THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.
|SKETCH OF DR. CHARLES T. JACKSON.|
THE name of Dr. Charles T. Jackson deserves to be awarded a prominent place in the annals of American science. It is closely associated with the earlier geological investigations in the United States and the British Provinces, and with the initiation of discoveries which have contributed immensely to the increase of the economical resources of the world and to the amelioration of the pains of suffering men. However the balance of merit in the discovery of the electro-magnetic telegraph and of anæsthesia may be awarded, the fact that Dr. Jackson conceived the ideas which embody the principles of those discoveries, and probably imparted them to the more practical men who made them known to the world, can hardly be disputed.
Dr. Jackson was born at Plymouth, Massachusetts, June 21, 1805. Having studied medicine under Drs. James Jackson and Walter Channing, he entered the Medical School at Harvard University, and received its degree of Doctor of Medicine in 1829. He had already manifested an inclination toward other studies than those required in the practice of medicine, and became particularly interested in chemistry, mineralogy, and geology. Indeed, before receiving his decree, he explored, in company with his friend Mr. Francis Alger, a considerable part of the province of Nova Scotia, and made there a large collection of minerals; these being new to foreign cabinets, he was able, by means of exchanges with them, to form for himself a cabinet of great value.
Soon after receiving his degree he went to Europe to complete his studies, where he remained for three years. At Paris, he became acquainted with many eminent men, among them the celebrated geologist, Élie de Beaumont, with whom he formed a warm friendship that continued through life. In 1831 he made a pedestrian tour of a large part of Central Europe, visited the principal cities of Italy, and made a geological tour of Sicily, and of Auvergne, in France. It was while returning from his European residence, in October, 1832, having electro-magnetic, galvanic, and other philosophical apparatus with him, that he had those conversations with Professor Morse which he claims implanted in that inventor's mind the germs of the idea of the electro-magnetic telegraph. A year and a half afterward, in the spring of 1834, as he asserts, he constructed, successfully worked, and exhibited to his friends, a telegraphic apparatus similar to that the conception of which he claimed to have described to Professor Morse.
He settled in Boston, in the practice of medicine, in 1833, but in a short time abandoned his profession, so that he might give his whole time to the chemical, mineralogical, and geological investigations which he preferred. He soon became known as one of the leading