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ception of a feeble attempt to arrest the course of the Convention, which occurred at its first session, and which was promptly and almost unanimously voted down; there was a unity of purpose manifested amongst the delegates, which rendered the meeting highly pleasing and encouraging. The proceedings speak for themselves. They were mainly initiative and preparatory, and were on this account, we think, the more judicious. The several subjects of medical education, of medical ethics, and of the organization of a National Medical Association, with several other matters of less importance were discussed, and referred to appropriate committees to report to the next meeting to be held in Philadelphia.
In this meeting, New Jersey, though not officially represented, by the action of the State Society, was so through the courtesy of the convention. Drs. Marsh and Lyndon A Smith, who were present, being invited to take seats as members.
The success of this meeting soon diffused throughout the Union, a new stimulus to exertion in the cause of medical reform, and the proposed meeting in Philadelphia, in the following year, was anticipated not only with favour, but with enthusiasm by many who were lukewarm or indifferent to the first convention.
The profession now felt that an earnest and well organized movement was set on foot; and that important results must ensue. The grand idea of a National Medical Association which before had existed only in the imagination of a few en. thusiasts, was now developed into active being. Before this feeling, all local jealousies and petty rivalries melted away, and the great mass of the medical body felt that a new channel was opening for united labour in the cause of science and humanity. Medical Societies began to spring up in sections of the country, where the profession had before been scattered and divided in their feelings and interests; and many of those which already existed, were animated with renewed vigor.
Had the meeting in New York produced no other effect than to stimulate physicians throughout the country to organized action, it would have accomplished a grand and most desirable object. The medical colleges, too, felt the influence of the movement, and almost unanimously determined to move onward with the advancing tide, which threatened to overwhelm those who were not borne upon its bosom.
It was soon perceived that the meeting in Philadelphia must exhibit an imposing array of the intelligence and moral worth of the profession, collected from all portions of the Union; and the delegates in that city, entering with spirit into the feeling which pervaded the country, determined that nothing should be wanting on their part, to give character and importance to its deliberations, and to secure to their friends the most complete and elegant accommodations. Those whose privilege it was to be present at the Philadelphia meeting, will not soon forget the imposing and tasteful appearance presented by the Hall of the Academy of Natural Sciences on the occasion.
There were collected from twenty-three States of the Union, the representatives of the medical community, coming together for the promotion, not of their private interests, but for the good of the whole—and nobly did they manifest the spirit which actuated them. The proceedings of the convention, as reported in the official document before us, cover one hundred and seventy-five pages, and evince a degree of labour and research on the part of the several committees highly creditable to them.
The reports were presented on the following subjects, viz: On the Organization of the National Medical Association ; On the adoption of an elevated and uniform standard of requirements for the degree of M. D.; On the Preliminary Education of Students of Medicine. On a Code of Medical Ethics; On the propriety of the union of the business of teaching and licensing, &c.; On the registration of Births, Marriages and Deaths, and on Medical Nomenclature.
As many of our readers may not be able to procure a copy of the official proceedings, we shall publish such portions of these reports as our limited space will admit.
It would perhaps be premature at present, to speak of the results likely to flow from the organization of the National Medical Association. The signs of the times, however, even now, indicate the most encouraging and substantial benefits to the cause of Medical Science. Already two of the oldest and most renowned medical schools in the country—the University of Pennsylvania, and the College of Physicians and Surgeons of New York-have given in their adhesion to this new medical organization; and have modified their courses of instruction in accordance with its recommendations, at least, so far as was immediately practicable.
The following extract form the last annual announcement of the University of Pennsylvania, defines the position of that celebrated school.
“Since the last annual communication of the Faculty, an occurrence has taken place of great interest to the Medical Profession, and likely to exert no little influence over the future character of medical instruction in this country. A Convention of Physicians, representing medical bodies in almost all sections of the Union, assembled in Philadelphia in May last, to take into consideration the various interests of the profession, and to adopt measures calculated to sustain and elevate its character and usefulness. It is believed that, in relation to its numbers, and the standing of its individual members, the late convention has never been equalled by any assemblage of medical men upon this continent. The recommendations of such a body are entitled to the highest respect; and, though it may not be practicable to carry them immediately into full effect, yet, as they have the general good only in view, it would appear to be incumbent on all to enter into their spirit, and by cordial efforts to prepare the way for the ultimate attainment of their objects. The Faculty recognise this obligation, and propose to act in accordance with it."
