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London, Saturday, March 21, 1829.
MR. WARBURTON’S BILL.
Mr. WARBURTON has obtained leave to
bring in a Bill to legalise and regulate the
supply of subjects for anatomical dissection,and his motion received, as we had an tici-
pated, the unqualified support of Mr. PEFL.We observed last week that, as the Edin-
burgh murders had occurred since the
Home Secretary expressed doubts as to thepracticability of devising a legislative re-
medy for the evils of which the medical
profession has so long complained, the RightHon. Gentleman would no doubt see suffi-
cient cause for changing his opinion, andbe ready to acknowledge that the time wasarrived when dissection must either be putdown altogether, or be permitted to be prac-tised under such legislative provisions as
might ensure the safety, if they could notbe wholly reconciled with the feelings orprejudices, of the community. With re-
spect to the first branch of the alternative,
namely, the suppression of the practice ofdissection, Mr. PEEL declared that,-
" He considered it an unnecessary wasteof the time of the House to use argumentsfor the purpose of showing that there ex-isted a necessity for the promotion of thescience of anatomy. This was a pointwhich he conceived to be unquestionable,and, if such a necessity existed, it followedthat the want of bodies to accomplish theobjects of teaching anatomy must be sup-plied. At the present moment the lawsdid not permit that want to be suppliedfrom any legitimate source, and the con-
sequence was, that the professors of ana-tomy were compelled to procure a supplyfrom persons who carried on their titifficamidst the most outrageous violations ofdecency, of the finest and most powerfulfeelings of human nature, and oftentimes bythe perpetration of the foulest crimes."
. These are undeniable truths, but theyare truths which have been week after
week, and month after mouth, pressed uponthe attention of the Government, during thelast five years, and it is to Le, regretted
that the necessity of applying some remedy
to the evil has not been acknowledged,until the Government has been awakened
to a sense of its own supineness by the dis-
covery of the dreadful atrocities committed
at Edinburgh. That the Edinburgh mur-ders have wrought a decided change in theopinions of- Mr. PEEL regarding this sub-
ject, and that they have, as we anticipated.accomplished for the anatomical question,what the Clare election has effected for the
Catholic question, may be inferred, wethink, from the following passage in the
Riglit-Hon. Secretary’s Speech :.-After the experience-the more than
melancholy experience they had obtainedof the nature of the crimes to which the
high price of bodies gave rise, he wouldask, whether it had not become absolutelynecessary that something should be donefor the security of the public, and for thepreservation of those feelings which he wasinclined to treat with the highest respect 1Something, it was acknowledged, must bedone, and it appeared to him that nothinghad yet been devised which seemed less
objectionable in principle than the measureproposed by the Honourable Member forBridport."The object of Mr. WARBURTON’S Bill is
to give legality, in certain cases, to the
practice of dissections; and the principalfeatures of the measure are to be, first, a
provision declaring it to be lawful for per-sons duly authorised to practise as physi-cians and surgeons, to receive subjects fordissection in those cities or towns where.
there are universities for the taking of de-
grees, or where there are hospitals largeenough to receive fifty patients at a time ;and, secondly, a clause making it lawful forthe overseers and managers of poor-housesand work-houses, and for the governors of
hospitals to give up to surgeons and teach-ers of anatomy the bodies of those persons
who, having died in such poor-houses,work-houses, or hospitals, are not claimedwithin a specified time hy some friend or
relation, As soon as this Bill is priuted,we shall be enubled to lay a copy of it be-
fore our readers ; at present it would be
786 MR. WARBURTON’S BILL.
premature to enter fully into the inquiry,how far it is likely to operate as a remedyfor the existing evils; but there are two
points on which we are desirous of makingone or two observations, because Mr. WAR-BURTON has been wholly silent with regardto one of them, and has expressly statedthat his measure will not embrace the
other; we allude to the repeal of the clausewhich makes dissection a part of the
punishment for the crime of murder, and the
adoption of some penal enactment for themore effectual suppression of the practice ofexhumation. We have repeatedly stated
that we believe the first of these points tobe of such importance, that no legislative!measure for facilitating dissection can everbe rendered effectual, so long as the clausewhich subjects the bodies of murderers todissection remains upon the statute-book.
If that clause remain unrepealed, dissectionwill continue to be, in the eye of the law, a
punishment, and the Bill proposed by Mr.WARBURTON will be neither more nor less
than a Bill for subjecting poverty to the
same penalty which is inflicted upon crime-a Bill for inflicting- the punishment of dis-section on the destitute and the friendless.
