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The streams that actually replenish the College of Physicians with Fellows, are the London hospitals ; for to them do the young gentlemen resort, who afterwards graduate at either Oxford or Cambridge; well aware, that the university which afterwards is to confer the degree of doctor upon them, cannot teach the science, the highest honors of which, it so pompously confers. The truth is, that at our English universities, the medical lectures are very few in number, their subjects treated very diffusely ; in fact, they are mere popular lectures, and there are no opportunities for anatomical dissection; indeed any hospital in the kingdom is a better school of medicine, than either of the English seminaries. Here then a reform is most sadly wanted. Either let them put themselves on an equality, as to means of medical instructions, with those north of the Tweed, especially Edinburgh and Glasgow, or let them not insolently domineer over physicians, educated at other universities, nor arrogate to their own members the sole right of becoming Fellows of the College of Physicians. Doctors of physic of the Scotch, Irish, and foreign universities, are allowed to become members of the Royal College of Physicians of London, if, after due examination, they be found qualified, but are not allowed the least share in the government of the College ; nor, observe reader, in the publication of the Pharmacopeia: indeed all physicians residing in London, or practising within seven miles of it, are compelled to undergo an examination before the Royal College, and are either allowed to practise or prevented from practising, within the limits of their jurisdiction; any physician offending in this respect is liable to a prosecution; several, in consequence, have been prosecuted by the College, and verdicts obtained against them. The charter of the College was given them by King Henry the Eighth, for the purpose of examining all physicians who practise medicine in London, and within a district of seven miles round, (this part of their duty they punctually and very authoritatively perform,) for the prevention of quackery, (which florishes most luxuriantly in spite of them,) for the inspection of medicines, in the shops of the London apothecaries; they are also authorised by an act of parliament to elect a committee of their body to license and inspect the madhouses in London and its neighborhood ; they are likewise empowered to frame a Pharmacopeia, which is ordered by government, to be the standard by which all medicines are to be prepared, which are vended by apothecaries in England and Wales. Now, as the Pharmacopeias of 1809 and 1815, are universally allowed by the profession to be extremely imperfect, might not some reform be reasonably introduced into this chartered body, especially as the proper composition of medicines is of such vast and serious importance to the public?
The Oxonian says, " and here let me ask the reformers from what purer source, or on what better principle they would improve the system of discriminating those practitioners who should be licensed, and those who should be restrained."—I will take the liberty of pointing out a purer source.
Let them admit all doctors of physic of the British universities, who have studied a number of years at the university at which they have taken their doctor's degree, after having satisfactorily passed a full, fair, and strict examination, of their classical and medical acquirements; to the station of fellow and all its privileges, with which their charter has encircled them. The author of the Observations here asks, "do they," (the apothecaries,) "wish to prefer their own body to the English universities? Would they prefer the ancient university of St. Andrews, or the modern school of Edinburgh, or put them upon the same footing as the English universities ?" What the apothecaries wish, I know not, but I answer, both good policy and common justice demand that doctors of physic of all the universities of this land, provided they have regularly studied a certain period, at their respective colleges, should be put upon the same footing as those who have graduated at Ox«- ford and Cambridge, especially as the latter are not schools of medicine.1 It matters not, to his majesty's subjects, at what universities physicians are bred, provided they are properly qualified to exercise their profession; which, after all, must be allowed the only requisite. One great desideratum in medicine, a general Pharmacopeia, for the united kingdom and colonies, might be accomplished, by admitting all physicians, having regularly studied at their respective universities, after approval by the college to the station of fellows; a regulation zekich would not produce any inferiority in point of excellence in their next Pharmacopeia, compared with their two last.1 It may be proper in this place to mention,
' As the author of the " observations" applies the epithet modern, to the university of Edinburgh, it may not be amiss to observe, that some of the medical professorships, at Oxford and Cambridge, were founded later than those of Edinburgh ; for instance, at Oxford, the professorship of clinical medicine, was founded by the Earl of Lichfield, in 1771, and the professorship of chemistry, by Dr. Aldrich, in 1803; at Cambridge, the botanical professorship was founded in 1724, and the professorshipoi anatomy 1707; all of which are of later foundation than those on the same subjects at Edinburgh; as the foundation of the chair of clinical medicine at the last-mentioned university may fairly be dated in 1740, those of botany and anatomy at the latter end of the seventeenth century, between the years 1685, and 1700, and the chemical chair in 1720. Vide Encyclopedia Britannica, Article Edinburgh, and the Oxford and Cambridge Calendars.
