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In March, 1808, I was elected Assistant-Surgeon to St. George's Hospital. In January, 1840, after having filled the place of assistantsurgeon for fourteen years, and that of surgeon for nearly eighteen years, I resigned my office. During these thirty-two years the hospital, as far as my profession was concerned, was the greatest object of interest that I possessed. Except during the brief intervals of my absence. from London, it rarely happened that I was not some time during the day within its walls. I was indebted to the opportunities which it afforded me for the best part of the knowledge which I had been able to attain. It had rendered my professional life one of agreeable study,
instead of one of mechanical and irksome drud· gery. Some of my happiest hours were those
during which I was occupied in the wards, with iny pupils around me, answering their enquiries, explaining the cases to them at the bedside of the patients, informing them as to the grounds on which I formed my diagnosis, and my reasons for the treatment which I employed, and not concealing from them my oversights and
errors ; and all this to kind and willing and only too partial listeners. My intercourse with the students, and, I may add, with the patients also, was always to me a source of real gratification; and even now (many years afterwards) these scenes are often renewed to me at night, and events of which I have no recollection when awake come before me in my dreams. It was not without a painful effort that I made up my mind to resign an office to which I had been sincerely attached. In doing so I was influenced by various considerations. One of them was that I began to feel the necessity of diminishing the amount of my labours. Then I had long since formed the resolution that I would not have it said of myself, as I had heard it said of others, that I retained a situation of such importance and responsibility when, either from age or from indifference, I had ceased to be fully equal to the duties belonging to it; and lastly, when I saw intelligent and diligent and otherwise deserving young men around me, waiting their turn to succeed to the hospital appointments, it seemed to me that there was
something selfish in standing longer in their way, when, as far as my own mere worldly interests were concerned, I had obtained all that I could desire. I have found no reason to be dissatisfied with the resolution which I had formed, and the step which I took in consequence; yet, for some considerable time after I had taken it, I had many uncomfortable feelings, and I never passed by the hospital without something like a painful recollection that my labours there were at an end. However, I kept up in some degree my connection with it for some years after my resignation, by delivering annually a short course of lectures gratuitously to the students during the winter session, generally selecting for that purpose some one class of diseases, giving a more detailed history of my own experience than it was possible to give in an ordinary course of surgical lectures.
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