We are not prepared to say that it is no
hardship upon the poor of this country, thatafter their lives shall have been worn out in
the service of the most sefisli, overbearing, iand heartless aristocracy in Europe, their
bodies shall be delivered over to the knife
of the anatomist. We are not prepared to saythat it is no hardship upon the poor of thiscountry to pass a law, declaring’ that even thetermination of their lives shall not be the
limit of thc’ir persecution, and that their
bodies shall be deprived of that repose in the
grave, to which they have hitherto lookedas a sad but certain refuge from " the op-pressor’s acorn, the proud man’s contumely."We cannot suffer our z0al for the promotionof anatomical science to shut up all the
avenues to human feeling; nor are we pre-pared to say that the principle of giving up
unclaimed bodies for dissection, though it isone which we were among the first to re-
commend to the adoption of the Legislature,and which is liable to fewer objections than
any other which could be taken as a basis
of legislation, will not, at the same time,bear hard in its operation upon the poor.But if the Legislature subjects the bodies offriendless paupers to dissection, at the sametime that it sanctions the infliction of dis-
section as a stigma and a degradation uponthe bodies of executed murderers, the
measure, proposed by Mr. WARBURTON,would not only involve that degree of hard.ship upon the poor which is inseparablefrom the difficulty of legislating on this sub-
ject, but it would be a measure of injusticeand cruelty to the poor. Dissection is
either a fit punishment for crime, or it is
not. If it be a fit punishment for crime,with what decency can friendless povertybe declared equivalent to crime, by a
solemn Act of the Logislature ? Everybody knows that, in this country, povertyis, practically, a crime of the deep-est dye, and that there is hardly anycrime, which, supported or covered bywealth, may not, practically, cease to be
criminal, but it would be a new era in
legislation, if this doctrine were gravelyset forth in an Act of Parliament. On
the other hand, if dissection be not a fit
punishment for crime, why hesitate to re-
peal the clause which makes it a part of the
punishment for the crime of murder? 1 As tothe ground upon which the clause has beendefended, namely, that the dread of dissec-tion tends to restrain from the commission
of the crime of murder, we have endeavour-ed on former occasions to demonstrate the
absurdity of this argument. The argumentis founded upon the supposition, that thedread of hanging without subsequent dissec-tion would occasionally fail to restrain menmeditating the crime of murder fiom its
commission, where the dread of dissectionas well as of hanging, of the hanging plus the! as well as of hanging, of the hanging plus the
787MR. WARBURTON’S BILL.
dissection, would operate as an effectual re-straint; a supposition of which the absur-
dity must be manifest to any man who
allows himself time to reflect upon it. We
feel satisfied that even if Mr. WARBURTON’S
bill should pass the legislature, no practicalgood would come of it, if the clause in the
Act of Gro. II. remain unrepealed. Public
opinion would be too strong for the enforce-ment of a measure which should attempt to
put the poor upon the same footing pro Mntowith criminals, and subject their bodies to a
process hitherto exclusively reserved by thelaw for executed murderers. Mr, PEEL, in-
deed, endeavoured to show that the proposedmeasure would make no diffeience as to the
class of persons from which bodies would betaken for the purpose of dissection, since thebodies of the poor were at present uniformlyresorted to, and those of the rich were gene-
rally secured in such a manner as to ienderthem inaccessible to the depredations of theresurrection-men. This argument, however,is evidently fallacious; for it is notorious
that the resurrectionists have no respect forclasses, as the Home Secretary might havelearned from the testimony of Sir ASTLEYCOOPER, who declared before the Committeethat " there was no person, be his situatien
in life what it might, whom, if he were dis-posed to dissect, he could not obtain." Theeffect of the proposed measure will undoubt-
edly be, to throw upon the poor an onus whichis now shared by all classes ; the least,
therefore, that the legislature can do, in
order to iender that measure as palatable asmay be to the public, is to repeal the absurdenactment by which they have declared dis-section to be a stigma and a degradation.Mr. WARBURTON has expressly stated,
that it is not his intention to impose any’penalties or prohibitions; the practice of
exhumation, therefore, if the natural ope-ration of the proposed Bill be not sunicientto put an end to it, will remain unsuppress-ed. This is an omission which-may defeat
one of the objects in which the public feel,
at present, the deepest interest, and for
which we are the less able to account,. as
the discovery of the atrocities practised at
