INTRODUCTORY LECTURE TO THE COURSE ON DENTAL SURGERY
by John Durancé George, lecturer on Dental Surgery in University College, London.
Dental Surgeon to University College Hospital.
6th November 1844
The addition of a new course of Lectures to a College curriculum must, under any circumstances, be a matter of interest and
importance, although the degree, and even the nature of the impressions produced depend much on the subject-matter of the novelty.
If the instruction offered be of a kind whose value and importance are so well recognised that they have long found exponents in
all similar institutions, then the feeling of pleasure at its establishment is checked by regret that its tardy acknowledgment
is an avowal of previous deficiency; and by shame at being so far behind in the great field of intellectual rivalry : — but if,
on the other hand, the subject be one which, for some time neglected or incompetently pursued, has at length, by the growing
conviction of its utility and importance, claimed and obtained for itself such a practical recognition, then the admission of
imperfection, still tacitly made, is lost in the consideration that the Science of Education, like all others, is gradual
in the development of its resources; and the only drawback is the natural feeling of anxiety for the success of an experiment
whose result has yet to be determined.
Taking my stand this evening on the last of these positions, I have the honour of addressing to you the first of a Course of
Lectures on Dental Surgery — on the Diseases and Irregularities of the Teeth; and if I attempted to deny that I look forward to
the progress and termination of these Lectures with great anxiety, it would be the mere assumption of an indifference which,
if real, would only prove me unworthy of the appointment which the Council of this Institution have conferred upon me. The
result, however, I am well aware, must depend mainly upon the importance of the subject ; and secondarily, though in no very
inferior degree, upon the mode in which that subject may be treated; and in descanting for a while on these two points, I
must crave your patience and attention, even should you be called on to pardon some degree of prolixity.
The importance of a subject thus for the first time brought before your notice, you may very naturally be disposed to underrate;
and yet, I trust to be able to show that it is neither uninteresting in its acquirement nor inutile in its exercise, even by
those who are occupied by attention to the general practice of the medical profession. It may be very commonplace to say that
the diseases to which the human frame is obnoxious, and which the aid of surgery is called in to remedy or alleviate, differ
vastly in their relative importance as regards the implication of life and comfort ; and equally trite to assert, that whilst
the most formidable are the most rare, those most frequently occurring are fortunately the most susceptible of relief : but
to carry the notion still further, and to affirm that because certain diseases are common and easily remedied, they are therefore
not to be carefully studied — that their teachers
are unnecessary in our schools, and their practitioners should be men of a mere digital dexterity — would be a much worse error than the mere utterance of truisms — a far more pernicious folly than the advance of undeniable commonplaces.
And yet, Gentlemen, both the prevalence and the perception of such an error are at once indicated by the necessity for, and establishment of a Course of Lectures like the present. The Surgeon, busied with the concerns of his vast empire, overlooks the interests of this (to him) petty province ; occupied with his great operations for the
preservation of life, he neglects the minor ones for the mere removal of suffering; and even those who profess to practise all branches of their profession approach the performance of these last with a hesitation which the want of adequate instruction renders very excusable, and a dislike which too frequent failure makes most natural.
Thus, then, partly from this indifference and neglect of the Surgeon, and partly also from that tendency to the division of labour which the whole aspect of modern art
and science exhibits, these and similar classes of diseases have fallen into the hands of the Specialists — men who, devoting their time and attention to one department of their profession, necessarily attain in it a degree of excellence which those who are harassed by numerous duties, each vying with the other in importance, cannot possibly hope to acquire.
And here, the casual observer might content himself with believing, was attained the very propriety of perfection — that the Generalist should exert his curative influence over the great host of diseases which affect all parts of the system in their turn — and the Specialist direct his concentrated attention to the local affections of any single organ which he might take under his particular care and protection:—
the one not descending to what he might term certain mere matters of detail, and the other not suffering his microscopic gaze to be diverted by the consideration of what was going on in other parts of the system! A most admirable and most mechanical conclusion, and one which wants nothing to its truth but that the territory on either hand, general and special, should be distinctly marked out, and its boundaries inviolably maintained.
