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These nominations were accepted and the gentlemen elected.
Meanwhile the secretary read the names of new members, sixty-one in all ; next, the list of Fellows deceased since the last annual meeting, in all thirtythree, their average age being 63} years.
The treasurer, Dr. Draper, presented his report, which in brief was: Received from all sources during the year, $10,186.63 ; expenditures, $8334.53; balance in treasury, $1852.10. By a subsequent vote tbree fourths of this amount was distributed pro rata to the district societies.
The funded property of the society remains as it did at the last annual meeting. Total amount, $33,124.73. The chairman of the auditing committee reporting that the treasurer's account was correct, it was accepted. The chairman of the committee on resignations then made his report, and his recommendations of gentlemen for resignation, retirement, and to be dropped for delinquency in dues were duly considered and acted upon according to the suggestions of the committee. The chairman also recommended Dr. Sapolini, of Milan, Italy, for appointment as honorary member. He was elected by subsequent ballot.
The report of committee on publications was next read by Dr. R. M. Hodges, and accepted.
The committee on by-laws represented through Dr. Hosmer, chairman, that their labors had been directed to comparison of by-laws of district societies with those of the parent society. It was found that they were uniform in all respects. Report accepted.
Committee on library, Dr. Stedman, reported in regard to number of es. changes from state societies received during the year. Dr. Stedman also abnounced that it had been suggested that members may be willing to give up their Braithwaite in order to swell the funds of the society. Circulars questioning them on this point will be addressed to the Fellows.
The report of the committee on finance, in the absence of Dr. Homans, chairman, was read by Dr. Wellington, and accepted.
The time and place of the next annual meeting were then recommended, namely, the second Wednesday in June, Boston. Accepted by vote.
Special committees were next called for. As chairman on the committee to notice the death of Drs. Jacob Bigelow and J. B. S. Jackson, Dr. Calvin Ellis read the following beautiful and impressive tribute :
“ When, at this our annual gathering, we call the roll and receive no ret sponse from Jacob Bigelow or John Barnard Swett Jackson, whose lives are a record of noble labor, we are reminded that the mere announcement of their names is a higher eulogy and a fuller expression of a sense of loss than
a any formal phrase of ours."
By vote the secretary was directed to enter these words upon the records of the society.
Dr. Davis then read a eulogy upon Dr. Comstock, of Middleboro', which, together with sympathetic remarks of Dr. Storer, it was voted to enter upon the records. A copy will also be sent to the family of the deceased.
The committee appointed in June, 1878, and to which was referred the resolotion of the South Middlesex Society in reference to the admission of female practitioners to the Massachusetts Medical Society, then reported through Dr. Hodgdon that, at the largest meeting of the committee, they were equally divided, and that therefore no decision had been reached.
Dr. Cogswell then said that since, only an hour before, Dr. H. W. Williams (whose absence was caused by the sad accident in his family) had expressed an earnest desire to present his views upon this question, he would move that the matter be recommitted to the committee for report at the October meeting of the councilors. The motion was affirmed.
Dr. Millet at once proposed an addition of four to the committee, in order to secure an opinion.
Dr. Driver, of the Middlesex Society, then stated that if delay were intended he wished to offer a protest.
Dr. Cogswell assured the councilors that his motion was dilatory, but was made out of respect for Dr. Williams, who wished to express his views upon this subject.
Dr. Cogswell's motion having already been voted upon in the affirmative, a vote upon Dr. Millet's proposition to increase the number of the committee was called for, and resulted in thirty-four ayes and forty odd noes.
Dr. Millet then moved that the committee submit the matter to legal opinion.
Dr. Hodgdon replied that the committee had already done so, and that legal opinion had influenced its action, and would be embodied in its report. The opinion was that the question of admission or non-admission of women to the society would legally be left to the judgment of the Fellows.
The result was that the whole subject was recommitted for report at the October meeting. Later in the evening, Dr. Driver, who originally presented the resolution from the Middlesex District, moved that the secretary be authorized to state in the circulars calling the October meeting that a report on the woman question would then be made, in order to secure a full meeting. The motion was affirmed.
The presideut then mentioned that it was necessary to find a new place of deposit for the records of the society. They are of great value, and cannot be replaced. For some years they have been kept by the Massachusetts Historical Society, which now desires their removal.
