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societies in many of our cities; but as most of these were strictly local in their character, I have used less exertion to obtain historical facts in relation to them. also conscious that many of the views presented, particularly in the last chapter, will meet with severe animadversions from a portion of the medical press; but, as they are the result of an extensive examination of facts and mature reflection, I give them to my professional brethren, asking no other favor than that they be attentively read, fairly and truthfully quoted or represented, and criticised with that spirit of frankness and candor which is due to all subjects of importance.
N. S. DAVIS,
CHICAGO, ILL., November, 1850.
Tue origin of the institutions of this, unlike those of most other countries, is involved in no obscurity; and is to be traced to no remote chivalric or feudal age. On the contrary, they have all had their birth since the middle of the seventeenth century; and been exposed to the full gaze of an enlightened world.
This, together with the fact, that they have not only had their beginning, but their maturity thus far, among the most enterprising people, and under the influence of the most liberal government on earth, renders everything connected with their history doubly interesting and important, as affording the fairest illustrations of human progress, and, consequently, the most valuable lessons of human experience.
The medical profession in the United States, and, indeed, throughout the civilized world, constitutes an important part of society; for while, on the one hand, its ranks can boast, not only of names of the highest eminence in every department of science and literature, but can also claim to be equal with the foremost in every enterprise for extending human knowledge, and ameliorating human suffering, its free access to the homes and firesides of all classes, gives it a moral and social influence of the most potent character. And in no part of the world is this influence more extensively or happily felt, than in this country, where the absence of all hereditary distinctions and privileged orders, leaves learning and virtue free to assume their own native eminence.
As far as can now be ascertained, but very few regularly educated physicians embarked with the first colonists that planted themselves in the wilderness of America. We are told by Dr. S. W. Williams, of Deerfield, that Dr. Samuel Fuller, a regularly educated physician and highly esteemed man, accompanied the first emigrants who landed at Plymouth in 1620. Ile was a faithful and devoted practitioner, and died of an infectious fever at Plymouth, in 1632. The name of Dr. Russell is