(navigation image)
Home American Libraries | Canadian Libraries | Universal Library | Community Texts | Project Gutenberg | Children's Library | Biodiversity Heritage Library | Additional Collections
Search: Advanced Search
Anonymous User (login or join us)
Upload
See other formats

Full text of "Rhode Island historical tracts"

■ 



i 



^M 



i 



I I 



■ I 



■ 






m^ 






■ 



■ 






°97k.5 ^ L: 

R3^2 

no. 12 

Ser.l 

1829570 

REYNOLDS HISTORICAL 
GENEALOGY COLLECTION 



ALLEN COUNTY PUBLIC LIBRARY 




3 1833 01105 4662 



*.5 

h2 

.12 

r.l 

2957C 



Digitized by the Internet Archive 
in 2013 



http://archive.org/details/rhodeislandhiston12s1ride 



Gc 

97^.5 
R3^2 
no. 12 
Ser.l 

182957 






^>; 



V 



RHODE ISLAND 



Historical Tracts. 



NO. 12. 



UikPHi.J,. 




PROVIDENCE 

S 1 1» N K V S . K I It t£ K 
188 1. 



Gc 

97^.5 
R3^2 
no. 12 
Ser.l 
18295? 



V9 -J f^9QC7A 



4> 



Copyright by 
DNEY S. RIDER. 
1879. 



PROVIDENCE 1'IIKSS COMPANY, PRINTERS 



GC 

97^.5 
R3^2 
no. 12 
Ser.l 
18295? 



n . 



THE 



Medical School 



FORMERLY EXISTING IN' 



BROWN UNIVERSITY, 



PROFESSORS AND GRADUATES. 



CHARLES W.. PARSONS, M. D., ) c - . ": 5 - VI i ^> 

PROFESSOR OF PHYSIOLOGY I\ BROWN UNIVERSITY. 



PROVIDENCE, RHODE ISLAND 
SIDNEY S . R I D K K . 

188 1. 



.5 

2 

12 

.1 

957 



Copyright b}- 

SIDNEY S. RIDER, 

1881. 



11G7S0 J 



PUBLISHER'S NOTE 



The following paper was read before the Rhode Island 
Historical Society, Tuesday evening, March 22. 1881. 
Hitherto no history of the Medical Department which for- 
merly existed in Brown University lias been written. This 
paper seemed to supply the deficiency. Its complete yet 
concise nature peculiarly fitted it to be included in this series 
of Historical Tracts. The origin of the series, being a 
desire to provide a publication wherein could be preserved 
just such efforts as this one is. The patrons of the series 
are to he congratulated upon the willingness with which 
the author of the paper yielded to the solicitation of the 
publisher. 



THE MEDICAL DEPARTMENT 



BROWN UNIVERSITY. 



The Medical Department of Brown University 
dates from the year 1811. Only two medical schools 
then existed in New England. One was that con- 
nected with Harvard University, founded mainly by 
the energy of Dr. John Warren, about the close of 
the revolutionary war. The other was that of Dart- 
mouth College, which was created by the persistent 
ability of one man, Dr. Nathan Smith, a native of 
our neighboring town of Rehoboth, a great organizer, 
and very eminent medical teacher and writer, who 
was for some years its only professor.* This was 
founded in the year 1798. Medical students, in the 



♦Nathan Smith was born 30th September, 17G2; M. B., Harvard, 1790; pro- 
'fessor (1798-1829) at Dartmouth, Yale and Bowdoin Medical Schools; died at 
New Haven, 26th January, 1S'29. 



2 HISTORICAL TRACT. 

rural parts of New England, were usually apprenticed 
to some retired army-surgeon or well known physi- 
cian, for a term of three or four years, during which 
the preceptor was entitled to their services in pre- 
paring medicines, attending on the sick, and in opera- 
tions in minor surgery ; in return, they were to 
receive instruction in the different branches of med- 
icine. They were certified as fitted for practice, not 
commonly by receiving the degree of M. D., but by 
a license from some examining board. 

In the very early history of the colony of Rhode 
Island, we find both a license "to administer physic 
and practice chirurgery," and also the degree of 
" Doctor of phissick and chirurgery," conferred on 
Captain John Cranston, not by any medical board or 
faculty, but by the General Assembly. This was 
one of its first acts, after receiving the charter of 
1663.* 

About sixty or seventy years ago, several medical 
schools were formed in New England, — a sign, I 
suppose, that a need was felt of more wide-spread 
opportunities for medical education, and probably of 

* Arnold's History of Rhode Island, i., 303. R. I. Col. Rcc, vol. ii., p. 33. 



BROWN UNIVERSITY MEDICAL SCHOOL. 3 

a higher standard in the less populous States. Nathan 
Smith was brought down from the wilds of the upper 
Connecticut, to organize such a department in Yale 
College (1813). The oldest of these medical schools, 

and the third in New England, was that connected 
with Brown University. The college was then pur- 
suing its even course of academic training, with an 
average of about a hundred students. Dr. Messer 
had been its President since the year 1804, at which 
time it changed its name from tf Rhode Island College" 
to " Brown University/' Its charter authorized its 
Fellows to R admit to and confer any and all the 
learned degrees which can or ought to be given and 
couferred in any of the colleges or universities in 
America." Under this authority, tiie degree of 
Doctor of Medicine was sometimes conferred in a 
complimentary manner on persons already eminent 
in the profession, and not as based on a course of 
medical study in this University. Dr. Solomon 
Drowne, who graduated at the college in 1773, 
received this honorary degree in 1804 ; and Doctors 
Pardon Bowen and Levi Wheaton, of the classes of 
1775 and 1762 respectively, received the same title 



4 HISTORICAL TRACT". 

in 1812. In examining: the catalogues, and even in 
comparing them with the records of the corporation, 
it is sometimes impossible to distinguish honorary 
degrees from those given in course. In some cases, 
physicians who had received the degree of M. D. at 
some other institution, were admitted at this college 
"ad eundem gradum" to the same degree. 

In September, 1811, three medical Professors were 
appointed in Brown University : Dr. William 
Ingalls, of Anatomy and Surgery ; Dr. Solomon 
Drowne, of Materia Medica and Botany ; and Dr. 
William Corlis Bowen, of " Chymistry." A com- 
mittee of the Corporation was appointed to procure 
a suitable person to give lectures on the Theory and 
Practice of Physic. 

Of these three Professors, Dr. Ingalls was the 
least known in Rhode Island, of which he was not a 
resident. He was born at Newburyport, Mass., 
3d May, 17G9, graduated at Harvard in 1790, and 
there took a degree as Bachelor of Medicine in 1794, 
and Doctor of Medicine in 1801. He lived in Bos- 
ton through his whole professional life, and became 
prominent in practice, especially in surgery. So 



BROWN UNIVERSITY MEDICAL SCHOOL. 

great was his fondness for anatomical pursuits, that 
he kept a private room for the practical study of 
human anatomy, and also a museum of specimens and 
preparations, in the upper part of his house on School 
street. He moreover had an anatomical lecture-room 
in an upper story on Market street (now called 
Cornhill), where, writes his son, " he demonstrated 
human anatomy nightly to listening and heedful 
students ; to how many is not known, probably an 
average of twenty-five or thirty. The late Surgeon- 
General Joseph Lovell, Dr. Samuel G. Howe, and 
J. V. C. Smith, became prominent." At what date 
these lectures were first given, or how long they were 
continued, I do not know. It appears that the 
Doctor gave lectures at the college in Providence 
soon after being appointed in 1811; that in 1815, 
Dr. John Mathewson Eddy, of Providence, was 
appointed adjunct, or assistant, professor; that in 
1816 Dr. Ingalls offered his resignation, which was 
referred to the next annual meeting of the Corpora- 
tion, but not then acted upon, so far as its records 
show ; and, lastly, that pupils continued to attend 
his lectures in Boston, the time thus spent counting 



6 HISTORICAL TRACT. 

as part of their required course of study in Brown 
University. My authority for this last statement is 
the venerable Dr. George Capron, of Providence, who 
writes, in a memoir of Dr. Levi Wheaton, that Dr. 
Ingalls gave a few courses at the University, "and 
then transferred his lectures to Boston " ; and who 
tells me that he attended the Doctor's course at Corn- 
hill, Boston, about the year 1820, and as part of his 
course as a medical student at Brown. He says that 
while in Boston he often attended the medical lectures 
of the Harvard professors, Jackson and Gorham, and 
that the students were sometimes invited to hear Dr. 
Warren. He describes Dr. Ingalls as not a fluent 
lecturer. 

