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Philadelphia. Sept. 8, 1797.. [2]pp., plus integral address leaf. Folio. Old fold lines. Reinforced with tissue at some folds. Tear in blank leaf from wax seal. Lightly soiled. Very good. In a half morocco clamshell case, spine gilt. A warm letter written by Dr. Benjamin Rush, Philadelphia physician and signer of the Declaration of Independence, to fellow patriot Elisha Boudinot, expressing his condolences upon the loss of Boudinot's wife. Boudinot (1749-1819) was an early supporter of the Revolution, and was active in New Jersey political and social circles, interacting with many of the important men of the era. He had eleven children with his first wife, Catherine Smith, to whom this letter refers. She died in the terrible yellow fever epidemic of 1797. Boudinot remarried the year following her death. Benjamin Rush was a delegate to the Continental Congress and signed the Declaration of Independence; he later served as surgeon general for the Middle Department of the Continental Army, though he resigned in outrage over the disorganization and corruption in army hospitals. Rush established several medical facilities in Philadelphia, including the College of Physicians in 1787. "Writing prolifically over nearly half a century, Rush was the first American physician to become widely known at home and abroad. More than any other physician, Rush established the reputation of Philadelphia as a center for medical training....His drive to understand mental illness and render the treatment of mental patients more humane earned Rush the title 'father of American psychiatry'" - ANB. Rush's letter conveys his sympathies as well as Christian hope for life beyond the grave. It reads, in part: "My dear sir, Permit me to join in the general sympathy your late bereavement has excited in the breasts of all your friends....Yes, my dear friend, we live among the dead, and in a valley of human bones. Every newspaper we pick up is an obituary of departed friends, or fellow citizens. At the present awful moment, the passing hearse, the shut up houses, and the silent streets of our city, all proclaim that we are made of the dust, & that we are doomed to return to it. But let us not complain as those who have no hope. The grave shall ere long be robbed of its prey. Even Hell itself shall give up its prisoners. The conquests, & grace of Jesus Christ extend to the utmost limits of fire & misery, & ALL, ALL shall in due time be made to partake of the benefits of his infinite atonement. P.S. The fever encreases, but it is confined chiefly to one part of the city. I have hitherto been preserved, except from a light attack of it, which confined me but one day." In fact, Rush had stayed in Philadelphia to treat those sick with the fever, and was lucky to survive. Later his political opponent, William Cobbett, accused Rush of using his treatments to kill off Federalists. Rush successfully sued Cobbett for libel, driving him out of the United States.
      [Bookseller: William Reese Company - Americana]
Last Found On: 2013-07-26           Check availability:      Biblio    


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