We are men cast on land, as Ionas was, out of the whale’s belly, when we were as buried in the deep: and now we are on land, we are but between death and life; for we are beyond, both the Old World, and the New; and whether ever we shall see Europe, God only knows. It is a kind of miracle has brought us hither: and it must be little less that shall bring us hence. Therefore in regard of our deliverance past, and our danger present, and to come, let us look up to God, and every man reform his own ways. Besides we are come here amongst a Christian people, full of piety and humanity; let us not bring that confusion of face upon ourselves, as to show our vices, or unworthiness before them. Yet there is more. For they have by commandment, (though in form of courtesy) cloistered us within these walls, for three days: Who knows whether it be not, to take some taste of our manners and conditions? And if they find them bad, to banish us straightaway; if good to give us further time.
We have also particular pools, where we make trials upon fishes, as we have said before of beasts, and birds. We have also places for breed and generation of those kinds of worms, and flies, which are of special use; such as are with you your silkworms, and bees. I will not hold you long with recounting of our brew-houses, bake houses, and kitchens, where are made diverse drinks, breads, and meats, rare, and of special effects. Wines we have of grapes; and drinks of other juice, of fruits, of grains, and of roots; and of mixtures with honey, sugar, manna, and fruits dried, and decocted; also of the tears or woundings of trees; and of the pulp of canes. And these drinks are of several ages, some to the age of last of forty years.
We have also parks, and enclosures of all sorts, of beasts, and birds; which we use not only for view or rareness, but likewise for dissections, and trials; that thereby we may take light, what may be wrought upon the body of man. Wherein we find many strange effects; as continuing life in them, though diverse parts, which you account vital, be perished, and taken forth; resuscitating of some that seem dead in appearance; and the like. We try also all poisons, and other medicines upon them, as well of chirurgery, as physic. By art likewise, we make them greater, or taller, than their kind is; and contrary-wise dwarf them and stay their growth. We make them more fruitful, and bearing than their kind is; and contrary-wise barren and not generative. Also we make them differ in color, shape, activity, many ways. We find means to make commixtures…to have produced new kinds, and them not barren, as the general opinion is.
The bedside is the fountain from which must flow that wisdom which the disciple of Hippocrates summons to his aid in order to fulfill the vast trusts confided to his care. Herein is it that the Hospital is to prove a mighty blessing to the people. Thousands, indeed, may enter it as a refuge from poverty and common infirmities; but your great triumphs are to be announced in the restoration of tens of thousands of the sick inmates who, in the progress of time, may occupy your wards; triumphs secured by a sound pathology and the clinical wisdom of your enlightened prescribers. Within your collegiate walls the student is to look for practical medicine and surgery, and the records of medical science receive new confirmations by the illustrations of your clinique, or be rejected as fabulous by the result of your bedside revelations.
Dr. Francis’ Address, 1858
The end of our foundation is the knowledge of causes, and secret motions of things; and the enlarging of the bounds of human empire, to the effecting of all things possible. The preparations and instruments are these. We have large and deep caves of several depths. The deepest are sunk 600 fathoms; and some are digged under great hills and mountains….These caves we call the lower region; and we use them for all coagulations, indurations, refrigerations, and conservations of bodies. We use them likewise for the imitation of natural mines; and the producing also of new artificial metals, by compositions and materials which we use, and lay there for many years. We use them also sometimes, (which may seem strange,) for curing of some diseases, and for prolongation of life, in some hermits that choose to live there, well accommodated of all things necessary, and indeed live very long; by whom also we learn many things.