The llev. Dr. Edwards A. Park, of Andover, 
Massachusetts, who graduated at the academical 
department of Brown University, 1826, has done me 
the great favor to write me some of his recollections 
of his college days. The following extract from his 
letter tends to confirm my belief that Dr. Ingalls' 
lectures in Boston were counted as part of the med- 
ical course at this school : " I had a very pleasant 
acquaintance with Dr. William Ingalls. He was very 



BROWN UNIVERSITY MEDICAL SCHOOL. 7 

gentlemanly in his intercourse, and prepossessing 
in his personal appearance. I may be mistaken in 
my reminiscences, but I received the impression that 
he had sometimes lectured in Providence, and some- 
times in Boston, but in each case lectured as a Pro- 
fessor of Brown University." 

The following extract from an anonymous pamph- 
let, "suggesting improvements in the academical 
system," published in 1815, illustrates the condition 
of the medical school at that time, and also appears 
to throw light on the position of Dr. Ingalls, and his 
" transfer" of his lectures to Boston : " On the present 
plan, the medical professors depend for compensa- 
tion entirely on the fees of attendance. This gives 
them a most precarious standing. Repeatedly has it 
been the lot of a professor, as the season for his 
lectures approached, to visit the college, iucpiire how 
many attendants would be had, be informed that for 
this or that reason they would be very few, and 
return to his residence, lamenting that he must wait 
another year, because an unfortunate arrangement 
has made the discharge of his duties dependent on 
the accidental finances and feelings of fifty or sixty 



8 HISTORICAL TRACT. 

youth. This state of things is too humiliating. It 
has already occasioned the loss of one distinguished 
professor." 

Dr. Ingalls lived to be eighty-two years old, dying 
the 9th September, 1851. A memoir of him, writ- 
ten by his son of the same name, appears in a volume 
of " Memorial Biographies " of the New England 
Historic-Genealogical Society, just published (page 
328). It mentions among the traits of his character, 
charity, cheerfulness, gentleness, fondness for the 
society of those he deemed his friends, unflagging 
industry. The following sentencQs are extracted 
from this memoir : 

" In the early yearsof this century it was a custom with many 
people in this region to be ' bled,' especially in the spring, and a 
goodly proportion of them would come into the doctor's office, 
take off their coats, roll up their sleeves, and sit down for the 
performance of the operation, not only as though it was a mat- 
ter of course, but because they thought it was a duty, and essen- 
tial in promoting and maintaining their health 'to lose blood'; 
and some of them came in the autumn as well as in the spring. 
Pondering the custom, the conclusion was quickly arrived at by 
the doctor, that the operation of phlcbotonw should not be per- 
formed without an investigation as to the state of health of the 
applicant for its performance. If he were in good health, there 



BROWN UNIVERSITY MEDICAL SCHOOL. V 

certainly was no necessity for his quota of blood being lessened; 
if he were ill, he should be carefully and properly examined, so 
that the physician could give a sensible opinion as to suitable 
treatment. Thus it was that the doctor was instrumental in 
causing the abolition of a pernicious habit." 

Dr. Solomon Drown e was born in Providence, 
11th March, 1753, and graduated in the fifth class at 
Rhode Island college, now Brown University, 1773. 
He studied medicine with Dr. William Bowen, and 
at the University of Pennsylvania (then the only 
organized medical school in the country), where he 
took the degree of M. D. He was in the service of 
the colonies as surgeon, was -in, General Sullivan's 
expedition on Rhode Island, served at different points 
in Connecticut and New York, and witnessed the 
evacuation of Xew York city by the British troops. 
In the fall of 1780, he went on a cruise as surgeon 
in the private sloop-of-war Hope, his journal of which 
has been printed. He won the regard of Lafayette, 
the Counts dc Rochambeau and d'Estaing, as well as 
of other French officers, to such a degree by his med- 
ical ability and skill as a surgeon, that the chief of 
medical staff entrusted their invalid soldiers to his 
care when they left for home. 



10 HISTORICAL TRACT. 

In 1784, he went to Europe. " Some of my 
friends," lie wrote, "expressed surprise at my quit- 
ting my home and exposing myself to the fatigues 
and many disagreeable circumstances incident to so 
long a voyage, charitably deeming me sufficiently 
qualified for the practice of my profession. For my 
own part, I confess a strong, persevering desire, with 
bold, adventurous hand, to unfurl the veil that con- 
ceals from me the charms of nature and art, to visit 
different nations and view the manners as they rise, 
to penetrate as much as possible the sources of useful 
knowledge, and especially to accomplish myself in 
the divine art of healing." 

He attended hospitals and lectures in London and 
Paris, and gained the acquaintance of several English 
and French physicians, and of other eminent men in 
England, and Franklin, Jefferson, and other dis- 
tinguished Americans then in Paris. "His journal 
during this period contains a minute and lively 
description of all prominent places and objects of 
interest, particularly botanical gardens, rare plants 
and works of art." 

Returning to his native country, he soon became 



BROWN UNIVERSITY MEDICAL SCHOOL. 11 

one of the proprietors of the Ohio Company, and 
went to Marietta in 1788, and lived there nearly a 
year. lie afterward resided in Virginia, and for sev- 
eral years in Pennsylvania. During these wander- 
ings he frequently appeared as orator, — delivering 
eulogies on Generals Varnum and Washington, and 
four 4th of July orations. 

In 1801, Dr. Drowne came hack to Rhode Island, 
and bought an estate in the town of Foster, where 
he could indulge his love for country life, his fond- 
ness for gardening, for botany and varied reading. 
He built his house on a hill, which he named Mount 
Hygeia. He founded a botanical garden, and "from 
his professional tours, which extended to Provi- 
dence, and not unfrequently to other States, he 
always returned with seeds, or plants, to enrich his 
collection. He also sent abroad for plants, and was 
the first to introduce many species into our country, 
which have since become common." People came 
from long distances to see this famous irarden. He 
is said to have raised and prepared his own opium. 
In medical practice he appears to have tended to sim- 
plicity, and to a greater trust in the powers of nature 



12 HISTORICAL Tit ACT. 

than was common in his time. By simplicity, ho 
meant an avoidance of officious interference, and in 
particular of uniting many remedies in one prescrip- 
tion. "Butternut pills, decoction of mallows, and 
pussy-willow tea" were among his favorite medi- 
cines. 

Dr. Drowne was, however, better fitted for a life 
of study and learned leisure than for every- day 
medical work. It is told of him, that if, on his way 
to see a patient, he espied an interesting botanical 
specimen, he would stop, and perhaps spend all day 
in meadow or thicket. 

He became a Fellow of the College in 1783, and 
held the office as long as he lived. As the only 
physician on the Board when the medical school was 
begun, he probably took part in promoting its estab- 
lishment, and perhaps in suggesting the personnel of 
its Faculty. He held the office of Professor of 
Materia Medica and Botany, from 1811 nominally 
till his death in 1834, or much longer than the medi- 
cal school continued in being. But I believe he gave 
no instruction in college after President Way land 
began his administration in 1827. In 1813, two 



BROWN UNIVERSITY MEDICAL SCHOOL. 13 

years after his appointment, a committee of the 
Corporation was instructed "to take into considera- 
tion the expediency of establishing a Botanic gar- 
den." This committee consisted of Nicholas Brown, 
Thomas Lloyd Halscy, and Samuel G. Arnold (the 
father of our late President). I find no farther 
mention of a botanic garden, on the records of the 
Corporation, but am assured that it was laid out and 
enclosed, near the southeast corner of the College 
campus. A variety of beautiful tulips, raised from 
those which adorned his garden in Foster, also were 
cultivated in the front campus, near the old "Presi- 
dent's house." 

Rev. Dr. Park writes as follows : 

"I had a very pleasant acquaintance with Dr. Solo- 
mon Drowne, and attended one course of his lectures 
on Botany. The course consisted of only twelve or 
fourteen lectures. They were illustrated by some 
botanical specimens, which, however, appeared to me 
quite 'dry.' His lectures were technical, and did not 
interest me. Still I was only sixteen years old when 
I heard them, and was not prepared for as many 
technicalities as he introduced. 
2 



14 HISTORICAL TRACT. 

"I remember the Botanical Garden. Some plants 
in it were very strange to me. They seemed to be 
very precious. My most vivid recollections of it, 
however, are that the. Garden was all grown over 
with weeds and that nettles had covered the face 
thereof; and the wooden fence enclosing it was 
partly broken down. My impression is that as early 
as 1822 the Garden was abandoned." 

