A Discourse upon the Institution of Medical Schools in America/To Samuel Powel, Esquire, Of Philadelphia
Sir,he following discourse was written for the most part at Paris, and served as an agreeable relaxation from the severer studies in which I was, at that time, engaged. Our travelling together gave me an opportunity of submitting the performance to your critical eye, and it affords me a singular satisfaction to , that, in several particulars, it has been greatly amended by your candid and judicious remarks.
Upon such an occasion as this, I should deem myself ungrateful indeed, was I, to the little tribute I have in my power to pay to that genuine worth and disinterested friendship, which I have experienced in you.
Sure I am that a person of your amiable disposition, whose heart glows with the utmost warmth of social affection, whose mind is enriched with the treasures of ancient and modern learning, and whose taste has been improved and refined, by an acquaintance and conversation with men of the first rank in life and of the greatest abilities in the learned world, must be eminently useful to mankind, and particularly adorn and bless the land wherein providence calls him to reside. With great reason, therefore, may we hope to see you become a distinguished ornament to society. With great reason may the place of your nativity claim the advantages which arise from such abilities, and from a genius that was formed and nurtured in her own bosom. Your country has much to expect in waiting the return of a son blessed with so many useful endowments; and I well know that, amongst your many other virtues, the love of your country prevails too much in your breast to let her sustain a disappointment.
Opulence and generosity seldom go hand in hand. The gifts of fortune are rarely accompanied with a spirit to employ them in deeds of charity and disinterested benevolence.
It is yours, Sir, to soar above the sordid views of vulgar minds, and enjoy the sublime pleasures of a tender and sympathizing humanity, which always carries its own reward, in the satisfaction that flows from the exercise of so precious a gift of divine bounty.
There are no connections in life more honourable than those which we form with men of learning and virtue. I cannot but congratulate myself, therefore, on the strict: intimacy with which you have so long indulged me, and, at the same time, be thankful to you for the advantages it has often procured me in foreign parts.
During an absence of five years from my country and friends, whilst I was engaged in such pursuits as were indispensably necessary to fit me for more extensive usefulness in my profession, the almost uninterrupted enjoyment of your company, or correspondence, contributed much to make such a separation more easy and supportable. It will always give me unspeakable pleasure to reflect upon the variety of scenes through which we have passed, and the entertainment and improvement we have met with, in visiting the principal cities and feats of science in Great-Britain, Holland, France and Italy; places celebrated for the birth or residence of men of the most illustrious genius in the world, and distinguished for the cultivation of manners, polite arts and literature.
These are the several considerations that have induced me to present you with this performance. Happy should I have thought myself, if a little more leisure had enabled me to render it somewhat more worthy your notice. Such as it is, however, I request you to accept it as a small testimony of my personal regard and affection for you. Whatever may be the merit or success of the work itself, I shall always rejoice that it has given me an opportunity of telling the world, how much I respect your character, and what an high value I place upon your friendship.
Your most affectionate friend
and obliged humble servant,