Page:A cyclopedia of American medical biography vol. 2.djvu/578

This page needs to be proofread.


WINTHROP


51S


WINTHROP


after was made an assistant in the Massachusetts Colony. A year later he led a company of twelve to Agawam (now Ipswich), where a settlement was made. In about a year, he returned to England and received a commission to be governor of the river Connecticut, for one year. On coming back to America he built a fort at Saybrook, Connecticut, and lived there part of that time. Then making no effort to have the commission renewed, he returned to Ipswich and became one of the prudential men of the town. Subse- quently, he moved to Salem, established some salt works, made another trip to England, and finally, receiving Fisher's Island as a grant from the general court of Massachusetts, went there in the fall of 1646. This grant was, subsequently, confirmed by both Connecticut and New York. In the spring of the following year he removed to Pequot (now New London), but, after a residence of eight years, moved to New Haven. From here he was called to dwell in Hartford on being elected governor of Connecti- cut, in 1657. He had previously (Sep- tember 9, 1647), been given a commission to execute justice "according to our laws and the rule of righteousness," and in May, 1651, was elected an assistant of Connecticut. He served as governor one year, then became deputy governor on account of a law which prevented his reelection. This law being repealed the next year, he served continuously as governor from 1659 until his death in 1676, although in 1667, 1670 and 1676 he requested to be relieved of this office. He was always an omnivorous reader and much given to scientific studies. The taste for medicine came naturally to him as his father was well versed in it as well as other members of his family. "The scarcity of physicians in the colonies and Winthrop's willingness to give advice free of charge — so far as his studies enabled him to do so" — caused him to be much consulted. Many letters are still extant, coming from all parts of New England, seeking aid for


various ailments and Cotton Mather declares: "Wherever he came, still the diseased flocked about him, as if the Heal- ing Angel of Bethesda had appeared in the place." Winthrop's sovereign rem- edy, Rubila, was much sought after. It appears to have been composed of diaphoretic antimony, nitre and " a little salt of tin." In one of liis son's letters, we find the directions "but remember that Rubila be taken at the beginning of any illness," and Roger Williams else- where writes: "I have books that pre- scribe powders, but yours is probatum in this country." Besides Rubila, Winthrop prescribed nitre, iron, sulphur, calomel, rhubarb, guaiacum, jalap, horse-radish, the anodyne mithrodate, coral in powder form, elecampane, elder, wormwood, anise, unicorn's-horn and an electuary of millepedes. He was made a member of the Royal Society of England shortly after its incorporation, on January 1, 1662, and dm-ing his stay of a year and a half in England, at that time, he took an active part in the society's proceedings, read a number of papers on a great variety of subjects and exhibited many curious things.

He married first, in 1631, his cousin, Martha Jones, who died at Ipswich, Massachusetts, three years later. In 1635 he married Elizabeth, daughter of Edmund Reade of Wickford, county Essex, and step daughter of the famous Hugh Peters. She died at Hartford, in 1672. By her Winthrop had two sons and five daughters. The sons, Fitz John (Governor of Connecticut, 1698-1707) and Wait Still (Chief Justice of Massa- chusetts) had both a very laudable knowledge of medicine.

Winthrop died on April 10, 1676, and is buried at Boston, in the King's Chapel Burying Ground. A portrait of him, copied from a painting in the possession of the family, is to be seen in the library of the State Capitol at Hartford. It has been often reproduced, being most accurately given in Water's sketch of Winthrop's Life.

W. R. S.