« PreviousContinue »
victim of his incapacity hourly growing worse and gradually sinking to the grave from which he has no power to rescue him—unless indeed some lucky chance occurs, which this ignoramus has the degredation to know is the effect of some unforseen good fortune, and can in no wise be attributed to his skillful management.
How different are the sensations of the studeous and skilful practitioner under the
same circumstance. He is consident that as far as human art will permit, he is capable of assisting to the uttermost the suffering individual before him. He has no legitimate source of regret for ill-spent time; no stings of conscience to upbraid him that the fatal result is owing to his ignorance or inattention. He has done all that lies in his power ; he has performed his duty and is satisfied. He feels on the other hand a proportionate degree of satisfaction if his efforts are crowned with success. If the termination of the case be favorable, the knowledge that his power and well-directed skill have contributed to produce it, amply reward him for the labor he has expended in acquiring the requisite knowledge of be profession. Let me hope that you will take part with the latter, and that you will strive to emulate his course. Let me repeat that the science of medicine is one of the most interesting studies to pursue, one of the noblest arts to practise to which an intelligent and well-educated man can possibly devote himself. The physician wields a power which is capable of assording the purest happiness, the most valued of all blessings to his fellow creatures. By the skilful exercise of his art, he saves mankind from torture, misery and death. He restores peace to the wretched, he administrates consolation to the unhappy—he gives life to the dying. By the timely interposition of his aid he is enabled to rescue from the fangs of disease, from the jaws of death, the most valuable members of society, the benefactors of the human race, the great—the learned—the virtuous; and in the humbler walks of private life, his labors are equally valuable. While he affords to the suffering individual himself corporeal ease and mental tranquillity, by restoring to the bosom of an afflicted family some loved member of their circle, the support of their existence, or the joy of their hearts, who is about to be snatched from them by some terrible disease, what happiness does he confer What frightful misery does he remove 1
The practice of our profession, gentlemen, may occasionally be embittered with disappointment and annoyance,—and where shall we find one that is not; but these drawbacks are more than counter-balanced by the unalloyed satisfaction, the unspeakable pleasure which such deeds as these produce.