Samuel Latham Mitchill, an American physician, born in North Hempstead, Long Island, Aug. 20, 1764, died in New York, Sept. 7, 1831. He graduated as M. D. at the university of Edinburgh in 1786, returned to America in the following year, and studied law. In 1792 he was appointed professor of chemistry, natural history, and philosophy in Columbia college, where his dissent from some of Lavoisier's principles involved him in a controversy with Dr. Priestley, which led to a lasting friendship between the two disputants. In 1796 he made a geological and mineralogical tour along the Hudson. In conjunction with Dr. Edward Miller and Elihu II. Smith he founded the quarterly "Medical Repository," of which he continued to be editor for 16 years. It was the first scientific periodical published in the United States. Twice he was a member of the legislature, and in 1801 he became a representative in congress, and in 1804 United States senator. At the expiration of his term of office he was again elected to the house of representatives. In 1808 he became professor of natural history in the college of physicians and surgeons, and in 1820 of botany and materia medica. In 1826 the institution gave place to the Rutgers medical school, of which Dr. Mitchill became vice president.
The poems of "Croaker and co." contain records of some of Dr. Mitchill's eccentricities. He proposed to change the name of this country to Fredonia, and wrote in 1804 "An Address to theFredes, or People of the United States." He was the author of "Observations on the Absorbent Tubes of Animal Bodies " (12mo, New York, 1787); "Nomenclature of the New Chemistry" (1794); "Life, Exploits, and Precepts of Tammany, the famous Indian Chief," a half historical, half fanciful address before the Tammany society of New York (1795); and " Synopsis of Chemical Nomenclature and Arrangement " (1801). - See " Reminiscences of Samuel Latham Mitchill, M. D., LL. D.," by John W. Francis, M. D. (New York, 1859).