Page:A cyclopedia of American medical biography vol. 2.djvu/20

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HOPKINS


6


HORNER


pain in the breast junl the spitting of blood." On his niotlicr's side he was descended from a consviniptivc parent and family and he had tliat form of body which had been observed to indicate a prrdisposition to consumption."

.\fter bcinc fjiven a sjood classical edii- cition by his father, wlio was a fanner in ea.sy circumstances, he began the study of medicine under the distinguished Dr. Jared Potter of llallingford. Subse- quently he removed to Litchfield and studied under Dr. Seth Bird. In 1776 he began practice in that town and served for a short time during this year, as a vol- unteer soldier intheRevolutionarj'Army. He removed to Hartford in 1784 where he resided until his death.

In Hartford he soon made quite a name for himself. He employed "the cooling treatment in fevers, the puerperal especially, and wine in fevers since called t}i)hus" — methods wliich were then thought madness and some of his cases became the subject of much newspaper discussion. With large features, bright staring eyes and long ungainly limbs, which gave him an uncouth figure, he presented marked eccentricities of char- acter and very brusque manners, yet with it all won the confidence and friend- ship of his patients. He kept at this time a medical school or a "room full of pupils" as he called his students, and among them Dr. Elisha North of Goshen and New London probably became the most prominent.

His great specialty was tuberculosis, which is charmingly considered in the two manuscript treatises on "Consumption" and on "Colds," which are now in my possession. They revealed a knowledge far ahead of that time and prove Hopkins to be a rival with Rush for honors in treat- ing the great wliite plague. He beheved this disease was curable in its early stages and sometimes in the far advanced, and lamented the fact that physicians were apt to treat this disorder with a dull formal round of inert or hurtful medicines. Fresh air and good food were factors emploj'ed in his treatment of these cases. |


He appreciated the fact that a neglected cold might bring on this disease.

On account of his associations with a little coterie of literary men who were designated as "the Hartford Hits," he became a familar household name, es- pecially in his native state, as a man of letters. This group, composed of Hop- kins, Joel Barlow (Barlow later allied himself with the party of Jefferson), Tim- othy Dwight, David Humphreys, John Trumbull, Richard Alsop and Theodore Dwight, were strongly Federalistic in their principles and fervent in their sen- timents, before the adoption of the Con- stitution, in favor of a strong centralized government. They were ardent support- ers later of Washington's administration and strove to win the adherence of others by ridiculing the Democrats and their measures in poems which had great pop- ularity in the newspapers of that period and were subsequently published in book form. Possessed of keen dry wit, Hop- kins was peculiarly well fitted for these tasks. His other literary productions are seen especially in the poems "The Hypo- crite's Hope," "The Cancer Quack" and "Ethan Allen," which may be consulted in Everest's "Poets of Connecticut" or Smith's "American Poems."

Hopkins was made an honorary mem- ber of the Massachusetts Medical Society in 1791; seven years earlier he had re- ceived the honorary degree of M. A. from Yale. He was one of the founders of the Connecticut Medical Society.

On March 24, 1901, he was very sick indeed with his cough and was "bled re- peatedly notwithstanding the opposition of his friends, yet lived to resume some- what his practice."

Some days after, he was brought home ill from a patient's house, and on April 14 he died. W. R. S.

The Johns Hopkina Hosp. Bull., Jan., 1910 (W. R. Steiner).

Bronson's Hist, of Waterbury, 1858. Anderson's Hist, of Waterbury, 1896.

Homer, Gustavus B. (1761-1815).

He was born in Charles County, Mary- land, on January 27, 1761, and went as