Imágenes de página

and the latter as an excellent and able teacher. He has published an elementary work on surgery, and has distinguished himself by the use of the gastric fuid as a solvent for urinary calculus. The dissertations of the medical graduates have been respectable, and original. The first medical institution was founded in Philadelphia in the year 1762, by Drs. William Shippen and John Morgan, natives of Pennsylvania. In 1769, it consisted of five professors, who taught respectively anatomy, the institutes of medicine, materia medica, chymistry, and the practice of medicine by the demonstration of cases at the Pennsylvania hospital. In 1764, the number of pupils was only 10; it is now about 450; one-fifth of whom graduate.--In New York a medical school was established in 1767; and lectures were instituted upon anatomy, physiology, and pathology, surgery, chymistry, materia medica, midwifery, and the theory and practice of physic. The college was shut up during the revolutionary war; and though it was revived in 1784, the delivery of lectures on the abovementioned branches of medicine did not commence again till 1792.* In the year 1781, what in chronology may be called the third medical school in America, was founded in Cambridge, in Massachusetts. Like that of New York, it was suspended for several years; was re-established in 1783 with three professors; the number has since been augmented; and the institution is expected shortly to become useful and flourishing. A course of medical instruction is also given at Dartmouth college in New Hampshire; but its efficiency has of late been much crippled by political dissensions. There is further, a college at Providence, Rhode Island, which is devoted to medical as well as general instruction; and promises at present to become a considerable school.-Medical institutions have been established in Kentucky, at Lexington, and at Baltimore, in Maryland. The former was founded in 1799, and since that time been in a languishing state. It is about to be generally re-organized, however, and enlarged by the addition of some new professors. Its funds are considerable: but they consist entirely of lands, which are comparatively unproductive; and here, as in all the medical institutions of this country, the professors depend,--not upon a regular source of patronage,but

upon the contribution of the students. The school at Bal. timore is flourishing, and has several highly respectable professors. These are the principal institutions of medicine in the

* A school of medicine has lately been established in the western part of the state of New York;—but its distance from any large town, and the consequent difficulty of procuring a requisite number of subjects, will be almost an insurmountable obstacle to its progress.

United States. In that of Pennsylvania, which has undoubtedly the pre-eminence, five new professors have lately been added; those namely, of comparative anatomy, of natural history, of botany, of chymistry applied to the arts, and of natural philosophy

Medical improvement advances in this country with a rapid pace. The laudable emulation which exists between neighbouring cities, as well as that which leads individuals to distinguish themselves, induce the establishment of schools in every part of the union, where there is any prospect of patronage. In Richmond, in Charleston, and in Savannah, they have been seriously contemplated, and will no doubt be soon established. The institution of hospitals is also to be attributed to the activity of medical men, as well as to the philanthropy of the charitable. In Philadelphia, the Pennsylvania hospital has more celebrity than any other in America. It is furnished with a good library, an anatomical museum, has extensive wards for the treatment of the insane, and admits a considerable number of patients afflicted with other diseases. It was established in 1756.The picture shortly expected from Mr. West representing our Saviour healing the sick in the temple, is said to be a master-piece, and will no doubt yield to the hospital a considerable revenue. There are institutions of a similar nature established at Baltimore and in New York, as well as in some other cities of the continent: and the public spirit of their respective states renders it probable that, they will sooner or later be extensively useful. With regard to this department of civil organization, it may be said that every county of our numerous states provide for the sick poor by the establishment of almshouses, which, on account of the rapid increase of our population, will unquestionably contribute to develop on an extended scale, the nature of diseases and the mode of treatment.

In order the more effectually to promote medical science, various colleges and societies have been formed in all our principal seaports and in some of our country towns. The members hold occasional meetings for the discussion of medical subjects,--for the publication of new facts and new doctrines, and for the regulation and arrangement of the practical concerns of the profession:—And indeed it may be observed generally that medical associations of every kind increase with the augmentation of knowledge upon other subjects. They arise from the ambition of a few individuals who wish to be distinguished. They sometimes divide from faction, and often dwindle into insignificance from neglect. Some regenerating spirit again breathes into them the breath of life: and thus the medical population presents a continual succession of compositions and decompositions: which, first and last, however, contribute to throw considerable light upon the prevailing doctrines of medicine. Our labours have not yet been such as to make us celebrated for any great profundity of erudition or grandeur of results. As we have, an adequate number of medical labourers, however, the insufficiency of former results should not depress our hopes of future success. The number of pupils yearly in the schools of medicine amount to about eight hundred; and besides these there are a vast number let loose upon the community from the offices of country practitioners of inferior note. The character of the faculty is in general highly honourable; though, like every other liberal profession, it brings into play all the little passions, which deform our race. In all the states the profession is respected; and in the southern particularly it stands high, and is pursued because it is creditable. It is believed to be both respectable, and, in some districts, essential, to attend the lectures in the cities, in order to complete the course of education:- And as the professors receive their patronage from the students, and in proportion to their celebrity, they have every stimulus to exertion. The revenues of the professors in Philadelphia are high; amounting to between seven and eight thousand dollars from their classes, and in general between three and six thousand from their practice.

