Page:A cyclopedia of American medical biography vol. 2.djvu/207

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MITCHILL


181


MONETTE


Physicians and Surgeons, in 1811, before a gratified audience, who recognized in the professor a teacher of rare attain- ments and of singular tact in unfolding complex knowledge with analytic power.

He was the delight of a meeting of naturalists; the seed he sowed gave origin and growth to a mighty crop of those disciples of natural science. He was, emphatically, our greatest living ichthyologist. The fishermen and fish- mongers were perpetually bringing him new specimens; they adopted his name for the streaked bass (perca Mitchilli). When he had circumnavigated Long Island, the lighthouse at Sands Point was called the Mitchill, and the topogra- phers announced the highest elevation of the Neversink Hills as Mount Mitchill.

The records of state legislation and of Congress must be consulted to compre- hend the extent and nature of his services as a public representative of the people. He manfully stood by Fulton in all his trials, when navigation by steam was the prolific subject of almost daily ridicule by our Solons at Albany; and when the purchase of the Elgin Botanic Garden, by the constituted authorities, was argued at the Capitol, he rose in his place, and won the attention of the mem- bers by a speech of several hour's length, in which he gave a history of gardens, and the necessity for them, from the primi- tive one of our first parents down to the last institution of that nature, estab- lished by Roscoe, at Liverpool. It is probable that no legislative body ever received more instruction in novel infor- mation than the eminent philosopher poured out on this occasion; and even the enlightened regents of the university imbibed wisdom from his exposition. With his botanical Latinity occasionally intersper.sed, he probably appeared more learned than ever.

When Mitcliill was quite a young man he would return from church service and write out the sermon nearly verbatim. There was little display in his habits or manners; his means of enjoyment cor- responded with his desires, and his


Franklinian principles enabled him to continue superior to want. With all his official honors and scientific testimonials, foreign and native, he was ever accessible to everybody — a counsellor of the young, a dictionary for the learned. Even the captious John Randolph called him the " Congressional Library."

In the prime of his manhood, Dr. Mitchill was about five feet ten inches in height, of comely rather slender and erect form. He pos.ses.sed an intelligent ex- pression of countenance, an aquiline nose, a gray eye, and full features. His dress at the period he entered into public life was after the fashion of the day, the cos- tume of the times of the Napoleonic consulate: blue coat, buff-colored vest, smalls, and shoes with buckles.

Dr. Mitchill died in New York, on September 7, 1831.

His writings included:

" Remarks on the Gaseous Oxyd of Azote or of Nitrogene, etc."

" Observations on the Canada Thistle."

"Catalogue of the Organic Remains," presented to the New York Lyceum of Natural History, 1826.

He was also co-editor of the " Medical Repository" from 1797-1824.

S. W. F.

Abridged from Gross' Lives of Eminent .\mer. Phys. (S. W. Francis). Eulogy on the Life of S. L. Mitchill. F. Pascalis, N. Y., 1S:}1.

Reminiscences of S. L. Mitchill enlargeil from Valentine's City Manual (S. W. Fran- cis), N. Y., 1859.

Monette, John Wesley (1803-1851).

John Wesley Monette, who wrote much concerning Mississippi, was born of Hu- guenot parentage at Staunton, Virginia, April 5, 1803. In his infancy his family settled at Chillicothe, Ohio, where he was educated. In his eighteenth year he completed the course of study prescribed in the Chillicothe Academy.

In the year 1821 his father, Dr. Samuel Monette, removed to the then flourishing town of Washington, the early capital of Mississippi, where he practised. He also directed the studies