. All his concep- 
tions were strong, clear, and original, and he possess- 
ed the power of holding before him whatever object 
engaged his attention, till all its parts and relations 
were brought to view. By those who have listened 
to his extemporaneous discourses, it is said that 
while he was speaking, a thousand images seemed 
to cluster around the subject, and that he had just 
time to select such as imparted beauty, or furnished the 
happiest illustration of tiie object he wished to ex- 


plain. Yet, while he possessed all this richness and 
fertility of mind, taste and judgment ever controlled 
its operations. 

He was a laborious and untiring student, and pos- 
sessed in a high degree the requisites of all true in- 
tellectual greatness, — the habit of patient investiga- 
tion, long continued attention, and a singular love of 
labor. ' How often,' says one to whom he unbosom- 
ed the secrets of his heart, ' have I entreated him, 
while poring half the night over his books and pa- 
pers, which were to yield him nothing but empty 
honors — how often have I begged him to consider his 
health ; but his ambition and thirst for knowledge 
were such, that, having commenced an investigation, 
or a language, no difficulty could stop him ; and 
what he had no time to accomplish in the day he 
would do at night, instead of enjoying that rest of 
which he stood so much in need.' 

It has been truly and happily said by one who knew 
him intimately, that his eagerness in the pursuit of 
knowledge seemed like the impulse of gnawing hun- 
ger and an unquenchable thirst, which neither ad- 
versity nor disease could allay. Variety of occupa- 
tions was the only relaxation which he sought for or 
desire. d 

He composed wirh rapidity, but not without a 
high degree of intellectual excitement, and the most 
abstracted attention. Under such an influence some 
of his best essays were sent to the press as they first 
came from his pen, without the smallest correction. 

Considering the defects of his early education, his 


acquisitions, for his years, were astonishingly great. 
Indeed, there were but few subjects of general lite- 
rature with which he was not, more or less, ac- 

But it was his accurate knowledge of Anatomy 
and Physiology, and his uncommon power of teach- 
ing these branches of medicine, which gave him his 
strongest claims to our regard as a man of science ; 
and had his life and health been prolonged so as to 
have directed the whole energy of his mind to the 
cultivation of this department of our profession, we 
have reason to beheve that he would have laid open 
new sources of knowledge, discovered new laws, and 
reduced to order those scattered materials already 
known, and that the whole study would thus have 
been simplified and enriched by his labors. 

His method of teaching Anatomy was entirely 
analytical ; and, in this respect, pecuhar : that he 
performed all his dissections in the presence of his 
class, demonstrating th edifferent part of the animal 
structure in succession, as they were unfolded by the 
knife. But this method, however well suited to a 
private class in a dissecting room, causes too much 
confusion and delay to be practiced with success 
while lecturing by one less dexterous and skillful than 
its author himself 

Dr. Godman in his manners was plain, simple and 
unostentatious ; yet he possessed that warmth and 
affability which rendered him accessible to all, and 
the delight of the social circle. 


His feelings in every thing were ardent and decid- 
ed. He was devotedly attached to his friends ; to- 
wards his enemies he was impatient, and felt keenly 
their revilings. In his conversation he was fluent, 
and though unstudied, often brilliant, and always full 
of point and power. 

When we consider the circumstances under which 
Dr. Godman made his way to the profession, and 
afterwards prosecuted his studies, the multiplicity of 
objects which he carried forward, and the honor he 
conferred on every department of science which he 
touched ; when we consider the power of his intel- 
lect, the versatility of his genius, and the intensity of 
his application, we cannot but regard him as alto- 
gether an extraordinary personage, — such an one as 
has seldom been permitted to dwell among men, to 
share their sympatliies, and mingle in their elevated 

In view of his intellectual character, I cannot with- 
hold the just and elegant tribute which fell from the 
pen of that distinguished scholar and gentleman, 
Robert Walsh, Esq., at the time of Dr. Godman 's 
decease ; one who, above most others, knew his 

' The tributes,' says he, ' which have been paid in 
the newspapers to the late Dr. Godman, were espe- 
cially due to the memory of a man so variously gift- 
ed by nature, and so nobly distinguished by industry 
and zeal in the acquisition and advancement of 
science. He did not enjoy early opportunities of 


self improvement, but he cultivated his talents as he 
approached manhood, with a degree of ardor and 
success which supphed all deficiencies ; and he finally 
became one of the most accomplished general scho- 
lars and linguists, acute and erudite naturalists, ready, 
pleasing, and instructive lecturers and writers of his 
country and era. The principal subject of his study 
was Anatomy, in its main branches, in which he ex- 
celled in every respect. His attention was much di- 
rected also to Physiology, Pathology, and Natural 
History, with an aptitude and efficiency abundantly 
proved by the merits of his published works, which 
we need not enumerate. 

We do not recollect to have known any individu- 
al who inspired us with more respect for his intellect 
and heart than Dr. Godman ; to whom knowledge 
and discovery appeared more abstractedly precious ; 
whose eye shed more of the lustre of generous and 
enhghtened enthusiasm ; whose heart retained more 
vivid and sympathetic feelings amid professional labor 
and responsibility, always severe and urgent. 

Considering the decline of his health, for a long 
period, and the pressure of adverse circumstances, 
which, he too frequently experienced, he performed 
prodigies as a student, an author, and a teacher ; he 
prosecuted extensive and diversified researches ; com- 
posed superior disquisitions and reviews, and large 
and valuable volumes; and in the great number of 
topics which he handled simultaneously, or in im- 
mediate succession, he touched none without doing 


himself credit, and producing some new develop- 
ment of light, or happy forms of expression. 

He hngered for years under consumption of the 
lungs ; understood fully the incurableness of his me- 
lancholy state, spoke and acted with an unfeigned 
and beautiful resignation ; toiled at his desk till the 
last day of his thirty-fourth year, still glowing with 
the love of science and the domestic affections. The 
reputation, the writings, and family, of this victim of 
the most exalted ambitiori and refined propensities, 
should be greatly and widely cherished.' 

But there remains another view to be taken of Dr. 
Godman, to which I have made no allusion ; I refer 
to his moral and religious character. 

Dr. Sewall then goes on and occupies twelve 
pages in describing the religious views of this emi- 
nent young physician, who was thus cut off in the 
midst of his usefulness. My limits will not allow me 
to transcribe it. Suffice it to say, that in early life he 
embraced the philosophical and religious opinions of 
the French Naturalists of the last century, many of 
whom were deists and atheists. An incident which 
occurred at the dying bed of a medical student, in- 
duced him to search the scriptures, by doing, which 
he became thoroughly convinced of the truth of 
Christianity. Ever after this he adhered to the te- 
nets of the orthodox portion of the christian world. 
He promulgated and dwelt upon these doctrines with 
as much zeal, and with as great an alacrity and fervor, 
as he devoted to the sciences which he so ardently 


loved. He died in the fullest assurance that he should 
become a participator of the joys of the blessed in 
the regions of the happy, where the just are made 
perfect. And who can doubt that his hopes are ful- 
ly reahzed ? 

Dr. Josiah Goodhue. The following notice of 
this distinguished physician is from an address which 
I delivered by request before the Medical class in the 
Berkshire Medical Institution, of which the deceased 
was President, Nov. 20th, 1829. 

Permit me, Gentlemen of the Faculty, and of the 
Class, to make a few remarks upon a subject of deep 
and solemn interest to our institution. I refer to the 
lamented death of our distinguished and venerable 
President, Dr. Josiah Goodhue, who expired on the 
9th of September, 1829, soon after the commence- 
ment of our present course of Lectures. On this 
occasion, I presume it will not be deemed imperti- 
nent for a younger brother to weep upon his tomb, 
and humbly speak his praise. 

Gentlemen, within one short year the medical pro- 
fession in America has sustained a loss which many 
succeeding years cannot repair. Before the year 
1828 had run its round we were called to mourn the 
loss of Dr. Wright Post, of New York, one of the 
most eminent Surgeons our country has ever seen. 
His eulogy has been spoken by his worthy colleague 
in Rutgers College, Dr. Mott. Warmly as I was at- 
tached to Dr. Post, any farther observations from me 
would be superfluous. Scarcely had the year 1829 


would be superfluous. Scarcely had the year 1829 
commenced its revolution, than I, too, was called to 
meet the severest domestic calamity of my life, in 
the death of my dearly beloved father, whom I must 
be permitted to say, was one of our most eminent 
physicians. I have already published- his biography 
in the Med. Communications of the Mass. Med. So- 
ciety, vol. 4, part 6, 1829. See also a notice of him 
in another part of this work. Yet on the subject of 
his decease, and on this occasion, 

' 'Tis meet that I should mourn, 
Flow forth afresh my tears.' 

We had no sooner consigned the remains of my 
dearly beloved parent to the cold and dreary man- 
sions of the tomb, than the melancholy intelligence 
of the death of Dr. Nathan Smith, New England's 
pride and ornament in the profession of medicine, 
reached our ears. His life and character are too 
well known to need any encomium from me in this 
place. His cotemporaries and posterity will do 
ample justice to his memory. Soon followed the 
distinguished and venerable Dr. Holyoke, whose life 
was prolonged to more than one hundred years, the 
learned Dr. Gorham, and the eminent Dr. Coffin. 
While yet their funeral knell was sounding in our 
ears, the melancholy news of the death of Dr. Bur- 
bank, our former worthy colleague in this institution, 
was announced. Next followed Dr. Davidge, Pro- 
fessor of Anatomy in the University of Maryland. 
Last, though not least, our venerable and worthy 
President, Dr. Josiah Goodhue, has been called to 


taste the bitter cup of death, and the clod of the 
valley now rests upon his bosom. 

Thus in the space of about nine months, nine of 
the most distinguished physicians in the United States 
have bowed beneath the all-conquering sword of 
death. Five of them had been Professors in our 
most celebrated Medical Colleges, and all of them 
held high and eminent stations in the profession of 
medicine. Many of them died in the midst of tlieir 

To exhibit the character of Dr. Goodhue it is ne- 
cessary to give a brief sketch of his hfe. He was 
son of the Rev. Josiah Goodhue, and was born at 
Dunstable, Middlesex county, Massachusetts, January 
17th, 1759. He early devoted himself to study, and 
entered Harvard University about the commencement 
of our revolutionary struggle. Owing to the disturb- 
ances of the revolution, the doors of the University 
were closed, and collegiate exercises suspended. He 
returned home, and owing to a white swelhng upon 
one of his knees, he was sent to Dr. Kittredge of 
Fakesbury, for advice. He placed himself under his 
care a few weeks, and afterwards commenced the 
study of Physic and Surgery with him, and continued 
with him two years, the customary period of medical 
pupilage at that time. He then returned to Putney, 
in Vermont, where his parents then resided, and com- 
menced the practice of his profession, under many 
discouragements, at about the age of twenty years. 
The fame of Dr. Kittredge as a bonesetter and sur- 
gical operator was extensively known, as has been 


that of their name in New England for a series of 
years, and it enabled our novitiate soon to receive 
the confidence of the pubhc ; and a successful opera- 
tion, of minor importance, in one of the neighboring 
towns, soon introduced him into business. 

It was now, as we may say, that Dr. Goodhue be- 
gan to lay the foundation of his future usefulness. 
The standard of medical education at this time, in 
the country, was extremely low. While with Dr. 
Kittredge he had not the advantage and privilege of 
resorting to many books. Dr. Kittredge was a man 
of strong powers of mind, but his faculties were un- 
cultivated, and he depended more upon his own re- 
sources than the opinion of professional writers. His 
medical library, I am told, did not consist of more 
than half a dozen volumes. Great, then, must have 
been the embarrassments of Dr. Goodhue at the 
commencement of his practice, from his want of the- 
oretical knowledge. He was determined to over- 
come this deficiency, by procuring and thoroughly 
studying all the latest and best professional authorities 
which could be obtained in our country ; and this 
course he adopted and pursued to the close of his 
valuable hfe. And this course, gentlemen, is the only 
one by which you can become in any way useful or 
eminent in your profession. To me it is a subject of 
wonder and astonishment, how so many of our phy- 
sicians succeed in obtaining business who commence 
the practice of their profession with ten or a dozen 
volumes, and scarcely ever increase their hbraries 
during the course of their lives. It appears to me 


their reputation with the multitude must be sustained 
by a kind of empiricism. I can hardly conceive how 
a practitioner of medicine, however well qualified he 
might be at the commencement of his practice, can 
keep pace with the great and important improve- 
ments in our profession, without a knowledge of 
which he ought not to attempt to practice it, unless 
he procures and studies at least ten or a dozen vol- 
umes of the latest and best authorities every year of 
his hfe. Even were the science of medicine stationa- 
ry as mathematics, there would not be much less ne- 
cessity of resorting frequently to books. The human 
mind is so constituted, and the memory is so treache- 
rous and evanescent, that unless we are constantly 
stimulating them by application to books, we are apt 
to lose what we have once acquired. Dr. Rush ob- 
serves : ' It is no uncommon thing to find an old phy- 
sician (from his neglect of books) more ignorant than 
he was when he commenced the practice of his pro- 

It was by great industry that Dr. Goodhue was soon 
enabled to obtain an extensive patronage, and his 
practice extended widely in Vermont, New Hamp- 
shire, and even in Massachusetts. The first capital 
operation he ever performed, which was that of am- 
putating a leg, he performed without ever having 
seen it done before, and he was guided only by his 
books ; and this was the case with most of his suc- 
ceeding operations. How diflTerent were his facilities 
for procuring information from what young physi- 


cians of the present day possess. Now our lecture 
rooms are open, and every operation which it is ever 
necessary to perform upon the human body, is shown 
the student upon the subject, and every step of the 
operation is pointed out and made famiHar to him. 
Yet industry and apphcation hke his knew no bounds. 
Whatever he willed to do, that he performed. Like 
Franklin he resolved to be eminent and useful, and 
like Franklin he conquered. Now it was that stu- 
dents flocked to him from various parts of the coun- 
try, many of whom in the course of their practice 
became useful and eminent physicians. Among his 
early pupils we must not forget the name of Dr. 
Nathan Smith, almost the father of surgery in the 
interior of New England, and founder of the Medi- 
cal Institution connected with Dartmouth College, 
in New Hampshire, one of the oldest and most re- 
spectable in our country. 

In the year 1800, in consequence of his high at- 
tainments and respectable standing in the profession, 
the Faculty of Dartmouth College conferred upon 
him the highest medical honor which can be granted 
to any physician, viz., the honorary degree of Doctor 
of Medicine. 

So exclusively were his time and attention devot- 
ed to his profession that he never coveted or accept- 
ed any important office in state or town. He was 
once elected a Representative in the State Legisla- 
ture, and attended as a member of that assembly one 
session. For a great number of years he was elect- 


ed President of the Windham County Medical Socie- 
ty of the State of Vermont, called the Vermont Se- 
cond Medical Society. 

In the year 1803, in order to extend his sphere of 
usefulness, he removed from Putney to Chester in 
Vermont, where he remained, enjoying the unlimited 
confidence of his patrons and of his professional 
brethren, till the year 1816, when, beginning to feel 
the infirmities of age, from excessive professional 
duty, and in some measure to curtail his business, 
and practice in a more level country, he sought the 
pleasant valley of the Connecticut, and located him- 
self at Hadley, in Massachusetts. Here, too, his fame 
extended itself, and he was soon engaged in exten- 
sive and lucrative practice, enjoying also here the 
entire approbation of his patrons and his brother 
physicians. He continued his practice until declining 
health rendered it necessary for him entirely to relin- 
quish it. I have often met him in consultation, and 
shall not soon forget the pleasure and instruction it 
afforded me. 

In the year 1823, he was appointed by the Trus- 
tees, President of the Berkshire Medical Institution ; 
and with what fidelity and zeal he executed the duties 
of his oflice, this board and faculty can answer. No- 
thing but declining healtli and a painful disorder, 
which rendered travelling irksome, prevented his an- 
nually attending, addressing the graduates, and con- 
ferring the degrees. To show how much he was 
attached to the interests of this school, suffer me to 


extract his concluding remarks from the address al- 
ready quoted. 

' Forty-five years of laborious practice in my pro- 
fession have whitened my head, and brought on the 
evening of my hfe. It has, for many years, been my 
delight to see young men, v^^ell stored with medical 
knowledge, coming forward in the world ; and it has 
always given me much pleasure to be, in any mea- 
sure, instrumental in promoting their usefulness. And 
while I have the honor to preside in this Institution, 
it shall be the business of my declining years to pro- 
mote its interests in every way in my power.' 

A year or two before his decease, he requested that 
he might be continued the President of this Institu- 
tion so long as he hved, whether he should be able 
to meet us any more or not ; a request which was 
most readily granted. 

Dr. Goodhue was strongly impressed with the im- 
portance of the value of time. His industrious ha- 
bits led him to be extremely punctual in his atten- 
dance upon the sick, and that he might not encroach 
upon the time of his brethren in consultation, he was 
strenuous in urging them to be punctual at the ap- 
pointed hour. He once told me that in nearly fifty 
years practice he had never varied half an hour from 
the time he engaged in consultations. H,e was as 
punctual in paying a debt as he was in his consul- 

Few men in the country ever had a more extensive 
practice in operative Surgery. I am sorry I am not 


able to procure a list of all his capital operations, I 
believe he kept such an account. In one of my con- 
sultations with him he told me that he had trepanned 
upwards of forty times, and operated for strangulated 
hernia more than forty times. His operations in the 
other branches of a capital nature were equally ex- 
tensive. Except the delicate operations on the eye, 
and lithotomy, he performed almost every other ope- 
ration. He has stated, that so far as he knew, he 
was the first to amputate at the shoulder joint, of any 
man in New England. In deciding upon a capital 
operation, he always leaned to the side of prudence 
and caution. 

His success as a practitioner of medicine was cer- 
tainly very great ; but with great modesty and equal 
truth, he was in the habit of attributing this to his 
untiring attention to his patients. Nothing is more 
gratifying than such attentions, nothing endears a 
physician so much to his friends, and nothing gives 
him so great an opportunity to improve himself in 
the symptoms of disease, and the successful opera- 
tion of remedies. From this very circumstance, no 
class of men, not even clergymen, enjoy so much the 
confidence and esteem of their fellow men, and are 
so much beloved as faithful physicians. I am not 
acquainted with any peculiarities in his practice, 
either in medicine or surgery. From his constant 
habit of procuring and studying the latest and best 
professional writers, I am satisfied he kept up with 
the improvements in our profession, and that he so far 
adopted tlie system of the moderns as they appeared 


to be in accordance with his judgment. But he was 
never hasty in adopting the theory of any one, be- 
cause it was the fashion ; for medicine has its fash- 
ions as well as other things. He has mentioned that 
in the course of his practice the fashion of bleeding 
and reducing, and its opposite, the stimulant plan, 
had been in and out of fashion at least five times. 
He believed, as many of us believe and practice, 
that the middle course is the safest. He never could 
subscribe to the doctrine that every pain the patient 
felt was an inflammation, and that consequently the 
lancet or leeching must be resorted to. This doc- 
trine, in my opinion, is now exerting a most perni- 
cious influence upon the practice of too many of our 
physicians, particularly in chronic diseases. 

The lancet is the besom which is sweeping our 
country with fearful devastation. Acute diseases are 
made chronic by it, and chronic diseases are running 
into dropsies and incurable debility. When I see the 
wide spread havoc which is made with this little in- 
strument, I am almost induced to adopt the practice 
of that eminent physician. Dr. Danforth, and never 
bleed in any case. Let no one suppose from the 
above observations that 1 approve of extremes in 
either case ; it is the abuse, and not the judicious use, 
of the lancet to which we object. 

I am sorry to say that Dr. Goodhue has not favor- 
ed the world with many of the productions of his 
pen. It is much to be regretted that so many men 
of eminence and extensive practice should withhold 
from the public the result of their experience and 


observations. These would be invaluable legacies to 
their successors. He once published in one of our 
medical journals a case of broken skull, where a por- 
tion of the brain escaped, and die child recovered. 
He likewise published a paper in the Medical Recor- 
der, containing an account of his method of reducing 
and retaining in place a fractured thigh. His Inau- 
gural Address to the graduates of this Institution was 
published, and it evinces much talent in him as a 
writer, and does great credit to his head and heart. 

Dr. Goodhue was extremely temperate in his man- 
ner of living. He retired early at night, and rose 
early in the morning : in consequence of which, with 
a feeble constitution, he was enabled to attain the 
good old age of ' three score years and ten.^ For 
many years he entirely abstained from the use of spi- 
rituous liquors, adding another to the list of physi- 
cians who have lent their names and example to the 
suppression of that vice which has been so great an 
opprobium to the medical profession. At the time 
of its early adoption, he subscribed the constitution 
of the temperance society of the town where he re- 
sided. A long time since he abandoned the use of 
tobacco, to which in former years he was immoderate- 
ly attached. He substituted for it a crust of bread, 
which he always carried in his pocket. Previous to 
performing a surgical operation he was in the habit 
of putting a lump of sugar into his mouth to excite 
and moisten the salivary glands. 

He married early in life, and reared a family of 
eight highly respectable children, four sons and four 


daughters, five of whom survive to mourn his irrepa- 
rable loss. Two of his sons studied the profession 
of medicine. One of them died in Alabama, where 
he was engaged in extensive practice, about three 
years since. The other graduated at the Medical 
School in New Haven, this fall, after having attended 
a course of lectures in this Institution, and is now es- 
tablishing himself as a practitioner of medicine and 
surgery in Upper Canada. His oldest surviving 
daughter married Dr. Twitchell, of Keene, who is 
one of the most distinguished surgeons in New 

In his manner. Dr. Goodhue was a pattern of ur- 
banity and gentility. In his appearance and dress 
he was perfectly neat. He commanded the respect 
and esteem of all who knew him. In his deportment 
he was affable and polite to his equals and inferiors ; 
his conversational talents were of such an order as 
ever to attract attention, and he was always listened 
to with great interest and respect. 

He was always a moral and religious man. Early 
in hfe he connected himself with the church in Put- 
ney, and in the latter part of it he devoted an unusu- 
al share of his attention to the study of the Bible and 
of theological works, with which his library abound- 
ed. Whatever might have been his religious views, 
it cannot be doubted that he sought the truth with an 
earnest desire to obtain it, and we hope he is now 
enjoying the rewards of the blessed in the bosom of 
his Father and his God. 

Dr. Twitchell, at whose house he expired, has fa- 


vored me with the following account of his closing 
scene : ' Dr. Goodhue's last sickness was a disease 
of the urinary organ, or rather of the prostate 
gland. He had occasionally been afflicted- with pains 
in those parts for fifteen years. He gradually wore 
down with the pain usually attending such com- 
plaints. A few of the last weeks of his life he had 
to resort to the use of the catheter as often as once 
in three hours. He retained his senses perfectly to 
the last. A few moments before he expired, he re- 
quested a prayer to be read, which he composed some 
little time before, for the occasion ; after which he 
called upon all of us present to bear witness that he 
died without fear, and full in the faith he had long 

Such, gentlemen of the Faculty and of the Class, 
is a brief and very imperfect sketch of our venerable 
friend and illustrious President. May his example sti- 
mulate us to increased exertion and untiring indus- 
try in the pursuits of that professional knowledge 
which he so long cultivated with so much reputation, 
and with such ardent zeal, for the melioration of the 
condition of his fellow beings. 

Dr. Ralph Gowdey. Dr. J. A. Allen of Middle- 
bury, Vt., in the Boston Medical and Sur. Jour, of 
July, 1840, in his memoir of Dr. Gowdey, says, ' So- 
ciety is seldom called to mourn the death of an indi- 
vidual whose loss will be more felt than that of him 
who is the subject of diis memoir. As a man, a phy- 


sician and a friend, Dr. Gowdey was most esteemed 
by those by whom he was best known. 

At an early age he received the hterary honors of 
Middlebury College. Soon after the completion of 
his collegiate course he removed to the State of 
Georgia, where he engaged for several years as an 
instructor. The climate, however, having ultimately 
an unfavorable effect upon his health, he returned to 
Vermont, and shortly after commenced the study of 
medicine. In the year 1825 he received the degree 
of Doctor of Medicine. Soon after this he com- 
menced the study of Physic in Rutland, Vermont, 
where he continued to the close of 18213, when he 
removed to Middlebury, his native place. From this 
time till his death, he steadily gained the confidence 
of the community as an lionest man and a good phy- 

As a scholar Dr. Gowdey ranked high. His mind 
was well cultivated and properly balanced. In his 
deportment he was gentlemanly, unassuming and un- 
ostentatious. He read much, reflected much, and re- 
membered what he read. In ordinary conversation 
he was aifable, intelligent and interesting, so that a 
person could rarely be in his society for any consi- 
derable time without becoming interested and de- 
lighted. For public speaking and debate he had no 

At an early period of his professional course, he 
may have been influenced to a considerable degree 
by certain specious and promising theories, ardently 
advocated at some of our medical schools, but his 


natural and discriminating mind, aided by experience 
and observation, enabled him to discern fallacies. 
This circumstance, in lieu of giving him a disgust 
and a disrelish for medical literature, as it has often 
done others, served to give an augmented impulse 
to his energies. He was led the more carefully to 
examine authorities, and ponder them in his own 
mind more thoroughly. And hence, his professional 
opinions were based upon sound pathological princi- 
ples. Being thus formed, they were entitled to re- 
spect and attention. He was strictly a pathological, 
not a routine, practitioner. 

He was well acquainted with modern pathology, 
and with the general circle of the medical sciences. 
And if the inscrutable hand of Providence had not 
prevented, he would unquestionably have given full 
assurance that his recent appointment to the impor- 
tant Professorship in the Vermont Academy of Medi- 
cine had been judiciously made. He possessed more 
than ordinary taste for the study of intellectual phi- 
losophy. To this science he devoted considerable 
attention, and upon this subject he has left several 
essays unpublished. The direct tendency which phre- 
nology has to explain the history of the mind, led 
him to cultivate this science also with much interest. 
Upon this subject a considerable number of papers 
have been published, generally known to have been 
his productions. 

In his intercourse with his medical brethren he was 
frank and honorable. This secured for him the uni- 
versal respect of tlie profession. The estimation in 


which he was holden by the pubhc was evinced by 
his twice being elected a member of the General 
Assembly of the State without any solicitation or 
management of his own. On this occasion he was 
elected because he was the least objectionable and 
most popular. Office he sought not, but office sought 
him. As a legislator he more than equalled the ex- 
pectations of his constituents. His qualifications for 
a statesman are clearly shown by the journals of the 
sessions. No exceptions ought to be taken, and it is 
certainly no disparagement to any one to say, that 
some of the most important papers of each session 
were from his pen. Especially may be noticed the 
report of the committee on the public lands ; and also 
that of the committee in relation to the geological 
survey of the State. This latter, in a particular man- 
ner, is drawn up with much abihty, and is distinguished 
for being a plain and practical document, which will 
undoubtedly receive ultimately the sanction of the 
Legislature, and be carried into effisct. 

Some years since. Dr. Gowdey became a hopeful 
convert of Christianity, and made a public profession 
of his faith by uniting with the Congregational 
church. It is said, of the great and solemn realities 
of rehgion he never doubted. As a Christian, he 
was uniform and consistent. With him the practical 
exhibition of the cross was an every day concern. 
This secured for him an uncommon degree of calm- 
ness and equanimity. His confident assurance of the 
goodness and mercy of God sustained him, when, 
some time since, a beloved wife and dear child were 


taken from him by death. On these occasions he 
experienced severe trials. Speaking, a httle while 
afterwards, to a friend on the circumstances of die 
profession, he remarked : ' I believe the trials and 
sufferings of a physician, on these events, are greater 
than those of any other profession. On all occasions 
when we are unable to afford relief, or mitigate the 
sufferings of the sick and dying, a wound must be 
given to our sympathies and sensibilities ; but when 
the object of our anxieties and solicitude is a wife 
and child, the distress is doubly augmented.' ' When,' 
continued he, ' my dying wife reached her trembling 
hand, and directed her anxious eye, towards me for 
help, and I was unable to afibrd any, my feehngs can 
better be imagined than described. None but those 
who have been similarly situated can have any idea 
of the anguish which must thus rend the heart of a 
humane physician.' 

One of the essential traits of character which he 
required his pupils to possess was to be humane, to 
sympathize with the afflicted. This trait of charac- 
ter the subject of this memoir possessed in an emi- 
nent degree. In him it was not the rash, impetuous 
emotions of a burst of sympathy, but it was a native 
inherent principle, cultivated by science and reason, 
and controlled by religion. These influences render- 
ed him calm and composed through a trying, painful 
and protracted illness. And these rendered his last 
moments serene and unmoved. When in the full 
view of immediate death, he was addressed by a 
warm hearted visitant, in the pure language of com- 


passion and sympathy, ' Doctor, I am sorry to see you 
in such trouble,' he calmly replied, ' / cmi not in trou- 
ble, I am happy.'' These were his last words. He 
has left a widowed mother, an only sister, and a 
daughter, yet too young to appreciate her father's 
excellencies, and the irreparable loss she has sustain- 
ed. To his friends, and it is believed he had no 
enemies, it is a pleasing consideration, that his sun, 
setting at noon-day, should have descended in such 
glorious triumph. Death to him had lost its sting. 
The grave obtained no victory. He died on the 13th 
of June, 1840, in the 38th year of his age. 

Doctor Lyman Hall, one of the signers of the 
Declaration of Independence, was a native of Con- 
necticut, where he was born about the year 1731. 
After receiving a collegiate education, and having 
acquired a competent knowledge of the theory and 
practice of medicine, he removed in 1752 to South 
Carolina. He was induced, however, during the 
same year to remove to Georgia, where he establish- 
ed himself in Sunbury, in the district of Medway. 
In this place he continued attending to the duties of 
his profession until the commencement of the revo- 
lutionary contest. 

On the arrival of this important crisis in the histo- 
ry of the colonies, the patriotism of Dr. Hall became 
greatly excited, to the interests and dangers of his 
country. He perceived that the approaching storm 
must necessarily be severe ; but, with the kindred 


spirits of the north, he was determined to meet it with 
patriotic firmness and resolution. Having accepted 
of a situation in the parish of St. Johns, which was a 
frontier settlement, both his person and property were 
exposed to great danger from his proximity to the 
Creek Indians and to the royal province of Florida. 

The parish of St. Johns, at an early period of the 
contest, entered with great spirit into the general op- 
position of the country against Great Britain, while 
a majority of the inhabitants of Georgia entertained 
different sentiments. So widely different were the 
views and feelings of the people of this parish from 
those of the inhabitants of the province generally, 
that an almost entire separation took place between 

In July, 1774, the friends of liberty held a general 
meeting at Savannah, where Dr. Hall appeared as a 
representative of the parish of St. Johns. The mea- 
sures, however, adopted at that time, fell far short of 
the wishes both of this patriot and his constituents. 
In January, 1 775, another meeting was held at Sa- 
vannah, at which it was agreed to petition the king 
for a redress of grievances, and for relief from the 
arbitrary acts of the British ministry. 

The parish of St. Johns, dissatisfied with the tem- 
porizing policy of the Savannah convention, in the 
following month made application to the Committee 
of Correspondence in Charleston, South Carolina, 
to form an alliance with them, by which their trade 
and commerce should be conducted on the principles 
of the non-miporting association. The patriotic views 


and feelings of this independent people were highly- 
applauded by the committee, but they found them- 
selves under the necessity, by the rules of the con- 
tinental association, of declining the alliance. 

Upon receiving this denial the inhabitants of St. 
Johns agreed to pursue such independent measures 
as the patriotic principles they had adopted should 
appear to justify. Accordingly, they resolved not to 
purchase slaves imported into Savannah, nor to hold 
commercial intercourse with that city, nor with the 
surrounding parishes, unless for the necessaries of 
hfe, and these to be purchased by direction of a com- 
mittee. Having taken this independent stand, they 
next proceeded to choose a representative to Congress, 
and on counting the votes Doctor Hall was unani- 
mously elected. 

In the following May, Doctor Hall appeared in the 
hall of Congress, and by that body was unanimously 
admitted to a seat. But as he represented not the 
colony of Georgia, but only a parish of the colony, 
it was at the same time resolved to reserve the ques- 
tion as to his right to vote, for the further deliberation 
of the Congress. 

The above question at length coming before the 
House on the occasion of Congress taking the opin- 
ions of its members by colonies, Dr. Hall expressed 
his willingness to give his vote only in those cases in 
which the sentiments of Congress were not taken by 
the colonies. 

Fortunately for the cause of liberty, on the 15th 
of July, 1775, the convention of Georgia acceded 


to the general confederacy, and proceeded to the 
appointment of five delegates to Congress, three of 
whom attended at the adjourned meeting of that body 
September 13, 1775. 

Among the delegates thus appointed. Dr. Hall was 
one. To this station he was annually re-elected un- 
til 1780, at the close of which year he finally retired 
from the national legislature. 

At length Georgia fell temporarily into the power 
of the British. On this event Dr. Hall removed his 
family to the north, and suffered the confiscation of 
all his property by the British government establish- 
ed in the State. In 1782 he returned to Georgia, 
and in the following year was elected to the chief 
magistracy of the State, or to the office of Governor. 

After enjoying this office for a time he retired from 
the cares of public life, and about the sixtieth year 
of his age died at his residence in the county of 
Burke, whither he had removed. 

Dr. Hall in his person was tall and well propor- 
tioned. In his manners he was easy, and in his de- 
portment dignified and courteous. He was by na- 
ture characterized for a warm and enthusiastic dis- 
position, which, however, was under the guidance of 
a sound discretion. His mind was active and dis- 
criminating. Ardent in his own feelings, he possess- 
ed the power of exciting others to action ; and 
though in Congress he acted not so conspicuous a 
part as many others, yet his example and his exer- 
tions, especially in connection with those of the in- 
habitants of tlie circumscribed parish of St. Johns, 


powerfully contributed to the final accession of the 
whole colony of Georgia to the confederacy ; thus 
presenting in array against the mother country this 
whole number of her American colonies. Lives of 
the Sigtiers to the Declaration of hideperidence. 

Dr. William Hamilton. I take great pleasure 
in inviting the attention of this Society to the merits 
of this enterprising physician, who was cut off in the 
midst of his usefulness at an early age. Few men in 
our country exhibited a greater promise of future 
usefulness. He was rising into eminence, not in that 
rapid manner which is evinced by many young phy- 
sicians who are lauded to the skies in the first two 
or three years of their professional career, and after- 
wards as rapidly sink in pubhc estimation. Such 
fame is almost always ephemeral. I consider it un- 
fortunate for any young physician to enter at once, 
at the commencement of his professional life, into a 
large run of business. It does not give him sufficient 
time to investigate the important cases which may 
fall under his notice, and it often leads him into a 
loose and careless method of practice. He has not 
time to avail himself of the experience of the wisest 
men in the profession, through the medium of their 
writings ; and he often substitutes his own experience 
for theirs. I have hardly ever known such a physi- 
cian ultimately to succeed as a useful and talented 
practitioner. When I hear a young man boasting 
of having charged one hundred and fifty or two hun- 


dred dollars a month, I immediately distrust him, and 
think he is doing it for effect. A modest, unassum- 
ing young man will not praise himself in this way, 
but will leave it for others to do it, if he deserves it. 
Dr. Hamilton rose upon his own merits, and was 
slowly, hut surely, securing the confidence of the 
public where he practised, and the applause of his 
professional brethren. 

He was son of Capt. Robert Hamilton, a meritori- 
ous officer in the war of the Revolution. His mo- 
ther is still living (1842) and in vigorous health, at 
the age of 95 or 96 years. About ten years ago she 
had the misfortune to fall and break the neck of the 
thigh bone, and she has not been able to walk a step 
since. He was born at Conway, Mass., in the year 
1772. In early hfe, I understand, he had a lameness 
of one of his legs, and that in consequence he de- 
voted his attention to books. After preparing him- 
self for the study of medicine, he entered the office 
of the elder Dr. Cutler, of Amherst, who was a Fel- 
low of this Society. He remained there awhile, and 
then completed his medical pupilage in the office of 
Dr. William Kittredge, who then resided in Conway. 
He then commenced the practice of his profession in 
his native town, where he continued in the discharge 
of his professional duties, to the universal satisfaction 
of his employers, till the time of his death, which 
happened in the year 1810, at the age of thirty-eight 

He was always fond of study, and was a reading 
and reflecting man. He educated several medical 


students, most of whom proved to be highly respecta- 
ble practitioners. In civil life, he enjoyed the confi- 
dence of his townsmen, in an eminent degree, and 
in the brawls and discords which sometimes occur 
among neighbors, he was often called upon to heal 
the disturbances of the mind, as well as of the body. 
On one memorable occasion, in the height of politi- 
cal excitement, during the embargo, about the year 
1808, when the public mind was almost ripe for civil 
war, by his influence and exertion, he probably saved 
the eflfusion of much blood, in a contest which must 
inevitably have ensued between some of his fellow 
citizens and those of a neighboring town. This is 
not the place to enter into a detail of that event. 
Suffice it to say, that were it not for his exertions a 
riot must have followed, many lives would have been 
lost, and the miseries which must have ensued would 
have been incalculable. His memory will ever be 
dear to his fellow townsmen, and to those who were 
acquainted with him. My Address before the Mass. 
Med. Society, May, 1842. 

Dr. Andrew Harris. For a number of years 
Dr. Harris has been considered, with justice, as the 
most distinguished Surgeon in the eastern section of 
Connecticut. He performed most of the important 
operations in that part of the State from the Massa- 
chusetts line to the sea shore, as well as a considera- 
ble number in the adjoining towns of Rhode Island. 
His decease has left a chasm, which will take a long 


time to fill with any one who can share the same 
portion of the approbation and confidence of the 

He was a native of Rhode Island, and was born 
about five miles from Providence, upon a farm which 
had descended to his father, from the Harris, who 
was one of the first settlers, and one of the principal 
men who co-operated with Roger Williams. His 
academical education he received, or rather com- 
pleted, at Plainfield, where there was at that day, 
perhaps, the most flourishing Academy in Connec- 
ticut. His private medical studies were pursued un- 
der the tuition of Dr. Joseph Palmer, who was his 
brother-in-law, at Ashford. Thence he attended a 
course of lectures at Dartmouth College, and was a 
favorite pupil of Professor Nathan Smith. Here he 
formed his taste for Anatomy and Surgery. He 
finally completed his preparatory studies by attending 
a course at Phidadelphia, where he became familiar 
with dissection and operative surgery. (It is believed 
he received the degree of Doctor of Medicine at this 
institution. S. W. W.) Having a strong attachment 
to his profession, being uncommonly studious and 
industrious, and possessing naturally a mechanical 
skill and dexterity, few candidates for public patro- 
nage came forward under such favorable circum- 
stances. By those who knew him, much was ex- 
pected from him, and his success was such as to 
gratify these high expectations. Without attempting 
here to specify the several branches in which he was 
eminent, it is yet proper to mention one particular, 


in which his success, from some consideration or 
other, was pre-eminent. He very frequently extir- 
patied scirrous or cancerous tumors, and, contrary 
to the experience of many able surgeons, the in- 
stances of relapse were very few. The same may 
justly be said of another of his operations. He was 
in the habit of tying varicose veins, without any 
of those unpleasant results, of which many practi- 
tioners complain. He had no hesitation, therefore, 
in operating in either of those diseases, provided the 
system in general remained tolerably sound, and his 
usual success demonstrated the soundness of his 

His intercourse with his professional brethren was 
always attended with frankness and candor. It is 
rare, if ever, we find a professional man of his emi- 
nence, who was so little disturbed by the jealousy 
or envy of others. He appeared to be on the best 
terms with every physician in his vicinity. In con- 
sultations his opinions were considered as of the 
highest authority ; but they were dehvered with so 
much modesty, that they never gave oftence, even 
when there might be a difference in judgment. He 
lived upon a farm of considerable size, which was 
cultivated under his inspection, and when circum- 
stances would admit, with his own labor. As has 
been said, he had a mechanical turn. This he im- 
proved, and curious and useful inventions and works 
were to be seen upon his premises, made by his own 

He was pecuHarly happy in his family, and his 


house was the seat of hospitahty and benevolence. 
His residence was distinguished for cultivation and 
tkste, and a degree of elegance not very common in 
country mansions. 

The ardent and active friend of social order, and 
of the substantial institutions of society, he was dis- 
tinguished for his exertions — not ultra, but rational — 
in the cause of temperance, and he was one of the 
main pillars in the ecclesiastical communities to which 
he belonged. He bore with calmness, patience, and 
resignation, his last protracted illness, which was a 
pulmonary affection, evidently occasioned by his ex- 
cessive professional labors, in connection with his 
other various and arduous employments. He was 
much engaged in the latter part of his hfe in the 
study of the Scriptures, and found in them support 
and consolation. 

The Doctor has left a widow and three children, 
(all daughters,) with a sympathizing community, to 
lament their irreparable loss. He died at Canterbury, 
Conn., the last week in May, 1840, in the 53d year 
of his age. t. m. 

Bost. Med. and Surg. Jour. vol. 22. 

DocT. J. Hart. The following notice of Dr. 
John Hart was written at the request of Dr. Nichols, 
for his dissertation before the Massachusetts Medical 
Society at their annual meeting, May, 1836, and pub- 
hshed as a note to that address, by Dr. J. Spaul- 
ding, of South Reading, Massachusetts. 


Dr. John Hart was born in Ipswich, Mass., Octo- 
ber 12, (old style) A. D. 1751. His father, John 
Hart, was a lawyer and a noted musician, and died 
many years since at the place of his nativity. His 
mother, Mary Hart, on whom devolved the first train- 
ing of her son, was a woman of great personal 
charms, good talents, and eminent for purity; and 
spared no pains to impress on the mind of her son 
those traits of character for which he in after life be- 
came so distinguished. After having received a good 
preparatory education, for those times, he studied 
medicine at Ipswich, his native town, with Dr. John 
Cahf, a distinguished physician of that place. At 
the age of nineteen he commenced his practice in 
Georgetown (now Bath), Me., and there continued 
in his profession till the commencement of the revo- 
lutionary war. At that time, when many were va- 
cillating in relation to the grievances of the colonies, 
Dr. Hart, though young, took a decided stand ; and 
as decision of character had been one of the most 
prominent traits of his youth, the following incident 
will show how it operated on this occasion. Dr. Ca- 
lif, who was then his medical preceptor, being timid, 
and fearful of the issue of the revolutionary enter- 
prise, advised his young friend. Dr. Hart, not to enter 
the service, as he would probably lose both his pay 
and his neck. But this did not frighten him ; and he 
enlisted against the advice and remonstrances of one 
whom he respected. After about a year he returned 
on furlough and visited his medical patron, who ad- 
vised him not to go back to the service, promising 


to obtain for him a surgeon's place in the British 
army, where he would be sure both of his pay and 
his neck. But his young friend was decided, and 
spurned the offer, saying, ' Sir, I will risk both.' Af- 
ter Burgoyne was taken, (and he was there) he said 
to his adviser, ' Sir, what do you think now ?' He 
first joined the army in Cambridge, in Col. Prescott's 
regiment, who fought at Bunker Hill. He continued 
in the army in 1775-6, and in 1776 went to New 
York ; was stationed at Staten Island, and remained 
there till the enemy took possession of Long Island ; 
then driven to the Highlands, remained there till Col. 
Prescott's regiment was disbanded. Then, a regi- 
ment was formed under the command of Captain 
Bailey, called the Second Massachusetts Regiment, to 
which Dr. Hart was appointed regimental surgeon, 
in which capacity he served till the war closed, in 

After this he remained in a regiment, kept in re- 
serve, under the command of Col. Henry Jackson, 
till July, 1784; having served his country a period 
of nine years and three months. Having passed 
through so many laborious scenes of warfare, he re- 
turned to Reading, (now South Reading,) in his na- 
tive State, gladdened with the prospect of his coun- 
try's peace, to take repose in the bosom of his 
friends, who thrice welcomed him as a patriot and 
republican. He however was soon solicited to en- 
ter into the active duties of his profession, when a 
field, large and broad, opened itself, which would 
afford ample opportunities for the exercise of that 


knowledge in the healing art, which had been ac- 
cumulating by practical experience during his nine 
years service. His practice soon became very ex- 
tensive, not only in his own town and county, but 
in the adjacent counties of Essex and Suffolk. He 
was one of the first, if not the very first, practitioners 
in the county of Middlesex, who made use of mercu- 
rial remedies in acute and typhoid febrile cases ; and 
his success was such, by this course of treatment, that 
the Middlesex Medical Association, formed about 
1790, of which he was one of the most prominent 
members, adopted his manner of treatment from that 
period. He has often told the writer of this sketch 
that he felt sure of the life of his patient, when he 
had evidence that the system had become affected 
by mercurial action ; his reasoning was that two dis- 
eased actions could not exist in the system at the 
same time, and that, while the artificial diseased ac- 
tion produced by calomel was perfectly manageable, 
the febrile diseased action might not be. But whe- 
ther he reasoned correctly or not, few, if any, phy- 
sicians in New England ever took charge of a great- 
er number of fevers, or treated them with greater 
success. In all difficult cases of this character, his 
opinion was relied on as the last resort of human 
skill. In 1792, when Boston was visited with small 
pox, and a general alarm was produced, not only in 
Boston, but in all its vicinity. Dr. H. was called on to 
take charge of hospitals, erected for the time being, 
in Reading, Lynn, Boston and other places, for the 
purpose of inoculation (the only remedy then known 


to Stay that awful pestilence,) and his skill and indus- 
try were such that he actually inoculated and carried 
through some thousands in the space of a few months, 
and in a number of the hospitals, without the loss of 
a patient. Having had great opportunities for the 
practice of surgery, during the revolutionary struggle, 
his judgment was considered decisive, and much to 
be relied on, in the most perplexing surgical cases ; 
and frequently he was called to operate. In the de- 
partment of midwifery, he was no less conspicuous, 
and in the course of his long practice he probably 
attended to more than three thousand obstetric cases. 
Possessing great firmness and resolution, blended with 
kindness and sympathy, he seemed peculiarly fitted 
to allay the anxiety attendant on such occasions ; 
but when necessity required, the most responsible du- 
ties, by common consent, devolved upon him. 

Dr. Hart was a strict observer of nature, and in 
viewing the cases, formed a theory of his own ; he 
relied more on calomel, epicacuanha, and Peruvian 
bark, than all other remedies in the materia medica. 
He was exceedingly careful not to reduce his pa- 
tients, after a few days illness, but on the commence- 
ment of disease, attacked the enemy with great bold- 
ness. He was a great enemy to depletion, and 
contended that the abstraction of blood diminished 
the power of overcoming disease, and he was so 
sanguine in this sentiment, that for forty years he 
rarely bled, and for the last twenty-four, not once. 
His aversion to quackery, nostrums, and specifics of 
all kinds, was almost proverbial, and had a weighty 


influence with the younger part of the profession, 
with whom he was often called to consult. There 
was a dignity and manliness in his character that 
looked down with disgust on the little, low arts of 
cunning and hypocrisy, adulation, and intrigue. He 
had no sympathy for such manoeuvres, nor compla- 
cency in the actors of them. He was open, frank, 
unconcealed ; and seemed incapable of dissembling. 
Although affable and familiar, he never descended to 
any thing low and contemptible ; and so dignified 
and commanding were his looks and demeanor, that 
there were few, if any, but that felt respect for his 
person, and awe in his presence. As a physician, 
he insisted on obedience to his directions, which in 
most instances, by the unlimited confidence and at- 
tachment of his patients, were obeyed to the letter ; 
but when they swerved from his advice, and disobey- 
ed his injunctions, (choosing to follow their own rea- 
son) he felt a high sense of the neglect, and would oc- 
casionally permit such patients to ' take care of them- 
selves.'^ While Dr. Hart was engaged in a full tide 
of practice, having reared a respectable family, with 
industry, economy and a good reputation, and hoping 
ere long to enjoy more leisurely the comforts of a 
domestic life, he was called by the suffrages of his 
townsmen to represent them in the General Court ; 
in which capacity he served his town eight years. 
He then sustained the office of Senator five years ; 
and, during the time he filled these important sta- 
tions, his constituents would scarcely release him 
from the toils of his profession. It may be observed, 


that he was one of the first who had the moral cou- 
rage to break up the advised custom of treating at 
representative elections. He was a living example 
of the value of the great temperance principles, as 
no man enjoyed better health, and few were more 
exposed to fatigue. He, probably, for the last forty 
years did not taste a drop of distilled spirits, and de- 
clared the same great principles, which, till late, the 
community have not been willing to acknowledge. 
He was long a member, and for many years a Coun- 
sellor, of the Massachusetts Medical Society, where 
he sustained a fair reputation among his compeers ; 
also an intimate friend and associate of Gov. Brooks 
and Eustis, fellow patriots of the revolution. The 
Society of Cincinnati recognized him as one of the 
most active and distinguished members, and he sus- 
tained the office of Vice President of the Society at 
the time of his decease. 

Dr. Hart was for many years an acting justice of 
the peace and of the quorum, which office he sus- 
tained till his death ; the cases brought before him 
were numerous, and his decisions were so judicious, 
that all parties usually became reconciled to greater 
bonds of amity. He was also a justice of the Court 
of Sessions, which office he discharged with respect- 
ability. As a pohtician, he was a consistent, inflexi- 
ble republican, ever sustaining ' the laws and the 



Dr. Abraham Haskell. Dr. Haskell was born in 
Lancaster, Mass., Nov. 16th, 1746. His father was 
a farmer in comfortable circumstances, had a nume- 
rous family of children, and was therefore enabled to 
do but little for each. The subject of this sketch 
gave early indications of his desire of having a pro- 
fession, and, of course, of acquiring an edul^ation 
preparatory thereto. His father perceiving his fond- 
ness for reading and study, told him if he would 
study divinity, he would do all he could to help him 
through college. The son replied that he wished to 
study physic. Then, said the father, I shall do no- 
thing more for you than for the others ; and advised 
him to take the subject into consideration, and reflect 

' upon the consequences before he decided. ' I have 
already made up my mind,' said the boy ; ' I would 
rather forego all the honors and pleasures of a public 
education than renounce the thoughts of studying 
physic. I would rather follow my trade till I am 
free, and then trust to my own resources.' He 
therefore then returned to his trade, which was that 
of a shoemaker, and pursued it faithfully till he was 
of age. His father having then ' divided to him his 
portion of his goods,' he entered upon his prepara- 
tory studies with the Rev. Mr. Harrington, who was 

. an excellent hnguist, and Dr. Thayer's immediate 
predecessor in the ministry at Lancaster. He con- 
tinued his classical studies till Dr. Harrington pro- 
nounced him fit to enter Cambridge College. 

He then commenced the study of medicine under 


the direction of Israel Atherton, M. D., of Lancaster, 
one of the most noted practitioners of the county of 
Worcester, at that time. He apphed himself with 
unabated diligence to the entire satisfaction of his 
instructor. Having completed his course of studies, 
he went to Lunenburg under the patronage of Dr. 
John Taylor, who was in considerable practice, but, 
being somewhat engaged in mercantile pursuits, was 
desirous of quitting it. He soon began to acquire 
the confidence of the people, and in the lapse of a 
few years, as he became known, his calls were more 
frequent, and his practice spread extensively into all 
the neighboring towns. He remained in Lunenburg 
till December, 1810, and during that period was fre- 
quently called in consultation, fifteen and twenty 
miles, and sometimes farther. The roads being new, • 
and of course somewhat rough, his business was 
very laborious ; and in order to render it easier he 
removed to Leominster, where he had done more 
business, perhaps, than in any one town except Lu- 
nenburg, in which place he left his son as the prin- 
cipal physician. In Leominster his practice contin- 
ued equally extensive as formerly, but less laborious ; 
and indeed there was no sensible diminution of con- 
fidence in the people towards him till he was between 
seventy and eighty years old. A gradual failure of 
the memory and the faculties was then perceptible, 
as was common with people of his age ; but still he 
retained a good share of business as long as he re- 
sided in that place, which he left in his 88th year. 
By the advice of his friends, his family, consisting of 


himself, wife, and one daughter, he was induced to 
take up his residence with his son, who had a few 
years previous removed to Ashby in the county of 
Middlesex. When Dr. Haskell resided in Lunen- 
burg, he was frequently called to Ashby to patients 
of his own, as well as in consultations, so that the 
people were almost as well acquainted with him as 
with their own physicians. Therefore, for the sake 
of giving the elderly part of the people an opportu- 
nity of once more gratifying their old doctor, and 
also for his gratification, his son would frequently 
carry him out to see his patients, and occasionally he 
would go alone in his son's absence. For, hke most 
people in their dotage, he laughed at, or rather scorn- 
ed, the idea that he was superannuated, and unable to 
discriminate and prescribe as judiciously as ever he 

His health was at this time tolerably good, and his 
hand was so firm and steady, that he could use the 
lancet with perfect safety. This state of health con- 
tinued through the summer of 1834. He was in the 
habit of visiting, sometimes alone, and sometimes 
with his son, an old gentleman whose toes and part 
of one foot were mortified. On the 9th of Nov. he 
was preparing to go and dress the foot, his son going 
another way ; and after going out at the door, he 
seemed to be hesitating, and moving about as if he 
was in search of something. On being asked what 
he wanted, he instantly discovered, by an irregular and 
half uttered response, an imbecile and shattered state 
of mind. This imbecility daily increased, till he be- 


came perfectly idiotic. On the 16th, he lay in bed 
till after noon, then arose, dressed himself, and ap- 
peared perfectly composed, and restored to the full 
exercise of his mental faculties. After making some 
familiar remarks, he inquired the day of the month, 
and on being told the 16th, he expressed much sur- 
prise, for he thought it the 9th, and said, ' f have 
lost a week — why, this is my birth day, I am just 88 
years old.' He continued rational through this day, 
but the next his mind was a little aftected, and he 
gradually relapsed into his former state, and so con- 
tinued till Dec. 13th, when he died. 

Dr. Haskell was a very close student, and even 
unwearied in his application. While he was studying 
with Mr. Harrington, many was the night when he 
' took no note of time,' till day light admonished him 
that he must retire to sleep and rest. By this man- 
ner his proficiency in the Latin and Greek languages 
was far superior to what falls to most people, who 
enjoyed higher privileges and better opportunities. 
His knowledge of them was so critical that he could 
very readily render into good English those Latin and 
Greek quotations with which medical, books, espe- 
cially old ones, abound. This love of study con- 
tinued through life. He could read in the midst of 
his family, undisturbed by the common talk or the 
prattle of children. He procured and read almost 
every new medical work till upwards of 70 years of 
age. His memory was so strong and tenacious that 
he could state the opinion of almost any author on 
any subject, and confirm it by an immediate refe- 


rence to his work. The collateral branches, also, as 
chemistry, botany, &c., engrossed no small share of 
his attention. Indeed, every thing that would add 
to his knowledge and enable him the more success- 
fully to combat disease in its varied forms was sought 
with avidity, and subjected to the test of experience 
before it was much used, or recommended as a re- 
medy to be depended upon. He was, therefore, 
rather fastidious in adopting the various 7i€w /angled 
medicines, as he demonstrated them, that were every 
now and then thrust into public notice. Experience 
abundantly taught him that they promised too much. 

Early after its establishment he became a member 
of the Massachusetts Medical Society, and, it is be- 
heved, contributed his full share to do away with the 
suspicions that were entertained against it, and to 
render it an, honorable and useful institution in the 
eyes of the community. 

The practice of physic was his forte, and he never 
interfered with the peculiar province of the surgeon. 
He extirpated very neatly and successfully a cance- 
rous breast; occasionally reduced dislocations and 
fractures, and^united several hare-lips. But he always 
declined such cases, so far as he could, satisfactorily 
to his friends, because he was otherwise sufficiently 
employed in a way more agreeable to his mind. He 
also refused taking the lead in capital operations, yet 
his advice was frequently sought. His brethren re- 
gretted his unwilhngness to pursue that branch of the 
healing art, because his calm, steady, persevering, 
undaunted resolution, conciliating address, pleasant 


manners, — in short, the possession of every requisite 
quahfication seemed united in him, and pointed him 
out as a man pecuHarly fitted for that purpose. 

As he was habitually critical in his reading, so was 
he mathematically correct in his prescriptions. No 
hap-hazard compositions ever came from his hands. 
Every thing relating to his profession was done se- 
cumdum artem. By that means he learned how much 
reliance to place upon a particular remedy, to what 
to impart its efficacy, and where to alter it or substi- 
tute another in its stead. He never put much de- 
pendence upon book recipes. They might form the 
groundwork for his prescriptions ; for he eagerly 
caught at every thing that promised usefulness, come 
from what quarter it might ; and after subjecting it 
to the test of his long experience and sound discri- 
minating judgment, would adopt or reject it accord- 
ingly. Prescriptions given in books, he said, were 
ordered under different circumstances from what our 
country physicians are accustomed to, as climate, sit- 
uation, &LC., and the remedies there recommended 
must be varied to suit the different forms the same 
disease would assume in different locahties. 

In his intercourse with his brethren he was always 
affable, communicative, condescending, and instruc- 
tive. One who asked his advice frequently, for thirty 
years, said he never met him without learning some- 
thing new. Never overbearing, he regarded the 
opinions of others, as he was ready to give his own. 
His pleasant, cheerful countenance never failed to 
inspire confidence in his patients, and his agreeable 
demeanor endeared him equally to the bystanders. 


The great object of his capacious and well stored 
mind seemed to be directed to alleviating the suffer- 
ings and subduing the diseases of his fellow creatures. 
' To do good and communicate,' was his governing 
principle. Interested motives had no resting place 
in his benevolent mind. All his acquaintances can 
testify to his indifference in pecuniary concerns. To 
command money enough to satisfy his pressing neces- 
sities, was frequently beyond his power. He had no 
disposition to make a fortune. He rather offended 
his friends by neglecting to send in their accounts, 
than by urging remuneration for his services ; where- 
as had he possessed the common prudence and cir- 
cumspection of many, which would have been justi- 
fiable, he would have acquired his thousands ; and if 
he had practiced the foresight and shrewdness of 
others, he might have amassed his tens of thousands. 

If there were any diseases in which Dr. Haskell, 
who knew so well how to prescribe for all, especially 
excelled, we might mention Midwifery and Fevers. 
His experience in the former was very great. In 
regulating the efforts of nature, he was neither too 
hasty, nor too tardy ; but seemed to render artificial 
assistance just at the point of time when it was ne- 
cessary. Among the several thousand cases which 
came under his care, it is said he never lost a woman 
in the time of child-bed, where he had the whole 
management. Always cheerful, and never impatient, 
he never failed of gaining the good will and appro- 
bation of his patients. 

In fevers he was unusually successful. In his ex- 
amination of a patient his inquiries were very par- 


ticular. Not an irregular symptom escaped his ob- 
servation. After obtaining all the information he 
wanted, he calmly and deliberately pondered the case 
in his mind, longer or shorter, according to its ur- 
gency, and then made up his prescriptions ; the 
prominent symptoms demanding his first attention. 
In this, as in all other cases, his acute diagnostic 
powers soon pointed out to him the peculiar nature of 
the disease ; and on this ground, with his accurate 
knowledge of the human system, he seldom failed 
in his prognosis. 

When the spotted fever was so rife in Petersham, 
Barre, and several other towns in Worcester county, 
the people were completely panic struck. Indeed, 
the disorder attacked so suddenly, so violently, and 
assumed such unusual appearances, and so severe, 
and so frequently proved fatal, that even the physi- 
cians of those places and the vicinity, were not ex- 
empt from the general alarm and consternation. In 
this state of extraordinary excitement. Dr. Haskell 
was sent for, and many of the elderly inhabitants can 
now testify with what calmness and patience he suf- 
fered the deprivations of sleep, food, and rest, and 
with what unwearied diligence, perseverance and 
attention he administered to the calls of the sick. 
Nor was this all. The disease under his treatment, 
which was very different from what had been pursued 
before his arrival, was arrested in its progress in 
many cases which the people considered hopeless ; a 
sober second thought therefore soon took the place 
of a state of ungovernable fright and distraction, and 
the senses of the people were restored to a state of 


composure and calm reflection. In chronic com- 
plaints, tumors, abscesses and cutaneous diseases, he 
was uncommonly successful. 

The publications of Dr. Haskell are not many. 
He wrote more for his own amusement and con- 
venience, as a means of reference than for the pub- 
he eye. He however read a dissertation on Croup 
before the Massachusetts Medical Society ; another 
on Spotted Fever, and some remarks on inverted 
Uterus, which were all published in the Transactions 
of the Mass. Med. Society. He also published a 
paper with an elegant colored plate upon Icthyosis, 
in the New England Journal of Medicine and Sur- 
gery. He also delivered an oration on the 4th of 
July at Fitchburg, which was published. He deliver- 
ed, also, several addresses before the Freemasons, but 
none of them were ever published. 

He received the honorary degree of Doctor of Me- 
dicine from Harvard University, without any solicita- 
tion on his part. Manuscript from his son, Dr. Abra- 
ham Haskell, Jan. 1843. 

Dr. Pardon Haynes. The birth place of Dr. 
Haynes, late of Rowe, in the State of Massachusetts, 
was New London, Connecticut, where he was born 
on the 2nd of February, 1762. He moved from that 
place with his father to Hoosac, at the age of fifteen 
years. He served for a short period in the army of 
the revolution. He studied the profession of medi- 
cine with an older brother. He commenced practice 
in the town of Hebron, New York ; but the manners 


and customs of the people there were so uncongenial 
to hhn, that he was induced to change his residence 
for a home in New England. An intimate friend of 
his directed him to Rowe, assuring him that that 
place stood in great need of him. He visited the 
place and concluded to remain there. His business 
soon became quite extensive. 

Dr. Haynes practiced his profession in Rowe and 
the adjacent towns, for the space of forty-five years 
with well deserved reputation, and with great success. 
He accumulated, perhaps, as great a property by his 
practice as any man in the country. His constitu- 
tion was unusually firm. He had an indomitable 
spirit of perseverance, and he faltered at no labor, 
however severe. Dr. Humphrey Gould, of Rowe, 
who. has kindly forwarded me data from which the 
following sketch is drawn, says, ' in the early part 
of his practice he suflfered great hardships and was 
often exposed to imminent danger. He was fre- 
quently obliged to go by marked trees in his visits to 
the sick, often at the peril of his life. On one occa- 
sion, riding in the night over a new cut path, in the 
winter season, his horse fell with him, the place be- 
ing sideling, his horse was brought up against a tree, 
and fell upon him, and he was utterly unable to extri- 
cate himself from his dangerous situation, remaining 
thus exposed for a while ; fortunately a man came 
along and relieved him. I have often heard the peo- 
ple of Reedsborough tell of being in the woods with 
him, and thus exposed through a long winter's night, 
till the hglit of day showed them on their way.' 

Little do the physicians of the city know of the 


hardships and privations of our physicians on our 
western mountains, during the long, dreary, and in- 
clement winters. Frequently their only mode of con- 
veyance is on foot, on Indian rackets or snow shoes, 
and all this for the paltry sum of one shilling a mile, 
even at which some of their employers find fault. 

Small as is this sum, many of the physicians there 
make independent fortunes by it. Strange as this 
assertion may seem, it is nevertheless true. It is 
done by the most rigid habits of economy and self- 
denial of many of the luxuries of life. 

Dr. Haynes never permitted any obstacle to pre- 
vent his visiting his patients at the appointed hour, if 
it was in his power to prevent it. He was often ob- 
liged to cross Deerfield river, which rises in Hoosac 
mountain, at the imminent hazard of his life. . Dr. 
Gould observes, 'he would often swim his horse when 
the ice would beat the skin from his limbs. On such 
occasions his motto was, ' live or die, I will go 
through.' ' He was no surgeon, but a good and able 
physician, and particularly distinguished as a practi- 
tioner of Midwifery, in which department few excel- 
led him. He was extremely regular in his habits. 
He rose in the morning at 3 o'clock, generally, in the 
active period of his life ; devoted the stillness of the 
morning to reading ; and usually, long before hght, 
was upon his horse performing his daily round of 
business. He was ready at every one's call, rich or 
poor. He was a faithful friend, a kind parent, indul- 
gent to a fault. His memory is still held in grateful 
remembrance by many who have received the benefit 
of his heahng art. It was his inveterate practice, 


which grew upon him in consequence of the vast 
amount of business he was obliged to do while on his 
horse, to turn his head neither to the right hand, nor 
left, let him meet whom he might, unless particularly 
accosted. He commanded the Company in Rowe, 
when an office in the militia was honorable, and con- 
ferred distinction upon him who filled it. He was 
commissioned by John Hancock and Samuel Adams. 
On one occasion his Company was particularly dis- 
tinguished by the venerable Gen. Mattoon, as the first 
and best disciplined upon the field, at a regimental 
muster. Dr. Haynes died Dec. 29, 1833, aged 
seventy-one years. His sickness was short, his mind 
unclouded. He died in the full faith of a Christian 
hope of a blessed immortality. He was a sincere 
behever in the Unitarian views of gospel truth. 

My Address before the Mass. Med. Society. 

Dr. Amos Holbrook. The data from which the 
following facts in relation to this distinguished physi- 
cian are taken, are from the Boston Courier, as 
quoted by the Boston Medical and Surgical Journal 
of July 13th, 1842. They were furnished by a man 
thoroughly acquainted with the merits of the. de- 

Dr. Holbrook was engaged in the practice of 
medicine for nearly seventy years. Although he 
commenced the study and practice of his profession 
with but little previous preparation, yet he made up 
for these deficiencies of his early life by great expe- 
rience and even skill, which he acquired in the Ame- 


rican revolutionary army, and by a very extensive 
practice in Milton, Massachusetts, and the neighbor- 
hood, and by a remarkable devotion to the science 
of medicine, which he begun early in life, and which 
continued to the latest period of it. He was self- 
taught, as were many of the most distinguished 
medical men in America, but by an unconquerable 
love for his profession, he acquired a very high repu- 
tation, and he obtained the respect and esteem of 
his medical brethren and his patrons both at home 
and abroad. This reputation is of vastly greater 
importance than that obtained by many young men 
who, having completed their pupilage, think their 
education is finished, and scarcely ever afterwards 
procure a medical book, or record a medical fact. 
Men, to be useful "in our profession, must yearly pro- 
cure the latest and most approved works in it, and 
must be in the habit of recording the results of their 
experience and observation, or they will in a few years 
be more ignorant than they were when they com- 
menced the practice of medicine. Without the use 
of books and recorded experience, physicians are 
apt to forget the details of practice in the course of 
three or four years. Genius and tact, without the 
aid of books, will soon shipwreck the best balanced 
mind, and in our profession lead to downright em- 

Dr. Holbrook was born in Bellingham, Massa- 
chusetts, on the 23d of January, 1754. Quite early 
in life he commenced the study of physic with his 
uncle on the maternal side. Dr. Metcalf, of Franklin. 
He completed his pupilage at Providence, Rhode 


Island. He entered the army as a Surgeon's mate, 
at Cambridge, in the year 1775, in the regiment 
commanded by Coh John Greaton. In March 1776, 
after having passed a satisfactory examination, he 
was appointed a surgeon in the same regiment. He 
soon after accompanied this regiment to New York, 
and followed it to Albany, with the troops, which 
were destined to reinforce those who were engaged 
in the expedition against Quebec. The campaign 
in Canada proving unsuccessful, tlie army were com- 
pelled, after arriving at the mouth of the river Sorel, 
to retreat to Ticonderoga. At this place Dr. Hol- 
brook was transferred to Colonel Joseph Vose's regi- 
ment, which he accompanied to New Jersey. In 
consequence of ill health he was obliged to apply 
for a discharge in March, 1777, and to return to 
Massachusetts. After this, by advice of Col. Vose 
and others, he went to Milton, in Massachusetts, 
where he established himself in the practice of me- 
dicine. An attack of Intermittent fever, probably 
contracted in the army, induced him towards the 
close of summer to undertake a sea voyage. He 
was fortunately enabled to procure the office of Sur- 
geon in a letter of marque under the command of 
Captain Truxton, and he sailed for Europe, and visit- 
ed France, where, being obliged to remain several 
months, he devoted much of his time and attention 
to witnessing the practice of the hospitals, and add- 
ing to his stores of practical knowledge. After this 
he returned to Milton, having been absent less than 
a year, with his health perfectly restored. 

About this time Dr. Holbrook estabUshed tempora- 


ry hospitals for the admission of patients who had 
been inoculated for the small pox. He thus became 
acquainted with the inhabitants of the town and sur- 
rounding country. Prepossessing in his appearance, 
pleasing in his manners, possessed of great bodily 
activity, and ardent and indefatigable in attention to 
business, and in the pursuit of knowledge, he soon 
found himself in a practice which gradually and con- 
stantly increased from year to year. He was indeed 
eminently successful as a physician. His very pre- 
sence in the sick chamber, and the soothing kindness 
of his address, seemed to give hope to his patients, 
and inspired confidance in their friends ; while his 
assiduous attentions to the sick of all ages and con- 
stitutions, and his sympathy with the afflicted, allevi- 
ated suffering, and afforded consolation, when the re- 
sources of art failed to arrest the progress and fatal 
termination of disease. He was always prompt to 
answer every call, and much of his time was spent 
in gratuitous service. 

Dr. Holbrook, hke many other respectable and 
highly eminent physicians who have ever had an ex- 
tensive practice, never became rich by the practice of 
his profession. In one thing, however, hke many 
other benevolent physicians, he was pecuharly rich, 
and that was in the gratitude and blessings of the 
poor, whom he was always ready and willing to 
assist in their distress. At a considerable loss in a 
pecuniary point of view, he was particularly active 
in introducing and promoting public vaccination in 
the town of Milton, and that town was the first in 
its corporate capacity to give to its inhabitants the 


benefits of this most salutary protective agent from 
the ravages of the small pox. Of the inhabitants of 
this town, three hundred and thirty-seven of all ages 
from the age of three months to seventy years, a 
fourth part of the whole population, were vaccinated 
by Dr. Holbrook in the year 1808. Of these, twelve 
were afterwards tested by himself with small pox by 
inoculation, and having successfully resisted an attack 
of that loathsome complaint they were discharged as 
safe from an invasion of that pestilence. He contin- 
ued these public vaccinations in Milton for many sub- 
sequent years, and kept a register of the names of all 
those who had successfully passed the disease. In 
consequence of his benevolent exertions in this cause 
and of his great reputation in other respects, in the 
year 1811 he had the honor of being elected as a 
foreign member of the Medical Society of London, 
and of the Literary and Philosophical Society of 
Preston in England. He was admitted a Fellow of 
the Massachusetts Medical Society in the year 1800, 
and resigned in 1832. He was a Counsellor in 
the Society for many years. He was also Vice Pre- 
sident of the Society for some time. The honorary 
degree of Doctor of Medicine was conferred upon 
him in 1813 by Harvard University. 

'Blessed with a vigorous constitution, Dr. Hol- 
brook was enabled, with little intermission, to endure 
all the toils, by day and by night, of a laborious pro- 
fession, till he was nearly 80 years old : after reach- 
ing this advanced age, and till within a few years of 
his decease, though his strength was much impaired 
by repeated and alarming attacks of sickness, and he 


suffered daily from an incurable organic disease, he 
continued to yield to the soHcitations of patients who 
required his services. For several months he had 
been conscious of increasing difficulty of respiration, 
especially on exertion ; but it was not till nearly the 
end of December that this became alarming to his 
family. The nature of his disease was now apparent 
to others, as it had been to himself, and under it he 
gradually wasted away. He occasionally took exer- 
cise in the open air, and on the very day before his 
decease he was able to ride out, and to tender an 
office of kindness to a young and suffering friend. 
His faculties, with scarcely diminished vigor, remain- 
ed with him to the last moment, when, without a 
struggle, he expired at the age of 88. 

Dr. George Holcombe. This distinguished phy- 
sician was a resident of Allentown, Monmouth coun- 
ty, New Jersey. He was eminent as a physician, 
and when released from the discharge of those ho- 
norable public duties which his fellow citizens con- 
ferred upon him as evidence of the regard which 
they entertained for his talents and integrity, enjoyed 
an extensive practice. His mind, though well stored 
with the learning and observation of his predecessors 
and cotemporaries, relied less upon these adventitious 
supplies, than upon the application of its own fertile 
resources. Aided by these last qualifications, united 
to powers of quick succession and correct judgment, 
his practice was at once original, energetic and suc- 
cessful. His useful qualifications were well set off 


by the talents he displayed for the ornamental branch- 
es of education, which in conjunction with great ami- 
ability of character and urbanity of manners, render- 
ed him an agreeable associate, and an ornament to 
society. He received the degree of Doctor of Me- 
dicine, was a collaborator of the American Medical 
Journal, and at the time of his death he was a mem- 
ber of the House of Representatives of the United 
States Congress. He died at Allentown on the 14th 
of Jan. 1829. Amer. Med. Journal, Feb. 1829. 

