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Peace to their ashes, and tho stamp of immortality on their memory. 







iFlottvtfiJljetr in ^mtvitu, 








Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences ; Honorary Member of the 
New-York Historical Society, and of the New-York Horticultural Society, &c. ; 
Author of the American New Dispensatory, of the Modern Practice of Physic, 
and of the Military Journal. 



" Thou shall lie down 
With patriarchs of the infant world — with kings, 
The powerful of the earth — the wise, the good, 
Fair forms, and hoary seers of ages past. 
All in one mighty sepulchre." Bryant. 



J 166 


RAMSAY, DAVID, M.D., an eminent physician, dis- 
tinguished patriot and popular historian, was born in Lan- 
caster county, Pennsylvania, on the 2d of April, 1749. He 
was the youngest son of James Ramsay, an Irish emigrant, 
and a respectable, intelligent and enterprising agricultural- 
ist. Mr. Ramsay, as was his custom with all his sons, gave 
to his son David the advantages of a liberal education. 
He was first sent to a common English school ; afterwards 
transferred to a classical academy ; and thence to the Col- 
lege of New-Jersey, where he was graduated in 1765. Be- 
tween the age of twelve and the period when he was 
crowned with the honors of one of the most respectable 
seminaries in the United States, he exhibited many evi- 
dences of a vigorous and docile intellect, and evinced a 
degree of industry rarely to be found in youths of genius. 
The peculiar bent of his mind was early manifested. In 
reading the Bible at school, or in his father's house while 
yet in his almost infantile years, he discovered a singular 
attachment to its historical parts ; and was particularly 
distinguished in extempore recitations of the military and 
political events recorded in the sacred volume. This trait 
he cultivated until his death, and his name and his memo- 
ry are not a little indebted to it for the celebrity they now 
bear. At the age of twelve he had completed the academ- 
ical studies preparatory to an introduction to college ; but 
by his jvidicious father and other friends, was deemed too 
young to commence a collegiate course. In the mean- 
while he was apppointed assistant tutor in a respectable 
academy at Carlisle ; and acquitted himself in that station 
so as to acquire the esteem, and command the admiration 

▼ OL. II. 1 


of those who directed the interests of the institution. He 
remained at Carlisle one year and thence proceeded to 
Princeton, where, notwithstanding his youthfulness, he 
was found competent to vie with the sturdiest genius in his 

From Princeton he went into Maryland, and for two 
years, in the capacity of private tutor, superintended the 
education of the children of a respectable and wealthy gen- 
tleman. His leisure was profitably employed in general 
reading, and the cultivation of useful knowledge. Some- 
what more matured in person, and conversant in the af- 
fairs of the world, he thought of the selection of one of 
the public professions ; all of which were so respectable, 
and so inviting to a young gentleman whose genius had 
passed favorably the ordeal of competition, and whose 
reputation as a scholar was already extending over his 
country, as to render an election of the greatest concern. 
He finally resolved on the study of medicine. He 
pursued his object with unremitting assiduity, and closed 
his preparatory course in the College of Pennsylvania, early 
in the year 1112. 

While a student of medicine Dr. Ramsay became ac- 
quainted with the late Dr. Benjamin Rush, of Philadel- 
phia, then Professor of Chemistry in the Medical College. 
Their acquaintance grew into a strict alliance of friend- 
ship and afiection, which terminated only in the grave. 

Dr. Ramsay commenced the active duties of his profess- 
ion in Maryland, where he continued to practise for the 
space of one year. Thenee he emigrated to Charleston, 
South Carolina. At this time he carried with him a letter 
of recommendation from his friend Dr. Rush, which an- 
nounced him in very flattering terms. " Dr. Ramsay," 
said Dr. Rush, " studied physic regularly with Dr. Bond, 
attended the hospital and public lectures of medicine, and 
afterwards was graduated Bachelor of Physic with great 
eclat. It is saying but little of him to tell you, that he is far 
superior to any person we ever graduated at our college. 
His abilities are not only good, but great. His talents and 
knowledge are universal. I never saw so much strength 
of memory and imagination united to so fine a judgment. 
His manners are polished and agreeable, his conversation 
lively, and his behavior to all men always without offence. 
Joined to all these he is sound in his principles, strict, 
nay more, severe in his morals, and attached, not by edu- 


cation only, but by principle to the dissenting interest. 
He will be an acquisition to your society. He writes, 
talks, and what is more, lives well. I can promise more 
for him, in every thing, than I could for myself." Enthu- 
siastic as this drawing may seem. Dr. Ramsay proved by 
his future life that it was faithful. A probation of forty 
years confirmed the opinions of his friend. 

Soon after his settlement in Charleston, Dr. Ramsay 
acquired great celebrity as a physician, and rose to very 
high eminence among his fellow citizens. His activity 
and usefulness were not confined to his profession. He 
took a leading part in public affairs, and was well qualifi- 
ed by his talents and general knowledge to counsel and 
direct in the very interesting crisis that shortly fol- 
lowed his domiciliation in Carolina. In the revolutionary 
struggle he was an enthusiastic whig, and exerted all his 
powers to promote the independence of his country. No 
reverses, no misfortunes ever caused his patriotism to 
waver. He was constant in his attachment to the cause of 
republicanism, and boldly deprecated the surrender of the 
cause of liberty, even in the most gloomy and inauspicious 
seasons. On the 4th of July, 1778, he delivered an oration 
to the citizens of Charleston, in which he explicitly assert- 
ed that " our present form of government is every way 
preferable to the royal one we have lately renounced." 
It ably illustrated the advantages of a newly established 
republican government, which he contended was best cal- 
culated to bring into action the energies of the human 
mind, to entice from obscurity modest and retiring merit, 
to obviate the baneful effects of luxury, to preserve inno- 
cence and morality among the people, to diffuse know- 
ledge, to equalize property, and to promote public virtue 
and true religion. His oration had the most salutary effects 
upon the dispositions and resolutions of the inhabitants of 
Charleston. His pen was constantly employed in defence 
of the revolution, and in the reprobation of those sordid 
affections, which led too many to prefer a little property 
and self accommodation, to the independence of their 
country and the ultimate liberty of the people. Among 
the many fugitive essays, which he wrote on various occa- 
sions during the revolution, one entitled " a Sermon on 
Tea," was deservedly very popular. The text was taken 
from Paul's Epistle to the Colossians, 2d chapter, 21st 
verse : " Touch not, taste not, handle not." The sermon 


was a happy appeal to the patriotism of the people, who 
considered the use of tea the source of the greatest evils. 
It humorously caricatured the British premier with chains 
and halters in one hand, and a cup of tea in the other, 
while the Genius of America exclaimed, " touch not, taste 
not, handle not ; for in the day thou drinkest thereof, thou 
shalt surely die." 

Dr. Ramsay in his early years was greatly distinguished 
for wit and humor. He carefully watched over these 
traits ; and in his riper years prudently refrained from 
their indulgence. It was only in moments of relaxation, 
they could be detected in his conversation. 

For some time he attended the army in the capacity of 
surgeon ; and was with the Charleston Ancient Battalion 
of Artillery at the siege of Savannah. His political career 
commenced with the revolution, and during its continuance 
he was ever actively and usefully engaged. He was an 
active and leading member of the legislature of South 
Carolina from 1776 to the conclusion of the war. He was 
a member of the privy council part of the time, and, with 
many of the most respectable citizens of Charleston, suffer- 
ed banishment by the enemy to St. Augustine. In an ex- 
change of prisoners Dr. Ramsay was released, and per- 
mitted to return to the United States, after an absence of 
eleven months. On his return he resumed his seat in the 
legislature of the state, then sitting at Jacksonborough. 
It was here he was distinguished by a conciliatory human- 
ity, in his opposition to the acts confiscating the estates of 
those who adhered to Great Britain. Though convinced 
that the conduct of some of those who came under the 
operation of those acts, merited the severest punishment, 
he tenderly commiserated many who he was persuaded 
acted from the dictates of their consciences. The latter 
he would have exempted from the penalties of confiscation. 
In 1782 Dr. Ramsay was elected a member of the conti- 
nental Congress. In that body he was distinguished for 
his industry and intelligence. He greatly commended 
himself to the confidence and affection of his constituents 
by his exertions to procure them relief from the ravages 
of the enemy, who then overran their country. At the 
close of the war he returned to Charleston, and resumed 
the practice of physic. In 1785 he was elected to repre- 
sent the Charleston district in Congress. In consequence 
of the absence of the president of that board, the celebrated 


John Hancock, Dr. Ramsay was chosen the pres-ident pro 
tempore, and presided for a whole year with ability, in- 
dustry and impartiality. During the following year he 
again returned to the duties of his profession, which he 
pursued Avith increased reputation. Dr. Ramsay was a 
fluent, rapid and ready speaker. His style was simple, 
his reasoning logical and persuasive, and his illustrations 
pertinent and original. 

In his political life Dr. Ramsay was an example of pure 
disinterestedness. The good of his country preponderated 
all other considerations. He was an unsophisticated re- 
publicrai, and never changed his principles. He never in- 
termeddled with mere party politics, was charitable towards 
all who differed with him in opinions ; and in his conver- 
sation and writing endeavored to allay invidious passions, 
and inculcate unanimity among the American people. 

As an author Dr. Ramsay became extensively celebrat- 
ed. In this regard his reputation is well established, not 
only throughout the United States, but in Europe. He 
excelled in the department of history. His talents, educa- 
tion, habits of observation, industry, memory and impar- 
tiality, eminently fitted him for an historian. His History 
of the Revolution in South Carolina was pulilished in 1785. 
This work obtained great celebrity in tlie United States ; 
was shortly after its appearance translated and published 
in France ; and was read with avidity in every part of 
Europe. While he was a member of Congress in 1785, 
he prepared his History of the American Revolution. In 
tlie prosecution of tiiis enterprise, he carefully inspected 
all the public records, which related to the revolution, 
conferred freely and frequently with his venerable friends, 
Dr. Franklin and Dr. Witherspoon, and visited General 
Washington at Mount Vernon, who gladly communicated 
every information in his power, to enable the historian to 
furnish to the w^orld a true record of the events that re- 
sulted in the establishment of American independence. 
He published the History of the American Revolution in 
1790. This work passed the ordeal of criticism, and is 
esteemed of high rank in Europe, as well as in the United 
States. It passed through two large editions, and is now 
entirely out of the market. In 1801 Dr. Ramsay publish- 
ed the Life of Washington. In this biography the char- 
acter of the illustrious founder of the independence of the 
United States is well sustained. In 1808 he published the 

VOL. II. 2 


History of South Carolina, being an extension of an inter- 
esting work entitled " A Sketch of the Soil, Climate, 
Weather and Diseases of South Carolina," published in 

In ISll Dr. Ramsay compiled and caused to be publish- 
ed the memoirs of his estimable wife, recently deceased. 
Besides the works mentioned, he published at different 
periods, " An Oration on the Acquisition of Louisiana j" 
" A Review of the Improvements, Progress and State of 
Medicine in the Eighteenth Century ;" " A Medical Reg- 
ister for the Year 1802 ;" " A Dissertation on the Means 
of Preserving Health in Charleston ;" "A Biographical 
Chart, on a new plan, to facilitate the Study of History ;" 
and an " Eulogium on Dr. Rush." 

Among the manuscripts left by Dr. Ramsay on his de- 
cease, were " A History of the United States, from their 
first settlement as English Colonies to the end of the year 
1808 ;" and a series of historical volumes to be entitled 
" Universal History Americanized, or an Historical View of 
the World, from the earliest records to the Nineteenth 
Century, with a particular reference to the state of Society, 
Literature, Religion, and Form of Government of the 
United States of America." The first was published early in 
the year 1817, with a continuation to the treaty of Ghent 
by the Rev. Samuel Stanhope Smith, D.D. and LL.D. 
and other literary gentlemen, in three volumes 8vo. The 
latter had occupied the leisure of the historian more than 
forty years. It yet remains to be published. 

Of Dr. Ramsay it has been truly said that no miser was 
ever so frugal of his gold, as he was of his time. He 
was not merely economical, but parsimonious of it to the 
highest degree. He never allowed for the table, recrea- 
tion or repose, a single moment that was not demanded 
for the preservation of health. In his habits he was 
strictly temperate. He usually slept four hours, rose be- 
fore the light of day, and meditated with a book in his 
hand until he could see to read. His evenings only were 
allotted to reci'eation. He never read by the light of a 
candle. With the approach of twilight he laid aside his 
book and his pen, and surrounded by his family and his 
friends, indulged those paternal and social feelings which 
are ever cherished by sv good man. 

The predominate trait in the character of Dr. Ramsay 
was philanthropy. It was the motive of all.his actions. In 


the constant exercise of his disposition he frequently em- 
barked in enterprises too mighty to be accomplished by an 
individual. In this way his private fortune was wrecked. 
His genius and enterprise carried him in his anticipations 
far before the multitude, who generally tread on the heels 
of experience. TJius he was frequently tempted to vest 
private revenue in projects and speculations, that had for 
their object ultimately the public benefit, and immediately 
a demonstration of their practicability to enlist auxiliaries 
both of character and means. Running before his contem- 
poraries, who were generally more attached to their 
money, than to enterprises for the iinprovcment of the 
country, he was sometimes considered visionary. And 
indeed the result of his life proved that he was better 
qualified to direct tlie afBiirs of a nation, than man- 
age a private fortune. The great concerns to which 
he constantly directed his reflections, were the improve- 
ment of the moral, social, intellectual and physical state of 
his country. To disseminate the doctrines of the Bible, 
to promote public schools and colleges, and to carry com- 
merce to every man's door by means of artificial roads, 
canals, and the channels which nature formed, were ob- 
jects that lay near to his heart. In most of them he was 
considered enthusiastic. Impelled by his devotion to these 
subjects, he labored incessantly to inspire the public mind 
with feelings and dispositions favorable to his views. For 
forty years, the press teemed with the productions of his 
pen designed exclusively to elevate the spirit, taste and 
virtues of his fellow citizens, and to improve, beautify 
and felicitate their common country. It is believed that 
the literary labors of Dr. Ramsay have contributed very 
much to impress upon the American character those traits 
Avhich, without vanity we may assert, have raised the 
United States to a level wdth any nation on the globe. 
Such services can never be recompensed. Money could 
not compensate them. Fame, the gratitude of the people, 
and the happiness of his own posterity in a country made 
happy by his labors, can alone requite them. The first 
he has secured, the second begins to be lavished on his 
memory, and the third, it is lioped, will be realized. Ills 
children are now objects of endearment to many noble 
spirited gentlemen and ladies, v/hose sympatliies, we trust 
for the honor of the American people, will communicate 
through the vs'hole nation. Thev have a double claim on 


the liberality of their country. To them the people are 
debtors for the services of their father, and for the ser- 
vices and sufferings of their grandfather, the patriotic 
Henry Laurens. 

In his private character, Dr. Ramsay was a kind and 
indulgent husband, an affectionate and anxious parent, an 
instructive and entertaining companion. He was a pattern 
of modesty, simplicity and meekness in his intercourse 
with mankind. He never arrogated any superiority over 
his associates, whether surrounded by his family at his 
own fireside, or classed with senators and sages ; and he 
has often remarked that he was greatly debtor to this hap- 
py temperament for much of the most useful information 
he gathered in his pilgrimage through life. The distance 
which most men of eminence observe towards what are 
called the middle and lower classes of society, deprives 
them of many opportunities of knowledge. Dr. Ramsay 
sought information from all sources ; and by the bland- 
ness of his manners would encourage even his own servant 
to impart the results of his humble experience and obser- 

The most charming trait in the character of Dr. Ram- 
say was piety. He was a member of, and in full commun- 
ion with the Independent or Congregational Church in 
Charleston. It would be expected from the philanthropy 
and benevolence of his disposition that he cherished little 
prejudice against other sects. This was the fact. The lead- 
ing affections of his heart, when touched by the influence 
of the gospel, grew into a charity as extensive as the hu- 
man family, and he counted every one, who did the will 
of his Heavenly Father, a brother in Christ. 

The last scene of his life proved the reality of his faith 
in Jesus the Savior of sinners, and the solidity of his pre- 
tensions to the character of a great man. His expiring 
moments heightened the lustre of his life. He was assassi- 
nated in the street a few paces from his own dwelling, in 
the open day, by a wretched maniac, wliose intellectual 
malady liad not been such as to require his confinement. 
He was shot by a pistol loaded with three balls : one pass- 
ed through the coat without injury, another entered the 
hip and passed out at the groin, and the third entered the 
back near the kidneys and lodged in the intestines. The 
last wound proved mortal, the second day after it was re- 
ceived. He died on the 8th of May, 1815. On his death 


bed he evinced not the slightest resentment towards the 
unhappy man by whose hand he fell. He bore testimony 
of ]iis innocence, in the following emphatic terms : "• I 
know not if these womids be mortal. I am not afraid to 
die ; but should that be my fate, I call on all present to 
bear witness that I consider the unfortunate perpetrator of 
this deed a lunatic, and free from guilt." He died with- 
out one perturbed emotion. He met death with a serene, 
composed and confident reliance in the mercy of God 
through the blood of tlie Redeemer. — Rees'' Cyclopedia. 

RAND, ISAAC, M.D. M.M.S.S. an eminent physician 
of Boston, was the son of Dr. Isaac Rand of Charlestown, 
Massachusetts, and was born on the 27th of April, 1743. 
After going through the preparatory studies, he entered 
Harvartl College in 1757, and was graduated in 1761. 
While a member of this institution, he applied himself 
diligently to the sul)jects which were then taught, and ac- 
quired the reputation of a sound classical scholar, and of 
hia:h attainments in the mathematics. During his senior 
year an event occurred, which furnished the m-ost honor- 
able testimony of liis proficiency in the exact sciences. 
The transit of Venus over the disk of the sun, which had 
been looked forward to with great interest by the astrono- 
mers of Europe, and to which their attention had been 
strongly directed by the circulars of the celebrated Dr. 
Halley, took place in the year 1761. One of the stations 
selected for this observation was Newfoundland, and Pro- 
fessor Winthrop was deputed by the government of the 
college on this important service. The professor took 
with him two young gentlemen from the senior class, one 
of whom was Isaac Rand, and the other Samuel Williams, 
who was afterward professor of Natural Philosophy at 
Cambridge. The observations at St. John's, and the sub- 
sequent labors of Mr. Winthrop were lightened by being 
shared with those of his pupils. 

After leaving Harvard College Mr. Rand entered on 
the study of medicine, at first with his father, and after- 
wards with the late Dr. Lloyd of Boston. Carrying with 
him into the profession the habits of application and of 
economising time, which had now become confirmed, he 
entered with zeal into the study of the science, to the prac- 
tice of wliich he intended to devote the remainder of his 
life. In tiie course of three years, having qualified him- 
self for the active duties of the profession, he settled as 


physician in Boston in 1764. Here his sagacity and acute- 
ness of observation, aided by extensive research, and devo- 
tion to business, and the urbanity of hi# manners, soon 
caused him to be distinguished ; he rose rapidly in repu- 
tation, and in the course of a few years shared largely in 
the best practice of the town. 

At the commencement of the revolution Dr. Rand was 
a royalist. He was one of those persons, of whom there 
were not a few, who believed tliat the efforts of the colo- 
nists were premature, and that we were not at that time 
sufficiently strong to contend successfully against a nation 
so much superior to us in wealth, in population, and in 
power as Great Britain. He, however, took no active part 
on her side, and was subjected to no personal danger, nor 
even inconvenience. But as his friends were principally 
among those of the royalists, who were the wealthiest and 
most powerful, he felt the consequence of his political 
opinions in a temporary diminution of his practice. Dur- 
ing the siege, when the greater part of his professional 
brethren had joined the American army, he remained in 
Boston. His duties at this time were both excessive and 
arduous, and he acquired among the inhabitants a high 
character for charity as a man, as well as for skill as a 
physician. Dr. Rand sympathized in the joy of his coun- 
trymen on the result of the war, and rejoiced in the adop- 
tion of the federal constitution. 

In the year 1781 we find his name among the petitioners 
to the General Court for the incorporation of the Massa- 
chusetts Medical Society. In the welfare of this import- 
ant institution he took great interest, he contributed for 
publication several valuable papers, and took an active 
part in every thing which could promote its usefulness, 
and through it, the profession to whicli he belonged. He 
successively filled its minor offices, until in the year 1798 
he was raised to the dignity of its President ; the highest 
honor which it is in the power of the profession to bestow. 
He resigned the office in 1804. 

Previous to this period strong efforts had been made by 
the physicians of Boston, and more particularly by the 
late Dr. James Lloyd, to rescue from the hands of unqual- 
ified females, the important brancli of obstetrics, and to 
raise it to an honorable rank in the profession. So great 
was considered the necessity of changing the practice in 
this respect, that Dr. L., even while engaged in the most 


extensive and lucrative business in the town, made a visit 
to Europe partly for the purpose of qualifying himself 
for the exigences which the practice of this highly respon- 
sible and important branch of obstetrics continually fur- 
nishes. His eiforts succeeded ; that business gradually fell 
into the hands of the physicians, and Dr. Rand and his 
contemporaries completed what had been begun by Dr. 
Lloyd. In this branch Dr. R. acquired a high and deserv- 
ed reputation. 

In every thing which related to his profession, he took 
great interest. The habits of study which he formed in 
his youth, never forsook him even in old age. By his pro- 
ficiency in the learned languages, he was enabled to avail 
himself of the stores of medical facts accumulated in the 
works of the great men of the profession ; and such was 
his zeal in the pursuit of the science to which he had de- 
voted himself, that he eagerly sought out every new work 
of reputation, and made himself master of its facts and 
principles. Hence it happened that, even while engaged 
in the fatigues and anxieties of extensive practice, he was 
enabled to keep up with the progress of medical science, 
and to avail himself of what was novel and useful. Hence 
also it naturally happened that he was an enemy to all 
quackery, and coidd not be brought to tolerate even those, 
who, although they entered the profession in a regular 
manner, were found by him to be unqualified to fulfil tlie 
important and responsible duties of the physician. 

To the close of his life the only amusement of Dr. Rand 
was that of reading. He translated the Greek and Latin lan- 
guages with great facility, and the classics always had a 
place on his table. As he advanced in years, he devoted a 
large portion of his leisure hours to the subject of theolo- 
gy, and he entered with sincerity into the practical duties 
of religion. For many years he was a memlier of the 
church. He was through life distinguished for his lionesty 
and integrity, and he exhibited the influence of religious 
principles, in practising the greatest of its virtues, charity. 
To the poor he gave not only his time and his experience, 
but also his money, and for several years several families 
were supported by his bounty. 

Dr. Rand was a man of dignified and courtly manners. 
In his practice he was decisive, and from liis patients and 
their attendants recpiired, and obtained without violence, 
that obedience, which is equally necessary to the welfare 


of the sick, and tlie reputation of the physician. Few 
physicians in fact possessed in a greater degree the power 
of acquiring and imaintaining the confidence of their pa- 
tients. The attachments of the friends whom he obtained 
in his professional career, were equally strong and durable. 
Dr. Rand died the Uth of September, 1822, in the 80th 
year of his age. 

The writings left by Dr. Rand are not numerous. He 
contributed to the Transactions of the Massachusetts Medical 
Society, and among the papers is one, which is highly hon- 
orable to him as a man of observation and research, viz. on 
Hydrocephalus Internus. From the symptoms exhibited in 
these cases, and fiom subsequent dissections, he convinced 
himself that it was in most cases an acute disease, and re- 
quired depletion. He therefore not only recommended, but 
practised copious venesection in the first stage. This paper 
was written in 1785, and, although the observation had 
been made and })ractised upon in Europe, yet it was 
new even there, and was known to have been original in 
him. During the prevalence of the .yellow fever in Bos- 
ton, in 1798, the fears of the inhabitants and of those of the 
neighboring towns were highly excited. To allay these 
apprehensions Dr. Rand wrote a series of essays upon the 
subject, which were published in tiie newspapers ; and by 
pointing out the probable causes and the means of avoiding 
them, succeeded in a very considerable degree in removing 
the groundless prejudices which existed. 

Dr. Rand by appointment delivered a discourse to the 
Massachusetts Medical Society, which was subsequently 
printed. The subject was the Use of the Warm Bath and 
Foxglove in Phthisis Pulmonalis. It is an honorable tes- 
timony of the learned research and practical knowledge 
of the author. — J. G. 

REDMAN, JOHN, M.D., first President of the College 
of Physicians in Philadelphia, was born in that city, Feb- 
ruary 27th, 1722. After finishing his preparatory educa- 
tion in the Rev. Mr. Tennent's academy, he entered upon 
the study of physic with Mr. John Kearsely, then one of 
the most respectable physicians of Philadelphia. 

When he commenced the practice of his profession he 
went to Bermuda, where he continued for several years. 
Thence he proceeded to Europe for the purpose of per- 
fecting his acquaintance with medicine. He spent a year 
in Edinburgh, while the medical school in that city was in 


the hands of the first Monroes, Sinclair, ALton, Plum- 
mer and Rntlierford. He likewise passed a year in attend- 
ing Guy's Hospital, and some time in attending lectures, 
dissections and hospitals in Paris. Copies of the lectures 
of the above professors, and notes of the cases which oc- 
curred in the hospitals while he attended them, are now in 
the possession of his grandson, Dr. John Redman Coxc, 
written with singular correctness and pergpiciiity. He was 
graduated in the University of Leyden on the 15th July, 
1748, under the celebrated Albinus Gaubius, and at a time 
when that seminary retained a large portion of the repu- 
tation it had derived from the illustrious name of Dr. 
Boerhaave. The suliject of his inaugural dissertation was 
" Abortion," which he handled with great learning and 
ingenuity. Few better essays upon that subject are to be 
met with in any language. The conclusion of this disser- 
tation strongly indicates the piety which distinguished the 
early part of his life. " God grant that my studies and 
labors may be directed to the glory of his name and to 
the welfare of my neighbors," was his prayer. 

After receiving the highest medical honors in his pro- 
fession he returned to his native country and settled in 
Pliiladelphia. He soon succeeded in business, and in the 
course of a few years ranked among the oldest physicians 
in the city in point of celebrity in medicine. For a while 
he practised surgery and midwifery, but finding the labors 
of those branches of medicine incompatible with the del- 
icacy of his health, he declined them and confined himself 
exclusively to the practice of physic. His principles in 
medicine were derived from tJie v/ritings of Dr. Boer- 
haave, but his practice was formed liy the rules of Dr. 
Sydenham. He early saw that the modes of practice 
which were recommended by that enlightened physician 
in the seventeenth century in England, were equally prop- 
er in the eighteenth century in America, from the sameness 
of the manners of the inhabitants of both countries in 
those different periods of time. He saw distinctly the 
truth of Dr. Sydenham's remarks upon tlie laws of epi- 
demics, and regulated his practice by them. He consider- 
ed a greater force of medicine necessary to cure modern 
American, than modern British diseases, and hence he was 
a decided friend to depletion in all the violent diseases of 
our country. He bled freely in the yellow fever of 1 "502, 
and threw tlie v/eight of his venerable name into the scale 

VOL. II. 3 


of the same remedy in the year 1793, In the diseases of 
old age he considered small and frequent bleedings as the 
first of remedies. He entertained a high opinion of mer- 
cury in all chronic diseases, and he gave it in the natural 
smallpox with a view of touching the salivary glands 
about the turn of the pock. He introduced the use of 
turpeth mineral as an emetic in tlie gangrenous sore throat 
of 1764, and such was its efficacy, that he did not lose a 
patient who took it in the early stage of that epidemic. 
Towards the close of his life he read the latest medical 
writers, and embraced with avidity some of the modern 
opinions and modes of practice. He published about the 
year 1759 a defence of inoculation, and advised the use of 
mercury to prepare the body for the reception of the small- 

About the fortieth year of his age Dr. Redman was af- 
flicted with an abscess in his liver, the contents of which 
were discliarged by expectoration through his lungs. He 
was frequently confined by acute diseases, and suffered 
much from the rheumatism as he advanced in years. His 
fellow citizens and his medical brethren were not insensible 
of his merit. He was elected one of the physicians of 
the Pennsylvania Hospital immediately after its establish- 
ment, and afterwards the first President of the College of 
Physicians of Philadelphia. He discharged the duties of 
these stations faithfully, and reluctantly retired from them 
in consequence of the weakness and infirmities of age. 
He served as a trustee of the College of Philadelphia and 
New-Jersey for many years, and more than once refused 
to stand a candidate for a seat in the Legislature of Penn- 
sylvania, before the American revolution. He was faithful 
and punctual in his attendance upon his patients. In a sick 
room he possessed virtues and talents of a peculiar kind. 
He suspended pain by his soothing manner, or chased it 
away by his conversation, which was occasionally facetious 
and full of anecdotes, or serious and interesting, according 
to the nature of his patients' diseases, or the state of their 

The respectability of his character as a physician will 
derive a lustre from the history of his domestic and reli- 
gious character. He married Miss Mary Sobers, a lady 
of uncommon talents and accomplishments of mind and 
body, soon after he settled in Pliiladelphia, by whom he 
had two sons and two daughters. His sous died in their 


infancy. In the year 1770 his elder daughter married 
Daniel Coxe, Esq., one of the King's counsel of New- 
York. This gentleman adhered to the royal party during 
the American war, in consequence of which he went to Eng- 
land, whither he was followed by his wife and children in 
the year 1785. The separation of his daughter was to her 
fatlier a most poignant affliction. He accompanied her 
with tears to the vessel that conveyed her from his sight ; 
but his distress was soon alleviated by the suggestions of 
religion. These he expressed tlie next day to a friend, 
whom he informed that his mind had been composed by 
reflecting upon the following words of our Savior, " He 
that loveth father or mother more than me, is not worthy 
of me ; and he that loveth son or daughter more than me, 
is not worthy of me." He was remarkably attached to 
all the branches of his family. At the funeral of his broth- 
er, Joseph Redman, in 1779, after the friends were assem- 
bled, he rose from his seat, and grasping the lifeless hand 
of his brother, he turned round to his children and other 
relations in the room, and addressed them in the follow- 
ing words ; " I declare in the presence of God and of this 
company, that in the whole course of our lives no angry 
word nor look has ever passed between this dear brother 
and me." He then kneeled down by the side of his cof- 
fin, and in the most fervent manner implored the protect- 
ion and favor of God to his Avidow and children. 

Dr. Redman was an eminent christian. In the early and 
middle stages of life he was not ashamed of the Gospel of 
Christ, and liberally contributed to its support ; but the 
evening of his life was the meridian of his piety. Being 
easy in his circumstances, and feeling the labors of his 
profession incompatible with his health, he early declined 
business. He was elected an elder of the second Presby- 
terian Church in the year 1784. The duties of this office 
gave him both employment and delight. He gave secretly 
and liberally to the poor, and when confined by sickness 
he conveyed his bounty to them by the hands of a friend. 
He visited his old patients regularly two or three times a 
year, and always left behind him some pious remarks or 
anecdotes, that were not soon forgotten. His conversation 
was facetious, animated, free from the querulousness of 
old age, and always seasoned Avith the grace of the gos- 
pel. In his own house he passed his time cliiefly in read- 
ing books of devotion, and in other religious exercises. 


He tliought humbly of himself, and often lamented his 
slender attainments in religion. For some years before his 
death he heard and read with difficulty, from the decay of 
his hearing and eyesight, but under the pressure of these 
evils he was so far from complaining that he was constant- 
ly finding out reasons why he should be contented and 
thankful. Such was the natural cheerfulness of his tem- 
per that upon serious subjects he was never grave. He 
spoke often of death, and of the scenes which await the 
soul after its separation from the body, with the same 
composure that some men speak of going to bed, or visit- 
ing a new and pleasant country. He was a stranger to 
bigotry, and he often worshipped with sects of christians 
that differed in principles and forms from the one with 
which he was united. With all the virtues and piety 
Avhich have been ascribed to him, it would be unjust to 
conceal that he possessed in the early and middle stages of 
life a quick and irritable temper. But the sun never went 
down upon his anger, and to his pupils and servants he has 
been know^n to make acknowledgments for even a hasty 

In the month of December, 1806, his younger daughter 
died. She had lived with her parents for fifty years, and 
secluded herself from society in order to soothe their de- 
clining years. Her death left them in a state of the most 
distressing solicitude, and at a time when they were least 
able to bear it. His elder daughter, who had been sepa- 
rated from him nearly four and twenty years, upon hear- 
ing of the death of her sister immediately tore herself from 
her husband and children, and crossed the Atlantic to 
alleviate by her presence the grief of her bereaved parents. 
Her arrival exhibited a scene of joy, such as seldom occurs 
in domestic history. The good old man said to a friend 
upon this occasion, " that he had formerly owed ten 
thousand talents to his Maker, but that his debt had now 
increased so much by the arrival of his daughter that he 
was determined to become bankrvipt, and throw himself 
entirely upon the mercy of his Divine creditor." The 
lamp of life, wliich was nearly extinguished in him and 
his wife, suddenly blazed forth upon this occasion, but it 
was only to consume the oil which fed it with the more 
rapidity. Mrs. Redman died on the 24th of November, 
two months after the sight of her daughter, in the 84th 
year of her age. The distress occasioned by this event 


was severely felt by her husband. They had passed near- 
ly sixty years together in the most uninterrupted harmo- 
ny. Slie was the best friend and wisest coimsellor in all 
the trials and difficulties of his life. His affections now 
centred themselves wholly in his surviving daugliter : but 
time and nature forbade the long duration of liis last por- 
tion of social happiness. 

On Friday the 18th of March he took a walk to his grand- 
son's. In the afternoon he discovered an unusual degree of 
sprightliness in his conversation. After drinking tea he 
rose to light a candle in order to go into an adjoining 
room. In attempting to walk, he staggered and was led 
to a chair by his daughter. He squeezed her hand and 
gave her a look which indicated a belief that the time of 
his departure had arrived. His disease immediately as- 
sumed all the symptoms of apoplexy, of which lie died 
without pain and apparently without the least conscious- 
ness of his situation, about five o'clock the next day, aged 
86 years and 20 days. It would seem from the easy man- 
ner in which he expired, that the messenger of death had 
been instructed to blindfold him in order to conceal from 
his view the dreary objects which sometimes surround tlie 
passage out of life. 

He was buried at his request in the Presbyterian church- 
yard exactly in the same spot in which his mother had 
been interred fifty years before. This attachment to the 
dust of our ancestors, though a deep seated principle in 
human nature, is seldom felt except in old age, or in the 
hour of death. Its extent is universal, and its final cause 
is no doubt a wise one. Dr. Redman was somewhat be- 
low the middle stature ; his complexion was dark, his 
eyes black and uncommonly animated ; and his manner 
both in gesture and speech such as indicated a mind always 
busy and teeming with new and original conceptions of 
human and Divine things. — J\Iedical JMuseum, Vol. V. 

RIDGELY, DR. CHARLES, an eminent physician of 
Dover, Delaware, was descended from an opulent and re- 
spectable family of Devonsliire in England, a younger 
branch of which came to America toward the latter part 
of the seventeenth century, and settled on the western 
shore of Maryland. His immediate parents were Nicholas 
Ridgely, an inhabitant of Dover, anclMary Vining, widow 
of Benjamin Vining, who resided near the town of Salem, 
in West Jersey, and whose maiden name was Middleton. 


Their eldest son, who is the subject of this memoir, was 
horn near Salem, January 26th, 1738. His parents being 
in affluent circumstances, and occupying a respectable sta- 
tion in society, directed particular attention to the educa- 
tion of this son, as well as of their other children. One 
of his first teachers was Dr. Samuel McCall, a native of 
Ireland, residing in Dover, a self-taught scholar, and much 
distinguished in his day for his mathematical knowledge. 
From the care of Dr. McCall he was transferred to that of 
David James Dove of Philadelphia ; and afterwards com- 
pleted his literary course in the " Academy of Philadel- 
phia," which had been recently founded under the aus- 
pices of Dr. Franklin, and which in 1755, by an additional 
charter, was constituted a college. Of this institution it 
is believed that yovmg Ridgely was one of the earliest 

In the year 1754 he entered on the study of medicine in 
Philadelphia, under the direction of pr. Phineas Bond. 
His studies were conducted under all those advantages 
which the talents and learning of his preceptor, and the 
institutions of the city of Philadelphia then afforded ; and 
with all that diligence and success which might have been 
expected from his ardent and enlightened mind. In 1758 
he commenced the practice of his profession in Dover ; 
and there he continued to reside during the remainder of 
his life, in very extensive medical business, in the enjoy- 
ment of a professional reputation of the highest grade, and 
rich in the respect and confidence of his fellow citizens. 

Dr. Ridgely was not only distinguished as a learned, 
skilful and popular physician ; but his powerful and ac- 
tive mind, his liberal reading on other subjects besides 
those of his profession, his strict integrity and honor, and 
his remarkable urbanity of manners, recommended him to 
his fellow citizens as a suitable candidate for a variety of 
public stations. Accordingly, from a short time after his 
settlement in Dover until his death, he scarcely passed a 
year in which he did not fill some important ofhce, and 
frequently several of them. He was elected a member of 
the legislature of Delaware in 1765, and continued to be 
annually reelected to the same trust, with very few inter- 
vals, until near the close of his life. Several years before 
the revolution he was the presiding judge in Kent county, 
in the Court of Common Pleas, and in the Court of Quar- 
ter Sessions, which two courts were then held by the same 


judges. He was a member of the convention which form- 
ed the constitution of Delaware in 1776 ; and when the 
new government was set in operation, he was again called 
to the bench in one of the courts just mentioned, and con- 
tinued, it is believed, to occujDy that honorable station as 
long as he lived. 

In the midst of this career of usefulness and honor, Dr. 
Ridgely was removed by death. In the montli of August 
1785, by great exposure and exertion in the discharge of 
his professional duties, he brought on a severe attack of 
bilious fever, which confined him to his bed and room for 
nearly three months. In the beginning of the following 
November, when his weakness was yet so great that he 
could only ride a mile or two in a carriage, he unwarily 
exposed himself by descending from his carriage and 
standing for a short time on ground more damp than he 
supposed. In a few hours he was seized with a peripneu- 
monia notha, Avhich terminated his important life on the 
25th of that month, in the forty-eighth year of his age. 

As Dr. Ridgely was respectably descended, so he was no 
less respectably allied. He had two wives. By his first 
marriage he had fiv^e children, all of whom are now de- 
ceased, excepting Nicholas Ridgely, Esq. the present chan- 
cellor of the state of Delaware. By his second wife, also, 
he had five children, of whom two only survive, viz. Hen- 
ry Moore Ridgely, Esq. at present a senator from Dela- 
ware, in the Congress of the United States ; and Mary, the 
wife of Dr. William Winder Morris, an eminent physician 
of Dover. 

Dr. Ridgely was eminently amiable and exemplary in 
all the relations of domestic life. His intercourse with his 
professional brethren was ahvays marked with the most 
delicate honor and magnanimity. He feared no man as a 
rival. He honored merit wherever he found it : and he 
*was ready to bestow praise and patronage wherever they 
were due. His brother physicians, as might have been 
expected, reciprocated his honorable treatment, and gave 
him an unusual share of their esteem and confidence. 
Perhaps no physician in Delaware ever had so large a 
number of respectable medical practitioners trained up un- 
der his direction as Dr. Ridgely. 

Profound as his medical learning was, he by no means 
confined himself to that department of reading. AVith an- 
cient and modern history ; with the principal Avorks of 


imagination and taste in his own language ; and with 
the leading elementary works on law and government, he 
was familiar. It was, indeed, often a matter of wonder to 
his friends, how a physician, in such extensive practice as 
he was, could find time to read so much out of the imme- 
diate line of his profession : how he could manifest so in- 
timate an acquaintance with the principles of law on the 
bench, of government in the legislative body, and of an- 
cient and modern literature in the social circle. The true 
secret of the whole was, that few men have been more 
rio-id economists of time than he was, and few more me- 
thodical in their daily pursuits. When not employed in 
business, or occupied by company, he was seldom without 
a book in his hand. This habit he carried more particu- 
larly into the studies of his profession. He by no means 
ceased, as is the case with too many physicians, to study 
medicine, when he entered on the practice of it. He 
never gave up his medical books. He regularly procured 
and read every new publication within his reach on this 
subject ; and he continued to do this up to the time at 
which he was arrested by the disease, in the summer of 
1785, from which he never fully recovered. 

Dr. Ridgely had a force and versatility of talent, which 
rendered him eminent in every business in which he en- 
gaged. It is true that by the bedside of his patients, and 
in medical consultation, he appeared to peculiar advan- 
tage ; but it is no less true, that, as a judge, a legislator, 
or a literary companion, he was scarcely less distinguished. 
Almost every one who had occasion to transact business 
with him remarked, with how much intelligence, facility 
and despatch he went through it ; that nothing ever ap- 
peared further from his mind than a disposition to raise un- 
necessary disputes or obstacles in any concern of Avhich he 
had the control ; that the most perfect candor and lionesty 
marked all his proceedings ; and that his politeness and' 
benevolence were no less conspicuous than the other quali- 
ties which have been mentioned. 

Dr. Ridgely was a firm believer in revelation, and a 
decided friend to religion, as a precious gift of God, and as 
essential to human happiness both here and hereafter. 
He was a member of the Episcopal church, and much at- 
tached to that form of worship ; while at the same time 
he Avas free from that bigotry, which is so apt to reign 
in the minds of men who have small information, and 
narrow views. 


He was very attentive to the moral and religious ctluca- 
tion of his children ; and often remarked that he consid- 
ered mere intellectual culture, and the knowledge of 
books, Avithout the discipline of the passions and of the 
heart, without sedulous endeavors to bring the youthful 
mind under the habitual influence of virtue and piety, as 
rather fitted to " finish off" a villain," than to make a good 
member of society. Upon the principle implied in this 
maxim, it was his constant aim to train up his own family. 
He had a profound respect for the sacred scriptures, read 
them much himself, and recommended them to his chil- 
dren and all around him, as worthy of their diligent study. 

Such was Dr. Ridgely. As a professional man, a pa- 
triot, a father of a family, and a member of civil and reli- 
gious society, he filled an important and honorable space 
while he lived ; and at his premature removal left behind 
him memorials of various excellence and usefulness, which 
will long, very long be cherished ; and which render him 
well worthy of being commemorated among the distin- 
guished men of our country. — S. J\I. 

ROMAYNE, NICHOLAS, M.D. was born in the city 
of New-York in September, 1756, and obtained his ele- 
mentary education at Hackinsack in New-Jersey, under 
the instruction of Dr. Peter Wilson, the late Professor of 
Languages in Columbia College. About the commence- 
ment of the revolutionary war he went abroad, and com- 
pleted his medical studies at Edinburgh. He also visited 
the continent, and spent two years in Paris. Upon his 
return to New-York, he commenced his professional ca- 
reer. He was advantageously known as an able private 
lecturer on many branches of medical science, and it is 
with pleasure I bear witness to his efficient instrumentality 
in the foundation of the College of Physicians and Sur- 
geons. He was its first president, and gave instruction in 
that institution on Anatomy and the Institutes of Medicine. 
His address as President, delivered at the first opening of 
the college in November, 1807, is an honorable specimen 
of his diversified attainments and talent. He died in New- 
York in 1817. 

" Dr. Romayne," says Dr. M'Leod, " was a man of 
strong mind, well cultivated and much improved by read- 
ing, by the society of learned men, and by travelling. I 
knew him in health and in the midst of disease ; in afflu- 
ence and in adversity. He had much self command, 

VOL. II. 4 


though naturally of powerful passions, and very tender 
sensibilities. Bereaved of all his children in their infancy, 
he could not endure the recollection of their endearment. 
On the last evening of his life he gave testimony to a near 
friend of his respect for the scriptures. He departed too 
suddenly for me to see him on his death bed." 

The following interesting notices concerning the profes- 
sional services of Dr. Romayne, are extracted from a com- 
munication made by Dr. Mitchell. 

He returned from Europe when I was a young student, 
before the termination of the revolutionary war ; probably 
during the year 1782. His arrival excited considerable 
conversation both here and in Philadelphia ; insomuch 
that my curiosity was awakened to see him. He was re- 
ported to have improved his opportunities with singular 
diligence. This was, I supposed, the fact, for he had 
visited Paris, Leyden, London and Edinburgh ; at the 
latter of which places he went through the course of study 
required by the statutes of the university, and published a 
dissertation in Latin, according to the usage, on the form- 
ation of purulent matter, " De Generatione Puris." It was 
said of him, that he composed it himself, Avithout the aid 
of a " grinder," or hireling writer or translator. Besides 
the knowledge of his own or the English tongue, he had 
attained more classical learning than the greater part of 
the members of the profession acquire. He could speak 
Low Dutch and French fluently. The circle of his ac- 
quaintance embraced most of the respectable citizens. He 
was endowed with a goodly and healthy frame, and was 
exceedingly industrious ; wherefore he manifested a strong 
desire to rise and become conspicuous in the world. 

He accordingly very soon displayed his knowledge of 
the human bod)'^ by giving private lectures on its anatomy, 
wiiich were then very instructive to those who attended. 
For, though the course was by no means complete, it was 
valuable as far as it extended. 

Very soon after the enemy had withdrawn from this 
city in 1783, the exiled inhabitants returned, and the con- 
stituted authorities made it the seat of the state govern- 
ment. One of their early acts was the revision of the 
charter that had been granted during the provincial ad- 
ministration to King's College. Among other alterations 
rendered necessary by the change of circumstances, was 


the appointment of a new board of trustees. Of these Dr. 
Romayne was one of the persons nominated in the hiw. 

He had, no doubt, imbibed high expectations from this 
new situation. But they do not appear to have been real- 
ized to any considerable degree. It pleased the trustees 
to constitute a Facidty of Physic, by the appointment of 
professors. The place of trustee held by Dr. Romayne 
was incompatible with that of professor. This restricted 
his activity, and he soon became impatient of the restraint. 
He had qualified himself for a teacher, but was novv^ un- 
employed to lecture upon any branch of his profession. 
His situation became irksome on another account. His 
superior attainments in literature and medicine elevated 
him with high notions, and filled him with contemptuous 
notions of some who had been less fortunate in education 
than himself. He could not carry points as he wislied, 
and the adoption of some measures to which he was op- 
posed, induced displeasure and coolness, and finally led 
him, after some years, to resign. 

The first Faculty of Professors having performed but 
small service. Dr. Romayne exercised his talents as a pri- 
vate teacher, and so assiduous and laborious was he, that 
he gave instruction on almost all the branches of profess- 
ional knowledge. Anatomy, practice of physic, chemistry 
and botany, were tauglit by this extraordinary man ; and 
with such success, that he drew hearers from distant 
places, even from Canada. After his separation from Col- 
umbia College, he found it expedient to procure academic 
honors, and more especially diplomas from some other 

Dr. Romayne, from a variety of circumstances, being 
now, as it were, under the bar of the profession, discon- 
tinued teaching, and some time after made another visit to 
Europe ; during which he posted up the arrears of infor- 
mation, and modernized himself by the men he saw, and 
the institutions he examined. 

There was not, however, much for him to do for several 
vears after his return. At length opportunities offered of 
making him, by rapid steps, a most active and conspicuous 
member of the profession. In 1806 an act was passed for 
incorporating medical societies for the commonwealth and 
its respective counties. By a sudden and singular change 
of sentiment, Dr. Romayne was called from his retirement, 


and elected the first president of the society for tlie city 
and county of New-York, on the Ist of July in that year. 

During the succeeding winter, on the resignation of the 
place of state delegate by the gentleman who held it, Dr. 
Romayne was chosen the delegate to the State Medical 
Society, in Albany. After taking his seat in the central 
body, he was promoted to the presidency of that associa- 
tion also ; and by such advances did he rise to honor. 

The sway he had attained did not terminate here. The 
act herein before mentioned, for providing a College of 
Physicians and Surgeons, had been torpid or dormant ever 
since its passage in 1791. The day was approaching when 
the regents of the University were to act under its provis- 
ions. Dr. Romayne found a great deal of business in 
medical matters and otherwise to occupy him at the seat 
of government. Among other things, the solicitation of a 
charter for the aforesaid purposes, employed him in the 
most satisfactory manner. Though he was assisted by 
numerous and powerful supporters, he may be considered 
as the leading agent on the occasion ; and the person, 
probably, without whose urgent and pressing instances the 
work would not have been completed. He was rewarded 
for his services by being selected as the first president of 
the new institution in 1807. — Hosackh Discourse at the open- 
ing of Rutger''s Medical College^ J^ew-York. 

When Dr. Romayne first returned from Europe after 
finishing his studies, the British army was still in possession 
of the city of New-York ; and being a firm friend to the 
cause and liberties of his country, he declined going into 
that city, although he might have done so without any 
suspicion of his patriotism, as peace was approaching, and 
it was known that the array wovdd of course soon depart. 
He therefore remained about two years at the house of a 
friend in Philadelphia, where by the charms of his con- 
versation, agreeable manners, and regular conduct, he was 
esteemed as an excellent companion. Here he entered into 
a respectable share of practice, and had he resolved to 
make that city his permanent residence, there was no rea- 
son to doubt of his complete and successful establishment ; 
for to an uncommonly fine person he added the more weigh- 
ty considerations of fine talents and great attention to his 
patients. But a matrimonial engagement, which he had 
contracted before leaving New-York for Europe, determin- 
ed him to take up his residence in that city, which he did 




immediately after it was abandoned by the British. He 
would have been, says one who knew him well, the most 
eminent medical man in New-York, had he confined liim- 
seir to his profession ; but unfortunately he engaged in 
trade and other speculations, which drew him oif from 
his profession and involved him in embarrassments wliich 
werH highly detrimental to him. On his last visit to Eu- 
rope, he was admitted as a licentiate of the Royal College 
of FLiysicians of Edinburgh, a compliment which, it is be- 
lie vtd, had never before been paid to any American. 

RUSH, BENJAMIN, M.D. was born December 24th, 
1745, old style, on his father's plantation, about fourteen 
miles to the northeast of Philadelphia. His ancestors 
migrated from England to Pennsylvania soon after its first 
settlement in the seventeenth century. In the eighth or 
ninth year of his age, he was sent for education to Not- 
tingham, Maryland, about sixty miles southwest from 
Philadelphia, where an academy had been long conducted 
with great reputation by the Rev. Samuel Finley, D.D. 
afterwards president of the college in Princeton, New-Jer- 
sey. The inhabitants of this retired spot were plain coun- 
try farmers, who cultivated so indifferent a soil that they 
could not derive a living from it without strict economy 
and the daily labor of their own hands. In their com- 
paratively depressed situation, as to worldly matters, their 
morals were a virtual reproach to the inhabitants of many 
districts who enjoyed a much greater proportion of the 
good things of this life. Almost every dwelling house 
was so far a church that the reading of the word of God, 
and the offering up of family prayers, generally recurred 
every day ; there were few, or rather no examples of, or 
temptations to immorality of any kind. Among these peo- 
ple, remarkable for their simplicity, industry, morality 
and religion, young Rush spent five years of his early 
youth in acquiring a knowledge of the Greek and Latin 
languages. He there also learned much of human nature, 
and began to class mankind according to their state of 
society ; a distinction of which he profited very much in 
his future speculations in political philosophy. The tran- 
sition from the variegated scenes of Philadelphia to this 
sequestered seat of learning, industry and religions habits, 
could not fail of making a strong impression on his ob- 
serving mind. He there acquired a reverence for Ireligion, 
its consistent professors and teachers : a prepossession in 


favor of regular orderly conduct, of diligence, industry, 
punctual attention to business, and in general of such 
steady habits as stamped a value on his character through 
life. In laying a solid foundation for correct principles 
and conduct he was essentially aided by the faultless ex- 
ample, judicious advice, and fatherly care of the learned 
and pious Dr. Finley. This accomplished instructer of 
youth Avas not only diligent and successful in communicat- 
ing useful knowledge, but extended his views far beyond 
the ordinary routine of a common education. He trained 
his pupils for both worlds, and in his intercourse with 
them, had respect to their future as well as present state of 
existence. To young Rush he was devoted by peculiar 
ties : for he was fatherless and the son of the sister of his 
beloved wife. A reciprocation of affection took place be- 
tween the parties, much to the credit and advantage of 

Benjamin Rush, after finishing his preparatory course 
of classical studies at Nottingham, was, in 1759, entered a 
student in the college of Princeton, then under the super- 
intendence of President Davies. This eloquent preacher 
was pronounced by his pupil. Rush, not only in early 
youth, but in his adult age, to have been the greatest pul- 
pit orator this country had produced. Under the tuition 
of this distinguished preacher and able instructer, he, 
whose life we are reviewing, obtained the degree of A.B. 
in 1760, and before he had completed his fifteenth year. 
The next six years of his life were devoted to the study of 
medicine, under the direction of Dr. Redman, who in his 
day lanked among the most eminent of the Faculty in 
Philadelphia. The writings of Hippocrates were among 
the first books Benjamin Rush read in medicine, and 
while he was an apprentice he translated his aphorisms 
from Greek into English. He also began to keep a note- 
book of remarkable occurrences, the plan of which he 
afterwards improved, and continued through life. From a 
part of this record, written in the seventeenth year of the age 
of its author, we derive the only account of the yellow fever 
of 1762 in Philadelpliia, which has descended to posterity. 
In the same year he was one of Dr. Shippen's ten pupils, 
v/ho attended the first course of anatomical lectures given 
in this country. Two years after, and while he was a 
daily attendant in the shop of Dr. Redman, he commenced 
his l^rilliant career as an author. On the expiration of his 


apprenticeship, Benjamin Rush went, in 1766, to Edin- 
burgh, to prosecute his studies at the university in that 
city, then in the zenith of its reputation, and there was 
graduated M.D. in 1768. His Thesis " De Coctione Cibo- 
rum in Ventriculo," was written in classical Latin, and I 
have reason to believe, without the help of a grinder of 
theses, for it bears the characteristic marks of the peculiar 
style of its author. Its elegant latinity was the least part 
of its merits. 

While Dr. Rush was a student of Edinburgh, he had an 
opportunity of distinguishing himself, and at the same 
time of rendering an acceptable service to his alma mater, 
Nassau Hall. On the death of President Finley, in 1766, 
the Rev. Dr. Witherspoon, of Paisley in Scotland, was 
chosen his successor. He at first declined the acceptance 
of the office, and it remained vacant more than a year. 
The trustees of that institution entertaining a high opinion 
of their alumnus Rush, appointed him their commissioner 
to solicit Dr. Witherspoon to accept the presidency of 
Princeton College, and the presbytery, of which he was a 
member, to consent to his dismission. These commissions 
were ably and successfully executed. The address and 
talents of the young commissioner inspired the parties 
with a belief that a college which had already produced 
such fruit was worthy of their attention. I leave it to 
others to appreciate the consequences of this successful 
negociation, to the interests of religion and learning in 
America, and only refer you to the observations of Dr. 
Miller, the learned historian of the eighteenth century, on 
this event. Dr. Rush spent in London the next winter 
after his graduation in Edinburgh. In the following 
spring he went over to France, and in the fall of the same 
year returned to Philadelphia, and commenced the prac- 
tice of physic. In 1769 he was elected Professor of Chem- 
istry in the College of Philadelphia. This addition to 
Drs. Shippen, Morgan, Kuhn and Bond, who had begun 
to lecture a few years before, made a complete set of in- 
structers, and fully organized this first medical school in 
America. By a subse!c|uent arrangement in 1791, the col- 
lege was merged in a university, and Dr. Rush was ap- 
pointed Professor of the Institutes and Practice of Medi- 
cine, and of Clinical Practice in the University of Penn- 


In this and his preceding capacity, as lecturer in chem- 
istry, Dr. Rush has been a public teacher of medicine for 
forty-four years, and has in several instances, and particu- 
larly in that of him who now addresses you, taught two 
successive generations, for the father and son have both been 
his pupils. From his first commencing practice Dr. Rush al- 
ways had a considreble number of private pupils. Their 
whole number cannot now be exactly ascertained, but it is 
recollected that they amounted to fifty in the last nine years 
of his life. His class pupils, for several of the first years in 
which he gave lectures, varied from sixteen to thirty, but 
since 1789 have been from year to year rapidly increas- 
ing. In 1812 they amounted to four hundred and thirty. 
His pupils were generally changed every second or third 
year. From these data, it is not an improbable conjecture 
that, in the course of his life. Dr. Rush has given public in- 
structions to two thousand two hundred and fifty pupils. 
These have extended the blessings of his instructions and 
improvement in the theory and practice of medicine, over 
the United States, and in a few instances to South Ameri- 
ca, the West Indies, and the eastern continent. On his re- 
turn to Philadelphia, he found the Boerhaavian system of 
medicine, which locates diseases in the fluids of the human 
body, to be generally accredited. Having acquired at 
Edinburgh a partiality for the spasmodic system of Cullen, 
he publicly taught it as preferable to that of Boerhaave ; 
but his active mind daily brooding over the medical sys- 
tems of others, correcting them by his own observations 
and reasonings, and bringing the whole to the test of ex- 
perience, in its progressive course began to receive new 
light. He was convinced that medicine was in its infancy ; 
that there was great room for improvement. Instead of 
being proud of his attainments, he was disposed to ex- 
claim " Heu quantum nescimus." Of how much are we 
ignorant ? It would require a much longer time than is 
allotted to the exercises of this day, to give a complete 
view of the improvements Dr. Rush has introduced in our 
profession. A slight sketch of the most prominent is all 
that your time will permit to be brought into view on this 

When Dr. Rush began to lecture, diseases were reduced 
in the manner of the botanists, to orders, classes, genera, 
and species. In Cullen's Genera Morborum, the names of 
one thousand three hundred and eighty-seven diseases are 


enumerated, each supposed to liave something appropriate, 
and requiring in some respects different treatment. Tliis 
embarrassing, perplexing mode of acquiring a knowledge 
of diseases, has been simplified by our American professor, 
who has substituted in its place the state of the system. 
In his public instructions, the name of the disease is com- 
paratively nothing, but the nature of it every thing. His 
system rejects the nosological arrangement of diseases, and 
places all their numerous forms in morbid excitement, in- 
duced by irritants, acting upon previous debility. It re- 
jects, likewise, all prescriptions for the names of diseases, 
and by directing their application wholly to the forming 
and fluctuating state of diseases, and of the system, derives 
from a few active medicines, all the advantages which 
have been in vain expected from the numerous articles 
which compose European treatises upon the materia medica. 
This simple arrangement was further simplified by consid- 
ering every morbid state of the system to be such as either 
required depletion or stimulation. The art of healing 
diseases, is therefore accpiired by the student, who from 
the pulse and other auxiliary sources of information, 
knows the state of the system of his patient, so far as to 
be a competent judge whether depletion or stimulation is 
indicated, and when this is ascertained, is fartlier instruct- 
ed so as to be able to select the remedies which are best 
suited either to deplete or stimulate, according to the 
strength, habits, and other peculiar circumstances of his 
patient. The younger members of our profession cannot 
appreciate the value of this arrangement as well as those 
who are seniors. The latter have had to undergo the up- 
hill work of coming to the names of diseases by a circuit- 
ous rout, the former have been led by one or two plain 
paths, which speedily brought them to the same goal, or 
what is equivalent thereto, or rather far superior to it. The 
old system requires reading and memory ; the new, judg- 
ment and observation. It is no exaggeration to say that a 
student of an investigating mind, on the present simple 
plan of acquiring a knowledge of the healing art, can be 
better prepared for entering on his profession in three 
years, than he could on the former system in five. Con- 
templating diseases through this new light, our professor 
found that a great majority of them, in this new and plen- 
tiful agricultural country, required depletion, and that, of 
all modes of depletion, bleeding was the easiest, safest and 
VOL. 11. 5 


shortest, and next to it cathartics ; that these two remedies, 
judiciously applied, with a suitable regimen, carried to a 
proper extent, and discontinued at the proper period, 
would often extinguish an otherwise formidable disease 
when in the forming state, or lay a foundation for its cure 
after it was actually formed. Practice, founded on these 
simple principles, removed much present evil, and pre- 
vented more. It was about the year 1790, and twenty- 
one years after Dr. Rush had been a practitioner and pro- 
fessor of medicine, when he began to publish his new 
principles in medicine. These were more or less develop- 
ed by him in his successive annual course of lectures, for 
the subsequent twenty-three years of his life. They were 
also discussed in inaugural dissertations by many of the 
candidates for medical degrees in the same period. These 
young gentlemen were at full liberty to sift their merits or 
expose their fallacy. Freedom of inquiry was inculcated 
on them, not only as a privilege, but as a duty. 

It is believed that no man understood the human pulse 
better than Dr. Rush. In his lectures he used to call it the 
" nosometer of the system." From long and accurate 
acquaintance with all its varieties and the circumstances 
by which it was aiFected, he made himself acquaint- 
ed with the state of his patient's system, and by suitable 
remedies reduced it to its proper standard, and generally 
removed the disease. Pursuing the train of reasoning and 
observation just stated, and applying it to practice, our 
professor adopted modes of treating several diseases, 
which had not been usual in this country, and which by 
many practitioners have been deemed improvements in the 
practice of physic. Dr. Rush carried bleeding and the 
depleting system farther than ever had been done before by 
any of his contemporary physicians. He in like manner 
urged the use of calomel, to which he gave the name of 
the Sampson of the materia medica, farther than was com- 
mon among the physicians who had preceded him. In- 
stead of making a profitable secret of his innovations in 
practice, he came forward boldly ; taught them to his nu- 
merous pupils ; published them to the world, and defend- 
ed them with his pen. The witlings of the day concurred 
in the propriety ol the name of Sampson, which he had 
given to this favorite remedy, calomel ; but for a very 
different reason, because, say they, " it has slain its thous- 
ands." Unmoved by the sneers of some, the misrepresent- 


ations of others, and the general partiality for old opin- 
ions and aversion to innovations, Dr. Rush steadily pursu- 
ed his course through evil report and good report. The 
same hand which subscribed tlie declaration of the political 
independence of these states, accomplished their emanci- 
pation from medical systems formed in foreign countries, 
and wholly unsuitable to tlie state of diseases in America. 
These Dr. Rush pronounced to be of a higher grade, and 
to require moi'e potent remedies than were usually pre- 
scribed for similar diseases in the old world. It cannot be 
denied that the depleting mercurial plan of treating diseases 
so strongly recommended by our professor, has done mis- 
chief in the hands of persons who did not understand it, 
or were ignorant of the limitation and cautions necessary 
in its application, or who were not sufficiently attentive to 
the varying symptoms of their patients. But it is never- 
theless true, that the system, compared with those which 
preceded it, is a good one, and that the objections to it 
apply to every efficient, energetic plan of treating diseases. 
He is unworthy of the name of a physician, who does not 
occasionally risk his reputation by bold but judicious ef- 
forts to save the lives of his patients. It is to be regretted 
that the great reformer who introduced the innovations, 
commonly called the American system of medicine, did 
not live a few years longer to discover more of the laws 
of the animal economy, more principles in medicine, and 
at the same time, to perfect those he had already discover- 
ed and promulgated. Than Dr. Rush, no man more read- 
ily retracted his opinions, when new light from any quarter 
whatever pointed out their defects. Such candor is a char- 
acteristic of a great mind. He knew only one l)eing, the 
great Eternal, " who changeth not," and also knew that 
when a fallible impei'fect mortal gave up his opinion, on be- 
ing convinced that it was erroneous, he became wiser than 
he was before. Much did he lament the injury sustained 
by the medical world, from the obstinate adherence of the 
celebrated John Hunter, to opinions he had once promul- 
gated, and characterised him in his lectures, as one " who 
never gave up any thing he had once asserted till he gave 
up the ghost." It was not so with Dr. Rush ; his latter 
works and lectures frequently announce his reasons for re- 
linquishing doctrines he believed and taught in younger 
life. A friend to free inquiry, he invited his numerous 
pupils to think and judge for tlicmselves, and would free- 


ly, and in a friendly manner, explain his principles, re- 
solve their doubts, listen to their objections, and either 
yield to their force, or show their fallacy. 

Dr. Rush's principles of medicine were by him success- 
fully applied to the cure of consumptions, dropsies, hydro- 
cephalus internus, apoplexy, gout, and other diseases of the 
body, and also to madness and other diseases of the mind. 
A free use of the lancet, in almost every case, and particu- 
larly in some in which it had rarely or never before been 
used, was one of his first and most common prescriptions. 
His ingenious and able defence of bleeding is founded on 
his theory of fever, in which he premises, " that fevers 
of all kinds are preceded by general debility, natural or 
accidental. From this a sudden accumulation of excita- 
bility takes place, whereby a predisposition to fever is 
created. Depression of the whole system follows, and 
where the stimuli, whether morbid or natural, are continu- 
ed, reaction is induced, and in this reaction, according to 
its greater or less force and extent, consist the different de- 
grees of fever. It is of an irregular or a convulsive na- 
ture. In common cases it is seated primarily in the blood 
vessels, and particularly in the arteries, which pervade 
every part of the body. "All diseases are preceded by 
debility. The?e is but one exciting cause of fever, and 
that is stimulus ; and that consists in a preternatural and 
convulsive action of the blood vessels. All the supposed 
variety of fevers have but one proximate cause, and that 
is morbid excitement. All ordinary fevers being seated 
in the blood vessels, it follows, of course, that all those 
local affections, we call pleurisy, angina, phrenitis, inter- 
nal dropsy of the brain, pulmonary consumption, and in- 
flammation of the liver, stomach, bowels and limbs, are 
symptoms only of an original and primary disease in the 
sanguiferous system." The artificial division of fever 
into genera and species is rejected by our professor for 
the following reasons : " Much mischief has been done by 
nosological arrangements of diseases ; they erect imagin- 
ary boundaries between tilings which are of a homogene- 
ous nature ; they degrade the human understanding, by 
substituting simple perceptions to its more dignified oper- 
ations in judgment and reasoning ; they gratify indolence 
in a physician, by fixing his attention upon the name of a 
disease, and thereby leading him to neglect the varying 
state of the system ; they moreover lay a foundation for 


disputes among physicians ; the whole materia medica is 
infected with the baneful consequences of the nomencla- 
ture of diseases ; for every article in it is pointed only 
against these names, and hence the origin of the numerous 
contradictions among authors who describe the virtues and 
doses of the same medicines. By the rejection of the arti- 
ficial arrangement of diseases, a revolution must follow in 
medicine. Observation and judgment will take the place 
of ^reading and memory, and prescriptions will be con- 
formed to existing circumstances." 

At the end of a long dissertation of sixty-six pages, ex- 
plaining and defending his principles. Dr. Rush " com- 
mits the whole to his pupils, to be corrected and improv- 
ed," and concludes with observing, 

" We think our fathers fools, so wise we grow, 
Our wiser soas, I hope, will think us so." 

His " Defence of Bloodletting as a Remedy for Certain 
Diseases," grounded on the preceding theory of fever, oc- 
cupies eighty-six pages in his fourth volume. He therein 
states, that bloodletting in violent fevers, when used at a 
proper time, and in quantity suited to the force of the 
disease, frequently strangles a fever, when used in its form- 
ing state, and thereby saves much pain, time and expense 
to a patient ; and that it imparts strength to the body, by 
removing the depression which is induced by the remote 
cause of the fever. Dr. Rush after enumerating the other 
advantages of blood letting in fevers, then proceeds to re- 
fute the objections to it, and to state the circumstances 
under which it is forbidden. For these we refer to his 

Dr. Rush's fondness for the lancet was objected to by 
many. But his friends consider it as a great improvement 
in the treatment of the serious diseases most generally 
prevalent in the United States. On the correctness of this 
opinion, his fame as an improver of medicine, in a great 
degree, must eventually rest. We have therefore for the 
most part used his own words in the defence of this prac- 
tice, though for the sake of brevity, we have omitted the 
many pleasant anecdotes and striking cases by which he 
illustrates his principles ; and for the same reason we 
have often omitted or shortened the arguments he adduces 
in support of them. 

