Page:A cyclopedia of American medical biography vol. 2.djvu/218

This page needs to be proofread.


MORGAN


190


MORGAN


1765, and in the following month pro- posed to the trustees of the college his plan for translating medical science into their seminary, boldly urging a full and enlarged scheme for teaching medicine in all its branches. Morgan retained his professorship imtil his death, when Dr. Benjamin Rush succeeded. As a teacher he was held in the greatest respect and esteem by his pupils. Not only active in the medical school, in 1772 he actually made a trip to the West Indies and col- lected subscriptions aggregating over

£2000 for the advancement of the

literary department of the college. He was one of the founders and a very active member of the American Philosophical Society.

Upon settling in Philadelphia to practise he resolved that he would neither compound his remedies nor do any surgical work. He also endeavored to introduce the English custom of pre- senting the physician with his fee at the time of each visit. In the first two instances he was successful, although he encountered great opposition from the older physicians.

After Dr. Benjamin Church, the first medical director of the Continental Army, had been found guilty of treason and dishonorably discharged. Congress, in October, 1775, appointed Morgan as his successor, and he at once joined the army then in the vicinty of Boston. From the outset he set himself resolutely to bring order out of the chaos which existed in the army Medical Department. Morgan set to work at the root of the matter by instituting rigid examinations for those desiring to enter the medical service, and by exercising the most vigilant super- vision over the work of the entire depart- ment. The greatest difficulty confront- ing Dr. jNIorgan, however, was that of obtaining hospital suppUes. The finances of the Continental Army were never in a particularly fine condition; but during Dr. Morgan's career as chief of the medical department they were at a very low ebb. It was the jealousy and insub- ordination of the regimental surgeons


which finally played a large part in caus- ing his dismissal from the post of director- general. On July 17, 1776, Congress passed a law, based on a memorial pre- sented to it some time previously by Dr. Morgan, settling definitely the discipline, pay, and other matters relating to the regulation of the medical service.

The direction of medical affairs in the northern part of New York State was under Dr. Samuel Stringer. Under his management, or mismanagement, things soon fell into a disgraceful state of con- fusion. Morgan appealed repeatedly to Congress to settle the disputes which were raised by the officiousness and insubordi- nation of Dr. Stringer, and at length Con- gress appointed a committee to investi- gate, acting upon the report, with the result that Congress dismissed both Dr. Stringer and Dr. Morgan from their positions. Morgan, in righteous indig- nation, published one of the most inter- esting documents in the medical hterature of this country, namely, his pamphlet entitled "A Vindication of His Public Career in the Station of Director-General of the Military Hospitals and Physician- in-chief to the American Army," Anno 1776, by John Morgan, M. D., F. R. S., Boston, 1777. What angered him more than any other of the injuries he felt he had received was the appointment on October 9, 1776, of Dr. William Shippen, Jr., as director of the hospitals on the west side of the Hudson river. Dr. Ship- pen had been director of the hospital of the Flying Camp in the Jerseys, and sub- ject to the authority of Dr. Morgan. Dr. Shippen was ordered to report directly to Congress, thus ignoring Dr. Morgan, through whom such reports had hitherto been made. It is sad to find Morgan blaming his quondam friend and colleague in the establishment of the medical de- partment of the University of Pennsyl- vania, as the chief author of his over- throw, but he does so in unequivocal language.

A tardy vindication of his conduct in this and another similar affair with Dr. WiUiam Shippen, Jr., although it must