Dr. Edward Augustus Holyoke, the centenna- 
rian. It is a question with the pubhc, whether the 
life of a physician is favorable to longevity. Many 
believe, that in comparison with the other professions 
and occupations of men, that those of the physician 
and surgeon, are not favorable to the attainment of 
a great age. Certainly no class of men are subject 
to so much bodily and mental fatigue, as that of the 
physician with an extensive practice in the country. 
The mental wear and tear of the constitution of emi- 
nent physicians in the city, are not less than in those 
of the country. I have no data before me by which 
I can draw the comparison between the health and 
longevity of the farmer, for instance, whose employ- 
ment is considered by many to be as healthy as that 
of any other, and the physician, yet from the sta- 
tistics before me, I am inclined to believe that the 
practice of medicine is as conducive to health and 
long hfe, as that of any other profession or occupa- 


tion. In relation to this subject one remark should 
not escape notice. In the profession of medicine 
very many young men engage in the study of it, 
with feeble and slender constitutions, from an erro- 
neous opinion that none but the hardy and robust 
should engage in the laborious occupation of agri- 
culture. The reverse should be the fact, and none 
but the most hardy should be advised to engage in 
literary and scientific pursuits. Too many of our 
young men fall victims to consumption from adopting 
this course, who, otherwise, by laboring upon farms, 
might be robust and vigorous. This cause undoubt- 
edly operates against the longevity of the medical 
profession in comparison with that of the farmer. 
The following statistics, however, on a limited scale, 
will show that the medical profession with all its 
hardships, is not absolutely unfavorable to long life. 

In the Massachusetts Medical Society, which up 
to the year 1840 had contained about ten hundred 
and sixty fellows, 1 died at the age of 100 years, 34 
over 80 years, 50 between 70 and 80, 38 between 
60 and 70, 37 between 50 and 60, 32 between 40 
and 50, 32 between 30 and 40, and 6 between 20 
and 30. 

In Thacher's Medical Biography, in die names of 
one hundred and forty-eight physicians whose ages 
have been recorded, three have died between the 
ages of 90 and 100, 23 between 80 and 90, 7 be- 
tween 85 and 90, 27 between 70 and 80, 29 between 
60 and 70, 22 between 50 and 60, 21 between 40 
and 50, 13 between 30 and 40, and 3 between 20 


and 30. By this it appears that almost one half of 
the deceased were over the period of three score 
years and ten, the age generally allotted to man. 

The subject of our memoir was one of the favored 
few who arrived at the age of the patriarchs, or that 
of one hundred years, with almost uninterrupted 
health. From the memoirs of Dr. Holyoke pre- 
pared by the Essex South District Medical Society, 
and published in the 4th volume of the Massachusetts 
Medical Society, I have procured the materials for 
this notice. These memoirs were written by Dr. 
A. L. Peirson, of Salem, Mass. 

' Edward Augustus Holyoke was the second of 
eight children of Edward and Margaret Holyoke, of 
Marblehead, Essex county, Massachusetts. His fa- 
ther was born in Boston, educated at Harvard Col- 
lege, where he was afterwards tutor, settled as a 
pastor of the second Congregational society in Mar- 
blehead, April 25, 1716, installed President of Har- 
vard College 1737, and died in June, 1769, aged 80. 
His paternal ancestor came from Tamworth, on the 
borders of Warwickshire, England, and was among 
the grantees of the town of Lynn, where he settled 
at Sagamore hill, in 1635. President Holyoke was 
three times married ; the first time to Elizabeth 
Brown of Marblehead, the second to Margaret Ap- 
pleton, daughter of Col. John Appleton of Ipswich, 
and the third time to the widow of Major Epes, of 
Ipswich Hamlet. The subject of this memoir was 
the offspring of the second marriage, and was born 
August 1, 1728, old style. In 1742, he entered the 
Freshman Class, at Harvard University. He has 


preserved an account of his examination, and the 
sentence which was given him as a theme on that 
occasion, seems to have been a motto of his future 
Hfe. ' Labor improbus omnia vincit.' From this 
period to the end of hfe, he was characterized by 
constant dihgence, and assiduous attention to his 
studies. In 1746, he graduated, and in the following 
year he spent six months at Roxbury in teaching 
school, for which he received eighty-four pounds old 
tenor, ^38 50 cents ; out of which he paid his board 
at sixty-seven cents a week. In July, 1747, he com- 
menced the study of medicine under the care of Col. 
Berry of Ipswich. This gentleman was the most 
distinguished practitioner of his neighborhood, al- 
though his being universally known, by his military 
title, does not speak highly for the estimation in 
which medical honors were then held. He finished 
his pupilage in April 1749, and then came to Salem, 
in June of the same year. This place has ever since 
been the scene of his useful and philanthropic labors. 
For the remainder of his life, he scarcely left the 
town, unless on business connected with the profes- 
sion, and during his life he never wandered so far as 
fifty miles from the spot on which he was born. His 
longest journey was to Portsmouth, in 1749, at which 
time he was absent five days. In 1755, he was 
married to Judith Pickman, daughter of Col. B. 
Pickman, of Salem. This lady died in her nine- 
teenth year, in 1756, soon after the birth of a daugh- 
ter, which did not long survive her. In 1759, he was 
again married to Mary Viall, daughter of Nathaniel 
Viall, merchant of Boston. Upon this latter occa- 


sion, he was absent from Salem a week, which is 
beheved to have been the longest visit he ever made 
from home, except in 1 764, when he went to Boston, 
to be inoculated for the small pox. The length of 
this visit was occasioned by a custom which then 
prevailed, for newly married persons to devote a 
week to receiving the visits and congratulations of 
their friends, as the phrase was, ' sitting up for com- 
pany,' a ceremony which Dr. Holyoke declared to 
one of the committee was ' very tedious and irk- 
some.' By his second wife he had twelve children, 
most of whom died in infancy. Two daughters only 
survive ; the widow of the late Mr. William Turner, 
of Boston, and the wife of Joshua Ward Esqr. of 
Salem. Dr. Holyoke perhaps was led to select this 
town as his place of residence in consequence of 
the death of Dr. Cabot, which occurred just at the 
time of his completing his pupilage ; but so little 
were his expectations of employment realized that 
after two years trial, he appears to have had serious 
intentions of abandoning the place, in despair of 
success, and to have remained here only through fear 
of distressing his father if he returned home. 

No man probably ever entered upon the business 
of his profession with more settled resolution and 
perseverance than Dr. Holyoke. He had youth and 
health, a constitution of mind and body eminently 
calculated for endurance of labor and fatigue, was 
reputed a good scholar for his time ; he read the 
Latin language with great fluency, and he subse- 
quently attained a familiar acquaintance with the 
French ; he had as many opportunities of learning 


his profession as were common at that time, and was 
respectably connected and advantageously known. 
But notwithstanding these advantages, the medical 
profession abounded with discouragements, which, to 
say the least, are greatly lessened at this day. The 
standard of medical education was totally unsettled. 
Every one who chose to prescribe for the sick, was 
admitted to the rank of physician ; the higher points 
of medical character, and the value of medical stu- 
dies, were totally unappreciated by the bulk of the 
people ; and the compensation for medical services 
was exceedingly small. His first visits were charged 
at 5 shillings, old tenor, about 1 1 cts. each. This 
was at a time when provisions bore nearly half of 
their present prices, and other necessaries of living 
were in like proportion. The periodical press did 
not then, as now, issue its regular current of obser- 
vation and intelligence, and it was not till Dr. Hol- 
yoke reached the declining period of life, that this 
species of medical literature had given that impulse 
to the profession, which is so sensibly felt at the pre- 
sent day. It was rare, in the period of his meridian 
life, for any man to devote himself to medicine as a 
science, and pursue the profession without reference 
to other advantages, than those which appertain to 
medical and scientific character. During almost the 
whole period of Dr. Holyoke's life, the spirit of com- 
mercial adventure was the characteristic trait of al- 
most all around him. There were many ways of 
rapidly attaining to wealth and distinction, that look- 
ed more inviting than the one he had chosen ; and it 
shows his steadiness of purpose, and his characteris- 


tic contempt for mere money, that during his whole 
Hfe he never appears to have been enticed to engage 
in any of the enterprises which were undertaken by 
others in the pursuit of wealth, or for a single day to 
have laid aside his character as a practitioner of the 
healing art. The following sketch is from the pen 
of his intimate friend, and one of his eldest pupils 
now hving. 

* He possessed much vivacity of disposition, ac- 
companied with great agility of body, and when at 
college was remarkable for his feats of activity. He 
was reputed to have been a very good scholar. 

The pecuhar constitution of his mind led him to 
cultivate and to be much attached to experimental 
inquiry. He thought with Bacon that it was the only 
road to discovery. He often expressed great aver- 
sion to hypotheses whether applied to medicine or 
natural philosophy. 

He made some original experiments more than 
half a century ago, with ether and the thermometer, 
by which he discovered the power of evaporation to 
produce cold. And this was done before the discove- 
ry had been announced in America. 

He was very attentive to his professional duties, 
visiting with equal promptness the poor and the rich. 
Few physicians in the United States have done so 
much for the poor. When in the sick chamber his 
manners were remarkably affable, and kind, but pre- 
serving a proper dignity of deportment. Such was 
the success attending his practice, and his great 
reputation, that it produced to him such a pressure 
of business as sometimes scarcely permitted him to 


take the necessary meals for supporting life. The 
following calculation conveys some idea of the extent 
of his business. He had filled 120 day books of 90 
pages each, containing charges for 30 visits on each 
page, giving an average of over 11 visits a day for 
75 years. And upon one occasion when the measles 
were epidemic in 1787 he made over 100 professional 
visits in a day for several days. And there was a 
period in his practice in which he could say there 
was not a house in Salem which he had not visited 

In medical consultations he expressed himself with 
diffidence and caution, and with the junior members 
of the profession, was free from hauteur, and was 
communicative, and at the same time candid, and 
disposed rather to conceal than expose their errors. 

His practice has been thought, in the use of mer- 
cury and opium, to have resembled that of the cele- 
brated Darwin. For although he very often prescrib- 
ed those active agents, yet it was, perhaps, in more 
cautious doses than they are generally administered 
at the present day. In pneumonic inflammation, and 
in cases of cynanche trachealis, the mercury was very 
liberally prescribed. In the latter disease he depend- 
ed principally on the turpeth mineral. He was not 
averse, as he advanced in life, to the trial of new re- 
medies, but might rather be said to be fond of such 
trial ; but it was always done with great caution, to 
insure safety to his patients. He early gave the mi- 
neral solution, and was one of the first physicians in 
America that prescribed the Prussic acid. 

Cheerfulness has been said to be conducive to 


longevity, and such an influence it probably had in 
the subject of this memoir, in whom this quality of 
the mind abounded, and formed a most conspicuous 
trait in his character. But although he loved cheer- 
fulness, his conversation did not admit of levity. 
The subjects which he most liked to dwell upon, in 
the society of his friends, were such as had a useful 
bearing on morals, the arts or sciences, for the ad- 
vancement of the happiness of the great family of 
mankind. A learned professor said he always learn- 
ed something new from the Doctor's conversation. 

He was always a strong advocate for the truth of 
the Christian religion, and of the doctrine of immor- 
tality. And he adorned the religion he professed by 
his benevolent deeds, and most exemplary hfe. 

The Doctor often regretted the want of greater 
advantages in his earlier medical education, and 
evinced by his dihgence in reading the best medical 
authors, a desire to compensate as far as possible such 
deficiencies. He possessed great industry, for if he 
returned home but for a few moments he would 
snatch up a book and resume his studies. He was in 
the habit of importing, almost every year, from Eng- 
land, for some considerable portion of his hfe, tlie 
new medical books of merit. But his reading was 
not confined to medicine exclusively. He was well 
versed in Astronomy, and the several branches of 
Natural Philosophy and Theology and the Belles 
Lettres. He was truly a man of science, and the 
public manifested that they considered him to be, by 
his having been appointed the first President of the 


Massachusetts Medical Society, and also President of 
the Academy of Arts and Sciences. 

To his extensive science he united great urbanity 
of manners. The correctness of his conduct, pru- 
dence and politeness, were very remarkable. He 
was fond of society, which he enlivened by his wit, 
while he instructed his associates by a communication 
from the rich stores of his mind. For he was what 
Bacon has styled a full man ; and what was said of 
Dr. Mead, may be apphed to him : ' Whose abilities 
and eminence in his profession, united with his learn- 
ing and fine taste for those arts which embellish hu- 
man hfe, long rendered him an ornament, not only 
to his own profession, but to the nation and age in 
which he lived.' 

Dr. Holyoke had a good memory, and although 
his incessant calls prevented his devoting much time 
to reading, he seldom passed a day, for the first sixty 
years of his practice, without noting down some fact 
or observation calculated to augment his professional 
knowledge. His meteorological observations were 
recorded daily, almost without interruption, for eighty 

The study of the book of nature has been the 
occupation of the enlightened physician in all ages, 
and a more complete method of pursuing this study 
can hardly be imagined than that of Dr. Holyoke. 
If his attendance upon professional practice had ever 
allowed him to have fully completed this plan, and 
prepared the general results of his observations for 
publication, he would have furnished a most valuable 
treasury of medical knowledge. He kept a memo- 


randum upon his table, in which was minuted down 
the name of every disease the moment he returned 
from making a call, the more remarkable being the 
subject of further memoranda, in which he ascer- 
tained by computation, the number of cases of every 
disease. He also was diligent in obtaining correct 
bills of mortality. He was thus enabled to inform 
himself most completely of the changes which take 
place in the frequency of occurrence, and the fatahty 
of diseases. 

These observations, together with those of a me- 
teorological character, formed a complete history of 
the physical changes which came under his notice. 

The manuscripts here alluded to, with the excep- 
tion of those which were sent to the Massachusetts 
Medical Society, were never intended for public 
inspection, and are not left in a state to furnish a 
connected history of the diseases of this vicinity. 
But such a history might have been compiled from 
them by the author himself, which would have resem- 
bled in character and value the celebrated commen- 
taries of the venerable Heberden. 

Dr. Holyoke devoted a portion of his time to the 
study of Astronomy. The appearance of comets, 
and remarkable displays of the Aurora Borealis, was 
noted in his diary with much exactness, and published 
in Silliman's Journal for 1827. In 1769, he made 
an accurate observation of the transit of Venus over 
the Sun's disc, and in 1782, the transit of Mercury 
over the Sun's disc. The observation and recording 
the changes of the weather, earthquakes, storms and 
memorabilia, continued to be a favorite pursuit with 


him as long as he hved. The well remembered 
September gale of 1815, is noticed and recorded by 
him, with much fidelity and exactness. The epide- 
mics which occurred in his practice, were never suf- 
fered to pass without a cursory record of the princi- 
pal facts connected with them. 

Although for reasons which have been mentioned, 
he did not often appear before the public as an au- 
thor, he was not indifferent to the cultivation of 
medical science among its professors. As soon as 
the Medical Society of this State was formed, he 
contributed his full share to their published transac- 
tions. He was one of the founders of the Society, 
and also of the District Society of Essex, and was 
a constant attendant at their meetings. To the 
county society he bequeathed to their library some 
of his most valuable books. He wrote the preface 
to the first volume of the State Society's publica- 
tions, and the first paper of that volume is his inte- 
resting account of the state of the weather, diseases, 
operation of remedies, deaths, &c. in Salem, for 
every month of the year 1786, and shows that he 
must have been in habits of close observation, and 
of noting down the. occurrences he met with in 
practice. Observations of the same kind, were 
communicated for the years 1782, '83, '84, '85, '87, 
and 1788. Every physician engaged in full practice, 
as was Dr. Holyoke, at this time, will admit this to 
have been no small labor. 

The terrible epidemic sore throat of 1734-5, which 
almost totally destroyed the infant population of the 
north part of Essex county, was keenly remembered 


for many years afterwards, and the attention of phy- 
cians was directed to the inflammatory afiection of 
the throat and lungs, and the operation of remedies 
the most efficacious in these dreaded and danger- 
ous attacks. Hence originated a more complete ac- 
quaintance with the mercurial practice, than else- 
where obtained. An interesting letter of Dr. Hol- 
yoke on this subject was published in the 1st vol. of 
the New York Med. Repository, and in the Appendix 
to this memoir in the Transactions of the Society. 
Although, as has been observed. Dr. Holyoke was 
a cautious practitioner, he was not a timid one, and 
never neglected to make himself acquainted with the 
reputed powers of new articles which were from time 
to time introduced into the materia medica, and with 
the new modes of practice which were recommend- 
ed by others. In the use of the Digitalis of the gum 
Acarosides, of the Muriate of Barytes and of many 
medicines of later date, he was one of the earliest 
and most careful experimenters. His use of the Ac- 
etate of Lead in restraining hemorrhages, of the oxy- 
muriate of mercury in the treatment of scrofula, and 
some forms of cutaneous disease, of small doses of 
calomel in the ulcuscula oris of children, has led to 
the establishment of modes of treatment attended 
with the highest degree of benefit. There are seve- 
ral medicines which owe their introduction into use 
entirely to him, and many in fact may be said to have 
originated with him, as he was the first to settle the 
best mode of preparation and administration. The 
article so well known in this place by the name of the 
' white balsam drops,' or fennel balsam, is a strong 


solution of sub-carbonate of potash, with the addition 
of a Httle essential oil of sweet fennel, and is a valua- 
ble diaphoretic and carminative, especially to children. 
This was a favorite medicine during his whole prac- 
tice. He obtained his first knowledge of it from a 
Mr. Wigglesworth of Maiden. Of a cheap method 
of preparing the Salaeratus, or Supercarbonate of 
Potash he wrote an account for the Mass. Med. Soci- 
ety, which is reprinted in their appendix to vol. 4. 
This article has in this neighborhood nearly supersed- 
ed the common carbonate, both in medicinal and 
culinary preparation. 

Dr. Holyoke's prescriptions were, for the most 
part, put up under his own inspection, either by him- 
self or his pupils. This practice was nearly univer- 
sal, even in the large towns, till the commencement 
of the present century, and if there were obvious 
disadvantages in the necessity which called for so 
much of the valuable time of the physician, there 
were undoubtedly some benefits derived from con- 
necting practical pharmacy with his more dignified 
duties. The practice still prevails among many of 
our brethren in New York, and further south, and is 
warmly advocated by a distinguished individual of 
their number. Dr. Hosack. 

Dr. Holyoke was intimately acquainted with the 
qualities and preparations of all the drugs he was in 
the habit of using, and was extremely neat and skill- 
ful in compounding them. Although, perhaps, he 
used a greater number of remedial agents than enter 
into the prescriptions of the present day, he was by 
no means infected with the polypharmacy which was 


the prevailing fault of the physicians of his time. 
The following anecdote, related by one of his pupils, 
exhibits the simplicity of his practice. ' When 1 first 
went to live with him in 1797, showing me his shop, 
he said, ' there seems to you to be a great variety of 
medicines here, and that it will take you long to get 
acquainted with them, but most of them are unim- 
portant. There are four which are equal to all the 
rest, viz.. Mercury, Antimony, Bark, and Opium ; of 
these there are many preparations, however. Of 
Antimony 1 think I have used thirty.' These are his 
words substantially.' The same person adds, ' I can 
only say of his practice, the longer I have lived, I 
have thought better and better of it.' 

In 1777 Dr. Holyoke appHed himself to the busi- 
ness of inoculating for small pox. He had himself 
been inoculated in April, 1764, by Dr. N. Perkins, of 
Boston, and his careful minutes of this occurrence 
illustrate the customs and practice of that day. In 
March, 1777, he took charge of the hospital, which 
had been erected a few years before for small pox 
inoculation,, and conducted through the disease three 
classes, amounting in all to about 600, with only two 
fatal cases occurring. But the loss of these two, less 
than the average number, one of which occurred in 
the first class of 200, affected his sensitive mind with 
so much anguish, as almost to occasion self-reproach, 
and a resolution to abandon the undertaking. Dur- 
ing most of the period of his patients remaining in 
the hospital, he passed his whole time with them night 
and day, and many persons in this place, who were 
at that time under his care for inoculation, testify to 


his skillful and assiduous attentions. He was an early 
vaccinator, and was in the common practice of it in 
the beginning of 1802, if not earlier. 

As a surgical operator Dr. Holyoke had more 
than a mediocrity of talent and skill. He never ap- 
peared to have any extraordinary preference for this 
branch of his profession, but as a matter of necessity 
held himself qualified for all the usual demands of 
surgical treatment. In fact the opportunities for a 
display of surgical address are much less frequent in 
the population with which Dr. Holyoke has resided, 
than might be expected from its number. One of 
the committee has heard him say, there was a period 
of twenty-five years, during which he saw nearly all 
the important cases of disease and accident in the 
town of Salem, and yet never performed or witnessed 
an amputation of a large limb. This exemption from 
operations is to be ascribed partly to the character, 
the habits and occupations of the people. Agricul- 
ture and the fisheries were the principal pursuits, and 
the building of ships and houses the only mechanical 
employments in which there were likely to arise 
many occasions for surgical assistance. It must be 
allowed, too, that the period in which Dr. Holyoke 
held the lead of practice in this vicinity was charac- 
terized by a greater degree of temperance among la- 
boring people, than existed in most large towns. 
Even at present, while it is acknowledged that the 
vice of intemperance has been of late years, (1829) 
a growing evil, it is beheved there are few seaports 
in which there is a less number of sots, in proportion 
to the whole population. The extreme rareness of 


Lithotomy is quite noticeable in this vicinity. The 
perfect purity of the water drank by tlie inhabitants 
of this town, is no doubt the cause of the infrequency 
of the disease requiring this operation. Notwith- 
standing, however, the infrequency of cases requiring 
surgical operations, such was the extent of Dr. Hol- 
yoke's practice that he was occasionally called upon 
to perform amputations, and other important opera- 
tions ; and in these cases his promptitude and success 
were such as procured him a high degree of reputa- 
tion. So late as December, 1821, when he was nine- 
ty-two years old, he performed the operation of pa- 
racentesis. In the management of fractures he par- 
ticularly excelled. No man handled a broken lunb 
with more tenderness and adroitness. 

As an obstetric practitioner he was greatly esteem- 
ed, and upon this branch of his business he seems to 
have bestowed extraordinary attention. On his first 
coming to this place, this department of the healing 
art was entirely in the hands of ignorant midwives, 
and the physician was only called in extraordinary 
cases, or to rectify some of the blunders of these prac- 
titioners. He has preserved an account of the first 
forty-five obstetric cases which occurred to him. The 
first one on which he ' was persuaded to engage in, 
occurred in 1755, after he had been six years in prac- 
tice, and it was not till four years afterwards that he 
makes the record of a case which was the first ' com- 
mon, easy birth which ever came under his manage- 
ment.' Thus it happened that he was early taught 
to meet the difficulties of this branch of medical 
practice, and acquired a fertility of expedients, and 


dependence on the resources of art, which, no doubt, 
contributed to the safety of many a female in the 
hour of peril, after he became extensively engaged 
in attending to these cases. Between the years 1791 
and 1801 the number of births which occurred in his 
practice was 946, viz. 494 boys, and 452 girls. 

He received pupils during nearly all the period of 
his active practice ; and some of the most distinguish- 
ed physicians of New England were educated under 
his care. Of the thirty-five pupils which he educat- 
ed, thirteen are now living. 

The period of the revolution was a trying one to 
the subject of this memoir, and he never loved to 
dwell upon the recollections of it. His feelings in 
the spring and summer of 1775, were intensely pain- 
ful. In referring to that period, he said to one of his 
family, he thought he should have died with the sense 
of weight and oppression at his heart. He had sent 
his family to Nantucket, and the loneliness of his 
house increased the feeling of desolation. Most of 
his intimate friends and near connections favored the 
royal cause, and his own education had attached him 
to the established order of things, and his peaceful 
temper shrunk from the turmoil of a revolution. He 
thought this country destined to be independent, but 
he believed the proper period had not arrived, and 
that weakness and dissension were likely to follow 
what he considered a premature disunion. But in 
after times when referring to these opinions, he was 
wont, with his usual ingenuousness, to say that the 
event had proved that he was wrong in his predic- 
tion. He imputed to the revolution a change in the 


manners of the people, which will not be reckoned 
among its good effects. He thought there was a 
falling off in domestic discipline, and a relaxation of 
wholesome subordination among children, since the 
freedom of the colonies. 

During this trying period, he kept steadily occu- 
pied in his benevolent duties, and such was his pru- 
dence, his inoffensive manners, and the universal 
respect for his virtues, that he did not meet with so 
much trouble as might have been expected from the 
unpopularity of his opinions. Although most dis- 
tinguished men, who had adopted the royal cause, 
found it expedient to leave the country, it does not 
appear that he was ever impeded in the prosecution 
of his business for a single day. It does not appear 
that his practice was ever injured by the part he took 
in politics. He held a commission as a magistrate 
both before and after the revolution. 

Dr. Holyoke was as little of a partizan in religion 
as in politics. He was firm and decided in his own 
opinions, but seems neither to have expected nor 
desired uniformity in christian belief. But although 
without any extravagant zeal, he was emphatically a 
religious man. He was a dihgent student of the 
scriptures and continued to read the New Testament 
in the original until the last year of his life. For 
many years, he usually reperused this volume with 
great care, once every year. He was as constant in 
his attendance at church as his numerous engage- 
ments would permit, and in the most busy period of 
his practice, would so arrange his business as most 
commonly to find time for pubhc worship on some 


part of every Sunday. In deeds of piety and be- 
nevolence he was always active, and through life had 
a systematic charity proportioned to his means. His 
gifts were bestowed with the most scrupulous secrecy, 
and from his intimacy in the families of all classes, 
seldom misapplied. The widowed mother, and the 
orphan children, were often relieved by a present of 
money through the Post Office, which a grateful 
curiosity has traced to Dr. Holyoke. 

The loss of his hearing was the greatest privation 
in respect to health which Dr. Holyoke suffered. 
This for many years impaired his enjoyment of the 
pleasures of society, for which he had so high a re- 
lish. When he was forty-five years old, his eyesight 
required the use of convex glasses. These he used 
for about forty years, when his eyesight gradually 
returned, and at the time of his death it was so per- 
fect as to enable him to read the finest print, without 
the aid of glasses. In early life he could see with 
much distinctness to a great distance, but after he 
left off his glasses he lost this power, and for the last 
few years, he has complained that objects at a distance 
were multiplied, so that he could see four or five 
moons, &c. An alteration in the refracting power 
of the chrystalUne lens, not uncommon in old age, 
and which occasions the image to be imperfectly 
formed upon the retina, might be considered the sole 
cause of this imperfection of sight, or it was perhaps 
connected with the state of the brain he so accurately 
describes in the account of his own case. 

After he had passed his seventieth year, although 
at this time in full practice, he often expressed a fear 


that he was too old for his employment, and that his 
powers of mind had failed him. In particular, for 
the last thirty years of his life, he was wont to la- 
ment his loss of memory, and say that he only read 
for amusement, and that his mind retained nothing. 
This, though true to a certain extent, his characte- 
ristic humility greatly exaggerated. He did re- 
tain the most important ideas which were traced in 
his mind, and kept up with the improvements in the 
practice of our art, to a degree most unusual for a 
man who had reached three score years and ten. 
Since he attained his hundredth year, he passed an 
hour in the study of one of his medical acquaint- 
ances, and was greatly interested in inquiring what 
had been the last accounts of the operations for the 
removal of urinary calculus, by the new operation of 
lithontripty. Only one week previous to his last 
confinement, in February last, he dictated a letter to 
a gentleman in Connecticut, who had written to him 
requesting his opinion in a case of schirrus, in which 
letter. Dr. Holyoke recommends the trial of Iodine, 
an^ gives full directions for its administration. Per- 
haps these incidents of his last days, exhibit in a 
sufficiently clear manner, what was the most dis- 
tinguishing intellectual trait of his whole character. 
It was that he was always ready to receive informa- 
tion, — tliat he kept his mind open, so to speak, and 
never allowed prejudice, or the conceit of great ac- 
quirements, to prevent his examining and adopting 
any thing which claimed to be a novelty or improve- 

The circumstance of his arriving to be an hundred 


years old, an occurrence so unusual to happen to any 
man, and of which it does not come within the 
knowledge of the committee that there are many au- 
thentic accounts of its having happened before to 
eminent physicians, was looked upon by the Doctor 
and his friends as an era of very great interest.* 

The close of Dr. Holyoke's life was a period of 
quiet and calm domestic enjoyments, but not of sul- 
lenness or disgust. He received the visits of those 

* Some eminent physicians have attained a great age, and several of them 
have their ages recorded atone hundred and upwards; but in almost all 
these cases, the contradictory accounts of authors give us reason to doubt 
the correctness of the statements. Some have stated that Hippocrates died 
at the age of 109, some at 104, and some at 99. Alioemon Menzoar, an 
Arabian physician and writer who flourished between the years 1630 and 
1660, lived to 135 years. Some of the old writers doubt this. Belknap in 
his history of New Hampshire, says that Dr. John Huss of Durham, N. H., 
died in 1736, at the age of 108, and was very vigorous in old age. He 
mentions a death recorded in the newspapers of 1803, of Dr. Hezekiah 
Miram, of Ward, Mass., who died at the age of 100. He lived with his 
wife 78 years, and she survived him. In the Gentleman's Magazine, men- 
tion is made of the tomb of Dr. Thomas Martcood, of Honiton, in Devon- 
shire, Eng., physician to Queen Elizabeth, who died in 1617, aged above 105. 
The celebrated William Mead, M. D., according to the same Magazine for 
1781, died Oct. iJ8th, 1652, aged 148 years and nine months. He was but 
four years younger than the celebrated old Parr, but more than twenty 
younger than the well known prodigy of longevity, Henry Jenkins, the 
fisherman, who died at the age of 169. There are some even older, which 
we have no reason to dispute, recorded in the Welch chronicles. Ivan Yo- 
rath was buried on the 17th of July, A. D. 1621, aged 180. He was a sol- 
dier in the fight of Bosworth, and lived at Lantwitt Major, and he lived 
much by fishing. Elizabeth, the wife of Edmund Thomas, was buried the 
18th day of February, in the year of our Lord God, 1688, aged 177.' 

Cases of longevity are not rare among persons not distinguished for their 
mental powers, and the close of life with such is frequently a state of mere 
existence ' sans every thing.' A circumstance as remarkable as any con- 
nected with the longevity of Dr. Holyoke is, that he retained the power of 
using his intellect with vigor and energy, and of communicating his ideas 
intelligibly to the last of his days. His letters written after he was one 
hundred years old, prove this. 


who waited on him to testify their respect for his 
venerable and virtuous character, with great affabihty 
and apparent satisfaction. He did not make the un- 
certainty of hfe and his being near the close of it an 
excuse for inaction. After he had completed his 
hundredth year, he commenced a manuscript in which 
he proposed to minute down some of the changes 
in the manners, dress, dweUings and employments of 
the inhabitants of Salem. 

In summing up the character of our venerable 
friend, it is not too much to say, he was a perfect 
model of the general practitioner of medicine. His 
manners were equally removed from servility and ar- 
rogance. Free from dogmatism, and trusting to the 
mild dignity of his manners to enforce his precepts, 
nothing excited his displeasure more than the swag- 
gering, Radcliffe style assumed by some men to im- 
pose an idea of their consequence upon the vulgar, 
who are sometimes prone to believe that excessive 
rudeness is a mark of genius, and that consummate 
insolence, is, not unfrequently, coupled with consum- 
mate skill. These people he used to call ' medical 

His regard for truth was scrupulous and sincere, 
and this was obvious in his reasoning upon facts, for 
he was never known to form a deduction which re- 
quired the sacrifice or modification of an important 
fact in the premises ; but he rather suffered his judg- 
ment to remain suspended, and waited for a farther 
insight into the operations of nature. From the 
same cause, a letter of recommendation or introduc- 
tion coming from him, even in behalf of the most 


valued of his friends, was sure to contain not one 
word more than came within the scope of the au- 
thor's personal knowledge and observation. 

The respect in which his person and character 
were held, by the inhabitants of this place, was al- 
most enthusiastic, the whole of the present genera- 
tion have been taught to look upon him with venera- 
tion, and to pronounce his name with affection and 
respect. His name was sought for in every under- 
taking for the welfare of the community, as a sort of 
passport to the confidence of his fellow citizens. 
When a few years since some pilferer had taken from 
his door post the thermometer which had been sus- 
pended there for so many years, from which he had 
taken his daily observations of temperature, the act 
was viewed as a sort of sacrilege, and it was general- 
ly agreed, that it could not have been the deed of a 
Salem thief, for it was thought there could be none so 
base, as not to respect the property of the Salem 
patriarch. It is difficult to speak of the estimation 
in which all classes united in holding him, without 
being suspected of exaggeration, but it is certainly 
safe to say that all who knew him regarded him as 
having reached a height of moral rectitude, as elevat- 
ed as was ever attained by uninspired human nature ; 
and what his eulogist said of him was literally the 
absolute conviction of his friends, ' that knowingly to 
do wrong, in a single instance, would have required in 
him as severe an eflTort, as the practice of elevated 
virtue in most men.' This veneration must be 
regarded as arising from the possession of some 
peculiar and unusual moral qualities. He was ob- 


viously less selfish than most men. His ready 
generosity and the moderate competence with which 
he ahvays contented himself, prove this. But still 
more peculiar was the perfect simplicity and single- 
ness of heart which marked his moral conduct. 
There was no effort ; he acted right because he felt 
right, and every one could see that the kindness of his 
manner was a sincere expression of the kindness of 
his heart. It was the perfect confidence which every 
one had in the habitual rectitude and purity of his 
intentions that induced persons of all ages and of all 
classes to look upon him as a sympathizing friend to 
whom they might intrust their most important inte- 
rests. His sickness and expected death were the most 
common topics of inquiry among the citizens of 
Salem for some days previous to his decease ; and 
when this event took place, it was announced by the 
tolling of all the church bells of the town, a mark of 
respect never known to have been shown to any other 
than the late Presidents of the United States. All 
classes of persons thronged to his funeral to pay their 
tribute of respect to his memory, and the eulogy pro- 
nounced over his remains by his pastor and intimate 
friend, the Rev. Mr. Brazer, was a chastened effort of 
genuine and touching eloquence, and a delineation of 
his moral and religious character, which was recog- 
nized as faithful and just, by the crowded assembly 
before whom it was pronounced. As that produc- 
tion is now before the public, we have avoided en- 
larging upon some points in regard to the character 
of Dr. Holyoke, which are ably and fully expatiated 
upon by his eulogist. 


Dr. David Hosack. My friend, Dr. J. W. Fran- 
cis, of New York, the former colleague and partner 
of the eminent subject of this notice, has politely 
forwarded me the following elegant memoir of him. 

Hosack, David, M. D., LL. D., F. R. S. &c. Con- 
spicuous among that class of individuals who have 
added distinction to the character of medical science, 
may be placed this eminent professor and practitioner 
of the healing art. By an exclusive direction to that 
pursuit which he deemed the most important of all 
studies, and by a long and severe discharge of its re- 
sponsible trusts, he justly challenged public confidence 
in his skill, and secured a widely extended approba- 

The life of a practitioner of medicine of forty 
years devotion to his calling must necessarily involve 
many incidents ; our limits will embrace some of the 
most interesting, 

David Hosack was a native of the city of New 
York, and was born on the 31st of August, 1769. 
His father, Alexander Hosack, was by birth a Scotch- 
man, born at Elgin, in 1736, and came to this coun- 
try with Lord Jeffrey Amherst, upon the siege of 
Louisburg. His mother was the daughter of Fran- 
cis Arden of New York, and was born in 1743. 
David, their first child, and the subject of this sketch, 
after receiving his preliminary instruction in his na- 
tive city, was sent to the grammar school of the late 
Dr. McWhorter of Newark, New Jersey, where, af- 
ter pursuing the study of the Latin and Greek lan- 
guages for some fifteen months, he was removed to 
the school of Dr. Peter Wilson, at Hackensack, by 


'WC Sharp sZiXhBosttjn 


whom he was enabled to enter as a pupil in Columbia 
College, N. York, in 1786. In this institution he 
remained about two years and a half, when he pro- 
ceeded to Princeton College, then under the control 
of the eminently learned and distinguished President 
Witherspoon. Here he received the degree of Ba- 
chelor of Arts, in 1789. 

While in his attendance in the freshmen and so- 
phomore classes of Columbia College, he was also 
engaged in the study of medicine and surgery with 
the late renowned Dr. Richard Bayley. At Prince- 
ton his medical studies were necessarily suspended. 
These, however, he promptly resumed upon his gra- 
duation in the school of Arts, and availing himself of 
the advantages which New York then possessed for 
private instructions, the medical faculty of the college 
having been dispersed by the revolutionary struggle, 
he attended the lectures of Bayley and Post on Ana- 
tomy and Surgery, those on the Practice of Physic, 
Botany, and the Materia Medica, by Romayne, those 
on obstetrics and the diseases of women and children 
by Bard. Clinical knowledge was afforded at the 
Alms House of the city by Moore, Kissam, Post, and 
Romayne. It is worthy of remark that a majority 
of these excellent instructors had been educated at 
Edinburgh, and that they pursued a plan of instruc- 
tion for their pupils similar to that in which they had 
been taught in the Royal Infirmary at Edinburgh. 

Young Hosack, solicitous of further improvement, 
now proceeded to Philadelphia, whose school had 
already acquired grear reputation from the active 
talents and personal skill of Shippen, Rush, Kuhn, 


Wistar, Hutchinson and Griffiths. Here he received 
the degree of Doctor of Medicine in 1791, on wiiich 
occasion he pubhshed an inaugural dissertation on 
Cholera Morbus, maintaining in this exercise, the 
somewhat pecuhar views of Professor Kuhn. At the 
recommendation of Dr. Rush, Dr. Hosack com- 
menced the practice of his profession at Alexandria, 
in Virginia, but after a year's residence in that place, 
though his success was sufficiently flattering to his 
ambition, he returned to his native city. New York. 
In New York, it may be stated, he found many 
causes to operate in his behalf for the better exercise 
of his professional talents. The associates of his 
studies were here more abundant, his personal ac- 
quaintance with the inhabitants was comparatively 
large ; he was ambitious to become known as a 
practical physician in the city of his birth, and here 
too was a wider field for the display of professional 
acquisition. Here he associated himself with many 
of the charitable and humane institutions which so 
remarkably characterize New York. As a member 
of the Humane Society, he published a pamphlet on 
suspended animation, one of the special subjects of 
the consideration of the society. His prospects im- 
proved, and he had reason to be well satisfied with 
the commencement of his medical career. Still he 
felt that all the opportunities for professional know- 
ledge which he had enjoyed in his own country, fell 
short of what he might have possessed had he visited 
the schools of Europe. His father, desirous of gra- 
tifying his son in all reasonable demands, yielded to 
his solicitations, and the young doctor haying soon 


arranged his business, set out for Edinburgh, as the 
great seat of medical and chirurgical science at that 
period. He ever spoke of this occurrence as the 
most advantageous one in his hfe. As an American 
graduate already invested with collegiate distinction, 
he was at greater liberty to indulge the bent of his 
mind in the prosecution of such departments of in- 
formation as he most wished, and his letters of intro- 
duction to the Professors Gregory, Stewart, Duncan, 
Beattie, and others, enabled him to enjoy to the 
greatest extent, the instruction and the society of the 
eminent professional and literary men of that metro- 
pohs. Like every other scholar who has participated 
in the intellectual treasures of Edinburgh, his desires 
now led him to visit London, for still greater increase 
of scientific knowledge. The lectures of Andrew 
Marshall on Anatomy, the practical precepts of Pear- 
• son, of St. George's Hospital, the Anatomical and 
Surgical instruction of Earle and Abernethy, of St. 
Bartholomew's Hospital, the Botany of Curtis, of the 
Brompton Garden, and the zoological and botanical 
course of Sir James Edward Smith, President of the 
Linngean Society, were sufficient to fill up every hour 
in profitable investigation. While in London, he 
drew up some interesting facts relative to the com- 
munication of the virus of the small pox to the foetus 
in utero. A paper of a more eminently philosophi- 
cal character on vision, in which he was the advocate 
of the theory that the eye adapts itself to the view 
of objects at different distances by means of its ex- 
ternal muscles, was also, at this time, drawn up by 
him, and obtained the approbation of the Royal 


Society. It was published in their Transactions in 

The same year, 1794, he returned to New York, 
and entered with renewed ardor upon the duties of 
his profession, which he continued to prosecute until 
within a short period before the close of his active 
and laborious life. In 1795, the Trustees of Colum- 
bia College appointed him Professor of Botany, and 
the following year he published a syllabus of his lec- 
tures. His old teacher, the venerable Dr. Samuel 
Bard, being now about to withdraw from the practice 
of physic, a connection was formed between him and 
Dr. Hosack, which continued for four years, when 
in 1800, Dr. Bard retired to his country residence, 
leaving Dr. Hosack in the possession of an extensive 
and lucrative practice. 

During the prevalence of the malignant yellow 
fever in New York in 1795, '6, '7, '8, and 1801, 
'03, '05, '19, and 1822, he was actively engaged in 
encountering that direful malady, and was earnest in 
enforcing, as the most effective mode of rehef, the 
sudorific plan of treatment. On this disorder he has 
written many papers, in all of which he contended 
for the distinctive or specific character of the dis- 
ease when compared with the several forms of in- 
digenous fever, and that sub modo, it was of a con- 
tagious nature. By the death of Dr. W. P. Smith, 
Professor of Materia Medica in Columbia College, 
that branch was also assigned to Dr. Hosack, and 
the joint Professorship of Botany and Materia Me- 
dica were discharged by him until the dissolution of 
the Medical Faculty of that Institution in 1813. The 


active interest which Dr. Hosack took in furthering 
the organization of a new medical school in New 
York, is familiarly known to all who have studied the 
progress of medical affairs in that city. In this new 
institution he was the master spirit of its success, and 
when by the union of the two rival faculties of Co- 
lumbia College and the College of Physicians and 
Surgeons, there were now concentrated in one school 
the eminent teacher in both, the career of that estab- 
lishment, as second only in numbers to the older 
school of Philadelphia, was universally admitted. 
Anatomy was held by Post, the practice of Physic 
and Chnical Medicine by Hosack, Chemistry by 
Macnevin, the Institution of Medicine and Midwifery 
by Francis, to whom also was assigned Medical Ju- 
risprudence, upon the death of Dr. Stringham ; Sur- 
gery was taught by Mott, and Clinical Medicine by 
Hamersley. The learned Mitchill gave full instruc- 
tion in Natural History and the Materia Medica. 
With such a list of experienced Professors, the college 
enumerated more than two hundred students attend- 
ing its lectures, many of them coming hither from 
the remotest parts of the Union. 

Unfortunately, however, dissensions between the 
Trustees of the College and the Faculty found admit- 
tance within their walls, and the anomalous system of 
government which controlled the Institution not ad- 
mitting of an easy reconciliation, the Faculty gave up 
■their commission in the spring of 1826, and withdrew 
from the responsible duties of teaching. The elabo- 
rate report of the Regents of the University, touch- 
ing the difficulties under which the college had labor- 


ed, exonerated the Professors from all censure, and 
the board of regents passed a vote of approbation 
in April, 1 826, for ' the faithful and able manner in 
which the faculty had filled their respective chairs as 
instructors and lecturers in the said college.' 

Dr. Hosack, with Dr. Mott, Dr. Francis, Dr. Mac- 
nevin, and several other of his colleagues in the Uni- 
versity, now laid the foundation of another school of 
practical medicine and surgery. The lamented Dr. 
Godman of Philadelphia, occupied the chair of Ana- 
tomy, and Chemistry was held by that practical teach- 
er, Professor Griscom. This school proved a power- 
ful and successful rival to the College of Physicians 
and Surgeons, but after four years of triumph, was 
abandoned on account of legislative enactment in 
behalf of the College of Physicians and Surgeons, 
and restrictive ones in relation to the Rutgers Facul- 
ty. These legislative measures, while they threw em- • 
barrassments in the way of the continuance of the last 
named Faculty, did not, however, prove so advanta- 
geous to the College of Physicians and Surgeons as 
was anticipated, inasmuch as the number of medical 
students attending the State College was diminished 
to less than one half that which attended when com- 
petition existed between the rival institutions. The 
monopoly of instruction seemed to be more odious 
to the students than to the law makers. Dr. Hosack 
after this period, 1831, withdrew from all public 

The writings of Dr. Hosack embrace many sub- 
jects, medical and philosophical, and of a general 
interest. We have already noticed some of them. 


In 1810, in conjunction with his then pupil, John W. 
Francis, afterwards his associate in business for many 
years, he projected a new medical journal, entitled 
the Medical and Philosophical Register, which was 
continued for four years ; it embraced a large amount 
of original materials on the state of science in this 
country, and many papers of a practical character 
in physical and surgical science. The most valuable, 
perhaps, of the papers of Dr. Hosack are on the 
Yellow Fever, in his correspondence with the late Dr. 
Chisholm, of Bristol, in England, including his stric- 
tures on Contagion and Infection. His practical ex- 
position of the nature and treatment of Hives, or 
Croup, is well known, and highly appreciated. To 
all solicitous of information concerning the history 
and progress of medical affairs in the United States, 
his discourse before the Rutgers College will be stu- 
died with peculiar interest. But it is deemed unne- 
cessary to enumerate his various individual papers, 
inasmuch as they are to be found in his Medical Es- 
says, in three volumes, octavo, which he published in 
1824—1830. In 1819 he published a system of 
Practical Nosology ; a second edition, much improved, 
appeared in 1821. Besides these writings, more im- 
mediately of a professional nature, he is the author 
of a discourse on Horticulture, and on Temperance, 
and Biographical notices of Drs. Rush and Wistar. 
His memoir of his lamented friend, De Witt Clinton, 
is a production which will ever command the regard 
of every friend of the system of Internal Improve- 
ment, which ennobles the state of New York. 

It may easily be inferred from the record already 


made of the labors of Dr. Hosack, that his Hfe was 
one of great industry and untiring appHcation. For 
a long period of years at the head of medical prac- 
tice in his native city, his time was necessarily almost 
wholly absorbed in the clinical exercise of his pro- 
fession. When to this it is considered that for about 
twenty years he was one of the physicians of the 
New York Hospftal, and for thirty years a distinguish- 
ed professor of practical medicine, we cannot but 
admire the zeal he displayed and the services he has 
rendered his fellow men. As a collegiate instructor 
he had scarcely a rival ; as the eloquent expositor 
of medical science he ever commanded a deep and 
general attention, equally by his copious stores of 
clinical wisdom and by the clear and pertinent 
language in which he imparted the rich treasures 
of his experience. A posthumous pubhcation in one 
volume octavo, on the Practice of Physic, recently 
appeared, edited by one of his pupils, Dr. H. W. Du- 

Dr. Hosack was honored with testimonials of dis- 
tinction from many learned and philosophical societies, 
both abroad and at home. He was, while in Europe, 
made a Fellow of the Linnsean Society of London. 
His Alma Mater, Princeton, conferred on him the de- 
gree of Doctor of Laws ; he was enrolled a Fellow 
of the Royal Society of London in 1816, and in 1817 
the Royal Society of Edinburgh conferred on him a 
like distinction. He was early made a member of 
the American Philosophical Society. 

Dr. Hosack was nearly through the whole of life 
in the enjoyment of excellent health ; his constitution 


had a natural tendency towards plethora of the blood 
vessels which he was cautious in guarding against 
by the use of antiphlogistic means ; yet at an ad- 
vanced period of age he suffered occasionally from 
its effects. By undue exposure in the early part of 
the winter of 1 835, to the extreme cold of the season, 
he was suddenly seized with giddiness, and fell, upon 
entering the door of his residence. It proved a fa- 
tal apoplexy. 

All that friendship or professional aid could impart, 
was given, but full consciousness never returned to 
him. His friends, Drs. McLean, Wilkes, Francis, 
Stevens, and his son, Dr. Alexander E. Hosack, were 
almost constantly with him. After about four days 
illness, he expired on the evening of the 23d of De- 
cember, 1835, in the 67th year of his age. The fu- 
neral ceremonies were such as comported with the 
services he had rendered his fellow citizens, and his 
eminence as a laborer in behalf of the interests of 

The manuscript correspondence and papers which 
Dr. Hosack has left, have been recently dehverd to his 
surviving friend, the Rev. Dr. Henry W. Ducachet, 
M. D., from whom is expected an ample memoir 
of this distinguished individual, whose abilities few 
men are better able to appreciate or more highly to 

Dr. Luke Howe. The following brief sketch of 
the life of Dr. Howe, was read before the New 
Hampshire Med. Society, at their annual meeting in 


June, 1843, by James Batcheller, M. D. of Marl- 
borough. The Society passed a resolution to have 
it published in the Boston Medical and Surgical 
Journal, from which this is taken. 

Luke Howe, the subject of the following memoir, 
was born at Jaffrey, N. H., March 28th, 1787. His 
father, the late Dr. Adonijah Howe, was a respect- 
able and much esteemed physician, and a worthy and 
very exemplary citizen. He commenced the prac- 
tice of medicine in Jaffrey, soon after the town was 
incorporated. He had four sons, all of whom re- 
ceived a collegiate education. Three studied the 
profession of medicine and became eminent. The 
youngest son studied divinity ; but the period of his 
earthly existence was short. His early death was 
deeply lamented by the church and parishioners over 
whom he was settled. The whole family, consisting 
of four sons and three daughters, are now, with the 
exception of one daughter, numbered with the dead. 

Dr. Luke Howe did not commence his literary 
studies till twenty years of age. Up to this period, 
he had been engaged in, and felt somewhat attached 
to, agricultural pursuits. He however changed his 
views, and commenced preparing himself to enter 
college with a most commendable degree of industry 
and perseverance. He entered Dartmouth College 
as Sophomore, in 1808, and graduated in 1811. 
Soon after leaving college he commenced the study 
of law in his native town, with Samuel Darkin, 
Esqr. He spent also considerable time in the office 
of the Hon. Samuel C. Allen, of Northfield, Mass., 
who was for many years a member of Congress. 


He closed his legal studies in the office of the honor- 
able and distinguished Nathan Dane, of Beverly, 
Mass. He commenced the practice of law in Jaf- 
frey, with the prospect of becoming distinguished. 
But he had been in practice but about a year, when 
his brother. Dr. Adonijah Howe, Jr., who was asso- 
ciated with his father in the practice of medicine, 
was suddenly removed by death. This truly grievous 
dispensation disappointed the hopes and expectations 
of the father, who, being in the decline of life, was 
anxious to resign his business into the hands of his 
son. He strenuously urged and importuned his son 
Luke to relinquish the practice of law, and com- 
mence the study of medicine. The son finally yield- 
ed to the solicitations of his father, and commenced 
the study of physic with him. He attended medical 
lectures at Boston and Hanover, and received the 
degree of M. D. from Dartmouth College, in the 
year 1818. He associated himself in business with 
his father in Jaffrey, where he continued till his death. 
In the few brief remarks I have to offer in rela- 
tion to Dr. Howe, els a physician, I do not wish to 
exhibit him as the wonder of the age in which he 
lived, or as far outstripping all his cotemporaries. 
Could he speak from die grave, he would denounce 
such a description as false and fulsome flattery. I 
wish simply to describe him as he was — a very in- 
dustrious, studious, investigating, discriminating, and 
faithful physician — highly beloved and esteemed by 
his patrons. The hmited circle in which most coun- 
try physicians move, usually prevents their fame from 
being pubhshed to any great extent, let them be ever 


SO meritorious. A single meritorious act, performed 
by a city physician, will probably be chanted by tens 
of thousands, and pass from city to city ; while simi- 
lar or superior acts of the country physicians will be, 
perhaps, merely noticed by a few friends in the im- 
mediate vicinity to the transaction. There are many 
traits in the character of Dr. Howe, highly com- 
mendable and worthy of imitation. 

In his intercourse with neighboring physicians, his 
conduct was in an unusual degree honest, frank, 
gentlemanly and confiding. He never was guilty of 
an attempt to shake the confidence of friends in the 
attending physician, by significant nods and Jesuitical 
innuendoes, of which some physicians, claiming a high 
standing, are guilty. I will hazard the assertion that 
there was not a physician favored with his intimate 
acquaintance, who was not his personal friend. He 
possessed an inventive genius. He was not content 
invariably to walk in the old paths marked out by his 
predecessors, but would occasionally step aside as a 
bold pioneer, in pursuit of new discoveries and im- 
provements. He had considerable taste for surgery, 
but his local situation was unfavorable for extensive 
surgical practice, being in the immediate vicinity of 
one of the most distinguished surgeons in the State, 
between whom and himself, 1 am happy I can truly 
say, there existed the most intimate and cordial 
friendship. Dr. Howe felt no desire to place himself 
in the position of a rival. He however performed a 
few cases of amputation, and was frequently called to 
cases of fracture and dislocation. During the last 
years of his life he became associated with a young 


physician as partner, which gave him more leisure to 
pursue his favorite inchnation of attempting to make 
improvement in the apparatus used in certain surgical 
operations. He has invented several new kinds of 
sphnts, calculated for fracture of the femur, tibia and 
fibula, the fore arm, and also the clavicle. He in- 
vented a new truss ; also what he terms the semicir- 
cular tourniquet. He attempted some improvement 
in the abdominal supporter. They will, doubtless, 
prove a valuable acquisition to the store of the medi- 
cal knowledge of the country. Of these modes, 
most of them, I believe, have been exhibited before 
the New Hampshire Medical Society, and received 
due commendation as constituting valuable improve- 
ments. The Trustees of the Mechanics' Association 
of the city of Boston presented Dr. Howe with a 
silver medal in commendation for the valuable articles 
which were exhibited and examined by them at a re- 
cent fair. A few years since Dr. Howe published 
in the Boston Medical and Surgical Journal, a de- 
scription of the articles he had invented, with the 
mode of application, and various valuable sugges- 
tions. It was also published in a pamphlet form, with 
accurate plates. His apparatus for fracture of the 
tibia and fibula, which he terms ' the posterior con- 
cave sphnt,' is a most valuable improvement, and 
ought, in my opinion, to be universally adopted, as it 
fulfills all the indications more certainly than any other 
method ; mitigating, in a great degree, the suffering 
of the patient, as he can leave his bed every day if 
he desires, and is almost sure to prevent displacement. 
1 wish every physician would try it. His semicircu- 


lar tourniquet has one peculiar advantage, as by it we 
can effectually compress a single artery, and leave the 
circulation of all the other vessels of the limb unim- 
peded. Dr. Howe frequently contributed valuable 
articles for the Medical Journal, showing much re- 
search, and a discriminating mind. 

He devoted much time to investigating the disease 
peculiar to clergymen, which he termed the ' Minis- 
ter's Ail.' The result of his investigations he read be- 
fore .the State Society at their meeting in June, pre- 
vious to his death. This article showed much labori- 
ous research, and embodied many practical facts and 
observations. Dr. Howe sustained through hfe a 
character for strict moral honesty and integrity. He 
at various times held many minor offices, the duties 
of which he discharged to the satisfaction of all. 
At the time of his death he was President of the New 
Hampshire Medical Society. 

He was actively engaged in the various humane 
enterprises of the day, having for their object the 
elevation and amelioration of the human family. 
The cause of temperance received a great share of 
his benevolence. He drafted the first set of resolu- 
tions that were adopted by any medical society on the 
subject of temperance, and presented them to the 
western district of the New Hampshire Medical So- 
ciety. He delivered many lectures upon the subject. 

His fees for medical services were low, especially 
to the poor. On the subject of religion, he was a be- 
liever in those doctrines termed evangelical. Some 
eight or nine years before his death he made a pub- 
lic profession, by uniting with the Congregational 

LUKE HOWE.* 291 

Church. His Christian walk and conversation 
proved him to be a sincere and devoted member. 
He was a very affectionate husband, and a most kind 
and indulgent parent. He was not a blank in socie- 
ty. He had no leisure for idleness. It was a max- 
im with him to fill up time with duties. He spent 
his whole time in visiting the sick, perusing his hbra- 
ry, and contemplating new methods of improvement 
in the profession. He felt a deep interest in the ele- 
vation of the profession, and was a deadly enemy to 
quackery and empiricism, in whatever form. He had 
no faith in the secret nostrums of the day, comprising 
the whole family of the popular patent medicines. 
Some might have thought him too severe in his de- 
nunciation, but those best acquainted with him knew 
he was influenced by a sincere regard for the wel- 
fare of the community, rather than any unworthy mo- 
tive of self-interest. He was in favor of a thorough 
education preparatory to the commencement of the 
study of medicine. This, connected with a more 
thorough study of the profession, would, in his opin- 
ion, be the most effectual means of discountenancing 
empiricism, and preventing its increase. 

After all, Dr. Howe laid no claim to perfection ; 
he also had his faults. But this is only saying that 
he was a man, subject to the imperfections, the pas- 
sions, the temptations and weakness of poor, frail, 
dependent human nature. But it may be truly said 
that he restrained, overcame and counteracted many 
of the evil propensities of our nature, when thou- 
sands fail in the conflict. 

The final, closing scene was sudden and unexpect- 


ed. He visited Boston and Andover, enjoying an 
unusual flow of spirits. At Andover he read his 
dissertation on the disease pecuHar to clergymen, 
before the faculty and students of the Theological 
Institution, which excited much interest. The stu- 
dents, as an expression of their high respect for the 
author, and for the valuable suggestions contained 
in the address, wrote a letter of thanks to Dr. Howe, 
expressing in the most kind and flattering manner 
their high appreciation of the value of his discourse. 
Their letter was received by his friends on the day 
of his funeral. During his pleasing journey to Bos- 
ton and Andover, he was under constant excitement, 
receiving the gratulations of friends, and many testi- 
monials of regard. He arrived home on Wednesday 
evening, and considered himself in usual health. In 
the morning he complained of a little indisposition ; 
but he dressed and left his bed every day during his 
sickness. No dangerous symptoms were discovered 
till Tuesday morning of the next week, when Dr. Ri- 
chardson, his partner, who had visited him frequently, 
discovered symptoms unfavorable, and indicating dan- 
ger. 1 was requested to visit him. This was on the 
ninth day of his sickness. 1 did not arrive until 11 
o'clock, P. M. 1 found him in the arms of death. 
He recognized me, told me he supposed he was dy- 
ing, reached out his cold hand, and affectionately 
closed mine, as the last token of friendship and 
remembrance. His spirit took its flight December 
24, 1841. On his death bed he enjoyed the un- 
speakable consolations of religion, and departed in 
the full belief of a glorious immortahty. His funeral 


was attended by an unusual number of his medical 
brethren, and a large concourse of his immediate 
friends and townsmen, who evinced their deep sor- 
row by signs more expressive than words. 

Dr. Thomas Hubbard was born at Smithfield, 
near Providence, in Rhode Island, where his father 
resided as an innkeeper, in the year 1776. While he 
was about 16 years of age, his father having died, 
the care of the establishment and the oversight of 
the concerns of the family, consisting of a widowed 
mother and several children, all younger than himself, 
devolved upon him. The duties which were thus 
thrown upon him, at a period of life when most 
young men are scarcely competent to take care of 
themselves, were performed with great judgment and 
skill, and evinced the same energy and decision which 
characterized him through life. At this time he ac- 
quired a fondness for agricultural pursuits, an employ- 
ment which he continued with much gratification 
until his removal to this place. What his early edu- 
cation was, I am not informed, though it is known 
that he pursued the study of the languages and of 
mathematics, for a period, most probably a short one. 

His professional instructor was Dr. Albigense Wal- 
do, a surgeon of considerable reputation, who had 
acquired most of what he knew of the art, by his 
practice in the army. Dr. Hubbard, however, de- 
rived tlie greater part of his knowledge from the 
diligent study of the best medical books, and from 
his own observations. He was a most diligent stu- 


dent, not only when preparing for his profession, but 
during his whole life. His library was a valuable 
one, especially in works on surgery, and his habits 
were to spend a portion of every day, even when 
engaged in a most laborious practice, in avaihng 
himself of the knowledge which it afforded. I have 
often heard him remark, that the physician who 
neglected his books, would lose more by forgetfulness 
than he would acquire by observation, and would be 
less skillful at fifty than he was at thirty years of age. 
His written lectures bear the strongest marks of his 
great industry. He obviously revised with care every 
subject, each successive year ; and at each revision, 
added in the form of notes and interlineations, the 
results of his reading and observation. This course 
of diligent study, aided by a strongly retentive me- 
mory, stored his mind with the most valuable informa- 
tion. I know not the man whose knowledge of the 
best practice of the best Surgeon, is more intimate 
and exact. 

Having prepared himself for his profession, he 
commenced the practice of it upon the death of his 
preceptor. Dr. Waldo, in the year 1795, before he 
was twenty years of age. He met with opposition 
at first, on account of attempting to unite the prac- 
tice of physic with that of surgery. It seems to have 
been the custom of that part of the country, as it 
had been extensively elsewhere, for the surgeon to 
confine himself to that branch only, and to call in 
the aid of a physician when it was thought neces- 
sary. This plan Dr. Hubbard always reprobated, 
believing that the union of the two professions in the 


same person was better suited to the wants of a scat- 
tered population. Whatever opposition there was, 
seems soon to have subsided. His practice became 
extensive and very laborious, reaching not only all 
the eastern part of the State, but also the bordering 
towns of Rhode Island and Massachusetts. There is 
the fullest proof of the success of his practice, espe- 
cially in surgery. His qualifications as a surgeon 
were of a high order. Though not early instructed 
in anatomy, he was in the constant habit of dissec- 
tion, and thus gained the [requisite anatomical know- 
ledge. He was prompt and decisive in forming an 
opinion of the cases which were presented to him, 
and equally so in advising and performing such ope- 
rations as he deemed necessary. His vigorous and 
well trained intellect, enlightened by long experience, 
grasped the strong points of a case, both as they 
were at the time, and as they would become if neg- 
lected. He always advocated an early resort to sur- 
gical operations, not timidly and hesitatingly waiting 
until its necessity was more obvious, at the expense 
of the health, and perhaps the life, of the patient. 
In operating, he was cool, deliberate and collected. 

The same promptness and energy which marked 
his character as a surgeon, controlled his practice as 
a physician. Employing but few remedies, and those 
of an active kind, he was thoroughly acquainted with 
their effects, and used them with great judgment and 
skill. He had great confidence in the remedial pow- 
er of active medication. The object at which he 
aimed was to break up disease in its forming stage, 
or to control it by agents stronger tlian itself. This 


trust in the power of remedies he was in the habit of 
expressing strongly to his patients, and thereby se- 
cured that confidence on their part which is so effi- 
cient an aid to the physician in the cure of diseases. 

His energy and promptness sometimes gave a de- 
gree of peremptoriness to his manners, which, if un- 
attended by kindness, might have been unpleasant. 
This was seen, however, to be prompted by the desire 
to enforce a strict observance of that course of treat- 
ment which he knew was for the benefit of the pa- 
tient, and as such was duly appreciated. 

In his intercourse with his patients he was frank 
and undisguised, and entirely above those little tricks 
and concealments which indicate a weak or dishono- 
rable mind. The same frankness also marked his 
conduct towards his professional brethren, and all 
others with whom he associated. The free expres- 
sion of opinions uprightly formed, he believed to be 
the right and duty of an honest man ; a right which 
he claimed for himself, and to the exercise of which 
by others he was unusually tolerant. 

During the thirty-four years which Dr. Hubbard 
spent in Pomfret, his time was fully employed in the 
faithful discharge of his professional duties, as well 
as those which devolved upon him as a good citizen 
and a kind and upright man. 

He was several times chosen Representative, and 
once Senator in the State Legislature. He was also 
appointed President of the Connecticut Medical So- 
ciety, and held the office till he declined a re-election. 
He was active in the promotion of such institutions 
as were designed for the benefit of the aflflicted. 


The Asylum for the Deaf and Dumb, the Retreat for 
the Insane, and the State Hospital, each in its turn 
received his efficient aid. In the last year of his life 
he was active, under the authority of the Legislature, 
in procuring information, and in devising plans pre- 
paratory to the establishment of a hospital for the 
insane poor. The fatigue and exposure, while on a 
journey connected with this object, appeared to ex- 
cite the disease which terminated his life. 

In the year 1829, Dr. Hubbard removed from 
Pomfret to New Haven, and assumed the duties of 
Professor of Surgery, in the Institution at that place, 
and for nine years he performed these duties with 
great zeal, industry and success. As an instructor, 
he was plain, simple, strait forward, abounding in 
correct principles and illustrative facts, without any 
attempt at the niceties of style, or the graces of 
manner. Unbewildered himself by theoretical dis- 
cussions, he spent no time in making theories of his 
own, or in marring those of others. His remark was, 
that if young men were desirous of theories, they 
could find enough of them in the books, and that his 
business was to teach them by facts how to distin- 
guish and cure diseases. Possessing a memory won- 
derfully retentive, he embodied the accumulated facts, 
and the rich experience of his professional hfe, in the 
course of his instructions, thus giving them authority 
and force. His lectures were highly useful, and de- 
servedly acceptable. 

He died June 16, 1838, of a disease of the sto- 
mach and bowels, of which he had suffered several 


severe attacks. Introductory Led, of Dr. Knight, of 
Yale College, published in the Boston Med. and Surg. 

Dr. David Hunt. Dr. Hunt was son of Dr. 
Ebenezer Hunt of Northampton, a very distinguished 
physician, wiio died in the year 1820, at the age of 
76. Dr. David Hunt was born at Northampton^ 
Massachusetts, in the year 1773. He studied the 
profession of medicine principally with his father, and 
commenced the practice of it in his native place, soon 
after he became of age, and continued the practice 
of it there, until he died in the year 1837, at the age 
of 64 years. He was a very respectable practitioner, 
and a good scholar. He received the honorary de- 
gree of Doctor of Medicine from Yale College in the 
year 1818. He was a Fellow of the American An- 
tiquarian Society, and I believe of the American 
Geological Society, and of the Physico-Medical So- 
ciety of New York. He was a distinguished minera- 
logist, and was one of the first physicians in Ameri- 
ca who ever devoted much attention to it. His ca- 
binet of minerals was rare, and very beautiful and 
large, for a private individual. He was on terms of 
intimacy, and maintained a constant correspondence 
with the late Dr. Bruce, Professors Silliman, Cleave- 
land, Hitchcock, and several other of our celebrated 
and most distinguished mineralogists and geologists. 
He had a large, select and valuable medical library, 
and he spent many of his leisure hours in it. In 


early life he was rather wild, but this wildness did not, 
lead him to acts of wickedness. His sprees were 
got up more for the sake of fun and hilarity than for 
mischief On one occasion he was seen riding 
through the streets of Northampton with a large 
bush or limb of a tree tied to his horse's tail. His 
minister, the Rev. Mr. Williams, met him and said to 
him, ' Why David, 1 thought you had sowed all your 
wild oats.' * And so I have, sir,' said he, * and I am 
now bushing tliem in.' His fund of anecdote was 
inexhaustible, and he has been known to keep his 
friends in a continual peal of laughter for hours, in 
listening to him. 

The productions of his pen were not numerous. 
I recollect but one medical paper of his, which was 
ever pubhshed in any of our medical journals, and 
that was on a case of poisoning by lead, which was 
pubhshed in the New England Journal of Medicine 
and Surgery. 

He was admitted a Fellow of the Massachusetts 
Medical Society in the year 1813. He was, for many 
years, an officer in it. He resigned in 1833, four 
years before his death. 

Doctor Ebenezer Huntington, of Vergennes, 
Vermont. Doctor J. A. Allen has published the fol- 
lowing sketch of Dr. Huntington, in the Boston Me- 
dical and Surgical Journal for Jan. 11th, 1844. 

Ebenezer Huntington, the subject of this memoir, 
was born in Windham, Connecticut, May 21st, 1763. 
His father was a practising physician in that place. 


but subsequently entered the ministry in Worthington, 
Massachusetts. Ebenezer, before he arrived at the 
age of 21, commenced the study of medicine with 
Dr. Bradish, of Cummington, in his adopted state. 
Having completed his pupilage with his instructor, 
he commenced the practice of his profession in Ches- 
terfield, Mass., at the early age of 22. After having 
remained in that place two years, he removed to 
Vergennes. To this place he came in January, 1789. 
At this time the place was new, and contained only 
one framed house. The inhabitants were sparsely 
scattered over the adjacent country. For some years 
Dr. Huntington, as he once told the writer of this 
article, was one of the three physicians only, who 
then resided on the west side of the Green mountains 
within the precincts of Vermont. Consequently his 
ride was very extensive ; his labors and exposures as 
a practising physician were excessively trying and 
fatiguing. But he engaged in those labors, and en- 
countered the severe trials incident to his profession, 
at this early period, with a resolution seldom surpass- 
ed and truly commendable. He appeared to enjoy 
himself most when he could most relieve the sick. 
His constant desire to reheve the sick and suffering 
is well remembered by a large circle of surviving 
friends. His constant readiness to endure fatigue and 
privation, either by night or day, to relieve pain and 
disease, is a trait of character well deserving special 

His professional opinions were always expressed 
with candor, frankness, and free from ostentation ; 
and if, on any occasion, he committed a mistake, his 


ingenuous and honest avowal of it could not fail to 
excite in the breast of every one, sentiments of admi- 
ration for his honesty of purpose. It is believed, 
however, that his mistakes were as rare, and his im- 
perfections as few, as usually fall to the lot of man. 
In his family he was a sample of excellence. Few if 
any instances can be found in which all the endear- 
ments of domestic life appeared to be enjoyed with 
such perfection. In the social circle he was humor- 
ous, remarkably happy in the narration of anecdotes, 
and always avoiding, with the most scrupulous exact- 
ness, every thing which bordered on vulgarity. 

By his good judgment, kind feelings and courteous 
deportment, he acquired and retained, in an eminent 
degree, the confidence and good will of all who knew 
him. He was emphatically ' the poor man's friend.' 
He continued in the practice of medicine at Ver- 
gennes, nearly forty-five years. He became exten- 
sively and favorably known, and was regarded as a 
safe and successful practitioner. 

Few men have enjoyed such opportunities to amass 
an estate as he ; and yet he was content with a hand- 
some competency. In reply to the inquiry, why he 
did not collect his dues, he said, ' 1 never could find 
time.' His time was not his own. It was devoted 
to the glorious purpose of doing good to the afflicted. 
He was fully conscious that the more charity, com- 
passion and condescension with which he treated the 
poor, the nearer he approached to the greatest and 
highest of glories — an imitation of his adorable Sa- 

For a considerable period he was President of the 


Vermont State Medical Society. And subsequently, 
for a series of years, he was President of the Addison 
County Medical Society. In 1826, being recom- 
mended by the Faculty of the Vermont Academy of 
Medicine, now the Castleton Medical College, the 
honorary degree of Doctor of Medicine was confer- 
red on him by the Corporation of Middlebury Col- 

For many years he was an active and efficient 
member of the Congregational Church at Vergennes. 
He died Dec. 4th, 1834, aged 71 years. His last 
moments were moments of peace. He gave the 
most cheering evidence to all who witnessed his de- 
parture, that the Divine Redeemer, the great Physi- 
cian of souls, in whom he trusted in hfe and health, 
was his refuge and support in death. 

Dr. Shirley Irving, was born in Boston, Novem- 
ber, 1758. He was the grandson of Gov. William 
Shirley, and son of John and Catherina Irving. He 
was an eminent physician, and practiced in Portland, 
then in the District, now in the State of Maine. He 
entered Harvard College, in 1773, but in conse- 
quence of the disturbance of the American revolu- 
tionary war, he did not complete his collegiate course 
there. He however received the honorary degree of 
Master of Arts, from that college in the year 1810. 
He studied the profession of medicine with Dr. 
Lloyd, of Boston, and afterwards established himself 
as a physician in Portland, where his professional ser- 
vices were justly appreciated, and for a great many 


years he enjoyed the approbation and confidence of 
the pubhc. In the latter period of his hfe, his health 
was extremely feeble in consequence of an affection 
of the lungs, a complaint under which he had labored 
for many years, and which had been gradually sap- 
ping the springs of life, he in a great measure aban- 
doned the laborious duties of his profession, and re- 
turned to Boston, where he died in July, 1813, in 
the 55th year of his age. 

' In an obituary notice, published at the time of 
his death, he is represented as having been eminently 
a good man ; distinguished for his unbending integ- 
rity and affability ; and for that rare endowment, a 
most placid and agreeable temper, — such an one as 
was never seen ruffled by accident, or distorted by 

' His character was remarkably symmetrical ; yet 
if any one virtue predominated, it was benevolence, 
and that of the most active kind. He rather sought 
out than shunned misfortune ; and when it was dis- 
covered, he never passed by on the other side. He 
was a learned and scientific man, but without the 
slightest tincture of dogmatism or pedantry. Such 
was Dr. Irving ; and he insensibly attracted and at- 
tached to himself all who came near him. It is said 
he never had an enemy, and as he was highly re- 
spected while hving, so his death was greatly lament- 
ed, and his memory was embalmed in the affections 
of a numerous circle of relatives and friends. — Al- 
den^s Family Record, Colwnbian Centinel. 


