Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 20.djvu/274

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1841, and passed successfully through the several competitive examinations, till he became Anatomy Assistant of the Faculty in 1846, Prosector of the Faculty in 1848, and Doctor of Medicine in 1849; and while waiting the aggregate competition, which would not take place for several years, he gave lectures on surgery and operative medicine at the Practical School. Numerous works already gave promise of what the future had in store for him. The bulletins of the Anatomical Society contain several papers which are still in repute on various difficult subjects of pathology. "There is hardly one of these subjects," says his biographer, Dr. Pozzi, "in which he did not at the first stroke make a discovery great or small; there is not one, at any rate, in which he has not left the mark of his originality." At the aggregate competition, which he had been awaiting, Broca displayed an amount of knowledge and an erudition with which the judges were strongly impressed. His thesis was a finished work on one of the most difficult subjects in surgery. He was named first in promotion. At the same time he received, at the competition of the Central Bureau, the title of Surgeon of the Hospitals. He formed many and solid friendships, and exercised, through the superiority of his mind and his integrity, a real intellectual and moral authority.

Till 1859, Broca's labors were exclusively anatomical and surgical. His treatises on "Aneurisms and their Treatment" and on "Tumors" have become celebrated. About two hundred studies on the most various subjects, among which may be mentioned especially his researches on articular cartilages and their pathology, belong to this period.

In the preface to his work on aneurisms, Broca makes an exposition of the principles by which he was guided, which Dr. Pozzi regards as worthy of being made the confession of faith of a scientific writer. "I have desired," he says, "to submit received doctrines and opinions to an independent criticism, knowing well that real science is still hardly in its dawn, and that the most undisputed assertions are frequently the most assailable; I have aimed to set classic descriptions in the face of positive observations, appealing to the experience of surgeons of all countries, profiting by ancient and modern facts, checking one with another, despising none, and seeking before everything the reality, although authority may suffer for it. And I have made it my duty to go back to the origin of our knowledge, to follow ideas and discoveries from their birth to their complete development, and to consecrate the rights often slighted of the true inventors. This alliance of criticism and observation, of clinics and history, is destined gradually to regenerate surgery by delivering it at the same time from tradition and empiricism, from the spirit of routine and the spirit of system, from the sterile erudition of those who look only at the past, and the convenient ignorance of those who are occupied only with the present."