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615 UNIVERSITY OF LONDON POLEMICS. To the Editor of THE LANCET. SIR,—I was not aware until the other day that ° A Graduate of the Metropolitan Uni- versity" had published such a tissue of ab- surdities, as I perceive in your Journal of June 18. Such a communication is scarcely deserving of notice, but that it will enable me to put in a true light the motives which actuated me in publishing my memorial to the senate of the University of London. I shall first make some remarks on the succes- sive paragraphs of the " Graduate’s" precious epistle. He commences with a furious dia- i tribe on my wounded vanity, and attributes to that motive the correspondence and me- moir you were so kind as to publish. I beg to say in reply, that it was not until I had received sufficient information to induce me to believe that I had not been fairly dealt with that I moved in the matter; and finding that such had been the case, I determined to obtain future fair dealing for others, if not redress for myself. Your experience, Mr. Editor, must have strikingly shown you, that he who lifts up his hand for justice against power, will draw upon himself the bitterest calumny from the toadies of the powerful party. How many calumnies have you had to endure in consequence of your advocating the cause of the medical community, by ex- posing the abuses of corporations? By-the- bye, when I saw the sneer which illumined Dr. Tweedie’s countenance on looking merely at the outside of my thesis, I could easily an- ticipate the result if placed in his hands, whatever might be its intrinsic value. Your correspondent next says, that " this Dr. Ayres monopolised, if I mistake not, the glories of the second division at the late exa- mination for lfl.D., &c." I am not ashamed to say that I did so ; nor do I think that I was in the least disgraced by it : for when I find that the divisions have been so grossly mismanaged, that after one examination for the M.B. degree one man only was placed in the first division to fourteen or more in the second; and after the examination of the next year (the matter having been exposed in THE LANCET), the proportions were, fourteen in the first to six in the second, I am not at all surprised at anything the examiners may do. I take this opportunity of asking, by what means Dr. Tweedie reinstated himself in the good graces of the senate, after being one year unexpectedly ejected from the exa- minership ? I am next accused of having committed a very foolish blunder, in sending a speculative (barely a physiological) essay to a board of examiners in practical medical science for adjudication. The blunder, Mr. Graduate, was with the framers of the regulations, who at the same time committed several other blunders, which they have, perhaps, by this time rectified. The University of London is well furnished with examiners in both prac- tical and speculative medical science. The university invites a thesis on a subject of the candidate’s own choice. Is he to infer frbm this very wide statement that he is confirlli(f to practical medicine, surgery, and midi wifery? The words do not imply it; and if the framers of regulations cannot say what they mean, they must be very silly people in deed. But the " Graduate" is caught in his own trap, for the examiners in practical medical science are not the only examiners for the M.D. degree; so that if the subject of the thesis be limited to the subjects for which examiners are appointed, he will still leave the candidates free to write theses on logic, mental or moral philosophy, which is, if I am not mistaken, the reductio ad ab- stcrdaon! ! But let us turn to other universi- ties, British or Foreign : let us take Eclih t burgh, for example, and inquire what is the practice there. Does that university restrict the subjects of the theses to two or three of the medical sciences? I am sure it does not ; and if the Graduate" will turn to’ the theses published by the M.D.’s of that- 7&ni:j versity, he will find that they embrace every department of science at all connected with medicine. This will be more glaring still, if he refers to the continental universities. Was Dr. Black, when he defended his thesis "De Magnesia alba," which, I beg to inform the " Graduate," related solely to the chemical properties of that substance, opposed by the examiners in medicine? This will, I think, be amply sufficient to show that, however convenient it may be now to restrict the sub- jects of the theses, it was not the original intention of the senate so to do. It would be well for the senate to revise their " regu- lations," and permit the candidates to under- stand their intentions. The " Graduate" must be possessed of very peculiar mental vision, to discover that " when the senate invited theses on a sub- ject of the candidate’s own choice,’ the refer- ence clearly was to the selection of the branch of practical art in which he wished to receive a special certificate." This is a terrible blunder of the Graduate," since the certi- ficate of special proficiency is an apendage, not of the ordinary examination to which rhe theses belong, but to the examination for honours, as he may satisfy himself by refer- ring to the regulations. This certificate is given to the best candidate, where as the se- paration of the graduates into the two divi- sions does not point out any special profi- ciency. That the candidate should choose his exa- miners is a position I should never drean of defending, but I shall always maiataia that v, candidate has a right to expect that his thesis should be read by those who are offi-

UNIVERSITY OF LONDON POLEMICS

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615

UNIVERSITY OF LONDONPOLEMICS.