Dr. Ansel W. Ives. The subject of the follow- 
ing notice was, for many years, my most intimate 
friend. He was a medical classmate of mine in Co- 
lumbia College, in 1812-13, a class from which have 
proceeded some of the most eminent men in America. 
Dr. Ives was my room mate, and for many years pre- 
ceding his death, we maintained an uninterrupted 
correspondence. I can, therefore, most cordially 
subscribe to the truth of the subjoined remarks in 
the American Medical Journal of May, 1838. 

' Dr. Ansel W. Ives, our collaborator, was born in 
Woodbury, Conn., on the 31st of August, 1787. His 
father was a respectable farmer of that place, who, 
having a large family, and very limited means, was 
unable to give his children even an ordinary educa- 
tion ; and the third child, at the early age of nine 
years, was bound apprentice to a farmer, until his 
nineteenth year ; his time was spent in agricultural 
employment, except a few months in which he was 
permitted to pass a portion of each day at an ordi- 
nary school. A taste for knowledge and literary pur- 
suits, which may almost be considered innate, in 
some measure compensated his want of early ad- 
vantages. From his early age, he always carried a 
book in his pocket, and never lost occasions for study 
afforded by opportunities of labor. So industrious a 
reader was he that before the expiration of his ap- 
prenticeship, (as he informed the writer) he had pe- 
rused all the books he could borrow within, five miles 
of his master's residence. At the age of nineteen, 
having qualified himself to keep an elementary school, 


he commenced teaching, which he pursued for seve- 
ral years with credit to himself and advantage to his 
employers. Continuing at the same time with the 
greatest zeal, his plan of self-instruction, he soon 
found himself sufficiently advanced to commence the 
study of a profession ; and having chosen that of me- 
dicine, he entered a student with Dr. North, an emi- 
nent physician residing in New London. On remov- 
ing to Fishkill, in the State of New York, he contin- 
ued his studies with Dr. Barto White, a distinguished 
physician of that place, and completed them in the 
office of Dr. Valentine Mott, graduating in the Col- 
lege of Physicians and Surgeons of the University of 
New York, in the year 1815. 

Dr. Ives carried into the practice of his profession 
the same zeal and industry which had heretofore so 
distinctly marked his character, and though for several 
years his means were limited and precarious, he soon 
acquired a large share of public confidence and pro- 
fessional employment, which continued steadily to in- 
crease, till his exertions were paralyzed by the disease 
which terminated his hfe. Dr. Ives devoted a large 
share of his time to the instruction of others ; and 
many of his pupils are witnesses of the zeal and 
fidelity with which he discharged that responsible 
duty. He also contributed largely to our Medical 
Journals, and some of the papers, especially that on 
Humulus Lupulus, gained him much credit both at 
home and abroad. He republished, with notes and 
additions, Paris' Pharmacologiae, and Hamilton's ob- 
servations on the use and abuse of mercurial reme- 
dies, and also a description of the Epidemic Influenza, 


which prevailed in the northern and eastern States, in 
the year 1815; indeed his whole time was spent in 
improving his mind, or making himself useful to his 
fellow men. In 1827, he became a member of the 
Presbyterian church, and from that period devoted a 
large portion of his time to religious and charitable 
institutions ; being always ready to work, a great deal 
of labor in preparing reports, &c., fell to his share, 
and was always cheerfully performed. Of the sinceri- 
ty of his religious faith, his consistent life, his exem- 
plary patience, under almost intolerable pain, and tru- 
ly Christian death, afforded the best evidence. 

Dr. Ives was in person above the middle height, 
well formed, with an intelligent eye, his manners 
were prepossessing, and he possessed a fund of hu- 
mor and anecdote, which made his company accept- 
able to his associates, and often dissipated the gloom 
of the sick room ; his constitution was good, and he 
enjoyed a fine share of health till he was attacked, in 
Feb. 1837, with neuralgic pain about the left hip, 
which gradually increased in duration and violence, 
till his sufferings for hours together were almost be- 
yond endurance. About five months from the at- 
tack, the hip and thigh began to enlarge, which they 
continued steadily to do, with augmented pain, till 
Feb. 2nd, 1838, when death relieved him from his 
agony. On dissection a large tumor was found on 
the left ilium, extending downwards under the left 
gluteus muscle, pressing on the sacro sciatic nerve, 
and bones of the pelvis, which were carious, and on 
that side separated from each odier, and a collection 
of matter on the inner surfaces of the ilium, with 


traces of extensive and severe periterreal inflamma- 
tion, which was probably the immediate cause of his 
death, f. u. j.' 

Dr. James Jackson, Jr. The subject of this no- 
tice was son of Dr. James Jackson, of Boston, one 
of the most distinguished physicians in New England, 
if not in our country, who is still living in a green 
old age, admired and beloved by all who know him. 
Long may he continue, and may the evening of his 
life be as calm and serene, as the course of it thus 
far, has been useful and happy. The following notice 
of his son is principally selected from a memoir of 
him by an afflicted father, prefixed to a volume of 
his letters and cases, written principally to his father 
at Boston, while he was in London and Paris, com- 
pleting his medical pupilage. I take this opportunity 
to return to my friend. Dr. Jackson, my sincere 
thanks for the presentation of this interesting volume 
to me. It is a most interesting work, containing 444 
pages, octavo. 

' The following pages contain a memoir of the life 
of my late son, James Jackson, Jr., M. D., with ex- 
tracts from his letters, and a selection from the medi- 
cal cases collected by him, principally in Paris. I 
have been induced to print these cases by the soli- 
citation of those who knew how he had collected 
them. I have been induced to write the memoir, in 
consequence of the suggestion of those who knew 
something of him, and whose opinions I respect. 
In some points, the task has been grateful to me : 


sad, though it may seem, for a father, I thank God 
that I have been able to maintain my cheerfulness, 
and to attend to the common occupations of life, since 
the deplorable loss which I suffered, in his departure 
from this world. But every hour he has been in my 
mind. In every occupation, in almost every conver- 
sation, however little others could see the connection, 
his image has been before me. It has been a beau- 
tiful image, and has not checked any pleasure, nor 
even any gaiety, in which I thought he could have 

Under any circumstances, I might seem an impro- 
per person to give his history, and my statements may 
be deemed scarcely worthy of credit. Who will be- 
heve that I shall be impartial ? I can say, however, 
that I would not wilHngly be guilty of exaggeration, 
if it were only for respect to the love of truth, which 
formed the most distinguishing trait of his character. 
He loved me, as few sons love their fathers. Of this 
I have had constant and ample proofs. But he loved 
truth better, and would not subscribe to any opinion 
because it was mine, though he was quite wilUng, in 
his conduct, to submit to my direction and control. 

But if I draw a fancy picture, while I design to 
paint the character of my son, if that presents a 
young man who devoted his time most assiduously 
to the acquisition of useful knowledge, who cultivat- 
ed at the same time his best moral affections, and 
acted from the highest love of virtue, and who there- 
by secured the friendship of the wise and good, the 
fiction at least, may have some good influence on the 
young and inexperienced. At least it may lead them 


to reflect on the immutable connection between vir- 
tue and happiness. 

The subject of this story was not indeed rewarded 
by long life. But in this age will it be maintained 
that long life is the greatest of blessings ? This is a 
topic on which I shall not enlarge ; but I will only 
say for myself, which I do most sincerely, that I 
would not have added a year to my son's life by an 
allowed indulgence in a single vice. 

The history of my son's hfe is very simple, and it 
may be told very briefly. He was born on the 15th 
of January, 1810, graduated at the University in 
Cambridge, in 1828, and then engaged in the study 
of medicine. This he did under my direction, and 
as my pupil. He continued as such till the April of 
1831, and during this time he attended the medical 
lectures of our University, and saw the practice of 
the Massachusetts General Hospital. In the spring 
of 1831, he went to Paris, where he arrived in May, 
and remained till July, 1833, except during a visit 
of six months to Great Britain and Ireland, in the 
spring and summer of 1832. He reached home at 
the end of the summer of 1833, and graduated as 
Doctor of Medicine, in the University, in February, 
1834. He was now prepared to engage in practice, 
and took rooms for himself in Franklin Place. He 
was thus brought to the starting place of active life, 
and under circumstances the most flattering and the 
most grateful, when he was arrested in his course. 
Exactly at this point he was arrested. His ar- 
rangements being made, he sent an advertisement to 
the public papers, which appeared on the 5th of 


March, and on that day he was taken sick, so as to 
lodge at my house, instead of occupying the rooms 
which he had just announced as his residence. This 
sickness was his last, and he died on the 27th of the 
same month, being in his 25th year. 

Thus cut off before he had yet been tried in the 
serious business of life, and having passed his brief 
course without encountering any of the trials to 
which many men are subjected, it would seem that 
his story could hardly afford any details of interest, 
except to his own family. And yet he did excite an 
interest during his hfe, in very many friends, abroad 
as well as at home, and that of the warmest kind ; 
and his loss has been deeply mourned by those, whom 
I never saw, and to whom he was recommended only 
by his own conduct. There must, then, have been 
something in him to have excited this interest, which 
I shall call deep and ardent, disregarding the impu- 
tation to which I subject myself of a blind partiality. 
This something was in his character. If he is to be 
commemorated, it should be by delineating that cha- 
racter ; and while doing this, 1 shall be led to detail, 
though it may not be in exact order, the events of his 
life, as illustrating it. Any friend in pursuing this 
course would be thought hable to run into eulogy, 
instead of giving a true description of the subject of 
his discourse ; a fond father must certainly be subject 
to this suspicion. Those who know the truth in this 
case, must decide whether this suspicion is justified 
by what follows. I may, however, promise that I 
shall not attempt to write coldly, while I shall endea- 
vor to keep in mind that my business is not to display 


my own feelings toward the beloved subject of my 
discourse, but to draw a picture of one whose fea- 
tures are more perfectly engraved on my mind, than 
on that of any one else. 

From his earliest age, my son always manifested 
great cheerfulness of temper, and gaiety of heart, so 
that he was never long depressed by trouble of any 
kind. He was always ready to sympathize with those 
about him, and he loved to engage their sympathy in 
return. He was not contented without constant ac- 
tion, except when engaged in study, or other occupa- 
tion. These characteristics are common enough in 
boyhood, and did not distinguish him among his fel- 
lows at that stage of life, it was by myself only, 
perhaps, that his indomitable gaiety of heart was then 
noticed ; though I also remarked, very early, that his 
mind was capable of being engaged on the most so- 
lemn subjects. From these characteristics he was 
often boisterous and annoying to those around him, 
but he was so good natured that they could not be 
angry with him. He had very little ambition to gain 
distinction, or to be a leader among his comrades, 
but delighted to join in their sports on terms of equali- 
ty, as anxious that they should be pleased, as to have 
his share of the sport. He was agreeable to his 
young friends without being distinguished eimong 
them. His schoolmaster loved him ; but had to pu- 
nish him continually for the sin of laughing, of 
which he could not break him, however. He would 
strive at times to get a high rank in his class to please 
me, for he always loved me most ardently ; but he 
seemed no otherwise to value the distinction. Once, 


when a little boy, he had kept the head of his class 
for two or three days, and then a younger boy got 
above him. I reproached him for permitting this. 
But he said, with great naivette, that the other boy 
'ought to be at the head sometimes.' I hardly gave 
him credit, at the moment, for this generous wish for 
the gratification of his rival ; but his companions in 
later hfe will agree with me in believing that it was 
the result of that interest in the happiness of others, 
which he manifested more and more strongly as long 
as he lived. 

In college his ready sympathy led him at first into 
the company of those who were most gay, and for a 
few months he joined in their pastimes. At the end 
of six months, the excellent President gave me warn- 
ing that my son had become intimate with those 
whose company was most dangerous. This would 
have caused me great distress, but that happily my 
son had recently given me the same information, and 
had told me that he had discovered his danger ; in 
fact, as soon as he perceived the views of his associ- 
ates, he no longer sympathized with them; he had 
broken with them. He now formed an intimacy with 
one who encouraged all his virtuous aspirations, and 
he began to cultivate, upon principle, a purity of 
heart, of which the fruits were in all his subsequent 
hfe. He was not led into habits, nor into any feel- 
ing of austerity. Gaiety, he could not dismiss ; it 
was ever springing up in him. He was guilty of im- 
prudence hke others. But he constantly studied his 
duty ; he cultivated more and more the best princi- 
ples of action, and from year to year, his standard of 


excellence was placed higher and higher. He never 
attained a distinguished rank in his class, by an exact 
attention to his collegiate duties, a circumstance 
which I do not mention in commendation. Yet 
without my knowledge, until long afterwards, he es- 
tablished for himself certain rules of action, and 
habits of industrious study, from which he seldom 
deviated subsequently, and was really storing his mind 
with valuable knowledge. I was not aware of his 
industry, though I thought that I watched him closely, 
till he had left the college. He did not tell me of it, 
though he was very open and ingenuous in telHng me 
his feelings and his errors. When he began the study 
of medicine, under my eye, he gave himself to it 
with an energy and industry that surprised me. I 
thought at the moment, that he was resolved to make 
up for past negligences, but that his zeal would soon 
abate. I did not yet understand him. Subsequently, 
my only apprehension was from his too great devo- 
tion to his studies, which constantly went on increas- 
ing. I presumed that the temptations to pleasure in 
Europe, would draw him off from laborious study 
quite enough ; but not so ; there, even more than 
here, he spent his strength without reserve, in his 
professional pursuits ; though he meant to keep him- 
self within the limits of safety. The only tempta- 
tion which he could not at all resist, was that furnish- 
ed by the invaluable opportunities, there offered to 
him, for the increase of useful knowledge. 

When he went abroad his reading on professional 
subjects had been so extensive and his habits of at- 
tention so well formed, that I thought him fully pre- 


pared to avail himself of the advantages he might 
derive from the excellent schools of Paris, London, 
and Edinburgh. I dared not then say so, even in my 
own family, for I feared the evil consequences of too 
much praise ; but I regarded his acquisitions as very 
extraordinary for a student, and therefore, let him go 
at an earlier period than that in which I commonly 
advise young men to take the same step. Those 
who are acquainted with medical hterature, will be- 
lieve that I did not overrate his diligence, after con- 
sidering the following statement. Before the termi- 
nation of the second year of his pupilage, he went 
through the Epistles of Morgagni on the seats and 
causes of diseases, as translated by Alexander, in 
three thick, quarto volumes. He took notes of what 
he read, and as he went on, compared with it, the in- 
valuable work of Baillie, on morbid anatomy, another 
quarto, with the plates accompanying it. This he 
did indeed in the quiet of the country, but he took 
proper time to exercise, and did not seem to me more 
industrious than at other periods. He however com- 
pleted the whole in seven weeks. Nor did he read 
this work, as a task, without possessing himself of 
the contents of it. He read it with great interest ; 
and he fixed in his mind so many of its details, that 
by the aid of his short notes he was able to refer to 
it afterwards. Thus 1 find in his early autopsies in 
Paris, which he entered in his common place book, 
many references in the margin, to cases in this great 
store house of post mortem examinations. Indeed, I 
have not been acquainted with any one, who was so 
intimate with the details of this work, as he was. 


Immediately after this, and before his second year of 
medical studies was terminated, he wrote a long dis- 
sertation on pneumonia, in doing which he consulted 
all the writings on the subject which he could get at, 
both those expressly on it, and those which embraced 
it with other subjects in systematic works. This dis- 
sertation gained him the Boylston Medical Prize from 
a committee, among the members of which was Dr. 
Ware. Dr. Ware spoke to me of this work at the 
time, in terms of great commendation, and I confess 
that when I read it, I was fearful that it would be 
supposed I had rendered assistance in the preparation 
of it, which in such a case, would have been impro- 
per. But, in fact, I had only pointed out the sources 
of information, and had made some general remarks 
on the subject, as I should in conversation with any 
pupil. I was aware that he was writing on the sub- 
ject, but thought at the time, it was only an exercise 
as a member of the Boylston Medical Society, not a 
dissertation for a prize. 

I have stated these things as examples of his indus- 
try. I may add, that in the period of his medical 
studies, before he went to Europe, scarcely two years 
and a half, if I deduct the time employed on journies, 
he had read a very large proportion of all the valua- 
ble English standard works on medicine, and very 
many in the French, frequently and carefully consult- 
ing older works in other languages when referred to, 
especially when facts were concerned. At the same 
time he had engaged as fully as most others in dissec- 
tion, in its proper season ; he had seen much of dis- 
ease elsewhere, particularly at the Hous.e of Industry, 


where Dr. Fisher was then physician, and frequently 
invited him when there was any thing particularly 
interesting ; and he took notes of lectures of every 
thing which came under his observation, especially 
of the autopsies which he attended, so that he had 
covered twelve hundred foho pages of his common 
place book, when he left home. 

It was thus prepared that he went to Paris, there 
to take care of himself when just past twenty-one 
years of age. Thus far, except two or three jour- 
nies, he had lived in a limited circle, under the eyes 
and care of his friends. At college, even, he resided 
principally in a private family of the first respectabih- 
ty, and of the greatest moral worth, where he had 
been allured by kindness to submit to wholesome re- 
straints, and to the friendly feelings of wisdom and 
experience. I could not dismiss one so inexpressibly 
dear to me, without anxiety, though satisfied that it 
was wise that he should go. The following extracts, 
will show something of the state of his mind, and of 
my own. They will bring before the reader the true 
feelings and principles which then reigned in his 
heart, and if I may write about him at all, I see not 
why I may not produce them. 

Dr. Jackson then goes on to give more than 430 
octavo pages of letters and cases recorded by his 
talented son, which shows him to be second to no 
young man of his age in America, and which will 
amply repay the reader for the perusal of them, and 
which show a giant mind just bursting into resplen- 
dent day. He died on the 27th of March, 1835, 
aged 24 years. 


Dr. Thomas C. James. The Philadelphia Casket 
for March, 1830, has the following notice of this dis- 
tinguished Obstetrician. It was written previous to 
his decease. 

' Thomas C. James, M. D., an eminent practition- 
er in Philadelphia, and Professor of Midwifery in the 
University of Pennsylvania, was born in Philadelphia, 
in the year 1766, and received his education at 
Friends' Grammar School, under the tuition of the 
celebrated Robert Proud, author of the History of 
Pennsylvania. It was there his genius was more 
fully developed for that course of study to which he 
was afterwads led by inclination, and for which he 
was eminently qualified by the highest talents, and 
the most amiable disposition of mind. 

After finishing his school education, he commenced 
the study of medicine under the worthy Dr. Adam 
Kuhn, then Professor of Materia Medica, and of 
considerable eminence in the profession. With him 
he remained as a student of medicine till the year 
1788, when, with the most flattering prospects, he 
graduated in the University of Pennsylvania, being 
then in the 22d year of his age. 

It was not unusual, at that day, for young physi- 
cians, ere they commenced practice, to visit foreign 
places, and frequently to embark on long voyages ; 
to enable them to add to the general theory of their 
profession, that practical knowledge so needful to 
perfect professional skill, and which could be obtained 
only by personal observation and experience. Ac- 
cordingly, in the year 1788, Dr. James was entered 


as surgeon on board the ship Sampson, Capt. Howell, 
on a voyage to the Cape of Good Hope and China. 

The character of the young physician was esta- 
blished for skillfulness, and especially for that hu- 
manity and gentleness of disposition, so essential 
to the character of a physician, and for which, at a 
more advanced age, and through its successive pe- 
riods. Dr. James has been eminently characterized. 

In the fall of 1790, Dr. James embarked for Eu- 
rope, and arriving in London, he had free intercourse 
with some of the most eminent men of the faculty, 
and daily added to his stock of knowledge. His in- 
dustry in acquiring information on every subject 
connected with his profession, and his attention to 
the means so amply afforded by the most eminent 
London practitioners, to whose personal acquaintance 
his amiable disposition and distinguished talents gain- 
ed him access, could not fail of their effect upon the 
mind of one so ardently devoted to medical science. 
He walked through St. George's Hospital, at that time 
attended by Drs. John Hunter, Home, Baillie, For- 
dyce, Osborne, Clarke, &c. From London he went 
to Edinburgh, in Scotland, where he spent the winter 
of 1791-2, in the earnest pursuit of general litera- 
ture and medical science ; and returned to Philadel- 
phia, in the summer of 1793, in time to witness the 
ravages of the malignant epidemic of that year. 

The talents and success of Dr. James have distin- 
guished him even in a city noted for producing many 
eminent physicians. Though unambitious and un- 
pretending, and rather retired in his pubhc character, 
his qualifications well established with the faculty, and 


in the esteem of his fellow citizens, were too conspi- 
cuous not to be duly appreciated. Accordingly, in 
1811, we find him promoted to the Professorship of 
Midwifery, in the University of Pennsylvania ; to 
which distinguished and responsible station he was 
elected by the Trustees of that Institution. 

Dr. James was descended from highly respectable 
settlers in his native State of Pennsylvania ; and by 
the mother's side, grandson of the worthy and much 
esteemed Thomas Chalkley, from whom he derived 
his name — formerly an eminent minister of the So- 
ciety of Friends, well known, and gratefully remem- 
bered for his christian piety, and his various useful 

The situation which Dr. James occupied as Pro- 
fessor, was the meed of his professional labors. We 
remembered him when in the humble ranks of a 
practitioner, devoting his talents at the risk of his 
life, in the cause of humanity. As attending physi- 
cian of the Welch society, of which he was an active 
member, his philanthropy has been tested by nume- 
rous instances of devotedness, in the arduous duties 
of a profession where no honors were to be won, nor 
applause to be gained. It was in the mansion of 
disease and death — the Hospital on Schuylkill, when 
so many of the unfortunate emigrants from Wales 
were placed by the Welch society, during the preva- 
lence of an epidemic which raged among them in the 
year 1803, that Dr. James gave unequivocal proof of 
his medical abilities and charitable feelings. 

At that dreadful period, when the wretchedness of 
the sick and dying stranger was aggravated by ex- 


treme poverty, and the appalling apprehensions of 
virulent contagion, Dr. James was the constant at- 
tendant — the skillful physician — the kind and sympa- 
thizing friend ; and to whose assiduous exertions, 
under Providence, the survivors were indebted for the 
prolongation of their existence. 

In his Obstetric practice, Dr. James stood unrival- 
ed, and may deservedly rank at the head of the pro- 
fession. With a practice of nearly forty years, he ac- 
quired and retained the respect of his fellow profes- 
sors, and the confidence of his fellow citizens ; with 
whom also his patronage was at once liberal and ex- 
tensive, the results of a long and extensive practice.' 

The following additional remarks in relation to 
the life of Dr. James, are from a paper read before 
the College of Physicians of Philadelphia, by Hugh 
L. Hodge, M. D., and published in the American 
Medical Journal for July, 1843. 

' Dr. James died July 25, 1 835. His death though 
sudden, had been long expected by himself and 
friends from the evident decline of his health, and 
from the premature approach of those infirmities 
which too surely indicated the decline of life. 

We all knew him. We all loved and respected 
him. It could not be otherwise. The senior mem- 
bers of this college, of which he was President, view- 
ed him as a friend and brother, who had been always 
their chosen companion, and their fellow laborer in 
all the duties of this society, and of the profession to 
which they were alike devoted. The younger mem- 
bers looked on him with love and veneration, for he 
had been their medical teacher, their friend, their 


counsellor, and, as far as practicable, their benefactor. 
His example had always been presented as most 
worthy of imitation. And when he departed, they 
felt, and still feel, as if one important link in that 
golden chain which binds this generation to the past, 
was, unfortunately for them, severed. The college 
has lost one whose devotion to its interests had 
been sincere and long continued ; and whose virtues, 
age, and experience had deservedly placed him in the 
most prominent station in its power to bestow. 

The most striking trait in the character of Dr. 
James, was unfeigned modesty and diffidence. His 
conversation, his intercourse with his friends, with his 
professional brethren, and even with students of me- 
dicine, his whole deportment indicated that he did 
not rest upon his own sentiments, with that im- 
phcit confidence which would induce him to pro- 
mulgate his opinions, or to insist on their correctness 
or importance. He paid great deference to the opin- 
ions of others, and would hence submit to the gui- 
dance of those of an opposite temperament, really 
believing they must be better informed than himself. 
This native modesty, pervading his whole intellectual 
and moral nature, had the most decided influence on 
his professional course, and on his present and future 

Nevertheless, Dr. James, however reluctant he 
might be to promulgate his sentiments, or even to 
express an opinion, possessed a mind too powerful 
and too well furnished, not to form positive opinions 
on almost every subject to which it was directed, 
whether in literature or science. Those only, who 


enjoyed his confidence, who were admitted into the 
favored precincts of his private friendship, could dis- 
cover how positive and correct were his sentiments ; 
how discriminating his opinions respecting men and 
things ; and yet, liow anxious to avoid having his 
views known, whether for praise or criticism. 

As a man. Dr. James was also remarkable for 
great dignity, combined with mildness of disposition, 
and gentleness of manners. He was entirely free 
from any thing approaching hauteur or stateliness ; 
yet no one could look on him without feelings of re- 
spect, which were excited by his venerable appear- 
ance, and by the native simplicity of his manners. 
He was affable and condescending to all, and never 
in the latter years of his life, manifested undue excite- 
ment under the most trying circumstances. This 
gentleness of character, was greatly the result of his 
own efforts ; for gifted by nature with a warm heart, 
and a sprightly imagination, he was prone in early 
life, to be excited when any dear friend or darling 
opinion was assailed. In subsequent years, he had 
so fully obtained the government of his passions, that 
no one even suspected that he could ever have been 
under their influence ; a victory this, more difficult of 
achievement, than those which have conferred celeb- 
rity on many of the heroes of the world. This self- 
command was the result of high moral and christian 
principles. To the important subject of Christianity, 
he devoted much attention. He studied the Bible 
as the source of all correct knowledge on religious 
subjects, not only in his native language, but in the 
original Hebrew and Greek, and in the Latin, 


French, and German versions. He examined the 
various readings, tlie commentaries of different au- 
thors, and the creeds of different sects of Christians. 
He ventured even within the perplexed mazes of 
theology, and endeavored to elicit information and 
sound doctrine from the obscurities of theological 
metaphysics. His mind, however, was too strong to 
become confused by sophisms, and his heart too sin- 
cere in the love and pursuit of truth, to be lost in this 
extensive investigation. He returned from these ex- 
cursions, ladened with good fruit ; and after much 
inquiry among the living and the dead, he rested with 
child-hke confidence his hopes of immortal happi- 
ness on the simple declarations of the Bible, and his 
life was governed by the principles of it. 

In 1794, Dr. James accompanied the Western ex- 
pedition as Surgeon of the 'McPherson Blues,' 
and on his return, presented his friends with a copy 
of a very animating song which he wrote on a drum 
head, at a time when great gloom pervaded the 
corps. It had a fine efiect on their spirits, was set 
to music, and was sung tlirough the camp for a long 

Under the signature of P. D., he published in the 
Port Folio for 1801, versified translations of the Idyls 
of Gessner, which were regarded by good judges to be 
entitled to ' much, and some to high praise for poeti- 
cal merit,' as well as exhibiting his accurate know- 
ledge and fine perception of the German language 
and idiom. 

The imagination of Dr. James was, however, re- 
strained by strong good sense, and by devoted atten- 


tion to practical duties. Nevertheless, literature was 
his delight and recreation. He kept pace with the 
publications of the day, and amidst the interruption 
and toils of an arduous and self-denying profession, 
succeeded in gratifying his taste, and refreshing his 
spirit, by continual recurrence to these fountains of 
unalloyed pleasure. These intellectual gratifications 
were derived not merely from publications in his na- 
tive language, but from those in Latin, Greek, 
French and German, with all which his knowledge 
was considered as so intimate, that he could fully ap- 
preciate their merits and enjoy their most delicate 
allusions ; thus keeping up an active interest in the 
republic of letters, and a peculiar fitness for intelli- 
gent and cultivated society. 

Intimately associated with these intellectual gratifi- 
cations, was the interest he manifested in the history 
of his native State, and the character and conduct 
of the early settlers, in the products of the soil, and 
especially in the richness and variety of its mineral 
productions. He was among the first to perceive, and 
rightly to estimate, the great value of the coal forma- 
tions, so numerous and varied in Pennsylvania, having 
commenced the use of anthracite coal in his own 
house, as early as 1804, and having pubhshed a me- 
moir on its original discovery, in the second volume 
of the Transactions of the Historical Society. He 
was among the founders of the society for comme- 
morating the landing of William Penn, and also of 
the Historical Society of Pennsylvania. To these 
he devoted much of his leisure, took a warm interest 
in their success, and rejoiced in every new devel- 


opment of the original character and pohcy of the 
early settlers, in every discovery relating to the physi- 
cal and moral character of Pennsylvania. 

It does not appear that Dr. James ever devoted 
much attention to the exact sciences. He was in the 
proper meaning of the term a philosopher, — a lover 
and supporter of science ; but irrespective of those 
branches which are involved in his profession, he 
left to others minuteness of detail, and contented 
himself with mastering the general principles and 
lending his influence for the support of scientific 
men and institutions. Being early made a member 
of the American Philosophical Society, he at one 
time attended its meetings, acted as its secretary, 
and was interested in their transactions ; but after- 
wards he but seldom appeared, and, it is believed, 
never contributed any paper except on medical sub- 
jects to their publications. He preferred the seclu- 
sion of his study to the bustle of the society, and the 
lighter walks of literature to the rougher paths of 

As a practitioner, he was remarkable for his know- 
ledge, and for his judgment in the selection and ap- 
plication of remedial measures, rather than for the 
novelty or boldness of his prescriptions. He was 
well read in his profession, learned in the opinions 
and practices of others, well imbued with all that 
collateral information so important for all profes- 
sional men, especially for the physician ; and interest- 
ed in every thing suited to advance the interests of 
the profession, to enlarge the boundaries, or to in- 
crease the efficiency of medical science. He was 


a scientific physician, not governed simply by autho- 
rity, or by the experience of himself or others, but 
regulated by principles derived from anatomy, phi- 
losophy and pathology. 

As an obstetrician, he was chiefly known to the 
inhabitants of this city, and of our country ; and 
great are the obligations under which society is placed 
to him and a few of his cotemporaries, who, by their 
talents, education, learning, manners and accomplish- 
ments elevated and adorned a department of the pro- 
fession which had been unaccountably neglected, and 
was, in this country, especially, in a degraded condi- 

As a practitioner of obstetrics. Dr. James mani- 
fested the same kindness and benevolence of dispo- 
sition, the same prudence, discretion and judgment, 
for which he was distinguished as a physician, and 
which gave him an eminent station as an accoucheur. 
As an operator he was also skillful and prudent ; oc- 
casionally also bold and decisive when the circum- 
stances of the case demanded his assistance. His 
natural diffidence of himself, his fear of responsibility, 
his deference to the opinions of others, prevented, 
however, his obtaining that self-command, and that 
composure essential for the greatest eminence in the 
operative department of obstetrics. Nevertheless, a 
large proportion of our physicians resorted to him for 
assistance in cases of difficulty and danger, with the 
happiest results. 

As a teacher of obstetric science, his success was 
also great. Commencing a system of instruction 
when no medical school patronized this department 


of the profession, when the prejudices of the commu- 
nity were greatly in opposition, and when even prac- 
titioners of medicine thought any pecuhar union on 
this subject unnecessary. Dr. James succeeded in se- 
curing the attention of a very respectable portion of 
the pupils who then resorted to Philadelphia for medi- 
cal instruction, and soon obtained an influence in 
favor of tocology, by which the practice was ren- 
dered more efficient and extensive, and the impor- 
tance of the science suitably acknowledged by the 
estabhshment of an independent professorship. Oc- 
cupying the situation of Professor, he was well and 
advantageously known to the full classes which annu- 
ally resorted to the University of Pennsylvania. In 
him they beheld the accomplished obstetrician, one 
whose mild, sociable, but dignified deportment, not 
only gained their respect but their affection ; who 
not only secured for himself attention and confi- 
dence, but for his science the devotion and interest 
which it so justly deserved. 

As a lecturer it is not pretended that Dr. James 
was perfect ; the critic might say that from the native 
pecuharities of his character, especially from that 
modesty and self-diffidence, that respect to the opin- 
ions of others, even of mere tyros in their profes- 
sion, he wanted that boldness and decision, that 
spirit of enthusiasm, that air of originality and self- 
confidence so interesting and impressive in a teacher, 
so calculated to fix the attention and impart instruc- 
tion. Nevertheless he was an excellent teacher. His 
lectures were handsomely and classically written ; 
they were copious, abounding in matter rich in illus- 


trations, and indicating a mind of superior cast, well 
cultivated and enriched with literary, as well as scien- 
tific attractions. If he wanted originality, he was 
well versed in the opinions and discoveries of others ; 
if he was deficient in spirit and boldness, his composi- 
tions evinced great taste, much reading and laborious 
attention to his subject, so that every lecture was a 
full and satisfactory essay on the subject, treated with 
suitable references to acknowledged authorities. His 
delivery, it may be inferred, was not very impassion- 
ed ; he wanted more energy, and more vigor in his 
voice and composition, yet he was always interesting 
from the mild dignity of his appearance and manners, 
and from the good sense and superior mental and 
moral character which marked the man and his pro- 

Hence he was a successful teacher. This is not 
the proper occasion to analyze the doctrines which he 
taught, or to examine the medical or chirurgical 
treatment which he recommended in the practice of 
obstetrics. Suffice it to say, that receiving his early 
impressions from distinguished English teachers, his 
views were founded mainly on British obstetrics. 
He examined, however, the productions of the 
French and other continental schools, followed their 
writers into scientific detail, and those minute instruc- 
tions regarding the mechanism of labor and the treat- 
ment of parturition therewith necessarily connected, 
which has distinguished the French obstetrician, and 
so elevated the science of tocology. Profiting by 
all this accurate information. Dr. James still in his 
teaching and his practice, yielded to the influence of 


the English, rather than of the French, authorities, 
either from the influence of early impressions, or 
from a decided conviction of the superiority of the 

Unfortunately for the medical profession, as well 
as for the greater perpetuity of Dr. James' reputa- 
tion, he has not appeared before the public as a 
medical writer. The results of his accurate observa- 
tion and extended experience have, vv^ith some minor 
exceptions, perished with him. This is to be regret- 
ted, for it seems hardly possible that the experience 
of a long life, devoted to the observation of diseases, 
to the details of a profession so varied, yet so imper- 
fect, as that of medicine, should not have furnish- 
ed abundant material for the improvement of his 
science, as well as for the amelioration of human 
suffering, especially when elaborated by a mind so 
well constituted, and liberally furnished. Our regrets 
are unavailing, but this negative example should in- 
duce all of us, who are actively engaged in profes- 
sional duties, to make that record of our experience 
and observations, which when age or ill health pre- 
vents active exertion, may be promulgated as our 
mite to the cause of science, and the interests of 

Dr. Horatio Jones of Stockbridge, Mass., was 
son of Capt. Josiah Jones of that place, and grand- 
son of one of the first persons who were chosen for 
the companions of the first Missionary and School- 
master to the Housatunnuc Indians, the Rev. Mr. 


Sergeant. He was born in the year 1770, and died 
on the 26th of April, 1813, at the age of forty-three 
years. He entered College at New Haven, at an 
early period of his life, and continued his studies 
there with so much zeal that his sight began to be 
seriously impaired, and his physicians were fearful 
that amaurosis, or gutta serena, might entirely de- 
prive him of vision. He was, therefore, obliged to 
abandon his studies for a while, and being of a most 
active disposition of mind, he, with several others, 
went to what was then called the Genessee country 
for the purpose of laying out lands, as a surveyor. 
His health and sight were here reinstated, and he 
soon returned to his studies, and entered as student 
of medicine in the office of the celebrated Dr. Ser- 
geant of Stockbridge. 

Before commencing practice as a physician, he 
was engaged for awhile in business as a Druggist in 
his native town. His daughter, Mrs. Fair child, now 
of Middletown, Connecticut, from whom 1 have 
many of these facts, states that she does not recollect 
how long he continued in this business. She only 
knows that he commenced practice at Pittsfield, 
Mass., where he remained a little more than a year. 
Dr. Sergeant, his former preceptor, was at that time 
in want of a physician of talent and principle to 
succeed him in business, being himself in the decline 
of life, invited him to settle in Stockbridge, which 
invitation he accepted. In the winter of 1805-6, 
probably a few years after he commenced practice in 
Stockbridge, he went to Philadelphia for the purpose 
of improving himself more particularly in the depart- 


ment of surgery. He spent one winter there, and 
attended the various courses of medical lectures in 
the medical department of the University of Penn- 
sylvania. He afterwards returned to Stockbridge, 
where he remained till the time of his death. 

He became a member of the Mass. Medical Socie- 
ty in the year 1804. He received the honorary de- 
gree of Master of Arts from Williams College, in 

Dr. Partridge of Stockbridge, from whom I am 
indebted through Mrs. Fairchild, for many facts in 
relation to the life of Dr. Jones, observes that ' he 
was a man of science, eminent in his profession, a 
good operator in surgery, active, sociable, and very 
popular, indefatigable by night and day to give relief 
in cases of distress and danger.' Mrs. F. says, ' It 
is often remarked to me that there was that in his 
manner which seemed to add efficacy to the medi- 
cines which he administered, and that his visits were 
often acknowledged to be beneficial to his patients, 
when he made no prescription. I recollect a striking 
expression in a short article published in some peri- 
odical a few years since, written by Miss Sedgwick — 
a description of the burial ground in Stockbridge, in 
which she speaks of him as our ' beloved physician, 
who gave us smiles instead of drugs.' Another strik- 
ing trait of character, which I have often heard spo- 
ken of, was his unremitted attention to the poor, 
even when he knew he could secure no pecuniary 

The following just notice of Dr. Jones was writ- 
ten by the Rev. Mr. Curtis, now Chaplain in the Pri- 


son in Charlestown, Mass., and published in the 
Farmers' Herald, in Stockbridge, at the time of his 
decease, will be read with much interest. 

' On Tuesday, April 27th, 1813, his funeral was at- 
tended by an immense concourse of people, from 
this and the neighboring towns. Divine service was 
performed at the meeting house, where a sermon was 
delivered by the Rev. Dr. Hyde of Lee. Of the 
sermon it is but an ordinary tribute of justice to say, 
that it was peculiarly appropriate, impressive and 

To give any thing like a just delineation of the 
character of Dr. Jones, the writer feels himself whol- 
ly incompetent. The community, however, and his 
numerous acquaintances and friends are capable of 
forming a just estimation. 

As a man he combined in himself all those excel- 
lencies and virtues, which constituted him just what 
the excellent and virtuous wished him to be. As a 
scholar, he was eminent. Possessed of a mind vigo- 
rous and comprehensive, his advances in whatever 
was the object of his attainment, were much more 
than ordinary. Not contented with a superficial view 
of subjects and things, his researches were deep, tho- 
rough and eftectual. His knowledge was extensive, 
and of such a kind as qualified him for the most ex- 
tensive usefulness. As a physician, it is no more 
than justice to say he had but few equals. In addi- 
tion to his extensive medical knowledge and skill, he 
possessed more than any other man we have ever 
known, the talent of rendering himself pleasant, easy, 
and agreeable to the objects of his professional atten- 


tion. There was something in his manners, whichj 
though indescribable, could almost restore the sick to 
health, and would induce a smile of complacency 
even on the pale cheek of the dying. 

In his attention to the sick, he was indefatigable. 
He spared no pains. Without any regard to his own 
ease or quiet, he devoted all his time and talents to 
the service of the public. He possessed the entire 
confidence of all, and his eminent services, rare ta- 
lents, and unusual success, justly entitled him to it. 
The loss of the community in the death of this dis- 
tinguished man is irreparable. 

As a friend, companion, husband, father, how shall 
I speak of him ? On this subject let me spare those 
feelings already wounded to death. He was above 
all praise, and certainly above our poor praise. 
* When such friends part, 'tis the survivor dies.' 

But the most distinguished trait in his character, 
and one on which the minds of his bereaved friends 
will dwell with the greatest complacency and delight, 
remains unmentioned. He was a Christain. 

During the winter past he had experienced, as is 
humbly hoped and believed, that change of heart, 
which seemed alone wanting to complete a character 
already so excellent and amiable. 

Eight days before his death he was very violently 
seized with the prevailing epidemic* His friends 
had long been fearful of the event, as he had for two 
months previous, been, without intermission, attend- 
ing upon those who were sick with this complaint. 

^Pneumonia Typhoides, I believe.— S. W. W. 


If the Dr. lacked in any thing, it was in prudence as 
respected his own health. This he did not seem to 
regard. He literally wore himself out for the safety 
and health of others, and fell a sacrifice to his bene- 
volent exertions. But his sickness afforded him an 
opportunity of exhibiting to the world a most glori- 
ous example of the power and triumph of the reli- 
gion of the gospel. Several days before his death 
his prevaihng sentiment was that he should not sur- 
vive ; yet his mind seemed fully prepared for the 
event. He was perfectly calm and tranquil. His 
strong and lively faith bore his soul above every 
thing like fear. It pleased the Sovereign Disposer 
of events to continue to him the unimpaired exercise 
of his reason to the last. His reason, and what 
strength he had, he employed in glorifying that God 
and Savior, who, by his grace had prepared him for 
glory. The scene was the most interesting and so- 
lemn that can be imagined. A heart of stone must 
have melted, and the most hardy infidel been con- 
founded. As he drew nearer and nearer the close of 
life, his joys and prospects continued to brighten ; 
and when he found all earthly objects fading from his 
view, and the fight of eternity opening upon him, he 
cried ' Lord Jesus receive my spirit,' and fell asleep. 
* Let me die the death of the righteous, and let my 
last end be like his,' must have been the language of 
every heart present. 

Doctor Jones has left a wife and little daughter, 
a number of brothers and sisters, and a numerous 
train of relations and friends, to lament his death. 
Never before have we seen as many real mourners 


for the death of an individual. The whole town and 
vicinity are literally in tears. His virtues, worth and 
services, will long be held in grateful remembrance. 
Why such a man should be removed, is to us mysteri- 
ous, but of this we may rest assured that the Judge of 
all the earth has done right.' 

Dr. David King was born at Raynham, Massa- 
chusetts, in the year 1774. He graduated at Brown 
University during the Presidency of Maxy, in 1796, 
and pursued his medical studies under the direction 
of the venerable Dr. James Thacher of Plymouth. 
In 1799 he came to Newport, and began the practice 
of his profession. 

In the early part of his professional career, his 
attention was drawn to the consideration of the vac- 
cine disease, then first introduced into the United 
States. Regarding it as an invaluable discovery, he 
proceeded, notwithstanding the strong opposition of 
popular prejudice, to benefit his fellow citizens by 
the application of the early discovered principles in 
his science. In thus early adopting the views of the 
immortal Jenner, and carrying them out in practice, 
he displayed a decision and independence of mind 
which strongly characterized him through life. 

Having acquired the habits of a student during his 
collegiate course, he vigorously applied them to the 
attainment of a thorough knowledge of his profes- 
sion. In this he was aided by the valuable library of 
the late Dr. Center, which came into his possession 
soon after his settlement in Newport. His mind was 


eminently practical, and endowed with those patient 
powers of exertion which are necessary to arrive at 
truth in any science or art. His professional know- 
ledge was therefore such as to give him a just claim 
to the attentions of his fellow citizens ; this, added 
to the kindness of his heart, his correct deportment 
and unassuming manners, opened to him, almost from 
tlie first, an extensive practice. The exercise of a 
sound, discrifninating judgment in his medical prac- 
tice, and the study of the standard works in his pro- 
fession, furnished his mind with principles to guide 
him in the treatment of the various forms of disease. 
The possession of these elevated him above the 
sphere of the routine practitioner, and gave him in 
cases of difficulty, manly confidence in the resources 
of his own mind. The University at which he was 
educated, evinced its high estimation of his profes- 
sional character, by conferring on him in 1821, the 
honorary degree of M. D. 

For several years he held the appointment of sur- 
geon to the detachment of United States troops, 
stationed at Fort Wolcott. In 1819, during the pre- 
valence of the yellow fever in this place, his great 
skill and experience were actively and successfully 
called into operation in repelling that terrible malady. 
At that time it was the part of humanity to refute the 
errors of those who regarded that disease as invaria- 
bly and certainly propagating itself, and as exposing 
those who attended upon the sick to almost certain 
death. Not admitting the contagious character of 
the disease, he attributed it to a more general and 
pervading cause, and by his intrepidity and free per- 



sonal exposure, attested his confidence in the truth of 
his theoretical views. 

Ardently attached to his profession, he was ever 
ready to promote all useful and liberal plans which 
might contribute to the improvement and elevation 
of its character. He was one of the earliest promo- 
ters of the Rhode Island Medical Society, in which 
he successively held the offices of Censor, Vice Pre- 
sident and President. He was elected President in 
June, 1829, and continued in that office till July, 

In August, 1834, he suffisred an attack of paralysis, 
brought on from the exertion of the discharge of his 
professional duties. Since then, his constitution gra- 
dually failed until his death, Nov. 14th, 1836. When 
he had then been thus struck down in the midst of 
active hfe, the attachment of the community to him 
was most signally exhibited. Throughout the com- 
munity there was an universal conviction that society 
had lost a benefactor, and an invaluable member. In 
the extensive circle of his own patients there prevail- 
ed a feeling of personal loss, which no other person 
could supply. Few men have lived more respected, 
or died more lamented. His monument is in the 
hearts of the community. — Bost. Med. and Surg. 

Dr. Frederic Gore King died at New York, 

April 24th, 1829, in the 28th year of his age. Dr. 

King, the youngest son of the late Rufus King, was 

born in England, in the year 1801, during the period 



in which his father was minister to that country. He 
came with his father's family to the United States 
when very young, and immediately commenced his 
education, pursuing his studies with zeal and ability, 
and evincing the possession of no ordinary talents. 
He entered Cambridge College, Mass., with great 
credit, and at the conclusion of his academic course, 
left it with increased reputation. He now returned 
to New York, and commenced the study of medicine 
under the direction of the late Dr. Post; he early 
evinced a partiality for the study of anatomy, and 
pursued it with corresponding zeal and success. At 
his graduation, he defended an inaugural dissertation 
on Neurology, a part of which was published in the 
second number of the third volume of the New York 
Medical and Physical Journal, edited by Drs. Francis 
and Beck. This essay, which in its historical sketch 
exhibits great research and familiarity with the an- 
cient writers in medicine, was but the precursor of a 
greater work on the same subject, which it was his 
intention to have published, and from which much 
valuable information might have justly been anticipat- 
ed. After the attainment of his medical doctorate, 
he married the daughter of his preceptor, a mutual 
attachment having subsisted during his studies. 

A brilliant career now opened upon him, and he 
entered upon it with zeal and enthusiasm, that held 
forth a certainty of the highest professional distinc- 
tion. He had hardly commenced, before he was call- 
ed upon, in the double capacity of brother and physi- 
cian, to accompany his brother's wife to the Havana. 
After a short absence he returned to New York, from 


whence he was again summoned to proceed as 
speedily as possible to England, to accompany home 
his venerable father, whose enfeebled constitution had 
sunk under the accumulated privations and difficulties 
of a mission to England. On his return, he prepared 
again to engage in professional occupations, when he 
was required a third time to cross the Atlantic, as 
professional adviser to his wife's sister, whose health 
required a winter's residence in Italy. The melan- 
choly termination of this visit to the lady, whose 
death took place soon after her arrival in Italy, left 
him at liberty to prosecute his travels in Europe. He 
visited different parts of Italy, examining every thing 
worthy of observation in the arts and sciences ge- 
nerally, as well as enriching his mind with stores 
of professional knowledge. He visited France, and 
during his stay at Paris, enjoyed the greatest oppor- 
tunities of improving himself in his favorite study of 
Anatomy. Here he added to his library a valuable 
collection of French authors on the different depart- 
ments of medical science. In the fall of 1825, he 
returned to New York and resumed the practice of 
medicine. During the severe epidemic fever which 
visited the neighboring country during that season, 
he attended the family of his elder brother, then re- 
siding at Jamaica, Long Island, and there contracted 
the disease, from the effects of which he seems never 
entirely to have recovered ; it aggravated a pulmo- 
nary attack, which he suffered while in Italy. Dur- 
ing the succeeding winter he was obliged to confine 
himself to the house the greater portion of the time, 
harassed by a severe cough ; this continued without 


much intermission, until the month of March, when 
he was attacked with haemoptysis. His friends, who 
included a numerous and extensive circle, now became 
seriously anxious about him ; every exertion that do- 
mestic or fraternal solicitude, or the highest profes- 
sional aid could suggest, was faithfully tried, to arrest 
the ravages of his fatal malady ; they proved of no 
avail, but to afford a melancholy consolation to his 
afflicted family, of having rendered him all the assist- 
ance that human means could afford. For a short 
time after the cessation of the hemorrhage, strong 
hopes were entertained that his naturally vigorous 
constitution would triumph over the disease ; these 
hopes were of short duration, no material improve- 
ment resulted, and the disease proceeded with steady 
and rapid progress to a fatal termination. During his 
illness, eager inquiries were constantly made, and an 
anxiety pervaded the community, to obtain intelli- 
gence of the state of his health. 

His sympathy with the sufferings of his patients, 
and his anxiety to relieve them ; the mildness of his 
manners, and the mildness and benevolence of his 
disposition, will be long remembered by those who 
came under his professional care. Though so early 
removed, he has not hved in vain ; his example yet 
remains to stimulate our medical youth who are press- 
ing forward in the narrow path of high and honora- 
ble distinction. 

Dr. King was among the first selected by the Athe- 
neum to give popular lectures ; this duty he dis- 
charged the first year, by dehvering four lectures on 
phrenology; the succeeding year, being again ap- 

JOHN LEE. 341 

pointed, he lectured on the structure of the human 
voice, in which he gave a highly interesting view of 
the science of music. The National Academy of 
Design, with the laudable view of affording instruc- 
tion to young artists, selected Dr. King to give a 
course of lectures on anatomy ; the members of that 
association affectionately remember the interest he 
took in their welfare, and the pupils the valuable in- 
struction he imparted to them. After his graduation, 
he spent one year in the New York Hospital, as 
house surgeon, and was immediately after appointed 
demonstrator of anatomy to the College of Physicians 
and Surgeons, Dr. Post being at that time Professor 
of that branch ; during this period he gave a very 
instructive course of lectures on the preparations con- 
tained in the Museum. — /. M. P., the Am. Med. 

Dr. John Lee. Dr. Lee was born at Amherst, 
Mass., about the year 1786, and died in 1813. The 
following notice of him is an extract from an address 
which I delivered before a literary society in Deer- 
field, of which Dr. Lee was a member — in the year 

To show forth the private virtues of Dr. Lee, it 
may be necessary to give a slight sketch of his life. 
Little is known of the early part of it, except that 
the greater part of his first twenty years, was devoted 
to his favorite pursuit of agriculture. To this his 
attention was devoted with assiduity, and perhaps it 
was owing to his great exertions and persevering 

342 JOHN LEE. 

industry, that he was attacked with a weakness at the 
breast, and bleeding at the lungs, which threatened 
to terminate in that lingering and distressing com- 
plaint, the pulmonary consumption, to which he was 
always predisposed. By the advice of physicians, 
and in conformity with his own feehngs and judg- 
ment, he was induced to try traveling, and residing 
upon the sea-board. 

He returned with renovated health, and in a few 
months from this period, he commenced the study of 
physic in my father's office, with Dr. Saxton and my- 
self; his persevering diligence and correct acquire- 
ments in the elementary branches, evinced beyond a 
doubt, the germ of future usefulness. Day after day, 
by his industry, did he suffer the glow of health to 
fade upon his cheek, and night after night, did he 
' trim his midnight lamp, and hang o'er the sickly 

He saw, from reading, the necessity of being tho- 
roughly versed in the profession before entering upon 
the responsible duties of it. He shuddered with hor- 
ror when he saw the audacious strides of charlatans 
and empirics, and subscribed with pain to the truth of 
the remark, that an ignorant pretender, from his im- 
posing upon the too easy credulity of the multitude, 
would always obtain more business than a regular 
bred and accomplished physician. This remark is 
verified by daily experience in our too easily gulled 
American people. Most fully did he agree with Dar- 
win, that ' Ignorance and credulity have ever been 
companions, and have misled and enslaved mankind.' 

Much as he dwelt upon the necessity of indefati- 

JOHN LEE. 343 

gable industry in obtaining a correct knowledge of 
his profession, he still believed with Klapp, that ' the- 
ory, without practice or experience, is a floating bub- 
ble, which with inflated grandeur, may serve to catch 
the eye or the fancy, until its momentary form or 
existence bursts into airy nothing ; and practice with- 
out the guide of science is downright jargon or em- 
piricism.' As he approached the termination of his 
pupilage, as if susceptible of more than ordinary im- 
pressions, his anxiety, for many a weary night, de- 
prived him of rest. He felt the full force of the 
arduous task in which he was engaged, and the high 
responsibility of it. After searching through a num- 
ber of towns in Vermont and New Hampshire, and 
most of the towns in the old county of Hampshire, 
in Mass., for a place to establish himself for future 
usefulness, he at length commenced practice in the 
town of Ashfield, in the county of Franklin, in this 
State. Circumscribed as was his business here for a 
time, he had the pleasure of seeing it daily increase, 
and his prospects brighten. 

When that awful scourge which has devastated so 
fair a portion of our country, that scourge, the rav- 
ages of which we have so much to deplore, which 
has deprived so many of us of parents, of near and 
dear connexions, and of friends, first appeared in his 
vicinity, all his vigilance and anxiety were awakened 
to avert its impending destruction. But alas! the 
mandate of Jehovah summoned him to appear before 
his majestic throne in the midst of his usefulness, 
and in all the vigor of his mental strength, to join in 
higher oflices, and to reside throughout the never 

344 JOHN LEE. 

ending ages of eternity, with more congenial spirits. 

A young man of worth and usefulness, surrounded 
by his helpless babes, being dangerously sick, awak- 
ened all his feelings. So great was his concern for 
him, that the day before his own attack was spent 
with him, administering to his comfort and ease, and 
endeavoring to restore him to usefulness, to his fami- 
ly, and the world. On Tuesday, the 5th of April, he 
rode in the storm, three miles from his boarding 
house, to visit his patient. He was much indisposed 
before he left home, and unfortunately, wet his feet 
on the road. He was immediately taken with violent 
cold chills, and excruciating pain in his side. A large 
fire was made, but it seemed to operate but httle to- 
wards removing the chills, for he frequently observed, 
' I freeze one side while I scorch the other.' The 
pain in the side growing more severe he bled himself, 
but with no alleviation to his distress. Attempting to 
return home, his complaint increased upon him with 
so much violence, that he was obliged to stop at the 
first house he came to, where he again bled himself, 
and immediately sunk into a state of faintness. 

In four or five days a messenger was dispatched 
for my father and myself, about fourteen miles distant, 
and we immediately attended, but alas ! we were too 
late to save him. Never shall I forget the momentary 
joy he expressed upon my entering his room, nor the 
anxiety that we should summon all our skill to arrest 
the mandate of death. His looks still dwell upon my 
mind, and his image is imprinted there. He clung 
to life, for he had many attachments to it ; neverthe- 
less, in his addresses to his Heavenly Father, he ex- 


claimed, * not my will but thine be done.' At this 
time he appeared to express great anxiety for his 
patients, and in his muttering delirium, he was con- 
stantly engaged in the practice of physic, demon- 
strating that his attention while in health was devoted 
exclusively to his profession. On the night preceding 
his dissolution, he was attacked severely with bleeding 
at the nose, which prostrated his strength irrecovera- 
bly. His spirits were now fast retreating to the ' last 
citadel, the heart.' Rehgion now supported him. 
He expressed a fear for the tremendous change, but 
observed that he thought he was not without a well 
grounded hope. He fixed his eye upon the throne 
of God, and at six o'clock his spirit departed, we trust, 
to everlasting rest. That body which so late was 
animated with light and hfe, is now a mass of sense- 
less clay ; that eye which so late beamed with re- 
splendant lustre, is now dimmed by death. 

To use the language of Ames on the death of 
Hamilton : ' The tears which flow on the fond reci- 
tal will never dry up. My heart, penetrated with the 
remembrance of tlie man, grows liquid as I write, 
and 1 could pour it out hke water.' 

Dr. Thomas G. Lee. Dr. Smith of the Boston 
Medical and Surgical Journal of Nov. 9th, 1836, ob- 
serves, that it is with unfeigned sorrow that we record 
the death of this excellent physician and philanthro- 
pist, who, had he lived to the common age of man, 
would have taken an elevated rank in society In 
the very beginning of his usefulness, he fell a victim 


to professional responsibilities. He had not a physi- 
cal organization fitted to undergo the fatigues he felt 
himself called upon to endure. We knew enough of 
his character to admire it; and with regard to the 
moral constitution of his mind, it was such as to ex- 
ert the happiest influence on all within the circle of 
his official acquaintance. The McLean Asylum, 
over which he presided, has indeed suffered a severe 
loss. The Board of Trustees, in continuing his sal- 
ary to the widow, till the first of April, 1837, have 
done a memorable act, highly honorable and praise- 
worthy. Dr. Lee was a correspondent of this Jour- 
nal, and his writings exhibit evidence of much re- 
search and industry. 

The following communication from Dr. Samuel 
B. Woodward of Worcester, where he died, so com- 
pletely anticipates what we were preparing to say, 
that no apology is necessary for inserting it in this 

Died, at the residence of his friend. Dr. Wood- 
ward, in Worcester, Mass., on the 2nd of October, 
1836, Thomas G. Lee, M. D., Physician and Super- 
intendent of the McLean Asylum for the Insane, aged 

Dr. Lee's health had been dechning for some 
weeks previous to his leaving the Asylum. A bow- 
el complaint, with daily paroxysms of fever, had re- 
duced his strength and depressed his spirits. During 
this period, however, he exerted himself to do the du- 
ties of his station, till his appetite wholly failed him, 
his sleep departed, and he found himself worn down, 
dispirited, and so extremely susceptible, that common 


incidents in the Institution agitated him in such a 
manner as to render him unfit longer to continue. 
Under these circumstances he left for Worcester, 
where he arrived late in the evening of the 15th of 
October. His friends were all impressed with his 
sickly and emaciated appearance. He led them to 
suppose, however, that he had been slightly indispos- 
ed, and had commenced a journey for the re-esta- 
blishment of his health. He conversed a short time 
with cheerfulness and animation, and retired to rest. 
In the morning following, he complained of not sleep- 
ing, and a total loss of appetite ; he, however, pro- 
posed to go with his friend through the wards of the 
extensive establishment for the insane, and continued 
his walks, notwithstanding the remonstrance of his 
friend, for nearly four hours. He then complained 
of great fatigue, and went to bed. Toward evening 
he arose, but complained of not having slept, and 
appeared exceedingly ill. From this time, all his for- 
mer symptoms returned with tenfold violence. The 
symptoms of malignant disease were rapidly deve- 
oped. His mind and nervous system were at first 
clearly disturbed. During the whole period of his 
sickness, the disease of the bowels made steady pro- 
gress, and showed that local danger existed in the di- 
gestive organs, which years before had been subject 
to alarming disease. 

Under the influence of remedies, after some days 
his sleep became quiet, and delirium left him. But 
the disease of the bowels went steadily on, and point- 
ed but too truly to the fatal result which took place on 
the morning of the 29th. The last two weeks of his 


illness, his sufferings were severe. When informed 
that remedies would probably be unavailing in his 
case, he settled his worldly affairs with the composure 
of one who was preparing for a temporary journey, 
expressed his gratitude in the most feehng terms to 
all who had attended him in his illness, took leave 
of his friends, and resigned himself to the will of 
his Heavenly Father, in the full confidence of the 
Christian's Hope. 

The death of Dr. Lee is a severe public calamity. 
In the situation which he occupied for a few months 
only, he gained a high reputation for himself, and 
increased the honor and raised the character of the 
Institution, which for years had been deservedly high. 
His qualifications of mind and heart were admirably 
fitted for the station, and he fulfilled the duties of it 
with great acceptance to the officers who controlled 
it, and the inmates and their friends who were in- 
terested in his success. He commenced these duties 
with that diffidence and distrust which are evidences 
of merit. His youth, his inexperience, and his feeble 
health, were urged by him, in correspondence with 
his friends, as reasons why he should not assume the 
responsible duties of superintendent of an institution, 
the character of which was high, the superintendent 
of which was a man of great attainments and de- 
served reputation in the management of the insane. 
He was, however, persuaded not to decUne. The 
result has shown that the selection was most judi- 
cious, and most happy for the interests and prosperi- 
ty of the institution. 

In the management of the insane. Dr. Lee possess- 


ed that trait which belongs to but few men. His 
mind was active to discern, and fruitful in expedients 
to satisfy, the expectations of his patients, and gain 
their confidence. His feehngs, naturally ardent, be- 
came deeply interested in each patient under his care. 
His whole mind and soul were devoted to the welfare 
of the institution, and the success of his efforts to 
restore to health and reason the victims of insanity, 
was so great as to keep him in a state of continual 
excitement. This his friends foresaw, and warned 
him of the consequences. His benevolence knew no 
boundaries but the accomplishment of the ultimate 
object of his wishes; and no personal labor was 
spared and no privation interfered where his sense 
of duty called. Such a mind wore bright, but could 
not wear long. It was of such delicate structure as 
to be exceedingly susceptible, and with a physical sys- 
tem naturally slender, and rendered still more deli- 
cate by disease, it is not surprising that it should pro- 
duce excitement, resulting in serious injury to health. 
Such was ever the condition of Dr. Lee while in situ- 
ations of great responsibility. While in the Retreat 
at Hartford, the assistant of the distinguished Dr. 
Todd, from whom he acquired much of his know- 
ledge of the treatment of insanity, his zeal and ardor 
in this cause of humanity, brought upon him, as has 
already been mentioned, an attack of disease which 
seriously threatened his hfe, and resulted in such a 
state of his general health, and particularly of his 
nervous system, as induced him, at the solicitation of 
all his friends, to resign his place. Such was its ef- 
fect in the present case. And it is not too much to 


say that he fell a victim to his efforts in this cause of 

Dr. Lee was beloved by every one who knew him, 
because his character and deportment was uniformly 
lovely. In his intercourse with mankind, he was 
frank, open and honest. Few men were so concilia- 
tory, and yet so firm and decided. He carried his 
point with all, in and out of the institution ; effected 
what he wished, and yet gained the confidence and 
even the affection of those who might be supposed 
unfavorable to his plans. Sincerity and love of truth, 
were prominent traits of his character. He loved his 
friends, and delighted in refined and polished society. 
His heart was ever ready to sympathize with the dis- 
tressed. To make all around him happy, was the 
greatest pleasure of his hfe. 

His career was short, but brilliant. He has gained 
a name which will be remembered while the institu- 
tion which he superintended shall remain a monu- 
ment of christian charity and benevolence. In all 
this, I am quite sure the directors of that Institution 
will acquiesce. In selecting a successor, they will be 
most happy if they can find the same high qualifica- 
tions in an individual who is wilhng to spend his hfe 
and be spent in the cause of humanity. 

Within a few days I have received the following 
additional particulars concerning Dr. Lee, from Dr. 

He was born in Berlin, Connecticut, December, 
1808. His parents were respectable, and the father 
for many years was a Magistrate and Judge of Pro- 
bate in the District. After a good academical educa- 


tion, he spent a year in the MiUtary Academy of Capt. 
Partridge in Middletown, then commenced the study 
of medicine with Dr. Gridley, of his native town, 
who was my pupil, and is now a Senator in the Le- 
gislature of Connecticut. Afterwards he completed 
his studies under the instruction of Drs. Eli Ives and 
Knight, of New Haven, at which seminary he receiv- 
ed the degree of M. D. in 1830. 

Almost immediately after his graduation, he receiv- 
ed the appointment of assistant physician at the Re- 
treat for the Insane in Hartford. In that school of 
instruction, under the tuition of the master mind of 
Dr. Todd, he formed habits of thinking, and receiv- 
ed instruction from lips eloquent, on all subjects con- 
nected with the profession, and particularly on what- 
ever related to Insanity. 

Dr. Lee remained in this situation nearly three 
years, during which time a friendship was formed 
between this highly gifted preceptor and admiring 
pupil which lasted and increased in ardor till this 
great and good man was gathered to reap the reward 
of a life well spent. 

Dr. Lee lost his health, and was constrained to 
leave a post in which he delighted to act, and for 
which by the highest qualifications of mind and heart 
he was peculiarly fitted. 

He married Miss Susan Clarke of St. Johnsbury, 
Vermont, in 1834, with whom he hved scarcely two 
years, before his death, and left no children. 


Dr. Lewis Field Linn. Mr. Benton from Mis- 
souri, of the United States' Senate, in Congress, 
December, 1843, thus announces to the Senate, the 
death of his distinguished colleague. Dr. Linn, which 
is an elegant delineation of his life and character. 

* Lewis Field Linn, the subject of this annuncia- 
tion, was born in the State of Kentucky, in the year 
1795, in the immediate vicinity of Louisville. His 
grandfather was Colonel William Linn, one of the 
favorite officers of Gen. George Rogers Clark, and 
well known for courage and enterprise in the early 
settlement of the great West. At the age of eleven, 
he had fought in the ranks of men in the defence of 
a station in western Pennsylvania, and was seen to 
deliver a deliberate and effective fire. He was one 
of the first to navigate the Ohio and Mississippi from 
Pittsburgh to New Orleans and back again — a daring 
achievement, which himself and some others accom- 
plished for the public service, and amidst every 
species of danger, in the year 1776. He was killed 
by the Indians at an early period, leaving a family of 
young children, of whom the worthy Col. William 
Pope (father of Gov. Pope, and head of the nume- 
rous and respectable family of that name in the west) 
became the guardian. The father of Senator Linn 
was among these children ; and, at an early age, 
skating upon the ice near Louisville, with three other 
boys, he was taken prisoner by the Shawnee Indians, 
carried oft', and detained captive for three years, when 
all four made their escape and returned home, killing 
their guard, traversing some hundred miles of wilder- 


from/ d l/.^'-^^t'-i-rr^i/ij/fji. u 


f ^m. 


L H i; I \NGLLY N 


ness, and swimming the Ohio river. The mother of 
Senator Linn was a Pennsylvanian by birth, her 
maiden name Hunter, born at Carhsle, and also had 
heroic blood in her veins. Tradition, if not history, 
preserves the recollection of her courage and conduct 
at Fort Jefferson, and the Iron banks, in the year 
1781, when the Indians attacked, and were repulsed, 
from that post. Women and boys were men in those 

The father of Senator Linn died young, leaving 
this son but eleven years of age. The care of an 
eld^r brother supplied, as far as such a loss could be 
supplied, the loss of a father, and under his auspices 
the education of the orphan was conducted. He was 
intended for the medical profession, and received his 
education, scholastic and professional, in the State ot 
his nativity. At an early age he WcLs qualified for the 
practice of medicine, and commenced it in the then 
Territory, now State of Missouri, and was immedi- 
ately amongst the foremost of his profession. Intui- 
tive sagacity supplied in him the place of long ex- 
perience, and boundless benevolence conciliated uni- 
versal esteem. To all his patients he was the same — 
flying with alacrity to every call, attending upon the 
poor and humble as zealously as on the rich and 
powerful ; on the stranger as readily as on the neigh- 
bor ; discharging all the duties of nurse and friend as 
well as physician, and wholly regardless of his own 
interest, or even his own health, in his zeal to serve 
and to save others. 

The highest professional honors and rewards were 
before him. Though commencing on a provincial 


theatre, there was not a capital in Europe or Ame- 
rica in which he would not have attained the front 
rank in Physic or Surgery. But his fellow citizens 
perceived in his varied abilities, capacities and apti- 
tude for service in a different walk. He was called 
into the political field by an election to the Senate of 
his adopted State. Thence he was called to the 
performance of judicial duties, by a federal appoint- 
ment to investigate land titles. Thence he was call- 
ed to the high station of Senator in the Congress of 
the United States — first by an Executive appoint- 
ment, and then by three successive, almost unanirftous 
elections. The last of those elections he received 
but one year ago, and had not commenced his duties 
under it — when a sudden and premature death put 
an end to his earthly career. He entered this body 
in the year 1833 — death dissolved his connexion with 
it in 1843. For ten years he was a beloved and dis- 
tinguished member of this body ; and surely a nobler 
or a finer character never adorned the chamber of 
the American Senate. 

He was my friend ; but I speak not the language 
of friendship when I speak his praise. A debt of 
justice is all that I can attempt to discharge — an im- 
perfect copy of the true yuan is all that I can attempt 
to paint. 

A sagacious and a feeling heart were the great 
characteristics of Dr. Linn. He had a judgment 
which penetrated both man and things and gave him 
near and clear views of far distant events. He saw 
at once the bearing — the remote bearing of great 
measures either for good or evil ; and brought in- 


stantly to their support, or opposition, a prompt 
and natural eloquence, more beautiful in its delivery, 
and more effective in its application, than any art can 
bestow. He had great fertility of mind, and was 
himself the author and mover of many great mea- 
sures — some for the benefit of the whole Union — 
some for the benefit of the great West — some for the 
benefit of his own State — many for the benefit of 
private individuals. The pages of our legislative his- 
tory will bear the evidence of these meritorious la- 
bors to a remote and grateful posterity. 

BriUiant as were the qualities of his head, the 
qualities of his heart still eclipsed them. It is to the 
heart we look for the character of the man ; and 
what a heart had Lewis F. Linn ! The kindest, the 
gentlest, the most feeling, and the most generous, 
that ever beat in the bosom of the bearded man ! and 
yet, when occasion required it, the bravest and the 
most daring also. He never beheld a case of human 
woe without melting before it; he never encountered 
an apparition of earthly danger, without giving it de- 
fiance. Where is the friend, or even the stranger, in 
danger or distress, to whose succor he did not fly, 
and whose sorrowful case he did not make his own? 
When — where was he ever called upon for a service 
or a sacrifice, and rendered not, upon the instant, the 
one or the other, as occasion required ? 

The Senatorial service of this rare man fell upon 
trying times — high party times — when the collisions 
of party too often embittered the ardent feelings of 
generous natures. But who ever knew bitterness or 
party animosities in him ? He was, indeed, a party 


man — as true to his party as his friend and his coun- 
try ; but, beyond the line of duty and of principle — 
beyond the debate and the vote — he knew no party, 
and saw no opponent. Who among us all, even 
after the fiercest debate, ever met him without meet- 
ing the benignant smile and the kind salutation? 
Who of us all ever needed a friend without finding 
one in him ? Who of us all was ever stretched upon 
the bed of sickness without finding him at his side ? 
Who of us all ever knew of a personal difficulty of 
which he was not, as far as possible, the kind com- 
poser ? 

Such was Senator Linn in high party times here 
among us. And when he was here among us, he 
was every where, and with every body. At home 
among his friends and neighbors ; on the high road 
among casual acquaintances ; in foreign lands among 
strangers ; in all and in every of these situations, he 
was the same thing. He had kindness and sympathy 
for every human being ; and the whole voyage of his 
life was one continued and benign circumnavigation 
of all the virtues which adorn and exalt the charac- 
ter of man. Piety, charity, benevolence, generosity, 
courage, patriotism, fidelity, all shone conspicuously 
in him, and might extract from the beholder the im- 
pressive interrogatory, — Foj- what was this man made ? 
Was it for the Senate or the camp ? For pubhc or 
for private life ? For the bar or the bench ? For the 
art which heals the disease of the body, or that which 
cures the infirmities of the State ? For which of all 
these was he born ? And the answer is, for all. He 
was born to fill the largest and most varied circle of 


human excellence ; and to crown all these advantages, 
nature had given him what the great Lord Bacon 
calls a perpetual title of recommendation — a counte- 
nance not only good, but sweet and winning — radiant 
with the virtues of his soul — captivating universal 
confidence; and such as no stranger could behold — 
no traveler even in the desert could meet, without 
stooping to reverence, and saying, ' Here is a man in 
whose hands I could deposit life, liberty, fortune, hon- 
or.' Alas ! that so much excellence should have pe- 
rished so soon ! that such a man should have been 
snatched away at the early age of forty-eight, and 
while all his faculties were still ripening and develop- 

In the life and character of such a man, so exube- 
rant in all that is grand and beautiful in human na- 
ture, it is difficult to particularize excellencies, or to 
pick out any one quality or circumstance which 
could claim pre-eminence over all others. If I should 
attempt it, I should point out, among his measures for 
the benefit of the whole Union, to the Oregon bill ; 
among his measures for the benefit of his own State, 
to the acquisition of the Platte country ; among his 
private virtues, to the love and affection he bore 
to that brother — the half brother only — Governor 
Dodge of Wisconsin, who only thirteen years older 
than himself, had been to him the tenderest of fa- 
thers. For twenty-nine years I had known the depths 
of that affection, and never saw it burn more bright- 
ly than in our last interview, only three weeks before 
his death. He had just traveled a thousand miles 
out of his way to see that brother ; and his name was 


still the dearest theme of his conversation ; a conversa- 
tion strange to tell, which turned not upon the empty 
and fleeting subject of the day, but upon things 
solid and eternal — upon friendship and upon death, 
and upon the duties of the Hving to the dead. He 
spoke of two friends, whom it was natural to believe 
that he would survive, and to whose memories he in- 
tended to pay the debt of friendship. Vain calcula- 
tion ! Vain impulsion of generosity and friendship ! 
One of those two friends now discharges that mourn- 
ful debt to him ; the other (Gen. Jackson,) has writ- 
ten me a letter expressing his ' deep sorrow for the 
untimely death of our friend, Dr. Linn.' 

