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Boston Medical and Surgical Journal Memorial of Dr. Page

By 1844, the year Dr. Page died, the Massachusetts Medical Society published a journal for its members. Still in their infancy, medical societies sought to establish a male medical profession with well-defined standards. This tribute to Dr. Page lauded what the society considered professional and personal excellence.



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1. What biographical data can be found in this document?

2. Compare the values praised in this memoir to those of Martha Ballard.

3. Why was there no similar tribute to Martha Ballard?

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  Memoir of Benjamin Page, MD 175

titioner of fifty years experience, it has been well said, are entitled to uncommon regard.

Dr. Page's familiarity with the classics was by no means limited. He had a good knowledge of the ancient languages, and especially the Latin, so important to the physician ; and he early acquired a partial knowledge of the French also, which on more than one occasion he was enabled to turn to good account. Prince Talleyrand, "fifty years since,"while on a visit to Maine, was the guest of his next-door neighbor and friend, and availed himself of his medical advice ; and more recently Count Ney, the son of Marshal Ney, while making a flying tour through the State, was arrested by disease, and became the subject of his skill. The royal patient was so well pleased and satisfied with his medical adviser, that he called upon him directly after his recovery from a dangerous illness, to express his gratitude and thanks, and before leaving town addressed a polit note to him in French, enclosing within it five times the amount of the fee. These may seem trifling circumstances to many, but they were a pleasing source of gratification to the deceased, and show moreover how universally he was estimated and beloved.

He was often called upon to visit patients in distant towns, and to prescribe for persons in foreign States, and he had the pleasure of almost invariably learning from them that his counsel was generally approved in the profession, and his prescription beneficial to the sick. Indeed, there is hardly a town or village within a circuit of thirty miles (and there are many) to which he was not called to attend to sick, and from which some one or more persons have not consulted him for his medical advice. For many years he controlled the best practice in the several towns of Hallowell, Augusta and Gardiner, and there are many families in each who continued to avail themselves of his medical services and advice as long as he was able to render them. During the epidemic spotted fever he was constantly written to by his medical brethren from all quarters, soliciting his opinion in regard to the epidemic, and his mode of treatment. He never withheld an answer, but disclosed frankly and freely all he knew upon the subject--all of his own discoveries and the practice he found most useful, and the remedies most successful in controlling the disease. In his medical principles he was strictly eclectic and rational. He was a true "minister and interpreter of nature," following no particular school or sect, but drew what he esteemed to be good and profitable from all sources, and applied his knowledge, without regard to particular or prevailing theories, to the treatment of disease. In consultation he was remarkably courteous and prudent. As was said of Hampden, on another occasion, he presented that rare affability and tempet and a seeming humility and submission of judgment, as if he brough- no opinion of his own with him, but a desire of information and instrucftion. Yet he had so easy a way of interrogating, and under cover or doubts of insinuating his objections, that he infused his own opinions into those from whom he pretended to learn and receive them. Whenever his opinions were fixed and he could not comply, he always left the impression and character of an ingenuous physician and a conscientious

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