1 The best proof of this is to be obtained by comparing the last Edinburgh Pharmacopeia with the London one of 1809 or 1815, when the inferiority of the latter will be as apparent as the mid-day sun.
VOL. X1U. Pam. NO. XXVI. 2 E,
that all dissenters from the established church, are prevented from taking degrees, at either Oxford or Cambridge; consequently, no one but a member of the Church of England can become a fellow of the college in Warwick-lane. This is a strictness of rule, not adopted, by at least some of the catholic universities; as it was very common for English protestants to study medicine, and graduate at some foreign catholic university, as Louvain, or Padua, before Edinburgh became celebrated for the study of physic; for instance, the immortal Harvey studied medicine, and took his degree of M. D. at Padua,1 and the celebrated and beautiful poet, Goldsmith, became bachelor of physic at Louvain.
In page 4, of his " Observations," the Oxford gentleman gives an account of what he calls the constitutional character, and station of the physician, and then proceeds to mention the length of time requisite, and the different degrees to be taken, previously to that of M. D. at the English seats of learning, but he forgets to inform his readers, that the time requisite, before a candidate can obtain the degree of M. D. is not all, or nearly all, spent at college, there being many vacations in the course of the year, and that even the keeping of many of the terms, enjoined by the regulations of the university, is dispensed with to the medical students, in order that they may acquire their knowledge of medicine, by attendance at hospitals, dissections, &c. in London. There is, to be sure, a hospital in Oxford, and one very small one in Cambridge, but there is no regular full course of anatomical lectures delivered in either university, nor any regular anatomical demonstrations, and it is a very rare circumstance for a student to be found with a scalpel and forceps in his hands. The author of the " Observations" omits all mention of the course of medical instruction pursued at the
1 Harvey was also created doctor of physic at Cambridge, soon after his return to England, and at Oxford in 1742, after his discovery of the circulation of the blood, to which place he had attended King Charles I.; and in 1645, he was elected warden of Merton College, in the latter university, by virtue of the king's letters patent, sent to that society for the purpose. Vide Bibliotheca Biographica.
The celebrated Doctor Mead studied medicine at Leyden, under Doctor Pitcairn, and took the degrees of doctor of philosophy and medicine at Padua, August 26th, 1695: in 1707, he was also created doctor of physic, by the university of Oxford.
Sir Richard Blackmore, M. D. who espoused the cause of the revolution, took his degree in medicine at Padua, though he had previously studied at Oxford, where he had resided thirteen years.
Doctor Bastwick, who was so inhumanly punished along with Burton, the clergyman, and Prynne, the barrister, in the reign of Charles the First, also took his degree of doctor of medicine at Padua, though he had been previously a student in Emmanuel College, Cambridge.
The learned Sir Thomas Browne, M. D. also a Protestant, was permitted to study medicine at Montpellier and Padua: many other instances might be adduced to the same effect. Vide Flloyd's Bibliotheca fiiographica.
English seminaries, and for this reason, he knows that it will not bear criticism. After speaking in terms of commendation, upon the residence required and the caution used, in conferring the degree of M. D. at Oxford and Cambridge, he says, "and hence we may conclude, if we look to the experience of the eminent characters formed at these celebrated universities, that the system is the best calculated to improve the human genius, that has been yet hit upon by human genius." Now, as far as medicine is concerned, which is the only subject at issue, every one acquainted with the practice of physic will acknowledge, that Edinburgh has produced as celebrated physicians, really educated there, and a far greater number of them, than Oxford and Cambridge united. —He proceeds, "For here did Milton, Newton, Bacon, and Locke, and most of the luminaries of our country, reach the pinnacles of science and literary glory." I am equally ready to pay every homage to the illustrious characters he adduces, but as his mentioning these highly celebrated persons, in discussing the subject of medical instruction, is entirely gratuitous and merely thrust in for the sake of an exhibition, I need not say any thing further respecting it.