It was then resolved that as a token of respect to 
the memory of the late Lewis F. Linn, the Senators 
wear crape on the left arm for the space of thirty 
days. And immediately after, the Senate adjourned. 

The following extract from a letter dated Wash- 
ington city, Dec. 30, 1843, from the Hon. Thos. H. 
Benton, accompanying the splendid and correct li- 
thograph of Dr. Linn, was received on the 2d of 
Jan. 1844. I hold myself under the deepest obliga- 
tions to the honorable Senator for his polite attention, 
and for his kind assent to the publication of the 
above memoir. 

' Dr. Linn died of an affection of the heart — a stop- 
page of the circulation — and had lived in dread of it 
for a dozen years, and never sleeping a night at home 
or abroad, stationary or traveling, without having 
some person in the room, with directions to awaken 
him if they heard him give any notice of distress.' 

Through the politeness of my friend, James H. 


Relfe, M. D., Member of Congress from Missouri, I 
am enabled to furnish more particular information 
concerninor the lamented Dr. Linn. His brother-in- 
law Gov. Henry Dodge of Wisconsin, and now a 
delegate in Congress from that Territory, has also 
kindly furnished me with many valuable documents 
concerning him, of which I avail myself and for 
which I return him and Dr. Relfe my sincere thanks. 
Among other memorials which were forwarded to me 
by Dr. Relfe, was a funeral discourse on the life and 
character of Dr. Linn, by the Rev. John H. Linn of 
St. Louis, from which many of the following facts are 

Col. Benton has already stated that at an early 
age Dr. Linn resided in Kentucky, where he was 
born. ' At that time this was a border country. The 
emigrant's axe was just gaining its first trophies. 
The yell of the savage had not yet died away from 
the distant forest. A way had not been open to re- 
finement. The soil had not yet been taxed to supply 
the imaginary wants of human society, for such de- 
mands are few and simple, and always readily and 
abundantly supplied. The riotings and excesses of 
luxury were not known, and no contributions for its 
insatiate appetite had, as yet, been levied. The high 
claims of honor, held sacred and inviolate, and not 
the mere restrictions of law, regulated the intercourse 
of man with his fellow. There, breathing an atmos- 
phere uncontaminated by the baneful presence of op- 
pression and deceitfulness, of fraud and force, his 
manly and chivalric spirit flourished on the food af- 
forded, and assimilated more and more to the objects 


of its contemplation. Inclined to study and reflec- 
tion, his walk, if not with God, was among the sub- 
lime and ennobling forms of his greatness. Upon 
the prairie he stood, and along the banks of the 
beautiful Ohio he wandered, feeling not only the 
existence, but the presence of his and their Creator. 
Thus attended, thus surrounded, he advanced towards 
the era of his majority. We claim for him no aca- 
demic or collegiate honors ; for Academies and Col- 
leges were then scarce thought of in the country west 
of the AUeghanies ; but even at that period his intel- 
lect may be thought worthy a comparison with those 
who may be regarded as favored with more imposing 
facilities. Superior in strength and singleness of 
purpose, and in the dignity of his whole moral cha- 
racter, it only remained to be tried whether his mind 
had capacity to take high intellectual rank. 

At the requisite age he began the study of medi- 
cine under the instruction of Dr. Gait of Louisville, 
Kentucky ; and, it was there he made more exten- 
sively those acquisitions, not only in science, but in 
the habits of study, which often lie at the foundation 
of character as subsequently developed, but which 
so eminently quahfied him for future usefulness. At 
the request of his half brother, Henry Dodge, the 
present Delegate from the Territory of Wisconsin, he 
visited the Territory of Missouri, as early as 1812. 
He returned, however, to Kentucky, to resume the 
study of his profession, and when prepared to prac- 
tice, revisited and settled in St. Genevieve, about the 
year 1815. From that time to the period when he 
was appointed one of the Commissioners under the 


act of Congress of 9th July, 1832, to investigate and 
report on the French and Spanish claims, he devoted 
himself with great assiduity to the study and practice 
of his profession. 

Warm and generous in his friendships, none could 
surpass him in his sympathy for the afflicted and suf- 
fering, and thus controlled, his attentions were unre- 
mitting. To skill that was seldom baffled, there was 
added this essential qualification of a successful phy- 
sician — a benevolent heart ; a heart that feels his pa- 
tient's pain as if it were his own ; that looks on the 
woe-stricken countenance of a wife, and resolves 
that, if possible, she shall be saved from the desolate- 
ness of widowhood ; that looks on weeping children, 
and resolves that no energy shall be spared in saving 
them from the orphan's destitution ; that looks at a 
father's and mother's anguish, and resolves that with 
God assisting, he will save their child. 

It was the enthusiasm of this benevolence that 
diffused over the whole character of Dr. Linn a 
sacred splendor — adorned and imbued his whole 
behavior. Never did the love of ease, study, or 
friends, present a single temptation to confine him to 
his books, or detain him with the society of his com- 
panions, or at the convivial feast, when he should be 
watching by the couch of sickness. His manners, 
always natural and easy, rendered him not only ac- 
ceptable to all, but so prepossessing and delightful 
that it was absolutely impossible for any, however 
circumstanced in hfe, to feel uneasy or restless in his 
company. Hence the most unreserved confidence 
always subsisted between him and his patients ; and 


the memorials of his tenderness and skill are to be 
found in the gratification of all classes of society in 
the entire southern portion of our State. For, how- 
ever much dissimilar views upon rehgion and politics 
may affect the state of society generally, it never lost 
Dr. Linn one friend, or made him less studious or 
anxious about their wants. 

His reputation as a physician had become so ex- 
tensive, and the demands upon him so frequent — and 
he was one of those to whom an appeal was never 
made in vain — that apprehensions in relation to his 
health, from fatigues and exposures, induced him to 
accept the appointment of Commissioner under the 
act of July, 1832. To discharge the duties of his 
office, he removed to St. Louis in 1833, and though 
the practice of his profession was not entirely aban- 
doned at this, or any other subsequent period, we find 
him entering a theatre upon which he not only 
sustained himself creditably, but secured an enviable 

The following remarks from the St. Louis Repub- 
lican, will show the estimation in which his profes- 
sional brethren in Missouri held him. ' The profes- 
sional brethren of Dr. Linn will all bear testimony to 
his learning and skill in his profession. For its prac- 
tice he seemed to have been especially calculated by 
nature. There never has lived a physician in this 
country, who has acquired a higher or more enviable 
reputation than he did. To his great abilities he 
united untiring zeal with the most unbounded chari- 
ty. The highest testimony that can be given in his 
favor, is to be found in the esteem and sincere re- 


spect entertained for him by all classes of persons in 
the counties of St. Genevieve, Madison, Perry, and 
St. Francis, in which he practised as a physician for 
many years. There is no doubt that he impaired his 
health, and abridged his life by a too close and rigid 
discharge of the duties of his profession. His repu- 
tation extended over most of the southern counties of 
the State. He was called upon to visit the sick at 
all seasons of the year, and frequently compelled to 
travel from fifty to sixty miles on horseback, over 
rough roads, and not unfrequently in the night. 
Sometime before he abandoned his practice, he began 
to feel his constitution giving way, and he became 
satisfied of the necessity of changing his mode of 
life, if not altogether abandoning the practice of his 

The Rev. Mr. Linn, continues in his address ; ' It 
is said by a celebrated Athenian commander, that it 
was a reproach to a General to have it to say of any 
event — ' I had not expected it.' Such censure 
could seldom attach to Senator Linn. The success 
of all that he undertook, evinced the versatility of his 
mind and the energy of his whole character ; and if 
in the political world he had left no other monument 
of his wisdom and prudence, than recommending the 
policy to be pursued by the Government of the Unit- 
ed States in confirming grants to the French and 
Spanish claimants, he would have been entitled to a 
high place among sound and practical financiers. 
But having thus been thrown within the confines of 
political life, without design on his part, unimpelled 
by ambition, and uncontrolled by selfishness, a wider 


sphere of usefulness was opened before him.' Se- 
nator Benton has so ably delineated his character 
above, as a statesman, that I shall not follow the Rev. 
Mr. Linn, in detail, upon this subject. He, however, 
observes, ' He sought his country's good, not his own 
promotion. He was scarcely ever provoked to per- 
sonal invective, but when such circumstances did oc- 
cur, his sarcasm was bold and withering. It was evi- 
dent to all that he sought not to defeat and confound 
his opponents, much less to degrade them in their 
own estimation, or in the opinion of others, but with 
a look, manner and language which bespoke his own 
candor and sincerity, to lead them to his conclusions, 
and his competency was only paralleled by his faith- 
fulness and untiring industry. Says Mr. Buchanan, 
the distinguished Senator from Pennsylvania, in a let- 
ter of condolence to his family : — ' He was indeed 
every thing which constitutes a man : mild, amiable, 
and benevolent of heart, he was yet the very soul of 
chivalry and honor. Possessing uncommon talents 
and extensive information, he was one of the ablest 
and most useful members of the Senate, and yet he 
ever seemed unconscious of his own great powers. 
His loss to his personal and political friends in that 
body is irreparable. No man in the country can sup- 
ply his place. He was the rock against whose firm- 
ness the storm might beat, but beat in vain ; and he 
was ever as prompt and decided in sustaining his 
friends, in their hour of need, as in defending himself. 
And yet in him the elements were so combined, that 
his political opponents were all his friends.' He 
adds — and it is a noble tribute — ' Beyond all ques- 


tion, he was the most popular man among his fellow 
members in the Senate of tlie United States.' 

The basis of his well formed public character was 
his private virtues. The impressson left upon the 
mind of every one who had intercourse with him for 
a single hour, was, that he possessed honesty which 
could not be corrupted — integrity which could not be 
moved by prosperity, nor shaken by adversity. His 
stern and inflexible moral principles were written 
upon every lineament of his strongly marked counte- 
nance — upon every word that fell from his lips, and 
upon every action of his life, whether as a citizen or 
public servant. 

As the result of this last trait, he was possessed of 
decision of character. He knew, he felt he was 
right, and then was never moved from his course by 
trifles. When any thing was to be done, he was 
unwearied till its completion ; and this was the case 
whether one object, or a multiplicity of cases pressed 
upon him. But he was never obstinate ; for his 
decision, energy, and unyielding perseverance were 
controlled by the native, unaffected benevolence of 
his heart. And to the presence of these benevolent 
affections, he was largely indebted for that graceful 
and easy pohteness, that unassuming suavity of tem- 
per, which were so conspicuous in his intercourse 
with society, and which so justly and eminently enti- 
tled him to the uniformly and universally recognized 
appellation — ' the peace loving Senator.' 

We have followed Senator Linn through his com- 
paratively brief but distinguished career ; in boyhood 
acquiring those habits of mind and body that indi- 


cated the promise of his usefulness to the world ; in 
his profession, with a mind richly stored with general 
as well as professional information, with a heart alive 
to all the tender and generous sensibiHties of our 
nature, throwing the drapery of kindness over the 
chamber of affliction, hghting up a milder sun under 
the sky overcast with the clouds of misfortune, and 
searching out the causes of distress that he knew not. 
Like Job he was eyes to the blind, and feet to the 
lame, a father to the orphan, and the widow's friend. 

Says my correspondent, ' Could the world have 
seen Dr. Linn's house when his death was made 
known at St. Genevieve, then indeed would his worth 
have been appreciated. The rich and poor filled his 
house and yard, from the town and country, to learn 
if the melancholy news was true — that their friend, 
their kind physician for many years, who never 
charged the widow or the poor man for his indivi- 
dual services — their benevolent fellow citizen, who 
had so often put in jeopardy all he had on earth to 
save their property, was indeed gone from them for- 
ever. Even the poor Africans, whose sick beds Dr. 
Linn had watched over many a long and weary night, 
were seen kneeling around the heart broken widow 
and orphan children, begging to know if they could 
serve them in any way. Surely such heartfelt affec- 
tion for any man, such profound sympathy for his 
family, could not be manifested more strongly for any 
person, than was evinced by those who followed him 
to his last home.' 

At the call of his country, he promptly relinquished 
his profession, and entered upon the duties of a pub- 


lie servant ; as a Commissioner satisfactorily adjust- 
ing antagonist claims, involving important private and 
public interest ; as a Senator standing forth on this 
great theatre, acknowledged by all, a great and good 
man, lending the energies of his mighty mind, to 
defend the institutions of his country from all assaults, 
both within and without. Devoted to the interests of 
his constituents, he showed himself a faithful and in- 
dustrious Representative. 

But while the memorials of his tenderness shall 
thus be gadiered up by his friends in private life ; 
while love and aftection mourn him, yet not as those 
who mourn without hope ; while the memory of his 
devotedness to this wide spreading valley is long and 
tenderly cherished ; while Oregon shall in her or- 
phanage, inquire who will now defend her honor, her 
character, her interests ; the records of the Church 
will testify to his virtues, his spirituality, his devotion 
to his God. Early and favorably impressed with the 
truths of the Christian religion, a close study of these 
truths produced, under the influence of the Holy 
Spirit — as it was to be expected in a mind honest 
and sincere as his, a firm and steadfast faith as to its 
divine origin, and its infinite interests and obligations. 
And his attachment to the fundamental verities of the 
Bible became firm and exemplary, and grew in 
strength and influence to the very close of his life. 
His avowed and decided preference to the Rev. Mr. 
Cookham, then chaplain to Congress, and pastor of 
one of the Methodist churches in the city of Wash- 
ington, induced him in the winter of 1839, to wait 
upon the ministry of that great and good man, whose 


melancholy fate he deplored so deeply, and with 
whose sainted spirit he is now enjoying delightful 
communion before the throne of God. On the 5th 
day of April, of that year, he joined the Methodist 
Episcopal church, and from that period to the day 
of his death, devoted much of his time to religious 
purposes, to the study of the Bible, and the perusal 
of religious books. 

For the last several months he was peculiarly 
thoughtful and heavenly minded. A temporary but 
severe indisposition early last spring left him with 
the radical and permanent impression that he should 
not long survive. This impression he often commu- 
nicated to his family, always accompanying it with a 
desire to have his worldly affairs well arranged, and 
himself in preparation for another existence. ' On 
the 28th of last April,' says my correspondent, ' late 
at night he desired that his household should be called 
together, and with his wife and children by his side, 
kneehng in a most devoted and fervent manner he 
dedicated himself and them to the great Head of the 
Church — that whether they lived they should live 
unto the Lord, and that whether they die, they should 
die unto the Lord, that whether they live therefore 
or die, they should be the Lord's.' That solemn 
scene will not soon be forgotten. An offering was 
laid upon that altar, the perfumes of which have left 
a delightful fragrance behind, and in years to come 
when memory shall recall that scene, how hke an an- 
gel shall he rise up from the dominions of death, the 
very personification of love, of generosity, of kind- 
ness, of friendship, of truth and heavenly ardor. But 


in an effort to delineate his religious character, I find 
myself invading that sacred enclosure, the domestic 
circle, where every step must wring out tears and 
press the bleeding hearts of the widowed and father- 
less ones. Oh ! would to God that I could now re- 
tire and let the guardian angel with a feather plucked 
from his own bright, silvery wings, describe the scenes 
of reciprocated tenderness and love that made his 
home an earthly paradise. The image is present to 
my own mind with all the glowing freshness of life. 
Here are combined, like nestling seraphs, the graces 
of moral beauty, the breathing forms of holy friend- 
ship and mutual love. The majesty and dignity of 
giant mind turning aside from the world, eager to do 
it homage, bending in admiration over the gentle 
flower at his side, while the cherub faces and merry 
tones of early childhood, exhibit such a vision of 
felicity as to be cherished, loved, almost adored — 
while upon this already hallowed scene religion 
throws its radiance, like a stray sunbeam, piercing 
the drifted cloud and opening upon another day. 

This state of uninterrupted domestic bliss was the 
result of the happy and appropriate marriage in 
1828, of Dr. Linn and the only daughter of Mr. 
John Relfe, a lawyer of distinguished abilities from 
the State of Virginia, who died in early life, leaving 
but two children, Mrs. I^inn and Dr. James H. Relfe, 
now a Representative in Congress from Missouri. 
Of his immediate relations. Dr. Linn left one own 
sister, a half brother, Hon. Henry Dodge, and a half 
sister, Mrs. Nancy Sefton, with their families, to all 
of whom he was tenderly attached, and among whom 

370 LEWIS F. niNN. 

he felt and made no distinction. Of a large fami- 
ly of children Dr. Linn left but two, a son and 
daughter, to mourn their loss, and soothe by their 
society and sympathy the aching heart of a widow- 
ed mother. God bless thee, Augustus! God bless 
thee, Mary ! Yours is a rich inheritance — in your 
veins is coursing in blending currents the blood of a 
patriot and a christian. Upon your destinies rest 
the blessings of a sainted father. In your behalf is 
enlisted the sympathy of the Church. Hearts, fond 
hearts are beating high for you — prayers warm and 
earnest are offered up for you. Voices, glad voices 
will welcome you at the threshhold and cheer you 
through the pathway of hfe. Go, be ornaments of 
society — go, and may that God who has promised to 
be a father to the fatherless, shield and protect you ! 
Go, imitate the virtues of one loved and lost ! go and 
let the dawning graces of youth reflect, as in a mirror, 
to the anxious eye of your widowed mother, the 
hght of him who was her protector through life — 
whose tenderness and care constituted her sum of 
happiness, and who, connected with this, has only one 
other source of comfort — the religion of Christ. An 
illustration for condolence and comfort is furnished 
us by the last words of that distinguished states- 
man, whose melancholy fate our country will never 
cease to deplore — Alexander Hamilton — ' Remem- 
ber,' said he, with the utmost composure, to his 
wife almost frantic with grief, ' remember, my Eliza, 
you are a Christian.' 

The accounts published of the last moments of 
Dr. Linn, are substantially, though not minutely cor- 


rect. Up to the evening of the 2(i ultimo, he was 
in the enjoyment of unusually good health. Having 
just arrived at home, on the day previous, after an 
absence of twelve days, he was busily engaged in ar- 
ranging some private papers, intending on the next 
day to visit St. Louis. During that day he had in- 
dulged much anxiety in relation to a private paper 
of considerable importance that he apprehended had 
been mislaid. Late in the afternoon, in stooping to 
search a trunk, he raised his head suddenly and asked 
Mrs. Linn, who had been assiduously engaged in 
assisting her husband, if his face was not very much 
flushed, as he felt exceedingly dizzy, and there seem- 
ed to be a general determination of blood to the 
head ! The painful sensation, however, passed off, 
and he resisted the suggestion that he should be bled 
during the evening, and to a late hour at night he 
was engaged in correspondence and in conversation 
with his family, whose society, he said, never seemed 
so sweet as on that evening. When he retired he 
was indisposed to sleep, but did not complain of be- 
ing unwell. As the morning dawned, he remarked 
that he felt unusually sleepy. His wife, who had 
been accustomed to watch over him with sleepless 
vigilance for years, when there was the slightest indi- 
cation of indisposition, or undue nervous irritation, 
proposed to write the letters that he had dictated, and 
watched over him, that he might not be disturbed by 
the approach of any one. Whilst thus employed, she 
frequently turned and gazed upon him to see if he 
was awake — but he slept on gently and quietly as an 
infant. Having finished the correspondence, and 


being much fatigued and oppressed for want of sleep, 
she concluded that she would lie down by his side, 
to be ready, when he awoke, to wait upon him her- 
self, as he had affectionately requested. As she drew 
aside the curtain to look again upon the calm and 
tranquil features of her loved husband — quick as 
thought, a dark, death-presaging shadow passed over 
his face. For a moment she was transfixed. It was 
not the painful apprehension that she was watching 
by the bed of death that converted that fearful ex- 
pression into the precursor of dissolution. Others 
might have seen it, and no fear been started, but a 
woman's love, a wife's tenderness marks the first indi- 
cation of death, and, sleepless and vigilant she is ever 
found ready to catch upon her lips the last faint 
breath. With Mrs. Linn vigilance had become habi- 
tual ; a moment's relief suggested that all her fears 
might have been groundless. But another look, and 
though her loved husband still breathed on, confirmed 
her fears that life, gradually sinking down into the 
horizon of death, was throwing its melancholy, fare- 
well rays in golden beauty over the unconscious sleep- 
er. The agonizing cry soon filled the chamber of 
the dying husband and father, not only with the in- 
mates of the family, but sympathizing friends, among 
whom was Dr. Sargeant, who providentially passed 
the house at that moment, and who was by his bed- 
side only to see him draw a few faint breaths ; and 
then, without a struggle or a sigh, he exchanged a 
hfe full of honors on earth for a life full of glory at 
the right hand of God. 


Dr. William James Macneven. The editor of 
these biographical sketches is indebted largely to the 
interesting memoir of this eminent individual, as pub- 
lished in the second series of the hves of the United 
Irishmen, written for Dr. Madden, the author of that 
work, and drawn up with consummate talents and 
feeling, by his accomplished surviving daughter. Ju- 
diciously to abridge that memoir, and add what fur- 
ther particulars private friendship may supply, is all 
tliat can be attempted in this biographical sketch. 

J. W. Francis. 

William James Macneven was born at Ballyna- 
howne, county of Galway, on the 21st of March, 
1763. He was the eldest of four sons. At the age 
of ten or twelve years he was sent for by his uncle. 
Baron Macneven, to receive his education in Germa- 
ny, a custom very common in catholic families, and 
rendered necessary at that time by the operation of 
the penal laws. Young Macneven received an excel- 
lent classical education at the college at Prague ; 
subsequently, he passed tlirough the medical college 
there, and finished his professional studies at Vienna, 
where he graduated at the age of twenty, 1783. He 
now returned to his native country and commenced 
the practice of physic in Dublin. With youth, health, 
superior abilities and education in his favor, and good 
family connexions, he had a fair and prosperous ca- 
reer opened before him ; and had Ireland been in a 
happier condition, or could selfish motives have dead- 
ened his love of his unfortunate country, his emi- 
nence in his vocation must have been secured. His 


political associations, however, were of a nature 
which he deemed vitaLto the interests of his country, 
and though much absorbed in matters of a public 
nature, he nevertheless continued the practice of his 
profession and mingled in society as usual. We 
must refer to the political annals of the times for his 
principles and actions, during a most eventful period. 
His intimacy with Lord Edward Fitzgerald, with 
Tone, with Emmet, and others ; his arrest on the 
12th of March, 1798 ; his confinement in Kilmain- 
ham, and subsequent removal to Fort George, are 
among the foremost occurrences most worthy of de- 
tail. While in his long imprisonment, he rendered 
his situation the less irksome by the vigor and activi- 
ty of his mind. Books were his greatest resource. 
Among his studies we find that he gave great atten- 
tion to the writings of Ossian, many of which he 
translated from the original Gaehc, a language with 
which he was perfectly famihar. After the liberation 
of the state prisoners from Fort George, he passed 
the summer and autumn of 1802 in travehng 
through Switzerland on foot, and wrote an account 
of his journey, called ' A ramble through Switzerland.' 
He also visited his relations in Germany in the course 
of that year. 

In 1803 he went to Paris, and either in that year 
or the following, entered the French army as a cap- 
tain in the Irish brigade. He entertained the idea of 
an attack upon Ireland by the French, and in enroll- 
ing himself in the service of France he conceived he 
was only in another way devoting himself to that 
cause which he had espoused elsewhere. Disappoint- 


ed in these hopes he at length resigned his commis- 
sion, and in June, 1805, set sail from Bourdeaux for 
New York, where he arrived on the 4th of July fol- 

He lost no time in presenting his letters, and de- 
claring his intentions of becoming an American citi- 
zen. He fixed upon New York as his permanent 
residence, and immediately entered upon the practice 
of physic. His most intimate friends, and who con- 
tinued such through their lives, were Mr. Emmet and 
Mr. Sampson. The confidence which each reposed 
in the other was of the most unbounded kind, nor 
was that confidence ever interrupted through their 
long lives for a single day. Dr. Macneven soon 
found the place he had chosen for the scenes of his 
future life, to be well calculated as the best theatre for 
his operations, and as a practitioner he met with the 
kindest consideration of his countrymen, and with 
the public at large. 

In 1810 he was married to Mrs. Jane Margaret 
Tone, a lady well qualified to appreciate his high 
merits, the widow of an eminent merchant of NeW 
York, and daughter of Samuel Riker of Long Isl- 
and, by whom he had a considerable family, three 
children of which at present survive, as also his ac- 
complished widow. The excellence of Dr. Macne- 
ven's constitution was so great as to give him the 
enjoyment of almost uninterrupted health until he 
had arrived to quite an advanced period of existence. 
In March, 1838, he was attacked with severe illness 
and lay some days dangerously sick, but the attack 
at length terminated in a severe fit of the gout. His 


health was so impaired by this illness, as to render 
tlie practice of his profession both irksome and in- 
jurious to him, and he determined on retiring to the 
country. On the 25th of November, 1840, he re- 
ceived a severe injury of the leg, which, together 
with a shock from a fall, occasiqjaed him a long and 
painful illness. From this time his strength gradually 
failed him, and on the 12th of July, 1841, he breath- 
ed his last. ' He was throughout his life,' says the 
elegant biography of his daughter, ' a consistent and 
enhghtened Roman Catholic, and his examination of 
other creeds tended only to confirm him in that per- 
suasion. Twice during the winter of 1841, he re- 
ceived the communion from his friend, the very 
Reverend John Power, and, on the morning of his 
death, the last rites of the church were administered 
to him by the Right Rev. Bishop Hughes.' 

The Editor will conclude the account with the 
ensuing letter addressed to him, from Dr. Francis of 
New York, a gentleman long associated with Dr. 
Macneven in the same collegiate institution. 

' If extensive learning, rare attainments, great na- 
tural abilities, and long service in the cause of medi- 
cal science,' says Professor Francis, ' have claims to 
your consideration, few will be found more fairly en- 
titled to notice in your contemplated biography than 
the late Dr. Macneven. It was my happiness to be 
well acquainted, for a long series of years, with those 
very remarkable men, William Sampson, Thomas 
Addis Emmet, and Wilham James Macneven, The 
renown of the first two is already well established ; 
the general knowledge, the Uvely fancy, and brilliant 


wit of Sampson, the immense intellectual stores, fo- 
rensic powers and oratory of Emmet, are almost 
proverbial. The warmest friendship united Dr. Mac- 
neven with these his most intimate friends and coun- 
trymen ; nor can the closing scenes of their eventful 
lives ever be erased from my memory, when, as a 
medical prescriber, associated with Dr. Macneven 
and others, the last attentions were paid to their phy- 
sical sufferings and departure. Few final separations 
were more impressive than those which took from 
Dr. Macneven these enlightened and distinguished 

Upon the organization of the College of Physicians 
and Surgeons in 1807, Dr. Macneven delivered at 
their opening session a long course on chnical cases, 
as they occurred in the New York Almshouse, of 
which, with the late Dr. Hosack, he was an associate 
physician. In 1808 he received the appointment of 
Professor of Midwifery from the hands of the Re- 
gents of the University. Upon the reorganization of 
the College in 1811 he was appointed Professor of 
Chemistry, and in 1816 Materia Medica was added 
to his chair. This arrangement was continued until 
1820, when they were again separated. In 1826 he 
resigned his Professorship in the College of Physi- 
cians and Surgeons, and, with his colleagues who 
withdrew at the same time from the institution, re- 
ceived tlie thanks of the Board of Regents, for the 
faithful and able manner in which they had filled their 
respective chairs as instructors and lecturers in said 

In the November following, (1826), he commenced 


an elaborate course of instruction on the Materia 
Medica in the Rutgers Medical College, which in- 
stitution, with a majority of his former associates, Drs. 
Hosack, Francis and Mott, and Drs. Griscom and 
Godman, was now organized in New York at an 
expense of twenty-two thousand dollars, and opened 
for the better promotion of medicine and its several 
auxiliary departments of knowledge. The success 
of this new school exceeded his most ardent antici- 
pations, as well as those of his fellow laborers. It 
continued its operations with increased renown, and 
gave promise of results most beneficial to science. 
After four years, however, its doors were closed by 
legislative enactments, and in 1830 Dr. Macneven 
ceased his functions as a public teacher. 

It will be perceived that for more than twenty 
years Dr. Macneven was engaged as a professor of 
medical knowledge, and it would be withholding the 
tribute becoming his memory not to affirm that dur- 
ing that long period he was most assiduous in con- 
tributing with zeal and ability to promote the sound- 
est interests of a responsible and important science. 
He left the state school, which he had helped to rear, 
in a condition of great prosperity, both in respect of 
character and in the number of students, and which 
at the commencement of its career had yet to secure 
the approbation and support of the profession. He 
withdrew from it because of its anomalous govern- 
ment — its intestine feuds with professors and trustees 
— the absurd restrictions capriciously adopted by its 
rulers to diminish the qualifications of candidates for 
the highest honors of the science, ere they were vest- 


ed with collegiate testimonials legally to assume the 
practice of the healing art. With his colleagues ge- 
nerally he was unwilling to endure the reproach of 
abetting, in any wise, ^competency in the proper at- 
tainment of those who sought the medical doctorate. 
How ably he enforced the strongest views in behalf of 
medical learning in the candidate for medical honors, 
how enlarged was his policy in the several measures 
required to build up a great school of medical and 
physical science, will best be learned by the perusal 
of the documents on the subject, many of which are 
preserved in the third volume of Dr. Hosack's Me- 
dical Essays, and several of which papers were the 
emanations of Dr. Macneven's pen during the acri- 
monious warfare waged against the college for a 
number of years prior to the resignation of his offi- 
cial duties therein. Nevertheless, from the result of 
tried experience he felt persuaded that another Medi- 
cal Institution might be organized, more simple in its 
government and more effective in its triumphs. He 
had the happiness to find that public opinion sustain- 
ed him, and with the same ardor which marked his 
career twenty years before he resumed the chair of 
Materia Medica in the Rutgers Medical Faculty, or- 
ganized by the resources of its founders. The mo- 
nopoly of instruction was, however, sustained by 
additional legislative enactments ; difficulties were 
thrown out as to the validity for practice of the di- 
plomas conferred on the candidates for degrees in 
the new college, and, after four years of great pro- 
mise he beheld his favorite object defeated, and this 
second school closed by the constituted patrons of 


learning, according to the spirit of laws especially 
designed to protect the State establishment from the 
inconvenience which might arise from competition in 

That these enactments extinguished a medical 
school of great promise ; that legislative suprema- 
cy, characteristic of a people of the most benighted 
times in mental culture, interposed its power to the 
detriment of the precious interests of humanity, is 
conceded by many of the warmest advocates of those 
monopolizing laws ; and their argument for change 
of opinion is well sustained in the humiliating fact 
that the State school, with all its flourish of Regency 
power and ample support from legislative bounty, 
has dwindled in renown and in numbers to an almost 
nominal institution. 

Dr. Macneven was learned as an instructor, and 
ample in his expositions. In chemical philosophy 
he was universally admitted to hold a high rank. 
Close attention to the progress of discovery enabled 
him with each returning term of the College to im- 
prove his lectures and add new illustrations to experi- 
mental truths. 

Besides his ' Rambles in Switzerland,' his pieces 
of Irish History, and numerous political tracts which 
his eventful hfe occasioned him to publish. Dr. Mac- 
neven was the author of a highly esteemed essay en- 
titled ' An Exposition of the Atomic Theory,' pub- 
lished in 1820, which was received with favor both 
at home and abroad. He also edited an edition of 
Brande's Chemistry, which met with extensive circu- 
lation. As co-editor of the New York Medical and 


Philosophical Journal, he published two or three pa- 
pers on subjects strictly medical. In 1812 he was 
appointed by Gov. Clinton Resident Physician of 
New York, and in 1840 he received the same honor 
from Gov. Seward. He was a member of the New 
York Literary and Philosophical Society, in whose 
Transactions he published his paper on the Mineral 
Waters of Schooley's mountain ; and in 1823 he was 
elected a Fellow of the American Philosophical So- 
ciety of Philadelphia. During the prevalence of the 
Asiatic Cholera in New York in 1832 he was se- 
lected by the municipal authorities as one of the 
Medical Council of the city, and notwithstanding the 
reports which were pubhshed by official sanction, 
during that crisis, he assured the writer of this hasty 
note of his conviction that the disorder was a nova 
pestis in the country, and tliat its progress through 
the land was best explained by considering it a spe- 
cific disease, and regulated by the laws of a sub- 

Sufficient has been said to show that the life of Dr. 
Macneven was one closely devoted to knowledge and 
its promulgation. The love of books was a leading 
passion with him, and no medical man among us 
surpassed him in the acquisition of languages. As a 
classical scholar his claims were unquestioned. He 
spoke German and French with the same facility as 
English ; and in the Italian, unlocked with delight the 
treasures of Dante and Ariosto. His native tongue, 
the Irish, as it was the first he had learned, so 
through life he conversed in it with fluency. 

As at the funeral of his friend, Thomas Addis 


Emmet, so that of Dr. Macneven was honored by a 
large attendance, both of adopted and native citi- 
zens ; and, as at the burial of that illustrious man 
there was but one feehng which pervaded all hearts, 
and one sentiment uttered by all lips, so at the inter- 
ment of Dr. Macneven, all felt that learning had lost 
a distinguished ornament, real knowledge a true dis- 
ciple, the charities of life an ardent friend, and patri- 
otism one who had sustained martyrdom in her glori- 

Dr. Niles Manchester. Died suddenly on the 
15th of June, 1843, at North Providence (Pawtucket), 
Dr. Niles Manchester, aged 65, formerly 1st Vice 
President of the Rhode Island Medical Society. Dr. 
Manchester was born in Johnson, and commenced 
his professional career in North Providence forty 
years since, where his practice has been successful 
and extensive till within the last two years, when de- 
clining health compelled him to retire. He was faith- 
ful and conscientious in the discharge of medical 
duties, and enjoyed the respect and confidence of a 
wide circle of employers in the neighboring towns, 
where he was often called in consultation. In accu- 
rate diagnosis he met with few equals among physi- 
cians educated in his day, and his kind and soothing 
manner in a sick room rendered his visits pecuharly 
agreeable. — Bost. Med. and Surg. Jour. 


Dr. Elisha Mather. Both the father and grand- 
father of Dr. Mather were natives of Northampton, 
Massachusetts, and they were both very eminent phy- 
sicians. It is a subject of much regret that we have 
not biographical notices of these distinguished men. 
The elder Dr. Mather was cotemporary with the cele- 
brated Dr. Pyncheon of Springfield, and Dr. Tho- 
mas Williams of Deerfield, Mass. These three phy- 
sicians were almost the only ones of any note in the 
three counties of Franklin, Hampshire and Hampden, 
in the early settlement of the county. These three 
counties were united in one by the name of Hamp- 
shire county, till about the year 1816, when they were 
divided into three, bearing the above names. 

The subject of the subjoined notice. Dr. Elisha 
Mather, was born at Northampton in the year 1792, 
and died on the 24th of April, 1840, aged 48 years. 
He was a judicious and respectable practitioner. He 
joined the Massachusetts Medical Society in the year 
1824, and was a Counsellor and Censor in it for 
many years. He continued his fellowship till the 
time of his death. The Hampshire Gazette gives 
the following notice of him. 

' In noticing the death of this good man and phy- 
sician, it is not our object in this obituary to analyze 
particularly his character, or describe minutely the 
elements of which it is composed ; but generally, to 
bear testimony to his high standing in his profession, 
and the excellency of his character. Dr. Mather was, 
undoubtedly, more self-taught than most of his pro- 
fessional brethren. He was indebted to his talents. 


his industry, and his application, for the rank which 
he attained. In all the various branches of his pro- 
fession he was entitled to entire confidence. With 
the structures and functions of the different parts of 
the human system he was most intimately acquaint- 
ed, and seldom surpassed in accuracy of anatomical 
knowledge. His practice was invariably founded up- 
on physiological and pathological principles. He al- 
ways thoroughly investigated the cause of diseases, 
and applied his remedy accordingly ; and though the 
public as a mass may not have awarded him that 
reputation as a physician to which he is justly enti- 
tled, those most competent to judge of his qualifica- 
tions (the medical profession) have duly appreciated 
his great worth. 

In his deportment he was neither forbidding nor 
imposing, but was affable and accessible to all ; so 
that his younger brethren could always approach him 
without being apprehensive that they should be over- 
powered by his feelings of superiority. 

In his domestic relations he was greatly endeared. 
His conduct in his family was marked by the greatest 
purity and tenderness ; and he here experienced his 
greatest happiness. As a Christian he was exempla- 
ry, and no one doubts that he possessed the leading 
characteristics of a christain character.' 

Dr. Samuel Mather was another of the distin- 
guished medical men of his time in Connecticut, in 
the town of Windsor. He was born in or near Bos- 
ton, about the year 1680, and is supposed to be of the 


same family of Mathers as the celebrated divines of 
that name who resided in Boston and the towns in 
its vicinity. Dr. Mather graduated at Harvard 
University in the year 1698, and received the degree 
of Master of Arts some time after. He studied his 
profession with Dr. Hooker of Hartford, and receiv- 
ed a license to practice medicine from the Legisla- 
ture of the State. He was the cotemporary and 
intimate friend of Elliot, and greatly distinguished as 
a scholar and physician. He died in the year 1743, 
aged 63 years. No man at the time stood so high 
in pubhc confidence, or had so extensive a medical 
practice in the State, as Dr. Mather. He visited 
every section of country in a circuit of forty or fifty 
miles as a counsellor, and was as greatly venerated 
for many excellent virtues, as for science and skill as 
a physician. He left a number of descendants ; 
amongst others Dr. Samuel Mather, formerly of 
Windsor, and more recently of the city of Hartford, 
a distinguished and successful accoucheur, was his 
grandson. Dr. Charles Mather died in Hartford, in 
1822, at the age of 80 years.— aS. B. W., in the Bost. 
Med. and Surg. Jour. 

Dr. Joseph W. McKean was son of the late Profes- 
sor Joseph McKean of Harvard University, and was 
born in 1800. No announcement could have been 
more surprising than the death of Dr. McKean, of 
this city, Thursday evening, April 2d, 1839. We 
have known him many years, and appreciated the 
many excellent qualities which gained for him the 


personal friendship of a wide circle of acquaintances. 
While we sympathize with the afflicted family of rela- 
tives in this melancholy dispensation of Divine Provi- 
dence, we feel that the medical profession of Boston 
have also met with a severe loss. To urbanity of 
manners he united a devoted attention to the sick, 
which gave him an increasing field of practice as 
years sped their way. 

Dr. McKean studied with Dr. Walker of Charles- 
town. After receiving the degree of M. D., he visit- 
ed Europe, passing considerable time in the hospitals 
of Paris, and finally on his return to the United 
States, established himself in business in this city, 
about fourteen years ago. Some ten or twelve years 
since, soon after the organization of the Vermont 
Medical College, then principally under the auspices 
of Dr. Gallup, author of a valuable publication which 
has just appeared. Dr. M. gave a course of lectures 
on anatomy in that school. He has been a counsellor 
in the Mass. Medical Society, and a spirited promoter 
of every plan for enlarging the sphere of medical 
and surgical knowledge. 

He was exceedingly tall and very slender, but with 
the exception of occasional interruptions, arising from 
a predisposition to a pulmonary disease, he enjoyed, 
of late, very good health. On the day of his de- 
cease, he had been as well apparently as in months 
past, and manifested unabated activity in the routine 
of professional visits, even till within an hour of the 
arrival of the messenger of death. On sending, 
about 6 o'clock, to the room to which he had retired 
for study, to call him to tea, he was found dead in 


his chair. We have heard of no post mortem exami- 
nation, and presume his death was occasioned by 
some .affection of the heart. — Bost. Med. and Surg. 
Jour. 4?.» 1839. 

Dr. Laughlin McLean was a native of Scotland, 
and emigrated to this country between the years 1735 
and 1740. Dr. McLean, after arriving in Ameri- 
ca, first settled in Wethersfield, in Connecticut, 
where he continued for some time associated with 
his countryman, Dr. Norman Morrison. After re- 
siding in this town for a season, he moved to Hart- 
ford, and continued many years the ornament of 
his profession, extensively useful and greatly beloved 
by a numerous circle of friends and employers. Dr. 
McLean has always been spoken of as a man of 
refined education, great dignity and ease of manners, 
and of uncommon benevolence of heart. He died 
at an advanced age, and left behind him a family 
whose descendants are still living in Hartford or the 
vicinity. — S. B. JV., in Bost. Med. and Surg. Jour. 

Dr. Thomas Miner. The following short notice 
of this distinguished physician is from the pen of his 
intimate friend. Dr. Woodward of the Worcester 
Insane Hospital, in a letter to Dr. Smith, editor of the 
Boston Medical and Surgical Journal, and is publish- 
ed in the 24th volume of that Journal. A few years 
ago, in connection with Dr. Tully, he published a 
most valuable and interesting work on typhus fever, 


which caused a great deal of controversy and hy- 
percriticism at the time. Whatever may be the 
merits of the doctrines he advanced, whether they 
were true or false, it is not my intention to canvass 
them here. It is certain that the work was most 
severely criticised ; from that time it obtained a great- 
er celebrity than it ever before had, and the public, 
although divided on the subject of the real worth 
of the work, were generally satisfied that it was one 
of deep erudition and research. At any rate it was 
one that gave the author great notoriety as a writer, 
and great fame as a practitioner. It is often so with 
those who are most abused by caviling criticism. 
For some time after this he held the office of Presi- 
dent of the Connecticut Medical Society, one of the 
most distinguished institutions of the kind in the 

' Dear Sir : — Our mutual friend, Thomas Miner, 
M. D., died at my residence this morning at half past 
3 o'clock. The doctor, as you probably knew, had 
for twenty years or more, been affected with a dis- 
ease of the heart, which had prevented his engaging 
in active business. During the last winter he suf- 
fered extremely with this disease. Early in March 
he came on to Worcester to see what could be done 
to alleviate his sufferings, and, as he said, — ' If he 
could not be relieved, to die with his friend. Soon 
after he arrived here, we discovered oedema of his 
feet and ankles, which pointed too clearly to be mis- 
taken, to the fatal mischief that was lurking within 
the chest. The symptoms of dropsy were rapidly 
developed. He was unable to he down, and spent 


a large part of each night in his chair. Three weeks 
ago he took cold, which resulted in pneumonia. 
This disease was severe, and for some days threaten- 
ed his life. Quite unexpectedly he got better, and 
for a week indulged hopes that he could return to 
his friends in Connecticut. He did not probably, 
from the first appearance of dropsy, expect to reco- 
ver. The acute disease of the lungs was soon follow- 
ed by great increase of the action of the heart and 
general dropsy, which terminated fatally this morning. 

Dr. Miner was a remarkable man. He has left 
behind him few as ripe scholars, profound philoso- 
phers and philanthropists in the medical profession. 
Ill health having for some years precluded active en- 
gagement in professional duties, he has devoted his 
whole time to study and reflection. His mind was 
very active to the last. He was, perhaps, one ot 
the most learned physicians in New England — not 
only in professional attainments, but in foreign lan- 
guages and theology. He was acquainted with the 
French, Italian, Spanish, and German languages, and 
was often employed by publishers in the country to 
translate them. He was particularly fond of the 
German, and read works on medicine, theology and 
philosophy in that language with great pleasure. 

You well know his estimable and moral qualities. 
His heart was benevolent, his feelings kind. In his 
life he exemphfied the christian character ; in sickness 
and death he bore testimony of unshaken confidence 
in the christian hope of a joyful resurrection. Dr. 
Miner was 64 years of age. — S. B. Woodward, 
Worcester, April 23, 1841. 


An account of his last sickness and post mortem 
appearances may be found in the 24th vol. of the 
Bost. Med. and Surg. Jour. p. 207. 

The principal incidents of the life of Dr. Miner 
are given in the following sketch from his own pen, 
addressed to his fellow townsman, Joseph Barrett, M. 
D. ; who has obligingly furnished us with a copy for 
publication. — New Englander, Jan. 1844. 

Auto-biography of Dr. Miner. 

MiDDLETOWN, CoNN. Fch. 9th, 1837. 

Dr. Joseph Barrett : — Dear Sir, — I thank you for 
the sohcitude which you have been so obliging as, at 
various times, to express, to obtain a few memoranda 
of the principal events of my hfe. H you survive 
me it may, perhaps, be a satisfaction to have a record 
upon which you may depend for your own informa- 
tion, though it may be so barren as to contain little, 
if any thing, which may be of interest beyond the 
limited sphere of a few personal friends. 

I am now fifty-nine years old, and in one respect 
may be considered as having lived but a small part 
of that time. I was originally a weakly child, so that 
a considerable part of the time, till I was fourteen 
years old, I was unable to go from home to school. 
In the years 1798 and 1799, I had the intermittent 
fever two seasons in succession, and in 1801, I was 
unable to walk for three months at a time, from rheu- 
matism. Finally, about the year 1819, while fully 
employed in professional business, I suddenly broke 
down from a subacute inflammation of the lungs, at- 
tended with hectic fever, and a severe palpitation of 


the heart, arising probably from an organic lesion of 
that viscus. From this latter affection, I have never 
completely recovered, but have remained a valetudi- 
narian the last eighteen or twenty years, a large por- 
tion of the time, being unfit for active exertion of 
body or mind. 

On the whole, therefore, there have been but about 
twenty or twenty-five years in my life, which I have 
been able to employ much for the benefit of myself 
or others ; this is what I mean by saying, that I have 
lived but a small part of the time since 1 was born. 

I was born in Westfield, the north-west parish of 
this town, where my father was the Congregational 
clergyman, Oct. 15, 1777. I received my elemen- 
tary education principally at home from my father, 
till I was fourteen years of age, though about two 
years of the time 1 was able to attend a very excel- 
lent common school, kept by the late Rev. Joseph 
Washburn, who afterwards was the minister of Far- 
mington. After having made some progress in Latin 
and Greek under my father, in the spring of 1792, 1 
went to Chatham to complete fitting for college, un- 
der the tuition of the late Cyprian Strong, D. D., 
and joined Yale College in September of that year. 
In September, 1776, I took the degree of A. B., and 
within a month, being then nineteen years of age, I 
went to Goshen, Orange county, state of New York, 
to take charge of an Academy. After remaining in 
that county three years, and having my constitution 
much impaired by the two periods of intermittent, to 
which 1 have referred, 1 returned in December, 1799. 
In the course of the next year, I entered myself as a 


law student in Judge Hosmer's office ; but within a 
few weeks, remaining still at my father's, I had a 
serious attack of rheumatism, which disabled me from 
doing much during 1801. However, in the autumn 
of that year I took charge of an academy at Berlin, 
which I kept about two years, till I was interrupted 
by loss of health. The school flourished very well 
while I was able to attend to it, and Mrs. Emma 
Willard of Troy, then Emma Hart of Berlin, and 
Prof. E. A. Andrews, now teacher in Boston, were 
among my most distinguished pupils. I was then in- 
terrupted by ill health both in my attempt to study 
law, and as a teacher. However, when I was about 
twenty-five years old, I commenced the study of 
medicine with the late Dr. Osborne, of this city, 
engaging a part of the time in instruction. Here 
William L. Storrs, Esq., was one of my most promis- 
ing pupils. At that time. Dr. Osborne had probably 
much the best medical library in the State, and I 
continued reading under his direction about three 
years. The winter of 1806 and 1807, I spent with 
Dr. Smith Clark of Haddam, visiting his patients 
with him, and seeing his practice. In the spring of 
1807,1 returned to my father's and began practice; 
but in the autumn removed into the city and remain- 
ed until the middle of the next summer. After look- 
ing about me for a permanent residence, during 
which time I spent a few weeks at Southington, in 
August, 1 808, I settled at Lynn. There I continued 
in full practice till May 8th, 1810. I married Phebe 
Mather, daughter of Samuel Mather, Esq. She died 
February 5th, 1811. In this city and vicinity, I soon 


had as much professional business as I could attend 
to, and n^ore than my health would bear. In Febru- 
ary, 1819, I was seized with an aflection of the lungs 
and heart, which suddenly ended in a great degree 
my professional career, and left me a confirmed vale- 
tudinarian at the premature age of forty-one. 

Since 1819, the little that I have done has been of 
a very various and desultory character, my infirm 
health preventing continued application to any thing 
of importance. For several years I practised some 
in consultation, and amused myself in reading two or 
three foreign languages, besides writing occasional 
medical and literary essays. For two or three years 
before the Medical Recorder of Philadelphia ceased, 
I made most of the selections, abridgments and 
translations from the French, which appeared in that 
work. In 1823, in connection with Dr. Tully, I 
published Essays on Fevers and other Medical sub- 
jects ; and in 1825 an account of Typhus Syncopalis. 
The latter has been several times republished entire, 
or abridged in other works, as in the Medical Record- 
er, Boston Medical Journal, Potter and Calhoun's 
edition of Gregory's Practice, and Thatcher's Mod- 
ern Practice. 

As there was no public medical school in Con- 
necticut when I studied physic, of course I began to 
practice under a license from the Medical Society, 
and it was not till 1819 that I received the honorary 
degree of M. D. from Yale College. The following 
are the principal specimens of the attention with 
which I have been honored by my professional breth- 
ren. Since the organization of the Medical School 


of Yale College, perhaps three tenths of the time I 
have been one of the Censors or members of the 
committee. 1 was a member of the committee for 
devising ways and means, and forming the plan for 
the Retreat for the Insane, as a colleague with Dr. 
Todd, Dr. Woodward, Dr. TuUy, Dr. Ives, and 
others, and with the assistance of Dr. Tully wrote 
the committee's address to the public, which preceded 
our soliciting donations. My name was at the head 
of the committee, and I was therefore chairman of 
the body ; not from any merit of mine, but from the 
modesty of Dr. Todd, who did not wish to appear as 
the official leader of an Institution, over which it was 
expected he would soon preside. In 1832 I was 
elected Vice President of the Medical Society of 
Connecticut, and in 1834, President. Having held 
the latter place three years, it is my intention to de- 
chne being a candidate at the ensuing meeting of the 
medical convention, in May next. Many of my 
fugitive Medical Essays, besides what I wrote for the 
Medical Recorder, have been published under the 
signature of Senex or Celsus, in the Boston Medical 
Journal, or the United States Medical and Surgical 
Journal, though a few others have sometimes appear- 
ed in different periodicals. The article on the vario- 
loid and small pox, and on the moral effects of preva- 
lent malignant diseases, in the Christian Spectator 
for March, 1830, was written by me ; and I have 
translated a few articles from the French and from 
the German, for Silhman's Journal. 

A few farther particulars may perhaps be worth 
stating. Like many other young men in early life, 


I entered pretty ardently into politics, reading not 
only party productions, but treatises on the law of 
nations, and various things of the kind. But as early 
as 1800 I became heartily disgusted with the subject, 
and gradually got out of its reach, so that for more 
than twenty years I have not voted at a single elec- 
tion. In my rehgious views I am a Christian, and, as 
far as I understand the subject, I am nearer a Quaker 
in sentiment than any other sect. I am in favor of 
defensive war, and consider it as much a duty to arm 
against a band of robbers or pirates, as against a 
flock of wolves or tigers ; and I do not consider it as 
a virtue to refuse customary titles to respect, or to 
use thee and thou, or to wear a broad-brimmed hat 
and a drab coat, or to number the months or the 
days of the week instead of naming them. With 
these exceptions, and perhaps a few others of the 
kind, I think I must be considered as in sentiment a 
Quaker. This may perhaps account satisfactorily to 
you, for some peculiarities in my habits, which you 
may have noticed. As to mental philosophy, though 
here my acquirements are rather limited, I am nearer 
a Kantian than any thing else. In medicine in gene- 
ral, I coincide with the views of the school of the 
Vitahsts. My early medical reading was pretty ex- 
tensive ; but of late I have attended but little to the 
subject, and in fact have lost much of my taste for 
medicine. From the state of my health, being una- 
ble to attend closely to any one thing for a long time, 
a great portion of my information is but little more 
than smattering, scarcely going deeper than the sur- 
face. Perhaps it more nearly resembles the superfi- 


cial knowledge which we occasionally meet with in 
an old bookseller, who has picked up here and there 
a little upon almost every thing, about which his cus- 
tomers converse. 

My father, in common with most country clergy- 
men of his day, besides a slender salary, had a small 
farm of his own, upon which he generally labored 
more or less, every day through the summer. In the 
winter he often had a small school composed of 
twelve or fifteen young men who were the sons of 
farmers, or young mechanics, who had just gone 
through their apprenticeship. My mother was a wo- 
man of uncommonly good management in her do- 
mestic affairs. With the small salary, the little farm, 
and the school, the family (which usually consisted of 
my father and mother, three children, and a female 
domestic, who in many particulars performed the 
affairs of a boy and girl) hved very comfortably and 
decently. My father had not many books, but he 
had a share in a good public library in the city, and 
we had access to a small library in the parish. The 
family frequeritly spent their winter evenings in listen- 
ing to some one who was reading a book of travels, 
the Spectator, the history of our country and revolu- 
tion, foreign history, or some interesting book of the 
kind. Besides attending daily to the duties common 
to religious families, Saturday evening was spent 
principally in reading the Bible, and learning or re- 
peating the catechism. After going to church twice 
on Sunday, the rest of the time* was spent in reading 
the scriptures or such writers as Watts and Doddridge. 
In the evening some of our neighbors generally call- 


ed in, and the time passed in pleasant conversation 
upon the events of tlie past week, and other topics of 
the day. 

Except that my father, from the difficulty of pro- 
curing sufficient assistance in the management of his 
little farm, had occasionally to labor rather too hard, 
in addition to his regular weekly preparation for the 
pulpit, our family may be considered during the first 
fourteen years of my life, while I remained at home, 
as living very comfortably, rationally, and pleasantly. 
My parents, in common with most of their day, knew 
very little of the nature and necessity of a proper 
physical education ; consequently, as I was always a 
feeble child, I was probably injured greatly, by ill- 
directed kindness. I was unable to go very much to 
the common school, and never became familiar with 
the common athletic sports of boys. I well recollect, 
when I was a large boy, I had been so much confin- 
ed within doors, that my countenance was as pale and 
white as milk, resembling those plants which have 
vegetated in the cellar without the light of the sun. 
Some attempts were made to teach me to labor on 
the farm, but these were rather injudiciously manag- 
ed. The common tools on the farm were too heavy 
and clumsy for one so feeble as I to use to advan- 
tage. My father seems never to have thought how 
easy it might have been to furnish me with a light 
hatchet, hoe, fork or rake. I beheve this is rather a 
common oversight with farmers in their first attempts 
to teach their boys to labor. Those who are sturdy 
soon overcome the difficulty of using heavy instru- 
ments ; but they are a great embarrassment to the 


slender. As I kept tolerably busy within doors with 
my books, my deficiency in labor and other exercises 
that tend to strengthen and harden the constitution, 
was not much thought of. The consequence was, 
that I early contracted a tender and effeminate habit, 
which continues to this day, and has been the great 
burden of my hfe. Every boy in New England that 
is born and brought up in the country, ought to be 
early and habitually taught the use of the axe, the 
hoe, the spade and the rake, so that if occasion 
should require, it would be no great task for him to 
cut his own wood, and make his own garden, what- 
ever might be his future condition, or profession, or 
situation in life. Such knowledge is often of great 
convenience, but its greatest benefit is in giving 
strength and firmness to the system. 

In addition to the great and irremediable mistake 
which was made in my physical education, as great or a 
greater blunder was made in the literary and scientific 
department. I was sent to college before I was quite 
fifteen years old, which was one year at least, and 
probably two years too early for me to receive the 
full benefit of the institution. My miscellaneous in- 
formation from reading history, travels, essays, and 
such books as are usually found in social hbraries, 
together with a pretty familiar acquaintance with Sal- 
mon's and Guthrie's geographies, as well as with the 
early editions of Morse, was tolerably extensive for a 
lad of my age, but I was not very well grounded in 
Latin and Greek, and had no foundation laid in the 
mathematics. The consequence was, though I pass- 
ed regularly through the course without a single pub- 


lie or private censure from any of the faculty, and 
with even some small tokens of approbation, yet I 
made no figure as a scholar. I had some standing 
from the amount of my former miscellaneous and 
general information ; but that was all for which I was 
in any way distinguished. Except learning the ele- 
mentary parts of the mathematics so as to be able to 
teach surveying and navigation tolerably well for that 
day, I knew nothing further of that science. 

My mind was not so closely disciplined, and my 
habits of attention were not so accurately formed, 
as to have enabled me to make much progress in 
mathematics during the rapid manner in which the 
science was studied by the class. I believe the same 
was the fact with all the younger part of my asso- 
ciates. They made but little progress in a study for 
which they either were not ripe, or were not pre- 
viously prepared. My acquirements in the languages 
were merely decent, and not such as to merit any pe- 
culiar notice, either for eminence or defect. On the 
whole the four years of my college life, though they 
were far from being trifled away or lost, were spent 
under very great and permanent disadvantages, and 
I did not acquire half the solid learning that I might 
have done had I been two years older, and propor- 
tionably better prepared. Many with a real or affect- 
ed modesty, blame themselves for their misimprove- 
ment of early advantages. I have very little of this 
lamentation to make. The error consisted princi- 
pally in the mistaken judgment of my friends, in esti- 
mating my early acquirements greater than they ac- 
tually were, and supposing me to have a ripeness of 


mind, to which I had not attained on entering college. 

These are the common mistakes of parents, guar- 
dians and teachers. If the memory is capacious 
and tolerably stored with facts — as was the case with 
mine — the inquiry too often is made, to ascertain 
how far the other faculties of the mind are develop- 
ed. The judgment may be still in embryo. But 
if the other faculties are tolerably developed, they 
have probably not been disciphned, so that they can 
be applied with facility and rapidity to the higher 
branches of education in the manner in which they 
are usually studied in a common academical course. 
This is a statement of facts rather than an apology. 

The principal object in almost all my literary, phi- 
losophical, biblical and scientific pursuits has been 
my own amusement for the time being, taking but 
little pains to arrange it so as to be serviceable to 
others. The Rev. Henry Channing, now of New 
York, Prof Tully, Dr. J. P. Kirtland, of Poland, 
Ohio, Dr. Comstock of Lebanon, Dr. Hooker of 
New Haven, Dr. Bronson of Waterbury, and Dr. 
Woodward of Worcester, have been among my prin- 
cipal correspondents. To these I might add Dr. Mc- 
Gregor of Rochester, Dr. Swann of Tennessee, Dr. 
Calhoun of Philadelphia, Dr. Cartwright of Natchez, 
and Dr. Fisk of Salisbury, as occasional correspon- 
dents. The venerable Noah Webster, LL. D., is 
among my most respected correspondents. He pos- 
sesses letters from me upon criticism, etymology and 
other philosophical subjects. He also did me the 
honor, occasionally to send me his manuscripts, solici- 
ting my remarks upon them previous to publication. 


Among the physicians with whom I have been most 
intimate, are the names of Coggswell, Todd, Ives, 
TuUy, Woodward, Hough, Ward, Hooker, Comstock, 
North, Bronson and various others. My friend, Ches- 
ter Whittlesey, Esq., of Southington, possessed more 
of my letters than any other man. Judge Hosmer 
and tile late Richard Alsop, Esq., were among my 
earliest and permanent friends in this city. Asahel 
H. Strong, Esq., Charles Denison, Esq., the Rev. 
Thomas Robbins and Prof. Silliman, are among my 
most distinguished college classmates. 

The above is the outline of all that I recollect con- 
cerning myself, which you would probably feel much 
interest in knowing. I am conscious of having omit- 
ted several names of gentlemen to whom I have been 
under much obligation ; others have undoubtedly 
slipped my memory. Thomas Miner. 

Dr. Samuel Latham Mitchill was born in North 
Hempstead, (Plandome,) Queens County, Long 
Island, N. Y., on the 20th of Aug., 1764. In this 
village his father, Robert Mitchill, of English de- 
scent, was an industrious farmer of the society of 
Friends. He died in 1789, leaving behind him six 
sons and two daughters, most of whom he lived to 
see respectably settled in life. Agricultural pursuits 
became, for the most part, their occupation, and in- 
dustry and economy were the characteristics common 
to them all. In the subject of this memoir, who was 
the third son, were early remarkable those habits of 
observation and reflection which were destined to 

kS . 


elevate him to an enviable distinction among his 
cotemporaries. Fortunately for mankind, his talents 
and laudable ambition met a discerning and liberal 
patron in his maternal uncle, Dr. Samuel Latham, a 
skillful and intelligent medical practitioner in his na- 
tive village. The resources of this medical gentle- 
man happily enabled him to enter upon and complete 
that system of education which the limited income 
and numerous family of his parents of necessity de- 
nied. Of this uncle he always spoke with becoming 
gratitude and ardent affection. At an early age 
he was placed under the direction of Dr. Leonard 
Cutting, a graduated scholar of the University of 
Cambridge, England ; whom an attachment to the 
principles of liberty had induced to visit our shores, 
and in whom the polished habits of the gentleman 
were happily blended with a profound and extensive 
erudition. With this excellent instructor he continu- 
ed for several years, and with him acquired an in- 
timate acquaintance with classical literature which 
constituted one of the favorite amusements of his 
leisure hours throughout his subsequent life. It is 
due to this kind preceptor to state, that he early pre- 
dicted the future eminence of his pupil, and contri- 
buted by his praise and direction to its fulfilment. 
After acquiring a partial knowledge of the elementa- 
ry principles of medicine with Dr. Latham, he re- 
moved to the city of New York in 1780, and became 
a pupil of Dr. Samuel Bard, with whom he con- 
tinued about three years. 

In the twentieth year of his age Mr. Mitchill was 
happily enabled to avail himself of the advantages 


held out by the University of Edinburgh, which at that 
time was adorned by the talents of Cullen, Black and 
Monro. Here students from all parts of the civilized 
world repaired, as the most able seat of medical 
learning then in Europe ; and of nearly a thousand 
youths, many of whom have risen to the first distinc- 
tions in science and letters, the talents and diligence 
of Mitchill acquired for him general applause, and an 
undivided esteem and regard. The late Sir James 
Mackintosh and Thomas Addis Emmet, who have 
since acquired such eminence in other pursuits, were 
among his friends and compeers ; and we have the 
testimony of the last named excellent individual that 
no student of the university exhibited greater tokens 
of promise. After a residence of about four years, 
at the end of which, in 1786, he received the honors 
of the profession, he made a short excursion into 
England and France, and returned to his native coun- 
try, then rapidly recovering from the disastrous ef- 
fects of the revolutionary contest. 

On his return to his native stat?3. Dr. Mitchill, with 
a constant interruption to his medical studies, devoted 
a portion of his time to acquire a knowledge of the 
laws and constitution of his country, under the direc- 
tion of Robert Yates, at that time chief justice of the 
State of New York. The result was a fixed and un- 
alterable attachment in him to those principles which 
triumphantly asserted at Saratoga and Yorktown, and 
since embodied in the constitution of the United 
States, became the corner stone of new institutions, 
sacred to the rights and best interests of mankind. 


By the influence of the chief justice he was employ- 
ed in the commission for holding a treaty with the 
Iroquois Indians, and was present at the adjustment 
made at Fort Stanwix, 1788, in which the right to a 
large portion of the western district was purchased 
for the benefit of the government. During this pe- 
riod he extensively explored the frontiers of New 
York and Canada, and seems also to have been en- 
gaged in various matters of a political character. 
His experiments on the mineral waters of Saratoga, 
which he subsequently reinvestigated, appear to have 
contributed to the extensive celebrity which those 
waters have since obtained. 

His appointment to the chair of Chemistry in Co- 
lumbia College, marks the confidence of his friends 
in his abilities ; and from this school he first made 
known to his countrymen the new theory of chemis- 
try recently matured by the genius of Lavoisier and 
his associates. The admirable nomenclature, the 
scientific arrangement of this system, together with 
its brilliant results, form an era in chemical philoso- 
phy, and an important chapter in the history of the 
human mind. The doctor was wont to repeat with 
much complacency this happy commencement of his 
professional career. He was, however, far from 
adopting all the principles of Lavoisier ; and in a 
memoir published shortly after, he presented a modi- 
fied system, which involved him in a controversy with 
the celebrated Priestley, then recently arrived on our 
shores. It is to the honor of these distinguished indi- 
viduals that the disputation was conducted with mutu- 


al courtesy, and ended in a personal friendship, which 
terminated only with the life of the great founder of 
pneumatic chemistry. 

From his connection with many of the chief offi- 
cers of the State government, and particularly with 
Chancellor Livingston and Simeon Dewitt, originat- 
ed the Society for the promotion of Agriculture, 
Manufactures and the Useful Arts. Before this body 
he dehvered their first public address, which made its 
appearance in the first volume of their Transactions. 
This Society, which consisted of the members of 
both houses of the legislature, and of such other in- 
dividuals as interested themselves in agricultural pur- 
suits, was incorporated at his instance, and has proved 
by its various publications a valuable aid in unfolding 
the active resources of the commonwealth. His 
mineralogical survey of the State of New York, un- 
dertaken in 1796, under the direction of this institu- 
tion, forms a memorable event in his career, and 
first laid the basis of his reputation with the philoso- 
phers of Europe, which continued from this time 
thenceforth to increase. This report was probably 
the first attempt in mineralogical study in America, 
and led the way to the more ample investigations of 
Maclure, Gordon, Cleaveland, Dana, Van Rensselaer 
and others. It has often been referred to by the 
savans of Europe, with approbation. He contributed, 
at times, local sketches of a like character of diflferent 
parts of the country to various scientific journals ; 
and it has furnished occasion of regret that so com- 
petent an observer had not more fully prosecuted 
these meritorious researches. Throughout his life he 


was a persistent believer in the Wernerian hypothesis, 
and contended that the most luminous evidences of 
its truth were found in the formations of the western 

The New York Medical Repository originated in 
1797, under the editorial career of Saml. L. Mitchill, 
Edward Miller and Elihu H. Smith. Of this jour- 
nal he was the chief editor for more than sixteen 

In 1807, the act of the legislature empowering the 
Regents of the University to establish a College of 
Physicians and Surgeons in the city of New York 
took eifect ; and upon the organization of this school. 
Dr. Mitchill was appointed the Professor of Chemis- 
try, which, however, his pubhc duties obliged him 
to resign. In the following year he was elected to 
the chair of natural history, in the same institution. 
In this science so congenial to his taste, and in which 
he was acknowledged to be without a rival among 
his countrymen, he delivered courses of instruction 
for twelve successive years with eminent success. 
Of these lectures which embraced the extensive re- 
gions of mineralogical, botanical and zoological 
inquiry, he published an outline, which exhibited a 
compass of thought, and capacity for generalization 
for which he was httle accredited by the censorious. 

The reorganization of the college in 1820, occa- 
sioned a new disposition of the professorship, when Dr. 
Mitchill was commissioned by the Regents as profes- 
sor of materia medica and botany. In this capaci- 
ty he continued his professional labors until 1826, 
when, with his colleagues, he resigned all connection 


with an institution, the interests of which he had 
promoted nearly twenty years. It may be sufficient 
to observe that it opened in 1807 with fifty-three 
students; that for a while there existed in the city 
two other institutions, which at length yielded to its 
superiority ; and that for several years it was attend- 
ed by two hundred students. Difficulties having at 
length arisen between the trustees and professors, 
the latter withdrew in a body from an institution, 
which, under their exertions, had been elevated to 
rivalship with the oldest medical school in the coun- 
try. In common with his colleagues, he received 
upon his resignation, the thanks of the Regents of 
the University for the faithful and able manner in 
which he had discharged his duties as instructor and 
lecturer in the college. In the new college, which 
was immediately thereafter formed, under the name 
of Rutgers Medical College, Dr. Mitchill was ap- 
pointed to the office of Vice President. 

It is with pleasure we record the name of Dr. 
Mitchill among those who first gave impulse and ac- 
tivity to that splendid system of internal improvement 
which has given renown to New York, and rendered 
her a brilliant example to her sister states. We refer 
to the statutes of her legislature of 1798, which con- 
ferred on Chancellor Livingston the exclusive right 
to navigate by steam the waters of New York. This 
bill owed much to the zeal and assiduity of Dr. 
Mitchill, arrayed against a host of scoffing and sneer- 
ing opponents. The projected attempt was at this 
time unsuccess^l, but by the united exertions of Li- 
vingston and Fulton, eventuated in those magnificent 


efforts in steam navigation which have changed the 
internal commerce of nations. 

In the Congress of the United States, both as re- 
presentative and senator, the bills for reducing the 
required term of residence for foreigners from four- 
teen to five years, on medical quarantine and health 
laws, on salt duties, were a few among the many 
subjects which called forth a happy display of his 
varied information and persuasive elocution. His 
knowledge of the political relations of the American 
confederation, and familiarity with the statistics, ren- 
dered him at all times a most useful member both in 
the house and in committee ; those who expected to 
see in him the mere abstract philosopher were de- 
lighted to find in him the highest social qualities, and 
a research which scarcely any subject of human in- 
quiry had eluded. 

In 1799 Dr. Mitchill was united in matrimony to 
the daughter of Samuel Akerly, Mrs. Catherine Cook, 
his amiable partner and lamenting survivor. In the 
domestic relations of life, as husband, brother and 
friend, his zeal and affection were exemplary and 

Dr. Mitchill derived from nature a hardy and ro- 
bust constitution, but occasionally labored under a 
bronchial affection, to which he acquired a predispo- 
sition from an attack of inflammation in early hfe. 
He died after a short but severe illness in the 67th 
year of his age, on the 7th of September, 1831, at 
his residence in the city of New York. His funeral 
was honored by the attendance of a large and respec- 
table body of his fellow citizens. 


Dr. Mitchili was a member of innumerable scien- 
tific societies. Of the Lyceum of Natural History 
of New York, he was the founder, and for many 
years its President. He enriched its annals with 
many contributions, and still further displayed his 
zeal in behalf of his favorite pursuit, by a donation to 
them of a large portion of his valuable cabinet. 

Of his numerous writings a large part relate to 
subjects of transient interest or of technical science. 
These we shall neither attempt to enumerate nor to 
characterize. Among his most elaborate productions 
are his addresses before the State Agricultural Socie- 
ties, his correspondence with Priestley, his Chart of 
Chemical Nomenclature, his Introduction to Dar- 
win's Zoonomia, his paper on the alkaline properties 
of the waters of the ocean in the American Philoso- 
phical Transactions, his Discourse before the New 
York Historical Society on the Botanical history of 
North and South America ; a paper on the Fishes that 
inhabit the waters of New York, in the Transactions 
of the Literary and Historical Society of New York ; 
his appendix to Cuvier's Theory of the Earth ; his 
biographical Discourses on Dr. Bard and on Thomas 
A. Emmet. 

As a lecturer, simple, plain and didactic, he arrest- 
ed the attention of his auditors by his ample and 
ready knowledge of his subject, and by a fund of 
apt and characteristic anecdotes. In his excursions 
through different sections of the United States, and 
during his residence at Washington, he had become 
intimately acquainted with many of the more interest- 
ing portions of our country, and with the various 


characters of our countrymen ; and no small part of 
the interest of his lectures consisted in reminiscences 
connected with these circumstances of his life. 

Reference has been already made to his early at- 
tainments in the literature of Greece and Rome ; 
evidence, indeed, of classical taste were to be found 
in almost all his compositions both written and oral ; 
and he had been known and acknowledged as one of 
our most eminent writers, had he not become still 
more conspicuous as an adept in natural curiosities. 
That vivacious and fertile imagination which was 
usefully occupied with the bones of the mastodon and 
Wernerian formation, might have illustrated and illu- 
minated the paths of literature. We refer for the 
evidence of this opinion to his admirable discourse 
before the New York Horticultural Society, which 
the scholar may consult for the beauty of its style, 
and the agriculturalist for the useful lessons it imparts. 

For about twenty years, Dr. Mitchill acted as one 
of the physicians of the New York Hospital ; and 
his diligence and attention to the duties this office 
imposed, when not called from the city by other obli- 
gations, were marked and exemplary. Nor was he 
deficient, notwithstanding his multifarious pursuits, in 
the practical knowledge of disease. Those who were 
accustomed to regard him as a mere theorist, by per- 
sonal intercourse perceived in him the acute perso- 
nal observer of the different phases of disease. Like 
Darwin and Cullen, he judiciously, when at the bed- 
side, rejected speculations and trusted to observation 
and experience as the only safe guides. 

