Imágenes de páginas

fect candor and honesty marked all his proceedings; and that his politeness and benevolence were no less conspicuous ihan the other qualities which have been mentioned.

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

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

Such was Dr. Ridgely. As a professional man, a patriot, a father of a family, and a member of civil and religious society, he filled an important and honorable space while he lived; and at his premature removal left behind him memorials of various excellence and usefulness, which will long, very long be cherished; and which render him well worthy of being commemorated among the distinguished men of our country.-S. M.

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

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

Dr. Vaughan was a corresponding member of the Philadelphia Academy of Medicine, honorary member of the Medical Society of Philadelphia, member of the American Medical Society, fellow of the Medical and member of the Philosophical Societies of Delaware. Before the latter society he delivered by appointment, in the town-hall of Wilmington, in the winter of 1799 and 1800, a full and complete course of lectures on Chemistry and Natural Philosophy. This was the first and only course which he ever was able to deliver; his professional duties and engagements shortly afterwards requiring his constant and unremitted attention, and thereby rendering it utterly impracticable for him to devote the requisite time to those subjects.

From early life he was of a pious disposition, and appeared always fully aware of the necessity of, and the consolations to be derived from religion in passing through this transitory stage of existence. These feelings grew with his growth and strengthened with his strength, and in 1806, from a deep sense and full conviction of its being his duty, he commenced preaching the gospel in the Baptist church in this borough; which he continued occasionally, when his professional engagements would permit, until the time of his death. Believing that what is "freely received, should be free. ly given,” he never did, and never intended to receive any compensation for dispensing to his auditors the doctrines of the “meek and lowly Jesus.”

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

In his manners and appearance he was usually sedate and thoughtful. But in his intercourse with the afflicted, he was al190

ways affable and peculiarly kind and feeling. No man possessed more of the “milk of human kindness” than he; for he was always ready and willing to administer not only medical aid, but, what is often of equal, if not superior importance, mental and spiritual comfort and consolation. By this peculiar talent for “administering to a mind diseased,” and healing the wounds of a broken and desponding spirit, he was endeared to his patients by such strong and lasting ties, as to be most deeply and sincerely regretted, and never to be forgotten by them as long as memory retains her throne: as has been truly said of him, the tears of the poor and friendless bedew his memory; for his bosom was the seat of humanity and feeling: kindness beamed in his countenance, and active benevolence warmed his heart.

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

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

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

MATTHEW WILSON, D. D. Matthew Wilson was a native of Chester county, State of Pennsylvania. His education was directed by Dr. Francis Allison, one of the first, both in time and estimation, who introduced and patronised learning in the American world. With this great man Dr. Wilson's progress, both in the languages and the sciences, marked an extensive genius and a studious mind. It justified the most flattering expectations of his friends, and caused him to be respected and distinguished, even when he had persons to rival him in claims to literary advancement and honors, who have been long estimated as the most celebrated philosophers of America.

His own inclination, in concurrence with the advice of his friends, gave his studies a particular direction to the profession of divinity; and in this he was as eminently successful, as in his classical and philosophical studies. The Synod of New York and Philadelphia, of which he was a member for more than thirty-five years, and to which he was always an ornament and an honor, will bear a full and affectionate attestation to the virtues, the abilities and the usefulness of their deceased brother. Accurate in his inquiries, profound in his learning, and yet politely diffident of impressing his own sentiments on others, the liberality of his mind, and the utility of his assistance, were peculiarly manifested in that assembly, in difficult investigations of ecclesiastical history and polemic divinity. We need no further testimony of his usefulness and uncommon estimation in important Synodical transactions, than his being a principal member of the committee appointed to prepare the “new constitution of the Presbyterian church in the United States.” As a christian, his piety was fervent, uniform, enlightened, and full of good works. As a preacher he was learned, orthodox, solemn and instructive.

But his mind was too large in the objects it comprehended, and his benevolence too extensive in the modes of exercise it solicited, to be contented with the services he could render society in the objects embraced by only one profession. He studied medicine with the Rev. Dr. M.Dowell, who like his pupil was eminent at once as a divine, a physician and linguist. On settling as a clergyman he entered immediately on the practice of medicine, and derived the temporal support of his family almost entirely from the emoluments of that practice. Such were his activity and decision of character, however, that his medical practice did not prevent his discharging the duties of pastor in a manner highly acceptable and edifying to the people of his charge. For nearly four and twenty years the joint functions of minister of the Gospel and physician, were sustained and discharged by him with an ability and popularity which evinced that he was a man of extraordinary talents, attainments and energy. His ardent industry and the comprehensiveness of his mind reduced every obstacle, and embraced every object of knowledge. He wrote an able compend of medicine,

which he called a "Therapeutic Alphabet." Commencing with the classification of Sauvages, it contained the diseases in alphabetical order, with definitions, symptoms, and method of cure. It was prepared for the press, used by himself, and transcribed by his students, but never published.

For a number of years previous to his death, in addition to all his other employments, he engaged in the direction and care of an academy. Here his communicative and amiable disposition was of infinite advantage. It attracted the love, secured the obedience, and allured the attentive application of his pupils. In connexion with uncommon learning we too often observe a conscious self-importance and a rigorous austerity, which discourage and depress the timid mind of the diffident pupil. Nothing but the entire reverse of this could adequately represent Dr. W's. character. He was invariably mild and affable, courteous and amiable.

In those three important employments Dr. W. labored with a constancy and an ardor, unequalled even by those who have ambition to excite them. His indeed was an ambition of the noblest kind. Its enlarged embrace included the whole family of mankind, its means were the unwearied efforts of active benevolence, its objects the happiness of his fellow creatures. Every day awakened him to the discharge of some additional interesting duties. He lived and labored for the public, not for himself. In his friendships he was sincere, cordial and constant. In his domestic connexions he was yet more amiable. As a husband, he was endeared by all the tender sensibilities and kind attentions, which can improve and complete matrimonial happiness. As a father, he was remarked by others, and loved by his children, for the constant and engaging discharge of all those paternal offices, which are generally seen to attract love and command respect; and as a master, he was exemplarily humane and indulgent, considering and treating those in his service as equals by nature, and only inferiors by fortune. He departed this life, March 31st, 1790, in Lewes, Delaware, aged 61 years.

Dr. Wilson was an ardent republican and of course a friend to the liberties of his country. He entered warmly into the measures adopted by the citizens of Philadelphia previous to the Revolution, to show their disapprobation of the arbitrary conduct of the British government towards the colonies. He wrote and spoke against the stamp act, and encouraged his parishioners to manufacture for themselves when the non-importation agreement went into operation. When the vessels brought out the tea to Delaware river, upon which three pence per pound was to be paid for the benefit of the East India company, * he resolved to drink no more of that agreeable infusion; and obliged his wife and family to follow his example.

* It was not permitted to come up to Philadelphia. From the newspapers of the day it appears that the whole quantity of tea sent to America was 2,200 chests.

« AnteriorContinuar »