Immediately after writing my last he became very much worse--and
found himself obliged to send for medical assistance.
2 Dr. Warren3 came
--bled him and put a seton into his side-- On Monday we set out from Boston and arrived at Milton--
4 Tuesday the rain prevented us from
travelling and my father still continued very ill-- Wednesday we set out
again--on Friday we arrived at New-Bedford--
5 Yesterday we set out
from that place--and this morning came to Newport-- Our father has
been gradually getting better since leaving Milton and is now as far as I
can judge as comfortable as when he left Cummington if not more so.
Your affectionate brother
WILLIAM C. BRYANT
Excuse my brevity & haste. We cannot write long letters while travelling--
We shall probably get home some time about the middle of Next Week.
During the spring of 1819 Peter Bryant's health steadily worsened. A premonition of his early death was suggested in Cullen essay "On the Happy Temperament"
in the NAR for June, where he wrote, "Hard and bitter is the trial when we see those
whom we love drawn toward the grave by the irresistible progress of disease and
decay." By early summer the doctor became convinced that his only hope for recovery
lay in a journey to the seashore, and on July 19, accompanied by Cullen, he left Cummington by buggy for Newport, Rhode Island, by way of Boston. Peter to Sarah Bryant, July 30, 1819, BCHS.
Cullen's letter of July 23 from Boston is unrecovered.
Dr. John Collins Warren ( 1778-1856, Harvard 1797), dean of the Harvard
Medical School and Peter Bryant's warm friend. Hemorrhaging profusely the day he
reached Boston, Dr. Bryant was treated by Warren and his Harvard colleague
Dr. James Jackson ( 1777-1867). Their advice, Peter wrote his wife on July 30, was
that "nothing short of a long voyage--either to Italy, E. Indies, or New Orleans, would
Cullen and his father spent two nights at "Brush Hill," the Milton home of
Mrs. Samuel Howe's father, Judge Edward Hutchinson Robbins ( 1757-1829, Harvard 1775), a former lieutenant governor of Massachusetts. Here, Dr. Bryant reported to his
wife, he was "nursed very tenderly" by Mrs. Robbins. See also Lesley, Recollections of
My Mother, pp. 20-21, 101.
At New Bedford the travelers spent three nights with Dr. Bryant's cousin
( Gamaliel Bryant, Jr.?), a sea captain.
Cummington March 21st. 1820.
I sit down to give you the melancholy news of the death of my father.
He expired on Sunday last between the hours of seven and eight in the
evening. It was not his fate to wait the gradual extinction of life which is
the usual termination of that disorder under which he laboured and
which in its natural course would probably have carried him off soon.
His death was occasioned by an effusion of blood into the lungs brought