Edinburgh seemed to point Gut the abso-lute necessity of suppressing the traffic
between resurrectionists and anatomists bysome strong penal enactment. To omit suchan enactment, is like leaving the door of ahouse unlgcked the very night after we
have suffered from a burglary. It is not
enough to say, that by providing a legiti-mate source for the supply of subjects, all
temptation to the commission of such atro-cious crimes will be removed. After the
appalling experience we have had of theatrocities men are to be found capable of
committing, so long as the disgusting traf-fic in human flesh is not discouraged by theseverest penalties, as well against the pur-chasers as the vendors of dead bodies,
nothing should be left to chance. The pos-
session of a dead body for the purpose of
dissection, under any other circumstancesthan those sanctioned by the legislature,ought, we contend, to be made an offence
punishable with fourteen years’ transporta-tion. Had the receiver of the -bodies of the
sixteen unfortunate creatures butchered at
Edinburgh, some of which bodies, those ofthe remarkable person of Daft Jamie, for
instance, and of young women of the town,dressed in sill stockings, and the flauutingcostume of their unhappy caning, could nothave failed to excite the attention of .the
purchaser, though no questions were asked
I by him-had the receiver of these sixteen.strangled bodies been punishable as well asthe murderer, the crimes which have cast astain on the character of the nation, and of
human nature, would not have been com-mitted. Supposing the legitimate source
for the supply of subjects to be sufficient toput an end to the practice of exhumation,there can be no objection to an enactmentincreasing the penalties against an unlawfultraffic in dead bodies, for such an enactment
would, in the natural course of events,become
788 MONOPOLY OF THE COLLEGE OF SURGEONS.
a dead letter. But if the legitimate sourceshould not be sufficient, or if unexpecteddifficulties should arise in carrying the pro-visions of the new measure into effect, the
omission of a strong penal enactment againstexhumation and the abetting of it, would
expose the public to all the danger fromwhich it is the bounden duty, and we trustwill be the object, of the legislature to pro-tect them. We admit, with Mr. PEEI,, the
necessity that exists for practising dissec-tion, with a view to the successful cultiva-tion of anatomical science, and we insistedon this necessity, when Mr. PEEL denied
it ; or, what was worse, when he admittedthe necessity in theory, but declined af-
fording the practical means of acting uponit ; but though we admit this necessity witha view to the prosecution of anatomical stu-dies, and the successful performance of afew operations, it is, in our judgment, arelative, not an absolute necessity ; it is
not such an overwhelming necessity, butthat it ought to yield to the paramount im-portance of discouraging crime and immo.rality, and protecting the public againstassassination. Let exhumation be sup-
pressed, as we trust it will be, by the sub-stitution of a legitimate source of supplyfor the dissecting-rooms ; but, at all events,we say, let exhumation be suppressed.That provision in Mr. WARBURTON’S
Bill, which is to give a legislative sanctionto the practice of dissection in all the
large towns, is one which we are, per-
haps, entitled to regard with the more sa-
tisfaction, as it is evidently founded uponthe evidence which we gave before the
Committee on anatomy, and as it is directlyaimed against the monopoly of the Collegeof Surgeons. We stated to the Committee,as will be seen bv a reference to the evidencewhich follows this article, that the ditn-
culties of obtaining subjects for dissection,were mainly attributable to the regulationsadopted by the College since the year 1812.We showed, that before these regulations
were made, dissections were practised anywhere, and certificates were received, with-
out any specifications as to the time or placein which, or at which, the dissections were
performed ; every body that could be ob.tained, was invariably applied to the pur-
poses of dissection, and eagerly sought afterby the professional men, not only of Lon.
don, but of every part of the kingdom. Weshowed, that the regulations wherein the
COURT of EXAMINERS had, for the sake
. of securing a monopoly to themselves, de-clared that they would grant no diplomas topersons who had learned anatomy, or per.formed dissections elsewhere than in Lon-
don, or at any other times than during thewinter season, had had the effect of pro-
ducing a great scarcity of subjects, by bring-ing a vast influx of students to the me-
tropolis ; and we further showed, that the
College of Surgeons, caring nothing for
the interests of science, but every thingfor their own base lucre, persisted in re-
quiring certificates of attendance on coursesof dissection in London, and refused to grantcertificates if the dissections were perform-ed elsewhere, at a time when in London
there were no subjects to disssct.’
