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“On the surrender of Burgoyne, Col. Brooks was ordered to join the army under Gen. Washington, and soon after went into winter quarters at Valley Forge, and, in common with the army, suffered all those privations and hardships, which required more heroism to endure than the most severe and bloody battles. How great are our obligations to those wonderful patriots, whom neither nakedness nor disease, nor famine, nor the sword, could dishearten!
“To follow our hero through all his valuable and laborious military services would be to give a minute history of our Revolutionary War; for there was scarcely any important services performed in the northern and central operations of the army in which he did not act a conspicuous part. To describe these, is the province of the historian: we allude only to those remarkable events which serve to illustrate his character.
“At the conclusion of the war, our army had a still more severe ordeal to pass through than the battles and privations they had endured. It remained for them to subdue their own passions and resentments, and to make this last and most noble sacrifice for the welfare of their country. The pay of the army was greatly in arrear; and most of the officers had spent, in their country's service, all they had owned and all they could borrow. Congress had no adequate funds for their payment, and it was deficient in the power of creating them. In this deplorable state of things, inflammatory anonymous letters were circulated through the army, founded on the most plausible reasons, exciting them to retain their arms, and to take by force what was due to them in right. The apparent justice of this measure concealed from the unreflecting the horrible consequences which must have ensued from it. Fortunately for our country, there were many influential oflicers in the army, of that purity of heart, that soundness of judgment and elevated patriotism, which led them to view with abhorrence this fatal expedient; and it is highly honorable to Col. Brooks that he was among the first who opposed it. He had taken measures to this effect in his own regiment before the opinions of Washington were known, and he had the satisfaction of finding that his sentiments were in perfect accordance with those of the Father of his country. He was honored with his most grateful acknowledgments and full confidence. His brother-officers were so strongly impressed with his wisdom and prudence, that he was appointed one of the Committee which finally made an adjustment with Congress, and allayed that dreadful excitement. By the influence of these magnanimous patriots, the army gave this distinguished proof of their devotion to the liberties of their country; and, in the language of Washington, we may say, 'had this day been wanting, the world had never seen the last stage of perfection to which human nature is capable of attaining.'
“ After the army was disbanded, Col. Brooks returned to private life, rich in the laurels he had won, in the affections of his fellowsoldiers, and in the esteem of the wise and good. He was not only free from the vices incident to a military life, but, what was remarkable, he had acquired more elevated sentiments of morality and religion. He was received in his native town with all the kindness, the congratulations and attentions which love and friendship could elicit, or respect inspire. He was rich in honor and glory; but he had nothing to meet the claims of his beloved family but the caresses of an affectionate heart.
“ His old friend, Dr. Tufts, being infirm and advanced in life, was desirous of relinquishing his practice into the bands of his favorite pupil, whom he thought so worthy of confidence. His fellow-townsmen responded to the wishes of his patron. He accordingly recommenced the practice of physic, under the most favorable auspices, in Medford and the neighboring towns. He was soon after elected a fellow of this society, and was one of its
organization of the society, in the year 1803, he was elected a counsellor, and continued to discharge the duties of this office with fidelity until he was Governor of the Commonwealth. He was then discontinued at his own request. In the year 1808, by the appointment of the board of counsellors, he delivered an anniversary discourse on Pneumonia, which has been published, and evinces a mind well stored with medical science and correct practical observation.
“On his retiring from the chair of state, he was again chosen 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 sympathetic, 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. Ile watched the operations of nature, and never interfered, unless it was obvious he could aid and support her. He 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 ascendency. He soared above the sordid consideration of the property he should accumulate by his professional labors. Like the good and great Boerhaave, he considered the poor his best patients; for God was their paymaster. In short, he was the conscientious, the skilful, and 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 his 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 Washington 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 from the chair of State, 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 selection,
and how strongly the public suffrages confirmed that opinion. His very name seemed to disarm party spirit with talismanic power; for 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 loftly 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 imporant 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 him, almost every institution of a literary, religious, patriotic, benevolent, or professional character seemed to vie with each other in conferring their highest honors on him. In 1781, Yale College conferred on him the honorary degree of A.M. Harvard University acknowledged the value of his literary acquirements, by conferring on him the degree of A.M., in the year 1787; and, in 1810, the degree of M.D.; and, in 1817, the highest honor of that seminary, the degree of LL.D.
“ The Society of Cincinnati recognized 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
“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 private 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 feeling, — an evenness of temper and sweetness of disposition. His discordant 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 countenance; and the delicacy and courteousness of his manners were uncommonly attractive. But, above all, his conduct was regulated by the influence of that pure morality derived from our holy religion, which was impressed deeply on his mind at an early period of life.
“To those who contemplate his fearless intrepidity in the field of battle, or have observed the ease and dignity of his deportment on the military parade, or in the chair of State, it may appear incredible that this brave man possessed an uncommon share of diffidence; but to those who have approached him nearly, it is well known that this was a predominant trait in his character. This quality, so rare in little minds, is seldom wanting in great ones; but it is scarcely ever so paramount as it was in our departed friend. It was absolutely necessary to make use of some degree of finesse to induce him to accept any important office. This great reluctance in assuming responsibility, sometimes arises from inactivity, or a love of ease: not so in him we would commemorate; for whatever might be his situation, he never was idle.
“ The mind of Gov. Brooks was clear in its perceptions, and discriminating in its judgment; it was active, ardent, and industrious in the pursuit of every valuable attainment, and powerful in the application of those attainments for the benefit of others. Although his mind shrunk from observation with the delicate excitability of the sensitive plant, it was like the oak in sustaining the pressure of every duty to his friends or his country.
“In his relation to his native town, he completely reversed the maxim, that a prophet has no honor in his own country; for the inhabitants of Medford idolized him. They knew his worth, and fully appreciated it. He was truly their friend and benefactor. He took so deep an interest in all their concerns, let their station in life be ever so humble, that they could always approach him with ease and confidence. They referred to him all their disputes; and so judicious were his decisions, that he had the rare felicity to satisfy all parties, and to reconcile them to bonds of amity. It was observed by an eminent lawyer who resided there, that he had no professional business in Medford; for Gov. Brooks prevented all contentions in the law. In addition to these intrinsic services, he was the grace and the ornament of their social circles, and seemed to fill the measure of their enjoyments.”
There are a few illustrative facts known to the contemporaries of Gov. Brooks in Medford, which may be added to to Dr. Dixwell's notice.
He had a real love of pithy anecdotes, and delighted to tell them; and, though he was tediously long in cracking the shell, we always found the kernel sweet. He never voluntarily made his successes in the sick-chamber or battle-field