The year 1793 brought tlie theories and the native 
strength of Dr Rush's genius to the test- Philadelphia 


was in that year desolated by the yellow fever, after it 
had disappeared for thirty-one years. This baffled the 
skill of the oldest and most judicious physicians. They 
differed about the nature and treatment of it ; but, in gen- 
eral, free evacuations were supposed to be improper from 
the depressed state of the pulse, which was a common 
symptom. The prevailing fever was considered by some 
as a modification of the influenza, and by others as the 
jail fever. Its various grades and symptoms were consid- 
ered as so many different diseases, all originating from dif- 
ferent causes. There was the same contrariety in the 
practice of the physicians that there was in their princi- 
ples. This general calamity lasted for about one hundred 
days, extending from July till November. The deaths in 
the whole of this distressing period were four thousand 
and forty-four, or something more than thirty-eight each 
day, on an average. Wliole families were confined by it. 
There was a deficiency of nurses for the sick. There was 
likewise a great deficiency of physicians, from the deser- 
tion of some and the sickness and death of others. At one 
time there were but three physicians who were able to do 
business out of their houses, and at this time there were 
probably not less than six thousand persons ill with the 

A cheerful countenance was scarcely to be seen for six 
weeks. The streets every where discovered marks of the 
distress that pervaded the city. In walking, for many 
hundred yards, few persons were met, except such as were 
in quest of a physician, a nurse, a bleeder, or the men who 
buried the dead. The hearse alone kept up the remem- 
brance of the noise of carriages or carts in the streets. A 
black man leading or driving a horse with a corpse on a 
pair of chair wheels, met the eye in most of the streets of 
the city at every hour of the day, while the noise of the 
same wheels, passing slowly over the pavement, kept alive 
anguish and fear in the sick and well, every hour of the 

All the physicians, for some time after the commence- 
ment of this disease, were unsuccessful in its treatment. 
Dr. Rush tried, in the first instance, the gentle purges 
used in the yellow fever of 1762 ; but finding them unsuc- 
cessful, and observing the disease to assume uncommon 
symptoms of great prostration of strength, he laid them 
aside about the 20tli of August, and had rccounc to ipecac- 


uanha on the first day of the fever, and to the usual 
remedies for exciting the action of the sangiiiferous system, 
and gave bark in all its usual forms, and joined wine, 
brandy and aromatics with it. He applied blisters to the 
limbs, neck and head. Finding them all ineffectual, he 
attempted to rouse the system by wrapping the whole 
body in blankets dipped in warm vinegar. He rubbed 
the right side with mercurial ointment, with a view of 
exciting the action of the vessels in the whole system 
through the medium of the liver. None of these remedies 
appeared to be of any service. Perplexed and distressed 
by his want of success, he waited upon Dr. Stevens, an 
eminent and worthy physician from St. Croix, who hap- 
pened then to be in Philadelphia, and asked for such ad- 
vice and information upon the subject of the disease as his 
extensive practice in the West Indies would naturally sug- 
gest. He replied, that " he had long ago laid aside 
evacuations of all kinds in the yellow fever : that they 
had been found to be hurtful, and that the disease yielded 
more readily to bark, wine, and, above all, to the use of 
the cold bath. He advised the bark to be given in large 
quantities and in every possible way, and pointed out the 
manner in which the cold bath should be used so as to 
derive the greatest benefit from it." These remedies were 
faithfully applied by Dr. Rush. Bark was prescribed by 
him in large quantities and in various ways. Buckets full 
of cold water were frequently thrown upon patients. The 
bark was offensive to the stomach, or rejected by it in 
every case. The cold bath was grateful, and procured 
relief in several cases by inducing a moisture on the skin. 
But three out of four of the patients died to whom the 
cold bath was administered in addition to the tonic reme- 
dies before mentioned. 

The disease had a malignity and an obstinacy never be- 
fore observed, and it spread with a rapidity and mortality 
far exceeding its ravages in the year 1762, when the yel- 
low fever had last visited Philadelphia. From thirty to 
seventy died every day, though one third of the inhabi- 
tants of the city had fled into the country. In this dread- 
ful state of things, Avhat reward would be reckoned too 
great to the man who should find out and publish a remedy 
which would generally cure this wasting pestilence ? 
Heaven, in mercy to the afflicted inhabitants, raised up 
such a man in Dr. Rush. Well knowing the numerous 


and complicated distresses which pestilential diseases had 
often produced in other covintries, the anguish of liis soul 
was inexpressible. But he did not despair : he believed 
that good was commensurate with evil, and that there did 
not exist a disease for which the goodness of Providence 
had not provided a remedy. Under this impression he 
applied himself with fresh ardor to investigate this novel 
disease. He ransacked his library and pored over every 
book that treated of the yellow fever. The result of his 
researches, for a while, was fruitless. The accounts of the 
symptoms and cure of the disease, by the authors he con- 
sulted, were contradictory, and none of them apj^eared 
altogether applicable to the prevailing epidemic. He had 
among some old papers a manuscript account of the yel- 
low fever as it prevailed in Virginia in the year 1741, 
which was given to him by Dr. Franklin, and had been 
written by Dr. Mitchell of Virginia. This was read with 
attention. In it a remark was made, " that evacuation by 
purges was moie necessary in this than most other fevers, 
and that an ill-timed scrupulousness about the weakness of 
the body was of bad consequence in these urging circum- 
stances." Solid reasons were given in support of this 
opinion, and it was added, " I can affirm that I have 
given a purge in this case, when the pulse has been so low 
that it could hardly be felt, and the debility extreme ; yet 
both one and the other have been restored by it." This 
single sentence was the groundwork of Dr. Rush's subse- 
quent successful practice. 

From these words a new train of ideas suddenly broke 
in upon his mind. He was led to believe that the weak 
and low pulse generally observed in this fever, which had 
hitherto deterred him from the use of strong; evacuating 
remedies, was the effect of debility from an oppressed state 
of the system. His reasoning powers taught him to dis- 
tinguish between this and an exhausted state. His fears 
from large evacuations were in a moment dissipated. He 
adopted Dr. Mitchell's theory and practice, and resolved 
to follow them. It remained now only to fix upon a suit- 
able purge to answer the purpose of freely discharging 
the contents of the bowels. Calomel, in doses of ten 
grains, quickened by ten or fifteen grains of jalap, was 
preferred. The effects of this powder, especially when re- 
peated according to circumstances, not only answered but 
far exceeded his expectations. It perfectly cured four out 


of the first five patients to wliom he gave it, notwithstand- 
ing some of them were advanced several days in the 

After such a pledge of the safety and success of this 
new medicine, he communicated the prescription to such 
of the practitioners as he met in the streets. Some of 
them he found had been in the use of calomel for several 
days, but as they had given it in small and single doses 
only, and had followed it by large doses of bark, wine 
and laudanum, they had done little or no good with it. 
He imparted the prescription to the College of Physicians 
on the third of September, and endeavored to remove the 
fears of his fellow citizens, by assuring them that the dis- 
ease was no longer incurable. The credit it acquired 
brought him an immense accession of business. It con- 
tinued to be almost uniformly effectual in nearly all those 
cases which he was able to attend, either in person or by 
his pupils. But he did not rely upon purges alone to cure 
the disease. The theory of it which he had adopted, led 
him to use other remedies to abstract excess of stimulus 
from the system. These were blood letting, cool air, cold 
drinks, low diet, and application of cold water to the 
body. He began by drawing a small quantity of blood at 
a time. The appearance of it when drawn, and its effects 
upon the system, satisfied him of its safety and efficacy, 
and encouraged him to proceed. Never did he experience 
such sublime joy as he now felt in contemplating the suc- 
cess of his remedies. It repaid him for all the toils and 
studies of his life. The conquest of this formidable dis- 
ease was not tb^ effect of accident, nor of the application 
of a single remedy, but it was the triumph of a principle 
in medicine. In this joyful state of mind he entered in 
his note book, dated the 10th of September, " Thank 
God ! out of one hundred patients whom I have visited 
or prescribed for this day, I have lost none." 

Being unable to comply with the numerous demands 
which were made upon him for the purging powders, not- 
withstanding he had employed three persons to assist his 
pupils in putting them up, and finding himself unable to 
attend all the persons who sent for him, he furnished the 
apothecaries with the receipt for the mercurial purges, 
together with printed directions for giving them, and for 
the treatment of the disease. Had he consulted his own 
interest he would silently have pursued his own plans of 

VOL. II. 6 


cure with his old patients, who still confided in him and 
his new remedies ; but he felt at this season of universal 
distress, his professional obligations to all the citizens of 
Philadelphia, to be superior to private and personal con- 
siderations, and therefore determined, at every hazard, to 
do every thing in his power to save their lives. Under 
the influence of this disposition he addressed a letter to 
the College of Physicians, in which he stated his objections 
to Dr. Stevens's remedies, and defended those he had re- 
commended. He likewise defended them in the public 
papers, against the attacks that were made upon them by 
several of the physicians of the city, and occasionally ad- 
dressed such advice to the citizens as experience had sug- 
gested to be useful, to prevent the disease. In none of the 
recommendations of his remedies did he claim the credit 
of their discovery. On the contrary, he constantly en- 
deavored to enforce their adoption by mentioning prece- 
dents in favor of their efficacy from the highest authorities 
in medicine. This controversy was encouraged merely to 
prevent the greater evil of the depopulation of Philadel- 
phia, by the use of remedies which had been prescribed 
by himself as well as others, not only without effect, but 
with evident injury to the sick. The repeated and numer- 
ous instances of their inefficacy, and the almost uniform 
success of the depleting remedies, after awhile procured 
submission to the latter from nearly all the persons who 
were affected by the fever. 

Many whole families, consisting of five, six, and in three 
instances, of nine members, were recovered by plentiful 
purging and bleeding. These remedies were prescribed, 
with great advantage, by several of the physicians of the 
city. But the use of them was not restricted to the phy- 
sicians alone ; the clergy, the apothecaries, many private 
citizens, several intelligent women, and two black men 
prescribed them with great success. Nay more, many 
persons prescribed them to themselves. It was owing to 
the almost universal use of these remedies that the mortal- 
ity of the disease diminished in proportion as the number 
of persons who were affected by it increased. It is proba- 
ble that not less than six thousand of the inhabitants of 
Philadelphia were saved from death, by purging and 
bleeding, during the autumn of 1793. 

The credit which this new mode of treating the disease 
acquired in all parts of the city, produced an immense in- 


flux of patients to Dr. Rush. His pupils were constantly 
employed ; at first in putting up purging powders, but 
after awhile only in bleeding and visiting the sick. 

Between the 8th and 15th of September Dr. Rush visit- 
ed and prescribed for between a hundred and a hundred 
and twenty patients a day. In the short intervals of busi- 
ness, which he spent at his meals, his house was filled with 
patients, chiefly the poor, waiting for advice. For many 
weeks he seldom ate without prescribing for numbers as 
he sat at table. To assist him, three of his pupils, Mr. 
Stall, Mr. Fisher and Mr. Cox, accepted of rooms in his 
house, and became members of his family. Their labors 
now had no remission. He employed every moment in 
the interval of his visits to the sick, in prescribing in his 
house for the poor, or in sending answers to messages from 
his patients. Unable to comply with the numerous appli- 
cations that were made to him, he was obliged to refuse 
many every day. His sister counted forty-seven appli- 
cants for medical aid turned off" in one forenoon before eleven 
o'clock. In ridinff through the streets he was often forced 
to resist the entreaties of parents imploring a visit to their 
children, or of children to their parents. He was sometimes 
obliged to tear himself from persons who attempted to stop 
him, and to urge his way by driving his chair as speedily 
as possible beyond the reach of their cries. While he was 
thus overwhelmed with business, and his own life endan- 
gered without being able to answer the numerous calls 
made on him, he received letters from his friends in the 
country pressing him in the strongest terms to leave the 
city. To one of these letters he replied, " that he had 
resolved to stick to his principles, his practice and his 
patients to the last extremity." 

Dr. Rush's incessant labors of mind and body, by night 
and by day, nearly cost him his life ; but by bleeding and 
purging, under the direction of Mr. Fisher, then one of his 
pupils, but now an eminent physician of Columbia, South 
Carolina, his valuable life was preserved for twenty-three 
years' further usefulness. 

We have been particular in describing the yellow fever 
as it appeared in Philadelphia in 1793. This was the 
most eventful year in the life of Dr. Rush. It laid a solid 
foundation for his fame, which will last till sin and sick- 
ness are no more. Had tJie same events taken place in the 
early ages of the Pagan world, he would have been deified ; 



if in the dark ages of the Christian era, he would have 
been canoni/.ed, and worshipped as a saint. His friends in 
the nineteenth century prefer no farther claim on their 
countrymen, than that his meritorious and beneficial ser- 
vices be properly appreciated said kept in grateful remem- 

We now proceed to consider Dr. Rush as an author. 
His printed works consist of seven volumes, six of which 
treat of medical subjects, inclusive of the volume of Intro- 
ductory Lectures. One is a collection of essays, literary, 
moral and philosophical. Your time will not permit our 
review of these invaluable writings, or even to recapitulate 
the subjects therein discussed.* I shall therefore pass 

* Dr. Rush's works, printed in his lifetime, treat on the following subjects : 

" An inquiry into the natural history of medicine among the Indians of North 
America, and a comparative view of their diseases and remedies, with those of civ- 
ilized nations. 

'• An account of the climate of Pennsylvania, and its influence upon the human 

" An account of the bilious remitting fever, as it appeared in Philadelphia in the 
summer and autumn of the year 1780. 

" An account of the scarlatina anginosa, as it appeared in Philadelphia in the 
years 1783 and 1784. 

" An inquiry into the cause and cure of the cholera infantum. 

" Observations on the cynanche trachealis. 

" An account of the efficacy of blisters and bleeding in the cure of obstinate in- 
termitting fevers. 

" An account of the disease occasioned by drinking cold water in warm weather, 
and the method of curing it. 

" An account of the efficacy of common salt in the cure of haemoptysis. 

" Thoughts on the cause and cure of pulmonary consumption. 

" Observations upon worms in the alimentary canal, and upon anthelmintic medi- 

" An account of the external use of arsenic in the cure of cancers. 

" Observations on the tetanus. 

" The result of obsei-vations made upon the diseases which occurred in the mili- 
tary hospitals of the United States, during the revolutionary war. 

" An account of the influence of the military and political events of the Ameri- 
can revolution upon the human body. 

" An inquiry into the relations of tastes and aliments to each other, and upon 
the influence of this relation upon health and pleasure. 

" The new method of inoculating for the smallpox. 

" An inquiry into the effects of ardent spirits upon the human body and mind, 
with an account of the means of preventing, and the remedies for curing them. 

" Observations on the duties of a physician, and the methods of improving medi- 
cines ; accommodated to the present state of society and manners in the United 

" An inquiry into the causes and cure of sore legs. 

" An account of the state of the body and mind in old age, with observations on 
its diseases and their remedies. 

" An inquiry into the influence of physical causes upon the moral faculty. 

" Observations upon the cause and cure of pulmonary consumption. 

" Observations upon the symptoms and cure of dropsies. 

" Inquiry into the cause and cure of the gout. 

" Observations on the nature and cure of the hydrophobia. 


over this part of my subject, only remarking that his 
medical works are so original, and so well adapted to our 
local situation, that they should be carefully perused by 
every medical student ; for they unfold true principles, 

" An account of the measles as they appeared in Philadelphia in the spring of 

" An account of the influenza, as it appeared in Philadelphia in the years 1790 
and 1791. 

" An inquiry into the cause of animal life. 
" Outlines of a theory of fever. 

" An account of the bilious yellow fever, as it appeared in Philadelphia in 1793, 
and of each successive year till 1805. 

" An inquiry into the various sources of the usual forms of the summer and 
autumnal diseases in the United States, and the means of preventing them. 
" Facts, intended to prove the yellow fever not to be contagious. 
" Defence of bloodletting, as a remedy in certain diseases. 

" An inquiry into the comparative states of medicine in Philadelphia, between 
the years 1760 and 1766, and 1805. 

" A volume of essays, literary, moral and philosophical, in which the following 
subjects are discussed : 

" A plan for establishing public schools in Pennsylvania, and for conducting edu- 
cation agreeably to a republican form of government. Addressed to the legislature, 
and citizens of Pennsylvania, in the year 1786. 
" Of the mode of education proper in a republic. 

" Observations upon the study of the Latin and Greek languages, as a branch of 
liberal education ; with hints of a plan of liberal instruction without them, accom- 
modated to the present state of society, manners and government, in the United 

" Thoughts upon the amusements and punishments which are proper for schools. 
" Thoughts upon female education, accommodated to the present state of society, 
manners and government, in the United States of America. 
" A defence of the Bible as a school book. 

" An address to the ministers of the gospel of every denomination in the United 
States, upon subjects interesting to morals. 

" An inquiry into the consistency of the punishment of murder by death, with 
reason and revelation. 

" A plan of a peace-office for the United States. 

" Information to Europeans who are disposed to migrate to the United States of 

" An account of the progress of population, agriculture, manners and govern- 
ment in Pennsylvania. 

" An account of the manners of the German inhabitants of Pennsylvania. 
" Thoughts on common sense. 

" An account of the vices peculiar to the Indians of North America. 
" Observations upon the influence of the habitual use of tobacco, upon health, 
morals and property. 

" An account of the sugar maple tree of the United States. 

" An account of the life and death of Edward Drinker, who died on the 17th of 
November, 1782, in the one hundred and third year of his age. 

" Remarkable circumstances in the constitution and life of Ann Woods, an old 
woman of ninety-six years of age. 

" Biographical anecdotes of Benjamin Lay. 
" Biographical anecdotes of Anthony Benezet. 
" Paradise of negro slaves — a dream. 
" Eulogium upon Dr. William Cullen. 
" Eulogium upon David Rittenhouse. 

" A volume of lectures, most of which were introductory to his annual courses of 
lectures on the institutes and practice of medicine. 

" Aledical inquiries and observations on the diseases of the mind. 


which will lead the physician of genius to correct, effi- 
cient, and energetic practice. To the American student 
they[are of incalculable value ; for they convey that practi- 
cal knowledge of our climate, and peculiar diseases, which 
will contribute more to his success than any books he can 
import from foreign countries. His miscellaneous essays 
deserve the serious attention of every member of our nu- 
merous legislative bodies. His lecture on medical juris- 
prudence should be read, not only by physicians, but by 
judges, jurymen and lawyers. This subject has never 
before been discussed in this country, and very little can 
be gleaned from all who have written on it in Europe. 

Dr. Rush's volume of Medical Inquiries and Observa- 
tions on the Diseases of the Mind, is the fruit of accurate 
observation and long experience, in the Pennsylvania Hos- 
pital. It was his last contribution to the literature of his 
country. Though for many years digested in his own 
mind, it was published only six months before his death. 
Dr. Rush was a public writer for forty-nine years, and 
from the nineteenth to the sixty-eighth year of his age. 
It was a singular opinion of his own, but in unison with 
his medical system, " that ideas, whether acquired from 
books or by reflection, produced a plethora in the mind, 
which can only be relieved by depletion from the pen or 
tongue." It is matter of wonder how a physician who 
had so many patients to attend ; a professor who had so 
many pupils to instruct, could find leisure to write so 
much, and at the same time so well. Our wonder will cease 
when it is known that he suffered no fragments of time 
to be wasted, and that he improved every opportunity of 
acqviiring knowledge, and used all practicable means for 
retaining and digesting what he had acquired. In his 
early youth he had the best instructers, and in every period 
of his life great opportunities for mental improvement. 
He was gifted from Heaven with a lively imagination, a 
retentive memory, a discriminating judgment, and he made 
the most of all these advantages. From boyhood till his 
last sickness, he was a constant and an indefatigable stu- 

" An account of the effects of stramonium or thorn apple, puhlished in 1770. 

" A letter on the usefulness of wort in ill conditioned ulcers, to his friend Dr. 
Huck of London, which was published in the Medical Observations and Inquiries of 
London, vol. iv. 

" A letter to Dr. Hosack, on the Hydrophobia, published in Hopack and Francis' 
Medical Register, 1814." 


dent. He read much, but thought more. His mind was 
constantly engrossed with at least one literary inquiry, to 
which, for the time, he devoted his undivided attention. 
To make himself master of that subject, he read, he ine- 
ditated, he conversed. It was less his custom to read a 
book through, than to read as much of all the authors 
within his reach, as bore on the subject of his present in- 
quiry. His active mind brooded over the materials thus 
collected, compared his ideas, and traced their relations 
to each other, and from the whole drew his own conclu- 
sions. In these, and similar mental exercises, he was ha- 
bitually and almost constantly employed, and daily aggre- 
gated and multiplied his intellectual stores. In this man- 
ner his sound judgment was led to form those new com- 
binations which constitute principles in science. He form- 
ed acquaintances with his literary fellow citizens and all 
well informed strangers who visited Philadelphia, and 
drew from them every atom of information he could ob- 
tain, by conversing on the subjects with which they were 
best acquainted. He extracted so largely from the maga- 
zine of knowledge deposited in the expanded mind of Dr. 
Franklin, that he mentioned to me many years ago, his 
intention to write a book with the title of Frankliniana, in 
which he proposed to collect the fragments of wisdom 
which he had treasured in his memory, as they fell in con- 
versation from the lips of this great original genius. To 
Dr. Rush every place was a school, every one with whom 
he conversed was a tutor. He was never without a book, 
for, when he had no other, the book of nature was before 
him, and engaged his attention. In his lectures to his pu- 
pils, he advised them to " lay every person they met with, 
whether in a packet boat, a stage wagon, or a public road, 
under contribution, for facts on physical subjects." What 
the professor recommended to them, he practised himself. 
His eyes and ears were open to see, hear, and profit by 
every occurrence. The facts he received from persons in 
all capacities are improved to some valuable purpose. He 
illustrates one of his medical theories by a fact communi- 
cated by a butcher ; another from an observation made by 
a madman, in the Pennsylvania Hospital. In his scientific 
work on the diseases of the mind, he refers frequently to 
poets, and particularly to Shakspeare, to illustrate the his- 
tory of madness, and apologizes for it in me following 
words. " They, poets, view the human mind in all its 


operations, whether natural or morbid, with a microscop- 
ic eye, and hence many things arrest their attention which 
escape the notice of physicians." It may be useful to stu- 
dents to be informed that Dr. Rush constantly kept by 
him a note book, consisting of two parts, in one of which 
he entered facts as they occurred ; in the other, ideas and 
observations as they arose in his own mind, or were sug- 
gested by others in conversation. His mind was under 
such complete discipline, that he could read or write with 
perfect composure, in the midst of the noise of his child- 
ren, the conversation of his family, and the common inter- 
rogatories of his visiting patients. A very moderate pro- 
portion of his time was devoted to sleep, and much less to 
the pleasures of the table. In the latter case, sittings were 
never prolonged but in conversation on useful subjects, 
and for purposes totally distinct from the gratifications of 
appetite. In tlie course of nearly seventy years spent in 
this manner, he acquired a sum of useful practical know- 
ledge that has rarely been attained by one man in any age 
or country. It may be useful to survivers, to be informed 
that his incessant labors, both of mind and body, neither 
shortened his life, nor impaired his health. In a letter I 
received from him in 1803, he observes, " I continue, 
through divine goodness, to enjoy, in the fifty-ninth year 
-of my age, uncommon good health." In a letter to Iiis 
kinsman Dr. Finley in 1809, he observes : " in my sixty- 
fifth year I continue to enjoy uncommon health, and the 
•same facility in studying and doing business that I possess- 
ed five and twenty years ago." And again, in another, 
dated March 4th, 1813, about six weeks before his death, 
he observes : " through divine goodness, I continue to en- 
joy uncommon health for a man in his sixty-ninth year. 
Now and then I am reminded of my age by light attacks 
of the tussis senilis, but they do not impair my strength 
nor lessen my facility in doing business." 

Medical inquiries were the primary objects of Dr. 
Rush's attention ; but he took such a comprehensive view 
of his profession, that he made all branches of knowledge 
tributary to it. From the philosophy of mind as connect- 
ed with the body, he drew many useful hints respecting 
the functions and diseases of the latter. Theology ; meta- 
physics ; natural and civil history ; philosophy, natural, 
moral and political ; the principles and practices of agri- 
culture ; the liberal, meclianical, and chemical arts ; his- 


tories of voyages, travels, and the lives of illustrioiis char- 
acters, and the nature of man under all its varieties of age, 
country, religion, climate, and form of government, were 
so far known to him as to furnish facts, illustrations, and 
analogies, casting light on medical subjects. To politics, 
in the earlier part of his life he paid great attention ; but 
not to the miimportant controversies stirred up by those 
who were contending for the loaves and fishes of govern- 
ment. Three great jDolitical subjects, for the time being, 
engrossed his Avhole soul ; the independence of his coun- 
try ; the establishment of good constitutions for the United 
States, and for his own particular state ; to enlighten the 
public mind and to diffuse correct ideas. On these impor- 
tant disquisitions he labored night and day. Many were 
the productions of his pen, which, under a variety of 
names, issued through the medium of the press to dispel 
prejudices, obviate objections, correct erroneous impress- 
ions, and, in general, to dispose his fellow citizens to dis- 
cern the true, extended, permanent interest of their coun- 
try, and to sacrifice to it all minor considerations. 

While he was engaged in the bustle of politics his coun- 
try, sensible of his merit, conferred sundry offices on him. 
He was a member of the congress which, in 1776, declared 
these states free and independent. In this event he glori- 
ed, and from it he expected much good, and that of no 
common kind. While others counted on the increase of 
commerce, the influx of riches, the high rank among na- 
tions, which awaited the new formed states. Dr. Rush's 
attention was preferably fixed on the expansion of the hu- 
man mind likely to grow out of independence. From 
the happy state of things which left every man at liberty 
to think what he pleased, and to speak what he thought ; 
to pursue his own interest and the impulse of his mind in 
any way he thought best, without any control from privi- 
leged orders, or the restraints of arbitrary government, 
he anticipated a great increase of talents and knowledge. 
The progress of eloquence, of science, and of mind in all 
its various pursuits, was considered by him as the neces- 
sary effect of republican constitutions, and in the prospect 
of them he rejoiced. Nor was he disappointed, for in a 
lecture, delivered in November 1799, he observes : " From 
a strict attention to the state of mind in this country, be- 
fore the year 1774 and at the present time, I am satisfied 
the ratio of intellect is as twenty are to one, and of know- 

VOL. II. 7 


ledge as a hundred are to one, in these states, compared 
with what they were before the American revolution." 

Dr. Rush served his country in the capacity of Physi- 
cian General, in the middle department, in the revolution- 
ary army. The observations he there made on our hos- 
pitals, army diseases, and the effects of the revolution on 
the army and people, are before the public. They consti- 
tute a valuable part of his works, and afford an ample 
testimony of his talent for accurate observation. 

For the last fourteen years of his life, he was the treas- 
urer of the national mint, by appointment of President 
Adams. This office was conferred as a homage to talents 
and learning, and did equal honor to him who gave and 
to him who received it. 

In the establishment and support of the many private 
associations for the advancement of human happiness 
which abound in Pennsylvania, Dr. Rush was uncommonly 
active. Of Dickinson College, in Carlisle, he may be said 
to be the father. He saw the tide of population spi'ead- 
ing westward, and the necessity of its being accompanied 
with the means of acquiring an education competent to the 
purposes of civil society. His influence was not only in- 
strumental in establishing this western college, but particu- 
larly so in bringing from Scotland the Rev. Dr. Nisbet, of 
Montrose, to preside over it. Very few have crossed the 
Atlantic to settle in these states, whose literary attainments 
were equal to this gentleman's. Dr. Rush's zeal in the 
cause of literature was not confined to colleges and uni- 
versities, he eloquently advocated the establishment of free 
schools, and for conducting the education of the youth of 
the country agreeably to its republican form of govern- 
ment. " Let there be," he said, " free schools established 
in every township, or in districts consisting of one hun- 
dred families. In these schools let children be taughrto 
read and write, and the use of figures. By this plan the 
whole state will be tied together by one system of educa- 
tion, and become one great and enlightened family." He 
further adds : " The independence of our country has 
created a new class of duties to every American. It be- 
comes us, therefore, to adapt our modes of teaching to 
the peculiar form of our government." He observes, 
" that an education in our own, is to be preferred to an 
education in a foreign country. That the only foundation 
for a useful education, in a republic, is to be laid in reli- 



gion. Without this there can be no virtue, and without 
virtue there can be no liberty ; and liberty is the object 
and life of all republican governments." He declares, 
" that he would rather see the opinions of Confucius or 
Mahomed inculcated upon our youth, than see them grow 
up wholly devoid of a system of religious principles. But 
the religion he recommends is that of the New Testament." 
He observes, " all the doctrines and precepts of the Christ- 
ian religion are calculated to promote the happiness of 
society, and the safety and well being of civil government. 
A Christian cannot fail of being a republican. The history 
of the creation of man, and of the relation of our species to 
eacli other by birth, which is recorded in the Old Testa- 
ment, is the best refutation that can be given to the divine 
right of kings, and the strongest argument that can be used 
in favor of the original and natural equality of all man- 
kind. A Christian cannot fail of being a republican, for 
every precept of the Gospel inculcates those degrees of 
humility, self-denial, and brotherly kindness, which are 
directly opposed to the pride of monarchy and the page- 
antry of a court. A Christian cannot fail of being useful 
to the republic, for his religion teacheth him that no man 
' liveth to himself.' And, lastly, a Christian cannot fail of 
being wholly inoffensive, for his religion teacheth him, in 
all things, to do to others what he could wish, in like cir- 
cumstances, they should do to him." 

The Philadelphia Dispensary, the first institution of the 
kind in the United States, owes its origin to the illustrious 
philanthropist whose death we lament. His pen demon- 
strated the advantages of such an institution ; and when 
the public mind was favorably impressed towards it, he 
preconcerted with Dr. Moyes, the blind philosopher, to 
give a public lecture, the proceeds of which were to be 
appropriated as the beginning of a fund to support this 
novel institution. Curiosity, prompted by benevolence, 
drew forth a very large audience. A handsome sum was 
collected. This formed a nucleus for private contributions. 
These flowed in so profusely, that the institution was 
speedily organized, and from the year 1786 to this day, it 
has been a great public blessing, extending annually medi- 
cal relief to several hundreds of the sick poor in their own 
houses. The good example was speedily followed by 
Boston, New-York, Baltimore, Charleston, and some other 


The enlarged ideas that grew out of the American revo- 
lution, were in unison with the comprehensive views of 
Dr. Rush. He reflected with horror on the sanguinary 
punishments annexed to crimes by European, and conse- 
quently American legislators, which had no tendency to 
reform offenders. To eradicate prejudices, and to substi- 
tute in their place correct ideas of the legitimate objects 
of penal laws, was an arduous labor, but essentially pre- 
requisite to any reform. To accomplish a revolution in 
the public mind favorable to these views, and to the prin- 
ciples of the new republican system of government, a so- 
ciety was instituted in Philadelphia, for promoting politi- 
cal inquiries. This usually met at the house of Dr. Frank- 
lin. I have no precise information who was the first 
mover of these investigations ; but it is well known that 
Dr. Rush was an active member of the society ; and that 
in 1787, he read before it his elaborate dissertation enti- 
tled, " An Inquiry into the effects of public punishments on 
criminals and upon society." In this paper he proposed 
that all punishments should be private, and that they 
should consist of confinement, different kinds of labor, 
low diet, and solitude, accompanied by religious in- 
struction. The principles contained in this pamphlet, 
were opposed with acrimony and ridicule in the newspa- 
pers. They were considered as the schemes of a humane 
heart, but wild and visionary imagination, which it was 
impossible ever to realize. 

In 1788 Dr. Rush published a second pamphlet, entitled, 
" An Inquiry into the justice and policy of punishing mur- 
der by death," in which he denied the right of govern- 
ment to punish even the crime of deliberate murder by 
death. To this pamphlet a reply was written by the Rev. 
Mr. Annan, who chiefly derived his arguments from Script- 
ure. Upon those texts Dr. Rush published a number of 
remarks, intended to prove that they all referred to the 
dispensations of Noah and Moses, and that they were com- 
pletely abrogated by the doctrines and precepts of the 
Gospel. In the year 1793, Mr. Bradford, the Attorney 
General of Pennsylvania, published an " Inquiry how far 
the punishment of death is necessary in Pennsylva- 
nia," calculated to enforce and establish the principles and 
arguments previously laid down by Dr. Rush. At the 
following session of the legislature, the punifdiment of death 
was abolished for all crimes except murder of the first 


degree. In all other cases, solitary confinement and labor 
were substituted in lieu of corporal punishment and com- 
mon imprisonment. The result has been highly gratify- 
ing to the friends of humanity. Crimes have dimin- 
ished in number. Few reconvictions have taken place, 
though many oifenders have been restored to society, and 
in several cases before the expiration of their sentence. 
Criminals have been restrained from a repetition of their 
offences, while they were under a discipline which often 
issued in their permanent reformation. At the same time, 
the public burdens have been lessened, for the labor of the 
confined culprits overpaid all expenses, both of their main- 
tenance and of the establishment." This good example, 
as in the case of the dispensary, was successfully followed 
by several of the states, and bids fair to become general 
throughout the United States. 

Dr. Rush's philanthropy was manifested in his great 
zeal to repress the immoderate use of ardent spirits and 
of tobacco. His " Inquiry into the effects of ardent spirits 
upon the human body and mind," has been more read 
than any of his works. All the medical philosophy that 
was pertinent to the subject, was incorporated with it. 
Brilliant descriptions of the personal and family distress 
occasioned by that vice, and of its havoc on the minds, 
bodies and estates of its unhappy votaries, were given, 
and the means of prevention and cure pointed out. The 
whole was illustrated by a scale, graduated like a ther- 
mometer, showing at one view the effects of certain enu- 
merated liquors on the body, the mind and the condition 
in society of those who are addicted to them. In the last 
year of Dr. Rush's life, he presented to the general assem- 
bly of the Presbyterian Church in the United States, one 
thousand copies of this popular pamphlet, to be given 
away among the people of their respective congregations.* 
About the same time that numerous and respectable body 
passed a resolution, enjoining on their members to exert 
themselves in counteracting this ruinous vice. 

In his " Observations upon the influence of the habitual 
use of tobacco upon health, morals and property," our 
professor employed his eloquent pen in dissuading from 
practices which, though to a certain extent harmless, in- 

♦ Many hundred thousand copies of this valuable tract have been distributed in 
the United States. 


sensibly grow into habits productive of many unforeseen 

Dr. Rush was a great practical physician. In the treat- 
ment of diseases he was eminently successful, and in de- 
scribing their symptoms and explaining their causes, he 
was uncommonly accurate. Nor is this matter of wonder, 
for he was minutely acquainted with the histories of dis- 
eases of all ages, countries and occupations. The annals 
of medicine cannot produce an account of any great epi- 
demic disease, that has visited our earth in any age or 
country, which is more minute, accurate and completely 
satisfactory, than Dr. Rush's description of the yellow 
fever of 1793, in Philadelphia. Had he never wrote 
another line, this alone would have immortalized his name. 
He was a physician of no common cast. His prescriptions 
were not confined to doses of medicine, but to the regula- 
tion of the diet, air, dress, exercise and mental actions of 
his patients, so as to prevent disease, and to make healthy 
men and women from invalids. His preeminence as a 
physician, over so many of his contemporaries, arose from 
the following circumstances : 

He carefully studied the climate in which he lived,* and 
the symptoms of acute and chronic diseases therein preva- 
lent, the different habits and constitutions of his patients, 
and varied his prescriptions with their strength, age and 
sex. He marked the influence of different seasons upon 
the same disease, and varied his practice accordingly. He 
observed and recorded the influence of successive epidemic 
diseases upon each other, and the hurtful as well as salu- 
tary effects of his remedies, and thereby acquired a know- 
ledge of the character of the reigning disease, in every 
successive season. His notes and records of the diseases 
which have taken place in Philadelphia for the last forty- 
four years, must be of incalculable value to his son and 
successor. In attendance upon patients. Dr. Rush's man- 
ner was so gentle and sympathizing, that pain and distress 
were less poignant in his presence. On all occasions he 
exhibited the manners of a gentleman, and his conversation 
was sprightly, pleasant and instructive.! His letters were 

* Dr. Rush's account of the climate of Pennsylvania, is a masterpiece of its 
kind. Every physician should write such a one of the country in which he prac- 
tises, at least for his own use. 

t The talent for conversation possessed by Dr. Rush was very impressive. Few 
men ever express«d themeelvM with mors fluency or in a mor« agreeable manner. 


peculiarly excellent ; for they were dictated by a feeling 
heart, and adorned with the effusions of a brilliant imagi- 
nation. His correspondence was extensive and his letters 
numerous ; but every one of them, as far as can be known 
to an individual, contained something original, pleasant 
and sprightly. I can truly say that, in the course of thir- 
ty-five years' correspondence and friendly intercourse, I 
never received a letter from him without being delighted 
and improved, nor left his company without learning 
something. His observations were often original, and 
when otherwise, far from insipid : for he had an uncom- 
mon way of expressing common thoughts. He possessed 
in a high degree those talents which engage the heart. He 
took so lively an interest in every tiling that concerned 
his pupils, that each of them believed himself to be a 
favorite, while his kind offices to all proved that he was 
the common friend and father of them all. 

In lecturing to his class. Dr. Rush mingled the most 
abstruse investigation with the most agreeable eloquence ; 
the sprightliest sallies of imagination with the most pro- 
found disquisitions ; and the whole was enlivened with 
anecdotes, both pleasant and instructive. His language 
was simple and always intelligible, and his method so judi- 
cious, that a consistent view of the subject was communi- 
cated, and the recollection of the whole rendered easy. 
His lectures were originally written on leaves alternately 
blank. On the blank side he entered, from time to time, 
every new fact, idea, anecdote, or illustration, that he be- 
came possessed of, from any source whatever. In the 
course of about four years, the blank was generally so 
far filled up, that he found it expedient to make a new set 
of lectures. In this way he not only lightened the various 
subjects on which it was his province to instruct his class, 
but the light which he cast on them, for forty-four suc- 
cessive years, was continually brightening. The instruc- 
tions he gave to his pupils by lectures, though highly val- 
uable, were less so than the habits of thinking and ob- 
servation he, in some degree, forced upon them. His 
constant aim was to rouse their minds from a passive to an 

It was in fact " a stream of mind," and his general knowledge enabled him to take 
part in the discussion of most subjects. The late Governor Brooks of Massachu- 
setts, frequently mentioned with delight an interview which he enjoyed with him 
during the war of the revolution. 


active state, so as to enable them to instruct themselves. 
Since the first institution of the medical school in Pennsyl- 
vania, its capital, Philadelphia, has been the very atmos- 
phere of medicine, and that atmosphere has been constant- 
ly clearing from the fogs of error, and becoming more 
luminous from the successive and increasing diffusion of 
the light of truth. A portion of knoAV ledge floated about 
that hallowed spot, which was imbibed by every student 
without his being conscious of it, and had an influence in 
giving to his mind a medical texture. To this happy state 
of things all the professors contributed. Drs. Wistar, 
Barton, Physick, Dorsey, Coxe and James, the survivers 
of that illustrious and meritorious body, will acknowledge 
that their colleague, Professor Rush, was not deficient in 
his quota. 

We have hitherto viewed Dr. Rush as an author, a 
physician, a professor, and a philosopher ; let us now 
view him as a man. From him we may learn to be good 
as well as great. Such was the force of pious example 
and religious education in the first fifteen years of his life, 
that though he spent the ensuing nine in Philadelphia, 
Edinburgh, London and Paris, exposed to the manifold 
temptations which are inseparable from great cities, yet he 
returned, at the age of twenty-four, to his native country 
with the same purity of morals he brought with him from 
Nottingham, the country scene of his boyish years. The 
sneers of infidels ; the syren allurements of pleasure ; the 
fascinations of diversions, had no power to divert him from 
the correct principles and sober orderly habits which had 
been ingrafted on his mind in early youth. He came 
home from his travels with no excessive attachment but to 
his books ; no other ambition than that of being a great 
scholar ; and without any desire of making a stepping- 
stone of his talents and education, to procure for him the 
means of settling down in inglorious ease, without the far- 
ther cultivation and exertion of his talents. In a conver- 
sation which he held with the person who now addresses 
this audience, thirty-five years ago, Dr. Rush observed, 
that as he stepped from the ship that brought him home 
from Europe, he resolved that " no circumstance of per- 
sonal charms, fortune or connexions should tempt him to 
perpetrate matrimony, his own phrase, till he had extend- 
ed his studies so far that a family would be no impediment 


to liis farther progress.* To this resolution of sacrificino- 
every gratification to his love for learning, and his desire 
of making a distinguished figure in tlie republic of letters, 
he steadily adhered. For this he trimmed the midnight 
lamp : for this, though young, gay, elegant in person and 
manners, and possessed of the most insinuating address, 
he kept aloof from all scenes of dissipation, enervating 
pleasures and unprofitable company, however fashion- 
able, and devoted himself exclusively to the cultivation 
of those powers which God had given him. In a letter 
which I received from him at an early period of my life, 
he describes his situation in the following forcible lan- 
guage : " Medicine is my wife ; science is my mistress ; 
books are my companions ; my study is my grave : there 
I lie buried, the world ' forgetting, by the world forgot.' " 
From his early youth he thus resolved to be a great man, 
and a great man he became. Diligence conquers the hard- 
est things. Intense desire of knowledge rarely fails of 
gaining its object. This laudable ambition was a security 
against vice and folly. It was also a fence placed round 
his virtues : but there was a stronger one ; an exalted 
sense of moral obligations, founded on the system of divine 
truth as revealed in the holy scriptures. Of this he gave 
a strong proof in the conformity of his life to the precepts 
of the gospel. For the scriptures he had the highest rev- 
erence, and often referred to them in his conversation and 
letters, and also in his lectures, and from them drew sev- 
eral ingenious illustrations of his medical opinions. Of 
the Philadelphia Bible Society he was vice president, and 
very active in the discharge of his duty. In the year 1791 
he wrote an able defence of the use of the Bible as a school 
book. From these oracles of divine truth, he was taught 
that the individuals of the human race were all related to 
each other, as having a common Father and Redeemer, 
and, therefore, that the whole family of mankind should 
be embraced in the arms of an active benevolence. He 
was there also taught to reduce this divine principle to 
practice, by doing all in his power for the advancement of 
the happiness of his fellow men. To this, as we have 

* Dr. Rush did not marry till he was thirty-two years of age. The rule lie gen- 
erally laid down was, that no female should marry before she was sixteen, nor male 
before he was twenty-one ; and the longer they both delayed matrimony after these 
periods the better ; provided the delay in a female did not exceed twenty-four, or 
in a male thirty. 

vol.. 11. ^> 


seen, his whole life was devoted. His charities were great. 
In addition to ordinary contributions for the relief of dis- 
tress, clergymen, widows and helpless women could al- 
ways command his gratuitous professional services. It is 
not less true than strange, that he added to the list of his 
pensioners, the officers of our late revolutionary army. 
Here patriotism combined with benevolence ! He consid- 
ered that a large debt ttf gratitude was due from their fel- 
low citizens to these meritorious men. They had spent 
the most valuable part of their lives in securing the inde- 
pendence of their country, for Avhich it had not made 
them adequate compensation. From these liberal views, 
he rarely charged any of them with the usual fees for his 
professional services. 

Piety to God was an eminent trait in the character of 
Dr. Rush. In all his printed works, and in all his private 
transactions, he expressed the most profound respect and 
veneration for the great Eternal.* At the close of his ex- 
cellent observations on the pulmonary consumption, he 
observes, " I cannot conclude this inquiry without adding, 
that the author of it derived from his paternal ancestors a 
predisposition to the pulmonary consumption ; and that, 
between the eighteenth and forty-third year of his age, he 
has occasionally been afflicted with many of the symptoms 
of that disease, which he has described. By the constant 
and faithful use of many of the remedies which lie has re- 
commended, he now, in the sixty-first year of his age, en- 
joys nearly an uninterrupted exemption from pulmonary 
comj)laints. In humble gratitude, therefore, to that Be- 
ing, who condescends to be called the ' preserver of 
men,' he thus publicly devotes this result of his experi- 
ence and inquiries, to the benefit of such of his fellow 
creatures as may be afflicted with the same disease, sin- 
cerely wishing that they may be as useful to them as they 
have been to the author." 

* His writings, in numerous places, bear testimony to his Christian virtues ; and 
in a manuscript letter, written a short time previous to his fatal illness, he candidly 
declared that he had " acquired, and received nothing from the world which he so 
highly prized as the religious principles he received from his parents." It is pecu- 
liarly gratifying to observe a man so distinguished in a profession in which, by the 
illiberal, religious scepticism is supposed to abound, directing his talents to the 
maintenance of genuine piety, and the enforcing of Christian virtue. To inculcate 
those principles which flow from the source of all truth and purity, and to impart 
them as a legacy to his children; was an object dear to his heart and which he 
never failed to promote by constant exhortation and the powerful influence of hip 
wwn example. — />»'. D. Uoiack 



It was not only by words, but in deeds, that he express- 
ed his reverence for the Deity. It was his usual practice 
to close the day by reading to his collected family a chap- 
ter in the Bible, and afterwards by addressing his Maker 
in prayer, devoutly acknowledging his goodness for fa- 
vors received, and humbly imploring his continued pro- 
tection and blessing. His respect for the Deity led him to 
respect his ministers, who acted consistently with their 
high calling. He considered their' office of the greatest 
importance to society, both in this world and that which 
is to come. He strengthened their hands, and was always 
ready and willing to promote and encourage arrangements 
for their comfortable support, and for building churches, 
and for propagating the gospel. In an address to nunis- 
ters of every denomination, on subjects interesting to mo- 
rals, he remarks : '•'• If there were no hereafter, individuals 
and societies would be great gainers by attending public 
worship every Sunday, Rest from labor in the house of 
God winds up the machine of l^oth soul and body better 
than any thing else, and thereby invigorates it for the la- 
bors and duties of the ensuing week." Dr. Rush made 
his first essay as an author, when an apprentice to Dr. 
Redman, by writing an eulogy on the Rev. Gilbert Ten- 
nent, wlio had been the friend and fellow laborer of the 
celebrated George Whitfield, and an active, useful, ani- 
mated preacher of the gospel, from 1725 till 1764. On 
the 27th of May, 1809, he wrote to his cousin, Dr. Finley, 
of this city : "The General Assembly of the Presbyterian 
church is now in session in Philadelphia. It is composed 
of many excellent men, some of whom are highly distin- 
guished ])y talents and learning as well as piety. I have 
had some pleasant visits from a number of them, and have 
been amply rewarded for my civilities to them, by their 
agreeable and edifying conversation. They remind me of 
the happy times, when their places in tlie church were 
filled by your venerable father, and his illustrious contem- 
poraries and friends, Messrs. Tennent, Blair, Davies and 

In these and several other ways, particularly by liis |)en 
and his practice, Dr. Rush supported the cause of morality 
and religion in our country, and superadded the cliaracter 
of a Chri-tian to that of a scholar. Such was the tenor of 
the life of our illustrious countryman, Avho is now n() 
more ! No more the ornament of the first medical school 


in America ! No more the instructer, the delight, and the 
admiration of that portion of our youth which is destined 
to take care of the healths and lives of their fellow citi- 
zens ! No more the medical luminary of our western 
world ! But he has not ceased to exist. His soul at this 
moment lives in some part of the universe ; and his body, 
though now mouldering in dust. Revelation assures us, at 
some future time will rise from the grave, and commence 
a new and immortal life. Let us therefore be comforted. 
Death is not an eternal sleep. Its effects are only tempo- 
rary. In due time they will all be done away, as though 
they never had been. A reunion of his soul and body will 
constitute the same person, and the identical Dr. Rush, 
wliom we this day lament as dead, will assuredly live 
again, and live forever and ever. In this world he sought 
for knowledge, as the thirsty traveller in a sandy desert 
seeks for water ; and in his course of nearly seventy years, 
he acquired an uncommon stock of it, and rejoiced in his 
success : but who can tell what will be the amount of his 
acquisitions and consequent pleasure in the ensuing seven 
hundred years, seven thousand, or if you please, seven 
millions of years, blest with the beatific vision of the om- 
niscient God ? But I forbear, the mind sinks beneath the 
weight of the sublime and happy destinies of those who 
are the reconciled friends of " the God of Knowledge." — 
Extracted from an Eulogium delivered before the JWedical So- 
ciety of South Carolina at Charleston^ June 10th, 1813, by 
David Ramsay, JW.D. 

An erroneous report respecting the last sickness of Dr. 
Rush having been propagated, Dr. James Mease with a 
view of correcting that report addressed the following let- 
ter to the late Dr. Lettsom, which was published in the 
London Medical and Physical Journal, Volume 37. 

Dear Sir, Philadelphia, December 21, 1815. 

I had lately the pleasure to receive your " Notices of 
the late Dr. Rush," for which I thank you. I was much 
concerned, however, to find that you had given currency 
to the incorrect statement propagated after his death, 
" that he had mistaken his disease for the pleurisy, and 
was bled freely, which was thought to have occasioned his 
death." Your correspondent was unfortunately misled by 
common report, which is too often incorrect, and in the 
present instance this incorrectness is to be particularly 



regretted, because it favors the diffusion of error, and im- 
plicates the medical judgment of a man, who was more 
extensively consulted by his countrymen than any other 
physician that ever lived in the United States ; and it gra- 
tifies the little and mean spirits among us, who exulted in 
the report of his having fallen a victim to his attachment 
to the depleting system, and who will be glad to find that 
the report has been circulated in Europe. Dr. Rush was 
not affected with " typhus or spotted fever," but a true 
pleurisy; and the blood, so far from being " freely" taken, 
amounted only to ten ounces in quantity. More was not 
taken away, except locally, although the pain in his side, 
after having been relieved by the operation, returned with 
severity : and the disease ended as inflammatory affect- 
ions of the lungs often do, in such habits as that of Dr. 
Rush. The case was strictly as follows. Dr. Rusli in the 
early part of his life had been subject to a cough, which 
he kept under by occasional small bleedings, great temper- 
ance in diet, and by a careful accommodation of his dress 
to our inconstant climate. He had been attacked by a 
cough several months previously to his last illness, and in 
consequence of it he had abridged his customary propor- 
tion of animal food, in the use of which he was at all 
times very moderate, and left off entirely the use of wine. 
The effects of those retrenchments alone, are felt by 
frames more vigorous |than that of Dr. Rush ; but in his 
case, and at his time of life, they could not fail greatly to 
diminish his muscular power, and increase the excitability 
of his system by the causes that produced the fatal disease. 
Other causes cooperated. During the time alluded to he 
was engaged in extensive practice ; had performed his 
four months tour of duty at the Pennsylvania Hospital, 
and at the close of the session in March had given two 
lectures daily, of an hour each ; he had also assisted in the 
examination of a large class of candidates for medical de- 
grees in the University of Pennsylvania, twice a day ; and 
at night he either was engaged in study, or in answering 
the numerous letters of applicants for medical advice from 
every part of the continent. Thus, by such unremitted 
corporal and mental exertion he wasted the poAvers of life, 
and predisposed his system to the operation of the variable 
atmosphere that caused the affection of his lungs. He was 
attacked by his last illness on the night of the 14th of 
April, 1813. I had been absent from the city ; and on my 


return called to see him in the evening. I found him alone, 
with a lecture before him, and a pen in his hand. Having 
before hinted to him that he ought to relax in his studies, 
I said " what, Doctor, always at your studies ?" He repli- 
ed, " Yes, Doctor, I am revising a lecture, for I feel every 
day more and more like a dying man." Alas, how pro- 
phetic his words ! Upon my observing that I hoped he 
did not feel indisposed, he replied, " No. but at my age I 
deem life particularly precarious, and I am moreover anx- 
ious to leave my manuscripts as perfect as possible for the 
benefit of my son." We conversed for an hour or more 
upon various medical subjects, and he read to me an affect- 
ionate letter addressed to a relation in a distant state, who 
had asked his advdce upon an important occasion. A per- 
son having called for a letter of advice, I retired to an- 
other room, where I remained near an hour with his fam- 
ily. Upon my returning to him, I found him sitting with 
his feet close to the fire, and, after a moment's stay, I wish- 
ed him good night. Mrs. Rush came in, as I went out, 
and 1 subjoin her own statement of the progress of the 
attack, and the remedies used. This statement was drawn 
up at my request, that there might be no doubt as to the 
accuracy of every particular on the distressing subject. 

" At nine o'clock in the evening of Wednesday the 14th 
of April, 1813, Dr. Rush, after having been as well as usual 
through the day, complained of chilliness and general 
indisposition, and said he would go to bed. While his 
room Avas preparing and a fire making, he became so cold, 
that he called for some brandy and drank it ; he then 
went to his room, bathed his feet in warm water, got into 
a warm bed, and took some hot drink : a fever soon came 
on, attended witJi great pain in his limbs, and in his side : 
he passed a restless night, but after day-light a perspira- 
tion came on, and all the pains were relieved except that 
in his side, whicJi became more acute. He sent for a 
bleeder, and had ten ounces of blood taken from his arm, 
with evident relief. At ten o'clock Dr. Dorsey called and saw 
him, heard what liad been done, and approved of the treat- 
ment ; observed that his pulse was calm, but rather weak, 
and advised him to drink plentifully of wine whey, which 
was immediately given to him. He remained the rest of 
the day and on Friday with but little apparent disease, 
though never quite free from fever, and always complain- 
ing when 1)6 tried to take a long breath. On the morning 


of Saturday he awoke with an acute pain in his side, and 
desired that the bleeder might be sent for : to this I ob- 
jected on accovmt of tlie weak state of his pulse. I pro- 
posed sending for Dr. Dorsey, but Dr. Rush would not 
consent to his being disturbed : he reminded me of his 
having had a cough all the winter, and said ' this disease 
is taking hold of my lungs, and I shall go off in a con- 
sumption.' At eight o'clock Dr. Dorsey saw him and, 
upon feeling his pulse, objected to his losing any more 
blood, and called in Dr. Physick, who agreed in the opin- 
ion that bleeding was improper. The pain in his side, 
however, continuing, and his breathing becoming more 
difficult, Dr. P. consented to his losing three ounces of 
blood from his side by cupping : this operation relieved 
him so that he fell into a refreshing sleep, and towards the 
evening of Saturday his fever went off, and he passed a 
comfortable niglit, and on Sunday morning seemed free 
from disease. When Dr. P. saw him, he told me that 
Dr. Rush was doing well, that nothing now appeared ne- 
cessary, but to give him as much nourishment, as he could 
take : he drank porter and water, and conversed with 
strength and sprightliness, believing that he was getting 
well, until about four o'clock in the afternoon, when his 
fever returned, but in a moderate degree. At five o'clock 
Dr. P. and Dr. D. visited liim, and found him not so well as 
in the morning, but did not appear to apprehend what so 
soon followed, for at that time nothing was ordered differ- 
ent from the morning. At nine o'clock they again visited 
him, when they found him so low, as to apprehend a fatal 
termination of his disease. Stimulants of the strongest 
kind Avere then administered : you, my friend, know with 
how little effect !" 

I was constantly with Dr. Rush all the next day, and 
witnessed the progress of that debility which deprived me 
of my friend, the medical republic of its ornament, and 
our country of one of its liest men, and the early, steady 
and zealous supporter of American independence. 

John Coakley Lettsom, M.D., F.R.S., &c. London. 

Dr. Rush, says Dr. James Mease, was an early and pow- 
erful enemy to the slavery of the blacks, and so early as 
the year 1774 published a pamphlet against it, and he had 
the satisfaction to see a law passed in the year 1780 by the 


legislature of Pennsylvania abolishing the privilege of 
holding any blacks in slavery after a residence of a certain 
number of months ; and he lived to see the slaves in Phila- 
delphia diminished from 3144, the number of them when 
Dr. R. wrote, to two aged individuals, who were supported 
by the families in which they were born. The effect of 
his writings was visible on the public at large, by the great 
number of slaves who were set free in the course of a few 
years. His friendship for the colored part of the com- 
munity, and his endeavor to improve their moral condition 
induced him to propose the establishment of the first place 
of public worship exclusively for themselves. This was 
in the year 1792. He headed the subscription, and through 
his interest and persuasion a sufficient fund was obtained 
to erect the building, now called St. Thomas's Church. 
He left the choice of the mode of worship with them- 
selves. They chose the Episcopal form. This church 
has been attended with the most evident good effect upon 
the colored population. The ministers are colored men, 
but are relieved by the ministers of the other Episcopal 

In the year 1808 Dr. R. zealously engaged with Mr. 
Robert Ralston in the formation of the first Bible Society 
which was formed in Philadelphia, and wrote a constitu- 
tion for its use. Dr. R. had much of the milk of human 
kindness in the composition of his mind ; hence he readily 
forgave injuries, and the ingratitude of those on whom he 
had conferred favors. 

A striking proof of his benevolence was exhibited in the 
decided part he took in the years 1784 and 1785, in pro- 
curing the repeal of the Test Act of the state of Pennsyl- 
vania. This law was passed in the year 1778, and requir- 
ed every citizen to declare the right of the state to be in- 
dependent, and that he had not since the declaration of in- 
dependence aided the British arms in their claims upon 
the United States. It also required him to renounce alle- 
giance to the king of England. The penalty for refusing 
to take this oath or affirmation was disfranchisement ; and 
as the continuance of the law was deemed impolitic from 
the return of peace and from its depriving the country of 
the public services of a large portion of our fellow citi- 
zens who from conscientious motives had declined to take 
the oath, he urged its repeal, which soon after took place, 
but not without great opposition. The pamphlet passed 


through two large editions, a circumstance which had not 
for a long time happened to any other American pro- 

He had commenced the undertaking of selecting some 
of the best pi'actical works on medicine for republication 
in America, and in order to render them more useful, he 
formed the idea of adding to them such notes as might the 
better adapt them to the diseases of his own country. His 
editions of Sydenham and of Cleghorn were published in 
1809, and in the same year appeared those of Pringle and 
Hillary. The last effort of his pen was a letter on Hy- 
drophobia containing additional reasons in support of the 
theory he had formerly advanced, as to the seat of the dis- 
ease being chiefly in the blood vessels. It was addressed 
to Dr. Hosack and written not many days before his fatal 
illness. Such was the attachment of Dr. R. to his pro- 
fession, that speaking of his approaching dissolution he 
remarks, " when that time shall come, I shall relinquish 
many attractions to life, and among them a pleasure which 
to me has no equal in human pursuits ; I mean that which I 
derive from studying, teaching, and practising medicine.*" 

In January, 1776, he married Miss Julia Stockton, 
daughter of the Hon. Judge Stockton, of New-Jersey, a 
lady of an excellent understanding, and whose amiable 
disposition and cultivated mind eminently qualified her 
as the companion of Dr. Rush. Thirteen children were 
the fruits of their marriage, nine of whom still survive. 
One of these sustains the high office of secretary of the 
treasury of the United States. 

The writings of Dr. R. claim our attention, both on ac- 
count of their extent and their variety ; from the results of 
his own individual experience and observation, he added 
more facts to the science of medicine, than all who had 
preceded him in his native country. His description of 
diseases, for minuteness and accuracy of detail, cannot be 
exceeded, and may safely be regarded as models of their 
kind. His volume on Diseases of the Mind, in as far as it 
exhibits the infinitely varied forms which those diseases 
assume, is a store house of instruction. Had his labors 
been limited to these subjects alone, his character would 
deservedly have been cherished by future ages. The re- 
spect and consideration which his publications procured 

* Dr. Hosack. 
VOL. II. 9 


for him among his contemporaries, was such, that the high- 
est honors were accumulated upon him in diiferent parts of 
Europe, as well as in his own country, and he was admit- 
ted a member of many of the most distinguished literary 
and philosophical associations. 

To the preceding account of Dr. Rush, chiefly from the 
excellent Dr. Ramsay, the following additions made 
toucJiing his cliaracter and attainments, are extracted from 
the opening discourse delivered by Professor Francis, be- 
fore the class of students attending the instruction of the 
Rutger's Medical Faculty of Geneva College, in the city 
of New-York, November 8th, 1827. 

'^ It were no easy task," says Professor Francis, "to 
do justice to the great talents, the vast labors, and the ex- 
emplary character of Dr. Rush. From the imperfect 
sketch which I have thus rapidly given, it is presumed 
you may be able to form some idea of his incessant de- 
votedness to the improvement of that profession of which 
he was so bright an ornament. His merits as a practi- 
tioner are too well known to require particular enumera- 
tion. He was fully aware of the great responsibility at- 
tached to the medical character, and uniformly evineed 
the deepest solicitude for the recovery of his patient. 
His kindness and liberality in imparting aid to those from 
whom no remuneration was ever to be expected was un- 
bounded, and arose from the generous impulse of his na- 
ture, the cordial concern he felt in whatever affected the 
interests of his fellow creatures. ' Let the poor of every 
description,' says he, ' be the objects of your peculiar care.* 
* There is an inseparable connexion between a man's duty 
and his interest. Whenever you are called, therefore, to 
visit a poor patient, imagine you hear the voice of the 
good Samaritan sounding in your ears, " Take care of him 
and I will repay thee.' " 

" His mind was of a superior order : to a perception na- 
turally ready and acute, he united a discriminating judg- 
ment, a retentive memory, which was greatly improved 
by habits of close attention, a brilliant imagination and a 
highly cultivated taste. He possessed a comprehensive 
understanding : his knowledge was varied and in many 
branches profound, and he eminently excelled in the several 
departments of his profession. In his assiduity and perse- 
verance in the acquisition of knowledge he had no superior 
and few equals. Accustomed to constant and regular exercise 

BE.NJAMIiX Rcan. 67 

his intellectual powers acquired additional vigor from em- 
ployment. Notwitlistanding the great fatigue he had to 
undergo in the discharge of the practical duties of a la- 
borious profession, and the constant interruptions to which 
he was exposed, when engaged in his pursuits as an author, 
he never for a moment abated of his ardor in the cause of 
science. He was the incessant and unwearied student ; he 
was familiar with all the standard authors, and his read- 
ing kept pace with the discoveries and improvements of 
the age. That the same individual should be at the same 
time at the head of medical practice in a large and popu- 
lous city, that he should have been the first of medical 
teachers in a great University, and tiie most assiduous pre- 
scriber for its extensive hospitals ; that he should possess a 
leading influence among its numerous literary ini^titutions 
and public charities, and be moreover among the most 
voluminous and able writers of the time, and all, amidst 
the active competition of numerous rivals of high and va- 
ried pretensions, is only to be accounted for by his habits 
of vigorous and unremitted aj)plication. What the biogra- 
pher of the illustrious Roman orator has asserted of his 
hero, may be said with equal justice of our countryman : 
' His industry,' says Middleton, 'was incredible beyond the 
example or even conception of our days : this was the 
secret by which he performed such wonders, and reconcil- 
ed perpetual study with perpetual affairs : he suffered no 
part of his leisure to be idle, or the least interval of it to 
be unimproved ; but wliat other people gave to the public 
shows, to pleasure, to feasts, nay even to sleep and the 
ordinary refreshments of nature, he generally gave to his 
books, and the enlargement of his knowledge.' And 
what Cicero himself has declared of the excellence of study 
seems to have early directed the conduct of Dr. Rush him- 
self. ' Study employs us in youth, amuses us in old age, 
graces and embellishes prosperity, shelters and supports 
adversity, makes us delighted at home and easy abroad, 
softens slumber, shortens fatigue, and enlivens retirement.' 
" His habits of punctuality to every kind of business in 
which he was employed were the subject of general enco- 
mium. Thus, while under tlie pupilage of Dr. Redman, 
during the whole six years he coidd not enumerate more 
than two days interruption from business, and we are told 
that as a physician to the Pennsylvania Hospital he was 
never known to vary ten minutes in his professional ap- 



pointments from the hour of attendance, for the long 
period of thirty years. This punctuality, added to a judi- 
cious arrangement of time for his multifarious occupations, 
secured to him sufficient leisure for the publication of 
those works which have given such celebrity to his name. 
" His writings," continues Dr. Francis, " claim our atten- 
tion both on account of their extent and their variety. 
It was for the purpose of setting this fact clearly before 
you that I was the more particular in my enumeration of 
them. These products of his intellect show much reading, 
deep investigation and tried experience. He seems to have 
combined with peculiar felicity the most useful in physic- 
al science with the most elegant in literature. Instead of 
being a mere collator of the opinions of others, he was 
constantly making discoveries and improvements of his 
own, and from the results of his individual experience and 
observation, established more principles and added more 
facts to the science of medicine than all who had preceded 
him in his native country. His description of diseases for 
minuteness and accuracy of detail cannot be exceeded, and 
may safely be regarded as models of their kind. In the 
treatment of gout, dropsy, consumption of the lungs, and 
the diseases of old age, he has enlarged our views of the 
animal economy and thrown more light upon the peculiar 
character of these afflicting disorders than is to be derived 
from the investigations of any other writers. What vast 
and widely applicable principles has he given in that small 
but pregnant essay, entitled A Defence of Bloodletting ? 
His volume on the Diseases of the Mind, in as far as it ex- 
hibits the infinitely varied forms which those disorders 
present, is a storehouse of instruction. The great demand 
for this work caused its early reprint. By metaphysicians 
it has been recognised as furnishing many valuable facts 
and principles on the pathology and fimctions of the brain ; 
and as presenting an able classification of the phenomena 
of its disease. During my casual attendance upon the 
lectures of the late Professor Brown, of Edinburgh, the 
distinguished physiologist of the intellectual powers, and 
the successor of Dugald Stewart in the metaphysical chair, 
my national feelings were largely gratified, by hearing 
from such high authority this treatise of Dr. Rush pro- 
nounced a work full of instruction and of great original- 
ity. Had his labors been limited to tliese subjects alone, 
his character would deservedly have been cherished by 


future ages. His reputation, however, will permanently 
depend upon his several histories of the epidemics of the 
United States, which have rendered these productions fa- 
miliar wherever medical science is cvdtivated, and will 
hereafter cause to be inscribed upon the same imperishable 
column that bears testimony to the merits of Sydenham 
and Boerhaave, the illustrious name of Benjamin Rush. 
The respect and consideration which his publications pro- 
cured for him among his contemporaries, were sucli that 
the highest honors were accumulated upon him in diifer- 
ent parts of Europe, as well as in his own country, and he 
was admitted a member of many of the most distinguish- 
ed literary and philosophical associations of both worlds." 

After noticing some of the peculiarities in the character 
and writings of the American Sydenham, as Dr. Rush has 
been often called by sound authority. Professor Francis 
proceeds : 

" Exalted as was the character of Dr. Rush, immense as 
were the services he rendered his countrymen, few pro- 
fessional men of any age or country liave been the subject 
of more violent and unrelenting persecution. His great 
eminence rendered him the object at which envy, jealousy 
and disappointed ambition directed their malign efforts. 
So great was the persecution against him at one time, even 
after he had arrived at the maturity of his renown, that 
he contemplated removing himself and family from Phi- 
ladelphia, the scene of his meritorious exertions. The 
notorious Cobbett assailed him with all the spirit and all 
the force of his vituperative genius. Against this libeller 
he was induced by the urgency of friends to institute 
a prosecution ; a jury of his countrymen awarded to him 
a large sum for damages. This award, with his character- 
istic magnanimity, he distributed to the poor. Though 
moderate in his pecuniary circumstances, and looked up to 
by a large family, he never yielded to the sordid impulses 
of our nature. 

" There are other qualities which entitle Dr. Rush to 
our respect and esteem. In ])rivate life his disposition and 
deportment Avere in the highest degree exemplary. Ad- 
mired and courted for his intellectual endowments, J»e 
riveted the affections of all those who enjoyed the pleasure 
of an intimate acquaintance. The affability of his man- 
ners, the amiableness of his temper, and the benevolence of 
his character were ever conspicuous. He was ardent in 


his friendships, and forgiving in his resentments ; and yet 
entertaining a due regard for himself and a nice sense of 
honor, he possessed a manly independence of spirit, which 
disdained every thing mean and servile. He had an ex- 
traordinary command of language and always imparted his 
thoughts in a peculiarly impressive and eloquent manner. 
His eloquence as a public teacher surpassed that of all his 
contemporaries. The youth who repaired to his lectures 
for wisdom, insensible of the lapse of time, lingered with 
rapture on his lessons. 

" Those who had the happiness to experience the de- 
lights of his conversation will long recollect with pleasure, 
his unassuming modesty, and the rich stores of knowledge 
he poured forth on the most instructive topics. Even when 
his opinions were solicited, they were given not as the dic- 
tates or admonitions of a superior, but as the kind advice 
of a friend and equal. He never evinced any of that 
haughtiness and affectation of importance which sometimes 
attach to men of eminence, and which so materially 
lessen the pleasures and comforts of social life. 

" He was a believer in Christianity," continues Dr. F., 
^' from an examination of its principles and the deepest con- 
viction. The purity of its doctrines and the excellence of 
its precepts were a fi^equent topic of his conversation : its 
practical influence upon his conduct through life he often 
acknowledged, and cherished with a fervent hope, the ani- 
mating prospects it affords. With the good old Bishop 
Burnet he fully coincided, ' that a man living according 
to the rules of religion, becomes the wisest, the best, the 
happiest creature he is capable of being.'* His writings 
in numerous places bear testimony to his christian virtues ; 
he designed to conclude his literary and professional labors 
with a distinct work on the medicine of the Bible ; and 
in a letter written a short time before his fatal illness he 
candidly declares, that he had acquired and received no- 
thing from the world which he so highly prized as the 
religious principles he received from his parents. It is 
peculiarly gratifying to observe a man so distinguished in 
a profession in which by the illiberal religious scepticism 
is supposed to abound, directing liis talents to the mainte- 
nance of genuine piety and the enforcing of christian vir- 
tue. To inculcate those principles which flow from the 

* History of My Own Times. 


source of all truth and purity, and to impart them as a 
legacy to his children, was an object dear to liis heart, and 
which he never failed to promote by constant exhortation 
and the powerful influence of his own example. 

" Let our youth then be excited by the powerful exam- 
ple of Dr. Rush to form an exalted opinion of the dignity 
and usefulness of the profession, and let them support that 
dignity and exemplify that usefulness by the same active 
exertions in the cause of science and humanity, that have 
characterized this able and learned physician. 

" Such, gentlemen, was the man whose character I have 
feebly attempted to delineate. But he has a still further 
claim upon your gratitude. His name is enrolled on the 
charter of your independence among the heroes of that 
revolutionary contest in which our ancestors pledged their 
lives and fortunes in behalf of their bleeding country. 
While a youth he caught the ennobling spirit of patriotism 
and through life cherished those feelings which are conse- 
crated to its interests and glory." 

For further particulars of the life and character of this 
eminent philanthropist and physician, consult Chalmers' 
Biography, Life in Rees' Cyclopedia, Hosack's Introduc- 
tory Discourse, New-England Medical Journal, Life in 
American Medical and Philosophical Register. 

name was held in high respect both in England and the 
American colonies for many years prior to the separation. 
They who bore it, sustained honorable oflices both in 
church and state under the crown, and were greatly dis- 
tinguished for their loyalty, their patriotism and their 
piety ; the noblest qualities of the human character seem- 
ed to be inherent in the family for several generations. 
The subject of this memoir was born in Haverhill, Massa- 
chusetts, February 10th, 1746, and was graduated at Har- 
vard College in 1766, and died in May, 1815. He was a 
son of Richard Saltonstall, formerly Judge of the Supreme 
Court, and a descendant of Sir Richard Saltonstall, one of 
the original patentees and first settlers of Massachusetts 
colony. Among his maternal ancestors were Governor 
Leverett, and the two Elisha Cooks, father and son, both 
respectable as physicians, but most distinguished as politi- 
cal leaders. 

