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The members of 0. Æ have always been mindful of the duty they owe their alma mater, and in seeking to raise higher the standard of medical education, have resolved to aid by every means in their power, the achievement of this much to be desired object.
As representatives of the younger branches of the profession, we respectfully embrace this opportunity of emphatically asserting a most earnest desire for increasing the standard of requirements for those about to matriculate, and by advocating à spirit of emulation among each other, hope to incite attention to some of the many subjects that have heretofore necessarily been hurried over, owing to a limitation of time.
Grateful for the many advantages already proffered by the very excellent and honored institution, which we feel pride in acknowledging as our parent, we deem it a duty to supply a want that has been felt by students on various occasions, and bearing in mind the adage, “Put not off till to-morrow, the work of to-day,” have resolved to inaugurate forth with some measure that might result in establishing a medical library, easy of access at all times, to those who desire to consult it, and by furnishing works of reference difficult to obtain, and beyond the reach of those whose names are limited, prove as a valuable adjunct in the diffusion of knowledge.
All honor to the cherished memory of Valentine Mott. We wish in no way to detract from the merit and intent of the “Memorial Library,” but on the spot, in this very building, dedicated to the prosecution of those great studies that draw annually within its precincts students from far and distant climes, which offers advantages, many, indeed, but we would add one more, a library.
Fully impressed with this determination, we point with feelings of pride to the nucleus furnished from the Department of State, through the Honorable Hamilton Fish, and to the generous contributions of Messrs. Wm. Wood & Co., Appleton & Co., etc., who have displayed a liberality that deserves more than this passing notice. We would call the attention of our Alumni to the undertaking, and urge upon them the establishment by voluntary contributions, of a library, that shall answer the requirements, and serve as a lasting monument, to perpetuate the interest they evince in the Bellevue Hospital Medical College, and add still another to the many attractions which are rapidly putting our young alma mater in the foremost ranks of those great Institutions that are to elevate the standard, and raise the dignity and usefulness of our calling throughout the world.
Individual efforts to elevate the standard of our profession has accomplished much, but more, vastly more, may be achieved by means of associated effort. By association, nearly all the triumphs of the present day have been accomplished ; by association, the great arteries of commerce and travel that thread their way across this continent to the far off Pacific, have been established. By association, the Pacific Railroad found its way across the mountains, and the speed of lightning has become a tame and trite expression, since the lightning itself has become the messenger of thought, asking and allowing no calculation of time or space, with which a thousand years are as a moment, and the circuit of the earth but as a needle's point. The telegraph has long ago spread its network of intelligent wire all over the mountains and streams of our extended territory; and by the aid of associated effort, it has now found its way across the trackless ocean, which has united in a communicative union the two great divisions of the globe on which we dwell, thus violating almost as it would seem, the command of the Almighty, by joining together that which God had put asunder. Alone, the dew-drop would be useless, but when it commingles and associates with its kindred drops, they distil their freshness and influence upon the tender plant, making the earth to rejoice, the tender plant to bloom in beauty and verdure, the fields to ripen with the richest harvest, to bless the husbandman's heart.
Amid the gush of pleasure and the joys of this golden hour, it is my painful duty to refer to the illustrious dead of our order, Honorable Martin J. Love, M.D., State Senator of Bennington, Vt., whose high professional attainments, social qualities, and noble impulses, endeared him to all within the circle of his acquaintance. Again, Dr. C. G. Steadman, of Ohio, former Secretary of our Order. Again the faculty of our young college has been called upon to mourn the loss of one of its youngest and most promising members. In the pride and strength of manhood, in the full promise of successful usefulness, and in the ardent prosecution of the labors of the science he loved so well, Dr. J. W. Southack fell a martyr.
This Society now numbers five hundred members, many of whom are scattered throughout the United States, the British Provinces, and the different parts of the Continent of Europe. Many have risen to honorable distinction; and among those to whom we refer with pleasure is Dr. C. A. Leale, who was one of the attending physicians upon President Lincoln in his last hour, and is now one of the rising young surgeons of our proud metropolis. Another, Dr. J. Taber Johnson, at the early age of twenty-four, is now occupying the enviable position of Professor in the Howard University Medical College, at the Capitol of the Nation. To think and to work is to live. The fellows of this order, therefore, who would occupy an elevated position in our profession, and on the great theatre of life, must renounce forever the pernicious habits of indolence and dissipation. In all our laudable undertakings, we must never remit our ardor for a moment; we must possess a courage and a fortitude which no opposition can dampen, and no adversity can subdue. While pursuing this course, our minds will become enlightened, will become refulgent, and will drive away the clouds and dulness from the mind, as the mist which rolls up the hillside, and disperses before the rising glories of a summer sun.