In assigning to Dr. Mitchill an eminent rank 


among the cultivators of natural science, we are fully 
warranted by the authority of those who have pre- 
eminently excelled in this branch of knowledge. 
The illustrious Cuvier, both in his lectures and in 
his printed writings, referred to him in terms of sig- 
nal approbation. More recently the ornithologist, 
Audubon, has bestowed upon him the tribute of his 
applause. Let it be recollected that his knowledge 
was acquired not among the facilities of a royal or 
imperial cabinet, but amid the fatigues of travel, and 
while resident among a population little disposed to 
speculative investigation, or to regard his pursuits 
with favor or reward. Though justly deemed the 
Nestor of American science, he bore the honors 
which thickened around him meekly, if not unobtru- 
sively, and ever showed himself ready to aid the dili- 
gent inquirer by counsel and encouragement. It 
happened to few men to pass through hfe with less 
of censure, or with a more fixed and unchanged ap- 
probation. — Life written by his colleague, Dr. J. W. 

Dr. Norman Morrison, who, as a scholar and a 
man of science was in no way inferior to his distin- 
guished countryman. Dr. McKean, of whom I have 
just spoken, was born in Scotland, about the year 
1690. He received his education at the University of 
Edinburgh, under the instruction of the distinguish- 
ed teachers who filled the professors' chair in the de- 
partment of medicine in that celebrated University. 

Dr. Morrison came to this country about the year 


1740, and first settled in Wethersfield, Conn., where 
he remained about two years. He then moved to 
Hartford, and soon gained a high reputation for medi- 
cal science and practical skill as a physician. Many 
pupils resorted to him and his distinguished country- 
man. Dr. McLean, as the fame of both was alike 
honorable and extensive. Like Elhot, Dr. Morrison 
was a thorough and diligent scholar, had a valuable 
library, and did much in that day to inspire his pupils 
with a taste for reading, and encourage systematic 
and regular practice. The benefit of his labors in 
instructing a class of pupils of unusual eminence, 
was widely diffused, and its influence can hardly be 
said to have ceased at the present time. Those of 
the present century who knew him, or knew of his 
fame, bear testimony to his great accomplishments as 
a man and a scholar, and to his superior eminence 
and judgment as a physician. Amongst his pupils 
were the celebrated Dr. Osborne of Middletown ; 
Dr. Wolcott of Windsor ; and Dr. Farnsworth of 
Wethersfield. The following anecdote is related of 
Dr. Morrison, with which he used to amuse his 
friends, although somewhat at his own expense. 
There lived in a neighboring parish a Dr. Andrus, 
a self-taught but shrewd, ingenious man, little ac- 
quainted with books, but who had picked up in va- 
rious ways, considerable knowledge, particularly by 
his acquaintance with the Indians in the neighbor- 
hood, denominated the ' Farmington tribe.' He ob- 
tained from them their knowledge of roots and herbs, 
so as to have gained much reputation with the public, 
although he was hardly admitted into the pale of 


the regular profession. A respectable patient in 
Hartford under the care of Drs. Morrison and Mc- 
Lean, having heard of this modern Esculapius, de- 
sired much to see the renowned Doctor of Indian 
skill. UnwiUing to meet Andrus, but yet not wishing 
to disoblige their patient they agreed to address a 
note to the Doctor to meet them at a certain time. 
Wishing to have a little sport with the Indian Doctor, 
and not at all unwilling to disconcert and mortify him, 
they wrote the note in the Latin language, which 
they knew he could not read, and dispatched a mes- 
senger with it to the Doctor's house. On the recep- 
tion of the note the Doctor attempted to read it, but 
it was all ' Greek' to him, whichever side up he at- 
tempted it; but a shrewd Yankee was not easily to 
be entrapped, even by a crafty Scotchman. Andrus 
bade his messenger wait, and went with all speed to 
his minister, who was no less a man than Rector 
Williams, afterwards President of Yale College, who 
easily interpreted the mysteries of the note for him. 
Seeing the object his quick discernment and ready 
wit led him to retort in the answer they required. 
Understanding the dialect of the Indian tribe, with 
whom he was familiar, he immediately replied in the 
unknown tongue, and the messenger was dispatched 
in return. The Scotch Doctors took the note, but 
they did not understand the ' Latin of it,' neither 
could they find an interpreter ; but at the appointed 
hour the hero of Indian skill and learning appeared. 
The Scotchmen were much interested in his ingenui- 
ty and simplicity of character. They friendly re- 
quested him to interpret his own billet-doux, acknow- 


ledging their ignorance of the learned language in 
which it was written, and had a hearty laugh over it, 
as they many times afterwards did in telhng the story 
of their attempt to cheat a Yankee. 

Dr. Morrison died in Wethersfield, of an epidemic 
pneumonia, at the house of his friend and pupil, Dr. 
Farnsworth, who was first severely sick under the 
care of his celebrated instructor. After Dr. Morri- 
son was attacked with the disease, he predicted the 
recovery of his friend, unhesitatingly declared the 
certainty of his own death both of which events 
occurred in exact fulfillment, as to time and circum- 
stances, as he had foretold. His death took place in 
1791, at the age of 71.— S. B. W. 

Dr. Daniel Oliver. I can learn but little in re- 
lation to the early history of this distinguished indi- 
vidual. He was born, I believe, in Salem, Essex 
county, Mass., about the year 1786. He was educat- 
ed at Harvard College, and received the degree of 
Master of Arts there in the year 1805, and I believe 
the ad eundem degree of Master of Arts at Dart- 
mouth College. After his graduation at Dartmouth, 
he studied the profession of medicine, and attended 
lectures and received the degree of Doctor of Medi- 
cine from the University of Pennsylvania. He also 
received the same degree from Dartmouth College. 
He was appointed lecturer on Chemistry in Dart- 
mouth in 1815, and Professor of the Theory and 
Practice of Physic in that Institution in 1820, which 
office he held till the year 1836, when he resigned, 


and was appointed Professor, I believe, of the same 
branches in the Ohio Medical College at Cincinnati, 
and of the same, and perhaps of some other branch- 
es at Bowdoin College, Brunswick, Maine. He was 
also Professor of Moral and Intellectual Philosophy 
at Dartmouth College, and of Materia Medica and 
Botany. He was a Fellow of the American Acade- 
my of Arts and Sciences, and an Honorary Member 
of the Mass. Medical Society. Before his decease, 
which occurred in the year 1842, he received the 
degree of Doctor of Laws from some one of our 
colleges, I believe from Harvard, but not having the 
latest catalogue before me, I am not absolutely able 
to determine. Were I able to procure as many facts 
in relation to his private, as to his public history, I 
might fill a small volume. One thing is certain. So 
many honors could not have been conferred upon 
him by different learned institutions unless he was 
worthy of receiving them. I lament the paucity of 
materials for a more full biography of him, and shall 
avail myself of a few observations in relation to him 
by my friend Dr. J. V. C. Smith, in his Medical Jour- 
nal of June 15th, 1842. 

' Medical scholars throughout the United States, 
must necessarily be familiar with the name and distin- 
guished attainments of the late Daniel Oliver, M. D., 
LL. D., who died at Cambridge, Mass., on the first of 
June. He was a man of mild deportment, gentle- 
manly in his intercourse, and remarkable for the puri- 
ty and moral worth of his character. Dr. Oliver 
made no high pretensions — was never obtrusive nor 
was he ever known to deviate from the upright course 


of a Christian physician. He entertained correct 
views of the subjects of hfe, and, in all his move- 
ments with the world, seemed to act under a deep 
feeling of responsibility to a higher Power. In the 
character of a teacher of medical science, he was 
regarded in the light of a sound methodical philoso- 
pher, who reasoned from facts. A theory might en- 
tertain him, but until some tangible evidence of the 
truth of a proposition could be established, his under- 
standing never readily assented to it. He was emi- 
nently correct in the chair : the students felt that they 
were guided by an honest man, who knew all that 
was known on the subject on which he discoursed. 
With indefatigable perseverance, authors of all epochs 
and of all languages too, of estimation in literature, 
contributed to enlarge the boundaries of his know- 
ledge, and thus to enhance the value of his lectures. 
There was no meteoric display of learning in the lec- 
ture room — no attempt at brilliancy of expression, or 
untimely throes of wit. A calm, dignified manner, 
that commanded both respect and attention, charac- 
terized the public exercises of the Professor. That 
quiet manner which marked the habitually thoughtful 
man — evidencing the power and majesty of a culti- 
vated intellect — was strikingly manifested in the good 
man whose death is now deplored. He was not one 
of those inapproachable literary giants, who maintain 
an ascendency over those less learned than himself, 
by keeping wholly out of sight. All who knew him 
loved him, and he loved all who loved God. 

To strangers he sometimes had the appearance of 
coldness and reserve ; but this should be attributed to 


his supposing that they could feel no particular inte- 
rest in him, rather than to any want of kindness of 
heart or philanthropy. He was a man of erudition, 
delighted much in the perusal of the works of the 
Greek and Latin poets, philosophers and historians, 
in their original languages. Nor was his acquain- 
tance less with German and French authors. He had 
an exquisite taste in music, and was a tolerably good 
performer on the piano. He dehghted greatly in 
metaphysical speculations, and his views were charac- 
teristic of great acuteness and vigor of perception, 
subtlety of discrimination and original and unexpect- 
ed deductions. As a member of society his dealings 
with others were dictated by justice, religion and hu- 
manity. To preserve the 7nens silic conscia recti was 
his principal aim in all things, and though easily per- 
suaded and yielding to the requests or persuasions 
of others, as to matters merely indifferent, in other 
cases, especially where honor or conscience was con- 
cerned, he was known to be perfectly inflexible, and 
a striking example of the justum tenacem, propositi 
virum. A few days before his death, he assured a 
friend sitting by his bedside, that in his situation ' he 
found the consolations of religion unspeakable.' 

Such were the prominent traits of this excellent 
physician. Aside from a variety of scientific and 
literary productions of which he was the known au- 
thor, his large work on philosophy, widely circulat- 
ed in this and other countries, will be a permanent 
record of his fame. The science of life was studied 
by Dr. Oliver with indefatigable industry. Life, how- 
ever, was too short for the accomplishment of the 


many benevolent designs of such a mind. Conscious 
of the approach of death, he looked forward with the 
confidence of a Christian — believing that this was 
only the commencement of a never ending existence.' 

Dr. Joseph Parrish. I am indebted for the me- 
moir of the life and character of this distinguished 
physician, to a discourse delivered by George B. 
Wood, M. D. before the Medical Society of Phila- 
delphia, October 23d, 1840, for a notice of him, 
which I have taken the liberty to abridge. 

Dr. Parrish was born on the 2d of September, 
1779. He received a good English education, and 
was taught Latin at the Friends' school in Fourth 
Street, at that time in considerable repute as a place 
of instruction in the learned languages. He after- 
wards paid some attention to French, and still later 
in life to the Hebrew, which he cultivated exclusively 
in reference to the study of the Bible. He could 
not, however, be said to have a decided literary turn ; 
and, though he took care to qualify himself well as a 
physician by a somewhat extensive course of medical 
reading, and in the few leisure intervals of a very 
active life occasionally perused works of general in- 
terest, yet he was indebted, as well for his profession- 
al skill as for his extensive knowledge of men and 
things, less to books than to an extraordinary faculty 
of observation and a memory unusually tenacious of 
facts. He nevertheless always attached great impor- 
tance to mental culture, and in his last will, while 
giving directions in relation to the education of his 



children, he expresses the sentiment that he would 
rather a child of his should expend every cent of his 
inheritance in the acquisition of knowledge than that 
he should arrive at maturity in the possession of a 
large estate without the advantage of scientific at- 

The moral and rehgious education of Dr. Parrish 
was of the most guarded kind. He was brought up 
in strict conformity with the principles and habits of 
the Society of Friends, and early in life received 
strong religious impressions, which preserved him in 
a remarkable degree from the temptations of a warm 
and lively temperament. From some notes which he 
left behind him, made about the commencement of 
his medical studies, it appears that even in youth he 
was under the habitual guidance of that inward prin- 
ciple, in which the Friends recognize the Divine 
Spirit operating upon the mind, and the reality of 
which is one of the prominent points of their reli- 
gious faith. 

But while thus moral according, to the strictest 
rules of his self-denying sect, he indulged freely in 
the innocent sports and recreations of boyhood, and 
was distinguished among his companions by his skill 
in various athletic exercises. He was a swift runner, 
a good swimmer and an excellent skater. This ac- 
complishment he carried with him into manhood ; 
and it is related of him when in middle age, and in 
full reputation as a physician, that having occasion to 
make an occasional visit during winter, on the oppo- 
site side of the river, he accepted from a friend the 
loan of a pair of skates, and astonished the spectators 


by some of those complicated and graceful evolutions 
which have now become almost an affair of tradition 
among us. His aversion to confinement and fond- 
ness for the fresh air never forsook him. Through- 
out the whole course of his life, he could not tolerate 
a close and heated apartment, slept always in summer 
with his windows up, and even during illness found a 
degree of coolness essential to his comfort which was 
almost hazardous to his attendants. There is no 
doubt that his personal predilection influenced greatly 
his course of practice ; and long before the profes- 
sion generally, in this place, were prepared to adopt 
the plan, he had introduced into the treatment of va- 
rious diseases a system of exercise, exposure to cool 
air, and free indulgence in cool and refreshing drinks, 
which to the great comfort of the patient, and suc- 
cess of the physician, have at length, in many in- 
stances, superseded the old system of drugs, warm 
beverage and confinement. 

His youthful partialities were strongly directed to- 
wards the study of medicine ; and those among his 
early friends who afterwards witnessed his extraordi- 
nary professional success, took pleasure in recalling 
many evidences which he had exhibited, even in boy- 
hood, of a natural turn and natural qualifications for 
this pursuit. He was fond of reading upon diseases, 
exhibited an instinctive disposition to visit and nurse 
the sick, and in the absence of other modes of in- 
dulging his propensity towards the healing art, is said 
to have exercised his skill upon the inferior animals, 
and to have exhibited some dexterity in the treatment 
of their fractured limbs. The fears of his parents, 


however, were for some time an obstacle to the 
gratification of his wishes in the choice of a pro- 
fession. They were unwilling to expose the strict- 
ness of his religious principles, the purity of his 
morals, and the simplicity of his habits and feelings 
unnecessarily to the seductions of the world ; and 
entertained a belief much more common at that time 
than at present among the Friends, that a strict 
observance of their peculiar views and customs as a 
sect, was incompatible with the various temptations to 
which the student of medicine was subjected. Re- 
specting though not acquiescing in these parental 
fears, he surrendered his own wishes, and entered 
into the shop of a hatter, rather, however, in a mer- 
cantile than a mechanical capacity. In the most 
brilliant period of his subsequent career, he never 
had the weakness to look back with regret upon the 
occupation of his early hfe, or the remotest wish to 
conceal it from others. On the contrary, he always 
entertained great respect for mechanical pursuits, 
and considered a descent from honest and worthy 
parents, however humble their station, as a juster 
ground of self-gratification than the highest splendor 
of ancestry, without the accompaniment of virtue. 

In this position he continued till his twenty-second 
year, when as his own inclination remained unalter- 
ed, and the objections of his parents had yielded to 
more mature reflection, and perhaps, also to increas- 
ed confidence in his stability, he felt himself at hber- 
ty to engage in the study of medicine, and accord- 
ingly entered as a private pupil in the office of Dr. 
Wistar, at that time Adjunct Professor of Anatomy 


and Surgery in the University of Pennsylvania. The 
advice and example of the late Dr. Samuel Powell 
Griffitts, who was in great esteem as a physician, and 
was at the same time a strict and conscientious qua- 
ker, had considerable influence in bringing about 
this result. For this and numerous other friendly 
offices of that gentleman in promoting his profes- 
sional interests, Dr. Parrish always entertained the 
most grateful feelings ; and a friendship sprang up 
between them which was fruitful in mutual service, 
and continued without abatement till the death of Dr. 

Dr. Parrish received his degree of Doctor of Me- 
dicine in the University of Pennsylvania in June, 
1805, having written an inaugural essay, ' Upon the 
influence of the passions in the production and cure 
of diseases,' which was printed in compliance with 
a rule of the University existing at that time. This 
essay exhibits the practical tone of his mind even at 
that early period, consisting chiefly of a collection of 
facts, gathered from various sources with no httle in- 
dustry. After his graduation he spent a short time in 
the recreation of travel, and upon his return, about 
the close of summer or beginning of autumn, enter- 
ed upon the duties of his profession as a resident 
physician in the Yellow Fever Hospital, which office 
he sustained with singular ability, and to the satisfac- 
tion of his employers. 

The favorable impression made by his services in 
this situation was afterwards increased by the publica- 
tion of some experiments in relation to the poplar 
worm, which were of great effect in allaying a very 


singular panic at that time prevalent throughout the 
country. An individual was found dead in his bed, 
and a living worm along with him of that kind which 
frequents the Lombardy poplar, and is thence com- 
monly called poplar worm. The public somewhat 
unphilosophically leaped to the conclusion that this 
worm and the sudden death were in the relation of 
cause and effect. Rumor speedily collected nume- 
rous confirmatory observations ; in the hot bed of 
popular fear suspicions quickly ripened into facts ; and 
the belief became to be very widely diffused that this 
species of worm was exceedingly venomous, and 
that a frightful death was lurking in every Lombardy 
poplar in the country. A war of extermination com- 
menced both against the worm and the tree which 
sheltered it. The one was slaughtered without mer- 
cy, the other given every where to the axe and the 
flames ; and our streets would soon have been left 
without shade but for the timely publication of the 
experiments alluded to, which conclusively proved 
that the worms were harmless and the Lombardy 
poplar as guiltless of any noxious influence as it was 
of any extraordinary beauty. 

But the event, which in the early career of our late 
friend contributed most to make him favorably known 
to the public, was the delivery of a course of popular 
lectures on Chemistry, which he gave first in the win- 
ter of 1807-8, and repeated afterwards in successive 
years. Popular lectures on scientific subjects were 
then a novelty in Philadelphia. He endeavored to 
give his instructions a practical bearing upon the or- 
dinary pursuits of life, mingled with chemical details, 


various physiological observations, calculated to ob- 
viate the too natural tendency of the uninstructed 
to empiricism, and took advantage of the numerous 
opportunities offered by his subject to illustrate the 
wisdom and goodness of Providence. 

In the mean time he had been attending dihgently 
to practice, and was acquiring in the arduous labors 
of the Philadelphia Dispensary, that experience of 
disease which was necessary to confidence in himself, 
and to inspire confidence in those who might from 
other causes be disposed to favor him. He was 
chosen one of the physicians of the Institution in 
1806, and continued to serve it zealously until the 
increase of his private business compelled him to 
withdraw. Upon his resignation in 1812, he received 
the thanks of the managers ' for the faithful discharge 
of the duties of his office for six years and a half.' 
In 1818 he was elected a Manager, and in 1835 was 
appointed one of the consulting physicians of the 
Institution ; and the latter station was sustained by 
him to the time of his death. 

In 1808, about three years after he had commenced 
practice, having been so far successful as to feel justi- 
fied in incurring the additional expenses of a family, 
he married a young lady from Burlington, the daugh- 
ter of John Cox, one of the most respectable citizens 
of New Jersey, and then, as at present, a highly es- 
teemed preacher in the Society of Friends. This 
connection was in every way happy for Dr. Parrish. 
It threw an almost uninterrupted sunshine over the 
course of his domestic hfe, and surrounded him at its 
close with the consoling sympathies of a large and 


most affectionate family, whose love and reverence 
he had earned by a cordial participation in their feel- 
ings, and an ever active yet well regulated interest in 
their welfare. His wife survived him, and he never 
had to mourn the loss of a child. Few men have 
been more exempt from the miseries which too fre- 
quently invade the domestic circle, and few have bet- 
ter deserved such exemption. 

There has been, perhaps, no example in Philadel- 
phia of more rapid professional success, than that 
which fell to the lot of Dr. Parrish. Various causes 
contributed to this result. One was the patronage of 
the Society of Friends ; and the countenance of Dr. 
Wistar, who on frequent occasions, exhibited confi- 
dence in the skill of his former pupil, and took every 
opportunity of promoting his professional interests. 
But it was undoubtedly to his own qualifications and 
efforts that he was chiefly indebted. He had already 
acquired a large practice, and was growing rapidly 
in reputation, when, in the winter of 1812-13, the 
great typhus epidemic, which so long scourged this 
country, made its appearance in Philadelphia, and 
elevated him at once into the foremost rank in his 
profession. Physicians were not generally prepared 
to recognize a disease of debility associated with ap- 
parently violent inflammation, and were in the begin- 
ning too apt to overlook the tendency to prostration 
which lurked fatally beneath the show of excitement. 
The attention of Dr. Parrish was strongly directed to 
the subject by the perusal of a treatise by Dr. North, 
who had seen so much of the disease in New Eng- 


land, and who strenuously advocated the stimulant 
treatment. His aversion to theory in medicine left 
him open to the evidence of facts, however opposed 
to prevailing opinions ; and he was quite prepared to 
encounter the disease by methods which had stood 
the test of experience, rather than by those which 
analogy would alone appear to indicate. The epi- 
demic approached Philadelphia through New Jersey, 
and hung for awhile over the opposite shore of the 
Delaware before it burst upon our city. The inhabi- 
tants were alarmed by reports of a terrible disease in 
the town of Camden, which appeared to bid defiance 
to medicine. Dr. Parrish was called in to the aid of 
the physicians of the neighborhood. At the period 
of his first visit several cases had occurred, and all 
proved fatal. He was told that the disease was of an 
inflammatory nature, and had been treated by the 
lancet and other depletory measures. Its malignant 
aspect at once struck his attention. He saw through 
the veil of inflammation which it had thrown over its 
ghastly features, and beheld the deadly weakness be- 
neath it. He advised an immediate abandonment of 
the lancet, and the substitution of an actively sti- 
mulant treatment. The eflfects were most happy. 
Numbers now got well, where before, all had died. 
A disease supposed to be almost incurable was found 
to be, in the great majority of cases, under the con- 
trol of medicine. The terrors of the first awful re- 
ports gave way before the happier intelligence which 
followed ; and the newly inspired confidence was di- 
rected especially towards the author of the change. 


When the epidemic reached the city he pursued the 
stimulant plan of treatment, and his success was unri- 

From the commencement of his professional life he 
had exhibited an inclination towards surgery, which 
he cultivated assiduously whenever opportunities were 
offered. Towards the close of the year 1806 he was 
elected Surgeon to the Philadelphia Almshouse, where 
he had an ample field for observation and experience, 
especially in that branch of the surgical art always 
highest in his esteem, which aims at repairing injuries 
by a judicious employment of the resources of the 
system, and so far from seeking occasion for painful 
or deforming operations, endeavors to render them 
unnecessary. His reputation as a surgeon was of 
slower growth, but scarcely less distinguished in the 
end than that which belonged to him as a medical 
practitioner. His skill in diagnosis and judgment in 
the choice of therapeutical measures were highly 
appreciated by his medical brethren by whom he was 
constantly called into consultation, not only in Phila- 
delphia, but also in the country for many miles around 
it. As an operator also he took rank with the most 
prominent surgeons of the city, and at the period of 
life when his physical powers were at their height, 
was second only to Dr. Physick, either in the number 
and magnitude of the operations which he performed, 
or in the extent of his reputation. 

In addition to his station in the Almshouse Insti- 
tution, he was, in the year 1816, elected Surgeon to 
the Pennsylvania Hospital as successor to Dr. Phy- 
sick, and continued to discharge the duties in the two 


offices conjointly for about six years. His place in 
the Pennsylvania Hospital he continued to retain till 
1829, when the state of his health, which was at that 
time feeble, and a disposition to relinquish the more 
fatiguing and severe offices of surgery to younger 
hands, induced him to withdraw entirely from his 
professional connection with the pubhc institutions. 
He considered the decline of bodily strength in a 
surgeon as an intimation from nature that the period 
for active service had passed ; and I have often heard 
him say that the necessity of using spectacles was 
regarded by him as a call of duty to shun operations 
in which a jet of blood from a divided artery might 
occasion temporary blindness. 

It was in the Almshouse Infirmary that he first 
attracted notice by his clinical lectures, and laid the 
foundation of that reputation as a medical teacher 
which he sustained. In his regular rounds among 
the patients, both in this Institution and the Penn- 
sylvania Hospital, he seldom omitted an opportunity 
of giving useful practical lessons to the students who 
attended him ; and so attractive was his manner, and 
so obvious the high motives by which he was actuat- 
ed, that large numbers constantly followed him, who 
afterwards carried home with them, into almost all 
parts of the Union, a great and affectionate respect 
for his virtues, talents and attainments. 

A natural consequence of his growing reputation 
as a practitioner and clinical lecturer, was a great 
increase of private pupils. He was seldom without 
one or more students, even from the commencement 
of his practice ; but it was not till the year 1814 or 


1815 that this number became considerable. From 
this period they rapidly increased till they amounted 
at length to about thirty ; a number at that time 
quite unprecedented in this country among physi- 
cians not immediately connected with the great medi- 
cal schools, and equalled, I believe, only in one in- 
stance when this advantage was possessed by the 
teacher. Young men came to study with him from 
the various parts of the Union ; but the greater 
number were from Philadelphia and its immediate 
neighborhood ; and as this was the place where he 
was best known, and no extraneous motives in- 
fluenced the choice of the pupils, the fact speaks 
strongly in favor not only of his reputation, but also 
of his real merit. Among the present practitioners 
of this city, there are, I presume, more of his for- 
mer pupils, than of those educated by any other 
physician. He was in the habit of lecturing to the 
young gentlemen in his office twice a week during 
almost the whole year, in the winter upon surgery, 
and in the summer on the practice of medicine ; 
giving in his lectures not so much that elementary 
knowledge which is to be derived from books, as th6 
result of his own experience and reflection. 

About the year 1818, he was induced by the great 
increase of his pupils, and by his own oppressive 
engagements, to procure assistance in the instruction 
of his class, especially in those elementary branches 
of medicine which, though apt in their minutiae to 
escape the recollection of practitioners, are never- 
theless indispensable to the student as the basis of all 
professional knowledge. The extent of this aid was 


gradually increased, till at length courses of lectures 
were delivered every year upon Chemistry, Anatomy 
and Materia Medica, to which Midwifery was after- 
wards added ; as he himself never cultivated this 
branch of our art, and did not feel himself compe- 
tent to teach it. Besides lectures, a regular series 
of minute examinations upon all the different branch- 
es of our art was also instituted ; so that a complete 
system of private instruction sprung up under his 
hands, which, if not antecedent to others of a simi- 
lar character, was certainly original with himself and 
those who assisted him. Dr. Parrish, therefore, may 
be looked upon as one of the founders of that com- 
bined and more thorough scheme of private medical 
tuition, which constitutes a distinguishing profession- 
al feature of our city and our times ; and upon this 
ground alone would have claims to a most favoral^le 
place in our relations. 

He sustained this system of medical instruction 
with a number of pupils varying from ten to thirty, 
till the year 1830, when he yielded to the influence 
of an institution conducted upon a plan somewhat 
similar to his own, but combining the talent and pro- 
fessional weight of some of the most prominent phy- 
sicians in this city, of whom, moreover, several had 
the advantage of being connected with the most 
flourishing medical school in the country. 

But his peculiar abilities as a lecturer were not yet 
lost to the medical community. An association of 
physicians was formed called the ' Philadelphia Asso- 
ciation for Medical Instruction,' at the head of which 
he allowed his name to be placed, and in which he 


continued to labor faithfully as long as it existed. 
The object of this association was not to compete 
with the public schools, but merely to afford to the 
private pupils of the members those advantages which 
were enjoyed by others, and which it was not in the 
power of one individual to bestow. It continued in 
successful operation for about six years, when it was 
dissolved in» consequence chiefly of the advancing 
age of its chief supporter, who began to feel that he 
had borne his share in the burthens of the day, and 
was justified in withdrawing from a portion, at least, 
of the labors, which, though they had not surpassed 
his energies or will in the prime of life, began now 
to press heavily upon him. 

Though occupied as we have seen. Dr. Parrish 
found time to contribute various medical and surgi- 
cal papers to the journals, all of which are charac- 
teristic of his practical tone of mind, and some 
highly valuable. They are contained chiefly in the 
Eclectic Repertory, of which he was one of the edi- 
tors, and in the North American Medical and Surgi- 
cal Journal. Among them may be mentioned, as 
worthy of special attention, ' Observations on a pe- 
culiar catarrhal complaint in children.' ' On infan- 
tile convulsions arising from intestinal spasm.' ' On 
mammae liable to be mistaken for cancer.' ' On 
pulmonary consumption,' and, ' On the connection 
between external scrofula and pulmonary consump- 
tion.' His remarks on the last mentioned disease are 
highly interesting, not only from their intrinsic value, 
but also from the fact that his views in relation to its 
treatment, were justified by the result in his own case. 


Attacked when a young man, by a complaint of the 
chest, which he beheved to be of a consumptive cha- 
racter, instead of confining himself to his chamber, 
and going through a long course of medicine, as was 
then fatally common, he adopted the plan which he 
always recommended to his patients, of vigorous ex- 
ercise in the pure air. Most of you recollect the 
unpretending vehicle in which he was accustomed to 
pay his daily professional visits. It was without 
springs, and its jolting movement over our rough 
pavements was any thing but comfortable to its occu- 
pants. This, however, was its recommendation with 
the Doctor, who thus imitated as nearly as possible, 
the effects of horseback exercise, and combined the 
pursuit of health with that of business. He entirely 
recovered from his pectoral affection. After his 
death, dissection revealed tuberculous cicatrices in the 
upper portion of each lung, and thus proved both 
the correctness of his diagnosis, and the efficacy of 
his plan of treatment. In addition to the above pa- 
pers he republished Lawrence on Hernia with an Ap- 
pendix, and, a few years before his death, put forth a 
work of his own upon Hernia and Diseases of the 
Urinary organs. 

In the midst of his private engagements, he parti- 
cipated largely in the proceedings of those medical 
associations whose constitution and objects he could 
cordially approve. He was long an active member 
of the College of Physicians, in which he held suc- 
cessively the offices of Secretary, Censor and Vice 
President, and in all whose transactions he took a 
lively interest. Of the Medical Society of Philadel- 


phia he was a zealous member, and at the time of life 
in which we are now considering him, was one of its 
most efficient speakers. They who are old enough 
to remember the highly animating scenes which took 
place in tlie Medical Society about twenty years 
since, cannot have forgotten the prominent share in 
the debates taken by Dr. Parrish, nor the life and 
vigor, yet perfect good nature and amiableness which 
chciracterized his style of speaking. His undaunted 
opposition to the assaults which the theory of Brous- 
sais was then making upon the old medical opinions, 
was fruitful in interest and results. It was on one 
of these occasions that he brought before the Society 
the stomachs of recently slaughtered animals, to show 
that those post mortem appearances which had been 
considered as proofs of pre-existing inflammation 
were often present in cases of violent death occurring 
in perfect health. He was for some time Vice Presi- 
dent of the Medical Society. That he did not hold 
a higher station, was owing to an invincible repug- 
nance on his own part to stand in the way of what 
might be considered the just and reasonable claims of 
others ; and not only here, but in all other places, he 
would accept of no office, the access to which might 
be over the disappointed hopes or wounded feelings 
of a medical brother. 

But his sympathies were not confined within the li- 
mits of his profession. In common with the Friends, 
he was opposed to the Institution of slavery, and he 
was averse to capital punishments for any crime. 
Whatever he engaged in he entered into it with all 


his soul. He was a zealous elder in the church to 
which he belonged. 

After having accumulated a sufficiency of this 
world's goods, he gradually curtailed his business. 
There was a short period after he had begun to con- 
tract his business, during which he again put forth all 
his energies and labored with the spirit and activity of 
youth. This was during the prevalence of the epi- 
demic cholera in Philadelphia. At the approach of 
this disease he felt like the veteran warrior, who, while 
resting upon his laurels, hears the distant sounds of 
invasion, and rushes once more eagerly to the con- 

His hfe was at no time a Hfe of idleness. Few 
things were more abhorrent to his nature than mental 
inactivity ; and in his last illness he considered as 
among his greatest trials, that debility of mind which 
he felt to be stealing over him a few days before his 
close. Even in the intervals of business, his intellect 
was ever active. He has often told me that many of 
his peculiar views, both professional and otherwise, 
were the result of his reflection during his solitary 
rides from house to house, in pursuit of his business. 
His last years, therefore, though less cumbered by 
almost overwhelming engagements than those of his 
earlier life, were still fully and profitably occupied. 
Besides attending to his restricted practice, to his 
duties as the father of a large family, and a promi- 
nent member of the church, and the care of a not 
inconsiderable estate, he participated also in various 
public concerns of a useful or charitable character. 


He was especially active in the organization and sub- 
sequent management of the Wills Hospital for the 
lame and blind ; and was President of the Board of 
Managers in this Institution from its commencement 
to the time of his death. 

The practice of operative surgery occasioned him 
often great distress especially in children, upon whom 
he never inflicted pain without appearing to suffer it 
in his own person ; and operations in infantile cases 
at length became so distasteful to him, that he avoided 
them whenever he could do so with propriety. 

Nor was the benevolence of Dr. Parrish merely of 
a passive character. It was, on the contrary, highly 
practical. When he had reason to suspect that his 
patients were poor, he would often endeavor to satisfy 
himself of the truth by the most delicate means in his 
power, and would then contrive, in a manner least 
offensive to their feelings, to avoid receiving compen- 
sation for his services, without leaving behind an 
oppressive sense of obligation. He never, on any 
occasion, exacted payment of a medical fee ; and so 
strong was his aversion to compulsory modes of col- 
lecting debts of this nature, that in his will he ex- 
pressly and strictly enjoins on his executors to put no 
claim on his account of medical services into legal 
suit. He made it a point not to charge for atten- 
dance in cases of injury received by firemen in the 
discharge of their duty. 

Cruelty, oppression, and every form of injustice 
were abhorrent to his nature. This same feeling 
was extended towards the brute creation. The 
animals which he had occasion to use were always 


treated with the greatest kindness ; and the provi- 
sion made in his Will for the old age of a favorite 
horse which had served him long and faithfully, is 
generally known. Old Lyon was a remarkable 
brute, and almost as well known in Pennsylvania 
as his master. The dog-like docility with which he 
followed at the word of the Doctor, and the sagacity 
with which, when left to himself, he moved off with 
the vehicle to some shady spot in summer, or to 
some sheltered position in winter, were subjects of 
almost universal remark. 

In all his pecuniary transactions. Dr. Parrish was 
scrupulously just. He did not feel himself authoriz- 
ed to take advantage of another in a bargain, and 
never incurred any responsibility which he was not 
fully able to meet. His conscientiousness also was 
exhibited in various other ways. 

In his medical lectures he felt himself bound, in 
detailing his experience, not to conceal his mistakes, 
so that the pupil might have the benefit not only of 
his successes as an example, but also of his mis- 
steps as a warning. Few are capable of this mag- 
nani^nity, the great majority being satisfied if they 
tell only the truth, without in all instances telling the 
whole truth. One of the most striking instances of 
the influence of a sense of duty over his conduct, 
was in his declining to take the office of Professor 
of Anatomy in the University of Pennsylvania, which 
he believed and I have no doubt upon the best 
grounds, to have been at one time within his reach. 

To the practice of surgery he was happily adapted 
by the same qualities and in addition, by those essen- 


tial physical requisites, a good eye, a steady hand, 
and general firmness of nerve. 

Towards the sick the deportment of Dr. Parrish 
was most happy. The cheering smile with which he 
accosted his patients, his soothing kindness, his 
encouraging and confident manner while there was 
still ground for hope, and his affectionate sympathy 
and consolation when hope was over, remain indeli- 
bly impressed on the grateful recollection of thou- 
sands in this city. He was frequently consulted by 
his patients in the capacity of a friend and counsel- 
lor as well as physician, and thus became the confi- 
dant of many private concerns, which he always 
considered as a sacred trust committed to his honor. 
He was scrupulously careful never to violate profes- 
sional confidence. Perhaps in no respect did Dr. 
Parrish appear to greater advantage than in his 
relations with his professional brethren. It was one 
of his maxims that no physician could have a satis- 
factory professional standing who disregarded the 
good will and good opinion of his fellow practi- 
tioners. He held in abhorrence that meanness of 
spirit which, for a little apparent profit, would in-, 
sinuate evil of a brother, or even assent by silence 
to a mistaken estimate of his worth. No medical 
man could long remain in a hostile attitude towards 
Dr. Parrish. 

From a regard for his fellow practitioners it may 
be inferred that he had pleasure in meeting them in 
consultation. He had none of the jealousy which 
fears a rival in every person with whom he may be 
associated in attendance, nor of the overweening 


and arrogant self-esteem which owns no falHbihty of 
judgment. It was his custom, whenever he supposed 
his patient or his friends might derive additional aid, 
or when the case was one of a doubtful or embar- 
rassing nature, to offer a consultation ; and when a 
suggestion to this effect came from the patient him- 
self, he always promptly gave his assent, however 
inferior in age and standing might be his proposed 

Another trait which favorably distinguished his in- 
tercourse with the profession, was an extraordinary 
punctuality in the fulfillment of his engagements. In 
consultations he very rarely failed to meet at the time 
appointed ; and so jealous was he of his character in 
this respect, that it was a habit with him to present 
his watch when he was second in entering the house, 
in order to prove that he was not after his time. 

Towards the younger members of the profession 
he conducted himself in a manner calculated to win 
their affection as well as respect. It was a fine trait 
in his character, and one which has endeared him to 
many now present, that when any of his young 
friends, through accident or other cause, acquired a 
footing in families which he had been in the habit 
of attending, instead of feeling unkindly, or endeavor- 
ing in any way to interfere with their interests, he 
seemed to enjoy their success, and took pains to 
strengthen the impressions in their favor through 
the influence which his long professional intercourse 
with the families naturally gave him. 

As a teacher, without having cultivated either rhe- 
toric or oratory as an art, he was a fluent and by no 


means inaccurate speaker, and when under the im- 
pulse of high principles or strong feeling, was often 
truly eloquent, attracting the fixed attention of the 
audience, and carrying their whole sympathies along 
with him. His instructions did not consist of labored 
treatises upon disease, presenting in a regular and 
compact arrangement all that was known upon the 
subject. They were rather vivid pictures of experi- 
ence, in which the pupil was enabled to see the very 
events as they passed, and to see them too with the 
trained eyes of their preceptor. They were made 
to enter into the very case, to share in the reflections, 
hopes and fears of the speaker, and thus to take an 
almost personal interest in the progress and termina- 
tion of the disease. His lessons became, in fact, to 
his pupils, a sort of experience of their own. 

It now remains to consider Dr. Parrish in the 
closing scenes of life. This is the touchstone which 
tries the value of the past, and distinguishes what was 
sterling worth, from the false glitter of profession and 
the deception of self-esteem. He can only be said 
to have been truly happy in life whose end is happy. 
To the friends of Dr. Parrish it is a source of the 
purest satisfaction, that he passed successfully through 
the last and severest trial, and that the close of his 
career was in harmony with its whole course. He 
was attacked in the summer of 1839 by the disease 
which ultimately proved fatal, but continued to attend 
to his various avocations, though somewhat irregular- 
ly, till about the beginning of the present year (1840) 
when he confined himself to his house on account 
of a severe bronchial affection, superadded to his for- 


mer complaint. From this he partially recovered, so 
as to be able to ride out occasionally, and even visit 
patients ; but he suddenly became worse, about the 
close of February, and taking to his bed, continued 
to sink gradually for nearly three weeks, and died on 
the 18th of March, in the sixty-first year of his age. 
Though somewhat lethargic towards the conclusion 
of the disease, he was capable, when roused, of think- 
ing with perfect clearness, and of fully appreciating 
his condition, till a day or two before death. In the 
midst of much bodily distress, and great derangement 
of his nervous system, he preserved unimpaired those 
amiable traits of character by which he was distin- 
guished in health, frequently expressing a grateful 
sense of the kindness of those who administered to 
him, and carefully avoiding any expression which 
could wound their feelings. With the full conviction 
of the fatal character of his disease, and with the 
near prospect of its termination he was perfectly calm 
and self-possessed, made all the necessary arrange- 
ments in his affairs, spoke to his family as a tender 
husband and father solicitous for their present and 
eternal welfare might be expected to speak, and uni- 
formly expressed his reliance upon the goodness and 
mercy of Providence, and his hope of a happy here- 
after. Under the feehng of his utter bodily prostra- 
tion, he used to say to his physicians that he was hke 
a log of wood on the Delaware, floating about at the 
discretion of the winds and waves. At one of their 
latest visits, when hearing and sight were failing, and 
the power of articulation were almost gone, he re- 
peated this expressive figure, and could just be heard 


yV.C. Shm-vsZuh. Bostor. 


to say in addition, ' but even the log on the Delaware 
has its care taker.' Thus the rehance upon a super- 
intending Providence, which was one of the govern- 
ing principles of his hfe, did not fail him in death. 

The almost unprecedented array of his fellow citi- 
zens of all classes who attended his remains to the 
grave, the general expression of regret for his loss, 
and the measures taken by the various bodies to 
which he belonged, to procure some pubhc comme- 
moration of his worth and services, are evidences of 
a general esteem and affection such as seldom fall to 
the lot of individuals unconnected with pubhc life. 
Perhaps no one was personally known more exten- 
sively in the city, or had connected himself by a 
greater variety of beneficent services with every 
ramification of society. It is true that no marble has 
been erected over his remains, and that the very spot 
where they are laid will soon be undistinguishable to 
every eye save that of conjugal or filial love ; yet the 
remembrance which he has left behind him, the only 
monument which the rules of his unostentatious sect 
allow, is far more precious than the praises of carved 
stone, which gold may purchase or power command. 
Should this humble tribute to his worth add in the 
least to the brightness or the direction of that remem- 
brance, the author will feel the sweet reward of hav- 
ing paid a double debt to gratitude and to truth. 

Dr. Philip Syng Physick. I am indebted to a 
memoir of this distinguished American Surgeon, by 
J. Randolph, M. D., of Philadelphia, read before the 


Philadelphia Medical Society, and somewhat abridg- 
ed by Dr. Hays, and published in the American 
Medical Journal for May, 1839, for the data and 
facts on which this biography is founded, and prin- 
cipally for the language also. 

Philip Syng Physick was born in Philadelphia, on 
the 7th of July, 1768. His father, Mr. Edward Phy- 
sick, was an EngUshman, and was characterized for 
possessing strong mental powers, with which were 
united strict integrity and considerable knowledge 
of the world. Previously to the separation of the 
United States from Great Britain, he held the office 
of keeper of the Great Seal of the Colony of Penn- 
sylvania, and subsequently to the Revolution, he took 
charge of the estates belonging to the Penn family, 
and served as their confidential agent. Dr. Physick's 
mother was a most estimable, pious woman, who was 
blessed with a strong intellect, and evinced through- 
out her life, great judgment and decision of charac- 
ter. The Doctor never ceased to feel and express 
the greatest filial love and reverence for those honor- 
ed parents. He frequently declared that he was 
convinced that whatever was most useful and excel- 
lent in his character, was attributable to the early 
lessons and impressions which he imbibed from 

By such parents as these, the greatest care and 
attention would naturally be bestowed upon their 
children. Fortunately, his father had succeeded by 
great industry and attention to business, in accumu- 
lating a property, which in those days was looked 
upon as considerable, and being thus in possession 


of ample means, he was enabled to carry out fully 
the plan of education which he designed for his son. 

In doing so, Dr. Physick informed me that his 
father was influenced by a degree of liberahty very 
unusual in that, or indeed, in any other age. Double 
fees, which he uniformly transmitted to the teacher, 
testified the great importance which he attached to 
a hberal education, and the value which he thought 
should be set upon the sources from which it ema- 
nated. This was not only intended for an encourage- 
ment to the instructor to use his best endeavors on 
behalf of his pupil, but because the donor believed 
the charges for tuition at that day were not a fair 
equivalent for the services rendered. 

Mr. Physick placed his son, when eleven years of 
age, in the Academy belonging to the Society of 
Friends, in South Fourth Street, under the tuition 
of Robert Proud. At this period, Mr. Physick re- 
sided in the country, on the banks of the Schuylkill, 
several miles from the city, at an estate belonging 
to the Penn family. To facilitate the education of 
his son, he boarded him in the city, in the family of 
the late Mr. John Todd, the father-in-law of the 
present venerable Mrs. Madison. Even at that early 
age the subject of our memoir exhibited strong indi- 
cations of those well regulated habits of order and 
method which adhered to him so closely through hfe. 

Young Mr. Physick remained at this academy un- 
til he entered the collegiate department of the Uni- 
versity of Pennsylvania. He then passed through 
the usual course of studies prescribed in that insti- 
tution, and took the degree of Bachelor of Arts in 


May, 1785. In June, 1785, he commenced the study 
of medicine under the superintendence of the late 
Dr. Adam Kuhn, well known as the pupil of Lin- 
naeus, and a most distinguished and successful prac- 
titioner, and then Professor of the Theory and Prac- 
tice of Medicine in the University of Pennsylvania. 
Of the particular motives which influenced young 
Mr. Physick in the choice of this profession, I am 
unable to speak. It does not appear that he at that 
period evinced any strong predilection for this de- 
partment of science. Probably he was in a great 
degree governed by the wishes of his father ; and so 
strong were his feelings of fihal obedience that I am 
very certain that he would at any time readily have 
yielded his own wishes to those of his parents. The 
following anecdote is traditionary in the family. His 
father while handling a knife, had the misfortune to 
cut one of his fingers ; and the wound proved to be 
so severe that he was obliged to engage the services 
of a medical friend. Upon one occasion his son 
begged of him to be permitted to apply the neces- 
sary dressings and bandage to the finger ; his father 
consented, and was so much surprised at the great 
skill and dexterity which his son displayed in making 
the applications, that he determined to make him a 

If it be true that we are indebted so exclusively to 
Mr. Physick for directing his son's attention to the 
study of medicine, to what an immeasurable extent 
does it not increase the amount of obligation and 
gratitude that we owe him ? 

Dr. Physick was remarkable through fife for feel- 


ings of the most acute and susceptible nature. It 
may be truly said of him that he possessed a soul 
feelingly alive to the miseries and sufferings of 
others. He could not himself support pain with an 
ordinary degree of fortitude, and it is undeniable, 
that he was extremely unwilling to inflict it upon 
others. This tenderness of feeling, which existed 
strongly in the days of his youth, continued in full 
force as long as he hved. He used frequently to 
declare at this period of his life, that he could never 
be a surgeon. Little was he aware that he was 
destined to afford a complete illustration of the posi- 
tion, that the practice of medicine and surgery, so 
far from hardening and rendering callous the feelings, 
has a direct contrary tendency, and serves pre-emi- 
nently to soften and refine them. His example, as 
well as the result of our whole experience upon this 
subject, demonstrates that for a man to become a 
great and good surgeon, it is absolutely necessary for 
him to possess to the fullest extent, the best and kind- 
est feehngs of our nature. 

The following incident, which occurred to Dr. 
Physick, and which was in fact characteristic, may 
not be deemed uninteresting. Soon after he com- 
menced the study of medicine, it was announced that 
an amputation would be performed upon a certain 
day, at the Pennsylvania Hospital. His preceptor, 
Professor Kuhn, wished him to witness this operation, 
but understanding perfectly well the peculiar tempe- 
rament of his pupil, he advised his father to accompa- 
ny him ; and fortunately too, inasmuch as Dr. Phy- 
sick became so sick during the operation, that it was 


necessary that he should be led from the amphitheatre 
before it was concluded. 

Dr. Physick continued his medical studies under 
the superintendence of Professor Kuhn, for three 
years. In those days it was customary for the student 
of medicine, previously to obtaining the honors of 
the doctorate, to go through a much more extensive 
course of reading than is now deemed necessary. 
By the direction of his preceptor. Dr. Physick read 
through most diligently and faithfully many volumi- 
nous works of the older medical writers, some of 
which, if not absolutely obsolete at the present day, 
are only used as works of reference. We have abun- 
dance of evidence, that even at that early period of 
life. Dr. Physick evinced the most resolute determina- 
tion to qualify himself by every possible means, for 
assuming a most useful and honorable standing in his 
profession ; and there cannot be a question but that 
he must have gleaned from amidst this great mass of 
laborious reading, much valuable information, which 
he subsequently applied to a most valuable purpose. 

Dr. Physick's whole deportment during his pupilage, 
was so perfectly correct and satisfactory, as to merit 
the entire approbation of Professor Kuhn ; and it is 
well known that Dr. Physick always cherished feel- 
ings of the warmest affection and regard for his vene- 
rable instructor. 

In addition to the instruction which Dr. Physick 
received from Professor Kuhn, he attended, at this pe- 
riod, the medical lectures delivered in the University 
of Pennsylvania. He did not, however, graduate in 
medicine in that institution. The opportunities for 


the acquisition of medical knowledge offered by the 
schools and hospitals of this country, then in its in- 
fancy, were too limited to satisfy either his conscience 
or his ambition. He could not convince his mind 
that his knowledge of medicine was sufficiently en- 
larged to warrant him in assuming the deep and im- 
portant responsibilities attendant upon the practice of 
a profession which involved the lives and happiness of 
his fellow creatures. For the completion of his edu- 
cation, he entertained an ardent desire to visit Great 
Britain, and to avail himself of the advantages which 
were afforded by the great schools and hospitals of 
London and Edinburgh. His father happily coincid- 
ed with these views and determined upon accompa- 
nying his son to Europe. Accordingly they embark- 
ed in November, 1788, and arrived in London in 
January, 1789. 

Dr. Physick's sole object in going abroad was to 
acquire medical information. He had no desire to 
partake of the gaieties and amusements of an Euro- 
pean capital. Fortunately for Dr. Physick, his fa- 
ther's connexions in London were such, that he was 
enabled to introduce his son to some of the most 
learned and polished society of that great metropo- 
lis. An intercourse of this kind created for him an 
influence and gave him opportunities by means of 
which his cherished views were considerably promot- 
ed. All who ever saw Dr. Physick must have been 
struck with the exceeding dignity and courteousness 
of his manner. For this no doubt he was principally 
indebted to nature, though it must have been improv- 
ed and confirmed by his association with the elevated 


society which he enjoyed whilst abroad. By means 
of this same influence, Mr. Physick succeeded in se- 
curing the consent of Mr. John Hunter, then one of 
the most celebrated anatomists and surgeons of the 
age, to receive the subject of our memoir under his 
immediate care and tuition. 

Dr. Physick considered this the most important era 
in his professional life. He early became convinced 
of the extraordinary advantages which he might de- 
rive from this connection with Mr. Hunter, and pro- 
ceeded accordingly to devote himself with the most 
ardent zeal to the study of practical anatomy and sur- 
gery. By dint of constant and unwearied applica- 
tion to his studies, aided, also, by a course of unceas- 
ing and untiring dissections, he soon made rapid ad- 
vancement in the attainment of his objects, and what 
was also of much consequence, secured to himself 
the approbation and esteem of his great master. 
Mr. Hunter in fact was so well pleased with the zeal, 
industry and correct deportment of Dr. Physick, that 
he took pleasure in acknowledging him as a favorite 
pupil, and bestowed upon him, with the most unre- 
served confidence, the full benefit of his advice and 
experience. During this period Dr. Physick attended 
regularly the lectures delivered by Mr. John Clarke, 
and Dr. William Osborne on Midwifery. 

Among the manuscript papers left by Dr. Physick, 
is a note book kept by him during his stay in Eng- 
land, in which he recorded such facts and incidents as 
came under his observation, which he supposed might 
be of service to him subsequently. 

Dr. Physick continued to prosecute his studies with 


the most exemplary perseverance and industry, un- 
der the immediate superintendence of Mr. Hunter, 
throughout the year 1789. On the first of Jan. 1790, 
he was appointed House Surgeon to St. George's 
Hospital for one year, the usual period of that ser- 
vice in the institution. This appointment he owed 
exclusively to the patronage and influence of Dr. 
Hunter. The advantages of such a situation to the 
student of medicine, in facilitating the acquisition of 
practical knowledge and skill, were of the utmost 
importance, and were so well known as to cause the 
place to be sought after by numerous applicants, 
most of whom, from the circumstance of their Eng- 
hsh birth alone, it might be supposed, could have had 
an influence which would have rendered them suc- 
cessful competitors against a foreigner for the place. 
Here were exemplified in the most happy manner the 
important advantages which Dr. Physick derived from 
the favorable impression which Mr. Hunter had im- 
bibed respecting his general worth, his talents, and 
his acquirements. These considerations induced Mr. 
Hunter unhesitatingly to exert the whole of his in- 
fluence in behalf of Dr. Physick, with what effect 
has been stated. 

A few months after this period Dr. Physick had so 
severe an indisposition, that Mr. Hunter became 
alarmed about him, and was on the eve of insisting 
upon his return to America. This attack, no doubt, 
was principally owing to the laborious life which he 
led, and the close confinement to which he subjected 
himself. Providence, however, for its own wise and 
beneficent purposes, thought proper to restore him 


to health, to the great dehght and gratitude of his 
parents and friends. 

It was during the period of his remaining at St. 
George's Hospital, that Dr. Physick acquired a vast 
deal of that surgical skill and dexterity which laid the 
foundation of his subsequent greatness. Having his 
whole time occupied in administering to the wants 
of such unhappy objects as were suffering from the 
effects of accidents or disease ; continually engaged 
in applying the necessary bandages and dressings to 
fractured bones, dislocations, wounds and injuries of 
every description, and seizing hold, as was his invari- 
able custom, of every such opportunity of making 
himself minutely acquainted with the most perfect 
manner of performing these services, he soon became 
remarkably expert in all his manipulations, and ac- 
quired a degree of experience which greatly increas- 
ed his stock of practical knowledge. He indeed ex- 
hibited a degree of neatness and dexterity in the ap- 
plication of bandages and dressings never excelled 
probably by any other surgeon. 

During the period of his services in this institution, 
he learned also the manner of constructing and con- 
triving several kinds of instruments and apparatus 
which he subsequently was the first to introduce into 
this country, to the great benefit of our art. 

An anecdote frequently related to me by Dr. Phy- 
sick, connected with his early appointment to St. 
George's Hospital, I may be pardoned for mention- 
ing here, notwithstanding it has already been promul- 
gated from another source. His success in obtain- 
ing this situation caused some slight degree of dis- 


satisfaction on the part of some of the disappointed 
appHcants, who conceived that their claims for the 
situation were stronger than his. In consequence of 
this, Dr. Physick perceived that they evinced uncom- 
mon curiosity respecting his manner of discharging 
his duties, and were disposed to scrutinize his ac- 
tions with the greatest strictness. A short period af- 
ter commencing his services, a patient was admit- 
ted into the hospital with dislocation of his shoulder, 
the head of the humerus being lodged in the axilla. 
Fortunately the accident was quite recent. It so 
happened that at the time the man was admitted, the 
whole class were in attendance at the house. They, 
of course, were exceedingly anxious to witness the 
manner in which the reduction could be effected, and 
Dr. Physick was well aware that his method of re- 
storing the bone to its natural position would be se- 
verely criticised. He directed the patient to be 
seated on a high chair, and then proceeded to exam- 
ine the injured shoulder, questioning the man as to 
the manner in which the accident had occurred. 
Whilst making these inquiries, he placed his left 
hand in the axilla, and taking hold of the lower end of 
the humerus with his right hand, he made all the ex- 
tension in his power, then suddenly depressing the 
elbow of the patient, he dislodged the head of the 
bone, which glided instantaneously into the glenoid 

In relating this incident. Dr. Physick never assum- 
ed to himself much merit for his success, but rather 
ascribed it, in a great degree, at least, to the favorable 
nature of the case. His characteristic modesty, how- 


ever, induced him to underrate his services ; his suc- 
cess was doubtless principally owing to that unrivalled 
address and dexterity of which he subsequently prov- 
ed himself so complete a master. The treatment of 
this case produced the most happy influence in pro- 
moting the interest and comfort of the Doctor during 
his stay in the Hospital. He stated that from that 
time forward he always enjoyed the uninterrupted 
regard and respect of the medical class. 

In January, 1791, the period for which he had 
been elected to St. George's Hospital having expired, 
he quitted the institution, carrying with him the 
warmest testimonials from its proper authorities, of 
his medical qualifications, and also of his general 
good conduct. They went so far as to declare, that 
instead of considering him to lie under any obliga- 
tions to the institution, they considered the institution 
indebted to him for the many benefits he had confer- 
red upon its unhappy inmates, and for the useful re- 
sults which had been produced by his singular zeal 
and abilities. He now received his diploma from the 
Royal College of Surgeons in London. 

Soon after leaving St. George's Hospital, Dr. Phy- 
sick received from Dr. Hunter a mark of respect and 
esteem, which was in the highest degree gratifying to 
him, and more particularly as it furnished conclusive 
evidence of Dr. Hunter's entire confidence in his 
professional skill and attainments. Mr. Hunter invit- 
ed him to take up his residence with him, to become 
an inmate of his house, and to assist him in his pro- 
fessional business ; he also held out inducements to 
him to establish himself permanently in London. 


Notwithstanding the tempting nature of these of- 
fers, and the great advantages which Dr. Physick 
might have derived from accepting, it did not com- 
port with either his own designs or those of his fa- 
ther, that he should exile himself from his native 
country. In accordance with the plan previously laid 
down for the completion of his medical education, he 
was to visit Edinburgh, in order to graduate in medi- 
cine in the University of that city. He, however, 
gratefully accepted Mr. Hunter's invitation to reside 
with him until this period should arrive ; and accord- 
ingly he remained with Mr. Hunter, and assisted 
him, not only in his professional business, but also in 
the prosecution of his physiological experiments, and 
the making of anatomical preparations, until May, 
1791, when he took his final leave of London. I 
may notice that his father had, previously to this peri- 
od, returned to America. 

The parting between Mr. Hunter and Dr. Physick 
was painful to the latter to an extreme degree, and 
certainly the most distressing event which occurred to 
him during his stay in London. The ties which 
bound him to Mr. Hunter were of no ordinary de- 
scription. Mr. Hunter had not only extended towards 
him the warmest friendship and regard, but had also 
conferred invaluable benefits upon him by giving him 
the advantages of his powerful aid and influence, and 
by promoting, by all the means in his power, his medi- 
cal researches. These obligations could only be ac- 
knowledged on the part of Dr. Physick, by the most 
sincere and ardent devotion to his beloved preceptor ; 
and in fact the admiration felt for Mr. John Hunter 


by Dr. Physick. amounted to a species of veneration ; 
he never ceased to consider him as the greatest man 
that ever adorned the medical profession. Could his 
honored master have been permitted to witness the 
closing career of his pupil, he would have felt himself 
amply recompensed by the rich harvest of fame and 
usefulness which the latter had gathered, in conse- 
quence of his valuable aid and instructions. 

Immediately after his arrival in Edinburgh, Dr. 
Physick entered with his usual ardor upon the prose- 
cution of his studies. He attended very diligently 
the medical lectures delivered in the University, visit- 
ed constantly the Royal Infirmary, was a careful ob- 
server of the practice pursued in that Institution, and 
witnessed all the operations there performed. In 
May, 1792, having complied with all the requisitions 
demanded by the University, he obtained the degree 
of M. D. The subject of his thesis was apoplexy ; 
and in compliance with the established regulations, it 
was written in the Latin language. The original 
manuscript of this essay which he first wrote in Eng- 
lish, is now in my possession, and bears the most 
satisfactory evidence of having been prepared with a 
vast deal of careful attention. 

To show the familiar knowledge of the Latin 
language which Dr. Physick possessed, I may relate 
the following anecdote. It is well known that the 
examinations for a medical degree in Edinburgh are 
conducted in Latin ; and that there are many appli- 
cants for the honor who from not possessing a suffi- 
cient knowledge of that language, are compelled 
to have recourse to the aid of a class of men termed 


grinders, whose occupation consisted in preparing 
students, by a system of drilling which should render 
them competent to reply to such questions as were 
likely to be put to them. It so happened that, a 
short time previous to the examination. Dr. Physick 
was in company with a fellow student from this city, 
and in reply to some allusion made by his companion 
to these grinders, the Doctor stated that he should 
not seek their aid, but that he was determined to rely 
upon his own knowledge of the language to carry 
him safely through. His companion expressed much 
surprise at this statement, seeming to consider it as 
a vain boast on the part of Dr. Physick ; and he 
intimated his doubts of the Doctor's capabilities, 
inquiring whether he meant to say that he possessed 
a sufficient knowledge of the Latin to enable him 
to carry on a conversation in that language. Dr. 
Physick satisfied him completely by instantly ad- 
dressing him in the Latin, and continuing some time 
to converse with him in that language. 

Dr. Physick returned to his native country in 
September, 1792, and commenced the practice of 
his profession in Philadelphia. His office was situat- 
ed in Mulberry Street near Third. That Dr. Phy- 
sick entered upon his practical career under the 
most favorable circumstances will, I think, be readily 
admitted. 1 have already shown that in addition to 
his own extraordinary qualifications, he had enjoyed 
the most ample opportunities of acquiring know- 
ledge from sources distinguished alike for their ex- 
alted character and superior excellence. Nature also 
rendered her best aid for fitting him pre-eminently, 


by all external advantages, for the successful accom- 
plishment of his objects. His personal appearance 
was commanding in the extreme. He was of a 
medium height ; his countenance was noble and ex- 
pressive ; he had a large Roman nose ; a mouth 
beautifully formed, the lips somewhat thin ; a high 
forehead, and a fine penetrating hazel eye. The 
expression of his countenance was grave and digni- 
fied, yet often inclined to melancholy, more espe- 
cially when he was engaged in deep thought, or in 
performing an important and critical operation. Dr. 
Physick rarely indulged in excessive mirth ; he was, 
however, far from being insensible to playful humor, 
and on such occasions his countenance would be 
hghted up by a benign smile, which altered entirely 
the whole expression of his features. His manner 
and address were exceedingly dignified, yet polished 
and aflfable in the extreme, and when he was engag- 
ed in attendance upon a critical case, or a surgical 
operation, there was a degree of tenderness, and at 
the same time a confidence, in his manner, which 
could not fail to soothe the feelings and allay the 
fears of tlie most timid and sensitive. 

During a period of general distress, the yellow 
fever being prevalent, history has at all times shown 
that the minds of the people are very apt to become 
excited and inflamed, and some threatening indica- 
tions of riotous conduct having been exhibited, while 
Dr. Physick was serving in the Bush Hill Hospital, 
he was created an Alderman by the Governor of 
Pennsylvania, for the purpose of enabhng him to 
quell disturbances. 


The publicity which Dr. Physick obtained, to- 
gether with the favorable impression which he pro- 
duced during his residence in the hospital, led to 
acquaintances which subsequently assisted in promot- 
ing his professional success. Among others whose 
lasting friendship he then secured, was that of our 
late fellow citizen, Stephen Girard, at that melancho- 
ly epoch a member of the Board of Health, and who 
rendered the most important services throughout the 
epidemic, in alleviating the miseries and providing 
for the wants of the unhappy sufferers ; services 
which should never be forgotten. 

After leaving the hospital he removed to the city 
and gave his undivided attention to his professional 
engagements. In the year 1794, Dr. Physick was 
elected by the managers of the Pennsylvania Hos- 
pital, one of the surgeons to that institution. This 
period was the dawn of his great surgical fame and 
usefulness. The reputation sustained by the Penn- 
sylvania Hospital for a long series of years, not only 
for the amount of benefits which it has conferred, but 
also on account of its excellent administration, are 
so well known as to render superfluous any encomi- 
astic notice of it on my part. That Dr. Physick 
contributed largely to the support of its character 
and reputation, can be readily shown by a record of 
his services. It must be admitted, however, that his 
appointment to the hospital had a considerable in- 
fluence in promoting his success, and leading to an 
extension of his business. The situation enabled 
him to add greatly to his stock of experience, and 
afforded him ample opportunities of perfecting him- 


self in the operative department of his profession. 
I have already stated that in his manual procedures 
he exhibited the utmost degree of neatness and dex- 
terity. Dr. Physick possessed pre-eminently all the 
qualifications requisite for a bold and successful ope- 
rator. His sight was remarkably good ; his nerves 
Vi^hen braced for an operation, were firm and immo- 
vable ; his judgment was clear and comprehensive, 
and his resolutions once formed, were rarely swerved 
from. In addition to these he owed much to his 
thoughtful and contemplative cast of character, which 
induced him to deliberate and reflect intensely upon 
all the circumstances of his case, and to make ela- 
borately before hand every preparation which might 
become needful in the performance of his task. 

In order to appreciate fully and correctly the 
amount of contributions made by Dr. Physick to the 
department of surgery, it is important to call to mind 
the imperfect condition of the art in this country, at 
the period of his commencing his professional career. 
It is well known that the principles of science which 
should govern the treatment of many disorders were 
at that day very imperfectly understood. It is true 
that there were some members of the profession, 
possessed of great merit and learning, who devoted 
themselves especially to the cultivation of surgery. 
These gentlemen were quite competent to the per- 
formance of what were then considered the capital 
operations in surgery ; still it must be confessed that 
none of them ever acquired the necessary degree of 
skill and pre-eminence to create an unhmited confi.- 
dence in his abilities. In consequence of this there 


was no head, no rallying point in surgery, an appeal 
to which, when once made, would be regarded as 
decisive. We cannot feel surprised at the compa- 
ratively insignificant position which the science of 
surgery then held, when we reflect, that prior to the 
appointment of Dr. Physick, surgery was not taught 
in this city as a separate and distinct department. 
The professorship of anatomy and surgery were com- 
bined in the University of Pennsylvania, and the duty 
of teaching both branches devolved upon one indi- 
vidual. Under these circumstances it would have 
been extremely unreasonable to expect an efficient 
course of instruction when it is well known that the 
usual period allotted to a course of lectures upon 
either department, as now separated, is confessedly 
too limited. 

Soon after Dr. Physick's appointment to the Penn- 
sylvania Hospital, his mind became engaged in the 
consideration of a class of disorders of which that 
institution then had, and continues to have its full 
proportion, namely, ulcers. The treatment of these 
affections was at that day but little understood by sur- 
geons, and was for the most part exclusively empirical ; 
consequently it was notoriously unsuccessful; and 1 
am sorry to say, that there are good reasons for be- 
lieving that limbs affected with ulcers were not 
unfrequently amputated, which, by a judicious and 
skillful treatment, might have been preserved. 

Dr. Physick during the period of his services in 
the Pennsylvania Hospital made several valuable im- 
provements in the treatment of fractures. Without 
entering minutely into the consideration of these, I 


may refer to his modification of Desault's apparatus 
for the treatment of fractures of the thigh. By in- 
creasing the length of Desault's splint, Dr. Physick 
accomplished a most important object, causing the 
counter-extension to be made more nearly in the di- 
rection of the axis of the limb, and also in keeping 
the patient more strictly at rest. This apparatus of 
Desault, thus modified by Dr. Physick, and with the 
blocks attached to the lower extremity of the splint 
by Dr. Hutchinson, for the purpose of making the 
extension in the direction of the hmb, has been used 
in the Hospital for a long series of years with the 
happiest results. Dr. Physick never ceased to regard 
it as the most complete and successful method of 
treating fractures of the thigh. 

Fractures of the humerus occurring at or near the 
condyles, are exceedingly apt to be followed by a 
projection of the elbow. In some instances the de- 
formity is so great as to give rise to most disagree- 
able consequences, more especially where the acci- 
dent happens to a young female. To Dr. Physick is 
due the credit of having invented a method of treat- 
ment which has succeeded, in many instances, in ef- 
fecting a complete cure, without the occurrence of 
any deformity. This treatment consists in applying 
to the injured Hmb two angular splints, which should 
extend from near the shoulder down to the extremi- 
ties of the fingers. In addition to this, he directs the 
patient to be kept in bed, ' with the arm flexed at the 
elbow, and lying on its outside with the angular 
splints supported by a pillow.' 

In case of fractures of the lower end of the fibula, 


where the accident is accompanied with a dislocation 
of the foot outward, Dr. Physick was in the habit, 
many years since, of treating the fractures upon a 
plan precisely similar to that recommended by Baron 
Dupuytren. To which of these gentlemen is due 
the priority of this invention, I am not able to say. 

In the treatment of dislocations, the highest com- 
mendation is due to Dr. Physick for being the first to 
carry into full effect a plan of treatment, which, 
although originally suggested by Dr. Alexander Mon- 
ro, of Edinburgh, was never put into execution, so 
far as I can learn, prior to its employment by Dr. 
Physick. I allude to the use of copious blood-letting, 
carried, when necessary, even ad deliquium animi, in 
order to produce a complete relaxation of the muscu- 
lar system, and thereby facilitate the reduction of the 
dislocated bone. By this method of treatment, in 
very many instances, old and difficult dislocations 
have been reduced, which otherwise would have been 
irremediable, and limbs thus restored to usefulness. 

In the year 1794, Dr. Physick was elected one of 
the Physicians to the Philadelphia Dispensary ; and 
during the period he held this appointment, he per- 
formed his duties with the strictest fidehty. He sub- 
sequently was appointed one of the consulting sur- 
geons to this institution, and retained the situation till 
the time of his death. 

From a reference to Dr. Physick's papers, it ap- 
pears that his professional engagements increased very 
considerably in the year 1795. About this period his 
prospects of establishing himself in practice became 
exceedingly flattering. During the year 1795, he 


commenced keeping a journal of the most remarka- 
ble and interesting cases which occurred in his prac- 
tice, more especially those of a surgical character. 
This Journal he continued up to the year 1810, 
although in consequence of the multiplicity of his 
engagements about this period, we have to regret 
the number of cases inserted is very considerably 
lessened. The first case recorded in the note book, 
is that of a lady affected with blindness from cataract. 
In this case he performed the operation of extraction 
of the opaque chrystalline lens, with complete suc- 
cess, and restored his patient to sight. 

I may mention here that Dr. Physick's favorite 
operation for cataract, was that of extraction, and he 
always performed it whenever the condition of the 
eye was favorable. He acquired such a perfect de- 
gree of skill in extracting the lens, that his operations 
were almost invariably followed by success. I am of 
opinion that his operations upon the eye, in conjunc- 
tion with those of stone in the bladder, did as much 
in estabhshing his great surgical character as any 
others which he performed. Operations of this na- 
ture, when successfully executed, in that day, were 
widely known. His first operation of lithotomy was 
not performed, however, until the year 1797. He 
subsequently performed it, as is well known, in nume- 
rous instances, with extraordinary facility and success. 
In performing his first operation of hthotomy, he ac- 
cidentally divided with his gorget, the internal pudic 
artery. The hemorrhage from the wounded artery 
was exceedingly profuse. He immediately compress- 
ed the trunk of the artery with the fore finger of his 


left hand, next passed the tenaculum under it, and a 
hgature was then cast round it, and finally tied. This 
of course arrested the hemorrhage, but the ligature 
included along with the artery a considerable portion 
of the adjacent flesh. To obviate this inconvenience. 
Dr. Physick subsequently contrived his celebrated 
forceps and needle for carrying a ligature under the 
pudic artery. Since that period this instrument has 
been in general use for securing deep seated vessels. 
It has twice been successfully employed in the opera- 
tion of tying the external iliac artery ; in the first 
instance by the late lamented Dr. Dorsey, a favorite 
nephew of Dr. Physick, and one to whom he was 
ardently attached, and in the second instance by my- 
self. No higher commendation could be bestowed 
upon this instrument than may be inferred from the 
numerous modifications which have since been made 
of it. I must be permitted to declare that, in my 
opinion, the original instrument, as designed by Dr. 
Physick, has never been equalled, either in point of 
ingenuity or utility. 

During the years 1797, 1798 and 1799, the yellow 
fever reappeared in our city, and Dr. Physick was 
again found in the foremost rank of those who had 
to contend against its ravages. Whilst engaged in 
the performance of his duties in the year 1799, he 
was attacked himself for the second time with the 
fever, and his illness was so severe that for some time 
but shght hopes were entertained of his recovery. 
His convalescence was exceedingly slow, and he was 
left in such an enfeebled state that he was advised by 
his medical friends to make an excursion into the 


country, in order to recruit his strength. He accord- 
ingly took this opportunity of paying a visit to his 
brother, who was hving upon a beautiful farm situat- 
ed upon the banks of the Susquehanna, in Cecil 
county, Maryland. He was somewhat amused, whilst 
performing this journey, at being informed by an inn- 
keeper on the road, that Dr. Physick of Philadelphia 
was dead. His health was greatly benefited during 
the period of his sojourn with his brother, and it ap- 
pears that he conceived a warm attachment to the 
place, inasmuch, as after the death of his brother, 
many years subsequently, he became the purchaser 
of the estate, and during the latter years of his life 
he was accustomed to spend a part of every sum- 
mer upon it. 

