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George Clymer

CLYMER, George, signer of the Declaration of Independence, born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in 1739; died in Morrisville, Bucks County, Pennsylvania, 23 January, 1813. His father immigrated from Bristol, England, to Philadelphia. Clymer was left an orphan at the age of seven, and was brought up and educated by his uncle, William Coleman, who took the boy into his counting-room, and left him most of his fortune. But though pursuing a business career, he was averse to it, and, having early acquired habits of reading and reflection, made himself acquainted with law, history, and political and agricultural science. He was one of the first that opposed the arbitrary acts of Great Britain, and, when it was found necessary to arm in defense of colonial rights, he became captain of a volunteer company. At a meeting held in Philadelphia, on 16 October, 1773, to adopt measures to prevent the sale of taxed tea, he was made chairman of a committee to request those appointed to sell the tea to resign their appointments. He was a member of the council of safety, and on 29 July, 1775, became one of the first continental treasurers, converting all his specie into continental currency, and subscribing liberally to the loan. On 20 July, 1776, five men, including Mr. Clymer, were appointed by the legislature to succeed those members of the Pennsylvania delegation who had refused their assent to the Declaration of Independence, and had left their seats in congress. Although Mr. Cly-mer's signature is affixed to the Declaration, he was not present at its adoption. He was appointed, with Richard Stockton, to inspect the northern army at Ticonderoga on 26 September, 1776, and in December of the same year, when the approach of the British forced congress to adjourn to Baltimore, he was one of a committee to execute all needful public business in Philadelphia. He was re-elected to congress on 12 March, 1777, and on 9 April was one of a committee to consider steps for opposing the enemy if they should attack Philadelphia. On 11 July, 1777, he was appointed one of three commissioners to investigate complaints against the commissary department of the army. At the meeting of the general assembly, held on 14 September, 1777, Mr. Clymer was not reelected to congress. In the autumn of this year, just after the battle of the Brandywine, his house in Chester county was sacked by the British, and the hostility with which he was regarded by them was further shown by an attempt to destroy his aunt's house in Philadelphia, which they thought was his property. In this same year he was one of three commissioners to investigate the causes and extent of disaffection near Fort Pitt, and to treat with the Indians there. The powers of the commission extended even to the suspension and imprisonment of officers suspected of treason, and the appointment of others in their stead. Although its labors were not entirely successful, its report to congress on 27 April, 1778, induced that body to take energetic measures for the conquest of Detroit and the carrying of the war into the enemy's country. In 1780 Mr. Clymer was active in an association of the patriotic citizens of Philadelphia, who formed a bank to facilitate the supply and transportation of provisions to the army, and in November of that year he was again chosen to congress. He was deputed by that body, with John Nixon, to organize the Bank of North America, and in 1782 was associated with Rutledge on his mission to the southern states. He removed to Princeton in the last-named year that he might educate his children at the College there, but was summoned from his retirement in 1784. and elected to the Pennsylvania legislature, where he aided in modifying the criminal code, laboring with zeal for the abolition of capital punishment. He was a member of the convention that framed the Federal constitution, and in November, 1788, was elected to the first congress held under its provisions. Here he opposed the bestowal of titles on the president and vice-president, earnestly combated the notion that a representative should always vote in accordance with the instructions of his constituents, favored the gradual naturalization of foreigners, and supported the assumption of the state debts by the nation. In 1791, declining a re-election to congress, he was appointed collector of the duty on spirits, which, in Pennsylvania, led to the whiskey riots. After resigning this office he was, with Messrs. Pickens and Hawkins, appointed to negotiate a treaty with the Creeks and Cherokees. This was consummated on 29 June, 1796, and he then withdrew from public life. Besides other institutions indebted to him, were the Pennsylvania agricultural society, of which he was vice-president, the Academy of fine arts, and the Pennsylvania bank, of both of which he was president. Mr. Clymer was scrupulously punctual in the smallest engagements, and was noted for brevity, both in speech and in his writings. He was the author of various addresses and essays, political, literary, and scientific.--His grandson, Mere-tilth, physician, born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in June, 1817, studied at the University of Pennsylvania, and was graduated at the medical department of that institution in 1837. Early in 1839 he went to Europe, and studied in Paris, London, and Dublin until 1841, under the most eminent physicians. He began practice in Philadelphia, but removed to New York, where he has made a specialty of diseases of the nervous system and the mind. He was attending physician to the Philadelphia institution for the blind in 1842 to the Philadelphia hospital from 1843 till 1847, and consulting physician until 1852. He lectured on the institutes of medicine in 1843, on the practice of medicine in 1849 in the Medical institute of Philadelphia, on the practical of medicine in the Franklin medical College, of which he was one of the founders in 1846, and professor of practice of medicine in the medical department of Hampden-Sidney College during 1848. In 1851, after settling in New York, he became professor of the institutes and practice of medicine in the University of New York, and in 1871 was professor of mental and nervous diseases in Albany Medical College. During the civil war he was surgeon of United States volunteers, president of the examining board of the United States army in 1862-'3, also in charge of the sick and wounded officers in Washington, District of Columbia, and medical director of the Department of the South in 1864-'5. Dr. Clymer has twice been president of the New York society of neurology, is a fellow of the College of physicians and surgeons in Philadelphia, and of other medical and scientific societies, and one of the five honorary members of the Association of American physicians. His literary work includes frequent articles to the medical journals, the editing of the "Medical Examiner" from 1838 till 1844; and the "Journal of Nervous and Mental Diseases" from 1878 till 1885. He has edited Carpenter's "Human Physiology" (3d ed., Philadelphia, 1843); Carpenter's " Elements of Physiology " (1844); Williams's "Principles of Medicine" (1844); Ait-ken's "Science and Practice of Medicine " (2 vols., 3d ed., 1866); and he is the author of "Williams and Clymer's ' Diseases of the Respiratory Organs'" (1844) : "The Pathology, Diagnosis, and Treatment of Fevers" (Philadelphia, 1846); "Notes on Physiology and Pathology of the Nervous System, with reference to Clinical Medicine" (New York, 1868); " Lectures on Palsies and Kindred Disorders " (1870); '" Ecstasy and other Dramatic Disorders of the Nervous System" (1870); "Hereditary Genius" (1870); "Cerebro-Spinal Meningitis" (Philadelphia, 1872); and "The Legitimate Influence of Epilepsy on Criminal Responsibility" (New York, 1874).

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