May I not on this occasion be addressing some member of our order who will yet ennoble, adorn, and bless the age and generation in which he lives ; some illustrious Mots enshrined and canonized in the grateful hearts of his countryman, who will make for himself a monument more enduring than bronze or marble, beneath whose shade things will moulder, and around whose summit eternity will forever play!
Now, my fellows, in conclusion, allow me to say that the duties of your profession are interesting and important. The duties of society and of religion are also binding upon you. May you discharge them all with fidelity and honor! Then, when the events of time shall be ended, and the retributions of eternity begin, we shall be deemed worthy to enter the doors of the celestial temple, and advance the glories incomparably more resplendent than any here below.
ORDER OF ÆSCULAPIUS.
Address delii ered at the Seventh Annual Re-Union, in the Lecture
February 27, 1871.
Ladies and Gentlemen and Fellows of the Order of Æsculapius :
Time,“ remorseless time, fierce spirit of the glass and scythe,” that knows no weight of sleep or weariness, stalks on in his triumphant, unremitting march ; and since we were last assembled, another year has rolled into the deep abyss of the past, and the moonlight of another reunion evening has risen upon us. Again we find ourselves surrounded by a large and intelligent audience, with an enchanting array of female beauty, convened from the best circles of our proud metropolis. Many of our former Felļows have left distant fields of professional labor, to join in this annual festival, thus renewing the ties of friendly intercourse, and again briefly live over the happy days of college life. Under these circumstances, it now becomes my happy privilege to extend to one and all a respectful and grateful welcome to this our seventh annual reunion. Around the altar of friendship do we thus yearly assemble, and bring our votive incense to that temple which our predecessors founded on the firm basis of science and truth, supported by the wisdom of our Faculty, the energy of our intelligent young practitioners and advanced students in medicine, who are ardent and zealous in the advancement of our science, and do most deeply deplore the prejudice that retard its progress. As a society we design to uphold the dignity, and to encourage the legitimate exercise of our profession, the aim of which is to extinguish the false light of empiricism, and to substitute a steady beacon on the solid, permanent basis of truth and science ; at the same time to present the extension of the practical mischief of that ignorance which has been our object to enlighten, and allow none to pass the portals of our temple, excepting those who
may be justly considered physicians in reality as well as in name. During the short time that our order has existed, we have gained an honorable distinction throughout the length and breadth of our land; and our influence for good upon the cause of medical education is now felt beyond our national boundaries. Having access to the large hospitals, under the charge of the Commissioners of Public Charities and Correction, we justly appreciate them as advantages that are nowhere else, to such a vast extent, afforded to the students of the human system ; but notwithstanding such facilities, we desire to perfect the design of our society library, which has yet to be furnished with many valuable works for reference that are beyond the reach of most students and many old established practitioners, on account of their great pecuniary value. We would call the attention of our alumni to this subject, and urge upon them the propriety of establishing a Library Fund. Also in this connection allow me to suggest the propriety of inaugurating a plan to establish a monthly paper, to be called “The Journal of the Order of Æsculapius,” in which should appear the proceedings of our weekly meetings, and the valuable clinical reports of our members who are now scattered in various parts of our vast continent. If, perchance, any should consider these suggestions impracticable, on acount of our comparative youth as an organization, let me remind them that we do not endorse the idea which is prevalent in many communities, that young men are unfit for doctors, generals or statesmen, and that they must be left in the background until their physical strength is impaired with age, and their intellect blunted with years. Look to the history of the past, and from the long lists of physicians, surgeons, heroes and statesmen who have nobly distinguished themselves, we will find that they were young men who performed those acts which have won for them an imperishable meed of fame, and which placed their names on the pages of history. The late lamented Dr. Valentine Mott, whose name is a household word in all civilized countries, was but twenty-four years of age when elected to the professorship of surgery in his own Alma Mater. Alexander, the conqueror of the whole world, died at thirty-three years of age. Bonaparte was crowned Emperor of France when thirty-three. Our