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except a number of Negro slaves. These degraded beings, with that admirable spirit of benevolence which bis conduct in maturer years uniformly displayed, he emancipated; and in the twenty-third year of his age, as he more than once informed the Compiler of this Memoir, found himself five bundred pounds worse than nothing.
The fortune of Mr. Lettsom was henceforth, therefore, solely to be obtained as a Medical Practitioner; and so strenuous were his endeavours, and so extensive was his practice in Tortola, where he settled, that, in a very short time, he was enabled to return to Europe; and to visit the great medical schools of Paris, Edinburgh, and Leyden, at the latter of which Universities he took the degree of M. D. * on the 20th of June 1769. To complete his education, he visited, besides Paris, most of the places of resort for the relief of invalids abroad; as Spa, in Westphalia, Aix la Chapelle, and various others.-When he went to Paris, among other honourable recommendations, he carried one from Dr. Benjamin Franklin to M. Jaques Barbeu Dubourg*. He was afterwards introduced to the celebrated Macquer, Le Roi, and other characters conspicuous at that period, with whom he continued to correspond till their decease.—After this circuit, he repaired to London, where he finally settled, with the undeviating friendship of his old guardian, and of his brother Dr. John Fothergill, whose Life he afterwards published as a tribute of gratitude and respect.
Under such patronage, with a mind richly stored with science, matured by reflection, improved by early and dear-bought experience, success was insured; and its fruits were displayed, not in a fastidious conduct and ostentatious parade, but in active schemes for the relief of the distressed poor,
* See some notices of his Thesis, p. 678.
† Dr. Lettsom published the Life of his friend Dubourg, in the First Volume of Memoirs of the Medical ociety of London. 2 U
and numerous charitable institutions to mitigate pain and repel disease. Many of these originated with himself; and, of those that were planned by others, several received from him considerable improvement, and all his active support.
In many instances he fostered genius, cherished science, and expanded the circle of the Arts, in periods of individual and national distress; and his purse, equally with his pen, was devoted to their cause.
Medicine and Botany were particularly indebted to his zealous researches. Foreigners of talents and merit ever found an hospitable reception under his roof; and he constantly corresponded with the Literati of eminence both in Europe and America *.
* His intimate friend Mr. T. J. Pettigrew observes,
“ Among these Correspondents, several of whom are now numbered with the dead, may be found many names deservedly ranking high as men of Science, Literature, and Benevolence.
“ In the first class may be enumerated the great Linnæus, the Swedish Naturalist;— Baron Haller, of Switzerland, the greatest Physiologist that ever existed ;-Dr. Erasmus Darwin, the celebrated author of Zoonomia, Phytologia, &c.—Dr. William Cullen, of Edinburgh ;-Dr. William Hunter, whose splendid Museum is attached to the University of Glasgow ;-Dr. Zimmerman, the first Physician to his Majesty at Hanover, and the author of the well-known Essays on Solitude, National Pride, &c.;-Dr. Alexander Russell, the author of the History of Aleppo, &c.;-Dr. William Cuming, of Dorchester;—Dr. George Cleghorn, the Professor of Anatomy in the University of Dublin, and who published on the Diseases of Minorca ;-Dr. Edward Jenner, to whom the world is indebted for the discovery and application of that inestimable blessing the Cow Pock, as a security against that most dreadful of diseases, the Small Pox;-the ingenious Dr. John Haygarth, of Bath ;-—Sir Gilbert Blane, Bart., Physician to His Royal Highness the Prince Regent;-Dr. Hope, the Professor of Botany; Dr. Andrew Duncan, Senior, the Professor of the Institutions of Medicine; Dr. A. Hamilton, the Professor of Midwifery; and Dr. Francis Home, the Professor of Materia Medica, in the University of Edinburgh ;-Dr. James Johnstone, of Worcester, who published some Medical and Phr. siological Essays of great value ;-Dr. Bardsley, of Manchester; -Dr. Cheston, of Gloucester ;-Dr. James Currie, of Liverpool; -Dr. William Falconer, of Bath, the author of a Dissertation on the Influence of the Passions upon the Disorders of the Body, &c.;-Dr. Dixon, of Whitehaven ;-Dr. Renatus Desgenettes,
In 1769, he was admitted a Licentiate of the Royal College of Physicians. In 1770, he was elected F.S. A.; and in the succeeding year, F.R.S. and Dr. Felix Vicq d'Azyr, of Paris ;-Dr. John Ferriar, the author of the Medical Histories and Reflexions ;-Dr. Thomas Garnett, the late Professor of Chemistry at the Royal Institution ;Dr. J. F. Blumenbach, the Professor of Medicine in the Univer. sity of Göttingen, and author of several works distinguished for learning and sound judgment ;-Dr. Benjamin Smith Barton, the learned Professor of Materia Medica, Natural History, and Botany, in the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia ;-Dr. 1. C. Warren, the Professor of Anatomy and Surgery; and Dr. Benjamin Waterhouse, the Professor of the Practice of Physic in the University of Cambridge, Boston ;-Dr. David Hosack, the Professor of Botany and Materia Medica in Columbia College, New York ;-Dr. Maclurg, of Richmond, Virginia ;-Dr. Valentine, of New York ;-Dr. Muller, of Christiana, Norway ;Dr. Louis Odier, of Geneva ;-the celebrated Dr. Percival, of Manchester ;-Dr. Pulteney, of