Benjamin Rush, 1745-1813

[Mentioned in Science and Health, p.162]

Benjamin Rush's signature precedes Franklin's on the Declaration of Independence. Patriot, espouser of causes, teacher—Rush was the only doctor to sign this document.

He served his country as one of Pennsylvania's nine delegates to the Continental Congress, helped superintend the domestic manufacture of saltpeter for gunpowder, and was president of the first company to make cotton cloth in the colonies. For two years he was Physician General in the Revolutionary Army. Later he was Resident Port Physician of Philadelphia and, under John Adams, Treasurer of the United States Mint.

Lover of freedom and his fellow men, Rush advocated the abolition of slavery. He was opposed to strong drink and avoided prescribing distilled spirits for the sick. He favored higher education for women, and under his inspiration Dickinson College was started. Believing that every crime has "its cure in moral and physical influence," he opposed capital punishment and sought instead a reformatory system. He pleaded for more air space in cities to make living conditions more sanitary.

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Signs of the Times
September 25, 1954

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