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branched forth. Being thus furnished with a clew to guide him among the numerous, and often apparently inconsistent significations of our most important words, he resumed his labors on the defining part of the dictionary, and was able to give order and consistency to much that had before appeared confused and contradictory. The results of his inquiries into the origin and filiation of languages, were embodied in a work about half the size of the American dictionary, entitled “A Synopsis of Words in Twenty Languages.” This, owing to the expense of the undertaking, has not yet been published ; though its principal results so far as our language is concerned, are briefly given in tracing the etymology of our leading terms.
During the progress of these labors, Mr. WEBSTER, finding his resources inadequate to the support of his family at New Haven, removed, in 1812, to Amherst, a pleasant country town within eight miles of Northampton, Massachusetts. Here he entered, with his characteristic ardor, into the literary and social interesis of the people among whom he was placed. His extensive library, which was open to all, and his elevated tone of thought and conversation, had naturally a powerful influence on the habits and feelings of a small and secluded population. It was owing in part, probably, to his removal to this town, that an academy was there established, which is now among the most flourishing seminaries of our land. A question having soon after arisen, respecting the removal of Williams college from a remote corner of the state, to some more central position, Mr. WEBSTER entered warmly into the design of procuring its establishment at Amherst, as one of the most beautiful and appropriate locations in New England. Though the removal did not take place, so strong an interest on the subject was awakened in Amherst and the neighboring towns, that a new college was soon after founded there, in the establishment of which Mr. WEBSTER, as president of its first board of trustees, had great influence, both by his direct exertions to secure it patronage, and by the impulse which he had given to the cause of education in that part of the state. This institution now stands third in numbers among the colleges of our country.
In 1822, Mr. WEBSTER returned with his family to New Haven; and in 1823, received the degree of LL. D., from Yale college. Having nearly completed his dictionary, he resolved on a voyage to Europe, with a view to perfect the work by consulting literary men abroad, and by examining some standard authors, to which he could not gain access in this country. He accordingly sailed for France in June, 1824, and spent two months at Paris in consulting several
rare works in the Bibliothèque du Roi, and then went to England, where he remained till May, 1825. He spent several months at the University of Cambridge, where he had free access to the public libraries, and there he finished "the American Dictionary." He afterwards visited London, Oxford, and some of the other principal towns of England, and in June, returned to this country. This visit to England gave him an opportunity to become acquainted with literary men and literary institutions in that country, and to learn the real state of the English language there.
Soon after Dr. WEBSTER returned to this country, the necessary arrangements were made for the publication of the work. An edition of twenty-five hundred copies was printed in this country, at the close of 1828, which was followed by an edition of three thousand in England, under the superintendence of E. H. Barker Esq., editor of the Thesaurus Græcæ Linguæ of Henry Stephens. With the publication of the AMERICAN DICTIONARY, at the age of seventy, Dr. WEBSTER considered the labors of his literary life as brought to a close. He has since revised a few of his earlier works for publication; and spent a number of months in superintending a new edition of the Bible, in which some phraseology of the common version, which is offensive to delicacy, is altered ; and some antiquated terms and forms of expression are changed, in accordance with present usage. His revisions have met with the approbation of many persons who have examined the work; and if there is any name in our country which will give currency to such an amendment of the common version, it is that of the author of the AMERICAN DICTIONARY OF THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE.
CASPAR WISTAR, M. D.
Among the individuals of our country, whose talents and example have been most serviceable in establishing the profession of medicine on its present footing, may be ranked without fear of contradiction, the late Professor WISTAR. As a disinterested and faithful physician, an ardent lover of the sciences, an indefatigable teacher, and a genuine philanthropist, his character may always be examined with pleasure and instruction.
Dr. WISTAR was of German descent on the father's side, being the grandson of Caspar Wistar, who emigrated from the dominions of the Elector Palatine in 1717. On the maternal side he was of English origin, his grandfather, Bartholomew Wyatt, having reached this country shortly after William Penn had commenced the settlement of Pennsylvania. His father was a man of great firmness of character, and bestowed much pains on the moral and religious training of his children.
The subject of this notice was born in Philadephia, September 13th, 1761. His parents being of the religious Society of Friends, he was educated in the principles of that sect. His classical studies were also accomplished in an academy in Philadelphia belonging to them.
The first germs of fondness for the profession of medicine, were evolved in 1777, when he was only sixteen years of age, by the battle of Germantown. His religious principles withheld him from participating in the conflict itself, but they, together with his native humanity, prompted him to succor the wounded with such kind offices and attention, as the horrors of a fight render doubly estimable. The benignant and useful character of the profession of medicine on this occasion, made such an impression upon him, that he determined thenceforth to devote himself to its interests. He accordingly entered as a student into the office of Dr. John Redman of Philadelphia, and continued upwards of three years; the conclud