Inaugural Address on the Progress of Surgery

H. Marsh
1904 BMJ (Clinical Research Edition)  
weighs heavilyupon mne, I shall henceforth at all times bear in mind, and en-'deavour to meet it to the full. Having now joined your medical sch1ool, and having in the future to take part in its work, I am able to reflect-wiLh more complacency than was possible when 1 was attached to, in a sense a, rival institution-that this department of the Univereity of Cambridge occupies a psition which you may well contemplate witlh genuine satisfaction. The number of students shows that your medical
more » ... l is hiighly suceessful, and this success depends on the faet that the various departments are presided over and personally con--ducted bv great masters who have themselves, in their generation, considerably advanced the sciences which they severally represent. Anatomy is taught-in Professor Macalister by no mei e human-anatomist, but by one who is deeply versed in many other fields of research, and able to expand and enrich hlis particular subject by making the neighbouring sciences largely contribute to it. In your late Professor of Physiology, Sir Michael Foster, you had one who has long and easily held the first place, whose name is known and revered wherever physiology is taught, and whose position in the world of Ecience outside and in the public eye is one of the highest importance and distinction. As you yourself, Sir, have said, " It is not easy to express the greatness of the debt which the study of biological science among us owes to Sir Michael Foster, both before and after his election to the Chair" in 1883. To follow him and to adequately continue the work which lie has so long carried out, must be isndeed a difficult task, but every one concerned feels that in Dr. Langley;.at first his pupil and subsequently his most able and accomplished fellow-worker, a worthy successor has been found. For your Professor of Pathology you have secured in Dr. Sims Woodhead a man whose depirture from London was regarded as a very heavy loss. This, I am able to state from personal knowledgp, was especially felt to be the case by the Royal Colleges of Physicians and Surgeons, where his services in the Conjoint science laboratories were much valued and appreciated. Your Regius Professor of Physic, Dr. Clifford Allbutt, has for many years been my intimate friend. As a man of wide iscientitic culture, as a learned physician of unusually wide -experience, as a teacher, and, as I may be permitted to add, in iiis whole personality; he occupies a foremost place, and it ,must be gratifying to him to observe that his AS~ystem of Medicine lhas been an unquialified success. The constant and -earnest work of Dr. Bradbuty, Downing Professor of Medicine, is well known to all. There are many others among you whose names are household words. Of these I cannot refrain from mentioning Dr. Donald MacAlister and Mr. Shipley, whose co-operation and unstinted labour and devotion are conspicuous factors in your success. Indeed, Cambridge occupies a po3ition as a medical school which has excited the envv--wlways however mixed with admiration-4f us all, whether in London or elsewhere. And for tw,o principal reasons. First, because as 1 have said, the etaff is so distinguished; and, secondly, because as if by magic, there has sprung up a mass of new buildings allotted ,o your-various departments which, for convenience and fit oess, are unsurpassed, and I might even, I believe, truly say, wunrivalled in this country. Now, any one who has studied the subject of education, ,sot necessarily in detail but in its broader lines, must be 'struck by recent events in this renowned University. The -closing half of the last century must always remain a landmark in the intellectual progress of our race, for during these years there was a new departure, which was to issue in what was scarcely less than a transformation. Until that time intellectual activity here and elsewhere had been largely a,4I expended in the field of literature and in the cultivation of general learning. The leaders were poets, pure mathematicians, historians, and great novelists. Then we had our great ecclesiastics, our renowned Parliamentary orators, and our illustrious judges, all as examples of the strength which culture adds to mere intellectual powers; while in the imperishable literature of Greece and Rome was a field whicl offered ample opportunities for the acquirement of culture in its highest forms, and whiclh afforded also welcome relief and refreshment to many a one who was wearied by the anxieties and worries of life. But in the years to which I have referred another world was more and more distinctly disclosed, and as it gradually emerged from the nebulous stage and took specific form, every observer felt that a new order of things was being established. The new power which now assumed its sway. which was so profoundly to modify human progress, and under whose beneficent influence events as yet undreamt of and inconceivable, till they stood revealed and established as matters of fact, broke in upon us on every side. And here was the advent of modern science, which like light itself was to be all-pervading and vivifying, promoting, and controlling. It touched everything witli creative power; nothing was left unaffected by it. Now, these two departments of intellectual activity to which I have referred, the literae humaniores on the one hand, and modern science on the other, are no natural foes whose interests are opposed, but influences which are intimately related, and destined to travel side by side, yet with a gradual approacb, until, blending in closest assimilation and interaction, they shall at length embody the highest developments of human achievement, They are in fact but parts of one stupendous wliole Whose body Nature is, and God the soul. Now, of all human institutions. it was clear that those most closely concerned in these events were the universities, among the foremost of which stood the University of Cambridge; and here, obviously, the new order demanded early recognition and a fostering home. By the new order, I mean the intimate association of modern science with the culture and elevation of the human mind and character which naturally spring from the pursuit of the literae humaniores. It is in the just balance between these two departments that true progress lies. If we glance at this University to-day we cannot fail to see and, seeing, to be unfeignedly satisfied, that this consummation has been safely and in good time achieved. The renown of this great University as, in the words of your statutes, "a place of education, religiou3 learning, and research" is not only as splendid as it has ever been, but it constantly increases. I have been among you all for so short a time that there are many things of which it would be presumptuous of me to speak. But this much I will say without fear of contradiction. I am perfectly certain that no one who has not looked into the matter for himself can have any idea of the amount of work that is being at present done at Cambridge, or of the activity, the vigour, and the success with which ycur numerous departments are being developed and maintained. Some may, and I believe do, ignorantly think that the older universities are half -asleep: that they are living on their reputation and droning away their time. A short residence here has completely demonstrated the fact to me-of which I must own I was not previously quite fully aware-that the amount of work which is done in many of your departments is constantly so heavy and exacting as to tax the endurance of strong and determined men. ldlers no doubt there are, but they are few in number and oppo3ed to the spirit which pervades your university life. On the scientific side we find that almost every department is assiduously followed, from astronomy-in which your distinguished Professor and delightful exponent, Sir Robert Ball, is confronted with distances which even lie cannot always quite accurately measure, and with periods of time in which millions of years appear more brief than fly ephemeral which has its day, down to those sections of pathology which are concerned with a study of objects so minute that their presence is revealed only bythe most elaborate methods of research. These two blood relations-learning, which is power and comeliness; and science, which in the keen competition of our daily life will with many henceforth mean daily bread-must work heartily together for mutual support and progress. Now the development-on the science side of the Universitv -of your medical school was largely due in its inception and F22491 FI,B . 6, I 94 .1 TM 289 IMIMIEC" JOMMAZ
doi:10.1136/bmj.1.2249.289 fatcat:wabyughenrdnphbdlpoiftjysy