Dr. Saltonstall was a very skilful and intelligent physi- 
cian, remarkable for his humane attention to the poor, and 


universally respected in Haverhill, where he resided, and 
in the vicinity which was embraced in the circle of his 
professional business. He was named in the charter in- 
corporating the Massachusetts Medical Society, and was a 
friend to its improvement and usefulness. The objects oi 
his exertions were usefulness in his profession, and the 
happiness and improvement of those around him, unalloy- 
ed by motives of pecuniary advantage. He was a sincere, 
liberal and humble christian. He felt an ardent attach- 
ment to those venerable religious and literary institutions 
in the establishment of which his ancestors had an import- 
ant influence, particvilarly to Harvard College, in whose 
growing prosperity he rejoiced ; and he was ever ready to 
promote all objects which in his opinion would have a 
beneficial influence on society. 

At a time when his brothers remained true to those 
principles of royalty in vvliich they had been educated, he 
was firm, but moderate, in his opposition to the measures 
of Great Britain. It was to him a severe trial, and he 
gave the strongest proof of sincerity and independence ; 
his principles separated him forever from those he most 
loved. In later party contentions he was unwavering, and 
no man in the country felt a more lively interest in its 
honor and welfare. Exemplary in all the relations of 
private life, of irreproachable morals, social, benevolent, 
cheerful and hospitable, he was tenderly beloved by his 
family and friends, and was honored by the aflectionate 
esteem and respect of all who knew him. Of the purity 
of Dr. S.'s principles and the honorable independence of 
his character, of his elevated integrity, his love of truth, 
his generous, noble and affectionate spirit, more might be 
said with propriety. As a mark of respect to his virtues 
and character, all the citizens of Haverhill, without pre- 
vious concert, closed their stores and suspended business 
to attend the funeral obsequies. Dr. S. left three sons 
and four daughters, the only family of the name in Mas- 


SAWYER, MICAJAH, M.D. M.M.S.S. was born at 
Newbury, in the county of Essex and Province of Massa- 
chusetts, on the 15th day of July, 1737. His father was a 
respectable physician in the same place ; and indeed he 
may be said to have been of a medical family, for of his 
only two brothers one was a physician, and the other a 
druggist and apothecary. 


He Avas graduated at Harvard College in 175G, and, 
after pursuing his professional studies under his father, 
commenced the })ractice in that part of Newbury Avhich 
was soon afterwards made a distinct town with the name 
of Newburyport. He had contemplated with much plea- 
sure a visit to Europe to complete his education in the 
medical schools most celebrated tbtre, but he was compel- 
led by circumstances to relinquish that project. It was 
then his constant aim to compensate as mu( h as was in his 
power this disappointment, by laborious research, uuAvea- 
ried assiduity and diligent application to the most approv- 
ed European medical publications. When he commenced 
practice, his qualifications were not surpassed by any 
young man of his time. About this period he made a 
journey on horseback to Charleston, Soutli Carolina, iu 
company with his friend, the late Hon. Jonathan Jackson, 
afterwards distinguished in several stations, all of whicli 
he honored, and the last of Avhich was tliat of treasurer of 
Harvard College, which he held at his death in 1810. In 
this tour he made many respectable acquaintances, and its 
incidents furnished him topics for the entertainment of his 
friends in after life. Such a journey at that time w-as con- 
sidered as an affair of no small importance. Perhaps a 
voyage across the Atlantic, and years of travel in Europe 
would not at this time seem a greater enterprise. 

Soon after entering upon tlie practice of his profession 
Dr. Sawyer connected himself in marriage with Miss S. 
Farnham, daughter of Daniel Farnham, Esq. a lawyer of 
eminence in Newburyport, by v.^homhe had nine children, 
four of whom survive, and the respected relict at the age 
of fourscore years still enjoys much of life. 

It was not long after his settlement in New^buryport 
when Dr. S. found him^self engaged in a full career of 
professional business, embracing a large district of coun- 
try ; and being blessed with an excellent constitution, and 
warmly attached to his profession, he shrunk not from the 
unremitted duties required of him for a period of fifty 
years. Clinical medicine being liis choice, he was more 
distinguished as a physician than as a surgeon, though on 
certain occasions he performed surgical operations with 
firmness, neatness and skill. He wrote but little for pub- 
lication ; which is to be regretted, as he possessed strong- 
powers of thouglit and expres:ion, and was a lover of 
literature and science. He was not, hovv'ever, an inactive 
VOL. It. 10 


member of the many benevolent and literary societies to 
which he belonged. He always declined being introduced 
to public life, but no man's opinions and judgment were 
more decisive and influential in the sphere in which he 
moved. He was a zealous advocate of the great principles 
that led to the revolutionary struggle. 

Dr. S. was strictly a religious man in life and practice, 
but without a shade of bigotry. His own standard of re- 
ligion and morals was a high one ; severe, however, only 
to himself, he was liberal and candid in his construction 
of the motives and opinions of others. His health was 
almost uninterrupted to the last years of his life, and to 
within about three months of his decease. He had the 
happiness to carry the fine sensibilities of his affectionate 
nature and the vigor of his intellect, to the closing days of 
his life, which terminated on the 29th of September, 1815, 
in his 78th year. 

Dr. S. was much beloved by his friends, and he had no 
enemies. Inheriting a considerable patrimony, and deriv- 
ing a good income from his extensive practice, he lived in 
the exercise of a judicious economy, and in the enjoyment 
of a competency of the good things of this life, leaving at 
his decease to his family an estate much larger than gen- 
erally falls to the lot of physicians in this country. Dr. 
S. received the honorary degree of M.D. from the Univer- 
sity in Cambridge ; and he was named an original mem- 
ber in the charters of the American Academy of Arts and 
Sciences, and of the Massachusetts Medical Society. 

The obituary notice of the day speaks of Dr. S. in the 
following language. He was an eminent, learned, most 
faithful and tender physician ; a devout and exemplary 
christian, a benevolent and upright man, and valuable 
member of society. With superior natural powers im- 
proved by the advantages of education, and adorned by an 
habitual dignity and politeness of manners, he pursued his 
arduous profession for more than half a century in full 
practice and with such skill, fidelity and affectionate kind- 
ness, that his ordinary discharge of professional duty was 
a constant benefaction to those who were the objects of 
his care. The same exalted sense of integrity and faith- 
fulness which dignified his professional conduct, accom- 
panied him in all the relations which he sustained in social 
and civil life, and rendered him a blessing and ornament 


to the various literary and benevolent institutions willi 
which he was connected. 

The funeral solemnities were performed with every 
mark of j)ublic regard and sympathy. The masters of 
Dummer Academy, whose interest the deceased had many 
years essentially promoted as a trustee and treasurer, 
the trustees of the Merrimac Humane Society, over 
which he had presided from its establishment, with a con- 
course of respectable citizens, united in paying their best 
tribute of respect on the solemn occasion. 

SENTER, ISAAC, M.D. M.M.S.S. Hon., was descend- 
ed from a respectable family in New-Hampshire, and be- 
came an inhabitant of Newport, Rhode Island, early in 
life, where he read medicine with Dr. Thomas Moffat, a 
Scotch physician of eminence. He was surgeon for some 
time in the revolutionary war, and accompanied General 
Arnold in his expedition through the wilderness to Quebec 
in 1775, a very interesting account of which was prepared 
by him for the press and is now in the possession of his 
family. After the war he settled in Newport, and married 
Miss Arnold of PaWtuxet ; and being successor to Dr. 
Hunter in high professional reputation, as well as to 
place of residence, he became the most distinguished prac- 
titioner both of physic and surgery that the state could in 
his day boast of. 

Ardently attached to his profession, his energetic mind 
was directed exclusively to its interests, in relieving the 
sick and in enriching the medical journals of his day with 
the results of his observations. One communication among 
others, which will serve to per})etuate his memory, was 
the history of a case of erratic urine, which has been often 
referred to in other publications both in this country and 
in Europe. Dr. Senter published in the Transactions of 
the Collecre of Physicians of Philadelphia, remarks on 
Phthisis Pulmonalis, in which he gives an account of a 
remedy which was a favorite with him, though it originat- 
ed with English physicians ; it consists in the exhibition 
of what is termed the dry vomit, composed of the sul- 
phate of copper and ipecacuanha. He affirmed that he 
had restored more persons laboring imder hectic fever l)y 
this remedy, conjoined with Dr. Griffith's myrrh and steel 
mixture, than by all other medicines he ever read of or 


He was eminently qualified for his profession, not only 
1)y the acuteness of his discernment, the accuracy of his 
opinions, his decision and judgment ; but by a choice of 
the most instructive books, an extensive correspondence 
and gi-eat experience. He gratuitously afforded his prompt, 
vigilant and patient attention to the clergymen of his town, 
when affliction and disease visited them or their families ; 
and such was the general confidence in his skill, and such 
his generous and humane spirit, that hundreds are indebt- 
ed to him for acts of kindness and liberality. 

He was elected an honorary member of the Medical 
and Chirurgical Societies of Edinburgh and London, and 
an honorary member of the Massachusetts Medical Socie- 
ty ; and he was for many years President of the Society 
of Cincinnati of Rhode Island. 

Tliougli singular in his opinions on religious subjects, 
lie was behind no one in the practice of the christian vir- 
tues, of philanthropy and beneficence, and especially in 
the walks of his profession. His person was tall and well 
proportioned, and his maimers dignified and popular. He 
died in December, 1799, in the 45th year of his age. 

SHATTUCK, DR. BENJAMIN, was born at Littleton^ 
in the county of Middlesex, on the 1 1th day of November, 
1742. He was the son of Stephen Shattuck, a man of no 
ordinary powers of body and mind ; a warm patriot, who, 
after he was turned of sixty years of age, shouldered his 
gun, and marched to Concord, on the 19tli of April, 
1775, to share in the danger of that eventful day. 

His grandfather was the Rev. Benjamin Shattuck, the 
first settled minister of the town of Littleton, who was 
graduated at Harvard College with the class of 1709, and 
was held in high estimation as a good sound divine of the 
old New-England school. He married a granddaughter 
of the celebrated John Sherman, who, on coming from 
England, was for some time an assistant to George Phil- 
lips, the first minister at Watertown. 

From Massachusetts he went to Connecticut, and there 
acted in the capacity of a magistrate ; but, when Mr. Phil- 
lips died, the flock at Watertown earnestly requested him 
to return to his first love, and he obeyed the call. Sher- 
man was not only a divine of the first " gifts and graces," 
but also a profound metaphysician, and was exceeded by 
IV' w in the country as a mathematician. He published an 
silmauack for several vears in succession, the first work of 


the kind in New-England, and often went to Canibridiio 
to deliver lectures upon })hilosophical subjects. He was not 
only in advance of the times in which he lived in the sci- 
ences, but his literary acc^uirements were equal to his other 
attainments. He calculated eclipses, fixed the latitude ami 
longitude of places, drew up codes of laAvs, all Avith ecp.ud 
facility, and at the same time preached to admiration. 

His name may be mentioned as a proof that a family 
does not much retard the progress of the learned, for he 
had six children by one wife, and twenty by another, ami 
they were among the best educated of the land, and their 
descendants have, in a great measure, inherited their taste 
and talents. Roger Sherman, a Judge of the higliest courts 
in Connecticut, and one of the signers of the declaration 
of independence, was a great grandson of the minister at 
Watertown. The clergy, who are always respected in an 
enlightened community, were in the early days of our 
history the great men in every concein ; and to them we 
are much indebted for tlie institutions of piety and learn- 
ing which abound in our country. They gave their child- 
ren a good education, and considered it the best patrimony 
they could bestow. This fixed the permanent principles 
of a free government, which is for ages to hold its empire 
over a mighty people. 

Dr. Shattuck was prepared to enter college in his native 
place, by Dummer Rogers, son of the clergyman at Lit- 
tleton. While at Cambridge, Shattuck was consider- 
ed a young man of a good capacity, a hard student, 
with an original cast of thought, which sometimes, to 
common observers, appeared like eccentricity. It was 
then a period remarkable for boldness of thinking, and 
freedom in the expression of liberal opinions on great na- 
tional questions. The spirit of liberty has often been first 
invoked in the groves of learnino-. The sacred flame 
which was soon to burn through the land and warm every 
breast, was frequently seen at that time to flash and bright- 
en in the halls of Harvard. Among those whose observa- 
tions are remembered by the few surviving students of 
that time, Dr. Shattuck holds a distinguished rank. In 
questions of philosophy as well as of government, he was 
one of the pioneers in liberal discussion. On leaving 
college in 1765 he went to reside at Groton, to pursue 
the study of surgery and medicine Avith Dr. Prescott, ;ui 
eminent ])hysician, a man of great ur!)anity, and })opular. 


not only in his profession, but as a judge of probate for 
the county of Middlesex. From Groton he went to Tem- 
pleton, in the county of Worcester, to commence practice. 
The practitioner of the present day, with all the lights 
of the last half century about him, can hardly understand 
how much his predecessors suffered for want of books, 
instruments, and all the facilities which are at the com- 
mand of the modern physician and surgeon ; but their 
sagacity, careful watchings, perseverance and tact, often 
more than supplied the place of books and systems. Na- 
ture is generally communicative and kind to those devot- 
ed to her laws and suggestions, and not unfrequently her 
simple inspirations are more efficacious thiit abstruse theo- 
ries however ingenious. Disease has often yielded to the 
anxious watcher and careful nurse, when science, proud of 
her knowledge, might have prescribed in vain. 

The place which Dr. Shattuck chose for the field of his 
exertions, was a new settlement, with but few inhabitants. 
The population increased but slowly in the new corpora- 
tions until after the peace of 1763. Then Indian warfare 
was no longer to be dreaded, and the hardy sons of the 
colonies made rapid strides in cultivating the soil, to 
which the children of the forest had given up all claim, 
and had abandoned in their peaceful wanderings. Dr. 
Shattuck thought, and his visions were more than realiz- 
ed, that by the time his children had grown up, there 
would be a comparatively dense population around him. 
With these hopes his professional duties began. The life 
of a pliysician who has' business, and with it entertains a 
high sense of his responsibility, is always an arduous one ; 
but few can imagine the severity of his labors, who main- 
tains a considerable celebrity in a new and thinly settled 

For twenty-four years Dr. Shattuck continued his labors 
in the county of Worcester and the neighboring counties, 
until his strength sunk under his efforts. It is seldom 
that any constitution is proof against such severe duties, 
continued for any length of time. He died of a pulmon- 
ary complaint in the year 1794. His mind continued 
bright and active until the last moments of his life. He 
reasoned and judged upon his own case with the calmness 
of one not interested in the event, and named to his medi- 
cal friends with prescient accuracy the number of hours 
the mortal machine would by the common course of na- 


ture continue its functions. Dr. Shattuck died at that time 
of life when the faculties of men reach their highest point, 
when opinions have been tested by experiment, and origin- 
al thoughts are arranged and incorporated with settled 

Those who lived with him and were the best judges of 
his talents and acquirements, uniformly agree that no phy- 
sician at that time was more acute in discovering the seat 
and causes of a disease than Dr. Shattuck. To quick dis- 
cernment was added a patience in investigating all the cir- 
cumstances relating to the subject under consideration, 
which naturally led to correct views and happy results. 

His knowledge was considerable, but his wisdom was 
superior to his knowledge. He knew much of the thoughts 
of other men, but was governed by a system formed from 
his own. He hailed with delight the works of Cullen 
and other distinguished lights in his profession, but receiv- 
ed their opinions as intellectual food for digestion, rather 
than as absolute guides of his own practice. While he 
was systematic in his course of examining, reasoning, judg- 
ing and acting, he was not, like many, wedded to systems 
and theories ; but subjected them to an enliglitened super- 
vision and examination. With his reputation it is not sin- 
gular that he was often consulted by his professional 
brethren in stubborn cases, and his judgment was consid- 
ered as the " ultima ratio medici" for their patients. 
There were several physicians about him highly respecta- 
ble in their day and generation, who were on most friend- 
ly terms with him, and who, years after he was gone, bore 
testimony to the soundness of his judgment and the suc- 
cess of his practice. Drs. Foxcroft, Atherton and Frink 
were among the number ; all men of distinction in their 

His death was deeply lamented by the whole communi- 
ty to which he was known ; but this loss was more poig- 
nantly felt by his townsmen, the people of Templeton. 
He had settled with them by invitation, had lived in their 
affection and confidence for nearly a quarter of a century, 
and had identified himself with their joys and sorrows. 
At his funeral all classes crowded around his bier to pay 
the last sad and mournful tribute of respect to their phy- 
sician and friend. The pious pastor of the flock poured 
out his heart in an honest eulogy, in commemoration of 
his virtues, and spoke of the " sense, skill and philan- 


thropy" of their departed physician and friend. This 
was said in the presence of those who knew the deceased, 
and knew too that the words flowed in truth and sincerity : 
such praises from the mouth of discriminating affection, 
have a lasting unction in them, and are sweet in the re- 
membrance of ages, when the cold itone and the proud en- 
tablature are defaced or forgotten. 

Soon after Dr. Shattuck settled in Templeton he marri- 
ed Lucy Barron, the daughter of a brave Provincial offi- 
cer, who fell in Johnson's Fight, as the memorable battle 
of the eighth of September, 1755, was called. She was a 
woman precisely fitted for her situation, endowed with 
hereditary and constitutional firmness. She was an honor 
to her husband, and a blessing to her children through her 
life, which was, happily for the latter, protracted till with- 
in a few years past. She was left with six children at the de- 
cease of her husband, two of whom soon followed him, 
and the youngest is now a distinguished physician in full 
practice in the city of Boston. 

SHIPPEN, DR. WILLIAM, Sen. This worthy and 
excellent man was descended from an ancient and respect- 
able English family, which emigrated to this country on 
account of religious persecution, first to Massachusetts, 
and then for the same cause to Pennsylvania, soon after its 
settlement by William Penn. He was born in Philadelphia 
on the 1st of October, 1712. He applied himself early in 
life to the study of medicine, for which he had a remark- 
able genius, possessing that kind of intuitive knowledge of 
diseases which cannot be acquired from books. In his 
practice he was uncommonly successful, by which means 
he soon rose to very high reputation and extensive busi- 
ness, which he retained to an advanced age. 

But, in his long journey through life. Dr. Shippen did 
not confine his u?eful labors to the duties of his profession. 
The institutions of learning and benevolence were the 
objects of his care and liberal patronage. He was one of 
the founders, and during the greatest part of his life a 
trustee of the College of New-Jersey, towards the estab- 
lishment and support of which he contributed largely by 
liberal donations and by bequeathing it a considerable 
perpetual annuity. He was a trustee of the College of 
Philadelphia, a vice-president of the Philosophical Soci- 
ety of that city, and the first Physician to the Pennsylva- 
nia Hospital, which charity owes much of its usefulness to 


his long continued medical services and frequent befle- 

Dr. S. was a friend of liberty and his country. At 
an advanced a;s!;e he was chosen a member of the Congress 
of the United States, where he proved himself to be an ex- 
cellent and well-informed patriot, and in the evening of 
life he continued to rejoice in the prosperity of his coun- 
try and the stability of her republican institutions. 

To the poor of every denomination his professional aid 
was at all times freely rendered ; and so well known were 
liis ability and integrity that he was appointed guardian 
of the estates of many widows and orphans, to the poor 
of which class he left a considerable le2;acy. 

But what is still more to the honor of Dr. Shippen, he 
was the friend of religion. His hospitable doors were al- 
ways open to the ministers of the gospel, and he enjoyed a 
large share of the friendship and confidence of the cele- 
brated Mr. Whitefield. He was well acquainted with all 
the different systems of divinity, but was most strongly 
attached to that which was so ably defended by Mr. Ed- 
wards, one of the presidents of the College of New-Jer- 
sey. He was also one of the founders of the first Presby- 
terian church of the city of Philadelphia, and a mem- 
ber for near seventy years. As a proof of the influence of 
the religion he loved, it is wortliy of notice that in the 
whole course of his long life he never was once heard to 
swear profanely, nor to take his Maker's name in vain. 

Dr. Shippen departed this life, November 4th, 1801, 
aged 89. In private life he was a tender husband, an af- 
fectionate parent and kind master. To his family in all 
its extensive branches he was kind and attentive, and to 
all he was strictly just. But amidst the bright cluster of 
his virtues conspicuously shone his humility, modesty, in- 
tegrity and truth. His temperance was so great that, till 
within a few weeks of his death, he never drank wine, nor 
any other spirituous liquor. He owed his health very 
much not only to his temperance, but to constant daily 
exercise. He superintended the business of his farm, and 
had always the entire management of his large estate, un- 
til a few months before he died. In his family he exhibit- 
ed that simplicity in living which is alike consonant to 
the principles of Christianity and republicanism ; even his 
dress conveyed his ideas of simplicity, for he was opposed 
to ostentation in every thing. His temper was another 
VOL. ir. 11 


remarkable trait in his character ; it was uniformly sweet, 
as well as forbearing, forgiving, cheerful and serene. He 
had so much of the vivacity of youth, that, when between 
eighty and ninety years of age, he often witnessed their 
pleasures when innocent, and even sometimes partook of 
them. His benevolence was so universal, that it may very 
justly be said of him that he wished well to the whale hu- 
man race. He lived beloved, and at the great age of ninety 
years he bowed his reverend head to the will of his merci- 
ful Creator, amidst his numerous descendants, regretted 
and lamented, and was buried in the graveyard of the. 
church to which he had been so useful, by the side of six 
of his grandchildren, followed by a large train of his 
mourning relatives and friends. — JWed. Repository. 

very eminent physician was the son of the preceding, who 
descended from one of the associates of the illustrious 
founder of Pennsylvania. He was born in the year 1736, 
and passed the early part of his life in Philadelphia. At 
the usual age he was placed in a highly respectable gram- 
mar school, which was kept at Nottingham, in Chester 
county, by Mr. Finlay, afterwards principal of the College 
of New-Jersey. At that period no college or large chart- 
ered school existed between New-Haven in Connecticut, 
and Williamsburgh in Virginia ; but there were several 
valuable private seminaries in Pennsylvania, and among 
them Mr. Finlay's was much distinguished, particularly for 
the attainments of his pupils in the learned languages. He 
appears to have availed himself of these early advantages > 
for, when removed to the College of New-Jersey, 
which was soon after established at Newark, he evinced a 
very critical knowledge of the Latin language. Among 
other exercises public speaking was much practised, and 
at this time he began to display that fine elocution which 
was so conspicuous during his life. He passed through 
the usual studies, and was graduated under President 
Burr. His great reputation as a speaker procured for him 
the appointment of Valedictory Orator at the Commence- 
ment, and he acquitted himself so well that the celebrated 
preacher Whitefield, who happened to be present, address- 
ed him publicly, and, declaring that he had never heard 
better speaking, urged him to devote himself to the pulpit. 
This was in 1754. The three following years he spent in 
the city of Philadelphia, under the care of his father, as a 


student of medicine ; and embarked for Europe soon after, 
at the age of twenty-one. 

His first residence was in London, and in the family of 
Mr. John Hunter, who at that time assisted his brother in 
anatomical lectures, and appears to have devoted all 
his leisure to the study of comparative anatomy. At this 
place and at Dr. William Hunter's theatre young Shippen 
spent a great part of his time. As Hunter was considered 
one of the first demonstrators of anatomy, his pupil, be- 
ing sensible of his excellence, most probably imitated his 
manner. During his connexion with the Hunters, he 
often associated with the w^ell known Mr. William Hew- 
son, and appears also to have enjoyed the particular favor 
of the very eminent Sir John Pringle. Having attended, 
with Pringle, the examination of several patients who had 
died under his care, he used often to mention the candor 
of that great physician in urging these anatomists to de- 
clare freely their sentiments of the diseased appearances, 
without regard to his previous opinion. At this time also 
commenced his acquaintance with Dr. John Fothergill. 
The people of Pennsylvania seem always to have been re- 
garded with affection by this benevolent individual, but 
at the present time he was more interested for them than 
usual. The Pennsylvania Hospital had lately been erect- 
ed. He took it for granted that students would resort to 
it, and supposed that they might experience great difficul- 
ty in acquiring a knowledge of anatomy. To remedy this 
defect in their medical education, he employed Rimsdyck, 
one of the first artists of Great Britain, to execute the 
crayon paintings now in that institution, which exhibit the 
whole structure of the body, of the full size, and the gravid 
uterus, with many of tlie varied circumstances of natural 
and preternatural parturition. These paintings are re- 
ported to have cost two hundred guineas, and w'ith one 
hundred and fifty guineas in addition, which he contribut- 
ed to the hospital, constitute a most substantial proof of 
his regard as well as of his liberality. 

Shippen while cultivating anatomy in London was 
equally intent upon the subject of midwifery ; he attended 
the lectures of Hunter upon this subject Avith great care, 
and seems to have become a convert to most of tlie pecur 
liar doctrines of his preceptor. In the summer season he 
also attended the lectures of a celebrated accoucheur. Dr. 
McKenzie. During his residence in Great Britain he stu- 


died and was graduated at Edinburgh. His thesis was on 
a very important subject, De Placentae cum Utero Nexu. 
He left Edinburgh with sentiments of the greatest venera- 
tion for Cullenand the elder Monro. After finishing his stu- 
dies in Great Britain he wished to visit Fi-ance. But this was 
rendered difficult by the war which then existed between 
those countries. On this occasion his friend, Sir John 
Pringle, introduced him to a lady affected with pulmonary 
consumption, who interested George II. to obtain from 
the court of France permission to travel for the benefit of 
her health in the southern parts of that country. He ac- 
companied her in a medical capacity, and in consequence 
formed a more intimate acquaintance with the celebrated 
Senac, and some other physicians of Paris, than he could 
otherwise have done. 

He resided a short time in France, and returned to his 
native country in the year 1762, fully determined to teach 
anatomy by dissection, and to practise midwifery. As 
both these schemes were new to a large majority of the 
community in which they were to be executed, the under- 
taking must have been considered as very delicate. An 
acquaintance with the two subjects was not all that was 
necessary to insure success : few things require more 
knowledge of human nature, and greater powers of accom- 
modation to the feelings of the human heart. Nature had 
been uncommonly bountiful in the form and endowments 
of Dr. Shippen. His person was graceful, his manners 
polished, his conversation various, and the tones of his 
voice singularly sweet and conciliatory. In his inter- 
course with society he was gay without levity, and digni- 
fied without haughtiness or austerity. He belonged to a 
family which was proverbial for good temper. His fa- 
ther, whom he strongly resembled in this respect, during 
the long life of ninety years had scarcely ever been seen 
out of humor. He was also particularly agreeable to 
young people. Known as he was to almost every citizen 
of Philadelphia, it is probable that there was no one who 
did not wish him well. 

Dr. Shippen arrived from Europe in May, 1762, and 
the anatomical paintings, formerly alluded to, came soon 
after. These very valuable paintings presented by the 
benevolent Dr. Fothergill, who expected Shippen would 
explain them, being committed to his care, were soon put 
up, and may be considered as the precursors of Shippen's 


dissections, since in the autumn of the same year, as soon 
as the season permitted, his first course of anatomy began. 
The introductory lecture was delivered in one of the large 
apartments of the State House, and many of the gentlemen 
of Philadelphia heard it with pleasure. The number of 
students who attended his course, amounted only to 
twelve ; such was the origin of our medical school. He 
gave three courses of lectures unconnected with any insti- 
tution, wlien. May 3d, 1765, Dr. John Morgan laid before 
the trustees of the college, a plan for establishing a medi- 
cal school under their auspices, accompanied by a letter 
from the honorable Thomas Penn recommending the plan 
to their patronage. In September Dr. Shippen addressed 
a letter to the trustees, stating that the institution of a 
medical school had been his favorite object for seven 
years, and that he had proposed it three years before in 
his first introductory lecture ; upon which he was imme- 
diately and unanimously chosen Professor of Anatomy and 
Surgery. The anatomical lectures were regularly deliv- 
ered from year to year until the fourteenth course, which 
was in the winter of 1775, when they were suspended by 
the war of the revolution. The annual number of students 
by this time had increased to between thirty and forty. 
The school, of course, was completely established, and 
Shippen's character as a lecturer decided by the number 
of his students, for he had now taught nearly three hun- 
dred. Many of them afterwards went abroad to perfect 
their education, and returned to practise in their native 
country. All these travellers, I believe, without a single 
exception, and without conferring together, declared that 
they had met with no man who was superior to Shippen 
as a demonstrator of anatomy, and very few indeed that 
were equal to him. In explaining the success of Dr. Ship- 
pen in teacliing anatomy, we may take into view another 
faculty which he also exerted with great effect. He went 
through the substance of each preceding lecture by inter- 
rogation instead of recapitulation, thus fixing the attention 
of the students ; and his manner was so happy, that this 
grave process proceeded like a piece of amusement. His 
irony was of a delicate kind, and so blended with humor, 
that he could repress forwardness, and take notice of neg- 
ligence, so as to admonish his class without too much ex- 
posing the defaulter. 


In this manner was he proceeding with his favorite 
scheme, when his career was suspended by his entering 
into the medical department of the army in the year 1776. 
Though he continued in this station till 1780, his anatom- 
ical lectures were interrupted only during the winters of 
1776 and 1777. He afterwards came to the city for the 
purpose of delivering the accustomed courses, which were 
necessarily shorter than before. In January, 1781, he re- 
signed the post of Director General of the medical depart- 
ment of the army, three months after he had been a second 
time elected to it, determined to resume all his former 
pursuits. He had apartments of his own construction, 
every way adequate to the accommodation of his class, 
with proper arrangements also for teaching practical 

During many years he devoted himself very much to 
the practice of midwifery, effecting by these means a great 
change in the habits of the city. But there was an inher- 
ent difficulty in this undertaking, there being at this time 
very few occasions where medical men were employed for 
this purpose in the first instance. It was only when some- 
thing very important was to be done that they were re- 
sorted to ; and very often when too late. This was alto- 
gether the effect of prejudice, and not of necessity, for 
several of the medical gentlemen were accoucheurs. By 
Shippen this prejudice was so far removed that in the 
course of ten years he became very fully employed. He 
also taught midwifery. Prior to the revolution, he seems 
to have had a distinct class of students in this branch ; 
after that period he delivered a short course to his general 
class ; and, brilliant as he generally was, I believe there 
was no lecture in which he shone so much, as in his intro- 
ductory one to midwifery, upon the subject of address and 

After lecturing and practising as accoucheur, surgeon 
and physician for ten or twelve years, subsequently to 
kaving the American army, his habits suffered an immense 
alteration by an occurrence which, as far as respected him- 
self, was one of the most important and afflicting that he 
had ever experienced. His only son had every advantage 
in education that good sense and knowledge of human na- 
ture, that respectable connexions, and finally that money, 
could procure for him ; and such were his talents and ap- 
plication, that his proficiency was equal to his opportuni- 


ties. He had often been caressed by Washington ; he went 
abroad and visited France under the auspices of Jefferson; 
whilst in England he enjoyed the countenance of the late 
President Adams, and was on intimate terms with Lord 
Shelburne. His letters from those countries were so re- 
plete with information and ability, that they gave great 
pleasure to many persons, to whom his delighted father 
used to read them. After four years of absence he return- 
ed, and proved to be exactly what parental affection wish- 
ed. He was not only a man of talents and information, 
but of great virtue and strong filial attachment. Shippen 
would have loved him as a friend, had there been no 
other connexion between them. The feelings excited by 
these qualities, produced a degree of fondness for his son 
which has seldom been equalled. He seemed to lose sight 
of himself, and forget that he also had a part to act, so 
fully was his attention absorbed by this endeared object. 
His strongest wish was to pass the remainder of his life as 
his son's guest. He therefore gave him the fairest portion 
of his estate, and, to obtain leisure and exemption from 
care, procured the establishment of an adjunct professor of 
anatomy. But, alas ! instead of realizing any of these 
fond hopes, he had to endure a disappointment the most 
painful which suffering humanity can experience. In 1792 
his son began to complain of ill health. The father in 
vain devoted to him almost the whole of his time, and 
consulted, occasionally, all his medical friends. After a 
great variety of efforts for his relief, and much suffering; 
on his part, he died in 1798. Thus the object upon which 
he founded hopes of comfort for the remainder of his life, 
and which he had contemplated with increasing tenderness 
for thirty years, was for ever removed. 

Though this heavy stroke did not entirely prostrate 
him, it did him a greater injury by destroying the interest 
he felt in every remaining object. It cut the sinews of his 
exertions, and left him gradually to wither, the amiable 
victim of paternal affection. From this time his business 
as a practitioner declined. He seldom lectured on anato- 
my, and generally with reluctance ; though, when he did 
lecture, he always gave the greatest pleasure to his class. 
The only studies to which he applied himself, after this 
period, were of a religious nature. He was educated in 
the doctrines of the Presbyterian Church ; but he now 
read and thought much on the subject of universal restora- 


tion, a«d finally adopted that belief with great confidence. 
Three years ago his spirits appeared again to return. He 
was attacked, however, with vertigo, which greatly de- 
pressed him, and which was soon followed by symptoms 
of hydrothorax. 

Last winter he delivered the introductory lecture, though 
very infirm and unlike what he had formerly been. Yet 
he was much roused by the appearance of the class in the 
new theatre, and feelingly described his emotions upon 
comparing these with his original set of students forty 
years before,* and on reflecting that every medical pro- 
fessor in the institution had been taught anatomy by him- 
self. It was indeed impossible that he could survey the 
result of his labors without sincere satisfaction. Of his 
elder students, there were some to be found in almost eve- 
ry state, who were amongst the most distinguished of their 
profession, and in latter times he had seen the pupils of 
his school extend in various directions, from the Hudson 
far beyond the Ohio, and from the shores of Lake Erie to 
the borders of the Gulf of Mexico. During this course he 
lectured, as usual, on midwifery. But in the succeeding 
spring his debility increased, and he removed early in the 
summer to Germantown. Here he was attacked by an 
anthrax, which so much increased his weakness that he 
sunk under it, on the 11 th day of July, 1808. 

From this review of the professional career of our de- 
ceased friend, it appears that lie had the peculiar talent of 
successfully promoting an object of immense utility to his 
country ; and that his steadiness in pursuit thereof entitles 
him to be ranked amongst the benefactors of mankind. 
To this it ought to be added, that after an eventful life he 
left the world without an enemy, whilst many indeed sin- 
cerely regret that the amiable Shippen is no more. — Wis- 
tar^s Eulogium on William Shippen-, M.D., delivered before the 
College of Physicians of Philadelphia, March,\S09. — See Phila- 
delphia Journal of the Medical and Physical Sciences, Vol. V. 

SMITH, ELIHU HUBBARD, M.D., was a native of 
Litchfield in Connecticut, and was born in the year 1771. 
Having received the rudiments of knowledge at a school 
in Litchfield, he entered the college of New-Haven, at the 
early age of eleven. At this distinguished seat of learning 
he gave many proofs of intellectual energy, far beyond 

* Tlje class was now probably near four hundred. 



those we are accustomed to observe in one of so vinri])e an 
age. He completed his education under the particuhir 
care of the Rev. Dr. Timothy Dwight, who tlien presided 
over an academy of distinguished reputation at Greenfield, 
and who, upon the death of the Rev. Dr. Stiles, succeed- 
ed to the presidency of Yale College. In 1786 Mr Smith 
received the degree of A.B. from the college of New- 

He now returned to Litchfield, and under the direction 
of his father, a practitioner of physic, commenced the 
study of medicine. In the year 1791 he resorted to Phila- 
delj)hia for the purpose of attending the several courses of 
medical instruction delivered in that city. After this pe- 
riod, in 1792, he chose as his residence, Wethersfield, in 
Connecticut, where he entered upon the practical duties 
of his profession. In this place, however, much as he was 
respected and esteemed for his social and moral virtues, 
he found but little employment as physician, and conse- 
quently, in the autumn of 1793, removed to the city of 
New-York, where he remained until his death, in 1798. 

In New- York he devoted himself with great ardor to 
his medical pursuits, and by his perseverance and atten- 
tion gradually surmounted those obstacles to professional 
success which naturally arose from his youth and the lim- 
ited number of his accpiaintance. But beside tliose branch- 
es of science more immediately connected with the medical 
profession, he cultivated with great industry almost every 
department of literature. His genius as a poet unfolded 
itself at an early age, and among the poetical pioductions 
of his juvenile pen are not a few whicli manifest consider- 
able vigor of imagination, and easy flow of numbers. In 
the year 1796 tlie governors of the New-York Hospital 
elected him one of the physicians of that extensive char- 
ity, the duties of which station he discharged much to the 
benefit of that institution, and to the increase of his own 

In this year appeared his first production on a subject 
strictly medical, viz. " Letters to William Buel, Physi- 
cian, Sheffield, Massachusetts, on the Fever which pre- 
vailed in New-York in 1795." These letters were written 
at the request and for the information of Dr. Buel, and 
though not originally intended for the press, were, at the 
suggestion of some friends of the author, published in the 
" Collection of Papers on the Subject of Bilious FeverR 
VOL. u. 12 


prevalent in the United States," edited by N. Webster, 
Esq. Shortly after this period Dr. Smith, in conjunction 
with Dr. Samuel L. Mitchell and the late Dr. Edward 
Miller, projected the publication of the New-York Medi- 
cal Repository. From the establishment of a periodical 
journal of this kind, in the infant state of medical and 
physical science in this country, he anticipated numerous 
important advantages to the profession of medicine and 
the collateral branches of knowledge ; and, as he was one 
of the most active promoters of the design, he zealously 
devoted the chief part of his attention to its successful ac- 
complishment. The chief of his writings in the Medical 
Repository are, his History of the Plague of Athens, VoL 
I. page 1 to 32 ; Case of Mania successfully treated by 
Mercury, do., p. 174 — 178 ; Observations on the Origin 
of the Pestilential Fever which prevailed in the Island of 
Grenada in the years 1793 and 1794, do., p. 459 — 486 ; 
On a Singular Disease with which Infants are sometimes 
affected, do., p. 501 — 504; The Natural History of the 
Elk, Vol. IL p. 168—174; On the Pestilential Diseases 
which appeared in the Athenian, Carthaginian and Ro- 
man armies, m the Neighborhood of Syracuse, do., p.^ 

Beside the medical productions in the Repository, he 
published Edwin and Angelina, or the Banditti, an Opera 
in three Acts, 8vo. 1797 ; and in 1798, a Discourse deliv- 
ered before the New-York Manumission Society, 8vo- 
The same year he undertook the office of editor of an 
American Edition of Darwin's Botanic Garden ; and, to 
evince his respect for the author of this celebrated poem, 
he prefixed to the volume a poetic address, happily de- 
scribing the rise, progress and use of the art of printing as 
connected with science, and particularly its effects in 
spreading this botanic song from Britain to the remotest 
corner of the new hemisphere. This beautiful address is 
retained in the second American edition of the Botanic 
Garden, published in 1807. Beside these miscellaneous 
productions, he is supposed to be the author of " Andre, a 
Tragedy in five Acts, performed in New-York, March, 

While thus actively employed in the discharge of the 
important duties of his profession, and in the cultivation 
of the various branches of knowledge which elevate and 
adorn the human character, he, in the month of Septem- 


ber, 1798, when only in the 27th year of his age, was at- 
tacked with the yellow fever then prevailing with great 
mortality in the city of New-York, to which disease he 
soon fell a victim. In a communication to Dr. David 
Hosack, Dr. Mitchell, one of the surviving friends and 
colleagues of Dr. Smith, thus describes his last illness : 
" During the warm season of that pestilential year, Elihu 
H. Smith and myself had been associated in performing 
our respective duties as physicians of the New-York Hos- 
pital. We had frequent conferences on the periodical 
work in which he, Edward Miller and myself, with the 
cooperation of Messrs. T. and J. Swords, had become en- 
gaged. We had both been favored with fine health, and 
had been sustained in full enjoyment of our powers, while 
the prevailing distemper was destroying lives at an unu- 
sual rate around us. We had more than once observed 
how remarkably well we felt ; and, when strangers and 
visiters called upon us, how entirely we were capacitated 
to receive them and enjoy their society. Among these 
w^as the accomplished and elegant Scandella.* In the dif- 
ficulty which had arisen about procuring a lodging, this 
amiable gentleman apprehended some serious inconve- 

* The following tribute to the memory of this amiable and excellent man, ex- 
tracted from the Medical Repository, may with propriety be introduced in this 
place. " Died, September 16th, 1798, J. B. Scandella, M.D. aged 28. The fate 
of this gentleman was in a remarkable degree to be lamented. He was a native of 
the Venetian State. His family was opulent and high in rank. He had received 
the best medical education, but had consecrated his faculties to the general im- 
provement of science, and the benefit of mankind. Having resided for some time 
at London in the capacity of secretary to the Venetian Embassy, he conceived the 
design of visiting America. His country's service no longer demanding his atten- 
•tion, he proposed to gratify a liberal curiosity in surveying the principles and struct- 
ure of a rising empire. He first arrived at Quebec, and thence took various jour- 
neys through the southern and western districts. His personal merits secured him 
the esteem of the persons among us most eminent for their knowledge and talents 
His candor and blameless deportment made him be regarded with peculiar tender- 
ness by all who knew him. His chief attention was directed to agricultural im- 
provements and projects, justly conceiving that mankind would derive most benefit 
from the perfection of this art. 

" Having spent two years in this country, and accomplished the purposes which 
brought him hither, he embarked for Europe in June, 1798. The vessel proving 
unfit for the voyage, he returned to Philadelphia, the port from which he had set 
out. Shortly after he came to New-York, and engaged a passage in a packet 
which was speedily to sail from this harbor. The detention of his baggage, which 
was daily expected from Philadelphia, occasioned him the loss of this opportunity. 
An epidemical disease had meanwhile made its appearance in both cities. Not- 
withstanding its greater progress and malignity in the latter city, his concern in the 
welfare of a helpless family, whom his departure had deprived of their only useful 
friend, induced him to return thither. After enduring the continual loss of rest, 
and exposing himself to the influence of an infected atmosphere for ten days, he set 
out on his return to New-York. He had scarcely arrived before symptoms of dis- 
ease appeared, which, on the sixth day, terminated in death." 


nience. In the ardor of his friendship Smith asked him 
to his own house ; his distemper proved to be the reign- 
ing epidemic. It was one of the most obstinate, rapid and 
indomitable cases. It advanced with such speed that there 
was time but for a few visits. On the day that I called 
last to see Scandella, I found him overpowered by the 
disease, and lying a corpse upon the bed. This was af- 
fecting enough ; but my solicitude was exceedingly in- 
creased by learning that Smith had been sick since the 
preceding afternoon. He was confined to his bed in an 
adjoining chamber, and was wholly ignorant of the fate of 
Scandella. On entering the room I roused him from the 
drowsy state in which he lay. I opened the inner shut- 
ters of tlie window for the purpose of admitting a little 
more light. It was early on Sunday morning. I inquired 
how he was, and received for answer, a frequent one in 
those days, that he was not very unwell, and would be 
better by and by. I saw, however, in a glance, enough to 
satisfy me that the disorder had already made alarming 
progress. The suffusion of his face, and the inflamed and 
glassy eye, were unequivocal symptoms of danger. But 
when he inquired of me if it was not almost sundown, and 
thereby showed that he had lost the reckoning of time, I 
perceived that the coherence of his mind was broken. I 
soon withdrew, and pronounced my apprehensions for his 
safety. His friend, Mr. Johnson, caused him to be imme- 
diately removed from Pine street to his house in Green- 
wich street, and every possible comfort to be administer- 
ed. There Miller joined me in devising tlie course of treat- 
ment for our invaluable friend. There was but a remnant 
of time left. Smith expressed to us a desire to have the 
mercurial practice tried upon himself. We instantly 
agreed to it. Some of the strongest ointment was pro- 
cured, and a nurse from the hospital was permitted to 
gratify her feelings by applying it with her own hands. 
This task the faithful woman performed so well that she 
salivated herself. But so implacable and inveterate was 
the disease, that the quicksilver produced no sensible ope- 
ration whatever upon the patient. Black vomiting with 
universal yellowness came on, and he sunk under a mala- 
dy which nothing could even mitigate or retard. He was 
interred in the ground of the Presbyterian church in Wall 
street, very near the spot in which another of my valuable 
friends, William Pitt Smith, had been buried. Miller, 


Johnson and myself, with a very few others, were all that 
could be found, on that day of mortality and dismay, to 
follow his hearse." 

We shall not in this place discuss the particular merits 
or defects of Dr. Smith's writings. The most esteemed 
of liis miscellaneous productions is his Epistle to Dr. Dar- 
win, written in the style of that poetical philosopher and 
physician. Of his writings, strictly medical, his Lectures 
on the yellow fever which prevailed in New-York, afford 
a favorable specimen. He was an advocate for the domes- 
tic origin and noncontagious nature of this disease, and, 
from a full persuasion of the correctness of his opinions, 
was zealous in the support of them. An examination of 
the facts and reasonings upon which this opinion was 
maintained, we at this time purposely forbear. It was 
natural to expect that the limited experience which at tliat 
day the practitioners of the United States possessed rela- 
tive to that epidemic, would lead many, and particularly 
one of tlie ardent mind of Dr. Smith, into erroneous opin- 
ions concerning its peculiar character, which time and re- 
peated observation would correct. His histories of the 
Athenian plague, and of the pestilential diseases Avhich ap- 
peared in the Athenian, Carthaginian and Roman armies, 
we have already mentioned. Though the author's parti- 
cular views as to the nature of these diseases are always 
before us, we need no other evidence than these histories 
to convince us that his diligence, activity and persever- 
ance knew no common bounds, and that at his early age 
he had explored a great extent of medical learning. His 
history of the native American Elk is a specimen of the 
accuracy with which he descril^ed natural objects, of the 
promptness with which he seized opportunities, and of the 
learning which he diffused around the subject of his 

In announcing the deatli of Dr. Smith, the surviving 
editors of the Medical Repository thus speak : " As a 
physician his loss is irreparable. He had explored at his 
early asje an extent of medical learning, for which the 
longest lives are seldom found sufficient." " The love of 
science and the impulse of philanthropy directed his 
whole professional career, and left little room for the cal- 
culations of emolument. He had formed vast designs of 
medical improvement, which embraced the whole family 
of mankind ; was animated bv the soul of benevolence, 


and aspired after every object of a liberal and a dignified 
ambition. He was ripe for the highest honors of his pro- 
fession ; his merits were every day becoming more con- 
spicuous, and nothing but his premature fate deprived him 
of that extraordinary degree of public confidence which 
awaited a longer continuance of his life." 

In the Eulogy on the late Dr. Rush, delivered by Pro- 
fessor Mitchell, on the 8th of May, 1813, before the Col- 
lege of Physicians and Surgeons in the University of New- 
York, the epistolary intercourse of Dr. Rush with Dr. 
Smith and Dr. Miller, is mentioned as one of the happy 
incidents of his life. The orator then proceeded to say, 
" Of these two persons thus brought to my recollection, 
permit me, learned associates, to make the mention which 
friendship inspires. With them botli I enjoyed that vir- 
tuous and intellectual intercourse which renders an ac- 
quaintance delightful. The former possessed a mind of 
such rare and exquisite finish, a temper so adapted to the 
social condition, and a manner so delicate and refined, that 
few of his contemporaries could rival him. With a dili- 
gence that left him few lost moments to regret, a method 
which placed everything he knew exactly where it ought 
to be, and an application of his talents to do all the good 
in his power, he was an ornament to the time in which he 
lived. Difficult, indeed, would it be to find such another ! 
The latter, also my companion and fellow laborer in 
undertakings which to ourselves at least seemed useful 
and advantageous, was endowed with uncommon qualities. 
His head was a treasury of information ; his heart a mine 
of beneficence. With a rich fund of learning, and a capa- 
city to turn that acquirement to the best account, he shone 
to great advantage in the most polished circles. His pro- 
fessional career, both in his public capacity and in his pri- 
vate walks, was the subject of such commendation, that 
the calls to service were almost incessant. When such 
excellence, with all the mildness and benignity which 
adorned it, was summoned away, it is no wonder that the 
city felt a disposition to mourn !" 

Another writer speaks of the death of this excellent man 
in the following language. He died a victim to the de- 
structive epidemic, the yellow fever, September 19th, 
1798, aged 21 years. There were iew who perished dur- 
ing that calamitous season whose fate excited more uni- 
versal regret, and whose memory will be more fondly and 


permanently cherished. In his domestic relations the 
knowledge of his excellence is necessarily confined to few ) 
but by those few his conduct as a son and a brother will 
ever be regarded as a model of unblemished rectitude. 
Indefatigable in the promotion of the true interest of those 
allied to him, a casual observer would be disposed to 
imagine his whole attention to be absorbed by this object, 
and that he whose affections were so ardent, and whose 
mind so active for their good, liad no leisure for the of- 
fices of friendship and for the pursuit of general happiness. 
To these valuable purposes, however, no one attended with 
more zeal and assiduity. To those who were blessed with 
his friendship, and the number was by no means small, his 
attachment was unwavering, and his efforts for their bene- 
fit without remission. To the cause of general happiness 
he devoted his abilities with no less zeal. 

SMITH, JAMES, M.D. He was brother to the distin- 
guished historian of New-York. Dr. Smith received his 
medical education chiefly in Europe, and was graduated 
Doctor of Medicine at Leyden, on which occasion he de- 
fended an inaugural dissertation, de Febre Intermittente. 
He is admitted by all to have been eminently learned, 
though too theoretical and fanciful, both as a practitioner 
of the healing art, and in his course of public instruction. 
He died at an advanced age in the city of New-York in 

SPALDING, LYMAN, M.D., was a native of Cornish, 
New-Hampshire, and was born June 5th, 1775. After 
passing the usual academic term at Charleston, he entered 
Harvard University, where he was graduated with honor 
in the year 1 797. Immediately on leaving the university he 
commenced his medical studies under the auspices of that 
distinguished practitioner, Nathan Smith, M.D. where he 
imbibed that thirst for knowledge and formed those habits 
of industry, which distinguished him so greatly in after 
life. So early as 1798, even before he had completed his 
medical education, lie displayed a creditable degree of en- 
terprise in assisting Professor Smith in the work of insti- 
tuting the medical school at Dartmoutli College ; a chem- 
ical apparatus w^as to be created, and Dr. Spalding possess- 
ed the ingenuity and enthusiasm fitted for the occasion, 
and he commenced the first course of lectures on chemist- 
ry at the opening of that institution. 


Having received an honorary degree at Dartmouth, he 
entered upon the practice of medicine at Portsmouth in 
1799. Being naturally endowed with a mind ardent, vigor- 
ous and discriminating, he possessed also a patience of 
investigation and a steadiness of purpose, which peculiarly 
fitted him for the profession he had chosen. To its ad- 
vancement he directed all the energies of his soul ; and in 
all its duties he was vigilant, indefatigable and faithful to 
the last. It was not, however, from motives grovelling 
and mercenary that he labored so assiduously ; he had far 
nobler views ; he loved his profession as a science, and he 
neglected no opportunities of unfolding its mysteries, and, 
as far as was in his power, of himself contributing to its 
treasures. He was through life a laborious and a system- 
atic student ; suffering no moments to escape without use- 
ful employment, or adding something to his fund of ac- 
quirements. Aware of the importance of an intimate 
acquaintance with the human structure to success in the 
practice of both medicine and surgery, he made this his 
first grand object of pursuit. How far he succeeded in 
attaining to a thorough knowledge of anatomy, those who 
have witnessed his skill in dissection, and his beautiful 
preparations, particularly of the Lymphatics, some of 
which we believe enrich the cabinets of our first institu- 
tions, will bear ample testimony. His success in this 
branch of knowledge gave him considerable celebrity as a 
surgeon, for which he was qualified by his skill, as well as 
by a remarkable boldness and decision of character. 

In the theory and practice of medicine he was also a 
proficient. In this, as in every thing he undertook, truth 
and the advancement of knowledge, were his leading pur- 
suits. Despising the popular belief that a little practice 
and experience are alone the grand requisites to success, 
he labored for principles, and by uncommon industry 
availed himself of all that was useful in the theory and 
practice of others, and also of a general acquaintance with 
the collateral branches of his favorite science. If he some- 
times erred, (as who does not ?) in this wide field of specu- 
lative enquiry, his errors had at least the merit of system, 
to ensure for them a degree of respect. But he was by no 
means tenacious of opinions, however deliberately formed ; 
if proved to be false, they were openly abandoned, as they 
had before been honestly avowed. Dr. S. was distinguish- 
ed for his kindness and activitv in his attendance on the 


sick, and for his liberal and gentlemanly deportment in his 
intercourse with his brethren of the Faculty. 

In the year 1812 the College of Physicians and Surgeons 
of the western district of the state of New-York was in- 
corporated, and Dr. Spalding elected President, and Pro- 
fessor of Anatomy and Surgery, and lecturer on the Insti- 
tutes of Medicine. His duties as professor required him 
to make annual visits to that place, where the flourishing 
state of the school, and the yearly increase of its pupils 
gave sufiicient evidence of his popularity and ability as 
a teacher. In 1813 the city of New-York presenting a 
wider field for the exercise of his talents, and greater fa- 
cilities for improvement, he took up his residence th^e ; 
and finding, in the course of two or three years, his aca- 
demical lal)ors to be incompatible with the active duties 
of his profession, and the interest of his family, he resign- 
ed his oflices at the institution. 

The same assiduity and zeal that characterized his early 
days, marked his course in maturer life ; and the contribu- 
tions of his pen to the medical and philosophical journals 
of the day are replete with deep investigation and sound 
learning. With him originated the plan for the formation 
of the Pharmacopoeia of the United States, and it was from 
his pen that the circular letters to the different medical 
schools and societies for their cooperation proceeded. 
He early submitted the project to the Board of Trustees 
of the College of Physicians and Surgeons in the city of 
New-York, of which he was a member. That body ap- 
proved the measure and ayjpointed a committee on their 
part to carry it into full elfect. In short, Dr. Spalding's 
efforts are traced in the whole progress of tlie vindertak- 
ing ; he was elected a member of the convention for the 
middle district, and was delegated to the general conven- 
tion at Washington to complete the work, and was one of 
the committee for its publication. In fact the public are 
greatly indebted to the ardency and professional zeal 
which characterized the conduct of Dr. Spalding on this 
very important occasion. 

Smoe idea of the estimation in which the character of 
Dr. S. was held, both at home and abroad, may be form- 
ed, when it is stated that he was a member of most of the 
learned societies in our own country, and of several in 

VOL. II. 13 


Each succeeding year was enlarging his sphere of use- 
fulness, and adding to his respectability ; but the Being 
who controlleth the destinies of man, in his infinite wis- 
dom saw fit to remove from his earthly toils this distin- 
guished laborer in the cause of science and humanity ; in 
the midst of life, when his hopes were strongest, and his 
prospects most flattering, he was summoned hence. His 
death was occasioned by an accidental wound on the head, 
which produced chronic inflammation of the brain, admit- 
ting of no alleviation. He died in the year 1821, aged 46 

SPRING, MARSHALL, M.D. M.M.S.S. was born in 
Watertown, Massachusetts, of respectable parents. His 
maternal uncle, Dr. Josiah Converse, one of the most es- 
teemed physicians of that day, patronised and assisted in 
giving him a public education. At that time the number 
of the sons of Harvard who were conspicuous for general 
literature was very small. He was graduated in 1762, and 
promptly decided to devote himself to the study and prac- 
tice of physic and surgery. Being prepared for his pro- 
fessional duties, he resided a short time at St. Eustatia, 
then returned and settled in Watertown, where he speedily 
entered into large practice, and enjoyed the confidence of 
the people. And such was his success, that comparatively 
very few elder physicians were called in to advise him, 
and he once observed to a friend that he was astonished at 
the unbounded confidence placed in his judgment. In all 
the pleasant parts of the year his house in the morning, 
especially on Sundays, was thronged with persons seeking 
professional advice ; and such was the confidence in the 
soundness of his judgment and skill, that his practice con- 
tinued unabated to the close of his life. The ancient 
practice of the multitude resorting to an oracle, seemed to 
be revived and realized there. 

His mind was not filled by the fashionable theories of 
the day any further than they accorded with his own 
views of practice. A strong natural sagacity, or force of 
judgment, was the peculiar and distinguishing feature of 
his mind. This led him to deep and critical observations 
into the causes and nature of diseases, and their remedies. 
He appeared to learn more of the nature of the diseases of 
his patients by the eye than by the ear. He asked few ques- 
tions ; hence his knowledge of their cases appeared like 
intuition. He often effected cures by directing changes of 


habits, of diet and regimen. He used little medicine, 
always giving nature fair play. This, together with a bold 
and often successful application of simples, induced some 
among the more elaborate and artificial of the profession to 
call him a quack ; but if this means a man professing skill in 
the nature and cure of diseases, without possessing the re- 
quisite ability and knowledge, tlie epithet was never more 
misapplied : if, on the other hand, a bold and fearless re- 
sort to first principles " when the file atibrds no prece- 
dent," or even in disregard of a servile adheience to pre- 
cedent ; if assuming the responsibility of acting on one's 
own judgment, and regarding the opinions of others as 
auxiliaries merely, be quackery, then indeed Dr. Spring 
might be said to be a cpiack. He M^as no book man, no 
friend to the profuse use of medicines, abhorred the tricks 
and mummery of the profession, vised no learned terms, to 
make the vulgar either in or out of the profession stare. 
He thought, decided and acted for himself. He was dis- 
gusted at the unmeaning and unscientific use of epithets 
by the profession, as descriptive of the various kinds of 
diseases. Being in company with some physicians at Phi- 
ladelphia, and hearing grave and learned discussions about 
scarlet, spotted and yellow fevers, he undertook to de- 
scribe a certain disease, prevalent in his part of the coun- 
try, and being asked what kind of fever it was considered, 
he replied, that the learned among the profession had not 
yet fixed upon its denomination, but it was at present best 
known by the name of the " bottle green fever." 

Dr. Spring was in his person rather short, but compact 
and well proportioned ; always a fine looking man ; after 
the age of fifty, till the time of his death at the age of 
seventy-seven years, he was spoken of as one of the hand- 
somest men of his time. His hair in snowy whiteness re- 
mained upon his head in suificient quantity to set off the 
great advantage of an exceedingly fair and florid complex- 
ion. His utterance was calm, rather slow, but regular. 
Naturally resolute and firm, with much sensibility of feel- 
ino and quick and strong passions, he had disciplined him- 
self into a full command of his feelings, and held his ])as- 
sions in entire subjection. He served his friends with 
great disinterestedness and zeal, and held the virtue of 
gratitude in higher estimation than most men do ; whoever 
showed him a grateful disposition had a sure passport to 
his confidence and favor. His habits of living, sanctioned 


by his intimate knowledge of the human frame and consti- 
tution, exhibited a fine model for the profession and others 
to copy. He used food and drink for the nourishment and 
support of the body, not for the gratification of its grosser 
appetites and passions. His meals were frugal ; his board, 
though hospitable, was never spread with luxuries. His 
favorite beverage was black tea. He was temperate even 
unto the^nd. A most indulgent parent to his own child, he 
discharged his duties as such to the children of his wife, 
who was the widow of the late Dr. Binney of Philadel- 
phia and a woman of singular merit, with much feeling 
and principle. 

Among the circumstances which contributed to the great 
reputation of Dr. Spring, was his successful mode of treat- 
ment of tetanus by the use of ardent spirit. Observing a 
total relaxation of the muscles of a man in a fit of intoxica- 
tion, the idea occurred to him that ardent spirits by induc- 
ing drunkenness might prove a remedy in tetanus, and his 
first trial was attended with complete success ; and during 
the rest of his life he continued to repose unbounded con- 
fidence in its efiicacy. The same confidence prevails 
among the people within tlie circle of his practice, and 
whenever symptoms of locked jaw are discovered, imme- 
diate recourse is had to this supposed powerful remedy. 

In his pecuniary circumstances Dr. Spring was pecul- 
iarly fortunate. Receiving the whole of the estate of his 
relative and early patron, the late Dr. Converse, he was 
ever after a man of large property. Moderate in his 
charges, he never managed property in the spirit of gain. 
He used to say, that of his personal property he was pretty 
sure to lose both principal and interest ; if he vested it in 
real estate, he lost the interest only. He accordingly be- 
came possessed of a large real estate, and was a most in- 
dulgent landlord. He nevertheless left one of the largest 
estates of any professional man, who had died in the state. 
Had he charged as physicians of his skill and eminence 
usually do, especially those who practise in the metropo- 
lis, and managed his property with a view to accumula- 
tion, he would probably have left one of the largest for- 
tunes in New-England. 

The political life of Dr. Spring must not be overlooked. 
The American revolution found him in full, extensive and 
popular practice as a physician ; at a time of life, too, 
when the practice was of most consequence to him, both 


as it regarded his property and his fame. The scene of 
his business lay among a population remarkable for their 
unanimity and order in all the measures of resistance to 
the mother country. The approaches of that event had 
been watched and estimated by him with all that interest, 
which the men of those times took in what they consider- 
ed as involving every thing dear in this life. And when 
the crisis came, and the first scene of tlie drama opened, 
on the ever memorable 19tli of April, it found Dr. 
Spring's mind settled in the full and firm conviction of 
the entire inexpediency of resistance ; yet he early appear- 
ed on the plains of Lexington, and continued during the 
day in the application of his skill and care to the wound- 
ed of his fellow citizens. His political opinions he neither 
concealed nor disguised, but so essential were his services 
in the healing art, and such was the known benevolence 
of his temper, that notwithstanding the high exasperation 
against the " lories," the people, who then held in their 
respective towns all executive, judicial and legislative 
power, gave him little molestation.* He was several times 
summoned before the town's " committee of safety," to 
whose commands he always gave prompt obedience, and 
treated them with great apparent respect. " For," as he 
ironically said, " they now stood in the place of his king, 
and it was a fundamental principle that ' the king could 
do no wrong.' " Towards the persons composing these 
committees, he probably felt little respect on account of 
their political sagacity and discernment, and not a little 
contempt for their blind zeal; yet he submitted himself with 
great cheerfulness to their examinations, giving such replies 
to their interrogatories, as either from their wit and good 
humor were calculated to disarm prejudice, or from being 
equivocal and oracular left the committee wholly in doubt 
as to what were his intentions ; so that no measures of se- 
verity were ever adopted against him. His popularity as 
a man and a physician sustained him in the enjoyment of 
his opinions, and in the preservation of the confidence of 
his fellow citizens throughout the revolution. 

* A gentleman who was well acquainted with the affairs of that day asserts that, 
in 1776, such was his notorious toryism, that he would unquestionably have been 
sent out of the country, under the law then made for that purpose, if the exigences 
of the ladies had not prevented. And from that cause he spake his mind mora 
freely than any other man dared to do. 


In 1789 he was chosen a member of the convention in 
Massachusetts which adopted the constitution of the Unit- 
ed States. He associated intimately during its session with 
the leading politicians of that body, nearly all of whom 
were warmly in favor of its adoptions. Dr. Spring was 
opposed, alleging that, as a frame of government, it want- 
ed strength to ensure its durability, for he never was a 
full believer in the capacity of the people to be their self 
governors. He continued in the minority till the change 
of administration in 1801, always, however, mild, tem- 
perate and tolerant in his opinions. After this period, 
when called on in political conversation to account for his 
being a tory in 1775 and a democrat in 1801, he main- 
tained his political consistency by alleging that "his majesty 
reigned " by the grace of God," and the whigs had taught 
him that " vox populi" was " vox Dei." On being at- 
tacked by a gentleman high in office, an influential whig 
in 1775 and a warm supporter of the Washington adminis- 
tration, he defended himself and retorted the charge of 
inconsistency, by reminding him that the voice of the 
people was as much the voice of God now as it was 
in 1776. 

Chief Justice Parsons took much pleasure in his compa- 
ny, and Dr. Spring was, perhaps, the only man in the 
commonwealth who was willing to measure weapons with 
him " in the keen encounter of wits." The Chief Justice 
justly prided himself on his acknowledged talent and su- 
perioiity in this department, and therefore seldom failed, 
when they met under proper circumstances, to invite the 
Doctor into the field, who never declined the combat. 
The onsets of the Chief Justice were rapid, keen and over- 
whelming. The replies of the Doctor moderate, pungent 
and successful. The one redoubled the attack of a well 
disciplined militia ; the other the defence of a well served 
artillery. These meetings, however, sometimes happened 
in the presence of a large company of professional gentle- 
men, who remained silent and delighted to " see these 
giants play." 

Dr. Spring was several years a member of the Execu- 
tive Council of Massachusetts. His party had prevailed 
in the election by a very small majority, but the next year 
the majority was very greatly increased. The Doctor, 
who in the latter years of Iiis life was troubled with short- 
ness of breath, while ascending on election morning the 


steps to tlie State House, was accosted by a political ad- 
versary with " Good morning, Doctor, you find it diffi- 
cult getting; up here." He dryly replied, "Yes, sir ; but 
not so difficult, you perceive, as it was last year." 

Dr. Spring made no ostentatious displays of charity, 
yet he contributed large amounts yearly to the more ne- 
cessitous by not exacting his dues. This was habitual ; 
for he seldom resorted to coinpulsory means against any 
who vvere indebted to him. Tliere was a tone of benevo- 
lence pervading his heart, which always led him to the 
mild, forgiving side. A petition was presented to the Ex- 
ecutive Council for the pardon of a convict for life in the 
state prison, who had already been tliere seven years. A 
member opposed the pardon on tlie ground of the convict's 
being an old and incorrigible ofi'ender. Dr. Spring re- 
plied that upon principles of the animal economy the par- 
don ought to be granted ; that every animal, by the pro- 
gress of growth and decay, becomes entirely changed in a 
given space of time ; so that no particle of what composed 
the animal at a certain time, made a part of the same ani- 
mal five or seven years after. Upon this principle he con- 
tended that the petitioner had lost his personal identity, 
and was not the same person who was convicted and sen- 
tenced seven years ago ; and thus in a strain of remark 
and argument, made up of wit and irony, put the govern- 
or and council in good humor, and obtained the man's 

Dr. Spring ended his useful life in January, 1818, in 
the 76th year of his age, leaving one son, who inherited 
his father's fortune, amounting, it is supposed, to between 
two and three hundred thousand dollars. This gentleman 
married a lady in Philadelphia ; both died a few years 
after, leaving four voung children. It is to be lamented 
that no part of Dr. Spring's ample fortune was devoted to 
the laudable purpose of supporting religious and charita- 
ble institutions. 

STRINGER, DR. SAMUEL, an eminent physician, 
was born in the state of Maryland. He studied medicine 
in Philadelphia under the late Dr. Bond, and as early as 
1755 was appointed by Governor Shirley an officer in the 
medical department of the British army then in this coun- 
try. In 1758 he accompanied the army under the com- 
mand of General Abercrombie, and was present when Lord 
Howe fell in advancing to the siege of Ticonderoga. At 

104 ja;vies s. stringham. 

the conclusion of the French war he settled and married 
in Albany. When the American revolution commenced 
the provincial congress appointed him Director General of 
the Hospitals in the northern department, and in this ca- 
pacity he accompanied the troops engaged in the invasion 
of Canada. 

On leaving the army in 1777 he again returned to Al- 
bany, and until his death was among the first physicians 
and surgeons in that place and vicinity. He was always 
ready, even in advanced life, to introduce what were 
deemed improvements in practice ; and at one period he 
made extensive use of oxygen as a medicinal agent. In- 
deed he continued pai'tial to it, and believed that he had 
often seen good effects from its use. He was frugal in his 
habits and of the utmost temperance in his mode of living. 
Nor could he at the latter part of his life hold in any esti- 
mation the inebriated, whatever their talents might be. 
He died at Albany, July 11th, 1817, in the 83d year of 
his age. 

STRINGHAM, JAMES S. M.D. was born in the city 
of New-York, of respectable parents, whose circumstances 
in life happily enabled them to furnish to their son the 
opportunities of a liberal education. He prosecuted his 
classical studies in Columbia College, and was graduated 
there in 1793. His habits and disposition inclined him to 
the theological profession ; and, for some time after he had 
received his collegiate honor in the arts, he pursued a 
course of learning for the ministry. His health becoming 
delicate from an attack of hemoptysis, he relinquished 
with reluctance this intention. He now entered upon a 
course of medical education under the care of the late Dr. 
S. Bard and Dr. David Hosack, and attended with exem- 
plary diligence, for several years, to all the branches of 
medicine then taught by the Faculty of Physic in New- 
York. He subsequently proceeded to Edinburgh, became 
a student in the university of that renowned capital, and 
in 1799 received there the degree of M.D. 

Within a very short time after his return to his native 
city he was elected Professor of Chemistry in Columbia 
College, in the place of the learned and distinguished Dr. 
Mitchell, who had for many years filled that chair, and to 
whom Ave are indebted for the first introduction of the 
French nomenclature of chemistry in this country. Dr. 
Stringham, however, not satisfied with these exertions, 


and anxious for a more extended sphere of usefulness, now 
voluntarily prepared a coursfe on legal medicine. His va- 
ried and classical erudition rendered thit undertaking one 
peculiarly agreeable to hiin ; and to the students who at- 
tended his lectures, it proved a source of gratification 
equally novel and instructive. Tlie utility of the science 
was cheerfully acknowledged by all. 