During the prevalence of yellow fever in 1798, 
Dr. Physick was again resident physician at the Bush 
Hill Hospital, and upon leaving the institution, after 
the subsidence of the epidemic, he was presented in 
a flattering manner by the board of managers, with 
some valuable silver plate as an acknowledgment 
of their ' respectful approbation of his voluntary and 
inestimable services.' 

The year 1800 formed a most eventful one in the 
life of Dr. Physick. During this year he formed a 
matrimonial alliance with Miss Elizabeth Emlen, a 
highly gifted and talented lady, and daughter of one 
of the most distinguished ministers of the Society of 
Friends. By this marriage he had four children, two 
sons and two daughters, all of whom are now living. 

In the year 1800, a request was made to Dr. Phy- 
sick, in writing, by a number of gentlemen engaged in 


attending the medical lectures delivered in the Uni- 
versity of Pennsylvania, that he would lecture to 
them on surgery. No man could feel more deeply 
tlie solemn responsibilities attendant upon such an 
enterprise than Dr. Physick. After mature delibera- 
tion, however, he determined to accede to their re- 
quest, and this may be considered as the commence- 
ment of his labors as a lecturer. 

The following anecdote will exemplify the ardor 
and zeal with which he entered upon the performance 
of his duties, and it illustrates also most happily the 
great advantages which may be derived from a word 
of encouragement and approbation, coming from a 
source in which entire confidence is reposed. 

After preparing the lecture introductory to his 
course, he committed it to memory. Among the per- 
sons invited to be present, was his valued friend, Dr. 
Rush. The scene was a trying one to Dr. Physick. 
It was the first time he had ever publicly addressed an 
audience. I have been informed, however, that he 
acquitted himself extremely well. At tlie close of 
the lecture. Dr. Rush stepped up to him, gave him 
his hand, and congratulated him upon his success, 
saying to him emphatically, ' Doctor, that will do, 
that will do, you need not be apprehensive as to the 
result of your lecturing. 1 am sure you will succeed.' 
Dr. Physick never forgot Dr. Rush's kind manner to 
him on this occasion. He assured me that it exerted 
a considerable influence in strengthening and con- 
firming his resolutions to persevere. It is needless 
for me to say that Dr. Rush's predictions respecting 
Dr. Physick's ultimate success in lecturing, were ful^ 


filled to the utmost. Five years subsequently to that 
period, the Professorship of Surgery was created in 
the University of Pennsylvania, and Dr. Physick was 
elected to the chair. 

In the year 1801, Dr. Physick was appointed ' Sur- 
geon Extraordinary^'' and also one of the physicians to 
the Philadelphia Almshouse Infirmary. In 1802 he 
published in the New York Medical Repository, a 
case of hydrophobia. In this communication he 
gives an account of the appearances observed on 
dissection ; and as a means of affording relief in 
similar cases, he suggests, in conjunction with other 
remedies, the propriety of performing the operation 
of tracheotomy. I am not informed that he ever had 
an opportunity of testing the value of the foregoing 
suggestion, by the performance of the operation. 

About this period it may be said that the talents 
and acquirements of Dr. Physick began to be exten- 
sively known and appreciated, not only by the mem- 
bers of his own profession, but also by others. I may 
mention that in 1802 he was elected a member of the 
American Philosophical Society, a well merited tri- 
bute due to his rising greatness. 

This year Dr. Physick devised and executed an 
operation which forms one of the most brilliant 
achievements in modern surgery, and has been pro- 
ductive of the most beneficial results to suffering 
humanity. On the 18th of December, he performed 
in the Pennsylvania hospital, his celebrated operation 
of passing a seton between the ends of an ununited 
fractured humerus, for the purpose of causing a 
deposition of callus, and thereby producing the con- 


solidation of the broken bone. The patient was a 
seaman who had had the misfortune to fracture his 
left arm, eighteen months previously, whilst at sea, 
and in consequence of the bones not having united, 
the limb was rendered nearly useless. At the expi- 
ration of five months after the performance of the 
operation, he was discharged from the hospital per- 
fectly cured. Dr. Physick published an account of 
this case in the Medical Repository of New York, 
vol. I., 1804, and it was republished in the Medico- 
Chirurgical Transactions of London, 1819. Twenty- 
eight years after that the Doctor was accidentally 
called to see this same man, who was sick with inter- 
mittent fever. Upon questioning him he informed 
him that the arm which had been broken was quite 
as strong as the other arm, and that he had never 
sustained any inconvenience from the operation. 
The man died, and having obtained permission to 
make a post mortem examination, I procured his 
humerus which I still have in my possession, and 
regard it as one of the most interesting and valuable 
pathological specimens extant. At the place of frac- 
ture the two ends of the bone are perfectly conso- 
lidated by a mass of osseous matter, in the centre of 
which there is a hole, through which the seton had 

Dr. Physick's private journal, and also a book of 
cases kept by his nephew. Dr. Dorsey, clearly evince 
that at this period. Dr. Physick was occupied in 
attending to a most extensive and laborious prac- 
tice. In Dr. Dorsey's note book are recorded the 
most interesting cases and operations occurring in 


the practice of Dr. Physick, to which he was a 

It has always been a subject of deep regret with 
the profession, that Dr. Physick should have evinced 
throughout the whole of his hfe such an extreme 
reluctance to the publication of the results of his 
valuable observations and experience. What a fund 
of knowledge has in this manner been permitted to 
pass away, which might have been happily applied 
to ameliorating the miseries of humanity ? Strange 
as it may appear, 1 unhesitatingly assert that posthu- 
mous fame was not sought after by Dr. Physick. I 
am well convinced, however, that in the latter years 
of his life, he regretted very much himself that he 
had not published more for the benefit of his fellow 
beings ; but at this period his disinclination and 
habits had become so confirmed that it was impos- 
sible for him to change them. 

From the paucity of Dr. Physick's communica- 
tions, and their considerable value, I make no apo- 
logy for briefly noticing them. It has been necessary 
to collect them from various journals. I consider it 
unnecessary to enlarge upon them, however, inas- 
much as my friend. Dr. Benjamin Horner Coates, 
is engaged in preparing an edition of Dr. Physick's 
works, with commentaries on his doctrines and prac- 

In Dr. Coxe's Medical Museum, vol. I., for the 
years 1804-5, there are published by Dr. Physick 
three papers communicating cases occurring in his 
practice, together with practical suggestions, and by 
Mr. Bishop too, giving an account of improvements 


and modifications upon instruments made after the 
directions of Dr. Physick. 

In the first paper, Dr. Physick communicates the 
particulars of a case of varicose aneurism, occurring 
at the bend of the elbow, in consequence of the arte- 
ry being wounded in the operation of venesection, 
the lancet being pushed into the vessel, through the 
vein. He performed an operation, tied the artery 
above and below, and cured the patient. (See an 
account of the case, with a plate, in the Museum 
above referred to.) 

The second publication was a description by R. R. 
Bishop, surgeons' instrument maker, of the gorget, 
as constructed according to Dr. Physick's plan. This 
has already been spoken of in this memoir. (See a 
plate of this gorget in vol. I. of the Med. Museum.) 

The third pubhcation in the Medical Museum was 
exceedingly valuable and interesting, being the first 
annunciation of a new method of treatment, suggest- 
ed by Dr. Physick, for the relief of a formidable dis- 
ease, and one which had previously baffled the skill 
of the most experienced physicians. In this commu- 
nication, Dr. Physick recommends the use of blisters 
for the purpose of arresting the progress of mortifi- 
cation. In this paper Dr. Physick gives an account 
of two cases of mortification which came under his 
own notice, in which he applied blisters to the morti- 
fied parts, with the most beneficial effects. Since 
that period, blisters have been frequently employed for 
the purpose of arresting the progress of gangrene 
and mortification, with the most successful results. 

The fourth pubhcation consists of a description by 


R. R. Bishop, of the curved bistoury, as improv- 
ed by Dr. Physick for the operation of fistula in 
ano, with a plate. (See Med. Mus. vol. I.) This well 
known instrument, thus modified by Dr. Physick, com- 
bines the advantages of both the blunt and sharp 
pointed bistoury. Since the period of its invention 
it has been in general use. 

In the fifth communication Dr. Physick describes 
the history of a case of luxation of the thigh bone 
forward, and the method which he employed for its 
reduction ; and the paper is accompanied by a plate. 

(See Med. Mus. vol. I.) 

In the year 1805 the chair of Surgery was made 
distinct from that of Anatomy, and Dr. Physick was 
elected, I beheve unanimously. Professor of Surgery. 
I presume it will not be denied, that however great 
tlie advantages might have been which accrued to 
Dr. Physick in consequence of his being appointed 
Professor of Surgery in the University of Pennsylva- 
nia, the institution itself derived equal advantages 
from his connection with its medical faculty. It is 
certain, that soon after his appointment, the number 
of students who resorted to this city to attend the 
medical lectures greatly increased. Although the 
University at this time contained men of the most re- 
splendent talents, who undoubtedly did much towards 
establishing the fame of that school, still it is worthy 
of record, that the zenith of Dr. Physick's fame and 
usefulness was the period at which the University of 
Pennsylvania obtained the acme of its reputation. 

It is almost impossible to conceive of the great 
amount of labor he was in the habit of performing 


daily during this period of his hfe. He has frequent- 
ly told me that it was his custom, throughout the win- 
ter months, to rise at four o'clock in the morning. 
This hour being too early to disturb a servant, he was 
obliged to arrange his own fire. He would then sit 
down to his desk and prepare his lecture for the day ; 
after which he would dress himself, and then take his 
breakfast, and leave his house between eight and nine 
o'clock to attend an extensive and laborious practice. 
In addition to all this, he discharged his duties as Sur- 
geon to the Pennsylvania Hospital, and to the Alms- 
house Infirmary. He used often to remark, that in 
order to obtain entire success as a practitioner of me- 
dicine, it was necessary to work hard. He told me 
that in London this idea was conveyed by the empha- 
tic expression, Mr. , or Mr. , is working his 

way into business.' It will be conceded that no por- 
tion of his success ever came to him gratuitously ; on 
the contrary, he made laborious exertions to obtain it. 
Dr. Physick's manner as a public lecturer was ex- 
tremely grave, dignified and impressive. His style 
was clear, ^mple, and chaste. He was uniformly 
careful not to say too much. His choice of language 
was remarkably good, and he possessed the happy 
faculty of communicating knowledge agreeably and 
clearly to a degree which I have never known sur- 
passed. Perhaps one great reason for this was that 
he never undertook to instruct others upon subjects 
which he did not clearly comprehend himself. He 
attempted no display of oratory ; neither did he per- 
mit his reason and imagination to run wild in the re- 
gions of theory and fancy. He found much better 


employment for his mind in constantly studying the 
realities of Hfe, and in reflecting upon the best me- 
thods of promoting the welfare of his fellow crea- 

His lectures were carefully prepared and written out. 
He did not at all approve of extemporaneous lecturing ; 
as he thought that in lecturing upon scientific subjects, 
and more especially such as involved the lives of our 
fellow beings, no man had a right to place so much con- 
fidence in the strength of his memory as is implied in 
that practice. (In this sentiment I perfectly agree with 
him.— S. W. W.) 

Dr. Physick's course of lectures on surgery was 
eminently valuable from being founded principally 
upon his own practical knowledge and experience, and 
also from his discarding all mean hypotheses ; besides 
which his lectures derived an additional attraction and 
importance from the circumstance that his reputation 
for stern integrity and strict veracity was so well 
known and estabhshed, that whenever he asserted 
facts to be true, they were imphcitly believed. 

As a letter writer he was exceedingly exemplary 
and peculiar. In general his letters were remarka- 
bly brief and pithy. He was excessively annoyed 
at being obliged to read letters of an unmeaning 
and unnecessary length. It was the same with 
respect to books. I have often heard him complain 
of the hardship of being obliged to read through a 
volume of two or three hundred pages, to get at 
ideas which might have been embodied in ten or 

In the third volume of the Eclectic Repository, for 


October, 1812, Dr. Physick published an account of 
a new method which he had employed for the pur- 
pose of extracting poisonous substances from the 
stomach, by means of a stomach pump or syringe. 
Physicians are now so well acquainted with this 
method, that I shall not here attempt to describe it. 

In the winter of 1813-14, Dr. Physick suffered 
from an attack of typhus fever. On this occasion his 
illness was so extreme, that his medical friends de- 
spaired of his hfe for some time. He gradually con- 
valesced, but his constitution did not entirely recover 
from the shock which it then received. From this 
period he never enjoyed what might be called unin- 
terrupted health. 

About the period to which we are alluding, he 
begun to experience certain unpleasant symptoms, 
indicative of a diseased condition of the heart, and 
which eventually terminated in organic affection of 
that organ, and doubtless laid the foundation for the 
hydropic complaint of which he died. 

Among the complicated forms of diseases to which 
he was subjected must also be enumerated a nephri- 
tic disorder, with calculous concretions in the kidney. 
It is impossible for language to describe the pain and 
agony which he frequently endured from passing of 
the small calculi through the water into his bladder. 
Upon one occasion, about ten years previous to his 
death, I knew him to be for near two hours without 
any pulse perceptible at the wrist, in consequence of 
intense suffering, caused by the lodgment of a small 
calculus in the bladder. It remained fixed in this situ- 
ation for some days, and grew to the size of a small 


pea ; it finally passed into the bladder, and was dis- 
charged a few minutes subsequently through the 

Among the improvements suggested by Dr. Phy- 
sick, I should mention that in the Eclectic Repository, 
vol. VI. for the year 1816, he published an account of 
a method which he had proposed for forming liga- 
tures out of animal fibre. The medical world is now 
familiar with his observations on the subject. 

It is my opinion that the period which we are now 
commemorating may be considered as that at which 
his professional engagements had acquired their 
greatest extent. His pre-eminence both as a phy- 
sician and a surgeon, was at that time so generally 
conceded in this city, as to lead to the greatest 
demand for his professional services. In addition 
to this, his surpassing fame and reputation were so 
completely established, and so widely disseminated, 
as to induce strangers from all parts of our country 
to resort to Philadelphia, in order to be benefited by 
his skill and experience. 

It follows, also, as a natural consequence of his 
exalted position, that many persons who could not 
make it convenient to leave their homes, would ap- 
ply to him for his advice and opinions in writing ; 
so that in addition to his other labors, much of his 
time was occupied in keeping up an extensive cor- 

In consequence of his infirm health, he resigned 
his situation as a surgeon in the Pennsylvania Hos- 
pital in 1816, after having held the office twenty-two 
years. A short time before, he had resigned his 


situations in the Philadelphia Dispensary, and Phila- 
delphia Almshouse Infirmary. 

In the year 1819, Dr. Physick resigned his chair 
of Surgery in the University of Pennsylvania, and 
was transferred to that of Anatomy, which had be- 
come vacant the preceding session by the death of 
his nephew, Dr. John Syng Dorsey. It was always 
a source of deep regret with Dr. Physick's imme- 
diate family and friends, that his comforts in the 
evening of his days, and whilst laboring under phy- 
sical infirmities, should be so greatly interrupted by 
translating him from the chair of Surgery to that of 
Anatomy. We had positive assurances from himself 
that the change was contrary to his own wishes and 
inclination ; how far the interests of the institution to 
which he belonged may have been promoted by it, 
I do not mean to inquire. My own impression is, 
however, and I believe I am not singular in the 
opinion, that if he had continued in the chair of 
Surgery up to the period when he retired from the 
University, it would have numbered in its catalogue 
of students many more than it has ever shown. 

In the Philadelphia Journal of the Medical and 
Physical Sciences, vol. I. for the year 1820, Dr. 
Physick gave an account of the method which he 
employed for the removal of scirrous tonsils and 
hemorrhoidal tumors. This consisted in strangulat- 
ing the tumors completely by means of a soft wire 
ligature passed through a double canula, and remov- 
ing the wire at the expiration of twenty-four hours ; 
instead of allowing the instrument to remain applied, 
as was formerly the custom, and the parts separated 


and the wire thrown off, a process requiring a week 
or ten days. Experience has shown this to be a 
valuable improvement on the old way. 

A few years subsequently he became convinced 
that the best method of removing scirrous tonsils 
was by excision. He contrived a very ingenious in- 
strument for this purpose, and also for excising the 
uvula ; a full description of which, accompanied with 
a plate, was published by Dr. Hays, in the Ameri- 
can Journal of the Medical Sciences, vol. I. In vol. 
II. of the same Journal, Dr. Hays, its editor, publish- 
ed the description and plate of a process, invented 
by Dr. Physick, and employed in certain cases to fa- 
cilitate the extirpation of the tonsils by means of this 
instrument. The forceps is so constructed, that the 
tonsil may be seized and drawn through the aperture 
to any distance that may be deemed proper ; when 
its extirpation may be immediately effected. 

The last paper written by Dr. Physick, is one which 
he published in vol. III. of the Philadelphia Jour- 
nal of the Medical and Physical Sciences, in which he 
communicated the particulars of a case of carbuncle, 
with some remarks on the use of the common caustic 
vegetable alkali in the treatment of this disease. 

In the year 1821, Dr. Physick was appointed Con- 
sulting Surgeon to the Institution for the Bhnd. In 
1822 the Phrenological Society of Philadelphia elect- 
ed him its President. In 1814 he was chosen Presi- 
dent of the Philadelphia Medical Society. He held 
this situation until the time of his death. In 1825, 
Jan. 6, he was appointed a member of the Royal 
Academy of Medicine of France ; so far as I know, 


the first American who ever received that honor. In 
1831, in consequence of his declining health, he felt 
it incumbent on him to retire from the active duties 
of the University ; and accordingly he resigned his 
situation as Professor of Anatomy. In acknowledg- 
ment of the extraordinary services which he had ren- 
dered in elevating the character of the school, and in 
promoting the cause of medical science, the institu- 
tion, upon accepting his resignation, conferred upon 
him the highest honor in its power, by electing him 
unanimously, ' Emeritus Professor of Surgery and 

Not the least among the improvements effected by 
Dr. Physick in the methods of treating diseases, may 
be considered his management of affections of the 
joints ; and more especially that condition of the hip 
joint known by the name of ' morbus coxarius,' or 
hip disease. I may mention generally that his prac- 
tice consisted in the application of a carved splint, to 
keep the limb strictly at rest, and prevent the least 
possible motion of the joint, and a course of active 
and long continued purging. 

In the American Journal of the Medical Sciences, 
No. 14, Feb., 1831, I published a detailed account of 
Dr. Physick's method of treating morbus coxarius, 
accompanied by a plate, exhibiting the apphcation of 
the carved splint. The superiority of this method of 
treatment is now so completely established in this 
country, as to lead to its adoption by the profession 

In October, 1831, Dr. Physick performed the ope- 
ration of lithotomy on Chief Justice Marshall. The 


particulars of this most interesting operation have 
been given in the periodicals of the day. 

In November, 1836, he was elected an honorary 
fellow of the Royal Medical and Chirurgical Society 
of London. The conferring of this honor was a full 
acknowledgment of his exalted merits, and justly ac- 
quired reputation, and he did not affect to conceal 
the high gratification which he derived from it. 

It may be interesting to mention that the first and 
the last capital surgical operation which he perform- 
ed, was the extraction of the chrystalline lens for 
cataract. The operation was performed on the 13th 
of August, 1837. I was present, and watched him 
with the most intense anxiety. He was quite collect- 
ed and firm, and his hand was steady, though he was 
laboring under great mental and physical suflfering. 
Whilst witnessing this effort in the cause of afflicted 
humanity, I felt a melancholy conviction that it would 
be the final act of his professional life. 

From this period his complaint went on increasing 
in intensity and violence. The symptoms of hydro- 
thorax became developed to a most painful extent, 
and he suffered extreme agony from oppression at 
his chest and difficulty of breathing ; so much so, 
that sometimes he became unable to lie down in his 
bed for whole nights together, but was obliged to 
stand upon the floor, supported by assistants. His 
malady became uncontrollable, and it resisted the 
most strenuous efforts that professional skill and aflfec- 
tionate attendance could exert. 

Some time previously to his death, anasarca took 
place ; and in consequence of his remaining so much 


in the erect position his lower extremities became 
enormously swollen and distended with serum. The 
integuments at length gave way, and openings form- 
ed, which finally ulcerated and became gangrenous. 
The father of American Surgery expired without a 
struggle on the morning of the 15th of December, 
1837, at twenty minutes past eight o'clock. 

' He gave his honors to the world again, 

'His blessed part to heaven, and slept in peace.' 

It must be admitted that by the community at 
large. Dr. Physick's private character was but imper- 
fectly understood. This was owing to the habits of 
perfect seclusion which he contracted, and to the 
slight intercourse, other than professional, which he 
permitted himself to enjoy with his fellow citizens. 
It must not be supposed, however, that this insula- 
tion arose from moroseness of character, or want of 
inchnation to mingle with society. A satisfactory 
explanation may be afforded by the entire self-aban- 
donment with which he devoted himself to his pro- 
fessional engagements. This formed one of the 
most striking and remarkable points in Dr. Physick's 
character. History probably cannot show an exam- 
ple of a more pure and absolute devotion to profes- 
sional pursuits than he exhibited. 

Previously to performing important surgical opera- 
tions, his feelings were so harrowed up, and he expe- 
rienced so much anxiety, that it was the custom of his 
family to endeavor to prevail upon him to execute 
such operations as speedily as possible, in order to re- 
lieve his mind. 


To those who only saw Dr. Physick as the bold 
and unflinching operator in surgery, his character 
might have appeared cold and unfeeling, but to the 
few who knew him in his private circle, the veil was 
well drawn. It was in the gentle charities of domes- 
tic life, as the tender and aflfectionate parent, or the 
sympathizing friend, that his true character became 
revealed ; and his heart was felt to be keenly ahve to 
the kindest and softest emotions of which human na- 
ture is susceptible. He never appeared to be so 
happy as when surrounded by his children and his 
family ; and indeed I feel assured that this formed 
one of the greatest consolations to him in the midst of 
protracted sufferings. 

In his intercourse with his professional brethren, 
Dr. Physick's conduct was regulated by the strictest 
principles of honor and integrity. Whenever he was 
called in consultation with other physicians, without 
inquiring how exalted or humble their position might 
be, he was scrupulously careful to avoid saying or 
doing any thing which could wound their feehngs, or 
prejudice them in the least in the estimation of their 
patients. He invariably stated his own opinions in a 
frank and manly manner, and was ever willing to pay 
due deference to the opinions of others. Upon all 
occasions he was happy and ready to confer upon his 
fellow practitioners the benefit of his advice and ex- 
perience, whether the information desired had spe- 
cial relation to themselves, or those under their 
charge. He was far removed above the meanness 
of interfering with the patients of others ; and when- 
ever he had it in his power to render a service to a 


younger member of the profession, by a word of en- 
couragement or commendation, it was cheerfully be- 

It was impossible that a man possessed of a mind 
of so reflective and contemplative a character as his, 
should not turn with anxious solicitude to the doc- 
trines of religion, and the contemplation of a future 
state. Religion constituted, in fact, the most engross- 
ing subject of attention during the latter years of his 
life. How far he derived comfort and consolation 
from his religious studies, it is not for me to say. I 
am very certain, however, that a more pure and ar- 
dent seeker after divine truth I never knew. As an 
observer of the principles of strict integrity and mo- 
rality, I believe it will be conceded that he was exem- 
plary to a remarkable degree. He, however, arrogat- 
ed nothing to himself from this source. He express- 
ed to me but a short period previous to his death, that 
he possessed no merits of his own to give him a claim 
to salvation. His humility and self-abasement upon 
the subject of religion were extreme ; and he was 
always wilhng and ready to apply to any source, how- 
ever humble it might be, provided he thought he 
could be enhghtened and instructed by it. 

His course of reading upon theology was very ex- 
tensive ; and unfortunately for him, he read many 
works of a conflicting and contradictory nature. 
The eflfect of this upon one who had, during all his 
hfe, been in search of indisputable evidences, was 
to create at times gloomy and desponding views. 
Yet for many years of his life he was in the uniform 
habit of perusing every morning a portion of the 


New Testament ; and when, in consequence of his 
illness and increasing infirmities, he was incapable of 
so doing, his children were constantly employed in 
reading this and other works of devotion to him. 
During his last illness he derived great pleasure and 
satisfaction from the visits of his friend and pastor, 
Dr. Delancy, whose kind attentions towards him 
were unremitting. I feel assured that the hopes and 
promises of the Christian religion were the greatest 
sources of consolation to him in the closing hours of 
his life, and smoothed his passage to the tomb. 

Dr. James Henry Pierrepont of Portsmouth, 
New Hampshire, was born at Springfield, Mass. I 
am sorry that I am not able to obtain more facts in 
relation to his early history. He was, for many years, 
one of the most distinguished physicians in Ports- 
mouth, where he died in the year 1839. Dr. Smith 
in the 23d vol. of his Journal observes : — ' Were it 
not for a most appropriate and beautiful memoir of 
the late lamented Dr. Pierrepont of Portsmouth, N. 
H., by the Rev. Dr. Burroughs of that town, whose 
eulogy on his life and character exhibits the distin- 
guished moral worth and high professional attain- 
ments of the subject of an excellent discourse, we 
could not have sympathized, as we now do, in the 
great loss sustained by those who have gathered to- 
gether to mourn over the lifeless remains of one 
whom they had delighted to honor. At the special 
request of the medical faculty of the place, Dr. Bur- 
roughs was requested to deliver the eulogy to which 


these observations refer, on the 28th of Jan., 1839. 
It commences thus — ' Colossians^ chap. 4, verse 13. 
The beloved physician,' — and the author shows most 
clearly that the subject upon which he was called 
to speak gave elevation to his own thoughts, and 
thus he was better qualified to impress the listen- 
ing multitude with a profound sentiment of respect 
for the memory of a good man, whose existence had 
been a blessing in his day and generation — one in 
whom there was no guile, and whose firm rehance on 
the Divine promises enabled him to exclaim in the last 
agony of expiring nature — ' O what delightful tran- 

By carefully studying the pages of this performance, 
we perceive that Dr. Pierrepont was not sufficiently 
appreciated in early life. It was a misfortune not to 
have reached the meridian of professional eminence, 
till age in some measure disqualified him for assuming 
that commanding position which youthful ambition 
prompts most men to obtain. He became distin- 
guished too late. This was not his fault, but a mis- 
fortune ; the loss was to a community which might 
have had much of his services, had the constitution 
of his mind and its various powers been seasonably 

Such integrity, parental kindness, universal philan- 
thropy and practical usefulness, as Dr. Pierrepont is 
represented to have possessed, appear to have result- 
ed from a deep conviction of th6 urgent necessity of 
conforming to the requisitions of that Divine system 
of faith which a benevolent Governor of the universe 
has revealed to man in the gospel. Feeling that this 


is but the beginning of an endless existence — a prepa- 
ratory state in which the faculties of the soul are only 
indicating their latent powers, to be unfolded in the 
ceaseless duration of eternity. Dr. Pierrepont was 
too conscientious to waste the precious privileges 
and opportunities of the age to acquire knowledge ; 
thus each succeeding year gave him higher and 
stronger claims upon the confidence and admiration 
of society. 

Peculiar habits of study and untiring devotion to 
the learning of others, prevented him from embody- 
ing his own thoughts and experience ; posterity, 
therefore, will be but partially benefited by his pro- 
found acquirements. Physicians, engaged in the ac- 
tive and generally distracting pursuits of practice, 
have less opportunity than almost any other class of 
persons for constructing finished, permanent, literary 
or scientific records in a country hke this, where all 
is bustle, activity and restless enterprise. Much as it 
is to be lamented that the vast amount he had stored 
in a well disciplined mind is lost now to the world, 
the moral excellence which such an unblemished 
reputation as that of the ' beloved physician' is cal- 
culated to exert, must and will have the happiest 
influence on that wide circle of which he was the 
friend and counsellor. 

Being prepossessed neither in favor of the eulogist, 
or of the eulogized, both of whom were unknown to 
us before taking up* the pamphlet which called forth 
the foregoing expressions, we cannot conclude with- 
out cordially recommending this singularly captivat- 
ing, eulogistic biography to all young physicians. It 

H-C Shar^psJ^rth. Boston . 


points the way to usefulness, teaches the responsibi- 
hties and relations of the profession, individually as 
well as collectively, and lastly, but most triumphant- 
ly, shows the glorious prospects connected with a 
well spent life.' — (See Burroughs' Discourse,) 

Dr. Wright Post. I am indebted to the Bio- 
graphical Memoir of Dr. Post, delivered as an intro- 
ductory lecture before the students in Rutgers Me- 
dical College, New York, Nov. 4th, 1828, by my ex- 
cellent friend. Dr. Valentine Mott, Professor of Sur- 
gery in that Institution, for the following facts in re- 
lation to Dr. Post. The Doctor says : 

' Dr. Post was born at North Hempstead, Queens 
county. Long Island, on the 19th of February, Anno 
Domini, 1766. Of his juvenile habits, I have receiv- 
ed but httle information. It is very possible that if 
some of his early and more intelligent associates 
could now be found, some anecdotes might be ob- 
tained, indicative of his physical temperament, and 
the character of his mind, during the early stages of 
his education. Such traits are by no means uninte- 
resting or unimportant in the delineation of charac- 
ter ; and it is much to be regretted that there is not 
a more general care among parents, teachers and 
friends, to leave behind them such memorials of in- 
fantile dispositions and boyish propensities, as might 
serve as starting points in biography, and valuable 
hints to those who are interested in the science of 
education. But few there are who in these respects 
possess the discrimination of an Edgeworth, or who 


in comprehensiveness of observation, and vividness of 
description, approximate to the talents of Scott. 

The subject of our memoir possessed, as we are 
informed by one of his relatives, a remarkably quiet, 
amiable and accommodating disposition, but was re- 
solute and firm in his purposes, and industrious and 
active, both bodily and mentally. His morals during 
his boyhood, are said to have been very correct. He 
was never known to engage in the mischievous 
sports, or dangerous intrigues, too common at coun- 
try schools, and his mother has been heard to remark, 
that his conduct was never such as to afford her occa- 
sion for uneasiness or trouble on his account. He 
was placed under the tuition of David Bailey, a teach- 
er of respectability in the neighborhood of his parents' 
residence, from whom it is believed he received a por- 
tion of classical instruction, and from whom it may 
be presumed he derived a rather more than ordinary 
taste for learning ; for it was probably from some evi- 
dences of this kind, that his parents were induced to 
place him, at the early age of fifteen, as a student 
with Dr. Richard Bailey, at that time one of the most 
celebrated and skillful surgeons in the city of New 
York. With that gentleman he entered with becom- 
ing diligence on his professional studies ; and al- 
though we are not furnished with any special account 
of his progress, there can be no doubt, that there 
were, both in his early scientific attainments and in 
the general stability of his character, decisive evi- 
dence of great respectability. 

After remaining about four years with Dr. Bailey, 
he was judged, at the age of nineteen, to be a suitable 


candidate for the advantages of a more enlarged 
sphere of instruction. He accordingly proceeded to 
London and became the house pupil of Mr. Sheldon, 
whose reputation as a teacher of Anatomy and Sur- 
gery were at that time deservedly celebrated. 

The acute and playful mind of his London teach- 
er, gave interest to the study, and induced the Ame- 
rican youth to estimate more highly the lessons and 
opportunities which he enjoyed. Those of you who 
have heard the admirable lectures which Dr. Post 
was in the habit of delivering for successive years, 
on the important subject of diseased Spine, and frac- 
tures of the Patella, may remember the frankness of 
his acknowledgments to Mr. Sheldon. They were 
among the master copies of his preceptor's lectures. 
The Monograph of Mr. Sheldon on the last disorder, 
is universally known and appreciated. 

The zeal of the master was soon imparted to the 
pupil. The latter became quickly imbued with the 
love of Anatomy, and it was here that he learned 
those lessons which in time were matured into the 
most masterly use of the scalpel, in the tedious and 
frequently disgusting duties of practical and labori- 
ous dissection. 

His teacher possessed in an eminent degree the 
requisite qualifications for making his pupils excel- 
lent Anatomists. He would often throw aside the 
reserve and formality of a preceptor, and become 
himself the pupil, working with his students with the 
greatest dihgence, and mingling his cares and wants 
with theirs. With such advantages, few young men, 
it may be presumed, with any taste for science, would 


fail to become enamored with his pursuit, and to 
catch a portion of the zeal of a master thus ardent 
and accomplished. 

Such advantages were not lost upon the subject 
of our memoir. He united with great industry and 
patient perseverance, that peculiar readiness in the 
use of the scalpel, which is seldom known to fail in 
producing a consummate Anatomist. 

His first visit to London was in the spring of 1784, 
and he returned in the fall of 1786, having been 
absent about two years and a half; which time he 
spent in attendance upon the Lectures and Hospitals 
of this great metropolis, most of the time residing 
with his preceptor, the illustrious Sheldon. Mr. Shel- 
don on taking leave of his American pupil, presented 
him several beautiful Anatomical preparations, made 
by himself, as tokens of his affectionate regard. 

It does not appear that he resorted to any other 
school or means of instruction, than those which he 
enjoyed in London. As a school of Anatomy and 
Surgery, there were no others in Great Britain which 
could come into competition with it, or afford induce- 
ments to one whose object was mainly a perfection 
in the fundamental part of a medical education. 

Immediately after his return from Europe he com- 
menced the practice of his profession in this city. 
As early as 1787, the year after his return from Eu- 
rope, Dr. Post delivered his Lectures on Anatomy in 
the unappropriated apartments of the New York Hos- 
pital, while the Surgical Lectures were delivered 
by Dr. Bailey. But these efforts were entirely inter- 
rupted by the occurrence of the Doctor's Mob, as it 


has been called. Owing to an imprudent exposure 
of an anatomical specimen by some students, the 
populace broke into the building, and destroyed al- 
most every thing. In 1790, having been four years 
engaged in practice, he married the daughter of his 
preceptor, the distinguished Dr. Bailey, with whom 
he soon after (in 1791,) became associated in the 
practice of Physic and Surgery. 

Dr. Bailey now held the Professorship of Anatomy 
and Surgery in Columbia College ; and as was natu- 
ral to one thus circumstanced, who was anticipating 
a release from those active and onerous duties, he 
looked around him for a successor, and doubtless dis- 
covered in his son-in-law the qualities which afforded 
a most rational promise of success in this important 
and responsible station. Fully aware, however, of 
the great advantages of ample preparation, and with 
a noble view to the future elevation of his youthful 
relative, Dr. Bailey advised his return to London. 

Two years after his marriage, viz., in 1792, he was 
appointed Professor of Surgery in Columbia College, 
at the time that Dr. Bailey was appointed to the Ana- 
tomical chair. 

His appointment to the Chair of Surgery took 
place in the spring of 1792, and immediately there- 
after he sailed again for Europe ; and in addition to 
the further extension of his knowledge, it was a desi- 
deratum witli our traveler to lay the foundation of a 
Museum, which might be rendered subservient to the 
purposes of instruction, when he should afterwards 
assume the business of a teacher. 

In this interesting object he was eminently success- 


ful. The collection which he brought out with him 
on his return, in the autumn of 1793, was then, and 
we believe is still, the largest and rarest in this coun- 

It was during this visit to London, that he enlisted 
as a pupil under the learned and distinguished Cruick- 
shank ; and while attending to his instructions, he also 
availed himself of the lessons of his then assistant 
and director, the late celebrated Dr. Bailey of Lon- 

In this great school, and under these great masters 
it was, that Dr. Post prepared some of the finest and 
most beautiful injections of the absorbent system, 
which we have ever seen. His specimen of the lac- 
teals of the large turde filled with mercury, and the 
delicate and complicated structure of the Testis in all 
its multifarious parts, possess a finish and beauty, 
which are rarely, if ever, surpassed. 

It was at this period that Cruickshank was prose- 
cuting with great zeal, his researches into the hidden 
structure of the absorbent system, and in which the 
merit of his discoveries will be as imperishable as the 
science itself. 

Having again accomplished his visit, and gained 
what appears to have been the exclusive object of his 
ambition, a thorough knowledge of Anatomy and 
operative Surgery, as taught and practised in the 
greatest school in Europe, Dr. Post returned home, 
and entered with great devotedness upon the duties 
of practical life. 

Such accomplishments in the scientific part of his 
profession could not remain long inefficient. His 


practice as a physician was sought after, and his sur- 
gical skill very soon exhibited itself in characters so 
unequivocal as to gain the highest confidence, not 
only of the public, but of his medical brethren, who 
in due time assigned to him, with universal assent, 
the most elevated station in the circle of Operative 
Surgeons in this region of our country. His early 
operations were marked with that freedom of thought 
and action, which could arise only from a thorough 
knowledge of the principles upon which he was pro- 
ceeding — principles essentially dependent upon a mi- 
nute acquaintance with the Anatomy of the parts, 
and of the best modes then known or practised, of 
conducting an operation. 

One of his early performances gained for him no 
inconsiderable share of celebrity both at home and 
abroad. It was the case of a false Aneurism of the 
femoral artery near the ham, from the wound of a 
bayonet. The patient was a respectable farmer of 
West Chester county, a member of the Society of 
Friends, who confiding in the skill and judgment of 
Surgeon Post, resolved to submit to an operation 
which had never been performed in America ; and 
at that time but very seldom in Europe. For this 
purpose he came to the city in the summer of 1796, 
and placed himself at the disposal of the operator. 
It was a triumphant case, as it fully established by its 
successful termination the important principle of the 
immortal John Hunter, the pride and ornament of 
British Surgery. 

The femoral artery was in this case tied, agreeably 
to Hunter's plan, below the middle of the thigh, a 


place sufficiently remote from the disease for the 
artery to unite by kindly adhesion. It has subse- 
quently been common among surgeons, to select the 
lower part of the upper third of the thigh for the 
application of the ligature ; not that the place chosen 
by Hunter was not remote enough from the aneu- 
rism, but because the artery is there not accessible, 
and the operator interferes less with the surrounding 

The patient rapidly and perfectly recovered, and 
survived the operation about thirty years. The grati- 
tude and friendship which he felt for his surgeon, he 
beheved it his duty to testify, by paying him at least 
an annual visit ever afterwards. On one of these 
occasions, he found his benefactor at dinner with a 
company of his friends. He entered the room and 
was urged to take a seat with them, but perceiving 
it was not a convenient time he remarked, ' I have 
come to pay my annual visit, but I will not now in- 
terrupt thee, thou knowest the rest,' and departed. 
What feelings is a communication of such simple 
but pathetic energy not calculated to excite ? Here 
is the proudest triumph of philosophy. It is at such 
a moment, that virtue receives the highest boon 
which this world can bestow. Compared with mere 
pecuniary gratification, such a testimonial of the ' me- 
mory of the hearV is hke ' a spot of azure in a cloudy 

Dr. Post's surgical fame continued to increase with 
his age and experience. His knowledge of the powers 
of art, or more properly, of the remedial powers of 
nature, when its ordinary course is interrupted within 


the limits which science may prescribe, taught him to 
foresee to what lengths a surgeon might attempt to 
go, without incurring the hazards of a too fearful 
responsibility, or of a criminal temerity. 

Long before the distinguished British Surgeon, Sir 
Astley Cooper, established the safety and propriety of 
tying the carotid artery for Aneurism, we have heard 
Dr. Post assert in his lectures, that he believed that 
not only one might be tied for Aneurism, but that 
both might be interrupted by Ugatures, and the pa- 
tient recover. This opinion he lived to see confirm- 
ed by example ; and in two cases did he himself 
contribute to the small stock of facts which the his- 
tory of Surgery at that time afforded. In two cases 
did he operate for Carotid Aneurism upon the plan 
laid down by Sir Astley Cooper, and in both did the 
patients recover. 

Our late esteemed friend, Dr. Dorsey of Philadel- 
phia, was the first person in the United States, who 
performed the great surgical operation of tying the 
external iliac for inguinal Aneurism. Dr. Post was 
the second ; but the case of the latter was much the 
more formidable, as the situation of the tumor and 
the attachment of the peritoneum rendered it neces- 
sary for him to divide the latter membrane to get at 
the artery, thereby opening the peritoneal cavity ; a 
circumstance which greatly augmented the danger 
and difficulty of the operation. 

In this case he adopted the plan of Abernethy and 
Freer, of making the incision nearly parallel with the 
linea alba and little to the outside of a middle line 
between it and the spinous process of the ileum. In 


this way the incision through the parietes is made 
directly upon the peritoneum, and may endanger its 
division. We think the operation has since been 
greatly improved by going through the internal ab- 
dominal ring, by which the surgeon gets readily un- 
der the peritoneum, and the danger of cutting this 
membrane is thereby avoided. 

But the master stroke of Dr. Post in Surgery, re- 
mains yet to be mentioned. It is certainly for the 
honor of our time, for the credit of America, and for 
the pride of our city, that the first successful opera- 
tion of tying the subclavian artery above the clavicle 
on the scapular side of the scaleni muscles, for bra- 
chial aneurism situated so high in the axilla as to make 
it expedient to tie this artery, was first successfully 
performed by him, whose skill and science we are 
now endeavoring to commemorate. To succeed in 
an operation of such delicacy and danger, and which 
had failed in the hands of such master spirits in sur- 
gery as Ramsden, Abernethy and Cooper, was a tri- 
umph reserved for our friend ; and it was certainly an 
achievement, which, if nothing more had been done 
in this country, must have removed the imputation of 
inferiority in one of the most important arts of civili- 
zation and humanity, and furnish the most complete 
rebuke to the taunting inquiry, ' What have your 
American Physicians and Surgeons ever accomplish- 
ed ?' We esteem it our good fortune to have had the 
honor of being selected to assist at this memorable 
and great performance in Operative Surgery. 

We believe we may also claim for our friend the 
exhibition of opiates in large doses in inflammatory 


diseases, long before the publication of Dr. Arm- 
strong's Treatise on Fevers. 

The diligence and success with which Dr. Post had 
availed himself of the opportunities he had enjoyed 
in the study of Anatomy, had fully qualified him for 
assuming the station which had been designed him 
by his friends at home ; and accordingly soon after 
his second return from London, in 1793, an exchange 
of Professorships took place between him and Dr. 
Bailey, who during Dr. Post's absence had lectured 
on both subjects. By this arrangement Dr. Bailey 
taught Surgery, and Dr. Post dehvered the Anatomi- 
cal course, executing for a long time, all his own dis- 
sections, acting as demonstrator and lecturing on the 
art of making and preserving anatomical specimens, 
and daily adding to his cabinet. 

From this time till 1813, he discharged the duties 
of Professor of Anatomy and Physiology, with what 
success we shall presently give our opinion. During 
this long period of more than twenty years, he was 
sustained in the Medical School of Columbia College 
by several eminent coadjutors. For a while in con- 
junction with his preceptor, Bailey, on Surgery, Mitch- 
ill on Chemistry, Hamersley on the Theory and Prac- 
tice of Medicine, and Hosack in the chair of Mate- 
ria Medica and Botany. 

Upon the union of the Medical Faculty of Colum- 
bia College with the College of Physicians and Sur- 
geons in 1813, Dr. Post was appointed to the chair 
of Anatomy and Physiology, in the now concentrated 
Medical School of New York, in conjunction with 
Professor John Augustine Smith. Since this memo- 


rable confederacy of Medical and Surgical talents, 
which also included Macneven and Francis, death has 
summoned away from us the illustrious subject of our 
eulogy, the venerable President Bard, and his asso- 
ciate Vice President De Witt, and Professors String- 
ham and Osborne. 

The station of Professor and Teacher of Anatomy, 
our friend continued to fill through the various modi- 
fications which the Medical School of this city had 
undergone during a period of forty years — and it 
may perhaps be asserted safely, that the distinction 
which he acquired as a teacher of Anatomy has not 
been excelled in this country. 

For perspicuity and accuracy in unfolding the 
complicated structure of the human frame, he was 
peculiarly happy. His habits of patient and perse- 
vering attention laid the foundation for his perspi- 
cuity, so essentia] to the qualifications of a good 
instructor. Multiplied as are the evidences of Dr. 
Post's extensive and accurate knowledge of Anato- 
my, I am happy to add the following fact favored 
me by a friend. 

During Dr. Post's last visit on the continent of 
Europe, he visited with much interest the anatomi- 
cal collections and museums of the renowned medi- 
cal schools of France. At his visit to that of Paris, 
he was deeply engaged in a close examination of 
the great cabinet at that place. In looking at some 
valuable preparations in anatomy, he was struck with 
one which betrayed in his opinion a wrong disposi- 
tion in minute structure. He noticed this to his 
learned friend who accompanied hun. The prepa- 


ration was submitted to examination ; Dr. Post was 
found to be correct, and the preparation was re- 

We are not sensible of ever having hstened, dur- 
ing the course of our studies, to any teacher, either 
in this country or in Europe, whose lessons were 
better calculated than his to furnish accurate infor- 
mation. His elocution, though plain and simple, 
was easy and natural. He rarely, if ever, aimed at 
the graces and elegancies of diction, or soared into 
the regions of imagination. But his delivery, if it 
had not the power of the mountain torrent, or the 
rapidity of the tempest, possessed in general the at- 
tractiveness of the velvet lawn, 

'Shorn by the scytlie and levelled by the roller.' 

The literary acquirements of Dr. Post were not 
very extensive. He entered at so early an age upon 
the special duties of his profession, and pursued its 
avocations with such unremitting industry, but a very 
small portion of his time, beyond that which the 
cares of his family demanded, could have been left 
for literary indulgence or the cultivation of science, 
out of the immediate sphere of his professional obli- 

Hi« constitution was feeble ; and although he kept 
so careful a guard over himself, as rarely in his life to 
be laid up for many days together, yet the fatigues 
of a very extensive practice were beginning so im- 
perceptibly to undermine the remaining portion of 
his physical powers, that he deemed it prudent and 


necessary, about thirteen years before his death, to 
reUnquish his duties altogether for a season and tra- 
vel for health. 

He now made a third voyage to Europe in 1815, 
and after traveling for a few months in several coun- 
tries, but especially in France, visiting the celebrated 
Schools and Hospitals of Paris and Montpelier, he 
returned home with greatly renovated health, and 
resumed, but with more caution and selection, his 
attentions to the calls that were soon accumulated 
upon him. 

It is our belief that few professional men in any 
country ever enjoyed a larger share of the public 
confidence and esteem than Dr. Post ; and certainly 
no man among his professional brethren was ever 
consulted with a more general willingness than he. 
In his intercourse with his fellow practitioners his 
deportment was uniformly correct. He was remark- 
able for great punctuality in his engagements, and 
for a scrupulous exactness and delicacy in his de- 
portment, in all cases in which private advantage is 
too apt to interfere with mutual interests and the 
rights of individuals. He was never on those occa- 
sions officious or overbearing in his views or opin- 
ions, but took pleasure in increasing the confidence 
of patients and their friends in the judgment of their 
physician and surgeon, and appeared gratified by the 
opportunity of thus promoting the respectability of 
the young practitioner. He was therefore empha- 
tically the friend of the junior members of the pro- 
fession. He never trampled upon their rights, nor 
intentionally on their feehngs. 


It will hence be naturally inferred that the moral 
character of Dr. Post was of an elevated order. 
Such we believe was emphatically the fact ; and that 
his moral principles were founded, not upon the 
mere speculations of worldly convenience, but upon 
the essential basis of all sound morality — religious 
conviction. He was a member of the Episcopal 
Church, and amidst the engagements of an anxious 
profession he was strict in his attendance upon pub- 
lic worship ; thus giving the weight of his example 
in support of the important duty of social and reli- 
gious exercise, while in his general intercourse with 
the world he exhibited the fruits of practical Chris- 

He was for many years one of the vestry of the 
church to which he belonged, and at the time of his 
death the senior warden. 

At the annual commencement of the University 
held in April, 1814, the honorary degree of Doctor 
of Medicine was conferred on Dr. Post by the Re- 
gents ; a well merited honor for his varied profession- 
al talents. The recommendation for the testimonial 
in his behalf was unanimously concurred in by all his 
colleagues. In 1816 he was chosen by the Board of 
Trustees of Columbia College one of their body, 
which honor he held till death. Upon the organiza- 
tion of the Literary and Philosophical Society of N. 
York, he was one of their members by charter — he 
held the office of one of the board of Counsellors for 
several years. He was also a member of the New 
York Historical Society. He was for more than 
thirty-five years one of the Surgeons, and a Consult- 


ing Surgeon, of the New York Hospital. He was 
for several years an active officer of the Medical 
Society of the county of New York. 

In 1821, upon the decease of President Bard, he 
was appointed his successor as President of the Col- 
lege of Physicians and Surgeons, which station he 
retained until his resignation of all the offices he held 
in the College, in the spring of 1826. 

The only foreign distinction I have learned was 
conferred upon him, was that of an Associate of the 
Medical Faculty of Stockholm. 

Among his most active and personal friends abroad 
we may enumerate as best known to fame, Percival 
Pott, Esq., Dr. Fordyce, Sir Astley Cooper, Charles 
Bell, John Abernethy, Sir Everard Home, the late 
Henry Chne, sen., Matthew Bailey, and Sir William 

Such in general was the professional, moral and 
religious character of Dr. Post. As an Anatomist, 
his knowledge was minute, thorough and comprehen- 
sive ; as a Surgeon he was acute, dextrous, elegant 
and masterly ; as a Physician, discerning, practical 
and judicious ; as a citizen moral and exemplary ; as 
a husband and parent, kind and affectionate. 

To say that he was faultless, would be to claim for 
him more than belongs to any of the descendants of 
Adam. It is not our intention, in commemorating 
the merits of our departed friend, to indulge in the 
strain of fulsome panegyric. 

It is our opinion, even, that the often repeated ad- 

' De mortuis nil nisi bonuni,' 


is too restrictive in its adaptation to the object of a just 
delineation of character, how pure and exalted soever 
the personage whose worth we celebrate. As the 
great end of biography is the instruction of the liv- 
ing, it should with all needful fidelity exhibit what- 
ever may have been prominent in its subject, which 
can aid the cause of virtue or shed a useful light 
upon the principles of our common nature. 

It has been our object in this brief memorial of 
our late venerable colleague to exhibit those traits of 
excellence to which we trust all will allow him to 
have been justly entitled. That with other advan- 
tages in early life, and a more decided taste for literary 
acquisition, he might have shone with greater bril- 
liancy, we do not pretend to doubt. Dr. Post was 
not, either from education or from his natural or 
acquired habits of reflection, qualified to distinguish 
himself in the ranks of medical literature. Except- 
ing a very few papers descriptive of some of the 
most interesting surgical cases, he has left nothing 
behind him as an evidence of literary talent. There 
is reason to believe that he was greatly averse to the 
exercise of writing. His introductory lectures sel- 
dom exhibited proofs of originality of thought — nor 
did his anatomical and physiological lectures evince 
any great research beyond the plain and obvious track 
which duty and decency prescribed. 

With far more judgment than imagination, his 
mind was well fitted for the demonstration of truths 
attainable only by patient industry. With more 
learning he would have been more attractive and 
amusing, even among his bones and muscles ; but 


it is questionable whether he would have been equal- 
ly plain and intelligible in his illustrations. With 
more erudition he would have descanted more wise- 
ly upon the history of Anatomy, and animadverted 
with more authority upon the blunders of his prede- 
cessors ; but it is doubtful whether the light which 
beamed from his scalpel would have been less bril- 
liant, or the appropriate and practical instruction 
which issued from his lips less edifying and impres- 
sive. With more extensive reading he would doubt- 
less have been a more able Physiologist. His ac- 
quaintance with Chemistry was very much confin- 
ed to the general principles of that very imperfect 
science which was taught in his youth, and of course 
the modern doctrines of Physiology were not much 
attended to by him. 

His devotedness to his patients and the extent 
of his practice would necessarily lead him to a fre- 
quent examination of the changes of Materia M^- 
dica ; while his thorough acquaintance with the 
varying features of diseases and of the power of 
all the well known medicaments were guarantees 
against any obvious, and perhaps we may add, any 
important defect, in the practice of his latter years. 

After his health became too feeble for the exercise 
of his accustomed skill in Surgery and attention to 
his patients, he felt his hold of the world to be loosen- 
ed; and he waited with the calmness of a Chris- 
tian for the moment which should separate him from 
it. He informed me some time before his death, 
that if his life was spared he should never more 



attend to the duties of his profession, or if it pleased 
God to take it, he ivas satisfied. 

Having removed to his country residence at 
Throgsneck, about fourteen miles from the city, he 
remained about three w^eeks very much detached from 
society, but in the full possession of his mental fa- 
culties. His bodily strength, always feeble, had been 
for several months rapidly wasting, and at the pe- 
riod we now allude to, decay and debility appeared 
to have arrived at an extremity barely sufficient to 
support the connection between the immortal mind 
and its feeble tenement. On the morning of the 14th 
of June, 1828, perceiving a change in his own symp- 
toms, he called his servant, and uttering a few words 
indicative of great tenderness and kindness, he yield- 
ed his breath like a taper wasting to a point, and ex- 
piring in its socket.' 

Exhausted by the storm, 

'A fatal trance hung o'er his pallid form, 

' His closing eye a living lustre fired, 

' 'Tvvas life's last spark, it flutter'd and expired." 

Dr. Edward Post, member of the Royal College 
of Surgeons, London, &c. kc. The subject of the 
present biographical notice was the eldest son of Dr. 
Wright Post, and grandson of the late Dr. Richard 
Bailey ; and was born in New York on the 15th of 
March, 1791. At an early age he was placed under 
the care of the Right Reverend Richard C. Moore, 
then a resident of Staten Island, by whom he was 


initiated into the rudiments of mathematical and 
classical learning. At his eleventh year he was re- 
moved to Columbia College, where he continued till 
the age of eighteen. He remained two years with 
each of the junior classes ; during which period he 
made great proficiency, particularly in the French 
language, geography and history. His protracted 
pupilage in this seminary was in accordance with the 
plan of education prescribed by his father, who deem- 
ed it improper to invest him with academic honors at 
the early age his talents would have enabled him to 
graduate with credit. 

In 1811, with a mind amply stored with the ele- 
ments of medical science, derived from private study 
and public instruction, he embarked for Europe. In 
the schools of England and France he acquired large 
accessions of medical knowledge. He diligently 
attended the Infirmaries, in order to improve him- 
self in anatomy and practical surgery ; and for a time 
acted as dresser in Guy's hospital. The copious col- 
lection of manuscript notes which he has left, taken 
from the lectures of the most eminent professors of 
the different branches of medical science, bear re- 
spectful testimony that his transatlantic advantages 
were not unimproved. 

During his residence on the continent he travel- 
ed through France, Italy, Switzerland, visiting every 
thing worthy of observation, and improving himself 
in the languages of those countries ; in the two for- 
mer of which he conversed with great accuracy and 

In London his health became impaired from in- 


tense application ; and during the prosecution of his 
studies at Montpeher, whilst on an excursion, he was 
attacked at Avignon widi rheumatism, with which he 
had been much afflicted when a boy. It now princi- 
pally affected his head and breast, and with such vio- 
lence as to confine him for two months, and rendered 
his recovery extremely doubtful. 

On his return to his native city in 1814, he ap- 
peared perfectly restored, and promised to reheve his 
anxious father from the burden of his professional 
duties, by being associated with him in his private 
practice, and also in consequence of being appointed 
Lecturer on Anatomy by the Trustees of the College 
of Physicians and Surgeons. 

He was, however, soon obliged to rehnquish all 
thoughts of practising his profession. An accumula- 
tion of cares in consequence of the necessary ab- 
sence of his father, (whose ill health rendered a voy- 
age across the Atlantic desirable,) with the disquie- 
tude occasioned by the malignant aspersions of invi- 
dious competitors, brought on a variety of trouble- 
some symptoms, which were followed by a partial 
return of his former disorder. Conceiving that the 
milder climate of the South would conduce to his 
recovery, he embarked for Charleston, S. C, but on 
the passage he was attacked with hemiplegia, which, 
after a distressing confinement of five weeks, termi- 
nated his existence on the 26th of January, 1816. — 
Dr. G. C. Bailey in Transact. Phys. Med. Soc, N. Y. 



Dr. Nathaniel Potter. I have in vain endea- 
vored to procure a more extended notice of this 
distinguished man, and am obhged to accept the 
following notice of him from the Maryland Medical 
and Surgical Journal for March, 1843. 

Professor Nathaniel Potter, M. D., departed this 
life in Baltimore on the morning of the 2d of Janu- 
ary, 1843, after a sudden and very brief illness, in 
the 74th year of his age. 

Dr. Potter was a native of Carohne county, on 
the Eastern shore of Maryland. The greater part 
of his long and useful life was passed in Baltimore, 
where he early achieved the eminent position in the 
medical profession which he retained to the last, and 
to which he was justly entitled by his natural abilities 
and by his literary and scientific acquirements. Soon 
after settling in this city he exerted himself, in asso- 
ciation with the late Dr. Davidge and others, as one 
of the most active agents in establishing the medical 
department of the University of Maryland. In this 
institution he filled with distinguished honor for more 
than thirty years, and up to the time of his death, the 
chair of the Theory and Practice of Physic. In pri- 
vate and domestic life. Dr. Potter manifested many 
amiable virtues, which will be remembered with af- 
fectionate fondness by his family and friends. As 
a practitioner of medicine he was remarkable for 
promptitude and integrity of judgment, and for the 
boldness and energy of his remedial measures. As a 
teacher he was perspicuous and impressive, display- 
ing in his lectures extensive knowledge and great 


practical good sense, rendering his subject pleasing 
and attractive by his native power of wit, and illus- 
trating and enforcing his doctrines by the ample re- 
sources of a profound and elegant erudition. 

Dr. Samuel Prentiss. I am indebted to the 
Hon. Samuel Prentiss of Montpelier, Vermont, Se- 
nator in the United States Congress, and son to 
the subject of this notice, for the principal part of 
the facts which I now present. He regrets exceed- 
ingly that the death of his mother, at the age of 
eighty-four, which happened two days before his 
arrival at Montpelier from Washington, has prevent- 
ed him from giving the precise information which 
he could have wished. 

Dr. Prentiss was born in Stonington, New Lon- 
don county, Conn., in the year 1759. He was son 
of Col. Samuel Prentiss, who was first a Major and 
then a Colonel in the American revolutionary army, 
received a good academical education, and studied 
the profession of medicine with Dr. Philip Turner, 
of Norwich, Connecticut, one of the very best Ame- 
rican surgeons of the age in which he lived. He 
entered the army of the revolution while quite young, 
and acted for a time as military waiter to his father, 
but soon after this he returned to civil life. After 
studying his profession he once more engaged in 
the public service, in the capacity of assistant sur- 
geon in the army, where he acquired a great deal 
of practical knowledge in his profession. After 
the close of the war he married a daughter of Capt. 


Holmes, of Stonington, Connecticut, and soon re- 
moved to Worcester, in Massachusetts, where he re- 
sided several years. Not far from the breaking out 
of Shays' rebellion, he removed to Northfield, Mass.^ 
then in the old county of Hampshire, and during the 
insurrection was zealous and active on the side of 
the government. His practice as a surgeon, while 
at Northfield, was very extensive ; and for many 
years he was the principal operator in this part of 
the country. His ride extended throughout the 
western counties of Massachusetts, and far into the 
States of Vermont and New Hampshire. In fact, 
he was almost the only operating surgeon in this 
section of the country for more than twenty years, 
which sufficiently attests the estimation in which his 
professional services were held by his professional 
brethren and the public. I regret that I am not able 
to give the number, or even an abstract, of his 
capital operations. If he ever kept such an abstract 
or numeration, I have never been able to find it. 
His capital operations must have been numerous, 
for the profession was not then crowded with ope- 
rators as it is at present, when we have two or three, 
and perhaps more, professed surgeons in almost every 

He was admitted a Fellow of the Massachusetts 
Medical Society in the year 1810, when he resided 
at Bernardston. He continued his fellowship till 
the time of his death, which occurred at his resi- 
dence in Northfield in 1818, at the age of fifty-nine. 
Out of a numerous family, four sons survive him. 
Samuel has twice been elected to the Senate in Con- 


gress by the Legislature of Vermont, and is now 
one of the principal Judges in the Supreme Court 
of that State. John H. resides at Cooperstown, 
in the State of New York, and has twice been 
elected to the House of Representatives in Con- 
gress from that State. William, the youngest of the 
family, resides at Milwaukie in Wisconsin, and has 
been a member and President of the Legislative 
Council of the Territory, showing that Dr. Prentiss 
has not been unmindful of the education of his chil- 
dren. — My Address before the Mass. Med. Society. 

Dr. Valentine Seaman. This eminent physician 
was the fourth son of Willet Seaman, a native of 
North Hempstead, L. I., and a distinguished mer- 
chant of New York. He was the son of Samuel, 
grandson of Nathaniel, and great grandson of Capt. 
John Seaman, who arrived from England and settled 
at Hempstead about the year 1660. 

The subject of this notice was born April 2d, 1770, 
and like his father adhered through life to the So- 
ciety of Friends. Having received the elements of 
an ordinary education, he commenced his medical 
studies under the care of Dr. Nicholas Romeyn, at 
that time conspicuous as an able teacher of several 
branches of the heahng art, and who, by his connec- 
tion with Queen's College, New Jersey, was enabled, 
with his collaborators, to impart to his scholars an en- 
tire system in medicine and surgery. The city Alms- 
house was at that time the only institution in New 
York in which medical instruction was imparted, and 


in this young Seaman entered as resident physician, 
the duties of which he discharged most worthily, aid- 
ed by the practical acumen of his preceptor. 

In 1791, he repaired to the University of Pennsyl- 
vania, and attended the lectures of Shippen, Rush, 
Kuhn and others, where he was honored with the de- 
gree of M. D. Like almost all other candidates for 
popular favor in professional life, he encountered 
many difficulties at the commencement of his medical 
career, and it was not till the appearance of the ma- 
lignant yellow fever in the city of New York, in 1795, 
that his merits became better known and more widely 
appreciated. He entered with great zeal into an ex- 
amination of the nature of the pestilence, and drew 
up a paper of some extent on the character of the 
disease as it had prevailed in the city in 1791, and 
other succeeding years. He came to the conclusion 
that the disease might have been imported, and that it 
required a combination of local causes to give it po- 

About this time he commenced a course of lectures 
on midwifery in the city Almshouse, for female prac- 
titioners, and published a syllabus of his instructions. 
His account of the epidemic disease which occurred 
in 1800 was published in the 'Medical Repository,' 
which may be referred to for other contributions to 
medical science, made by him during his professional 

Interested in inquiries of a physical nature he was 
not indifferent to the mineralogical society of New 
York, which was organized about this time, and hav- 
ing made personal examination on the subject, he 


printed a small volume on the mineral waters of Balls- 
ton and Saratoga, a performance not without its use, 
at that early stage of philosophical research into the 
native products of the United States. 

His appointment in 1796, as one of the surgeons of 
the New York Hospital, in connection with Post, Kis- 
sam and Bayley, he held until his death, and the bet- 
ter to render it advantageous to the medical student, 
he projected, in 1811, a course of clinical surgery, 
while his friend. Dr. Edward Miller, assumed clinical 
medicine. This plan was soon after interrupted by 
the lamented death of Dr. Miller in the spring of 
1812. The personal intimacy and friendship of these 
individuals was of the most cordial and confidential 
nature. Upon the death of his associate, Dr. Sea- 
man paid a feehng tribute to his private character and 
professional worth, in a special discourse delivered in 
the surgical theatre of the hospital. 

Dr. Seaman was conspicuously active in introduc- 
ing the practice of vaccination in New York. The 
vaccine virus had been forwarded to the city some 
time before, by George Pearson of London; but 
Seaman, who had enjoyed a personal acquaintance 
with Jenner during his visit to Europe for the benefit 
of his health, feeling the deepest interest in the in- 
quiry, obtained matter from a patient who had been 
vaccinated by Dr. Waterhouse of Boston, and who 
arrived here at a proper period to take the infection. 
With this matter he vaccinated his own son and a 
number of citizens. The disorder assumed precisely 
the description given of it by Jenner. In 1816 he 


published a discourse on the subject, which he had 
deUvered before his chnical class. 

In 1810-11, Dr. Seaman united with several other 
professional gentlemen and formed a new medical in- 
stitution, which was associated with Queen's College, 
New Brunswick, then under the presidency of the 
Rev. Dr. Livingstone, which new organization lasted 
about three years. 

His philanthropic labors were not limited to the 
profession. He was a member of the Manumission 
Society, for the liberation of slaves and the protection 
of those manumitted ; and for many years he was an 
officer of the society, which he deemed an efficient 
means of meliorating the condition of the African 
race ; and with C. P. Golden, Thomas Eddy, John 
Mussey and others, he had reason to be gratified with 
the benefits resulting from his efforts. 

In the winter of 1815-16 his health was much dis- 
turbed by an inflammation of the lungs, from which 
he was never relieved, and which ultimately terminat- 
ed in pulmonary consumption, of which he died in 
June, 1817, in the 48th year of his age. He was 
married in early life to the second daughter of John 
Ferris, of Westchester, by whom he had a family of 
nine children. Dr. Seaman was a laborious practi- 
tioner in the healing art ; as a clinical physician he 
was most assiduous, and his benevolence and humani- 
ty were worthy of himself and the respectable society 
of Friends to which he belonged. Among the list of 
his medical pupils was Dr. Valentine Mott of New 
York.—/. W. Francis, M, D. 


Dr. Thomas Semmes was born in Prince George's 
county, Maryland, Aug. 13, 1779. He prosecuted 
his professional studies at Alexandria, Virginia, under 
the direction of the late Dr. Elisha Cullen Dick, 
and graduated at the University of Pennsylvania in 
the year 1801. His inaugural dissertation on the 
general effects of lead, and on the nature and pro- 
perties of the saccharum saturni, presented many 
striking and original observations concerning the 
character of that substance, and was distinguished 
by a depth of reflection and solidity of judgment 
which gave evidence of future eminence in his pro- 

After having visited France, Spain, and several 
other countries in Europe, Dr. Semmes returned to 
Alexandria, where he continued to reside and to 
pursue the practice of medicine until the period of 
his death. 

An indisposition to appear' before the public as an 
author, great diffidence, and a love of retirement, were 
the causes why talent and learning of no ordinary 
degree, remained in comparative obscurity. He 
preferred the secluded path of duty, benefiting his 
fellow men by the personal application of his great 
skill and knowledge, to stations which he could 
easily have attained, but in which, though his abilities 
might have appeared more conspicuous, his usefulness 
might have been more questioned. 

The theoretical views of Dr. Semmes were clear, 
profound, and often bold and original. His practi- 
cal success was almost unprecedented, and the pub- 


lie confidence was never, at any moment, or under 
any circumstances, witliheld from him. That confi- 
dence was amply repaid by his energy, zeal and 
untiring assiduity in his practice generally ; but more 
especially during the epidemics which raged in Al- 
exandria in 1803, and 1821, and more recently during 
the prevalence of the Asiatic cholera, so called, in the 
summer of 1832. 

The acquirements of Dr. Semmes were not con- 
fined to medical knowledge. He was an excellent 
scholar, and well read in general literature. His 
personal virtues and accomplishments are recorded 
in the hearts of all who knew him. Well may the 
remark of Horace, concerning his friend, be applied 
to him. He was ' homo ad unguem f actus. ^ 

(From the Am. Med. Jour. 1833.) 

Dr. Erastus Sergeant was the oldest son of the 
Rev. Erastus Sergeant, the first minister of Stock- 
bridge, Berkshire county, Massachusetts, the mis- 
sionary to the Housatonnuc Indians at that place. 
And not only the first minister of Stockbridge, but 
one of the very first white setders of that town. It is 
believed that Erastus, the subject of this memoir, was 
the first male white child ever born in Stockbridge. 
He was born in the year 1742. I know little of his 
early life, having lost the notes containing a memorial 
of him by his brother-in-law, the venerable Dr. Oliver 
Partridge of Stockbridge, now living (1843) in the 
92d year of his age. 

Dr. Sergeant was fitted for college, I believe, under 


the superintendence of his father, and entered Prince- 
ton College in New Jersey, where he remained two 
or three years, I believe, a classmate of the celebrated 
Dr. Benjamin Rush of Philadelphia, but I think he 
did not graduate there. When he left college he 
commenced the study of medicine with my grand- 
father, Dr. Thomas Williams of Deerfield, who was 
then one of the most distinguished physicians and 
surgeons in western Massachusetts. He remained 
with Dr. Williams two years, the usual period of me- 
dical pupilage in those days, and then returned and 
commenced the practice of physic and surgery in 
Stockbridge, his native place, not far from the year 
1764. He was immediately introduced to a good 
run of business, thus reversing the doctrine that ' a 
prophet is not without honor save in his own country.' 
So long ago as the year 1774, when Dr. Partridge, 
from whom I have the subsequent information, com- 
menced the practice of medicine in Stockbridge, the 
medical men who were engaged in the practice in 
Berkshire, were Drs. Barnard of Sheffield, Whiting 
of Bennington, Sergeant of Stockbridge, Childs of 
Pittsfield, Guiteau of Lanesboro', and Lewis of Lee. 
These were all good and respectable physicians, who 
often met together in consultations. In difficult cases 
Dr. Sergeant was the last resort. He was a most 
excellent practical surgeon, and he performed nearly 
all the capital surgical operations in his circle of 
practice, which extended over a diameter of thirty 
miles in extent, and he was considered to be very 
successful in his operations, even in cases which 
were considered to be desperate. He educated se- 


veral students in the profession of medicine, who 
afterwards proved to be eminent men and successful 
practitioners. His hbrary was large and well filled 
with the standard medical literature of the day. 

He was elected a Fellow of the Massachusetts Me- 
dical Society in the year 1785. He continued a 
member till the year 1814, a period of twenty-nine 
years, when he died at the age of 72 years. During 
this period the Society often honored him with the 
office of Counsellor. 

Dr. Sergeant was tall, erect and spare in flesh. In 
the latter part of his life he was threatened with pul- 
monary consumption. While sitting at his dinner 
table in November, 1814, he suddenly began to 
cough. He arose from the table and went to the 
fire, and was immediately attacked with haemoptysis 
in so violent a manner as almost instantaneously to 
extinguish life. His friends rushed to his assistance, 
but the vital spark was forever extinguished. 

Dr. Partridge in concluding his remarks upon his 
character observes — ' He was endowed with a sound 
judgment and skill in his profession, was sedate, with 
a large share of Christian grace, and he was truly 
the ' beloved physician.' It was said of him that no 
one ever spoke ill of him from his youth up.' This 
is a brief but true account of this most excellent and 
worthy man. 

Dr. Daniel Sheldon, who practised medicine 
with great reputation and success, in Litchfield, Con- 
necticut, for more than half a century, was born in 


the city of Hartford, October 19th, 1750, O. Style. 
His early education was received at the long known 
and celebrated ' Hartford Grammar School,' then, no 
less than now, appreciated as one of the best literary 
institutions of the kind in New England. 

After leaving this school, and when quite young, he 
placed himself under the tuition of the eccentric and 
celebrated Dr. Seth Bird of Litchfield, one of the 
most prominent medical men of his time in the State, 
who was his relative by marriage, and a most suitable 
instructor for a young man of Sheldon's age and abi- 
lities. He continued with Dr. Bird some years. 
When at the early age of twenty-one he commenced 
the practice of medicine in that part of Woodbury, 
Conn., now incorporated into a separate town by the 
name of Washington. His practice soon became so 
extensive that he took as a partner in business Dr. 
Seth Hastings, father of the celebrated musician of 
that name, a gentleman who afterwards gained great 
celebrity in his profession. 

While Dr. Sheldon remained in Woodbury he mar- 
ried Miss Charlotte Judson, by whom he had two 
children, one a daughter who was insane for a long 
period, and died at the Retreat in Hartford. The 
other, Daniel Sheldon, Esq., who was for many years 
Clerk in the Treasury Department at Washington 
with Secretaries Wolcott and Gallatin, and afterwards 
went to France with Mr. Gallatin as Secretary of Le- 
gation and charge of affairs. When Dr. Lemuel Hop- 
kins left Litchfield for the city of Hartford in 1784, 
Dr. Sheldon removed to Litchfield, and continued 
there till his deatli. In this new location his practice 


became more respectable and extensive, and he es- 
tablished a reputation which was not surpassed by 
any medical practitioner in the State. Dr. Sheldon 
married for his second wife Miss Huldah Stone, sister 
of Mrs. Hopkins. From this time a friendship com- 
menced between these two eminent medical men 
which continued till the death of Dr. Hopkins in 

In person Dr. Sheldon was small, slender and deli- 
cate. He was predisposed by the conformation of 
his chest to pulmonary complaints, and while young 
had an abscess formed in his lungs, which burst and 
discharged an immense quantity of pus so fetid that 
for months after it was disagreeable to be in the room 
with him, or even to ride by his side on the highway. 
Dr. Sheldon gave the writer a particular account of 
the illness which preceded this great abscess. He 
was sick two weeks with what was considered a mild 
remittent fever, in which he had chills, exacerbations 
of heat, and finally free sweating. He was attended 
by Dr. Bird and Hopkins, who were esteemed the 
best physicians in the State, and who were not infe- 
rior to any others. On the fourteenth day of the 
fever. Dr. Bird visited his patient, and found him in a 
free perspiration, and encouraged him that as the time 
for a crisis had arrived, and the perspiration indicated 
its commencement, he might expect that the disease 
would soon yield and he would be again convalescent. 
Before Dr. Bird left the room the abscess burst, and 
established beyond controversy the true nature of the 
disease. This ulcer did not wholly heal for two 
years. During its discharge he took an immense 


quantity of Peruvian bark in infusion or decoction, 
and contracted a habit of taking opium, which con- 
tinued till old age, when it was abandoned. Dr. 
Sheldon informed the writer that such was the quan- 
tity of bark taken in the course of his illness that the 
grounds rejected amounted to more than two bushels. 
He took from two to four drachms of opium daily for 
nearly or quite forty years. In old age he left it oft' 
without detriment gradually diminishing it for two or 
three years. His usual pill was a drachm which he 
swallowed without difficulty. 

