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TRANSACTIONS OF THE
COLLEGE OF PHYSICIANS
FROM APRIL 2, 1856, TO JUNE 4, 1856, INCLUSIVE.
Stated Meeting, April 2, 1856.
Dr. BACHE, Vice-President, in the chair.
Present, twenty-five Fellows.
R. K. SMITH, M.D., and Wm. N. JOHNSON, M.D., were elected Fellows of the College.
Dr. HOLLINGSWORTH then read the following:
MEMOIR OF MORETON STILLÉ, M. D. MORETON STILLÉ, the youngest son of John and Maria Stillé; was born in the city of Philadelphia, on the 27th of October, 1822. Upon his father's side the family was of Swedish origin, its earliest member, of whom anything positively is known, being Olof Person Stillé, who emigrated to this country, it is supposed, with the first Swedish Colony in the year 1638, under a passport or letter of recommendation from Eric Bielke, Lord of Peningby and Nyñas, in Upland, Sweden. Shortly after their landing on the banks of the Delaware, the Swedes established numerous settlements, principally on the western banks of the river, then considered a part of Virginia. Some of these settlements were places of considerable note in their day, and on one of them, Pasa
VOL. III.-NEW SERIES. 2
yung, afterwards purchased by William Penn from the sons of the Commander Sven, commonly called the Swansons, now stands the city of Philadelphia. Olof Stillé's place of residence, marked on Lindstrom's map as "Stillé's land,” was situated on what is at present termed "the neck," and is the only homestead, Mr. Watson informs us, now known of any of the Swedish families whose names are on the list taken in the year 1693, for the information of William Penn. Its Indian name was Techoherassi, “being a place on the Schuylkill River, surrounded with water like an island.” It is again spoken of as a small plantation built by freemen, and much frequented by the Indians, who gave Mr. Stillé the name of the man with the black beard."
Another Stillé, probably a son of Olof, is honorably mentioned by the late venerable Mr. Duponceau, as present among the number assembled to greet the proprietary William Penn, on his memorable landing at New Castle, in the year 1682. The tombstones of many members of the family still exist in the burying ground of Gloria Dei Church, in Philadelphia, or the Swedes' Church, as it is commonly called.
The early historians represent the Swedes as a quiet, industrious people, who chiefly occupied themselves with agriculture. Their respect for religion is evinced by the fact that they had three churches erected when Penn arrived, the ministers of which were regularly supplied them by their bishops in Sweden. It is to their credit, also, that although the title to the lands on which they settled was ceded to them by the unfortunate Charles the 1st, they still thought proper to purchase them from the Indians who dwelt upon them.
On the maternal side, Moreton was descended from a family of the Wagners, one of whom came over to this country and settled as a clergy man in Reading, Pennsylvania, in the year 1759. Mr. Wagner's father and grandfather were both of them clergymen, also; his great-grandfather was Tobias Wagner, Chancellor of the University of Tübingen in 1662. In the Biographie Universelle, vol. 1. p. 26, he is described as “un des Théologiens les plus habiles et les plus féconds du dix septième siècle," one of the most skilful and fertile theologians of the seventeenth century. Few Americans can look back to a longer line of ancestry, settled in this country, than the family to which our late colleague be
longed; and the tenacity with which they have clung to the spot where their first ancestor settled, is, in our country at least, somewhat remarkable.
Moreton Stillé began his school education with the Rev. Mr. Steel, at Abingdon, in 1831. In the following year, he was placed at Edge Hill Seminary, Princeton, under the care of Mr. Patton, who was afterwards succeeded by Mr. Wines, and at this institution, he remained until the year 1836. His industry and capacity for learning, judging from his teacher's reports, some of which still remain, were considerable, and secured him a high place in his class. On leaving Edge Hill, he became a pupil of Mr. Hurlbut's school, in Philadelphia, where he continued until 1838, when he entered the Sophomore class of the University of Pennsylvania. During the whole period of his collegiate course he bore an excellent character, and was much respected by his fellow students for his gentlemanly bearing and conduct; but although a good student and finally carrying off an honor, he took in reality more interest in the proceedings of the Literary Society to which he belonged, the Philomathean, than in his proper collegiate duties. In 1841, he received his degree of Bachelor of Arts, on which occasion he delivered an oration upon Ancient Mexico.
Having chosen the profession of Medicine as most congenial to his tastes, on the 17th of July, 1841, he began its study with his brother, Dr. Alfred Stillé. How admirably Dr Stillé was qualified for the duties of a teacher, and how faithfully he performed them, it
in me to speak of, on this occasion; it is but justice to remark, however, that the even more than fraternal affection with which Moreton regarded him in after years, was greatly due to the feeling he conceived for him when his pupil. How strong this feeling was, must have been apparent to all who knew him, and is very warmly evidenced in all his letters from abroad, to which I have had access.
In the following October, Moreton matriculated in the Medical Department of the University of Pennsylvania. During the whole course of his attendance upon lectures, he was an attentive and even zealous student; the profitable manner in which his studies were pursued, is evinced in the admirable Thesis he presented for his degree, which received the highest compliment that
may not be
can be paid to a student's effort, the unanimous request of the faculty for its publication. He obtained his degree of M. D. in the Spring of 1814.
In the month of October of the same year, he embarked for Liverpool, with the intention of remaining three years abroad. It may not be uninteresting to observe with what serious, and, at the same time, elevated sentiments, he commenced the journey which was to occupy a period in many respects the most eventful and important in his history. In the month of August, he thus writes to his brother Charles, who was then in Europe :
“I feel as if I were just commencing life in earnest; as if I were just now setting out upon its untried sea; as if I had yet to buffet its storms or feel its prosperous breezes. Indifferent to the present, I live only for the future; upon it my most earnest gaze is fixed, and I strive to enter its ever receding portals, to grasp its cloudy phantoms, its beckoning illusions. But, for all this, I am no dreamer. I would not with closed eyes lie upon the stream, and, the sport of its uncertain waves, be carried hither and thither. • Conduct is fate,' and every man may make his future if he will. I go abroad with the determination, made neither hastily nor without reflection, to be up and doing,' and to profit by the privilege I enjoy to the utmost. If I know myself, I shall not be content with a place in the crowded middle ranks of the profession."
His plans were to pass some time first in Dublin, that he might avail himself of the numerous advantages it then offered to the medical student, but more especially to improve himself in phy.. sical diagnosis, for the cultivation of which many of its teachers were justly celebrated. The remainder of his time abroad, he expected to pass principally in Paris. Unforeseen circumstances, as will be shown hereafter, caused him to modify his plans, as his last winter was spent in Vienna. During his absence he regularly corresponded with his brother Alfred, and as his letters asford an excellent insight into his character, as well as exhibit the manner in which his time was occupied whilst in Europe, I shall quote from them somewhat largely. It should be remembered that at this period he was just entering his twenty-third year, and when the age at which they were written is considered, their good sense, easy, clear expression, and precision of thought, must command tbe admiration of all who read them.