The provision intended to be introduced
by Mr. WARBURTON will have the effect of
restoring the system which existed pre.
viously to the infamous regulations of theCollege, and will strike at the root of the
College monopoly ; for it will be impossi-ble to maintain that monopoly in the teet!1of an Act of Parliament, or to continue the
present odious prohibitions and restrictions,after the Legislature shall have declared,that anatomy may be taught, and dissec-tions performed, in all parts of the kingdom.It is worthy of observation, that Mr. WAR-BU RTON made no mention of the College ofSurgeons, in detailing the heads of his Bill,nor was the slightest allusion made to thatcorrupt body in the course of the discus,
sion. So far so good; but care should betaken not to give to hospital surgeons the
789MR. WAKLEY’S EVIDENCE.
power of appropriating to themselves sucha proportion of the subjects to be appliedto scientific purposes, as would, in effect,confirm their monopoly. It would be well,
perhaps, to establish a general receiving-house, to which all unclaimed bodies should
be taken, and where an officer, appointed bythe government, should register the subjectsso conveyed, and distribute them in a certainfixed proportion, to such teachers as mightbe authorised to receive them. We stronglyrecommend also, that No MONEY should be
allowed to be received for the subjects.Let there be no buyers or sellers of the re-mains of our friendless countrymen. Let
the detestable traffic in human flesh at once
be suppressed, and the supply of subjectsfor anatomical purposes will then be placedon a better, instead of a worse footing, in
this country than in any other country of
Europe. We are aware that this will not bea palatable proposition to hospital surgeonsand monopolists. They have declared that
they do not wish to see subjects cheap;still less do they wish to see the traffic in
subjects completely put down ; all they de-sire is, that the traffic should be rendered
safe and profitable to themselves. Thanks,however, to the enlightened spirit in whichMr. WARBURTON has entered upon his
task, their base and mercenary purposes arelikely to be defeated.
There is another emission which it maybe worth while to notice. Not a word was
said, in the course of the discussion, about
the burial of the bodies, after they shall
have undergone dissection. Is it intended
to dispense altogether with this ceremony ?Nothing is more likely to put to hazard thesuccess of the measure, and to excite the
popular feeling against it, than the mani-festation of indifference on the part of the
aristocracy, as to the performance or neglectof this ceremony, as applied to the bodiesof the poor. It is true, that the doctrines
of Christianity do not enjoin the belief, thatthe rites of burial have any influence over
our condition in a future state; but the
vulgar seldom distinguish with much accu-racy between the ordinances of churches
and the revelations of Scripture, and are
accustomed to look upon Christian burial
as a part of the Christian religion. Even
philosophy dictates that, though we may beindifferent as to the burial of our own
bodies, the feelings and customs of mankind,as connected with this ceremony, ought tobe respected. " De humatione," says Cicero," unum teneaadum est, contemnendum in -nobis,non negligendum in nostris; ita turraeoa nzortu-
orum corpora nihil sentire -intelligamns. Quuntunaautem consuetudini famæque dandum sit, id
curent vivi." ’ At the present moment, when
there exists a strong impression among theuninstructed classes of the community, thata blow is aimed at the religion of the
country by the great measure now passingthrough Parliament, it would be indiscreet
to allow it to go forth, that the Legislaturewas at the same time passing a bill to de-prive the bodies of the poor of the rites ofburial. ,
Since the foregoing article was written,we have received from our esteemed cor-
respondent ERINENSIS, the communicationinserted at page 774, on the subjectof the exportation of dead bodies from
FROM THE REPORT OF THE PARLIAMENTARY
COMMITTEE ON ANATOMY, MAY, 1828.
Mr. THOMAS WAKLEY called in, andexamined.
* * * *** 1351. Will you point outin the regulations of the College of Sur-
geons, dated the Ijth of Januuty, 1823,which are the regulations that you considertend to increase the dunculties of’ obtaininga supply of subjects for dissection?—I willread them.
! 1. " The only schools of anatomy and’ physiology recognised, are London, Duh-
lin, Edinburgh, Glasgow, and Aberdeen."IV. - Regulation.— The foilotving
certificates will be required of candidatesfor the diploma of the College :".---
790 MR. WAKLEY’S EVIDENCE
1st.—" Of having been engaged six;years, at least, in the acquisition of’pro-feaional knowledge," I
2d.—" Of having regularly attendedthree or more winter courses of ana-torny and physiology, and two’or morewinter courses of dissections and [demonstrations, delivered at subse- ’,quent periods."
Section 5.—" And of having attend-ed, during the term of at least one
year, the surgical practice of one ormore of the following hospital, viz.St. Bartholomew’s, St. Thomas’s, theWestminster, Guy’s, St. George’s, theLondon, and the Middlesex in .London ;the Richmond, Steevens’s, and theMeath in Dublin , and the Royal In-
. firmaries in Edinburgh, Glasgow, andAberdeen ; or, during four years, thesurgical practice of a recognised pro-vincial hospital, and six months, at
least, the practice of one of the above-named hospitals in the schools of ana.tomy."
