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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DROWNE, Solomon, physician, born in Providence, R. I., 11 March 1753; died at Mount Hygeia, in Foster, R. I., 5 February 1834. His grandfather and father were also named Solomon. The latter settled in Providence as a merchant in 1780, and for half a century bore a prominent part in the affairs of the town. Dr. Drowne was graduated at Rhode Island College (now Brown University)in 1773, studied medicine, and received medical degrees from the University of Pennsylvania and from Dartmouth. He served in several states as surgeon in various hospitals and regiments during the war of the Revolution. In the autumn of 1780 he went on a cruise as surgeon in the privateer "Hope," and his journal of this cruise, with the genealogy of his family, has been printed. He won the regard of Lafayette and the Counts de Rochambeau and d'Estaing, as well as of other French officers, to such a degree by his medical ability and skill as a surgeon that the chief of the medical staff entrusted invalid soldiers to his care when they left for home.
In 1783 he was elected to the board of fellows in Brown University. After a tour in 1784'5 in England, Holland, Belgium, and France, visiting hospitals, medical schools, etc., and becoming acquainted at Paris with Franklin, Jefferson, and other distinguished men, he resumed practice at Providence, but in 1788 went to Ohio. He participated with General St. Clair and others in the treaties at Fort Harmar in 1788'9, with Corn Planter and other chiefs, and delivered the first anniversary oration on the settlement of Marietta, 7 April 1789. Impaired health led to his spending several years in western Virginia and southern Pennsylvania, but in 1801 he returned to Rhode Island, and resided in Foster the remainder of his days, occupied with his professional duties, his extensive botanical garden, and various scientific, classical, and literary studies. In 1811 he was appointed professor of botany and materia medica at Brown, and in 1819 was elected a delegate to the convention that formed the national pharmacopoeia by the Rhode Island medical society, of which he was vice president. He took an active part in the organization and proceedings of the Rhode Island society for the encouragement of domestic industry, before which he delivered addresses.
In 1824, in connection with his son, William Drowne, he published "The Farmer's Guide," a comprehensive work on husbandry and gardening. He filled several public offices, contributed numerous scientific and literary articles to journals of the day, and participated in the proceedings of the American academy of arts and sciences and other learned bodies, of which he was a member. During the latter part of his life he delivered several courses of botanical lectures, and many public orations and addresses of decided merit, among the most important of which were a "Eulogy on Washington," 22 February 1800, and an "Oration in Aid of the Cause of the Greeks," 23 February 1824.
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