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CHARACTERS.

Biographical Account of Dr. Ben- In a letter which I had the pleajunin Rush, of Philudelphia; by sure to receive from Dr. Ru-h, David Hosack, M.D. F.R.S. &c. a short time before his death, and &c. of New York. From Dr. which was written upun his re urn Thunison's Annuls of Philosophy, from a visit to the tonib of his vol. viji. No. 2

ancestors, he thus expresses the R. RUSH was born Dec 24, obligation he felt for the early

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about 12 miles from the city of ceived from his parents :Philidelphia. His ancestors fol- I baie acquired and received lowed William Penn from Eng- nothing from the world which I land to Pennsylvania, in the year prize so highly is the religious 1693. They chiefly belonged to principles I inherited from them; ihe scciety of Quakers, and were and I possess nothing that I value all, as well as his parents, distin- so much as the innocence and puguished for the industry, the vir- rity of their characters." tue, and the piety, characteristic But this was not the unly source of their sect. His grandfather, of that virtue and religion for James Rush, whose occupation which he was so eminently distinwas that of a gunsmith, resided guished. His mother, as if inon his estate near Philadelphia, fluenced with a presentiment of and died in the year 1727. His the future destinies of her son, son Jolin, the father of Dr. Rush, resolved to give him the advan. inheriteit both his trade and his tages of the best education which farm, and was equally distinguish- our country then afforded. For ed for his industry and ingenuity. this purpose he was sent, at the He died while his son Benjamin early age of eight or nine years, was yet young, but left him to to the West Nottingham Gramthe care of an excellent and pious mar School, and placed under the mother, who took an active inte- care of his maternal uncle, the rest in his education and welfare. Rev. Dr. Samuel Finley, an excellent scholar and an eminent of Bachelor of Arts in the autumn teacher, and whose talents and of 1760, at the early age of 15. learning afterwards elevated bim The next succeeding six years of to the Presidency of the College his life were devoted to the study of Princeton. At this school young of medicine, under the direction Rush remained five years, for tie of Dr. John Redman, at that time purpose of acquiring a knowledge an eminent practitioner in the of the Greek and Latin languages, city of Philadelphia. Upon comand other branches necessary to mencing the study of medicine, qualify him, as preparatory for a the writings of Hippocrates were collegiate course of study. But amongst the very first works which under the tuition and guidance of attracted his attention ; and as an Dr. Finley, he was not only in- evidence of the early impression structed in classical literature ; he they made upon his mind, and of also acquired what was of no less the attachment he had formed to importance, and which character. them, let it be remembered that ized him through life-a habit of Dr. Rush, when a student of mestudy and observation, a rever- dicine, translated the aphorisms ence for the Christian religion, of Hippocrates from the Greek and the habitual performance of into his vernacular tongue, in the the duties it inculcates; for his 17th yenr of bis age. From this accomplished and pious instruc- early exercise he probably derived tor not only regarder the tempo- that talert of investigation, that ral, but the spiritual, welfare of spirit of inquiry, and those extenthose committed to his care. sive views of the nature and

cellent

At the age of 14, after com- causes of disease, which give value pleting his course of clas-ical to his writings, and have added studies, he was removed to the important benefits to the science College of Princeton, then under of medicine. The same mode of the superintendance of President acquiring knowledge which was Davies, one of the most cloquent recommended by Mr. Locke, with preachers and learned divines our the very manner of his common. country has procluced.

place book, was also ea: ly avloptAt College, our pupil not only ed by Dr. Rush, and was daily performed his duties with his continued to the last of his life. usual attention and success, but To his records, made in 1762, we he became distinguished for his are at this day indebted for many talents, his uncommon progress important faces illustrative of the in his studies, and especially for yellow fever, which prevailed in, his eloquence in public speaking and desolated the city of PhilaFor this latter acquirement he was delphia, in that memorable year: doubtless indebted to the example Even in reading, it was the praeset before him by President Da. tice of Dr Rush, and for which vies, whose talents as a pulpit he was first indebted to his friend orator were universally acknow- Dr. Franklin, to mark with a pen ledged, and were frequently the or pencil any important fact, or theme of his pupil's admiration. any peculiar expression, remarkDr. Rush received the degree able either for its strength or its

elegance.

