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acknowledged as the American Minister. He resided almost entirely at Leyden, only nine miles from the Hague, which cities are not farther apart than the extremes of the city of London. During that time, I made one of his family, living, together with his two sons, in the same house. This may account for my strong bias to politics without any wish of ever becoming an official actor in them, ardent as my attachment was to the holy cause of our struggling country.
My venerable kinsman in London, my fulcrum in every thing good, was a conscientious advocate of the American cause, as far as a wise, loyal, and honest Englishman could or ought to be.* He labored day and night with Dr. Franklin and others to prevent hostilities with the colonists; and afterwards, when the battle raged with alternate success, he endeavoured to open the eyes of the King and his Minister; for he had in the course of his profession, and from his rank in life, the facilities to attempt it. Their ignorance of America was astonishing! The people of Britain generally were ignorant whence we sprung; what language we spoke; what religion we professed ; and even of what complexion we were. ;
The Island of Virginia was spoken of in a Court of Judicature, by a learned pleader. In a word, ignorance of this vast region pervaded England, Scotland, and Ireland, their Universities, their Courts of Law, the Legislature, and, in too general a manner, even the administration of George the Third ; otherwise it is impossible to account for
* See his “ Considerations relative to the North American Colonies,” printed in 1765, and “ An English Freeholder's Address to his Countrymen," printed in 1779, in which his decided opinion upon political matters is manifested.
its conduct, unless we may attribute their ignorance to judicial infatuation. Were we to descend to a less general view, we might remark that the monarch, his minister, and advisers, private and ostensible, were more inclined to lend a listening ear to vindictive refugee governors, contractors, and hungry expectants on both sides the Tweed, than to the words of truth and soberness; and this fatal delusion operated the division of one half of the Empire from the other, and formed an epoch in the history of nations.
In Franklin's affection, next after America, was England; with Fothergill, next to his native land was America. He had long studied our country ; his father having visited it, and travelled through it twice at distant periods, and his brother once, with no mercantile or worldly views whatever. Fothergill and Franklin were patriotic men. Both of them wished, most ardently wished, for such an union between Great Britain and America, as should be equally just, honorable, and beneficial to both countries; and that great Physician never ceased to the last week of his useful life to urge the necessity of Peace WITH AMERICA. Hence the reader sees, -and who can wonder, that Medicine and Politics were mixed together in a young, ardent, and anxious brain, far distant from his suffering country!
After recovery from a slight infection caught from Thomas Paine, which disorder never rose to delirium, I was marvellously struck by the Letters of JUNIUS; and my rapture increased at every review of the brilliant and weighty volumes. The high and noble bearing of that writer, seemed akin to that daring spirit which impelled the Americans to declare not only resistance, but defiance, to the gigantic power of Britain,—an inspiration, we believed, like that
which emboldened young David to combat and prostrate Goliah. Enough, and perhaps more than enough, has been said to show that the healing art did not engross all my thoughts.
My mind was first impressed with the belief that Lord CHATHAM was Junius, by contemplating the high-wrought and very singular panegyric of that nobleman in the fiftyfourth Letter of the work in question ; an impression, which time and reflection have deepened. I now and then committed my thoughts to paper, and looked forward to a more convenient season for enlarging and arranging a premeditated publication, not confined to the valorous Knight in armour of polished steel and closed beaver, but extended to other men without a visor. But that time came not till old age, with its dilatory concomitants, crept insensibly upon me; admonitory to others not to put off a literary task to that late period, when loitering hours are wasted in rumination, rather than spent in acquisition.
I was called in 1783, by the authorities of the state of Massachusetts, and of the University in this place, to commence a second MEDICAL SCHOOL. The only one then existing in America was at Philadelphia. My duties in the complicated department of the Theory and Practice of Physic in a great measure shut out politics. I performed those duties during thirty years ; seventeen years of that time I was pleasantly employed in rearing the hitherto neglected science of NATURAL HISTORY amongst us. I labored Mineralogy and Botany. Of the first a word had never been uttered publicly, from teacher to pupil, in this country ; of Botany almost as little. I therefore selected and broke up the ground, and sowed the seed, and left the easier task of
smoothing it to those who came after me with their nomenclatures and systematical arrangements. The botanical branch grew and flourished like Naboth's vineyard, and shared the same fate, from the like cause. As to Mineralogy, being even more simple than Botany, it increased surprisingly in various parts of the Northern, Middle, and Western States, so as greatly to outstrip the knowledge of its first promulgator in this region. His original intention was merely to suggest to his countrymen to be no longer indebted to Europe and other regions for riches which Providence had bountifully laid under their feet. The instruction in these two branches of natural science was a volunteer service without any aid from the University, or the Government.
These things occupied my mind intently, and almost engrossed it, when a sudden and unexpected task seemed, if I may speak so, thrown down before me. When in England, I had never seen Dr. Jenner, nor heard his name. In the year 1799, he, through Dr. Lettsom, communicated to me the discovery of the prophylactic power of VaccinATION with the means of practising it. The prospect of the vast importance, not only to my country, but to mankind, of this discovery, so filled my mind, that I put every other consideration under my feet, and gave myself up to the cultivation and diffusion of a practice, destined to withdraw another evil from the condition of man. I willingly sacrificed my private business to this great work. For seven years 1 defended this salutiferous practice, in its disputed march through a host of enemies, till it attained a triumph so com
* See the Botanist, in one volume, printed in 1811, dedicated to President Adams.
plete, that throughout the six New England States, it is rare, very rare, indeed, at this time, to meet an American wearing in his face the marks of small pox.
Towards the close of the thirty years of my connexion with the University of Cambridge, the evil times arrived, when those unruly passions rose, from which come wars and fightings, hard words, jealousies, and fears ; in which, let a man say what he would, write what he would, or be silent, he was sure not to please more than one half of the community. The consequence of this state of things constrained me to dissolve my connexion with the University in 1812.
The President of the United States saw this disagreeable condition of things, and following the example of his predecessor, Jefferson, gave me the Medical Superintendency of the nine military posts of the United States in New England, with as much indulgence as his duty to the public would admit. I held this pleasant station from 1813 to 1820; and from that period have withdrawn myself from every professional concern, save epistolary consultations and extraordinary cases. From that time and not before, I found leisure to write “ Concerning Junius and his LETTERS”; and to read all I could find that had been written by others. The result has been the book in your hand. Not that this engrossed my mind entirely. I found time and inclination for making a sketch, too long neglected, of the life and character of the great and early file-leader of our revolution. I also attempted to wipe off some of the aspersions cast upon the greatest man of our age, who died in the full belief that posterity would do his character justice. In the estimation of characters, space operates like time.