« PreviousContinue »
that, as I was originally Serjeant-Surgeon to King William, I am now Serjeant-Surgeon to Queen Victoria. Formerly there were some privileges attached to the office, but an alteration in the constitution of the College of Surgeons having been made by charter in the year 1843, the reason for maintaining them ceased to exist, and by my own suggestion they were discontinued.
I have already mentioned that I began the delivery of surgical lectures in the autumn of the year 1808. I continued to deliver them in Mr. Wilson's anatomical theatre until I had retired from the anatomical lectures. I theu engaged a house in Great Windmill Street, in which I constructed a theatre for my lectures, reserving the rest of the house for the residence of a porter, and for a museum consisting of preparations illustrative of surgical pathology. With regard to the latter, I was at first contented with the preservation of such specimens as I was able to prepare with my own hands; but as I obtained an increase of income with an increase of occupation, I engaged the services of Dr. James Somerville as my assistant, and thus, in the course of a few years, I became possessed of a collection of preparations which was admirably adapted for the intended purpose of illustrating my lectures. I continued to lecture in my Windmill Street theatre until theyear 1829, and then, in compliance with the wishes of my colleagues, I transferred my lectures to the theatre of St. George's Hospital, at the same time presenting my pathological museum to the governors of that institution for the use of the Medical School. It has been gratifying to me to find that not only my original preparations have been carefully preserved, but that large additions have been made to them, so that the Pathological Museum of St. George's Hospital, at the time at which I am now writing, is one of the most valuable and useful collections of the kind in the metropolis.
-For many years my lectures formed not only a very useful, but a very interesting addition to my employments. As, however, I became more engaged with private practice, I found the delivery of them three evenings of the week (and always more frequently towards the end of the course) to be very inconvenient. I often had scarcely time to eat a hasty dinner before I proceeded to the lecture-room; and then, almost immediately after my lecture was concluded, had to visit patients who required a second visit during the twenty-four hours, or whom I had been prevented from visiting in the early part of the day. Thus I was unable to begin answering the letters of my correspondents, "who were always pretty numerous,, until a late hour in the evening; and was generally employed, with little intermission, from half-past eight in the morning until midnight, besides having not unfrequently to make journeys into the country, which occupied a considerable portion of the night. Being thus pressed, I was desirous of retiring from my duties as a lecturer as soon as I had the opportunity of doing so. That opportunity, however, did not occur until the year 1830, when I was enabled to give up my class to my junior colleagues at the hospital, Mr. Caesar Hawkins and Mr. George Babington.
Although I ceased to deliver a systematic course of surgical lectures, I felt that the students of the hospital had just claims on me for instruction; and in addition to the explanation which I was always in the habit of giving them at the bedside of the patients, I continued once in a week to deliver clinical lectures in the early part of the day, during a great part of the year; and probably, with my increased professional experience, was thus able to afford them a greater amount of useful practical information than I should have done if I had confined myself to lectures of the same description as those which I had delivered formerly.
It was in the year 1822 that I published a second edition of my treatise on the Diseases of the Joints. The copies were soon exhausted, and the work was for many years out of print. A third edition, which was, I hope, much improved, was published in the year 1834, and two editions have been published since. In the year 1832 I published my lectures on the Diseases of the Urinary Organs. There was no very practical work on the subject previously, and it has now reached a fourth edition. My Lectures illustrative of Local Nervous Diseases were published in 1837. They formed a thin volume, but I believe that I am not wrong in stating that none of my publications have been really more useful to the world than this, preventing a multitude of mistakes which surgeons were apt to make in confounding mere neuralgic affections with more serious maladies. These lectures have now been for several years out of print, it being my intention, if I live long enough, to republish them, with some others, at some future period. Though not belonging to this period of my life, I may here mention that in the year 1847 I published another volume of miscellaneous 'Lectures illustrative of various Subjects in Pathology and Surgery.' Besides these, I communicated various papers on Injuries of the Brain, Injuries of the Spinal Cord, and other subjects, to the Royal Medical and Chirurgical Society, which have appeared at various times in the Medico-Chirurgical Transactions.