Page images
PDF
EPUB
[ocr errors]

the opening he had made; he immediately dressed the wound, and sent the patient to bed, telling his class, that, most probably the stone would come out “ sua sponte!In his private lectures on surgery, he preaches a great deal against the use of mercury in syphilis; he pretends to cure it by the antiphlogistic plan alone! but you may easily imagine that his cures are not much to be relied on, and that he only smothers for a while the “ignes suppositos cisneri doloso.

Dr. Home's clinical lectures are excellent. This gentleman is one of the most learned professors, and best practitioners in the University. Dr. Hamilton's lectures on midwifery are highly instructive and amusing. The doctor is extremely diverting, and sometimes rather indecent, in his anecdotes, which often excite roars of laughter among the students. In my opinion, there is no course of midwifery which could be attended with more pleasure and advantage than that of Dr. Hamilton, and

no clinical practice more useful than that of 7 Dr. James Hamilton of purging memory. The

students distinguish these two celebrated lecI turers by two dirty epithets; and of the old

doctor they tell certain stories, which would have figured very well in the amusing, and sometimes filthy pages of Smollett or Le Sage!

[blocks in formation]

LETTER XII.

Languebam; sed tu comitatus, protinus ad me
Venisti, centum, Symmache, discipulis,
Centum me tetigere manus aquilone gelatæ;
Non habui febrem, Symmache, nunc habeo. Martial.
TO THE SAME.

Edinburgh, March 26th, 1819. EDINBURGH derives not, perhaps, its present character so much from the name of this or that professor, as from its being known as a place of education, admirably fitted to form the mind to habits of early study and application. A love of labour is so general, and some sort of useful occupation so common, that one is ashamed not to be industrious like other peo. ple, and none but the privileged worthless, and the idolaters of stays and stif neckcloths, are idle and contemptible.

When I first came to Edinburgh, and began to read over the guide book, I was struck with the number of hospitals mentioned; but on inquiry I found that most of them are mere asy: lums for poverty or misfortune. Thus Heriot's Hospital is destined for the maintenance, relief and bringing up of poor and fatherless boysWatson's is for the decayed members of the merchant company of Edinburgh-Gillespie’s is for the instruction of boys, &c.

The Royal Infirmary receives patients with medical and surgical diseases. The medical department is admirably conducted, and is

The re

vell calculated to convey practical instruction o the student. Journals of all the cases in the vards, stating the symptoms of the patients, ire kept with care; the important cases are commented on every day at the bed side of che patient~the symptoms of the disease, the remedies employed, and the progress of the disorder, are noted with accuracy, ports of the various cases are read in Latin, and wo to those who have forgotten, or never acquired that classical language! They look about as wise as I did at the synagogues inAmsterdam, where the singing (or rather bellowing) of hymns, was in Hebrew!

Drs. Home, Rutherford and Duncan jr., attend the medical wards successively this winter. Dr. R. is such a miserable dotard, so totally devoid of talents for so important a station, and speaks so unintelligibly low, that most of the eléves have deserted him for purging Hamilton. He still, however, walks through the wards with two or three of his inflexible admirers, and, (to use a homely phrase) looks as busy as a hen with one chicken!

To the student of Anatomy, I would by no means recommend Edinburgh. It is a difficult matter to procure subjects for dissection, owing in great measure to the well known superstition of the lower classes of the Scotch A

great deal of disturbance was lately excited against the resurrection-men, who, in this speculating age, do not disdain trading in human carcasses! Some of them have been caught in

[ocr errors]

flagrante delicto, and narrowly escaped from the vengeance of the populace. Several squibs have been let off on the subject; a bookseller of my acquaintance desired me to write some. thing pro or con, no matter which. But I had resolved never to meddle with resurrectioni. zing again, after the lesson I got in Baltimore!

The dissection rooms which I have visited in this place are kept in very bad order. The horrid stench from the mangled and putrified bodies in these rooms, is enough to produce the most dangerous consequences. Bodies are imported from London, when there is a scarcity of the article in Edinburgh, and six gui. neas are often paid for a subject, which is so tender that it is nearly rotten!

A regulation in the University of Edinburgh, obliges every one who attends the classes, to furnish himself with a matriculation ticket, (price half a guinea,) before he can receive the ticket of any of the professors. In order to become a candidate for graduation, it is necessary to matriculate for three winters. The candidate's thesis must be given to the dean, (Dr. Monro) early in spring. There are three examinations, all in Latin: the first takes place in April, at one of the professors' houses —the second in June, which consists in commeoting on one of Hippocrates' Aphorismsthe third is coram populo, and is a short examination of the candidate on the subject of his thesis.

The custom of grinding deserves the seve.

rest reprobation. The grinders render the acquisition of Latin perfectly useless to the candidate; as they write theses, at so much a sheet, on any proposed subject, and give private lessons, in which the most unclassical student will acquire dog Latin enough to get through his examinations!

The Medical Society of Edinburgh is said to be in a very flourishing condition, although I did not think it worth while to pay six guineas to join it! If I can judge from a few of their meetings which I attended, there is more froth than substance in their debates. Every youthful Alumnus of the University, who has tortured a few living dogs and guinea pigs, and drawn hasty conclusions from his barbarous experiments, appears sure to be held out by the committees of that body, as a rising medical luminary; provided he has been cunning enough to submit his memoirs to their sagacious criticism.

The private lectures are generally more valuable than those delivered at the University, Dr. Murray's chemical course is the most interesting that I ever attended on that subject. The lectures of the late Dr. Gordon were very popular. Never did a young professor open his career with more brilliant prospects, and Dever were the hopes of friends more cruelly disappointed than by the premature death of this promising young man, who bid fair to be the Bichat of Scotland. Some years ago, the celebrated John Bell delivered private lectures

« PreviousContinue »