Page:Hospitals, medical science and public health.djvu/35

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search
This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.
31
AND PUBLIC HEALTH

too good for a test so coarse. Therefore, all universities began by making the M.D. dissertation the chief and ultimate test of their peculiar influence, of their formative discipline, of their power of developing the mind as contrasted with mere schooling. Yet what are we witnessing to-day? That even this one test, this one remaining test of the quality not only of its progeny but of the university itself, is being quietly evaded. On inquiry I find that now of the M.D.'s of the London University scarcely more than 10 per cent, give this evidence of developed and ripened faculties; and it is whispered to me that on the same path even Victoria is a backslider. Yet is not this to relinquish all concern with the higher qualities of our students; tacitly to shrink from the searching test whether a university has justified itself as such, or, under whatever duress, is allowing itself to be dragged away to the place of a technical school? Such a refusal must mean stationary pupils, and stationary pupils make stationary teachers; if a university is to be an organ of life and discovery, it must begin and end by making research compulsory all round, research which must be as surely implied in the earliest stages of the teaching, as actively developed and manifested in the later.


Reason, Imagination, and Life.

And now, in conclusion, may I address myself for a moment to the young men entering into or crossing the threshold of Medicine. You have heard me insisting upon the power of knowledge; you have heard me resenting that worst part of ignorance, the conceit of knowing what we do not know, and the inveterate habit of calling opinions "facts"; you have heard me lamenting the English fatuity of disregarding causes to throw all our energies into mopping up their consequences; and you may begin to accuse me of the creed of the Jew of Malta, " I count religion but a childish toy, and hold there is no sin but ignorance." Far indeed from me be any such counsel! I agree that a man's overbeliefs are the most interesting thing about him. I bear in mind Carlyle's judgment on one who "had a great deal of unwise intellect." I see that the lower the idea the easier it is to formulate; so that in our satisfaction with the solidity of foundations we are