1352. Will you state in what way youconsider these regulations to interfere withthe supply of subjects?-If I were to dothat, it would be only offering my opinion ;perhaps you will allow me to state the factsas they have occurred since 1819 or 1820.In 1815, and,. from .that period to about1822, there were very few difficulties experi-enced in this town with regard to obtainingan adequate supply of subjects for dis-’section. In 1823, the College of Surgeons,in Lincoln’s-rnn Fields, enacted a by-law,stating, that certificates of dissection wouldnot be received by the Court of Examiners,unless the dissections were performed duringthe winter season : this by-law had theeffect of drawing the pupils from every partof England, for the purpose of cultivating thescience cf anatomy to that extent whichwould enable them to undergo their exami-.nation for the diploma. In consequence ofthe extraordinary flow of students intoLondon, at that period, the dissecting-rooms became very much crowded withpupils; as there was an increased demandfor bodies, an increased price was asked bythe resurrection men, and, uitimately, theprice became so exceedingly high, that anumber of individuals, who before had notembarked in the practice of exhumation,entered upon it ; bodies were raised and
procured for a time in the most indecentmanner; and at last the churchyards, andevery description of burial ground, in the
neighbourhood of London, were so watched,that to obtain any subjects for the purposeof dissection, was next to impossible. In1824, the College enacted the by-lawNo. IV, section 5, in which it was furtherstated, that " no certificates, in testimony
:of attendance on dissections, would, be re.ceived by the Court, except from the ap-
. pointed professors of anatomy and surgeryin the Universities of Edinburgh, Glasgow,Aberdeen, and Dublin, or from persons whoweie physicians or surgeons to the hospi.tals in the recognised schools, or from per-sons unless recommended by the medicalestablishments of those hospitals." This
regulation had a most extraordinary effectupon the 1)),ivata schools in this town, and Ihave the authority of Mr. Brookes forstating that it was nearly his ruin. I havefurther the authority of Messrs. Brookesand Carpue (whom I have seen since I re-ceived the summons of this Committee) forstating, that previously to 1823, (campara-tively speaking,) they experienced no diffi-culty in obtaining subjects ; but the Collegeof Surgeons having limited the space from.which subjects should be procured to Lon-don, and the time in which dissectionsshould be performed, to seven, or at mosteight, months in the year, the difficulties ofprocuring subjects had increased to such adegree, that their rooms were often unfur-nished with the requisite materials for pro-secuting the study of anatomy. I have the
authority of both of these gentlemen for
stating, that, in the summer, they couldalways obtain subjects for dissection withgreater facility than in the winter. Theasetibed motive of the College for enactingthe law restricting dissections to the winterseason,
" in consequence of the manner inwhich dissections in the summer endanger-ed tLe lives of the students, does not appearto be the real one ; as Mr. Brookes has lec-tured during the summer season, from fifteento twenty years, without having had a singlepupil die from the practice of summer dis-
section; and, during the whole of his expe-rience, lie has lost but one pupil from dis-section, and that pupil died at Christmas.Mr. Carpue also has practised summer dis-sections nearly twenty years, and he hasnot lost a single pupil. It will have beenalreadv perceived that the’bv-law passed in1823, and thut passed in 1824, had thedirect tendency of throwing all the fees whichcould arise from teaching of anatomy inthis country, into the pockets of the Londonhospital surgeons, and their immediate de-
pendents and relatives ; and it is not a littlesingular that the memhers of the Court ofExaminers, by whom these by-laws wereenacted, were themselves, at least seven ofthem, London hospital surgeons. Theselaws, continuing in operation at the presenttime, produce the same mischievous effectswith regard to the cultivation of anatomy,as at the period when they were firstenacted. Before they were enacted, dis-sections were practised any where, and cer-tificates were received without any specifi.