In a very short time after the discharge of this ab- 
scess of the lungs. Dr. Sheldon resumed his practice 
which had been interrupted for a few weeks only, 
and rode on a bleak and rough country more than 
half a century, always on horseback, performing an 
immense amount of business, while his emaciated 
and extremely delicate frame, drawn over almost to a 
curve, would indicate such a feeble state as entire- 
ly to forbid any active employment. Dr. Sheldon 
lived to the extreme age of 89 years and a half, and 
towards the close of life became corpulent and bulky. 
He died April 10th, 1840. 

Dr. Sheldon was endowed by nature with a vi- 
gorous and well balanced mind ; he was quick to 
discover and ready to apply all his knowledge in the 
practice of his profession. He had the tact which 
led him at once to the indication of disease, and 
boldness in his prescriptions which only comes pro- 
perly from a thorough knowledge of the case. He 
was also a learned man, fond of books, and a 
thorough, diligent student. He had a faculty of 


gleaning from authors whatever was valuable in their 
works by a hasty perusal of their pages. His memo- 
ry was retentive, he profited greatly by his own expe- 
rience, and was enabled to have analogies by which 
that experience was of great value to him. In the 
treatment of pulmonary consumption he had great 
and desired celebrity. Many persons affected with 
symptoms of that disease, flocked to him from a great 
distance, and his success sustained his reputation, till 
from age and infirmity he ceased to practice his pro- 
fession. The writer met him repeatedly in such 
cases. There was no quackery about his practice, 
but plain, open, common sense views of what 
changes might be wrought by perseverance and suit- 
able remedies. 

Accustomed as he was to the use of opium in his 
own case, he was not afraid to prescribe it for others. 
His remedies were simple, but effective. Substantial 
diet, narcotic and tonic remedies, and riding on horse- 
back, which he considered superior to all other means 
of restoration, and quite superior to all other modes 
of exercise. He was a successful physician in this 
and other chronic cases, and his counsel was sought 
by many respectable individuals near and remote. It 
was my good fortune to meet him occasionally, and 
at our last interview he spent some days with me at 
my residence. His conversation was most instruc- 
tive and his kindness and courtesy made a deep im- 
pression on my feelings. In investigating a case of 
pulmonary consumption, he paid great attention to 
the nature of the secretions from the lungs. If the 
pus was benign, he gave, in many cases, a favorable 


prognosis, and many cases with symptoms very alarm- 
ing, recovered under his prescriptions, in which other 
physicians predicted unfavorably. In a case under 
my care in which low diet, and antiphlogistics had 
been prescribed by a physician high in the confidence 
of the patient, he recommended animal food, and a 
generous diet of vegetables and fruits, myrrh, iron 
and opium. The patient gained strength, flesh and 
courage under this treatment, but finally fell a victim 
to the disease. 

The evening of Dr. Sheldon's days were spent in 
tranquillity and ease. To a competency saved from 
the earnings of his professional life, a good fortune 
was added by a legacy from a son, who died in France 
some years before his father. 

Dr. Sheldon was an ardent friend of medical im- 
provement. He was one of the original petitioners 
for the establishment of a State Medical Society, and 
for many years was an active member of the Society, 
and its Secretary. 

The honorary degree of Doctor of Medicine was 
conferred upon him by die corporation of Yale 

Dr. SrccARY of Virginia. 1 introduce the name 
of this physician in this place, in connection with the 
use of the Tomato plant, which is now so generally 
employed both in medicine and as an article of diet. 
It is beheved that he was a Portuguese Jew. Mr. 
Jefferson states that we are indebted to him for the 
introduction of that admirable vegetable, the Tomato. 


* He was of opinion that a person who should eat a 
sufficient abundance of these apples would never die. 
Whether he followed his own prescription is not 
known ; but he certainly attained to a very old age, 
and particularly for the climate in which he hved. 
The tomato is raised in abundance in Virginia and 
the adjoining states, and is regarded as a great luxu- 
ry, and by some is considered a preservative against 
bilious diseases.' — Dr. J. A, Smith, in SewalVs dis- 

Dr. Isaac Smith was a native of Easthampton 
Society, where he spent his early days in acquiring 
the elements of that educatioji which was the foun- 
dation of, and prepared the way for, the usefulness so 
manifest in his after life. He conjmenced medical 
practice after completing his course of studies with 
reference to that pursuit, at North Killingworth, where 
he resided a few years, and there became famiUar 
with that description of typhus fever which has pre- 
vailed to some extent the present season ; and after- 
wards established himself in his profession at Chat- 
ham, where he continued to practice until his death, 
a period of 39 years. 

In his deportment and intercourse with the mem- 
bers of his profession, he was always open, candid, 
frank and hospitable. With the sick, upright, belov- 
ed, kind, attentive and sympathizing, always ready to 
sacrifice his comfort, ease and happiness for the good 
of his patient. His practice was plain and well 
adapted to the case, and his native judgment and 


long experience gave him a claim to confidence 
which was rarely disappointed. He was a regular 
attendant upon divine service, and a communicant of 
the Congregational Church, always appearing to re- 
joice in christian privileges and duties. 

Though the friends of the deceased wish not for 
the ' language of panegyric,' nor do we claim for 
him the more distinguished talents, or that he was 
pre-eminently skillful in all the diseases to which a 
community is incident, yet he possessed, in an emi- 
nent degree, the key to the fine sensibilities of the 
soul, and knew the sympathies and idiosyncrasies of 
his subjects, and could more readily address his con- 
versation, and adapt his prescriptions, in their case, 
than now can any other. 

The disease which caused his death was a fever, 
mild in its attack, and he was enabled to attend to his 
professional duties, with few exceptions, until about 
a week before he died. - He appeared unaware of 
the lurking mischief which was undermining his con- 
stitution. Retching and vomiting, with a redundant 
secretion of vitiated bile, and distressing hiccough, 
with tympanites, were the most urgent symptoms in 
the last stage, which continued until the system gave 
way. In his sickness he was seldom heard to com- 
plain, though during the last week his sufferings were 
great. The calmness and composure with which he 
met death, evinced most clearly the character of the 
man. With a strong reliance upon a Savior, and his 
soul firmly stayed upon his God, he bade adieu to his 
family, his friends and the world, on the night of the 
19th of December, 1839, aged 67 years, in the full 


hope of an immortality beyond the grave. — T. M. 
2nd, in Bost. Med. Jour. 

Dr. Nathan Smith. Perhaps a more perfect in- 
stance of persevering industry rendering a man emi- 
nent and useful, cannot be found in the annals of our 
profession, than that of the great New England sur- 
geon, the subject of the present notice. The late 
eminent Dr. Dwight, President of Yale College, who 
was intimately acquainted with Dr. Smith, and was 
his personal friend, used to hold up his character to 
the senior classes in that institution, as a pattern of in- 
domitable industry under difficulties, by giving them 
a brief sketch of his life. And a better one could 
not have been selected. In proof of this we need 
only to give a brief outline of his hfe. This must 
be peculiarly interesting to the profession in New 
England, for it is believed that no physician either be- 
fore, during, or since his time, had so wide a sphere 
of popularity ; and he was as well known in almost 
all our towns as their resident physicians and clergy- 
men are. 

Dr. Nathan Smith was the son of respectable pa- 
rents, whose circumstances as to property were hmit- 
ed. He was born at Rehoboth, Massachusetts, Sep- 
tember 13th, 1762. His father removed to Chester, 
in Vermont, while the subject of our memoir was 
quite a youth. His early education was extremely 
limited, having only the advantages of a common 
school, in a comparatively newly settled country. His 
summers, too, like those of most of the sons of far- 


mers, who are not fitting themselves for professional 
pursuits, and perhaps many of his winters, were spent 
in the employment of farming. 

While he was quite a youth, towards the close of 
the revolutionary war, he enlisted in the Vermont mi- 
litia, stationed on the frontier, for the purpose of re- 
sisting the incursions of the savages, who were prowl- 
ing in that section of the country. It is not exactly 
known how long he remained in the army. He has 
often entertained his friends with a history of his pri- 
vations and sufferings, while encamped in the wilder- 
ness with scarcely any of the necessaries or even con- 
veniences of civil life. While in this campaign he 
was shot at by an Indian, and the ball narrowly 
missed striking him. He did not suffer alone in these 
privations and trials. His fellow citizens general- 
ly, and the pioneers of the forest were subjected to 
the same hardships and dangers in repelling the as- 
saults of an implacable and blood-thirsty savage foe. 
Young Smith had learnt the use of the musket in the 
occupation of hunting and securing game, and driv- 
ing the ferocious predatory beasts of the forest from 
the habitations of the first settlers. These are the 
common employments of the first settlers of any por- 
tion of our extended country. It was no uncommon 
thing in those days for the young hunters to be absent 
from their homes for several days. On one of these 
hunting excursions, he was left by his associates, in 
the depth of winter, at a considerable distance from 
home, and with a very scanty stock of provisions. 
Even this short supply was exhausted, while he was 
looking for the return of his companions, and unfor- 


tunately for him a sudden thaw occurred which soft- 
ened the snow, which was then several feet deep on 
the ground so much as to render it impossible to tra- 
vel far. He remained here in this situation for seve- 
ral days, and lived entirely upon the flesh of some 
game which he had killed, without bread or salt. 
By the time that travehng became practicable he was 
attacked, in consequence of innutritions food and ex- 
posure with afflicting disease. He, however, reached 
the nearest house with great difficulty, and he was 
confined here and at his father's house for many 
months, in consequence of this sickness. He contin- 
ued this kind of active and laborious hfe until the age 
of twenty-four. We are not informed of his acquire- 
ments in knowledge during this time, but probably 
they must have been small. Still they must have 
been somewhat respectable, for during some of the 
winter months he was employed as a teacher of a 
common school in the neighborhood, which must have 
required some talents. 

A trifling event occurred about this period, which 
directed him in the course of the employment in 
which he was to be engaged during his future life. 
He was accidentally present at a surgical operation 
which was performed by Dr. Josiah Goodhue, then, 
and for a long while afterwards, the most successful 
and eminent surgeon in that section of the country. 
He was deeply interested in the operation, and after 
this he devoted his thoughts to the structure of the 
human frame, and was ambitious to learn more con- 
cerning the wonderful formation of the human body. 
He soon after consulted Dr. Goodhue upon the sub- 


ject, and desired to become a medical pupil in his 
office. They were then unacquainted with each 
other. The Doctor inquired of him his qualifica- 
tions. He was informed that till diis period he had 
only labored with his hands during his hfe. Dr. 
Goodhue kindly informed him that he could not take 
students who had not received a preparatory educa- 
tion ; and gave as a reason that the profession was 
in a low state in that part of the country, and that 
the only way to elevate it in the estimation of the 
pubhc, was for young men with the proper qualifica- 
tions only to be advised to pursue the study of the 
profession. He told him, likewise, that if he would 
place himself under the tuition of a person compe- 
tent to instruct him, and would obtain as much lite- 
rary information as would enable him to enter the 
Freshman class of Harvard College, he would accept 
him as a student. The advice was cheerfully adopt- 
ed. He placed himself under the instruction of the 
Rev. Mr. Whiting of Rockingham, Vermont, where 
he remained till he was qualified to enter the office 
of his medical preceptor. He studied his profession 
for three full years with Dr. Goodhue, who now re- 
sided in Putney, Vermont. His preceptor always 
attested to his great assiduity and industry in his 
professional studies, and he always regarded him with 
that esteem and even love, which is always elicited 
in the mind of a preceptor when they are drawn forth 
by diligence and good habits on the part of the stu- 
dent. Dr. Smith always reciprocated these kind 
feelings, and always spoke of his instructor in the 
highest terms of approbation and applause, as well 


for the information which he gave him while a pupil, 
as for the good advice and instruction which he 
communicated to him in after life. 

Dr. Smith commenced the practice of his profes- 
sion in Cornish, N. H., where he continued for two 
or three years, when he suspended his practice for a 
while and attended the medical and philosophical 
lectures in Harvard University. Here he received 
the degree of Doctor of Medicine, after having read 
an inaugural dissertation on the circulation of the 
blood. He then returned to Cornish, and re-com- 
menced the practice of his profession. 

At that time the country was new, and in fact 
almost a wilderness, with here and there a flourishing 
town and little village. The practice of medicine 
there, at that time, was at an extremely low ebb. A 
great portion of the physicians there were poorly edu- 
cated, and of course unskillful. The same remark 
applies to almost the whole of the states of Vermont 
and New Hampshire, except, perhaps, the town of 
Portsmouth, and a few in the immediate vicinity of it. 
To be sure there were some eminent physicians and 
surgeons settled throughout various parts of these 
states, whose talents were highly respectable, but they 
were few in comparison with the numbers at present. 
He viewed this state of things with regret and painful 
forebodings, and instead of profiting himself merely, 
by taking advantage of the ignorance of others, by 
striving to elevate himself, he zealously engaged in 
the endeavor to correct the evil, by furnishing to 
others the means and opportunities of procuring an 
enlarged and competent medical education. To 


effect this purpose he proposed the estabhshment of 
a Medical Institution in connection with Dartmouth 
College, at Hanover, N. H. This proposition was 
soon acceded to, and tlie appointment of Professor 
of Medicine was conferred upon Dr. Smith. 

For many years he taught all, or nearly all the 
branches of the profession, which are now taught in 
our most celebrated medical schools, unaided and 
alone. He was not satisfied with this arrangement, 
and he wished to qualify himself more thoroughly for 
the employment as a teacher of medicine, and he 
was determined to avail himself of the advantages 
which were then presented at the great medical 
school of Edinburgh, then in the zenith of its glory, 
and considered to be the best medical school in the 
world. His practice at this time had become profita- 
ble, but he was willing to relinquish it for a while for 
the purpose of obtaining more information on the 
branches which it had now become his duty to teach. 
He went to Great Britain and remained there about 
a year attending medical lectures in Edinburgh under 
the instruction of those luminaries in medical science, 
the illustrious Monro and Dr. Black, who were then 
zealously engaged in teaching the most important 
branches in that celebrated school, and attending the 
practice of the unrivalled medical hospital. His visit 
to Europe was attended with the most beneficial re- 
sults. He was at an age in his profession when he 
could receive the most advantage from it. He had 
practised long enough to know what he ought further 
to learn, and practising upon what he then learnt, on 


his return, his course was one of unsurpassed success. 
The medical school at Hanover, under his auspices 
and co-operation, now flourished in a very flattering 
degree. Other professors were associated with him, 
and medical students now flocked to this school from 
various parts of the country. It commenced with 
twenty students, but that was a period when medical 
students did not, as they now do, consider it necessa- 
ry to attend courses of medical lectures for the com- 
pletion of their medical pupilage, and long before he 
left the school, the average number was not less than 
sixty. These students generally resided in various 
parts of the New England States. As death gradual- 
ly encroached upon the older members of the profes- 
sion in these places, these students occupied their 
places, and in this way that portion of the country 
became filled with an enterprising race of young phy- 
sicians who looked to Dr. Smith for counsel and ad- 
vice in those difficult cases which are continually oc- 
curring in the practice of our profession. This, of 
course, gave him a great amount of business, and in 
this way he became known throughout New England 
as one of the very best of physicians and surgeons in 
the country. 

Few men in less extensive business than Dr. Smith 
can estimate the labor which he endured in travehng 
over such an extent of country, a considerable part 
of which was a wilderness, and the territory more 
rough and mountainous than any part of our country. 
Nor can we calculate the immense good and happi- 
ness which he accomplished by affording professional 


counsel, advice and instruction to the younger mem- 
bers of the profession, as well as immense benefit 
which he gave the sick and distressed. 

He continued these laborious exertions in instruc- 
tion and practice while he remained in Hanover, 
which was until the autumn of 1813. He was now 
invited to accept the chair as a Professor, in the Me- 
dical Institution of Yale College, then just established 
at New Haven, which he accepted. From this peri- 
od to the time of his death he lectured upon the The- 
ory and Practice of Physic and Surgery to the vari- 
ous classes of medical students which attended that 
Institution. He also, since that time, deUvered a 
course of lectures on the same branches in the Medi- 
cal School at Dartmouth, and one at the Vermont 
University at Burlington ; and also two courses at the 
Medical Institution of Brunswick College in Maine. 
His career as an instructor as well as of a practi- 
tioner of Physic and Surgery, since his removal to 
New Haven, was equally great, as while at Hanover. 
From seventy to ninety students at least, a term, have 
resorted to New Haven for the benefit of his instruc- 
tion, and without detracting from the merits of his as- 
sociates it is no injustice to say, that a great object of 
their attending this institution in preference to others, 
was to learn from his kindness and experience the 
practical part of the profession of medicine. Inva- 
lids either from medical or surgical cases, have been 
in the habit of resorting to New Haven, during his 
sojourn there, from all parts of the country, for the 
purpose of receiving the benefit of his skill. He not 


only did a great amount of business in the neighbor- 
hood, but he was frequently called into every county, 
and into almost every town in the State of Connecti- 
cut, and frequendy into the neighboring States. 

So active, so useful and so honored has been his 
life, that it was fondly hoped that his years and his 
usefulness might be prolonged for a long succession 
of years. But the final mandate of Jehovah must 
be obeyed by all. It summoned our beloved and 
faithful friend to a higher sphere of action, and left 
his mourning family and friends to bewail their irre- 
parable loss. He was attacked about the middle of 
July, 1828, with a severe sickness, which continued 
but a short time, but it left him in a very enfeebled 
state, from which his friends perceived with deep 
regret that he did not entirely recover. This weak- 
ness continued through the summer and autumnal 
months, but his mind, notwithstanding, was firm and 
elastic, and did not partake of the debility of the 
body. He was unwilling to yield to what he sup- 
posed to be a trifling complaint, and, with the excep- 
tion of a few days, he continued the laborious prac- 
tice of his profession. Without any material altera- 
tion in his health for four weeks from this period, he 
was attacked suddenly with a severe influenza, which 
was accompanied and followed with a violent pain 
in the head attended with vertigo. These symptoms, 
however, were palliated by tlie use of remedies. On 
Thursday evening the 13th inst., he noticed a trifling 
numbness of one of his hands, and there was a slight 
indistinctness in his speech. The paralytic symptoms 


gained ground until the morning of the 26th, when 
life became extinct at 6 o'clock in the evening. He 
died in the 67th year of his age. 

The above facts were principally obtained from 
tlie eulogium pronounced upon Dr. Smith, by Pro- 
fessor J. Knight of Yale College, one of his intimate 
friends. I cannot do better at the conclusion of this 
memoir than to give the closing remarks of Dr. 
Knight upon the subject. 

' That our deceased friend was no ordinary man, 
the brief story of his life, already told, most conclu- 
sively proves. In early life he was a poor boy, in a 
comparatively small village, with a limited education, 
and still more limited means of advancing it. Thus 
he remained until past the period when most men 
are fixed in their situation for life. At this time 
his mind received a new impulse. He was resolved 
to render himself useful and distinguished. Having 
chosen his profession, he entered at once, with the 
decision which marked his character through life, 
upon the work of preparing himself for it. The 
means of acquiring an education were furnished 
almost entirely by his own exertions. He appears 
for many years, to have labored to acquire property, 
only to extend it in advancing his knowledge of lite- 
rature and medicine. Following this purpose with 
untiring zeal, he obtained a medical education, such 
as then was almost entirely unknown in New Eng- 
land. With the same zeal, activity and intelligence, 
he entered upon the practice of his profession, and 
subsequently upon the business of instruction. By 


pursuing this course his reputation gradually increas- 
ed, until he became more extensively known than 
any other medical man in New England. Indeed it 
is doubted whether any other man in New England, 
of any profession, possessed so large a number of 
acquaintances and friends. 

His acquaintance was not only extensive, but 
reached to every rank in society. The poor knew 
him as their benefactor ; the sick, as their skillful 
and attentive physician ; the rich were honored by 
his society ; and the wise and good received him as 
their friend and companion. 

At the same time his influence over medical lite- 
rature was equally extensive. This influence was 
exerted through his large acquaintance among medi- 
cal men, by his advice and example, as well as more 
directly through the medium of the various medical 
schools, which were favored with his instructions. 
By means of his influence thus exerted, he effected, 
over a large extent of country, a great and salutary 
change in the medical profession. The assertion that 
he has done more for the improvement of Physic and 
Surgery in New England than any other man, will 
by no one be deemed invidious. If the accomplish- 
ment of objects so important, with means so Hmited ; 
raising and sustaining so high a reputation from so 
low an origin ; the advancing in such a degree one 
of the liberal professions, over so a large a country, be 
not marks of strong native talents, fostered by indus- 
try, I know not where indications of such talents can 
be found. 


To form a correct opinion of the character of Dr. 
Smith, it will be proper to view him in the various 
relations which he sustained. 

As a physician and surgeon, he early attained a 
high rank ; a rank which he held through life. The 
present is neither the place, nor the occasion to in- 
quire into his opinions upon medical and surgical 
subjects, nor upon his mode of practice. It may, 
however, be proper, as illustrative of his character, 
to investigate those qualities of his mind and habits 
of life, which raised him to this elevated station. 

The first faculty of his mind which I mention, was 
a keen, discriminating inquisitiveness in every thing 
submitted to his inspection. Nothing passed before 
him unseen or unheeded. This quahty, which in a 
weak mind is mere inquisitiveness, exercised to gra- 
tify an idle curiosity, is in a strong mind, a principle 
of rational inquiry, seeking in every direction for 
information to be applied to some valuable purpose. 
By the continual exercise of this quality, ripened into 
a habit of steady, fixed observation, he collected in 
his mind, not only the outlines of the diseases with 
which man is aftlicted, but all the minute circumstan- 
ces relative to their causes, progress and termination ; 
and the effect of remedies upon them in their various 

Another faculty of his mind was a memory highly 
retentive. This is so nearly allied to the habit of ob- 
servation just mentioned, and so certain is it that 
whatever we observe minutely is long remembered, 
that we are not surprised to find them so often asso- 
ciated in the same person. With him every fact which 


he observed, every truth which he heard stated, ap- 
peared to be indehbly impressed upon his mind. In 
the last year of his hfe, he Vi^ould relate with wonder- 
ful accuracy, not only the great, but also the minute 
events which he had witnessed. Especially he re- 
membered the diseases which he had seen, in all their 
varieties ; the surgical operations which he had per- 
formed, and the causes requiring their performance, 
with all the attendant circumstances of person, time 
and place. By the aid of this faculty his mind be- 
came a storehouse well filled with facts suited to his 
necessities. From it he could, at will, draw forth ma- 
terials to guide him in his practice ; to confirm and 
illustrate his opinions. 

Another faculty, which contributed more than 
either of the foregoing to his eminence, was the pow- 
er of rendering all the knowledge which he acquired, 
whether from reading or observation, to some useful 
practical purpose. This is opposed to mere specula- 
tion. It does not inquire into matters which have no 
practical bearing upon the happiness of man ; but it 
observes all things as they now exist, in the present 
age, and in this country. It looks upon the evils now 
to be remedied, and the blessings now to be enjoyed. 
It leads the physician to view diseases and accidents 
as they present themselves to his own eyes ; and to 
summon together all the information and every fact 
which he possesses, to bear upon the case immediately 
before him. This faculty is familiarly called plain 
common sense. It was possessed in a high degree 
by Dr. Smith, in relation to all subjects connected 
with his profession. The same faculty was illus- 


triously displayed in the lives of Washington, Frank- 
lin, Sherman, Dwight and Whitney. 

Another faculty possessed by the deceased, and 
which aided him much in his successful career, was 
an undaunted moral courage. The physician often 
feels it to be his duty to apply a powerful remedy, and 
the surgeon to perform a painful and hazardous ope- 
ration, in cases where he can give no positive assu- 
rances of their success. The timid man shrinks from 
such high responsibility, and suffers his patient to 
be destroyed by disease. Such was not Dr. Smith. 
Having satisfied himself what course was best for his 
patient, he honestly advised, and fearlessly pursued it ; 
regardless of the censure that might follow, should it 
prove unsuccessful. With him there was no hesita- 
tion, no wavering between duty and expediency ; be- 
tween the welfare of his patient and his own reputa- 
tion. This conduct, in one who valued reputation so 
highly, is the strongest proof of the existence of that 
courage of the mind, so much more noble, and so 
much more rarely found, than mere physical valor. 

To these intellectual quahties were added others 
of a moral nature, which facilitated his progress, and 
rendered it more successful. I allude to the kindness, 
assiduity and delicacy with which he treated his pa- 
tients. In him kindness was a natural feeling, spring- 
ing out directly from the benevolence of his disposition. 
This feeling he doubtless cultivated from a knowledge 
of the effects which its expression produces in allevi- 
ating the distress as well of the body as the mind. In 
all his intercourse with the sick, the kindness of his 
heart beamed upon his countenance, and flowed forth 


from his lips. Their faces brightened, and their spi- 
rits were roused at his approach, not more by the re- 
lief which they expected, than by the kindness with 
which it was afforded. 

The assiduity of his attention to his patients dan- 
gerously sick, was unremitted. He watched at their 
bed side by day and by night, administering to all 
their wants, and performing the offices of a kind 
friend as well as of a skillful physician. 

The esteem and respect which he entertained for 
the virtuous female character, and the purity and deli- 
cacy of his conduct towards those who possessed it, 
rendered him acceptable to all such as their physician. 
The continual exercise of these feehngs gained for 
him at once their confidence and esteem. 

As an instructor, the reputation of Dr. Smith was 
high from the time he began the business of instruc- 
tiqn. Of the method which he adopted in relation 
to this subject, in the earlier part of his life, I have 
little information. The facts, however, that for many 
years, he gave instruction in all the branches of Me- 
dical and Surgical Science ; that this instruction was 
acceptable to classes of intelhgent young men ; and 
that many who were thus instructed have become 
eminent in their profession, prove not only versatility 
of talent, but variety and extent of information, with 
a happy method of communicating it. His mode of 
communicating instruction, since his connection with 
the institution in this place, has been simple, natural 
and unaffected. He sought no aid from an artificial 
style, but merely poured forth, in the plain language 
of enhghtened conversation, the treasures of his wis- 


dom and experience. He occupied but little time 
with the theories and opinions of other men, referring 
to books only for the facts they contain ; nor did he 
often indulge in theoretic speculations of his own ; 
but gave principally the results of his practice and ex- 
perience. His object was to instill into the minds of 
his pupils the leading principles of their profession ; 
not entering fully into the details of the practice, but 
leaving it for them to apply these principles to in- 
dividual cases as they should present themselves. 
These principles he would illustrate by appropriate 
cases, furnished by a long course of practice ; related 
always in an impressive, and often in a playful man- 
ner, so as at once to gain the attention, and impress 
the truth illustrated upon the mind. He often urged 
upon them the necessity of correct moral deportment, 
of industrious habits, and especially of forming a 
judgment for themselves, concerning the cases which 
were presented to them. 

He endeavored to inspire them, both by precept 
and example, with a love of their profession, with ac- 
tivity in the practice of it, and a zeal for the promo- 
tion of its best interests. 

At the same time that he communicated to his pu- 
pils instruction, he gained their affection by the suavi- 
ty of his manners, and by a course of conduct to- 
wards them, by which they were satisfied that he ar- 
dently desired their best interests. Of all who have 
been instructed by him, the number is small of those 
who were not his personal friends. 

The various relations of life were sustained by Dr. 


Smith in an exemplary manner. As a citizen, the 
same spirit which prompted him to enhst in the ser- 
vice of his country, when engaged in war, led him to 
support by his influence, her free institutions in time 
of peace ; as a lover of good order, he rejoiced in the 
enaction and execution of wholesome laws and regu- 
lations ; and as a friend of morality, he discountenanc- 
ed vice in every form. The purity of his hfe, it is be- 
lieved, arose not so much from the restraints of so- 
ciety, as from a purity of mind which remained un- 
sulhed. So far as personal observation enables me 
to speak, he regarded the institutions and ministers of 
religion with highest reverence. With regard to sub- 
jects of this nature, it is believed that his last days 
were his best days. 

In his relations to his fellow men, there are parti- 
cular traits of his character which ought not to pass 
unnoticed. He possessed strong social feelings and 
habits. Accustomed from early life to the society of 
men in every station, he entered readily into free 
and unreserved intercourse with all. In companies 
of every kind, learned or unlearned, pohshed or 
otherwise, his free conversation, his fund of anec- 
dotes, and the acuteness of his remarks upon all 
subjects, whether relating to the common affairs of 
life, or the more important concerns of morality and 
literature, rendered him a welcome guest. His man- 
ners, which were free, yet unpresuming and un- 
shackled by the forms of ceremonial observances, 
were such as to impose no inconvenient restraints 
upon others or upon himself. No one delighted 


more in social intercourse with his friends, and in 
a free interchange of feeUngs and opinions with 
them. This was one of the pleasures of his Hfe, 
and this endeared him to those witli whom he as- 

Dr. Smith was eminently a benevolent man. He 
regarded man as his brother, and when in distress, 
as a brother he afforded him relief. No one, it is 
presumed, ever heard him say to the poor and desti- 
tute, * Be ye warmed and be ye clothed,' without at 
the same time furnishing the means of relieving their 
necessities. That his charity was always discrimi- 
nating is not probably true. It was the charity of 
the heart, and not of calculation ; and often his most 
valuable benefactions were rendered in the course of 
professional exertions. 

Although it would have been obviously improper 
to enter in the body of this discourse, upon a con- 
sideration of the medical opinions and modes of 
practice of Dr. Smith, a few remarks upon them 
may not in this place be unacceptable. Upon these 
subjects I have no means of information at hand, 
previous to his removal to this city. The few re- 
marks which are made, must therefore be consider- 
ed as confined to the last thirteen years of his life. 

All who have witnessed the practice of Dr. Smith, 
must have remarked the rapidity and decision, and 
at the same time the general accuracy with vvhich he 
formed an opinion on the cases of dieases submitted 
to him. He appeared to strip diseases of all their 
adventitious attendants, and to seize at once upon 


their important and essential phenomena. This pro- 
cess was often so rapid as to resemble more the 
effect of intuition, than the regular deductions from 
a train of reasoning. 

With the same rapidity, he saw, as it were with a 
glance, the course proper to be pursued, and with 
equal promptness, applied the appropriate remedies. 
This course of practice can by no means be held 
out as an example to the young and inexperienced ; 
nor is it perhaps the best mode to be pursued by any 
one. It is justifiable only in those whose habits of 
observation and discrimination have been matured 
by a long course of enlightened experience. Even 
such would escape occasional errors, by more care- 
ful deliberation. 

The practice of Dr. Smith in the treatment of 
acute diseases was essentially the same as that of the 
other respectable physicians of New England ; varied 
somewhat perhaps by his notions of the nature of 
typhus, the prevailing fever of the country. What 
these notions were, and what his practice founded 
on them was, he has fully explained in his treatise 
upon typhus fever, published a few years since. If 
he had any peculiarities in the treatment of other 
diseases than pure typhus, they consisted in discard- 
ing the use of remedies comparatively inert, and in 
employing those which are more powerful and effec- 
tive. He often asserted that the use of medicines, 
which, in common language, if they do no good, 
will do no harm, is usually the result of timidity or 
ignorance ; and that the physician who knows not 


when and how to apply or to withhold the more 
powerful articles of the materia medica, was unfit 
for his profession. 

In the treatment of chronic diseases, energetic 
remedies, especially such as acted powerfully upon 
the stomach and the other organs of digestion, were 
more especially resorted to by him. To this course 
he appears to have been led, partly by his own re- 
flections upon the nature and causes of most chronic 
diseases, and partly, by the situation in which he was 
placed, with respect to patients of this class. 

Many of them consulted him after they had em- 
ployed all the ordinary means of medication. Others 
still consulted him from such a distance as precluded 
him from watching over the tardy effects of ordinary 
remedies. Both these circumstances combined, led 
him to the administration of full doses of the more 
effective medicines, with the view of producing 
speedy and great changes in tlie organs diseased. 

For the duties of a practical surgeon. Dr. Smith 
was eminendy qualified, and upon the manner in 
which he performed tliese duties, his reputation must, 
in a great measure, ultimately rest. To these he 
brought a mind enterprising, but not rash; anxious, 
yet calm in deliberation ; bold, yet cautious in opera- 
tion. His first object was, to save his patients if pos- 
sible, from the necessity of an operation ; and when 
this could be no longer avoided, to enter upon its 
performance without reluctance or hesitation. In 
his operations he was calm, collected and cautious. 

He manifested no desire to gain the reputation of 
a rapid operator, a reputation so ardently, and it is to 


be feared so unfortunately sought for by many sur- 
geons of the present day. He who commences an 
important operation, with his eye upon the minute 
hand of a watch, starts in a race against time, in 
which the hfe of his patient is the stake, and often 
the forfeit. The time only for the surgeon is sat cito 
si sat befie. Neither did he make any display in the 
course of his operations to gain the applause of by- 
standers. Hence there was no formidable array of 
instruments ; no ostentatious preparation, so well cal- 
culated to excite the wonder of the ignorant, and to 
strike a dread into the mind of the patient. Every 
thing necessary was prepared, while all useless parade 
was avoided. When engaged in an operation, his 
whole mind was bent upon its proper performance. 
Every step was carefully examined, every occurrence 
carefully watched ; and if any thing unusual appear- 
ed, he would ask the advice of those present, in 
whom he had confidence. In such cases his prompt- 
ness and decision joined to what Cheselden calls ' a 
mind that was never ruffled nor disconcerted,' were 
of singular utility. By the aid of these he could look 
with a steady eye upon the varying features of the 
case, as they rose to his view, and adapt his measures, 
at once, to every emergency. By this cautious mode 
of proceeding, calculated to gain, not the applause of 
those who were present on a single occasion, but the 
enduring reputation of a judicious, skillful surgeon, he 
performed with great success the most important ope- 
rations. That his success was great, is fully attest- 
ed by the facts, that of about thirty cases of Lithoto- 
my, only tliree proved fatal ; and that in the course of 


his practice, he lost no patient of hemorrhage in 
consequence of an operation, either direct or se- 

His son, Nathan R. Smith, M. D., of Baltimore, says 
in the conclusion of this memoir that, ' In the prac- 
tice of surgery, Professor Smith displayed an original 
and inventive mind. His friends claim for him the 
establishment of scientific principles, and the inven- 
tion of resources in practice, which will stand as last- 
ing monuments of a mind fertile in expedients, and 
unshackled by the dogmas of the schools. It is be- 
lieved that he was the first in this country to perform 
the bold operation of extirpating the ovarian tumor. 
With him the operation was altogether original, for 
although it had been at that time once or twice per- 
formed in Germany, he was then unacquainted with 
the fact. He was also the first to perform the opera- 
tion of staphyloraphy. Important scientific principles 
were developed by him in relation to the pathology of 
necrosis, on which he founded a new and successful 
mode of practice. He also devised and introduced a 
mode of amputating the thigh, which, although re- 
sembling methods for some time in use, is sufficiently 
original to bear his name. 

The apparatus which he invented for the treatment 
of fractures is altogether new, and has been adopted 
by some of the best surgeons in every part of our 
country as decidedly preferable to any in use. His 
mode of reducing dislocations of the hip is new, phi- 
losophical and ingenious.' 


Dr. Thaddeus Spaulding, who died suddenly of 
inflammation of the lungs, at South Reading, on the 
14th of April last, (1844), was born in Townsend, 
Mass., Nov. 1st, 1791. Possessing naturally a great 
thirst for knowledge, he was not satisfied with the 
pursuits of agriculture, to which his father was de- 
voted, and in which he wished his only son to engage 
for life. He therefore determined to prepare himself 
for one of the learned professions, and in the midst 
of many obstacles and discouragements he entered 
upon a regular course of study. He pursued a part 
of his medical studies under the instruction of the 
distinguished Dr. Matthias Spaulding of Amherst, N. 
H., and attended lectures at Dartmouth College. In 
the year 1815, he established himself in practice in 
South Reading, and soon after became connected in 
marriage with the family of the late Dr. John Hart, 
who was celebrated as a surgeon and physician in 
that place and vicinity for more than half a century. 

Dr. Spaulding resided nearly thirty years in South 
Reading, and for most of the time, had an extensive 
practice. While there was nothing peculiarly strik- 
ing, either in his medical acquisitions or character, 
yet he was always regarded as a very skillful and 
successful practitioner of medicine. In his know- 
ledge and treatment of diseases generally, he relied 
more on observation and experience than any in- 
formation derived from books. In the department of 
Obstetrics, he had extensive experience, and proved 
himself a very successful accoucheur. In all his in- 
tercourse with his patients, he was remarkably kind 


and attentive ; and such was the bland ness of his 
manners, the dignity of his deportment and the tenor 
of his remarks, that they were pecuharly calculated 
to inspire confidence and command respect. But it 
was in the capacity of a business man, and in the 
relations which he sustained to the public, for which 
Dr. Spaulding was mainly distinguished. 

For more than twenty years he held a commission 
of justice of the peace and performed a great deal 
of business connected with this office. He was al- 
ways looked to by his fellow townsmen and citizens 
as a faithful counsellor and able adviser in adjusting 
all difficulties, and carrying into effisct all the public 
enterprises of the day. The Rev. Joseph Bennett 
of Woburn, while speaking in his funeral sermon of 
the deep sensation which the death of Dr. Spaulding 
had produced among the people of the neighboring 
towns, remarked : ' They have long known his amia- 
ble disposition, his sprightly talents, his pleasing man- 
ners, his social qualities, his peculiar activity in busi- 
ness, and his rising reputation and usefulness as a 
physician, as a statesman, a citizen and a Christian.' 

Dr. Spaulding possessed an unusual share of pub- 
he spirit, and always took a great interest in all 
matters appertaining to the affairs of the state and 
nation. In the year 1841, he was chosen a member 
of the Executive Council, and was again re-elected 
in 1843, which office he held at the time of his 
decease. It is believed that few individuals ever 
manifested in a stronger degree, or more disinterest- 
ed manner, the elements of true republicanism and 
patriotism. He was also a firm believer in the doc- 


trines of evangelical religion, and in his last illness 
was remarkably sustained by the consolation of that 
gospel which he had so long possessed. And though 
the messenger of death came unexpectedly, in the 
midst of urgent business and great usefulness, in the 
very meridian of life, and with the most flattering 
prospects, he was perfectly resigned to his situation, 
and awaited his final dissolution with a calmness and 
composure becoming the Christian. Dr. Spaulding 
was admitted a fellow of the Mass. Med. Society in 
1819. — Dr. Homans' Address before the Mass. Med. 
Society, 1843. 

Dr. John Spence died May 18, 1829, at his resi- 
dence in Dumfries, Va., near the banks of the Poto- 
mac river, aged sixty-three years, one of the colla- 
borators of the American Journal of the Medical 

This gentleman, for nearly forty years, enjoyed in 
the section of Virginia in which he lived, the highest 
reputation as a judicious and successful practitioner, 
and has contributed in no small degree to the present 
scientific state of medicine in this country, by pre- 
senting the example of an indefatigable and accom- 
plished student, almost to the close of his existence ; 
and by his original contributions to the pages of Ame- 
rican Journals. 

Upon the first introduction of the vaccine disease 
into the United States, his attention was closely be- 
stowed upon it, and in a short time he became satis- 
fied of its really possessing those prophylactic powers 


attributed to it by its renowned discoverer. His zeal 
in the cause, his general intelligence and polish as a 
scholar, and his established reputation in medicine, in- 
spired the public with such confidence in his judg- 
ment, as soon enabled him to extend the benefit of his 
convictions, not only throughout his own region, but 
to the more distant points of Virginia, and of the ad- 
joining states. He was on this momentous occasion, 
while pubhc opinion yet remained undetermined, a 
luminary in the path of science ; and though he re- 
flected a light derived from a more lustrous source, 
yet he contributed in no small degree to its extension. 
The journals and pubhcations of that day attest suf- 
ficiently the spirit of apostleship with which he was 
inspired by the new doctrine, and his efiiciency in 
the cause. He remained to the time of his death a 
devoted believer in the same cause, and from repeat- 
ed and varied experiments, had satisfied himself so 
fully on the subject, that the shghtest doubt of genu- 
ine vaccine being a protector from variola, was to 
him a heresy in medicine of the most monstrous and 
unpardonable kind. 

His next considerable contribution to the profes- 
sion was the report of a trial in some cases of pul- 
monary hemorrhage, of the remedial efficacy of di- 

In the year 1806 he carried on an interesting cor- 
respondence with the late Dr. Benjamin Rush, on the 
successful treatment of a case of puerperal mania. 
This correspondence is published in the Medical Mu- 
seum of Philadelphia. 

Last year he presented a valuable paper to this 


journal on the efficacy of a sea voyage in arresting 
pulmonary consumption in his own person when a 
young man. Having given this brief and imperfect 
sketch of his scientific labors which are generally to 
be found in the Medical Museum of Dr. Coxe, and in 
Miller's Medical Repository of New York, we may 
proceed to say something of his personal history. 

Dr. Spence was a native of Scotland, and spent 
five years in the University of Edinburgh when its 
reputation was illustrated by the lectures of CuUen, 
Black and Monro. Being fully qualified to graduate, 
he was prevented by symptoms of pulmonary con- 
sumption, and was advised by his physicians to take 
immediately a long voyage. The res angustcB domi, 
which have been so efficient in the nurture of genius, 
prevailing in his domestic circle, prevented him from 
adopting a course more gratifying to his feelings, and 
he was induced to accept, in the year 1788, the offer 
of a private tutorship in a family residing in Dumfries, 
in Virginia. At the same moment he had an offer of 
a promising professional appointment in St. Peters- 
burgh, which has since turned out very advantageous 
in reputation and emolument to its occupant, but the 
alarming situation of his health induced him to prefer 
the more genial chmate of the United States. His 
accomplishments as a Latin and Greek scholar made 
him a very respectable member, as tutor, in a nume- 
rous family, the head of which felt the full value of 
bestowing a good education on his children. 

The voyage saved his hfe, and upon the expiration 
of his engagement, he assumed, in 1791, the practice 
of a profession in which he had been highly educated, 


and to which he was much attached. From many of 
his countrymen residing in the place, and most of the 
famihes being of Scottish descent, he was in a short 
time fixed in a highly advantageous business. Dum- 
fries, though now deserted by commerce, and in de- 
cay, was at that time in the full tide of prosperity 
from a most valuable tobacco trade to Europe, and 
especially to Glasgow. The rational feelings of the 
Doctor's countrymen, and their liberal remuneration 
of his professional services, secured for him in a few 
years an independence. 

His well merited distinction, together with a consi- 
deration for the circumstances under which he left the 
University of Edinburgh, induced the Medical Fa- 
culty of the University of Pennsylvania to concur 
unanimously in an application to the board of trustees 
to confer upon him the honorary degree of Doctor of 
Medicine, which was accordingly complied with at 
the commencement, in July, 1828. 

As a practitioner of medicine, he was attentive and 
sympathizing, and knew perfectly the deportment 
which suits the physician in the presence of a patient. 
In the instance of a professional brother, who visited 
him during his illness, and whose attention was with- 
drawn during the visit, and its attendant interrogato- 
ries, to some unimportant and irrelevant"object in the 
room, he said afterwards to a friend, ' that man has 
not yet learned how to behave in a sick room.' 

The fruits of his professional experience were dili- 
gently recorded ; he has, therefore, left many valuable 
manuscripts, the digest of which it is to be hoped will 


be presented to the public before long, by a compe- 
tent hand. 

A few weeks before his death, the gloom of a sick 
chamber was rendered still more melancholy by the 
death of a favorite son in the progress of his educa- 
tion. His punctuality as a correspondent ceased with 
this unexpected blow to his hopes as a parent, and 
sinking finally under the pressure of infirmities and 
grief, the next intelhgence from him was through a 
connexion, who communicated the tidings of his hav- 
ing died without a struggle. He has left a widow 
and a small family of children to deplore his loss. 

W. E. H., in the Am, Med. Jour. 

Dr. William Spooner was born on the 24th day 
of March, 1760, a few days after the great fire of 
that year. His parents lived in Washington street, 
then Cornhill, Boston. On the night of that fire, the 
house that they occupied being in danger, it became 
necessary to remove his mother ; in consequence of 
this exposure and her subsequent confinement, she 
died. At the age of nine years he was placed un- 
der the charge of the celebrated Mr. Lovett, for 
many years the master of the Latin school. In the 
family of this venerable teacher he continued to live 
until July, 1774, when he entered College. In the 
following April the battle of Lexington took place. 
Cambridge now became the seat of war, in conse- 
quence of which the scholars were dispersed ; and 
he went to Sherburne, where with several others he 


lived with Ex-President Locke. In October, 1775, 
the scholars were ordered to Concord, and were re- 
stored to Cambridge in October, 1776. He gra- 
duated in 1778, having lived as chum, during his 
whole collegiate course, with the late Samuel G. 
Amory, Esq. 

On leaving college, he immediately entered upon 
the study of medicine under the charge of the late 
Dr. Samuel Danforth, who at this time lived at the 
north part of the town. The reputation which this 
distinguished physician afterwards enjoyed, was not 
at that time acknowledged among the richer classes 
of the community ; but he was extensively called 
upon by the poor, which gave to his pupil ample 
opportunities to see his practice. Having pursued 
the study of medicine for three years, in 1781 Mr. 
Spooner entered a man of war as surgeon, and 
continued to act in this capacity until peace took 
place — having during this time made three cruises 
in three different vessels, in one of which he was 
captured and carried into Barbadoes. 

In April, 1781, immediately upon his return from 
his last cruise, peace having taken place, he embark- 
ed for Europe. The following winter he entered 
the medical school at Edinburgh. This school at 
that time was the most distinguished in the world. 
Among its professors were CuUen, Monro and Black. 

In 1785, he received the degree of Doctor of 
Medicine. On this occasion he presented a disser- 
tation, ' De Ascite Abdominalis,^ which he afterwards 
published, and which has been commended by com- 


petent judges for the correctness of its style. In 
this treatise he describes some experiments made by 
himself and two of his fellow students in January, 
1785, on the top of St. Arthur's seat near Edin- 
burgh. Some accounts of these experiments may 
be found in Thompson's work on Inflammation, in 
the chapter on Frost-bite, pp. 453, 497, 498. The 
summer of 1786 he spent in London, and with Dr. 
Wistar of Philadelphia pursued a course of anato- 
mical dissection. With this gentleman Dr. Spooner 
contracted a friendship, which was ever afterwards 

Dr. Spooner arrived in Boston in October, 1786, 
and settled as a practitioner in medicine. The pecu- 
liar advantages of his education, the polish of man- 
ners that he had received abroad, and the distinction 
of family and wealth, gave to him a very flattering 
reception into the first circles of society. In the 
course of the following winter he was attached as 
surgeon to the regiment fitted out from Boston to 
suppress Shays' rebellion. But as the news that this 
insurrection had been quelled met this body of troops 
soon after they left town, he was not called into ac- 
tual service. In 1804 he was elected a member of 
our State Legislature, and continued to be re-elect- 
ed for seven successive years, for five of which he 
was chosen senator. In his politics he was a decid- 
ed federalist, although there were few men in public 
hfe, during that exciting period of our history, who 
exhibited less of the character of a partizan than he 
did. He was always ready to do justice to the cha- 


racters and the measures of his opponents, and to 
check the excesses to which the measures of his 
own party, at times, seemed to tend. 

Dr. Spooner was an efficient member of the Mas- 
sachusetts Medical Society — of the American Aca- 
demy of Arts and Sciences — of the Massachusetts 
Historical Society, and the Humane Society. For 
many years he acted as one of the medical Censors 
of our State Society, and as a member of the Com- 
mittee for awarding the Boylston prizes. He also 
served on the school committee for this town, and 
for a long time was the oldest member of the Board 
of Overseers of Harvard University. The ease of 
his pecuniary circumstances on starting in life, and 
the absorbing interest of politics in which he after- 
wards became engaged, were not favorable to that 
devotion to professional pursuits which can alone 
ensure full success. Still, for several years, he had 
a good share of medical practice ; and until late he 
continued to enjoy as a physician, the confidence of 
some of our most respectable families. He was de- 
cided and successful as a practitioner. In the early 
stages of disease he depended almost entirely upon 
evacuants, and in the ntore advanced stages of acute, 
and in all chronic cases, he made a much more free 
use of stimulants than is common at the present day, 
always paying attention to the state of the alimen- 
tary canal. 

In his manners he was affable, respectful, and even 
courteous ; he was a remnant of that old school, 
which with him seems almost entirely to have passed 
away. In his feelings he was benevolent and truly 


public spirited ; he was always willing to give his 
time, and to contribute from his means, to all objects 
intended to promote the public good. There are 
(ew institutions of public utihty established during 
the active and prosperous periods of his life, which 
will not find his name in the lists of its benefactors. 
He died at the age of 76 years. — Boston Med. and 
Surg. Jour., vol. 14. 

Dr. John Stone was born at Rutland, Worcester 
county, in the State of Massachusetts, in the year 
1763. He received a good academical education, 
and commenced the study of medicine with the cele- 
brated Dr. John Frink of Rutland, a distinguished 
member of the Massachusetts Medical Society. Af- 
ter the close of his pupilage he commenced practice 
at Greenfield, in the county of Frankhn, Mass., where 
he soon obtained an extensive business. An attack 
of haemoptysis induced him to relinquish the practice 
at Greenfield, and to establish himself in the city of 
New York, about the year 1805, where he remained 
about two years, and became an active member of 
the New York Medical Society, and did considerable 
business. His health was at this time reinstated, and 
he was induced once more to return to Greenfield, 
where he remained until 1819, when he sold his place 
and privileges to Dr. Seth Washburn, who died in the 
year 1825. He then removed to Providence, Rhode 
Island, where he remained a year or two, and then 
took up his abode at Springfield, Mass., where he en- 
gaged in extensive and lucrative business, which con- 


<ar ® ISC S3" S 22 © S" 11 q, BEo ro; 

■yV. C Sharp's r.iili. 3ostm 


tinued till near the time of his death, in 1838, at the 
age of seventy years. 

He joined the Massachusetts Medical Society in 
1 803, and continued an active memher of it from that 
time till his death. For many years he was a coun- 
sellor in the society, in which office he discharged his 
duties with fidelity and zeal. At the recommendation 
of his professional brethren, who knew his worth, the 
honorary degree of Doctor of Medicine was con- 
ferred upon him in the year 1824, by the authority of 
Williams College, then in connection with the Berk- 
shire Medical Institution. He educated a number of 
pupils in the profession, among the rest Dr. Al- 
pheus F. Stone of Greenfield, a distinguished Fel- 
low and Counsellor in the Mass. Med. Society ; and 
an only son, who afterwards entered the army as an 
officer, and died at the South. His library was large 
and respectable, and he kept pace in the purchase of 
books, with the great and important improvements of 
the age. His business was extensive as a consulting 
physician, and he enjoyed the confidence of his pro- 
fessional brethren by whom he was surrounded. 

In his manners Dr. Stone was a perfect pattern of 
a gentleman ; and no one could approach him, how- 
ever humble his sphere and condition, without receiv- 
ing a share of his urbanity and particular attention. 
A neighboring physician once observed of him that 
' that polite how do you do ?' of his, took away his 
business. This expresses all I could wish to say of 
him in this respect. In his person he was tall and 
erect, and he was proverbially one of the neatest and 
most fashionable men in his dress in the country. He 


was always ready at the call of any one, and there 
are but few physicians hving who could, or did do 
a greater amount of business in a given time. His 
faculties continued bright till the close of his life, and 
he was able to transact business till within a short time 
previous to his death. He died universally lamented. 
My Address before the Mass. Med. Society. 

Dr. Henry Stuber. The individual merit, the ex- 
tended information and general service rendered the 
cause of science and humanity at an early period of 
our country's progress in intellectual culture, demands 
that Dr. Stuber should receive a passing notice in this 
volume. His name, moreover, is indissolubly asso- 
ciated with that of Franklin, as his biographer, inas- 
much as we are largely indebted to him for that valu- 
able account of the illustrious sage which accompa- 
nies his autobiography, and for his historical record of 
Frankhn's discoveries in electricity. The materials 
are indeed scanty for our object, scarcely a trace of 
the career of Dr. Stuber being found in print, and 
the long period which has elapsed since his death for- 
bids our deriving any particular information concern- 
ing him from his scattered cotemporaries. To my 
friend. Dr. John W. Francis of New York, I am 
obligated for all I have to say, as the brief notice 
which I now insert is taken from the life and writings 
of Franklin, by Jared Sparks. Dr. Francis' commu- 
nication to the learned editor may be found in the 
10th volume of that extensive work. 

' Dr. Stuber was cut off too early in life,' says Dr. 


F., 'to afford materials for much beyond the ordinary 
record of an obituary register. He was descended 
from German parents, and was born in Philadelphia, 
as nearly as can be ascertained, in 1770. The tradi- 
tional accounts concerning him, are eminently favora- 
ble as to his natural capacity, his various attainments, 
and his moral worth. He evinced throughout his 
brief career an ardent love of literature and science ; 
and though his circumstances were narrow, he pur- 
sued them more with the desire of promoting useful 
and benevolent designs, than with a view to selfish 
remuneration. He acquired the rudiments of the 
Greek, Latin and German languages under the di- 
rection of the learned Dr. Kunze, at that time con- 
nected with the University of Pennsylvania, and was 
one of his favorite pupils when Dr. Kunze left the 
city of Philadelphia for New York, in 1784. Those 
languages he acquired with a remarkable facility; 
they were, however, but auxiliaries to his investiga- 
tions in almost every branch of human inquiry, to 
which he seems to have directed his energies. His 
store of knowledge, which he thus accumulated, laid 
a broad foundation for his intended career. His ac- 
quaintance with the different branches of physical and 
mental research now led him to a close study of me- 
dicine, and he graduated with honor in that profes- 
sion. His health, however, forbade him more than a 
very partial exercise of its responsible trusts. Very 
early thereafter, peculiar opportunities presenting, he 
obtained a situation in one of the public offices of the 
United States government ; and deeming Law more 


available to his new pursuits, he commenced the study 
of that science with unabated ardor, when he was 
arrested by a disease of the pulmonary organs, which 
at an earlier period had given rise to alarming appre- 
hensions among his friends. He died when he had 
just passed the age of his majority. 

' The consideration in which his memory is to be 
held, arises not alone from his numerous attainments 
in letters and philosophy. Various contributions to 
the periodical journals of the time attest at once his 
powers in his native language, the solidity of his ac- 
quisitions, and no mean force of original thinking. 
The only literary effort by which he will be remem- 
bered, is his continuation of the life of FrankKn.' 
' The most important part of Stuber's continuation,' 
adds Mr. Sparks, ' is that in which he gives an histo- 
rical account of Franklin's discoveries in electricity.' 

Dr. Thomas H. Swaby. Mr. C. M. Crittenden, 
the former Preceptor of the Academy at Seneca 
Falls, N. Y., and now Principal of the Academy in 
Deerfield, Mass., has politely handed me the following 
facts in relation to his estimable friend. 

' The hfe of a young man necessarily affords compa- 
ratively but few materials for biography. But when 
integrity, benevolence, cultivation, manners, and pro- 
mising indications of future professional eminence are 
manifested, it is fit and important that the memory of 
those, (however young) who have exhibited such 
qualities, should be perpetuated in a manner that shall 


render it more extensively and permanently useful, 
than when only preserved in the affections of friends 
and personal acquaintances. 

Dr. Thomas H. Swaby, the subject of the present 
memoir, was born at Pontefract, England, March 12th, 
1817. In 1822, he came to this country with his pa- 
rents, who settled in Columbia county, Penn. He 
pursued the studies preparatory to his profession, un- 
der Dr. Meigs, in Philadelphia, and graduated at the 
Pennsylvania Medical University about the year 1838. 
From Dr. Meigs have been received flattering testi- 
monials as to the gentlemanly deportment and favora- 
ble prospects of the future professional success of his 
young student. After traveling a year in the south- 
ern and northern states, he settled at Seneca Falls, 
and commenced the practice of his profession. In 
this he was eminently successful, and was fast rising 
to a high rank in his profession. Ever ready in the 
discharge of his duties as a physician, his services 
were never refused even to the most humble ; and by 
this class especially of his fellow citizens, will his loss 
most deeply be deplored. Gratifying testimony is 
afforded that the poor not only received his profes- 
sional services without compensation, but were more 
frequently further aided by his private charities. 
Gentlemanly in his deportment, and affable in his 
manners. Dr. Swaby received the respect and esteem 
of all who had the pleasure of his acquaintance and 
intimacy. In his death his friends and the communi- 
ty at large have sustained an irreparable loss. He 
died November 12th, 1843, aged 26 years.' 


Dr. J. Greely Stevenson died June 5th, 1835, 
at the White Springs, Virginia, aged 36. 

He was born in Boston, March 28th, 1799. Hav- 
ing received his preparatory education in the PubUc 
Writing, Grammar and Latin School of his native 
town, he was entered at Harvard in 1812, being 13 
years of age. He graduated in 1816, and began the 
study of medicine under the direction of the late Dr. 
John Gorham. The friendly and affectionate inte- 
rest taken by Dr. Gorham in his pupil continued una- 
bated to his death, and on that event many of those 
who had been under his professional care, transfer- 
red their confidence at once to his pupil who retained 
it undiminished during his life. 

Dr. Stevenson died at an age when the individual, 
if ever, takes his place amongst men ; when the 
mind manifests its power, and the conduct through 
the discipline which is the lot of self-dependence, and 
he had passed it honorably and successfully. He was 
not a man to regret that such had been his lot. Its 
discipline is severe, and the demands it makes great, 
and sometimes hard to be borne. Still he felt that in 
its path, however narrow, occasions were always to 
be met with which a man may make useful both to 
himself and others. The great opportunities for in- 
dividual progress furnished by such a beginning of life, 
is the labor, the moral and intellectual labor it impos- 
es ; and success comes to some with such deep, such 
true enjoyment, as to those who have been, through 
their whole course, the ministers to their own good 
progress. In our brief history of his life may be seen 


how successful he had been. Feeble health, which 
took him occasionally from necessary occupation, did 
not depress him. He submitted with almost unexam- 
pled cheerfulness to the painful and discouraging, and 
his efficiency always returned along with power. 

More than a year ago Dr. Stevenson was seized 
with an obscure disease, resembling in many of its 
symptoms continued fever, and having complicated 
with these others of less easily determined character. 
He was confined to his bed some weeks, and during 
convalescence was from home, and continued in the 
country until health was tolerably restored. He suf- 
fered from severe pain, and at times great swelling 
of one of his legs. His stomach was frequently so 
irritable as not to tolerate food for a day or more, 
rejecting whatever might be taken, unchanged, and 
with hardly the least previous nausea. He had also 
headache at times, soreness of throat and increased 
difficulty of breathing, occasionally accompanied by 
cough. His nights were sleepless, and his days or 
most part of them filled up with professional and 
not unfrequently hard labor. The winter passed by, 
and as the spring returned it was judged by his 
medical advisers that he should leave home in this 
very harsh season in New England, and pass some 
months at the south. Under this advice he went to 
Charleston, S. Carolina. He gained nothing while 
there, and finding some of his complaints to be 
increasing, left Charleston for the White Sulphur 
Springs, in Virginia. His journey was full of suffer- 
ing. Dropsy which had been confined to one limb, 
soon extended itself over the whole body. The 


difficulty of breathing amounted at times almost to 
suffocation. In his letters he sometimes spoke of 
his extreme suffering from this cause. But when he 
did so and gave his symptoms in the fullest details, 
it was after such a manner that you might easily 
suppose he was stating professionally the case of 
somebody else, and not his own. So remarkable 
was this in his letters, that a friend in writing to him 
remarked particularly upon it, and added that this 
gave him the strongest hope of his ultimate recovery. 
His powers of mind remained un weakened to the 
very last. He was sitting up on the day of his death, 
and a friend seeing how exhausted he was, and be- 
lieving from sure signs that he was dying, urged his 
lying down. He consented, but said he had no other 
reason for doing so than gratifying his friend. He 
had in fact that day spoken of making arrangements 
for proceeding in a carriage to a more elevated spot, 
where he thought he should certainly breathe more 
easily. He laid himself down on his bed, closed his 
eyes as for sleep, and never opened them again. His 
death came by approaches, at last so gentle, that he 
knew not of its coming ; and sunk into his everlast- 
ing rest, as tranquilly as if he only slept. 

The following is the epitaph on his grave-stone : 
'Jonathan Greely Stevenson of Boston, died 3th 
January, 1833, aged 36 years. Were his grave in his 
native city it would require no epitaph. The inscrip- 
tion of his name, there universally known, would suf- 
fice to tell that beneath it repose the remains of a 
highly gifted, just and generous man — a pre-eminent- 
ly learned and skillful physician — a most active and 


judicious philanthropist ; and a son, a husband and a 
father, a brother and a friend, than whom none was 
ever more devoted, or more devotedly beloved. 

He hved in the exercise and died in the hopes of 
the faith that though 'the dust shall return to the 
earth as it was, the spirit shall return to God who gave 
it.' — Bost. Med. and Surg. Jour., vol. 13. 

Dr. James Thacher. After the principal part of 
this work was prepared for the press, intelligence was 
received of the demise of this venerable patriarch 
in the profession of medicine. Although this event 
was to have been anticipated from the great age to 
which he had advanced, and from many of the infir- 
mities consequent on it, yet although he had passed 
his ninetieth year, he was still engaged in some of the 
active duties of his profession, and especially those 
duties which pertain to the domain of mind. Even 
in his declining years he devoted his attention to the 
cultivation of the sciences, and particularly to the 
study of medicine. So recently as the year 1831, he 
published an Essay on Demonology, Ghosts, Appari- 
tions and Popular Superstitions, and in 1832, a His- 
tory of Plymouth, the second edition of which was 
published in 1 835. It is well known that in the year 
1828, he published a work upon American Medical 
Biography in two volumes with plates, which received 
the approbation and sanction of the principal physi- 
cians in America. That work has long been out of 
print. Having ascertained that he would not publish 
a new edition of that work and that the infirmities of 


age prevented his publishing an additional volume, 
which the number of deaths among eminent physi- 
cians in America, since that period, had rendered 
necessary, I was induced to engage in the undertak- 
ing, and I submitted the plan of my work to Dr. 
Thacher, who cordially assented to it, and advised me 
to persevere in the prosecution of it. In my manu- 
script I dedicated the work to him, hoping that the 
shaft of death might be averted till long after the 
pubhcation of the volume, and that he might hve and 
be useful, like the venerable Holyoke, to whom he 
dedicated his work when he had arrived almost to the 
age of one hundred years. But none can withstand 
the all-conquering sword of time. The little time 
which is presented me before the publication of my 
biography prevents me from collecting such ample 
materials in relation to his hfe and character as I 
could have wished, and must be my apology for the 
imperfection of this memorial of his life. 

Dr. Thacher was descended from a line of illus- 
trious ancestors. I find no less than sixteen gradu- 
ates of the name in the triennial catalogue of Har- 
vard University from 1671 to 1832, nine of whom 
were clergymen. Of his immediate ancestors, I 
know but little. He was born at Barnstable, Mass., 
in 1754, and died in May, 1844, in the 91st year of 
his age. His mother was the daughter of a Mr. 
Norton of Martha's Vineyard, and grand daughter 
of Gov. Coggshall of Rhode Island. He early de- 
voted! his attention to the study of medicine, but 
of his preparatory education I know nothing. He 
studied the profession with the celebrated Dr. Abner 


Hersey of Barnstable, a very celebrated physician, 
who died in the year 1787, aged 65 years. At the 
close of his pupilage, in the year 1775, at the age 
of 21 years, our beloved country was about to be 
involved in all the horrors of civil war. His youth- 
ful heart beat high with patriotic ardor for his op- 
pressed country, and he resolved to enter the army 
as an assistant surgeon as soon as he could procure 
a commission for that service. From his Military 
Journal, a third edition of which I find is to be pub- 
lished by the Harpers of New York, revised by his 
grandson, Mr. James F. Hodge of that city, I ex- 
tract the following paragraphs, showing the embar- 
rassments under which he labored in procuring the 
appointment. Soon after the battle of Bunker-hill, 
when the country was nerved for war, he says : ' Par- 
ticipating, I trust, in the glorious spirit of the times, 
and contemplating improvement in my professional 
pursuits, motives of patriotism and private interest 
prompt me to hazard in this noble conflict, with my 
brethren in the Provincial army. From the critical 
and embarrassing situation of our country, nume- 
rous and almost insurmountable difficulties are op- 
posed to my view ; and I am too young to possess 
a maturity of judgment, but yet unable to resist the 
impulse of enthusiasm which characterizes the times. 
My friends afford me no encouragement, alleging, 
that as this is a civil war, if I should fall into the 
hands of the British, the gallows will be my fate. 
The terrors of the gallows are not to be conquered, 
but I must indulge the hope that I may escape it. 
Hundreds of my superiors may take their turn be- 


fore mine shall come. The tories assail me with the 
following powerful arguments, ' Young man, are you 
sensible you are about to violate your duty to the 
best of kings, and run headlong into destruction ? 
Be assured that this rebellion will be of short dura- 
tion. The royal army is all-powerful, and will in a 
few months march through the country and bring all 
to subjection ; for they are experienced in war and 
expert in discipline. There remains no rational al- 
ternative but a reconciliation to our lawful govern- 
ment ; or we shall soon experience their just ven- 
geance. What is your army but an undisciplined 
rabble ? Can they stand against an army of regu- 
lars ? Where are your cannon, your fire-arms, your 
bayonets, and all your implements of war ? Above 
all where is your treasure, and where can you look 
for a barrel of gunpowder ? The whole country can 
scarcely afford a sufficiency for a battle of an hour.' 
Not a small portion of their reasoning I feel to be 
just and true. I am not certain, however, but much 
of it may prove erroneous. The result of the late 
battle at Charlestown should convince the most in- 
credulous tory, that our soldiers will face the regular 
troops, and that we are blessed with the smiles of 
Heaven on our exertions. It would be presumption 
in me to determine as to probabilities and prospects ; 
but the voice of liberty cannot be stifled, while the 
welfare and happiness of more than three millions 
of people now in America, and of unborn millions, 
are involved in the issue. 

Our rulers are the most competent judges, and un- 
der their banners I will venture, I hope not rashly, to 


enlist and trust my destiny in the hands of a kind and 
overruling Providence. My contemplated enterprise 
it is true, requires the experience and resolution of ri- 
per years than twenty-one, and qualifications which I 
do not possess, to ingratiate myself with strangers and 
those in authority. Having consulted Joseph Otis, 
Esq. of Barnstable, on this occasion, he immediately 
applauded my enterprise, and politely furnished me 
with a letter to his brother-in-law, James Warren, 
Esq. of Plymouth, who is President of our Provin- 
cial Congress at Watertown. Imagination could not 
fail to paint my prospects in bright colors, and I pro- 
ceeded July the 3d, with alacrity to the seat of Con- 
gress. I was not disappointed in my interview with 
Mr. Warren ; my letter procured for me a favora- 
ble and polite reception. He honored me with his 
friendship, and introduced me to his lady, whose fa- 
ther's family and my own have, for many years, been 
on terms of friendship and intercourse. The office 
which I solicit is one in the medical department in the 
provincial hospital at Cambridge. A medical board, 
consisting of Drs. Holton and Taylor, are appointed 
to examine the candidates ; and they added my name 
to the Hst for examination on the 10th instant. This 
state of suspense continuing several days, excites in 
my mind much anxiety and solicitude, apprehending 
that my stock of medical knowledge, when scanned 
by a learned committee, may be deemed inadequate, 
and all my hopes be blasted. 

On the day appointed, the medical candidates, six- 
teen in number, were summoned before the board for 
examination. This business occupied about four 


hours; the subjects were anatomy, physiology, sur- 
gery and medicine. It was not long after that I was 
happily relieved from suspense, by receiving the sanc- 
tion and acceptance of the board, with some accepta- 
ble instructions relative to the faithful discharge of 
duty, and the humane treatment of those soldiers who 
may have the misfortune to require my assistance. 
Six of our number were privately rejected as being 
found unqualified. The examination was in a consi- 
derable degree close and severe, which occasioned 
not a little agitation in our ranks. But it was on 
another occasion, as I am told, that a candidate under 
examination was agitated into a state of perspiration, 
and being required to describe the mode of treatment 
in rheumatism, among other remedies how he could 
promote a sweat, and being asked how he would 
effect this with his patient, after some hesitation he 
replied, ' I would have him examined by a medical 
committee.' I was so fortunate as to obtain the office 
of surgeon's mate in the provincial hospital at Cam- 
bridge, Dr. John Warren being the senior surgeon. 
He was the brother and pupil of General Joseph 
Warren who was slain in the memorable battle on 
Breed's hill. This gentleman has acquired reputation 
in his profession, and is distinguished for his humanity 
and attention to the sick and wounded soldiers, and 
for his amiable disposition. Having received my ap- 
pointment by the Provincial Congress, I commenced 
my duty in the hospital July 15th, 1775. Several 
private but commodious houses in Cambridge are 
occupied for hospitals, and a considerable number of 
soldiers, who were wounded at Breed's hill, and a 


greater number of sick, of various diseases, require 
all our attention. Dr. Isaac Foster, late of Charles- 
town, is also appointed a senior hospital surgeon ; 
and his student. Dr. Josiah Bartlett, officiates as his 
mate ; Dr. Benjamin Church is Director General of 
the hospital. 

On the 18th of Feb., 1776, Dr. John Morgan of 
Philadelphia was appointed by Congress Director Ge- 
neral of our hospitals instead of Dr. Church removed. 
Since his arrival here, a new and systematic arrange- 
ment in the medical department has taken place ; the 
number of surgeon's mates in the hospital is to be 
reduced, and vacancies in regiments are to be suppli- 
ed. I have been subjected to another examination 
by Dr. Morgan, and received from him the appoint- 
ment of surgeon's mate to Dr. David Townsend, in 
the regiment commanded by Col. Asa Whitcomb, 
stationed in the barracks on Prospect Hill.' 

I cannot omit mentioning in this place a little inci- 
dent showing the method of treatment adopted by 
Dr. Thacher and two medical attendants, in the case 
of the bite of the rattlesnake. The treatment, how- 
ever, was not altogether new. In the month of Au- 
gust, 1776, his regiment was ordered to Ticonderoga. 
Soon after his arrival at Skenesboro', near that place, 
' a soldier had the imprudence to seize a rattlesnake 
by the tail ; the reptile threw his head back and 
struck his fangs into the man's hand. In a few mo- 
ments a swelling commenced attended with severe 
pain. It was not more than half an hour when his 
whole arm to his shoulder was swollen to twice its 
natural size, and the skin became of a deep orange 


color. His body, on one side, soon became affected 
in a similar manner, and a nausea at his stomach en- 
sued. The poor man was greatly and justly alarmed ; 
his situation was very critical. Two medical men 
beside myself were in close attendance for several 
hours. Having procured a quantity of olive oil, we 
directed the patient to swallow it in large and repeat- 
ed doses, till he had taken one quart; and at the 
same time we rubbed into the affected limb a very 
large quantity of mercurial ointment. In about two 
hours we had the satisfaction to perceive the favorable 
effects of the remedies. The alarming symptoms 
abated, the swelhng and pain gradually subsided, and 
in about forty-eight hours he was happily restored to 
health !' 

