Images de page

Ere counting his money, he inquired, with some emphasis, if such terms of exchange could be afforded; the interrogatory, receiving a reply in the affirmative, was followed by the response of the sagacious physician, that he also could afford to keep his money,

which accordingly was returned to his pocket-book. Three days afterwards, this man of change closed his doors.

Fame was Dr. Danforth's ruling passion. The cure of the sick, enlisted all the strong sensibilities of his nature. His demand of remuneration for professional service was moderate, to the poor was cheerfully remitted. The late Chief Justice Dana of Cambridge, has often confessed the adoption of Danforth as his family physician, to have diminished his annual tax for medical attendance. Dr. Danforth neglected the rich hypochondriac, while the sick servant received his devoted attendance. His errors were the misfortunes of genius. To his friends his smile seemed like the sunbeams from the breaking cloud. To his adversaries and rivals his frown was like a tempest with thunder. For more than sixty years this man of power was devoted to the wants of the sick families, confiding to him their hope of relief; or night or day, or rain or shine, he faithfully repaired to their aid. Some fifteen years before his death, an injury to the right foot from the kick of a horse had rendered him lame. The feebleness of years invaded first that limb; but for that accident, it is more than possible, like the free horse, he might have died in the service. To the junior practitioner the name of Danforth will become the



watchword of perseverance, as that of Lawrence to the American sailor has already become that of constancy in the hour of battle. The glorious death of the one, as the disembodying spirit gave utterance to the memorable words, 'don't give up the ship,' has purchased a national spirit of more worth than forty Chesapeakes. The illustrious life of the other, in carrying confidence to the sick chamber, and imparting to the timid and doubtful practitioner the sublime maxim, Nil desperandum-presents to his successors encouragement to proceed in the great work of humanity. Twenty years ago the listening ear of pupilage drank in the words of wisdom as they flowed from his lips. Now at his death they seem to work an influence almost electrical in the recall of what the poet of all ages hath pronounced the noblest work of God, an honest


It would do you a wrong, myself a wrong, and our enlightened community a wrong, to omit on this occasion the name of our benefactor, who has done more towards raising the standard of the medical profession, in this Commonwealth, than all others out of the profession, since the organization of the Massachusetts Medical Society.

You all anticipate, as you well may, the name of Boylston. Ward Nicholas Boylston, Esq. died at Roxbury, on the 7th of January, 1828, at the age of seventyeight. His disease was angina pectoris, complicated with general dropsy and hernia. Several months ere his death, he could not support a recumbent posture.

Fully sensible of the slow but certain approach of the king of terrors, he endured his sufferings with the resignation of a Christian, and the calmness of a philosopher. During his last sickness, he often discoursed on the progressive improvement of the healing art, and pronounced a patriarchal blessing on the faculty. He may have derived his respect for medicine as a profession from his great maternal uncle, Dr. Zabdiel Boylston; or his comprehensive mind may have been so penetrated with the value of medical science, from a familiar acquaintance with John Hunter, and other eminent medical philosophers, that he desired to encourage the best talents of his countrymen, to the cultivation of medical science.

The Boylston Medical Library of Harvard University, the Boylston Anatomical Museum of Harvard University, the Boylston prize medals for successful Dissertations on difficult medical subjects, and the donations to the Boylston Medical Society, constitute a sum total of patronage to the Medical Profession, which the recipients of the bounty will ever remember in silent but operative gratitude.

The ear of our benefactor is deaf to our feeble praise, but he is translated to the abode of the just made perfect, where their works do follow them.

The Massachusetts Medical Society will learn, with much satisfaction, that the last moments of Mr. Boylston were soothed by friendship the most devoted, and kindness the most untiring.

The prominent incidents in the life of a benefactor are ever recounted by the recipients of his bounty, with the most glowing delight.

Ward Nicholas Boylston, Esq. alias Ward Hallowell, was born in Boston, November 22, 1749. The family residence of his father was on the site where now stands the new stone gothic church, in which the apos tolical Beecher pours forth his eloquence to awaken slumbering christendom to extend its conquests through the habitable globe.* His father was an officer in the Custom House, when the revolutionary war began. His mother was a Boylston. His education was conducted in the free schools of Boston. By the particular desire of his maternal uncle, Nicholas Boylston, through a royal license, he dropped the name of Hallowell, and received the addition of, to his Christian name Ward, Nicholas Boylston. According to the laws and usage of the time, the Christian name could not be changed. The change of the paternal to the maternal name, took place March 25th, 1770.

* Benjamin Hallowell, Esq. the father of Mr. Boylston, married Mary Boylston, by whom he had fourteen children, of whom two only now survive ; viz. Sir Benjamin Hallowell, vice-admiral of the Red, in the British Navy, and Mrs. Judge Elmsley, both residents in England. Mrs. Hallowell was the daughter of Thomas Boylston, and sister to Nicholas Boylston, and Thomas Boylston, and Mrs. Governor Gill, and three other sisters and another brother. Thomas Boylston, the father of Mrs. Hallowell, was the fourth son of Dr. Thomas Boylston, who came to this country in 1635, and settled in Brookline, on the farm where the late David Hyslop, Esq. resided. Peter Boylston, the third son of Dr. Thomas Boylston, was the father of the mother of the late expresident John Adams. Dr. Zabdiel Boylston, F. R. S. who first introduced, at the peril of his life, the Small Pox inoculation into America, was the eldest son to Dr. Thomas Boylston above named, of course Dr. Zabdiel Boylston was great uncle to our deceased benefactor, and his mother and the mother of John Adams, the ex-pre nt, wer first cousins. Dr. Zabdiel Boylston when

[graphic][ocr errors][subsumed][ocr errors][merged small][merged small]
« PrécédentContinuer »