Page:Hospitals, medical science and public health.djvu/33

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AND PUBLIC HEALTH

prescribed for a diploma, cannot be moulded upon university standards, we shall lose sight of the first principles of all education, and barter away the foundation of medicine herself, as of all progressive knowledge. It has been, however, as I have said, a part of the anomaly of university medicine that for this profession universities have been endowed, or shall I say "saddled," with the duty and responsibility of qualification for practice; a concern which, as we have seen, is none of theirs, or is theirs only in common with society at large. By the establishment of one portal to the Register the State will, I trust, soon relieve us of this alien burden, and of the duty of tests no less alien to our best purposes. At Cambridge, indeed, I hold that to impose upon those of our M.B.-B.C. candidates who are already on the Register, as are some 75 per cent, of them, a repetition of these diploma tests, is not only otiose, but a grave evil; it prolongs what Professor Starling well calls the "stuffing" period, the period during which the candidate denies himself the wards that he may sit in his lodgings with a teapot, and a wet towel about his brow, fagging up handbooks, the contents of which, in dilute solutions or on sheets divided into opposite columns of neatly docketed cram, he retails to us over again at Cambridge. Now many of these candidates, as later we find by their M.B. theses, we really had led to think for themselves; yet in a qualifying examination they dared not venture to betray it. Occasionally an audacious spirit thus handicapped enters a timid demur to a current doctrine or phrase, and if so, from me at any rate, he obtains a good mark, whether his demur be justifiable or not; but, if I exclude the few riper students who give ampler time to the university, I can hardly recollect a paper in medicine in which a candidate broke away from sheepish assent to conventional notions. Man by man, and year by year, their minds are bent to a safe sterility, and their papers are as flat and as conventional as willow-pattern plates.


Tests of Methods.

But it may be urged, are not these remonstrances rather fanciful, rather academic, counsels too rare for a common world! Well, let us try, as the children say, to prove our sum. We must go beyond the tests of current doctrine and