Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 17.djvu/19
"Progress of Medicine in the South."
practice. How much there is to be learned about diseases peculiar to this South land of ours—the manner in which malaria affects the population, where the miasma is generated; the way it modifies and alters other diseases and surgical conditions existing in the same sections; how acute attacks show themselves; in what way chronic malaria exhibits itself and the pathological changes it brings about—all these should be studied. The effect of prolonged heat in summer and damp cold in winter are conditions worthy of your attention. The drainage of our wet alluvial regions, and the general improvement of our hygienic conditions, are grave problems to solve.
We cannot afford to become mere borrowers, we must be contributors to this our beloved science. Remember, the thought of to-day may be the dogma of to-morrow. He who elucidates an idea, establishes a fact, or creates a system, is an universal benefactor of mankind. How this should stimulate the good men to become workers in this direction.
Modern inventions have annihilated space as to time, and by so doing have brought into a common fold the scientific men of every country and clime. The thought of to-day, to-morrow is the property of mankind.
For all these reasons, gentlemen of the Association, it becomes a matter of paramount importance that you should stimulate your brethren to organize societies in every section of the South. Never leave off trying until county societies are established and actively at work in every county in each Southern State. Foster and encourage the State and district societies; establish close relations with them, and when desirable, induce their members to become your members. If the plan proposed is even partially carried out, before many years this society will become one of the most important in this country.
One thing more is needful for the elevation of the moral as well as the scientific status of our profession, and that is harmony and good-will for our fellow workers. Nothing contributes to this so much as these annual reunions; by these meetings rivalries cease, distrusts are dispelled, and kindly relations established; old friendships are confirmed, new friends made, and greater tolerance and charity prevail. We are made to see that in the sometimes meagre anduncertain scientific facts in our calling, there is reason for honest difference of opinion. To these meetings every patient and conscientious worker can bring his contribution and add it to the common stock of ascertained knowledge. Let us cultivate a broad