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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.



Questions to Ask these Pages:

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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178 Memoir of Benjamin Page, MD  

selves as members of the same great family. In his professional visits he never kindled the fire of political or religious agitation and discord, nor infused into his prescriptions the ingredients of licentiousness, infidelity, and insubordination to the laws of God or man.

No citizen has greater power of doing mischief in society than a physician. His character as a man, therefore, should have great influence upon the community in determining the measure of patronage they should give him in his practice.

Such a man Dr. Page could not be other than he was, the best of husbands, fathers, brothers, and friends. What he was as a husband, the grief and wounded heart of his surviving partner in life, professor of the same faith, are a testimonial. As a father, such was his tenderness and solicitude, that he could not but conciliate the endeared affection of his children, which will cause this stroke of their God, in their bereavement, to be felt deeply and felt long.

To crown all his other excellences, in the latter part of his life he professed the faith and exhibited the character of a Christian. His religion partook of his natural temperament of mind. It was unpretending and noiseless, but seen and felt. It was an humble and sole reliance upon the mercy of God through Jesus Christ. It was an anchor to his soul in the storm of death.

And what life or death can be happier than that of a pious father of a family, who having filled all the relations of life with honorable and christian fidelity, and conscientiously discharged his duty to his Creator, to himself, and his family, "tenderly affectionate and tenderly beloved," and who, leaving and honorable name behind him, and his family without a stain, dies in the faith of a Christian, and with an abiding hope of a blessed immortality beyond the grave !

As he commenced his professional career with that terrible scourge the smallpox, so his life, by a singular fatality, was terminated some fifty years after, in consequence of a personal infection of this loathsome disease. Nearly or quite two years before his death, the varioloid disease was brought to Hallowell, and either by accident or design, or both, communicated to several of its inhabitants. A young physician--a former protégé of the deceased, and whose ingratitude was a poor return for the many kindnesses he had received--to escape the danger and odium of having first communicated the disease by inoculation, reported that he had received the matter from Dr. P. Fortunately, however, for the purity of his reputation, which was to pass unsullied to the grave, two other physicians in town had obtained matter from him, just then received fresh from a friend in Boston, which he generously shared with them, and both parcels proved pure and efficacious ; while his " ungrateful friend " declined accepting any, or made use of that which was derived from another source. Certain it was he communicated the smallpox or varioloid by inoculation, and two young and destitute females soon after died of the disease. As he had sown, so did he reap. Dr. Page was summoned to their death-bed to pronounce upon the character of the malady, and to warn his protégé and the public of the nature of the plague thus intro-

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