Becoming a physician – 3

Background:  This letter was sent between the letters of Becoming a physician 1 & 2.

24 May 1791 from Louisa, Virginia – Andrew Todd to John McCulloh

My Dear Brother,

Yours by Capt. Berret came safe, which gave me the pleasing information of the welfare of your family.  As to the organ which I requested you to inquire of, I have the pleasure to inform you that I am supplied with a very good one,  having three slopes & good tone.  It is a second hand one, is supposed to have cost L80 or L100 pounds originally.  Stood me in L50.

I was very anxious for Samy’s making a choice of a profession & ad a predilection for Physick in hopes if that should be his choice I should have the pleasure of his living more or less with me at those times when he would loose least by his absence from Philadelphia.  I conceived Samy was loosing much time for altho we ought to embrace every opportunity of acquiring knowledge of various kinds yet our principal pursuit ought to be our professional study & others occationally only.  By Samy’s letter to me he had determined to study Physick & I expect is now engaged therein.  A tolerable share of application with the great opportunities that are now enjoyed in Philadelphia cannot fail to make him a good Physician.  But I would  wish him to prepare with the greatest application & determine on nothing short of arriving at the head of his profession which with education he has had & opportunities he now has may be accomplished.

My aged father is in good health, tho gradually I think, pretty fast bending downwards to the grave.  We have but two children, our eldest a boy about 2 1/2 years old, our youngest a girl about 11 months.  Both as most children are in the Eges of their parents promising.  We had nearly lost our little boy last winter by the cotanhal fever previous to the close of which he was attacked with the measles & both together nearly carried him off.  We are at present by the blessings of God in good health.

My father and Mrs. Todd present their good wishes to you, Mrs. McCulloh & family with other inquiring friends.  After presenting my own to your family I desire to be remembered to Drs Rush, Mead & White with the last of Samy can aquire an intimacy he may learn a good deal of Practical Chemistry.  Samy will please to excuse my not writing to him at present as the bearer of this, Johny Todd, is now waiting for it.  He is on his way to Carlisle college. I shall expect Samy to come as soon as Dr. Hutchinson shall think it prudent for him so to do.

I am your dear brother with much esteem,  Yours Andrw Todd

McCulloh Papers, 1773-1848, Maryland Historical Society, MS 2110, microfilm reel 2, frame 324

Becoming a physician -2

Background:  I’m not sure who Levi Todd is.  From the subject of the letter compared to the last one, it sounds like it might be a formal name or middle name for Andrew Todd.  Samuel McCulloh would now be 19.

3 Nov 1791 from Louisa, Virginia – Levi Todd to John McCulloh

Loving Brother,

Your last by Capt. Barret came safe to hand since which I have receiv’d non from you and I do not recollect of my writing you since.

By Samy’s letter accompanying yours he informed me that he had determined on the study of Physick & that it was by no means disagreeable to him.  He also informed  me that he expected his Preceptor would be Dr. Hutchinson & I hope he is now agreeably & earnestly engaged in the study.  I expect from his studying under Dr. Hutchinson he will of course attend the Medical Professors of the Univeristy [of Maryland].  I am desirous of him attending at least one course of Dr. Rushes lectures perhaps toward the close of his studies as I am much inclined to think he is by far the greatest Medical Character your city affords.  Should Samy at any future period think proper to visit Virginia, if during his studies, I will afford him every instruction in my power.  If afterwards, I will afford him every assistance that may be in my power.  My desire to see him are great, but I am sensible that he enjoy the best opportunities that this or perhaps any other country can afford.  Where he is – wish him to be so eminent as to be qualified to sit down in some of our seaport towns, country practice being disagreeable and less profitable.

McCulloh Papers, 1773-1848, Maryland Historical Society, MS 2110, microfilm reel 2, frame 338


Becoming a physician

Background:  Andrew Todd was the brother-in-law of John McCulloh and from the writing in the letter must have been a physician himself.  Samuel McCulloh, called Samey in the letter, was the oldest son of John McCulloh and would have been age 16 at the time of its writing. Samuel did become a physician serving as a ships surgeon on one of his father’s ships.

20 May 1788 from Louisa, Virginia – Andrew Todd to John McCulloh

Dear Brother,

I am much pleased to hear that Samey is so far advanced in his education as to commence this summer and should he make choice of the study of Physick, I can & will cheerfully meet your proposal of his spending the first of any part of his time with me and shall be extremely happy how much of it he can spend with me consistant with his own improvement in the knowledge of Theory and Practice of Physick.

I can also assure you that Mrs. Todd will with the  greatest chearfullness agree to his living with us – for upon my expressing some doubts as to the propriety of his spending the first part of his time with me with respect to his own improvement, she could not help desiding me not to write anything to the contrary to you.

I think a great deal will depend on the state of your finances where or with whome he ought to begin & have finish his studies.  If your circumstances are easy would it not be best for him to open the first part of his time in Philadelphia until a good foundation was laid or he was tolerably well acquainted with those first principles of the Theory & Practice of Physick which he can only learn to any tolerable perfection in Philadelphia & afterwards he can read much more as a great advantage in the country as in the city perhaps.  If your circumstances are rather difficult the method you propose will do very well via his spending not only the first part of his time but summer with me & the winter in Philadelphia.  So much will depend on your circumstances that I being unacquainted with them cannot undertake to advise you.  Consult some of your city Physicians & let his opportunities of improvement be the best you can give him even should you expend all you will be able to give him in his education.  If he is a student under any of the Professors of the University [of Maryland] you will save that professors fees.  If under any that is not a professor you will have them still to pay.  A student with shipping, he may become the best anatomist & surgeon with Rush or Kuhn, the best physicians probably.

Let you determine as you may about him.  I think he may spend at least one if not two summers with me to advantage. A number of good authors & will spare pains to instruct him all that I can.  I shall at all times be glad to hear from you more particularly as soon as you & Samey are determined.

My aged father, Polly & our little son are well & join me in wishing you & family every possible happiness here & hereafter.  Should you go to the Western Country, I shall be very happy to see you here on your return if you can make it tolerably convenient.  Present my love to Col. Porter & other inquiring friends.  Parson Todd’s family are all well.  Dady & myself wrote to you a few weeks ago by Parson Blair.  He has one from Dady for you but the two above mentioned are probably still here owing to his not taking Parson Todd in his way as he promised.  I am Dear Brother yours sincerely,                                                                                                                                  Andrew Todd

McCulloh Papers, 1773-1848, Maryland Historical Society, MS 2110, microfilm reel 2, frame 129, 130