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FOR THE PORT FOLIO.
THE COLLEGE OF MEDICINE OF MARYLAND.
Extract from a letter from a literary friend in Baltimore.
"You, who regard the progress of science with so much interest, will no doubt join with me in rejoicing that this city, has at length .. roused from her supineness, and resolved no longer to confine her regards to commerce.
“At the last session of our Legislature, the zealous ambition of a few individuals obtained an act, incorporating an institution, under the name of the College of Medicine: and the several Professorships of Anatomy, Surgery, and Physiology, the Theory and Practice of Medicine, Chymistry, Materia Medica, and the Institutes of Medicine, were immediately filled. Dr. Davidge has delivered a complete course on Anatomy, and his associate, Dr. Cocke, some lectures on Physiology. Dr. Shaw delivered a part of a course on Chymistry, but he was interrupted by a severe illness last winter, and has not since been able to resume his lectures. Dr. Potter, formerly a pupil of Dr. Rush's, delivered his introductory lecture on the 6th inst. and as I had some curiosity to learn how these disciples of Apollo worship their tutelary power, I shut up old Coke, and repaired to the lecture-room, where the Doctor, who is the Professor of the Theory and Practice of Medicine, soon commenced his task.
“ After some preliminary observations on the pursuits of mankind, and the necessity of a strict attention to health as the first of blessings, the Doctor proceeded to give a rapid sketch of the history of medical science in this country. He ably vindicated the honour of his country against the slavish opinion that all our medical knowledge was derived from the schools of Europe, an opinion, which, he said, was not less un-. philosophical than derogatory to the character of American genius and industry. He said that the true causes of pestilence were first explo red and discovered here: the first account of the connexion between meteorological phenomena and pestilential diseases, to be found in our own country, was given by three different historians: George's History of New-England, Hutchinson's of Massachusetts, and Purchas's Settlement of the Colonies. He took a brief review of our writers on Medicine, and described some of the most prominent improvements in that science, and the several Colleges with their Professors were also described.
“I was surprised to learn that until the year 1769 this State had not produced a single graduate. Dr. Parnham who defended a Thesis · in Edinburgh in that year, was the first; Dr. Archer and Dr. War
field, also of this State, were the first gentlemen who received degrees from the College in Philadelphia.
“In describing the progress which has been made by the College to which he belongs, the Doctor paid a fair and liberal tribute to the genius of our mutual friend, Dr. Shaw,* who had “proceeded to the middle of a most brilliant and interesting course of Chymistry, when his progress was suddenly arrested by the attack of a severe pulmo nąry fever, which still deprives us of talents that unite the rare accompaniments of utility and splendour.”
Travels in America, performed in 1896, for the purpose of exploring
the Rivers Aųeghany, Monongahela, Ohio, and Mississiphi, and ascertaining the produce and condition of their banka and vicinity, in a Series of Letters. By Thomas Ashe, Esquire, London, printed-Newburyport, reprinted for William Sarvyer & Co, 1808.
Ever since the memorable period, when our “beloved country broke the thraldom of a cruel step mother,” and assumed a station among the nations of the Earth, as “ Freç, Sovereign, and Įndependent States,” she has been an object of eager curiosity, and unceasing attention to the people of Europe. Each subsequent year has thrown upon our shores, at least one foreigner, who after transiently surveying the mere superficies, of some - section of the country, and seizing with hurried observation, a few of its more prominent features, has, with this slight intelligence returned home, and gulled an inquisitive public with an account of his Travels,
• A man of genius, and an elegant poet, to whom we have been indebted for many beautiful verses, with the signature of ITHAcus, which have been very favourably received, both at home and abroad. ED.
These publications, from whatever part of Europe they may have issued, as is more especially evinced by the flippant impertinence of Weld, the malicious falsehoods of Volney, and the equally gross misrepresentations of Bulow, have uniformly calumniated, reviled, and disparaged the country.
The work now before us is of this description, and even transcends all which have preceded it in the virulence of its abuse, and in its disregard of truth and decency.
It seems that previous to our Traveller's undertaking the "e xploratory journey,” which is the subject of his narrative, he had visited the whole of the Atlantic States. But deeming this portion of the Union altogether unworthy of his correspondent's regard, he dismisses it, at once from his view, with the following very brief and compendious summary, which reall vcomprises all he has condescended to bestow upon i
“ The States to the North East are indebted to nature, for but few gifts. They are better adapted for the business of grazing, than of corn. The climate is equally subject to the two extremes of burning heat, and excessive cold; and bigotry, pride, and a malignant hatred, to the mother-country, characterize the inhabitants. The middle States are less contemptible. They produce grain for exportation; but which requires much labour, and is liable to blast on the sea-shore. The national features here are not strong, and those of different emigrants have not yet composed a face of local deformity. We still see the libéral Englishman, the ostentatious Scotch, the warm-hearted Irish, the penurious Dutch, the proud German, the solen Spaniard, the gaudy Italian, and the profligate French. What kind of character is hereafter to arise from an amalgamation of such discordant materials, I am at a loss to conjecture.
