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HELD IN THE CITY OF CHICAGO, JUNE 5, 6, 7 & 8, 1877.
TUESDAY, JUNE 5.-- FIRST DAY.
The Association met in Farwell Hall, and was called to order at 11 A. M., by Dr. J. Marion Sims, the retiring President, who, in fitting words, thanked the Association for the honors it had conferred upon him, paid a flattering compliment to the founder of the Association, Dr. N. S. Davis, of Chicago, and, with a glowing reference to the labors of Dr. H. I. Bowditch, of Boston, introduced him as the incoming President.
In response to this pleasant introduction, Dr. Bowditch expressed his pleasure and congratulations to the Association, upon its meeting in the Queen City of the West, under such propitious circumstances; and expressed the hope that all would retire from the meeting, feeling that they possessed good will toward all inen, and that they had learned something which might be utilized for the benefit of suffering humanity,
and which could be carried with them till they were transferred from this sphere of human activity.
Prayer was then offered by the Rev. William L. Harris, D. D., LL. D., who invoked the blessing of God upon the Association, and its annual meetings.
Upon a call from the President, Dr. N. S. Davis, chairman of the Committee of Arrangements, delivered the address of welcome on the part of the profession in Chicago; referring in a happy manner to the evidences of characteristic enterprise in the city which gave them greeting. He briefly mentioned the institutions which the delegates might desire to visit, as well as the receptions of a social nature to which they were bidden. A touching reference was made to the preliminary meeting, held thirty-one years ago in the city of New York, when organization was first effected. In that meeting were seventy-six voters, of which one alone was then in attendance in Chicago, Dr. W. T. Atlee, of Philadelphia. Nearly all the original number had passed to their final reward. Of the twenty-eight presidents, sixteen had found a last rest from their labors. Reference was made to the death of Dr. Henry F. Askew, of Delaware, an ex-president of the Association.
In closing Dr. Davis again assured his hearers of a most general and cordial welcome from the people of Chicago, and said he hoped they would carry on the work of their profession even more vigorously, more nobly, and more successfully than they had in the past, and that these annual greetings would continue while the country endured, and as long as time should last. [Applause.]
Dr. Norman Bridge, on the part of the Committee of Registration, read the list of delegates whose credentials had been approved, and whose namnes had been duly registered.
The following gentlemen were elected members by invitation: D. F. Boughton, of Mendota, Wis.; W. H. Bunker, of Cincinnati; J. A. Reed, Dixmont, Pa.; D. Leavitt, and Eichberger, of Terre Haute.
The following gentlemen were elected permanent members: Drs. J. K. Bartlett and E. W. Cross, of Minnesota;
Drs. D. A. K. Steele, S. A. McWilliams, John E. Owens, Charles T. Parkes, E. O. F. Roler, Charles L. Rutter, D. T. Nelson, J. S. Knox, W. E. Quine, W. S. Nevins, M. P. Hatfield, Thomas Bevan, E. W. Sawyer, and L. H. Montgomery, all of Chicago, and S. M. Hamilton, of Monmouth, Ill.
The President invited the retiring President, and also the delegates from the Canadas, to take a seat upon the platform.
PRESIDENT'S ADDRESS. Dr. Bowditch then delivered the President's annual address, of which the following is a brief abstract:
In accordance with precedent, he desired to touch upon topics tending to improve the practical working of the Association, and would therefore make suggestions on the past, the present and the future.
Prior to 1847, the medical profession of the country, as a united body, did not exist; local societies having been formed here and there, but in consequence of political differences, and the difficulty of communication, medical men were alienated rather than drawn together. The result of the union accomplished, has been made evident in the establishment of valuable friendships, which would otherwise have never been made, in the dropping of idiosyncrasies, and in the rapid and easy coalesence of medical men, immediately after the civil
The speaker called attention to the enthusiasm prevalent at the earlier meetings, and deprecated the use of wine, which at times used to flow freely at the public and private gatherings.
Respecting the present status of the Association, the speaker felt sure that the meetings had lost reputation in the Eastern and Middle States—there was a lack of co-operation of the entire profession-prominent Western and Southern men absented themselves--many young men and some scoffing elders considered the body a hindrance to the progress of scientific medicine. Some of the reasons for this were, violent discussions of points of order, or ethics; intemperance, disappointment of these having a high standard of the profession; the cacoethes scribendi aut loquendi of some individu
als; bulky and valueless transactions, occasionally containing papers which had been previously printed; violent partisanship; the effort to pass resolutions pledging the Association to one side or another of a mooted question; and the democratic principle of its organization by which representation was denied to hospitals and colleges.
The following propositions were made with a view to changes which were much needed:
The sections should perform their critical duty by preventing the transactions from being burdened with papers of small value, and thus not permit writers to fail of the highest standard of scientific attainment. Though the sections have in many directions proved themselves of great value, still he did not believe that the desirable result would ever be obtained by trusting to them alone. To obviate the difficulty, the wise regulations of the Smithsonian Institution were recommended; viz.,
1. The publication of only such papers as, after approval by the sections, shall have been submitted to experts whose names are unknown, and whose decision shall be final.
2. The rule that no paper should be published unless it either (a) contributed something new, or (b) made a valuable analysis or arrangement of facts already known.
The incalculable value of the establishment of the judicial council, in 1873, was pointed out; and the following proposition submitted to them:
The appointment of a standing committee for the purpose of procuring scientific papers for each annual meeting, from the ablest men in the various sections of the country, such papers to have precedence over voluntary papers, which latter were not for that reason to be discouraged. It was suggested that a small committee, of five, for example, could be constituted in such a manner that each member might hold office for five years, one leaving annually. Originally created by the judicial council, this committee might afterward itself fill vacancies, the oldest in service acting as chairman in the last year of his office; one or more of the older members of the profession might be there represented, the majority being
made up of earnest, accomplished, middle-aged, or younger
The committee should hold its sessions, each year, during the week of annual meeting, and should, if possible, select the best men at one meeting, and engage them to prepare papers for the next ensuing. All these papers should be referred to experts after reading, and wide public notice should be given, months before the meetings, of their titles and the names of their authors.
The speaker thought that in two points the Association would do well to follow the lead taken at Louisville, in 1875, (1) in abstaining from all intoxicating drinks, and (2) in extending an invitation to women to meet with members in social intercourse. Even those not believing in the propriety of total abstinence or probibition, should be willing to make concessions for the sake of the weaker brethren; and such a step taken by the Association would have an indirect but powerful effect on the cause of temperance.
Two other suggestions: (1) Every honorable, well-educated physician in the United States, should become a member of the Association by the very fact of his having become a physician. Every member of a State society should become a permanent member of the Association. (2) The honor of becoming a delegate would be greater, if each society could send one representative only for each 20, or perhaps 30, members; and possibly the best men of the profession would be willing then to accept the honor.
The following reasons were given against the proposed union with the Canada Medical Association: 1, the large dimensions of the American Association; 2, the two languages employed in Canada; 3, the difficulty of arranging for expenses incidental to such union; 4, the distance between places where meetings might be held.
On the other hand, in favor of the plan were: 1, the high standard of the British schools; 2, the evident fact that the large Canadian constituency might send delegates precisely as a new State Medical Society in a distant State; 3, the value of such a union in the way of promoting good will between the two countries; 4, the opening up of such cities as Mon