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PHYSIOLOGY AND HYGIENE.
The delivery, too, of lectures fully illustrated, but avoiding all clap-trap, would confer incalculable benefit. These subjects have been made the matter of examination by the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge of youths “not members of the university,” and have been introduced into the arts course of some other universities and colleges. Notwithstanding a memorial to the President of the Privy Council by sixty-five of the most eminent medical men in London, the subject is not yet taught in common schools in England. In Ireland the Education Commissioners promised to have a readingbook on health prepared, the matter having been brought before parliament last session. In America they have been in advance of us, for in some of the States there are special enactments requiring physiology and hygiene to be taught in the public schools.
Sanitary organization will always be incomplete and inoperative without the aid of the popular educator, for a thorough system of inspection of the circumstances prejudicial to health is resented by those who do not understand its advantages, and they will not believe in the appropriate maxim of Dublin city, obedientia civium, urbis felicitas. The teachings of hygiene do good by suggesting rules for individual management, and especially by preparing the popular mind for matters of sanitary reform, which among the ignorant or parsimonious often meet with apathy or opposition. With regard to the effect of external agencies on the health of our bodies, ignorance and desperate negligence prevail even amongst the most refined classes, and the efforts of physicians are thus often frustrated.
The suffocation of persons in holds of vessels, beside lime-kilns, or in wells, and the deaths of infants from ignorance of the fit mode of caring them, would no longer shock us if such subjects were taught in national schools.
It behoves every great educational establishment to institute professorships for the instruction of students of
PHYSIOLOGY AND HYGIENE.
all professions in that knowledge so essential to the preservation of health. Moreover, the study in the proper spirit of the perfection of creative power is calculated to awaken and cultivate the noblest and highest emotions of our minds, and raise our thoughts above mundane aspirations. Well might the anatomist of old exclaim that in writing his great treatise, he felt he was composing & hymn to the Deity. Such studies are certainly more humanizing than those of disused languages or obsolete historical facts.
PRELIMINARY AND MORAL EDUCATION.
AMPLE preliminary information should be insisted on from students of the noble profession of medicine for the following reasons—first, to improve the social status of the practitioner ; and, second, to make the acquisition of professional knowledge more facile. The possession of general information on literary and scientific subjects would indisputably tend to elevate the relation which the medical man bears to general society, and cause him to be regarded by the educated in every walk of life as a companionable gentleman, and not (as is now too often the case) as a mere servile trader. Any educated gentleman, however, might justly refuse to the vulgar and unlettered that respect and confidence which the family physician must possess. One of Dr. Lever's best novels, “Sir Brooke Fossbrooke," admirably contrasts the refined physician in the character of Dr. Beattie, and the vulgar practitioner, of whom Sewell, the man of the world in the novel, remarks, “ These fellow's begin life as such cads, they never attain to the feeling of being gentlemen!"
An increased literary and professional course, moreover, would exercise a beneficial check on overcrowding-an evil often anticipated. If this outer gate of the profession were fitly guarded, persons whose mental capacity obliges them to give up the profession after loss of time and money, or, if they manage to pass, to practise it with discredit, would be excluded. It would be far more merciful to save them from these evils by a
suitable initiatory test. Inasmuch as nearly all the nomenclature of medicine and its collateral sciences is derived from the classical languages, a knowledge of them is desirable. Of the two, Latin is the more indispensable. Prescriptions will continue to be written in that language, as they are thus more universally applicable, and it is not always desirable the patient should know what is prescribed. The Medical Council has wisely determined that the British Pharmacopæia shall be in English, as also should be the directions for the patient.
A knowledge of Latin would enable the student not only to read the elegant writers of antiquity, but also to peruse with great advantage the medical classics and older scientific works in that tongue, which are now unfortunately out of fashion. A few years ago diplomas were printed in Latin, but so unlearned were some of the doctors that at further examinations for licences they were not able to translate them. Greek also is most useful, as all the roots of technical terms are borrowed from it. It is undeniable, however, that there are many subjects now neglected in schools which, as instruments for training the mental faculties and for affording useful and interesting knowledge, are far superior to the dead languages. To take Mr. Lowe's illustration, it is better that a lad should be taught something about the site and uses of the liver than that the Greek for it was hepar and the Latin jecur.
Mr. Lowe's address was, indeed, remarkable, abounding in accurate logic, caustic wit, and most apposite illustrations, which were not the less valuable because they brought reflected light from different trains of thought. He argued that nature begins with the knowledge of things, and words will follow. So much labour is spent on languages that Heine exclaims, “How fortunate the Romans were that they had not to learn Latin grammar, because if they had done so they never would have had time to conquer the world." Lads
about to begin the study of medicine are usually quite uninformed on the principles of natural science. This very much depends on the very inferior position which these subjects hold in the old-fashioned universities, for they are “unfairly handicapped endowments," half a million more being yearly given for pure classical and mathematical excellence. Those who would decry the over importance assigned to classics might well quote the saying of John Hunter to Sir A. Carlisle: “ They wanted to make an old woman of me, or that I should stuff Latin and Greek at the university ; but” (added he, significantly pressing his thumb-nail on the table) 6 these schemes I cracked like so many vermin as they came before me.” This disinclination to literary study may account for the obscurity with which he conveys his greatest discoveries and his ill success as a lecturer. When a lad has begun medical work he should give up classical study, or only pursue it during vacations, which he must do if he has not adopted the Council's advice to pass it before he commenced medicine.
In Ireland, however, it does not seem to be the exhaustive study of languages which leaves no time for the acquirement of scientific knowledge, for many a doctor fails in writing a grammatical letter to the poor law guardians, for example ; and Sir D. Corrigan asserted that " under the present system, young men get into the profession who could not pass an examination for the place of a letter-carrier.” In times long past the doctor and the priest used to be appealed to when some literary crux having been suggested, the schoolmaster had been found wanting.
The French and German languages are of infinite service to the educated physician, for besides their scholarly value the brilliant successes of the one nation, and the laborious investigation of the other with them, become his own. However, far above all in importance is the knowledge of our own language, its grammar and