The elementary works are read by the students; and as three years are often allotted to the completion of their studies, the profession has, as might be expected, many highly respectable members. In new countries, however, the people are often more ignorant and indifferent to character, either intellectual or moral; and it is just to state, therefore, that in this country many medical men enter on the practice without being thoroughly prepared. The young men have, in general, a great deal of good sense, united with a high spirit of independence: And as the merits of their professors are freely descanted upon, they generally form pretty accurate opinions of their talents and of their moral principles. In its medical character our country resembles very much the United Kingdoms; where it is customary for more than one half of the pupils at the universities to commence the practice without longer preparation than the term of a year.

We have three denominations of practitioners; the first of which may be called the thorough bred,--the second the moderate,

and the third the ignorant and empirical.

With regard to the laws which have been made for the protection of the profession; Maryland, New Jersey, Ohio, and some of the other states, have appointed committees for the VOL. IX.


examination of practitioners, and for the suppression of empirics. The progress of opinion respecting the true interests of the community, will no doubt soon render such provisions general. Our apothecaries are permitted, however, to sell without restraint whatever drugs they please; and dangerous accidents often result from the low state of our art in this department.--In a few instances, legislative aid has been afforded to medical institutions; and it is gratifying to witness in our country, now composed of twenty independent nations, that public instruction and the dissemination of useful knowledge has been so general; and that philosophical and scientific societies and schools, are rising in every quarter of the Union.

The religious and moral character of the profession ought not, by any means, to be overlooked. The appearance of the doctrines of Brown,—who explained all the phenomena of the human body, by attributing to it a quality, which distinguished it from inanimate matter, and made all its changes dependent upon the action of our food, drink, heat, and the air we breathe,disjointed the religious principles of its members, and for the last twenty years produced more deists than perhaps was ever before known. His opinions led to the belief that the body and the mind were the result of a certain number of agents in constant operation,—and that they cease to exist as soon as their agency is withdrawn. The immortality of the soul, and a future state of rewards and punishments, was of course rejected; and along with it every other doctrine which raises man above the beasts that perish. One would suppose, on the first view of the subject, that the examination of the human frame would be the last cause of scepticism; and yet it is a fact, that the great body of physicians in the United States have very little of what other men would call religion. In the worldly sense of the word, however, they cannot in general be said to be immoral men. Mr. Stewart, (speaking of those authors who have embraced the theory of materialism,) has very good remark upon this subject. They

consist chiefly of men whose errors are easily accounted for; of physiologists, accustomed to attend to that part alone of the human frame, which the knife of the anatomist can lay open; or of chymists, who enter on the analysis of thought, fresh from the decompositions of the laboratory; carrying into the theory of mind itself, what Bacon expressly calls the smoke and tarnish of the furnace.""* Magni est ingenii (says Cicero,—but Mr. Stewart does not go quite so far) revocare mentem a sensibus, et cogitationem a consuetudine abducere.

* Account of the Life and Writings of Dr. Reid.


ART. III.-Quinze yours a Londres, a la fin de 1815. Par

M. ***, Paris, 1816. 12mo. pp. 2119 RENCHMEN have a right now to theirturn at calumniation.

For more than twenty years the English have enjoyed almost unmolested the privilege of slandering, -not only their immediate neighbours --but almost every other nation on the globe. The people of the United States have by no means wanted their share of scandal: and, indeed, with respect to ourselves, the acrimony of malediction seems to have increased exactly in proportion as it was not deserved; for when all the whims and institutions of the mother country are imitated here, as well as we clumsy Republicans know how, there appears to be something extremely ungrateful in abusing us for not doing better. But the truth is, we do too well; and as our rivals have seen that we possess the greatest means for the acquisi. tions of wealth, they have attempted to make up the advantage by employing their superior literary force to misrepresent and to belie us. Here we are obliged to acknowledge our inferiority. The French are perhaps the only people who can adequately retaliate the calumny of which themselves, as well as their neighbours, have been the impotent subjects; and as peace has now given them access to England, we see they already begin to pay off the national debt of abuse which has been so long accumulating. General Pillet and the author before us have acquitted themselves well: and if the present Alien Laws are not construed so as to exclude their countrymen from the island, we hope many years will not elapse before Englishmen will be awoke from the dream of supposing themselves immaculate.

We must not be understood, however, to recommend a book like the one on our table as an authentic record of facts, or to seek retaliation purely for the sake of retaliation. Our object is, we believe, a little more charitable. We are confi. dent that neither the malicious falsehoods of general Pillet, nor the playful misrepresentations of Mr. *** are calculated to effect abroad any very extensive or permanent misconception of English institutions or of English character. The only benefit which we expect from such publications is their tendency to dissipate the misconception of Englishmen themselves relative to their own customs and institutions. If they could be disabused as well in any other way, we should certainly prefer it;—but long experience has made us very sure that they are a people who will never believe any of their own practices to be ridiculous, or cease to ridicule the practices of others, till a few authors like those abovementioned have convinced them in a practical manner, that, in the hands of a foreigner, the government, religion, and every institution, in short,

« AnteriorContinuar »