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thesis, “ De emeticorum usu in variis morbis tractandis” was republished in a collection of Theses by Dr. Smellie, a sufficient acknow
burgh) “and several attempts had been made to introduce a general course of medical instruction, it was not till about the year 1720 that this University distinguished itself. Several gentlemen, who had studied under Boerhaave, with a view to revive the study of medicine in their native country, where it had formerly flourished, qualified themselves for the purpose of giving courses of public lectures on every branch of their profession. The celebrated Monro taught anatomy, after having studied it for several years under the ablest masters then in Europe, -Dr. Douglas, of London ; Albinus the elder, of Leyden; and Winslow, at Paris. The theory of physic was assigned to the amiable, the humane Dr. Sinclair; Drs. Ruther. ford and Innes chose the practice; chemistry was allotted to Dr. Plummer; and the teaching the materia medica, together with botany (of which last he was appointed King's Professor), devolved upon the learned and indefatigable Alston. The city of Edinburgh favoured the generous design, added to the salaries allotted from the crown, and provided as suitable conveniences as the place would at that time afford.
“They had no sooner opened their respective Professorships, than many students of their own nation, some from England, from Ireland, and not long after from the plantations likewise, flocked thither. This stimulated the Professors to exert their great talents with the utmost energy; Professor Monro's class soon became numerous, and the anatomy of the bones, of the nerves, and his other pieces, will long remain as testimonies of his great abilities, when the grateful regard of the multitude of those who studied under him, and were witnesses of his singular attention to instruct and encourage his pupils, as well as to act the part of a parent to every stranger, fails of expression. With what grace and elegance, with what minuteness and precision, would the humane, the inimitable Dr. Sinclair explain the institutes of the master (Boerhaave) whose nervous simplicity he studied to exemplify, though not with servile imitation. Where he differed in opinion with that great man, with what diffidence would he offer his own ? Ever the student's friend, and their example, in a noble simplicity of manners, and a conduct becoming the gentleman and the physician.”
Dr. Fothergill proceeds to allot appropriate praises to Rutherford, Plummer, the “laborious Alston,” “the learned, the able, the laborious Innes,” &c. It is always pleasant to hear a man praising his instructors, and acknowledging intellectual obligations. But when one undertakes to review a whole generation of worthics, it is by no means easy to find a peculiar praise for each. Panegyric is certainly not the genius of the English people, nor of the English language. The Eloges and Oraisous funèbres of the French are so far superior to the British manufacture, that no wonder they should be often smuggled under the imperfect disguise of an AngloGallic translation. As we shall have few opportunities of quoting from Dr. Fothergill's writings, most of which are either professional, or of temporary interest, we offer the above extract as a specimen of his style, which, though not ground to the fine edge of discriminative eulogy, is very useful, good, vernacular English, fit for plain statement, honest sense, and clear reasoning. The individual to whose memory the Essay in question was devoted, was Alexander Russell, author of the “ History of Aleppo," a book of high reputation in the class to which it belongs. He was the son of a Scotch advocate, who was remarkable for having reared a family of seven boys to man's estate, in virtue and obedience, without ever striking a blow or using a harsh word,-a fact so contrary to the theories of education then prevalent, that the relator
ledgement of its medical merit. In style it is much less barbarous than the common run of medical Latinity.
