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theatres, have taken their departure, many to recruit in the fresh air of their country homes, their energies, well-nigh exhausted in following the hurried courses of instruction of the past sessions, and to digest, if that were possible, the mass of information which has been crammed into them under the forcing process of our present system of medical education.
The learned Professors, equally exhausted, but compensated in the division of the receipts from the seven, instead of the ten or twelve chairs, as it should be, are resting from their labors. Those not engaged in active practice have retired to their country residences to enjoy rest and quiet-some happy in the possession of a fortunate class of patients, who betake themselves and families annually to the sea-side, have followed their example, and have established themselves in their "cottages by the sea," where they may combine business with pleasure. Again, a few, toilers, workers through heat and cold, have remained at their posts, enjoying the comforts of their homes, and are happy in the preparation of the materials for a new course of lectures, or for a new edition of a successful work.
Recurring to the hard-driven student, I am tempted to ask, when will anything practical be accomplished in regard to the very important question of reform in our system of medical education ? Each year, in our National Association, reports are presented, suggestions offered, plans proposed, and discussions held, and still no definite action is taken. Why is this? Is it for the reason that reform is not needed, or are the plans proposed not feasible? I am disposed to think that no question exists as to the need of reform, or of the practicability of some of the plans proposed. Does the difficulty lie in absence of co operation on the part of the medical schools, and does this refusal to co-operate arise from a desire to avoid division of the fees, which would necessarily follow the creation of additional chairs, and the extension of the course? These are important questions, and the interests of the schools as well as of the students demand they should be answered, and that such action should be taken as will place medical instruction in this country upon a basis in keeping with the progress of the science, and with the spirit of the age in which we live.
During the past spring additional clinical advantages have been afforded the students of our medical schools in the establishment of a clinic for the diseases of women and children at the Philadelphia Hospital, and also of a clinic of diseases of the ear at the Will's Ophthalmic
Hospital. By means of the former, the valuable material in the large obstetrical and children's department of the hospital has been made available for the purposes of clinical instruction in these important branches. The inauguration of this effort to utilize the too-long neglected material of this department is hailed with satisfaction by all of the friends of this institution. It marks an era in its history, and gives evidence of the infusion of a new spirit into its management. It may be regarded as the beginning of the end” of that unwise opposition on the part of some of the managers, which tended to limit the use of the cases under treatment in the hospital for the purposes
of instruction. It seems but just, and due to the large number of stu- : dents who come from all parts of the country to this city, to obtain their medical education, they should be permitted to enjoy the benefits of instruction in our eleemosynary institutions, toward the maintenance of which they, in a measure, contribute.
It is hoped that the day is not far distant when, by additions to the medical staff, all of the clinical resources of this large hospital will be fully developed and employed for the purposes of instruction.
Through the kindness of Dr. Richard J. Dunglison, I am permitted to lay before your readers the following brief sketch of the life of his father, the late Prof. Dunglison. In a former letter I alluded to the retirement of Prof. Dunglison from active duty, and the remarks made by Prof. Dickson at the commencement exercises of the Jefferson Medical College. On that occasion the Professor expressed the hope that—"At peace with all men, and surrounded by everything
that should accompany old age,
As honor, love, obedience, troops of friends,' he should long remain with us who so truly admire and esteem him.” This hope was not to be realized. Disease, which had fastened upon him many years before, and which had been resisted with unexampled fortitude, stayed not its progress, and in one short month after the utterance of this kind wish, exhausted by great and long-continued bodily suffering, though in full possession of his intelligence and “capacious memory," he passed away-profoundly regretted by the "troops of friends who so truly admired and esteemed him."
He was born January 4th, 1798, at Keswick, Cumberland, England.
Intending to pursue a mercantile life, his early education was in that direction. Owing, however, to the death of a relative with whom he designed engaging in business, he abandoned the intention of leading a commercial life, and commenced the study of medicine. He be
gan the practice of his profession in London in 1819, after having fully qualified himself by attendance upon a course of lectures at Edinburgh, one at the "Ecole de Médicine," and several private courses in Paris; he also passed the examinations of the Royal College of Surgeons and the Society of Apothecaries in London, and in 1823 he graduated at the University of Erlangen in Bavaria.
On his return to London, he decided to devote himself to obstetrical practice, and was soon after elected “Physician Accoucheur" to the Eastern Dispensary. In 1824 he announced a course of lectures on "The principles and Practice of Midwifery,” to be delivered in the following October. Before the time had arrived for the delivery of this course of lectures, he received an invitation from Francis W. Gil. mer, acting in behalf of the “Board of Visitors of the University of Virginia," and who had been sent abroad to select Professors to accept a chair, the duties of which comprised instruction in “Anatomy, Surgery, the History of the Progress and Theories of Medicine, Physiology, Materia Medica and Pharmacy." Undismayed by the comprehensive nature of the duties devolving upon the occupant of the chair to which he was invited, he accepted the invitation, and made arrangements to emigrate.
