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views of the writer.* It was ordered to be published in the transactions of the society, and the thanks of that body to be communicated to the author. That paper made a strong and favorable impression upon the medical and literary men of London, gave the author high consideration, and laid the foundation of the honor afterward conferred upon him by the Royal Society, in admitting him a fellow of that institution. In the abridgment of the Transactions, published by Drs. Hutton, Shaw, and Pearson, the same paper has been reprinted entire. In
summer of 1794, Dr. HOSACK returned to New York, and entered upon the practical duties of his profession, which he has continued to prosecute with unremitting ardor and success nearly to the present time.
In 1795, he was elected to the professorship of botany in Columbia college: the following year he published a syllabus of his lectures in that branch of natural history, containing an outline of the history and progress of botany from the earliest period to the time of the publication, being aided in the same by an extensive botanic library, afterwards purchased by the governors of the New York hospital. About this time he commenced a system of instruction to his private pupils, that proved not only of signal benefit to them, but to all who were engaged in the study of medicine, -the other practitioners of the city finding it necessary to adopt the same system in giving private instruction to their pupils. The advantages offered by Dr. Hosack to his pupils, and the liberality with which he provided every thing necessary or useful in their education, soon became generally known and served to secure to him an ascendency as a private teacher, which he continued to retain while in practice.
But Dr. Hosack's interest in the welfare of his pupils was not confined to the period of their study; such was his attachment to those who signalized themselves by their industry, zeal, talent, and correct moral deportment, that when they entered on the practice of their profession, he never ceased to exert himself in their behalf, by aiding in their establishment, and anxiously availing himself of every occasion to bring them into public notice.
Dr. Hosack's early practice was eminently successful, and several
These views of the subject first suggested to Mr. Ramsden, the construction of his artificial eye, as the means of testing the correctness of the doctrine contended for, and which is now generally employed by teachers of optics to illustrate the theory of vision.
extraordinary cases which had been under his care were described and published in the Edinburgh Annals of medicine. The appearance of the yellow fever in New York in 1795, afforded him a favorable opportunity of signalizing himself, which he did not neglect.
In the autumn of that year, Dr. Samuel Bard found it necessary, as preparatory to his contemplated retirement from the practice of medicine, in which he had been assiduously engaged for nearly half a century,) to leave the city for some weeks; upon this occasion he requested Dr. Hosack, to whom he had formed a strong attachment, to take charge of his practice during his absence. Our young physician attended to his trust with so much zeal and fidelity, that upon Dr. Bard's return to town, finding his patients gratified by the attentions they had received, and the success with which their com: plaints had been treated; he immediately proposed a connexion in business. This accordingly took place on the 1st of January, 1796, and was continued four years, when Dr. Bard finally removed to his country seat at Hyde Park, leaving Dr. Hosack in the full possession of an extensive and lucrative practice.
During the prevalence of the yellow fever in New York in the years 1795-6-7-8, and 1801, 1803, 1805, 1819, and 1822, he distinguished himself by the zeal and success with which he prescribed the sudorific treatment, which had been originally recommended by Sydenham in the treatment of malignant sever; by Dr. Warren in the yellow fever of Barbadoes; and by Dr. John Bard in the same disease when prevailing in New York, in 1762. The attention which Dr. HOSACK paid to this disease in the years referred to, received, in a peculiar manner, the approbation of his fellow citizens; for it was remarked of him, that during those several epidemics he was always present, and thereby enjoyed the amplest opportunities of observation and of forming correct opinions of the nature and character of the disease. In 1798, he was himself attacked with it, and he pursued in his own case the same treatment he had so successfully made use of in others. Such too, was the public confidence in the correctness of his views and practice, that at the request of the corporation and board of health of New York, he was frequently called upon to visit the sick for the express purpose of ascertaining the character of a disease, to allay thereby the anxiety of their fellow citizens. In 1811, he was requested, as a member of a committee, to investigate the nature, and trace the introduction of the yellow fever which appeared at Amboy in New Jersey, in that year. The report of that committee which was communicated to Dewitt Clinton, as president of the board of health, was written by Dr. Hosack. This luminous and circumstantial statement, was received as a conclusive document, shewing the specific character of the disease and its communication by means of contagion, and was republished in the medical journals of Edinburgh and London.
The letters, essays, and reports written by Dr. Hosack on this subject are so numerous that we cannot undertake to name them, but will refer the reader to the “ American Medical and Philosophical Register, four volumes, octavo, edited by Drs. HosACK and Francis, and to the three volumes of “Essays on Various Subjects of Medical Science,” which have been published by the doctor himself. We are well aware that the doctor's views of contagion and infection have been, and are, discussed, debated, and controverted, and it is not for us to decide “when doctors differ;" but it will not be improper for us to say, that his opinions have been approved by a great number of the most distinguished names in the profession at home and abroad. We select, in illustration, the following compliment from the preface to “Thomas's Practice,” which was dedicated by the author to Dr. Hosack. “I very much regret that Dr. HosACK's discourse on the medical police of the city of New York, and which has been published at the particular request of the corporation thereof, did not fall under my inspection in sufficient time to notice, in the present edition, under the head of yellow fever, some of the valuable observations and regulations recommended therein for the suppression and extinction of the contagion of the disease. Here I can only say, that the body of evidence brought forward and detailed in this discourse ought, in my opinion, forever to set at rest the question which relates to the origin of that fatal malady: it clearly proves that the yellow fever arose from imported contagion, and had not a domestic origin, or was the product of decomposed animal and vegetable matter."