Having long labored under an alarming organic disease 
of the heart, and finding his constitution materially im- 
paired. Dr. Stringham resigned his office as professor of 
chemistry in Columbia College ; but, upon the union of 
the Medical Faculty of that institution with the College of 
Physicians and Surgeons in 1803, he was induced to ac- 
cept the professorship of medical jurisprudence. Yet this 
office became too oppressive from the tenderness of his 
health ; ho])es which he had cherished, were shortly to be 
blasted ; and lie was doomed to irremediable suffering and 
premature death. For years he had borne with manly 
patience and christian expectation the trials of a distress- 
ing complaint. The cheering counsel of his friends urged 
him to repair to the island of St. Croix, with the vain 
hope of a renewal of his health. Thither he went, and 
died on the 29th of June, 1817. 

Besides his inaugural dissertation, '• De Absorbentium 
Systemate," Dr. Stringham was the auth,or of several es- 
says and papers in the medical journals of the day- He 
published in the New-York Medical Repository an ac- 
count of the efficacy of Digitalis Purpm-ea in allaying ex- 
cessive action of the sanguiferous system, a description of 
a remarkable species of intestinal vermes, an account of 
the violent effects of corrosive sublimate, and a case of 
hydrocephalus ; in the Philadelphia Medical Museum, a 
paper on tlie effects of mercury in a case of syphilis ; and 
in the Edinburgh Medical and Surgical Journal, a paper 
on the yellow fever of America, in which he maintained 
the specific character and contagious nature of that 

To the foregoing memoir of Dr. Stringham, derived 
from the Inaugural discourse of his friend Professor Fran- 
cis of New- York, I add the following extract from a letter 
addressed to me by the same gentleman. 

" I trust you will incorporate in your contemplated 
Medical Biography some account of my late friend and 
predecessor in the chair of Juridical Medicine in the Uni- 
voj.. n. 14 


versity of New-York, Dr. James S. Stringham. He de- 
serves honorable mention. He was one of the most effi- 
cient of that class of men who have successfully and disin- 
terestedly exerted themselves for the promotion of science 
in this country, at a period when comparatively few could 
be found engaged in so good a cause. He was the first 
teacher among his countrymen who gave a course of lec- 
tures on forensic medicine. His taste for this study he 
had originally imbibed from his able preceptor, Dr. Dun- 
can, senior, of Edinburgh. From this excellent man he 
derived many of the views he imparted in his lectures, 
which, however, were enriched with materials drawn 
from extensive reading and reflection, from the elaborate 
investigations and details of Zacchius down to the recent 
productions of Fodere and Mahon. To Dr. Stringham 
are we indebted for the popularity which this intricate 
department of science now enjoys, and the importance 
with which it is cultivated in our medical schools. As a 
teacher his manner was admirably calculated to enlist 
the attention of his auditory and enforce respect ; his style 
of composition was felicitous, and his delivery clear and 
forcible. Much might be said of his medical erudition in 
general. He was for some time one of the physicians of 
that extensive charity, the New-York Hospital. Here the 
freshness of his reading and his therapeutical talents were 
often conspicuous, and the clinical class were made wiser 
by the pertinence of his remarks. Notwithstanding he 
suffered long and greatly from an organic affection of the 
heart, and was often brought to the borders of the grave, 
he was seldom found without his book. He on several 
occasions evinced great independence and decision of char- 
acter, particularly in the malignant yellow fever which 
prevailed in the city of New-York in 1803. He was a 
member of the Royal Medical and Physical Society of 
Edinburgh, and fellow of the New-York Literary, and 
Philosophical, and Historical Societies. It is deeply to be 
regretted that his MS. lectures on forensic medicine are 
still withheld from the public. One more lionorable in 
his intercourse with his fellow men could not be found." 

A syllabus of the lectures of Professor Stringham on 
medical jurisprudence, is contained in the American Medi- 
cal and Philosophical Register. 

SWETT, JOHN BARNARD, M.M.S.S., was born at 
Marblehead, in the county of Essex, on the first day of 

JOHN B. SAYETr. 107 

June, 1752. He was the son of Samuel Swett, Esq., a 
worthy and respectable merchant, and grandson of Mr. 
Joseph Swett, who, about the middle of the last century, 
first introduced foreign commerce into the town ; by 
means of which it so increased in wealth and numbers, 
that in the year 1770 its proportion of the province tax 
was next to that of Boston.* His mother was the niece 
and adopted daughter of the Rev. John Barnard, congre- 
gational minister of Marblehead, and one of the most dis- 
tinguished scholars and divines of his age and country, 
for whom he was named and by whom he was adopted. 

Under the fostering care of this eminent man the subject 
of this article was educated, and derived from him a taste 
for classical learning, which he ever after retained. In 
his childhood and youth he had a buoyancy of spirits, 
which interfered with a close and undivided atten- 
tion to his studies. His aged patron would often in- 
quire of his instructer how his boy got on in his studies, 
and was as often answered " tolerably, sir." Provoked 
at length with the repetition of this reply, the old gentle- 
man testily said, " tolerably, sir ? Why do you not say 
intolerably at once ?" This caustic rebuke from such a 
person had a good effect on the preceptor and his pupil, 
stimulating both to increased exertion. 

Dr. Swett was matriculated at Harvard College in 1767. 
His amiable temper and pleasing manners made him a 
general favorite of his contemporaries, while his high 
sense of character rendered his progress in learning pro- 
portionate to his fine natural talents. About the time of 
his receiving his first degree in the arts, he was accidental- 
ly present at the opening and examination of the bodies of 
some persons who had come to a violent death. This cir- 
cumstance determined his choice of the medical profession, 
to which his patron yielded with great reluctance, having 
a very strong desire that he should go into the ministry. 
Indeed so fixed was the old gentleman upon this object, 
that, although by his will he devised his estate to this 
child of his affections, a considerable portion was given 
upon the express condition that he should follow the cler- 
ical profession ; a condition, with which habit and power- 
ful inclination prohibited a compliance. 

* Collectione of the Mass. Hist. Soe. viii. 67. 


Soon after he was graduated he repaired to Edinburgh, 
where he passed three years in the prosecution of his med- 
ical studies under the patronage and instruction of that 
eminent physician, Dr. William Cullen. Here he formed 
an acquaintance with, and enjoyed the society of Dr. 
Robertson, Mr. Hume, and other celebrated scholars of 
that day and place ; and made great advances in general 
literature, as well as in his professional pursuits. 

The commercial embarrassments which preceded our 
revolution, interrupted his remittances ; and his adventur- 
ous spirit led him to close with a proposal made to him 
to go in the capacity of surgeon to a fleet of merchant ves- 
sels, which was then fitting in the port of London for the 
Falkland Islands under the superintendence of his coun- 
tryman Mr. Rotch, and was commanded by Captain James 
Scott, for many years master of a ship in the trade between 
Boston and London. The object of the expedition was to 
make an establishment at the islands, with a view to the 
business of whaling and sealing. The undertaking was 
attended with great success at first ; but the revolutionary 
war soon brought it to a premature close. With the funds 
acquired in this enterprise he was enabled to complete his 
medical education by attending the hospitals in France 
and England ; and he returned to America in 1778. 

Immediately on his return he joined the American army 
as a surgeon, and was in the expedition to Rhode-Island 
under Gen. Sullivan. Here he was in the same tent with 
John S. Sherburne, Esq., one of the general's aids, when 
a cannon ball from the enemy's battery took off the leg of 
the latter. He was in the disastrous expedition to Penob- 
scot, which issued in the destruction of the whole fleet, 
and in the sacrifice of every thing beyond what each man 
could carry on his back. With his surgical instruments 
in his knapsack Dr. Swett was obliged to travel more than 
fifty miles tlirough a trackless desert, from the Penobscot 
river to the nearest settlements on the Kennebec. His 
misfortune was felt the more severely, as he had just before 
met with the irreparable loss, by capture, of his profess- 
ional manuscripts prepared by him with great care when 
in Europe, and his valuable library and surgical apparatus 
collected at great expense and trouble. 

In the year 1780 he commenced practice as a physician 
and surgeon in Newbnryport, induced by the urgent soli- 
citations of several of the first characters in that place, to 


whom Jiis character was not unknown, and to some of 
whom he was allied by birth. Here his progress was 
rapid and successful. Almost every surgical case through 
a large circuit devolved upon him, and his medical prac- 
tice soon became very extensive. Being naturally very 
social in his disposition, and an attractive, intelligent and 
entertaining companion, of polished manners, and ingenu- 
ous frankness and good humor, he was a general favorite, 
and, as may naturally be supposed, largely participated in 
social enjoyments. As a means of these he was much 
attached to the fraternity of freemasons, and particularly 
to those of the higher degrees, as affording at that period 
a more select society ; and it is believed that by his means 
the first encampment of Knights Templars in the United 
States was formed.* 

In the summer of 1796 the town of Newburyport was 
visited with that most deadly scourge of our seaport towns, 
the yellow fever. It was with Dr. Swett not less a point 
of honor than a commanding sense of duty, which led him 
on this trying occasion to devote himself, through life or 
death, to his sufiering patients, who looked up to him with 
their habitual confidence as to their only earthly hope in 
this appalling moment of mortal disease. Disdaining to 
desert them in their extreme need, he was constantly at 
his post in the most infected district of the town, adminis- 
tering all the relief in his power, and exhausting all the 
resources of his professional skill, until the inevitable con- 
sequence ensued. He became himself infected with the 
incurable disease, and fell a martyr to his high sense of 
professional obligation. His death threw a gloom over the 
town, not to be described in words. 

Soon after Dr. Swett fixed himself in Newburyport, he 
married Miss Charlotte Bourne, second daughter of the 
Hon. William Bourne of Marblehead, wlio survived him, 
and is now the wife of the Hon. John T. Oilman, many 
years governor of the state of New- Hampshire. Four 
sons of this marriage are now, 1827, living, and in respect- 
able standing. 

* In a historical account of Newburyport lately publisiied, it is su;?trested that 
Dr. S. was, during his travels in Germany, initiated into the order of the lUumi- 
nati. He was never in Germany, nor was he ever a member of that order, which 
originated many years after his return from Europe. In the same work it i« erro- 
neously stated that he was a native of Neviburyport. 


Dr. Swett was an original member of the American 
Academy of Arts and Sciences, and of the Massachusetts 
Medical Society, and for several years after the incorpo- 
ration of the latter was its Corresponding Secretary. — 
D. A. T. 

SYKES, JAMES, M.D., was born of very respectable 
parents in the vicinity of Dover, county of Kent and state 
of Delaware, on the 27th of March, 176 1. His father, 
whose name he received, held several important and hon- 
orable offices in the state, which evinces the standing he 
possessed in society ; and the general satisfaction given by 
him in the performance of tlieir duties, is a fair criterion 
by which to .judge of his merit. He was repeatedly cho- 
sen as a member of the Privy Council ; and, when the 
change was about to be effected in the administration of 
the government of the state, he was appointed one of the 
members of the convention which framed the present con- 
stitution. He attended the first meeting, at which the 
work was commenced ; but previously to the second, 
when it was finished and adopted, it pleased Providence to 
remove him from this and all other earthly cares and hon- 
ors, and therefore his name does not appear as one of the 
signers of that instrument, in the formation of which he 
had assisted. 

Mr. Sykes, being desirous of giving his son a good edu- 
cation, and the best to be had at that time, sent him to the 
college at Wilmington, then deservedly in high repute. 
Here he continued for some time, diligently engaged in 
the study of ancient and modern literature ; but this pleas- 
ing occupation was suddenly interrupted. This was dur- 
ing the dark and troubled period of the revolution, Avhen 
many parts of our country were in subjection to, and at 
the mercy of a cruel and relentless enemy. The dreaded 
approach of such a foe to Wilmington, induced parents to 
take their children home, and the school was consequently 
broken up. 

Doctor Sykes then returned to Dover, where he finish- 
ed his education under the particular care of a gentleman 
distinguished for his literary and classical attainments, the 
Rev. Dr. Magaw, late pastor of St. Paul's church, Phila- 
delphia, who resided at that time in Dover. 

Having completed his classical studies he wisely selected 
that profession for which he was by nature eminently 
qualified, and commenced the study of medicine under the 


direction of Dr. Clayton, an eminent physician who prac- 
tised on Bohemia Manor. Medical science in this country 
was at this period only in its infancy ; and consequently 
the disciple of Hippocrates, having no written sources of 
information except a few foreign text books, was compel- 
led, like his venerable father, to acquire knowledge prin- 
cipally from the lessons taught in the great book of nature. 
Although fully aware of the importance and value of ex- 
perience, Dr. Sykes was equally sensible of the advantage 
to be derived from able and skilful instructers ; and there- 
fore early availed himself of the additional opportunities 
for the acquisition of medical learning, afforded by an at- 
tendance on the lectures which were then delivered in 
Philadelphia, by those illustrious worthies, Shippen, Mor- 
gan, Kuhn and Rush. These gentlemen had, but a short 
time previous, laid the foundation of that superstructure, 
which in the course of a few years, by the combined exer- 
tions of such talents, science and learning, became the great 
luminary of the western world. 

After having regularly and diligently attended two 
courses of lectures delivered with such eloquence and 
truth as were calculated to make a deep and permanent 
impression on the mind of an ardent votary of science, and 
to furnish him with a fund of medical knowledge on 
which he could rely, as it had been derived from the best 
and least fallible sources. Dr. Sykes left Philadelphia for 
the purpose of reducing these lessons to practice in ths 
exercise of his highly honorable and useful profession. 
He located himself in Cambridge, on the eastern shore of 
Maryland, where his gentlemanly manners and correct de- 
portment soon acquired him respect and esteem, and his 
talents and skill being properly appreciated he was speed- 
ily introduced into a respectable practice. 

During his residence there he became acquainted with 
and married Miss Elizabeth Goldsborough, daughter of 
Robert Goldsborough, Esq. who still lives to lament that 
dispensation of Providence, which deprived her of one of 
the best of husbands, and society of one of its brightest 

After a residence in Cambridge of nearly four years he 
returned to Dover, to which, being the place of his nativ- 
ity, he naturally felt strong ties and attachments. Here, 
in obtaining practice, he had to contend with a distinguish- 
ed, though nol)le and generous rival, the late celebrated 


and lamented Dr. Miller. To an enliglitened and liberal 
mind the success and advancement of a professional broth- 
er are productive of pleasure rather than envy or ill will, 
and therefore these two gentlemen enjoj'ed an intimacy 
and fidelity of friendship, unfortunately too seldom expe- 
rienced by rivals for eminence and fame, which continued 
firm and sincere until it was severed by the death of Dr. 

Dv. Sykes had not resided long in Dover before he ren- 
dered Jiimself conspicuous by the exercise of his surgical 
talents. For this branch of medicine he was by nature 
particularly qualified. To the decision of mind and steadi- 
ness of hand so indispensably necessary to a surgeon, he 
added such an intimate knowledge of the anatomy of the 
human structure as to prevent his ever feeling at a loss 
relative to the nature and position of the parts concerned 
in any operation. By the happy union of these qualities 
he was naturally inspired with tiiat confidence, which alone 
can render the operator firm and collected in cases of 
emergency and hours of trial. 

By the successful performance of several difficult opera- 
tions, assisted by his close attention to his practice, and his 
pleasing address and kindness to those under his care, his 
reputation was speedily established, and consequently the 
sphere of his labors and usefulness rapidly extended ; and 
it may be safely said that no physician in the state, per- 
haps ever, possessed a more extensive practice, or enjoyed 
in a more unlimited degree the confidence of his patients 
and the public. 

Of Dr. Sykes's talents and success as a surgeon so many- 
proofs have been given, with which you are all familiar, 
as to preclude the necessity of my enlarging much on the 
subject. Suffice it, therefore, to say that there were few 
operations in surgery which he had not repeatedly per- 
formed, and none for the performance of which he had 
reason to think he was not fully competent. In the ope- 
ration of lithotomy, confessedly one of the most difficult 
and important in surgery, he particularly excelled. Of 
this we have tlie strongest evidence in the declaration of 
his intimate friend, the late Surgeon General of the armies 
of the United States, Dr. Tilton, who averred that in this 
operation he had no superior ; and another gentleman, a 
graduate of the school of Edinburgh, who once assisted 
him in a case of this kind, gave a similar testimony, de- 


daring l!mt "by no surgeon, cither in Europe or America, 
liad he ever seen lithotomy more skilfully i)erformed." 

Allliough he was so well qualified for surgery, and paid 
j)articular attention to it, he was equally well calculated 
for and successful in the practice of medicine. He pos- 
sessed emphatically that talent, by the want of which 
knowledge is rendered cold and genius inert ; the facidty 
of judgment, by which he was enabled to prescribe i)roper 
remedies in proper places, and constantly to alter and 
adapt his remedial measures to the ever varying and fluc- 
tuating condition of the system. Being a disciple of the 
school of Rush, and a follower and admirer of that great 
and distinguished physician, the pride and honor of his 
country, he always in his practice paid particidar attention 
to the pulse, and placed great reliance on the information 
to be derived from it ; rejecting Avith merited contempt 
the observation of him who tells us, " it is never to be 
depended on and is only a fallacious guide." As a practi- 
tioner, he was bold and decided, never temporizing with 
diseases, nor waiting to cure them " by expectation ;" a 
practice forcibly and with no little propriety called " a 
meditation on death." But however fond he may have 
been of the heroic remedies, he knew their powers too 
well to use them without due discrimination and delibera- 
tive caution. And, if bold and decided in cases requiring 
it, he took care not to subject himself to the charge of 
violence or temerity. 

There was one trait in his character as a practitioner 
particularly deserving of notice and imitation, which was, 
never in any case, no matter how desperate, to give up a 
patient whilst there remained even a possibility of effect- 
ing a cure. He would always resolutely contend with the 
ravages of disease until the last moment of a patient's ex- 
istence, and frequently was rewarded by the renovation of 
the almost exhausted system, and the rescue of a fellow 
mortal who had been apparently in the arms of death. 

In addition to his other good qualities Dr. Sykes pos- 
sessed a hvmiane and charitable disposition. Those whose 
poverty precluded all prospect of his receiving any com- 
pensation for his services, were not neglected, nor suffered 
to pine in misery and sigh for that relief which they were 
unable to purchase. He attended them faithfully, pre- 
scribed and furnished medicines for their di«eaces, and 
VOL. n. 15 


often alleviated their wants by benevolent donations and 
kind assistance. 

During his residence in Dover a circumstance occurred, 
which, on account of the attention excited by it at the time 
and the active part he took in it, is deserving of notice. 
I allude to the use and effects of the adulterated Peruvian 
bark. Bilious diseases, during the fall of which I speak, 
were unusually prevalent, and the Peruvian medicine con- 
sequently very freely and generally employed. Many se- 
vere and dreadful cases of colic, resembling colica picto- 
num, were met with about this time, some of which ter- 
minated in paralytic affections, blindness, and death. The 
appearance of such a terrible anomaly in medicine excited 
great and general consternaticm, and gave rise to a variety 
of theories and conjectures for its explanation. It was 
considered by some as yellow fever ;. and, from the vio- 
lence of its symptoms and rapidity of its course, of an un- 
commonly malignant nature. By a close and attentive 
observation of its course, symptoms and causes. Dr. Sykes 
was happily led to a discovery, which, as he gave it im- 
mediate publicity, no doubt saved many lives. He ob- 
served that no persons were attacked with the disease who 
had not been using bark, and that an attack came on gen- 
erally soon after the taking of a dose of that medicine.. 
He therefore naturally inferred that the bark was produc- 
tive of these serious and fatal effects, and, if so, that it 
must be adulterated with some deadly drug. By a cau- 
tious inspection of several samples of the article, he was 
enabled to detect the hidden cause of all the evil, discov- 
ering that semivitrified oxide of lead, litharge, had been 
mixed with the bark. On tracing the matter to its origin,^ 
it was found that a workman in one of the laboratories in 
Philadelphia, who had been employed in pulverizing the 
medicine, for which service he was paid so much per 
pound, had,^ in order to make it weigh heavier, thrown in 
occasionally the semivitrified oxide of lead, as above men- 
tioned. In extenuation of this dreadful fraud the laborer 
urged his ignorance of the noxious powers of the drug, 
which he had added merely to benefit himself, certainly 
deceiving and imposing on his employer, but without any 
idea of its proving prejudicial to any other person. 

Although so eminent in, and attentive to, his profession 
and its duties. Dr. Sykes was also endowed with the re- 
njuisjtes for a politician and statesman. These qualifica- 


tions and the reputation which he had ever possessed for 
political integrity, sincere love of country and veneration 
for its laws and institutions, being duly estimated by the 
people, rendered him very popular, and he was conse- 
quently chosen to fill several important anxl distinguished 
stations. He was repeatedly elected a member of the 
Senate, in which body he presided for a period of near fif- 
teen years ; and during this time, by that office being va- 
cated, he was elevated to the highest station in the gift of 
the people, being made Governor of the State. Whilst he 
held this situation he evinced, by his anxiety and care to 
fulfil all the duties attendant on it, his high opinion of the 
honor conferred upon him. 

Feeling sensibly that the labor necessarily attendant on 
such political stations and an extensive practice, was too 
heavy and severe for one advancing in life ; knowingUhe 
impracticability of concentrating his practice, and thus 
diminishing his arduous toil, whilst he continued in Do- 
ver ; and being desirous of passing his declining years in 
more calmness and tranquillity than is possible for any 
physician who enjoys an extensive practice in the country, 
he determined on removing to a city. Considering New- 
York as presenting the best fi^ld for the exercise of Jiis 
talents, and believing that merit would there receive its 
just reward, he in the year 1814, having made his ar- 
rangements for that purpose, removed there with his 

Here he continued for several years, and, though so 
eminently qualified to figure in a metropolis, did not, it 
must be confessed, meet with that advancement and dis- 
tinction to which his talents and attainments entitled him. 
The following observations of the great " Colossus of lite- 
rature and Prince of biographers," in his life of the cele- 
brated poet and physician, Akenside, apply with equal 
force and propriety in the present case, and may explain a 
circumstance which might be considered singular and un- 
accountable : speaking of Dr. Akenside's want of success 
in obtaining practice in London, the biographer adds, " A 
physician in a great city seems to be the mere playtJiing 
of fortune ; his degree of reputation is for the most ])art 
totally casual : they that employ him know not his excel- 
lence ; they that reject him know not his deficiencies." 

After residing in New-York for a period of near six 
years, and feeling his ties and attachments to his native place 


and former pursuits increased, rather than diminished, by 
this absence, he determined on returning to Dover. This 
he effected in the year 1820, to the great satisfaction of his 
friends, by whom he was received witli sincere pleasure 
and unabated esteem and affection. Here he was again 
speedily introduced into practice ; but, in consequence of 
the impaired state of his health, he was under the neces- 
sity of resigning its principal duties and labor to his son, 
with whom he was associated. 

Not long after his return to Dover the Medical Society 
lost its president by the death of Dr. James Tilton. The 
members of this institution, feeling the obligations they 
were under to Dr. Sykes, who was principally instru- 
mental in the passage of that law by which they were 
enabled to prevent empiricism, and thus render their pro- 
fession more useful and respectable, elected him to fill the 
chair of his lamented predecessor.* This honor, how- 
ever, he had not the pleasure of enjoying long, as he was 
called from all terrestrial duties within the short period of 
seven months after his appointment. 

The following handsome tribute to the memory of our 
president is paid by an anonymous writer, in the Phila- 
delphia Medical Journal: "As a social character, Dr. 
Sykes was almost unrivalled, and will be always remem- 
bered with the highest esteem by those who had the hap- 
piness to know him. The dignity of his deportment and 
the urbanity of his manners qualified him preeminently 
for shining in society ; whilst the generosity of his senti- 
ments, hospitality and many other estimable virtues, made 
him universally lieloved. One of his distinguishing traits 
evinces so much good feeling that it deserves to be com- 
memorated. He was the friend and patron of youth ; and 
it always gave him pleasure when he could avail himself 
of his influence in promoting their prosperity. The value 
of such friendly services will be best appreciated by those 
who can revert, with grateful feelings, to the time when 
they stood in need of them. But if his many amiable and 
benevolent qualities endeared him so much to his friends, 
how shall we describe the full strength of his domestic 
ties ? The force of these will perhaps be best displayed by 
the simple recital of a distressing event. His only daugh- 
ter, an amiable and accomplished young lady, who had just 

* Medical Society of Delaware, 

SAMUEL TENNl-y. 117 

entered the gay and pleasing season of womanliood, was 
absent from home when her father died ; and only return- 
ed in time to behold liis remains, before they received 
their la^t solemn rites. At the sight of the cold and life- 
less clay she sunk to the earth, overpowered by a senss of 
desolation, and was carried to her bed from which she rose 
no more ; for a mortal blight had fallen on her spirits and 
withered the vital flower. Refusing botli consolation and 
sustenance, she pined away, and in a few days followed 
her beloved parent to that gi'ave which was at once the 
source and termination of her sorrow — a melancholy in- 
stance of the force of tilial affection and the exquisite sen- 
sibility of the human heart." 

Dr. Sykes was from early life subject to occasional fits 
of wandering gout, to which disease there was an hered- 
itary predisposition. He died on the 18th of October, 

In concluding this imperfect sketch of tlie life of one 
who was an ornament to his profession and to society, I 
have the pleasure of being enabled to add that he was a 
full and firm believer in revelation and all the fundamental 
doctrines of the christian religion ; and tiiat in his last ill- 
ness, not long previous to his dissolution, he exjiressed, to 
his weeping relatives who surrounded his bed, his full 
conviction that his peace was made ; adding that he felt 
perfectly resigned and ready to die, if such was the will 
of Providence. How consolinfi; should be the reflection, 
to those lamenting the death of the dearest relative or 
friend, that " though his body may lie covered by the sod 
of the valley, his soul has taken its fli^ht to celestial re- 
gions and dwells immortal, with its God." — Eidogivm by 
J. Franklin Vanghan^ M.D. 

TENNEY, SAMUEL, M.D. M.M.S.S. Hon., was the 
son of a respectable farmer of Rowley, Byfield parish, 
Massachusetts. At about eigliteen years of age lie com- 
menced his studies preparatory for coilewe under the cele- 
brated Master Moody of Dummer school. He entered 
Harvard College in July, 1768 ; rnd, while an under grad- 
uate, gave honorable evidence of possessing a ?ound and 
discriminating mind. After leaving college lie taught a 
school one year at Andover, and commenced the study of 
physic with Dr. Kittredge of that town. 

About the l)eginning of the year 1775 he Avent to Exe- 
ter with the design of establishing himself as a physician ; 


but, the war of the revolution soon after breaking out, he 
determined on joining the army. He reached the Ameri- 
can camp on the day of the battle of Bunker's Hill ; and, 
though greatly fatigued with riding on horseback, was 
employed till a late hour of the night in attentions to the 
wounded. He was one year attached to the Massachusetts 
Line as mate to Dr. Eustis, late Governor of the common- 
wealth ; but afterward entered the Rhode-Island Line, in 
which he served as surgeon during the war. He of course 
moved with the army, was present at the surrender of 
Burgoyne and Cornwallis, and was prompt to every duty 
becoming his station. He volunteered his assistance in 
repelling the attack on the fort at Red Bank in the Dela- 
ware ; and in circumstances of imminent danger fought in 
the ranks. The assailants were driven back, and Count 
Donop, their commander, was mortally wounded and car- 
ried into the fort. When the Doctor approached to dress 
his wounds, the Count looked at him attentively in the 
face, and said " You look like an honest man, to you 
therefore I commit the care of my pocketbook." 

At the close of the war Dr. Tenney returned to Exeter, 
where he married and settled ; but he did not resume the 
practice of medicine. In 1788 he was chosen a member of 
the convention for forming the constitution' of the state of 
New- Hampshire. In 1793 he was appointed Judge of 
Probate for the County of Rockingham ; and continued in 
this office until, in 1800, he was elected a member of 
congress. To this station he was afterwards twice reelect- 
ed. In 1816 he closed his valuable life. 

Dr. Tenney was of a literary and philosophical turn, 
and was a member of several scientific societies ; he re- 
ceived from tlie University at Cambridge the honorary de- 
gree of Doctor in Medicine, and was elected an honorary 
member of the Massachusetts Medical Society. During 
the war he was stationed for several months at Saratoga, 
and paid considerable attention to the celebrated mineral 
waters of that place. In 1793 lie communicated an ac- 
count of them to the American Academy of Arts and Sci- 
ences, of which he was a member. This account was pub- 
lished in a volume of the society's Memoirs, and did much 
toward bringing the waters of Saratoga into general notice. 
In the same volume was also published the Doctor's " The- 
ory of Prismatic Colors," which reduces the number of 
original colors to five. This theory, or one similar, is 


beginning to be favorably noticed, or is already adopted, 
in France. For the Massachusetts Historical Society he 
furnished an historical and topographical account of Exe- 
ter, and a notice of the dark day of May 19th, 1780 ; and 
for the Massachusetts Agricultural Society he wrote a 
much approved treatise on Orcharding. Of both these 
societies he was a member. At various times he published 
valuable political essays in the newspapers, and particu- 
larly in 1788, in favor of the Federal Constitution, the 
adoption of which he strongly advocated. Among his un- 
published writings is a very ingenious theory of the tides. 

Dr. Tenney was an early and steadfast friend to his 
country ; and his name deserves an honorable place among 
the worthies who assisted in achieving its independence, 
and in establishing forms of state and national government 
adapted to promote its highest welfare. In all the public 
stations he held, he was distinguished for openness and 
integrity ; was never ashamed of his principles, nor afraid 
to avow them ; and always so cool and dispassionate as to 
conciliate the respect even of his adversaries. At one pe- 
riod of the war the regiment to which he belonged was unu- 
sually given to intoxication, and several deaths were caused 
by it. At the funeral of one of the victims, and with the 
approbation of the colonel, he delivered before the regi- 
ment a plain and serious discourse, which for a time had a 
very sensible effect. 

In private life the doctor's character was eminently 
good. His personal dignity was great, while his manners 
were exceedingly plain. There was something very strik- 
ing and noble in his countenance. His eyes were full and 
intelligent ; and his other features large and open : no 
man in Congress at the time had a better head. He made 
no professions of regard where he felt no regard : but at 
the same time was uncommonly free from resentments. 
He was an affectionate husband, a sensible and entertain- 
ing companion, a kind and peaceable neighbor, a sober 
and exemplary member of society. He took a deep and 
active interest in the education of the young ; and, though 
he had no children of his own, he laid more than one un- 
der obligations of gratitude for his paternal care. 

Dr. Tenney was remarkably free from ostentation and 
pride, and could easily accommodate himself to the views, 
and wants, and interests of the humblest persons. He was 
the friend of the poor, and the orphan's disinterested and 


faithful guardian. He loved, as well as patronised, the 
religious institutions of the Fathers ; was most punctual 
in attendance at public worship on the Sabbath ; and for 
several of the last years of his life was a member and an 
officer of the Second Congregational Church in Exeter. 
He honored the religion he professed, felt its sustaining 
influence in his last hours, and met death with a serenity 
and composure becoming a christian. One of his ancient 
and worthy neighbors observed to the writer at the time, 
" We have lost a fellow citizen who was without guile." 
Seldom has it fallen to the lot of any to sketch the life 
and character of a man, to whom the observation could 
be more justly applied. 

It will be recollected by many that a singular phenome- 
non occurred in our New-England horizon, May 19th, 
1780, emphatically called the dark day. Tliis was by 
some among the ignorant and superstitious ascribed to a 
supernatural cause. From the pen of Dr. Tenney the 
Massachusetts Historical Society received a very ingenious 
and philosophical examination of the subject, which does 
much honor to the author. Dr. Tenney was decidedly of 
opinion that the phenomenon would admit of a rational 
and philosophical explanation, as follows. Previously to 
the commencement of the darkness, the sky was overcast 
with the common kind of clouds, from which there was 
in some places a light sprinkling of rain. Between these 
and the earth there intervened another stratum, apparently 
of very great thickness. As this stratum advanced the 
darkness commenced, and increased with its progress till 
it came to its heiglit ; which did not take place till the 
hemisphere was a second time overspread. The uncom- 
mon thickness of this second stratum was probably occa- 
sioned by two strong currents of wind from the southward 
and westward, condensing the vapors and drawing them 
in a northeasterly direction. The lower stratum had an 
uncommon brassy hue, while the earth and trees were 
adorned with so enchanting a verdure as could not escape 
notice, even amidst the unusual gloom that surrounded the 
spectator. This gradual increase of the darkness from 
southwest to northeast, which was nearly the course of 
the clouds, aff'ords a pretty good argument in favor of the 
supposition that they were condensed by two strong cur- 
rents of wind blowing in different directions. To these 
two strata of clouds we may without hesitation impute the 


fextraordinary darkness of the day. Dr. T. proceeds with 
a philosophical eye to examine more minutely into the 
manner in which these clouds eifected the extraordinary 
darkness ; but this must be omitted here. " The darkness 
of the following evening," says Dr. T., " was probably as 
gross as ever has been observed since the almighty fiat 
gave birth to light. It wanted only palpability to render 
it as extraordinary as that which overspread the land of 
Egypt in the days of Moses. And as darkness is not sub- 
stantial, but a mere privation, the palpability ascribed to 
that by the sacred historian must have arisen from some 
peculiar affection of the atmosphere, perhaps an exceeding 
thick vapor, that accompanied it. I could not help con- 
ceiving at the time that, if every luminous body in the 
universe had been shrouded in impenetrable shades, or 
struck out of existence, the darkness could not have been 
more complete. A sheet of white paper, held within a few 
inches of the eyes, was equally invisible with the blackest 
velvet. Considering the small quantity of light that w^as 
transmitted by the clouds by day, it is not surprising that 
by night a sufficient quantity of rays should not be able to 
penetrate the same strata, brought back by the shifting of 
the winds, to afford the most obscure prospect even of the 
best reflecting bodies." 

In the year 1811 Dr. Tenney addressed to Dr. Mitchell 
of New-York, for publication in the Medical Repository, 
" An Explanation of certain carious Phenomena in the 
Heating of Water." The celebrated Count Rumford in 
an " Inquiry into the Nature of Heat, and the Manner of 
its Communication" relates two experiments of which the 
authors of the British Review observe that " though they 
have sought for an adequate explanation of them, they are 
not a little embarrassing." However embarrassing to the 
British reviewers, the enlightened and sagacious mind of 
Dr. Tenney furnished a solution of the phenomena both 
philosophical and satisfactory, which may be seen in the 
Medical Repository for November, December and Jan- 
uary, 1811 and 1812. 

THACHER, DR. THOMAS, first minister of the Old 
South Church in Boston, was born in England, May 1st, 
1620. His father was the Rev. Peter Thacher, minister 
at Sarum, who intended to come over to these new re- 
gions, but was prevented by the state of his family. 
Tlxomas had a good school education, and it AVas his fa- 
voL. ir. 16 


ther's desire to send him to the University of Oxford or 
Cambridge ; but he declined, and came over to New Eng- 
land in 1635. 

In a letter published by his uncle, Anthony Thacher, 
we learn how remarkably he was preserved from ship- 
wreck. His friends sailed from Ipswich in the month of 
August for Marblehead, where Mr. John Avery, a worthy 
divine, was to settle. A terrible storm threw the vessel 
upon the rocks, most of the people perished, and Mr. 
Thacher was cast ashore on a desolate island. It bears his 
name to this day, as also a place is called Avery's Fall, 
where this good man perished. TJiomas Thacher prefer- 
red to go by land, and escaped these dangers. He receiv- 
ed his education from Mr. Chauncy, who was afterwards 
President of Harvard College. He studied not only what 
is common for youth to acquire, but also the oriental lan- 
guages. He afterwards composed a Hebrew lexicon, and 
we learn from Dr. Stiles that he was a scholar in Arabic, 
the best the country afforded. Dr. Mather tells us that 
he was a great logician, that he understood mechanics in 
theory and practice, and that he would make all kinds of 
clock work to admiration. He was eminent in two pro- 
fessions. He was pastor of a church, and was ordained at 
Weymouth, June 2d, 1644. After some years, having 
married a second wife, who belonged to Boston, he left his 
parish at Weymouth, where he practised physic as well as 
preached, and was an eminent physician in Boston. He 
was considered as a great divine, and when a third church 
was founded in the town he was chosen their minister- 
Over this church he was installed February 16th, 1669, 
and in this station he continued till he died. The last 
sermon he preached, was for Dr. I. Mather, 1st Peter iv, 
18. He afterwards visited a sick person, and was himself 
seized with a fever, and expired October 15th, 1678, aged 
68 years. 

As a preacher he was very popular, being remarkably 
fervent and copious in prayer. He was zealous against the 
Quakers, for he believed that their doctrines subverted the 
gospel, and led men into the pit of darkness under the pre- 
tence of giving them light. 

He left two sons, who were by his first wife, the daugh- 
ter of the Rev. Ralph Partridge of Duxbury. The eldest, 
Peter, was a famous minister in the neighborhood of Bos- 
ton. Ralph wa» settled at Martha's Vineyard. He print- 

iOHN THOMAS. 1:85 

ed very few of his productions, except his Hebrew lexicon 
and his catechism, each of which was on a sheet of paper, 
and his Guide in the Smallpox and Measles published in 
1677, which was the first publication on a medical subject 
in America. 

THOMAS, DR. JOHN, was born in the ancient toAvn 
of Plymouth, Massachusetts, April 1st, 1758. His father, 
a respectable physician, having sustained the office of Sur- 
geon in the French war in the expedition against Louis- 
burgh, was at the dawn of the American revolution ap- 
pointed Regimenial Surgeon ; and his son, then seventeen 
years of age, accompanied his father as Surgeon's Mate. 
They joined the army at Cambridge in the spring of 1775. 
The infirmities of age and the claims of a large family in- 
duced the father to resign in 177C, when the son was pro- 
moted to the rank of regimental surgeon, in which station 
he served his country with reputation until the army was 
disbanded at the close of the war. It is honorable to this 
family tliat another son served as captain of a company of 
artillery during the whole war, and two others served a 
part of the time in the army. Soon after peace took place 
Dr. Thomas settled in the town of Poughkeepsie, in the 
state of New-York, where he continued in reputable 
and successful practice in his profession until his death 
in 1818. 

Endowed with considerable powers of mind, and devot- 
ing himself to his official duties. Dr. Thomas overcame 
the difficulties of his youth and inexperience, and main- 
tained high professional respectability ; in all his conduct 
he was honorable, just and benevolent. But for wit and 
humor he was unrivalled. Such were the fecundity and 
disposition of his mind, that on all occasions he was fur- 
nished with an inexhaustible fund of anecdote and song, 
which made him a welcome guest in every place. There 
was considerable originality in the display of his talents ; 
which, with the courteousness of his manners and his con- 
viviality, won the esteem of gentlemen of high rank, and 
on one occasion, at the table of Washington, he excited an 
unusual degree of merriment and pleasantry. 

THORNTON, DR. MATTHEW, was a native of Ire- 
land, where he was born aliout the year 1714. He emi- 
grated to this country with his father, and settled in the 
state of Connecticut, where he received an academical 
and medical education. He established himself in th« 


profession of medicine in Londonderry, in New-Hamp- 
shire, where he became conspicuous for professional 
skill, and the sphere of his usefulness was continually 

He was invested with the office of Justice of the Peace, 
and commissioned as Colonel of the militia under the 
royal government. But, when the political crisis arrived 
Avhen that government in America was dissolved, Colonel 
Thornton abjured the British interest, and with a patriotic 
spirit adhered to the glorious cause of liberty. When in 
1775 a provincial convention was formed for temporary 
purposes, he was elected their president. In this capacity 
we find him " in Provincial Congress, June 2d, 1775, ad- 
dressing the inhabitants of the colony of New-Hampshire 
on the affairs of America, and in the affecting style of a 
true patriot painting the ' horrors and distresses of a civil 
war, which till of late we only had in contemplation, but 
now feel ourselves obliged to realize. Painful beyond ex- 
pression have been those scenes of blood and devastation 
which the barbarous cruelty of British troops has placed 
before our eyes. Duty to God, to ourselves, to posterity, 
enforced by the cries of slaughtered innocents, have urged 
us to take up arms in our own defence.' He proceeded to 
advise and recommend such measures as the exigency of 
the times appeared to recpiire, and closed by enjoining 
' the practice of that pure and undefiled religion which 
embalmed the memory of our pious ancestors, as that 
alone upon which we can build a solid hope and confi- 
dence in the Divine protection and favor, and without 
whose blessing all the measures of safety we have or can 
propose, will end in our shame and disappointment.' " 

The next year, on the 12th of September, Col. Thornton 
was chosen a delegate to the Continental Congress, and 
took his seat on the 4th of November following. Though 
not present when the declaration of independence passed 
that illustrious body, he acceded to it on his becoming a 
member, and his signature stands among the fifty-six wor- 
thies, who have immortalized their names by that memo- 
rable act. About the year 1776 he was appointed Chief 
Justice of the Court of Common Pleas, and not long after 
he was raised to the office of Judge of the Superior Court 
of New-Hampshire, in which office he remained till 1782. 
In the year 1780 he purchased a farm pleasantly situated 
on the banks of the Merrimac, near Exeter, and entered on 


the business of agriculture in connexion with his other 
diversified occupations. Although advanced in life, when- 
ever his professional services were required he cheerfully 
granted them, and they were at all times highly appre- 
ciated. He took an interest in the municipal affairs of the 
town, and he was elected a member of the general court 
one or two years, and a Senator in the state legislature, 
and served as a member of the Council in 1785 under 
President Langdon. 

We are informed upon good authority that Dr. Thorn- 
ton was a man of strong powers of mind, that he was ca- 
pable of abstruse speculation, and that on any subject to 
which he directed his attention, he would elicit light and 
information. In private life he was one of the most com- 
panionable of men. The young and the old were alike 
sharers in the agreeable versatility of his powers, and in the 
inexhaustible stock of information which a long and indus- 
trious life had accumulated. His memory was well stored 
with a large fund of entertaining and instructive anecdotes, 
Avhich he could apply upon any incident or stibject of 
conversation. Judge Thornton wrote political essays for 
the newspapers after he was eighty years of age, and about 
this period of life prepared for the press a metaphysical 
work entitled Paradise Lost, or the Origin of the Evil 
called Sin examined, &c. This work was never publish- 
ed ; but those who have had access to the manuscript, pro- 
nounce it a very singular production. 

He died while on a visit at Newburyport, Massachu- 
setts, on the 24th of June, 1803, in the 89th year of his 
age. In the funeral sermon by Rev. Dr. Burnap we are 
furnished with the following sketch. " He was venerable 
for his age and skill in his profession, and for the several 
very important and honorable offices he had sustained ; 
noted for the knowledge he had acquired, and his quick 
penetration into matters of abstruse speculation ; exempla- 
ry for his regard for the public institutions of religion and 
for his constancy in attending the public worship, where 
he trod the courts of the house of God with steps tottering 
with age and infirmity. Such is a brief outline of one 
who was honored in his day and generation ; whose vir- 
tues were a model for imitation, and while memory does 
her office will be had in grateful recollection." — Miv- 
Hampshire Historical Collections. 


TILLARY, JAMES, M.D. was a native of Scotland, 
and his contemporaries and associates at school testify that 
he Avas even then regarded as a youth of promise, and at 
that early period of his life was characterised by that in- 
tegrity and virtue which marked the remainder of his 
days. Having laid the usual foundation of classical learn- 
ing, in which his attainments were very respectable, and 
having received some preliminary medical knowledge in 
the north of Scotland, he enjoyed the benefit of a course 
of instruction at the great medical school of Edinburgh. 
Although he did not remain at the university the time 
prescribed to obtain its honors, he assiduously attended the 
various lectures, which qualified him for the station he 
soon afterwards obtained, that of a surgeon in the army of 
Great Britain. In that capacity, at an early period of the 
revolutionary war, he first came to this country, which he 
made the permanent place of his residence. 

Shortly after his arrival in the city of New-York he 
assumed the character of a practitioner of medicine and 
surgery. To the former branch, however, he principally 
confined his attention, and for more than forty years exer- 
cised its responsible and important duties, and displayed 
abundant evidence of his professional merit and skill. 
The various qualifications which adorned his professional 
character, were duly appreciated by the Medical Society 
of the County of New-York, of which he was a conspicu- 
ous member, and where he also for many years occupied 
the most elevated station in their power to bestow, being 
their president. But says his biographer, Dr. Hosack, 
" I must nevertheless be permitted to bear my testimony 
to his merit as a practitioner of the healing art. He seem- 
ed by nature to be peculiarly capacitated for the exercise 
of the medical profession ; and the education which he 
had received was sufiicient to elicit the native energies of 
his mind for that purpose. He was a substantial classical 
scholar ; his reading of medical authors was limited, but 
judicious ; among these, Sydenham and Huxham were his 
favorites. He was a patient and close observer at the bed- 
side of the sick ; he reflected ; and his decisions evinced 
the solidity of his understanding. Few men surpassed 
him in strength of judgment ; and this qualification of 
the head gave him that elevated station among many of 
his fellow practitioners, which he so long and deservedly 
enjoyed. He was sceptical of novelty in medical prescrip- 


tions, and slow in adopting new methods of cure. He 
carefully observed the progress of disease, he discovered 
its nature, and was bold and energetic in his principles of 
treatment. He was confident of his own practical know- 
ledge, and inspired a corresponding confidence in those for 
whom he prescribed. Few men performed their duty to 
their patients with more fidelity. He spared no pains in 
collecting all the symptoms from which the disease might 
be ascertained, and the corresponding remedies directed 
for its removal. 

" During those memorable visitations of God's providence 
in 1795 and 179S, when pestilence spread its devastation 
in our cities, though fully conscious of impending danger, 
he abode in the city of New-York, and no consideration 
whatever could induce him to swerve from his duty ; a 
faithful sentinel, he remained at his post. Amidst the dis- 
tressing and fatal ravages of yellow fever Dr. Tillary 
spared no exertions that could contribute to the comfort 
of his suffering fellow citizens. He visited and attended 
with unceasing assiduity all who called for his professional 
services, without reserve ; and it may be added that to the 
poor and forsaken, from whom no recompense could be 
expected, his labors were for the most part devoted ; the 
more wealthy, who were able to remunerate him, having 
chiefly abandoned the city, then the scene of desolation. 
His perseverance and his fortitude during those anxious 
and melancholy seasons were not forgotten by his fellow 
citizens ; for the important services he thus performed to 
the community, he was afterwards rewarded by the hon- 
orable office of resident physician, the duties of which, 
though full of hazard and responsibility, were performed 
with that fidelity which correct principles of conduct must 
ever secure. In relation to medical decorum he was a 
pattern of excellence to his professional brethren ; with 
reference to the rights and feelings of the junior members 
in particular, his conduct was peculiarly delicate and hon- 

" As a citizen of this republic it is observed that, while 
he remembered with becoming feelings the land of his fore- 
fathers, he possessed an ardent attacliment to his adopted 
country. He admired the genius and nature of our social, 
political and religious institutions. He was not an indif- 
ferent spectator of passing events, and in that species of 


knowledge whicli is acquired by intercourse with the 
world, he was excelled by few." 

Dr. Tillary was the President of the St. Andrew's So- 
ciety in the city of New-York, and discharged its duties 
with distinguished ability and universal satisfaction. As 
the physician of that charitable institution, an office which 
he filled for many years, he manifested disinterested gene- 
rosity in his medical attention to the indigent poor who 
were the objects of its charity. 

" It may be asked, had the deceased no failings ? He had 
his failings, but they were of that minor character, that 
are inseparable from our nature : he was human, and he 
erred. Let those who delight to dwell upon the shade of 
human character, search out the frailties of our deceased 
brother ; for ourselves, we can shed the tear for his weak- 
ness, and abundantly rejoice at his numerous excellences. 
It is with great satisfaction that the writer speaks of his 
christian virtues ; they are a proper topic, for they made 
up a large portion of his character and ought not to be 
omitted. On this momentous subject he has not left the 
world to doubt of his religious creed. He has long, both 
in public and private, evinced his faith and his hope, and 
has declared his firm belief in the great truths of the chris- 
tian religion ; a belief arising not merely from those im- 
pressions which an early pious education leaves upon the 
mind, but from a careful examination of the evidences 
upon which it lias been embraced by most of the distin- 
guished men who have adorned the world. His course of 
reading on religious subjects was extensive ; the volume 
of nature, too, he consulted with additional strength to 
those opinions which he had derived from revelation, and 
he adds another happy example to the many already on 
record, of the possession of sound christian principles by 
a member of a profession in which religious scepticism is 
too generally and most erroneously supposed to abound. 
To the christian philanthropist, moreover, it is consoling 
to reflect that at a time when, to use the language of an 
eloquent American divine, ' scepticism is breathing forth 
its pestilential vapor and polluting by unhallowed touch 
things divine and sacred, so many of the great and the wise, 
as if touched with an impulse from heaven, appear as the 
advocates of Christianity,' and present, with one accord, 
their learning, their talents, and their virtues, as an oflfer- 
ing on the altar of religion. Religious consolation, while 


jrA M Eg TJ IT.., T (ii)'^ M., ID . 


it supported him in life, shed a ray of glory around the 
dying bed of our deceased brotlier, and in his latter mo- 
ments, to the exclusion of every other concern, claimed all 
his thoughts. In the records of those eminent men who 
have supported the medical character of our country. Dr. 
Tillary will maintain a highly respectable rank ; and, 
while talents, inflexible integrity and distinguished virtue 
are held in remembrance, his memory will be cherished 
by his felloAv men, especially by that society of his native 
and adopted country, with whom he was so long and so 
intimately connected." — Funeral Address, by David Ho- 
sack, JM.D. 

TILTON, JAMES, M.D., was born of respectable pa- 
rents in the County of Kent, State of Delaware, on the 
first day of June, in the year 1745. His father died when 
he was but three years of age, and left him, with but a 
very slender provision, to the care of his mother. To the 
precepts and example of his surviving parent he always 
attributed his religious impressions, and his success and 
rapid advancement in life. In this respect our deceased 
friend was by no means singular. In every age and in 
every christian country, the powerful influence which an 
early pious education exerts through life, is strongly and 
incontestably evinced. To a mother's province this duty 
peculiarly belongs ; and I may afiirm w^ith confidence that 
there are few amongst us, who can look back upon the 
days of their childhood without acknoAvledging their obli- 
gations to a mother, for having implanted in their minds 
some great moral principle. 

His classical studies were pursued at Nottingham, Ches- 
ter County, Pennsylvania, under the direction of the Rev. 
Dr. Samuel Finley, who was afterwards President of 
Princeton College. Dr. Tilt on appears to have pursued 
the studv of the lano-uases with great success. He was 
particularly fond of the Latin poets ; and to his early at- 
tachments may be attributed, in some measure, his fond- 
ness, at a much more recent period, for a rural life. Who 
amongst his friends can forget the satisfaction he derived 
from repeating tlie fascinating descriptions of its scenes 
and pleasures as portrayed by the Mantuan bard ? 

After leaving Notting-ham he commenced the studv of 
medicme under Dr. Ridgely of Dover in this state, and 
finished his education in the Medical School at Philadel- 
phia, which was established in the year 1765, principally 
VOL. II. 17 


by the combined exertions of Drs. William Shippen and 
John Morgan, two of the most eminent physicians of that 

From the best information which I can obtain, Dr. Til- 
ton was graduated with the first class in this school upon 
which the degree of Doctor of Medicine was conferred. 
Dr. Wistar, the late celebrated Professor of Anatomy in 
the University of Pennsylvania, in his Eulogium on Dr. 
Shippen, makes the following remarks : " Dr. Adam 
Kuhn and Dr. Benjamin Rush, who had been appointed 
professors, lectured several years very successfully on Ma- 
teria Medica and Chemistry ; several graduations of Bach- 
elors of Medicine had taken place. James Tilton of Del- 
aware,* J. Ellmer of N. J., the late J. Potts, and the late 
N. Way, had taken the degree of M.D." The high stand- 
ing which he acquired whilst pursuing his studies in Phil- 
adelphia, is strongly evinced by the intimacies which he 
formed there, and which in after life ripened into friend- 
ship. The late Dr. Rush always spoke of him with re- 
spect and esteem, and the fact is incontestable that he was 
offered a professorship in this University, which is now 
unrivalled in our country, if not equal to any in the old 
world. This high and deserved honor he declined, fear- 
ing that it might interfere with his duties to his country, 
whose cause he had then ardently espoiised, and whose 
liberties he had determined to assist in effecting, or perish 
in the struggle. 

After completing his studies at Philadelphia he returned 
to his native state, and commenced the practice of medi- 
cine in the town of Dover. He was enabled to do this 
under more auspicious circumstances, in consequence of 
the pecuniary help and countenance which were afforded 
him by Thomas Collins, his friend and relative, who was 
afterwards Governor of Delaware, and distinguished for 
his talents, urbanity of manners, and great respectability 
of character. Of this strong proof of confidence Dr. Til- 
ton frequently spoke in his usual forcible terms, such as 
were peculiarly adapted to express his gratitude, Avhich 
was one of the virtues that combined to distinguish his 
character from, and exalt it above that of other men. He 

* The Thesis which he defended on being graduated as Bachelor of Medicine, 
was on Respiration. In 1771 ho received the degree of Doctor of Medicine. His 
dissertation was in Latin, and, as required by the laws of tiie college, was publish- 
ed : the subject was Dropsy. 


soon obtained a high standing and deserved eminence in 
his profession, and pursued the practice of it with success 
and reputation. In this, as in every other pursuit, his 
soul, as towering as his stature, never stooped to unfair 
means to further his views. He was a generous rival ; dis- 
daining low artifice, he invariably treated his medical 
brethren with respect and generosity ; honor and a con- 
scious rectitude of intention, by which he invariably re- 
gulated his conduct, forbade him to descend to those 
means which always mark the base and illiberal. He con- 
tinued in pi'actice until the year 177G, the year in which 
America was declared free and independent, a year sacred 
to freedom. He now combined tlie characters of patriot 
and physician. Being strongly impressed with the enthu- 
siasm of the times, he relinquished a lucrative profession, 
his friends and his home. He entered as a surgeon the 
Delaware regiment, vvitli ^ 25 a montii, and connected his 
own with the doubtful fortunes of his country. He con- 
tinued with the regiment during the campaign ; was with 
it at the battles of Long Island and White Plains ; and had 
the mortification to accompany the American army in the 
celebrated retreat, when driven by a superior and relent- 
less enemy from the North river to tlie Delaware. He 
was then ordered to Wilmington with sucli of the soldiers 
as had escaped with their lives from the inclemency of the 
season, their hardships and exposures, and the swords of 
the foe, but who were unable to do duty. He was quar- 
tered in this town during tlie winter, and was fully em- 
ployed in rendering those kindnesses to his wretched 
wounded countrymen, for which he was so eminently 
qualified by his disposition and profession. 

Before the next campaign opened, Avithout any solicita- 
tion on his part, he was called to the hospital department 
in the army. The greatest disorder existed here, and the 
mortality of the soldiers was almost unprecedented. The 
system which had been adopted, rather invited and pro- 
duced diseases, than cured tliem. The purvey orship of 
the hospital and the medical department, properly so call- 
ed, were invested in the same persons. In speaking of the 
monstrous absurdity of this arrangement, Dr. Tilton says, 
" I mention it, without a design to reflect on any man, 
that in the fatal year 1777, when the Director General had 
the entire direction of the practice in our hospitals, as well 
as the whole disposal of the stores, he was interested in the 



increase of sickness and the consequent increase of expense, 
as far at least as he would be profited by a greater quanti- 
ty of money passing through his hands." And again, " It 
would be shocking to humanity to relate the history of 
our General Hospital in tlie years "77 and '78 ; when 
it swallowed up at least one half of our army, owing to a 
fatal tendency in the system to throw all the sick of the 
army into the general hospital ; whence crowds, infection 
and consequent mortality, too affecting to mention." 

In the year 1777 the British advanced to Philadelphia ; 
and he directed the hospitals at Princeton, New-Jersey, 
where he narrowly escaped with his life from an attack of 
hospital fever. His sufferings from this disease must have 
been of a most distressing kind ; and his recovery was al- 
most a miracle. At one period of his disease eleven sur- 
geons and mates, belonging to the hospital, gave him over, 
and only disputed how many days he should live. Pro- 
vidence ordered otherwise. To his friend the late Dr. 
Rush, and the attention of a benevolent lady in the neigh- 
borhood he chiefly attributed his recovery, which was 
slow and painful. The cuticle scaled off from his skin, 
his hair gradually combed from his head, and, to use his 
own forcible language, he was reduced to '" skin and 
bone." It was nine months before he was again fit for 
active duty. As soon as he was able to travel he returned 
to Delaware, and visited on his way the different hospitals 
at Bethlehem, Reading, Manheim, Lancaster and New- 
port, which he found generally^in a state of great disorder. 
His experience enabled him to remedy many of the defects, 
and to arrest in some measure the mortality which existed. 
In the campaigns of '78 and '79 he directed the hospitals 
in Trenton and New Windsor. All his contemporaries 
bore ample testimony to the able and indefatigable man- 
ner in whicli he performed the duties of hospital surgeon. 
In the hard winter of '79 and '80 he made the experiment 
of " the liospital huts" ; the hint he took from Marshal 
Saxe. His improvements exceeded his most sanguine cal- 
culations ; they consisted in having an earthern floor, in- 
stead of wood, with a hole in the centre of the roof for the 
purpose of allowing the smoke to escape from the fire, 
which was made in the middle of the hut. 

So deep was his conviction of the absurdity and inhu- 
manity of t.'ic existing hospital arrangements, that in the 
year '81 he determined to resign his situation in the army. 


unless they were radically changed. He visited Philadel- 
phia for the purpose, and delivered to the Medical Com- 
mittee of Congress his observations in writing, pointing 
out the leading principles to be observed in forming a plan 
for conducting military hospitals. Although they were 
acknowledsed to be correct, Congress was so much en- 
gaged with other business, that this was not immediately 
attended to. 

About this period a financier was appointed to examine 
into and report a plan for the general reform of the army, 
and was also instructed to direct his attention to the medi- 
cal department. To this gentleman Dr. Tilton applied in 
person, and submitted to him his views and observations, 
by whom they were approved, and he had the satisfaction 
to obtain his assurance that he would immediately report 
upon the subject. The observations submitted in writing 
by Dr. Tilton, were placed in the hands of Drs. John 
Jones, Hutchinson and Clarkson, and they perfectly coin- 
cided in opinion with him. He Avas called into their con- 
sultations, and his principles were so far established as to 
constitute tlie great outlines of hospital arrangement and 
practice from that time to the present day. The complete 
success of his exertions tended greatly to increase the high 
and deserved standing which he had acquired with the 
army and the public. 

About this time he was elected a Professor in the Uni- 
versity of Pennsylvania, to which I have already referred ; 
which office he declined from motives of the purest and 
most high minded patriotism. He accompanied the Ame- 
rican army to Virginia, where he had the satisfaction of 
being present at the surrender of Lord Cornwallis, at 
Yorktown, which was soon followed by a full acknow- 
ledgment of the liberty and independence of his country. 

When the army was dislianded he returned to his native 
state, and recommenced the practice of medicine in Dover, 
in 1782. He had exhausted his pecuniary resources dur- 
ing the war, and, like many others, was paid for his faith- 
ful services in the depreciated certificates of the United 
States, Avhicli were of little more use than to remind him 
of the honorable part he had taken in the struo^gle which 
had terminated so propitiously. His patriotism still sup- 
ported him, and he applied himself with increased assi- 
duity to his profession. He was a member of the Old 
Congress in '82, and was elected repeatedly as a member 


of the State Legislature, which assured him that his fellow 
citizens delighted to honor the man who had devoted his 
time and talents to their service. 

He had just reestablished himself in practice, and was 
about acquiring that independence and easy competence 
which was his only ambition, as related to matters of a 
pecuniary kind, when the unhealthy climate of Kent began 
to make such inroads upon his constitution, that he was 
obliged to "fly for his life" to the hills of New Castle 
county. He established himself in this place, where he 
soon obtained his full share of practice, and secured to an 
unusual degree the confidence of the people. The profits 
of his profession, together with the emoluments of the 
office of Commissioner of Loans, made him easy in his 
circumstances, and enabled him to enjoy the society of his 
friends, which was always peculiarly agreeable to him. 
Soon after this period a change took place in the general 
government, to whose measures Dr. Tilton was at that 
time conscientiously opposed ; and, acting fully up to 
those high principles which always regulated his conduct, 
he resigned liis office, and devoted himself with more ar- 
dor to the practice of medicine and to the pleasures of hor- 
ticulture, of which he was particularly fond. 

His medical fame was established on so broad and sub- 
stantial a basis, as to defy the ravages of time or the ma- 
chinations of the envious and malicious. As he advanced 
in his profession, he was peculiarly fond of assisting merit 
and genius whenever an opportunity offered. To young 
practitioners he was uncommonly kind and indulgent ; 
instead of opposing, he assisted their exertions ; when he 
could with propriety, he took them by the hand, and re- 
commended them to the support and patronage of the 
public ; if their promise did not entitle them to this signal 
display of generosity, he most studiously refrained from 
saying any thing which might, in the most remote manner, 
militate against their advancement. He doubtless met 
with some who returned his kindness with ingratitude ; 
but there were others, who ever remembered this friend 
of their youth with feelings of respect and esteem. I 
would here mention a strong instance of the display of the 
noble qualities which adorn our nature, as occurred in the 
case of the late celebrated Dr. Edward Miller of New- 
York. By the assistance and patronage of Dr. Tilton he 
was enabled to overcome the difficulties which surround- 


ed him in early life. He was not only advised as a friend, 
but he was invited to commence the practice of medicine 
in the same town with himself. He tliere began that pro- 
fessional career which terminated with so much honor to 
himself, to his native state, and was so highly gratifying to 
his benefactor, of whose numerous acts of liberality and 
friendship he always spoke in the strongest terms of regard 
and veneration. 

As a physician, Dr. Tilton was bold and decided ; he 
never temporized with disease. His remedies were few in 
number, but generally of an active kind. He considered 
the functions of the skin of the very first importance, and 
his remedies were generally directed to restore them to a 
healthy state, when deranged. There were few physi- 
cians who possessed more candor or exercised it to a great- 
er extent towards their patients than Dr. Tilton. When 
interrogated, he would freely express his opinion as to the 
nature and probable issue of a disease, whether favorable 
or otherwise, however unpalatable it might be. He never 
visited or dosed the sick unnecessarily, thereby picking 
their pockets, as he justly termed it, and from this cause 
he was more frequently dismissed from families than from 
any other. He had no secrets in medicine, he was supe- 
rior to any and every species of quackery. He certainly 
stood at the head of his profession in this state ; his natu- 
rally strong and discriminating mind peculiarly fitted him 
for consultations, and for many years before his death 
scarcely a case of any consequence occurred within the 
circle of his practice, in which more than one physician 
was necessary, but his advice was requested. 

After practising medicine with uncommon success and 
reputation for several years in Wilmington, he pur- 
chased and improved a small farm in its vicinity, to which 
he removed, and indulged his taste for horticulture. In 
this situation, noted for his hospitality to all who visited 
his friendly roof either for the benefit of his advice and 
experience or the pleasures of social intercourse, he was 
found at the commencement of the late war, in 1812. 

Although for several years preceding this period he had 
retired in a great measure from the busy pursuits of the 
world and the active duties of his profession, he had the 
high honor conferred upon him, of being appointed Phy- 
sician and Surgeon General of the army of the United 
States. He was fully sensible of the distinguished confi- 


dence thus reposed in him by his government ; yet it was 
not without deep reflection and no little hesitation, that he 
eventually determined to accept the appointment, which 
he did, after receiving assurances that his ofiice should be 
chiefly ministerial, and his residence principally at Wash- 

In July, 1813, he commenced a journey to the northern 
frontier, and examined all the Hospitals in his route ; he 
arrived at Sackett's Harbor in August of the same year. 
He found here, as he often said, the filthiest encampment 
that he had ever seen, and the mortality was as great as he 
had ever known it during the war of the revolution. He 
immediately requested a Medical Board, with a field ofiicer 
to preside ; this was granted, and the salutary change, 
made in the main army according to the principles laid 
down in his printed work upon Military Hospitals, soon 
extended itself along the whole lines from Lake Erie to 
Lake Champlain. The wholesom.e provisions which he 
introduced, soon arrested the mortality and destroyed the 
infection of the " Lake Fever," as it was called, wliich had 
become so alarming as to threaten the destruction of the 
whole army, and put an entire stop to enlistments. 

In the spring of 1814 he again contemplated a visit to 
the Northern frontier, passing the range of hospitals on 
the sea coast, to go by Plattsburgh to the Lakes. In this 
he was disappointed in consequence of an obstinate tumor 
which made its appearance in his neck ; and in July a 
more formidable disease affected his knee, which rendered 
locomotion extremely difficult, and from which he suffer- 
ed the most acute and agonizing pain. This disease rapidly 
increased, and in 1815, to preserve his life, it became ne- 
cessary to amputate the limb above the knee joint ; the 
operation was performed on the 7th of December in that 
year. To an intimate friend who was present, whilst the 
surgeon was taking off" the limb, he spoke of it as the 
greatest trial to which he had ever been exposed. But his 
religion and fortitude did not desert him on this trying 
occasion ; when he had once made up his mind to submit 
to it, he remained as firm as the pyramid in the tempest, 
and, whilst his friends sympathized around him, he calmly 
gave directions to the surgeon and medical assistants. 
This fact alone, when we consider his age which was then 
upwards of seventy, and his previous suflferings, incontest- 
ably proves his mind to have been one of no common. 


texture. An intimate friend of his who was present on 
this painful occasion, after speaking of the extraordinary 
firmness with which he bore the operation, says " for sev- 
eral days and nights after the amputation, I had the grati- 
fication of watching with and comforting him in his lonely, 
dreary, bachelor's abode, where the balm of female ten- 
derness and sympathy never mitigated a pang, nor com- 
pensated for a woe, but where masculine aids, rough as 
they are, were alone employed to sooth and cheer the 

Although Di'. Tilton never married, he was always a 
strong advocate for this happy condition of man. He was 
an ardent admirer of the fairest and best part of creation, 
and, whatever might have been his disappointments in 
early life, he never allowed them to warp his judgment 
or vitiate his taste. The high regard and esteem which 
this class of his patients always entertained for him, whilst 
in the practice of his profession, speak volumes in his 
favor. And I would fain believe that there are some who 
have not forgotten the good " old bachelor," and recol- 
lect with mournful pleasure the satisfaction they enjoyed 
whilst partaking of his virgilian suppers. 

Dr. Tilton was fond of young company, and took a 
deej) interest in the success in life of the rising generation. 
He was as mindful of posterity as if he had been sur- 
rounded by a family of his own. From most old persons 
he differed materially as it regarded his opinion of the times 
and generation in which he lived. Instead of inveighing 
against the manners and customs of the age, he rose supe- 
rior to such illiberality, and bore ample testimony to the 
improvements which are making in the arts and sciences, 
the advancements of religion, and the rapid march of lib- 
eral principles in politics. Indeed he was so well pleased 
with his own times that he often declared, when quite ad- 
vanced in life, that, could he have had his choice of the 
different periods of the world, he would have selected the 
present in which to live. 

Our deceased friend was a real christian. He was inti- 
mately acquainted with the scriptures ; and, although he 
had frequently perused them, and regulated his conduct 
according to their principles as far as his imperfect nature 
would permit, yet during the latter period of his life they 
became his principal study, and from them he derived 
those consolations which enabled him to bear disease with- 
voL. ri. IS 


out a murmur and to meet cleatli without being conscious 
of his sting. The vicarious righteousness of Christ, his 
favorite doctrine, he was fond of introducing in conversa- 
tion upon proper occasions, as well for the benefit of his 
fellow beings, as for the glory of the author of this system 
of faith. His religion was of that ennobling sort Avhich 
testifies to its own worth. His feelings ran naturally in 
the channel of devotion ; and he reposed upon the scheme 
of salvation as the resting place ordained by the Deity for 
the soul of man. 

Dr. Tilton departed this life on the 14th of May, 1822, 
having lived seventy-seven years, wanting seventeen days ; 
on the very day of the last annual meeting of this Society, 
whose President he had been for many years, and at the 
reorganization of which no man could have been better 
pleased. He considered its resuscitation, with its enlarged 
powers, as constituting a new era in the medical history of 
his native state. He was one of the earliest members of 
our Society, and soon became one of its highest orna- 

His friend Mr. J. Bellach, in whose arms he died, in 
giving me an account of his death, writes thus : " I arriv- 
ed at Dr. Tilton's at 3 o'clock in the afternoon, and at 4, 
the good old gentleman bade adieu to this world. His 
mental faculties were not perceptibly impaired by his last 
illness, nor did he appear to suffer much, if any pain. I 
felt a peculiar, though certainly a melancholy satisfaction, 
in witnessing the peaceful exit, and in closing the eyes of 
this long tried and faithful friend of my father, and of my 
father's house ; the man of whom I have the earliest recol- 
lection ; whom 1 was taught from my cradle to love and 
to honor, as I have done at all times and upon all occa- 
sions, most cordially. 