seems to anticipate incredulity. After completing his medical studies under the best masters to be found in his native city, Dr. Alexander Russell went to Turkey, and, in 1740, settled at Aleppo, at the earnest desire of the British Factory. He speedily made bimself master of the native languages, and cultivated the acquaintance of the native practitioners, who were very numerous, very ignorant, but not always incapable of the instruction which Dr. Russell was ready to impart. Nothing enables a man so quickly to acquire importance in a strange land, among a half-civilized people, as a skill in the healing arts. Medicine, and especially surgery, should be a necessary qualification of every missionary. In a little time, the English Doctor was the most indispensable person in Aleppo, consulted by all the tribes that compose the manylingoed, many.garbed, and many-coloured population of an Oriental city,-Franks, Armenians, Maronites, Jews, Greeks, even by the Turks themselves. “In this instance they forgot that he was an unbeliever, remitted of their usual contempt for strangers, and not only beheld him with respect, but courted his friendship, and placed unlimited confidence in his opinion.” But his influence with the Pacha was wonderful. “ Seldom would the Pacha determine any intricate affair, respecting not only commerce, but even the interior police of his government, without consulting his physician and friend, and as seldom deviated from the opinion he proposed; and so singular was the character of the ruler's friendship for his confidante that he gave him the full credit of every popular and merciful act, reserving to himself only the gloomy prerogative of punishment, which he took care to exercise in the Doctor's absence. Even when he thought fit to spare of his own proper motion, lest his clemency should render him less dreaded, he always ascribed the remission or mitigation of the penalty to the suggestion of the English Doctor. Whence the English Doctor was occasionally surprised and overpowered with the thanks of respited wretches, who really owed him no obligation. Sometimes the Pacha went so far as to confess a kind of subjection to his physician, and tell an offender, that in his opinion he deserved death, but that he durst not order it, for the English Doctor insisted on mercy.” It would be curious to know by what means Russell acquired and retained so uncommon an interest. Despots are extreme in all things, –
Not more a storm their hate than gratitude. A physician may, by a timely application, changes a state of corporeal agony to that ease which, contrasted with contiguous suffering, is more delightful than any positive pleasure. This to any mind must appear a great good-to an untaught predestinarian a miraculous boon. Even brutes are capable of grateful passions towards those who rescue them from pain, when they can connect the cure with the agent. Who has not read of Androcles and the lion? a story so beautiful, and withal so possible, that we would fain believe it true. It would be very easy for a man possessed but of a moderate degree of medical or chemical knowledge, to persuade a Pacha that he possessed supernatural or prophetic powers; but the influence founded on fraud or fear is ever insecure, and Russell remained in favour as long as his Moslem patron continued to rule Aleppo. The gratitude of the Pacha appeared in some pleasing instances, particularly in sending costly presents to the Doctor's aged father. “But for your father,” said he, " I should not have known your assistance.” Nor did Russell's estimation fade away under the succeeding Pachas, one of whom, From Edinburgh he went to Leyden, a University then much frequented by English students, both in Law, Medicine, and Arts. Here he made but a short stay, but travelled for some time on the continent, chiefly with a view to professional improvement, visiting the celebrated baths of Aix-la-Chapelle, and the Spa. H returned to England, and commenced practice in London about 1740, in the 29th year of his age. That he took so long a time to prepare himself for the active duties of his profession, proves that his circumstances must have secured him from necessity ; but he was doubtless nurtured in frugal maxims and self-denying habits. His first habitation was in
an old man, who died at Aleppo, made him the depositary of his most important secrets.
The Doctor's fame extending throughout the Turkish empire, was more than once likely to expose him to the dangerous honour of a summons to Constantinople in time of plague. The name of Russell procured for his brother Patrick, who followed him to Aleppo, a courteous reception wherever he arrived in the Levant.
On his return from Aleppo, Dr. Russell visited the most famous lazarettos to which he could have access, inquired into their structure, the government they were under, and the precautions used to prevent the spread of the pestilence. His thorough and experienced acquaintance with the plague, the symptoms and treatment of which English physicians in general have had a long and blessed opportunity of not knowing, pointed him out to government, at the end of 1757, when reports were rife of the plague at Lisbon, as a fit person to consult on the most effective means of excluding the infection. He was summoned before the Privy Council, and gave great satisfaction by the fulness and pertinence of his answers, which he was ordered to commit to writing. Whatever his medical works may be, it is to his “ Natural History of Aleppo” that he is indebted for whatever hold he may retain on the public memory. It is a book that still keeps its authority, though so many travellers have since traversed the plains of Syria, and did much to remove many false and antiquated notions of Oriental manners and Ottoman policy.
Russell, in the latter part of his life, was a vigorous assertor of the rights of the Licentiates against the Fellows of the College of Physicians. The same spirit which in the church has given rise to High Churchmen and Low Churchmen, Episcopalians, Presbyterians, and Independents, has long existed in the medical world, and the contest has been carried on perhaps in as ill a temper-sometimes with almost equal scurrility; but happily the points at issue do not require so much blasphemy.
Dr. Alexander Russell returned to England, after an absence of fifteen years, in 1755, was chosen Physician to St. Thomas's Hospital in 1759, and died in 1770. Among pharmacopoeists and medical botanists he is noted as the first who brought to England the seeds of the true Scammony, in procuring which he had no small trouble from the ignorance or knavery of the Arabs, who brought him twenty sorts of seeds before the right, no doubt unwilling to give up a patent which nature had bestowed on the east. Dr. Fothergill also ascribes to him the first introduction of the Andracne, a species of Arbutus, highly ornamental. But according to Rees's Cyclopædia, this shrub was cultivated as early as 1734, at Eltham, by Dr. Sherrand, probably the Consul Sherrard, who preceded Dr. Russell at Aleppo.
