The Encyclopedia Americana (1920)/Morgan, John

Morgan, John, American physician: b. Philadelphia, 10 June 1735: d. Philadelphia, 15 Oct 1789. He was graduated (1751) at the College of Philadelphia (now known as the University of Pennsylvania) and served an apprenticeship in medicine under Dr. John Redman. He entered the provincial army as surgeon and lieutenant, resigning his commission to continue (1760) his medical studies in London and Edinburgh, receiving the degree of M.D., 1763. During a visit to Paris he was made member of the Academy of Surgery for clever anatomical preparation of a kidney. In Italy he was made member of the Society of Belles-Lettres, Rome, and on his return to London was elected Fellow of the Royal Society and licentiate of the Colleges of Physicians of both London and Edinburgh. Returning (1765) to Philadelphia he laid the plan for establishing a medical school in that city, which he had formulated, at the request of the trustees of the College of Philadelphia. The plan adopted, he was elected professor of the theory and practice of medicine, and, three years later, five young men received medical degrees—the first conferred in America. In 1775 he was appointed by Congress director-general and physician-in-chief to the general hospital of the American army, and reorganized the hospitals of the army. But lack of supplies for the sick and wounded made his energetic efforts largely ineffective and complaints to Washington caused Congress (1777) to dismiss him without reason. A committee of that body, however, after an investigation, honorably acquitted him of blame, while Washington wrote him: "No fault could be found with the economy of the hospitals during your directorship." He wrote 'A Discourse on the Introduction of Medical Schools in America' (1765), and his dissertation 'The Reciprocal Advantages of a Perpetual Union between Great Britain and her American Colonies' (1766) won him a gold medal from England.