som

elegance. Like Gibbon, “He which he soon became eminently investigated with his pen always distinguished. in his hand ;” believing, with an Few men have entered the proancient classic, that to study fession in any age or country with without a pen is to dream :-- more numerous qualifications as “ Studium sine calamo, a physician than those possessed nium."

by Dr. Rush. Ilis gentleness of Having with great fidelity com- manner, his sympathy with the pleted his course of medical studies distressed, his kindness to the under Dr. Redman, he embarked poor, his varied and extensive for Europe, and passed two years erudition, his professional acat the University of Edinburgh, quirements, and his faithful atattending the lectures of those tention to the sick, all united in celebrated professors, Dr. Monro, procuring for him the esteem, the Dr. Gregory, Dr. Cullen, and Dr. respect, and the confidence of his Black.

fellow-citizens, and thereby inIn the spring of 1768, after de troducing him to an extensive fending an inaugural dissertation and lucrative practice. " De Coctione Ciborum in Ven- It is abserved, as an evidence of triculo," he received the degree of the diligence and fidelity with Doctor of Medicine. In that ex- which Dr. Rush devoted himself ercise which was written with to his medical studies, during the classical purity and elegance, it six years he had been the pupil of was the object of Dr. Rush to il- Dr. Redman, that he absented lustrate by experiment an opinion himself from his business but two that had been expressed by Dr. days in the whole of that period Cullen, that the aliment, in a few of time. I believe it may also be hours after being received into said, that from the time he comthe stomach, undergoes the ace- menced the practice of medicine tous fermentation. This fact he to the termination of his long established by three different ex- and valuable life, except when periments made upon himself; confined by sickness, or occupied experiments which a mind less by business of a public nature, he ardent in the pursuit of truth never absented himself from the would readily have declined. city of Philadelphia, nor omitted

From Edinburgh Dr. Rush the performance of his professionproceeded to London, where, in al duties a single day. It is also attendance upon hospitals of that stated that during the thirty years city, the lectures of its celebrated of his attendance as a physician to teachers, and the society of the the Pennsylvania hospital, such learned, he made many accessions was his punctuality, his love of to the stock of knowledge he had order, and his sense of duty, that already acquired.

he not only made his daily visit In the spring of 1769, after vi- to that institution, but was never siting Paris, he returned to his absent ten minutes after the apnative country, and immediately pointed hour of prescribing. commenced the practice of physic In a few months after his estabin the city of Philadelphia, in lishment in Philadelphia, Dr.

Rush

Rush was elected a Professor in exampled growth of the Medical the Medical School, which had School of Philadelphia, and the then been recently established consequent diffusion of medical by the laudable exertions of Dr. learning, bear ample testimony; Shippen, Dr. Kuhn, Dr. Morgan, for, with all due respect to the and Dr. Bond. For station distinguished ta with which his talents and education peculiar. the other Professorships of that ly qualified him. As in the case University have hitherto been, of Boerhaave, such too had been and still continue to be filled, it the attention bestowed by Dr. will be admitted that to the learnRush upon every branch of medi- ing, the abilities, and the elocine, that he was equally prepared quence of Dr. Rush, itowes much to fill any department in which of that celebrity and elevation to his services might be required. which it has attained. What

The Professorships of Anatomy, Boerhaave was to the Medical the Theory and Practice of Phy- School of Leyden, or Dr. Cullen sic, Clinical Medicine, and the to that of Edinburgh, Dr. Rush Materia Medica, being already

being already was to the University of Pennsyloccupied, he was placed in the vania. chair of Chemistry, which he fill- But Dr. Rush did not confine ed in such manner as immediately his attention and pursuits either to attract the attention of all who to the practice of medicine, or to heard him, not only to the branch the duties of bis Professorship: he taught, but to the learning, his ardent mind did not permit the abilities, and eloquence of the him to be an inactive spectator of teacher.

