Appletons' Cyclopædia of American Biography/Stevens, Ebenezer

STEVENS, Ebenezer, soldier, b. in Boston, Mass., 22 Aug., 1751; d. in Rockaway, L. I., 2 Sept., 1823. He was a member of the artillery company of Boston, and participated in the destruction of the tea in Boston harbor in December, 1773. Soon afterward he removed to Rhode Island, where he raised two companies of artillery and one of artificers, was commissioned as lieutenant, 8 May, 1775, and took part in the expedition against Quebec. He joined Henry Knox's regiment of artillery, was made a captain on 11 Jan., 1776, and on 9 Nov. received the brevet of major. He commanded the artillery at Ticonderoga and Stillwater, and on 30 April, 1778, was made lieutenant-colonel of John Lamb's regiment. He served under Lafayette in Virginia, and for a part of the time commanded the artillery at the siege of Yorktown. After the Revolution he became an eminent merchant of New York city. He was major-general of the state militia, and, with Morgan Lewis, mustered for active service against the British the militia of the city in September, 1814.—His son, Alexander Hodgdon, surgeon, b. in New York city, 4 Sept., 1789; d. there, 30 March, 1869, was graduated at Yale in 1807, studied in the office of Dr. Edward Miller, attended medical lectures in the College of physicians and surgeons and at the University of Pennsylvania, and was graduated M. D. by the latter institution in 1811. His thesis on “The Proximate Causes of Inflammation” was praised by medical men. He took passage for France with the object of pursuing surgical studies, but, on being captured by an English cruiser and taken into Plymouth, he went to London and received the instructions of Dr. John Abernethy and Sir Astley Cooper for a year, and then studied for a year longer under Alexis Boyer and Baron Larrey in Paris. On his return to the United States he was appointed a surgeon in the army. Establishing himself in New York city, he was elected professor of surgery in the New York medical institution in 1814. When appointed surgeon to the New York hospital in 1818, he introduced the European system of surgical demonstrations and instruction at the bedside. In 1825 he became professor of the principles and practice of surgery in the College of physicians and surgeons. He took the chair of clinical surgery in 1837, but in the following year resigned his active duties in this institution and in the college, and thenceforth acted mainly as a consulting surgeon, both in public and private practice. He was appointed consulting surgeon to the New York hospital, and emeritus professor in the College of physicians and surgeons, of which he was made president in 1841. He was president of the American medical association in 1848. In 1849 he received from the New York state university the degree of LL. D. He retired from the presidency of the college faculty in 1855. Besides his contributions to medical periodicals, he published “Inflammation of the Eye” (Philadelphia, 1811); “Cases of Fungus Hæmatodes of the Eye” (New York, 1818); with John Watts, Jr., and Valentine Mott, “Medical and Surgical Register, consisting chiefly of Cases in the New York Hospital” (1818); an edition of Astley Cooper's “First Lines of Surgery” (1822); “Clinical Lecture in Injuries” (1837); “Lectures on Lithotomy” (1838); “Address to Graduates” (1847); and “Plea of Humanity in Behalf of Medical Education,” an address before the New York state medical association (Albany, 1849).—Another son, John Austin, banker, b. in New York city, 22 Jan., 1795; d. there, 19 Oct, 1874, was graduated at Yale in 1813, entered mercantile life, and became a partner in his father's business in 1818. He was for many years secretary of the New York chamber of commerce, and one of the organizers and the first president of the Merchants' exchange. From its first establishment in 1839 till 1866 he was president of the Bank of commerce. He was a Whig in politics, but an earnest advocate of low tariffs. He was chairman of the committee of bankers of New York, Boston, and Philadelphia which first met in August, 1861, and decided to take $50,000,000 of the government 7.30 loan. They subsequently advanced $100,000,000 more, and the terms of the transactions were arranged chiefly by Mr. Stevens, as the head of the treasury note committee. His advice was frequently sought by the officers of the treasury department during the civil war. He was many years governor of the New York hospital, and took an interest in other benevolent institutions.—John Austin's son, John Austin, author, b. in New York city, 21 Jan., 1827, was graduated at Harvard in 1846, became a merchant in New York, and in 1862 was chosen secretary of the New York chamber of commerce, holding the office for six years. He has been librarian of the New York historical society, and has devoted himself to the investigation of topics of American history. He founded, and for many years edited, the “Magazine of American History.” His publications include “The Valley of the Rio Grande: its Topography and Resources” (New York, 1864); “Memorial of the Chamber of Commerce on Ocean Steam Navigation” (1864); “Colonial Records of the New York Chamber of Commerce” (1867), containing illustrations and biographical and historical sketches; “The Progress of New York in a Century” (1876); “The Expedition of Lafayette against Arnold,” published by the Maryland historical society (Baltimore, 1878); and “Albert Gallatin” in the “American Statesmen” series (Boston, 1883). He contributed the historical chapters to the “History of Newport County” (Boston, 1888).