His last conspicuous public appearance was in an 
oration in behalf of the Greeks, 22d February, 1824. 
To that cause he brought the earnestness of his 
classical enthusiasm, and the graces of his somewhat 
emotional and florid oratory. At a later period, 
I dimly remember, — or think I remember, — being 
taken by my father to see the venerable doctor lec- 
turing on Botanv in the old town-house. 

Dr. Drowne seems to have been marked by a 
gentle idealism, a contemplative view of nature, 
which rose above the technicalities of botanical 
science, or a study of the medical virtues of the 
simples he loved to gather. In thinking of the 
influences that might have moulded his mind in its 
forming period, I could not but attribute something 



BROWN UNIVERSITY MEDICAL SCHOOL. 15 

to his intercourse with the philosophers and physi- 
cians of Paris, at a most critical period of history. 
In the traits I have just referred to, and in a certain 
Arcadian simplicity of character, he reminded me of 
Bernardin dc St. Pierre, whose story of Paul and 
Virginia was published in Paris at the very time that 
Drowne was there, and whom he might very possibly 
have known. After this comparison had occurred 
to my mind, I was pleased to read in the obituary 
notice" of our late associate, Mr. Henry B. Drowne, 
that his father, the Doctor, was so great an admirer 
of St. Pierre that he named his sou for him, Henri 
Bernardin. 

Professor Drowne died 5th February, 1834.* 

Dr. William Corlis Bowen belonged to a family 
very eminent in medical practice in the history of 
Providence. Indeed, its patriarch, Dr. Richard 
Bowen, when living in Scekonk, or wdiat is now 
East Providence, had patients in the town of Provi- 

* The materials for this notice of Dr. Drowne are drawn from many sources, 
especially a Memoir in Communications of Rhode Island Medical Society, vol. 
i, page 25, and a notice by Dr. Usher Tarsons in the Literary Journal, rrovi- 
dence, May, 1834. 



16 HISTORICAL TRACT. 

dcnce, which is reported at his time, just two hun- 
dred years ago, to have had no physician living 
within its limits. His great-grandsons were the pop- 
ular physicians, Drs. William and Pardon Bowen, 
still remembered by our older fellow-citizens. Dr. 
William lived at the foot of College street. His son, 
William Corlis, was born 2d June, 1785, entered 
Rhode Island College, but went with President Maxcy 
to Union College, where he graduated in 1803. 
After a few r years of practice in Providence, he 
went to Europe, and studied at the University of 
Edinburgh, then a leading seat of medical education. 
He there took a medical degree in 1809. A copy of 
his inaugural essay, — "De Sanguine Mittendo" — 
(on blood-letting) is in our College library. He 
studied also in Paris, and at London was private 
pupil of the great surgeon, Astley Cooper. 

In 1811 he resumed practice in his native town, 
and was chosen Professor of Chemistry. He re- 
signed that office just two years later. He made 
extensive experiments with bleaching liquor with' 
the view of introducing a business since successfully 
conducted here. His early death is attributed to 



BROWS' UNIVERSITY MEDICAL SCHOOL. 17 

these experiments, and to his inhaling chlorine or 
strong acid vapors. He died of consumption, 23d 
April, 1815, when not quite thirty years old. 

My father, Dr. Usher Parsons, wrote of him as 
follows : 

"In the death of Dr. William C. Bo wen, Rhode 
Island lost its brightest ornament of the medical pro- 
fession. Xo one before his time enjoyed the advan- 
tages of such distinguished instructors so srreat a 
length of time ; and with his ardor in the pursuit 
of professional knowledge, his discriminating and 
comprehensive powers of mind, he was uncommonly 
capable of being improved by suelf advantages. His 
suavity and kindness of manner endeared him to all 
who were the subjects of his professional care, and 
no one could be more successful in gaining the 
respect and confidence of the good and the wise : in 
proof of which it may be observed that his precep- 
tor, Dr. Hamilton of Edinburgh, called him as con- 
sulting physician in a perilous disease of his own 
wife, and the writer of this notice had the satisfac- 
tion of hearing verv honorable mention made of his 
acquirements by Sir Astley Cooper/'* 

* Thacher'a American Medical Biozraphy. 



18 HISTORICAL TRACT. 

On the resignation of Dr. Bowen, in 1813, a com- 
mittee was appointed to procure a suitable person to 
give lectures in chemistry. Two years later, Dr. 
John Mackie, of Providence, was chosen Professor 
in this department, but he declined to serve, and in 
1817, Mr. John DeYVolf, Jr., of Bristol, was 
appointed and accepted the office. 

I have been favored with the following notice of 
Professor DeWolf, from his son, Dr. John J. 
DeAVolf, now of this city : 

"He was born in Bristol, R. I., 26th February, 
1786, and died in the same town, 23d February, 
1862. He entered Brown University in 1802, but 
did not graduate. His chemical education was 
mostly obtained from Dr. Robert Hare, of Phila- 
delphia. He was appointed Professor of Chemistry 
in 1817, and for more than twenty years pursued 
a course of brilliant success as a lecturer and experi- 
menter. After resigning his professorship in B. U., 
he held the chair of Chemistry in the medical col- 
leges at Woodstock and Castleton, Vermont, and 
subsequently in the medical school at St. Louis. 

"He delivered courses of popular lectures in 






BROWN UNIVERSITY MEDICAL SCHOOL. 19 

Providence, — (in the old theatre, where Grace 
church now stands,) — in New Bedford, and in 
Savannah, Ga. His lectures were always attended 
by large and appreciative audiences. 

"During the later years of his life, he resided upon 
his farm in Bristol, occupied in the pursuits of agri- 
culture. He gave much time to reading and study. 
He became a distinguished scholar, in the English, 
Latin and Greek classics, and was a proficient in the 
Hebrew also. His works of History, Poetry and 
Belles-Lettres he read; those of science, he studied. 

"In the course of his life he was frequently called 
upon to officiate as orator at public anniversaries and 
before literary associations. His addresses were 
always distinguished for their finished rhetoric and 
their sparkling wit. His oration on 'Prejudice,' 
before one of the college societies, is well remem- 
bered by many. It elicited the highest encomium 
from President Jefferson, who addressed the author 
an autograph letter, which is still preserved. 

"Prof. DeWolf possessed decided poetical talent, 
and in his earlier years composed many fugitive 
pieces, which appeared in print from time to time, 



20 HISTORICAL TRACT. 

but few of which have been pi sservc '. Am og the 
latter may be mentioned his paraphrase : the 148th 
Psalm, which was adopted in the Hymnal of the 
Episcopal church, and stands as No. 433. 

"Another early poetical production cf Professor 
DeWolf, written during the war with Great Britain, 
in 18 12. has been preserved, and may I e found in a 
volume of naval and patri tic : les, published in 
1513. This war. as we all know, was brought »n 
by the impressment of American seamen int the 
British naval service. Prof. DeWolf, then juite a 
young ma::. i:;:i:e:; . prem r song, lescriptive of 
the seizure and sufferings :f American seamen, who 
were take:: from c or vessels by British eruisers and 
impressed into the British z^vy. It is entitled the 
Youthful Sailor, and American seamen who were 
taken prisoners and ronnned in the famous Dart- 
moor prison, in England, iuring the war, in- 
formed Professor DeWolf, after their liberation and 
return home, that they r-ften sung this song luring 
their imprisonment, and thereby excited :he ire oi 
the prison officials, who repeatedly forbade them id 
ley continued to siz^r it, nevertheless. 



BROWN UNIVERSITY MEDICAL SCHOOL. 21 

"The well-known 'Life of Deacon Goodman, 
wherein is shown the inconvenience of not having 
a musical ear,' was written by Professor DeWolf 
not man}' years before his death. It first appeared 
in a Boston paper, and was extensively copied all 
over the Union. 

"Professor DeWolf was not merely a literary mau, 
but became a highly scientific man, well versed in 
ethics, mathematics and astronomy, and the various 
branches of natural philosophy, but more especially 
in chemistry, his favorite department, to which he 
devoted the best years of his life." 