Blandford, the author of a View of the Writings of Linnæus, &c.;-Dr. Jonathan Stokes, of Chesterfield, who published in 1812 an excellent Botanical Materia Medica; -Dr. C. A. Struve, of Görlitz, author of many valuable works; --Dr. James Sims, now of Bath, many years President of the Medical Society of London ;-Dr. Withering, the author of a Botanical Arrangement of all the Vegetables of Great Britain ;Dr. Walker, of Leeds ;--Drs. Mitchell, I. R. Coxe, Allvey, Ash, A. Fothergill, Broadbelt, Dubourg, Wall, Hoffman, Bancroft, George Pearson, Young, Peart, Denman, George Gregory, Wilmer, Rush, Sir Lucas Pepys, Bart. Mr. John Mason Good, &c. &c. Among the Correspondents, not medical men, are Jacob Bryant, esq. author of the Analysis on Ancient Mythology ;-the Rev. Thos. Maurice, author of Indian Antiquities, and many equally valuable productions ;- the Earl of Buchan, who wrote the life of Lord Napier, and a Specimen of a Biographical History of Scotland ;-Mr. John Scott, of Amwell ;- the Rev. Dr. Knox;-the Rev. J. Plumptre; Samuel-Jackson Pratt, author of the Gleanings, &c.;-Rev. George Costard ;-Richard Gough, esq. the celebrated Antiquary ;-Mr. John Nichols, the author of many well-known works on general Literature, Topography, and Antiquities ;-Miss Porter ;-Miss Hutchinson ;-&c. &c.—Dr. Lettsom was engaged in an extensive correspondence with many of the highest ornaments of the Metropolis, whose attention was and is undeviatingly directed to the alleviation of the miseries of their fellow creatures. The names of John Howard, James Neild, Patrick Colquhoun, LL. D. Granville Sharp, Sir Thomas Bernard, the Hon. Philip Pusey, the Rt. Hon. Lord Henniker, Mr. David Pike Watts, the Rev. Rowland Hill, and the Rev. Dr. Collyer, are among the most conspicuous in this
By a matrimonial union, July 30, 1770, with Miss Miers, an amiable woman, and the addition of a considerable fortune by that marriage, he enlarged the means of doing good; nor did the necessary attention to the interests and happiness of a numerous family permit his zeal in the cause of philanthropy to cool, or restrain the current, in very arduous times, of a well-directed liberality.
Few persons had, in the course of their practice in London, so much power (and none more inclination) to serve their sick and sorrowing fellow-creatures, as Dr. Lettsom. He seemed always to consider it amongst the foremost of his duties, to assuage the mind, as well as relieve the person, of his patient: and, although his daily practice made it necessary that he should set a just value on time, he never hurried away from the invalid, who, he believed, might be as much assisted by his Physician's society as by his prescription. The consolations which he administered were not circumscribed by gentleness of manners: his heart, not seldom, filled the hands of such as stood in need of his bounty as well as his skill.
In illustration of his unbounded benevolence, may be mentioned the extraordinary and well-founded fact of his having been many years ago attacked, upon his return to town, on Finchley Common, by a highwayman, with whom his remonstrances and pecuniary assistance operated so powerfully, that, in the result, a public rubber, impelled to transgression by extremity of want, was converted into a useful inember of society. The story is detailed in
list. Most of the letters from these and numerous other correspondents, are preserved, properly arranged, and bound up, constituting several volumes of most valuable and interesting information.” Eulogy, p. 47. Dr. Lettsom's MSS. and Letters have been entrusted to Mr. Pettigrew; and I am happy to announce, that he will soon publish a selection of them.
glowing glowing colours by the late Mr. Pratt *, whose narrative also of the “ Benevolent London Physician's kindness to the Merchant in difficulty,” there is great reason to believe, records another anecdote of the philanthropy of Dr. Lettsom f.
The Doctor's villa near Camberwell, called Grove Hill, was situated on a spot, the beauty of which in early life had attracted his attention, and of which he resolved to become master if his circumstances should become sufficiently prosperous. His wishes were gratified; and the natural beauties of the situation were improved, and brought to the utmost perfection, by his taste and care.
The late Mr. John Scott, of Amwell, has celebrated it, and paid a just tribute to the character of its owner, in one of his Poems; and the Rev. Thomas Maurice, with whose various talents the publick are well acquainted, has, in an elegant Poem, given an animated description of the villa, and of the interesting scenery and beautiful landscapes with which it abounds *.
In this terrestrial Elysium, Dr. Lettsom formed a Museum of Natural Ilistory, consisting of many rare and valuable speciinens, as well as a Botanic Garden, enriched with the choicest plants, brought at a great expence from the four quarters of the globe, all arranged according to the Linnæan system.
Here he passed the few hours (and they were but few) which he could spare from the incessant demands of professional labours. Here, happily surrounded by a numerous and affectionate family, he enjoyed the company of friends whom he esteemed ; and to such his well-spread but unosten* “ Liberal Opinions," vol. IV. † “Gleanings," Vol. I.
A particular Account of Grove-Hill was also published in Edwards's “Survey of the Roads from London to Brighton;" which was afterwards re-printed in 4to, under the title of “ Grove Hill, an Horticultural Sketch, London 1794,” accompanied by five very fine plates.--See also Manning and Bray's Surrey, vol. III.