In October, 1824, he married Harriette, daughter of John Leadam, Esq., practitioner of medicine in Southwark, London, and embarked for this country, which, owing to numerous delays and a long royage, he did not reach until February 10th, 1825.
Landing at Norfolk, Virginia, he proceeded to Charlottesville, the seat of the University. Here he resided until 1833, at which time he was elected to a chair in the University of Maryland. His residence at Charlottesville he always spoke of as embracing many happy years, rendered so, in a great measure, by the intimate friendship of Presidents Jefferson and Madison.
In 1836 he became connected with the Jefferson Medical College, and removed to this city, where he resided until his death, which occurred April 1st, 1869.
His literary labors began at an early period, and continued without interruption until within a few days of the close of his life, bodily infirmity compelling him then to lay aside his "well-used pen." The results of this indefatigable labor with his pen were numerous contributions to literary and scientific journals, translations from the German and French, and the publication of many standard works upon medical subjects. Of the latter those best known and best received
were, “The Practice of Medicine," "Human Physiology," "General Therapeutics and Materia Medica,” of which passed through several editions. His most successful work, and that which has been justly characterized as a monument of patient research, skillful judgment, vast physical labor, and great erudition, was his Medical Dictionary. Numerous editions of this reliable work have been issued from the press, each one "carefully revised and greatly enlarged." The anxious desire of the author “to make it a satisfactory and desirable, if not indispensable lexicon, in which the student may search without disappointment for every term that has been legitimated in the nomenclature of the science,” was fully realized. The labor required to accomplish this must indeed have been “something prodigious," the character of which, he remarked in the preface to the second edition, " has been so forcibly depicted by the great English lexicographer as well as the distinguished Scaliger.”
"Si quelqu'un a commis quelqne crime odieux
Qui le punisse veux que l'on me tonde." Numerous diplomas and certificates of honorary membership, received from literary and scientific associations of this country and Europe, attested the high estimation in which he was held at home and abroad.
Possessing administrative abilities of a high order, he was often selected as presiding officer of associations with which he was connected. For many years he was Dean of the Faculty of the Jefferson Medical College, and "administered its affairs with eminent success." He had been vice-president of the Sydenham Society of London, of the Pennsylvania Institution for the Instruction of the Blind, and of the American Philosophical Society. At the time of his death, he was president of the Musical Fund Society of this city, and “Emeritus Professor of the Institutes of Medicine and Medical Jurisprudence" in the Jefferson Medical College.
Profs. Pancoast, Gross and Dickson have been chosen to deliver addresses upon his "life and character," before the Faculty of the Jefferson Medical College of Physicians, and the American Philosophical Society. His son, Dr. Richard J. Dunglison, is engaged in the preparation of a memoir of his life.
The whole community, as well as the medical profession, have been called upon to mourn the loss of another of the eminent mem
bers of the profession, in the sudden death of Prof. Chas. D. Meigs, which occurred June 22d, 1869, near Media, Delaware county, Penn., in the seventy-eighth year of his age. Dr. Meigs was one of the most extensively known, highly esteemed, and generally beloved physicians of this country.
He was born in the State of Georgia, in 1791 ; graduated at the University of Pennsylvania in 1812, and practiced medicine in his native State until 1820, when he removed to this city. In 1840 he was elected Professor of Obstetrics in the Jefferson Medical College, occupying the chair for nearly twenty years. On his retirement, he was made Emeritus Professor of Midwifery and of the Diseases of Women and Children. He was one of the Physicians to the Lying. in Department of the Pennsylvania Hospital for ten years.
As an author, he enjoyed a world-wide celebrity. An original thinker, a graceful and forcible writer, he imparted to all of his works a character and a beauty of diction which rendered them most attractive.
A cultivated French scholar, one of his earliest efforts was the translation of “Velpeau's Midwifery;" then followed his work entitled “Females and their Diseases—a series of Letters to his Class « Various Treatises on Obstetrics and the Diseases of Children essays and papers in medical periodicals. During the present year he concluded his literary work by a translation from the French of the novel of "Typhaine's Abbey."
He was very much interested in agricultural pursuits, and had resided for a number of years upon his farm in Delaware county, where he pursued his literary labors without interruption, and indulged his tastes in agriculture.
His health had declined somewhat latterly. He was found dead in his bed—having retired the night before in his usual health. No cause has been assigned for his sudden death.
His son, Dr. J. Forsyth Meigs, of this city, has been selected by the College of Physicians to write a memoir of his life.
Thus, in a short time, have passed away two of the eminent men of our profession. Friends and colleagues for many years, zealous and most industrious workers, unlike in many respects, but alike in the greatness of their intellects, and in the possession of all of those qualities of character which belong to the kind-hearted, benevolent, high-minded and courteous gentleman. In the record of their careers they have left behind imperishable monuments in honor of themselves.