This, however. Gentlemen, can never be the case here. In the arts and manufactures, where the material acted upon is definite and unchanging, the division of labour before alluded to may be carried to an almost infinite extent ; and, each working in his own department of twisting, rolling, hammering, grinding, or polishing, twenty men may conspire to make a knife, or fifty may unite in the creation of a pin, and all this to the manifest advantage of the article produced! So, when the human frame shall be formed of brass and steel, set in motion by weights and
springs, and regulated by pendulums and balance-wheels, then, and not till then, shall the same division of labour be carried to the same extent — shall general knowledge, contemning special detail, and special knowledge, unelevated by
general principles, be exerted in the service of humanity, without continual aggravation of the sufferings they were intended to alleviate ; for we shall constantly find that the Specialist will overlook or mistake a large number of constitutional symptoms, which his want of sound and extended pathological knowledge prevents his classing together ; and on the other hand, that the Generalist will lay all stress upon such symptoms, and treat them without a guess as to their special and local cause.
To give you examples of the injurious tendency of these different species of ignorance, will be neither difficult nor (I trust) uninstructive. Take, for instance, one of those
cases of so-called Facial Rheumatism, or Tic — acute, sometimes periodic, neuralgic pains, affecting the side of the face, neck, and head. Well — a physician is consulted — not
an unknown shallow pretender to the healing art, but a man of great acquirements — one who has studied well and carefully, and in whose opinion, in a case of life and death, any
one would be justified in placing the fullest confidence;
but he has never had his attention directed to that special class of diseases, a slight knowledge of which would now so materially serve him ; and in his ignorance of its
importance he deems the science of the dentist a trifle, but admires his art as a clever, light-fingered adroitness. Now look at his prescriptions; — leeching — cupping — and blistering;
— colocynth — calomel — and senna ; — make the patient weaker and his pain stronger ; then quinine, iron, strychnine and arsenic, without any greater benefit — the patient hoping all,
enduring all, but still getting worse and worse, worn out with this racking Rheumatism, this tenacious Tic,
which refuses to be bled, or blistered, or purged, or chalybeated, or salivated, or poisoned out. Just look at him ! a few months since, he was a hale, hearty man, who met you with a
joyous countenance and a ringing laugh, and now you would scarcely know him ; see what pain, and broken rest, and " experimental philosophy" have brought him to ; watch him as he goes
along the street, hiding himself from every breath of wind — his face pale, his eye dim, bloodshot, and watery, his voice querulous, his step timid, his nerves enfeebled, and his
constitution shattered ; each
tried remedy having left him in a worse condition than before, with the miserable conviction that another resource has failed. Well, at last he is advised to go to the dentist:
have something to do with the teeth — it is not likely, but is possible; at any rate, an opinion can do no harm; so he goes, and the Specialist puts an instrument into a small
hole leading to the pulp cavity of some tooth, and thereby
brings on a most atrocious paroxysm of his sufferings, which, if it be the worst, is fortunately the last. The offender is removed, and the patient thus at once cured by a
process which divides his gratitude into two portions ; of which he bestows one on the physician for his kindness, trouble, attention, and perseverance, and the other (not the
least perhaps) on the dentist, for his discrimination and success.
Nor, Gentlemen, is the Surgeon, who comes into more immediate contact with, and more frequently lays hands on his patients, entirely free from the same charge, and that even when there are
local indications almost unmistakable. A swelling, for instance, just under the ramus of the jaw is treated by fomentation and poultices, till matter is formed and evacuated through an
external opening, while all the time the most casual examination of the mouth would have shown a decayed, darkened, and necrosed tooth to be the sole cause of all that mischief which for
some weeks past had occupied so much pure attention and anxiety, such prescribing of alternatives, and such supporting the power and tone of the constitution. Again, a swelling of the glands
at the upper part of the neck gives occasion frequently to grand displays of general treatment, to deep researches into the existence of scrofula in "other branches of the family,"
to long counterbalancing prescriptions, to recommendations of change of air and sea-bathing, and to the adornment of the aforesaid swelling with quaint encaustics in nitrate of silver,
and curious frescoes in hog's lard and iodine — but not to the slightest suspicion that the development of a wisdom-tooth in an already crowded jaw could be the entire and only source
of that affection, in the removal of which a little special knowledge would have availed more than all the prescriptions that were ever made valid by initials or surnames.
Now for the other side of the question. We have remarked on the want of special knowledge, but let us not forget that this special
knowledge by itself may be equally mistaken. I have taken you into the consulting-room of the physician, and now I shall not
refuse you admission into the operating room of the dentist. His patient, a pale chlorotic girl, complains of toothache, and
points out a slightly decayed molar as the cause. Well, the dentist thinks it strange that so slight an imperfection should
produce so much suffering ; but he does not inquire about pains in the head, pains in the side, or other symptoms of hysteria.
