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RAVENEL


307


RAY


in charge of the laboratory at Columbia, South Carolina, for the preparation of medical supplies.

Dr. Ravenel began the practice of medicine at Charleston, South Carolina, upon his return from Europe and soon gained an enviable reputation as a skillful diagnostician. But yielding to his fond- ness for purely scientific work — inspired by Holbrook and Agassiz under whom he studied — he abandoned purely medical practice in 1852 in order to devote him- self to chemistry. His diagnostic acu- men, however, was called into requisition from time to time throughout his life; and he rendered his profession further service by overthrowing the old calomel treatment of yellow fever. In the field of agricultural chemistry he manifested an extraordinary fertility and his dis- coveries exercised an immense influence in the rehabilitation of South Carolina after the war. In 1856 he ascertained that lime could be manufactured from marl and established the lime works at Stoney Landing, near Charleston, which furnished most of the lime used in the Confederate States. Much of his life was spent in the study of agricultural chem- istry in the effort to improve agricultural conditions of his state. He approached the subject from the point of view of the physiologists and drew his conclusions from experiments in the field. " In doubt, ask the plant" he said, "it alone knows all about it." The principles which he advocated as a result of his investiga- tions resulted in increasing in one section the yield of long staple lint cotton per acre from 100-150 pounds to 300-400 pounds. In 1866, having resumed inves- tigations begun before the war, he dis- covered the value of the phosphate deposits near Charleston and founded the Wando Phosphate Company for the manufacture of fertilizers. This was the beginning of the industry which figured so prominently in the commercial salva- tion of South Carolina. At the time of his death he was engaged upon investi- gations looking to the improvement of rice culture.


During the war his inventive genius produced the famous torpedo boat "Little David" which was built in 1863.

Dr. Ravenel was a man of unassuming manners and great modesty. It is related that his own father did not know the ability of his son until one day at a dinner party when a question pertaining to physiology was asked the young doctor, and his reply manifested an extent of learning, originality of thought, and power of expositon that astonished every- body. His chief fault was that he allowed himself to be too busy to leave a written record of his work.

He married Harriet Horry Rutledge in 1851, and had five daughters and four sons, none of whom studied medicine.

He died of cirrhosis of the liver, November 16, 1882. R. W., Jr.

Proc. Am. Acad. Arts and Sci., Boston, 18S1-2, n. s. ix.

Ray, Isaac (1807-1881).

Isaac Ray, alienist, author of "A Treatise on Medical Jurisprudence" (1839), and superintendent of the Butler Hospital for the Insane, Rhode Island, was born in Beverly, Massachusetts, on the sixteenth of February, 1807, and began to study medicine under Dr. Hart and Dr. Shattuck, settling down to prac- tise first in Portland, Maine, then in East- port. His first course of lectures had nothing to do with dry legal matter but were botanical, and at one course he met his wife, Abigail May, daughter of Judge Frothingham, of Portland. He had two children, a boy and a girl.

The prevalent views as to treatment and responsibilty of the insane led him to study and write on these subjects and this book ran through six editions.

He spent some time in Europe visiting asylums and on his return devoted him- self to the erection of the Butler Hospital and was its excellent and untiring super- intendent until ill-health compelled him, in 1867, to resign.

He died at his home in Philadelphia on the thirty-first of March, 1881, from pul- monary disease ; his death being hastened