After the surrender of Burgoyne to the army of 
Gen. Gates, Dr. Thacher, with the other medical at- 
tendants, was busily engaged in the hospital attend- 
ing to the arduous and painful duties of his profession, 
after a series of protracted and sanguinary battles. 
He says : ' The hospital is now crowded with officers 
and soldiers from the field of battle ; those belonging 
to the British and Hessian troops are accommodated 
in the same hospital with our own men, and receive 
equal care and attention. The foreigners are under 
the care and management of their own surgeon. I 
have been present at some of their capital operations, 
and remarked that the English surgeons performed 
with skill and dexterity, but the Germans, with fevf 
exceptions, do no credit to their profession ; some of 
them are the most uncouth and clumsy operators I 
ever witnessed, and appear to be destitute of all sym- 


patliy and tenderness toward the suffering patient. 
Not less than one thousand wounded* and sick are 
now in this city, (Albany). The Dutch church and 
several private houses are occupied as hospitals. We 
have about thirty surgeons and mates ; and are con- 
stantly employed. I am obliged to devote the whole 
of my time from eight o'clock in the morning to a 
late hour in the evening, to the care of our patients. 
Here is a fair field for professional improvement. 
Amputating limbs, trepanning fractured skulls, and 
dressing the most formidable wounds, have familiar- 
ized my mind to scenes of woe. A military hospital 
is peculiarly calculated to afford examples for profita- 
ble contemplation, and to interest our sympathy and 
commiseration. If I turn from beholding mutilated 
bodies, mangled limbs, and bleeding, incurable wounds, 
a spectacle no less revolting is presented, of misera- 
ble objects, languishing under afflicting diseases of 
every description — here are those in a mournful state 
of despair, exhibiting the awful harbingers of ap- 
proaching dissolution — there are those witli emaciat- 
ed bodies and ghastly visage, who begin to triumph 
over grim disease and just lift their feeble heads from 
the pillow of sorrow. No parent, wife or sister, to 
wipe the tear of anguish from their eyes, or to soothe 
the pillow of death, they look up to the physician as 
their only earthly friend and comforter, and trust the 
hands of a stranger to perform the last painful duties. 
Often have I remarked their confidence in my friend- 
ship, as though I was endeared to them by brother- 
ly ties. Viewing these unfortunate men as the faith- 
ful defenders of the Hberties of our country, far sepa- 


rated from their dearest friends, who would be so lost 
to the duties of humanity, patriotism and benevo- 
lence, as not to minister to their comfort, and pour 
into their wounds the heahng balm of consolation ? 
It is my lot to have twenty wounded men committed 
to my care by Dr. Potts, our Surgeon General ; one 
of whom, a young man, received a musket ball 
through his cheeks, cutting its way through the teeth 
on each side, and the substance of the tongue ; his 
sufferings have been great, but he now begins to ar- 
ticulate well. Another had the whole side of his face 
torn off by a cannon ball, laying his mouth and throat 
open to view. A brave soldier received a musket 
ball in his forehead; observing that it did not pene- 
trate deep, it was imagined that the ball rebounded 
and fell out ; but after several days, on examination, 
I detected the ball lying flat on the bone, and spread 
under the chin, which 1 removed. No one can 
doubt but he received his wound while facing the ene- 
my, and it is fortunate for the brave fellow that his 
skull proved to be too thick for the ball to penetrate. 
But in another instance a soldier's wound was not 
so honorable ; he received a ball in the bottom of his 
foot, which could not have happened unless when in 
the act of running from the enemy. This poor fel- 
low is held in derision by his comrades, and is made 
a subject of their wit for having this mark of a cow- 

Among the most remarkable occurrences which 
came under my observation, the following is deserv- 
ing of particular notice. Captain Gregg, of one of 
the New York regiments, while stationed at Fort 


Stanwix, on the Mohawk river, went with two of his 
soldiers into the woods a short distance to shoot 
pigeons ; a party of Indians started suddenly from 
concealment in the bushes, shot them all down, to- 
mahawked and scalped them, and left them for dead. 
The captain, after some time revived, and perceiv- 
ing his men were killed, himself robbed of his scalp, 
and suffering extreme agony from his numerous 
wounds, made an effort to move and lay his bleed- 
ing head on one of the dead bodies, expecting soon 
to expire. A faithful dog who accompanied him, 
manifested great agitation, and in the tenderest man- 
ner licked his wounds, which afforded him ♦great re- 
lief from exquisite distress. He then directed the 
dog, as if a human being, to go in search of some 
person to come to his relief. The animal with every 
appearance of anxiety, ran about a mile, when he 
met two men fishing in the river, and endeavored in 
the most moving manner, by whining and piteous 
cries, to prevail on them to follow him into the 
woods ; struck with the singular conduct of the 
dog, they were induced to follow him part of the 
way, but fearing some decoy or danger, they were 
about to return, when the dog, fixing his eyes upon 
tliem, renewed his entreaties by his cries, and taking 
hold of their clothes with his teeth, prevailed on them 
to follow him to the fated spot. Such was the re- 
markable fidelity and sagacity of this animal.' This 
event has been rendered into poetry, and the elder 
readers of this memoir will recollect the concluding 
stanza of that poem in the American Preceptor, a 


standard book at the commencement of the 19th 

' My dog, the trustiest of his kind, 
'With gratitude inflames my mind, 
' I mark his true, his faithful way, 
' And in my service copy Tray.' 

* Captain Gregg was immediately carried to the 
fort, where his wounds were dressed ; he was after- 
wards removed to our hospital and put under my 
care. He was a most frightful spectacle ; the whole 
of the scalp was removed ; in two places on the top 
of his head the tomahawk had penetrated through 
the skull ; there was a wound on his back with the 
same instrument, besides a wound in his side, and 
another through his arm by a musket ball. This 
unfortunate man, after suffering extremely for a long 
time, finally recovered, and appeared to be well 
satisfied in having his scalp restored to him, though 
uncovered with hair. The Indian mode of scalping 
their victims is this, — with a knife they make a cir- 
cular cut from the forehead, quite round, just above 
the ears, then taking hold of the skin with their 
teeth, they tear off the whole hairy scalp in an in- 
stant, with wonderful dexterity. This they carefully 
dry and preserve as a trophy, showing the number 
of their victims, and they have a method of painting 
on the dried scalps, different figures and colors, to 
designate the sex and age of the victim, and also 
the manner and circumstances of the murder.' 

About the 20th of December, the sick and wound- 
ed soldiers under his charge at Albany having re- 


covered, Dr. Potts, the Surgeon General of the 
army, as a comphtnent for his attention, skill and 
assiduity to his patients, awarded him a generous 
and valuable present, and he obtained a furlough for 
forty days for the purpose of visiting his friends in 
New England. Soon after his return to the army, 
he was stationed at the Highlands, near West Point, 
where he remained a very considerable time. 

Dr. Thacher was at West Point in 1780 at the 
time of the treason of Arnold and the capture of the 
ill-fated Andre. He has given a thriUing descrip- 
tion of the execution of the latter, on which heart- 
rending occasion he was present, in his Mihtary 
Journal, but my limits will not allow me to detail it. 

He was present at the surrender of Lord Corn- 
wallis with his army on the 19th of October, 1780, 
which terminated the struggle between the mother 
country and her colonies. He says, ' this event re- 
flects the highest honor on our combined arms, it 
will adorn the pages of our history, and we fondly 
hope it will be attended with the most favorable con- 
sequences in bringing this long, protracted and dis- 
tressing war to a happy termination. It will be to 
me a source of inexpressible satisfaction that I have 
had an opportunity of participating in the siege and 
capture of a British army. It is among the blessed 
privileges and richest incidents of my hfe. I have 
for several days been afflicted with inflammatory 
rheumatism, attended with excruciating pains. Hav- 
ing no other covering than canvass tents, and the 
weather being extremely cold, my sufferings have 
been almost insupportable ; but I have much less 


reason to complain than to be grateful to a kind 
Providence, that I have enjoyed uninterrupted health 
during my seven years of mihtary service.' The 
Journal of Dr. Thacher, with the Revolutionary An- 
nals and the biography of the distinguished General 
officers of the American army, is one of the most 
interesting volumes upon the subject of our revolu- 
tion which has yet been published, and will repay 
the reader for an attentive perusal. 

At the termination of the revolutionary war he 
settled in the town of Plymouth as a physician and 
surgeon, where he resided till the day of his death. 
He was an eminently successful practitioner, enjoy- 
ing the entire confidence of his fellow citizens, and 
of the community where he resided. 

His practice during the greater part of his life 
was extensive and laborious. He devoted much of 
his time and attention to antiquarian researches, and 
was a member of the Pilgrim Society of Plymouth. 
He was also a member of the American Academy 
of Arts and Sciences, of the Massachusetts Medical 
Society, and of several others. In 1810 he received 
the honorary degree of Doctor of Medicine from 
Harvard University. 

For many of the latter years of his life he was 
afflicted with a difficulty of breathing, which depriv- 
ed him in some measure of the pleasures of social 
intercourse, which he highly estimated. He, however, 
did not repine at his lot. This defect might have 
been favorable to the great hterary eminence to 
which he attained, as it might have induced him to 
devote himself with greater assiduity to his favorite 


Studies. He -was one of the most elaborate and 
voluminous writers in the medical ranks in New 
England, and his works have always been sought 
after, and read with great avidity. The following is 
a hst of some of his publications, and it justifies me 
in making the above remarks. 

1. Observations on the art of making marine salt 
from sea-water, by evaporation produced by the sun's 
heat, with a description of the works and the several 
processes used in preparing medicinal salt and mag- 
nesia. Communicated to the Academy of Arts and 
Sciences in 1802, and published in their volume. 

2. Observations on the natural production of Iron 
ore, with a description of smelting furnaces, and 
some account of the manufacture of iron in the 
county of Plymouth, accompanied by several speci- 
mens of iron ore. Communicated to the Historical 
Society of Massachusetts and published in their 9th 

3. American New Dispensatory, 1810, 4th edition, 

4. Observations on Hydrophobia, 1821. 

5. Modern Practice of Physic, 1817, 2d edition, 

6. American Ochardist, 1822, 2d edition, 1825. 

7. Military Journal kept during the Revolutionary 
War, 1824, 2d edition, 1826. 

8. American Medical Biography, 2 vols., 1828. 

9. Practical Treatise on the management of Bees, 

10. Essay on Demonology, Ghosts, Apparitions and 
Popular Superstitions, 1831. 

580 T. H. THOMPSON. 

11. History of Plymouth, 1832, 2d edition, 1835. 

12. Various communications in the Medical Pe- 

' In his private character,' Dr. Winslow Warren, 
a fellow townsman^ of Dr. Thacher, from whom I 
have many of the facts in relation to his life, says 
' he displayed many estimable traits. As a citizen 
he was public spirited, a lover of order, and a warm 
supporter of the civil and religious institutions under 
which he lived, and in all the relations of life he 
was guided by a spirit of benevolence, kindness and 
disinterestedness, which gained him the attachment 
and regard of many friends.' 

Dr. T. H. Thompson was son of Dr. A. R. Thomp- 
son of Charlestown. He was educated at Harvard 
University, where he also took his medical degree in 
1826 or '7. He was then settled in practice in Rock- 
port, Me., where he remained only a short time. He 
was there very highly respected for his many excellent 
qualities, both moral and intellectual, was in high re- 
pute as a skillful physician, and his friends parted from 
him with great regret. Dr. Thompson then com- 
menced the practice of his profession in this city 
where he remained about eight years. His practice 
here was never much extended ; and about two years 
ago he removed to Appalachicola, where he died in 
the course of the last summer. 

The memory of Dr. Thompson is cherished by 
those who best knew him. Of strong and cultivated 
mind, well stored with useful knowledge, of excellent 


judgment, and with an extraordinary power of discri- 
minating the true from the false in the character of 
others, with an imagination remarkable for wit and 
playfulness, his society was much sought for and valu- 
ed by his friends. He was modest and unassuming, 
it may have been even to a fault ; and it was this trait 
in his character which circumscribed his circle of 
practice, and not any deficiency in those qualities of 
the head or heart, nor of the necessary medical at- 
tainments, which are indispensable in a good physi- 
cian. Those whom he attended professionally in this 
city were strongly attached to him by his goodness of 
heart, as well as by his valuable services to them. 
He was honest in the truest and strongest sense of 
that word. For this trait he was peculiarly distin- 
guished ; neither by word or action, would he ever 
deceive in the slightest degree. 

At Appalachicola his character appears to have been 
well appreciated, and in various forms there have 
come to us the strongest testimonials of the very high 
esteem in which he had been held in that place. His 
death is lamented as a loss to the city. And here 
there will be long cherished the recollection of his 
kindness of disposition, and of his many agreeable 
and valuable qualities. — Bost. Med. Jour. 

Dr. Caleb Ticknor. The Boston Medical and 
Surgical Journal observes : ' With feelings of pro- 
found sorrow we announce to the profession the re- 
cent death of Caleb Ticknor, M. D., of the city of 
New York, who has been taken away in the meridian 


of his usefulness, at the age of 36. Dr. Ticknor was 
extensively known in this country and in Europe. 
His Philosophy of Living, a work generally admired, 
gave him a reputation wherever the English language 
is spoken. He was talented, industrious and philan- 
thropic, and devoted to the science of medicine be- 
cause it gave him an opportunity of doing good. 
He was a native of Salisbury, Connecticut, and one 
of three brothers who were physicians. One of them 
is an eminent surgeon in the naval service, and the 
other still resides in Salisbury. The lamented sub- 
ject of this brief notice received his professional edu- 
cation at the Berkshire Medical Institution — a cir- 
cumstance of which the friends of that school may 
well be proud. 

Very many papers have appeared in the Journals 
which were from the pen of Dr. Ticknor, though, 
perhaps, rarely known to have been from that source. 
Such was the fact in relation to articles in this Jour- 
nal. We were expecting a critical essay from him 
about which letters have been interchanged, when the 
melancholy intelligence of his death was accidentally 
discovered in one of the daily papers. He had en- 
gaged, too, to prepare several pages on the statistics 
of homceopathy in the United States, for the next 
volume of the Medical Almanac. A hope is enter- 
tained that the undertaking was completed before 
death closed his labors. Dr. Ticknor became a tho- 
rough convert to Hahnemanism from an honest con- 
viction that it was a rational system, notwithstanding 
the ridicule it so often excites. The idea of profit- 
ing by what is usually considered a hallucination of a 

ELI TODD. 583 

portion of the civilized world, never once entered his 
mind. He was honest in his intentions, and dared 
to brave the public sentiment which at one time set 
with a strong flood against him. This is gleaned 
from his own letters to the editor. Although we dif- 
fer from him entirely upon the merits and claims of 
homoeopathy, the circumstance interposed no barrier 
to friendship. We esteem him for his integrity and 
sterling worth of character, and now mourn his early 
death as an irreparable loss to the republic of letters, 
to science and humanity. 

It should be the immediate business of those who 
are favorably circumstanced, to collect the various 
productions of Dr. Ticknor's hours of study, and ap- 
pend to them a memoir of his life, which, if pub- 
lished, would be an acceptable offering to the friends 
and admirers of that excellent man.' See in addition, 
an Address at his funeral, a notice of which is publish- 
ed in the 23d vol. of the Boston Med. and Surg. 

Dr. Eli Todd. Dr. Samuel B. Woodward, Super- 
intendent of the Massachusetts Lunatic Asylum, at 
Worcester, Mass., has furnished me with the following 
graphic memoir of this eminent philanthropist in the 
cause of the victims of insanity. It will be seen that 
he was the great pioneer in the establishment of the 
admirable Retreat for this unfortunate class of our 
fellow beings, in the State of Connecticut, and that 
for several years he devoted his life to the subject of 
insanity with unwearied assiduity. 

584 ELI TODD. 

' Eli Todd, M. D., who was extensively known as 
the distinguished Superintendent of the Retreat for 
the Insane at Hartford, Connecticut, was born in New 
Haven on the 22d of July, 1769. His father, Mi- 
chael Todd, a respectable and wealthy merchant, died 
when his son was five years of age, leaving him to 
the care of his mother, and an elder brother by a 
former marriage, from whom he received every kind- 
ness which it was in his power to bestow. He had 
two sisters younger than himself, one of whom mar- 
ried the Hon. Samuel Crafts, formerly Governor of 
Vermont, and now a member of the Senate of the 
United States. 

At the early age of six years, young Todd was 
placed under the care and instruction of his great 
uncle, Jonathan Todd, D. D. of East Guilford, Con- 
necticut, and from him as he said, he received ' the 
milk of his education.' He here commenced the 
study of the Latin language, and other branches pre- 
paratory to a collegiate education. At the age of ten 
he left this venerable man and was placed under the 
instruction of Elizur Goodrich, D. D. of Durham, 
Connecticut, a man ahke distinguished as a divine 
and as a teacher of youth. With him he continued 
till he was fitted for college. He entered Yale Col- 
lege in 1783, at the age of fourteen. Dr. Todd ever 
retained the highest respect for these two excellent 
men, and whenever he visited the places of their resi- 
dence, the scenes of his childish sports and early as- 
sociations, he sought every thing interesting and dear 
to him, and especially the graves where the remains 
of these venerable teachers were deposited. The 

W. C. . ihojyi.v f.iJihoq .Boston. 

ELI TODD. 585 

writer once traveled through the town of Durham 
with him, where he spoke with deep feehng of the 
kindness and sohcitude of the sainted Goodrich for 
him in the days of his pupilage and childhood and 
the anxiety which he manifested that he should re- 
ceive a public education, having doubtless some fore- 
cast of the distinction to which he might arrive if well 
trained and suitably educated. 

Dr. Todd graduated in 1787, at the age of eigh- 
teen, with the usual collegiate honors, ' distinguished 
for his literary and scientific attainments.' 

Both before and while in college, those noble traits 
of character which ever endeared him to all his ac- 
quaintances, made him the object of general regard 
and affection to his teacher and associates. He was 
ever beloved where he was well known. 

After his graduation Dr. Todd visited the West 
Indies with the intention of extending his travels to 
Europe and even to Asia, then the theatre of inte- 
resting events to the lovers of liberty, when the native 
tribes under Tippoo Saib were attempting to resist the 
well disciplined forces of Great Britain. He was, 
however, taken sick with yellow fever in the Island of 
Trinidad, and after recovering from extreme danger, 
was advised to return home. Circumstances soon oc- 
curred which induced him to commence immediately 
the study of the profession which proved to him the 
path of great usefulness and renown. 

His father left him a handsome patrimony which 
was in the hands of his elder brother. While on a 
voyage from the West Indies to this country, this 

586 ELI TODD. 

brother was lost, the ship and the whole of the cargo 
being sunk in the sea. The fortunes of this family 
were thus swept away before they came in possession, 
and young Todd was thrown upon his own resources. 
He now commenced the study of medicine, with Dr. 
Ebenezer Beardsley, a gentleman of high repute in 
his native city, as his preceptor. After a due course 
of medical study, Dr. Todd commenced the practice 
of his profession in the town of Farmington, Conn., 
in 1790, before he was fully twenty-one years of age. 
He soon acquired business and a reputation for tal- 
ents and skill which were honorable to his character, 
and evinced research and tact of which his seniors 
might have been proud. He had an extensive pri- 
vate practice, and early in life was extensively con- 
sulted by his medical brethren in cases of difficulty 
and danger. 

Few men carry to the bedside of the sick the phi- 
lanthrophy and philosophy which Dr. Todd exhibited. 
His whole soul as well as all the energies of his well 
stored mind was awakened to the interests of the sick. 
His examination of symptoms was thorough and criti- 
cal, at the same time blended with so much kindness 
as to secure the confidence and affection of the phy- 
sician who needed his counsel, and of the patient who 
received the benefit of his skill. 

Dr. Todd was married August 9th, 1796, to Miss 
Rhoda Hill of Farmington, a lady who possessed a 
most amiable disposition and great good sense, and 
who proved to him a most excellent wife. She died 
in JMarch, 1825. In November, 1828, he married 

ELI TODD. 587 

Catherine Hill, sister of his former wife, who still 
lives to bless his memory, and imitate his example of 
doing good. 

After practising his profession in Farmington 
about twenty years, and gaining a reputation which 
reached far beyond the limits of his circle of practice, 
he was invited to move to the city of New York. 
Here he remained but a short time, not being pleased 
with a city Hfe. He was induced to return to Far- 
mington by the earnest solicitations of his friends and 
employers, who made him liberal pecuniary proposals. 
His return was hailed with joy by a large circle of 
friends, who justly appreciated his worth as a man, 
and his abihties as a physician. He frequently said 
that one of the reasons which induced him to leave 
New York, was the gloomy spectacle of a funeral pro- 
cession with a shigle mourner ! a feeling strikingly il- 
lustrative of his benevolent and social nature. 

He continued in Farmington ten years longer, en- 
joying the confidence of the community, which af- 
forded him a lucrative business, and forming strong 
and lasting attachments. 

In the autumn of 1809 he removed to Hartford, 
where his consultations had previously extended. 
Here he also gained a good business, and soon be- 
came the most extensive consulting physician in the 

The intercourse of Dr. Todd with his brethren was 
always rendered pleasant by his kind and social cha- 
racter, which always inspired respect and confidence. 
The junior members of the profession loved him as a 
friend, and at the same time confided in his skill and 

588 ELI TODD. 

guidance in all cases of professional difficulty. The 
character of the young physician was always safe in 
his keeping ; however different their views of the 
case might have been, he managed to secure to 
them the confidence of their employers, while at the 
same time he often wholly changed the prescription ; 
thus laying them under obligations which usually re- 
sulted in firm friendship. 

In 1821, the number of cases of insanity in Hart- 
ford and the vicinity excited more than usual atten- 
tion to the want of a suitable place for their treat- 
ment and cure. Doctor Todd saw most of these 
cases alone or in consultation, and felt, perhaps more 
keenly than any other man, the difficulty of manag- 
ing the insane in private practice. He did much to 
awaken the attention of the profession and the pub- 
lic to the necessity of an institution for the safe 
keeping and cure of the insane, and to him, proba- 
bly, more than to any other person, is tliat State 
indebted for the Retreat for the Insane at Hartford, 
an institution conducted by him for ten years with 
unrivalled success and approbation. 

The attention of Dr. Todd had for many years 
been especially directed to diseases of the brain and 
nervous system. He was of a very susceptible ner- 
vous temperament ; his father died a victim of in- 
sanity ; his only sister who survived infancy was pe- 
riodically insane, and finally died by suicide ; and he 
had a fearful presentiment that he might ultimately 
become insane. These circumstances, together witli 
the number of similar cases which had been led to 
seek his counsel by the patient interest which he 

ELI TODD. 589 

manifested in their examination, had caused his mind 
to investigate this class of diseases with unusual at- 
tention and interest, and he understood them better 
than most men of his time. 

When the Retreat was ready to go into operation 
the attention of the whole community, and particu- 
larly that of the medical men who had interested 
themselves in its establishment, was turned to Dr. 
Todd as its physician and superintendent. The 
committee of the Medical Society who were desig- 
nated to make the nomination, unanimously named 
him for the officer, and the Board of Directors 
with the same unanimity approved the appointment. 
Such was the characteristic delicacy of his feelings, 
so apprehensive was he that the public would attri- 
bute his strenuous efforts for the establishment of 
the Retreat to selfish desires of place and honors, 
that he resisted long and firmly the pressing solici- 
tations of his friends to accept the appointment. 
He finally yielded to the importunities which met 
him on every side, and entered upon the duties of 
the place with a zeal and disinterestedness which 
augured favorably of the success to which he finally 

Few institutions in the world have been managed 
with more success than the Retreat while under the 
care of Dr. Todd. He took it in its infancy with- 
out patients, and almost without resources, at a time 
when public sentiment was far from being favorable 
to such institutions, he adopted a course of manage- 
ment peculiarly his own, carried it into successful 
operation, and gave to the Retreat a character for 

590 ELI TODD. 

the comfort and care of its members, not surpassed 
in this or any other country. Here, too, he raised 
himself a name for intelhgence and philanthropy as 
imperishable as the cause of humanity. 

Dr. Todd's devotion to the Retreat did not pre- 
vent him from doing much business abroad, particu- 
larly in consultation with his brethren in different 

His high reputation as a physician, and his good 
standing with his brethren of the medical profession, 
led them to confer upon him the highest honors in 
their gift. He was repeatedly elected Vice-Presi- 
dent and President of the Medical Society, and he 
received other marks of distinction in associations 
of medical men, which evinced their confidence and 

Political honors were also tendered him. He was 
for a number of years a candidate for Congress, 
selected by his political friends, who were then a 
minority in the state. He never sought political 
preferment, but chose to spend his hfe in a way 
more congenial to his nature, in the exercise of the 
high virtues which adorn and dignify human nature, 
and benefit the human family. 

He was at one time solicited to take the charge of 
the Bloomingdale Asylum, near New York, and after- 
wards was selected as Superintendent of the State 
Lunatic Hospital at Worcester, both of which institu- 
tions were more lucrative than his office at the Re- 
treat, but he declined them both, preferring to spend 
his life in his long cherished and favorite institution. 
Till the last hour of his life the welfare and prosperity 

ELI TODD. 591 

of his own Retreat was the subject of his constant 

During the last three years of his hfe, Dr. Todd 
had distressing paroxysms of disease in whicli the 
heart participated largely. The last year the symp- 
toms of fatal lesion of the organs of the chest were 
successively developed, and paroxysms of pain like 
angina pectoris were attended with a copious dis- 
charge from the pulmonary cells of a thin and bloody 
fluid. It was uncertain what organ sufiered most, 
and a post mortem examination exhibited less of or- 
ganic change in any than was expected. 

Till late in the season he devoted his attention to 
his health. He traveled, visited the watering places 
and the sea coast, but gained no relief. When cold 
weather approached he returned home, too well ac- 
quainted with the nature and tendency of his disease 
to mistake the issue. He was fully confident that it 
must terminate his hfe. He awaited the event with 
Christian fortitude, and died November 17th, 1833, 
aged 64 years. 

A medical gentleman who was well acquainted with 
Dr. Todd for more than thirty years, thus wrote after 
his death : 

* He was a man take him for all in all, 
' Eye shall not look upon his like again.' 

* We feel ourselves utterly incapable of attempting 
an eulogium upon the deceased. The records and 
printed reports of the Retreat demonstrate that great- 
er success has attended Dr. Todd's practice in recent 
cases of Insanity than has been heretofore known of 

592 ELI TODD. 

any other institution of the kind, either in America or 
Europe. He was perhaps equally able in every other 
department of his profession in which he engaged. 
He was also as much distinguished for his virtues in 
the various relations of life. He had a chivalrous 
sense of honor and integrity, softened by the most 
exquisite feelings of humanity and philanthropy. His 
professional life was a series of most benevolent acts, 
and from his eminent talents as well as his particular 
station, he was enabled to mitigate a greater propor- 
tion of the corporeal and mental ills of humanity than 
falls to the lot of most men. A pecuhar suavity of 
manner and an unaftected sympathy in the distress- 
es of others justly inspired greater confidence of his 
patients in him than in any other physician we ever 
knew. For many years he has very generally been 
considered at the head of his profession in the State. 

The death of such a man is a loss to the whole 
community. It makes a chasm which leaves us in 
doubt and uncertainty whether it can be filled. From 
his being at the head of one of the most important 
institutions, a whole State are his mourners.' 

In the circle of his acquaintance it is, perhaps, ge- 
nerally known that Dr. Todd, in early life, was scepti- 
cal as to the truths of the Christian religion. He en- 
tered on the stage of active life at the commence- 
ment of the French revolution. It is well known 
that the misguided efforts of that nation in the cause 
of liberty were preceded by the speculations of the 
philosophers and learned men on the abuses in go- 
vernment, and in religion, by which they have been 
so long oppressed. 

ELI TODD. 593 

A lover of liberty and naturally addicted to philoso- 
phy, Dr. Todd, like many others of a similar charac- 
ter, embraced the principles of the philosophers who 
gave impetus to that revolution, and became a sceptic 
in religion. 

He was never a scoffer at Christianity, for he had 
witnessed its good fruits and respected the men who 
taught its precepts for their moral worth and good 
deeds. He had too much benevolence to undervalue 
the influence which Christianity exerted in the cause 
of humanity, and too much candor to deny its legiti- 
mate claims to a large share of the good that was ef- 
fected in the various channels of Christian philanthro- 
py. He had sympathy with every man who had the 
good of his race at heart. 

Many years before his death his views of religion 
were changed and continued to become more favora- 
ble till the time of his death. With the writer he had 
many familiar conversations on this subject, and till 
the last year of his life, when we were separated, 
probably no one knew better the views and senti- 
ments of this good man. Without adopting any ex- 
clusive sectarian views, he felt the influence and was 
guided by the precepts of pure Christianity. He had 
always been strictly conscientious, and his moral cha- 
racter was pure and spotless. A respectable clergy- 
man said of him that ' he was the best man he ever 
knew.' A physician who knew him intimately, and 
who, being himself a religious man, was capable of 
appreciating religious character, said of him, ' take 
him as a whole, body, mind, and moral and religious 
principles and conduct, he was the most perfect man 

594 ELI TODD. 

I ever knew.' Such would be my testimony after fif- 
teen years of most intimate acquaintance. 

During the last year of his life his rehgious cha- 
racter shone brighter and brighter to the end, when 
he left the world, giving confidence to his friends that 
he died in the prospect of a full fruition of heavenly 
bliss, of which he had a foretaste, to use his own lan- 
guage, ' a beginning of the heavenly enjoyment on 
the earth.' 

There is no circumstance connected with the fife 
of Dr. Todd more to be regretted than that he left so 
little on record of his vast experience and acquisitions 
in knowledge, all of which was so well digested as to 
flow from his hps with eloquence such as few men pos- 
sessed. As his memory was exceedingly retentive, his 
resources of practical wisdom were ever at command 
to direct and guide his prescriptions ; but he has left 
little for others to glean from those ample stores of in- 
telligence which his active mind was able to turn to 
valuable account at the bedside of his patients. 

To his friends and medical associates he was ever 
ready to give his opinions and the result of his expe- 
rience with a freedom which showed conclusively 
that he had no desire to secrete his skill and deprive 
them of the benefit of it. On the contrary he was 
always ready, as he was fully able, to impart instruc- 
tion to those who would listen to him, and no man 
could hear him without admiration and dehght. 

He had a great aversion to writing, even his cor- 
respondence was too much neglected on account of 
his dread of taking up his pen. 

His first report of the condition of the Retreat 

ELI TODD. 595 

shows what he was able to do, and what he might 
have done, had he accustomed himself to writing. A 
single extract from it will serve to show his ability as 
a writer, no less than the correctness of his views, 
and the benevolence of his feelings. 

While speaking of the system of management 
adapted to the institution he says : ' The law of kind- 
ness which in this institution constitutes the pervad- 
ing and plastic power of its moral discipline, does not 
at all countervail or interfere with the important poli- 
cy of impressing patients with a due sense of authori- 
ty, neither does the impartial, unimpassioned and re- 
gulated exercise of wholesome authority irritate them, 
or diminish the grateful sense they generally feel of 
that unrivaled gentleness and respect which is required 
to be maintained towards them by every member of 
the institution. It is thus that those necessary re- 
straints which they violently resist at home, and con- 
sider as capricious and vengeful acts of tyranny, they 
submit to hear and regard with a degree of loyal feel- 
ing, as imparted regulations, essential to the well be- 
ing of their little community. 

On the whole, therefore, the physician of the Re- 
treat making due allowance for the forlorn character 
of a great majority of cases admitted, and also for the 
embarrassment peculiarly incident to the infancy of 
all institutions, cannot but be satisfied with the results, 
which are far more favorable than he had ventured to 
anticipate, and which he believes will have the effect 
of animating the immediate friends and patrons of 
the Retreat with a sanguine hope of ultimately ac- 
complishing the design of this noble institution, 

596 ELI TODD. 

which has been reared and fostered by them, with 
the benignant purpose of consecrating it to the rehef 
of the deplorable calamity that strikes at the foun- 
tain head of every blessing of existence, that stands in 
the catalogue of human sufferings with a sad pre-emi- 
nence of claim over all others upon our commisera- 
tion, but which in truth has received the smallest 
share of our assistance. 

All other sufferers seek relief from their sufferings, 
and successfully appeal to the kindly feelings of man 
for sympathy and aid. But unlike all others, the ma- 
niac who most needs tenderness and care, is neglect- 
ed, because he shuns the care and tenderness which 
he needs, repels the hand stretched out for his rehef, 
and would fain bar the doors of charity against him- 

But through the Divine influence of Him, who, 
touched with a sense of human infirmity, tempers the 
wind to the shorn lamb, his followers, in the temper 
of their master have sought out this forlorn and in- 
tractable sufferer and placed him under the guardian- 
ship of benevolence. 

By the blessing of Heaven the public sensibility is 
at last awakened to this interesting subject. The 
legislature, as well as many of our citizens, have em- 
barked in the cause with a fellow feeling and liberali- 
ty calculated to animate and fortify our confidence in 
human nature. They have contemplated the victims 
of insanity with a profound but considerate compas- 
sion, that promises to be as lasting as it is rational. 
This is not one of those sudden gusts of sympathy 
that is exhausted by its own violence, that expends 

ELI TODD. 597 

itself in idle regrets, or exhales in passive pity ; it is 
the steady action of a sentiment at once wholesome 
and practical, and which with a tonic efficacy rouses 
and supports every energy of will and power to co- 
operate in behalf of its object.' 

Among the papers of Dr. Todd was found a manu- 
script in his own hand writing, giving his plan of the 
treatment of the insane, which must have been writ- 
ten soon after the Retreat was opened for the recep- 
tion of patients. I am sorry my limits do not allow 
me to extract from it. 

No man was ever better qualified to derive and car- 
ry into effect a system of management for tlie insane, 
than Dr. Todd. 

His personal appearance was dignified and com- 
manding, at the same time exhibiting condescension 
and urbanity. His form was symmetrical, and his ac- 
tivity and strength proverbial. He had a good con- 
stitution, was capable of great endurance, with an 
appearance of health, vigor and stamina that indi- 
cates a long and active life. His manners were easy 
and agreeable, he was at home with the most refined 
society, and with the most learned and polished men ; 
he was also gentle, affectionate and civil to the 
younger, the timid, and the humble. His counte- 
nance was strongly marked, expressive of vigorous 
intellect, and beaming with benevolence and kind- 
ness. Dr. Spurzheim remarked, after looking at his 
head, that 'he had a bushel of benevolence.' His 
conduct was always marked by the strictest and most 
scrupulous delicacy. He had an unusual flow of spi- 
rits, facetiousness and raciness of conversation, un- 

598 ELI TODD. 

common colloquial powers which charmed and in- 
structed the listener beyond any other man I have 
ever met. At the same time he was modest and un- 
assuming; never spoke of himself when he could 
avoid it, but always spoke well of others when he was 
able to do it. 

' Being eminently skillful as a physician,' says Dr. 
Rockwell, ' he was well qualified to adopt a system 
of remedies, which would result in restoring the pa- 
tient to physical health. He possessed a happy tact 
and ingenuity in discovering those obscure and la- 
tent seats of diseases which are frequently the causes 
of insanity. 

Well acquainted with the reciprocal actions of the 
mind and body on each other, and possessing a pro- 
found knowledge of the secret motives of human 
action, and the numberless and diversified conside- 
rations by which the mind of man may be arrested, 
awed and conciliated, he skillfully and successfully 
applied those medical and moral means which sooth- 
ed and quieted the raving of the furious, raised and 
encouraged the hopes of the desponding, and never 
failed in gaining the confidence and aflfection of 

He had a philosophic mind. In his investigation 
of a subject, whether professional or not, he was 
always direct and discriminating ; he saw it in all 
its bearings and remote connections, and rarely fail- 
ed to arrive at correct conclusions. 

His taste was always as correct as his judgment. 
In the fine arts of painting, statuary and music, he 
was a connoisseur and critic. He was a skillful per- 


former on several musical instruments, and thought 
much of the favorable influence of music on the 
mind, whether rational or insane. 

Whatever could benefit his fellow men always gave 
him pleasure. In his intercourse with society, in his 
visits to the sick chamber, in his care and guardian- 
ship of the insane, this motive was the ruling prin- 
ciple of his conduct. His opportunities of doing 
good in these several ways, were unusually great. 

' In every relation to society he exhibited those 
qualities of the head and heart which never fail to 
receive the friendship and respect of mankind. But 

' Nothing in his life 
' Became him like the leaving it. He died 
' As one that had been studied in his death.' 

Dr. Amasa Trowbridge, Jr. was the son of the 
celebrated Dr. Amasa Trowbridge, one of the most 
eminent surgeons in Western New York, and Pro- 
fessor of Surgery, &c., in the Medical department 
of Willoughby University of Lake Erie. The fol- 
lowing notice of the death of this excellent young 
man, and a shght notice of him is from a newspaper 
of the day, June, 1841. 

' Dr. Trowbridge was on his return, on horseback, 
from a professional visit to the upper part of Water- 
town, Jefferson county, N. York, and was overtaken 
by a pair of horses with a lumber wagon on the full 
run ; the pole of the wagon brought up against the 
Doctor's horse, throwing both horse and rider to the 
ground, and crushing the skull of the latter, by the 


fall, in the most frightful manner. Several persons 
who were near and witnessed the transaction, hasten- 
ed to render assistance, but on raising Dr. Trow- 
bridge to a sitting posture, the blood gushed from 
the eyes, ears and nose in great profusion. Several 
physicians were in immediate attendance, and the 
skull was bared by Dr. Crawe, preparatory to ope- 
rating ; but the frightful manner in which it was 
crushed, told too plainly that no human power could 
save him. He died in about forty-five minutes from 
the time of the accident, and as may be supposed, 
was insensible from the time it occurred. 

Dr. Trowbridge was the son of Dr. Amasa Trow- 
bridge, Professor in the Willoughby Institute, Ohio, 
formerly of this village, (Watertown), and well known 
as a skillful, accomplished and successful surgeon. 
The son was reared in our midst, and bred a sur- 
geon and physician by his father, under whom he 
studied, and with whom he some time practised. He 
was a bold, skillful, successful operator ; and at the 
time of his death, 27 years and some months old, 
had obtained a high professional reputation. Cut 
off in the very morning of his usefulness, his death 
is regarded as a public calamity, and it has diffused 
a general gloom over our village and county. 

The funeral solemnities took place on Thursday 
last, and brought together a larger concourse of peo- 
ple — among whom we noticed many of our most es- 
teemed citizens from different and remote parts of the 
county — than was ever before convened on a similar 
occasion in this village, and the ceremonies of the day 
were peculiarly solemn and appropriate. During the 


funeral solemnities the stores and shops in the village 
were closed, in token of respect for the deceased. 

The following additional notice of this excellent 
young man, is from the Jeffersonian, Watertown, Jef- 
ferson county, N. Y. 

The life of Dr. Trowbridge presents to the young 
aspirant for professional skill and eminence, a useful 
lesson and example. Under the guidance and in- 
struction of one whose own reputation stands so high 
in his profession, with all the ardor of youthful inqui- 
ry, steady perseverance and industry, united with a 
ready perception and keenness of observation, he^early 
gave promise of that eminence towards which he was 
so rapidly rising. Adopting the best maxims of his 
professional brethren, he was ever in quest of what- 
ever useful discoveries and improvements were intro- 
duced by the skillful experiments of the age. He 
studied not only the practice of his profession, but 
became easily initiated into its theory, and whatever 
subjects were calculated to throw light upon the 
causes or nature of disease were made the objects of 
his closest examination, and the well filled shelves of 
his library evince the variety and copiousness of his 
reading, and its adaptation to the rationale and pratique 
of the accomplished physician. He compared every 
unusual case with the opinions of the best authors, 
and brought to bear in his whole surgical practice the 
fruit of practical experience, and the wisdom of 
others, and while possessing the cool self-possession of 
the operator, he never forgot his feelings as a man. 
The variety and success of his operations in every 
branch of surgery, have rendered him too well known 


to need a mention. In his intercourse with his pro- 
fessional brethren he was gentlemanly and respecta- 
ble, and secured their esteem not less by his acknow- 
ledged abihties than his modesty and courtesy. In 
private life his kindness and quahties of the heart had 
endeared him to all, and the simple but expressive eu- 
logy has often been pronounced of him that ' he 
knew not enmity.' And to those who were intimate- 
ly acquainted with him he had maintained a friend- 
ship for years, the strong ties of which death alone 
could sever. In all the relations of life it is not too 
much to say that few excelled him. Liberal in his 
opinions and feelings he was never the slave of pre- 
judice or superstition, and although never neglecting 
the calls of professional duty, he found much leisure 
to gratify a refined taste in the study and the collec- 
tion of the treasures of the earth, the sea, and natural 
history. As a physician he secured the confidence 
and affections of those with whom his duty brought 
him in contact, and never did he allow himself for a 
moment, from motives of present convenience, to 
excuse himself from attendance to however lowly or 
miserable a bedside he might be called. Out of our 
whole community none could have been taken whose 
loss would have been more severely felt, and there 
were none whose prospects of hfe and future useful- 
ness stood fairer.' B. 

Dr. John Wagner of Charlestown, South Caroli- 
na, died May 22d, 1841, after a protracted illness. 
Few have passed from existence whose lives have 


been more checkered with vicissitudes and trials. At 
an early age he was attacked with rheumatism, to 
which he was subjected the remainder of his hfe, 
often prostrating his plans, embittering his existence 
and rendering necessary a resource to means to pro- 
cure present ease, at the expense of the general con- 
stitution. Oppressed in bodily health, his mind re- 
acted on every occasion, and in the intervals of pain 
was directed with considerable energy to his intellec- 
tual pursuits. Unsatisfied with the ordinary education 
at that time afforded in our city, he sought the oppor- 
tunities furnished from older institutions. To Yale 
College he was sent, where, after passing the pre- 
scribed time in the diUgent and zealous prosecution of 
his studies, he received the honors of that institution, 
the degree of A. B. being conferred on him in 1812, 
and that of A. M. in 1815. 

With a mind thus prepared he entered upon the stu- 
dy of medicine under the direction of Dr. Post of 
New York. Under the superintendence of that gen- 
tleman he remained three years, devoting himself to 
the different branches of his profession with the most 
persevering industry, and acquired a knowledge of the 
practice of physic and surgery rarely equalled in so 
short a time. 

The health of Dr. Post dechning, he sought relief 
in a visit to Europe. During this time the subject of 
our notice, dissatisfied with his opportunities, resolved 
to visit the schools of London and Paris. 

On his arrival at Liverpool he accidentally met 
his preceptor, who with suprise inquired into the 
object of his visit. I was doing nothing in New 


York, was his reply, and resolved to come here. He 
was immediately furnished with a letter to Mr. Astley 
P. Cooper, and, by a fortunate occurrence, which 
superior devotion to his profession rendered available 
to him, became a dresser in Guy's hospital, under- 
taking the laborious duty of dressing, noting and re- 
cording the diseases of fifty or sixty patients. Here 
he remained twelve months, performing the above 
duties and perfecting himself in the practice of sur- 
gery and anatomy, and making preparations as a 
dissecting pupil. At the same time he was in atten- 
dance on the lectures on Surgery of Mr. Astley P. 
Cooper, delivered in the year 1815, '16 and '17. 

Of his extraordinary diligence the voluminous man- 
uscripts, carefully compiled and neatly executed, bear 
unequivocal evidence. They will always be referred 
to by his friends with pride and pleasure, furnishing 
the strongest testimonials of his devotedness to the 
cause in which he was engaged. Two large folio 
volumes on surgery and anatomy, closely written 
remain as records — besides his notes on various dis- 
eases, and remain a register of the most important 

About to leave London, he was furnished by his 
preceptor with the following gratifying testimonial : 
' I cannot suffer Mr. John Wagner to quit England, 
without expressing my admiration of the zeal which 
he has shown in the pursuit of his profession, and 
the ability which he has manifested in the acquire- 
ment of a complete knowledge of it. America, 
which is making a rapid progress in professional 
science, will be proud to rank among its citizens 


a man so clear in his intellect, highly informed in 
his profession, and so kind and gentle in his man- 

To this flattering expression of regard was added 
the desire that he should remain in London to pro- 
mote his fortunes in that great metropoHs. As a 
further evidence, he was presented with a bust of 
John Hunter, an additional incentive to diligence, 
and the man he delighted most to honor. He re- 
turned to America, married in New York, and set- 
tled himself a practitioner in that city. After a few 
years he removed to Charleston, S. C. His well- 
earned reputation had preceded him, and his recep- 
tion was such as to furnish the most sanguine ex- 
pectations of his future success. Without the ap- 
prenticeship to practice, the fate of so many, he was 
consulted in the most important cases, and admitted 
into the first families. His decision and perfect ac- 
quaintance with his profession, the kindness of his 
disposition, at once acquired for him the most im- 
plicit confidence, and his advancement was propor- 
tionately rapid. 

With him a new era in surgery, in our city, may 
be considered as having commenced, and opportu- 
nities were soon afforded for the exercise of his skill 
in his favorite pursuit. Many of his brethren will 
remember the exhibition of surgical ability in a case 
of osteo sarcoma of the lower jaw, in which near- 
ly half of that bone was removed. It was the third 
operation of the kind which had been performed in 
the United States, and two of them by the sur- 
geons of Charleston — all present were pleased with 


his great composure and dexterity, the rapidity of 
his movements, the perfect use of either hand, his 
kindness to his patient, and the masterly manner in 
which the whole was performed. Other operations 
of importance were undertaken — the amputation of 
the arm at the shoulder joint, the tying up the arte- 
ry in popliteal aneurism, &c., with many others in 
which his perfect skill in the use of the knife, and 
an intimate acquaintance with the structure of the 
parts was manifested. In many respects he was 
not unlike his distinguished prototype, Sir Astley P. 
Cooper, of whom it was said, that his operations 
were like the graceful efforts of an artist taking a 
drawing. His practice increased rapidly, and he 
was soon among the established physicians of the 
city. In the winter of 1826 he commenced a 
course of dissections and demonstrations in Practi- 
cal Anatomy, with the art of making and preserv- 
ing anatomical preparations. The surgical anatomy 
of all parts concerned in the important operations 
were also dissected and demonstrated. His success 
in this undertaking was such as met his reasonable 
expectations, and the impressions left upon the minds 
of his pupils, of his great accuracy, and the skill, in 
anatomical demonstrations, such as few have equal- 
led. In the art of making and preparing anatomi- 
cal preparations he was rarely excelled — the speci- 
mens which remain exhibit the greatest neatness, dis- 
play in the most striking manner the particular le- 
sion of the parts, and furnish models for instruction 
and imitation. 

In 1829 he was appointed Professor of Patholo- 


gical and Surgical Anatomy in the Medical College 
of South Carolina. A professorship embracing the 
above topics was new in this country, and originated 
with the medical faculty of this city. Its limits were 
comprehensive. Treating upon topics which could 
not be considered under any of the established col- 
lege courses, the successful discharge of this duty 
required much research and practical information. 
The syllabus which he published, exhibits his en- 
larged views, and his resources drawn from his valu- 
ale manuscripts, and that still more valuable store- 
house which he possessed — his experience. 

In 1832, after a closely contested election, he was 
appointed to the Chair of Surgery, vacant by the 
death of Dr. Ramsey. He continued connected with 
the institution until his death, performing his duties 
often under great bodily suffering, and mind embar- 
rassed with cares. — H. R. F., in the Am. Med. Jour., 

Dr. Daniel D. Walters, for many years exten- 
sively engaged in the arduous duties of medical prac- 
tice in the city of New York, was the son of Anthony 
Walters, and born in Putnam county, in that State, in 
the year 1773. He received a limited Enghsh educa- 
tion at his native place, and when arrived nearly at 
the age of manhood, repaired to the city of New 
York with a determination to become a member of a 
liberal profession. His natural energy and indepen- 
dence of mind induced him to select for the future 
business of his hfe, medicine, the study of which sci- 


ence he prosecuted under the direction of the late 
Dr. Valentine Seaman. He attended the lectures of 
Post, Hamersley, Rodgers, Hosack, Stringham and 
Mitchill, of the Faculty of Columbia College, the 
requisite legal terms, and the clinical instruction of 
the New York Hospital ; and having complied with 
the collegiate regulations of the school, in order to 
assume the practice of his art, defended as his inau- 
gural thesis a dissertation on Inflammation in 1803. 
During the time of his entering on the practice to the 
close of his career in 1824, he acquired great consi- 
deration for his clear views as a clinical prescriber 
and for his dexterity as an accoucheur, in cases of 
great difficulty. His only publication is his Diary of 
the occurrence of the first month of the Yellow Fe- 
ver, which prevailed in the city of New York in 1822, 
with facts and observations relative to the nature and 
character of that disease, which was addressed to the 
Board of Health of that city, and printed in the New 
York Medical and Physical Journal, edited by Drs. 
Francis, Dyckman and Beck, vol. 1. In this able 
and most interesting paper. Dr. Walters contends on 
the broad basis of facts, for the distinctive character 
of yellow fever ; that it originates from a poison sui 
generis ; that it is of foreign origin, and cannot be 
deemed an aggravated form of bilious or domestic 
fever. As he was ever foremost personally in com- 
bating the pestilence, he was authorized to give his 
opinions with the authority of clinical knowledge. 

Dr. Walters suffered repeated attacks of hemor- 
rhage of the lungs, and died of pulmonary consump- 
tion, in New York, in 1824. His remains were in- 


terred in the burial ground of the Society of Friends, 
of which rehgious denomination his family were mem- 
bers. For independence in opinions, decision in 
emergencies, and frankness in professional intercourse, 
he was equalled by few. During the latter portion of 
his hfe he was much interested in disquisitions of a 
religious nature. Primitive Barclay he held higher in 
estimation than any odier writer of sectarian theology. 

/. W. Francis, M. D, 

Dr. Henry Wells. I regret that I have it not in 
my power to give a more particular account than I 
now can, of this truly great and eminent physician. 
I am indebted to Dr. Bachelder of Royalston, a for- 
mer pupil of Dr. Wells, and late Vice President of 
the Massachusetts Medical Society, and to Dr. Ri- 
chard Wells, late of Canandaigua, a son of Dr. 
Wells, for many of the facts mentioned in this me- 

Dr. Henry Wells was born in the city of New York 
in the year 1742. He entered Princeton College at 
the age of ten years, and graduated at the age of 
fourteen. He studied medicine four years with the 
celebrated Dr. Hull of Connecticut. He afterwards 
studied medicine three years in the city of New York. 
I have been informed, but I will not vouch for the 
correctness of it, that he studied divinity for a short 
period after this. He afterwards kept an apotheca- 
ry's store in the city of New York. His father, I un- 
derstand, was a tory during the revolutionary war, 
and his property was confiscated. Dr. Wells removed 


to Brattleboro', in Vermont— about the time of, or 
just before, the war — where he resided several years. 
As this was a rough country for his practice, he re- 
moved to Montague, in the county of FrankUn, Mas- 
sachusetts, where he supposed his business would be 
less laborious. He was often called to patients at Al- 
bany, N. Y., Hanover, N. H., and various parts of 
Connecticut, Vermont, New Hampshire and Massa- 
chusetts ; and he had the confidence of all his profes- 
sional brethren throughout the country. He was 
much extolled by Dr. Nathan Smith, Dr. Twitchell, 
and many other of our most respectable physicians. 
He united himself with the Massachusetts Medical So- 
ciety in the year 1785, and continued his fellowship 
till his death in 1814, a period of twenty-nine years. 
During a considerable portion of this time he held 
the office of Counsellor in the Society. He received 
the honorary degree of Doctor of Medicine from 
Dartmouth College in the year 1806. 

His habits and manners were conformable to what 
were called the old school of gentlemen, and he has 
been very appropriately called ' a nobleman of na- 
ture.' His dress was in Quaker-like simphcity, and 
much in its form and color like theirs. He either 
wore the velvet or buckskin small clothes or breeches, 
the long jacket with flapped pockets over the thighs, 
and the broad-brimmed, low crowned hat, as long as 
he lived. He was broad chested, and a little inclined 
to corpulency. I never saw him when I was not re- 
minded of the portrait of the venerable Dr. Frank- 
lin. A miniature portrait which I have seen of the 
Rev. Dr. Smith of Princeton, New Jersey, so nearly 


resembles him that his family have pronounced the 
likeness correct. Notwithstanding his peculiarity of 
dress, and general appearance, his address rather 
excited familiarity than awe. Many of his patients 
almost worshipped him, and his presence has often 
smoothed their passage to the tomb. I am sorry that I 
have it not in my power to give more particular in- 
stances of the beneficial influences which his pre- 
sence inspired in many incurable as well as curable 
complaints. A stranger laboring under a mortal com- 
plaint was • induced to send for him, hoping that he 
might do something towards alleviating his distress, 
though he had no expectation that he could cure him. 
The doctor spent several hours with the patient, and 
when he left he was able to sit up and write a letter 
to his family physician, stating that the presence of 
Dr. Wells, his urbanity, cheerfulness, attention, and 
good sense, as evinced in his conversation, had so 
completely enraptured him and enchained his atten- 
tion that he had almost forgotten his complaint. He 
was so much pleased with him that he observed he 
would rather have given a fortune than not to have 
seen him. 

One of his patients in Montague, while he resid- 
ed in Brattleboro', remarked that his presence was 
like that of an angel. After his removal to Monta- 
gue, she observed that she saw him so frequently that 
his visits had lost some of their charms. This veri- 
fies the assertion that ' far fetched and dear bought,' 
is the most esteemed, and ' that a prophet is not with- 
out honor, save in his own country,' an observation 
which is many times true in the life of a country 


physician. Even the most ilHterate pretender will 
often obtain the ascendency over modest, humble 
worth, however learned and worthy the possessor 
may be. Even Dr. Wells was destined to know and 
to feel the truth of the remark in his declining 
years. Gratitude for services rendered by an emi- 
nent physician is often as transient as the dew of 
the morning. The elder members of the profession 
whom I now address can doubtless remember many 
instances where they have been highly extolled by 
their patients in one sickness, whilst in a succeeding 
one they have been superseded by charlatans or un- 
fledged pretenders, thus reversing the sentiment of 
' vox populi, vox DeP unto that of ' vox populi, vox 
DiaboU.^ When a physician has once obtained the 
well earned confidence of his brother practitioners, 
he always retains it ; and this reputation is of vast- 
ly greater importance than the bauble reputation 
gained by wealth. The patronage and applause be- 
stowed upon Dr. Wells by his professional brethren 
remained through a long life ; and after death was 
transmitted to his descendants, and follows as a rich 
legacy, which can never be lost. 

Dr. Wells was always facetious and cheerful with 
his patients, when their circumstances would allow 
of it, thus inspiring them with great confidence of 
their recovery. Many cases might be mentioned il- 
lustrative of the truth of this remark, but I have 
only time to mention the following : He was sent 
for to a patient who was considered to be dange- 
rously sick. He spent the evening at his bedside, 
and, on his retiring to rest, before he blew out his 


candle, a messenger entered his room with a boot- 
jack in his hand, which he informed the Doctor the 
patient had sent in to him for the purpose of ena- 
bhng him to pull off his buckskin breeches. The 
Doctor sent back word to him that he need be 
under no fear of dying for the present. The effect 
was most salutary upon the sick man. 

Owing to an accident, which I shall presently 
mention, we have no details of his practice on re- 
cord. He was supposed to be successful in some 
cases in the cure of hydrophobia. He once men- 
tioned to me that he knew a case of hydrophobia 
occur six years after the bite of a mad dog. I 
think the remedy on which he principally depended 
was a preparation of mercury. Happy would it be 
for physicians, as well as patients, were we able to 
place any dependence upon this article for the cure 
of this terrific complaint. 

An account of the accident, which deprived the 
world of much of the recorded usefulness and in- 
formation of Dr. Wells, will be found in the follow- 
ing extract from a letter from his son, Richard 
Wells, M. D., late of Canandaigua, N. York. I 
wrote to him for information concerning his father 
in the spring of 1840. He replied to me in a letter 
of March 30th, of the same year, that the proposi- 
tion which I made to him of writing some account 
of the life of his father, was peculiarly gratifying to 
him, and that nothing could have afforded him great- 
er satisfaction than to know that the circumstances 
connected with the sphere of action in the latter part 
of his father's hfe were carefully and accurately nar- 


rated. ' Yet,' he says, ' should I attempt to enter 
upon or prosecute any plan to accomplish so desira- 
ble an object, I should feel myself greatly embarrass- 
ed for the want of sufficient data for the ground 
work you so ardently solicit. I have for many years 
had in my possession all, or nearly all, my father's 
manuscripts, which were always kept at my office. 
Amongst them were many cases which he had no- 
ticed in the course of his practice, where any pecu- 
liarity of symptoms presented. Also a common-place 
book, in which he had noticed new theories and con- 
trasted them. If I was still in possession of them, 
it would add much to the interest of his memoirs. 
Of all these I have unfortunately been deprived. A 
crazy man entered my office one morning, the key 
being left in the door, and soon began his work of 
destruction, by stripping himself and burning every 
rag of his own clothing ; next, all the wearing ap- 
parel he could find, coats, boots and shoes, of a 
hired man of mine, then the shop furniture, and all 
the books that were out of the cases, and every day- 
book and ledger from 1824 to 1832, all the loose 
papers, letters, orders, memorandums, and with the 
rest, the manuscripts above mentioned. It requires 
more energy of body and mind than I now possess, 
to communicate what I may on suitable reflection 
get up, on summoning my resolution.' Thus at one 
fell swoop were the principal part of the written 
mental labors of this great man buried in everlast- 
ing oblivion. 

Dr. Wells was affected for many years with what 
was supposed to be Angina Pectoris. He often 


thought he experienced much reUef in this distress- 
ing and painful affection from the tartar emetic lo- 
tion, carried to the extent of pustulation. I do not 
know the complaint of which he died, Aug. 24, 1814, 
but I believe it was not an affection of the heart. 
My Address before the Mass. Med. Society. 

Dr. John Doane Wells was born at Boston in 
the year 1799, and died in the year 1830, aged 31 
years. From Professor H. H. Childs', now Lt. Gov. 
of Massachusetts, eulogium upon the character of 
Dr. Wells, before the Berkshire Medical Institution, 
the following facts are taken. 

' A very brief sketch of the life of Dr. Wells, 
together with some striking features and prominent 
traits of character, which he exhibited in his rapid 
progress and elevation to distinguished eminence in 
his profession, may profitably occupy our attention at 
this time — animated by his example, and inspired by 
his success, may a zeal and emulation be enkindled 
in your breasts, which shall burn brighter till the 
lamp of life shall be extinguished. 

For the pre-eminent distinction which Dr. Wells 
attained, even before the meridian of hfe, he owes 
nothing to the influence of birth or fortune ; though 
of highly respectable parentage, he claimed no al- 
liance to the aristocracy of wealth or power, adven- 
titiously bestowed. From his youth his mind was 
imbued with sound principles ; early convinced of 
the value of time, he rightly estimated the impor- 


tance of diligently improving the opportunities and 
advantages of education, with which he was favored ; 
accordingly we find him early distinguished by his 
habits of industry and close application to study, and 
by the purity of his moral conduct. 

In his classical studies holding a rank among the 
foremost, always respected and beloved by his asso- 
ciates, having finished his collegiate course, he gra- 
duated in 1817, (at Harvard, I believe. S. W. W.) and 
immediately commenced the study of medicine, pur- 
suing it with the same zeal and perseverance for 
which he was already distinguished. Anatomy was 
his favorite study ; his interest in this fundamental 
branch of the profession amounted almost to enthusi- 
asm. He promptly availed himself of all the means 
and opportunities which presented for improvement ; 
his labors in the dissecting room — ^his demonstrations 
to his fellow students, and his entire devotedness to 
the study of his profession, exhibit an example hono- 
rable to himself and worthy of your imitation. How 
well he succeeded in the acquisition of anatomical 
knowledge, and the consequent superiority he enjoy- 
ed, is distinctly told by the bright prospects which 
soon opened before him. 

In the year 1820 he received the degree of 
Doctor of Medicine from Harvard University, and 
soon after, the appointment of Assistant to the dis- 
tinguished Professor, Dr. Nathan Smith, then attach- 
ed to the Medical School recently established in the 
State of Maine. So well quahfied was he for the 
duties which were required, and with so much abi- 


lity were they discharged, that soon after he was 
appointed Professor of Anatomy at the Brunswick 
school. Incited by a laudable ambition to excel, 
he visited Europe under the most favorable cir- 
cumstances. He was Professor of Anatomy in a 
new and flourishing Institution — he was already well 
grounded in the science — he had begun lecturing — 
he knew precisely what was wanting to qualify him 
for more extensive usefulness, and he possessed the 
zeal and interest for the accomplishment of his pur- 
pose. In Paris he spent most of his time when 
absent ; for there he found the advantages superior 
to those of any other country. And there he per- 
fected his knowledge of Anatomy. Properly appre- 
ciating his opportunities, he applied himself unremit- 
tingly to the study of his profession. There too, 
besides the acquisition of medical science, he ob- 
tained a style of lecturing not surpassed in any 
school in the United States. 

While in Europe he purchased for the Maine 
Medical School a library, and a Cabinet of Anato- 
my, which, with the addition since made under his 
directions, constitutes one of the most valuable col- 
lections of books and preparations any where found 
in this country. 

On his return, laden with the fruit of industry, he 
engages with untiring zeal in the discharge of his 
professional duties. To his Professorship is added 
that of Surgery. He enters upon the duties of his 
office. His success is complete. The high expec- 
tations of his friends are more than realized. Prin- 
cipally by his labors and his talents, the Brunswick 


school becomes deservedly popular, and becomes con- 
spicuous among the Medical Institutions of our coun- 

In 1 826 Dr. Wells was appointed Professor of Ana- 
tomy and Physiology in the Berkshire Medical Insti- 
tution. To many of you I need not say how well 
he succeeded — all were satisfied — nay more — all were 
delighted. None could fail of being greatly benefited 
who attended the clear and able demonstrations which 
he made — who listened to his eloquence and followed 
the lucid argument and the consistent reasoning to 
their inevitable conclusions. His fame was now no 
longer bounded by geographical limits — within the 
last year he received an appointment in the Mary- 
land University. But with the increase of his fame, 
a decline in his health was too visible. He had 
tasked his constitution too severely — and while the 
powers of his body were weakened, his spirits were 
unbroken, his zeal was unabated. He repaired to 
Baltimore, and gave his introductory lecture to an 
audience of more than fifteen hundred. It was re- 
ceived with the highest applause. He delivered his 
course of lectures to a large and attentive class. 
Trustees, Faculty and Students listened with astonish- 
ment and delight to the torrent of eloquence with 
which he accompanied his valuable instructions. 
But the spirit which had sustained, and animated, 
and carried him triumphantly on, had exhausted the 
powers of the body, requiring greater sacrifices than 
his constitution could bear ; his health failed ; dis- 
ease and death, occasioned by too frequent and too 
great exhaustion, terminated the short but brilliant 


life of one whose memory will long be cherished, and 
whose character his friends will long delight to con- 

The zeal and interest which had urged him forward 
in his professional studies did not cease to influence 
him in his professional labors : but the ability with 
which he was prepared for their discharge, he both 
deserved and commanded success. His lectures on 
Anatomy and Physiology were clear and comprehen- 
sive ; minute, yet full ; judiciously discriminating, 
he gave to each subject belonging to those sciences 
the attention which the importance of each justly 
merited. In the science of Anatomy, which has oc- 
cupied the hves of such men as Bell and Hunter, 
Beclard and Meckel, he knew all that was known. 
To whatever part of the science he directed our at- 
tention, he at once excited our interest. On the sub- 
ject of Physiology, a science of less certainty and 
less demonstration, he wisely abstained from all vision- 
ary speculations. 

With a full and clear anatomical description of the 
different organs of the animal system, he delineated 
their functions, enumerated the phenomena of life, 
recounting the experiments which go to establish 
principles, and assign laws for the government of 
actions connected with hfe. Thus while his course 
enhghtened and enlarged the understanding, the 
minds of his hearers were guarded against any pre- 
judice or bias, which would hinder future investiga- 

The subject matter of discourse is stated ; the im- 
portant points candidly discussed ; the whole subject 


clearly presented, and in such a manner as not to 
excite present attention, but to invite future reflec- 
tion and investigation. 

In the practice of Medicine Dr. Wells possessed 
the requisite qualifications for eminent distinction and 
usefulness — and in the intervals between his lecture 
terms he was assiduously employed. Besides holding 
the ofiice of Dispensary Physician, he was also en- 
gaged in very considerable private practice. 

With the same zeal and perseverance which be- 
longed to his character as Professor, he applied him- 
self to the practice of Medicine ; attentive to his 
patients, aflable and agreeable in his manners, gene- 
rally beloved, and rapidly acquiring the confidence 
of the public, and an extensive practice. 

The value of decision of character, as well as per- 
severance, was duly appreciated by Dr. Wells. He 
saw and experienced the powerful agency of this 
principle, producing a concentration of eftbrt and 
energy of action, which with irresistible force bears 
down all obstacles, and triumphs over all opposition. 
Its vast power and influence on the character is ob- 
served in all those who are distinguished masters in 
the arts or sciences, and in the liberal professions, as 
well as in the enterprises of philanthropy and bene- 
volence. In our own favored country, where all are 
equal — where the road of preferment is open to all — 
and where merit is the criterion to settle the reward, 
the best succeeds who best improves his time. 

Would you properly appreciate the traits of charac- 
ter which constitute a great and good man, follow the 
example of him whose praise is in the mouths of all 


who knew him. In his youth, and in his studies ; in 
his manhood, and in his practice, industry, decision 
and perseverance characterize his every stage of hfe. 
Unaided by affluence, or the patronage of influential 
friends, he was early thrown on his own resources, 
and his eflibrts corresponded with the importance of 
the achievements he was destined to make. 

In the preparation and delivery of his lectures, no- 
thing was omitted which could contribute to aid in 
producing the most powerful eflfect upon his audience. 
His uniform practice of devoting the hour preceding 
his lecture exclusively to the particular subject, is 
proof of his industry and faithfulness, and gave him 
a familiarity and ease in the performance, admired by 

Highly distinguished as was Dr. Wells in his pro- 
fessional qualifications, their attainment costing him 
much time and labor, we could not withhold from him 
the tribute which literature and general science so 
cheerfully award, and so liberally bestow on his cha- 

A thorough classical education, with a mind well 
disciplined, formed a solid foundation for the erection 
of a rich and solid superstructure ; his varied and 
copious learning ; the expanded powers of his intel- 
lect presented conclusive evidence of his industry and 
perseverance, and justly entide him to the reputation 
of a good general scholar. 

But it was his moral qualities, added to his intellec- 
tual powers, which gave a beauty and interest to his 
character, and threw around it a fascination, endear- 
ing him to his friends, and captivating all who fell 


within the circle of his acquaintance. Governed by 
a dehcate sense of honor — in his feehngs actuated by 
a spirit of liberahty — open and frank in his disposi- 
tion — above envy — he disdained all hypocrisy — and 
in an unparalleled course of prosperity, he maintain- 
ed a dignity and modesty of demeanor, which proved 
his moral ivorth of the highest order. No false philo- 
sophy darkened the clearness of his perceptions, or 
disturbed the purity of his sentiments ; none contami- 
nated the professional instructions flowing from his 
lips. While unfolding the complicated and wonder- 
ful structure of the human system, he omitted no op- 
portunity of impressing upon the minds of his hearers 
the evidence of the divine agency and wisdom dis- 
played in the formation of man, and of the power 
and benevolence of God constantly exerted for his 
preservation and continuance. In all the different 
relations he was called to sustain in life, he not only 
acquitted himself with honor, but his example bequeath- 
ed to his friends and the public an invaluable legacy. 
We have seen him in prosperity almost unexampled ; 
we have seen him admired and honored above most 
others of his age, and we have not witnessed a cor- 
rupting or destroying influence either on the mind or 
conscience. The field of his brilliant prospects is 
opening wider and wider ; his sphere of usefulness 
is continually enlarging; his professional reputation 
high and immovably established ; his numerous friends 
sharing with him a well deserved and wide extending 
fame. In the prosecution of all that earth can proffer 
to her most favored sons, suddenly and unexpectedly 
a sad and mournful change occurs ; he is stopped in 


his career of prosperity, and compelled to exchange 
all the delights of social and active life for the torture 
of pain, and the confinement of disease ; here his 
trials begin, and now is to be tested the value of his 
character for true wisdom. With fortitude and pa- 
tience he endures the most excruciating sufferings of 
body, while his mind reposes in tranquil confidence in 
the dispensations of an overruling Providence, acqui- 
escing in humble submission, influenced by the truths 
of the Christian rehgion, which he publicly professed, 
his soul rises above all earthly objects and holds con- 
verse with the skies. 

In prosperity he was not corrupted, and now in ad- 
versity he does not despair. In the near approach of 
death he was calm and resigned, while the bosoms of 
his friends were torn with grief and sorrow. We 
sympathize with those friends in this most afflictive 
dispensation, and we mourn the early departure of 
one whose promise of long continued usefulness seem- 
ed so sure, and whose hfe was so great a blessing ; 
but we bow submissively to the inscrutable Provi- 
dence of the all-wise Ruler of the Universe. And 
now, though dead, he yet speaks in the most impres- 
sive language, that of his own bright example, worthy 
the aim and ambition of the most devoted student, 
and not less worthy the imitation of the most distin- 
guished Professor. 

No language or advice, young gentlemen, can be 
more useful or comprehensive than this, that you 
make John Doane Wells your standard of excellence ; 
that you follow the path he marked out, luminous 
widi his eft'ulgence ; it leads with certainty direct to a 


temple consecrated to fame and honor, to usefulness 
and to happiness.' 

I was an associate Professor with Dr. Wells for two 
or three years in the Berkshire Medical Institution, 
and can most cheerfully subscribe to the truth of all 
that Prof. Childs has said concerning him. He was 
admitted a Fellow of the Massachusetts Medical So- 
ciety in the year 1826. 

Dr. Joseph White, of Cherry Valley, New York. 
I am indebted to Dr. Menzo White of Cherry Valley 
for the following facts in relation to Dr. White. 

Joseph White, the subject of this memoir, was born 
in Chatham, in the state of Connecticut, on the 26th 
of September, 1763. At an early age he had the 
misfortune to lose his father, who was said to have 
been an intelligent man and a surveyor. He was 
left an only child with a widowed mother, with scanty 
pecuniary means, to breast his way alone in the world, 
A stripling during the revolutionary war, he embark- 
ed on board of a public armed ship, and was in one 
or two naval engagements ; but of this part of his 
life he was not in the habit of saying much. He 
remarked that the roar of the cannon aftected his 
organs of hearing so intensely that he was nearly or 
quite deaf for several days after one of the battles. 

From the necessity of the case his early education 
was defective, irregular, and miscellaneous. Yet from 
his habits of perseverance, and the distinction, which 
he subsequently attained in his profession it is infer- 
red, that it was continually in progress, and that his 


acquisitions of knowledge were steady, if not rapid. 

He early exhibited his fondness and preference for 
the medical profession ; and studied under a Dr. 
Fuller, and a distinguished surgeon by the name of 
Percival, of both of whom he continued through life 
to speak kindly. His industry was such, that before 
he was 21 years old he was admitted to the practice, 
it is said, of the first State medical society established 
in Connecticut, at the close of the revolutionary war. 
His pecuniary means were so limited that, like many 
other distinguished professional men in our country, 
he kept school for a period to enable him to prose- 
cute and complete his preparatory studies. 

Soon after receiving his license to practice he 
came to the State of New York, tarried a short time 
in Catskill, afterwards staid about a year at Bow- 
man's Creek in Canajoharie, Montgomery county ; 
and as early as 1787 came to Cherry Valley, where 
he spent the rest of his active and useful life. 

Cherry Valley, the settlement of which commenced 
before the revolutionary war, was then the extreme 
western verge of civilization in this State, and those 
born or commencing business at the present period 
of our power, comfort, and affluence, can hardly real- 
ize the hardships, discouragements and privations to 
which the most fortunate of the pioneers were ne- 
cessarily subjected. Books, the scholar's best food, 
surgical instruments, then in our cities far from the 
perfection which they have now obtained, and many 
of the helps to a physician, which the discoveries and 
improvements of the last half century have made 
common, were scarce, difficult to be obtained, even by 


the wealthy, and often forbidden to the enterprising 
and ambitious. But the genius and experience of 
Dr. White, then an ardent aspirant for usefulness and 
distinction, made every help known and attainable 
to his purposes. He took at once an elevated and 
enviable stand among his brethren of the profession, 
and throuojh a long life continued to maintain it. 
The defects of his early education were more known 
to himself than to others, and he was continually sup- 
plying them by untiring industry, and a vigilance that 
experienced no slumbering. Though his life was one 
of action, he stole time when others were sleeping, to 
become familiar, through the medium of books, with 
the discoveries and improvements in the heahng art, 
as promulgated by the best practitioners, both in this 
country and in Europe. 

While he loved his profession with the ardor which 
those destined to adorn either of the learned profes- 
sions must feel and cherish, he was also a patriot, and 
was aUve to the welfare and prosperity of the repub- 
lic that had risen into existence before him. In 1796 
he was chosen senator for the western district of New 
York. In 1798 he was selected as a member of the 
council of appointment when that patriot without re- 
proach, John Jay, was Governor; and in 1800, dur- 
ing his administration, was appointed first Judge of 
the Court of Common Pleas for Otsego count