Page:A cyclopedia of American medical biography vol. 2.djvu/528

This page needs to be proofread.




He was president of tlu' Academy of Medicine in 1807.

A curious history may be read in con- nection with Vattier in the " Transactions of the American Medical Association for 18S1 " concerning his membership in the Society of the Last Man, organized in Cincinnati during the cholera.

The year 1832 was a fatal one in the history of the United States tlirough the ravages of Asiatic cholera. The dread- ful scourge had secured a footing in New Orleans, and was cutting a deadly swath northwards in the Mississippi Valley, its advance guard reaching St. Louis, where as it spread to the east and to the west, the victims fell by hundreds. The thirtieth of September of that year was a gloriously bright Sunday, and on the afternoon of that day, in Cincinnati, were gathered in the studio of Joseph R. Mason, a promi- nent young artist, Dr. J. L. Vattier, Dr. James M. Mason, Henry L. Tatem, Fenton Lawson, William Disney, Jr., William Stanbery and the artist. Con- versation naturally turned upon the plague and the havoc it was causing, the stalking and unconquerable phantom being the one topic everywhere.

One of the number in a spirit of levity suggested the formation of a society to be known as the Society of the Last Man, and proposed that on each recurring anniversary of the organization a ban- quet should be held, at which the sur- vivors were to attend, and when but one living representative remained he was to open a bottle of wine provided at the first meal.

They came together for the first time on the night of October 6, 1832, and lots were drawn for the custody of the charge.

In 1855 Henry Tatem and Dr. Vattier alone faced each other. The casket was now in the possession of the former, and two months later the fell destroyer seized him and in his delirium, he cried " Break open that casket and pour out the wine. It haunts me." The next year Dr. Vattier was alone at a banquet set for seven,

Vattier died in Cincinnati in 1881 and

no writings with the exception of a few

controversial tracts, can be traced.

O. J.

Cincinnati Lancet and Clinic, n. a., vol. vi,

1881 (J. H. Buckner).

Tr. Am. Mod. Assoc, Phila., vol. xxxii, 1881

(.f. M. Toner).

The Century Magazine, June, 1908 (H. D


Vaughan, Benjamin (1751-1835).

This man, the only member of the British Parliament who ever adorned medicine in Maine, was born in the Island of Jamaica, April 19, 1751, the eldest son of Samuel Vaughan, a merchant of London, who came to Boston, and ulti- mately married Sarah Hallowell of that city. Benjamin was educated at Cam- bridge, England, and then at Edinburgh, and was appointed private secretary to Lord Shelbourne. Wishing to marry Sarah Manning, of London, her father objected because Vaughan had no pro- fession. In order to gain his consent, Vaughan studied medicine in Edinburgh, and after obtaining his medical degree was married, but instead of practising medicine, he went into business with his father-in-law. Dr. Vaughan had early be- come acquainted with Benjamin Franklin and Laurens, and after the Revolution, was an active participator in the trans- actions for peace with America. He was a secret messenger, carrying notes and messages which it was not advisable to send by an ordinary carrier; during a change in agents, he was made the secret one for Britain in France. King George did not think so highly of Dr. Vaughan as others did, and mentioned him in one letter as playing too much into the hands of Franklin, whom the King considered a low sort of man. Four times Vaughan went to Paris, and spent several months. He was a tried friend of Franklin, edited the first edition of his works in England, and later on, in America, edited another and new edition in 1806.

Up to the year 1794 Vaughan lived mostly in London, while there writing "The Calm Observer," became a mem- ber of Parliament, traveled to France