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deed its field is so vast that it can scarcely be acquired by a single mind in a lifetime. The microscope was known as little better than a toy fifty years ago. In those halcyon times the leucocytes were swimming unrecognized in the blood serum, and, octopus-like and unmolested, were sticking “like limpets to a rock” on the overhanging edges of each solution of continuity; silent and unknown micro-organisms were sailing in reckless security in the atmosphere, dividing themselves into amaboid forms or leptothrix filaments, innocent of the culture tube, or incubator ; bacilli were sapping continually the foundations of our constitutions, and we knew it not. The theories of inflammation and the doctrines of pathology as now taught were scarcely hinted at; the remnants of the old humoral pathology still tinged therapeutics; the revelations obtained by reflected light within the cavities of the body were just beginning to be appreciated, and of course the laryngoscope, the ophthalmoscope, the endoscope and the otoscope had not come into use. Specialism, as it exists in its exclusiveness to-day, was unknown — the general practitioner, it is true, cultivated that branch of medicine which suited his peculiar taste, whether ophthalmology, obstetrics, or surgery, but was the general practitioner still. The trained nurse had yet to be evolved (from the good, old-fashioned, aged, fat and sherry-loving woman of old). The clinical thermometer had not sprung into existence; hypodermic medication was unknown, and respect and awe for traditions in medicine (always a stolid antagonism to rapid advancement) still narrowed the mental horizon of the best men in the profession. With the absence of these now important, nay necessary adjuvants of medical instruction, it will readily be seen that seven practical branches of medical study, seven, indeed, sometimes six, professors to teach them, and two courses of lectures — each course covering the same ground, and continuing about four months — might be a sufficient curriculum for those times; and let me tell you, gentlemen, that some of the greatest men that ever lived started with just such advantages, and no more. To make the comparison complete I may also say that the final examinations were conducted in a much more formal manner than at present. The green-room was an awe-inspiring word to the candidate for graduation. The student, often trembling inside, but with a bold exterior, was introduced into a room around which, in a circle, in self-satisfied dignity, and with the weight of a thousand years of tradition expressed on every feature of every face, sat the entire Faculty. This august presence alone was sufficient to overwhelm with confusion the wretched man before them. Then came the questions, and then the vote; and I must say, as a rule, in spite of the decorum and dignity of the Faculty, gener
ally every man got through. In this college you have thirty-six professors instead of seven, as of old ; you have four years of study, and three compulsory courses of lectures, against two courses and eight months' study; each of the present terms of lectures continues for six months, against four in the years that have gone. In addition you have to undergo an examination by a Board of Censors, not in any way connected with the Faculty, before you can receive your diplomas; and add to these a State examination by the Board of Regents of the University of the State of New York, upon entering the college, to ascertain if you have sufficient education to begin your course of medical study, and a final one after you have passed your college examination, to discover if you be fit to take the lives of patients into your hands. These are the differences between the “then and now” of the student's life.
But, gentlemen, surrounded as you are by all the paraphernalia of learning, overshadowed by lectures and examinations, you must be made aware of one fact, and that is, that the mere material presence of subjects cannot compel your minds to absorb them, and that
“ If not to some peculiar end assigned,
Study's the specious trifling of the mind." The presence of your environment will not necessarily fix your mental faculties upon them, or upon the subjects which it symbolizes ; indeed, mental idiosyncrasies are both peculiar and inexplicable. The man of God in the Temple, surrounded by and honestly acknowledging all the solemnities of the day, the hour, the sanctuary, and the occasion, may, in a second, have his mind transfer itself from the devotional to the ludicrous, or even to devilish — a constant familiarity with your surroundings may breed an actual carelessness and neglect of them, in the same manner as the dwellers amid the most magnificent scenery regard it not, and as the inhabitants of a great city are taught its wonders by the stranger. Surroundings necessarily have
with greater force than to the stolid and phlegmatic; but there must exist deep down at the bottom of it all, if you wish your student days and your professional lives to be successful, that absolute devotion to your profession which is derived from a love of humanity. This, after a time, no doubt, will pour gold at your feet ; will place your name in honorable mention in the Æsculapian Temple, and give you social status, all of which cannot, nor ought not, to be disregarded in the contemplation of one's future career, but which cannot be considered in comparison with the actual good that it will reflect upon the people with
whom you are brought in daily contact, with whom you rub in the daily friction of a busy world.
An important subject for consideration now arises. With all these improvements in medicine and the collateral sciences, has mankind been benefitted in proportion? Do all these branches of medical education, now considered necessary for the study of the student and the understanding of the medical practitioner, prevent disease, ameliorate suffering, and save life? Or did the old-fashined systems and the lack of facilities for obtaining information, which of late years have become so numerous, produce as beneficial results upon humanity as our more advanced methods ? Here are some figures which can answer the question definitely, and which are well worthy of serious consideration, as well as gratifying to those who are foremost in adopting all the newer and well-proved methods of preventing and curing disease.
In 1889 the death rate of England was 17.9 per 1,000. From 1881 to 1889, a period of nine years, the mortality was less than at any previous period. From the year 1871 to 1880 the death rate was 21.4 per 1,000. Taking the last nine years and comparing the death rate with the previous decade the statistics show that there has been a saving of 2.5 in every 1,000, or, according to the English registrar-general, there are now 600,000 more people alive in England and Wales than would have been if the previous mortality had continued the same during the past nine years. — Medical News, July 5th, 1891.