In page 6, our author says, "In the school of Edinburgh, (for it is miscalled a university.)" How miscalled ? I should be glad to know. If Doctor Johnson be considered authority, (and I presume our Oxonian will scarcely dispute it,) Edinburgh is essentially, and to all intents and purposes, a university, and even more deserving the name than either Oxford or Cambridge; our great lexicographer, and illustrious and immortal countryman, gives this definition of it. "A school where all the arts and faculties are studied." Now, if he will look at the Oxford and Cambridge Calendars, and at the article "University of Edinburgh," in the Court Calendar for 1815, he will find, that there are a greater number of professors, actually lecturing at Edinburgh, than at either of our English seminaries, for the whole of those at Edinburgh regularly lecture, whilst several of those at Oxford and Cambridge do not.1 Still, if he considers the being founded or patronised by a sovereign, as an essential in the constitution of a university, I might inform him, that the university of- Edinburgh was founded by Robert Reid, Bishop of Orkney,
1 Perhaps it may be here objected, that at Oxford and Cambridge the business of instruction is not so much confided to the professors, as to the tutors of the respective colleges, and that the former are rather expected to advance the progress of their particular branches of science or literature, than to instruct the students; but as the tutors are entirely ignorant of medicine, and consequently do not attempt to teach it, the medical students, at the English seminaries, cannot possibly derive the smallest advantage from them.
m the year 1581, and James, the sixth of the name of Scotland, and the first of England, confirmed it as such,' ordered it to be called by his name, declared himself its godfather, and endowed it with lands, in the counties of Lothian and Fife.*
The chief differences between the university of the capital of Scotland, and those in England are, that in the former very little discipline is exercised over the students; they do not live in college,3 but in lodgings, in the city; the students wear no academical dress, except during the ceremony of being admitted to a degree; they are not obliged to attend public worship in the college; nor to subscribe to any articles of religious belief, either when they are first entered, or at any time afterwards.—The fact is, that Edinburgh is upon the plan of the majority of the universities upon the Continent, and in so far as it approaches more nearly to the general rule adopted in the establishment of such institutions, just so much more is it entitled to the appellation of university, whilst Oxford and Cambridge should be considered as exceptions. Members of all religious sects are often candidates at the same time; there are no fellowships, either ecclesiastical or lay, and I believe, no livings, in the gift of the university; but there are bursaries or scholarships of small amount, appropriated chiefly, if not solely, to the divinity students.
He might, with as much justice and propriety have asserted, that there are no universities in Europe, except Oxford, Cambridge
1 Thefollowingisan extract'froni an actof the parliament of Scotland, dated 4th of August, 1621, ratifying the charter granted to the university of Edinburgh by James VI, (the first of the name, of England,) on the 14th of April, 1582.
"Lykashismajestie, off his princlie and royalefayour, and for guideservice done to him be the saids provost, bailzies, counsall, and communitie of the said burgh of Edinburgh ; and for their further encouragement in repairing and re-edifying of the said colledge, and placing thairin sufficient professors, for teaching of all liberal sciences, ordaining the said colledge, in all time to come, to be called King James's Colledge: and also with advice of the said estattis, hes of new again given, grantit and disponit to thame, and their successors in favours of the said burgh of Edinburgh, patrouns of the said colledge, and of the rectors, regentis, bursaris and students within the samen, all liberties, freedoms, immunities and privileges appertaining to ane free colledge, and that in als ample forme and lairge manner as any colledge has of bruikes within this his majestie's realm: and gif need bcis, ordains ane new charter to be expede, under his Hienes great seale, for erecting of the said colledge, with all liberties, privileges, and immunities whilk any colledge within this realme bruikes, joises, or to the samen is knawin to appertain."
'The university in its diplomas, &c. stiles itself, "Academia Jacobi sexti Scotorum Regis ;" this is presumptive proof, at least, that it is of royal foundation or confirmation.
3 This is the case, also, in the greater number of foreign universities.