I am informed that Brooklyn exceeds considerably two hundred thousand inhabitants; and where, tell me, will you find a city of that numerical population, in civilized society, without the organization of a hospital? Inspect the numerous country towns or cities of Great Britain, many of them even of far less inhabitants, and you will learn that provisions of a like Christian character proclaim the wisdom and humanity of their people. So, too, you will find like demonstrations on the Continent. What was the population of Philadelphia when the great American sage, Franklin, projected the foundation of the Pennsylvania Hospital in 1752? Not twenty thousand. What was the pouplation of your neighbor, the city of New York, when Bard and Middleton, with Lieutenant-Governor Moore, and the countenance of John Fothergill and other philanthropists, projected the world-renowned hospital on Broadway, the first institution of that character in that metropolis? Certainly in numbers at that period not twenty thousand people. On the score of numbers, therefore, you have not been premature in your operations.
Dr. Francis’ Address, 1858
Coaster’s Island is divided from Newport by a broad inlet. It slopes gradually up from the water, and a large stone building stands in the midst of the green declivity; this is the Newport alms house. As we cross the ferry, propelled by an old salt who has rowed over to the little jetty at our signal, the commanding situation and salubrious exposure of the edifice, excites surprise at its public use. Where land is sold by the foot, as in our large cities, and at prices equally extravagant, it seems remarkable that so eligible a site for a gentleman’s domain should be appropriated to a municipal charity; the island was bequeathed for the purpose by Governor Coddington, the original purchaser of Aquidneck from the aborigines in 1638, and his portrait hangs over the bed where one of his descendants died, the victim of dissolute habits; who found a last asylum in the Hospital founded by his noble ancestor, and sent for this picture, the only item left of his patrimony…
Henry T. Tuckerman, Newport Out of Season, 1858
You will probably want me to give you my impressions of England. Well then, I saw many of the old towns and castles. Oxford made the greatest impression upon me of all the rest. After the richness of Oxford, even London pales its ineffectual historic splendor. I saw Greenwich Hospital; the ‘Leviathan;’ the Tunnel; Thames; and I saw—a Beadle! Clark, you never saw a beadle!—a real original Bumble! Something flamed forth from a middle-age church porch in Warwick; it blazed down the street, a figure in trappings of scarlet, and I thought it was the W. of Babylon—of the Apocalypse. But no; it held a bell, and wore a cocked hat; it approached me—stopped; raised the cockéd hat, and uttered these remarkable words, ‘Werry fine mornin’, Sir’ —replaced the chapeau, and walked away, like Hamlet’s father.
Editor’s Table, 1858
We think of the days when the hospitable Colonel Malbone reassured his alarmed guests, and had the dinner table moved on to the lawn, and continued the repast in sight of his burning mansion; when Dr. Hunter, a refugee from the Stuart rebellion, went hence as surgeon to the expedition against Crown Point; when Vernon entertained Lafayette, and Lightfoot showed the natives what a scholar and epicure at old Oxford learned; when British soldiers turned the churches into stables, made the State House a hospital, and burned Beavertail lighthouse, and the ‘Isle of Peace’ became a scene of wantonness and devastation; when the petted Africans, of patriarchal slavery, made famous dishes for colonial bon-vivants; and a ship, under full sail before a gentle breeze, run her keel into the strand at noonday, with no living creature on board but a dog, and an untasted breakfast spread in the cabin—a mystery to this hour.
Newport Out of Season, 1858
The chambers were handsome and cheerful chambers, and furnished civilly. Then he led us to a long gallery, like a dorture, where he showed us all along the one side (for the other side was but wall and window,) seventeen cells, very neat ones, having partitions of cedar wood. Which gallery, and cells, being in all forty, (many more than we needed,) were instituted as an infirmary for sick persons. And he told us withal, that as any of our sick waxed well, he might be removed from his cell, to a chamber: for which purpose, there were set forth ten spare chambers, besides the number we spake of before.
This done, he brought us back to the parlor, and lifting up his cane a little, (as they do when they give any charge or command) said to us: “Ye are to know, that the custom of the land requires, that after this day, and tomorrow, (which we give you for removing of your people from your ship,) you are to keep within doors for three days. But let it not trouble you, nor do not think yourselves restrained, but rather left to your rest and ease. You shall want nothing, and there are six of our people appointed to attend you, for any business you may have abroad.”