A graduate of tire class of 182(5, who was a con- 
stant attendant on the lectures of Professor DeWolf, 
contributes the following reminiscences : 

"Professor John DeWolf was appointed to the 
professorship of chemistry in Brown University in 
the year 1317. It was then comparatively a new 
science; and but little, if any, attention had been 
given to that subject in the college previous to that 
time. He immediately commenced the delivery of a 
course of lectures, which at once awakened an inter- 
est in that branch of knowledge, not only among the 



22 HISTORICAL TRACT. 

students, but in the neighborhood. It occupied a 
neglected place in the prescribed studies of the 
University. 

"The chemical apparatus belonging to the college 
was very limited and imperfect, — hardly worthy the 
name. It was understood that he used his own 
apparatus, which he brought with him, whenever he 
commenced a course of lectures and experiments. 

"He had a very happy faculty of communicating 
the truths of the science to the youthful mind. He 
had himself a full conviction of the importance of 
the science he taught, and inspired the same convic- 
tion in others. He attracted the attention and ex- 
cited the interest of every student in the lecture- 
room. He impressed whatever he presented and 
demonstrated deeply on the memory of the hearers. 

"The interest heliad awakened, and the popularity 
he enjoyed in the University, were evident from the 
lively pleasure with which the students anticipated 
the time when his lectures were to begin. He al- 
ways had a full attendance. He opened to the eyes 
of the student, in his peculiarly attractive manner, 
the wonders of a new and brilliant science, to which 



BROWN UNIVERSITY MEDICAL SCHOOL. 23 

the recent discoveries of its votaries had added fresh 
interest and splendor. He developed these brilliant 
discoveries and explained to ns the benefits they 
were destined to confer on the varied pursuits of 
man. Sometimes in drawing practical deductions 
from the science he was teaching, he would sud- 
denly electrify the class by illustrating its truths 
in glowing and eloquent words, so impressive and 
graphic as not to be easily forgotten. His experi- 
ments were generally successful. When, from de- 
ficiency in the apparatus, or impurity in the mate- 
rials used, he was doubtful of success, he always 
forewarned the class. I only recollect one instance 
of failure where he had full confidence in the trial. 
He was carefully prepared in what he proposed to 
teach, and was sensitive about any failure in a 
proposed experiment." 

The Reverend Professor Park writes as follows : 
"I attended Professor DeWolf's lectures on chem- 
istry when I was a member of Brown University. I 
think he lectured without notes, and am confident 
that he was not confined to any written manuscript. 
He lectured with a loud voice and with great freedom 



24 HISTORICAL TRACT. 

• 

of manner. His speech was rapid and conversa- 
tional. He enlivened his lectures with his wit. He 
appeared to be enthusiastic in his subject. He took 
a lively interest in his pupils. We felt that he was 
our friend. 

"Professor DeWolf was popular and the students 
heard him gladly, and they derived as much instruc- 
tion from him as they were capable of retaining. 
All my associations with him are very pleasant, and 
I am conscious of feeling gratitude to him for his 
inspiriting words. To be conscious of this feeling 
after the lapse of fifty-seven years, is itself a sign 
that the lecturer was a man of skill and tact." 

In September, 1815, the chair of Theory and 
Practice of Physic was filled by the appointment 
of Dr. Levi Wheaton. He was born in Provi- 
dence, 6th February, 1761, and graduated at Rhode 
Island College in 1782. Our Society possesses his 
two diplomas as A. B. and A. M., dated 1782 and 
1793, and both signed out of due time by President 
Maxcy. His college studies had been interrupted 
by the revolutionary war, which, however, gave him 



BROWN UNIVERSITY MEDICAL SCHOOL. 25 

opportunities of acquiring valuable medical experi- 
ence. In 1778 he was attached to a military hospital 
in Providence ; he spent the summer of 1779 at 
Westerly, in the family of Dr. Joshua Babcock, 
engaged in teaching the Doctor's children and study- 
ing medicine. He was afterward surgeon of a pri- 
vateer, was taken prisoner and taken into New York, 
where he was detained, and had charge for some 
months of the prison hospital-ship Falmouth. 

After the close of the war, he accepted an invita- 
tion to settle at Hudson, New York, which was 
founded to a great extent by Providence people, as 
related by Mr. Stephen B. Miller in his interesting 
paper.* He was the earliest physician in that place ; 
in 1791 he formed a partnership with Dr. Younglove, 
who had the reputation of treating small pox suc- 
cessfully. On the festival of John the Baptist, 1788, 
he delivered at Hudson "a sensible and well-adapted 
oration." This Society has his commissions as com- 
mon clerk of that city, 1787, and Recorder of the 
same, 1794 and 1795. 

After practicing there about ten years, Dr. Whea- 

*Read before the R. 1. Historical Society, 16th November, 1830. 
3 



'>() IIISTOltlCAL TRACT. 

ton returned to his native town, and here lived through 
more than half a centurv, becoming well-known as a 
physician. Of the two colleagues in the medical 
school who dealt with the immediately practical 
studies, Ingsills, the surgeon, was the more reluc- 
tant to bleed his patients, while Wheaton, the phy- 
sician, had great faith in that operation. "His prac- 
tice was based upon the theory that diseases, in this 
climate at least, are generally inflammatory, and that 
when inflammation is controlled the disease subsides 
as a necessary consequence. It was a common re- 
mark with him, that we do not bleed enough ; he 
had not had occasion to regret bleeding in more than 
two or three instances in the whole course of his 
practice, but he had very frequently regretted the 
omission of it." 

"It was his usual practice to make brief memoranda 
of his cases every night in his day-book, in connec- 
tion with his charges for services, to which he would 
occasionally refer to refresh his memory. It was 
rarely, however, that he had occasion to make such 
a reference, and those who knew him will recollect 
how particularly and circumstantially he would relate 



BROWN UNIVERSITY MEDICAL SCHOOL. 27 

a case of days' or even weeks' duration, from his 
unaided memory. Every symptom and every pre- 
scription would be recalled with the utmost exactness. 
Whenever he had under his care a painful and criti- 
cal case, he seemed to experience the most extreme 
solicitude. It would he the all-engrossing subject 
of his thought and the topic of his conversation. 
The best authorities would be examined, and per- 
chance a medical friend consulted. The Writer has 
more than once seen him walking his room at a late 
hour at night wholly absorbed in anxious thought 
upon some critical case."* 

Dr. Wheaton was a scholarly and well-read man, 
retaining a fondness for classical studies as well as 
for novels and current literature. He wrote fre- 
quently for medical periodicals and for newspapers. 
In his later years he contributed many articles to 
the Boston Medical and Surgical Journal, with the 
signature of Senex. lie was one of the Trustees 
of Brown University, from the year 1798 till his 
death. 

* Those sentences are from it memoir of Dr. Wheaton, prepared by Dr. 
George (.'apron, and published in Communications of II. I. Medical Society, 
vol. i, page 1'.). 



28 HISTORICAL TRACT. 

Dr. Wheaton was a man of dignified personal ap- 
pearance ; I knew him only in his great age, when 
his erect white hair and thoughtful face commanded 
attention and respect. He had something of that 
look of intellectual power which was more marked 
in his distinguished nephew, Hon. Henry Wheaton. 
I remember one occasion when he came, alone and 
unheralded, into a meeting of the Rhode Island 
Medical Society, and its members, by a general and 
spontaneous movement of respect, arose and con- 
tinued standing till the venerable Doctor had taken 
his seat. 

He died 29th August, 1852, at the age of ninety- 
one. 

Dr. John M. Eddy, of Providence, who was ap- 
pointed adjunct-professor of Anatomy and Surgery, 
in September, 1815, died early in the year 1817. 
As his health was impaired for some time before his 
death, he cannot have given much instruction after 
his appointment. He may have conducted one 
course of lectures. The Providence newspapers of 
24th May, 1817, contain notices of his death. I 
copy the following from the Gazette of that date : 



BROWN UNIVERSITY MEDICAL SCHOOL. 29 

"Died, in Havana, whither he had repaired for the 
benefit of his health, John M. Eddy, M. D., of this 
town. In the height of usefulness, the prime of life, 
and the brightness of a well-earned reputation, he 
has been called from the stage of life. His loss will 
be severely felt by this community, whose esteem 
and respect he had secured by his virtues, his skill 
and his services. His declining health induced him 
to repair to Havana, where he fell a victim to the 
yellow fever." 

