officer in the colonial army.
While so engaged, he applied himself, in leisure hours, to medical studies.
He began to practise as a physician; but, changing his plan of life, he prepared for college, entered Harvard, and, graduating with the class of 1771, became a clergyman.
He maintained zealously the patriot cause during the Revolution.
Taking with him his gun and surgical instruments
, he rode on horseback to Bunker Hill
and shared in the battle.
While a clergyman, he was accustomed to receive students of the academy into his family.
At the suggestion of Washington
, when President
, Colonel William Augustus Washington
sent his two sons, Bushrod and Augustine, to the academy; and Charles Lee
also sent the two sons of his deceased brother, Richard Henry Lee
. The young Washingtons
were received into the family of Rev. Mr. French
.1 Josiah Quincy
was, from 1778 to 1786, an inmate of Mr. French
's family, while pursuing his studies at the academy under Mr. Pemberton
and his predecessor, Dr. Eliphalet Pearson
, afterwards Hancock Professor
at Harvard College.2 Mr. French
has been commended for his fidelity and success as a Christian teacher.
He died, July 28, 1809.3
To both Mr. Pemberton
and Rev. Mr. French Major Sumner
wrote with earnestness concerning the education of his son, laying much stress on his manners as well as his progress in knowledge.
To the former he wrote, Aug. 26, 1787:—
It rests with you, sir, entirely, to form his mind while young, and lead him into the paths of virtue, of education, and good breeding; which will redound to your glory and his felicity.
He is now brought into a new line of life, and will probably finish his education under your direction.
Do with him, in all respects, as you shall think most proper. . . . I wish the child's manners to be particularly attended to, and that he may see and be introduced to as much company, in the house where he may live and others, as may be consistent with a proper attention to his studies.
The letter also referred to ‘the army, the law, physic, or merchandise,’ as the boy's future occupation, to be determined by his capacity and choice.
In a letter written in October of the same year to Rev. Mr. French
, he enjoined upon him to correct