To the Editor of THE LANCET.

SIR,—I was not aware until the other daythat ° A Graduate of the Metropolitan Uni-versity" had published such a tissue of ab-surdities, as I perceive in your Journal ofJune 18. Such a communication is scarcelydeserving of notice, but that it will enableme to put in a true light the motives whichactuated me in publishing my memorial tothe senate of the University of London. Ishall first make some remarks on the succes-sive paragraphs of the " Graduate’s" preciousepistle. He commences with a furious dia- i

tribe on my wounded vanity, and attributesto that motive the correspondence and me-moir you were so kind as to publish. I begto say in reply, that it was not until I hadreceived sufficient information to induce meto believe that I had not been fairly dealtwith that I moved in the matter; and findingthat such had been the case, I determined toobtain future fair dealing for others, if notredress for myself. Your experience, Mr.Editor, must have strikingly shown you, thathe who lifts up his hand for justice againstpower, will draw upon himself the bitterest

calumny from the toadies of the powerfulparty. How many calumnies have you hadto endure in consequence of your advocatingthe cause of the medical community, by ex-posing the abuses of corporations? By-the-bye, when I saw the sneer which illuminedDr. Tweedie’s countenance on looking merelyat the outside of my thesis, I could easily an-ticipate the result if placed in his hands,whatever might be its intrinsic value.Your correspondent next says, that " this

Dr. Ayres monopolised, if I mistake not, theglories of the second division at the late exa-mination for lfl.D., &c." I am not ashamedto say that I did so ; nor do I think that Iwas in the least disgraced by it : for when Ifind that the divisions have been so grosslymismanaged, that after one examination forthe M.B. degree one man only was placed inthe first division to fourteen or more in thesecond; and after the examination of thenext year (the matter having been exposed inTHE LANCET), the proportions were, fourteenin the first to six in the second, I am not atall surprised at anything the examiners maydo. I take this opportunity of asking, bywhat means Dr. Tweedie reinstated himselfin the good graces of the senate, after beingone year unexpectedly ejected from the exa-minership ?

I am next accused of having committed avery foolish blunder, in sending a speculative(barely a physiological) essay to a board ofexaminers in practical medical science foradjudication. The blunder, Mr. Graduate,was with the framers of the regulations, who

at the same time committed several other blunders, which they have, perhaps, by thistime rectified. The University of London iswell furnished with examiners in both prac-tical and speculative medical science. Theuniversity invites a thesis on a subject of the candidate’s own choice. Is he to infer frbmthis very wide statement that he is confirlli(fto practical medicine, surgery, and midiwifery? The words do not imply it; and ifthe framers of regulations cannot say whatthey mean, they must be very silly people in deed. But the " Graduate" is caught in hisown trap, for the examiners in practicalmedical science are not the only examinersfor the M.D. degree; so that if the subjectof the thesis be limited to the subjects for which examiners are appointed, he will still leave the candidates free to write theses on logic, mental or moral philosophy, which is,if I am not mistaken, the reductio ad ab-stcrdaon! ! But let us turn to other universi-ties, British or Foreign : let us take Eclih tburgh, for example, and inquire what is the practice there. Does that university restrictthe subjects of the theses to two or three ofthe medical sciences? I am sure it does not ;and if the Graduate" will turn to’ thetheses published by the M.D.’s of that- 7&ni:jversity, he will find that they embrace everydepartment of science at all connected with medicine. This will be more glaring still, ifhe refers to the continental universities. WasDr. Black, when he defended his thesis "DeMagnesia alba," which, I beg to inform the" Graduate," related solely to the chemical properties of that substance, opposed by theexaminers in medicine? This will, I think, be amply sufficient to show that, however convenient it may be now to restrict the sub-jects of the theses, it was not the originalintention of the senate so to do. It would be well for the senate to revise their " regu-lations," and permit the candidates to under-stand their intentions.

The " Graduate" must be possessed ofvery peculiar mental vision, to discover that" when the senate invited theses on a sub-ject of the candidate’s own choice,’ the refer-ence clearly was to the selection of the branch of practical art in which he wished to receivea special certificate." This is a terribleblunder of the Graduate," since the certi-ficate of special proficiency is an apendage,not of the ordinary examination to which rhetheses belong, but to the examination forhonours, as he may satisfy himself by refer-ring to the regulations. This certificate is given to the best candidate, where as the se- paration of the graduates into the two divi-sions does not point out any special profi-ciency.That the candidate should choose his exa-

miners is a position I should never drean of defending, but I shall always maiataia that v, candidate has a right to expect that histhesis should be read by those who are offi-

616

cially acquainted with its subject, and that isall I have ever contended for. Would thegraduate, for instance, be satisfied that theme,rits of his answers to the questions inmedicine should be tested by the examiner insurgery or midwifery ?

