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Stedman and Hutchinson, comps. A Library of American Literature:
An Anthology in Eleven Volumes. 1891.
Vols. IX–XI: Literature of the Republic, Part IV., 1861–1889

An Embarrassing Question

By John Wakefield Francis (1789–1861)

[Born in New York, N. Y., 1789. Died there, 1861. Inaugural Address before the New York Academy of Medicine. 1848.]

I WELL remember the evening, now some thirty years ago, when my valued preceptor, Dr. Hosack, returned home to meet his friends at a special entertainment at his own house; he apologized for his absence so long from his guests, and then turning to the distinguished statesman, Gouverneur Morris, he exclaimed, “Mr. Morris, I have been detained with some friends, who together this evening have founded a Philosophical Society.” “Indeed!” responded the great politician. “Yes, sir,” repeated the Doctor, “we have indeed this evening founded a Philosophical Society.” “Well, well, that’s no difficult matter,” rejoined Morris, “but pray, Doctor, where are the philosophers?” The Doctor was quite embarrassed.