" In whatever view we may consider the character of Dr. 
Tilton, we shall find many traits to distinguish him from 
other men. He was in many respects an original ; wholly 
unlike most other men in person, countenance, manners, 
speech, gesture and habits. His height was about six feet 
and a half, and his structure slender. His face is admira- 
bly portrayed in a painting taken by Otis, and now in the 
possession of his nephew, Dr. James Tilton. Whether he 
walked or sat still ; whether in conversation or mute ; 
whether he ate, drank or smoked ; whether in a grave 
mood, or indulging in his loud laugh, all was in a style 



peculiar to himself and most remarkable." For honesty 
and frankness he was proverbial ; in these important points 
he had fev/ equals, certainly no superiors. His whole life 
afforded a luminous example of the effects of deep rooted 
principles and moral rectitude upon the conduct of men ; 
and we have the fullest assurance to believe that he has 
reached those realms of peace andpiappiness, from Avhich 
he can never be separated ; and has become the " just 
man, made perfect." — Eulogy to the memory of Dr. Tilton 
delivered before the Medical Society of Delaware, by A, 
McLane, M.D. 

The followinS'from Dr. James Mease may be added to 
the foregomg. 

Dr. Tilton suffered severely by the hospital fever, 
which, for some months|after the cessation of the morbid 
action in his corporal system, affected his mental faculties, 
and produced a mild derangement, but from which he en- 
tirely recovered. He built a neat stone mansion on a high 
hill in the rear of Wilmington, and amused himself by 
attending to the cultivation of his farm and a large garden. 
In 1776 he was elected a member of the American Philo- 
sophical Society. Dr. Tilton was a sincerely pious man, 
and lived and died a bachelor. But he revered the mar- 
riage life, and once told me that he thought the most pleas- 
ing sight in the world was a man quietly sitting by his fire 
side with his wife and children. He was of a tall thin 
habit, dark hair, dark complexion and of a very cheerful 
disposition ; enjoyed a merry story and hearty laugh- 

Dr. Tilton's publications were 1. Economical Observa- 
tions on Military Hospitals ; a A^ery judicious perform- 
ance, highly approved by Dr. Rush :* 2. A paper on the 
Curculio Insect which for several years past has proved so 
destructive to the Fruit in the United States : 3. a paper 
on Peach Trees and the Diseases and Insects to which 
they are subject : 4. On the Propriety of a Farmer living 
on the Produce of his own Land. This last is a very in- 
teresting paper, and should be read by every farmer. He 
contended strenuously for the affirmative of the proposi- 
tion, and that farmers should reject the use of all foreign 
articles, particularly tea and coffee. His own practice wa3 

* 1. A pamphlet. 2. See Dr. Mease's edition of Willich'a Domestic Encyclo- 
pedia. 3. Memoirs of Philadelphia Society for Promoting Agriculture, Vol. I. 
4. Do. Vol. III. 

140 «AMES TlLTOJt. 

in strict conformity to the views he promulgated, for he 
assures us " he does not own either tea cups or saucers, 
and yet is at no loss to entertain his friends agreeably." 
As a bachelor Dr. T. could easily indulge in his rejection 
of all foreign commodities ; but it would be somewhat 
difficult to copy his practice where a lady is to be consult- 
ed ; neither would it be desirable to do so, even if she 
agreed to the disuse of articles which have become of the 
first necessity, and could be no more dispensed with than 
beef or mutton. 5. Answers to Queries on the State of 
Husbandry in the Delaware state.* The queries had been 
proposed by the Abbe Tepier, of the Academy of Sciences 
of Paris, and were published by them ; they were intended 
to obtain information on the mode of farming, and general 
state of agriculture by the Consul General of France, 
Mons. de Marbois. The number of queries was fortj'- 
four ; Dr. Tilton was the only person who complied with 
the request of the society to answer them. 

The following is an extract of a letter from Dr. T. to a 
friend, dated Williamsburgh, 16th December, 1781. 

After the departure of General Washington the French 
quartered themselves upon the people of this and some 
other towns, a la mode militaire, and gave no small 
offence ; but they are now dancing them into a good hu- 
mor again by a ball every week. I had myself a petite 
guerre with a French officer, by which I was turned out 
of my quarters, and consequently came off but second best. 
Being summoned before Count Rochambeau to answer for 
my rebellious conduct, I received a long lecture on the 
subject of politeness to friends and allies, with intimations 
of his power to punish obstinacy. Although I was put 
into quarters equally good with those I was compelled to 
leave, I must confess I did not perfectly understand the 
French politeness in the mode of exchange. The old 
count, I believe, has either forgot or forgiven me, as a day 
or two ago he gave me an invitation to dine with him. 
It must be mortifying to our poor fellows to observe the 
comfortable and happy life of French soldiers. They ap- 
pear on parade every day like fine gentlemen, as neat as 
their officers, and hardly to be distinguished from them. 
They are paid once a week, and by their hapjjy counte- 
nance appear to want nothing. A sentinel is not allowed 

• Colunabikn M»gaiin«, Vol. V. 


to stand upon duty without a warm watch coat in addition 
to Ids other clothing. The officers treat the soldiers with 
attention, humanity and respect, and appear to employ all 
the means necessary to inspire them with sentiments of 
honor. Except some horse jockeying and plundering, at 
the reduction of York, I have heard of no stealing among 
them. Theft is said to be a crime held in universal ablior- 
rence by them. I have not seen or heard of any instance 
yet of a French soldier being whipped. Their desertions, 
I believe, have been rare, and their sickness but little. 

TREVETT, SAMUEL R., M. D. M.M.S.S., Surgeon 
in the navy of the United States. He was born at Mar- 
blehead, in the county of Essex, State of Massachusetts, in 
the year 1783. He was the son of Captain S. R. Trevett, 
who commanded a company of artillery, and was distin- 
guished for his coolness and gallantry on the memorable 
17th of June, 1775, at the battle of Bunker's Hill ; and 
who is still living in the service of his country, an active, 
intelligent and honorable gentleman. 

Dr. Trevett received the rudiments of his education at 
Exeter, under the care of that excellent instructer, Benja- 
min Abbott, Esq., to whom New-England owes much for 
his assiduity and talent in forming the minds and fixing the 
morals of her youth. This pupil of his entered Harvard 
University in the year 1800, and was graduated in 1804. 
Among his classmates Trevett was noticed for his mod- 
esty, intelligence and affectionate disposition. Most of 
his college acquaintance were his fast friends, and not 
one of them his enemy. The best judges of the head and 
heart of a young man are found among his contempora- 
ries and competitors, for they form their opinions of char- 
acter before the distinctions of the world have influenced 
or corrupted their judgments. 

On leaving college Trevett pursued his professional 
studies with Dr. Holyoke of Salem, and completed his 
medical education with the late Dr. John Warren ; with 
both of these great men he was a favorite pupil, which 
alone was sufficient to introduce him to notice and atten- 
tion. He commenced his professional course in Boston ; 
but, being naturally of a chivalrous cast of character, he 
sought and readily obtained an appointment in the medi- 
cal department of the navy. He preferred this situation, 
which promised variety and incident, to the most flatter- 
ing prospects of city practice. At this time his imagina- 


tion was prolific in calling up the brightest visions of the 
future glories of the American Navy, and, although retir- 
ing and cautious on other topics, he was enthusiastic and 
eloquent on this. With these sentiments, he with all his 
soul united his fortunes and his fame to the navy. All 
who have been under his professional care, from the 
proudest officer to the humblest sailor, have borne testi- 
mony to his fidelity, zeal and ability in the discharge of 
his duty at home, on shipboard and abroad ; every 
where, and in all situations in which he could do good, 
his exertions were not wanting. He was in the Constitu- 
tion during her cruise just before the last war, and then 
had an opportunity to show his skill, humanity and assi- 
duity in attending the sick, while a distressing and malig- 
nant disease was raging among her officers and crew. He 
was on board the Frigate United States when she captured 
the Macedonian ; and also in the President when she was 
captured by a British Fleet, and after this event he fol- 
lowed the sick and wounded until they were healed or re- 
turned to our shores. Wherever he acted he conquered 
the hearts of those around him, above or below him. 
Hull has certified his distinguished merits ; Lawrence and 
Perry loved him ; and Decatur requested his professional 
attention when he was about to finish with a sad catastro- 
phe the last scene in the eventful drama of a gallant life. 
Trevett arrived when it was too late to remonstrate or 

As a politician he never suffered his opinion to inter- 
fere with his duty ; as a moralist he never yielded to sit- 
uation or accident ; and even pecuniary temptations, which 
often assail men with much violence, were powerless when 
opposed to his invincible integrity. He shrunk from no 
danger, however appalling, when he could do good to his 
fellow men. One instance of this exalted cast of mind, 
among many which might be named, should never be for- 
gotten. He was a passenger in the steam boat Phenix, 
which Was burned on lake Champlain, on the night of the 
5th of September, 1819. He was among the first alarmed 
by the cry of fire ; coming on deck he saw the general 
danger, and calmly took the lead in preparing the small- 
er boat for the safety^'of the passengers, and assisted the 
ladies to get into it, which was no easy task, for they 
were wild and frantic with fear, and rushed together in 
confusion to leave the scene of horror- He decided when 


she was full and could take no more of them with 
their husbands and friends. He then cut the rope which 
held her to the side of the burning vessel, and cast her off 
withotit making any effort for his own personal safety, 
and until all the passengers had left the deck he never 
took heed for himself. At this moment he saw a woman 
who had returned from the small boat to get some valuables 
she had left in the cabin, but she had gatliered them too 
late, for when she came on deck the boat had gone. She 
gazed on the scene with an inexpressible look of despair, 
and in silence precipitated herself back into the cabin to 

f)erish. Dr. Trevett, at this crisis alone on the deck, cast 
lis eye on the water and saw another small boat partly 
full of men. The crew and a few others had taken this 
boat, and kept still that it might not be overloaded ; she 
had met with some difficulty in getting clear of the ves- 
sel. He threw himself among them. He then examined 
the boat ; and, finding she had the capacity of carrying 
several more people than she had taken, he used every ar- 
gument and persuasion to induce his companions to stop 
and look for some of the unfortunate persons who were in 
the water, and that there were many in this situation he 
had no doubt, but selfishness and fear were opposed to his 
benevolent entreaties, and they Avould not stay an instant ; 
but when they had reached tlie land he found men to go 
back with him in the same boat, and they had the good 
fortune to rescue several from destruction, who had been 
struggling for a long time in the water. In the first ac- 
count which reached us of this sad disaster, it was stated 
that Dr. Trevett had perished in the flood or the flames, 
but Providence had not so destined him to die. Such ex- 
ertions of disinterested benevolence, and such bravery, 
have no parallel in the hero's life. When foe meets foe, 
glory attends the mastery ; the patriot who dies for his 
country, pours out his blood before a nation's eyes ; and 
the martyr soothes his agonies at the stake by visions of 
immortality ; but this magnanimity, this disinterested con- 
duct in such an emergency, this thoughtlessness of self in 
the welfare of others, should be honored beyond the 
praise due to skill or bravery. The passengers wlio first 
landed, supposed he must have perished ; several of them, 
after arriving at their distant homes, persevered in their 
inquiries till they learned his escape, his name and resi- 
dence, and addressed to him their heartfelt thanks. 


Dr. T. served in the Frigate Constitution, under Cap- 
tains Bainbridge and Hull, till her return from France in 
the winter of 1812 ; this ship was then paid off and taken 
into dock. Averse to an indolent life on furlough ashore, 
he determined to resign his commission and renew his 
professional practice ; but Secretary Smith assured him 
that war would soon be proclaimed, and solicited him 
to take back his commission ; this he readily did and 
joined the Frigate United States, Captain Decatur. In 
this ship he sailed with the squadron of Commodore Rog- 
ers on the long cruise in pursuit of the Jamaica fleet ; and, 
as our ships, by the improvidence of Government, had 
not been properly equipped for sea before the declaration 
of Avar, the United States on her arrival in Boston har- 
bor had 140 of her crew sick with the scurvy, and many 
of them slung in their hammocks with that distress- 
ing disorder. When Captain Decatur took command of 
the President, Dr. T. was transferred to that frigate, and 
was taken prisoner and carried to Bermuda at the cap- 
ture of the President by the British squadron. At the close 
of the war for his faithful services he was appointed Sur- 
geon of the Navy Yard at Charlestown, and in addition to 
the scanty pay of Surgeon he then was entitled to receive 
such emoluments and perquisites as rendered his situation 
easy. But here his greatest misfortune awaited him. 

It is greatly to be deplored that a man of so pure and 
amiable a spirit as Dr. T., should by any unfortunate inci- 
dent incur the displeasure of his superiors. In this in- 
stance, however, instead of impeachment of his character, 
the result has evinced the purest integrity and moral vir- 
tue. Being summoned to give evidence against an officer 
of rank charged with defrauding the public, his evidence 
gave offence to some in authority, though he was uncon- 
scious of any improper bias, but aimed to be impartial 
and honorable, that he might subserve the cause of just- 
ice and the public interest. In consequence of this Dr. 
T. was deprived of the station to which he was, by usage, 
justly entitled by his services and merits, and was ordered 
on a cruise in a vessel of an inferior class. It is alleged 
by one of the writers of the obituary notices that by the 
base arts of intrigue and malice the secretary of the navy 
was deceived respecting his character, and was prevailed 
on to deprive Dr. T. of his station. He was now ordered 
io take his station as Surgeon on board the sloop of war 


Peacock, Captaia Cassin, bound on a cruise to the West 
Indies in the warm season of summer. The order was 
promptly obeyed, though Dr. T. was well aware of his 
personal hazard under existing circumstances. In a letter 
to a friend written on board the Peacock, then dropping 
down the Potomac, dated July 18th, 1822, he observes, 
"Every care will be taken, I dare say, by the captain and 
officers to preserve the health of the crew ; but at this 
particular season, to remain any while in or near the Ha- 
vana with a healthy ship's company, is entirely out of the 
question. My situation will expose me in an eminent de- 
gree to the sickness of this climate. I have never called 
on any person in authority since my arrival here. At the 
present time I pi-efer the chance of a West India cruise to 
the arduous, and perhaps odious, task of attempting to i"e- 
move the prejudices which have been so studiously excited 
against me in the minds of those in power. I am no cour- 
tier. If influential men are against me, I have the pleas- 
ure to know that all others, officers and citizens, army 
and navy, are in my favor." 

Dr. T. was seized with yellow fever, and fell a sacri- 
fice at Norfolk on board the Peacock, November 4th, 
1822. In the latter part of his life there was a soft and, 
as it were, a religious melancholy diffused through all his 
actions. He seemed to take delight in contemplating the 
character of the aged, and in holding commiinion with 
those on the confines of another world. His character 
combined those qualities that command respect, and win 
entire confidence and the warmest attachment. Unsus- 
pected integrity, the highest sense of honor, delicacy of 
manners, dignity of deportment, and elegance of person, 
were united with powerful intellect, and with extensive 
and various attainments in polite literature and profes- 
sional science. A few years before his death, he married 
a lady of New-York, but she died soon after the birth of a 
son. The child is living, but too young to fully under- 
stand his loss ; at a future day he will enjoy the rich in- 
heritance of an unsullied name and unspotted reputation 
from his father. For some time before Dr. T. sailed on 
his last cruise, he had employed his leisure hours in col- 
lecting materials for the biography of American physi- 
cians ; from his diligence, taste, and habits of research, a 
valuable and interesting work might have been expected, 
if his life had been prolonged. 
VOL. n. 19 


TUDOR, ELIHU, M.D. was the second son of Rev. 
Samuel Tudor, minister of the third Society of Windsor 
in Connecticut. He was descended from Owen Tudor, 
who came from Wales to this country with the Puritans, 
and was one of the first planters in the town of Windsor. 
The family is descended from an ancient family of Wales, 
one branch of which for a considerable time sat on the 
English Throne. 

Dr. Tudor was born in February, 1733, and was gradu- 
ated at Yale College in 1750. For about four years before 
his death he was the first among the living on the cata- 
logue of that seminary, and it is remarkable that two oth- 
er physicians, with Dr. Tudor, were of the four oldest 
graduates for some years ; Dr. Porter of Salsbury, and 
Dr. Monson of New-Haven ; the Rev. Dr. Whitney was 
the fourth. 

After leaving college Dr. Tudor was employed in the 
business of instruction in New-Haven. Newport, and other 
places. Having a predilection for the study of medicine 
he commenced and pursued it under the direction of Dr. 
Gale of Willingworth, who stood high as a general schol- 
ar, a politician and physician. At an early period of the 
war of 1755 he joined the army, was attached to the 
medical department and continued to serve until the close 
of the war. He was in the expedition that reduced Cana- 
da under General Wolf in 1 759, and in the Army that be- 
sieged and took the supposed impregnable fortress of Ha- 
vana in 1762. At the peace in 1763 he was in England, 
and continued his connexion with the army. In this con- 
nexion he was employed in the public hospitals, and glad- 
ly improved the opportunities there presented to perfect 
his skill in his profession. About the year 1767 he was 
discharged from the army at his own request, and retired 
on half pay, which was regularly continued to him dur- 
ing life. He returned to his native country after ten 
years absence, settled in East Windsor in Connecticut 
on his paternal inheritance, and continued there till his 
death. He soon embraced an extensive course of prac- 
tice as a physician and surgeon, and was at that time almost 
the only well educated surgeon in the state. His surgi- 
cal practice was eminently successful, and he continued to 
follow it with general approbation even when the infirmi- 
tie« of 80 years seemed to require repose. 

lIMOIf TllFTS. 147 

Dr. Tudor was married soon after his return from Eu- 
rope to Miss Brewster, descendant of Elder Brewster of 
Plj^rnouth, who came over in the first ship in 1620, by 
whom he had a number of children. In his moral charac- 
ter Dr. Tudor was always Avithout reproach ; his manners 
were highly polished and gentlemanly, resulting partly 
from his early intercourse with polished society, but more 
from the native warmth of a benevolent heart. In fami- 
lies which enjoyed his stated practice he was greatly be- 
loved, and he enjoyed the strong attachment of his pro- 
fessional brethren. Dr. Tudor took an active part in tiie 
establishment of the Medical Society of the state, and was 
always a zealous advocate for the honor and improvement 
of the profession. In 1790 he received the degree of M. 
D. from Dartmouth college. He was truly a religious 
man, and althougli he became an Episcopalian in England 
and was ever after much attached to that mode of wor- 
ship, he was a regular communicant in the congregational 
church in his society for many years. He was a true 
friend to his coimtry and cherished with becoming 
ardor the growing institutions and forms of government 
of his native land, while at the same time he was a friend 
and admirer of the British government, under which he 
had so long lived. 

His family were distinguislied for longevity, two sisters 
survive him, one aged 93, the younger 76. In his latter 
years he was distinguished for an extraordinary benevo- 
lence and good will to all mankind ; he was never insen- 
sible to the smallest favor received, and was always anx- 
ious to do good to others. His decline was very gradual, 
and he sunk by old age without disease on the 6th of 
March, 1826, aged 93. He contemplated his dissolution 
with calmness, often mentioning that he had outlived all 
his early contemporaries. — Samuel B. Woodward M. D. 

TUFTS, DR. SIMON, was born in Medford, Massachu- 
setts, in January, 1700, and was graduated at Harvard Col- 
lege in 1724. He early applied himself to the study of phy- 
sic, and soon became eminent in that profession, bemg the 
first regularly bred physician in Medford. His circle of 
practice embraced ten or twelve neighboring towns, and it 
is recollected that his character and conduct were held in 
high estimation by the people, no man being more indus* 
trious or faithful in his profession, or more universally 
beloved. He was often called to visit the sick at Harvard 


College, and, though not affluent himself, his regard for 
that institution induced him to decline receiving fees from 
the students who found it difficult to support themselves. 

It is indicative of the economy, industry and good hab- 
its of that age, that, while his eldest son Simon was at 
college and boarded with Mr. Foxcraft, the county Regis- 
ter of Deeds, he was required to write in the office as a 
partial compensation. Among his medical pupils was 
General John Thomas, who at the commencement of the 
American war commanded at Dorchester Heights, and 
afterwards died with the smallpox while commander of 
our army in Canada. Dr. Tufts was appointed to various 
civil offices both in the town and county, as Justice of the 
Peace, Special Justice and Justice of the Quorum. He 
died of a convulsive asthma, January, 1746, having just 
completed his 47th year. 

Such was the respect for his character that the public 
mourned his loss, and funeral sermons were preached on 
the occasion, at Medford, Boston, Charlestown and Cam- 
bridge. The house in which he lived and which he de- 
rived from his father, is yet standing and has never been 
out of the family, and is perhaps 150 years old. 

TUFTS, SIMON, M.M.S.S., son of the preceding, 
born at Medford, January 16th, 1726, and graduated 
at Harvard College in 1744, was considered an excellent 
Latin and Greek scholar. He devoted his attention to the 
study of medicine under the care of his father ; but at his 
death two years only had been occupied in that pursuit, 
and he, being but twenty years of age, hesitated what 
course to pursue ; but by the encouragement of friends he 
resolved to attempt to supply the vacancy which his father's 
death had occasioned. His mild and excellent character, 
and the great affection and respect the people had for his 
father, acquired for him the general confidence ; and he 
happily succeeded to the circle of practice, most of which 
he retained for forty years. 

In the year 1765 a medical society was contemplated, 
and Dr. Tufts received a letter of invitation to assist in 
forming the institution ; but the reason why the project 
was not then accomplished is not known. In 1782 a fall 
from his horse caused a bleeding from his lungs, and laid 
a foundation for the disease which terminated his valuable 
life after a long confinement in July, 1786. 


Dr. Tufts is remembered as a man of uncommon skill 
and sound judgment ; his habits of researcli were unceas- 
ing, and his conversation remarkably attractive and en- 
gaging. One of the most noticed features of his deport- 
ment was perfect Chesterfieldian manners, in which respect 
few men Avere equal to him. He was revered by a large 
community, and his death was considered as a public loss. 
Such was his well known probity and honor that, on the 
settlement of his accounts after his death, the executor 
found the fullest coniidence was placed in his correctness, 
and his own books were all that were required for a satis- 
factory adjustment. The Rev. Mr. Turrell appointed him 
executor to his will, and Colonel Isaac Royall, on leaving 
the country at the revolution as a refugee, appointed him 
his agent, in which trust he was confirmed by the Legisla- 
ture. He was elected a member of the Massachusetts 
Medical Society in 1782. He was commissioned as Justice 
of the Peace in 1770, and was twice a member of the Legis- 
lature. As a practitioner he was considered as having 
adopted a mode of treatment in putrid sore throat and 
slow fever, which was uncommonly successful. 

In the year 1766 Dr. Tufts received into his family 
John Brooks, our late excellent Governor, who was then 
about 14 years old ; young Brooks was placed under his 
tuition by written indentures, as an apprentice for seven 
years. No master was ever more faithful to his trust ; and 
the pupil by his own excellent conduct through a long life 
abundantly repaid his master's care. It is a little remark- 
able that the father and son, who were noted for their 
mild domestic virtues, should educate two men who be- 
came generals in our revolutionary war. Both father and 
son were excellent examples of life and manners. 

On the family tombstone in Medford is this inscription ; 
" Both eminent in their profession. 
Just also toAvards men, and devout towards God !" 

TUFTS, COTTON, M.D. M.M.S.S. A.A.S., younger 
brother of the preceding, was born at Medford, in May, 
1731. Early in life he evinced a propensity to literature, 
and distinguished himself by regular ha1)its, diligent ap- 
plication, and respectable attainments in knowledge. In 
the 14th year of his age he was admitted a student of Har- 
vard College, and was graduated in 1749. During his 
residence in that seminary he sustained a fair, an estima- 
ble and respected character both moral and literary, 


Having imbibed a taste for the same profession as his fa- 
ther and brother, he went through a regular course of 
medical education, and fixed his residence in Weymouth, 
in which town and neighborhood his reputation and use- 
fulness were advantageously established and will be long 

He married Lucy Quincy, daughter of Colonel John 
^uincy of Braintree, and sister of Madam Smith who 
was mother of the consort of John Adams late President 
of the United States ; and this connexion was a source of 
mutual friendly intercourse during life. President Adams 
ever entertained an exalted opinion of the merit and char- 
acter of Dr. Tufts. 

On his first arrival at Weymouth the putrid sore throat 
was very prevalent and extremely mortal. Dr. Tufts in- 
troduced a mode of treatment altogether different from 
that of the established physicians of that vicinity, which 
was attended with peculiar success, and this confirmed his 
popularity and widely extended his fame. To his prac- 
tice he united courtesy, condescension, sympathy and 
kindness. While his exactions for his professional ser- 
vices from those who had the ability to make prompt and 
easy payment, were always moderate, he had a heart to 
favor and gratuitously to relieve the necessitous. His pro- 
fessional labors in the early part and in the meridian of 
his life, were extended to places considerably remote ; 
nor in advanced age did he withhold his advice and aid, 
in difficult cases, from those who were beyond the sphere 
of his usual practice. 

Eminent and highly estimable not only as a physician, 
but a man, he could not fail to rise high in the public esti- 
mation, particularly in the view of those who were the 
best judges of the worth and excellence of character. Ac- 
cordingly we find his name enrolled among the original 
members of the Massachusetts Medical Society. He was 
soon elected Vice President, and from the year 1787 to 
1795 he sustained the office of President of that learned 
body ; at which period increasing age, and the pressure 
of his other various duties, induced him to resign. The 
able manner in which he acquitted himself of the duties of 
the office, met the approbation and procured the thanks 
of the society. As a man of general erudition, he attained 
to no inconsiderable eminence. His researches were va- 
rious and extensive, judicious and accurate. We find the 


name of Dr. Tufts at the head of the list of those illus- 
trious men who in the year 1780, in the midst of Avar and 
tumult, were incorporated as the American Academy of 
Arts and Sciences ; here he sustained a character both 
honorable and influential. In the higher branch of the 
state legislature he was for many years distinguishingly 
active, patriotic, firm and of great influence. And, when 
appointed a member of the convention for adopting the 
Constitution of the United States, he expressed his attach- 
ment and devotedness to the best interests of his country, 
by giving his suffrage for that invaluable instrument. 

In the year 1765 Dr. T. wrote the spirited and patriotic 
instructions to the representatives of the town of Wey- 
mouth against the memorable stamp act. In the time of 
the war of our revolution he was chosen a member of the 
convention who undertook to regulate the prices of mer- 
chandize and country produce, and he was the only man 
who voted against that measure, which eventually proved 
to be altogether futile and ridiculous. His conduct 
through life was marked with the most rigid adherence to 
the principles of integrity, and the most ardent attachment 
to the liberties of his country. He was for several years 
President of the Trustees of the Derby Academy, and his 
unremitting and able services highly contributed to pro- 
mote the objects of that literary institution. As the pre- 
siding member of the board, he acquitted himself to the 
highest satisfaction of the associate members, who on his 
resignation of his office, a short time before his death, 
gratefully tendered him their sincere and unqualified ac- 
knowledgment of his able and faithful services. As a 
member and as the president of the Society for the Re- 
formation of Morals, his exertions to check and suppress 
the shameful and destructive practice of intemperance, and 
its kindred vices, were judicious, spirited and, it is hoped, 
in some degree effective. To reclaim the unhappy and 
wretched wanderers, was the ardent desire of his heart ; 
a desire which efficiently prompted him to laudable and 
meritorious actions. Dr. Tufts closed his valuable life 
December 8th, 1815, in the 84th year of his age 

We must not omit to notice the remaining prominent 
traits of his character, and particularly his christian vir- 
tues. He was always a rational and firm believer in the 
christian religion ; he early in life, from a sense of duty, 
made a public profession of it ; and uniformly exemplified 


its divine precepts and institutions. Few men have pass- 
ed through life with a more steady and conscientious ad- 
herence to the various duties of the christian life. During 
the space of more than forty years, he filled the office of 
deacon in the church, and discharged its duties with con- 
stancy, fidelity and good acceptance. Few men, says his 
biographer, sustained this office with more reputation and 
dignity, or discharged its duties with greater punctuality 
and unaffected, but not severe and repulsive, gravity. In 
regard to politics he was a federalist of that stamp, from 
whose sentiments considerate and judicious men of each 
party could not widely differ ; his patriotic zeal, temper- 
ed with moderation, was well worthy of imitation. In 
social life he highly distinguished himself by urbanity of 
manners, and a courteous address. In conversation he 
was pleasant, interesting and instructive. In every domes- 
tic circle he was as well the pleasant and desirable com- 
panion and the beloved and instructive friend, as the fond 
husband, the kind father, the venerable patriarch. Al- 
though in doing good and communicating, he gave no 
encouragement or countenance to the idle, to vagrants, to 
tipplers and the worthless, he was far from neglecting the 
proper objects of charity. For these he felt a generous 
sympathy, and imparted to them its genuine effects, as 
they needed. — Funeral Sermon by Rev. Mr. JSTorton. 

TURNER, DR. PHILIP, a very celebrated operative 
surgeon, was born at Norwich, Connecticut, in 1740. At 
the age of twelve, being left an orphan destitute of pro- 
perty, he was taken into the family and under the patron- 
age of Dr. Elisha Tracy of that town, who deservedly 
stood high in the public opinion as a classical scholar, a 
practical physician, and a man distinguished for his moral 
and social virtues. Here young Turner was treated with 
parental kindness, and at a suitable age commenced his 
medical studies under the eye of his patron. In the year 
1759 he was appointed assistant surgeon to a provincial 
regiment, under General Amherst, at Ticonderoga. His 
handsome person and pleasing address soon attracted the 
attention of the English surgeons, by whom he was treated 
with much courtesy, and invited to witness many of their 
capital operations. It was from the information and prac- 
tice he obtained in this school, that he laid the foundation 
of his future eminence as an operator. He continued with 
the army till after the peace of 1763, when he returned to 


the house of his benefactor, whose eldest daughter he soon 
after married, and settled in Norwich as a practitioner of 

His practice and reputation were such that, at the break- 
ing out of the revolutionary war, he was unrivalled as a 
surgeon in the eastern section of the country. During the 
first campaign he was the first surgeon of the Connecticut 
troops before Boston. He Avent with the army to New- 
York in 1776, and, in consequence of the battles of Long- 
Island and White Plains, a favorable opportunity was 
aff'orded him of displaying his professional talents as an 
operator, which gained him the highest character with the 
army. In 1777 Dr. Turner was nominated and appointed 
by Congress Director General, to superintend the General 
Hospital ; but, on a motion for reconsideration, the ap- 
pointment was given to Dr. Shippen of Philadelphia, and 
Dr. Turner was appointed Surgeon General of the eastern 
department, which station he filled with great ability till 
near the close of the war. He then returned to his family, 
and resumed his private practice. In this he continued 
with undiminished reputation till 1800, when finding him- 
self advancing in years, and feeling the fatigues of exten- 
sive country practice, he removed to New-York, consider- 
ing a city better adapted to his period of life. His busi- 
ness here was soon respectable, and he was shortly after 
appointed a surgeon to the staff" of the United States army, 
and was permanently stationed on York Island with the 
medical and surgical care of the troops in that quarter. 
This station he held at his death, which occurred in the 
spring of 1815, in the 75th year of his age. He was inter- 
red with military honors. 

Dr. Turner, though not an academical scholar, received 
a good early education, and was naturally of a ready 
mind, with much sprightliness and suavity of manners. 
To these were united a handsome person and pleasing ad- 
dress, with a kind of intuitive capacity, peculiarly qualify- 
ing him for the profession of surgery. On this subject 
his judgment was uncommonly accurate, and with a firm 
mind, and a steady dexterity of hand, his operations were 
ably performed, and attended with an almost unparalleled 
success. Dr. Shippen did him the honor to say tliat nei- 
ther in Europe nor in America had he ever seen an opera- 
tor that excelled him. In about twenty operations of litho- 
tomy, it is said that all but two cases were perfectly sue- 
VOL. 11. 20 


cessful. Dr. Turner is an instance of one rising to the 
highest professional eminence, who never studied or trav- 
elled out of his own country. — Medical Intelligencer. 

VAUGHAN, JOHN, M.D. was born in Uchland Town- 
ship, Chester county, Pennsylvania, on the 25th day of 
June, 1775. His father, John Vaughan, was a highly re- 
spectable minister in the Baptist society. Dr. V. was 
educated at Old Chester ; at which place he obtained an 
acquaintance with the classics, which, however, was ren- 
dered more perfect by his diligent and close attention to 
them in after life. He studied medicine with Dr. William 
Currie of Philadelphia, and attended the medical lectures 
in the University of Pennsylvania in 1793 and '94. 

In March, 1795, he located himself in Christiana Bridge,, 
a small village in the state of Delaware, where he contin-^ 
ued until April, 1799, when he removed to Wilmington, 
In March, 1797, he married Eliza, daughter of Joel Lewis, 
Esq., Marshal of the District of Delaware. Dr. V.'s. 
scientific attainments and success speedily introduced him 
into extensive practice in Wilmington, and acquired him a 
reputation which few men of his early age have ever had 
the good fortune to enjoy. Among his intimate friends and 
familiar correspondents, as early as 1801, we find the illus- 
trious Jefferson, Aaron Burr, John Dickerson, James A. 
Bayard, C. A. Rodney, &c. ; and, in his own profession, 
characters of equal eminence and celebrity, as Drs. Rush, 
Miller, Mitchell, Logan, the late Dr. Tilton, Caldwell, 
Davidge, &c. 

Dr. Vaughan was a Corresponding Member of the 
Philadelphia Academy of Medicine, Honorary Member of 
the Medical Society of Philadelphia, Member of the Ame- 
rican Medical Society, Fellow of the Medical and Member 
of the Philosophical Societies of Delaware. Before the 
latter society he delivered by appointment, in the town 
hall of Wilmington in the winter of 1799 and 1800, a full 
and complete course of lectures on Chemistry and Natural 
PJiilosophy. This was the first and only course which he 
ever was able to deliver ; his professional duties and en- 
gagements shortly afterwards requiring his constant and 
unremitted attention, and thereby rendering it utterly im- 
practicable for him to devote the requisite time to those 

From early life he was of a pious disposition, and ap- 
peared always fully aware of the necessity of, and the con- 


solations to be derived from religion, in passing through 
this transitory stage of existence. These feelings grew 
with his growth and strengtliened with his strength, and in 
1806, from a deep sense and full conviction of its being his 
duty, he commenced preaching the gospel in the Baptist 
church in this Borough ; which he continued occasionally, 
when his professional engagements would permit, until the 
time of his death. Believing that what is " freely receiv- 
ed, should be freely given," he never did, and never in- 
tended to receive any compensation for dispensing to his 
auditors the doctrines of the " meek and lowly Jesus." 

The talents of Dr. Vaughan were of such a nature as to 
qualify him in an eminent degree for the successful prac- 
tice of medicine. The faculties of perception and judg- 
ment, so essentially requisite in the diagnosis and cure of 
morbid actions, he evidently possessed in a remarkable 
degree ; so much so, indeed, as to be generally able to 
ascertain the nature and seat of the disease, and indicate 
the remedy, with as much promptness and facility as if he 
had seized upon the knowledge, as it were by intuition. 
His mind was active, his memory tenacious, and, being a 
most diligent student, at the age of thirty-one he had ac- 
quired such a mass of medical knowledge and experience 
as is rarely gained by a person of his years. His manners, 
talents and success entitled him to the character of a great 
physician. As a physician and chemist, he was justly emi- 
nent ; for, though snatched off in the summer of life, he 
had travelled far in the walks of science. 

In his manners and appearance he was usually sedate and 
thoughtful. But in his intercourse with the afflicted he 
was always affable and peculiarly kind and feeling. No 
man possessed more of the " milk of human kindness" 
than he ; for he was always ready and willing to adminis- 
ter not only medical aid, but, what is often of equal, if not 
superior importance, mental and spiritual comfort and 
consolation. By this peculiar talent for " administering 
to a mind diseased," and healing the wounds of a broken 
and desponding spirit, he was endeared to his patients by 
such strong and lasting ties as to be most deeply and sin^ 
cerely regretted, and never to be forgotten by them as 
long as memory retains her throne : as has been truly said 
of him, the tears of the poor and friendless bedew hiii 
memory ; for his bosom was the seat of humanity and 


feeling : kindness beamed in his countenance ; and active 
benevolence warmed his heart. 

He was truly and emphatically a hard student and an 
industrious man ; and has left such a large number of 
note books, unfinished essays, &c., that we may fairly 
infer that, if he had lived a few years longer, he would 
have contributed largely to the fund of medical litera- 
ture and information. 

During the winter of 1806, '7 his health and strength ap- 
peared to be becoming gradually impaired ; his constitu- 
tion, naturally a delicate one, was evidently yielding to 
the fatigue and exposure necessarily incident to a very ex- 
tensive and laborious practice. In obstetrics particularly, 
confessedly a very laborious branch of the profession, he 
was almost constantly more or less employed, being so 
successful and popular as to be compelled to attend to a 
great deal more of it than even a robust constitution could 
readily have endured. In March, 1807, having taken 
cold, he was attacked with a violent and distressing 
cough, slight soreness of the throat, with some indications 
of congestion in the pulmonary organs, and a high fever, 
which, after continuing for a very few days, put on the 
typhoid form, and in the course of one short week depriv- 
ed science of a bright ornament, and society of a highly 
esteemed and extensively useful member. " From all I can 
learn of his case," says his biographer, " I am strongly in- 
clined to the opinion that his disease was the Pneumonia 
typhoides, which had about that time given a few pre- 
monitory signs of the wide spread desolation it was after- 
wards to commit." 

Dr. V. died March 25th, 1807. His publications were 
an Edition of Dr. Smith's Letters ; a Chemical Syllabus ; 
and numerous communications, on a variety of subjects, 
to the Philadelphia Medical Museum, and the New-York 
Medical Repository. Dr. Vaughan published Observa- 
tions on Animal Electricity in Explanation of the Metal- 
lic Operation of Dr. Perkins. This was a pamphlet of 32 
pages, dedicated to James Tilton, M. D., President of the 
Medical Society of Delaware, 1797; the object of which 
was to explain the operation of the metallic Tractors, for 
which he was a zealous advocate. 

WALDO: DK,- ALBIGEREU, was born about the year 
1750 in the town of Pomfret, State of Connecticut. His 
education was such as was common in the district schools 


of the state at that time, with the addition of some knowl- 
edfje of tiie Latin lansuage, which he obtained from the in- 
struction of Rev. Aaron Putnam, a respectable minister of 
the gospel in the same town. At an early age he was ap- 
prenticed to a Surgeon, Dr. John Spalding of Canterbor- 
ry, under wdiose tuition he exhibited proofs of genius, and 
made good use of the scanty means of instruction to which 
he had access. ^ 

He was rapidly rising in professional reputation when, 
at the beginning of the revolutionary war, he was called 
out as a Surgeon to a Regiment of militia, and served in 
the campaign of 1776 in New- Jersey ; he was afterwards 
appointed to the same station in the Continental Army, in 
which he continued two years or more. In the battle of 
Monmouth, and in winter quarters at Valley Forge, where 
the American army underwent a general inoculation for 
smallpox, the services of Dr. W. gained liiin great repu- 
tation and contributed much to his professional knowl- 
edge. After leaving the army he practised as a surgeon 
in Windham county Avith great reputation. At one peri- 
od of his life he went to Maryland with the view of estab- 
lishing himself in the practice of surgery, but did not con- 
tinue there more than one year. Surgery was his favor- 
ite branch, though his knowledge was not confined to 
this, but embracecl all branches of the healing art. 

Dr. Waldo discovered an ardent thirst for knowledge, 
and read Avith much interest all the medical publications to 
which he could have access ; he was fond of music, paint- 
ing and drawing, and has left in manuscript some hand- 
some specimens of his poetical talent. He composed and 
delivered several orations on pul)lic occasions, and pro- 
nounced an elegant eulogy at the grave of the late Major 
General Putnam. 

The influence of Dr. Waldo was very great in forming 
a medical society in the county where he resided, which 
was the first that was formed in the state, and from this 
beginnincr, and one other society in New-Haven, arose the 
present Medical Society of the state of Connecticut. 

The benevolence and humanity of Dr. Waldo wore un- 
bounded. He felt for others more tlian for himself. He 
cared little for money, and lias been known to give his 
last dollar in charity. It will not be surprising that a 
man of this character, who practised the medical j)rofes- 
sion in the impoverished state of the country, should leave 


nothing for his family. He died in the year 1794, greatly 
lamented. A monument was erected to his memory in 
the church yard of his native place, by Moriah Lodge of 
which he had been an officer. 

WARD, DU. JOSIAH MEIGS, was a native of the 
town of Guilford in the state of Connecticut. His father 
moved into the state of New-York while he was yet 
young, and there he received his primary education. He 
pursued the study of medicine under the instruction of 
Dr. Percival of Berlin in that state, a gentleman of science 
and extensive practice, and father of Dr. Percival the 

Dr. Ward commenced the practice of medicine in the 
state of New-York ; but upon the death of Dr. Percival, 
which happened soon after, he removed to Berlin and 
took the practice of his former instructer. In the early 
part of his medical career he was distinguished as a young 
man of sound judgment, diligent application to business, 
and considerable reading. To his cases he devoted an un- 
common share of attention, and investigated their nature 
and discriminating symptoms with an ability that would 
have done honor to great experience and riper years. 
Upon the death of Dr. Hand of Worthington, whose 
friend and companion he was, he exchanged his residence 
to that flourishing and pleasant village. With a constitu- 
tion naturally firm and vigorous, an ambition highly laud- 
able to excel in his profession, and a deep and settled 
conviction of the responsibility of his station, he was in- 
defatigable in his exertions, regardless of fatigue, irregu- 
larity and bodily effort ; he made exertions and endured 
privations which would have broken down the constitu- 
tion of most men. Such a course with the ability which 
he possessed, united to an unblemished life and great mod- 
esty and propriety of deportment, could not fail to extend 
his popularity and usefulness. The testimony which all 
who knew him bore to his merit, gave a spring to the nat- 
ural elasticity of his mind and body. 

Few men in the country were more enviably situated 
than Dr. Ward, when the fatal Epidemic of 1823 first ap- 
peared in Berlin. This was the disease improperly called 
spotted fever, more justly denominated by Dr. Miner Ty- 
phus Syncopalis. Contrary to the common law of epi- 
demics, it was mild at the first, and, although it greatly 
increased the business of Dr. Ward, he was able by unex- 


ampled diligence to attend to all his calls ; and such were 
the modesty and prudence of his conduct that no unusual 
excitement was apparent in the town till the disease had 
existed a number of weeks. At length, however, the char- 
acter of the disease became more deadly, and the sudden 
illness and death of two or three respectable citizens ex- 
cited the greatest alarm and wide spread consternation ; 
and the disease made a rapid and extiinsive progress. Dr. 
Ward's activity was redoubled, day and night he was on 
the alert. He attended to all his calls, and that faithfully. 
For three months his labors were incessant and almost ini- 
exampled. During this period he allowed himself but 
four or five hours for sleep, and scarcely a night passed 
without this short repose being interrupted. All this fa- 
tigue, and anxiety, and responsibility were borne with a 
manly spirit and commendable patience. But the sever- 
est trial was in reserve for him. The severity of the 
disease and its rapid march to death, in several in- 
stances, rendered the use of energetic practice indispensable. 
The sudden fatality with which the malady was sometimes 
attended, and which no practice in the power of art could 
prevent, afforded an opportunity for the envious to assail 
his character, and they basely attempted to destroy the 
confidence and fair reputation he possessed. In the midst 
of all this trial he pursued the even tenor of his way, calm, 
selfpossessed, with full confidence in the correctness of 
his course ; he persevered with an undeviating hand, he 
discriminated with his usual sagacity, and prescribed with 
his usual judgment. It was on this trying occasion that 
the strong powers of his mind were displayed ; he was as 
unshaken as the rocks that surrounded him. The shafts 
of his enemies fell harmlessly before him, and he neither 
retorted nor censured. In the autumn tlie epidemic abat- 
ed ; the success of his practice proved the correctness of 
his judgment and principles ; upwards of five liundred 
cases of the epidemic had been treated by Dr. Ward and 
his friends, of which forty-four proved fatal. 

As his business began to decline, he found his health 
had received its first shock. The uncommon efforts of 
his mind and body, and the irregularity of his life, affect- 
ed his nervous system, impaired the tone of his stomach, 
and he was an invalid ever after. At the approach of the 
succeeding season the formidable disease reappeared ; fa- 
tigue and anxiety aggravated his cbmplaints, and made a 


second inroad upon his constitution ; and in the winter 
following his health was much impaired, though he con- 
tinued his professional duties with unabated ardor. In 
the summer of 1825 his wife was severely seized with the 
epidemic. To her Dr. W. devoted himself ; his attentions 
were unremitted, his anxiety was great, he watched for a 
long time and trembled for her safety ; at length, how- 
ever, she recovered. But his children sickened, and two 
of them died. The disease still prevailed in the town, 
and he was pressed with urgent calls. He visited a pa- 
tient in the night, unfit as he was, worn down by fatigue, 
anxiety and suffering. Feeling indisposed the next day, 
he walked abroad in the open air, took a seat on the steps 
of the church, and fell asleep ; he awoke with a chill upon 
him, and went home sick, took some light medicine, and 
continued to ride and visit his patients. His medical 
friends advised him to cease from his labors, and to con- 
fine himself, but his resolution overcame his judgment, 
and he persisted in his efforts till nature was exhausted ; 
a delirium ensued, and he sunk suddenly into the arms of 
death in the prime of his life, in the midst of his useful- 
ness, at the age of 43 years. Thus was a valuable life sac- 
rificed to the labors and toils of professional duties. 

In stature Dr. Ward was of the middle size, and well 
proportioned ; the features of his face were expressive, his 
nose aquiline, his eyes hazel, intelligent and penetrating. 
His ample forehead would have afforded a fine sample for 
the Phrenologist. 

He was a member of the Connecticut Medical Society, 
and frequently a fellow of the same in the general conven- 
tion of the state. In his domestic relations he was a kind 
and affectionate husband, an excellent parent, and firm and 
ardent friend, and his heart was full of benevolence. In 
his professional avocations his excellent c(ualities were pe- 
culiarly conspicuous. When disease and death were con- 
stantly before him the temper of his mind Avas never ruf- 
fled, although his feelings were alive to the welfare of 
others. His faculty of discrimination was of a superior 
cast, and he always took a comprehensive view of his 
patient's case, and reflected well before he decided. In 
consultation he was modest and unassuming, regarding the 
opinions of others with deference and respect. Should it 
be inquired upon what grounds Dr. W. should be subject- 
ed to the annoyance of enemies, the si)irit of envy will 


probably explain the cause. When the formidable epi- 
demic above mentioned was making its ravages in the 
sphere of his practice, of which he engrossed a large share, 
some of his opposers ridicvded the idea of its existence, 
and declared it to be altogether factitious. In this dilem- 
ma Dr. W. requested a medical council of three of his 
professional brethren, to examine into the nature of the 
disease by inspecting the cases then under his care. This 
council, consisting of respectable men, was assembled at 
the expense of some public spirited citizens, and the result 
was a full confirmation of the opinion of Dr. W., and ap- 
probation of his mode of treatment in the disease. Ey 
this expedient the excitement of the inhabitants was ap- 
peased and their confidence in his character established. 

WARREN, JOSEPH, was born in Roxbury, near Bos- 
ton, in the year 1741. His father was a respectable farmer 
in that place, who had held several municipal offices to the 
acceptance of his fellow citizens. Joseph, with several 
of his brothers, was instructed in the elementary branches 
of knowledge at the public grammar school of the town, 
which was distinguished for its successive instructers of 
superior attainments. In 1755 he entered college, where 
he sustained the character of a youth of talents, fine man- 
ners, and of a generous, independent deportment, united to 
great personal courage and perseverance. An anecdote 
will illustrate his fearlessness and determination at that 
age, when character can hardly be said to be formed. 
Several students of Warren's class shut themselves in a 
room to arrange some college affairs in a way which they 
knew was contrary to his wishes, and barred the door so 
effectually that he could not, without great violence, force 
it; but he did not give over the attempt of getting amongst 
them, for, perceiving that the window of the room in 
which they were assembled was open and near a spout 
which extended from the roof of the l)uilding to the ground, 
he went to the top of the house, slid down to the eaves, 
seized the spout, and, when he had descended as far as the 
window, threw himself into the chamber amongst them. 
At that instant the spout, which was decayed and weak, 
gave way and fell to the ground. He looked at it with- 
out emotion, said that it had served his purpose, and be- 
gan to take his part in the business. A spectator of this 
feat and narrow escape related this fact to me in the col- 
lege yard, nearly half a century afterwards, and t^e im- 

TOL. 11. 2\ 


pression it made on his mind was so strong, that he seemed 
to feel the same emotion as though it happened but an 
hour before. 

On leaving college in 1759, Warren turned his attention 
to the study of medicine under the direction of Dr. Lloyd, 
an eminent physician of that day, whose valuable life has 
been protracted almost to the present time. Warren was 
distinguished very soon after he commenced practice ; for, 
when in 1764 the smallpox spread in Boston, he was 
amongst the most successful in his method of treating that 
disease, which was then considered the most dreadful 
scourge of tlie human race, and the violence of which had 
bafflad the efforts of the learned Faculty of Medicine from 
the time of its first appearance. From this moment he 
stood high amongst his brethren, and was the favorite of 
the people, and what he gained in their good will, he nev- 
er lost. His personal appearance, his address, his courte- 
sy and his humanity, won the way to the hearts of all, and 
his knowledge and superiority of talents secured the con- 
quest. A bright and lasting fame in his profession, with 
the attendant consequences, wealth and influence, were 
within his reach, and near at hand ; but the calls of a dis- 
tracted country were paramount to every consideration of 
his own interests, and he entered the vortex of politics, 
never to return to the peaceful course of professional la- 

The change in public opinion had been gradually pre- 
paring the minds of most men for a revolution. This was 
not openly avowed ; amelioration of treatment for the 
present, and assurance of kindness in future, were all that 
the colonies asked from Great Britain — but these they did 
not receive. The mother country mistook the spirit of 
her children, and used threats when kindness would have 
l>een the best policy. When Britain declared her right to 
direct, govern and tax us in any form and at all times, the 
colonies reasoned, remonstrated and entreated for a while; 
and, when these means did not answer, they defied and 
resisted. The political w^riters of the province had been 
active and busy, and they were generally screened by fic- 
titious names, or sent their productions anonymously into 
the world ; but the time had arrived when speakers of 
nerve and boldness were wanted to raise their voices 
against oppression in every shape. Warren possessed first 
rate qualities for an orator, and had early declared* in the 


strongest terms, his political sentiments, which Avere some- 
what in advance of public opinion, for he held as tyiain!}^ 
all taxation which could be imposed by tiie Biitisli parlia- 
ment upon the colonies. In times of danger the people 
are sagacious, and cling to those who best can serve them, 
and every eye was on him in every emergency, for he had 
not only the firmnes^s and decis^ion they wished for in a 
leader, but was prudent and wary in all his plans. His first 
object was to enlighten the people, and then he felt sure 
of engaging their feelings in the general cause. He knew 
when once they began, it would be impossible to tread 
back — independence only would satisfy the country. 
With an intention of directing public sentiment, without 
appearing to be too active, he met frequently with a con- 
siderable number of substantial mechanics, and others in 
the middling classes of society, who were busy in politics. 
This crisis required such a man as they found him to be, 
one wiio could discern the signs of the times, and mould 
the ductile materials to his will, and at the same time seem 
only to follow in the path of others. His letter to Barn- 
ard, which attracted the notice of government, had been 
written several years l)efore, in 1768; but in some form or 
other he was constantly enlightening the people by his 
pen ; but it is now difficult, and of no great importance, 
to trace him in the papers of that period. The public 
was not then always right in designating the authors of po- 
litical essays. In the different situations in which he was 
called to act, he assumed as many characters as ffible has 
ever given to the tutelar god of his profession, and, like 
him, in every one of them he retained the wisdom to 
guide, and the power to cliarm. At one time he might be 
found restraining the impetuosity, and bridling the fury 
of those hotheaded politicians, who felt more than they 
reasoned, and dared to do more than became men. Such 
was his versatility, that he turned from these lectures of 
caution and prudence, to asserting and defending the most 
bold and undisguised principles of liberty, and defying in 
their very teeth the agents of the crown. 

Twice he Avas elected to deliver the oration on the fifth 
of March, in commemoration of the "massacre," and his 
orations are amongst the most distinguished produced by 
that splendid list of speakers Avho addressed their fellow 
citizens on this subject, so interesting to them all. In 
these productions generally the immediate causes of this 


event were overlooked, and the remote ones alone were 
discussed. Here they were on safe ground, for tyranny 
in its incipient stages has no excuse from opposition ; but 
in its march it generally finds some plausible arguments 
for its proceedings, drawn from the very resistance it nat- 
urally produces. These occasions gave the orators a fine 
field for remark, and a fair opportunity for effect. The 
great orators of antiquity in their speeches attempted only 
to rouse the people to retain what they possessed. Invec- 
tive, entreaty, and pride had their effect in assisting these 
mia^hty masters to influence the people. They were 
ashamed to lose what their fathers left them, won by their 
blood and so long preserved by their wisdom, their vir- 
tues and their courage. Our statesmen had a harder task 
to perform, for they were compelled to call on the people 
to gain what they had never enjoyed — an independent rank 
and standing amongst the nations of the world. 

His next oration was delivered March 6th, 1775. It 
was at his own solicitation that he was appointed to this du- 
ty a second time. The fact is illustrative of his character, 
and worthy of remembrance. Some British officers of the 
army then in Boston had publicly declared that it should 
be at the price of the life of any man to speak of the event 
of the fifth of March, 1770, on that anniversary. War- 
ren's soul took fire at such a threat so openly made, and 
he wished for the honor of braving it. This was readily 
granted, for at such a time a man would probably find but 
few rivals. Many who would spurn the thought of per- 
sonal fear, might be apprehensive that they would be so 
far disconcerted as to forget their discourse. It is easier 
to fight bravely, than to think clearly or correctly in dan- 
ger. Passion sometimes nerves the arm to fight, but dis- 
turbs the regular current of thought. The day came, and 
the weather was remarkably fine. The Old South Meet- 
ing House was crowded at an early hour. The British 
officers occupied the aisles, the flight of steps to the pul- 
pit, and several of them were within it. It was not pre- 
cisely known whether this was accident or design. The 
orator, with the assistance of his friends, made his en- 
trance at the pulpit window by a ladder. The officers 
seeing his coolness and intrepidity, made way for him to 
advance and address the audience. An awful stillness pre- 
ceded his exordium. Each man felt the palpitations of 
his own heart, and saw the pale but determined face of 


his neighbor. The speaker began his oration in a firm 
tone of voice, and proceeded with great energy and pa- 
thos. Warren and his friends were prepared to chastise 
contumely, prevent disgrace, and avenge an attempt at as- 

The scene was sublime ; a patriot in whom the flush of 
youth, and the grace and dignity of manhood were com- 
bined, stood armed in the sanctuary of God, to animate 
and encourage the sons of liberty, and to hurl defiance at 
their oppressors. The orator commenced with the early 
history of the country, described the tenure by which we 
held our liberties and property, the afl'ection we liad con- 
stantly shown the parent country, and lioldly told them 
how, and by whom these blessings of life had been viola- 
ted. There was in this appeal to Britain, in this descrip- 
tion of suffering, agony and horror, a calm and high-soul- 
ed defiance, which must have chilled the blood of every 
sensible foe. Such another hour has seldom happened in 
the history of man, and is not surpassed in the records 
of nations. The thunders of Demosthenes rolled at a 
distance from Philip and his host, and Tully poured the 
fiercest torrent of his invective when Catiline was at a dis- 
tance and his dagger no longer to be feared ; but Warren's 
speech was made to proud oppressors resting on their 
arms, whose errand it was to overawe, and whose business 
it was to fight. 

If the deed of Brutus deserved to be commemorated by 
history, poetry, painting and sculpture, shoiild not this 
instance of patriotism and bravery be held in lasting re- 
membrance ? If he "That struck the foremost man of all 
this world," was hailed as the first of freemen, what hon- 
ors are not due to him, who undismayed bearded the 
British lion, to show the world what his countrymen dar- 
ed to do in the cause of liberty ? If the statue of Brutus 
was placed amongst those of the gods, who were the pre- 
servers of Roman freedom, should not that of Warren fill 
a lofty niche in the temple reared to perpetuate the re- 
membrance of our birth as a nation ? 

If independence was not at first openly avowed by our 
leading men at that time, the hope of attaining it was 
fondly cherished, and the exertions of the patriots pointed 
to this end. The wise knew that the storm, which the 
political Prosperos were raising, would pass away in 
blood. With these impressions on his mind, Warren for 



several years was preparing himself by study and obser- 
vation to take a conspicuous rank in the military arrange- 
ments which he knew must ensue. 

On the ISth of April, 1775, by his agents in Boston, he 
discovered the design of the British commander to seize 
or destroy our few fetores at Concord. He instantly des- 
patched several confidential messengers to Lexington. 
The late venerable patriot, Paul Revere, was one of them. 
This gentleman has given a very interesting account of the 
difHculties he encountered in the discharge of this duty. 
The alarm was given, and the militia, burning with re- 
sentment, were at day break, on the 19th, on the road to 
repel insult and aggression. The drama was opened about 
sunrise, within a few yards of the house of God, in Lex- 
ington. Warren hastened to the field of action, in tlie 
full ardor of his soul, and shared the dangers of the day. 
While pressing on the enemy, a musket ball took off a 
lock of his hair close to his ear. The lock was rolled 
and pinned after the fashion of that day, and considerable 
force must have been necessary to have cut it away. The 
people were delighted with his cool, collected bravery, and 
already considered him as a leader, whose gallantry they 
were to admire, and in whose talents they were to confide. 
On the 14lh of June, 1775, the Provincial Congress of 
Massachusetts made him a Major General of their forces ; 
but, previous to the date of his commission, he had been 
unceasing in his exertions to maintain order and enforce 
discipline amongst the troops, which had hastily assem- 
bled at Cambridge aftc' the battle of Lexington. He min- 
gled in the ranks, and uy every method and argument 
strove to inspire them with confidence, and succeeded in a 
most Avonderful manner in imparting to them a portion of 
the flame which glowed in his own breast. At such a crisis 
genius receives its birth right, the homage of inferior 
minds, wlio for self-preservation are willing to be direct- 
ed. Previous to receiving the appointment of major gen- 
eral, he had been recpiested to take the office of physician 
general to the army, but he chose to be where wounds 
were to be made, rather than where they were to be heal- 
ed. Yet he lent his aid and advice to the medical depart- 
ment of the army, and was of great service to them in their 
organization and arrangements. 

He was at this time President of the Provincial Con- 
gress, having been elected the preceding year a member 


from the town of Boston. In this body he discovered his 
extraordinary powers of mind, and his peculiar fitness for 
responsible offices at such a juncture. Cautio'us in pro- 
posing measures, he was assiduous in pursuing Avhat he 
thouglit, after mature deliberation, to be right, and never 
counted the probable cost of a measure, when he had de- 
cided that it was necessary to be taken. When this con- 
gress, which was sitting at Watertown, adjourned for the 
day, he mounted his horse and hastened to the camp. Ev- 
ery day " he bought golden opinions of all sorts of men ;" 
and when the troo{)s were called to act on Breed's Hill, 
he had so often been amongst them, that his person was 
known to most of the soldiers. 

Several respectable historians have fallen in to some er- 
rors in describing the battle in which he fell, by giving the 
command of the troops on that day to Warren, when he 
was only a volunteer in the figiit. He did not airive on 
the battle ground until the enemy had commenced their 
movements for the attack. As soon as he made his ap- 
pearance on the field, the veteran commander of the day, 
Colonel Prescott, desired to act under his directions ; but 
Warren declined taking any other part than that of a vol- 
unteer, and added that he came to learn the art of war 
from an experienced soldier, whose orders he should be 
happy to obey. In the battle he was armed with a mus- 
ket, and stood in the ranks, now and then changing his 
place to encouiage his fellow soldiers by words and exam- 
ple. He undoubtedly, from the state of hostilities, ex- 
pected soon to act in his high military capacity, and it 
was indispensable, according to his views, tliat he should 
share the dangers of the field as a common soldier with 
his fellow citizens, that his reputation for bravery might 
be put beyond the possibility of suspicion. The wisdom 
of such a course would never have been doubted, if he 
had returned in safety from the fight. In such a struggle 
for independence, the ordinary rules of prudence and cau- 
tion could not govern those who Avere building up their 
names for future usefulness by present exertion. Some 
maxims drawn from the republican writers of antiqui- 
ty, were worn as their mottos. Some precepts de- 
scriptive of the charms of liberty, were ever on their 
tongues, and some classical model of Greek or Roman 
patriotism was constantly in their minds. Instances of 
great men mixing in the ranks of common soldiers, were 

168 JOSEPH WAP.RF.rf. 

to be found in ancient times, when men fought for their 
altars and their homes. The cases were parallel, and the 
examples were imposing. Wiien the battle was decided, 
and our people fled, Warren was one of the last who left 
the breast-work, and was slain within a few yards of it as 
he was slowly retiring. He probably felt mortified at the 
event of the day ; but, had he known how dearly the vic- 
tory was purchased, and how little honor was gained by 
those who won it, his heart might have been at rest. Like 
the band of Leonidas, the vanquished have received by 
the judgment of nations, from which there is no appeal, 
the imperishable laurels of victors. His death brought a 
sickness to the heart of the community, and the people 
mourned his fall, not with the convulsive agony of a 
betrothed virgin over the bleeding corse of her lover, but 
with the pride of the Spartan mother, who in the intensity 
of her grief smiled to see that the wounds whence life had 
flown, were on the breast of her son, and was satisfied that 
he had died in defence of liis country. The worth of the 
victim, and the horror of the sacrifice, gave a higher val- 
ue to our liberties, and produced a more fixed determina- 
tion to preserve them. 

This eminence has become sacred ground. It contains 
in its bosom the ashes of the brave who died fighting to 
defend their altars and their homes. Strangers from all 
countries visit this spot, for it is associated in their mem- 
ories with Marathon and Plataeae, and all the mighty 
struggles of determined freemen. Our citizens love to 
wander over this field — ^the aged to awake recollections, 
and the youthful to excite heroic emotions. The battle 
ground is now all plainly to be seen — ^the spirit of modern 
improvement, which would stop the streams of Helicon to 
turn a mill, and cause to be felled the trees of Paradise to 
make a rafter, has yet spared this halloM^ed height. 

If " the days of chivalry be gone forever," and the high 
and enthusiastic feelings of generosity and magnanimity 
be not so widely diff'used as in more heroic ages, yet it 
cannot be denied but that there have been, and still are, in- 
dividuals whose bosoms are warmed with a spirit as glowing 
and etherial, as ever swelled the heart of" mailed knight," 
who in the ecstasies of love, religion and martial glory, 
joined the war-cry on the plains of Palestine, or proved 
his steel on the infidel foe. The history of every revolu- 
tion is interspersed with brilliant episodes of individual 


prowess. The pages of our own history, when fully written 
out, will sparkle profusely with these gems of romantic 

The calmness and indifference of the veteran " in clouds 
of dust and seas of blood," can only be acquired by long 
acquaintance with the trade of death ; but the heights of 
Charlestown will bear eternal testimony how suddenly in 
the cause of freedom the peaceful citizen can become the 
invincible warrior ; stung by oppression, he springs for- 
ward from his tranquil pursuits, undaunted by opposition 
and undismayed by danger, to fight even to death for the 
defence of his rights. Parents, wives, children, and coun- 
try, all the hallowed properties of existence, are to him 
the talisman that takes fear from his heart, and nerves his 
arm to victory. In the requiem over those who have 
fallen in the cause of their country, which "Time with 
his own eternal lips shall sing," the praises of Warren 
shall be distinctly heard. 

The blood of those patriots who have fallen in the de- 
fence of republics has often " cried from the ground" 
against the ingratitude of the country for which it was 
shed. No monument was reared to their fame ; no record 
of their virtues written ; no fostering hand extended to 
their offspring ; but they and their deeds were neglected 
and forgotten. Towards Warren there was no ingrati- 
tude — our country is free from this stain. Congress were 
the guardians of his honor, and remembered that his chil- 
dren were unprotected orphans. Within a year after his 
death, congress passed the following resolution. 

" That a monument be erected to the memory of Gen- 
eral Warren, in the town of Boston, with the following 
inscription: — 





i3attle of 23ttn^er Wlh 

JUNE 17, 1775. 

Th« Congress of the United States, as an acknowledgment of his servicM and 
distinguished merit, have erected this monument to his memory. ' 

VOL. II. 22 


It was resolved, likewise, " that the eldest son of Gen- 
eral Warren should be educated from that time at the ex- 
pense of the United States." On the first of July, 1780. 
congress recognising these former resolutions, further re- 
solved, "that it should be recommended to the Executive 
of Massachusetts Bay, to make provision for the mainte- 
nance and education of his three younger children, and 
that congress would defray the expense to the amount of 
the half pay of a major general, to commence at the time of 
his death, and continue till the youngest of the children 
should be of age." The part of the resolutions relating to 
the education of the children, was carried into effect ac- 
cordingly. The monument is not yet erected, but it is not 
too late. The shade of Warren will not repine at this 
neglect, while the ashes of AVashinglon repose without 
grave stone or epitaph. 

The preceding memoir is taken from the Monthly Mag- 
azine pMblislied in Boston, June, 1823, and is the produc- 
tion of Samuel L. Knapp, Esq. 

in Maryland in the year 1764. His father was a respecta- 
ble planter, and j)ossessed a fine farm which furnished him 
with every comfort and luxury which he desired. This 
he unfortunately sold during the American war, for paper 
money which depreciated almost to nothing before he 
could invest it in other property. He afterwards remov- 
ed to Philadelphia, where he died. 

The place of Dr. Waters's early education cannot now 
be ascertained ; but it did credit to his preceptor, whoever 
he may have been. He was an excellent classical and 
English scholar. He studied medicine first under his un- 
cle Dr. William Baker, a distinguished practitioner in Ma- 
ryland, and finished it in Pltiladelphia, where he enjoyed 
the benefit of the instruction derived from a residence of 
several years in the Pennsylvania hospital and attending 
the medical lectures in the College of Philadelphia. In the 
year 178S he received the degree of Doctor of Medicine. 
The subject of his inaugural dissertation was the Scarlatina 
Cynanchica ; and according to the rules of the college it 
was written in the Latin language. He settled in Phila- 
delphia, and in the year 1791 performed a very acceptable 
task to tlie Faculty by abridging the expensive voluminous 
and verbose system of Surgery by Benjamin Bell of Edin- 
burgh, to which the late Dr. John Jones added a number 


of useful practical notes. It was published in one large 
octavo volume. 

The frame of Dr. Water^'s body was sliglit, and his con- 
stitution delicate ; and shortly after his graduation syjnp- 
toms of a pulmonary disease made their appearance. With 
the view of obtaining relief he went to the West Indies, 
and received temporary benefit. In the year 1790 he was 
united in marriage to Miss Hester Ritteiihouse. the daugh- 
ter of the eminent and amiable astronomer, David Ritten- 
house of Philadelpliia, with whom he enjoyed great liappi- 
ness during the remainder of his short life. The pulmonary 
affection, however, with which he had long been threat- 
ened, made slow, but steady progress, and in the year 
1796 he finished liis earthly career to the great regret of 
the Medical Faculty, and all iiis acquaintance. 

He was a man of great modesty and delicacy of senti- 
ment, and of polished manners ; a hard student and of ex- 
cellent talents in liis profession. Had it pleased Providence 
to spare his life, there can be no doubt tiiat he would have 
risen to eminence as a physician. He was appointed phy- 
sician to the Pliiladelphia Dispensary, and was elected 
a member of the College of Physicians of Philadelphia. — 

iJ r» fl'Jp ft S V 

WILLIAMSON, HUGH, M.D. LL.D., was a native of 
the state of Pennsylvania ; he was liorn on the 5th day of 
December, 1735, in West Nottingham township, near Oc- 
tarara river, which divides Chester from Lancaster coun- 
ty. His paients were natives of Ireland, liut tlieir earlier 
ancestors, it is believed, came originally from Scotland. 

His father, John Williamson, was an industrious trades- 
man, who had pursued his business, that of a clothier, in 
the city of Dublin. He came to America, and settled in 
Chester county, about the year 1730. 

The motlier of Dr. Williamson, Mary Davison, was a 
native of Derry ; with her father, George Davison, she 
came to this country wlien a child about three years of 
age ; on their way to America they were captured and 
plundered on the coast by Theach, the noted pirate Black- 
beard ; upon being released they arrived in Pliiladelphia. 
She died about fifteen years since, having attained iier 
90th year. Tiie parents of Dr. Williamson were married 
in the year 1731, sliortly after his father's arrival in this 
country ; and ten children, viz. six sons and four daugh- 


ters, were the fruits of that connexion. Hugh was their 
eldest son. 

His parents were both distinguished for their undeviat- 
ing integrity — their habits of industry and frugality— their 
great moral worth, and attention to the duties of religion. 
Of this parentage, Dr. Williamson was justly proud. 

His father, observing that Hugh was of a slender, deli- 
cate constitution, and that he was not likely to attain to 
that vigor that would enable him to support himself by 
manual labor, resolved to give him a liberal education. 
After having received the common preparatory instruction 
of a country school, near his father's house, he was sent at 
an early age to learn the languages at an academy estab- 
lished at New-London Cross Roads, under the direction 
of that very eminent scholar, the Rev. Francis Alison. 

Im the prosecution of his studies, while at school, he 
distinguished himself by his diligence, his love of order, 
and his correct, moral and religious deportment ; for even 
at that early age he had imbibed from his parents and in- 
structers, a due sense of that "intimate connexion which 
subsists between letters and morality, between sensibility 
and taste, between an improved mind and a virtuous 
heart."* Accordingly, under the impulse of these first 
impressions, through life he 

" all his study bent 

To worship God aright, and know his works." 

