Excerpt from An Introductory Lecture on the Comparative State of the Profession of Medicine, and of Medical Education, in the United States and Europe: Session 1846-47
IT cannot be denied, gentlemen, that there are peculiarities in our profession which, especially at an early period of its history, exposed it to the sneers of the censorious and the ridicule of the satirist; and that it has been at times assailed by the most caustic Wit and biting sarcasm. But Within the last half century it has assumed a dignity which has, to a great extent, Shielded it from the shafts of ill-nature and ridicule. The numerous illustrious names that have, in that time, graced its annals, and the vast benefits it has manifestly conferred upon mankind, has given to it a rank, and placed it in a position so strong, that it is rare, at present, to hear its claims questioned from any source worthy of attention.
Of late, however, gentlemen, a spirit has arisen in some parts of this country, and Within the pale of the profession, as it seems to me, most hostile to its best interests. Attempts have been made to impress the public with the belief that the profession here is in a most de graded state. In one journal especially, in which more accurate knowledge and a different Spirit might have been expected, a regular onslaught has been made on the members of the profession and medical schools of the United States. The most serious charges have been brought, and allegations made under the authority of respectable names, which, if true, demand our most serious attention.
As you, gentlemen, are about to unite your destinies with those against Whom these grave charges have been preferred, it would seem particularly appropriate to this occasion to inquire as to their soundness and truth. It is my present purpose to do this in all candor, as far as the time will admit. These statements have been published with the signatures of their authors but as my objects are Opinions, not men, and as I/am desirous of avoiding every thing like personality, I shall merely advert to the communications themselves. Indeed, gentlemen, I disclaim, in this investigation, all personal feeling, and profess to be governed merely by pride of profession, and a sense of official duty.
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