The Medico-Chirurgical Faculty of Maryland, the Medical Societies of the States of Delaware, Ohio and Connecticut, have also entered heartily into the measures of reform recommended by the National Association.
New Jersey will doubtless follow in the track, when she shal), have an opportunity of declaring her views. No state in the Union has maintained a more steady and uninterrupted system of organization, and in none has the desire for the improvement and elevation of the science, been more manifest. To the next semi-annual meeting to be held in Burlington, will belong the duty of acting upon the suggestions of the Convention, and of receiving the report of the delegates.
That this action will be such as the occasion calls for, and that the New Jersey Society will participate heartily in all practicable measures for elevating the standard of medical education, and for maintaining the honor and respectability of the medical calling, we do not entertain a doubt. The active interest of the Society in the doings of the Convention, and the spirit which has long animated its members, furnish the surest guarantee of its future course.
A Treatise on the Practice of Medicine. By GEORGE B. Wood,
M. D., Professor of Materia Medica and Pharmacy in the University of Pennsylvania; one of the Physicians of the Pennsylvania Hospital. In two volumes. Philadelphia; Grigg, Elliott & Co., 1847. 8vo., pp. 798, 840.
The limited space allotted in our journal to the review of new medical books, will preclude an extended notice of this valuable work. In our humble judgment, it is the best treatise on the Practice of Medicine, which has issued from the American press. Containing a vast amount of practical information, combined with much lucid and philosophical reasoning upon important questions of pathology, and opening to the mind of the reader a field for observation and reflection. It is not, like other similar treatises, a mere compilation of the opinions and observations of others, but comprises many facts and opinions, the result of the author's personal experience. The arrangement of the work strikes us as peculiarly, comprehensive and perspiTake for example the first chapter on the “Constituent forms of Disease.” Upon this branch of the subject, Dr. Wood remarks:
“ Diseases, viewed superficially, appear to be exceedingly numerous and diversified; but, when subjected to analysis, they are found to consist of a comparatively few constituent states of derangement, by the combination of which, in various modes, in relation to number, seat, and degree, that almost infinite apparent diversity is produced. These constituent morbid states bear to diseases, in their ordinary forms, the same relation that the proximate principles of organic bodies bear to these bodies as found in nature; the same, for example, that sugar, starch, gum, &c., do to the bark or root containing them. That they are themselves necessarily simple or elementary is not maintained. Efforts have been made to reach the elements of disease; but not very successfully; because we have not yet learned the essential nature of the healthy actions, and cannot, therefore, understand their derangements. But, though we cannot push analysis satisfactorily to the absolute elements, we are able to appreciate to a great extent their less complex combinations, forming the proximate ingredients of those numerous associations of morbid states or actions usually called diseases. It may be admitted, as a self-evident proposition, that all diseases have their seat in the fluids or solids of the body, or in both.”
The subjects treated of in this chapter are, Diseases of the Fluids, Diseases of the Solids, Irritation, Inflammation, Depression, Congestion, Fever, and the peculiar Morbid products, of Tuberculosis, Melanosis, Cysts, &c.]
The part which these morbid conditions play in the history and progress of diseases is lucidly set forth, and much of the confusion and mystery which perplexes the mind of the student at his first entrance upon the study of the subject, is thereby avoided. We notice that Dr. Wood devotes a copious section of this chapter to treating of depression, as an element of disease.
Depression of the vital powers, occurring as a primary affection, or as the immediate result of external causes acting upon the nervous system, is not usually admitted to a prominent place in our systems of pathology, whereas it is the most serious and important affection in a large class of acute diseases.
We are glad to observe, therefore, that Dr. Wood has de