Images de page

a mind well stored with medical science and correct practical observation.

On his retiring from the chair of state, he was again chosen a counsellor, with the view of electing him President of our society. It is unnecessary for me to expatiate on the pride and satisfaction we derived from his accepting this honor. Your own feelings will best convey to you the height of the honor which he reflected on our society. That he felt a deep interest in our prosperity, we have ample evidence in his so kindly remembering us in his will.*

As a physician he ranked in the first class of practitioners. He possessed in an eminent degree those qualities which were calculated to render him the most useful in his professional labors, and the delight of those to whom he administered relief. His manners were dignified, courteous and benign. He was kind, patient and attentive. His kind offices were peculiarly acceptable from the felicitous manner in which he performed them.

His mind was well furnished with scientific and practical knowledge. He was accurate in his investigations, and clear in his discernment. He, therefore, rarely failed in forming a true diagnosis. If he were not so bold and daring as some, in the administration of remedies, it was because his judgment and good sense led him to prefer erring on the side of prudence rather than on that of rashness. He watched the operations of nature, and never interfered, unless it was obvious he could aid and support her. He

Note C.

was truly, the “Hierophant of nature," studying her mysteries and obeying her oracles.

In his practice, he added dignity to his profession by his elevated and upright conduct. His lofty spirit could not stoop to the empirical arts which are too often adopted to obtain a temporary ascendancy. He soared above the sordid consideration of the property he should accumulate by bis professional labors. Like the good and great Boerhaave, be considered the poor his best patients, for God was their paymaster. In short, he was the conscientious, the skillful and the benevolent physician-the grace and ornament of our profession.

His mind, however, was not so exclusively devoted to his professional duties, as to prevent his taking a deep interest in the affairs of state. He had contributed so largely towards establishing the independence of his country, and had exhibited such sincere devotion to its welfare, that his countrymen, who have ever been distinguished for the acuteness of their discernment in judging of public men and measures, were always ready to display their confidence in him. They felt an assurance that they might safely repose on his conscientious integrity, wisdom and patriotism. He was consequently called to fill numerous offices of high importance in the state.

He was for many years, major-general of the militia of his county, and established in bis division such excellent discipline, and infused into it such an admirable spirit of emulation, that it was a most brilliant example for the militia of the state. In the insurrection of 1786, his division was very efficient in their protection of the courts of justice, and in their support of the government of the state. At this time, Gen. Brooks represented his town in general court, and he gave support to the firm and judicious measures of Gov. Bowdoin for suppressing that alarming rebellion. He was a delegate in the state convention for the adoption of the federal constitution, and was one of its most zealous advocates. After the establishment of the federal government, he was the second marshal appointed by Washing. ton for this district, and afterwards received further evidence of his confidence and approbation, by being appointed inspector of the revenue.* He was successively elected to the senate and executive council of the state. He was appointed by the acute and discriminating Gov. Strong, as his adjutant-general, in that perilous crisis of our affairs, the late war with England. The prudence and discretion with which he discharged this arduous duty, will be long remembered by his grateful countrymen.

These multifarious and laborious public services were performed with so much punctuality and ability, and with such dignity and urbanity, that, on the retirement of Gov. Strong, in the year 1816, wise and discreet legislators from all parts of the commonwealth, selected him as the most suitable candidate for that high and responsible office. It will be recollected, how forcibly every judicious mind was impressed with the excellence of the se

*Note D.

power; for

lection, and how strongly the public suffrages confirmed that opinion. His very name seemed to disarm party spirit with talismanic

many, who had never acted with his political friends, prided themselves in testifying their unlimited confidence in him.

It is fresh in your memories, with what trembling apprehensions he shrunk from the lofty attitude of the chair of state, and yet when placed there, with what singular ease and dignity he presided, and with what signal ability he discharged its various important duties. His government was firm and decided, yet it was so mild and gentle, that its influence was chiefly perceptible in his happy facility of allaying party spirit, and all the angry passions of our nature. It was like that of a beloved and revered parent, whom all are disposed to honor and obey.

Amidst these high military and political honors which his fellow citizens took delight in bestowing on bim, almost every institution of a literary, religious, patriotic, benevolent or professional character, seemed to vie with each other in conferring their highest honors on bim. Harvard University acknowledged the value of his literary acquirements, by conferring on him the degree of A. M., in the year 1787, and in 1816, he received the highest honors of that seminary, the degrees of M. D. and LL. D.

The society of Cincinnati recognised him as one of their most distinguished members. He was elected to deliver the first oration before them on the 4th of July, 1787; and on the death of Gen. Lincoln, their first president, Gen. Brooks was elected to succeed him.

He was a member of the Academy of Arts and Sciences. He was President of the Washington Monument Association, of the Bunker Hill Monument Association, and of the Bible Society of Massachusetts.

Having faithfully and ably discharged the duties of chief magistrate for seven successive years, he expressed his determination to retire from the cares and anxieties of public life. How great were the public regrets, and how gladly would a large majority of his fellow citizens have retained his valuable services; but they forebore urging him to any further sacrifices for the good of his country. He retired to pri. vate life with dignity, and with the love and blessings of a grateful people.

Having imperfectly traced the brilliant path of his public career, let us for a moment contemplate Gov. Brooks in his private character; and perhaps we may discover the true source of all his greatness, the charm which bound the hearts of his countrymen to him in ties so strong. He possessed a heart free from all guile, and every inordinate selfish feelingan evenness of temper and sweetness of disposition. His dicordant passions, for we presume he had them, being human, were kept in complete subjection to his virtues. He had a peculiar composure and complacency of couutenance; and the delicacy and courteousness of his manners were uncommonly attractive.

« PrécédentContinuer »