791BEFORE THE PARLIAMENTARY COMMITTEE.
cations as to the time or place in which, orat which, the dissections were performed ;every body that could be obtained was inva-riably applied to the purposes of dissection,and eagerly sought after by the professionalmen, not only of London, hut of every partof the kingdom ; and students as easilyanswered the questions proposed to them intheir examinations at the College at that
period as at present. Certificates not beingreceived by the Court of Examiners fromauy part of England, except Lowloll, all thepupils necessarily resort to this place; con-sequently, the chances of an adequate sup-ply of subjects to meet the increased de-mand, have, of course, been, and really are,very much lessened. The Court of Examiners
appear chiefly to rely on the certificates ofstudents as the most important proof ofability ; but, at the period when the last by-law was enacted, and subsequently to
that period, there was scarcely a subjectto be procured for dissection in the ana-tomical schools of this metropolis ; yet theCourt of Examiners required from the pupilscertificates of dissections which had never beenperformed. To show the fallacy of relyingon certificates as a proof of the quantity ofdissections accomplished, 1 may instance anoccurrence which happened to myself. Whenabout to apply for examination at the Col.lege, I was asked by a fellow-student whatnumber of certificates I had to take withme, and I told him very few; on which hesaid that was a pity, because the examina.tion was generally proportioned to the
quantity of certificates produced by the
pupil. I mentioned to him that I had en-tered to one lecturer at a distant part of thetown, when I first came to London ; butfinding it inconvenient, after three or fourmornings, I relinquished the attendance ;of course, I said, 1 could get no certificatefrom him. " I’ou had better try," he re-plied ; "I think you can." Accordingly Idid apply, and received a certificate fromthe lecturer, stating that I had " regularlyand diligently attended one course of hislectures on anatomy, physiology, and sur-gery, and one course of his dissections,although I had attended but four or five ofhis lectures, and no dissection whateverThe effect -of the by-law to which I havealready alluded, directly tends to destroy thevalue of certificates, because from the man-ner it has crowded anatomical theatres anddissecting’ rooms, it is utterly impossible forthe lecturer to know whether the pupil hasbeen attentive to his studies or not. Sub-,
jects, up to the period of 1823, before thewinter courses of dissection were required by
’ the College, could be procured almost with-out difficulty, and to any extent, at four
guineas each ; but since that period, manyof the dissecting’ rooms of this town have
! been weeks, and even months, without a
subject ; yd in the summer, when the lec-tures are altogether prohibited, or at leastnot recognised by the College, subjects areprocurable with the greatest facility, andi at the same price as formerly.
1353. Have you any further observationsto make upon the regulations you havepointed out ?—A petition now lies on the
tatle of this Honourable House from thegreat body of surgeons, praying for the re-
peal of the regulations in queston, on accountof their injustice towarcls country surgeons inthe large provincial hospitals, as they have
had the effect, or nearly so, of entirelvputting a step to the teaching of anatomyin the country ; that petition was presented
to the House the year before last.1354. Have you any observations to
make upon article 5. of bv-law No. IV. ?-That clause recognises the attendance ofpupils on the piactice of the hospitals of" St. Bartholomew’s St. Thomas’s, theWestminster, Guy’s, St. George’s, the Lon-don and Middlesex, in London ; the Hich-mond, Steevens’s, and the Meath, in Dub-lin ; and the Royal Infirmaries in Edinburgh,Glasgow, and Aberdeen, or duiin,u fouryears the surgical practice of a recognisedprovincial hospital." The manner in whichthis regulation is calculated to crowd the
hospitals of’London, and to draw off the pupilsfrom the provincial institutions, where theyhave equal, if not greater opportunities ofacquiring professional knowledge, may beunderstood by the fact, that although oneyear’s attendance is deemed sufficient at theYl’estmiaas:eo Hospital, four years’ attendancein a provincial hospital is requiied ; yet theWestminster Hospitccl contains only eighty-twobeds, while some of the provincial hospitalscontain upward;: of three hundred still therequired attendance at the Westminster Hos.pital is only a fom th of the period requiredat the others ; but two of the four surgeonsof the Westminster Hospital are on theCqurt of Examiners, and the 1thole fl.uJ’ aremembers of the council Horn which theExaminers are elected.
1355. Is not the winter, of necessity, aperiod more fit for dissection than the sum-mer, on account of the rapidity with whichthe subjects become tiniit for examination ?—1 tl.ink not, to the extent generally believed ;because, with proper care and attention,subjects can be preserved with antiseptics,for all the purposes of dissection, nearly aswe:l in the summer as in the winter season.1 Lave this morning seen a subject at Mr.Carpue’s with the muscles still on the bones,which has been dissected upwards of oneyear, and I cannot say that it is offensiveeven now.
1356. Before the college passed the by-law admitting’ only attendance at winter
792 MR. WAKLEY’S EVIDENCE
courses of lectures, did as many pupils attendthe summer courses in London ?—There is a
difficulty Lin answering that question, becauseso many of those lecturers who lectured inwinter did not iecture in summer.
1357. But although the same lecturers didnot lecture in the winter and the summer,was the attendance upon the summer lec-tures as great as upon the winter lectures ?—Creater, at least with Mr. Brookes ; but that igentleman and two others were, 1 believe,the only lecturers in the summer.
