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Philadelphia, for the purpose of fitting himself for the legal profession.
In 1753, at the age of nineteen years, Mr. Read was admitted to the bar. In the year following, he commenced the practice of the law, in the town of Newcastle. In 1763, he was appointed Attorney General of the three lower counties on the Delaware. In the year 1765, Mr. Read was elected a representative from Newcastle county to the General Assembly of Delaware, a post which he occupied for twelve years.
On the 1st of August, 1774, Mr. Read was chosen a delegate from Delaware to the Continental Congress. To this station he was annually re-elected, during the whole revolutionary war. Mr. Read did not vote for the Declaration of Independence. But when, at length, the measure had received the sanction of the great national council, and the time arrived for signing the instrument, Mr. Read affixed his signature to it, with all the cordiality of those who had voted in its favor.
Mr. Read was president of the Convention which formed the first Constitution of the State of Delaware. In 1782, he accepted the appointment of Judge of the Court of Appeals, in admiralty cases, an office which he held until the abolition of the court. In 1787, he represented the State of Delaware in the Convention which framed the Constitution of the United States, under which he was immediately chosen a member of the Senate. The duties of this exalted station he discharged till 1793, when he accepted of a seat on the bench of the Supreme Court of Delaware, as Chief Justice. He died in this office, in the autumn of 1798.
The legal attainments of Mr. Read were extensive ; and his decisions are still respected as precedents of no slight authority. In private life he was esteemed for an expanded benevolence to all around him.
CÆSAR RODNEY. CESAR RODNEY was a native of Dover, in Delaware where he was born about the year 1730. He inherited from his father a large landed estate. At the age of twenty-eight, he was appointed High Sheriff in the county where he resided, and on the expiration of his term of service, was created a Justice of the Peace and a Judge of the lower courts. In 1762, and perhaps at an earlier date, he represented the county of Kent, in the Provincial Legislature. In the year 1765, he was sent to the first General Congress, which assembled at New York, to adopt the necessary measures for obtaining a repeal of the Stamp Act, and other odious measures of the British ministry.
In 1769, Mr. Rodney was elected speaker of the House of Representatives, an office which he continued to fill for several years. About the same time, he was appointed chairman of the Committee of Correspondence with the other colonies. He was a member of the well known Congress of 1774; when he had for his col. leagues, Thomas M’Kean and George Read.
At the time that the question of independence came before Congress, Mr. Rodney was absent on a tour of duty, in the southern part of Delaware. Mr. M'Kean, and Mr. Read, his colleagues, were divided upon the subject. Aware of the importance of an unanimous vote, Mr. M'Kean despatched, at his private expense, an express into Delaware, to acquaint Mr. Rndney of the delicate posture of affairs, and to hasten his reiurn to Philadelphia. With great exertion, he arrived on the spot, just as the members were entering the door of the statehouse, at the final discussion of the subject.
In the autumn of 1776, a Convention was called in Delaware, for the purpose of framing a new Constitution, and of appointing delegates to the succeeding Congress. In this Convention the influence of the royalists proved sufficiently strong to deprive Mr. Rodney of his seat in Congress. He remained, however, a member of the Council of Safety, and of the Committee of Inspection, in both of which offices he exerted himself with great diligence. In 1777, he repaired in person to the camp near Princeton, where he remained for nearly two months, in the most active and laborious employment. During the same year, he was re-appointed a delegate to Congress, but, before taking his seat, was elected President of the State. In the latter office he continued for about four years, at the close of which period he retired from public life. He was again elected to Congress, but it does not appear that he ever after took his seat in that body. A cancer, which had afflicted him for some time, and which had greatly disfigured his face, now increased its ravages, and, in the early part of the year 1783, brought him to the grave. Mr. Rodney was distinguished for a remarkable degree of good humor and vivacity; and in generosity of character, was an ornament to human nature.
GEORGE ROSS. George Ross was born at Newcastle, Delaware, in the year 1730. At the age of eighteen, he entered upon the study of the law, and when admitted to the bar established himself at Lancaster, Pennsylvania. Here he married, and devoted himself with great zeal to the duties of his profession.
