An Address ON THE PAST, PRESENT, AND FUTURE OF MIDWIFERY

B. P. Watson
1922 BMJ (Clinical Research Edition)  
______ E~~~~~~~~~~~~~~IKDICAL JOUR'(LL bedside to gather facts and make observations. In this he was true to tlle inductive methiod: a collector of facts from wlhich to induce general principles. Puritani m in the seventeenith century produced its Cromwell, the embodiment of relentless energy and resistless brain force; its Milton, who showed to whlat lieights of grandeur and majesty our own dear language can attain; and its Bunyan, wlho, all unlettered as lhe was, in the simplest and sweetest
more » ... plest and sweetest vernacular penned tlle finest allegory the world will ever read. To tllese great productions of Puritanism may we not witlh justice add thle natne of Tlhomnas Sydenham, the great Puritan physician, wlio founided for all time and for all countries tlle art of clinical medicine. CONCLUSION. Neitlher time nor the scope of this oration permits us to pursue further the immediate and remote effects of Harvey's work. Enouglh, I trust, has been said to slhow the comparative deartlh of scientific endeavour before the date of his work, and the stimulus scientific researcll received on account of its appearance. In common with all otlher results of genius, attempts lhave been made to claim for others the honour of priority in promulgating the central ideas contained in Harvey's book; but they avail notlling. Copernicus was not tlle originator of the heliocenitric tlheory, and Darwin gave to Williaam Clharles Wells tlle credit of hiaving enunciated first the tlheory of evolution. But thleir glory is not diminislhed by tthese admissions, for ideas witlhout irresistible proof are often the common property of the hlumuan intellect. I do not propose to detain you witli a consideration of the worlk of Harvey concerning generation, for that subject was dealt witlh last year in a most able and exllaustive manner by Dr. Herbert Spencer, who-bro'goht to hlis oration the accumulated study and experience of an expert. But there remains Harvey's clharacter as a man, and that is a subject upon whiich it is good for us to dwell. He lived in an age when men; on account of the state of political and religious feelina, were unusually prone to make enemies, but all tllat ilas come down to us regarding llis character does infinite credit to the rectitulde of his conduct in all the relations of private life. He seemied to be uninifluenced by thle strife going on around llim, and althlouglh attaclhed to the Royalist cause by service atid interest he was able to survey tlle slhipwreck -of tllat cause withl fortitude and equanimity. His lofty mental stature rendered it impossible for hiim to stoop to vulgar polemilical disputes, and w1henever lhe was obliged to enter the lists in vindication of hiis scientific views it was always with dignity and forbearance. Tlle real clharacter of Harvey is adm-irably portrayed by Sir George Ent in his well-known account of lhis visit to hiim in hlis old age, when he found himin forgettingy tlle lacerations of tlle mind in the pure joy of searchlinlg and studying out tlle secrets of nature by experiment. Kings might lose their heads, and old orders miglht be subverted for a season, buLt Harvey's gaze was fixed upon the beacon of eternal truth. His devotion to this College was an outstanding feature of his life. As its mlost distiniguislhed Fellow lhe had conferred uponl it the hliglhest honiour, and in a practical manner he exlibited htis deep regard by hiis benefactions. His solicitude for the welfare of this nioble librarv found expression in the erectioii of a butilding, a gift of books, and a bequest of monley. A few years after hiis deatlh the wlhole of the library, witlh tlle exception of 140 volu.mes, was destroyed in tlle Great Fire, but thlat disaster proved to be our richest gain, for it produlced the great bequest of the Marquess of Dorelhester to wlichl wo owe the rarity and value of our library. No doubt tlle liberality of tlle marquess was in part actuated by the injuniction of Harvey to emulate those wlho lhad benefited the College, and in our day the bequest of Dr. Lloyd Roberts, second only to that of Lord Dorchester, was surely due to tlhe same-spirit. This library, raised up and maintained by tlhe spirit of Harvev, is the noblest monumiient we possess of that wide intellectu-al culture witlh wlich this College lhas always been promiiinently identified. Harvey, theni, in his life and work is the shining examlple to this Collegye, and the inj(unctions he has laid upon us in his bequest in 1656 mnay be followed safely by all whlo desire its welfare. In these modern days, whlen we stand at the thlreshold of momentous chlanges,we may still look for guidance and inspiration from those injunctionls, for they aptly express our duty as physicians, as men, and as Fellows of this ancient and honourable College. --ON
doi:10.1136/bmj.2.3225.712 fatcat:h6xvvyoepfcgzmokqkkofo4s7a