Dr. Eddy was one of the forty-nine physicians 
who petitioned for an Act of Incorporation of the 
Rhode Island Medical Society, (passed at the Feb- 
ruary session of the General Assembly, 1812), and 
who were named in it as the original Fellows. 

In September, 1822, Dr. Usher Parsons, of 

Providence, was appointed adjunct-professor of 
Anatomy tind Surgery ; and one year later, he 
was chosen Professor, in place of Dr. Ingalls, whose 
resignation was at last accepted. 

Dr. Parsons was born in Alfred, Maine, 18th 
August, 1788. He studied medicine in his native 



30 HISTORICAL TRACT. 

town, and afterward at Boston, under the tuition of 
Dr. John Warren. He was licensed to practice, 
February, 1812. In July, 1812, he received a com- 
mission as surgeon's-mate in the navy ; and served 
under Commodore Perry on the great lakes. He 
gained promotion to the rank of surgeon, and the 
warm friendship of his commander, by responsible 
and devoted service at and after the battle on Lake 
Erie. As surgeon of the frigate Java, with Perrv, 



he subsequently passed several months on the Medi- 
terranean, and visited the medical and scientific insti- 
tutions of Xaples, Palermo, Rome and Florence. 
He received the degree of M. D. at Harvard, in 
1818. At a later voyage with Commodore Macdou- 
ough he obtained leave of absence, and spent several 
months in Paris and London, attending the hospitals, 
keeping records of his observations, especially in 
surgery, and gaining the acquaintance of eminent 
surgeons and naturalists. He returned to his native 
country in 1820, with an ardor in the pursuit of 
medical knowledge, and especially of anatomy, which 
led to the fulfilment of his early aspirations to be- 
come a public anatomical teacher. His enthusiasm 



BROWN UNIVERSITY MEDICAL SCHOOL. 31 

in this branch had been inspired, partly in his early 

days of medical study by the lectures of Dr. Alex- 
ander Ramsay, of whom I shall speak again ; and 

partly by his visits to the great European collections, 
especially the Hnnterian Museum in London, and a 
friendship he had funned with the favorite pupils 
and successors of its founder, John Hunter. 

He was Professor of Anatomy and Surgery at 
Dartmouth College. 1821, took up his residence in 
Providence in 1622. and resigned his commission in 
the navy in 1823. He wrote that his "motive for 
eugaging in the business of lecturing was a desire to 
establish a museum of anatomy, human and com- 
parative, on the plan of the late John Hunter's." 

In Brown University, he gave lectures both to the 
medical class and to the college students, till 1826. 
He then published an introductory lecture entitled, 
"The Importance of the Sciences of Anatomy and 
Physiology as a branch uf general education ; being 
an introduction to a course of lectures to the upper 
classes in Brown University." 

If we may accept the testimony of two surviving 
pupils of the school, the opening of courses by Dr. 



32 HISTORICAL TRACT. 

Parsons gave new life to the institution. He made 
arrangements, through channels over which a veil of 
secrecy had to be thrown, for a supply of anatomical 
material. He was the owner of valuable and novel 
representations of human structure in wax models 
made in Italy. He had learned from Dr. Ramsay 
the methods of displaying and preserving the perish- 
able organs, such as he afterwards described in a 
volume, published at Philadelphia, 1831, on the 
"Art of making Anatomical Preparations." Dr. 
Capron speaks of the medical school as having been 
"re-organized" in 1822. Dr. Francis L. Wheaton, 
(M. D., 1827,) states the tacts quite as strongly. 

I once more avail myself of the valuable reminis- 
cences of the Rev. Dr. Park. He writes : "I re- 
member very well the impression made by the ad- 
vent of Dr. Usher Parsons to the Professorship of 
Anatomy in Brown University. The fact of his 
having been a surgeon in the United States navy, 
and at the battle of Lake Erie, gave him great eclat 
as he assumed the Professorship. I heard him de- 
liver two lectures. He read them from his manu- 
script. His manner was not animated. I was only 



BROWN UNIVERSITY MEDICAL SCHOOL. OO 

fifteen years of age when I heard him, and could not 
understand him, for he was speaking to post-gradu- 
ates." 

Dr. Parsons subsequently became very prominent 
in the practice of his profession, somewhat specially 
in surgery and as a consulting physician. His numer- 
ous writings contributed to medical journals, and 
essays written for the Boylston and Fiske Fund 
prizes, made his name widely known over the coun- 
try. In 1853, he was chosen first Vice-President of 
the American Medical Association, and at the next 
annual meeting officiated as its acting President. 
He took an active part in measures which led to the 
foundation of the Rhode Island Hospital. He was 
also engaged in historical and genealogical studies, 
especially in regard to the aboriginal inhabitants 
of Rhode Island, and the history of the battle on 
Lake Erie. lie contributed one important work to 
pre-revolutionary history, — the "Life of Sir William 
Pepperrell." His labors in these directions were 
fitly commemorated by our late President, Hon. 
Samuel G. Arnold, in a discourse delivered 1st 
June, I860. 



34 HISTORICAL TRACT. 

He died at Providence, 10th December, 1868, 
aged eighty. 

Dr. Alexander Ramsay was sufficiently well- 
known in this country to receive notice in the two 
leading American biographical dictionaries, — those 
of Allen and Drake. They mention that he was 
born in England ; my father used to call him a 
Scotchman. He had published at London and Edin- 
burgh illustrated works on anatomy. He gave 
anatomical courses at different places in New 
England, — my father heard him at Fryeburg, 
Maine, — and he was reputed to be a skilful anato- 
mist, as he must have been a stimulating lecturer. 

He died at Parsonsfield, Maine, 24th November, 
1824. 

I hope it will not be deemed a breach of confi- 
dence, if I lay before this Society a letter addressed 
by him to "The Managers of the College in Rhode 
Island," which has never been laid before either of 
its governing boards. 

Conway, N". II., June loth, 1823. 
Gexti.kmkx : — Being an utter stranger to you, and unac- 
quainted with your Institution or its regulations, I must beg 



18^9570 






BROWN UNIVERSITY MEDICAL SCHOOL. OD 

leave to refer you to my former pupil, Dr. Parsons, who pre- 
sents this. 

When, twenty years back, I was called by your colleges of 
New York, Dartmouth, &c., to introduce the youth to the 
manner and Doctrines of Anatomy, Physiology, Medicine and 
Surgery I had practiced and published in Europe. Professors 
were then fully aware of the necessity of Improvements. These 
are amply diffused by the numerous scholars I have had the 
honor of receiving on this continent. The expense and labour, 
however, of reducing the plan in shape of a Museum is the lot 
of very few. This has in some measure been effected in six 
years, by my pupils. I must esteem myself fortunate, were 
this institution rendered permanently useful under a pupil. My 
entire apparatus of Books, Drawings, Preparations, &c, esti- 
mate of $10,000. The preparations about §4,000, detached from 
the rest. I would willingly set the plau in motion on reasonable 
terms, and have the whole on equally easy purchase, provided, 
that the Institution was forever to be appropriated to the im- 
provement of the Youth, which would not fail to commence 
a new era in Medical improvement. I beg leave, gentlemen, to 
assure of the high consideration of your obedient servant, 

Alex. Ramsay. 

The Managers of the College, Rhode Island. 

Under the same date, Dr. Ramsay writes to Dr. 
Parsons : 

"Sir:— During my Northern Tour, I had the pleasure of 
polite observations delivered by you, where I was concerned, 
from gentlemen who had attended your discourses." 



