Billeder på siden

of professional duty, that of a physician. His diploma of M. D., which was from Marischal College, Aberdeen, is dated July 10th in that year, and is expressed in terms of peculiar honour, differing from the usual language of that class of formularies. He was also elected an honorary member of the Medical and Chirurgical Society of Aberdeen, November 2d, 1820. The news of this election was communicated to him from Aberdeen by his friend Sir James M’Grigor, InspectorGeneral of the Army Medical Board, who characterizes this Society “as the principal medical institution in the north of Scotland, including among its members the most able professional men in that part of the empire; a society of which he had been a member for 30 years."*

Dr. Good announced to his friend Dr. Drake, about this time, that he might be regarded as “having begun the world afresh; but he hoped with good omens and a fair breeze.” In February 1821, after speaking of various professional topics, in another letter to the same gentleman he adds, in the frank confidence of friendship

“I have now tried my new fortune for nearly six months, and only wish I had felt it prudent to have

* Dr. Good was a member of several other learned and scientific bodies, at home and abroad. The dates of admission, so far as I have been able to ascertain them, I shall specify in this note.

Member of the College of Surgeons (as before-mentioned) Nov. 7th, 1793: Ceased to be such, October 11th, 1824.

Fellow of the Royal Society, 1805 or 1806.
Linnæan Society of Philadelphia, April, 1810.
New York Historical Society, Oct. 26th, 1813.
Literary and Philosophical Society of New York, May 9th, 1816.
Permissio Medicorum Collegii Regalis, Lond. Jun. 25, 1822.
Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, April, 1824.
New York Horticultural Society, Sept. 7th, 1824.

commenced earlier, for it has succeeded beyond my best expectations. All my old circle of patients are in turn patients still, without a single exception, so far as I know; and I have added very considerably to the number, as well as have to reply to a tolerably extensive range of advice from the country; so that my hands are pretty full still. I have also the satisfaction of finding that my late partner is gratified with his prospects. .. You will be surprised to learn that almost the first patient I had, on entering on my new department, was Sir Gilbert Blane, who paid me this compliment, as I feel it to be, from mere friendship."

Indeed, the new direction of Dr. Good's medical occupations scarcely for a single week produced any diminution of his labour; and after a very short interval his judgment was more sought, and his professional engagements more numerous, than at any preceding period.

From the period of Dr. Good's assuming the practice of a physician, he did not cease* to study, but gave to his leading literary occupations an appropriate direction. Probably indeed, looking forward to this, he laid down the general plan of a system of Nosology so early as the year 1808. The work, however, impeded as it of necessity was by the author's other pursuits, and receiving occasional modifications in minutiæ as he

* In this respect his judgment and his habits accorded fully with what has been recently expressed by a scientific medical writer, (I believe Dr. A. T. Thomson,) in “Thoughts on Medical Education," addressed to the Council of the University of London. “I am of opinion (says he) that the moment a practitioner ceases to be a student, he is no longer worthy of the confidence of the public; and that the life of a physician can only be truly useful and honourable, when it is unremittingly employed in study, in determining the truth of theoretical opinions by observation, and in proving the value of practical suggestions by the test of experience.”

advanced, was not published until the end of the year 1820, when it made its appearance in a thick octavo volume, under the title of “A Physiological System of Nosology, with a corrected and simplified Nomenclature.

No sooner was this work issued from the press, than its indefatigable author commenced a still more extensive, elaborate, and valuable performance, which was given to the world in 1822, in four large volumes octavo, entitled “ The Study of Medicine.The object of the author in this great work was to unite the different branches of medical science, which had usually been treated separately, into a general system. His success was as remarkable as the attempt was bold. He received the most lively and gratifying panegyrics from Sir Henry Halford, Sir James M'Grigor, Sir John Webb, Sir Gilbert Blane, Drs. Perceval (of Dublin,) Baillie, James Johnson, Duncan (of Edinburgh,) and others among the most eminent physicians in Great Britain ; from Drs. Hosack and Francis, of New York, and several men of considerable eminence on the continent of Europe. The sale of the volumes was very rapid; a circumstance which stimulated the author to prepare an enlarged and improved edition, which issued from the press in 1825, in five volumes octavo. His own copy of this edition contains several notes and improvements, condensed, however, into the smallest possible space, with a view to a third edition.

In the spring of 1826, Dr. Good found time to publish the lectures which he delivered at the Surrey Institution. They are contained in three volumes, entitled The Book of Nature;" of the contents of which, as well as of their author's other publications, I shall present

accounts in a chronological succession. Other literary pursuits, which still more engaged his heart and affections, he carried on simultaneously; but the results of these he did not live to lay before the world.

During the greater part of his life his health had been remarkably good; the cheerfulness of his disposition and the activity of his habits, having I think contributed to the preservation of a tone of constitution naturally robust. But, if I do not mistake, (on a point indeed where it may be presumptuous in me to offer an opinion,) the change of his habits, when he ceased to visit his patients on foot, was too sudden to be otherwise than injurious. At the same time, his incessant application to the two great works of which I have just been speaking, augmented the evil; and his friends soon saw with concern, what I am persuaded he nearly as soon felt, that the corporeal vigour which had carried him, almost unconscious of fatigue, through so much labour, was now beginning to give way. He had for some time learnt, however, that the correct manner of estimating the duration of human existence was, “not to compute by the course of the sun, but by the zodiac and circle of a man's occupations and his virtues.” By the grace of God he had rendered scientific and literary knowledge subservient to a knowledge of a higher order; he had sought for intelligence at the Great Fountain of Intellect, and had found Him whom to know is life eternal:" so that, though he contemplated the dissolution of nature and an exchange of worlds with deep solemnity, it was, happily, upon the best of principles, unmingled with dread. He did not, like one of the most celebrated of the ancient philosophers, speak of death as of all frightful things the most

frightful,* but as that which cures not only infirmity but mortality itself; firmly believing that, through the strength of Him who "giveth them the victory,the saints conquer death by suffering it.

A few extracts from letters written to his valued relative Dr. Walton, and his early friend Dr. Drake, between the year 1821 and the time of his death, will shew with what steadiness and permanency he anticipated the approach of that great change, and with what christian correctness of sentiment he prepared for it.

Thus, in a letter to Dr. Walton, bearing date April 15th, 1822, he says, “I have indeed been very poorly for several weeks, and during a part of that time somewhat seriously ill. Too much mental excitement in a work I have long been engaged upon, and which I cannot now finish till June, if I should be able even then, though I have laboured to do so with all my might, has thrown me off the balance of firm health with which I have hitherto been so highly favoured, and given me a severe fit of gout, accompanied with a considerable degree of fever. There is, however, a better and far more instructive way of viewing all such evils, and which I am very desirous to adopt on the present occasion; and that is, as a providential chastisement for much that has been wrong, and a providential warning as to the future. In both respects I hope I have contemplated it; and though not with

* The language of Aristotle, Ilavrwv TWV poßepwv poßepwratov, has always seemed to me to furnish one of the most affecting commentaries upon St. Paul's description, Eph. ii. 12, Having no HOPE, and without God in the world,” that has ever been penned: for what hope can any thinking man cherish through life, who looks upon its close as thus terrible, either in itself or in its consequences ?


« ForrigeFortsæt »