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tremely tedious in their monotony and suggestive of torpid literary sensibility.
The aspiring young writer, who is constantly enriching his diction and who is able to clothe, in exact, terse, pure, and clear language, the statement of such notions as he may wish to impart, is sure to enlist the attention and interest of a large class of readers. But however carefully he may have studied the subject of his discourse, howsoever elegant his style and correct his conclusions, he is not likely to escape the strictures of those captious critics who are ever seeking to discover what may have been omitted in any work whenever they fail to find flaws in the author's matter or manner.
The strict observance of the very simple rules given in this and in several of the preceding discourses, and close attention to the suitable arrangement and attractive presentation of the matter of his essays will assure their success and their approval by critical contemporaries and by discerning readers in the very distant future; particularly if he have taken the pains to acquire a pure and an abundant, exact, elegant diction free from floral decoration. He will then have attained the laudable end of compelling the right understanding of all the useful information he may seek to impart.
To the young speaker, only a few more cautionary remarks need now be addressed. His standing attitude should be natural, and his gestures rare and becoming; as any affectation in either case would be certain to prejudice his auditors. His voice should be clear, not loud, his
speech deliberate, and his enunciation distinct with the strictest observance of the rules of orthoepy. He should not declaim, but reason; he should forbear artificial mannerism; and eschew what is commonly styled "speech to the gallery."
In the discussion of a question raised at a gathering of physicians, he should not talk of his experience in this or that particular, but state modestly and simply such facts as he may possess or such conclusions as he may have reached from the observation of cases of disease.
Under no circumstances whatsoever should the speaker transgress the amenities of debate by offensive utterances of any sort or by inordinate censure, but be content to refute views which he may regard as erroneous, and do so in the most considerate tone, after having taken occasion to commend, without ostentation or patronage, all that is good in his opponent's discourse, and never wander from the main question under debate.
He should not make use of those popular locutions which are so ludicrous besides being indicative of poverty of diction. The chief among these vicious locutions are: "To speak frankly; in this connection; he was free to confess; that at this juncture; an occurrence which transpired; contrary to the anticipation of his patrons; was quite a little surprising." Above all he should never use slang expressions.
His personality should be sunken in the subject of his discourse, just as the personality of the truly great actor is always lost in the character which he interprets. So
would the personality of the medical orator be absorbed in the character of the phenomena which he is endeavoring to interpret, if he modestly abstain from the use of the pronoun of the first person singular, and from giving his opinion instead of conclusions reached by careful examination of a subject, for, a mere opinion has little value as against the general consensus of the learned.
If young writers and speakers accept the guidance of this particular conference, they cannot fail to make their contributions intelligible and otherwise profitable to readers; and if all loyal physicians will live up to the broad principles set forth in the rest of these conferences and give their earnest help toward effecting a solid, stable, union of the medical profession, their efforts will be crowned with the richest success, and they will have every reason to be proud of belonging to one of the most powerful national many-branched organizations whose just demands will not be denied in any part of this vast land, whilst membership of such a body, representing science and beneficence, will assure to each of its votaries the greatest public respect and the highest consideration.
LENGTH OF LIFE OF PHYSICIANS
To live long and be useful the physician must begin his career by living rightly-Mortality among physicians between the ages of twenty-one and forty-Average length of life of the physician-The question of retirement from practice and other work-Advanced age per se not a condition necessarily disqualifying a medical man from professional dutiesSenility not to be measured by length of years but by infirmities of body and mind-Longevity among eminent physicians -Examples of physical and mental activity in aged physicians-No good reason for retirement except physical or mental disability.
YOUNG physicians, naturally desirous to know what is likely to be their length of life and how long they should continue to labor in the practice of medicine, are soon made aware that a life of license and dissipation almost always shortly ends disastrously, and that to live long, and continue to be useful, they must begin their career by living rightly. This early beginning, made during student life, renders the good student a worthy candidate for longevity, since he is seldom ill, and leads a sober and regular life; having sought and followed the soundest hygienic precepts and being impressed with the idea that good health is essential to the usefulness of the young as well as the aged physician. He therefore employs the best means of preventing disease and preserving health,
and is generally successful in his struggles against those evils that hasten premature senility; remembering what Cicero said in his essay on old age which should be fought as a disease; that sage recommending sobriety and moderate physical and mental exercise without which the body and mind decay as a lamp not duly supplied with oil. He also remembers Seneca's words in his discourse on the shortness of life. "If it be well employed," he says, "life is sufficiently long. It becomes short when squandered or ill spent." So the life and usefulness of the laborer in medicine is likely to be long if he always observe moderation in exercise, food, drink, sleep, study, and in all things.
However, the mortality among physicians, between the ages of twenty-one and forty is known to be so great as to make the average life of the medical man shorter than that of some of those engaged in other pursuits, but this sad bill of mortality, carefully examined, will generally show that very many of the recorded deaths have occurred from preventable diseases as well as from accidents not a few of which were due to heedlessness. Of 229 deaths (betweent the ages of twenty-one and forty), whose causes were stated in a late mortuary report, 137 were from the following named causes: thirty-five from tuberculosis, twenty-five from typhoid fever, forty-five from pneumonia, and thirty-two from accidents.
Toward the close of the second third of the nineteenth century the average length of life of physicians was supposed to be thirty-two years, and down to the end of that century it had risen to thirty-five years. This increased