David Ramsay - Encyclopedia


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DAVID RAMSAY (1749-1815), American physician and historian, the son of an Irish emigrant, was born in Lancaster county, Pennsylvania, on the 2nd of April 1749. He graduated at Princeton in 1765, and M.B. at the University of Pennsylvania in 1773, and then settled as a physician at Charleston, South Carolina, where he had a large practice. During the War of Independence he served as a field-surgeon (1780-1781), and from 1776 to 1783 he was a member of the South Carolina legislature. Having acted as one of the "council of safety" at Charleston, he was, on the capture of that city in 1780, seized by the British as a hostage, and for nearly a year was kept in confinement at St Augustine. From 1782 to 1786 he served in the Continental Congress, and from 1801 to 1815 in the state Senate, of which he was long president. In 1785 he published in two volumes History of the Revolution of South Carolina, in 1789 in two volumes History of the American Revolution, in 1807 a Life of Washington, and in 1809 in two volumes a History of South Carolina. He was also the author of several minor works. He died at Charleston on the 8th of May 1815 from a wound inflicted by a lunatic. His History of the United States in 3 vols. was published posthumously in 1816-1817, and forms the first three volumes of his Universal History Americanized, published in 1 2 vols. in 1819.

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