Naturalist; born in Westfield, Mass.
, Jan. 9, 1744; was a pupil of Silas Deane
(q. v.) when the latter was a school-master.
His early education was not extensive.
Apprenticed to a mechanic, he ran away, in debt to his master, and went to sea; but returning with means, he compensated his employer.
Again he went to sea; settled in Guiana, South America
, as a physician, in 1763, and afterwards made his residence in London
, where, in 1769, he published a Natural history of Guiana
He became a Fellow of the Royal
College of Physicians, and Fellow of the Royal Society.
was in England
on a diplomatic mission, Dr. Bancroft
became intimate with him; and through the influence of the philosopher became a contributor to the philosopher became a contributor to the Monthly review
He was suspected by the British
government of participation in the attempt to burn the Portsmouth
dock-yards, and he fled to Passy, France
Soon afterwards he met Silas Deane, his old teacher, in Paris
and offered to assist him in his labors as agent of the Continental Congress.
His ways were sometimes devious, and Mr. Bancroft
, the historian, accuses him of being a spy in the pay of the British
government, and of making a dupe of Deane
After the peace, Dr. Bancroft
obtained, in France
, a patent for the exclusive importation of the bark of the yellow oak, for the dyers, and afterwards he obtained a similar patent in England
. Dr. Bancroft
never returned to America
He died in England
, Sept. 8, 1820.