No ! As the patient insists on it that the pain is in the tooth, he condemns and executes it — with relief certainly, but relief
of a most temporary kind ; for in a very little time the same complaint is made of another tooth with the same result ; and so
it goes on, — tooth after tooth is removed, each vacancy rendering the opposing masticator useless, till at length every tenant
is ejected against whose character the slightest blemish can be urged, and the pain is either referred to the front teeth, with
which the patient is unwilling to part, or ceases altogether, owing to the cessation, under proper general treatment, of the
particular state of constitution which gave rise to it. Now what is the result of this utter want of principle (I mean as regards
pathology), and this excess of manual dexterity over mental discretion ? If the mere pain of removing the teeth were alone
considered, it would be bad enough ; but by their removal' the office of mastication is thrown on a class of teeth which
nature never intended to fill it; the incisors are worn, or loosened and pushed from their sockets ; mastication more and more
imperfectly performed, indigestion is the result, and dyspepsia becomes confirmed : at last the patient is again compelled to
seek assistance for the restoration of what has been lost; and there we leave her with the conviction that though judgment and
skill will do all that art can, they can never restore that comfort and health which have been so cruelly and so unnecessarily
Gentlemen, these are cases: they might have been described with greater particularity: for example, "Mr. A. B., aetat 43, light hair,
florid complexion," and so on; but despite the want of these seeming aids to authenticity, they are nevertheless true —
the descriptions are not exaggerated: — the cases selected are extreme ones certainly, and in that extremity fortunately rare;
still, the same kind of error in an inferior degree is unhappily by no means so uncommon.
I have taken the worst cases, because it is by such that one is enabled to impress more efficiently on the mind of the student
the principle sought to be inculcated ; and I am therefore particularly anxious not to be misunderstood as imputing to the
medical profession generally such gross misapprehension as has been just described, which only serves to show how the talent,
judgment, and experience on which a life might be trusted, have been, from a trifling neglect, rendered utterly inadequate to
cope with a malady which should never have existed for an hour beyond its announcement. And, on the other hand, it is very far from
my intention to throw any discredit on that branch of the profession in which I have myself chosen to practise. Much rather will I take
this opportunity of adding my testimony, humble though it maybe, to its importance and utility; and I do this more readily because it has
been too much the fashion to regard it as a narrow, uninteresting, and inferior, because limited portion of the great field of Surgery;
and we must, most of us, have heard remarks made upon it in such a spirit as could only serve to exhibit the narrowness they were supposed
to condemn. A sincere, and in some sort, I may say, a diligent student of medicine and surgery, I have faithfully studied every department
of our science before devoting my attention to this particular one; and I can assure you, from experience, that any one who will investigate
carefully its principles and details will find that in interest it is second to none ; whilst, as long as appearance is regarded, health valued,
and the avoidance or cure of some of the saddest pains that torture humanity deemed not unworthy of our concern, so long shall the science
that will devise, and the art that will execute the means of securing these desiderata — the well-exercised profession of the Dentist — be
entitled to the respect as well as the gratitude of mankind.
To return, however, to the more immediate subject of this Lecture : — having pointed out to you the two grand deficiencies — the want of general, and the want of special
knowledge — we must now consider in what way these deficiencies are to be supplied.
For the first, Gentlemen, the remedy is obvious, namely, that each man who takes to himself the practice of any particular branch of his profession, or any special class of
diseases, should, previously to devoting his attention exclusively to this object, study carefully the whole of those subjects which form the ground-work of a medical man's education;
and then, ever bearing in mind and applying these general principles, he will find the exercise of his profession daily become more interesting, more certain, and more safe; and,
in place of being wearied with the dull routine of empirical practice, will take pleasure in discovering, within his limited sphere of observation, the same agencies or their
modifications which affect health or threaten life, in more important, or more vital organs.
