452 Mr. Brodie began to assist Mr. Wilson in the commencement of the winter session of 1805-6, when he was twenty-two years of age. He demonstrated fo...

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452 Mr. Brodie began to assist Mr. Wilson in the commencement of the winter session of 1805-6, when he was twenty-two years of age. He demonstrated for SERGEANT-SURGEON TO THE QUEEN. Mr. Wilson until 1809, when he lectured conjointly with him in the principal course, and continued to do so until 1812, from THE profession will learn with universal and profound rewhich date Sir C. Bell lectured in Windmill-street. Besides gret, that Sir BENJAMIN BRODIE died on Tuesday last, the his connexion with Mr. Wilson, he became, in 1803, the pupil 21st of October, at the ripe age of eighty years. In his de- of Sir Everard Home, at St. George’s Hospital, and as early as 1808 he was appointed assistant-surgeon to St. George’s Hoscease one of the greatest luminaries of modern medical science has departed from amongst us. The old will feel his loss as pital, under Home. Thus his anatomical and surgical studies that of a companion and friend ; the middle-aged, as of one were pursued together, and under the most favourable circumwhich can well be conceived. More than this, Sir to whom they had in past years been accustomed to look for stances Everard Home was too much occupied to attend regularly at counsel and aid in the arduous duties of professional work; the hospital, and Mr. Brodie did his work, acting, in reality, the young, as of one to whom reverent admiration was due; as full surgeon almost from the time of his appointment. and all will feel that his death deprives British Medicine and Another of the full surgeons to St. George’s, Mr. Gunning, a Surgery of its greatest pride and ornament. For nearly a most worthy and able man, inspector-general of hospitals, and member of the Council of the College of Surgeons, quarter of a century he had, as it were, reigned supreme, and honorary was absent with the army in Spain under Sir Arthur Wellesley. he had carried into his honourable retirement the love of all Mr. Brodie had the care of Mr. Gunning’s patients also, and who knew him, and the affectionate respect of the whole thus his early experience of the most responsible labours of medical and general public. surgery was immense. At this time, his attention was comIt is natural at such a time to look back upon the career pletely devoted to hospital surgical practice, and the learning thus brought to a close full of years and honour. We begin and teaching of anatomy at the school, so that he thought at once to seek for materials by which we may estimate the nothing of private practice. He was accustomed to relate, that it was nearly two years from the time of his being appointed fame and place in history which will be given to the mind assistant-surgeon to St. George’s, before he thought of putting ! whose work has ended. In anticipation of this feeling we his name on the door of his residence. This was in 1809. At give a copious biographical sketch of the great surgeon from first he received little besides his fees for lecturing, but he soon ! authentic materials in our possession. had patients about him, and in 1820 was in the realization of a Mr. Alexander Brodie, of St. James’s, Piccadilly, married a handsome professional income. He made his debût as a private surgeon in a lodging at No. daughter of Peter Swan, Esq., M.D. By this marriage he had two children, a son and a daughter. His son, afterwards the 18, Sackville-street, Piccadilly, nearly opposite to Sir Everard Rev. Peter Bellinger Brodie, rector of Winters low, in the county Home, who at that time lived at No. 32. In a year or two he took the house, No. 22 in the same street. His next residence Wilts, married Sarah, the daughter of Benjamin was at No. 16, Savile-row. From this he removed to 14, SavileEsq., of Milford, near Salisbury. Six children were the of this marriage, and the third son, BENJAMIN COLLINS BRODIE, row, where he remained until after his retirement. It will be seen is the distinguished subject of the present biographical sketch. that Sir Benjamin kept very much to the same ground during The Rev. Mr. Brodie was a magistrate and deputy-lieute- the whole of his prosperous and equable career. His assistantof the county, and possessed of considerable local inat St. George’s Hospital lasted fourteen years, but He devoted himself personally, however, to the full surgeon in 1822, on the death of Mr. Griffiths. of his children, and the future Surgeon was trained He continued to hold this appointment until the year 1840, his brothers under the paternal roof. To the habits of when he retired, after a connexion with the hospital, as assisindustry and study, acquired under his father’s tuition, tant and full surgeon, of 32 years’ duration. The circumstances we have already related were singularly and to the high intellectual teaching of his mother, Sir Benattributed many of those qualities which attended favourable to the development of Mr. Brodie’s powers, and through life, and which contributed so materially to calculated to give him a position from which he might take a He left Winterslow in the year 1801, having lead in surgery. But these were not all the circumstances success. on the profession of surgery, and came to London which concurred to fill his sails with the breezes of fortune. In that charming autobiographical fragment, written by pursue the necessary studies. He studied anatomy during winter of 1801, after which he returned to the country, Dr. Denman, entitled " A Memoir of My Own Life," giving an and did not come back again until 1503. His first masters account of the career of this eminent physician up to the time the late Mr. Honoratus Leigh Thomas, and Mr. James of his full establishment in practice in 1779, and which is Wilson, the father of Dr. Wilson, physician to St. George’s appended" to the later editions of his Midwifery, we find him Hospital. At a later period, Mr. Brodie taught anatomy saying, I was now in the thirty-seventh year of my age, and Mr. Wilson at the Windmill- street Theatre, and continued I determined to marry; and becoming acquainted with the do so until the School was disposed of to Sir Charles Bell. family of Mr. Brodie, a respectable army linen-draper, I chose to Wilson was the last of the greatAnatomists of the school Elizabeth, his youngest daughter, then in the 24th year of her the Hunters, and it may be questioned if any man since age." This was in 1770. In 1779 he writes of this lady, " It day has excelled him, either as an anatomist or as a teacher. is impossible to have chosen a wife more suitable to my dismedical schools at the beginning of the present cen- position and circumstances : [he was then living in a small the In surgical anatomy was the great and all-absorbing sub- house in Oxendon-street, Haymarket, and getting about £ 300 Many questions now of importance in the professional a year by practice ;] her manners are amiable, her disposition either had no place at that date, or were of merelyr her understanding, naturally good, improved by readnominal consequence. Animal chemistry, microscopical re ing and the conversation of reasonable people, and she has that for truth and propriety that I am firmly persuaded I searcb, and histological anatomy, were then in their infancy; science Th( no human consideration could induce her to depart from to medical and and surgical applied practice. as The lady of whom this eulogium was written was the present state of medical study is of course favourable to the>. diffusion of medical knowledge, but hardly to that sister of the Reverend Mr. Brodie, and consequently the aun-, of study upon anatomy which has produced our of Sir Benjamin. The late Lord Denman was therefore hs








