Page:A cyclopedia of American medical biography vol. 2.djvu/438

This page needs to be proofread.


SMITH


386


SMITH


There is a fine oil portrait of Dr. S. in the family of Gen. Felix Aguus, of Baltimore which has been reproduced in Cordell's Medical Annals of Maryland, 1907. For Quinan's vindication of Smith from the responsibility of the North Carolina out- break of Small-pox, see Maryland Medical Journal, x, 1SS3.

"The Introduction of Inoculation and Vacci- nation into Maryland Historically Con- sidered."

For writings see Quinan's Medical Anuals of Baltimore, 1SS4.

Smith, John Lawrence (lSlS-1883).

J. Lawrence Smith was born near Charleston, South Carolina, December 17, 1818, and died in Louisville, Kentucky, October 12, 1883. At an early age he manifested great taste for mathematics; when four j^ears old he could do sums in addition and multipHcation with great rapidity. This was some time before he could read. At eight years he was doing algebra, and at thirteen was studying calculus. As a boy he went to the best private schools of Charleston; afterwards to the University of Virginia, where later he devoted himself to the higher branches of physics, mixed mathematics and chemistry, studying the latter rather as a recreation. He selected civil engineering as a profession and was employed as assistant engineer on the road projected at that time between Cincinnati and Charleston, but this not proving congenial to his scientific tastes, he determined to study medicine and after three years' study, graduated M. D. at the Charleston Medical College. Three years in Europe followed. He studied ph}'siology under Flourens and Longet; chemistry under Orfila, Dumas and Liebig; physics under Pouillet, Desprez, and Becquerel; mineralogy and geology under EUe de Beaumont and Dufrenoy, and prosecuted original re- searches on certain fatty bodies. His paper on "Spermaceti," in 1843, at once stamped him as an experimental inquirer. On his return to Charleston in 1844, he began to practise and delivered a course of lectures on toxicology before the students of the Charleston Medical College, at which time he established the


"Charleston Medical and Surgical Jour- nal," which proved a success.

But the state needing his services as assa3'er of bullion coming into commerce from the gold-fields of Georgia, North and South Carolina, he relinquished his practice and also gave a great deal of attention to agricultural chemistry. The great beds of marl on which the city of Charleston stands early attracted his attention. He first pointed out the large amount of phosphate of lime in these marls, and was one of the first to ascertain the scientific character of their immense agricultural wealth. Dr. Smith also made a valuable and thorough investigation into meteorological condi- tions, character of soils and culture affecting the growth of cotton. His report on this subject was so valuable that in 1846 he was appointed by Sec. Buchanan, in response to a request of the Sultan of Turkey, to teach the Turkish Agriculturists the proper method of cotton culture in Asia Minor. On arriving in Turkey, Dr. Smith was chagrined to find that an associate on the commission had induced the Turkish Government to undertake the culture of cotton near Constantinople. Unwilling to associate his name with an enterprise which he felt satisfied would be a failure — the event justified his judgment — he was on the eve of returning to America, when the Turkish Government tendered him an independent position as mining engineer, with most liberal provisions, so he worked in this position for four years with such signal success that the Turkish government heaped upon him decora- tions and costly presents. Since 1846 the Turkish government has continued to receive large revenues from his dis- coveries of emery, chrome ores, coals, etc. His papers on these subjects, read before learned societies and pubUshed in the principal journals of Europe and America, gave him a high position among scientific men. His discovery of emery in Asia Minor destroyed the rapacious monopoly of this article at Naxos, in the Grecian Archipelago, extended its use and