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Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James Grant Wilson, John Fiske and Stanley L. Klos. Six volumes, New York: D. Appleton and Company, 1887-1889 and 1999. Virtualology.com warns that these 19th Century biographies contain errors and bias. We rely on volunteers to edit the historic biographies on a continual basis. If you would like to edit this biography please submit a rewritten biography in text form . If acceptable, the new biography will be published above the 19th Century Appleton's Cyclopedia Biography citing the volunteer editor





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Benjamin Lee

LEE, Benjamin, sailor, born in Taunton, England, 26 February, 1765; died in Cambridge, Massachusetts, 15 Aug., 1828. He entered the British navy as a midshipman, having as companions Lord Nelson and the Duke of Clarence, and commanded a battery of guns in the naval battle between Admiral Rodney and Count de Grasse off the island of Guadeloupe, 12 April, 1782. Having challenged a superior officer for countermanding his humane order relative to certain prisoners, he was condemned by court-martial to be shot for insubordination, but was saved through the intervention of the Duke of Clarence, afterward William IV., the sentence of death being commuted to dismissal from the service. It is related that on being set ashore he at once sent a fresh challenge to the same officer, which was accepted, and Lee is said to have left his adversary dead on the field. He then came to the United States, entered the merchant marine as captain, and was one of the first to carry the flag of his adopted country to the far east. After thirteen years on the ocean he retired to a farm, and subsequently declined a commission as 1st lieutenant of the frigate "Constitution" that was offered to him by President Adams.--His son, Alfred, P. E. bishop, born in Cambridge, Massachusetts, 9 September, 1807; died in Wilmington, Delaware, 12 April, 1887, was graduated at Harvard in 1827. He studied law, and was admitted to the bar in New London, Connecticut, where he practised for two years, but afterward went to the General theological seminary, New York city, and was graduated in 1837. He was admitted to deacon's orders in Norwich, Connecticut, by Bishop Brownell, 21 May, 1837, and to priest's orders, by the same bishop, in Hartford, 12 June, 1838. He officiated for a short time in St. James's church, Poquetanoc, Connecticut, and in September, 1838, became rector of Calvary church, Rochdale, Pennsylvania This post he occupied for three years. He was elected first bishop of Delaware, and was consecrated in St. Paul's chapel, New York, 12 October, 1841. The new bishop took up his residence in Wilmington, Delaware, and in 1842 assumed the rectorship of St. Andrew's church in that city, which post he held during the remainder of his life. On the death of Bishop Smith in May, 1884, he became presiding bishop of the Protestant Episcopal church in the United States. He received the degree of S. T. D. from Trinity in 1841, the same degree from Harvard in 1860, and that of LL.D. from Delaware college in 1877. Bishop Lee was of the same school of churchmanship with Bishop Griswold, Bishop McIlvaine, Bishop Bedell, Dr. Muhlenberg, and others of the older evangelicals. He was also a scholar of excellent attainments, and was a member of the American company of the revisers of the New Testament (1881). Among his publications were "Life of St. Peter" (New York, 1852); "Life of St. John" (1854); "Treatise on Baptism" (1854); "Memoir of Miss Susan Allibone" (1856); "Harbinger of Christ" (1857); and "Eventful Nights in Bible History" (1886). In addition, he published several charges to the clergy, single sermons, addresses, and pastoral letters.--Alfred's son, Benjamin, physician, born in Norwich, Connecticut, 26 September, 1833, was graduated at the University of Pennsylvania in 1852, and at the New York medical college in 1856, receiving a prize for his thesis on "The Mechanisms of Medicine." After studying abroad he established himself in practice in New York city, in 1862 edited the "American Medical Monthly," and in 1862-'3 was surgeon of the 22d New York regiment. In 1865 he removed to Philadelphia. Dr. Lee has made a specialty of orthopedic surgery and the treatment of nervous diseases. He is the inventor of the method of self-suspension as a means of treating spinal affections. He is a member of various medical associations, has been treasurer of the Pennsylvania medical society since 1873, and in 1884 was president of the American academy of medicine. In 1885 he was appointed a member of the newly created State board of health, of which he is now (1887) secretary and executive officer. As a member of the committee on medical legislation of the State medical society, he has been instrumental in securing the passage of laws for regulating the practice of medicine, and for the registration of physicians. Besides contributions to medical literature, he has published "Correct Principles of Treatment for Angular Curvature of the Spine" (Philadelphia, 1867); and "Tracts on Massage," original and translated (1885-'7).

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