Mr. Ross commenced his political career in 1768, when he was sent a representative to the Assembly of his adopted State. Of this body he continued a member until the year 1774, when he was elected a delegate to the Continental Congress. To this office he was annually re-elected till January, 1777, when he retired. The high sense entertained by his constituents, of his public services and patriotism, was expressed, not merely by thanks, but by a present of one hundred and fifty pounds. This offer was respectfully but firmly declined.
Mr. Ross was an active and influential member of the Provincial Legislature. He was also a member of the Convention which assembled to prepare a declaration of rights on behalf of the State, and to define what should be considered high treason against it. In 1779, he was appointed a Judge of the Court of Admiralty, for the State of Pennsylvania. In July of the same year he died of a sudden attack of the gout, in the fiftieth year of his age. He left behind him the reputation of a thorough and skilful lawyer a consistent politician, and an estima. ble man.
BENJAMIN RUSH. BENJAMIN Rush was born in Byberry, Fennsylvania, on the 24th of December, 1745. His father died when he was only six years of age, and the care of his education devolved upon his mother, whose prudent management of her son may be learned from the result.
After completing his preparatory studies, he was entered, in 1759, a student in the College of Princeton. On leaving college, he commenced the study of medicine, under the superintendence of Dr. Redman, of Philadel. phia. In 1766, he went to Edinburgh, where he spent two years at the university in that city, and from which he received the degree of M. D., in 1768. The next winter after his graduation he passed in London, and having visited France, he returned, in the autumn of the same year, to Philadelphia, and commenced the practice of medicine. In 1769, he was elected professor of chemistry in the College of Philadelphia ; and was afterwards appointed professor of the institutes and practice of medicine, and of clinical practice, in the same university.
In the year 1793, Philadelphia was visited by that horrible scourge, the yellow fever. For some time after its commencement, no successful system of management was resorted to Dr. Rush afterwards met with a manuscript, which contained an account of the yellow fever, as it prevailed in Virginia, in 1741, and which was given to him by Dr. Franklin, and had been written by Dr. Mitchell, of Virginia. In this manuscript the efficacy of powerful evacuants was urged, even in cases of extreme debility. This plan Dr. Rush adopted, and imparted the prescription to the college of physicians. An immense accession of business was the consequence, and his mode of treatment was wonderfully successful. The following entry, dated September 10th, is found in his note-book : “ Thank God, out of one hundred patients, whom I visited or prescribed for this day, I have lost none."
Between the 8th and 15th of September, Dr. Rush visited and prescribed for a hundred and a hundred and twenty patients a day. In the short intervals of business, which he spent at his meals, his house was filled with patients, chiefly the poor, waiting for his gratuitous advice. For many weeks he seldom ate without prescribing for many as he sat at table. While thus endangering his health and his life by excess of practice, Dr. Rush received repeated letters from his friends in the country, entreating him 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."
The incessant labors of Dr. Rush, during this awful visitation, nearly prostrated his constitution, but he was finally so far restored as to resume the duties of his profession. His mode of treatment was also called into question by many of his contemporaries, notwithstanding the success which had attended it. At length the prejudices against him infected not only physicians, but a considerable part of the community. The public journals were enlisted against him, and in numerous pamphlets his system was attacked with great severity. He was even called a murderer, and was at length threatened to be prosecuted and expelled the city.
Notwithstanding the great labors of Dr. Rush as a leclurer and practitioner, he was a voluminous writer. His printed works consist of seven volumes, six of which treat of medical subjects, and the other is a collection of essays, literary, moral, and philosophical. He was a constant and indefatigable scholar. He extracted so largely from the magazine of information accumulated in the mind of Benjamin Franklin, that he once mentioned to a friend his intention of writing a book with the title of Frankliniana, in which he proposed to collect the frag. ments of wisdom, which he had treasured in his memory, as they fell in conversation from the lips of that great man.
Doctor Rush was a member of the celebrated Congress of 1776, which declared these States free and independent. The impulse given to learning and science by this event he used to estimate of incalculable value. In 1777, he was appointed Physician-General of the military hospital in the middle department. In 1787, he became a member of the Convention of Pennsylvania, for the adope