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I notice, secondly, that there is almost a thankful willingness to resign Abra-ca-da-bra ! We had for a long time a book of common forms; a Latin book, in Rose, Shamrock, and Thistle editions, full of strange tales,
“Of herbs, plants, flowers, and their true qualities,”
writ in Latin. At last the strongest man in the practical reform of our craft in our time—the Cromwell of physiccondemned the book and its mysteries, and now it floats, in simple English dress, preparing to make its bow and retire altogether. Before I name the book, I must in parenthesis, say who this strong man was. It was the man who, opening the locked doors of hospitals, nailed them open, and who left behind him a work which—though its blasts and its hurricanes are subdued, though its noble Saxon tongue, ringing like the hammer of Thor on an anvil of silver, hath caught the Norman lisp, and though the hand of the poet, born, not made, moves in it no more-is, notwithstanding, under the momentum of his genius, still one of the most powerful classjournals in the world. The man I mean was the late Mr. Wakley.
of natural substances into two great classes, called respectively colloids and crystalloids, are of pre-eminent service to the physiologist and pathologist, and in time will be taken into consideration in the study of all those actions and func. tions of living things which are commonly distinguished as "vital.” I have my. self, in one line of research, endeavoured to utilize the discoveries of Graham on osmotic force, and, I trust, with success. I refer to the researches on the synthesis of cataract, in which, following up the admirable and original observation of Dr. Weir Mitchell, of Philadelphia, I discovered that, with one or two rare exceptions, all soluble crystalloidal substances will produce temporary opacity (cataract) of the crystalline lens, if introduced in excess into animal bodies. But even the researches of the late Master of the Mint on osmosis are not more important to the world of scientific medicine than are his earlier labours on the diffusion of gases. Since we, as physicians, have come practically to apply gises and vapours as medicines, by inhalation, we have become more determinately physicists, to whom the perfect physical lessons of Graham on diffusion are simply essential as matters to be learned, if we would connect precision with our work, and leave empiricism and doubt for the sake of induction and positive science:
As for the book which he condemned, and which flourishes in this day as the “ British Pharmacopeia," though the reform in it is not stout winning, it is a good giving-up of dead weight, and amidst an ocean of discouragement, is a faint but hopeful sign of advancement. It is beyond what it seems. It is leading us to ask whether simplification cannot be carried out further, and whether investigation as to remedies cannot be rendered more precise; it affords scope for the introduction of principles in therapeutics, and, binding us by a more correct nomenclature with advanced chemistry, it con
nects us closely with one section, at least, of the more accurate • sciences.
The Ultimate Object.
Hitherto I have spoken of research in medicine as connected with our present interests and aspirations; but the grand, the overpowering object of such research rests, after all, in the hopes of the future. Who fails to realise this truth hath nor part nor lot in victory. If the unity of belief, that we live for the future, exist not amongst us, but be left to the prescience of individual minds, then is unity of labour still far, far removed, and the mourning of the world wailingly prolonged. Small, comparatively, we may be, but if the world waits for our combined action, then ought we to be absolutely great. And who dares doubt that the world doth anxiously wait, even for us?
The glories of that happier time, for which all creation yearns, what are they but the glories of life relieved from pain, from want, from care ? Are not these reliefs our duties? Is it not our office to be the first of men to pluck the curse of pain from the whole earth ? Is it not our office to economise the gifts of nature, and lend her wealth to health ? Is it not our office to soothe the troubled mind, and bring the disturbed brain to equilibrium of power? If these be not our offices, who are the blessed that claim them? If they be, then the sweetest singer of Israel, telling of the time when “ There shall be no more thence an infant of days, nor an old man that hath not filled his days;" and the Roman poet singing the
“ Ultima Cumci venit jam carminis ætas,
Magnus ab integro sæclorum nascitur ordo ;"
and the mighty apostle, thundering through the ages, “The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death.”—Then these are our prophets, proclaiming to us our mission, and assuring us that if the mission be faithful, and their prophetic visions true, we, in life or in death, shall be as kings in the kingdom of Our Father.