White Hart Court, Lombard Street. He did not set up a carriage on speculation, but for some time visited his patients on foot.
Dr. Johnson has remarked, that "an interesting book might be written on the fortune of physicians.” And most true it is, that physicians must ever depend upon fortunate accidents for the foundation of their fame. The absence of a predecessor, the successful recommendation of a retiring favourite, the happy result of a single case, may have opened the way to affluence, when it seemed to be closed against all concerted endeavours. It may be doubted whether the mere reputation of science, or the good opinion of professional brethren, are available to bring a young man into notice. Some dash into celebrity by the unlikeliest means imaginable. 'Tis said that cowardice, in mere blind desperation, sometimes does the work of heroism in the field. Ignorance sometimes blunders into a cure by experiments which nothing but success could save from the imputation of manslaughter. An ugly visage, a blunt manner, a fluency of oaths, a braggart contempt of learning, perpetual quarrels with rival practitioners, a cynical snarling at every thing and every body, do occasionally succeed, especially with the poor, and the ignorant wealthy. Now and then we have knowu a drunken doctor have an uncommon run. Others have found their account in jacobinism or infidelity. We need not allude to quackeries more specifically professional, any further than to remark that their success is chiefly with the very low, and with the very high ; with those who have never learned to think, and those who cannot bear the trouble of thinking. The poor man listens to the hasty empiric because he finds sickness more grievous than death is terrible ; the rich, through extreme eagerness to live and enjoy, gripes at an offer of health on easier terms than established maxims warrant. Both rich and poor had rather believe the process of healing altogether unintelligible, than acknowledge that it is intelligible, but that they themselves do not understand it.
But even the worthier members of the faculty, who refrain from quackeries of every description, require something else besides a knowledge of diseases and remedies, to make their knowledge effectual either for their own or their patients' benefit. Of these exoteric qualifications, some are outward and visible; as a good gentlemanly person, not alarmingly handsome (for the Adonis Doctor, though he has a fair opening to a wealthy marriage, seldom greatly prospers in the way of business), with an address to suit,—that is to say, a genteel self-possession and subdued politeness, not of the very last polish-a slow, low, and regular tone of voice (here Dr. Fothergill's Quaker habits must have been an excellent preparative), and such an even flow of spirits as
neither to be dejected by the sight of pain and the weight of responsibility, nor to offend the anxious and the suffering by an unsympathetic hilarity. The dress should be neat, and rather above than below par in costliness. The distinguishing costume of the faculty has now almost totally disappeared; the periwig has followed the furred gown, and the gold-headed cane is as much out of date as the serpent-wreathed staff of Æscalapius. This is doubtless a great relief to the professors; for no civil uniform is pleasant to wear, and even the military scarlet or naval blue give their wearers a painfully dazzling superiority. But the modern levelling of garments makes the streets and assemblies horridly unpicturesque, has done a serious injury to the stage, and left to every professional man (under a Bishop, or head of a house) the puzzling decision how to dress himself. Here, too, Dr. Fothergill was lucky in his religious denomination. In his earliest days the wig and ruffles were still in vogue, but he retained the simple garb of a Friend, not however so as to make its peculiarities obtrusive.
In fine, the young physician should carry a something of his profes sion in his outward man, but yet so that nobody should be able to say what it was. Some practitioners, in the ardour of their noviciate, talk of cases, dissections, and post mortem examinations, in every mixed company. This is very injudicious. Few ailing persons like to have their complaints made a general topic of discussion, however fond they may be of talking about them themselves :
Some people use their health (an ugly trick)
In telling you how oft they have been sick, As Cowper saith. It is a still uglier trick to tell how often other people have been sick.
Besides, it clearly proves that the narrator has a paucity both of patients and ideas. Medical students sometimes think it very knowing to discuss offensive or equivocal topics with a solemn slyness and technical diction, shewing themselves abundantly satisfied with their superiority to the weak-stomached superstition of delicacy. This is by no means commendable at any age, but after twenty is intolerable. All slang, and knowingness, and slyness should, and generally will, exclude a young practioner from every respectable family.
But, far more than all definable proprieties of demeanor, the effects of which are chiefly negative, there are certain inward gifts, more akin to genius than to talent~to intuition than to rationation—which make the physician prosper, and deserve to prosper. Medicine is not, like practical geometry, or the doctrine of projectiles, an application of an abstract, demonstrable science, in which a certain result may be drawn from certain data, or in which the disturbing forces can be calculated