But the second — the deficiency in special knowledge — is the one of which I would now particularly speak, as being of the greatest importance to the student of medicine. It
is not alone that this deficiency will expose him to errors of the kind just now indicated, but it must necessarily happen that the general practitioner will very frequently
be called on to perform many of the operations to be hereafter detailed, since there are, of course, numerous districts in which special advice is not to be obtained. I
allude now not merely to practitioners residing in the smaller towns and the villages in this kingdom, but to those who are engaged in other situations where the difficulty
of obtaining the assistance alluded to is still greater. To the Surgeon in the army, in the navy, and in the colonies, a distinct knowledge of these local affections must be
of great benefit ; affording him, as it would, the means of offering relief in a class of diseases, which though of comparatively small extent, and not often implicating life
itself, yet produce continually very much suffering on the part of the patient, and anxiety on that of the practitioner, which a little attention to this subject might altogether
have prevented ; and in devoting that attention, the student will find that he is merely carrying his general principles into detail ; and that, in a subject which, he has hitherto
neglected and regarded as trifling, he will find much to interest, much to instruct, much to aid him in his great task of alleviating the sufferings of his fellow-creatures.
I trust, Gentlemen, I have now said sufficient to convince you that the object of a course of Lectures instituted to afford such information to the students of this school is
one of no slight importance ; indeed, did its success depend on this point alone — so strong is my conviction of its utility, and so vivid my recollection of the sufferings
which I have witnessed in consequence of its neglect — I should look forward to the result with the most perfect confidence. Before, however, indulging in such pleasing
anticipations, it behoves us to turn to the consideration of the other part of the question — the manner in which the subject is to be treated.
It may appear at first sight reasonable to suppose that the diseases of the teeth being a branch of surgery, should be treated of by the Professors of that science. A little
consideration will, however, convince you that in addition to the time of these Professors being already well occupied, so practical a subject is likely to be more thoroughly
and efficiently taught by one who devotes his attention entirely to it. The Council of this College have therefore thought fit to institute a Special Course of Lectures on
Dental Surgery — a course distinct from, and superadded to those already existing, and one not in any way intended to interfere with, or encroach upon them. By the term Dental
Surgery I mean merely the Diseases of the Teeth and their treatment, taking under the head of disease those deformities and irregularities which, though not exactly morbid, are
certainly far from normal ; and in order to mark out some limits to the matter of which I am about to show you the method, it may be as well just to preface the statement of what
I shall aim at with a few words on what I shall avoid.
In the first place, I shall leave the History of this art to your imaginations. I dare say that, in looking through the works of the elder writers on Medicine and Surgery,
you have noticed many very pretty pickings, which, added together, might make a chapter vastly entertaining, though not altogether so instructive; I shall therefore enter upon
no such objects of natural history as the Pelican and other strange birds, which were employed by our tooth-drawing ancestors, nor speculate on whether Marcus Dentatus was so
called from his use of substituted grinders. To occupy any portion of our limited time in such researches would probably be to show the wisdom of the ancients in contrast with
the folly of the moderns.
Nor do I feel called upon to amuse you by discussing those solemn questions, which are occasionally greatly agitated, as to the right of proprietorship in many articles of
our professional armamentarium. The Dentist, armed in “effects of war," is an awfully accoutred personage, for many, various, and very offensive are his weapons;
and as each man alters them to suit his own handling, in proportion to the number of variations are the claims to originality; and desperate are the attacks upon,
and defence of each pet mechanism which liberal disregard of a patent thus renders open to question. Contenting myself with pointing out to you what experience
leads me to believe the most efficient and the most safe, I shall pass by these minor details; for if I were to go thoroughly into the subject, and endeavour to
settle the momentous questions of who had given to, or taken from this angle a degree — who had fitted the beak to the patient's tooth, or the handle to his own fingers
— who had added a peg to enable him to push upwards, or a hook to assist him in drawing down — who had made the lever straight, to give him greater power, and who curved,
for the sake of more subtle insinuation — I should find, at the conclusion of an ungracious task, that I had occupied myself in little more than offering another
illustration and proof of the saying that "there is nothing new but what has been old."
