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and the wound treated as an open sore, without endangering the life of the patient by the complication of a suppurating joint, a great point is gained, and fewer amputations of the legs will be performed hereafter, both in civil and military practice. We believe the day is not distant when this will be the established practice in injuries, and in many diseases of the joints. In military surgery, Stromeyer has already put it to the test by laying the front of the knee-joint freely open, as if for exsection, in a case of gunshot wound, with encouraging results. The frequent accidents in which the entire joint is exposed, and yet complete cures are effected, with no unfavorable symptoms, confirm this opinion. The rule to save as much of the limb as possible, when amputation is inevitable, is a prominent feature of the surgery of our day. Its advantages are especially seen in the lower extremity in the amputations at the ankle-joint. The simple methods of Syme and Pirogoff, by which the limb is rendered nearly as serviceable as with the foot complete, illustrate well the advance of our art. We have thus pointed out some of the methods by which conservative surgery is accomplishing its beneficent mission. We could adduce examples from every branch of practice, but these may suffice.

XVII.

PUBLIC BENEFACTORS.

"H

"APPY the man," says an old moralist, "who has never had the misfortune to discover or invent anything useful or profitable to mankind." At the first blush no statement would appear more paradoxical. In all the wide world, that man esteems himself the most fortunate who realizes the consummation of years of dreaming in the full perfection of a curious or useful invention. Every discovery in the arts and sciences has apparently made at least one man happy. From Archimedes to the last inventor of a Yankee notion, the ecstatic shout of every discoverer has been, Eureka! Eureka! And this burst of enthusiasm far less often gives expression to the unselfish gratification of genius triumphing over the “hidden things in nature," than to that inordinate and insatiable desire for fame, wealth, and ease, always existing in a state of expectancy in the human breast. We can conceive of no sublunary honors or rewards more likely to be acceptable to man, than to be known, through his inventions or discoveries, as a public benefactor. But he alone is the correct observer of the sources of happi

ness and misery among men, who penetrates beyond the seeming and apparent, which gloss the present, and contemplates the ultimate bearing and effect of current events on the lives of individuals. And whoever thus pauses to reflect upon the subsequent lives of those who esteem themselves the benefactors of their race, by the utilization of a discovery or invention, will be forced to acknowledge that the proverb of the moralist has a profound significance. We know not what example he may have observed, where a life of toil in the patient search after truth, it may be through poverty, disappointment, and disgrace, but crowned with ultimate success, had been rewarded with the most relentless persecution and cruel defamation. He may have seen a student of science, after years of labor and sacrifice, educe a principle of world-wide application to the arts of living, only to have the remainder of his life rendered miserably unhappy by the assaults of slander and detraction. How rarely, indeed, does the public benefactor wear his wreath unchallenged by the tongue of slander! The history of many branches of science and art is but a continuous record of the struggles of discoverers to establish their just and honest claims to consideration. Nor does this conflict cease with the death of the devotee of science, but the tooth of envy and detraction ever gnaw at what of reputation may have survived, until this too is consumed, or until posterity may haply embalm

it beyond the possibility of destruction. While these remarks are true of science in general, they are eminently applicable to medicine. The noblest, most learned, most self-sacrificing, most magnanimous profession has been but a beargarden from the time of its founder to the present. As a body it is united in fraternal and indissoluble bonds, against any and all attempts to harm its integrity or impair its strength, while it is rent by intestine feuds, and distracted by personal assaults. Envy and jealousy rule the hour, and hunt down innocent virtue with a ferocity that knows no control. We need not instance examples; they will recur to every one in ample numbers. From Hippocrates to Morton -from the first invention to the latest modification of splints for the treatment of morbus coxarius, there is an unbroken line of martyrs. We claim to be students of the most progressive science in the entire circle, and yet the path of medical progress is marked with the crosses on which were crucified those who have ventured to take a single step in advance of their fellows. Whoever dares to raise his head above the common level and assert a new principle, becomes at once the target at which a thousand shafts are launched, and too often by unseen hands. With a certain class of medical men, we know of no greater stimulus to research than the announcement of a new invention in the mechanics of our art, or a new principle in its science. Busy hands are at

once at work in our libraries, musty volumes are rudely taken from their dusty retreats, medical journals through long unindexed series are consulted page by page, modern Latin, old French, obsolete German text, are deciphered, and in due time an elaborate article appears, proving conclusively that this contemporary discovery was well known, or at least hinted at, in some former period. We are amazed at the revelation, and marvel that so little should be known of it in our day. In our surprise we forget the just claims to our gratitude of him who has reproduced and utilized a principle, dimly perceived, perhaps, and but obscurely apprehended by his predecessors. Reclamation and crimination follow, and though our knowledge of the past may be advanced, it is at the expense, too often, of the just reputation, may be life-long discouragement, of a worthy member of our fraternity. We have long since come to commiserate in advance the man who is about to make public something new in his profession. Whatever may be the character of the discovery, whether a new elementary body in nature, a new remedy, a new physiological or pathological process, or a new surgical instrument or appliance, we can assure him that his claims to novelty will be disputed. We may refer to hundreds of examples within our recollection where the medical enthusiast, after long and patient effort, has committed to the public press his claims to discovery, only to meet with the ten

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