I have not been able, although I have made some research, to find accurately the mortality of this country ; although from what I have gleaned I should suppose a similar diminution of mortality to result.
But, gentlemen, don't misunderstand me; don't think because I have covered the hill-top of life and am going downward to the inevitable beyond that you can make me suppose that your latter end of the nineteenth century medical student, as evolved from the student of the olden time, is by any means a perfect young man ; or, on the other hand, that I have forgotten that most of you are in the hey-day of your youth, or that youth is the time for looking through the rose-colored glass of the present, regardless of what is to come. What I want understood is this : are you, with the surrounding advantages of place, position, study and social surroundings, as good as you ought to be, or as good, cæteris paribus, as students of fifty years ago ?
There always are, and always will be, wild young men, wayward young men, bad young men, and good young men, in every class of medical students; and I must say, in justice to even the bad fellows, that sometimes in the end they make the best dctoors.
People often forget that those qualities in a man which make him popular and delightful in company, quick in perception, generous to his friends, and forgiving to his enemies, are the very qualities that often conduce to the sowing of wild oats; but I do mean to say that I have carefully considered many medical classes and find that dissipation and vice and a tendency to vulgar conceptions and low-born instincts are the exceptions and not the rule in the medical student of to-day. I say, moreover, when the wild boys kick over the traces, that it is a mistake to suppose them lost forever; it is a mistake to keep them down ; it's better, much better, to help them up, to point them to the blue sky and bright horizon, afar though it be, than to render them desperate with ruthless unforgiveness and suggestions of fire and brimstone.
Youth is youth. Temptations exist in big cities, especially for those of bright imaginations and ready wit, who have not been reared among the bricks and mortar, which it is very difficult to overcome without aid ; but the secret of coming out right in the end rests in one thing, viz., the cultivation of the “still, small voice.” A man with a clean conscience, if he will only allow it to guide him, is pretty sure to ultimately come straight.' Cultivate a conscience. You may slip around in the shoals of temptation; you may fall into the outskirts of vice; you may become neglectful of your duty at times; but I say to you this thing, my dear boys; — when your conscience, in the small hours of the night, says to you “pull up” then pull up, and every time you pull up the chances are you will help somebody else to "pull up;” some other of your student friends, who may thus be saved from ruin. Conscience is the monitor set by God Almighty to direct the actions of our human bodies. When you obey your conscience you obey the great Creator of the universe; and to Him it is we must look for assistance and support throughout our whole lives.
Let me close this lecture then with a short text bearing upon this subject. It is to be found in II. Chronicles xvi., 12, and reads thus :
“And Asa, in the thirty and ninth year of his reign, was diseased in his feet until the disease was exceeding great, yet in his disease he sought not the Lord, but the physicians and Asa slept with his fathers."
BANANA JUICE FOR CHRONIC BRONCHITIS. -- The Medical Times says: “The juice of bananas is recommended as a remedy for chronic bronchitis with insufficient expectoration and marked dyspnoea. A drachm eight or ten times a day during the first days is usually prescribed, and later the dose can be diminished. The syrup is prepared as follows: Cut the fruit in slices and place in a glass jar; sprinkle with sugar and cover the jar, which is then enveloped in straw and placed in cold water, and the latter is heated to the boiling point. The jar is then removed, allowed to cool, and the juice is poured into bottles. To this we may add that the juices of other fruits, with sugar, is equally good.”—Herald of Health.
EMASCULATION; OR, “WHAT'S IN A NAME ?”
BY CONRAD WESSELHOEFT, BOSTON, MASS. Nothing could be more gratifying and encouraging than the reception of the essay, “Demands of Modern Science in DrugProving," * and the attention it was able to attract. Its author now requests the privilege of a closing argument, as would have been his right had he been able to be present.
All the participants in the discussion generously agree in their appreciation of the work done by the writer toward the purification of the materia medica, the fundamental idea and object of which is to insist on harmony of provings, and on the elimination of that which, on due and generous consideration, is found to be discordant and incongruous with the principle that we should retain only the pure drug effects; that is, those effects which come only from the drug.
It is perfectly natural that no one should unreservedly accept a principle so boldly expressed; although it is just what Hahnemann said and wanted, with this difference, that the subject had exchanged its periwig, breeches and knee-buckles for modern habiliments, though not made by a fashionable tailor; but it is safe to predict that, if not the tailor, his style will be fashionable by and by. That is probably what Dr. J. C. Morgan dimly foreshadowed by his allusion to the “ Sartor Resartus."
It is likewise safe to assume that hereafter, as more physicians grasp the idea and advocate it, fewer prudential considerations will prevail in regard to the omission of incongruous symptoms, the proposed elimination of which Dr. T. F. Allen styles the "emasculation ” of the materia medica.
What a word, and what an effect it must have had, especially among the majority floundering in the sea of doubt!
A poetical metaphor to be true must bear strict comparison. The error of this metaphor becomes clearly apparent when applied to the real spirit of critical analysis which exposes defects to be remedied. If the errors exposed by critical analysis relate to effects of vital parts, vitiating the whole, of which they should be an integral part, they should, indeed, be cut out. But a materia medica, purified of its errors, great and small, is not to be compared with impotent and sterile human beings without doing frightful violence to the good sense of the critic, or serious injustice to the criticised.
The conviction is gaining ground daily among homeopathists, that it is the excessive faith in the results of inaccurate methods of proving, and of pharmacy, which threatens the “castration” of the materia medica ; and this faith has been held for so
* Transactions of the International Homeopathic Congress of 1891.