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NEW YORK CITY, APRIL 10, 1869. DEAR JOURNAL: After the bustle and excitement of the past winter at the various schools, male and female, of our city, we are once more enjoying a period of comparative rest. The numerous lectures, clinics and operations of the winter course, are over, and the dissecting rooms closed for six months. The college halls present a deserted appearance indeed, after having been so crowded for the past half year with the several hundred students who have recently been among us. To each and to every one who is this spring commencing the real struggle of life, we would wish a hearty. God-speed, and extend the right hand of fellowship. May bright success and happiness be theirs. And yet, we never attend a medical commencement, and see the enthusiastic young student, with beaming eye and high hope upon his brow, receiving his coveted diploma, without a feeling of sadness creeping over us. And this, because we can not help looking forward into the mysterious future, and picturing to ourselves how many of these, now so bright and buoyant, will, ere many years have flown, fall by the wayside, overcome by the turmoil and strife, and be trampled and forgotten, long ere the goal of their ambition is attained. Many a noble man has closed his weary eyes in death, no longer able to keep up the struggle, and sunk into an unknown grave, no hero on the pages of the world's history, but none the less a martyr to the glorious science that he loved so well. And yet, notwithstanding the hardships, and the difficulties, and the disappointments, that so often await those of our profession, we would never offer a single word of discouragement to any who have entered into it or who contemplate its adoption from proper motives; but would the rather say to them, if you would succeed, be enthusiasts in the profession of your choice. None is nobler, none more God-like. Enthusiasm, as in all other things, so in our calling, to a certain degree, is the soul of success. Not sentimental fanaticism, which is the dream of success, but a living, an energetic enthusiasm, which is the realization of success. Words, like men, often lose their reputation, from evil connection; so, by associating the word enthusiast with the teaching of the false and sickly doctrines of the day, it has lost caste. Yet, what is enthusiasm, but the earnest life-devotion to an end, the absorption of a man's being in some idea and purpose? Until the mind and the heart have become interwoven with the purpose, and thus separated from all ulterior objects and influences, no great end has ever yet been truly accomplished. Listen! And as you tread the memory vaults of the illustrious dead, every reverberation speaks of the deathless energy and passionate devotion -a life-long enthusiasm. What could be more grand than our lifework-to relieve human suffering and to prolong human life? It is ours to soothe the brow of anguish; ours to drive the demon pain away; ours to raise the prostrate sufferer; ours, relying upon a Higher Power!
But pardon us, dear Mr. Editor, we meant not thus to wander, but such was the current of our thoughts.
The spring courses of lectures are now quietly progressing, and the younger men of the profession have once more an opportunity of ventilating their views upon the various branches of our art. The lectures, for the most part, are not delivered by the regular professors, but by their assistants, or by those who have been fortunate enough to secure positions as summer lecturers. Many of the regular professors, however, still appear at the clinics, which are again in full and active operation; and the course this season is particularly fine. We never lack for material in this city. Tho following is the programme for each day, (the clinics being held at the three medical colleges, New York, Bellevue and Charity Hospitals, and at the New York Eye, and Cosmopolitan Eye and Ear Infirmary :)
Monday—Two surgical, three eye and ear, one venereal, one skin diseases, one obstetrical, and one medical. Tuesday-Three surgical, three medical, two eye and ear. Wednesday-Two medical, and one eye and ear. Thursday—Two surgical, one eye and ear, one medical, and one obstetrical. Friday—Two surgical, one eye and ear, one medical, one skin diseases, one obstetrical. Saturday—Two medical, one eye and ear, one children's diseases, and one surgical.
Amidst such a variety, it would seem that the student ought to acquire much practical information, and so do those who make a proper use of their eyes and ears. In its facilities for the practical study of disease, New York city is rapidly distancing all competitors.
Week before last, the mortality of this city amounted to four hundred and eighty-three, of this number, two hundred and fifty-five died in tenement houses, one hundred and two in public institutions, and one hundred and twenty-six in private houses and hotels. The health of the city, on the whole, is good. The excitement in relation to smallpox is abating. Great vigilance, however, is exercised at the quarantine and emigrant landing, on account of the prevalence of this fearful disease in several of the European cities. It is spreading widely in Montreal, and is still on the increase in California The Medical Gazette says: “The California Medical Gazette suggests that carbolic acid should have a thorough trial as a protective against small-pox. Let the air of the room in which the small-pox patient is lying, be saturated with it; let a solution of it be sprinkled on the floors, from which the carpets should be taken up; let large woolen cloths, saturated with it, be hung about; let some of it be put in every close stool and chamber utensil, so that all the excreta, as soon as passed from the patient, may be modified and disinfected by it; let the sewers and cesspools belonging to the premises, be flooded with even a weak solution, for one one-thousandth or even one fifteen-hundreth part of carbolic aoid, will prevent the decomposition, fermentation, and putrefaction of urine, blood and fæces for months, while one ten-thousandth has been found sufficient by Dr. Letheby to keep sewarage sweet or nearly deodorized. Let erery piece of clothing, and all bedding that has been in contact with the disease, be washed in it; let the body of the sick person be sponged off with it; let all attendants wash in it, or sprinkle their clothes with it; and let it be sprinkled about, both in and outside the house.""