Thus prepared under the care of his eminent teachers, 
he retired from the seminary of Dr. Alison, and at his 
father's house applied himself to the study of Euclid's El- 
ements, of which in a short time lie became master. I 
may here observe that he discovered very early in life, a 
strong attachment to mathematical reasoning, and to that 
order and precision which the science of mathematics im- 
presses upon the mind ; but his absolute want of a poeti- 
cal talent was not less perceptible. 

The father no-w proposed to send his son to Europe to 
finish his education that had been so successfully begun ; 
but, as a charter had been obtained for the academy in 
Philadelphia about the time he was to have sailed, it was 
concluded that he should immdiately proceed to that city. 
Accordingly, he entered in the first class in the College of 
Philadelphia, where he remained four years ; and at the 

• Johnson. 



first commencement held in that college, on the 17th day 
of May, 1757, he received the degree of Bachelor of Arts. 
A little anterior to this period, his father and family had 
removed to Shippensburgh, Cumberland County. His 
father died in the same year that his son received his fufct 

Hugh was appointed his sole executor, and, upon the 
event of his father's death, took up his residence with his 
mother at Shippensburgh, where he remained about two 
years, during which period he in a great degree devoted 
himself to the settlement of his father's estate, personally 
collecting the debts that were due to it, and which were 
very much scattered. By the fatigue of body, in connex- 
ion with the distress of mind he experienced upon the 
death of his father, his constitution received a shock which 
induced an alarming hypochondriasis, that was only reliev- 
ed by travelling, and a release from the anxiety and care 
which his attention to business had imposed. 

As has already been intimated, Mr. Williamson's mind 
was early impressed with a sense of religion. It is a re- 
mark of an excellent writer, who duly appreciates this un- 
ion of the intellectual faculties with purity of moral char- 
acter and conduct in life, " That knowledge only is of 
value which exalts the virtue, multiplies the comforts, 
soothes the sorrow, and improves tlie general felicity of 
human intercourse."* With Mr. Williamson this sentiment 
was not a mere speculative opinion ; it entered into the 
daily practice and pursuits of his life, and that love of 
truth and virtue which philosophy had taught him as a 
dignified sentiment, Christianity consecrated as a religious 
duty. With this frame of mind, it was his original inten- 
tion, and he considered it his duty, to prepare himself for 
the ministry, at the same time believing that occupation 
to be the most honorable and useful in which he could be 
engaged, and for which his piety and education had pecu- 
liarly qualified him. " It was remarkable," says a com- 
munication which I have received from his family, " that 
before he entered upon the study of divinity, while yet 
quite a young man, he visited and prayed with the sick in 
the neighborhood, and it was pleasing to the pious of 
those days to remark the fervency and devotion with 
which this young layman approached the throne of grace." 

* Wakefield. 


During the period of his residence with his mother, 
then a widow, he devoted all his time not occupied by the 
business of his father's estate, to the study of divinity, fre- 
quently visiting Dr. Samuel Finley, an eminent divine. 
In 1759 Mr. Williamson went to Connecticut, where 
he still pursued his theological studies, and was licensed 
to preach the gospel. After his return from Connecti- 
cut, he was also admitted a member of the presbytery of 
Philadelphia. He preached but a short time, not exceed- 
ing two years, and then his preaching must have been 
only occasional ; he never was oi'dained, or took charge 
of a congregation, for his health did not permit him 
to perform the stated duties of a pastor. The infirm 
state of his health in early l.fe made it very questionable 
whether his lungs would bear the exertions of public 
speaking ; these apprehensions were now verified, for he 
became much troubled with pains and strictures of his 
chest, which led him to abandon the profession that was the 
first obje(;t of his choice, and to which he was from a sense 
of dut}' attached. The memorable controversy, too, which 
took place about that period in the Presbyterian church 
between the adherents of Mr. Whitefield, and those who 
considered themselves as the old and more orthodox party, 
also proved to him a source of great disgust, and, I am in- 
formed, had great influence in withdrawing him from his 
theological pursuits ; he accordingly left the pulpit, and 
entered upon the study of medicine. To this science, it 
appears, he also had already manifested some predilection ; 
his nephew remarks upon this subject "my mother can 
give but little information respecting the doctor's study of 
medicine ; she, however, believes that this science must 
have been a favorite study with him long before he had 
determined to attend to it regularly, as she found him, 
when studying divinity, giving directions respecting inoc- 
ulation for the smallpox." 

In the year 1760 he received tlie degree of Master of 
Arts in the College of Philadelphia, and was immediately 
after appointed the professor of mathematics in that insti- 
tution. He accepted the professorship, regarding it a 
most honorable a})pointment, but without any intention of 
neglecting his medical studies. It had been observed of 

* Dr. Williamson in 1759 preached a discourse in the First Congregational 
Church of Plymouth, Massachusetts, previous to the arrival and settlement of th« 
Rev. Dr. Chandler Robbing. — T. 


him very early in life, that he had a strong natural fond- 
ness for mathematical investigation, and it was remarked 
that, while he was a student in college, all his public ex- 
ercises and disputations partook so much of the mathe- 
matical form of reasoning, that he was considered by his fel- 
low students as an adroit and obstinate antagonist. 

On the 8th of October, 1763, as I am informed by my 
venerable friend, Bishop White, Mr. AVilliamson gave no- 
tice of his intended resignation of his professorship ; and 
in 1764 he left his native country for Europe, for the pur- 
pose of prosecuting his medical studies at the University 
of Edinburgh. 

He remained in that city, enjoying the advantages of 
instruction afforded by the lectures of the elder Monro, 
Whytte, Cullen, Home, Alston, and Dr. John Gregory, 
the author of the Legacy. During his stay in Edinburgh, 
Mr. Williamson was occasionally confined to his chamber 
or bed by intermitting fevers and pains in the breast, so 
much so that he had nearly resolved to make a visit to 
Lisbon, or some other warm climate ; but, recovering 
from these complaints at the close of the lectures, he left 
Edinburgh, made a tour through the northern parts of 
Scotland, after which he proceeded to London, where he 
remained twelve months, diligently pursuing his studies, 
and, as at Edinburgh, by his zeal attracting the notice and 
kind attentions of his instructers. From London he 
crossed over to Holland, and proceeded to Utrecht, where 
he completed his medical education. Having passed the 
usual examination, in which he displayed his classical and 
medical attainments, and having submitted to the profes- 
sors of that University a Latin thesis, he obtained the de- 
gree of Doctor of Medicine. He aftervv^ards amused him- 
self with a tour on the continent, from which he returned 
to his native country in a state of health considerably 

After his return Dr. Williamson practised medicine in 
Philadelphia for some years with great success, as it re- 
spected the health of his patients, but with painful effects 
as it regarded his own. By the occasionnl loss of sleep, 
to v^hich he was necessarily exposed, his constitution soon 
became considerably impaired ; and so acute was his sen- 
sibility to the sufferings of the sick, that he seldom had a 
patient, in imminent danger, without experiencing a f brile 
excitement of the system. He therefore resolved to aban- 


don medicine, and to attempt the relief of his constitution 
by mercantile pursuits. Fortunately for the interests of sci- 
ence and, I may add, for our country, this resolution was 
not carried into effect until some yeax's after this period. 
In the mean while Dr. Williamson remained in the city of 

Shortly after this time the attention of the philosophers 
both of Europe and America, was directed to an event 
which was about to take place, of great importance to as- 
tronomical science and to navigation : I refer to the transit 
of Venus over the sun's disk, which occurred on the third 
day of June, 1769. This phenomenon, which presented 
to the American mathematicians and astronomers an ample 
occasion for the display of their abilities in these depart- 
ments of science, as might be expected, attracted great 
attention in the colonies. At a meeting of the American 
Philosophical Society, held on the 7th day of January, 
1769, Dr. Hugh Williamson was appointed a member of a 
committee, consisting of Mr. David Rittenhouse, the Rev. 
Dr. Evving, Dr. Smith, provost of the college, Mr. Charles 
Thompson, and others. 

The contacts of the limbs of Venus and the sun, as* ob- 
served and drawn up by Dr. Williamson, together with 
the determination of the sun's parallax and distance, as 
derived from those observations, are communicated to the 
world in the first volume of the Transactions of the Philo- 
sophical Society of Philadelphia. 

The observations published on that memorable occasion, 
by the Rev. Dr. Ewing, Mr. David Rittenhouse, the Rev. 
Dr. Smith, by Professor Winthrop of Massachusetts, as 
well as those by Dr. Williamson, and other American 
astronomers, were considered by the philosophers of Eu- 
rope as liighly creditable to their authors, and of great 
importance to the cause of science. By the astronomer 
royal, the Rev. Mr. Nevil Maskelyne, they were referred 
to with peculiar notice and approbation. 

Soon after this event, the Philosophical Society of 
Philadelphia, sensible of the correctness and ability with 
which the labors referred to had been conducted, appoint- 
ed the same committee, of which Dr. Williamson had 
been an active member, to observe the transit of Mercury, 
which was to take place on the 9th day of November of 
the same year. The observations of Dr. Williamson, with 
the elements of his calculation of that transit, are also con^ 


tained in the same important volume of tlie American 

In the month of September, of the same momentous 
year, a considerable degree of public alarm was excited by 
the appearance of a remarkable comet. Its tail was of 
vast extent, subtending an arch of ten or fifteen degrees. 
Dr. Williamson, who had reflected mucli upon subjects of 
this nature, could not allow himself to believe that com- 
ets, more than other heavenly bodies, were destructive 
masses of fire. Having considered the subject with great 
attention, he presented to the American Philosophical So- 
ciety a theory which seems to have been perfectly new, 
and which he ever claimed as his own. The paper he at 
that time published, has been lately rcAvritten, and in an 
improved form has been again communicated to the pub- 
lic in the first volume of the Transactions of the Literary 
and Philosophical Society of New-York. 

In the following year, 1770, Dr. Williamson prepared 
and published, through the same channel of communica- 
tion, some observations upon the change of climate that 
had been remarked to take place more particularly in the 
middle colonies of North America. The doctor had as- 
certained that, within the last forty or fifty years, the 
winters had not been so intensely cold, nor the summers 
so disagreeably warm, as they had been in the earlier set- 
tlement of the country ; and that during tlie same period 
a very observable change had also taken place in the char- 
acter of the prevailing diseases ; that the fevers which had 
for many years maintained a fatal reign through many 
parts of this country, were then evidently on the decline ; 
and that inflammatory fevers, with the several diseases of 
cold seasons, had been observed to remit their violence as 
the winters had become more temperate. To account for 
these facts was the object of that communication. The 
view taken of this subject gave an interest to that paper 
which caused it to be extensively read and circulated. In 
Europe it received the most respectful notice, and greatly 
extended the name and fame of its author. The publica- 
tion of this interesting paper, with those which had pre- 
ceded it, not only procured for Dr. Williamson the notice 
of the various literary institutions of his native country, 
but they obtained for him abroad the most flattering dis- 
tinctions. Tlie Holland Society of Sciences, the Society 
of Arts and Sciences of Utrecht, conferred u})on him, in 
VOL. II. 23 


the most honorable manner, a membership in those distin- 
guished institutions ; and about the same period he received 
from a foreign university the degree of Doctor of Laws. 

New scenes now opened upon his view. From some 
letters addressed by Dr. Williamson to his friend, the late 
Rev. Dr. Ewing, it appears that in 1 772 the doctor made 
a voyage to the West India islands, for the purpose of col- 
lecting subscriptions for the academy of Newark, in the 
state of Delaware, of which institution he and Dr. Ewing 
were trustees. Exceedingly anxious for the prosperity of 
the academy, while he was yet in the islands, he planned 
a tour through Great Britain for the benefit of that institu- 
tion ; his project was communicated to the trustees, and 
received their approbation ; accordingly, in the autumn 
of 1773, Dr. Williamson, in conjunction with Dr. Ewing, 
afterwards Provost of the University of Pennsylvania, was 
appointed to make a tour through England, Scotland and 
Ireland, to solicit further benefactions for the same acade- 
my of Newark. 

Thus honorably associated, they were received with 
great attention by the literati and other men of influence 
in Great Britain ; a circumstance in itself highly favorable 
to the object of their mission. Their success, however, 
was but indifferent. 

The constant hope of accommodation with the colonies, 
and the example of the King, from whom they received a 
liberal donation, notwithstanding his great displeasure to- 
wards his American subjects, encouraged them to perse- 
vere in the business of their mission until the autumn of 
1775. Hostilities having then commenced. Dr. Ewing 
returned to America, leaving Dr. Williamson in London, 
who determined to remain and to make some further 
efforts for the establishment of his favorite academy. But 
I must return to some circumstances of importance which 
here claim our notice. 

The vessel in which Dr. Williamson had engaged pass- 
age for Europe, lay in the harbor of Boston, to which 
place he had proceeded, and was waiting for her sailing at 
the very time at which that remarkable circumstance took 
place, the destruction of the tea of the East India Compa- 
ny. Upon Dr. Williamson's arrival in England, he was 
the first to report to the British Government that occur- 
rence ; and, after a private interview w ith Lord Dart- 
mouth, was examined on the subject before his Majesty's 


Privy Council : that examination took place on the 19th 
of February, Hl-i. On that occasion Dr. Williamson 
ventured to declare that, if the coercive measures of Par- 
liament were persisted in, nothing less than a civil war 
would be the result. Time soon verilied his prediction ; 
but the want of con-ect information on the part of the 
British ministry as to the state of public feeling in this 
country, seems almost incredible. Lord North hinuelf 
has been heard to declare that Dr. Williamson was the first 
person who, in his hearing, had even intimated the proba- 
bility of such an event.* 

* While Dr. Williamson was at Boston, he became acquainted with Messrs. 
Adams, Warren, Otis, and other selectmen. On the 22d of December, 1773, a 
few days alter the tea was destroyed, he sailed from Boston for London in a ship 
that belonged to Mr. Hancock. Governor Hutchinson had sent his despatches by 
a brig that sailed some days before the ship. She belonged to a man of other poli- 
tics. In that brig sailed three gentlemen peissengers. The ship arrived six days 
before the brig. In the mean tmie. Dr. Williamson, in conversation with Lord 
Dartmouth, had detailed the events at Boston. The three gentlemen who arrived 
in the brig, were immediately examined, and their evidence, signed and sworn to 
before th.e Privy Council, was afterwards communicated to Parliament. Dr. Wil- 
liamson being sent for, was at first examined before two or three public officers, 
about the 1st of February, 1774, preparatory to his being examined before the 
Privy Council. From the several questions that had been put to him, and the 
direct answers, he concluded that no satisfactory knowledge could hare been ac- 
quired of the late incidents in Boston : therefore, when he returned to his lodging, 
he wrote a regular detail of the several material incidents he had observed in Bos- 
ton, which included an answer to the several questions that had been put to him, 
and a statement of sundry facts. When he attended the next day at the Horse- 
Guards, where the Privy Council sat, an officer read to him what had been written 
as his answer to the questions that had been propounded. He objected to the 
^vhole as incorrect, and handed him the narrative he had wiitten. After that officer 
had informed the council of the Doctor's objections to the answers as written, the 
Doctor was called in, and the Lord President informed him that they would receive 
his narrative, but wished to ask him a few more questions. The clerk wrote his 
answer to one of the questions so very incorrectly, as to convey an idea very dif- 
ferent from what was intended ; of this the Doctor complained, and the clerk was 
properly reprimanded. WHien the examination was finished, an officer, the Attor- 
ney General, handed the Doctor a book, and a pen, that he might swear and sign 
his name. He laid down the pen, requesting their lordships to believe that he was 
not in the haJiit of saying things that he was not willing to swear ; but, although he 
Jiad studied medicine and not law, he knew so much of the law as that a witness 
should not be examined concerning any fact that might endanger a man's life, un- 
less the party was present by whom he might be interrogated. This, he said, was 
counted to be the law in England ; he could not tell whether it would pass for law 
in America : " But if the measures were about io he pursued by Parliament 
against America, which out of doors were said to be intended, the time zvas not 
far distant, when his native country vjould be deluged with blood." " This 
hand," said he, " shall be guiltless of that blood " The Lord Chancellor assured 
him, that the examination and oath now taken could not be used against any man 
who might be prosecuted, and tried for life ; and the president declared upon his 
honor that it had been the custom, time out of mind, to examine witnesses upon 
oath before the Privy Council, consequently this could not be considered as setting 
a novel precedent. Dr. Williamson then subscribed the narrative. The examina- 
tions of the other three gentlemen were communicated to Parliament, but Dr, 
W. understood that his examination had not been communicated, sor could h» think 

180 HUGH Williamson. 

We now come to an event memorable by the commo- 
tion it excited at the time, and by the magnitude of the 
consequences which have fince arisen from it ; I refer to 
the discovery of the celebrated Letters of Hutcliinson and 
Oliver : and here I beg leave to call your notice to a few 
of the earlier circumstances of the late revolutionary war, 
in order to communicate a fact hitherto unrevealed. 

Although the disturbances wdiich originated in the fam- 
ous stamp act, had nearly subsided with the repeal of that 
noxious measure, and returning sentiments of friendship 
were every day becoming more manifest, yet new obsta- 
cles to a permanent reconciliation appeared in the attempts 
of the British administration to render certain officers of 
the provincial governments dependent on the crown alone. 
This measure of the court gave particular offence to tlie 
colony of Massachusetts, from the peculiarly obnoxious 
character of their governor, who, impelled by avarice and 
by the love of dominion, had, in furtherance of his 
schemes of self-aggrandizement, uniformly manifested the 
most determined support to the views and measures of the 
mother country. However discreditable to his reputation 
it may be, certain it is that Governor Hutchinson was se- 
cretly laboring to subvert the chartered rights of the colo- 
ny, whose interests he had sworn to protect. His agency 
in procuring the passage of the stamp act was more than 
suspected, and apparently upon reasonable grounds. 

The illustrious Franklin, who had recently rendered 
himself conspicuous by his examination before a commit- 

of any reason why it should have been suppressed, unless that he had observed in 
the course of his narrative, that the selectmen in Boston caused a guard to be plac- 
ed over the tea ships, for the double purpose, as they alleged, of preventing the tea 
from being smuggled on shore, and of preventing evil-minded persons from destroy- 
ing the ships or tea ; for they had determined that both should return to London. 
As that fact seemed to invalidate the charge of the premeditated intention of the 
selectmen to destroy the tea, which charge, however, was of great use to the 
administration in their desire to cripple the town of Boston, it may have caused the 
suppression of his evidence. [The author of this memoir is in possession of the 
original draft of Dr. Williamson's narrative communicated to the Privy Council.] 

It is a remarkable circumstance, that neither Governor Hutchinson, of Massa- 
chusetts, nor any other man in the service of the governor, should have had the 
candor to intimate to the Prime Minister that resistance might be the effect of 
severe measures. 

In October, 1776, Lord North, having sent for Mr. Ralph Izard, then in Lon- 
don, and Dr. W^illiamson, to ask their opinion concerning the operation of a parti- 
cular law, told the Doctor that he, in presence of the Privy Council, was the first 
person that ever had intimated, in his hearing, the probability of a civil war in 

The particular facts contained in this note, were communicated to the writer by 
Dr. Williainion, a short lime before his decease. 


tee of the British Privy Council, and who at this period 
resided in London as agent for the colonies of Penn^ylva- 
nia and Massachusetts, obtained possesj^ion, through the 
agency of a third person, of certain letters written by 
Governor Hutchinson ; Secretary Oliver, afterwards 
Lieutenant Governor ; Charles Paxton, Esijuire, and other 
servants of the crown ; and sent by them from Boston to 
Thomas Whately, Esc|uire, Member of Parliament, and a 
private Secretary of Lord Grenville. 

In these letters the character of the people of Massachu- 
setts was painted in the most odious colors, and their griev- 
ances and proceedings misrepresented by falsehoods the 
most glaring and unfounded. It would seem to have been 
equally the object of Governor Hutchinson and his coad- 
jutors, to furnish excuses for the ministry, already suffi- 
ciently disposed to adopt every measure of severity to- 
wards the colonists through the prejudiced representations 
of Bernard and his commissioners ; and to poison the minds 
of the opposition, who had on most occasions proved 
themselves their warm advocates. 

Dr. Franklin lost no time in transmitting these letters 
to his constituents at Boston. " The indignation and ani- 
mosity which were excited, on their perusal, knew no 
bounds. The House of Representatives agreed on a peti- 
tion and remonstrance to his Majesty, in which they 
charged their Governor and Lieutenant Governor with be- 
ing betrayers of their trust, and of the people they govern- 
ed ; and of giving private, partial and false information. 
They also declared them enemies to the colonies, and 
prayed for justice against them, and for their speedy re- 
moval from their places."* 

Their petition and the remonstrance of the people of 
Massachusetts were communicated to his Majesty's Privy 
Council by Dr. Franklin in person, and, after hearing by 
that board, the Governor and Lieutenant Governor were 
acquitted. It was on this occasion that Mr. Wedderburn, 
afterwards Lord Loughborough, who was employed as 
counsel on the part of the Governor, pronounced his fa- 
mous philippic against Dr. Franklin ; wliich has ahvays 
been considered among the most finished specimens of ora- 
tory in the English language In this speech he charged 
that venerable character with having procured the letters 

♦ Memoirs of the Life and Writings of Franklin, 4to. p. 1S3. Lond. ed. 1818. 


by vmfair means. " The letters could not have come to 
Dr. Franklin," says Mr. Wedderburn, " by fair means ; 
the writers did not give them to him, nor yet did the de- 
ceased correspondent, Mr. Whately, who, from our inti- 
macy, would have told me of it : nothing then will acquit 
Dr. Franklin of the charge of obtaining them by fraudu- 
lent or corrupt means, for the most malignant of purposes: 
unless he stole them from the person who stole them. 
This argument is irrefragable. 

" I hope, my lords, you will mark and brand the man, 
for the honor of this country, of Europe, and of mankind. 
Private correspondence has hitherto been held sacred at 
times of the greatest party rage ; not only in politics, but 
religion." " He has forfeited all the respect of societies 
and of men. Into what companies will he hereafter go 
with an unembarrassed face, or the honest intrepidity of 
virtue ? Men will watch him with a jealous eye ; they 
will hide their papers from him, and lock up their escru- 
toires. He will henceforth esteem it a libel to be called a 
man of letters, homo trium literarum."* 

A controversy having taken place in the public prints 
between Mr. William Whately, the brother of the secretary 
to whom the letters had been addressed and who was now 
dead, and Mr., afterwards Sir John Temple, aiising out of 
the manner in which the letters of Governor Hutchinson 
had been procured and transmitted to Boston, and which 
dispute was followed by a duel between those two gentle- 
men, Dr. Franklin, in order to prevent any further mis- 
chief, published a letter in the newspapers, in which he 
assumed the entire responsibility of sending the papers to 
America. Alluding to this letter of Dr. Franklin, Mr. 
Wedderburn continued : 

" But he not only took away the letters from one broth- 
er, but kept himself concealed till he had nearly occasion- 
ed the murder of the other. It is impossible to read his 
account, expressive of the coolest and most deliberate mal- 
ice, without horror. Amid these tragical events, of one 
person nearly murdered, of another answerable for the 
issue ; of a worthy governor hurt in his dearest interest ; 
the fate of America is in suspense. Here is a man, who 
with the utmost insensibility of remorse stands up and 

* Memoirs of Franklin, 4to. Vol. I. Appendix. See also the letters of Governor 
Hutchinson, and Lieutenant Governor Oliver, &c. and remarks thereon, by Israel 
Maudit, with the assembly'* address, &e. 2d edition. London, 1774. 


avows himself the author of all : I can compare it only to 
Zanga, in Dr. Young's Revenge : — 

' Know then 'twas I — 
I forged the letter — I disposed the picture — 
I hated — I despised — and I deotroy.' 

" I ask, my lords, whether the revengeful temper, attri- 
buted by poetic fiction only to the bloody African, is not 
surpassed by the coolness and apathy of the wily Ameri- 
can ?" 

The speeches of Mr. Dunning, afterwards Lord Ashbur- 
ton, and Mr. Lee, who appeared as counsel in behalf of 
the assembly of Massachusetts, were never reported at 
length ; but they chiefly insisted upon the noxious parts of 
the letters of Hutchinson and Oliver. 

By the preceding extracts from the speech of Mr. Wed- 
derburn, it will be seen that the chief subject of his vehe- 
ment invective was the disclosure, by Dr. Franklin, of 
what was termed by the Parliamentary orator a private 
correspondence.* But the truth is, these letters could not 
be considered in any wise as private ; but were as public 
as letters could be. To use the emphatic language of Dr. 
Franklin himself, " They were not of the nature of pri- 
vate letters between friends ; they were written by public 
officers to persons in public stations, on public affairs, and 
intended to procure public measures : they were therefore 
handed to other public persons, who might be influenced by 
them to produce those measures. Their tendency was to in- 
cense the mother country against her colonies, and by the 
steps recommended to widen the breach, which they effect- 
ed. The chief caution expressed with regard to privacy 
was, to keep their contents from the colony agents, who, 
the writers apprehended, might return them, or copies of 
them, to America. That apprehension was, it seems, well 
founded ; for the first agent who laid his hands on them, 
thought it his duty to transmit them to his constituents." 

Thus Dr. Franklin performed a service which his situ- 
ation as a public agent required of him. But, notwith- 
standing the secrecy with which it had been conducted, 
the letters were soon after published by the Assembly of 
Massachusetts ; not, however, until after the appearance of 

* Dr. Priestley, who was present when Lord Loughborough pronounced his vio- 
lent invective against Dr. Franklin, before the Privy Council, has published an in- 
teresting letter respecting Dr. Franklin's behavior on that occasion. 


other copies in Best n, produced by a member who, it 
was reported, had just received them from England. 

But it is time that I should declare to you that this third 
person, from whom Dr. Franklin received these famous 
letters, (and permit me to add, that this is the first time 
the fact has been publicly disclosed,) was Dr. Hugh Wil- 

I have before stated his mission in behalf of the acade- 
my. Dr. Williamson had now arrived in London. Feel- 
ing a lively interest in the momentous questions then agi- 
tated, and suspecting that a clandestine correspondence 
hostile to the interest of the colonies, was carried on be- 
tween Hutchinson and certain leading members of the 
British Cabinet, he determined to ascertain the truth by a 
bold experiment. 

He had learned that Governor Hutchinson's letters were 
deposited in an office different from tliat in which they 
ought regularly to have been placed ; and, having under- 
stood that there was little exactness in the transaction of 
the business of that office, (it is believed it was the office 
of a particular department of the treasury,) he immediate- 
ly repaired to it, and addressed himself to the chief clerk, 
not finding the principal within. Assuming the demeanor 
of official importance, he peremptorily stated that he had 
come for the last letters that had been received from Gov- 
ernor Hutchinson and Mr. Oliver, noticing the office in 
which they ought regidarly to have been placed. Without 
any question being asked, the letters were delivered. The 
clerk, doubtless, supposed him to be an authorized person 
from some other public office. Dr. Williamson imme- 
diately carried them to Dr. Franklin, and the next day 
left London for Holland. 

I received this important fact from a gentleman of high 
respectability, now living ; with whom, as the companion 
and friend of his early days, Dr. Williamson had entrusted 
the secret.* 

By this daring measure, were detected and put beyond 
question, the misrepresentations and design of Hutchinson 
and his associates ; and, perhaps, no event in the previ- 
ous history of the provinces excited more bitter indigna- 
tion, or was more calculated to call for opposition to the 

* See Additional Documents. 


measures of Great Britain, to which these misrepresenta- 
tions had given rise. (See Notes at the end of this vohnne.) 

The lively interest and the conspicuous part which Dr. 
Williamson took in public affairs, did not prevent him, 
while in England, from bestowing a portion of his atten- 
tion upon scientific pursuits. Electricity, w^liose laws had 
been recently determined by the discoveries of Dr. Frank- 
lin, and by his genius introduced among the sciences, was 
then a study which largely engrossed the minds of philos- 
ophers. In conjunction with Dr. Ingenhouz, Mr. Walsh, 
Mr. John Hunter, and Dr. Franklin, he frequently institut- 
ed electrical experiments. The only paper which bears tes- 
timony to his investigations on this subject, is that entitled, 
"Experiments and Observations on the Gymnotus Elec- 
tricus, or Electrical Eel," which was first published in the 
Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of Lon- 
don, for the year 1775. Like the experiments of Mr. 
Walsh, those of Dr. Williamson led to a belief that the 
shock given by the gymnotus electricus, was truly an elec- 
trical phenomenon. 

Dr. Williamson had scarcely made his tour through 
Holland and the Low Countries, when the news of the 
declaration of American Independence reached him. He 
now concluded to return to his native land. He proceed- 
ed to France, and after a short time spent in that king- 
dom, during a great part of which he was confined by 
sickness, he sailed from Nantz in December, for Philadel- 
phia, at which place he did not arrive before the 15th of 
March. The ship in which he sailed was captured off the 
Capes of Delaware, but he, with another passenger, escap- 
ed in an open boat with some very important public des- 
patches, of which Dr. Williamson was the bearer. 

The American army, at the period of Dr. Williamson's 
return from Europe, was in some measure organized, and 
every office in the Medical Staff, or in the line, that he 
could with any propriety accept, was filled up. True it was, 
that he had strong claims to public employment, and the 
proofs were in his possession ; but those claims he could not 
at that time urge without endangering individuals who 
were on the other side of the Atlantic, nor could he do it 
without a breach of confidence, a species of crime that he 
cordially abhorred. He resolved, therefore, to remain m 
private life, waiting for opportunities which he trusted 
would present themselves in the course of a dangerous 
VOL. II, 24 


struggle. In the mean time he undertook a journey to 
Charleston, in South Carolina, with a younger brother, on 
a mercantile speculation. His brother sailed from Charles- 
ton for a neutral port in the West Indies. The Doctor, in 
company with another gentleman, purchased a sloop in 
Charleston, and, having loaded her with a suitable cargo 
intended for Baltimore, ordered her for Edenton, in North 
Carolina ; but before his arrival at Edenton General Howe, 
with the British army, on his way to Philadelphia, had 
entered Chesapeak Bay. That circumstance determined 
the Docter to continue in Edenton, from which he after- 
wards traded to neutral islands in the West Indies ; but 
while he thus continued his mercantile connexion with his 
brother, then also engaged in the West India trade, he de- 
termined to resume the practice of medicine. 

During the period of his residence there, he w^as invited 
to Newbern, for the purpose of communicating the small- 
pox to such as had not experienced the benefits of inocu- 
lation. These circumstances in part contributed to spread 
the name of Dr. Williamson, and to lay the foundation of 
that fame and confidence which he afterwards obtained in 
the State of North Carolina. 

The Doctor had taken an early opportunity of inform- 
ing the governor of that province, that if any circumstance 
should occur in the course of the war, in which he could 
be of use to the state, he might immediately command his 
services. It is known that the British troops took posses- 
sion of Charleston in the winter of 1779 — 1780, and that 
the assembly of North Carolina ordered a large draft to be 
made from their militia, of from four to six thousand men, 
who should join the regular troops then ordered for the 
relief of South Carolina. The command of the North 
Carolina militia was given to their late Governor Caswell, 
wath the rank of Major General. The General, putting 
Dr. Williamson in mind of a former promise, handed him 
a commission, by which he found himself at the head of 
the medical department, as physician and surgeon. 

An occasion now presented itself, in which the Doctor 
had an opportunity of displaying his firmness of charac- 
ter, his humanity, his professional skill, and his incor- 
ruptible adherence to the cause in which he had embark- 
ed. On the morning after the battle near Camden, on the 
18th of August, 1780, which the Doctor witnessed, he fell 
in with General Caswell, and requested of him to give him a 


flag, observing that, although a great part of the militia had 
behaved ill, yet many of them, as he must have observed, 
fought with distinguished bravery, and that a considera- 
ble number, in consequence, were wounded and made 
prisoners. They claimed our attention. The General 
advised him to send in some of the regimental surgeons, 
observing that his duty did not require that service from 
him. The Doctor replied tliat the regimental surgeons, 
such of them as he had seen, refused to go ; being, as he 
suspected, afraid of the consequences. But, said he, if I 
have lived until a flag will not protect me, I have outlived 
my country ; and, in that case, have lived one day too 
long. To this observation, no reply was made ; he ob- 
tained a pass, and the necessary instructions. He remain- 
ed two months with the enemy in Camden, during which 
time he rendered very essential services to the prisoners 
committed to his care. 

Early in the spi-ing of 1782 Dr. Williamson took his 
seat as a representative of Edenton, in tlie House of Com- 
mons of North Carolina. In that assembly he fortunately 
met with several members whose brothers, sons, or other 
connexions, he had served in the army, or while they were 
prisoners. Those services were not forgotten. It was to 
be expected that a gentleman who had seen much of the 
world, and whose education had been so extensive, could 
hardly fail, with the aid of moderate oratorical abilities, to 
become an influential member in a deliberative body. 
Such in fact he proved. Among other bills which he in- 
troduced with success, we find one for erecting a court of 
chancery, Avhich had often been attempted, in vain, in 
that state. It may be presumed that old members, who 
had been accustomed to conduct the business of that house, 
were not gratified with being left in the minority by a 
gentleman who was, at that time, comparatively a stranger 
in their state. Yet, when the election came on for mem- 
bers of congress, those very gentlemen added their influ- 
ence to that of the friends he had acquired in the army, 
and he immediately was sent to the general congress with- 
out opposition. He continued at the head of the delega- 
tion for three years, the longest time that any member was 
then permitted to serve. 

During the three years in which he was not eligible to 
hold a seat in that body, he served the state occasionally 
in its legislature, or in some other capacity. 


In the year 1786 he was one of the few members who 
were sent to Annapolis, to revise and amend the constitu- 
tion of the United States. In that year Dr. AVilliamson 
published a series of Essays, deprecating paper currency, 
and recommending an excise to be imposed. In the year 
1 787 he was one of the delegates from North Carolina, in 
the general convention at Philadelphia, who formed and 
signed the present constitution of the United States. 

As the State of North Carolina had at that time in cir- 
culation two large emissions of paper money, which were a 
legal tender, and which had depreciated to less than half of 
its nominal value, we are not surprised that a majority of 
its citizens should have looked on the federal constitution 
with an evil eye ; for debtors, as we presume, in most 
countries form the majority. It followed that the Doc- 
tor, who advocated the new constitution with great zeal 
as well as ability, lost a portion of his popularity in the 
state he had represented ; he was, nevertheless, again 
chosen in December, 1787, by the general assembly, to 
take his seat in congress the succeeding spring, when he 
would be again eligible, having been three years absent 
from that body. The assembly at the same time passed a 
law for a general state convention, to be held at Hillsbor- 
ough in July, 1788, for the purpose of determining upon 
the constitution that had been proposed. The conven- 
tion, after much debate, adjourned on the 2d of August, 
having refused to adopt the proposed constitution by a 
majority of more than two to one, viz. one hundred and 
eighty-four to eighty-four. 

The next general assembly, in December, 1788, passed 
a law calling another convention, to meet in the following 
year. It may bs recollected that, eleven of the states hav- 
ing adopted the new constitution, it was immediately af- 
ter carried into operation, and the first congress met in 
New-York, in the year 1789. It happened a short time 
after that congress met, of which Dr. Williamson was a 
member, several small vessels laden with naval stores ar- 
rived from North Carolina at the port of New- York. 
The Collector of the customs refused them entrance, un- 
less they should pay the alien duty, which was six to one 
of the domestic. Dr. Williamson, who continued in New- 
York after the dissolution of the old congress, as a com- 
missioner to settle the accounts of North Carolina with 
the United States, drew up and presented to congress a 


spirited protest against the decision of the Collector ; at 
the same time urging the fact, that North Carolina had 
not by any act forfeited her claim to be considered as one 
of the United States. This protest, in twenty-four hours, 
produced a law, by which the Carolina vessels were al- 
lowed to enter upon paying the domestic tonnage. By that 
interposition and attention to the interests of North Caro- 
lina, the Doctor more than regained his former popular- 
ity. When the first convention sat, he was attending in 
congress ; but he was chosen, and attended as a member 
of the second convention in 1789, by which the constitu- 
tion was adopted by a majority of two to one. The Doc- 
tor's congressional career was now to terminate. He had 
been chosen a representative from North Carolina in the 
first and second congress ; but, desirous of retiring from 
political life, he, at a new election, declined being a can- 

Before I pass on to other circumstances connected with 
the career of Dr. Williamson, I beg to be indulged in one 
or two remarks on the character and influence of his polit- 
ical life. We have seen, that as a representative of the 
people in the legislature of North Carolina, and in the su- 
preme council of the nation, he was occupied many years. 
No man, I believe, ever enjoyed in a larger degree the 
confidence of his constituents for integrity of conduct ; and 
the influence of his character will be readily appreciated, 
when we advert to the many important services he eflect- 
ed during the most eventful period of our political his- 

He was anxious to prove himself worthy of the high 
trust reposed in him, nor did he ever permit any private 
or selfish views to interfere with considerations of public 
interest. As chairman of numerous committees, as the 
mover of important resolutions, as the framer of new 
propositions and new laws, he devoted the best energies of 
an active mind, and was ever prominent in the business of 
the house. In debate his elocution was striking, but some- 
what peculiar. The graces of oratory did not belong to 
Dr. Williamson ; yet the known purity of his intentions, 
his inflexible devotedness to the interests of his country, 
and the unblemislied tenor of his private life, awakened an 
attention which was well supported by the pertinency of 
his observations, the soundness of his reasoning, and the 
information he possessed upon every subject to which he 


directed his attention. While in congress, his duties as a 
legislator were his exclusive study ; and this advantag3 
seldom failed of a success which was denied to the length- 
ened debate and declamation of his opponents. 

In January, 1789, Doctor Williamson was married to 
Miss Maria Apthorpe, daughter of the late Honorable 
Charles Ward Apthorpe, formerly a member of his Majes- 
ty's Council for the province of New-York ; by that lady 
he had two sons ; she died when the youngest was but a 
few days old. 

After the loss he had sustained by the death of Mrs. Wil- 
liamson, he resolved to retire from public employment ; 
to settle his private affairs ; to prepare for publication his 
work on Climate, and his more elaborate performance, his 
History of North Carolina : but the object of attention 
which lay still nearer his heart, and which especially in- 
duced him to withdraw from the very honorable station 
he had held, was the education of his children ; to them 
he devoted, with great solicitude, a large portion of his 
time and attention. His eldest son, who died in 1811, 
in the 22d year of his age, gave evidence of the parental 
care that had been exercised in the superintendence of his 
education, and of the success with which it had been con- 

In 1811 his " Observations on the climate in different 
parts of America, compared with the climate in corres- 
ponding parts of the other Continent," were published, in 
one volume, 8vo. In the following year, 1812, appeared 
his History of North Carolina, in two volumes, 8vo. The 
author commences his undertaking with a short account 
of the discoveries made in America by adventurers from 
the different parts of Europe. He next relates the attempts 
of Sir Walter Raleigh to settle a colony in North Caroli- 
na, and from that time the history of that colony is con- 
tinued down to the beginning of the American revolution : 
the work closes with a view of the soil, produce, and 
general state of health in different parts of that country. 
In the proofs and explanations annexed to each volume, 
are inserted many valuable documents, selected with care, 
illustrative of matters contained in the body of the text. 

There are other writings by the same author, of a minor 
nature, which merit notice. He was at no time an indif- 
ferent spectator of passing events ; and, even after he had 
actually withdrawn from public life, was repeatedly en- 


gaged, exclusively of his works on climate and on North 
Carolina, in various publications relating to natural his- 
tory, medicine, and other branches of a philosophical 
character. In 1797 Dr. Williamson Avrote a short but im- 
portant paper on the fevers of North Carolina, as they had 
prevailed in 1792, in Martin county, near the river Roan- 
oke, and as they had appeared in 1794, upon the river 
Neus, pointing out the treatment that had been found most 
successful, and the fatal effects of bloodletting in fevers of 
that type : these remarks were afterwards extended, and 
composed a chapter in his History of North Carolina, 
highly interesting both to the pupil and practitioner of 
medicine. In the American Museum, by Matthew Carey, 
he published several fugitive pieces on languages and poli- 
tics. In his communication on the Fascination of Ser- 
pents, published in the Medical Repository, he offers some 
new and ingenious opinions on that still inexplicable phe- 
nomenon in natural history. 

Upon the appearance of the yellow fever in New-York, 
in 1805, Dr. Williamson was appointed by the corporation 
of the city, one of a Medical Committee to investigate the 
particular character and origin of the cases that occurred 
at the commencement of the pestilence of that season. 
From all that the Doctor had previously seen, as well as 
the facts that now fell under his view, he was led to the 
belief, with the other members of that committee, that the 
yellow fever is a disease sui generis, and consequently of a 
nature altogether different from the bilious remittent fever 
of this country. 

He enriched the American Medical and Philosophical 
Register with several valuable papers. The first, entitled 
" Remarks upon the incorrect manner in which Iron Rods 
are sometimes set up for defending Houses^from Light- 
ning," &c. conveys some important practical instruction 
upon that subject.* His other papers were, " Conjectures 
respecting the Native Climate of Pestilence ;" " Observa- 
tions on Navigable Canals ;" Observations on the means of 
preserving the Commerce of New- York," and " Addition- 
al Observations on Navigable Canals ;" all printed in the 
same periodical journal, under the signatures of Observer, 
or JVIercator. Dr. Williamson was among the first of our 
citizens who entertained correct views as to the practica- 

• Vol. I. 



bility of forming a canal to connect the waters of Lake 
Erie with the Hudson River. 

In the year 1810 Dr. AVilliamson was appointed by the 
New-York Historical Society to deliver the anniversary 
discourse, illustrative of the objects of that institution ; he 
readily complied with their request, and upon that occa- 
sion selected for his subject, " the benefits of Civil His- 

In 1814, associated with the present governor* of this 
state, and some .other gentlemen friendly to the interests 
of science, and desirous to promote the literary reputation 
of the state of New-York, Dr. Williamson took an active 
part in the formation and establishment of the Literary 
and Philosophical Society of this city ; and contributed to 
its advancement by the publication of a valuable paper in 
the first volume of its transactions. As a Trustee of the 
College of Physicians and Surgeons of the University of 
the State of New-York, he not only performed its duties 
with vigilance and impartiality, but contributed to its in- 
terests by a liberal pecuniary appropriation. Some other 
institutions of this city were also aided by similar acts of 
his beneficence, especially the Orphan Asylum, and the 
Society for the Relief of Poor Widows with small child- 
ren. To these his donations were such as his moderate 
fortune enabled him to bestow, consistently with his obli- 
gations to his family connexions ; to whom, with the ex- 
ception of a few inconsiderable legacies, he left the residue 
of his estate. Tlie Humane Society, the City Dispensary, 
and the New-York Hospital, received a large portion of 
his time and attention during the remaining years of his 
life. In the last mentioned establishment, the pimctuality 
and ability with which he performed the numerous duties 
assigned him, were subjects of great surprise to his asso- 
ciate junior members. 

His quickness of perception, his memory, his judgment 
and his external senses, all manifested an uncommon activi- 
ty to the very last days of his life. This exemption from 
the ordinary defects and privations attendant upon old 
age, is doubtless ascribable to his temperate and regular 
habits of living ; the order and method with which he per- 
formed all his various duties ; and especially to that rigid 
abstinence from all vinous and spirituous drinks, to which 

* His Excellency De Witt Clinton. " 


system of living he had so peculiarly adhered from his 
earliest days. 

The life of this excellent man was now drawing to its 
close. Hitherto, by means of the uniform temperance and 
regularity of his habits, he had, with very few exceptions, 
been protected from any return of those pulmonary com- 
plaints with which he had been aflected in his youth. His 
intellectual faculties remained to the last period of his life 
unbroken, and in their full vigor. 

It is somewhere said, tliat to an active and well disci- 
plined mind, a chair in a library is the throne of human 
felicity. No man enjoyed the luxury of literary pursuits 
more than Dr. Williamson. These, with the society of 
his particular friends, added to the consolations atforded 
by religion, and the recollection of a life passed in the per- 
formance of duty, and devoted to the benefit of liis fellow 
men, gilded the evening of his days, and rendered them no 
less cheerful and serene than had been the morning and 
meridian of his long and useful career. 

For some time, however, after the death of his favorite 
son, his strength and spirits were observed to decline. In 
two'Or three vears his ankles began to swell, attended witii 
other symptoms denoting the approach of general dropsy. 
Although he had recourse to the Ballston chalybeate, by 
the middle of April, 1816, the swelling of the limbs and 
symptoms of a dropsical affection of the chest had so far 
increased, that for several weeks he could not lie in a 
horizontal posture, but was compelled to sleep sitting in 
his chair ; by the use, however, of powerful diuretics, 
succeeded by tonic medicines and daily exercise, his com- 
plaints in a few months were chiefly removed, and he was 
restored to his usual pursuits and his wonted cheerfulness, 
which were continued to the day of his decease. 

This event took place on the 22d day of May, 1319, in 
the S5th year of his age, and in the sudden manner he 
himself had anticipated. While taking his accustomed 
ride a short distance from the city, accompanied by his 
favorite niece, the heat of the day being unusually great, 
he suddenly sunk into a deliquium. iSIedical assistance 
was immediately called, but too late ; his spirit had fled 
to Him who gave it. 

It remains for me to detain you, while I offer a few ob- 
servations illustrative of such parts of Dr. Williamson's 

VOL. M. 25 


character as are not embraced in the details that have 
already occupied our attention. 

To those who have not enjoyed a personal acquaintance 
with him, I may remark that he was no less distinguished 
for the manliness of his form, than for the energy and 
firmness of his mind. Dr. Williamson in his person was 
tall, considerably above the general standard, of a large 
frame, well proportioned, but of a thin habit of body. He 
was remarkable for his erect, dignified carriage, which he 
retained even in the decline of life. 

In his conversation Dr. Williamson was pleasant, face- 
tious and animated ; occasionally indulging in wit and 
satire ; always remarkable for the strength of his expres- 
sions, and an empliatic manner of utterance, accompanied 
with a peculiarity of gesticulation, originally in part as- 
cribable to the impulse of an active mind, but which early 
in life had become an established habit. 

As was to be expected from the education of Dr. 
Williamson, and from his long and extensive inter- 
course with the world, his manners, though in some 
respects eccentric, were generally those of a polite, well 
bred gentleman. Occasionally, however, when he met 
with persons who either displayed great ignorance, want 
of moral character, or a disregard to religious truth, he 
expressed his feelings and opinions in such manner as dis- 
tinctly to show them they possessed no claim to his re- 
spect. To such, both his language and manner might be 
considered as abrupt, if not possessing a degree of what 
might be denominated Johnsonian rudeness. 

His style, both in conversation and in writing, was sim- 
ple, concise, perspicuous and remarkable for its strength ; 
always displaying correctness of thought and logical pre- 
cision. In the order, too, and disposal of liis discourse, 
whether oral or written, such was the close connexion of 
its parts, and the dependence of one proposition upon that 
which preceded it, that it became easy to discern the influ- 
ence of his early predilection for mathematical investi- 

Under the impressions and precepts he had very early 
received, no circumstances could ever induce him to de- 
part from that line of conduct which his understanding 
had informed him was correct. His constancy of charac- 
ter, the obstinacy I may say of his integrity, whether in 
the minor concerns of private life or in the performance 


of his public duties, became proverbial with all who knew 
hira. Nothing could ever induce him 

" To swerve from truth, or change his constant mind." 

The following anecdotes are illustrative of his charac- 
teristic integrity. A few years since a gentleman of this 
city, desirous of borrowing a sum of money, made an 
application to Dr. Williamson for that purpose : the Doc- 
tor promised to supply him ; but, upon the day when the 
transaction was to be completed, the gentleman not know- 
ing that the Doctor's verbal promise and his written bond 
were of the same validity, and apprehending that some- 
thing miglit occur to prevent the Doctor from complying 
with his engagement, offered him a larger interest than 
that recognised by law. The Doctor, offended by this 
insult to his integrity, at once declined further communi- 
cation with the party concerned, and refused the loan he 
otherwise had been prepared to make. 

Upon another more important occasion, he manifested 
somewhat similar feelings in rejecting a powerful appeal 
to his pride and, I may add, to his reputation. 

Joseph Ceracchi, an Italian statuary of great celebrity 
in his profession, finding the turbulent state of Europe 
unfavorable to the exercise of his art, had come to this 
country. This gentleman exercised his talents in erecting 
honorary memorials of some of our most distinguished pub- 
lic men. The busts of Washington, President Adams, 
Governor Jay, General Hamilton, Governor George Clin- 
ton, and Colonel John Truinl)ull, are eminent examples of 
his art. 

He at that time also applied to Dr. Williamson, then a 
member of congress, for permission to perpetuate in mar- 
ble, the bust of the American Cato, as Mr. Ceracchi was 
plea?ed to denominate him. I beg leave to read the 
originals : 

" Mr. Ceracchi requests the favor of Mr. Williamson to 
sit for his bust, not on account of getting Mr. Williamson's 
influence in favor of the National Monument ; this is a 
subject too worthy to be recommended ; but merely on 
account of his distinguished character, that will produce 
honor to the artist, and may give to posterity the expres- 
sive features of the American Cato." 

To this note Dr. Williamson replied in his appropriate 
eaustic style : " Mr. Hugh Williamson is much obliged to 

19G HUGH Williamson. 

Mr. Ceracchi for the polite offer of taking his bust. Mr. 
AVilliamson could not possibly suppose that Mr. Ceracchi 
liad offered such a compliment by way of a bribe ; for the 
man in his public station who could accept of a bribe, or 
betray his trust, ought never to have his likeness made, 
except from a block of loood. 

" Mr. Williamson, in the mean time, cannot avail him- 
self of Mr. Ceracchi's services, as he believes that posterity 
will not be solicitous to know what were the features of 
his face. He hopes, nevertheless, for the sake of his child- 
ren, that posterity will do him the justice to believe that 
his conduct was upright, and that he was uniformly influ- 
enced by a regard to the happiness of his felloAV-citizens, 
and those who shall come after them." 
" Philadelphia, Uth April, 1792." 

To those who knew his unbending resolution when 
once formed, it need not be added that Dr. Williamson, 
offended by this flattery, persisted in his determination not 
to sit to Mr. Ceracchi. 

The steadiness of his private attachments ougiit not to 
be passed over in silence. Dr. Williamson was slow in 
forming his friendship ; but when formed, as the writer 
of this memorial of his worth can testify, it was immove- 
able, and not to be changed by time or distance. 

Whatever may be the merits of Dr. Williamson as a 
scholar, a physician, a statesman, or philosopher ; how- 
ever he may be distinguished for his integrity, his benevo- 
lence, and those virtues which enter into the moral char- 
acter of man ; he presents to the world claims of a still 
higher order. The lovers of truth and virtue will admire 
much more than his literary endoAvments, that regard for 
religious duty, of which, under all circumstances and in 
all situations, he exhibited so eminent an example. 

There are some philosophers, and of great attainments 
too in their particular departments of knowledge, whose 
views are so riveted to, I had almost said identified with, 
the objects of their research, that they cannot extend their 
vision beyond the little spot of earth which they inhabit. 
Dr. Williamson was not an associate of this class ; with 
all his inquiries into the physical constitution of this globe, 
like Newton and Rittenhouse he could elevate his views to 
the Great Agent tliat gave existence to our world, and sus- 
tains it in its connexions with the other parts of the uni- 


To those who delight to dwell on themes like these, it 
will be gratifying to receive the expression of his own 
sentiments and feelings on this momentous subject. In a 
letter I possess, written during his last illness, while it dis- 
plays the full possession of his mental faculties, and mani- 
fests the consciousness of his approaching dissolution, and 
his patient resignation to that event, he observes, " I have 
not any apprehension of a long confinement by sickness ; 
men of my habits usually drop oif quickly ; therefore I 
count it my duty to be constantly in a state of preparation, 
whether I may be called off in the morning, at noon, or at 

Upon another occasion, a short time before his decease^ 
he thus concludes a letter to his nephew, which, I believe,, 
proved one of his last communications. 

" I have, as I believe, given you notice of every thing- 
to which it is proper that you should attend ; and having 
now, as I think, nearly finished my course through the 
wilderness of life, grant, Lord ! that when my feet shall 
touch the cold stream of the waters of Jordan, my eyes 
may be steadily fixed on the heavenly Canaan, so that I 
may say to death, ' where is thy sting ?' " 

Such was the man whose character and services we have 
this day endeavored to commemorate. — Abridged from a 
Biographical JMemoir delivered vn the 1st of Js'ovemher^ 1819, 
at the request of the JS\w-York Historical Society^ by David 
Hosack, M.D. LL.D. 6^c. 

WILSON, MATTHEW, D.D.,wasa native of Ches- 
ter county, state of Pennsylvania. His education was di- 
rected by Dr. Francis Alison, one of the first, both in 
time and estimation, who introduced and i^atronised learn- 
ing in the American world. With this great man Dr. Wil- 
son's progress, both in the languages and the sciences, mark- 
ed an extensive genius and a studious mind. It justified 
the most flattering expectations of his friends, and caused 
him to be respected and distinguished, even when he had 
persons to rival him in claims to literary advancement 
and honors, who have been long estimated as the most cele- 
brated philosophers of America. 

His own inclination, in concurrence with the ad% ice of 
his friends, gave his studies a partictdar direction to the 
profession of divinity ; and in this he was as eminently 
successful, as in his classical and philosophical studies. 
The Synod of New-York and Philadelphia, of which he 


was a member for more than thirty-five years, and to 
which he was always an ornament and an honor, M'ill bear 
a full and affectionate attestation to the virtues, the abili- 
ties and the usefulness of their deceased brother. Accu- 
rate in his inquiries, profound in his learning, and yet po- 
litely diffident of impressing his own sentiments on others, 
the liberality of his mind, and the utility of his assistance, 
were peculiarly manifested in that assembly, in difficult 
investigations of ecclesiastical history and polemic divin- 
ity. We need no further testimony of his usefulness and 
uncommon estimation in important Synodical transactions, 
than his being a principal member of the committee ap- 
pointed to prepare the " new constitution of the Presbyte- 
rian church in the United States." As a Christian, his 
piety was fervent, uniform, enlightened, and full of good 
works. As a preacher he was learned, orthodox, solemn 
and instructive. 

But his mind was too large in the objects it comprehend- 
ed, and his benevolence too extensive in the modes of ex- 
ercise it solicited, to be contented with the services he 
could render society in the objects embraced by only one 
profession. He studied medicine with the Rev. Dr. Mc 
Dowell, who like his pupil was eminent at once as a di- 
vine, a physician and linguist. On settling as a clergyman 
he entered immediately on the practice of medicine, and 
derived the temporal support of his family almost entirely 
from the emoluments of that practice. Such were his ac- 
tivity and decision of character, however, that his medi- 
cal practice did not prevent his discharging the duties of 
pastor in a manner highly acceptable and edifying to the 
people of his charge. For nearly four and twenty years 
the joint functions of minister of the Gospel and physician, 
Avere sustained and discharged by him with an ability and 
popularity which evinced that he was a man of extraordi- 
nary talents, attainments and energy. His ardent indus- 
try and the comprehensiveness of his mind reduced every 
obstacle, and embraced every object of knowledge. He 
wrote an able cornpend of medicine, which he called a 
" Therapeutic Alphabet." Commencing with the classifi- 
cation of Sauvages, it contained the diseases in alphabeti- 
cal order, with definitions, symptoms, and method of 
cure. It was prepared for the press, vised by himself, and 
transcribed by his students, but never published. 


For a number of years previovis to his death, in addi- 
tion to all his other employments, he engaged in the di- 
rection and care of an academy. Here his communica- 
tive and amiable disposition was of infinite advantage. It 
attracted the love, secured the obedience, and allured the 
attentive application of his pupils. In connexion with un- 
common learning we too often observe a conscious self-im- 
portance and a rigorous austerity, which discourage and 
depress the timid mind of the diffident pupil. Nothing 
but the entire reverse of this could adequately represent 
Dr. Ws. character. He was invariably mild and affa- 
ble, courteous and amiable. 

. In those three important employments Dr. W. labored 
Avith a constancy and an ardor, unequalled even by those 
who have ambition to excite them. His indeed was an 
ambition of the noblest kind. Its enlarged embrace in- 
cluded the whole family of mankind, its means were the 
unwearied efforts of active benevolence, its objects the 
happiness of his fellow creatures. Every day awakened 
him to the discharge of some additional interesting duties. 
He lived and labored for the public, not for himself. In 
his friendships he was sincere, cordial and constant. In his 
domestic connexions he was yet more amiable. As a hus- 
band, he was endeared by all the tender sensibilities and 
kind attentions, which can improve and complete matri- 
monial happiness. As a father, he was remarked by oth- 
ers, and loved by his children, for the constant and en- 
gaging discharge of all those paternal offices, which are 
generally seen to attract love and command respect ; and 
as a master, he was exemplarily humane and indulgent, 
considering and treating those in his service as equals by 
nature, and only inferiors by fortune. He departed this 
life, March 31st, 1790, in Lewis, Delaware, aged 61 years. 
Dr. Wilson was an ardent republican and of course a 
friend to the liberties of his country. He entered warmly 
into the measures adopted by the citizens of Philadelphia 
previous to the Revolution, to sho^v their disapprobation 
of the arbitrary conduct of the British government to- 
wards the colonies. He wrote and spoke against the 
stamp act, and encouraged his parishioners to manufacture 
for themselves when the nonimportation agreement went 
into operation. When the vessels brought out the tea to 

Delaware river, upon which three pence per poimd 


was to be paid for the benefit of the East India company,* 
he resolved to drink no more of that agreeable infusion ; 
and obliged his wife and family to follow his example. 
In order, if possible, to reconcile the ladies of the coun- 
try to the loss of the foreign article, he published a paper 
on the injurious enervating effects of China tea upon the 
human frame, and gave the names of seventeen vegetables 
which he proposed to substitute for it. This paper ap- 
peared first in the newspapers of Philadelphia, and after- 
wards in Atkin's American Magazine, No. 2, for February, 
1775, of which woi'k Thomas Paine was the editor. Dr. 
W. was severely mortified when he was obliged to suspend 
his resolve not to admit foreign tea into his house, in con? 
sequence of the visit of his wife's sister from Philadelphia, 
who hearing of the prohibition, and not relishing the idea 
of depriving herself of her usual evening's repast, brought 
down to the city some of the prohibited article, and in- 
sisted upon being permitted to use it. She asserted her 
claim to the character of a patriot, as she in fact was, but 
said she saw no reason for not drinking some of the old 
stock of tea which had paid no duty, and " tea she would 
drink." The good Doctor tried to persuade her to use 
some of the numerous substitutes which he named, but 
all to no purpose. 

Dr. Wilson published several useful papers on medical 
and other subjects. Among these are the History of a Ma- 
lignant Fever, which prevailed in Sussex county, Dela- 
ware, in the year 1774 :f Observations on the Severity of 
the Cold during the Winter of 1779,'80 4 Essay on the 
Diseases arising from the Air, attempting to shoAV that 
most diseases are caused by miasmata in the air ,with an en- 
umeration of some of them, 1786. || Dr. W. was a profound 
theologian, and an excellent Hebrew and classical schol- 
ar, and many of the pupils educated by him were distin- 
guished for their attainments. The mere circumstance of 
its being known that a young man had been educated by 
him, served as a recommendation when he offered himself 
as a teacher. Several young men pursued their theological 
studies under his direction ; and whether they could or 

* It was not permitted to come up to Philadelphia. From the newspapers of the 
day it appears that the whole quantity of tea sent to America was 2,200 chests, 
f Atkin's American Magazine, April, 1775. 
t Transactions of the American Philosophical Society, vol. 3. 
II Carey's American Museum, vol. 4. 


could not pay for their board was never a consideration 
with him. An application was never rejected, provided 
the pupil could be stowed away in the house. 

He was " in wit a man, simplicity a child." He knew 
nothing of the tricks of traffic, and therefore often suffer- 
ed when making a bargain or contract with a knowing 
one for a job. He believed every man to be as honest as 
himself, nor did the shameful impositions to which he was 
sometimes subjected teach him caution. The following 
instance of his refined, sublimated honesty actually occur- 
red and occasioned much amusement among his friends. 
At the close of the American war a vessel was cast away 
near Lewes, and the parts of the cargo saved, as required 
by law, were sold by auction for the benefit of the concern- 
ed. The good Doctor attended and purchased a cask of 
aniseed. Upon opening it he found a large bottle marked 
" Oil of Rhodium." Alarmed at the discovery he ran to 
the auctioneer, and announced the fact, requesting him to 
send for the bottle and to sell it next day. The man of 
business told the Doctor that he would neither send for 
the bottle nor take it if sent to him, for, if instead of Oil 
of Rhodium he had found brick bats or stones, he should 
pay the price at which the cask was knocked oflf to him. 
The Doctor was greatly concerned at this explanation of 
the tricks of commerce, and was obliged to content him- 
self with it. The cask and Oil of Rhodium were sent to 
Philadelphia, and sold for ten times the first cost. — Dr. 
Miller. — Dr. Mease. 

WILSON, SAMUEL, M.D., was born at Charleston, 
South Carolina, January 26th, 1763. His parents were 
among the most respectable inhabitants of the city ; and 
his father, the elder Robert Wilson, Avas a man of emi- 
nence in his profession, and justly acquired the benefits of 
successfid practice. He was highly distinguished for his 
many virtues, and lived to a very advanced age, respected 
and beloved. As is common with youth trained in the 
paths of rectitude and guided by the best moral precepts, 
Dr. Samuel Wilson in his puerile days gave the best pro- 
mise of realizing all that characterized him at mature age. 
He was early placed at the ordinary schools of the day, 
where he acquired the rudiments of learning ; and it was 
in his native place that he subsequently received a classical 
education. He ranked as a respectable scholar. What 
talents he possessed were but partially unfolding, and he 
VOL. II. 26 


is only spoken of as a youth of amiable and prepossessing 

Having arrived at that era of the political struggle of 
this country, when the oppression of the mother country 
had struck even from the hardest and coldest bosoms the 
lire of patriotism, young Wilson was among the first to 
feel the animating influence which love for his own soil 
had enkindled. He, in common with his fellow citizens, 
entered the ranks as a soldier, determined to support the 
dearest rights of an American. He marched under the 
banners of Marion, when scarcely he had numbered seven- 
teen years, and manifested his determination to sacrifice 
his life in achieving the independence of his country. 

His campaign was of short duration. The conflicts of 
war ended, and he returned to his books, to his friends, 
and to the enjoyment of political freedom. Under the di- 
rection of his father he now commenced his medical stu- 
dies. The advantages of paternal instruction were not of 
an ordinary nature. The foundation was laid for perma- 
nent elevation in his profession, and for maintaining a re- 
spectable stand in the medical community. In 1784 he de- 
parted from home to complete his studies at the University 
of Edinburgh, where he was assiduous in his inquiries 
after medical knowledge. While prosecuting his favorite 
object, he gained the countenance, regard and counsel of 
such conspicuously eminent men as Cullen, Black, Dun- 
can, Monro, Home, Hamilton and others ; men who have 
left splendid memorials of genius and profound learning, 
which will long adorn the annals of medical literature. 
At Glasgow, after the usual term allotted for instruction, 
young Wilson obtained the honor of graduation in 
that college, and received the title of Doctor of Medi- 
cine. His love of science, his calm yet inquiring mind 
had produced already a discriminating judgment, and es- 
tablished his claims to preferment in his profession. His 
correct deportment and attractive manners won the esteem 
and love of his associates, and the approbation of those 
distinguished professors under whose auspices he was 

Immediately on Dr. Wilson's return to Charleston, he 
commenced his professional career, gaining confidence as 
he advanced. It was by his assiduity and attention to 
business, that he established himself firmly in the estima- 
tion pf that enlightened physician, that accomplished 


scholar, that close observer of nature's operations, Dr. 
Alexander Baron, senior, late of Charleston. A copart- 
nership was formed between Drs. Baron and Wilson in 
1791, Avhich continued nineteen years, during which there 
was a reciprocity of sentiments and affection , not to be 
surpassed even among those allied by the strongest ties of 
consanguinity. On the death of Dr. Baron the lamented 
subject of the present notice delivered an Eulogy to his 
memory. On the dissolution of this connexion Dr. Wil- 
son united with him his brother Dr. Robert Wilson, until 
his two sons, the present Drs. Isaac and Samuel W., pre- 
sented their credentials as graduates. The latter associa- 
tion continued to the hour of his death. His declining 
health compelled him reluctantly to retire from business 
for some time before his decease. 

He never seemed more happy and more himself, than 
when in the exercise of relief to his suffering fellow crea- 
tures. Here he was truly in his element. His medical 
attainments commanded confidence, and his affectionate 
manners inspired hope, even on the bed of death. Assail- 
ed at length by those bodily ills inseparable from this life, 
he saw the unerring approach of his OAvn dissolution, and 
was prepared to meet the summons wdth composure. He 
died in April, 1827, as he lived, an exemplary religionist ; 
pious, yet not bigoted ; ardent, yet no enthusiast. 

To his last hour he maintained the doctrines of Christ- 
ianity. He received them from his forefathers, he nursed 
them in his bosom, and he was a firm and steady support- 
er of his faith, an ornament and pillar of his church. His 
charity was in his mind and in his heart, condemning no 
one whose sectarian principles may have differed from his 
own. His soul soared above the grovelling influence of 
religious prejudice, and denounced all efforts made to 
control religious freedom. All men who acknowledged 
the power of a Supreme Being, and obeyed the divine com- 
mandments, were alike partakers of his love and friend- 
ship. He spurned the individual who could engender 
intolerant doctrines, believing that matters of conscience 
were between man and his Maker. 

In his walks in private life Dr. Wilson was conspicuous 
among his associates for refined conversation and agree- 
able manners. He was proverbial for suavity and a pleas- 
ing expression, which won attention even on the most 
trivial occasions. As a practising physician his mind was 


replete with useful information, skill and learning, and his 
eminent success is attributed to a sound understanding, an 
inquiring, calm and laborious investigation, and correct 
observation as to the seat and progress of diseases. He 
believed that improper and uncalled for medicines inva- 
riably hazarded the lives of his patients, and that it requir- 
ed as much judgment to know when not to give, as when 
to give medicine. His knowledge of the female constitu- 
tion, and his accuracy in the treatment of the diseases of 
infants, were perhaps unrivalled. In distributing his 
medical services he knew no distinction between the rich 
and the poor, and he generously relieved by his purse no 
less than by medical aid, and religious consolation, the 
afflictions of humanity. 

Dr. Wilson was the instructer of a very considerable 
number of young physicians, many of whom became emi- 
nently distinguished. One of this number was peculiarly 
indebted to him for benevolent assistance. From the re- 
verse of fortune the young candidate was destitute of the 
means to complete his education at the University of Penn- 
sylvania. Dr. W. generously proffered his aid, and 
promptly furnished the adequate funds by which he ob- 
tained a medical degree, and on his return he was received 
by his patron as a father would have received a deserving 
child. His intercourse with his professional brethren was 
always disinterested, and his wonted liberality kept him 
on the best terms of friendship. He had no petty or sor- 
did feelings of envy or jealousy ; he rejoiced at the suc- 
cess of others, and promoted rather than retarded the 
growing prosperity of his competitors. His own good 
conduct was the best support to his reputation, and, as he 
bore the rude assaults of others with contempt, the weap- 
ons raised against him fell harmless at his feet. His con- 
sultations were regulated by the utmost courtesy, and the , 
deference which he paid to the opinions of others, inspired 
them with the most profound respect. 

Dr. Wilson was a member of the most respectable socie- 
ties in the city of Charleston. In some he held the first 
offices. The Medical Society, the South Carolina Society, 
and the St. Andrew's Society, have long enrolled his 
name ; of the latter he died one of the oldest members. 
As one of the fraternity of Free Masons he held a con- 
spicuous rank, and filled high stations in the Grand Lodge 
of the state. The place of his interment is within the pre- 

Fcurlletous LiQiog-.'" 


cincts of the wall which he was instvuinental in erecting, 
and in the consecrated edifice in which he was for thirty 
years an elder and communicant. — Eulogium by J. Be La 
Motta, M.D. abridged. 

WISTAR, CASPAR, M.D. had the good fortune to 
descend from ancestors in whom he heheld examples wor- 
thy of imitation. His paternal grandfather, Caspar Wis- 
tar, emigrated from the dominions of the Elector Palatine 
of Germany, and arrived at Philadelphia in the year 1717. 
He M'as a man of strong intellect, and applied his life to 
useful purposes. By his exertions was established in New 
Jersey, about thirty miles from Philadelphia, a manufac- 
tory of glass, supposed to have been the first in North 
America. His maternal grandfather, Bartholomew Wyatt, 
emigrated from England witli his wife, not long after Wil- 
liam Penn commenced the settlement of Pennsylvania. 
He lived not far from Salem in New-Jersey, and was act- 
ive and distinguished in the affairs of his day, both civil 
and religious. His father was remarked for firmness of 
character, and paid particular attention to the morals and 
religion of his children. 