Again : I shall have nothing to do with the Anatomy and Physiology of the Dental Organs, further than may be absolutely necessary to illustrate points of practice;
and I shall also avoid the description of the first dentition and its attendant evils ; not because these subjects are unnecessary or unimportant, but because I am
relieved from all necessity of touching on them, by the very able manner in which they are already taught. And whilst I am thus saved from all interference with the
Professors of Anatomy and Physiology on the one hand, and of Midwifery and the Diseases of Children on the other, I am glad that the time thus left at my disposal
may be more advantageously occupied by entering more fully upon the diseases and their remedies. But even if this were not the case, I should still avoid these
subjects, since I cannot but consider the general efficiency of a school impaired by one teacher encroaching on the subjects which come within the special department of
another — as it must seem most natural to think that the success of any such establishment must depend on the full carrying out, by each Lecturer, of the subject
entrusted to his care. Imagine this consideration disregarded in any school where these distinct departments were numerous, and that each Lecturer on any speciality
deemed it requisite to go through the entire anatomy of the particular organs concerned, or even to do more than lay stress on those points which are necessarily and
essentially practical, — that the Lecturer on the Diseases of the Nervous System, on those of the Ear, of the Eye, and of the Teeth, each preceded his special Course
by one on the Anatomy of these several organs, whilst he upon whom devolved the department of Anatomy and Physiology, either quietly enjoyed his otium with as much
dignity as he could muster, or else in his turn inflicted on the student a repetition of the same subject; which could only serve to show that the zeal for imparting
knowledge was a great deal more exemplary than the discretion which regulated it.
For another reason I shall avoid more than an allusion to Dental Mechanics, a subject on which information might perhaps be expected. Even if my audience were composed
entirely of Dentists, the school for such tuition as is addressed to the finger ends is certainly not a lecture-room ; and in the present case I shall deem it sufficient
to indicate those cases in which a medical man should advise his patients on this point : cases not of complaisance or ornament, but in which the employment or rejection
of such assistance will make all the difference between a state of comfort and distress, health and disease.
Avoiding, therefore, these subjects, it appears to me the most natural method to begin at the earliest period at which advice is most generally sought for affections
of the teeth themselves — that is, at the commencement of the second dentition — at the appearance of those organs which we are not again to change, and which therefore
demand the utmost care that what is permanent shall be good.
This leads us immediately and necessarily to the consideration of the irregularities and the deformities of the teeth, as connected at first with the temporary set;
and in the next place with regard to the second teeth themselves. On this point we shall have much to consider, as the irregularities and deformities are almost as
various as the cases are numerous. These varieties I shall endeavour to reduce to some order, by grouping them under two or three general heads ; and the treatment
of each will be indicated as far as possible— those cases being pointed out in which the Surgeon may do much good without the aid of apparatus and mechanism, as,
when these are required, the assistance of the Dentist is absolutely necessary.
The good order of the teeth being thus secured, the next consideration will be their preservation with an examination of the use and abuse of the various means
recommended of keeping them healthy and free from different deposits. Under this head, therefore, will be considered Salivary Calculus, and its effects.
The next portion of our subject will be one of much interest — the peculiar disease of these organs — Caries and its consequences. The varieties of this affection
in its nature and localities, its origin and progress, and its causes, are all interesting inquiries, and all worthy of attention. Its treatment by cutting, filing,
or filling with various metallic or other substances is no less important, whilst its sequenceare such as in some shape or other we have almost all felt the effects
of. The first exposure of the pulp cavity and its contents, whether producing the more chronic effects of neuralgia — of so-called intradental abscess — or of a growth
of fungus from the exposed membrane ; — or the more acute inflammation producing the pain called by that very common and most disagreeable word toothache — the destruction
of this texture, with its result, necrosis of the tooth and inflammation of the peridental membrane, whether acute, terminating in alveolar or antral abscess, or
the more chronic thickening with fibrinous deposit, — all these form a series of affections which, though limited in locality, exhibit in their progress all the phenomena
characterising inflammation and its consequences in other structures.
The next point for our consideration will be those deposits of a bone-like structure either within the pulp or upon the fangs of the teeth, which so frequently give rise
to the anomalous pains called Eheumatism or Tic, already alluded to; whilst as an opposite we have to consider absorption of the fangs of adult teeth by a process somewhat
similar to that which removed their predecessors, and which, though rare, yet occurs too often to allow of its being passed over as unimportant.
Protrusion of the teeth, whether of one or two, from undue contact with, or loss of their opposites ; or of the whole set, from the early commencement of that process,
which usually takes place only in advanced age : from diseases of the peridental membrane, of the alveolus, or of the gums, will, I fear, except in the first case,
be found little susceptible of cure in the present state of our knowledge.
Mechanical injuries will next occupy our attention. Produced sometimes by other teeth, we find attrition, loosening, and fracture; whilst external causes, sudden in
their action, will occasion inflamed periosteum, ruptured pulp, and necrosis, dislocation, or fracture of the teeth, sometimes implicating the jaw ; or if more gradual,
abrasion of the enamel, exposure, denudation, and wearing away of the neck or the fangs of the teeth.