36 HISTORICAL TRACT. 

He then gives directions for the preparation of a 
material which was to be thrown into the blood 
vessels, to render them distinct, and preserve them 
in a form for subsequent study. It is essentially 
the same material which I remember my father's 
using many years later. The Doctor continues : 

"By the Concord Patriot and Portland Statesman you notice 
that having collected a Museum, on the Plan so universally 
approved in Europe and America, as the medium of an arranged 
school, this is ottered for sale, as a rudiment of National Im- 
provement. The best proof of the efficiency of the Institution 
is that the entire mass is the produce of American labor under 
my direction, and that wherever my pupils settle, publick confi- 
dence is experienced by them. I could wish you came here, that 
we might converse on the subject, as this method cannot fail to 
raise any college which completely adopts it. I have addressed 
a card to your Managers of the College that you may not appear 
in the character of officious/' 

The brick school-house at the head of College 
street, which had been built for a grammar school, 
by a subscription of $1,452.80, in the year 1810, 
was set apart as the "anatomical building." Its 
upper story was used for dissection, and the pre- 
paration of specimens for the lectures, and an open- 



BROWN UNIVERSITY MEDICAL SCHOOL. 37 

ing or trap-door allowed them to be lowered into 
the lecture-room beneath. The courses on anatomy 
appear to have been sometimes given, — probably at 
an earlier period, — in the upper rooms of Dr. 
Bo wen's building at the corner of South Main and 
Leonard streets. A certain anatomical tradition and 
aroma long lingered around both these classic pre- 
cincts. I think that most, if not all, the courses in 
other departments were delivered in University Hall. 
The audience frequently contained practicing phy- 
sicians, as well as pupils. One gentleman from See- 
konk used to come to the anatomical course on 
horseback, wearing a somewhat conspicuous queue. 
Among other rogueries of the students, a committee 
was appointed to ask this gentleman to cut off his 
queue, on the pretext that it interfered with the 
pupils' seeing the lecturer's specimens or illustra- 
tions. The request was communicated to the physi- 
cian just as he was mounting his horse after lecture ; 
fortunately he was not so obstinate as Knicker- 
bocker's hero, Kcidermcester, and the request was 
complied with, and the obnoxious queue gave no 
more trouble. 

4 



38 HISTORICAL TRACT. 

A story is told of a certain skeleton in the course 
of preparation, which was left in a barrel in front of 
the "anatomical building," and hence involved Pro- 
fessors Whcaton and Parsons in trouble. By some 
forgetful ness, it was allowed to remain out-of-doors 
till college students began to roll and kick it down 
the steep of College street, and at the level of 
Benefit street it ran against some obstacle, I think 
the steps of the old town house. Out came the head 
of the barrel, followed by another head, and great 
was the consternation and excitement. A startled 
crowd gathered around the spot ; stories were soon 
astir of desecrated graves ; search was even made in 
one place of a recent burial, which was found not to 
have been disturbed. A medical student, who was 
supposed to be implicated, found it convenient to 
visit his uncle's house in the country, and remained 
there till the affair had blown over. Dr. Parsons 
returning from Boston, — I think the next day, — 
claimed the bones as his own property, but public 
opinion demanded a prompt and decent burial. 

The whole matter of supply of material for the 
practical study of anatomy was, as it must be, in- 



BROWN UNIVERSITY MEDICAL SCHOOL. 39 

volvcd in difficulty and hazard. A full account of 
it would include tales of nocturnal adventure, the 
evasion or befooling of night watchmen, and a mys- 
terious traffic. 

We have spoken of the Professors, who and how 
many were the graduates? I cannot ascertain the 
exact number of those who took medical degrees in 
course, but they were probably a little more than 
ninety. Of these, three became distinguished prac- 
titioners in this State, Drs. Lewis L. Miller,* (M. 
D., 1820,) and George Capron (1823), of Provi- 
dence, and Dr. Hiram Allen, f of Woonsocket 
(1825). Dr. Jerome V. C. Smith (1818), was 
a well-known author, for many years editor of the 
principal medical periodical of New England, the 
Boston Medical and Surgical Journal, and was 
Mayor of Boston in 1854. Dr. Alden March (1820) 

♦Dr. L. L. Miller, born at Franklin, Mass., 0th January, 17'J8; son of Dr. 
Nathaniel Miller, a distinguished surgeon; removed (1827) from Franklin to 
Providence; became very eminent as a surgeon; President R. I. Medical 
Society, 1840-47; died 8th March, 1S70, aged seventy-two. 

t Dr. Hiram Allen, born at Franklin, 1803; studied under Dr. Daniel Thur- 
ber, of Mendon ; spent his active professional life at Woonsocket; becoming 
prominent as a physician and citizen; President K. I. Medical Society, 1851-52; 
died 15th March, 1804, aged sixty-one. 






40 HISTORICAL TRACT. 

was born in Sutton, Mass., 20th September, 1795; 
attended medical lectures at Boston and here, and is 
said to have been distinguished when here for his 
skill in anatomy. He practiced many years in Al- 
bany, going there directly after graduating, was 
eminent as a surgeon, was founder and President, 
and for about thirty years the leading instructor of 
the Albany Medical College, and was President of 
the American" Medical Association. He died 17th 
June, 1£6 ( J. 

The last class which left this medical institution, 
while it was still in active' operation, contained its 
most distinguished graduate, a native of Rhode 
.Island, who, after a life of eminent usefulness in 
other States, returned to his rural home to die. His 
name belongs emphatically to Rhode Island history. 
Elisha Bartlett was born in Smithfield (now 
North Smithfield), 6th October, 1804. His parents 
were members of the Society of Friends. After 
attending local schools, he was sent to an institution 
under the control of the Friends in New York, 
where he received an excellent classical education. 
He did not £o to college. He studied medicine 



BROWN UNIVERSITY MEDICAL SCHOOL. 41 

under different teachers, among them, Drs. Levi 
Wheaton of Providence. John Green and Benjamin 
F. Hey wood of Worcester. He attended medical 
lectures both at Boston and Providence, and gradu- 
ated here in 1826. 

Pie then spent a year in Paris. One of his first 
publications, (Boston, 1831,) is entitled ''Sketches 
of the character and writings of eminent living 
surgeons and physicians of Paris." This is trans- 
lated from the French ; our Society is fortunate in 
possessing a copy of it. He visited Italy at that 
time. 

He began medical practice in Lowell, Mass., where 
he became a popular and successful physician. His 
"elegant person and accomplished manners, his un- 
common conversational powers, and his varied at- 
tainments rendered him a universal favorite." He 
was the first Mayor of Lowell, was twice elected, 
and was also a member of the General Court. 

But the career for which he was specially adapted, and 
in which he was destined to gain great eminence, be- 
<rau when, in the year 1832, he was chosen Professor 
in the Medical College founded ten years previously at 






42 HISTORICAL TRACT. 

Pittsfield, Mass. He held this appointment several 
years, and similar offices at Dartmouth College, 
Woodstock in Vermont, the University of Mary- 
land, and Transylvania University in Kentucky. 
The culmination of this career was reached in 1852, 
when he was appointed Professor of Materia Medica 
and Medical Jurisprudence in the College of Physi- 
cians and Surgeons in New York city. "His urbane 
and courteous manners, his native and simple elo- 
quence ; his remarkable power of illustration, the 
singular beauty and sweetness of his style, all com- 
bined to render him one of the most popular and 
attractive of lecturers." 

Dr. Bartlett was equally eminent as an author. In 
addition to several addresses which received the hon- 
ors of publication, he produced two works of great 
importance and permanent value. One is entitled 
the "History, Diagnosis and Treatment of the 
Fevers of the United States," published lirst in 
1841, and in subsequent editions in 1847 and 1852. 
This book, like all his writings, is marked by the 
beauty and clearness of its style, the easy flow of 
language and felicity of expression. Its chief value 



BROWN UNIVERSITY MEDICAL SCHOOL. 43 

is in establishing the distinction between the typhoid 
fever, more or less indigenous in New England, and 
the more malignant and contagious typhus, which 
we have known here as ship fever, bred from famine 
and overcrowding and dirt. 

His "Essay on the Philosophy of Medical Science" 
was published in 1844. Its leading thought is, that 
medical science consists wholly of observation, and 
generalization from direct observation ; that medical 
doctrines do not constitute a legitimate element of 
this science, but are merely hypothetical explana- 
tions or interpretations of the ascertained phe- 
nomena. The school of observation, he says, "is 
characterized by its strict adherence to the study 
and analysis of morbid phenomena and their rela- 
tionships, by the accuracy, the positiveness and the 
miuute detail, which it has carried into this study and 
analysis; and by its rejection, as an essential or 
legitimate element of science, of all a priori reason- 
ing and speculation." 

Of this book, Dr. O. W. Holmes writes as fol- 
lows, in a warmly affectionate tribute to the memory 
of its author : 



44 HISTORICAL TRACT. 

"Clear and logical as everything he wrote, irresist- 
ible if accepted as the development of truth in one 
direction, it has been reproached with throwing out 
of sight the higher qualities of imagination and in- 
vention in their legitimate applications to science. 
It is only fair, perhaps, to say, that perfectly as it 
evolves its own conclusions, it would be less open 
to charges of omission, if a chapter, such as he 
might well have supplied, had been added on the 
action of the inventive mind in the discovery of 
truth. Not the less is Dr. Bartlett's essay of per- 
manent excellence, because in the close logical pur- 
suit of his chain of propositions, he has seemed to 
exclude principles which under another aspect his 
own imaginative mind would have been the first to 
recognize." 