Wistar himself was born in Philadelphia, the 13th of 
September, 1761. As his parents and ancestors, on both 
sides, were of the religious Society of Friends, he was 
brought up in their principles, ancl received his classical 
education at a school established by them in this city. I 
have been able to discover nothing very uncommon in his 
juvenile character. In quickness of apprehension he was 
surpassed by several of his companions ; but wliat he un- 
dertook he never failed to accomplish by perseverance. 
That he was a good scholar, may be inferred from the 
knowledge of the Greek and Latin languages which he 
was afterwards known to possess. Until the age of six- 
teen his faculties were expanding ; but the peculiar cast of 
his genius had not been developed. About that period 
occurred an event which called forth the ruling passion, 
and decided his fate. This event was the battle of Ger- 
mantown, in the year 1777. His religious principles kept 
him out of battle, but his humanity led hivn to seek tlie 
wounded soldier, and he was active in assisting those who 
were administering relief. His benevolent heart was 
affected by their sufferings ; and so deeply was he struck 
with the happy effects of the medical art, that he deter- 


mined to devote his life to a profession formed to alleviate 
the miseries of mankind. 

Firm in his purpose, Wistar applied himself to the study 
of medicine under Dr. John Redman, a very respectable 
physician of this city, formerly President of the College 
of Physicians, with whom he remained upwards of three 
years. During the last year he attended also the practice 
of Dr. John Jones, an eminent surgeon, who had left New- 
York in consequence of its occupation by the British army. 
It was the fortune of Wistar to gain the esteem of all his 
preceptors ; an infallible mark of his own good conduct. 
The friendship of two such men as Redman and Jones, 
was a valuable acquisition ; and from that of Jones, in 
particular, very important consequences resulted. Having 
gone through the usual course of study, and attended the 
medical lectures, Wistar offered himself in the year 1782 
as a candidate for the degree of Bachelor of Medicine in 
the University of Pennsylvania. Previous to the obtain- 
ing of this honor, he underwent an examination in the 
presence of the trustees of the university. It is said that 
he acquitted himself on that occasion in an extraordinary 
manner ; answering the questions proposed to him, with 
such uncommon promptness and precision, as excited the 
surprise, and commanded the admiration of all who heard 
him. There was a singularity in this examination of 
which I have been informed by a gentleman who was 
present. The Faculty of Medicine were not all of one 
theory,* and each professor examined with an eye to his 
own system ; of this Wistar was aware, and had the ad- 
dress to answer each to his complete satisfaction, in his 
own way. Of course the degree was conferred on him. 

Instead of entering immediately into the practice of 
medicine, he determined to avail himself of the advantages 
to be found in the schools of London and Edinburgh, at 
that time the first in the world. In this he displayed his 
usual judgment. It has been remarked that, with few 
exceptions, those who have been great in the learned pro- 
fessions, have abstained from practice at an early age. 
The cause is obvious. The elements of science lie too 
deep to be attained without long and patient thought. 
The mind requires retirement and tranquillity, to exert its 
powers of reflection to their full extent. But these are 

* They were divided into Boerhaavian and C'ullenian. 


incompatible with the bustle, the anxiety, the agitation of 
active life. Tliere was another reason too, formerly of 
great weight, though not so now, for finishing a medical 
education in Europe. Our own schools were in their in- 
fancy, and he who had been initiated in others of so much 
greater celebrity, carried with him a splendor reflected 
from the masters under whom he had studied. This had 
appeared in Morgan, Shippen, Kuhn, and Rush, too plainly 
to be overlooked by the searching eyes of Wistar. Ac- 
cordingly he went to England, in October, 1783. 

The air of London was unfavorable to his health, which 
compelled him to make frequent excursions into the 
country. But no time was lost by these excursions. His 
investigating mind was busily employed in acquiring 
knowledge of various kinds ; and his familiar letters, dur- 
ing his abode in England, to his friends in America, gave 
promise of that devoted attachment to science, for which 
his character was afterwards distinguished. 

Having remained a year in England, he repaired to 
Edinburgh, where he passed his time, not like many young 
men in frivolous or vicious amusements, but in study, in 
attending lectures, in cultivating the friendship of distin- 
guished persons. To act a part like this, requires no 
small share of good sense and resolution. But to under- 
stand the merit of Wistar, it should be known that in con- 
sequence of his father's death, he was easy in his fortune, 
and uncontrolled master of his actions. Great is the dan- 
ger to which youth is exposed in populous cities. To each 
is offered the choice of Hercules. The paths of pleasure 
and of virtue lie open before them. False steps are not 
easily retraced ; for the diverging paths grow wider and 
wider asunder, until they terminate in the opposite ex- 
tremes of infamy and honor. 

Always intent on improving his opportunities, he made 
a journey on foot, in October, 1785, in company with 
Charles Throgmorton, Esq. and Mr. Ellcock, of Dublin, 
through part of the Highlands of Scotland, and visited 
Glasgow, Inverary and Inverness. His character was now 
rising rapidly at Edinburgh. That he enjoyed the esteem 
of the great Cullen, appears by a letter dated January, 
1786. For two successive years he was elected one of the 
Presidents of the Royal Medical Society of Edinburgh. He 
was elected also President of the society " for the further 
investigation of natural liistory." These honors, conferred 


by a great, a learned, and a proud nation, on a youth, a 
stranger, one whose country had but just risen into exist- 
ence, are the surest testimonies of uncommon merit. We 
contemplate them not only with pleasure, but with pride. 
Their lustre is reflected from the man to the country 
Avliich gave him birth. 

About the year 1785 he was received into the house of 
Doctor Charles Stewart, a most respectable physician of 
Edinburgh, with whom he lived during the remainder of 
the time that he spent in that city. Of this favor he was 
highly sensible. He always remembered it with grati- 
tude, and spoke of it with pleasure. 

In June, 1786, he took his degree of Doctor of Medi- 
cine in the University of Edinburgh ; his Inaugural Dis- 
sertation, " de Animo Demisso," is dedicated to Dr. Frank- 
lin and Dr. Cullen ; the one at the head of philosophy 
in his own country, the other flourishing in Scotland in 
medical fame. Towards the end of the year 1786 he took 
leave of Edinburgh, leaving behind him a name long re- 
membered. This is testified by his countrymen who vis- 
ited that city many years after. His fame flew before 
him to his native city, where he arrived in January 1787, 
after an absence of more than three years. 

He was soon appointed Physician to the Philadelphia 
Dispensary, a useful and charitable institution then re- 
cently established. In the same year he was elected a 
member of the College of Physicians, and of the American 
Philosophical Society. In 1788 to his other good fortune 
was added domestic happiness, by his marriage with his 
first wife, Isabella Marshall, daughter of Christopher Mar- 
shall of this city. In 1789 he was elected Professor of 
Chemistry in the College of Philadelphia. This appoint- 
ment he did not accept without great hesitation. Phila- 
delphia had then the misfortune to be divided between 
two rival schools ; the Faculty of Medicine of the College 
and that of the University of Pennsylvania. He saw and 
lamented the consequences of this division. It was his 
wish to unite, in one great institution, the talents of the 
city. But, finding that the period of union had not yet 
arrived, he accepted the professorship offered him by the 
College, in order to preserve an influence, to be exerted at 
the proper season, and in this purpose he was not disap- 
pointed ; for he had the satisfaction of contributing largely 
to the much desired union, Avhich was afterwards eflfected. 


In the memorable summer of 1793, when the Physi- 
cians were tlie forlorn hope which stood between the pest- 
ilence and the people, he had nearly lost his life : he did 
not escape the awful visitation, but was fortunate enough 
to recover from it. In the autumn of the same year he 
was chosen Physician to the Pennsylvania Hospital. 

The rival Faculties of Medicine being united in the Uni- 
versity of Pennsylvania, Wistar was elected, in January 
1792, adjunct Professor of anatomy, midwifery, and sur- 
gery, with the late Dr. Wm. Shippen, one of the fa- 
thers of the medical school. Surgery and midwifery 
were afterwards erected into several professorships ; Ship- 
pen and Wistar retained anatomy, and on the death of 
Shippen, in 1808, Wistar was placed, as sole Professor, in 
the anatomical chair. 

It was here that the scene of his greatest excellence was 
exhibited. In many departments of science he was con- 
spicuous, but here preeminent. Here he exerted all his 
genius and strained every faculty of his mind. His heart 
and soul were in the object. No pains, no money were 
spared to render the lecture complete ; and he succeeded ; 
for, in the opinion of able judges, he might well bear a 
comparison with the most celebrated Professors in exist- 
ence. In language he was sufficiently fluent, and, when a 
little excited, even eloquent, and by happy allusions to 
agreeable objects he contrived to scatter flowers over a 
field, not naturally of an inviting aspect. But his great 
aim was to render his demonstrations perfectly intelligi- 
ble, and this he always accomplished by dwelling upon 
his subject, until he perceived that it was clearly under- 
stood by his pupils. In the communication of his ideas 
he had a facility never attained but by great masters. Too 
much praise cannot be given him for the liberality with 
which he provided the necessary apparatus. His expenses 
in procuring every kind of drawing or model which could 
represent the various parts of the human body, were great- 
er than can be conceived by those who have not been in- 
formed. The increase of his class keeping pace witli the 
fame of the Professor, it was found impossible to demon- 
strate to several hundred students at once, the structure 
of all the minute organs. He had recourse, therefore, to 
models, which gave an exact representation of the small 
parts of the human structure on a magnified scale. This 
was not an original idea of Wistar ; but he extended thii 
YOL. ri. 27 


mode of instruction so far beyond any thing which had 
been before practised, and its effects, under his lessons, 
were so luminous and happy, that we can scarce withhold 
from him the merit of invention. 

He published a few years ago, a System of Anatomy 
adapted to the use of students, the character of which I 
shall give in words better than my own, obligingly com- 
municated by a Professor of our Medical Faculty.* " It 
is a model for an elementary work. The style is simple, 
plain, intelligible — the descriptions brief and accurate 
— the arrangement lucid, and the whole work altogeth- 
er worthy of his talents. However numerous the writ- 
ings of anatomists, I have no hesitation in declaring this 
by far the most easily understood, and by far the best 
fitted for the purposes intended." 

Anatomy has been so much studied both by the ancients 
and moderns, and so many excellent works have been 
published on the subject, that any discovery, at this time 
of day, was scarcely to be expected. Yet it is supposed to 
be without doubt, that Wistar was the first who observed 
and described the posterior portion of the ethmoid bone in 
its most perfect state, viz. with the triangular bones at- 
tached to it. Of this he has given an accurate description 
in the volume of our Transactions now in the press. On 
the subject of that discovery he received, a few days be- 
fore his death, a letter from Professor Soemmering, of the 
kingdom of Bavaria, one of the most celebrated anato- 
mists in Europe, of which the following is an extract : 
" The neat specimen of the sphenoid and ethmoid bones, 
is an invaluable addition to my anatomical collection, 
having never seen them myself in such a perfect state. 
I shall now be very attentive to examine these processes 
of the ethmoid bone in children of two years of age, be- 
ing fully persuaded Mr. Bertin had never met with them 
of such a considerable size, nor of such peculiar struc- 

In December, 1798, Wistar married the amiable lady 
who now laments his loss, Elizabeth Mifflin, niece of the 
late Governor Mifflin. Of his first marriage there is no 
issue. In his last he was blessed with many children, only 
three of whom remain. 

* Dr. Doriey, Profesaor of Materia Medica. 


In the year 1809, knowing the prejudices that obstruct- 
ed the progress of vaccination, he suggested the plan of a 
society for circulating the benefit of that noble discovery 
which has immortalized Jenner. And in this he had the 
pleasure of finding himself seconded by a number of public 
spirited gentlemen, who associated themselves for that use- 
ful purpose. So great has been their success, that by their 
means upwards of eleven thousand persons had been vac- 
cinated in this city and liberties, and the district of South- 
wark, previous to their annual report in January last : nor 
is that all ; for, encouraged by tlieir examj)les, the cor- 
poration have generously provided by law for the gratuit- 
ous vaccination of the poor in the city. 

In May, 1810, he resigned his office of physician to the 
Hospital. In what estimation he was held by the mana- 
gers, will best appear by their own resolution, entered on 
their minutes. " The conclusion of Dr. Wistar, to with- 
draw at the present time, was unexpected and very much 
regretted by the managers, who would have gladly em- 
braced the opportunity of giving to a long-tried, expe- 
rienced and faithful practitioner, a further proof of their 
confidence in his skill and abilities, by reelecting him 
to the office he has filled more than sixteen years suc- 
cessively with great reputation, if he had not prevented 
them by declining to serve any longer. Under these 
impressions, the managers reluctantly part with Dr. 
Wistar, being thankful for his past exertions to serve the 
institution, and for his kind offers to advise and assist, 
if there shall be any particular reason to require it, on 
any future occasion." 

in July, 1794, he was appointed one of the censors of 
the College of Physicians, a very learned incorporated so- 
ciety, which office lie retained to the time of his death. 

Dr. Wistar's mind was eminently formed for a profes- 
sion, in which precipitancy is danger, and mistake is 
death. No man ever performed his duty to his patients 
with more scrupulous integrity. He spared no pains in 
collecting all the symptoms from which the disease might 
be ascertained. His visits were long, his questions numer- 
ous and minute. He paused before he decided, but was 
seldom wrong ; and, his mind once satisfied, he was not 
easily moved from his purpose. In consultation with his 
brethren he was courteous and attentive ; never overbear- 
ing, but always stating with modest firmness the result of 


his own reflections. His patients he never failed to at- 
tach to him. How indeed could it be otherwise, when 
to the sedulous attentions of a Physician were added the 
sympathy and anxiety of a friend ? Though much given 
to hospitality, he never neglected the duties of his pro- 
fession. Being eminent both in medicine and surgery, his 
practice soon became so extensive, that he was in the habit 
of walking ten miles daily. He would often rise from 
the convivial table to visit his patients, and request his 
friends to remain with his family until his return. Yet 
the pleasure of pleasing others seemed an antidote to fa- 
tigue, and enabled him, generally, to be the most animated 
of the company. 

Having taken a view of his public and private services 
as a physician, let us now consider him as a man of gener- 
al science and literature. His classical learning, gained at 
school, was much enlarged by subsequent reading. He 
became an excellent scholar. The Latin he understood so 
well, as occasionally to hold conversations in it. He ac- 
quired enough of the French language to converse with- 
out difficulty, and was well acquainted with the German. 
In the character of an accomplished physician is combin- 
ed a variety of sciences. Anatomy was Wistar's fort, but 
he was well versed in Chemistry, Botany, Mineralogy, and 
History, in all its branches. As appertinent to his profes- 
sion, he had reflected deeply on the human mind. Its 
connexion with the body, the manner of its being acted 
on by matter, and the cure of its maladies, he considered 
as desiderata in medicine. That these objects had engag- 
ed much of his thought, is evident. For, when a student 
at Edinburgh, I find that he proposed questions concern- 
ing them to Dr. CuUen ; his Thesis, " de Animo Demisso," 
shows the same train of thinking, and in the last valedic- 
tory address to his pupils, he exhorts them to investigate 
the subject, and to make themselves familiar with the 
writings of Locke, Hartley, Priestley, and Reid. 

As an author, he has not left much behind him. He 
sometimes wrote anonymous essays, which were published 
in the papers of the day ; and others, which had his sig- 
nature, appeared in the Transactions of the College of 
Physicians, and in the printed volumes of the Transac- 
tions of the American Philosophical Society. Among the 
latter is a paper in which are detailed some very curious 
experiments on the evaporation of ice. This subject ha* 


been since ably developed by others, but it is believed that 
Wistar was among the first who attracted to that ib"ect 
the attention of the public. His most considerable w 'rk 
is his system of Anatomy. He had completed the Bio- 
graphy of his friend and colleague, Dr. Shippen, and ha I 
it in contemplation to write a Memoir on the life of the 
late Professor Barton. He was industriously inquiring in- 
to the natural history of our western country, and had 
commenced a collection of subjects for the investigation of 
Comparative Anatomy, to which he was incited by his 
friend Correa da Serra, whose name is identified with 
science both in Europe and America. He had been accus- 
tomed to correspond with men of distinguished talents, 
both at home and abroad. Among these are found the 
names of Humboldt and Soemmering, in Germany ; Camper, 
in Holland ; Michaux, in France ; Sylvester, in Geneva ; 
Dr. Pole and Dr. Thomas C. Hope, in Great Britain ; and 
in the United States, of the late President Jefferson, Cc rrea 
da Serra, Warren, and most others conspicuous in litera- 
ture. In 1815 he was elected an honorary member of the 
Literary and Philosophical Society of New-York, and the 
same honor was conferred on him by other literary insti- 

In the year 1795 he was elected Vice-President of the 
American Philosophical Society, and in 1815, on the resig- 
nation of Mr. Jefferson, he succeeded to the chair of his 
illustrious friend. I need not call to your recollection 
with what propriety, what decorum, what suavity of man- 
ners, he discharged the duties of this honorable station. 
Such was his courtesy, that he seemed anxious even to di- 
vest himself of that superiority, which the order of busi- 
ness rendered necessary. He was assiduous in attending 
committees. He was one of the first and most strenuous 
supporters of the Historical and Literary Committee, in- 
stituted by the society about tw^o years ago. With what 
ardor did he excite them to industry in collecting, ere too 
late, the fleeting materials of American history .'' The 
meetings of this committee he regularly attended. It w^as 
their custom, after the business of the evening was con- 
cluded, to enter into an unrestrained conversation on lit- 
erary subjects. There, without intending it, our lament- 
ed friend would insensibly take the lead ; and so interest- 
ing were his anecdotes, and so just his remarks, that draw- 
ing close to the dying embers, we often forgot the lapse 


of time, until warned by the unwelcome clock that we 
had entered on another day. To the business of the soci- 
ety in general he was always attentive, and his zeal for its 
interest could not be surpassed. Considering his conduct 
in every point of view, I may truly say that he gave uni- 
versal satisfaction. 

The understanding of Wistar was rather strong than 
brilliant. Truth was its object. His mind was patient of 
labor, curious in research, clear, although not rapid in 
perception, and sure in judgment. What is gained with 
toil is not easily lost. His information was remarkably 
accurate, and his tenacious memory held fast what it had 
once embraced. In youth he had given some time to poe- 
try, and in maturer age he had not lost his taste for it. 
His favorite poets were Pope and Milton, Among those 
of more modern date, he preferred Cowper and Burns. 
But the inclination of his genius was decidedly for graver 
studies. Of time, and nothing else, he was avaricious. 
As he rode in a carriage he often read, and when confined 
b}' sickness he was fond of being read to by his family. 

It remains to consider our deceased associate as a private 
citizen and a man. Public office he neither held nor 
sought, although enjoying the affection of him whose fa- 
vor was fortune. This disinterested friendship does honor 
to both. To the liberty of his country he was firmly and 
warmly attached. The harmony in which he lived with 
friends of both parties, and the respect and affection which 
friends of both parties entertained for him, afford a memo- 
rable example, well worthy the serious reflection of those 
who suppose that political intolerance is essential to politi- 
cal integrity. 

I turn with pleasure from the field of politics to objects 
of a more delightful nature ; the piety, the goodness, the 
philanthropy of our lamented friend. 

It is difficult for a physician to be punctual in attend- 
ance on public worship. But if Wistar was not punctual, 
it was not because he was insensible of the duty, but be- 
cause he was called by other duties to the assistance of his 
fellow mortals in another place. He therefore desired 
that his family should be regular in attendance at meeting, 
and he himself went when the situation of his patients 
permitted. In his devotion, as in every thing else, he was 
void of ostentation. But that his mind dwelt much on 
that important object, I can have no manner of doubt. 


When a youth, at Edinburgh, his friend. Dr. Charles 
Stewart, made him a present of a neat edition of the Bible, 
in two small volumes. These he carefully preserved to 
the day of his death ; and it was his custom, when he 
travelled, always to take one of them with him. This 
circumstance was well known to his children, the eldest 
of whom frequently accompanied him in his excursions, 
and could not fail to impress on tlieir tender minds a 
veneration for the book which their father so highly 

To Wistar, philosophy was the handmaid of religion — 
she elevated his soul and warmed his affections. 

After loving God with all our heart, the next great com- 
mandment is to love our neighbor as ourself. Were I 
asked to point out the most prominent feature in Wistar's 
character, I should answer, without hesitation, benevo- 
lence. It was a feeling which seems never to have for- 
saken him, beginning, as it ought, with his own family, 
and extending to the whole human race. Nor was it that 
useless sympathy which contents itself with its own sensa- 
tions. His charity was active, his hand ever seconding 
the feelings of his heart. 

On the death of Dr Rush, Wistar succeeded him as 
President of the Society for the Abolition of Slavery^ 
The object of this society was congenial to his mind. 
Considering the situation of the southern states, the sub- 
ject is delicate. But, certainly, the introduction of slavery 
into our country is an event deeply to be lamented, and 
every wise man must wish for its gradual abolition. 

For the Indians of America he seems to have felt a par- 
ticular kindness. He admired their eloquence, lamented 
their desolating wars, and earnestly sought for the means 
of meliorating their condition. Having once inoculated 
an Indian woman for the smallpox, her husband had fears 
for the event. Indeed there was some cause for fear, as 
the woman refused to submit to the proper regimen. The 
anxiety of t'ha Doctor was extreme. She recovered ; but 
until the danger was over, he declared, that on no occasion 
had he been more oppressed with the responsibility of his 

The gratitude of Wistar was remarkable. Services 
done, or even intended, he always remembered ; but inju- 
ries he was ready to forget. In a letter written at Edin- 
burgh he declared, that lie had determined to forgive 


every thing to a friend or near relation, and expressed his 
belief, that it would contribute greatly to happiness to ex- 
tend forgiveness to every one. This sentiment gained 
strength with time, and at length ripened into a governing 

His health, during the few last years, was interrupted by 
several alarming attacks. He was subject to great irregu- 
larities of pulse, and there were strong symptoms of disor- 
der in the chest. A collection of water was apprehended. 
But the fact was, that a small ossification had taken place 
between two of the semi-lunar valves of the aorta. About 
the 14th of January last, he was seized with a malignant 
fever attended with symptoms of typhus. Art proved 
unavailing, and he sunk under the disease, after an illness 
of eight days, on the 22d of January, 1818. — From a Eulo- 
gy delivered before the American Philosophical Society at Phila- 
delphia, by the Hon. William Tilghman. 

The preceding facts, which are collected from a source, 
the authenticity of which cannot for a moment be ques- 
tioned, display in a strong and simple manner the estima- 
tion in which Dr. Wistar was held by those who possessed 
the best means of knowing his whole character. There 
was a remarkable simplicity and openness in this distin- 
guished individual. There was a directness in his actions, 
which left no one to hesitate as to the nature of his mo- 
tives. There was too much of good, public and private, 
in what he did, to permit any man to seek for improper 
motives for his conduct. His country, his profession, the 
poor and the rich, his public station, the promotion of 
science, his religion, every relation which he felt to things 
around him, found a deep place in his heart ; and he 
seemed to live to cherish and strengthen principles, the 
constant operation of which was to make him happy, use- 
ful and good. 

The great and leading trait in Dr. Wistar's character 
was benevolence. He continued to practise a laborious 
profession, and among all classes, when its emoluments 
had lost their attraction. When bodily infirmity imperi- 
ously called on him to narrow the sphere of his labors, he 
lamented that his opportunities of active usefulness were 
diminished. He had ample resources in his own mind, 
but there was a joy in doing good which no retired or ab- 
stract occupation could supply. This benevolence was not 
only discoverable in his devotedness to his patients ; it was 


the same spirit, that made his house the welcome resort 
of the stranger and the friend ; and it was to give this 
spirit wider exercise, that he never ceased from study. 
Works of mere taste, however, and especially works of 
fiction, he rarely read. Life seemed to him too short to 
be wasted ; and knowledge which could not be applied to 
some useful purpose, seemed hardly worth acquiring. 

Dr. Wistar was remarkable for the high veneration with 
which he regarded his profession. In the discharge of its 
practical duties, his ruling principle shone preeminently 
bright. Men lost to him then the artificial distinctions of 
society. Sufferers constituted but one class, one species. 
Individual misery was a claim which he never failed to 
recognise. It was not, however, in a conscientious dis- 
charge of its duties merely, that his profound respect for 
his profession was discoverable. He possessed an abstract 
sentiment of veneration for his favorite science. He loved 
it for its own sake. It was to him a dignified and noble 
science, with high purposes for its objects. A moral and 
intellectual character was thus diffused through its practical 
details ; and what with many men is mere routine, had 
with him an intimate union with mind. This led to a 
strong and habitual application of his powers to every 
collateral study, which might tend to enlighten the obscure 
parts of his profession, strengthen his regard for it, and 
render both it and himself more extensively useful. 

We turn from these more general views, to consider 
some relations in which Dr. Wistar excelled. There are 
three for which he especially deserves to be mentioned ; as 
a companion, as a hospital surgeon, and as a public teach- 
er. When we speak of Dr. Wistar as a companion, we 
speak of his colloquial powers and dispositions as they 
were manifested to his visiters. These can be perfectly 
understood only by those who have been acquainted with 
him. They owed much of their power to simple express- 
ion of countenance. When he spoke, his face became at 
once animated and open. His features received impress- 
ions readily from his mind ; and when he listened, one 
might perceive in his varying countenance the effect of the 
remark that was made, and gather tiie tone of his reply. 
There was, in short, something colloquial in the simple 
expressions of his countenance. His address was not ele- 
gant, and we are not disposed to call it awkward. It was 
the manner of a man whose mind was habitually absorbed, 

TOL. II. 28 


and the occasional relaxations of which had not allowed 
him time for acquiring elegance. In him the purposes of 
conversation were answered. Something interesting might 
always be learned. He became early acquainted witii use- 
ful discoveries in the sciences and the arts, and took a 
pleasure in communicating them. Yet he never engrossed 
conversation. He looked to his visiters for information 
and pleasure, and understood admirably well the art of 
eliciting from every mind, with which he came in contact^ 
what might interest himself or others. 

As a surgeon of the Hospital of Pennsylvania, Dr. Wis- 
tar aimed to accomplish two highly important objects, 
to cure disease, and convey instruction. What has been 
already considered as the leading trait in his character, 
was in this relation peculiarly conspicuous. It was a field 
in wliich a benevolent spirit might exert its widest and 
purest influences. Here were strangers, who might die, 
and be at once forgotten ; or recover, and hardly know 
the being whose deep interest and successful exertions had 
been among the means of their recovery. These unknown 
men, however, became at once intimately allied to Dr. 
Wistar. Their claims were laid in their distresses. The 
union became closer in proportion to the increase of suf- 
fering ; and no one, who has seen him at the bedside of 
one of these patients in whom signs of recovery at last be- 
gan to appear, but could read in his animated, happy 
countenance, from how heavy a weight of anxiety and op- 
pression his heart was recovering. This would not have 
been particularly noticed, for we know that sympathy 
under these circumstances is not uncommon. In Dr. Wis- 
tar, however, the degree in which it existed was un- 
usual. It is, we think, but rarely found that habit 
does not enable men to resist the expression of feeling, 
whether of sorrow or joy. It certainly did not in him, 
and thus a medical student and hospital patient were the 
witnesses of feeling, as well as of skill, and felt a relation 
to him, on that account, which few men in similar situa- 
tions are anxious to have established. 

Dr. Wistar never lost an opportunity of imparting use- 
ful instruction to the hospital pupils. This was done by 
minute examinations of the patients, while the class was 
present, and by interesting remarks on individual cases. 
He insensibly led the student to habits of deliberate inqui- 
ry and reflection, by the happy illustration he ofiered of 


the practice in himself. In his manner towards the patients 
of this admirable charity, he gave a most valuable lesson 
of conduct to the young. If a student saw any thing but 
misery in corporal distress, or acknowledged any other 
sentiment than a desire to relieve it, especially if he viewed 
it as ludicrous, or treated it as such, Dr. Wistar never 
failed to notice and correct, at the moment, so gross a mis- 

It remains to speak of Dr. Wistar as a public teacher. 
In this relation he appeared in all the fulness of his intel- 
lectual powers. He brought to the anatomical theatre his 
deep and various learning, his habitual feelings, and even 
something of his colloquial vivacity. Although he was 
strikingly fluent, and truly learned, still there was some- 
thing in his eloquence peculiarly his own. Not that he 
was lofty in his manner and imposing by his voice, for he 
was neither. His was the eloquence of sentiment, rather 
than of manner ; and his persuasiveness owed almost as 
much to his disposition, as to the great importance of the 
truths which he unfolded. The dignity which attached 
to him, had a common origin with his eloquence. It was 
not perceived at once. It was necessary to know some- 
thing of his character and heart, as well as of the richness 
of his mind, in order to understand the elevation to which 
he had attained. In his public instructions Dr. Wistar 
surrendered himself entirely to his hearers, and freely, 
thouoh unconsciously, displayed to them his intellectual 
peculiarities and his whole character. He commenced his 
lecture with a recapitulation of the preceding one. This 
was done by questions to the class. The cflect of this on 
the student's mind, was to connect intimately the instruct- 
ion already given, with that which he was about to re- 
ceive. The lecturer then turned with unembarrassed read- 
iness to the subject before him. An unrivalled fluency 
and simplicity attended him through every step of the de- 
monstration, however complicated ; and he knew, of all 
men we have ever heard, the best how to be interesting, 
and at the same time rigorously minute. A broad and 
clear light shone steadily around him. He seemed to have 
identified anatomy with his common thoughts ; and the 
language in which he expressed himself on this subject, 
seemed like the appropriate expressions of his familiar 
conversation. Towards the close of the lecture, when the 
business of demonstration was done, he deserted for a whiU 


the office of teaching forms, structures and arrangements, 
and entered the more intellectual department of his sci- 
ence, which teaches the uses or functions of organs. He 
entered this path as if it had not been a new one. The di- 
gression was so easy, so natural, that his hearers unreluc- 
tantly followed him. They felt that they were to be de- 
lighted and instructed by all that he would discover to 
them. In this part of his lecture his mind had its full 
play. Its great business was to collect and arrange what 
others had taught, and to interweave among his luminous 
generalizations the results of his own inquiries. In doing 
this, he gave a brilliancy to the experimental truths of 
physiology which made them apparent to every one. His 
felicities of expression made tliem attractive and even 
beautiful. It was a brilliancy, however, that did not daz- 
zle, for it was a quality which owed its existence as much 
to the consciousness of the hearer, as to the clear concep- 
tions and peculiar language of the professor. 

We have thus attempted a delineation of the character 
of Dr. Wistar. TJiere is something salutary in the con- 
templation of such a man, and such a mind. It is true, 
there is a height in so much excellence, to which we may 
never attain. But it is not too elevated to be seen. It is 
not a sudden steep, every step of which must be gained by 
labor, and which few only have surmounted. We rise by 
an ascent so gentle, and so much to love is on every side, 
that our strength is increased rather than exhausted. We 
are invited by such a mind to be its companion and friend ; 
and are taught by it, that Ave may be both, if we have 
found our highest pleasure in honorable and important la- 
bors for the public, and in a beneficence which has its lim- 
its only in our power of doing good. — W. C. — J\\ Jl. Rev. 
— Use?' Cijclopedia. — IIosack''s Eulogium. — Essays, Vol. I. 

WOODHOUSE, JAMES, M.D. was born in Philadel- 
phia November 17th, 1770. His father was a bookseller 
and stationer, and an industrious, worthy citizen. His 
mother was an excellent woman, who discharged her du- 
ties in society with zeal and fidelity. Dr. Woodhouse's 
education was commenced at a private school in Philadel- 
phia, and continued at the grammar school of the Univer- 
sity of Pennsylvania. In due course of time he entered 
the university, and in 1787 received the honor of Bachel- 
or of Arts. He soon after entered as a pupil with Dr. 
Rush, and in 1792 was graduated Doctor of Medicine. 


The inaugural dissertation which he supported and de- 
fended was on the Dyosperos Virginiana, or Persimmon ; 
of this valuable native tree he gave the botanical and nat- 
ural history ; and also detailed a variety of experiments 
which he made upon the expressed juice of the unripe 
fruit, the extreme astringency of which cannot be conceiv- 
ed of but by those who have bitten the plum. He treats 
of the various purposes to which it may be applied in the 
arts, and in diseases ; and of the modes of obtaining a 
spirit and beers, and of making bread from the fruit, after 
it is converted into a sweet nutritions and grateful sub- 
stance by exposure to the frost when fully ripe. 

In 1791 he determined to apply for the situation of Sur- 
geon in the Army, then assembling under the command of 
the late General St. Clair, and destined to chastise the In- 
dians on our frontiers, who had committed repeated mur- 
ders upon the citizens of the United states ; and, upon the 
resignation of his fellow student, Dr. James Mease, who 
had been appointed Surgeon, but who changed his mind, 
he received the commission. The horrors of that cam- 
paign have been often given to the public. Luckily Dr. 
Woodhouse escaped the dangers of the dreadful defeat 
which the United States troops suffered on the 4th of Nov- 
ember, 1791, having been ordered to accompany tlie first 
regiment which was sent after sixty militia deserters, four 
days before the battle, and to meet a convoy of provisions 
which was daily expected. He returned to Philadelphia 
after an absence of four months, and renewed his studies. 

He early evinced a predilection for chemical studies, and 
to these he confined almost the whole of his attention af- 
ter his graduation. He never attempted to practise med- 
icine. A vacancy in the chemical chair liaving occurred 
by the death of Dr. Hutchinson in 1793, Dr. Woodhouse 
offered himself as a candidate. Dr. Priestley was chosen, 
but declined. Dr. Carson was then appointed, but died 
without giving a lecture ; and in the year 1795 Dr. Wood- 
house was elected to the office. He went to work with 
zeal, and delivered a course of lectures the following win- 
ter with great applause ; and, as almost the whole of his 
time was devoted to the study of his favorite science, he 
added to the number, variety and brilliancy of his experi- 

His publications on chemical subjects were numerous, 
and may be found in those useful journals, the Medical 


Repository of New-York, Coxe's Medical Museum of Phil- 
adelphia, and the American Philosophical Society's Trans- 
actions, vol. 4th. The first evinces by several compara- 
tive experiments, the superiority of the anthracite coal 
from the river Lehigh in Northampton county, Pennsyl- 
vania, over the bituminous coal of Virginia, for intensity 
and regularity of heat. In the spring of 1802 he made a 
visit to England and France for the purpose of improving 
himself in the branch he taught, and while in London 
published in Nicholson's Philosophical Journal, vol. 2d, 
*' Experiments and Observations on the Vegetation of 
Plants," which show the common opinion of the amelior- 
ation of the atmosphere by vegetation in solar light, to be 
ill founded. This paper was the result of a series of labor- 
ious and ingenious experiments on the leaves of numerous 
plants and trees. He returned in time to commence his 
lectures the following season with his brethren of the Med- 
ical Faculty. In the year 1796 he was elected a member 
of the American Philosophical Society. 

Besides his papers in the medical Journals above men- 
tioned, he published the following : Observations on the 
Combination of Acids, Bitters, and Astringents, a pam- 
phlet, 1793 : The young Chemist's Pocket Companion, 
connected with a portable laboratory, for enabling any 
one to perform a variety of experiments, 12mo. 1797 : 
Parkinson's Chemical Pocketbook, with an appendix con- 
taining the principal objections to the antiphlogistic theo- 
ry of chemistry, and a plate of his economical laboratory, 
12mo. 1802 : Chaptal's Elements of Chemistry, 4th edi- 
tion, with many notes and additions, 2 vols. 1807. 

Dr. Woodhouse died of palsy, which terminated in ap- 
oplexy, June 4th, 1809. He left a choice collection of 
books on medicine and other subjects to the Pennsylvania 
Hospital, and a collection of minerals to the American 
Philosophical Society. 


{See Page 185, Vol.11.) 

No. I. 

Extract from a Letter of the Right Reverend Bishop White, 
Pennsylvania, to Dr. Ilosack, New- York. 

Dear Sir, Philadelphia, October 14th, 1819. 

On the receipt of your letter of the 12th, I called on my neigh- 
bor, Mr. Read, whose information on the subject of your inquiry 
is as follows : 

Dr. Williamson had learned that the letters of Governor Hutch- 
inson were deposited in an office, different from that in which they 
ought regularly to have been. There had been some business 
which had convinced him (Dr. W.) that, in the transactions of the 
former office, tiiere was no great exactness. He repaired to it, 
and, not finding the principal within, he addressed himself to the 
chief clerk ; assuming) the demeanor of official importance, he de- 
manded the late letters of Governor Hutchinson ; noticing the of- 
fice in which they ought properly to be placed. Mr. Read thinks 
it was (hat of the Secretary of State, but is not sure. The letters 
were delivered. Mr. Williamson carried them to a gentleman 
who would deliver them to Dr. Franklin, and the next day set off 
for Holland. Mr. Read remarked that his statement should be 
taken in connexion with the narrative to be found in the Life of 
Dr. Franklin. 

I have no doubt of the correctness of the communication of Mr. 
Read. Independently of the character he has sustained through 
life, and to a great age, Dr. W. and he were born within twelve 
miles of each other, and were companions from their boyhood. 
Very respectfully, your very humble servant, 

William White. 

To Dr. D. Hosach. 

P. S. The Mr. Read mentioned in this letter, is brother to the 
late George Read, Esq. of New-Castle, Member of the First Con- 
gress, and since Senator for Delaware, under the Federal Gov- 
ernment. W. W. 



224, 5«*- ^ -*> ^ NOTES. 

No II. 

Extract from a Letter of James Read, Esq. to Dr. Hosack. 

Sir, Philadelphia, October 26th^ 1819. 

The enclosed contains all the additional information I have 
been able to collect, relative to the subject of your letter dated on 
the 20th instant. 

As to the Hutchinson letters whicli I mentioned to Bishop White, 
I well remember Dr. Williamson telling me, some time after his 
return from Europe, that he was the person who had procured 
them ; having gotten information as to the office in which they 
were, (I think he said it was a particular part of the Treasury,) he 
went there, and without hesitation said to a clerk, the only person 
then in the office, that he came for the last letters that had been 
received from Hutchinson and Oliver, from Boston ; that the 
clerk, without asking a question, gave him the letters, which he 
put into his pocket and walked out. He was convinced the clerk 
supposed him to be an authorized person from some other public 
office ; that he placed the letters in a proper situation to be con- 
veyed to Dr. Franklin, tlien in London, and he departed imme- 
diately for Holland. This is, if not exactly, at least the substance 
of what the Doctor told me in a conversation we had on the then 
situation of our public affairs. The effects resulting from that 
transaction are generally known. 

It will afford me much gratification, if any thing contained here- 
in should be deemed useful to you in portraying the character of 
the estimable and truly respectable Dr. Williamson. 
I am, with respect, Sir, 

Your obedient servant, 

James Read. 

Dr. D. Hosack. 

No. III. 

Extract from a Letter from the Honorable John Adams, LL.D. 
late President of the United States, to Dr. Hosack. 

Sir, Quincy, January 28th, 1820. 

Your Biographical Memoir of Dr. Williamson, which I have 
read with great interest and satisfaction, has excited so many remi- 
niscences, as the French call them, that I know not where to be- 
gin, or where to end. 

My first acquaintance with Dr. Williamson was in Boston, in 
1773, when he made a strong impression upon me, and gave me a 
high opinion of the intelligence, as well as energy of his character. 
He gave us great comfort, at that time, by the representation he 

NOTCS. ^'^o 

gave IIS of tlie ardor of the people in the American cause, in the 
middhi and southern slates, especially in Nevv-Yoik and riiiUidii-. 
phia. I was afterwards more particularly acquainted with him, 
when he was a member of the House of Representatives, in Con- 
gress ; when he communicated many things to me, particularly that 
he was descended from Sir William WaJlace, the great Scottish 
hero, patriot and martyr. He informed me also that he was em- 
ployed in writing the History of North Carolina, a work that I 
have long wished to see, but have never been so fortunate as to 

I was one of the first persons to whom Mr. Gushing communi- 
cated the great bundle of letters of Hutchinson and Oliver, which 
had been transmitted to him, as Speaker of the House of Repre- 
sentatives, by Dr. Franklin, their agent in London. I was permit- 
ted to carry them with me upon a circuit of our Judicial Court, 
and to communicate them to the chosen kw. They excited no 
surprise, excepting at the miracle of their acquisition. How that 
could have been performed nobody could conjecture ; none doubl- 
ed their authenticity, for the hand-writing was full proof: and, be- 
sides, all the leading men in opposition to the ministry, had long 
been fully convinced that the writers were guilty of such malignant 
representation, and that those representations had suggested to the 
ministry their nefarious projects. I doubt not the veracity of Dr. 
Williamson's account of the agency in procuring those letters, but 
I believe he has omitted one circumstance, to wit, that he was em- 
ployed upon that occasion by Mr. Temple, afterwards Sir John 
Temple, who told me, in Holland, that he had communicated those 
letters to Dr. Franklin. Though I swear to you, said he, that I 
did not procure them in the manner represented. This I believe, 
and I believe further, that he did not deliver them with his own 
hand, into Dr. Franklin's, but employed a member of Parliament, 
very possibly Mr. Hartley, for that purpose ; for Dr. Franklin de- 
clared publicly that he received them from a member of Parlia- 
ment. I am 

Your obliged friend, and most 

Humble servant, 

John Adams, 
To D. Hosack, M.D. LL.D. 

To the foregoing statement it may be proper to add that Captain 
John Williamson, a surviving brother of the deceased, in a conver- 
sation which I held with him shortly after the death of Dr. Wil- 
liamson, fully confirmed the above account of his brother's agency 
in procuring the letters of Hutchinson. He moreover declared 
that his information had been derived immediately from his bro- 
ther. D. H. 
VOL. II. 29 



:,:^e$Page 349, Vol 1.) 

V'tr*" No. I. 

Mr. Adam S. Kuhn, Upsal, 2d February, 1762. 

, Sir, 

About three weeks ago your son, of great promise, and en- 
dowed with most engaging manners, arrived here ; who after so 
long a voyage has reached this academy in safety and good health. 
He will receive from me the most disinterested advice ; I will cher- 
ish him with paternal affection, and will at no time omit any thing 
that can contribute to his assistance or advancement, as long as, h©' 
may choose to avail himself of my counsels. 

At this academy he can learn the History and Diagnosis of Dis- 
eases, Materia Medica and Natural History, better and more thor- 
oughly than perhaps in any other place. And if I should live for 
three years more, he will be a Doctor of Medicine, not only in 
name, but also in knowledge. 

If he is to expend yearly in this place the same sum which Mr. 
Wrangel is to bring back from his country, he ought to obtain from 
him a written order, under his own hand, for taking up money ; 
in this manner both will be benefited. 

If you should meet Mr. Bartram, who wrote to me and sent me 
some plants, I beg you to make my respects to him, and tell him 
that amongst the plants, there was only one that was really new ; 
which, with a high single stalk, with numerous setaceous leaves on 
the stalk, resembled in appearance the daffodil, and should be 
classed with the genus Helonias. 

Remember me affectionately to Mr. Wrangel, to whom I am 
under great obligations for his letter and his undissembled friend- 
ship. And now you may live at ease as it respects your son ; and 
remain assured that, as long as he is disposed to take my advice, 
he will be as safe with me as with his own father. Farewell, and 
may you live long and prosperously. 


No. II. ^ ^^* 

r ^ 

Mr. Adam S. Kuhn, » Upsal, 24th February, 1763. 


You recommended your son to my care, concerning whom I 
am now able to speak with more certainty. He lives in a house 
next door to me, so that I can daily enjoy his conversation, and 
inspect his morals and studies. His mind is always aspiring, and 


lis very ami^e d 

- ifoTES. ^ -m^, 227 

his very" mi^e disposition gives general satisfaction ; so" that he 
is beloved and esteemed by us all. He is unwearied in his stu- 
dies in every branch of medicine, nor does he suffer a single hour 
to pass by unimproved. He long since began to taste the sweets 
of science. He daily and faithfully studies Materia Medica with 
me. He has learnt the symptomatic history of diseases in an ac- 
curate and solid manner. In Natural History and Botany he has 
made remarkable progress, such indeed as he will never repent ; 
so that, God willing, he will hereafter see his country with differ- 
ent eyes than when he left it. He has studied Anatomy and Phy- 
siology with other professors. Next summer, during the vacation, 
he can go to the country, to a farm of mine very near the city, 
where he may make daily progress in the studies he has commenc- 
ed. I have been surprised that he has never been afflicted with 
homesickness ; the only thing that has caused him uneasiness, was 
not receiving any letters from the best of fathers. 

You have ventured to send your beloved son to a foreign country; 
should it be his fate to return to you, I will engage that you will 
never repent what yt)u have done. In a word, he livrs in the most 
temperate and correct manner. He observes good order in the 
management of his affairs ; nor have any of the allurements of 
youth, which are apt to ensnare young men, made any impression 
on him. Therefore I congratulate both you and myself on this 
your son ; and I declare most sacredly that I have never known 
any one more correct in deportment or superior in application. 
For the truth of this I pledge my honor, 

Mr. KuHN, ' r^ ^^'^' Upsal, October Sth, 1764. 

My dear friend, " ^a 

I this day received your letter, and rejoice exceedingly that 
the All Gracious God has conducted you in safety to England ; 
and I hope that He also will grant you a safe return to your 
friends. My whole family was extremely glad to learn that you 
were well, and di sire to be affectionately remembered to you. 

Wallerius, the Professor of Theology, Professor Dahlman, and 
the wife of Mr. Amnel, have died this summer. 

I have heard a great deal of the excellent IMrs. Monson, wnom 
I esteem and honor more than any other woman in the world ; I 
pray and beseech you to make my most devoted respects to her. 

I lately received from Siberia a live Cimicifuga, a species of 
actea, which gave me infinite pleasure. I have many new gener;i 
from the East Indies, not yet described ; I could, and willingly 
would, consecrate one of them to the perpetual memory of the en- 
gaging Mrs. Monson ; but for that purpose I would wish to pro-'- 

f " 5 .ik "' • *' 



cure the most beautiful plant in her garden. If she has any of a 
new genusj and you will send it to nio, dried, you will quickly find 
.that 1 have fulfilled my intention. » . 

A new edition of the genera has appeared, in which your genus ^V 
is described ; the Museum of the Queen's Society has also been ^^^ 
published. I could wish to send you these two small works, if I 
knew to whom to entrust them. 

I have not the smallest doubt that Dr. Solander has admirably 
described his scarce plants, as he was one of the most solid bota- 
nists amongst my pupils : I beg you to give my best respects to him. 

I lament, beyond measure, the untimely end of Mr. Forscallens, 
and it was not in my power to refrain from tears. In his death 
the best interests of science have sustained a greater loss than I 
can bear to think of. 

Continue to inform me of your movements; let me know what 
countries you visit, and what you meet with worthy of observa- % 

lion ; and remain my steadfast friend, as I shall ever remain yours. 

Farewell, continue to remember me. 


No. IV. Ijf^'vJ-'^ ^ 

Mr. Adam Kuhn, Upsal, February 20th, ITGf^ ,^ 

My dear friend, • ^ - 

I have learnt from your letter, that you are about to pro- 
duce the first proof of your acquirements, in an essay on the 
Power and Efficac}' of the Cold Bath on the Human Body; I 
therefore cannot refrain from heartily congratulating you on this 
little work, since I sliall ever regard what occurs favorable and 
fortunately for you, in the same light as if it had happened to my- 
self; for, from the period in which, having set sail from the shores 
of your favored Pennsylvania, you reached our city of Upsal, I 
have ever cherished j'ou as a beloved son, for your correct and en- 
gaging deportment, in which none of the foreigners excelled you ; 4 
for your unwearied ardor and application in cultivating the sci- 
ences, in which you were surpassed by no one ; for your undis- 
guised friendsiiip, in which none could have equalled you. No- 
thing will be more ardently desired by me than that, being speedi- 
ly restored to your friends, you may long prosperously flourish and 
collect the wonderful treasures of your country ; where I may 
hope to see, with your eyes, a most beautiful region, abounding 
with as many rare mammalia, birds, amphibia, fishes, insects, &c., 
as perhaps any other countr}' in the world. For I seem to my- 
self to behold 3'ou wandering in your native woods, amongst lirio- 
dendrons, &c., interspersed v/itii liquidambars, amongst which the 
ground is strewed and covered with helianthuses, &c., while the 
humming birds, shaking their golden wings, sip the nectar of the 
thclonej, and the different kinds of mocking birds join in a thou- 
f *^»^ - " .-, 

NOTES. 229 


sand melodious notes, amongst hosts of winged songsters, from the 
tops of the trees. But a year would scarcely suffice to enume- 
rate, much less to describe the enjoyments of your paradise. Fi- 
nally, I beg that, when on your return your eyes are feasting on 
tlie delights of your flowers, you may still remember me. 

No. V. 

Mr. Adam Kuhn, Upsal, 26th February, 1757. 

JMy dear friend, 

I this day received your letter dated 12th of January, and 
observed with the greatest pleasure that you have been appointed 
Professor of Botany and Materia Medica in the College of Phila- 
\ delphia ; on which I most cordially congratulate you.* I men- 
p ' tioned this circumstance to my wife and children, and they all par- 
ticipate the great joy which your good fortune has occasioned me. 

I shall attend to your request respecting the societies as soon as 
you write to me from your own country. 

Within these iev/ days I have brought to a conclusion the first 
■ *► volume of the Systema Naturae, which contains about ninety 
sheets ; a second volume is now in the press, in which Mr. Hope 
will see his " Hopea," sent to me by Mr. Garden. 

My Clavis Medicinae, which was published upwards of a year 
ago, might possibly be of service to you in the JNIateria Medica ; I 
wish I knew how it could reach you ; it consists of two sheets 
only, containing thirty-two pages. 
* I am well acquainted with Mr. Walker from his writings, 
, , ♦ and have frequently quoted him when treating on the zoophytes. 
He is a most ingenious man, and I beg you to make my respects 
to him. 

I have indeed seen the eyes of the cultle-fish, and you will find 
that I have not denied their existence ; but still I am not convinced 
that they are really eyes ; perhaps some organ of sense, to us 

I wrote, if I mistake not, that we last year celebrated the nup- 
tials of Miss Gran Caissa. She now resides at Haggby ; not in 
your house, but in the adjoining one. She married Andrew Er- 
I sen, the son of a farmer, at that place. At her wedding we drank 
»^^ to your health. 

My whole family desires to be most affectionately remembered 
to you. 
^ If you should meet the celebrated Hope, beg fmm him some 

' ^ American seeds for me ; many of those formerly sent, tlirough his 
kindness, germinated and sprouted. 

* There must ba some mistake here ; Dr. Kuhn was appointed Professor of Ma- 
teria Medica and Botany in January, 1768. 

* ^ v < 



Mr. Boeckman, who succeeded to your place and chamber, and 
remainfid with rae a year and a half, has already been appointed 
Professor of Natural History at Gottingen. 

Mr. Konig, a former pupil of mine, returned last year from Ice- 
land, with many new things in natural science. 

When you next write, address your letter to the Royal Society 
of Sciences, Upsal ; for I open all the letters myself, therefore 
there is no occasion for a cover. 

No. VI. 

Mr, Adam Kuhn, Upsal, 20th November, 1772. 

My dear friend. 

As a good opportunity offers of sending a letter to you by 
a young clergyman* of ours who is going to your favored Pennsyl- 
vania, I cannot let it pass without writing, to pay my respects to 
you, and to recommend him to you as a truly learned man. 

I am very much obliged to you for the Transactions of your 
Society,! and for having admitted me into the number of your 
members. This is evidently owing to your warm attachment to 
me, which I shall ever highly value. 

Your brother now resides at Upsal. He has been with me but 
three times. He resembles you extremely, both in his appear- 
ance and engaging manners. | 

I send witii this my second Mantissa, which perhaps you have 
not yet seen. 

I wish you would give to the world a dissertation on the " As- 
teres" of your country, which are very numerous ; and that you 
would mark accurately their specific characters, as this genus is 
extremely difRcult to us Europeans. 

On the arrival of this clergyman of ours, another may possibly 
•come to us from you ; in that case I pray and entreat you to send 
■me some dried plants and some seeds ; amongst which I most ar- 
dently wish for the seeds of the KuJinia, which perished in our 
■gard e n-, 

I have at present two pupils at the Cape of Good Hope, Messrs. 
Tunberg and Sparmann, who are assiduously engaged in collect- 
ing i)lants.. Next year Tunberg will go to Japan, with the Dutch 

My whole family unites in wishes for your welfare. 

I am }ouis, whilst I live. Farewell. 

Eclectic Repository, Vol. VIII. 

* Dr. Nicholas Collin, the present pastor of the Swedish Church at Philadelphia. 

t The American Piiilosophical Society. 

X Daniel Kuhn, appointed pastor of the Swedish Church at Christiana, near 
%Vilniington, Delaware; who died at London, without returning to his nativs 



The following Memoirs were not received in season to 
be inserted in their proper place in the body of the 

A.. H 

H/\M. iI))AM!|^c(])[FriP!Hl MlJlD, 

I'cnrliei oris L,ii liugfa-pliy. 


DANFORTH, SAMUEL, M.D., was born in Cam> 
bridge, near Boston, in the year 1740. He was the son of 
Samuel Danforth, Probate Judge of the county of Middle- 
sex, and was descended from a line of veneiable ancestors, 
distinguished from the settlement of this country. For he 
of his forefathers who first came to New England, is said 
to have been " a gentleman of such estate and repute in 
the world, that it cost him a considerable sum to escape 
the knighthood which Charles I. imposed on all, of so 
much per annum." This distinguished person came to 
Boston with his son Samuel in 1634. The latter, being re- 
markable for his piety and learning at an early period, 
was educated to the ministry and settled in Roxbury, 
where he died in 1674. He stands second on the list of 
" Socii," the fellows, or governors of Harvard College. 
From the year 1643 to 1758, there appear before Dr. Dan- 
forth on the college catalogue, seven of his ancestors and 
relations ; three of whom were clergymen, and some of the 
others held distinguished political stations. The name of 
the family of his mother was Symmes. He had one bro- 
ther and one sister, both of whom died before him. 

His early years were passed in Cambridge. He was edu- 
cated at the college, where he evinced that independence 
and decision of character, for which he was remarkable in 
after life. He was graduated in 1758, and studied medi- 
cine with Dr. Rand, the elder, either in Boston or Charles- 
town. At that period he became acquainted with a Ger- 
man physician, who exerted some influence on his opin- 
ions, and of whose skill he often spoke with admiration. 
This was probably the elder Dr. Kast. 

He commenced practice in Newport, Rhode-Island, s 
place at that time distinguished for its prosperity and iU 
VOL. II. 30 


literary character. Here he treated some difficult cases with 
a success that established his reputation, and formed him 
friendships whicii lasted during life. After a year or two, 
however, he resolved to return to Boston ; and, having 
married the daughter of Mr. Watts of Chelsea, established 
himself at the north part of the town. 

The revolutionary troubles disturbed his professional 
pursuits, and he, like many of those descended from ancient 
families, became an active politician on the loyal side. In 
consequence of his taking this part, he was compelled by 
the war to break up his family. His wife and three child- 
ren took refuge at her father's ; his brother went to Eng- 
land, where he remained till his death : while he himself 
continued in Boston, then in possession of the British army. 
After the evacuation of the town, he, with some other 
medical gentlemen, was treated with harshness. But the 
inhabitants, considering that they could not conveniently 
dispense with the services of their accustomed physicians, 
thought it wise to forget the difference of political opin- 
ions ; the physicians were set at liberty ; and a few years 
were sufficient to obliterate the recollection of the fact. 

His family being reunited in Boston, he pursued the 
practice of his profession with success. His promptness, 
decision, but above all his reflecting habit of mind, gave 
him character and consequence. He increased his reputa- 
tion by an ardent attention to the study of chemistry, 
which was then so little known in this country as to be 
considered an occult and somewhat mysterious science. 
In this favorite pursuit he was aided by a French gentle- 
man, whom the war had brought to this country, and who, 
like himself being devotedly attached to chemistry and med- 
icine, became his intimate friend. In company with this 
gentleman he pursued the study far enough to get a glimpse 
of some of the important facts which soon after broke out 
"with such lustre in the discoveries of Lavoisier and his 
coadjutors. At a subsequent period, through his son, 
whom he had sent to Europe for improvement in the medi- 
cal profession, he obtained the most complete chemical 
apparatus which had been seen in Boston. But, the calls 
of an imperious and engrossing profession preventing his 
pursuing this science with that exclusive ardor which 
belonged to him, he abandoned it wholly, and never 
resumed it. 


After the death of his wife he was again twice married ; 
first to Margaret Billings, by whom he liad one daughter, 
and afterwards to Martha Gray. 

Having been an original member of tlie Massachusetts 
Medical Society, he was chosen President of that body in 
1795, and continued to be so till 1798. He had long be- 
fore this attained the highest reputation. In all difficult 
cases of a medical nature, his opinion was relied on as the 
utmost effort of human skill. To a knowledge of surgery 
he made no claim, and avoided its practice ; considering 
the medical art to afibrd sufficient scope for his capacious 
mind. The extent of his practice was limited only by his 
ability and disposition to attend to it, and he continued in 
full and constant occupation till he was nearly eighty years 
old, exhibiting none of the signs of a diminution of mental 
power, except a slight imperfection of memory, the effects 
of which his intellectual vigor enabled him to surmount. 

After having seen his colleagues in business successively 
fall around him, and the disappearance of a great part even 
of the generation which came into practice after him, he 
was compelled by infirmity, about four years before his 
death, to resign his business and confine himself to his 
family. His litter days were not, however, without en- 
joyment ; for his physical functions continued in many 
respects active ; and his happiness in domestic society 
seemed to increase with the loss of that external pleasure 
he had so keenly experienced in his profession. Some- 
times this retirement was agreeably interruj)ted by tlie visit 
of an old friend, and sometimes a former patient came to 
catch the last rays of that wisdom and experience which 
was gradually sinking into night. 

Dr. Danforth was one of the most remarkable men this 
country has seen. He was tall in stature, thin, yet well 
formed and perfectly erect. His eye was penetrating, nose 
aquiline, chin very prominent, and his whole countenance 
exhibited a sagacity, which a stranger could not fail to 
notice. Educated in the old school, his manners were 
polished, but not formal, and his carriage attractive yet 
commanding. He was such a figure as the imagination 
would paint of a sagacious, powerful physician. When 
engaged in the consideration of a difficult case in practice, 
he seemed to shrink within himself, and his appearance, 
to an unacquainted observer, indicated doubt ; but, when 
the results of his reflections were expressed, his counte- 


nance and person were most animated ; and he speedily 
cleared away the difficulties before him. Other practi- 
tioners, having exhausted the resources of the healing art, 
have often been surprised to see the fertility of his mind in 
the production of new plans of treatment. 

His tiieory of disease he had formed for himself. It was 
simple, and his practice corresponded with it. He used 
few remedies, and those only whose effects were obvious 
and powerful. Calomel, opium, ipecacuanha and Peru- 
vian bark were his favorite medicines ; and his external 
remedies were friction, vesication and the warm bath. 
Though considered one of the most successful practition- 
ers, he rarely caused a patient to be bled. Probably for 
the last twenty years of his practice he did not propose 
the use of this remedy in a single instance : and he main- 
tained that the abstraction of the vital fluid diminished 
the power of overcoming disease. Whatever difierence of 
opinion there may be as to his theory or to some points 
of his practice, it may with justice be said that the medical 
art is indebted to him for essential improvements ; espe- 
cially for dissipating the popular notion, which saw 
nothing but bilious complaints in all diseases of the digest- 
ive organs ; and substituting, in place of this error, a cor- 
rect view of the nature and the treatment of the derange- 
ments of the part he considered most important in the 
animal economy, the stomach. The simplicity of his 
views, the boldness of his treatment, and his aversion to 
nostrums and specifics, had a powerful influence on the 
practitioners with whom he consulted. 

The confidence of his patients was unlimited, and their 
attachment without bounds. These sentiments were in- 
spired not only by his superior talents, but by his manners, 
w4iich to those he liked were most captivating and affec- 
tionate. Some persons accused him of severity. This 
disposition, however, presented itself only when he was ex- 
cited to it by opposition to his opinions or disobedience to 
liis orders. His conviction of the truth of his doctrines 
was so strong, and his confidence in his own practice so 
entire, that he was unable to bear opposition to the one, 
or disobedience to the other. When he found his advice 
sliglited or his injunctions disobeyed, he was indeed un- 
sparing of the offender ; for he truly said that such acts 
were as great an injury to the patient, as an injustice to the 


Having ,^»Iied much and thought pi'ofoundly in the 
earlier part of his life, and having formed his opinions on 
grounds satisfactory to himself, in his later years he 
read but little. When he found a book that pleased him, 
it became a study. Every opinion w^as made the subject 
of reflection and conversation. His aversion to writing 
was very decided and uniform through his life. Had he 
committed to paper the observations he had made, and the 
reflections revolved in his powerful mind, his fame Avould 
have been as widely extended abroad as it was deeply 
rooted in his native place. The writer of this article has 
been informed that his friends frequently solicited him to 
allow some parts of his opinions and practice to be taken 
in writing. He at last assented ; and, after progress had 
been made in the work, he took occasion to read what had 
been written : having done this, approaching the fire, he 
exclaimed, " Absurd ! of what use is all this, without the 
mind to apply it ;" and deposited the paper in the flames. 

Decision and the love of truth seem to have been the 
distinguishing traits of his character, not only as a medical 
practitioner, but in domestic life. He was simple in his 
taste, and averse to parade and pretension. In his friend- 
ships he was singularly firm and confiding ; and, after a 
severe domestic calamity had weakened his mind, his 
aflfections seemed, if possible, to gain new strength and 
deeper tenderness. In the latter part of his life, his views 
on the subject of religion were such as to aff'ord great 
consolation to those who felt the deepest interest in his 

His final illness was short. On the 13th of November he 
had a slight paralytic affection while in his parlor ; but 
was able to sit up, and recognised and conversed pleasant- 
ly wiih a medical gentleman whom he had not seen for 
some years. On the evening of that day he entered his 
chamber to leave it no more. Three days after the para- 
lytic affection, finding himself faint he for the first time 
told his daughter, his only surviving child, that this ill- 
ness would be a fatal one. A few hours after he sunk into 
a state of insensibility, and expired in a tranquil and almost 
imperceptible manner. 

He died at the age of 88, on the 16th day of November, 
1827. On the Sunday following the funeral solemnities 
of the Episcopal church were performed in his house by 
the Rev. Dr. Gardiner ; and his familv tomb in the west- 


ern angle of the cemetery in Common street, received the 
inanimate remains of him who had so often been the in- 
strument of repelling the arrows of death from his fellow 
men. — Boston JMedical and Surgical Journal. 

EUSTIS, WILLIAM, M.D. M.M.S.S. et LL.D., was 
the second son of Benjamin and Elizabeth Eustis, both of 
whom were respectable characters and who resided in 
Boston. He was born on the 10th of June, 1753. His 
mother superintended his early years, and the excellence 
of her disposition and pious instructions left upon his mind 
impressions of her worth, that never were effaced nor im- 
paired through life. His early education was obtained at 
the grammar school in Boston under the celebrated Mr. 
John Lovell, and he became a favorite both of him and 
his usher. At the age of 14 he entered Harvard Univer- 
sity, where he was distinguished as a good classical schol- 
ar. He took his Bachelor's degree with reputation at the 
annual commencement in 1772, on which occasion an hon- 
orable part was assigned him. 

After his graduation at college, he commenced the study 
of medicine in Boston under Dr. Joseph Warren, the revo- 
lutionary patriot and martyr. His personal appearance, 
his polished manners and gentlemanly address, added to 
his many amiable feelings, and an intellect well cultivated, 
rendered him a favorite of his youthful friends and fellow 
students, and secured to him the strong and growing at- 
tachment of his instructer. At the commencement of the 
glorious struggle between the mother country and her col- 
onies Mr. Eustis was a student with General Warren. On 
the 19th of April, 1775, the day of the battle of Lexington, 
an express arrived in Boston communicating the intelli- 
gence ; on which occasion the General mounted his horse, 
called Mr. Eustis and directed him to take care of the pa- 
tients in his absence, and departed for the scene of action. 
About one o'clock on the same day Dr. Eustis rode to 
Lexington and Concord, where he had an opportunity of 
dressing the wounds received by some of our militia from 
the fire of the British. When the American troops were 
collecting, and an army was forming, General Warren pro- 
posed to Dr. Eustis to receive the appointment of Surgeon 
to one of the Regiments, observing that he had seen more 
practice than most of the gentlemen from the country. 
He was accordingly appointed Surgeon of the Regiment 
of Artillery then at Cambridge. From tlience he remov- 


ed with the army to New-York, and soon after received 
the appointment of Hospital Surgeon. He was subse- 
quently offered a commission in the line of the army as 
Lieutenant Colonel of Artillery, by General Knox, but he 
preferred the medical department, wiiere he might im- 
prove his mind in the knowledge of his profession. 

In 1777, and during most of the war, Dr. Eustis occu- 
pied as a hospital a spacious house and out buildings be- 
longing to Colonel Robinson, a royalist who had joined 
the British, situated on the Hudson river opposite to West 
Point. In this hospital the writer of this sketch officiated 
for some time as surgeon's mate ; the sick and wounded 
from different quarters were sent here as to a place of safe- 
ty and convenience. It was a part of this house that was 
made the head quarters of the traitor Arnold ; here and in 
the vicinity, the infamous act of treason was planned, and 
was about to be consummated had it not been provident- 
ially arrested in its progress. When Arnold suddenly ab- 
sconded, his wife instantly retired to her chamber, and was 
seized with violent hysterical paroxysms. Dr. Eustis, on 
entering her chamber, found her frantic in the arms of one 
of Arnold's aids de camp and a female domestic, with dis- 
hevelled hair, wild countenance and deranged mind. 
General Washington arrived during this scene ; at a lucid 
interval she inquired if he was in the house, expressing a 
desire to see him ; Dr. Eustis, supposing she wished ta 
disburthen her mind by revealing to him the secret of Ar- 
nold's absence, gave the information ; but, on the Gener- 
al's entering her chamber, her nerves appeared to be une- 
qual to the struggle. She was instantly seized with 
another paroxysm, and his Excellency, on hearing her say 
it was not General Washington, retired from the unpleas- 
ant scene. 

In all the duties pertaining to his office Dr. Eustis was 
found faithful, humane and indefatigable. His urbanity 
and social qualities led him to an acquaintance and friend- 
ly intercourse with those who sustained rank and respect- 
ability of character. When the number of the medical 
staff was considerably reduced by a new arrangement by 
order of congress, he was among those who were selected 
to remain in service ; and in March, 1783, he was present 
at the meeting of the officers at Newburgh, called by 
Washington in consequence of the excitement occasioned 
by the inflammatory anonymous letters. 


At the termination of the revolutionary war Dr. Eustis 
commenced his professional avocations in the town of 
Boston. When, in 1787, troops were raised by our gov- 
ernment for the purpose of defending our frontier territo- 
ries from the invasion of the Indians, he received the ap- 
pointment of Surgeon to the regiment raised in this state, 
calculating, it is believed, on the x>ffice of Surgeon Gene- 
ral ; but as tlie object of the expedition was abandoned, 
and the regiment disbanded by government, he resumed 
his professional pursuits in Boston. In 1786 and 1787, 
when our Commonwealth was menaced with a formida- 
ble rebellion which produced great public embarrassment 
and alarm, Dr. Eustis manifested a patriotic spirit, volun- 
teering his services in the expedition for the capture of 
Shattuck, one of the insurgent leaders, and rendering his 
assistance in the character of surgeon with the army com- 
manded by General Lincoln, which quelled the rebellion. 

In the j'ear 1788 the subject of this article was chosen a 
member of the General Court for Boston, where he was 
on many committees, and took a conspicuous part in the 
debates during six or seven years in succession, pursuing 
still his professional calls and duties in town. He served 
also for two years at the Board of Council in this Com- 
monwealth, during the administration of Governor Sulli- 
van. In 1800 he was elected member of Congress for 
Suffolk district ; this afforded him opportunity of forming 
an intimacy with the ruling powers. He was soon desig- 
nated as a zealous advocate for President Madison and his 
administration, applauding his political sentiments and 
measures. It was under this administration tlvat, in 1809, 
he was appointed to the highly responsible office of Secre- 
tary of War, which he sustained until the surrender of 
General Hull's army, when he was induced to retire from 
the war department. But a new employment was in re- 
serve for him. In 1815 he was appointed Ambassador to 
Holland, and on his return his legation met the approba- 
tion of the government. In 1821 Dr. Eustis was elected 
member of Congress for Norfolk district, which he contin- 
ued to represent with ability for four successive sessions. 

We next find him a candidate for the office of Governor 
of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, and, after the re- 
signation of Governor Brooks, he succeeded to the chair 
of state. Such had been the magnanimity of his prede- 
cessor in office, such the dignity, wisdom and moderation: 


with whicli the affairs of state had been conducted, that 
the asperity of party excitement was in a degree appeased, 
and its extinction almost sealed by the noble spirit of pat- 
riotism and public virtue. Governor Eustis, therefore, 
entered on the duties of chief magistrate under circum- 
stances peculiarly auspicious to a happy administration. 

He was for several years Vicepresident of this state's 
Society of Cincinnati, and a member, and for some time 
counsellor, of the Massachusetts Medical Society. The 
honor of LL.D. was conferred on him by Harvard Uni- 
versity, and he received literary honors from other col- 

He died after a short illness in Boston, during his at- 
tendance on the General Court in their session in Februa- 
ry, 1825, in the 72d year of his age. 