“For the Southern States, nature has done much, but man little. Society is here in a shameful degeneracy; an additional proof of the pernicious tendency of those detestable principles of political licentiousness, which are not only adverse to the enjoyment of practical liberty, and to the existence of regular authority, but destructive also of comfort and security, in every class of society: doctrines here found by experience to make men turbulent citizens, abandoned Christians, inconstant husbands, unnatural fathers, and treacherous friends. I shun the humiliating delineation, and turn my thoughts to happier régions which afford contemplation without disgust, and where mankind scattered in smal associations, are not totally depraved, or finally corrupt.
“Under such impressions, I shall write to you with pleasure and regularity, trusting to your belief that my propensity to the cultivation of literature has not been encouraged in a country, where gordid spieculators alone succeed, where classic fame, is held in derision, where grace and taste are unknown, and where the ornaments of style are condemned, or forgotten."
Determined, therefore, to quit the Atlantic States, in which Mr. Ashe declares he could discover nothing except to excite his ayersion, or disgust, he purchases a horse, at Philadelphia, which cost him only “ Forty Dollars,” and thus equipped, he proceeds to the 6 wilderness of the West," where he meets with adventures as numerous as those of the “ Knight of the Woful Countenance," .and hardly less miraculous than those of the most renowned Baron Munchausen.
Lancaster, is the first place he notices on his route. The town is described as large, clean, and well built, but in spite of these attractions, I went off, says he, the next morning by sunrise. “ Never was Dr. Johnson more solicitous to leave Scotland, than I was to be out of the Atlantic States." Next, he visits Carlisle, “ which has a College, and the reputation of a place of learning.” This may be so, he observes,
“ But I have the misfortune to dispute it. For, though, indeed, I saw an old brick building, called the University, in which the scholars had not left a whole pane of glass, I did not meet a man of decent literature in the town. I found a few who had learning enough to be pedantic and impudent in the society of the vulgar, but none who had arrived at that degree of science, which could delight and instruct the intelligent."
Pursuing his journey, Mr. Ashe gets in the close of the evening to the tavern, " where he meant to repose.” Finding, however, on entering the house, that the “ fire and all the seats were occupied, and the land-lord drunk,” he half resolves not to remain, but a little reflection convinces him that there was no alternative, as his “ horse was tired, the wolves were out, and the roads were impassable in the dark.” But, from this pitiable plight, he is soon relieved by the appearance of the servant maid, whose entrance, he more poetically describes “ as a meteor flitting across the room."
By the magical influence of this « little arch sorceress,” the situation which seemed to him the moment before so dreary and comfortless, is converted into a scene of enchantment. At the usual hour, they repair together to a chamber, « clean and warm," and he proceeds to question her on local subjects, &c.
Deserting in the morning the “fair Eleanor," forthis is the name 6 of the interesting creature,” not, however, without giving her a token of remembrance, we find Mr. Ashe the ensuing night on the summit of the Alleghany, “ having wasted much of the day in visionary speculations,” plunged once more, into the saddest dilemma. If, says he, I attempted to advance “ a sudden and rapid death, was unavoidable from the frightful precipices, which bounded the road, and all around me were wolves, panthers, and tiger cats ready to devour me.” Such apprehensions occupied his mind, he confesses, « till an object of inexpressible sublimity," gave a different direction to his thoughts.
“The heavenly vault which had awfully maintained an unvaried gloom suddenly appeared to him all on fire; not exhibiting the stream or character of the Aurora Borealis, but an immensity vivid and clear, through which the stars detached from the firmament traversed in eccentric directions, followed by trains of light, of diversified magnitude and brightness. Many meteors rose majestically out of the horizon; and having gradually attained an elevation of thirty degrees suddenly burst, and descended to the earth in a shower of brilliant sparks, or glittering gems. This splendid phenomenon was succeeded by a multitude of shooting stars, and balls, and columns of fire, which after assuming a variety of forms, vertical, spiral, and circular, vanished in light flashes of lightning, and left the sky in its usual appearance and serenity. Vature stood checked during this exhibition! All was"
" A death-like silence, and a dread repose."
But this profound tranquillity is quickly disturbed by the din of the “demons of the woods." He says,
“Clouds of owls rose out of the valleys and fitted screaming about my head. The howlings of the wolves were reverberated from mountain to mountain, or carried through the windings of the vales, and returned to the ear an unexpected wonder. Nor was the panther idle, though he is never heard till in the act of springing on his victim, when he utters a horrid cry. The intervals between these roarings were filled with the noise of millions of other little beings. Every tree, shrub, plant, and vegetable, harboured some thousands of inhabitants endowed with the faculty of expressing their passions, wants, and appetites, in different tones and varied modulations. The moon by this time had sunk into the horizon, which was the signal for multitudes of Jighting flies to rise amidst the trees, and shed a new species of radiance round.”
Escaping from this lair of wild beasts, and galaxy of horrors, he reaches early the next day an inn, with which he is delighted, because “ it was neat, the landlady civil, and her husband sober," three very unusual circumstances, we must confess, in the interior of Pennsylvania !
After eating his breakfast, consisting of “wild pigeons and coffee made of peas,” he continues his progress towards Pittsburg, where in a short time he arrives.