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der epithet, "plagiarist." Who doubts that Sims utilized the silver suture? and yet a long and elaborate essay has been written by an Edinburgh Professor to prove that metallic ligatures were previously used! Thomas has demonstrated the best method of treating a prolapsed funis, but a contemporary writer has shown that a London obstetrician once recommended the same practice. Reid has taught by dissections the most obscure practitioners how to reduce a dislocated thigh, but a learned neighbor has discovered that this operation has been accidentally performed many times before. Galt invented an ingenious trephine, but the moment it was made known, many of the old operating cases were found to contain somewhat similar instruments. Sayre illustrated a new instrument with which morbus coxarius could be cured, when a half dozen of the same sort, long since invented, were brought to light. We do not desire to deprecate free criticism on the utility, and even originality, of inventions and discoveries. But we must protest against that carping and cynical spirit, so prevalent in the profession, which always strives to destroy, and, failing, to lessen the merits of those who really advance the science of medicine. The man who renders useful and practical, in his own age, the neglected and useless ideas of a past generation, is equally, and indeed often far more, entitled to our esteem than the original discoverer. Whoever is imbued with the liberal

and catholic spirit of medicine does not stop to dispute with every one who lends him aid. Accepting with gratitude every means by which his progress can be advanced, he has no time to defame his fellows, and no disposition to question their sincerity. Were this the spirit that animated every member of our profession, what causes of endless wrangling would be removed! What sources of jealousy and heart-burnings would be forever obliterated! We should then present to the world the pleasing spectacle of a united brotherhood, governed by a code of morals above reproach. Every member would fulfill his mission, however exalted or humble, and receive from his co-laborers the plaudit of "well done." The inventor would rejoice to see his theories reduced to practice, and the practitioner would cheerfully give due credit and honor to one who had rendered his labors more simple and effective. We need not wait for the millennium to place the medical profession on such a peace basis; let each physician in his position cast aside forever the narrow and petty jealousies which govern men of other pursuits, and the reform will be complete. In all earnestness we urge the cultivation of that fraternal charity which suffereth long and is kind, envieth not, thinketh no evil, and rejoiceth in the truth.

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XVIII.

PRELIMINARY EDUCATION.

TH

HERE is no literary institution in the United States that does not put every student who seeks to enter its halls to the test of a rigid examination in the elementary branches of learning. If not found proficient, or not to have attained the required standard, he is refused admission, and compelled to turn back and qualify himself for those higher studies, or seek some employment better suited to his talents and acquirements. We are not aware that any one has complained that this system is too rigid, or that it is unjust. No one has even suggested that it were better to allow every student who applies for admission to the classes of our literary institutions to go through a regular course unchallenged and obtain what education he could, urging that thereby he would be a more useful man than he possibly could be educated. The position would certainly not be irrational, and might be maintained with a good array of arguments. On the contrary, all interested in the cause of education unite in sustaining the system, and give the best support to the colleges whose examination is most stringent. Nor do the pro

fessors in these institutions complain that by being thus careful in guarding the portals of the halls of learning they so effect a diminution of their classes as to endanger the very existence of their respective schools. There exists among them a spirit of emulation which exhibits itself in efforts to graduate classes well appointed by education to take high rank in subsequent life, rather than in measures to simply swell numbers regardless of their educational qualifications. The true measure of success with them is not the quantity but the quality of the material manufactured. Should a literary institution be established which admitted all who chose to apply, without an inquiry as to the moral character or preliminary education of the applicant until the completion of the prescribed course, we can have no doubt as to the rank which it would take. It might boast of well-filled halls, of overflowing classes, of a long catalogue of patrons, but it would never refer to the educational character of its graduates—the real test of its merits. Such a literary college would soon become a hissing and a byword among the educated, and would speedily sink under the load of infamy which it would call down upon its devoted head, by such a prostitution of its powers. It would be repudiated by every honorable, conscientious, and high-minded student, and its diploma would not be worth the parchment on which it was written. Its testimonial of proficiency in learning would be

but a price set upon idleness, incompetency, and demerit. While our literary institutions exhibit such commendable zeal in behalf of a high standard of education, and consider their chief excellence to rest in the character and not the number of their graduates, our institutions for medical learning pursue a diametrically opposite policy. They esteem the true measure of success to be the number of their graduates, and not the proficiency of these graduates in medical science. Their doors are not only thrown widely open and every one invited to enter, but, in some cases, their servants have been sent out into the highways and byways to compel students to come in that their lecture-rooms might be full. No test questions must be put to such guests, lest they should take it as an insult and attend a neighboring school. The only preliminary examination ever instituted, that we are aware of, was as to the color of the student. Some schools have not even the courage to exact the stipulated fee lest they should give offence and diminish their classes, while nearly all swell their lists with the names of many who are not full students of medicine. Under the title "beneficiaries" many colleges contrive to admit large classes who are totally unfit for the study, and much less the practice of medicine. All colleges agree in waiving an examination into the moral character and qualifications, by preliminary education, of the student, until he has completed the course of

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