Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 45.djvu/709

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SKETCH OF GOTTHILF H. E. MUHLENBERG.

SKETCH OF GOTTHILF HEINRICH ERNST MUHLENBERG.

THE late Prof. J. M. Maisch, in his memorial oration on Muhlenberg as a Botanist,[1] laid stress upon the frequency with which his name is met in works of descriptive botany as that of the person who first recognized as separate and scientifically designated some particular genus or species. Waiving all considerations of credit for priority or of personal fame, the leading aim in all Muhlenberg's botanical work seems to have been to assure the precise and accurate definition of the plant with which he was for the moment dealing.

Names of the Muhlenberg family are conspicuous in the history of this country. Its founder in America, Pastor Heinrich Melchior Mühlenberg, who came to Philadelphia by way of Charleston, S. C, in 1743, was known as the patriarch of the Lutheran Church in the United States. His eldest son, Johann Peter Gabriel, also a minister in his earlier life, was a major general in the Revolutionary War, Vice-President of Pennsylvania, six years a member of the House of Representatives of the United States, a United States Senator, and an officer of the revenue. Another son, Friedrich August, who also began his career in the pulpit, was a member of the Continental Congress, a member and Speaker of the Pennsylvania Legislature, and a member of the House of Representatives of the first four Congresses, during two of which he was Speaker.

The third son, Gotthilf Heinrich Ernst Muhlenberg, the subject of the present sketch, was born in New Providence, Montgomery County, Pa., November 17, 1753, and died in Lancaster, Pa., May 23, 1815. He attended schools in his native place and in Philadelphia, whither his family removed in 1761. When he was ten years old he was sent with his brothers to Halle, in order to finish his academic studies and to prepare for the ministry. Arrived in Holland, the brothers proceeded directly to Halle, while young Henry set out in the care of an attendant for Einbeck, his father's native place, where many of his relatives still lived. Deserted on the journey by the man to whose protection he had been confided, this boy, left without money in a strange land, bravely pushed forward on foot and thus finally reached his destination. After his visit to Einbeck he entered a school in Halle, in which he continued about six years. He spent a longer time


  1. Delivered before the Pioneerverein of Philadelphia, May 6, 1886, and published in Dr. Fr. Hoffmann's Pharmaceutische Rundschau, June, 1886; also separately. It is the principal source whence we have drawn the matter of this sketch.