Dr. Eustis possessed a heart replete with humane and 
social feelings, and his hospitable and graceful manners 
rendered his house a happy resort to his friends and to 
strangers. Of his views ou the important subject of relig- 
ion we have no means of information, save the following 
paiagraph found in the sermon preached on the occasion 
of his funeral by the Rev. Thomas Gray of Roxbury, 
from which a part of this sketch has been taken. " His 
mind was serious, and in repeated conversations with him 
upon the subject of religion generally within the last six 
years, he always treated it with the utmost solemnity." 
" I am a minute man," said he to me once, " I am a mi- 
nute man, and feel this subject to be deeply important ;" 
alluding to a supposed affection of the heart. Dr. Eustis 
married the daughter of Woodbury Langdon, Esq. of 
New-Hampshire, who survives him without issue. 

FREEMAN, NATHANIEL, M.iM.S. et S.H.S. was a de- 
scendant of one of the earliest settlers of the country. His 
ancestor Edmund Freeman, from whom he was the fifth in 
lineal descent, came from England ; it is believed, first to 
Saugus. He was admitted, with ten associates, freeman, 
at a General Court at Plymouth, January 2d, 1637, and 
on the 3d of April following leave was granted to " these 
ten men of Saugus, on certain conditions, to choose a 
place sufficient for three score families to sit down upon." 
They chose and settled the town of Sandwich, and in 1651, 
the conditions having been performed, a deed of the town 
was executed by Governor Bradford to Edmund Freeman» 
who at the same time conveyed to his associates, the other 

VOL. If, 31 


original proprietors. He brought with him to Sandwich 
two sons, John and Edmund, and a daughter Alice. He 
was one of the assistants of Governor Bradford from 1640 
to 1646 inclusively. It is probable he died about the year 
1668, as he is named that year on the records as Edmund 
Freeman Senior, and tlie next year there is a division of 
lands purchased of Edmund and John his sons. On the 
death of his wife he placed a very large stone on her grave, 
which he whimsically called, as in shape and appearance 
it resembled, a pillion ; and brought another, which he 
called a saddle, and placed by its side, telling his sons, 
when he died, to bring him by her side, and place the sad- 
dle upon his grave ; " and there," he added, " let us re- 
main to the resurrection day." There sprang up between 
the graves, at the head and foot, two oaks, which grew in 
exact resemblance. The land passed into other hands, 
and one of the trees was long since cut down, but the oth- 
er is still to be seen, with the saddle and pillion, about 
one mile west of the meeting house of the first Parish in 
Sandwich. Both his sons married the daughters of Gov- 
ernor Prince. Edmund married Rebecca in 1646, and 
remained in Sandwich ; and from him all of the name in 
that town are descended. John removed to Eastham. 

Edmund Freeman, son of the last named Edmund and 
great grandfather of the subject of this sketch, was born 
in 1655, and died May 18th, 1720. He had nine child- 
ren, most of whom attained a good old age. His eld- 
est son Edmvmd, the grandfather of Nathaniel, was born 
August 30th, 1683. He removed from SandwicJi to Mans- 
field in Connecticut, where he died June 1st, 1766. Ed- 
mund, his son, was born in Sandwich, September 30th, 
1711, was graduated at Harvard University in 1733, and 
married Martha Otis, daughter of Nathaniel Otis, whose 
wife was Abigail Russell, daughter of tlie Rev. Jonathan 
Russell, a pious and distinguished minister of his time in 
Barnstable. He taught a school in that part of Yarmouth 
then called Nobskusset, which now constitutes the North 
Parish in Dennis, wdiere his son Nathaniel was born, being 
his third child, March 28th, 1741, 0. S. Soon after this 
he removed to Mansfield, where he brought up a family 
of seven sons and two daughters, and died on his paternal 
estate February 15th, 1800. He was through life a prac- 
tical farmer, and a pious man. Many of his sous have 
been distinguished in public life. 

Nathaniel frekwin. 2^i2 

Nathaniel received a very limited education from a pri- 
vate instructer, and studied medicine under Dr. Cobb in 
Thompson, Connecticut, and afterwards resided a siiort 
time in Tolland. He married an oipban in Killingley, 
and removed to Sandwich, "the place of his fathers' sep- 
ulchres," when his oldest child was ten months old, which 
must be about the year 1765. There he recommenced the 
practice of his profession, and there he passed the remain- 
der of his eventful life. He settled in Sandwich with 
the advice, and under the patronage of his maternal 
great uncle, the late distinguished Colonel James Otis, 
from whom he lived about eight miles distant. Under 
his auspices and direction, also, he went through a regular 
course of legal reading before the revolution. 

On the disruption from the mother country he zealous- 
ly espoused the patriotic cau?e, and in 1773 was on a 
committee of the town to consider the spirited resolutions 
of the town of Boston, and their report, drawn up by him, 
breathed a corresponding spirit. In this year he was also 
chosen a member, and thenceforw^ard acted as chairman 
of the Committees of Correspondence and Safety, and 
throughout most of that stormy period was moderator of 
the town meetings. In September, 1774, a body of peo- 
ple assem1)led from the adjacent county of Plymouth and 
perhaps ether counties, it is believed from a preconcerted 
plan of those " who rode in the whirlwind and directed 
the storm," and proceeded with reinforcements from the 
towns in the county, to stop the Court of Common Pleas 
which was about to be holden in Barnstable. It was de- 
sirable that this should be done without tumult or disor- 
der. Dr. Freeman was selected as their president, and 
they quietly took possession of the court house. The 
multitude is said to have amounted to twelve hundred. 
The minutes of their proceedings from day to day show 
that it was no common rabble who had assembled, but 
high minded men about to resume abused delegated 
power. A communication passed between the presiding 
Justice, Colonel Otis, and the president of the assemblage, 
when the former with his associates and the Sheriff retir- 
ed ; and the courts sat no more in that county under the 
authority of George III. An action, like this in the on- 
set, was a manifestation of moral courage seldom equalled, 
and may be said not to have been surpassed by any thing 
which transpired during the war. 


Dr. Freeman was a member of the House of Represerita" 
lives which convened on the 19th July, 1775, and " took 
up government" on the recommendation of the Continent- 
al and Provincial Congresses. He was on several very im- 
portant committees ; one of which was to provide suita- 
ble accommodations for General Washington, then at the 
head of the army at Cambridge. He was elected by this 
body in August Lieutenant Colonel, and in the succeeding 
February Colonel of the militia. He was also appointed 
in August Justice of the Peace and Quorum and Register 
of Probate, and in October a Judge of the Court of Com- 
mon Pleas, whose progress he had arrested a year before- 
These commissions, civil and military, were signed by 
James Otis and the other members of the Council, acting 
as Governor, and were under the great seal of the Prov- 
ince, and in the name of tJie Government and People of 
the Massachusetts Bay in New England. He was also su- 
perintendent for the county of Barnstable during the war ; 
and several hundred recruits for the continental army 
were forwarded by him to Justin Ely, Esq., the commis- 
sioner at Springfield. In 1778, 79 and '80 he was again a 
member of the House of Representatives ; and in 1779 went 
with Major Samuel Osgood to West-Point, to persuade the 
officers and men of the Massachusetts line, whose term was 
expiring, to continue in the service. He publicly address- 
ed the officers, and prophetically assured them that, upon 
the successful termination of the war, a grateful country 
would appreciate their services, and call them to posts of 
honor in the civil administration of the government. He 
also marched at the head of his regiment, on the expedi- 
tion to Rliode-Island. 

On the adoption of the state constitution in 1780, he 
was recommissioned Judge of the Common Pleas, Regis- 
ter of Probate and Justice of the Peace and Quorum. He 
was also in the first " dedimus potestatem" to qualify 
civil officers, and was commissioned to take up and re- 
strain persons dangerous to the state. In August, 1781, he 
was appointed Brigadier General in the militia, and after- 
wards oflered his services to Governor Bowdoin to sup- 
press the insurrection in 1786. He was honorably dis- 
charged from this office, October 31st, 1793. Governor 
Hancock consented to his discharge ; but, before it was 
perfected, died, and it was granted by Samuel Adams, Lieu- 
ttnant Governor. Hancock speaks of him as " an officer 


whose patriotic services shone so conspicuously during a 
long and arduous revolution, which tried the souls of men 
in whatever station they were called to act by the voice of 
their country." Adams says " Tlie spirit of liberty, un- 
der whose benevolent guide your conduct has been so emi- 
nently distinguished during our late conflict with dcs})ot- 
ism, is equally recognised in you by the present as by our 
lately dej)arted Commander in Chief, and he expresses his 
confraternity with you in friendsiiip and in the united love 
of our common country, whose government is establish- 
ed on the solid foundation of equal liberty and the rights 
of man." 

The office of Judge of the Common Pleas he held until 
that court was superseded by the Circuit Court in 1811, a 
period of thirty-six years ; within which time he was ap- 
pointed by Governor Sullivan Chief Justice, and also Chief 
Justice of the Court of Sessions. He held the office of Reg- 
ister of Probate until 1822, upwards of forty-seven years ; 
when he voluntarily resigned it into the hands of his friend 
and compatriot, the late Governor Brooks. He was early 
elected, on the nomination of Governor Brooks, a member 
of the Massachusetts Medical Society ; in 1792 a member 
of the Massachusetts Historical Society; and in 1797 a mem- 
ber of the Humane Society. He was also elected a member 
of the Abolition Society at Providence, and of the Ameri- 
can Antiquarian Society instituted at AVorcester in 1812. 

It appears by a memorandum and catalogue in his own 
hand writing, that he commenced the practice of medicine 
anew in 1789, with a determination to devote himself to 
it, and read all the approved works in the science then 
extant. He was distinguished in his very extensive prac- 
tice both as a physician and surgeon ; and successfully 
performed many capital operations with no other guide 
than the knowledge he derived from his extensive read- 
ing. At the age of 63 he retired from the practice, 
though he was occasionally called to visit the sick, and 
took charge of patients to the last year of his life. 

He was an advocate for the adoption of the Federal Con- 
stitution, and an unsuccessful candidate for a seat in the 
Massachusetts Convention wiiich adopted it. The town sent 
delegates to oppose it. He supj^orted the administrations 
of Washington and Adams, and was in favor of the reelec- 
tion of the latter ; but he did not join in the opposition to 
Jefferson after he was elected. In March, 1802, he deliv- 


ered a charge to the grand jury which was published by 
their request, and is a repository of sound principles. 

Dr. Freeman accumulated a very large library in medical 
and legal science, and theology. He gave much of his 
time to abstract speculations in theology and controversial 
divinity. He was one of the best extempore speakers of 
his day. Throughout the active and trying scenes of the 
revolution he used his influence for the preservation of 
order, and was ever on the side of humanity. His influ- 
ence also was always strongly exerted in favor of religion 
and its institutions. Early in life he professedly espoused 
its cause, and connected himself with a Calvinistic 
Church ; but in his meridian became warmly interested in 
the vieAVS and sentiments of Dr. Priestly, and published 
for the use of the first Parish in Sandwich an edition of 
Dr. Enfield's forms of prayer with some others subjoined, 
a copy of which he sent to Dr. Enfield, who replied 
in a 1« tter expressive of his gratification and respect. Af- 
terwards he returned to the Calvinistic faith, in which be- 
lief he lived many years, and in which he died ; and he 
has left a large manuscript volume giving his views of its 
peculiar doctrines. 

By tAvo marriages he had twenty children, eighteen of 
whom lived to adult age. He lived sixty years in the 
house in which he died ; and in most of that time culti- 
vated his garden with his own hands. He was a man of 
uncommon industry, application and perseverance. In 
his personal presence he was commanding ; his height was 
nearly six feet ; his eyes piercing, and his countenance 
strongly marked and interesting. He outlived most of 
his contemporaries, and was the oldest person, with one ex- 
ception, within the limits of the town. He lived gener- 
ously and independently. His hospitality was of the old 
school. He left little property, but died unembarrassed 
with debt, at the advanced age of eighty-six years and six 
months, on the 20th day of September, 1827, retaining a 
good degree of mental vigor and physical activity to with- 
in a few days of his death. 

" Of no distemper, of no blast he died ; 

But fell like autumn fruit that metlovv'd long : 

Ev'n wonder'd at, because it falls no sooner. 

Fate seem'd to wind him up for four score years ; 

Yet freshly ran he on six winters more. 

Till like a clock worn out with eating time. 

The wheels of weary life at last siood still." 


GILBERT, DR. JAMES, was born in New-Haven, Con- 
necticut, Oct. 25th, 1779. He was educated at Yale Col- 
lege, wliere he was graduated in 1800. His merits as a 
student Avhile at college were attested by the honors con- 
ferred upon him by the Faculty, and by his being elected 
a member of the society of PJii Beta Kappa. During the 
last year of his college life he commenced the study of the 
medical profession, confining his attention chiefly to Che- 
mistry and Botany. The former was more esj)ecially his 
favorite science, and was pursued by him with so much 
zeal, that most of his leisure hours this year were devoted 
to chemical experiments. Had the result of his investiga- 
tions at this time been published, they would have given 
him a name among the improvers of modern chemis-try. 

The winter of 1801-2 he spent in Phiiadelpiiia, attend- 
ing the lectures of Rush, Wistar, Physick and Woodhouse. 
By too intense application during the course of lectures, 
his health became so much impaired as to render it neces- 
sary for him to relinquish his plan of pursuing his studies 
at Philadelphia. Soon after this, by request of Dr. Conk- 
lin, he established himself in practice at Southold, Long 
Island, where he continued more than two years. At the 
end of this period, 1805, his zeal for improvement induced 
him to leave an extensive practice, to attend a course of 
lectures in New-York. Here, after the conclusion of the 
lectures, he was urgently solicited to settle, but declined 
on the grounds of his preferring a country life, with less 
prospect of honor and emolument. He returned to New- 
Haven, his native city, which thenceforward became the 
theatre of his professional life. In this and the adjacent 
towns he soon found an ample field for the exercise of his 
talents in the practice of medicine, surgery and obstetrics, 
which he cultivated with an aidor and industry rarely ex- 

At the end of eight years from his establishing himself 
in New-Haven, having accumulated a decent property, he 
Avas enabled to gratify a long cherished desire of visiting 
some of the celebrated colleges and hospitals of Europe. 
Accordingly, in the spring of 1814 he sailed for France, 
spent some time at the hospitals of Paris, and proceeded 
to London, where he spent the winter following in attend- 
ing hospitals and lectures and in reading. Having now 
nothing to divert his attention from his favorite pursuit, 
the acquisition of science, he aj)plied him?elf to it with 

248 APPLNDIX. ' 

unwearied diligence. But, having been for years ac^-ns- 
toiued to the arduous labors of an extensive practice, he 
soon found that an entire change from the active lifi of 
the physician to that of the assiduous student, in conjunc- 
tion with liis abstemious mode of living, was by no means 
favorable to his health. Unwilling, however, to relinquish 
the object before him, he persevered until spring, when a 
severe pulmonic disease appeared to be rapidly undermin- 
ing his naturally rugged constitution. By the advice of Sir 
Astley Cooper he now left London, and sailed for Ameri- 
ca, and, what was hardly expected even by himself, found 
his disease entirely removed by the voyage. 

He reached home in the spring of 1815, and felt himself 
abundantly paid for all the suffering and expense of his 
transatlantic tour. After his return his practice constant- 
ly increased, especially his surgical practice, for which he 
always had a predilection. His health appeared perfectly 
restored, and for nearly three years after his return he was 
able to endure the fatigues and irregularities inseparable 
from the faithful discharge of his professional duties. 

But his work was now drawing to a close. Early in 
October, 1817, he was confined several weeks with Ca- 
tarrhal Fever, by which he was reduced very low. After 
recovering from this in some measure, he remained sta- 
tionary for several weeks, when symptoms of phthisis 
again made their appearance. After declining some time 
and finding no relief from medication, as a last resort he 
resolved to attempt a voyage to a milder climate. Ac- 
cordingly, he sailed from New-Haven in December, and 
arrived at Charleston, S. C. on the 8th of January, 1818. 
After a residence of about four weeks at the latter place, 
the season being unusually cold and rainy, and his health 
still failing, he concluded to sail for Havana. On the 
morning previous to his departure an abscess burst in his 
lungs, which circumstance almost dissuaded him from his 
purpose : but, the vessel being ready and the wind fair, 
he was induced to proceed. So flattering and deceptive is 
consumption, that even the skilful physician, who had 
seen and treated hundreds of cases of it in his clay, sinks 
under its ravages, still cherishing hopes of recovery to the 
last. Dr. Gilbert died Feb. 11th, 1818, five days out from 
Charleston, aged 39. 

The death of Dr. G. was justly considered as a public 
loss. Of him it may be omphatically said, he was cut off 


in the midst of his usefulness. Possessing a vigorous and 
penetrating mind, he liad acquired a fund of jjrofcssional 
knowledge rarely equalled by one of his years. As a prac- 
titioner of medicine, he was indefatigable in investigating 
the causes and treatment of diseases ; as a scientific sur- 
geon, he had few superiors in the United States ; as an 
operator he was neat, possessing a discerning eye and a 
steady hand. He was strongly attached to his profession, 
and probably no practitioner ever engaged more fully the 
confidence and the atfections of his patients. During liis 
professional life he was the private preceptor of a consider- 
able number of pupils, who will long cherish his memory 
with filial gratitude. 

Aside from his profession, he was an accomplished 
scholar, possessing a mind formed for philosophical re- 
search, and which allowed but few subjects to escape its 
investigation. His mind exhibited bold traits of an origi- 
nality of genius, which does not hesitate at times to depart 
from the beaten track, or to throw off the trammels of 
long established usage, though at the risk of incurring cen- 
sure, and of being thought eccentric. He was twice mar- 
ried, and had three children by his former wife. 

The religious views of Dr. G. were those of a sincere 
believer in the truths of the Gospel, considering religion 
as a thing of tlie heart, and as consisting not merely in ex- 
ternal forms and professions. He aimed to govern his 
conduct by the precepts of the Bible, and was extremely 
fond of reading and hearing it read during his confinement. 
Resting his hopes on the merits of the Redeemer, he re- 
garded the termination of his earthly career with calmness 
and composure. 

HUNT, EBENEZER, M.D. A.A.S. et M.M.S.S. was a 
native of Northampton, Massachusetts, being a lineal de- 
scendant of one of the oldest and most respectable families 
that established themselves on Connecticut River. Of the 
earliest period of his life little has been preserved. He 
was born in 1744, and in 17G0 became a member of the 
college at Cambridge. He made himself remarkable at 
this age by a mode ty of deportment, great vivacity, and 
at the same time that consciousness of talent which leads 
to determined exertions. Having finished his course at 
college with great credit to himself in 1764, he went to 
Springfield to pursue the study of medicine with Dr. Pyn- 
VOL. II. o2 


cheon, who enjoyed at that time a very high and well 
merited reputation. 

In 1768 Dr. Hunt began his professional career in North- 
ampton. From this time he belonged entirely to the pub- 
lic. In the present county of Hampshire there is hardly 
an aged person to be found, who does not well remember 
the services which he rendered. For at that time there 
were few physicians in the section of the country where 
Dr. Hunt resided. His practice soon embraced a circle of 
eighteen or twenty miles round Northampton. His man- 
ners were singularly agreeable. He knew how to adapt 
himself to every class of society ; and, while his feelings 
were so elevated and gentlemanly that he was fit to asso- 
ciate on equal terms with men of the greatest considera- 
tion, he could condescend to the lowest. In administering 
remedies he was cautious, but decided. His general prin- 
ciple was to abstain from using medicines if possible, and, 
especially in the case of children, to fortify the constitu- 
tion. But if a cas3 of difficulty presented, Dr. Hunt, 
though he proceeded with a circumspection which would 
lead a superficial observer to call him timid, was very bold 
and decided in his treatment, when his mind was once 
clear on the case. 

He had a rare sagacity in discerning the nature of a dis- 
ease, and its degree of severity. In all cases, whether of 
distress and anxiety, or of depression, he was well skilled 
in the most valuable art of inspiring a cheerful confidence. 
Hypochondria vanished before his good humor ; and, in 
doubtful cases, desponding friends were animated to new 
efforts, and a hope was encouraged, when life was almost 
expiring from the despair of relief. In this way he not 
only was beneficent in healing diseases, but assuaged the 
sorrows of a sick room by a manner that administered 
comfort. When a family suffered bereavement, he was al- 
ways present to solace grief, to relieve Avant, and to alle- 
viate the pains of regret. And this his science and his 
knowledge of man enabled him to do, for he would 
calmly seek out the latent sources of affliction, and stop 
them, even without allowing his object to be perceived. 
For he was no proser ; and never troubled a mourner with 
lectures on resignation. Thus it wa-:, ^hat hi? virtues as a 
man assisted him in his profession ; and his genuine excel- 
lence, and pure and kind feelings, made him a more useful 
and successful physician. 


In this way he came at last to enjoy unlimited confi- 
dence and general love. What Dr. Hunt said, no one 
called in question. What Dr. Hunt did, no man would 
consider wrong. But it must not be supposed that his ca- 
reer, so full of happiness from the good which he dis- 
pensed, resembled the practice of an affluent physician in 
a city. The district in which he practised was a wide 
one ; and in those days tlie roads were so bad as to admit 
of no rapid travelling except on horseI)ack. Yet he was 
fearless and indefiitigable. Ahorse always stood ready for 
him ; and summer oi- winter, day or night, near or far, on 
the mountains or across the river, it was the same to hhu, 
if a case of sickness required his presence. From tliese 
habits of active and selfdenying industry he derived a 
strong frame, perfect health, unclouded cheerfulness, and 
a constitution which enabled him to continue his labor- 
ious practice till his 70th year, and ordinary practice still 

In his own person he also at one period suffered most 
severely ; and one fact we must mention, in proof of his 
physical fortitude, and his unfailing serenity. A cancer 
was forming in his head, where he himself could not ob- 
serve it. He considered it dangerous, and even appre- 
hended that his end was near. In 1789 he went to Boston, 
thinking it might be for the last time. The Counsellors 
of the Massachusetts Medical Society were then in session. 
At the request of his brother-in-law General Cobb, Dr. 
Hunt went to them that they might examine the cancer. 
They decided that it might be eradicated. It was agreed 
that on the next day the operation should be performed. 
Accordingly in a full meeting Dr. Warren was selected as 
the operator. " W^e must bind his hands," said Dr. War- 
ren. " No cable in Boston could hold them fast," rejoined 
Dr. Hunt ; and witli an effort, that astonished the physi- 
cians themselves, he quietly laid his liead on a pillow, and 
bade them begin. The ear was first nearly cut off, though 
afterwards successfully replaced ; then for thirteen min- 
utes the operation continued, and every stroke of the 
knife, so near the auditory nerve, was like the report of a 
pistol. Dr. Hunt did not flinch in the least, though the 
sweat poured down his cheeks profusely. At length all 
was done ; and as he raised his stately form, his first words 
were, " Now, sir, give me a certificate." Dr. Warren did 
not under.'^tand hinij and asked for what reason. ^' Why," 


continued Dr. Hunt, " that I was not cropped for making 
money." Dr. Warren laughed, and pleasantly rejoined, 
*' I will give you none, for I hear that no physician in the 
west has made more money than you." The meeting was 
then adjourned, all agreeing that they had never seen a 
man of more firmness or of better humor. 

We should like to dwell further on his professional char- 
acter, which united so many rare and valuable qualities ; 
but we must pass to his merits as a man and a citizen. He 
was of nice feelings of honor and of warm affections ; be- 
nign and open hearted. His Jiome was the abode of a 
liberal and unsparing hospitality. His morals were un- 
blemished. He was a firm believer in Christianity, and a 
professor. His religious views were orthodox ; his reli- 
gious feelings tolerant and liberal. In intercourse Math 
men he was frank and fearless. He oppressed no one, and 
he opened his mouth boldly against all intolerance and in- 
justice. No honest man could be his enemy, and no man 
ever had cause to be hostile towards him. Whatever he 
engaged in, he undertook with all his heart. 

He possessed an intimate acquaintance with human na- 
ture, and had a singular talent in discerning the characters 
of men, and understanding the principles of conduct and 
passions by which they were governed. This again in- 
creased his success as a physician, for he knew admirably 
well how to adapt his medicines to every constitution and 
habit. And in his general intercourse, if he wished to ad- 
vance an important object, which required cooperation, he 
knew as well as any man what motives were to be touch- 
ed. This talent, so often the foundation of great political 
})ower, he never perverted to an unworthy purpose. He 
united with it the most unsuspected sincerity and the strict- 
est love of justice. He was habitually benevolent. To 
the poor and the fatherless he gave freely and silently. In 
all matters of public munificence he was usually the first 
invited to contribute, and always did so liberally and 
cheerfully. He kept no man waiting. He was prompt 
and pimctual. We have spoken of his cheerful manners ; 
his cheerfulness was not artificial, though he was gay, and 
at times even playful. His character was marked by the 
deep lines of christian resignation. He was severely tried 
in the relations nearest and dearest to him ; but he never 
murmured against Providence ; and his present content- 
ment Wd'i assured by his reliuious hopes. 


Such an example made him necessarily a most useful 
citizen. But this was not all. He encouraged merit. In 
his own profession he was superior to jealousy. Having 
himself a large dispensary, he would furnish young i)hysi- 
cians with all the medicines they needed, requiring no se- 
curity, and favoring them, as far as lay in his poAver, in 
their efforts to establish themselves in respectable practice. 
One species of judicious liberality he particularly exercised. 
If young men needed small funds to establish themselves 
in business, Dr. Hunt was always ready to encourage them 
by lending. But he would at the same time fix precisely 
the day of payment, and give a few words of advice on 
the importance of punctuality. When the appointed day 
came, he always expected the discharge of the debt ; by 
which means he made those who borrowed more industri- 
ous and frugal, and prevented the distress that would have 
resulted from an accumulation of interest. The founda- 
tion of many a young man's prosperity was laid in this 
way, and as much good was done by teaching the lesson 
of punctuality, as by assisting with the loan of money. 

The business habits of Dr. Hunt were very correct. 
Once a year he would have a settlement with every credit- 
or ; but in collecting his dues he never made any man suf- 
fer. He practised medicine for more than fifty years, and 
never sued any person in the whole time for any debt in- 
curred for medical attendance. Nor was he himself ever 
sued, nor did any cause in which he was concerned ever 
go to a jury. 

His townsmen from time to time conferred on him those 
honors, which, though in themselves not very important, 
are yet valuable marks of confidence and respect on the 
part of immediate neighbors. He was often moderator in 
the townmeetings, after Major Hawley had retired from 
public concerns ; and his influence in the town was great 
and of the right kind. He spoke in public fluently and to 
the purpose, but always concisely. His presence was so 
important as a physician, that for many years the town 
was unwilling to spare liim even for a season. Yet after- 
wards he was in the Legislature of the state, was a member 
of the Senate five years in succession, and during that time 
was chosen Elector of President. He Avas long a member 
and counsellor of the Massaclmsetts Medical Society, and 
in 1798 was chosen its Vice President. At an early period 
he determined to hold no public trust after he should be 


sixty years of age ; and he sacredly kept his resolution. 
Retaining his general health and cheerfulness to the last, 
he died on the 2Gth of December, 1820, aged 76. 

WARREN, JOHN, M.D. A.A.S. et M.M.S.S. a distin- 
guished physician in Boston, was born in Roxbury, a town 
adjoining Boston, on the 27th of July, 1753, and descend- 
ed from ancestors who settled in Boston in the year 1720. 
After a preliminary school education in the town of his 
nativity he entered Harvard College, at the age of four- 
teen. Maintained there by his own efforts, he labored 
assiduously to avail himself of the advantages of the semi- 
nary. At this early period he displayed a taste for the 
study of anatomy, and took the lead in the formation of 
an association of students for the purpose of cultivating it. 
Having received the Bachelor's Degree in 1771, he entered 
as a medical pupil with his brother Dr. Joseph Warren, 
afterwards General Warren, and continued his studies, as 
was the custom of the time, for two years. 

Boston being at that time abundantly supplied with able 
physicians, he settled in Salem, where, having gained the 
confidence of the excellent Dr. Holyoke, he was favored 
by him in the acquisition of business, and soon obtained a 
most extensive practice. The troubles of the time inter- 
rupted this course. On the 19th of April, 1775, the coun- 
try being roused by the attack on the militia at Lexington, 
the Scdem regiment was marched to the scene of action ; 
he accompanied it in the capacity of surgeon, and returned 
after the conclusion of the fight. Two of his brothers 
were present in this action. On the 17th of June, 1775, he 
was again called from Salem by the cannon of Bunker 
Hill and the flames of Charlestown. Knowing the intre- 
pidity of his brother and the anxiety he felt that his coun- 
trymen should meet the first onset of a British force with 
spirit, he was perfectly aware that he would expose his 
life on every occasion. Travelling on foot, with arms in 
his hands, and lighted on his way by the continued confla- 
gration of Charlestown, he inquired anxiously as he went 
wliether his brother and instructer had been engaged in 
tlie action. Falling in with a fentry posted on some line, 
in his anxiety he attempted to pass him, and received a 
bayonet wound, of which he carried the scar through life. 
But this did not deter him from pi'oceeding. His uneasi- 
ness was increased to an intense degree on ascertaining that 
his brother had been actually engaged ; but whether he 






had escaped with life or not no one could say ; and such 
was the confusion of the period and the interruption of 
communication, that three days ela})sed befoie he could 
be sure of the truth of the melanclioly report that his 
brother had shed his life blood for the honor and defence 
of his country. Filled with distress and indignation, and 
excited by that ardent zeal which marked his character 
through life, he immediately offered his services as a pri- 
vate soldier in the ranks of the defenders of his country. 
His services were, however, to be employed in a more use- 
ful way. He received the charge of administering to those 
who had been wounded in the action of the 17th of June ; 
and a few days after, under the direction of General Wash- 
ington, who had just joined the army, he was appointed 
to the post of Hospital Surgeon ;* an office doubly im- 
portant at tiiat time, when tlie ranks were filled with vol- 
unteers from the most spirited and respectable families in 
the country. In this situation he continued during the 
siege of Boston. 

This siege, important and honorable as it was to Ameri- 
ca, since the regular army of Great Britain was shut up by 
an undisciplined militia for nearly a year, Avas not fertile 
in military events. From the 19th of April, 1775, to the 
17th of March, 1776, the invading army made no attempt 
on the country, excepting on the 17th of June, 1775 ; when 
they were so steadily opposed and suffered so great a loss, 
as to disable and discourage them from further efforts. 
The year was passed in erecting fortifications and in can- 
nonading. In March, 1776, there was a prospect of a 
bloody and desperate operation. The Americans liad taken 
possession of Dorchester Heights ; the British commander 
found it necessary to dislodge them, or quit Boston. He 
resolved on the former ; and a strong force was sent to the 
Castle for the purpose of storming the neighboring Heights 
- Ik 

* His colleagues in this office were Samuel Adams, William Aspinwall, Isaac 
Foster and Lemuel Hayward. 

It is stated in the historical sketch of Dr. Bartlett that " the inhabitants of this 
commonwealth who continued as surgeons in the hospitals and army during the war, 
were Isaac Foster, William Eustis, Samuel Adams, John Warren, David Town- 
send, John Hart, Joseph Fiske and Josiah Kartlett." 

Of the eight last mentioned four were at the same time fellow pupils under Jo- 
seph Warren : Drs. Eustis, Adams, Townsend and John Warren. 

The venerable Drs. Townsend of Boston, Fiske of Lexington, and Hart of Read- 
ing, survive at the time this is written, rejoicing in the prosperity of their country, 
and delighting in tho recollection of the dark and doubtful time of their service in 
th« army. 


of Dorchester. At the same time, as is stated in a journal 
kept by the subject of this memoir, a sortie was to have 
been made over the Neck on the American force in Rox- 
bury. General Washington, having discovered the inten- 
tion of his antagonist, determined not to be found acting 
merely on the defensive ; and ordered a select body of four 
thousand men to be ready to pass Charles River in boats 
and land in Boston, as soon as the contemplated attacks had 
been begun by the British. In this party Was placed Dr. 
Warren ; and we have heard him speak with animation of 
the hopes which filled the breasts of those who were des- 
tined for this attack. The Americans had been long in 
sight of their enemies without an opportunity of coming 
in contact with them. They were now tolerably well dis- 
ciplined ; not discouraged by any defeat ; and overflowing 
with patriotic zeal. Had the British General pursued his 
plan, a triple action would have ensued, and a contest the 
most bloody which occurred during the war. The town 
of Boston would probably have been taken by the Ameri- 
can force while the British were desperately storming the 
steep hills of Dorchester. The plan of the British General 
was disconcerted by a violent storm ; he afterwards aban- 
doned it, and adopted the alternative of quitting the town. 
On the evacuation of Boston Dr. Warren was one of the 
detachment ordered to take possession, and had an oppor- 
tunity of examining the place as it appeared after a year's 
occupation by the British army. Of its aspect and its for- 
tifications he gives an interesting account in the journal 
alluded to. 

After a short stay in Boston the American army moving 
to New-York, he accompanied it, and was in the disastrous 
action on Long Island. His professional talents were now 
called into full operation. He continued in constant ser- 
vice during the deplorable year of 1776, and saw the 
American army dwindle away to a few half nfflced, starv- 
ing, discouraged soldiers, without losing any of his ardor 
for the cause of freedom, or his confidence in the ultimate 
success and independence of the country. The gloom of 
that time was suddenly, as by a flash of lightning, bright- 
ened by the brilliant and courageous attacks of Trenton 
and Princeton. At that time he narrowly escaped falling 
into the hands of the enemy. Between the actions of Tren- 
ton and Princeton, on the night l)efore the last of these, 
Wasiiington liavino; crossed the Delaware was encountered 

by Lord Cornwallis with a superior force. A rivulet sepa- 
rated the two armies. His lordship delayed for the night 
the attack, which he expected would enable him to de- 
stroy the American army, in the full confidence that they 
could not escape him. During a long midwinter night 
Washington Avithdrew his army from the front, and march- 
ing to Princeton, in the rear of his enemy, attacked them 
and gained a second victory. His movement was so unex- 
pected and sudden, that the surgeons of the army, be- 
ing lodged a little apart, received no notice of the event, 
till on rising the next morning they found that their army 
had disappeared, andi^iat of the enemy lemained in front 
of them. Mounting their liorses, they galloped off with- 
out any distinct notion of tlie course they should pursue : 
but after a while, happily got information which enabled 
them to reach Piinceton in time to attend to the wounded 
in the action which took place there. After two years' 
service in the army, during the most dangerous and dis- 
couraging part of the revolution, he was in the year 1777 
removed to another department, and appointed superin- 
tending surgeon of the military hospitals in Boston. This 
post he occupied during the remainder of the war. 

This honorable and important station presented him to 
the public as a proper candidate for the practice of surgery 
in Boston and its vicinity. He improved the advantage 
he thus possessed by a steady cultivation of anatomy, and, 
rising rapidly in public estimation, soon attained the 
rank of the most eminent surgical practitioner in Boston, 
and, it may be said, in New-England ; a rank he main- 
tained nearly forty years. Soon after his establishment in 
Boston he married the daughter of Governor Collins, of 

His anatomical pursuits becoming known to his friends 
in the medical profession, he was solicited by them to ex- 
tend the benefit of his dissections, and to give a private 
course of demonstrations or lectures. Neither he nor his 
contemporaries had ever experienced the advantage of 
public instruction. In this respect tlie distinguished phy- 
sicians who then held the practice of Boston, had the ad- 
vantage of them. The former had been in Europe and 
enjoyed the instructions of the most able lecturers on 
medical science ; but Dr. AVarren and those who studied 
the medical profession at the same time with him, were 
prevented from quitting liome by the danger?; whidi then 
vol.. 11. 35 


threatened their country. All the deficiencies were sup- 
plied by his talent and resolution. In the year 1780 he 
gave a course of dissections to his colleagues with great 
success. To them the opportunity was so novel and so 
desirable, that they attended his lectures with zeal ; and 
none of thein forgot the impressions they received. These 
lectures were given in the Military Hospital, which was 
situated in a pasture in the rear of the present Massachu- 
setts General Hospital, at the corner of Milton and Spring 
streets. They were conducted with the greatest secrecy, 
on account of the popular prejudice against dissections. 
In the following year the lectures, given at the same place, 
were quite public, and many literary and scientific gentle- 
men of the town, and the students of Harvard College, 
were permitted to attend. In this season and at this place, 
Dr. Warren performed the amputation at the shoulder 
joint, with complete success. The third course of lectures 
was given in the year 1782 in the " Molineux house," situ- 
ated on Beacon street, between Sumner and Bowdoin 
streets. The attendance of the senior class of Cambridge 
College upon these lectures led to the design of forming a 
medical school in connexion with the university. A pro- 
fessorship of anatomy was established for him, and he was 
requested by President Willard to furnish a sketch of a 
medical institution. In the year 1 783 this seminary was 
organized, and the professors inducted into office with 
great ceremony.* Its formation at this period was the 
more remarkable, from the country being scarcely disen- 
gaged from an oppressive war, which had reduced its 
wealth and its industry to a deplorable state. 

Always retaining his sensibility to the interest of his 
country, he was deeply affected by the troubles which 
broke out in the state of Massachusetts soon after the peace. 
An expedition being set on foot among the gentlemen of 
Boston to attack a body of the insurgents at Groton in the 
county of Middlesex, he joined the party as a volunteer 
private. When the new federal constitution was proposed 
he examined its principles carefully, and afterwards took 
an active part in gaining it supporters. The citizens of 
his native state were about equally divided in opinion in 
regard to this important subject ; and it was necessary that 

* The professors wera originally three in number ; Dr. Warren wai Professor of 
Anatomy and Surjjery, Dr. Benjamin Waterhoiise of the Theory and Piactice of 
Physic, and Dr. Aaron Dexter of Chemistry and Materia Medica. 


all its friends should use their influence in its favor. He 
had a brother in the convention, who was decidedly op- 
posed to the new constitution at hist ; but by persevering 
and earnest argument he satisfied him and some other 
members of the convention, of the vast advantages to be 
derived from the federative system, and obtained their 
votes in its favor. He was equally successful with his 
father in law, the Governor of the state of Rhode-Island, 
who came to Boston for the purpose of satisfying himself 
on the subject, but with sentiments decidedly liostile to 
the proposed constitution. He returned home with oppo- 
site opinions, and exerted a most useful influence in his 
own state. At this time, as well as during the revolution 
and afterwards, his deep interest in the public good urged 
him to support the cause of truth by publications in the 
newspapers of the day. 

In concert with sojiie other medical gentlemen he estab- 
lished a smallpox hospital at Point Shirley, near Boston, 
in 1784 ; and when the smallpox spread in 1792, lie inocu- 
lated more than fifteen hundred persons. 

The yellow fever, after invading a number of the Amer- 
ican cities, extended itself in Boston for the first time ia 
1798, though there were some suspicious cases two years 
before. Although the disease was formidable by its nov- 
elty, and still more so from the opinion, then universal, of 
its contagious quality, after sending his family into the 
country, he did not hesitate to attend all calls to this dis- 
ease ; and, considering it most desirable that the morbid 
appearances should be ascertained by dissection, in com- 
panj- with Dr. Rand the second he examined the bodies of 
those who had died of it, with great accuracy, and pub- 
lished the results immediately. At a subsequent period he 
became fully satisfied from repeated opportunities of ob- 
serving tlie epidemic, that it was not contagious. At the 
time when the doctrine of contagion was generally re- 
ceived, he showed his perfect devotion to the cause of his 
patients by inhaling their breath, in order to ascertain 
whether the mercurial action had begun. 

As biography is not intended to gratify the feelings of 
friends, nor the curiosity of the public, but to aff'ord in- 
structive lessons, it is proper to mention an occurrence 
which took place about this period and had a great influ- 
ence on his future life. By constant labor he had succeeded 
in obtaining a moderate estate, when, in the year 1796, a 


medical gentleman, formerly a private student of his, beg- 
ged him to become responsible for the payment for certain 
lands he had purchased in the District of Maine. The 
lands were of great extent, and the purchaser offered to 
deposite deeds of the whole property in his hands, to- 
gether with those of other extensive estates, as security 
for the use of his name. He was induced to comply. 
The original purchaser failed to pay ; he was himself, 
therefore, compelled to take the lands and pay the debts. 
The management of this property afterwards occupied a 
large share of his time, gave Iiim infinite vexation, and 
terminated in absorbing a considerable part of his estate. 

His early life had given him a love for the country and 
a strong taste for agriculture. The moment he acquired 
sufficient property he purchased a small farm, a mile from 
Boston, within view of his paternal house in Roxbury, 
and began to employ himself in tlie cultivation of fruit 
trees. His wishes on this subject enlarging with his means, 
he some time after obtained an estate at Jamaica Plains, 
large enough to give free scope for his plans of improve- 
ment. The laying out and plaiiting of the land, and the 
growing and grafting of fruit trees, became his })rincipal 
relaxation and delight. Almost every day in the warm 
season, after having gone through the routine of profession- 
al business, he drove a distance of four miles to this favor- 
ite spot, and passed the afternoon in planting and other 
labors, with liis own hands ; and then sitting a short 
time to consider the effect of the changes he was mak- 
ing, enjoy the anticipation of their benefit to society, 
and for a moment to contemplate the delightful scenery 
around, he resumed his vehicle and in a few minutes was 
enveloped in the hurry of professional business. 

Having been a petitioner for the incorporation of the 
Massachusetts Medical Society in the year 1781, and an 
active member and most of the time an officer of that soci- 
ety till 1804, he was then elected president and continued 
to be so till his death. This situation gave him great op- 
portunity to advance the condition of medical science, and 
bring forAvard those improvements for which this society 
has been eminently distinguished. The society and the 
medical school had been hitherto opposed to each other, 
and some severe collisions had taken place, much to the 
disadvantage of the profession. Exercising a predominant 
influence on both of these institutions, he employed this 


influence to make them harmonize and in a sys- 
tem for the better instruction and gradual elevation of the 
profession. The fruits of this exertion are enjoyed by 
those now in the practice of medicine. About the same 
time he was chosen President of the Massachusetts Humane 
Society and of the Agricultural Society, offices which he 
held a few years and resigned to others. 

The period allotted him for the enjoyment of public 
estimation was short. The severity of his labors had made 
deep inroads on a constitution naturally weak, and shaken 
by repeated diseases before he reached the middle ago. 
When a young man he thought liimself a subject for pul- 
monary disease. During his revolutionary campaigns he 
had a violent fever, and another in the year 1783, after he 
was established in Boston. The latter was so severe that 
the medical gentlemen who attended him did not expect 
him to survive it ; excepting one of tliem, Dr. Joseph Gar- 
diner, an eminent practitioner of the time, who for want of 
written memorials is now known to few of our inliabitants : 
he said of him, " that young man is so determined to leco- 
ver, that he will siicceed in spite of his disease." During 
the earlier period of his lectures at Cambridge, he w^as 
more than once on the point of succunilnng to the excessive 
efforts he made to carry them on. In the fulness of pro- 
fessional business he daily passed over Chariest own ferry 
to Cambridge, there not being a bridge at that time ; and 
sometimes, when impeded by ice, was compelled to take 
the route through Roxbury and Brookline to Cambridge, 
and to return on the same morning, after himself perform- 
ing the dissections and giving a lecture sometimes three 
hours long. Twice he offered to resign his professorship, 
but was prevailed on to retain it. 

In the yellow fever of 1798, though indisposed great 
part of the time, he attended an incredible number of pa- 
tients through the continuance of the epidemic. Besides 
some permanent complaints, he was frequently afflicted 
with the sick head-ache, accompanied in its incipient stage 
with great depression of spii-its. This continued to affect 
him till within three years of his death, when it entirely left 
him ; but soon after its disappearance he was suddenly 
seized with a more alarming affection. While demonstrat- 
ing a brain which had been immersed in alcohol and muri- 
atic acid, and which he held and handled for a long time in 
a very cold state, he had a paralytic affection of the arm ; 


and was for some time unable to use it. From this he reco- 
vered in a great measure, but not wholly. He was also 
constantly harassed by a pain in the chest and side, which 
often attacked him suddenly in the night, so severely that, 
after taking considerable doses of opium without relief, he 
rose in bed, bled himself and became easier. This affection 
proceeded from an organic disease of the heart, of long 
standing. It was subsequently found to arise from ossifi- 
cation of the aorta exactly at that part which receives the 
impetus of the blood as it gushes from the left ventricle ; 
and it is presumable that this was brought on by that state 
of hurry and anxiety in which he constantly lived, and 
which would necessarily excite the action of the heart in 
an inordinate degree. Yet he had the opinion that it was 
the perpetual movement of body and mind that preserved 
his life longer than could have iDcen expected. 

The personal appearance of Dr. Warren was most pre- 
possessing. He was of about middling stature and well 
formed : his deportment was agreeable and his manners, 
formed in a military school and polished by intercourse 
Avith the officers of the French army, were those of an ac- 
complished gentleman. An elevated forehead, black eyes, 
aquiline nose, and hair turned up from the forehead, gave 
an air of reflection and dignity which became a person of 
his profession and character. 

Temperance was as agreeable to his wishes as it was 
necessary to his health. He rose and breakfasted early ; 
afterwards did business at home, either professional or 
promiscuous, for about two hours, rarely leaving home 
till nine in the morning in summer, and ten in the win- 
ter. He dined at two ; ate heartily, but drank no wine 
and usually nothing but water, for wine and the strong- 
er stimulant drinks were poisonous to him through life. 
The afternoon and part of the evening were passed like 
tlie morning, in visiting patients ; and the termination 
of the evening in writing, or in consultation of such works 
as were necessary to the labors of the time, or in perform- 
ing the duties of the many societies with which he had be- 
come connected by his active and beneficent disposition. 

His visits to patients, through the greater part of his 
life, were made on horseback ; a mode of conveyance 
which he adopted as the most expeditious. In visits to the 
country he took a chair or chaise ; but never a carriage of 
four wheels, unless indisposed or on a journey : the con- 


finement of this kind of vehicle was irksome. He wislied 
always to move with the greatest possible rapidity, be- 
cause the time passed in transportation was in a great 
measure lost. This habit subjected him to accidents innu- 
merable and sometimes extraordinary ; yet not attended in 
any instance with serious consequences. 

The minuteness of some of the details here introduced 
may appear trivial. It is, however, in such details that 
men differ from each other, and one generation from the 
succeeding. For these reasons it may not be superfluous 
to speak of the method of practising at that time. Dr. 
Warren made his visits very short. He wasted no time in 
conversation, but immediately applied his mind to the 
case, and succeeded in possessing himself of it in a few 
minutes in such a manner as perfectly to satisfy the patient 
and his friends ; so tliat, though they often complained 
that his visits were short and wished they could have 
more of his company, they were generally and strongly 
attached to him. This is not, however, to be attributed 
solely to their confidence in his skill, but to the warm and 
affectionate manner which was with him constitutional. 
During the greater part of his professional career it was 
not the custom to write prescriptions. The physician 
carried in his pocket a number of the most important arti- 
ticles, and distributed them on the spot. Such as were 
not at hand were sent for afterwards to his house, and 
prepared and issued by pupils. About the year 1S06 the 
Association of Boston Physicians reformed their fee table, 
and agreed to abandon the distribution of medicines, the 
business of the dentist, and some minor professional duties. 

In surgery his pi'eeminence was unrivalled, during the 
greater part of his career. The soundness of his judgment 
saved him from erroneous conclusions, in a practice more 
within the cognizance of the public than that of medicine. 
It is known of a great foreign surgeon of the present age, 
that, after a life of activity, usefulness and skill, he commit- 
ted a capital error in advising an operation of lithotomy ; 
on the performance of which no calculus was discovered. 
In consequence of his mistake he became insane, and after a 
life employed in the public service came to a most misera- 
ble death. From such a misfortune Providence in His good- 
ness preserved the subject of this sketch. Although com- 
pelled to trust to his own resources, and for the most part 
destitute of any aid from consultation in this division of 


his duties, his success was unifonn, as far as the nature of 
the tUseases he treated woukl allow. Hence he was re- 
sorted to from all parts of New-England, for surgical ad- 
vice and operation. 

His manner of operating was perfectly cool, composed 
and decided. Though sympathizing in the sufferings he 
was called on to inflict, he did not allow that sympathy to 
influence him, to hurry one step of his operation, or to 
omit any detail which could contribute to its success. Be- 
fore its conclusion he always satisfied himself and those 
about him that every thing had been done which ought to 
be done, and that no relic of disease had been suffered 
to escape his vigilance. At a very early period, and 
long before it was practised on the continent of Europe, 
he introduced the healing of wounds by the first in- 
tention ; thus shortening prodigiously the cure and the 
sufferings connected with it. Among other difficulties he 
had to surmount, was the want of an individual to whom 
he could resort for making, improving and repairing sur- 
gical instruments. No such person existed in Boston, dur- 
ing the principal part of his time ; and he was compelled 
to find a substitute in some itinerant razorgrinder, or in 
the labors of his pupils or of his own hands. 

The preparation of a course of lectures on anatomy, 
without books, without an instructer and without a model, 
is another instance of the energy of his character. As was 
before stated, he began to dissect at an early period ; pur- 
sued his labors in the army ; advanced them in his hos- 
pital ; and thus, without any guide but his knife, and 
without any teacher but the body before him, made up 
his first course of lectures. Afterwards, the confluence of 
French surgeons to this country opened to him anew field 
of improvement. He determined to acquire the French 
language in order to study anatomy. The Latin and 
Greek languages he had well learned at Cambridge, to- 
gether with something of the Hebrew ; but of French 
he was wholly ignorant. By dint of study he became 
acquainted with it, and thus got access to the libraries 
of his friends in the French army. The interest which 
the French took in promoting improvement among the 
Americans, ought never to be forgotten. Without any 
assumption of the air of superior knowledge, they con- 
trived to introduce many important improvements in 
the science of our young and ignorant country. The 


books they brought with them were disposed of most lib- 
erally. Among those acquired by Dr. Warren on his 
favorite subject, was the Anatomy of Sabatier ; at that 
time and long after, the best system in print. He studied 
this book till he was thoroughly possessed of all it con- 
tained. His lectures now assumed a more regular and ele- 
gant form. He introduced various modes of demonstra- 
tion, which were original and strongly impressive ; and 
contrived to make his short course so instructive, that few 
persons could avoid getting a knowledge of all the 
important organs : for he was not satislied to quit a 
subject till he had shown it in all possible lights. He 
never wrote out a course of lectures ; though he seems 
to have made a beginning, but afterwards abandoned 
this plan, from its being found unnecessary. For the 
most part he used no notes in lecturing, and often lec- 
tured without preparation ; a practice which sometimes in- 
volved repetition, though not in a tiresome degree. As a 
speaker, his eloquence was preeminent, and its features 
were in conformity witli Jiis general character. There 
was nothing about it artificial or contrived for display. 
He was wrapt up in his subject and labored effectually to 
convey the vivid impressions on liis own mind to those of 
his hearers. " His voice was most harmoniously sonorous, 
his utterance distinct and full, his language perspicuous 
and well chosen. But its more peculiar charms were de- 
rived from the animation of delivery, from the interest he 
displayed in the subject of his discourse, and from his so- 
licitude that every auditor should be satisfied both of his 
demonstrations and explanations." 

Situated as he was, it seems surprising that he could 
find time for cultivating any branch of literature. In the 
year 1783 he was called to deliver the first oration on the 
4th of July, the anniversary of the declaration of inde- 
pendence ; an anniversary which has been annually cele- 
brated in Boston in the same manner, from that day to 
this. In the oration he gave abundant proof of extensive 
historical reading, and a degree of thought on political 
affairs, which did great credit to his sagacity, as well as 
knowledge. At different periods he delivered other pub- 
lic orations and addresses : one before the Humane Society 
of Massachusetts, an Eulogium on the Hon. Thomas Rus- 
sell, President of that society, a Public Address to the Ma- 
sonic Lodges, of which he was Grand Master, and a Dis- 
voL. II. 34 


sertation before the Massachusetts Medical Society, on 
the use of Mercury in Febrile Diseases. He produced 
some valuable articles for the Communications of the Mas- 
sachusetts Medical Society, the New-England Journal of 
Medicine and Surgery, and the Memoirs of the American 
Academy of Arts and Sciences. 

In the character of Dr. Warren the most distinguishing 
feature was disinterestedness, or the predominance of the 
benevolent principles over the selfish. Many of the most 
active members of society are occupied exclusively with 
their own interests. All their views and exertions begin 
and terminate in self. Such men often attain to the 
highest distinctions. But tlie world has little reason to 
rejoice in their elevation. They bestow on it no bene- 
fits, but such as are essential to promote their own pro- 
gress. There is another class, whose feelings are more 
alive to the sufferings of their fellow beings ; upon "wdiose 
generous dispositions the afflictions of others make a deep- 
er impression than their own cares. They are readily ex- 
cited to exertions, the object of which is to improve man- 
kind. They may be called enthusiastic, perhaps, but their 
enthusiasm, being controlled by a sound judgment and 
accurate observation, produces effects the most beneficial. 
It is by such men that those changes in the affairs of men 
have been brought about, which are felt as beneficial to 
humanity, and the influence of which remains when those 
who produced them are forgotten. They enter not hastily 
on their plans. But, having satisfied themselves that an 
object is good, and worthy of their exertions, they are not 
deterred by an apparent impossibility of effecting it. They 
venture deliberately to encounter those difficulties they 
know they must contend with. The same susceptibility 
indeed that incites them to action, usually renders the op- 
position they meet with more harassing. They feel with 
acuteness shocks that would make little impression on men 
of colder blood, or more selfish dispositions. But they 
persevere in their purposes, for they know that no pain 
can be greater than the fear of being wanting to what their 
sense of duty requires. We have a brilliant example of 
this class of minds in those who effected the abolition of 
the slave trade ; and many of the actors in our revolution 
were of a similar character. 

Among such minds is to be placed that of Dr. Warren. 
The most powerful motives of his actions through life ap- 


peared to arise from the benevolence of his disposition, 
and the warmth of his feelings. Selfish considerations 
had no power to bend him from the course which the fer- 
vor of his spirit prompted. An instance has been given 
in the earnestness with which, on learning the agitating 
events of June 17th, 1775, he deserted his fair prospects of 
professional eminence in Salem, and offered to serve the 
cause of his country by enlisting as a private soldier in the 
army. Tlie same fervor was exhibited in all his pursuits. 
He entered upon them zealously, and devoted his whole 
soul to their accomplishment. He allowed himself no 
rest day or night, till he was satisfied that nothing in his 
power to perform, remained undone. It was probably 
from the strong interest his pursuits excited, that he ac- 
quired in so eminent a degree the power of concentrating 
his faculties. To this power, joined to his extensive know- 
ledge and observation, may be attributed the rapidity of 
his mental processes, the facility with which he arrived at 
his conclusions. Hence it was that he was able to perform 
so much in a given time as to astonish other men of even 
industrious habits. 

The same susceptibility was conspicuous in his inter- 
course with his patients, and was the means of his acquir- 
ing their affection. He entered readily and warmly into 
their feelings. He affected no interest in their troubles 
that was not sincere. If they were in pam he knew what 
their sufferings were, and it would have been abhorrent to 
his nature to have treated them with indifference. In all 
the anxieties of those who were connected to the sufferers 
by the relations of domestic life, he warmly sympathized, 
for no one had felt them more deeply than he. 

This sensibility was not unattended by its too visual ac- 
companiment. He was liable, particularly in the latter 
part of his life, to a great depression of spirits. He al- 
lowed those sources of affliction, from which none are ex- 
empt, to make too deep an impression. Yet his disposition 
was naturally cheerful ; he was always fond of social in- 
tercourse, and always ready to join in social amusements. 
And it was seldom that the presence of a friend could not 
for a time dispel the clouds that hung over his spirits. 
Still he suffered enough to make him at times almost out of 
love with life, and he more than once declared that he ha^ 
no wish that his life should be long. But it was always 
in the full confidence of a better to succeed. The warmth 


of his affections was shown in his notions of a future state, 
for he could not imagine a state of happiness in which he 
should be separated from those he loved here. 

He was a christian from conviction, as well as feeling. 
He liad examined for himself the evidences of our religion, 
and was satisfied of their conclusiveness. And the fruits 
of his belief were shown in a life spent in doing good, and 
in diffusing religious sentiments where he had influence. 
Although he visited many patients on Sunday morning, he 
devoted the rest of the day to religious duties : to attend- 
ance on public worship ; to reading on religious subjects ; 
and instructing his family in tlie great principles of christ- 
ian doctrine. The foundation of this practice was laid 
by the instructions of an excellent and pious mother, 
whom he most zealously cherished while she lived, and 
deeply mourned on her death. 

His eminence in society never elevated him in his own 
mind above the lowest about him : for he considered all 
as members of one family ; was at all times as ready to at- 
tend to the calls of the poor as of the rich, and his atten- 
tions to them were equally kind and soothing. To all, his 
heart felt sympathy, and he administered tiiose consola- 
tions that contribute almost as much to the ease of the pa- 
tient, as does the skill of the physician. His liberality 
was not confined to professional services : he cheerfully 
gave pecuniary aid to those whom lie found in want ; and 
all enterprises of a public or charitable nature found in 
him a ready contributor both of money and time. 

His profession as an anatomist gave him opportunities of 
enlarging and strengthening his views of the existence and 
character of a Supreme Being ; and he always took plea- 
sure in pointing out in his lectures those fine contrivances 
which show that the human frame was formed on a delib- 
erate plan by an intelligent, Omnipotent Being, and that 
tha' Being desired the happiness of his creatures. 

His virtues were heightened by an unaffected modesty, 
which the place he held in the estimation of his fellow- 
citizens never diminished. With the qualities we have 
described, he could not fail to possess that true politeness 
which has its foundation in a benevolent heart. 

The interest he early felt in the welfare of his country, 
continued through life ; and in times of political difficulty 
and excitement, when important measures were to be pro- 
posed, and it was desirable that they should be brought 


forward with the countenance of those who had the 
strongest hold on the esteem and affections of their fellow 
citizens, he was often requested to preside in the public 
assemblies of the people, and he never shrunk from the 

In the winter of 1814-15 he was called upon to attend, 
in conjunction with the family physician, on Governor 
Brooks, then dangerously ill, at his residence in Medford. 
Notwithstanding the pressure of iiis business and the state 
of his health, which was then quite feeble, urged on by 
friendship for Governor Brooks and his sen?e of the value 
of his life to the community, he contrived to visit him 
once and sometimes twice every day, while his severe ill- 
ness lasted. Governor Brooks's situation was such as to 
make it necessary to adopt some decisive remedy, and an 
application of tobacco was made, of which, as the success 
was uncertain, and it was the last resort, the operation was 
awaited bv Dr. W. with intense anxiety. His delight was 
proportionable in finding it take a favorable turn. Gov- 
ernor Brooks recovered. About this time, on leturning 
home one day towards evening, he found a letter from 
Foxborough, about twenty-five miles from Boston, stating 
that his brother, who resided there, had dislocated his 
shoulder three days before, and that the neighboring prac- 
titioners had not been able to reduce it. He immediately 
ordered a carriage to carry him there. On his family urg- 
ing him, on account of his own ill health, to wait till 
morning and take some rest, he replied, " it would belike 
resting on a bed of coals," and set out without delay. As 
soon as he arrived there he commenced his oj^erations. He 
made several unsuccessful attempts with the pullies. After 
trying an hour or two he desisted, and said he would try 
again in the morning. On retiring he expressed to his 
student who was with him, his great anxiety about his bro- 
ther. He neither undressed nor slept that night, but spent 
it principally in walking about the room in great agitation. 
Before morning he caused the family to be roused to make 
another attempt. In this, after an hour or more, he suc- 
ceeded. For a short time afterwards he was in great spir- 
its ; but, soon after getting into his sleigh to return home, 
seemed to sink from exhaustion. He however proceeded 
to Boston, and without resting resumed his visits to his 
patients. These exertions brought on an illness which 
hung about him, till in conjunction with his organic dis- 


ease it produced an inflammation of the lungs, of which 
he died April 4th, 1815, at his house in School street, 
where he had resided about tiiirty years. 

His death was universally and deeply lamented. The 
University of Cambridge and the Medical Society united 
in appointing his colleague. Dr. Jackson, to prepare a 
eulogy at the interment of his remains, and it was deliver- 
ed in the Stone Chapel, the same place where, precisely 
thirty-nine years before that day, the eulogy had been 
delivered over those of his brother. A funeral sermon 
was preached at the church where the deceased had attend- 
ed public worship, by the eloquent Dr. McKean ; and the 
Hon. Josiah Bartlett delivered a funeral oration at the re- 
quest of the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts. 

Althougli he died at an age not advanced, he may be 
said to have lived long for society ; for the lives of few 
men have contained so much useful labor. 

His remains are deposited in a tomb expected for the pur- 
pose by his family, in the cemetery of St. Paul's Church, 
in Boston. In the same sepulchre rest the relics of his 
friend and brother, who was killed on Bunker Hill. 

On this tomb is placed the following inscription, framed 
by a gentleman* wlio was acquainted with his private as 
well as professional character. 



Temporibus suis illustris. 

Nee posteritati obliviscendus. 

Bello civili semper rei publicae deditus, 
Juventutem patriae sacravit. 

Medicus inter primos, 

Chirurgus facile princeps, 


Primam medicinae scholam, 

Ipsius laboribus fundatam, 

Per XXX. annos 

Doctrina sustidit, 

Eloquentia illuminavit. 

* George Ticknor, E.^q. 


Quid verum, quid honestum, 

Quid scientise, quid bono publico profuturum 

Exemplo docuit, 

Vitae studio promovit. 

Erga deum pietate, 

Erga homines benevolentia sincere imbutus, 

Summam severitatem 

Sumnias humanitati junxit. 

Universitatis Harvardianre Professor, 

Societatis Philanthropica5 Praeses, 

Societatis Medicae Massachusettensis Praeses, 

NuUus illi defuit honos. 

Vita peracta non deest omnium luctus. 

Natus die xxvii. Julii, A. D. MDCCLIII. 
Obiit die iv. Aprilis, A. D. MDCCCXV. 


Errata.— On page 44, Vol. I. line 18 from bottom, for Amy, and, read Ainyand. 
Page 242, Vol. II. line 12 from top, for bring, read bury. 

To the list of surviving surgeons in the revolutionary army, in the note, page 
255, Vol. II. the name of James Thacher should be added. 

In the article Benjamin Rush some repetitions have occurred. They were 
occasioned by the circumstance that we had availed ourselves of an anony- 
mous memoir of Dr. Rush, published in the American Medical and Philosopliical 
Register, and also of the Discourse by Dr. Hosack. Our memoir was also enlarged 
by an extract from the Introductory Lecture lately delivered in Rutgers Medical 
College by Professor Francis. We were not aware at the time that the anonymous 
Life was from the pen of that Professor, which fact sufficiently accounts for the freo 
use that Dr. F. has made of his first production. 



History of medicine among the primitive inhabitants - - - - 9 

Medical school at Alexandria 11 

^sculapius, Hippocrates, Galen and Paracelsus 11 

Circulation of the blood discovered by Dr. William Harvey - - 12 

History of Medicine in Massachusetts. 
The practice of medicine united with the parochial duties of ministers 14 

Civil and religious institutions of our forefathers ----- 15 

Sickness and mortality among the first settlers ----- 15 

First physicians in Massachusetts --.-..-17 

Lues venerea first appears in Boston -------18 

Smallpox inoculation first introduced by Dr. Z. Boylston - - - 20 
Smallpox appears, and hospitals opened ------ 22 

Physicians who practised in Boston in the eighteenth century - - 24 

Military hospitals established 26 

Physicians in Boston institute a club to regulate medical fees - - 27 

Yellow fever in Boston 27 

Mercurial practice in New-England 27 

Influenza noticed -.---.----28 

Vaccination introduced ---------28 

Spotted fever first appears -•.-...--30 
T3'phoid peripneumony noticed ---...--31 
Medical Institution at Harvard University - - - . - - 31 
Liberal donations by E. H. Derby, Esq. and by W. N. Boylston, Esq. - 32 

Candidates for M. D., and their qualifications 33 

Berkshire Medical Institution 4 

Massachusetts General Hospital, and Asylum for the Insane - - .5 

Munificence of John McLean, Esq. ---... .37 

Botanic garden at Cambridge S7 

Massachusetts Medical Society 38 

Dr. Dalhonde's deposition ---------42 

Introduction of smallpox inoculation in England 43 

State of Maine. 
Medical School of Maine ---------45 

Medical Society of Maine 45 

State of New-Hampshire. 
Medical School of Dartmouth College 46 

State of Vermont. 
Vermont Academy of Medicine ---.--.-46 
Medical Sciiool of Vermont 47 

VOL. II. 35 



State of Rhode-Island. 

First physicians 4'' 

Dr. Hunter lectures on anatomy .-47 

Medical School of Brown University 47 

Yellow fever in Providence ..--..--48 

State of Connecticut. 

First physicians and medical authors 48 

Asylum for the Deaf and Dumb, and Retreat for the Insane - - 51 

Medical Institution of Yale College, and Medical Society - - - 51 

State of New- York. 

First physicians and medical authors 52 

First dissection in America 52 

Doctors' mob 52 

Medical institution 53 

College of Physicians and Surgeons 54 

Medical professors .--55 

College of Physicians and Surgeons in the Western District - - 56 

Medical School of Auburn 56 

Eminent physicians noticed 56 

Yellow fever in New-York 57 

Hospitals, infirmaries, dispensaries and cowpoi establishment - - 58 

Medical publications and editors 58 

Important surgical operations performed in New- York - - - 59 

New- York Hospital, and Bloomingdale Asylum for the Insane - - 60 

State of New- Jersey. 

Rutgers College, officers and professors 62 

Colonel Rutger's gold medal - 63 

Location and description of Rutgers College ----- 63 

State of Delaware. 
First physicians -64 

State of Pennsylvania. 

First physicians 65 

First medical institution in America - - - - 67 

College of Physicians in Philadelphia - 68 

Yellow fever in Philadelphia 69 

Works of great merit produced in Philadelphia 70 

State of Maryland. 

First physicians .-.---71 

College of Medicine at Baltimore 72 

State of Virginia. 

First physicians 72 

Medical School of the Valley of Virginia ... 7 - - 75 

State of South Carolina. 

First physicians 75 

Medical College of South Carolina 76 

Yellow fever in South Carolina 76 

Smallpox in South Carolina 77 

Medical College of Ohio 77 

Transylvania University 77 

Medical School of Jefferson College 77 

Medical School of Columbia College 78 

Medical Institutions of the United States, with the number of students 78 

Observations on the establishment of our medical schools- - - 78 

Medical authorities adopted in our schools ..... 80 

National pharmacopceia established 81 

Periodical publications on the subject of medicine in the United States 82 

Closin>r remarks 83 


John Adams, Esq. 

Washington, D. C. 

Z. B. Adams, M.D. 


U. Anderson, M.D. 


Dr. Luther Allen 

Stirling, Mass. 

E. Arnoult, M.D. 

New- York. 

Thomas F. Ash, M.D. 


Amos Bancroft, M.D. 

Groton, Mass. 

Hon. Gideon Barstow 

Salem, Mass. 

William P. F. Barton, M.D. 


A. Bournonville, M.D. 


George Bates, M.D. 

Charlestown, Mass. 

John W. Bay, M.D. 


T. Roraeyn Beck, M.D. 


Joseph Bayley, M.D. 

New- York. 

Hersey Baylies 


John B. Beck, M.D. 


James D. Bliss, M.D. 


Stephen Brown, M.D. 


Timothy P. Beers, M.D. 


Jacob Bigelow, M.D. 


John B. Brown, M.D. 


John B. Blake, M.D. 

Washington, D. C. 

Charles Bulfinch, Esq. 


Mrs. Elizabeth Bowen 

Potowomut, R. 1. 

"William Bowen, M.D. 


Ward Nicholas Boylston, Esq. 

Jamaica Plains. 

Le Baron Bradford 

Plymouth, Mass. 

James S. Bulloch, Esq. 

Savannah, Geo. 

His Excellency, DeWitt Clinton 


Thomas Cocke, M.D. 

New- York. 

G. P. Cannon 


John S. Conger 


Felix Ghampy 


James Cameron 


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Walter Channing, M.D. 


Hon. Daniel Coney 

Augusta, Me. 


subscribers' names. 

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Burlington, N. J. 

Rev. John Codman, D.D. 


Ezekiel D. Cashing, M.D. 

Hanover, Mass. 

Thomas Coit, Esq. 


Chamberlain and Purinton 


Hon. John Davis 


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Newport, R. I. 

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Wayneshorough, Geo 

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New- York. 

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Groton, Mass. 

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East Greenwich. 

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New- York. 

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Peter Forrester 


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subscribers' names. 


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Dr. William Gordon 


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Waynesborough, Geo. 

Edward A, Holyoke, M,D. 


Oliver Hubbard, M.D, 


David Hosack, M,D, 

New- York. 

S, T, Hearsay 


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Washingtoji, D. C. 

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Waynesborough, Geo. 

Dr. Holman 

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Roland P. Heylin 


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Hon. William C. Jarvis 


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Washington, D. C. 

Thomas C. James, M.D. 


Anson Jones, M.D. 


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subscribers' names. 

Robert Kinsell 

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J. F. Daniel Lobstein, M.D. 

Medical School of Maine 
Valentine Mott, M.D. 
Hamilton Morton 
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Walter C. Palmer 
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Stirling, Mass. 


Netv- York. 

New- York. 


Middletown, Con. 
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Washington, D. C. 

Belfast, Me. 

Dartmouth College. 

Greenwich, N. Y. 

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New- York, 


Catskill, N. Y. 

New- York, 

subscribers' names. 


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New- York. 




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Wilmington, Del. 

Waynesborough, Geo. 
New- York, 

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Waynesborough, Geo. 

Some names in the subscription lists arc almost illegible, and many hare not any 
titles annexed ; which must apologize for errors and omissions.