1358. -Was the number of lecturers wholectuied in the summer less than the numberof those who lectured in winter’!-Far less.
1359. Therefore, upon the whole, thenumber of pupils who attended summer lec-,tures was less ?-It was less.
1360. When it was equally open for pupilsto receive certificates for their attendanceat summer as well as winter lectures, to
what do you ascribe the greater number at-
tending the winter courses ?—It was a mat-ter of greater convenience. Ihe medicalsessions commenced in October, and termi-nated in May, and for many years there wasonly one lecturer to any extent in the sum-mer, and that was Mr. Brookes, whose theatrewas always full. Wliile I was at St.Thomas’s Hospital, Sir Astley Cooper, at theend of his course, invariably recommendedus to go to Mr. Brookes’s during thesummer season, " if we wished to learnanatomy."
1361. Were the other lectures which areusually attended by students upon materiamedica and physiology, given in the summer,months ?—In summer and winter also. !
1362. You stated, that the pupils receiv-ing certificates from various lecturers for-merly passed their examinations at the ’,college as easily as at present; does not the ’,facility with which they pass depend as wellupon the- strictness of the examiner as uponthe qualifications of the examinee ?—Un-questionably ; but with one or two, or threeexceptions at most, the same examinersformed the court, then as at present.
1363. Do you apprehend the examina-tions were as strict then as they are now?-I have no means of knowing ; they cannot beless strict. I had no question whatever in
anatomy proposed to me when I was ex-amined.
1364. In what year was that ?—In the’ beginning of the year 1317. ..
1365. Were you required then to procurecertificates ?—Certificates of’ t2ns kind (pro-ducing one,) as to lectures and dissections,without stating where the former were attend-ed or the latter performed. This is the cer.tificate, Mr. Carpue infoims me, which hewas in the habit of giving at that time.
1366. It does not state how many courses,or the length of each course ?—No.
1367. Do yon not consider, that in onerespect the present regulations are betterthan they were formerly, inasmuch as theyrequire to be specified the number of coursesof lectures on anatomy and dissection thatthe candidates for diplomas have atten ded?-No ; I think they ar e much worse, because theycompel the student of tatent to devote as muchtime to the study as they do the stzadent of ex-i treme dulticss, who mG’y require a period five timesas long.
1363. If the committee correctly under-stand the nature of your answer, you wouldnot recommend that the time during whichthe pup1l has attended dissections should beany qualification ; you would desire that theknowledge of the pupil should be ascertainedat the period of his presenting lmself, by amore strict course of examination ?—Cer-
tainly ; I would neither require that thetime the pupil had attended, nor the placewhere he had attained his information, shouldbe SJ ecified ; I conceive that every thingslaotzld be made to depend on an efficient, PRAC-TICAL, PUBLIC EXAMINATION.
1369. Are all the private lecturers, whonow give lectures on anatomy or a course ofdissections in London, accredited by themedical establishments of recognised hospi-tals ?-That is a questions I cannot answer.The by-laws have been altered Ax.NUazLy thesefive years last past.
1370. I do not observe in this copy of the
regulations, dated the 5th of January, 1823,the same limitations which are found in thecopy dated February 1826. It is not statedin the copy, bearing date the 5th of January1828, " That certIficates of attendance atlectures on anatomy, physiology, theory andpractice of surgery, and the performance ofdissections, be not received by the court,except from the appointed professors of
anatomy and surgery, in the Univejsities ofDublin, Glasgow, and Aberdeen, or frompersons teaching in a school connected withor accredited by the medical establishmentofa recognised hospital in one of the schoolsof anatomy, or from persons being physiciansor surgeons to any or such hospitals ?’’—No, itis expunged ; and the certificates of a gentle-men who is present, are now received by theCourt of Examiners ; although they wererefused by the Court of Examiners in 1823,1824, and 1825.
1371. Then you believe the certificatesof private lecturers, although not accreditedby the medical establishments of the hospi-tals, would be now received ?—Yes.
1372. You stated, that this morning ycusaw a subject which had been dissected ayear ago, and by the use of antiseptics, themuscles still remain on the bones ; is thatmode of preparation generally known ?—Ibelieve not ; but the only means used to
preserve it, is common salt. It was at Mr.
793BEFORE THE PARLIAMENTARY COMMITTEE.