In 1797, upon the death of Dr. W. P. Smith, professor of materia medica in Columbia college, that branch was connected with botany, and Dr. Hosack appointed to the joint professorships; in which situation he continued until 1807, when, upon the establishment of the college of physicians and surgeons of the university of the state of New York, he was chosen by the regents the professor of the materia medica and midwifery. In 1811, when it was deemed expedient to remodel the medical school, he was elected to the chair of the theory and practice of physic and clinical medicine, to which was afterwards added the professorship of obstetrics and the diseases of women and children. We have seen it noticed in a resolution of thanks adopted by the students in 1812, that during the season Dr. Hosack had delivered upwards of one hundred lectures on the theory and practice, exclusive of a separate course on midwifery. It certainly detracts nothing from the reputation of his able colleagues to say, that to his unwearied exertions and abilities in the discharge of his professional duties, much of the celebrity and flattering prospects of the medical school are justly to be attributed. After a few years of increasing prosperity, however, difficulties occurred between the professors and the trustees, which resulted in the resignation of the former, and the establishment of the Rutgers medical college.
This institution was organized in the fall of 1826, and a majority of the former professors, with the late Dr. Godman, commenced their professional duties in a manner flattering to themselves and advantageous to their pupils. For four terms this school maintained a strong and powerful rivalry with the state establishment, and in the number of its hearers and graduates, enjoyed, it is believed, a decided superiority. Legislative restrictions, however, interposed ; and the advantages anticipated by a noble spirit of competition in the means of advancing medical science were thus cut off. The Rutgers medical faculty therefore exists at present only in name.
Besides the duties of private practice and public teaching, Dr. Hosack has filled for many years the station of physician to that valuable practical school of inedicine, the New York hospital; he has also been an active member of most of the literary, scientific, and benevolent institutions of New York, and the records of those societies bear ample testimony to the important part which he has taken in their transactions, and the liberal services which he has rendered.
Enough has been said, we think, to show that if Dr. Hosack has enjoyed a high reputation as a physician, a teacher, or writer on medical subjects, it has been earned by long and laborious study and indefatigable industry: it may here be added that he was always observant of the strictest punctuality in the performance of his numerous and various engagements, having scarcely ever been known either to omit the performance of his duty, or to be absent five minutes after the term prescribed for his attendance. Indeed, it is an observation of his own, no doubt founded on his experience, that the more a man has to do the better he does it, and the more punctual he is in the performance. His practice of early rising, and his temperate habits of life, have also been favorable to the accom
plishment of the numerous and varied services he has rendered to the community.
His liberality to numerous literary and benevolent institutions is known to the public, (and we know no sufficient reason for concealment wherever our pages are read, particularly as his gifts have been confined by no local boundaries.) The donation to the college at Princeton has already been mentioned; he has more recently presented a large and valuable collection of works on mathematics and chemistry to the library of Columbia college: nor should we pass over in silence the interest he manifested in resuscitating the American academy of fine arts. At a period when it was at its most depressed condition, he came forward, made the necessary pecuniary advances, and took the hazard of being reimbursed from the receipts of its subsequent exhibitions. In this, however, he was fortunately made whole. He has since added to the very rich collection of statuary owned by the academy, several valuable donations. The commencement of the medical library in the New York hospital; the improvement in the organization, and the extension of the city dispensary; and the first introduction of vaccination in the city of New York, are no less creditable to his intelligence than to the best feelings of the heart.
The discourses which he has delivered before the New York historical society, the horticultural society, the New York city temperance society, &c., the biographical sketches and obituary notices which have been published, in addition to the innumerable scientific and professional papers, all bear witness to his habits of research, close investigation, clear discrimination, and varied learning. He also published a system of Practical Nosology, a second edition of which appeared in 1821.
In 1830, Dr. HOSACK concluded to retire from the practice of the profession of medicine, and to remove into the country, exchanging his pursuits for the more healthful occupation of agriculture. With this view he purchased the valuable estate at Hyde Park, on the Hudson, that had been formerly the residence of his patron and friend, Dr. Bard: there, in the midst of a numerous, amiable, and happy family, he continues to reside from May to November, passing the other portion of the year in the city of New York. When in the country, he has hitherto zealously devoted himself to the cultivation and improvement of his farm and pleasure grounds, which are very extensive, and adorned by all that wealth and refined taste can add to a spot which nature has amply endowed.