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Island, that "they did more good to mankind, without a prospect of reward, than any profession of men whatever." Yet with the caprice by which ability and science in this profession are so frequently neglected, whilst impudence and, ignorance are rewarded, he was well acquainted, not merely in the instance of Dr. Bathurst, but in the persons of several other physicians, who were, as well as Bathurst, members of the IvyLane Club. He has therefore, and with a strict conformity to truth, remarked, that," a physician in a great city seems to be the mere plaything of fortune; his degree of reputation is, for the most part, totally casual: they that employ him know not his excellence; they that reject him know not his deficience."
Another obstacle to the acquirement of practice which will be ever felt by a man of genius and independent mind, and which in a great degree, it is probable, impeded the progress of Bathurst, has arisen from the insolent and degrading expectation, on the part of the great world, that a physician should be indiscriminately obsequious; that he should adopt the badge of a party, and bow to the caprices of its members. Sir John Hawkins, who tells us that he had a long intimacy with some of the most
*Life of Akenside:
eminent of the profession, observes, that " in his time not only the track of a young physician was pretty plainly pointed out, but that the conduct of such an one was reducible to a system." He 'then proceeds to say, that it was necessary he should be either a zealous Dissenter or a zealous "High-churchman; an ardent Whig or an ardent Tory; that "the frequenting Batson's or Child's -was a declaration of the side he took; and his business was to be indiscriminately courteous and obsequious to all men, to appear much abroad and in public places, to increase his acquaintance and form good connexions, in the doing whereof, a wife, if he were married, that could visit, play at cards, and tattle, was oftentimes very serviceable. A candidate for practice, pursuing these methods, and exercising the patience of a setting-dog for half a score years in the expectation of deaths, resignations, or other accidents that occasion vacancies, at the end thereof -either found himself an hospital physician, and if of Bethlehem a monopolist of one, and that a very lucrative branch of practice, or doomed to struggle with difficulties for the remainder of his life." He then, after mentioning several charac"ters who had obtained extensive, practice by these means, remarks, that "from these, and many other instances that might be produced, it is evi
dent, that neither learning, parts, nor skill, nor even all these united, are sufficient to ensure success in the profession I am speaking of; and that, without the concurrence of adventitious circumstances, which no one can pretend to define, a physician of the greatest merit may be lost to the world; it is often seen, indeed,' that negative qualities are more conducive to medical success' than positive; and that, with no higher a character than is attainable by any one who with a studious taciturnity will keep his opinions to himself, conform to the practice of others, and entertain neither friendship for, nor enmity against, any one, a competitor for the good opinion of the world, nay for emoluments and even dignities, stands a better chance of success, than one of the most established reputation for learning and ingenuity."
It can be no object of surprise, therefore, if men who place a due value upon themselves, both in a moral and literary light, should decline, a competition upon terms which would reduce them to a level with the meanest of mankind. Poor Bathurst, Sir John Hawkins relates, "studied hard, dressed well, and associated with those who were likely to bring him forward," but wanting
*Hawkins's Life of Johnson, p. 238, 242, 248,
obsequiousness of manner and versatility of opinion, he failed to obtain the remuneration which is so lavishly bestowed upon the ignorant, the time-serving, though crafty, hunter after
To excel in literature as well as in science was formerly the characteristic of every great physician; it has been reserved for the present times to consider a proficiency in elegant letters as interfering with medical study and practice. That an idea so futile and absurd should be entertained by the ignorant and uneducated of the profession, and of mankind at large, will excite little wonder; but that those who possess any tincture of liberal knowledge should embrace a position so extravagantly foolish, forgetting that learning in all its various branches can alone fix a firm basis for the acquirements of the physician, must occasion no small indignation and astonishment. To this very imbecile and barbarous prejudice it is probable that Bathurst, who was a coadjutor with Johnson and Hawkesworth in the composition of the Adventurer, might owe some portion of his professional failure.
To those who are inclined to favour such illiberal and confined views I would recommend an attentive perusal of the following quotation, which is taken from an admirable epistle to Dr.
Percival, a physician who combined the charms of elegant literature with the most solid acquisitions of science.
"It is the glory of medicine, that, more than all others, it is the profession of literature, as wellas of benevolence. No kind of knowledge is indifferent or useless to a physician, because man, the object of his care, is connected with, and influenced by, almost every thing in nature. With singular propriety our language has appropriated to the medical practitioner, the term PHYSICIAN, that is, quoixos, a student of nature; whose science may be defined Universal Philosophy, or the contemplation of universal nature, directed to the preservation and relief of man. Accordingly we find, that in every period there have been physicians who have supported this high and interesting part of their character, and have appeared as the friends of philosophy and the guardians of literature. HIPPOCRATES was instructed in all the knowledge of the times. The learning of GALEN was immense, and extended to every subject. ORIBASIUS' was one of the best scholars of his age. Nor ought we to omit mentioning with honour the names of OTIUS, ARETEUS, and PAULUS EGINETA. Quintilian informs us, that CELSUS wrote on a variety of subjects besides physic. Among the Arabians we