On motion of Dr. Bowles, it was voted that the treasurer be authorized to deposit these records temporarily in safe keeping until the councilors decide what to do with them.
On motion of Dr. Storer, it was voted that the treasurer be authorized to purchase at once a safe suitable for the protection of the records, and that the same be placed in the Medical Library Building. In order to procure funds for the same, subscriptions were suggested.
Dr. Millet then moved that the vote to distribute three fourths of the treasurer's balance to district societies be rescinded, and that the amount be devoted to the purchase of the safe. On assurance of Dr. Draper that this was unnecessary, the motion was withdrawn.
On motion of Dr. Goss, it was voted that the thanks of the society be presented to the Massachusetts Historical Society for kindness in protecting the records.
The treasurer then stated that among the funded property of the society were $10,000 in ten-forty bonds, which have been called in and the interest upon which will cease July 28th. He asked for authority to convert the same into four per cents. On vote of the councilors the authority was conferred.
Four ex-Fellows, Drs. Fairbanks, of Ashfield, Warren, of Spencer, Dean, of Taunton, and Hewbon, of Worcester, were next readmitted to the society by vote.
A note of regret at his absence from Dr. Henry I. Bowditch was then read; also a paper in which he offered the resolution that the treasurer be authorized to refund the amount paid to the society under legal pressure by Dr. Whiting, of Charlestown. Accompanying was a letter from Dr. Whiting, showing what he considers the injustice of the course pursued in his case. Referred to financial committee for report in October.
Dr. Streeter, of the Norfolk District, then presented the request of his society that it might be allowed to hold meetings out of their district. Reason: the great inconvenience to members in reaching the present place of meeting. He also presented a lengthy memorial, the reading of which, inasmuch as every gentleman present had received a printed copy at the door, was superfluous. Much discussion ensued, during which the law passed June 12, 1877, namely, “ that a district society cannot legally hold an organized meeting for any purpose whatever at any other than some place within the limits of its own district,” was rescinded. Finally, Dr. Cogswell moved that the whole matter be indefinitely postponed, the object of this motion being to leave the question to the judgment of the Norfolk District, and thus avoid establishing a precedent for other district societies. Dr. Bowles then moved that Dr. Cogswell's motion be modified to a motion that the subject be postponed to the October meeting. Councillors voted no to this, and aye to Dr. Cogswell's motion.
At nine o'clock on Wednesday morning, the annual meeting of the general society was called to order in Horticultural Hall by the president.
The secretary and treasurer read their reports, details of which have already been given.
The report of the committee on the revision of the United States Pbarmacopæia being called for, Dr. Amory, chairman, read the same, concluding with six recommendations, the purport of which is as follows: (1.) That three delegates be sent to the pharmacopæial convention, and that the society recommend to the convention the adoption of the metrić system of weights and measures in addition to that now in use, in directions for making preparations and in statement of doses.
(2.) That the society be of opinion that the next edition would be more val. uable if more information be added concerning botany, chemistry, therapeutic and physiological effects, antidotes, and average doses of drugs included in the list.
(3.) That the material accumulated by the committee in favor of or against drugs be placed in the hands of delegates to be appointed.
(4.) That an annual supplement be prepared after publication of the decennial revision.
(5.) In order to increase its value, that the decennial revision be prepared
by the best talent, said talent to be secured by proceeds from a proposed fixed copyright interest in the sale of the work.
(6.) Finally, that this report, and the material collected, be presented to the next pharmacopoeial convention.
The recommendations were accepted, and three delegates, Drs. R. Amory, R. S. Edes, and E. S. Wood, appointed by the chair.
An excellent essay on The Trials and Triumphs of the Country Physician was then read by Dr. B. D. Gifford, of South Chatham, followed by interesting papers on Insane Drunkards, by Dr. T. W. Fisher, and on Some Diseases of the Eye requiring Immediate Treatment, by Dr. C. H. Williams, both of Boston. Delegates from state societies, namely, Dr. Wainwright, of the Connecticut State Society, Dr. Sawyer, New York State Society, Drs. Crosby and Cook, of the New Hampshire Society, were introduced, and presented greetings from their respective bodies.
Dr. Marcy, of Cambridge, then exhibited a remarkable case of aneurismal varix.
At twelve o'clock Dr. George W. Garland, of Lawrence, delivered a wellreceived annual discourse, after which the Fellows proceeded to the tables in Music Hall.
