Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
Grant Wilson, John Fiske and Stanley L. Klos. Six volumes, New York: D. Appleton
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BARTLETT, Josiah, signer of the declaration of independence, born in Amesbury, Massachusetts, 21 November 1729 ; died in New Hampshire, 19 May 1795. He received the rudiments of a classical education, and when only sixteen began the study of medicine with his relative, Dr. Ordway, of Amesbury. Young Bartlett worked so earnestly that he soon exhausted the scanty library of his instructor, and was obliged to have recourse to that of a neighboring clergyman. In 1750 he began to practice at Kingston, New Hampshire When prostrated by a fever in 1752 he was cured by treatment of his own, when that of the local physicians had failed, and, learning from this experience the value of freedom from dogmatical rules in practice, he soon became eminent in his profession. During the prevalence of an alarming throat disease in 1754 he used Peruvian bark with great success, although this course was opposed to usage. Dr. Bartlett began political life in 1765 as a delegate to the legislature, an of-rice which he filled annually until the revolution. Here he frequently opposed the royal policy, and Governor Wentworth, hoping to gain his support, appointed him a magistrate, and later, in 1770, to the command of a militia regiment. He continued a zealous Whig , however, and in February 1775, was deprived for this reason of both offices. In 1774 the loss of his house by fire compelled him to decline an election to the proposed general congress. In 1775, Governor Wentworth having left the province, Dr. Bartlett became a member of the committee of safety, upon which for some time the government practically devolved, and in September of that year he accepted a commission as colonel of the 7th regiment. He was chosen to the continental congress on 23 August 1775, and again on 23 January 1776.
He was the first to give his vote for the declaration of independence, and was the second to sign it. In June 1776, he was appointed general naval agent, and resigned from congress soon afterward. In 1777 he was with Stark at Bennington, engaged as agent of the state in providing the New Hampshire troops with medical supplies. In March 1778, Dr. Bartlett was again elected to congress, and still again in the following August. In October he obtained leave of absence to attend to his private business, and from that time was prominent in state rather than national affairs. He became chief justice of the court of common pleas in 1779, muster master of troops in 1780, justice of the superior court in 1782, and chief justice in 1788. In the last-named year he was an active member of the state convention that adopted the federal constitution. In 1789 the death of his wife greatly depressed his spirits, and he declined an election to the United States senate, pleading his advanced age. He was, however, chosen president of the state by the legislature in 1790 and in 1791 and 1792 by popular election. In 1793 he became the first governor of New Hampshire under the new state constitution, which of-rice he held till 1794.
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