Carpue’s. He had one subject also dissectedabout a fortnight, and in that the musclesand other parts were quite perfect, and al-most free fiom smell. ’
1373. Do you think, that if subjects couldbe procured in a sufficient quantity from theContinent, and if prepared in the mannerjust described, they would be fit subjectsfor anatomical purposes ?—Yes ; but I think iwe can obtain, without difficulty, much bet-ter subjects here, and without violating anyof the feelings or prejudices of the public.I believe that not more than from 500 to700 subjects are wanted in London for thepurposes of dissection in any one year, andI consider there are more titan 1000 un-claimed persons who die in otir public in-stitutions, such as hospitals, workhouses,and prisons, during the same period. If wewere to rely upon a foreign source, in theevent of a war, the supply would be instan-taneously cut off. If, on the other hand,we were to have the bodies of unclaimedpersons for dissection, we should be certainof an abundant supply, and there would beno outrage to public feeling, because peopleare quite indifferent, as long as the sub-
jects are not their own relatives or friendsThe great prejudice which exists in this
country against the practice of dissections,appears to arise from that enactment of the
legislature which consigns the bodies ofMURDERERS to dissection ; also from the dis-
gusting and filthy practice of exhumation,which employs, J believe, nearly 100 men,who are continually violating both law anddecencv.
1374. Since the number of pupils attend-ing the winter courses, has at all times beenconsiderably greater than the number ofthose attending the summer courses, shouldyou anticipitate much diminution of the
scarcity of subjects now existing, providedcertificates of the summer couises were
admitted ?—Certainly not, if London is stillto be the only school of anatomy recognised inEngland.
1375. Should you anticipate any consi-derable diminution of the scarcity, if certi-ficates from provincial lecturers weie -.d-mitted more freely ?-Certainly, a very greatdiminution, if the period of atteradance on theprovincial hospitals were reduced to the samestandard as that cn the hospitals of London.
1376. Under the present regulations, is
the period of attending- the provincialcourses required to be double that requiredto be in the London schools ?—Certificatesof attendance on provincial lectures on ana-tomy, are not admitted at all ; but tt.e periodof attendance in country hospitais on sur-gical practice, is four times as long as thatrequired in the London hospitals.
1377. In the regulations dated February,1826, this passage occurs; " Of having di-
ligently attended, during the term of at leastone year, the surgical practice of one ofthe following- hospitals ;" and then followsa list of the London, Dublin, Edinburgh,and Glasgow hospitals, ’ and twice thatterm in any of the provincial hospitals, asabove described;" the above hospitals,meaning such hospitals as shall contain, onan average, 100 patients ?-Strictly speak-ing, that regulation amounts to an exclusionof the Westminster Hospital, although youwill perceive in Regulation 5, it is recognised.
1378. How is it that the period of attend-ance as described by you to be required inthe provincial hospitals, is four times the pe-riod that is required in the London hospitals ?— I cannot say ; but the demand is containedIn the last copy of the regulations, dated the5th of January 1828. The regulations werealtered in 1827. They then stated, thatcertificates of a two years’ attendance in a
provincial hospital would be received by thecourt, provided the pupil had previouslyattended two courses of lectures, and twocourses of dissections in one of the recognis-ed schools, London being at the time the onlyrecognised school in England.
1379. Do you happen to know how manypatients there are in the hospital at Leeds ?—I do not; but I should think from two tothree hundred ; at Manchester there are
about three hundred.1380. Are you aware of any reason why
so much longer a period should be requiredfor walking the country hospitals !-Nonewhatever ; unless it be that it is to FAVOURthe EXAMINERS THEMSELVES. Indeed it isgenerally considered that where there are
only ajew pupils, they have a better oppor-tunity of acquiring inf’orniation than wherethere are many.
1381. You think, then, that a sieorter timewould be requisite in the country than inLondon ?—I DO.
1383. Are you aware of the following be-ing the by-laws of the College of curgaonsin London, as long ago as the 25th of Feb-ruary, 1819 :-lst. Candidates must have
certificates, fiist, of having been engaged forfive years, at least, in the acquisition of pro-fessional knowledge ; 2nd. Of having regu-larly attended two courses at least of ana-tomical lectures, and al o one or more coursesof surgical lectures in London, Dublin,Edinbuigh, or Glasgow 1-1 am aware ofsome such regulation Lavir.g existed.
138S. yVhat is the reason for the different
: footing upon which Aberdeen and Dublin’ are put from other country hospitals ?—I can-not say ; the Royal Infirmary of Aberdeenis very inferior as a school of surgery to manyof the non-recognised provincial hospitals.
; 13H4. Are the hospitals of Aberdeen andDublin on the same footing as those of Lon-don ?-Yes.