The anniversary exercises of the Women's Medical College of the New York Infirmary, were held on April 1st, and were of a very interesting nature. A large and fashionable audience was present, and evinced much interest in the proceedings. The report of the institution was read by Emily Blackwell. “That the infirmary met a want, was shown by the readiness with which both patients and students resorted to it. Its value as a charity, is proved by its growth from two hundred and fifty, the record of its first year's practice, to seven thousand, two hundred, the number of its last year's patients. Its value to students is proved by looking over its record, and seeing how many of our most successful and women physicians have been connected with it as physicians and students. During the last twelve years, a succession of young women, three or four at a time, have come to the infirmary, and for varying periods of from one to four years, have devoted themselves to medical work, taking care of the patients in its wards, prescribing for them in the dispensary and visiting them in their own houses. More than seventy thousand patients have been attended by them, hundreds of poor families look to them for aid, and hundreds of children are growing up who know no other medical care. The liberal sentiment of the city has given our students advantages -which they can not obtain elsewhere. New York has the credit of first admitting women as students to the different city charities, and the medical profession of New York has been the first to give sufficient support to their efforts to carry out entirely their new undertaking. Those engaged in this matter, will long remember the lead New York has taken."
At the annual meeting of the Nursery and Child's Hospital, the report showed that there were admitted during the year, from March 1st, 1868, to March 1st, 1869, three hundred and ninety-nine children; born in the institution, sixty-seven; remaining at the present time, two hundred and thirteen children and one hundred and two adults. During the past year, there have been under treatment one thousand and thirty patients, exclusive of many cases of slight ailments common to infancy; of these, seven hundred and ninety-eight have recovered, fifty-four remain under treatment, and one hundred and seventy-eight have died. The most prevalent diseases have been those of the respiratory organs and of the alimentary canal. There have been twelve cases of scarlet fever, and eleven of diphtheria, two of each proving fatal, and considerable whooping cough, but no measles.
Just as we are ending this Petter, there has been handed to as a pamphlet on "The Treatment of Paralysis by Electrization, with an explanation of a New Galvanic Apparatus," by Dr. A. D. Rockwell, well known in medical circles in our city, but neither time nor space, nor ability, as we have not yet had an opportunity of looking over it, allow us to speak of its merits in this communication. In our next, we may have something to say of it. Yours, very truly,
JAMES B. BURNET.
SPRINGFIELD, OHIO, MARCH 29, 1869. MY DEAR EDITOR: Supposing that when fourteen years of age, I quit the common school, having education enough to begin "life for myself,” as the saying goes. Those who quit with me go to learn a trade, or stand in a grocery, or “onto" the farm, but I determine to finish my education and be a doctor.
In the first place, I attend a high school or academy for three years, at an expense of, say two thousand dollars. I then go to college for four years, at an expense of four thousand dollars. Then I study medicine during the three requisite years, costing with lectures, about thirty-five hundred dollars. Leaving me at the ten year's end, with a diploma and a cash deficit of nine thousand, five hundred dollars.
Had I used this capital and the labor and care of my ten years, in any trade or business, I could have been by this time a rich man; but here I am at last, ready for practice.
I buy books, instruments, drugs, a horse, harness and buggy, build an office, and have my shirts washed, at an expense of fifteen hundred dollars. If I buy the practice of some “old man,” I pay more (than it is worth.) I pay ten dollars for a physician's license. I have private means which bring me an income of one thousand dollars. I sit in my office, wear out my clothes, my patience, and the first year of my new life I collect two hundred dollars. The United States taxes are five per cent. on that. Five per cent. on two hundred dollars is ten dollars. Ten dollars tax and ten dollars for license, twenty dollars. Twenty dollars tax on two hundred dollars is steep.
That is the government tax on brains. Does it pay to cultivate them? Does it pay a free government to discourage the cultivation of them? Yours, very truly,
H. S. F. P. S.-I wore the blue, and am probably as patriotic as is the Chairman of the Committee of Ways and Means at Washington, but I feel at liberty to grumble at this imposition.
PROCEEDINGS OF THE AMERICAN PHARMACEUTICAL
ASSOCIATION AT THE SIXTEENTH ANNNAL MEETING, HELD AT PHILADELPHIA, PENNSYLVANIA, SEPTEMBER, 1868; ALSO, THE CONSTITUTION AND ROLL OF MEMBERS.
Philadelphia: Merrihew & Son, Printers, 243 Arch Street, 1869. Pages 506; paper.
This is a handsome volume, and much larger than that of last year, and presents ample evidence of the fact that the Association is composed of earnest, hard-working and learned men, who care more for the discussion of scientific and professional questions than of trivial and unimportant ethical ones. We repeat what we said when noticing