Chemical injuries — the effects of acids, most usually of acid medicines — will be found a fruitful source of diseases of the most intractable kind, and give us an opportunity of
acknowledging to our professional brethren the indirect support and patronage they thus abundantly afford us.
These are the principal diseases which I shall have to bring under your notice, each with its appropriate means of treatment — all which failing to preserve the organ
implicated, recourse must be had to its extirpation ; and I have no doubt that each of you who has undergone this process will take an interest in the subject of Extraction
of the Teeth — an operation which, bad enough in the most skilful hands, is capable of having its tortures awfully but most unnecessarily augmented by the use of improper
instruments, or of proper instruments in an improper manner. Considering first the causes which render this operation necessary, I shall next take a comparative view of the
merits of different instruments in more general use for its performance, describe the mode of operating, reviewing the different causes of difficulty and the means of avoiding
or overcoming them, and enter into an examination of its results which, comprising amongst other things denudation or fracture of the alveolus, fracture or dislocation of the
maxilla, dislocation or fracture of adjoining teeth, and the troublesome haemorrhages which occasionally occur, will prove that the removal of a tooth may be made much nearer
the beginning than the end of your patient's sufferings.
Lastly — Having taught you how to disfurnish your patient's mouth, it will be necessary to give you those few general principles before alluded to, upon which you can
recommend him to take means for its replenishment.
As that branch of the profession to which I have devoted my attention is pre-eminently practical, it will be my object. Gentlemen, in carrying out the intentions just expressed, to give each Lecture as much of that character as possible. Theories and suppositions are exceedingly good when nothing better is to be had ; but in cases like ours, where there is so much meddling with hard steel, and where to decide and to execute is frequently the work of the same minute, it will be much better to let your theories be the result of good experience, than to allow that experience to be formed in the carrying out of a theory. I would wish, therefore, to give you no precept on which you may not rely when the time to act upon it shall arrive ; and for this purpose shall, as far as possible, illustrate every point I have to bring before you by facts which have come under my own observation, and thus transfer to you the results
of an experience which, though comparatively short in point of time, has been fortunately, owing to the kindness of one for whose name none of you can be at a loss,
by no means so limited in extent. I trust to be able to show you examples of each disease which I shall have to bring under your notice, and to elucidate its origin,
progress, and results — either by preparations which will speak for themselves, or by models and drawings, of which nearly all have been taken by myself from my own
cases, and for the remainder I am indebted to the kindness of professional friends, for whose authority I can vouch as for my own.
On this point also I trust to find that the appointment which I hold of Dental Surgeon to University College Hospital, will afford me numerous opportunities available
for the purposes of instruction : In the weekly visits which I make there I shall omit no occasion of pointing out and explaining the various diseases of the Dental
organs which present themselves, and of showing the operations required for their cure. I hope in this way to aid in carrying out one principle of this school — the
verification of the doctrines taught within these walls, by the practice of the institution opposite.
Conforming thus, as far as possible, to the usages and customs of this College, there is another point, Gentlemen, on which especially I would wish not to depart from them. I cannot be ignorant of the stimulus which the system of well and carefully awarded honours gives to the acquisition of knowledge, conducted as that system is here, upon principles which exclude the remotest suspicion of partiality. I can never forget how much I myself owe to the exertions called forth by the exercise of this generous rivalry, in which friends became opponents without being enemies —
emulous of each other's exertions, but not envious of each other's success — where the victor has the gratification of believing that the honours so hardly won have been
well deserved, and the vanquished the satisfaction of knowing that he has been stricken in a fair field : and at the end of this Course of Lectures, after an examination conducted in the
usual manner, I shall be happy to offer the College Silver Medal to the competition of those Gentlemen who may think the prize worth the struggle.
Such is a brief outline of the manner in which we shall, I trust, be employed till Christmas. That the subject is interesting I think that outline sufficient to show; that it
is important will be denied by no one who can look without apathy on the sufferings of his fellow-creatures; and since Hunter has dignified it by his attention and
enriched it by his labour, who shall dare to say that it is unworthy or inferior? In the treatment of a subject which has such claims, I shall be careful to use my best exertions.
That imperfections and errors will occur, none of you can be more sensible than myself; when they do happen, I entreat you to bear in mind, that though now a Teacher, it is not very long
since I was myself a Pupil, sitting on those same benches with some now among you; and I am confident that to the indulgent consideration of the Men of University College an
old Student will never appeal in vain.