Dr. Bartlett wrote many graceful poems, which 
appeared in newspapers and magazines, and were 
treasured by his friends. In the last year of his life 
a modest volume was printed, entitled "Simple Set- 
tings inverse, for six portraits and pictures ; from 
Mr. Dickens' Gallery." 

Dr. Bartlett died at his Smithlield home, after a 



BROWN UNIVERSITY MEDICAL SCHOOL. 45 

long, painful and peculiar disease, attributed to lead 
poisoning, on the 19th July, 1855.* 

I have no adequate data for determining the 
number of medical students at different periods. 
Thacher's American Medical Biography, published 
in 1828, gives the number of students, 1825-2(3, as 
forty ; but this is probably a mere estimate. There 
were only live graduates-in-coursc in 182b' ; yet 
there was no progressive waning in the number. In 
the three years, 1818-20, there were sixteen gradu- 
ates-in-course ; in 1821-23, twenty-two ; in 1824-26, 
twenty-eight ; — according to a list which I have pre- 
pared with care, and which will be found in the 
Appendix. The school would not appear to have 
been dwindling. It fell rather suddenly ; and we 
have now to state the events which led to its extinc- 
tion. 

At a special meeting of the Corporation, held the 
13th December, 182G,Dr. Mcsser resigned the presi- 
dency, and the Rev. Francis Way land, Jr., of Bos- 

*The facts in regurd to l>r. Bartlctt's personal history are mostly taken from 
a Discourse on his Life, Character and Writings, by Dr. Elisha Huntington, of 
Lowell, and a brief Memoir published by Mr. S. S. Rider. 



The Secretary was directed to send copies of this 



46 HISTORICAL TRACT. 

ton, was unanimously chosen to rill that office. lie 
was nearly thirty-one years old, had graduated at 
Union College, 1813, had been tutor for four years, 
and had just been chosen Professor, in that institu- 
tion. He brought with him very definite views as 
to college discipline, and a profound conviction of 
its importance. He began his duties here in Feb- 
ruary, 1^27. At a special meeting of the Corpora- 
tion in March, the following preamble and resolution 
were adopted. The records of the Corporation do 
not state by whom they were presented, but they 
were unquestionably inspired, if not introduced, by 
President Wayland. 

" Whereas, It is deemed essential to an efficient course of 
instruction, and to the administration of discipline in this 
University, that ail its orhcers be actual residents within the 
walls of the Colleges : therefore, 

" Resolved, That no salary or other compensation be paid to 
any Professor, Tu:or or other oihcer, who shall not during the 
course of each and every term occupy a room in one of the 
colleges (to be designated by the President), and assiduously 

devote himself to the preservation of order and the instruction '* 

of the studeuts, or the performance of such other duty as may 
belong to his station." 



BROWN UNIVERSITY MEDICAL SCHOOL. 4 ( 

vote to Professors Tristam Barges, John DeWolf, 
Solomon Drowne and Horatio Gates Bo wen. 

At the next regular meeting, salaries were voted 
on this condition : That the officers named, "and 
such others as may be hereafter appointed, devote 
themselves during term-time exclusively to the in- 
struction and discipline of this institution, occupj" 
rooms in college during study hours, and attend in 
their several departments such recitations as the 
President may direct, not exceeding three recita- 
tions of one hour each in every day." 

Such was the action of the Corporation in the 
year 1827. The names of the medical Professors 
and of the Hon. Tristam Burges appear in the 
annual catalogue of that year, with no special re- 
mark appended. But in the Catalogue of 1828, 
an asterisk is prefixed to each of the names, Burges, 
Drowne, Wheaton, DeWolf and Parsons, with the 
following note below: "The gentlemen to whose 
names the asterisks are affixed are not of the im- 
mediate government, and do not, at present, give 
any instruction in the University." In 1829, the 
same notice appears, but Dr. Wheaton's name is 



48 HISTORICAL TRACT. 

omitted. In the annual Catalogues of 1830 and 
1831, a still more pointed statement is made : "The 
gentlemen to whose names the asterisk is prefixed 
give no instruction in the University and have no 
coneern in its government.'' 

It was impossible that a medical school should 
continue under these regulations. Physicians in 
active practice, or men in public lite like Mr. 
Burges, could not be officers of daily discipline, 
resident within college-walls, and visiting the stu- 
dents' chambers each evening. The names of these 
Professors, after being thus starred for two succes- 
sive years, as neither concerned in instruction nor 
government, then drop altogether out of the Cata- 
logue. The downfall of the Medical School was 
not caused by hostile feeling on the part of the 
President, but was. so far as we can see, an inci- 
dental result of his unswerving convictions and 
policy in regard to college government. In draw- 
ing the reins up so suddenly and turning so sharp 
a corner, it was not strange that something should 
be jolted out, and the medical school had the loosest 
hold. 



BROWN UNIVERSITY MEDICAL SCHOOL. 49 

The action winch thus dismissed gentlemen of 
distinction in the medical profession, and an emi- 
nent lawyer and public man like Mr. Burges, from 
the service of the University, led to a good deal of 
feeling and newspaper controversy. The Gazette, 
edited by Benjamin F. Ilallett, admitted articles on 
both sides, but with a leaning against the policy of 
Dr. Way land. It is not worth while to rake up the 
long-smothered ashes. The extraordinary abilities 
and success of Way land, both as administrator and 
teacher, are recognized beyond any possible cavil. 
A single extract may be admissible, — to show the 
spirit and style of the attacks that were made on 
him. It is from an editorial article published in the 
Commencement season, 1830. 

"Some of the most able Professors that formerly 
graced this institution have been dismissed, almost 
with insult, and nearly the entire, course of lectures 
in different branches of science, which alone formed 
any pretence for denominating the institution an 
University, have been dispensed with, without an 
effort on the part of the Corporation to preserve 
these advantages to the students, while at the same 



50 HISTORICAL TRACT. 

time the expenses of instruction have been nearly 
doubled, because the decreasing number of the 
students, — owing to this and other causes, — is sup- 
posed to render it necessary." 

Two general views may be taken of the principles 
that should govern the selection and ordering of 
college-teachers. One is that which would shut in 
the teacher from the outside world, and make him 
exclusively or strictly a college-man* This plan has 
the advantages of securing personal acquaintance 
between instructors and pupils, a moral influence 
which, it may be presumed, will generally be 
healthful, and a uniform scheme of discipline, and, 
to some extent, a uniform type of mental develop- 
ment in both teachers and taught. 

The other plan welcomes men of distinction and 
power who are at the same time engaged in literary 
or active pursuits outside of the college, who bring 
with them a breath from the conflicts of mature life, 
or from the still air of delightful studies. It recog- 
nizes in the talent which rules the forum or shakes 
the senate some pledge of power to train young men 
in practical logic and rhetoric. It was this general 



BKOWN UNIVERSITY MEDICAL SCHOOL. 51 

idea which made John Quincy Adams the first Pro- 
fessor of Oratory at Harvard, and Tristam Burges 
at Brown, and which sought our former townsmen, 
George William Curtis and George Washington 
Greene as "non-resident Professors" at Cornell. 

There has been no medical department in this 
institution since the advent of President Wayland, 
and for almost fifty years there was no medical man 
in the Faculty. For some years, Anatomy and Phy- 
siology were taught, with a host of other subjects, 
by the President, who had studied medicine in his 
youth. In the year 1834, Professor Chace took the 
title of Professor of Chemistry, Physiology and 
Geology, — and it is needless to say that every sub- 
ject he taught was handled with consummate ability. 
But the instruction in these sciences has been adapted 
to academic, not to medical, students. 

Whether a medical school will ever be revived 
here, is a question not of history, but of very doubt- 
ful forecast. Providence, from a town of 15,000 
inhabitants, has grown into a city of more than 
100,000. It contains a Hospital and Dispensary, 
both furnishing opportunities for clinical instruc- 



52 HISTORICAL TRACT. 

tion fur surpassing any that the Professor of Theory 

and Practice of Medicine could command in Dr. 

