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schoolmaster " may well be said to have been at least as busy in the medical as in any other department; and one Pharmacopoeia has followed another in such rapid succession, that old physicians can scarcely recognise their old friends with new names. Great benefit must, however, necessarily accrue from an improved nomenclature, which, with the precision of enlightened science, expresses, in no small degree, the value of our most important medicines.
Glynn and Heberden were alike clinical men. At the bedside of their patients they acquired that practical discernment and skill which can be acquired nowhere else; for they will ever be the best physicians who, endowed by nature with good understandings, and gaining wisdom from experience and attentive observation, know what to do and what to leave undone.* It was the saying of an old physician, that, when young, he had a hundred medicines for every disease; whereas he found, at last, that there were a hundred diseases for which he had not a single remedy. The safety of the patient, in fact, depends, nine times out of ten, far more on the judgment of the physician than on the exhibition of any particular medicine, since an appropriate medicine is seldom wanting, provided the nature of the disease be well ascertained; and I well remember having been quaintly told by an old country surgeon and apothecary, who did not happen to have some medicine, which I had prescribed, in his shop, that he believed there was enough there, nevertheless, for all purposes, if properly administered.*
* Whilst we cannot think too highly of the achievements of modern science, there is reason to fear that the facility with which theoretical knowledge is at present acquired, may lead to dangerous presumption in practice, whilst it will increase the difficulty of discriminating between the ready discourser and the safe practitioner. "All is not gold that glitters."
In representing Glynn as belonging to the same school of physic with Heberden, I am far from meaning to insinuate that he did not form his own opinions.
"Nullius addictus jurare in verba magistri."
We have it upon record that, with regard to that important disease, the gout, he and Heberden entertained very different notions. Glynn never would allow that it was hereditary. He had abundant evidence of its connection with luxurious habits, and he took all the care he could that its victims should not lay the flattering unction to their consciences that they were innocent sufferers. Among Nichols's innumerable " Literary Anecdotes of the Eighteenth Century," we have the following from the pen of some contributor who signs himself "W. A. A."
"The peculiarities," he begins by saying, " of a great and good man, of whatever kind, mental or bodily, deserve to be recorded, because they always convey instruction or entertainment. It is observable, that men of genius do very rarely stoop to think or act by ordinary rules; they have a measure of their own,—a language, a style, an emphasis. Indeed, we perceive, not unfrequently, a mode of gesticulation peculiar to themselves; a look—an air—a something to distinguish the character of intellect from the insipid unmeaning simplicity of the 'profanum vulgus.' This is applicable in no case more than in that of my old friend Dr. Glynn of Cambridge. I call him my friend, because he kindly noticed me when the friendship of maturer age is of the highest value to a young man; when, just emancipated from the slavery of birch at Harrow, I was plunging into the unrestrained liberty of a college life. Amongst other singularities of opinion, Dr. Glynn would maintain that gout was not an hereditary disease; and he once took occasion to mark this with peculiar emphasis, when I consulted him in my first attack, then in my nineteenth year. He observed, 'My young friend, you call this gout! Pooh! pooh! you have not yet earned the costly privilege; you must drink your double hogshead first.' 'But my father, Sir,—it is in my blood by right of inheritance.' His reply was strong; 'You talk nonsense; you may as well tell me you have a broken leg in your veins by inheritance.' I only mention this to show that one great man thought the gout hardly dealt by. Experience tells me that my father died by it; that, although I have never indulged in any excess, but have used a reasonable temperance in all things, at forty I am a martyr to it; and that, probably, I shall die crippled by it. So much for this costly privilege.—W. A. A."
* Proculdubio quo diutius et felicius est quisque inter morbos et remedia versatus, eo solet minus multadare medicamenta et minus multos habere medendi indices. Quare etsi pharmacopoeia generalis medicorum est magna et copiosa, sua unius cujusque medici pharmacopoeia, quam parva, quam brevis!—Orativ Harveiana. A. P. Latham, M.D., A.d. MDCCCXXXIX.
Glynn took the safe side, beyond doubt, and to a certain extent his view was correct; for it is absolutely certain that most gouty subjects are the authors of their own sufferings. Family predisposition favours its approaches, but a cowardly foe will refrain from attacking even a weak fortress where there is great vigilance within. Mr. Nichols's correspondent tells us, it is true, that he never indulged in any excess; yet we have strong evidence, in his own words, that there is probably no small self-delusion here, for he admits that, on entering the University, he was ready enough to exchange the thraldom of the rod for the unrestrained liberty of a College life; and without denying that much good may have been effected in this particular instance by Dr. Glynn's advice, it is but too certain that, at the period in question, and long afterwards, it was by no means unusual for young men to undermine their health irreparably by their free mode of living during their brief residence at our universities.
But this is a painful subject on which I am the more unwilling to dwell, as I believe that great improvement has, of late years, taken place with respect to these fearful histories. The noblest and most richly endowed universities in the world are becoming, I trust, more and more, what their pious founders intended they should be, the seats of sound learning and religious instruction.* I may mention, however, a witticism of Dr. Glynn's, current in my time. On meeting an under-graduate of his acquaintance, one Sunday morning, on his way to St. Mary's church, he said to him,
* Truth, nevertheless, requires to be spoken. Several letters have lately appeared in "The Times," addressed to the Duke of Wellington, as Chancellor of Oxford, complaining of the shocking extent to which the young gownsmen are allowed to run into debt with the tradesmen of the University, to the detriment, often, of both parties, but always of the extravagant youths, who distress and dishonour their parents and friends, whilst they often lay the foundation of a life of remorse and irremediable narrowness of circumstances.
"Well, my master, and whither are you going?"
"lam going to St. Mary's," replied the young gownsman.
"And who is the preacher to-day?""I don't know."
"Not know who is to be the preacher! Then, upon my word, you have no small merit in taking pot-luck at St. Mary's."
In fact, the greater part of the work of the University pulpit was done, in those days, by hack-preachers, as they were commonly denominated. The Bensons, the Melvills, the Roses, &c. &c, have happily removed this reproach, never more, it is to be hoped, to return.
Dr. Heberden, although differing from his pupil as to the tendency of the gout to descend from father to son, was very far from losing sight of the effects of " Good Living," in relation to this truly aldermanic disease. He merely took hereditary predisposition fairly into the account; determining, wisely, that there was here no exception to