those important public events In the year 1789 Dr. Rush was which occurred in the early period elected the successor of Dr. Mor of his life. gan, to the chair of the Theory The American revolution; the and Practice of Physic. In 1791, independence of his country; the upon an union being effected be- establishment of a new constitutween the College of Philadelphia tion of government for the Uniand the University of Pennsylva- ted States, and the amelioration of nia, he was appointed to the Pro- the constitution of his own partifessorship of the Institutes of Me- cular state, all successively intedicine and Clinical Practice ; and rested his feelings, and induced in 1805, upon the resignation of him to take an active concern in the learned and venerable Dr. the scenes that were passing. Kuhn, he was chosen to the uni. He held a seat in the celebrated ted Professorships of the Theory Congress of 1776, as a represenand Practice of Physic and of tative of the state of PennsylvaClinical Medicine, which he held nia, and subscribed the ever-methe remainder of his life. To the morable instrument of American success with which these several independence. In 1777 he was branches of medicine were taught appointed Physician General of by Dr. Rush, the popularity of the Military Hospital for the his lectures, the yearly increase of Middle Department; and in the the number of his pupils, the un- year 1787 he received the additional gratification and evidence of all his inquiries. He has well of his country's confidence in his observer, that medicine without talents, his integrity, and his på- principles is a humble art and a triotism, by being chosen a mem- degrading occupation : but, diber of the State Convention for rected by principles,-the only the adoption of the Federal Cou- sure guide to a safe and suícessstitution.

ful prictice,-it imparts the highThese great events being ac- est elevation to the intellectual complished, Dr. Rush gradually and moral character of man. retired from political lite, resolv- But the high professional chaed to dedicate the remainder of racter and attainments of Dr. his days to the p'actice of his pro. Rush did not alone display themfission, the performance of his selves in his skill as a playsician, collegiate duties, and the publica- or his abilities as a teacher; he tion of those doctrines and prin- was equally distinguished as a ciples in metlicine which he con- writer and an author. siilered calculated to advance the The present occasion does not interests of his favourite science, allow me to recite even the nuor to diminish the evils of human merous subjects of his medical life. In a letter which I received publications; much less does it from him as carly as the year afford an opportunity to review 1994, he expresses this determi- the opinions they contain. I must nation, adding, “I have lately however, observe generally, ahat become a mere spectator of all the numerous facts and principublic events." And in a con- ples which the writings of Dr. versation on this subject, during Rush contain, the doctrines they the last iwo years of his life, he inculcate relative to the nature expressed to me the high gratif- and causes of disease, and the imcation which he enjoyed in his provements they have introduced medical studies and pursuits, and into the practice of medicine, rehis regret that he had not at a coinmend them to an attentive pemuch earlier period withdrawn rusal and study, while the perspihis attention from all other sub- cuity and elegance of the style in jects, and bestowed it exclusively which they are written give them upon his profession.

an additional claim to attention as Such was the attachment of Dr. among the finest models of comRush to his profession, that, position. The same remarks are speaking of his approaching dis- eqnaliy applicable to the epistosolution, he remai ks, " when lary style of Dr. Rush, and that of that time shall come, I shall re- bis conversation ; in both of which linquish many attractions to life, he eminently excellenti and among them a pleasure which Mr. Fox declared in the British to me has no equal in hunan pur- House of Commons that he had silits ; I mean that which I de- learned more from Mr. Burke's rive from studying, tea hing, and conversation than from all the practisin, melicine." But he books he had ever read. It may loved it as science; principles also be observel of the convorsa. in medicine were the great objects tion of Dr. Rush, that such were

the

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