Messcr's time. The University has for several years 

shown great hospitality to those- physical sciences 

which are tributary to the medical art, — zoology, 

botany, chemistry and physiology. Its liberal spirit 

gives assurance that it would welcome the addition 

of a medical school to its other departments, if the 

community and the profession should be ready to 

demand it. But, on the other hand, a medical col- 

lege, to keep up with its rivals, must have a vastly j 

larger equipment of men and apparatus, than was 

needed three-score years ago, and is hence a very 

expensive establishment, while the multiplication of 

cheap medical schools tends to lower the standard 

of attainment and the value of a decree. Its fou n- 

dation-study involves a constant conflict with that 

instinct which would shield from mutilation or 

familiar handling the poor relics of the human 

fori!]. It seems to me that one school like that 

connected with Harvard University, and one other 

to keep up a healthful rivalry with it, arc enough 

for New England. Whether this city, the second 



BROWN UNIVERSITY MEDICAL SCHOOL. 53 

in New England, shall become the seat of such a 
school must depend very much on the zeal, pcrsist- 
cnee and ability of its physicians. 



APPENDIX. 



THE TWO DIPLOMAS. 

At the meeting of the Historical Society where this paper was 
read, two diplomas were exhibited. One was that conferred on 
Elisiia Bartlett, in 1826, when he attained the degree of M. D. 
It is signed by Asa Messer, President, and by Solomon Drowue, 
Levi Wheaton and Usher Parsons, Professors. The subject of 
his inaugural essay was the Causation of Epidemics, — a fit 
prelude to his maturer essays on Fevers. 

The other was a certificate of membership in the " Brown 
University Medical Association," or " Consociatio Medica 
Universitatis Brunensis,"— conferring in questionable Latin all 
the rights, privileges and honors of membership on Zaciiariaii 
Allen. It is dated 9th March, 1813, and signed by William 
Ingalls, President, John M. Eddy, Vice-President, and Thomas 
M. Barrows, Secretary. It did not convey the title of M. D. 
This Association was formed very soon after the foundation of 
the Medical School. It collected a library, to which the Hon. 
William Hunter gave many books that had belonged to his 
father, Dr. William Hunter, of Newport. 



BROWN UNIVERSITY MEDICAL SCHOOL. OD 

Sixty-eight years after the date of this certificate, Zachariaii 
Allen, LL. 1)., President of the Rhode Island Historical Society, 
and the Senior Trustee of the University, presided at the meeting 
where this account of the Medical School was presented, and 
added fresh and valuable contributions from his stores of 
memory and wisdom. He attended the lectures of Professor 
Ingalls ; and took his seat in the Board of Trustees at the very 
meeting of the Corporation of the University at which the pre- 
amble and resolution that embodied Dr. Waylaud's views in 
regard to the duties to be required from Professors, were 
introduced. 



56 



HISTORICAL TRACT. 



MEDICAL GRADUATES OF BROWN UNIVERSITY. 



[Under each year, the names of those whose degrees are 
known or presumed to have been honorary, or ad cundem, 

are printed in italics.'] 



1804. 
Solomon Drowne (A. B., 1773;. 

1812. 
Pardon Boioen (A. B., 1775;. 
Levi Wheaton (A. B., 1782;. 

1813. 
William Corlis Bowen (M. D., 

Edinburgh, 1807 J. 
Charles Cotton (A. B., Harvard, 

1808;. 
William Ingalls (A. B., Har- 
vard, 1790j. 
John Mackie (A. B., 1800;. 

18U. 
Benjamin Austin. 
Micaja Hawkes. 
Abner Phelps. 



1815. 
Thomas Manning Barrows. 
John Mathewson Eddy, 
James Mann (A. B., Harvard, 
1776j. 

1816. 
William Birchmore. 
Charles Dix. 

Artemas Johnson (A.B., 1808). 
Samuel Allen Kingsbury. 
David March (A. B., 1811). 
John McGore. 
Caleb Miller. 

Frederic Augustus Parker. 
Samuel Bugbee (A. B., 1802;. 

1817. 
William Henry Allen (A. B., 
1811). 



BROWN UNIVERSITY MEDICAL SCHOOL. 



Di 



Goodwin Allenton (A. B., 
1814). 

George Aklrich Bolton. 

Thomas Burr. 

Andrew Mackie (A. B., 1814). 

Joseph MuUiken (A. B., Dart- 
mouth, - 1802). 

John Phillips. 

Samuel Atwood ShurtlefT. 

Nathaniel Miller. 

1818. 

Tyler Brings. 

John Richardson. 

Jerome Van Crowuinshield 
Smith. 

John Atherton Wadsworth 
(A. B., 1814). 

Shimolcth Stow Whipple. 

Ariel Mann. 

1819. 

Jason Hawcs Archer (A. B., 
1816). 

Elisha Harding. 

Royal Tyler. 

Abijah Draper (A. B.. 1797 J 

Lemuel Kollock {A. B., 178G). 
1820. 

Lucius Allen. 

John Kingsbury Briggs. 



Isaac B. Ilovcy. 

Silas James. 

John Luramus. 

Alden March. 

Lewis Leprilctc Miller, (A. B.. 

1817). 
Cyrus Morton. 
William Feck. 
William J oJi us. 

1821. 
John Stratton Champney. 
Obadiah Elkins Durgin. 
Gardner Mason Peck. 
David Plummcr. 
Caleb Hopkins Snow (A. B., 

1813). 
John Cook Tibbitts. 
Jonathan Ware. 
Jeremiah Williams. 
William Blanding (A B:, 

1801;. 
Caleb Fiske. 
David King (A. B.. lldGj. 

1822. 
George Wa>hington Bliss. 
George William Russell Corlis 

(A. B., 1808). 
Henry Francis. 
Jacob Fuller. 



58 



HISTORICAL TRACT. 



Asa Green. 

Caleb Greenough. 

Dyer Hughes. 

Daniel Ingalls. 

George Willard (A. B., 1808). 

Alfred Wood. 

1823. 
Samuel Tubbs Angier (A. B., 

1818). 
George Capron. 
Ezra Bartlett Gale. 
John White. 

l y homas Oliver Hunt Carpenter. 
Abiel Hall. 

1824. 
William Henry Bradley. 
Hiram Bueklin. 
Draper Carpenter (A. B., 

1821). 
Jonathan Dearborn. 
Amory Gale. 
Johnson Gardner. 
John Gregory Needham (A. 

B., 1821). 
Warren Partridge. 
Menzies Rayner Randall. 
Henry Willard. 
Elias Frost (A. B. t 1S04J. 
Ashbel Willard. 



1825. 
Hiram Allen. 
Hezekiah Eldridge. 
Joseph Jairus Fales (A. B., 

1820). 
Levi A. Ilannaford. 
Robert Eddy Hemeuway. 
William Hutchins. 
Thomas Miner. 
Thomas Paine Moore. 
Levi Rawson. 
Morrill Robinson. 
Philemon Staey. 
Samuel Gould Stanley. 
Ereeman Thompson. 
John Jeffries (A. B., Harvard, 

1815;. 

Usher Parsons (M. D., Har- 
vard, 1818;. 

Edward Beynolds (A. B., Har- 
vard, 1811;. 

Daniel Thurber. 

1826. 

Elisha Bartlett. 

Ezra Leonard (A. B., 1801). 

Benjamin Norris (A. B., 1823). 

John Rose. 

John Scoville. 

Thomas Bueklin. 



BROWN UNIVERSITY MEDICAL SCHOOL. 59 

John Green (A. 7>., 1804J. Francis Levison Wheaton. 

1827. Elihu White (A. B., 1824). 

William Stillman Stanley (A. Jeremiah Fiaher Ames {31. D., 
B , 1825). Harvard, 1827). 



The following graduates of the College are said to have 
received the degree of M. D., but I do not know where or 
when. If either of them received the title at Brown, I can 
find no record of it. 

A. B. A. B. 

Elisha Pope Feariug, - 1807 George Gary, - 1820 

Luther Metcalf Harris, 1811 Joseph Warren Fearing, 1823 

Thomas Bump, - 1814 John Waters Tenney. - 1823 

Eliphalet Williams Ilervey, 1824. 



■.--•■• 

- r 

, ~r- , - | ... r . -. - , 

-. _ . . - ... J 



■•■■■■.■■ ' ■ ■ OAT -■,' ''-■''■. • "" 



'. . I 



, „-_ . • ... JL ; _L-J.l 



i ' 



. :■■ : an] : , ;a . 



. ! . 






7i9 1