At one o'clock the anniversary chairman, Dr. C. C. Holmes, called the society to order. In the enforced absence of the Rev. Phillips Brooks, chaplain of the society, prayer was offered by the Rev. William Lawrence.
The bountiful and toothsome repast next received earnest attention, and it may be said that the cold lunch proved far more satisfactory than the somewhat uninviting lukewarm dishes heretofore provided.
At two o'clock the Fellows were again called to order by Dr. Holmes, who in an effective manner offered his congratulations upon the return of the day, and said that althoagh the past year contained no great discovery or startling invention the society could not help seeing substantial progress based upon advancing knowledge. Gentlemen, the road is open before us. No entangling alliances. With the tremendous power of good in our hands let us perpetuate as we can our claim upon the respect and gratitude of men. Dr. Holmes then felicitously called upon President Dr. Lyman to respond for the Massachusetts Medical Society.
Dr. Lyman responded in the following well-chosen words :
“ Mr. Chairman, The presidency of this venerable society, with all its honors, has, like all good things, some disagreeable elements, not the least of which is the necessity which it imposes of replying to an after-dinner toast. If the sentiment of the chairman had only contained the germ of an idea, suggestion of something to talk about, – it would have been a friendly act; but to tell a modest man that he is that nondescript creature, a good fellow, is rather awkward, and not debatable. I must fain content myself, therefore, with assuring you officially,' if there be any who have any doubt in the matter, that the society was never so flourishing, never so free from the bitterness of past controversy, or from anxiety as to any future pitfalls which may be in our path. There is a growing prevalence of late years of a different method
of handling vexed questions. If we have learned nothing else, we have learned to agree to disagree; we have learned that a quickened pulse under temporary excitement is better treated by sedatives than by irritants, and that earnest opinions, earnestly but courteously expressed, are of much more favorable aagury than lethargic indifference. We have learned something of the true value and meaning of our charter, and that no vital change can or ought to be carried as against an unconvinced majority, any more than it can be prevented by an unwilling and obstinate minority. There are subjects in which as a society we are all deeply interested, but it would be in bad taste to specify them here, for our object now is relaxation, not discussion, the renewal of friendly acquaintance, not the indulgence of professional differences.
“ A continuance of our prosperity depends on ourselves. We are all surely seeking one end, and one only, and that is the maintenance of our influence as a profession in the community in which we live upon all questions which legitimately belong to us, and upon which they have a right to look to us for guidance. A careful, courteous consideration, in a broad and catholic spirit, of such propositions, with the single desire of arriving at the truth, is the only safe course on which to base either the adoption or rejection of any measure. He who is convinced against his will will prove eventually to be more unconvinced than ever. Let us, then, follow in all things that great unwritten code of ethics which demands of each member that he shall be a gentleman, for that is a code which cannot be evaded. This society ought to be looked up to as the highest tribunal, the supreme medical court, for the decision of all questions which relate to the health and the morals of the community, as is our supreme judicial court the ultimate arbiter in questions which involve their wealth and morals. This would be no encroachment upon the functions of our reverend friends the clergy, for I am sure that neither the doctors of law nor the doctors of medicine would ever feel equal to their work were their efforts not based first, last, and all the time upon that sure foundation which it is the privilege and duty of the doctors of divinity to demonstrate to us.”
Dr. G. W. Garland then briefly responded to a sentiment to the orator of the day.
Collector Beard replied to a toast to the president of the United States by saying that if he were to respond officially for the president he should say that he needed neither defense nor eulogy, for he has shown bimself master of the situation. He closed with pleasant boyhood reminiscences of the family doctor.
“The State of Massachusetts ” brought a response from Lieutenant-Gorernor Long, who expressed his regret at the unavoidable absence of Governor Talbot, and then, in one of the most eloquent speeches of the occasion, he expressed his recognition of the services of members of the medical profession in the halls of legislation and in the executive councils of the State; of the excellent effect of the establishment of the medical examiner system; of the great and increasing good accomplished by the board of health ; and closed with a tribute to the profession in general, making graceful and affecting allusion to the character of Surgeon-General Dale.
Mayor Prince then responded for the City of Boston in words of congratulation upon the high position of the society, and with humorous reference to the effect upon patients of the vacation of their physicians.