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tions. He referred occasionally to Mr. Hunter’s manuscripts, nrst cousin. Dr. Denman, had by this marriage, besides deceased great law-lorcl, two twin daughters, Margaret and but they contained little relating to the particular subjects on § Sophia. In 1789, Margaret married Mr., afterwards Sir which he was himself engaged ; and if ever he did make use of Richard, Croft, who succeeded Dr. Denman in obstetric prac- them, I am satisfied that he always acknowledged the having tice, and became memorable for his attendance on the Princess done so. Indeed, it seemed to me that he was especially anxious Charlotte, in 1817, when both she and her child were unfortu- to do justice to Mr. Hunter’s reputation. In making this state- jt nately lost. The other daughter, Sophia, became the wife of ment I feel that I am but performing a duty towards one from jt the celebrated Dr. Matthew Baillie, in 1791. Dr. Denman whom I received much kindness in the early part of my pro- tz himself lived till 1815, after having continued from the death fessional life. at of William Hunter, in 1783, for a long series of years at the ’’In his latter years I am afraid that he certainly did commit at head of his department of practice, the very great error of publishingsome of Mr. Hunter’s obserThese high professional connexions could not fail to be of vations as if they had been his own. That he should have done at importance to Mr. Brodie in advancing his professional career, so is the more inconceivable, as I believe that I am correct in Such aids, though in some measure adventitious, must neces- saying that the facts thus recorded were comparatively unimsarily influence the destiny of any man, but especially where, portant, and could add little or nothing to the well-deserved as in Mr. Brodie’s case, these circumstances of fortune found reputation which he had acquired from his earlier investiga- ja a man of a high order of mind, devoted to his profession, tions. I can only explain the circumstance by supposing that M fully capable of turning them to advantage, not in the lowest, his judgment had become impaired as he advanced in life. but in the highest sense of the phrase. "That he should have destroyed the Hunterian But this was not all. Mr. Brodie became, as we have said, was certainly a most calamitous circumstance for the Hunfor several years the favourite pupil and assistant of Sir Everard terian Collection, and not less so for himself. They would Home, (pronounced Hume.) He was not only his assistant at have very considerably assisted Mr. Owen in his arduous task gj the hospital, but assisted him in private practice, and in his of completing the catalogue of the Museum of the College of jta anatomical investigations. Home was the brother-in-law of Surgeons. On the other hand, they contained very little that jjj John Hunter. Mr. Brodie eventually took the place of Home could any how have been available for the original researches Bt - as a surgeon in the public eye, and he may thus be considered in which he was himself engaged-at the same time that the as in some respects the professional representative both of destruction of them could not fail to produce, on the minds of Denman and of John Hunter, if we may be allowed to trace others, a very strong impression that he had used them, for his a professional genealogy so far. These two great interests own purposes, to a much greater extent than was really coalesced in his person ; no other man amongst their con- case." As we have said, Mr. Brodie joined Sir Everard in his best nexions having adopted the profession of surgery with any We could show that in many other cases this ten- days; from him he acquired his taste for experiment ; he dissuccess. dency to hereditary succession in medicine, surgery, and sected with him, and became intimate with some of the first obstetrics, has produced great mischief, by introducing inca- people of that day ; but the connexion was of little pable men, for a time, to the high places of the profession ; use in practice, as Home’s extravagance always rendered him but in the case of Mr. Brodie the man was pre-eminently too poor to allow fees to pass by him to his pupil and assistant. worthy of his good fortune, and no one can gainsay the benefits Through Home, however, he became mixed up with the best which have resulted to the science and practice of surgery men of the time-Sir Joseph Banks, Sir Humphry Divy, and from his successful career in the profession. others; circumstances which were of great importance to the Of Sir Everard Home, the surgical master and teacher of advancement of his career as a scientific and physiological surSir Benjamin, we may be allowed to say a few words. When geon. It was from Sir Joseph Banks he obtained, through Dr. BanMr. Brodie