I think all rational and unprejudiced per-sons will admit that I, as a full graduate ofthe university, had a right to communicateWith any or all the officers of the institution.The " Graduate" forgets this circumstance, iand affects to consider me still in St(itit pupil-laris. As to his sneer concerning puerilities,it is utterly unworthy of notice.

, 4las the condition of the University ofLondon! The " Graduate," who seems tofeel very deeply for her, now commences amost dolorous lamentation over her. PoorAJ,ma. Mater, assailed by enemies on allside,$, she is in a most forlorn condition. But,Sir, let her be true to herself; let " fiat jus-titia" be the motto to which she will cling;let her take care that no such disgracefulconduct as that I have exposed be repeated,and I confidently predict that, before manyyears have elapsed, she will occupy the firstranck among the British universities.,There is an old moral adage, that " a

man’s best friends are those who tell him ofhis faults :" if this be true, I must be amongthe best friends of the university.,1 admire the severity of her examinations;

I would not that it should be in the leastabated, but rather that it should be increased,since on the mental qualities of those she ad-mits will her future eminence depend.

I do complain of neglect in not announcingthe result of the examination in the publicjournals until nearly four months after theexamination, and I fancy that the " Gra-duate" will agree with me that candidates inthe country cannot be expected to return totown, to ascertain whether their names areposted in the hall of the university.The "Graduate" concludes with a sneer

at the subject of my thesis. I beg to tellhim that I am not ashamed to have writtenon a theme which has engaged the attentionof the first philosophers of all ages-whichAristotle,, Hippocrates, Bonnet, Haller,Malpighi, Baer, besides a host of other emi-nent physiologists, have not disdained to in-vestigate, and the details of which are in-cluded ill every physiological work of merit.

.1 presume that the reason why your cor-respondent’s letter consisted merely of thebaseless fabric of opinion, was that he pos-sessed no facts wherewith to rebut mycharges.

In conclusion, I aver that my chief motivein agitating this matter was the benefit offuture candidates, and the ultimate benefit ofthe, university, since my experience of publicbodies did,not admit of any hope of personalredress. 1 J am, Sir, your obedient servant,

: . PH. B. AYRESI AI.D.Thame, July 19, 1842. B. AysES, M.D.

THE LANCET.

London, Saturday, July 30, 1842.

IT is the practice of the presidents of

modern states to address messages to their

constituents and the assemblies over which

they preside. Mr. GUTHRIE has given hiscountenance to the practice in a farewell

message to Mr. T. HOVELL, penned uponthe occasion of his retirement from the chair

of the Council of Twenty-one in Lincoln’s-

Inn-fields. But, as might have been antici-pated, there is a vein of originality, both inthe matter and the manner, running throughMr. GcTHRiE’s message. Instead of treatingprolixly of the interests of the community,and signalising the labours of his predeces-sors and colleagues, Mr. GUTHRIC has madehis own life and labours the interesting themeof discussion and panegyric. Then there is

an air of mystery in his communication,arising either from his having nothing to com-

municate, or from his happy knack of con-

cealing his thoughts by peculiar concatena-tions of words ; which is art in some, but is

nature in Mr. GUTHRIE. If Mr. GUTHms

tells the world nothing, he employs sesqui-pedalian words, and sentences which set

syntax at defiance ; thereby giving to his

epistles a degree of mystic and fancied

importance, of which they would be shornby plain speaking. There is one inconveni-

ence attaching to this style. Common peoplecannot understand it ; and Mr. T. HOVELL,though he has lived as senior union surgeona good while in the world, and in Clapton,would, we suspect, be puzzled if he were

asked what information he had actually re-ceived from the President’s last letter.

Mr. GUTHRIE tells Mr. HOVELL that the

Secretary of State for the Home Department,Sir JAMES GRAHAM, AND the Senior Poor-laCommissioner, have been pleased to accede

to his (Mr. GUTHRIE’S) suggestions. Sir JAMESGRAHAM intimated his intention to proposethem to the Government, to state them i