Samuel Thomson’s account of the illness and treatment of Ezra Lovett:

While practising at Beverly I was called on by Mr. Lovett, to attend his son, who was sick, as they supposed, with a bad cold, some thought it a typhus fever. I was very much engaged in attending upon the sick at the time and could not go with him; he came after me three times before I could go. On seeing him, found that he complained of a stiff neck, and appeared very stupid, and had no pain. His aunt who took care of him said that he would certainly die, for he had the same symptoms as his mother who died a short time before. I gave him some medicine which relieved him; the next day carried him through a course of the medicine, and he appeared to be doing well. Being called on to go to Salem, I left him in the care of Mr Raymond, with particular directions to keep in the house and not expose himself. This was on Wednesday, and I heard nothing from him, and knew not but what he was doing well, till the Sunday afternoon following, when I was informed that he was worse. I immediately inquired of Mr. Raymond, and learned from him that he had got so much better, he had been down to the side of the water, and returned on Friday night; that the weather was very cold (being in the month of December) that he had been chilled with the cold, and soon after his return was taken very ill; he stayed with him on Saturday night, and that he was raving distracted all night; that he had not given any medicine, thinking that he was too dangerously sick for him to undertake with.

 I told the young man’s father, that it was very doubtful whether I could do any thing that would help him, but that I would try and do all I could. I found that the patient was so far gone that the medicine would have no effect, and in two hours told him that I could not help his son, and advised him to call some other advice; this was said in the presence of Elder Williams, and Mr. Raymond. Mr. Lovett made answer that if I could not help his son, he know of none who could, and was very desirous for me to stay with him all night, which I did, and stood by his bed the whole time. He was much deranged in his mind till morning, when he came to himself and was quite sensible. I then again requested the father to send for another doctor, as I was sensible that I could do nothing for him that would be of any benefit. He immediately sent for two doctors, and as soon as they arrived, I left him in their care. The two doctors attended him till the next night about ten o’clock when he died.

Thompson, accusing prosecution witnesses at the trial of false testimony:

Mr. Lovett, the father of the young man that I was accused of killing . . . made a tolerable fair statement of the affair in general, particularly of coming after me several times before I could attend; though I think he exaggerated many things against me, and told over several fictitious and ridiculous names, which people have given my medicine, by way of ridicule, such as bull-dog, ram cat, screw-auger, and belly-my-gristle; all of which had a tendency to prejudice the court and jury against me; and I also thought that he omitted to tell many things in my favor, that must have been within his knowledge; but there was nothing in his evidence that in the least criminated me, or supported the charges in the indictment.

Some young women were brought forward as witnesses whom I had no knowledge of ever seeing before. They made some of the most absurd and ridiculous statements about the medicine, which they said I gave the young man, that were probably ever made in a court of justice before — some of which were too indecent to be here repeated. One of them said that I crowded my puke [Ed: emetic herb] down his throat, and he cried murder till he died. This was well-known to be a falsehood, and the story was wholly made up by my enemies, as well as what had been before stated by those women, for the purpose of trying to make out something against me. I had two unimpeachable witnesses in court ready to swear that I never saw the young man for more than fourteen hours before he died, during all which time he was in the care of Dr. Howe; but by not having an opportunity to make my defense, in consequence of the government not making out their case against me, could not bring them forward.

I was then honorably acquitted, without having had an opportunity to have witnesses examined, by whom I expected to have proved the usefulness and importance of my discovery before a large assembly of people, by the testimony of about twenty-five credible men, who were present at the trial; besides contradicting all the evidence produced against me.


Thomson, Samuel. A Narrative of the Life and Medical Discoveries of Samuel Thomson; Containing an Account of His System of Practice and the Manner of Curing Disease with Vegetable Medicine Upon a Plan Entirely New. Columbus, Ohio: Jarvis, Pike, and Company, 1833
Copyright 2001 Paul Bergner

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