first joined him he was a great surgeon--the greatest surgeon of his time, deeply versed in anatomy, full of enthu- croft, who had travelled in Guiana, the supply of the Woorara, tempered by solid judgment, and distinguished by an poison, with which he performed his experiments. in practice. By this latter quality Bichat, these experiments were the first of any importance indomitable perseverance he dragged manya life through which would otherwise have which had been made since the time of Haller, and they atlost. As long as a spark of life or hope remained he was tracted great attention. For the Croonian Lecture, delivered hopeful and persevering. He was often wrong in his diagnosis in 1810, and published in the " Philosophical Transactions," prognosis, because his genius was demonstrative, projecting he received in the following year the Copley medal, which is beyond the present moment. His rival, Cline, was a sound highest honour the Royal Society has to bestow ; and when but of cautious, almost timid, habits in his profession. Mr. Brodie obtained it he was only twenty-eight years of age ! surgeon, He made fewer mistakes, but also fewer hits, in practice than This paper contained the first series of his celebrated physioThis was when Hunter’s brother-in-law was in logical researches respecting the Influence of the Brain on the Sir Everard. Then he worked at his profession, dissected of the Heart. The paper, and the honour which was prime. his and own results. Afterwards he to its author, rendered the young surgeon’s name well published experimented, became deeply debased. Wine and vanity puffed him up to a known all over Europe. Such an event was an important item pitch of egotism, which led to the most serious faults, and even in the consolidation of his reputation, and as such Sir Benjamin crimes. In the latter part of his life he certainly made use of ever considered it. John Hunter’s works in his own papers. One particular proof Mr. Brodie pursued his career of experiment for of this exists in the case given by Home of a person who had years. The results of his labours are published chiefly in inflammation of the stomach from arsenic rubbed into an ex- several papers in the " Philosophical Transactions." They ternal wound-an interesting fact undoubtedly belonging sist of the Croonian Lecture already referred to, in which it is Hunter, and stolen by Home from the Hunterian manuscripts. proved that the action of the heart does not depend In relation to this statement, Sir B. Brodie wrote to us some upon the cerebral and spinal centres, but can be kept up these have been destroyed, or their functions suspended, years since as follows :"am not aware that Sir Everard Home ever published a thecontinuance of artificial respiration. The facts of this case of the kind ; but in my second paper on the Effects Proportant paper are invaluable; as, however, the nervous duced by Poisons on the Animal System, at page 209 of the had not at that time been divided into its cerebral and spinal and their different functions allotted to each, it ‘ Transactions of the Royal Society’ for 1812, there is the fol- portions, be highly interesting to repeat these experiments, with a view passage :" ‘ Mr. Home informed me of an experiment made by Mr. to ascertain the precise share of the ablation of the brain, and and himself, in which arsenic was applied to a wound the medulla oblongata, upon the results. Another animal died in twenty-four hours, and the paper, published in 1811, gave an account of some experiments in a dog.wasThe found to be considerably inflamed.’ in which death takes place from vegetable poisonon stomach Having this opportunity of doing so, I trust that you will ing. A new and extended series of these experiments was me if I trouble you with some further remarks, in 1812, and also some further observations on plaining what I believe to be the real state of the case re- subject of the Croonian Lecture. These papers were in 1514, by one on the Influence of Division of the Par Vagum specting Sir Everard Home and the Hunterian manuscripts. "During a period of about ten years that I was in the habit, on the Gastric Secretions. Mr. Brodie’s last physiological ) conjointly with Mr. Clift, of assisting Sir Everard in his dis- contribution appeared in the Quarterly Jojurnal of Science, in anatomy, and in his other inquiries,1822-23, in the shape of some experiments in which the ductus sections in comparative I do not choledochus was tied, and its effects upon digestion observed. and when I also assisted him in revising his papers, member a single instance in which I had reason to believeMr. Brodie performed a great many experiments which have that he appropriated to himself any of Mr. Hunter’s observa-never been published, because their author considered them








