Page:Convocation Addresses of the Universities of Bombay and Madras.djvu/426

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l33
l878.—Dr. M. G. Furnell.

shrewd, patient, clear intellects of the people of this country, especially the Brahmins, would master and adorn. But is there not something else which keeps the bold intellects amongst you from choosing medicine as a career ? I am afraid there is ; and here, as a servant of Government, it behoves me to be careful in what I say, but I take courage from the Viceroy ^s witty figure of speech on a late occasion, and feel sure that no Eng- lish Government would wish to be treated as the Parsees treat their dead ; to he surrounded by a Tower of Silence. Medicine is not an honored calling amongst Englishmen. There is no use blinking the fact. It is the Cindrella amongst professions. It wears the poor clothing and does the drudgery, whilst its sisters. Law and Divinity, and in this country Arms and the Civil Service, are clad in purple and fine linen and obtain all the honors. You hear it called an ^' honorable profession,^^ a ^' noble " profession, but this alludes to its work not to its rewards. No .English physician, ever so famous, was ever ennohhd. In this country no English physician has ever been deemed worthy a seat in the Legislative Council. If the English gods churned the ocean for lost treasures, I am afraid it's not a '^learned Physician^' they would bring up ; or if by chance they did, they would not make him king of Benares; they would most probably pop him in again, and go on churning, until a lawyer or a clergyman came up to fill the place and be made a Chancellor or an Archbishop. It would be waste of time on this occasion my offering any speculations as to why this is so. I must content myself with simply mentioning the fact and pointing out how, in my opinion — open, I feel acutely, to the misconstruction of professional jaundice — this state of things is injurious to the commonwealth. In the first place it deters the men who would honor and benefit medicine with their acquirements and social influence, seeking a career in this most useful and intellectual profession. All men of any worth are more or less ambitious of distinctions, and such men avoid medicine and overcrowd the ranks of other professions. You do it in this country. But in other ways of even more importance it is injurious. How many fair enterprises of our country have been shipwrecked, because the feeble voice of medicine (feeble from its position) has been contemptuously silenced or set aside? Many of us in this room remember miscarriage of our first winter in the Crimea; how our poor wounded soldiers died from mere want of ordinary comforts and attention; and the siege or Sebastapol was made a lingering sacrifice, on which a holocaust