been and




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Hunter excuse


the mode

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the followed,

454 and because practice demanded so much of his attention that he was unable to pursue physiological research. But although Mr. Brodie relinquished experiment, the physiological spirit clung to him through life ; it may be seen in all his writings, and did a great deal towards making him the excellent practitioner he was allowed by all to be. The most celebrated physiological investigation in which Sir Benjamin ever engaged was that respecting the Influence of the Nervous Centres upon the Generation of Animal Heat. He found that an animal with the nervous centres removed, or their functions suspended by narcotic poison, lost its power of generating animal heat, even though the action of the lungs was kept up by artificial respiration; and that the power of generating caloric returned with the returning vigour of the nervous centres. This was considered to be opposed to the Crawfordian theory of the production of animal heat by the combustion of the blood, in the conversion of arterial into venous fluid. The experiments were repeated by other physiologists, particularly by the distinguished Legallois ; and it has been stated by Mr. Pettigrew, in his



the editor of THE LANCET. On being introduced to our a bundle upon the table, from which he proceeded to extract a very fair and symmetrical lower extremity, which might have matched see

sanctum, he placed

" Atalanta’s better Atlanta’s bet er par

part" ’

and which had evidently belonged to a woman. "There! "said he, " is there anything the matter with that leg ? Did you ever What ought the man to be done with who see a handsomer? cut it off?" On having the meaning of these interrogatories put before us, we found that it was the leg of the wife of our evening visitor. He had been accustomed to admire the lady’s leg and foot, of the perfection of which she was, it appeared, fully conscious. A few days before, he had excited her anger, and they had quarrelled violently, upon which she left the house, declaring she would be revenged on him, and that he should never see the objects of his admiration again. The next thing he heard of her was, that she was a patient in ****** Hospital, and had had her leg amputated. She had declared to the surgeons that she suffered intolerable pain in "Biographical Memoirs," that "Legallois’ experiments are the knee, and had begged to have the limb removed-a petiopposed to those of Sir B. Brodie." But we do not hesitate tion the surgeons complied with, and thus became the instruto declare this to be a misapprehension. They certainly ment of her absurd and self-torturing revenge upon her vary from those of our own countryman, but they were husband ! Subcutaneous surgery is now a very important subject ; performed under different circumstances. Sir Benjamin rendered his animals insensible, or destroyed them by the without it, tenotomy and the various operations for the relief This is the main In the one, of contractions would be impracticable. woorara poison; Legallois killed his by pithing. characteristic of orthopsedio surgery. The first fact in any imno blood was lost; in the other, haemorrhage inevitably ocThe different results in the hands of Legallois provement always supplies the principle. It may not be curred. are just such as would arise from the complication of the generally known that the first subcutaneous operation on record experiment with haemorrhage. As in Sir Benjamin’s experi- was performed by Sir Benjamin Brodie. It occurred in an ments, he found the heat diminished, but he found that less operation for the cure of varicose veins of the legs, an account oxygen was consumed, and he concluded that less oxygen had of which is contained in Volume the 7th of the " Transactions of also been consumed in Sir Benjamin’s experiments; hence he the Royal Medical and Chirurgical Society." We are not aware inferred that the diminution of temperature depended on the that Sir Benjamin Brodie has connected his name with any diminished consumption of oxygen in his own and Sir Benj. other great advancement in operative surgery, but the minor Brodie’s experiments. But the fact is, that less oxygen was improvements in the management of surgical disease which we consumed in the artificial respiration, as conducted by Legal- owe to him are innumerable. His name is more familiar than lois, because the animal had lost blood, and consequently the that of any other surgeon in the collection of the surgicalquantity of blood for the oxygen of respiration to act upon was instrument maker and surgical mechanician. Sir Benjamin Brodie was not in full practice till 1825. He diminished. This, we believe, after having perused the posthumous works of Legallois, is the true explanation of the dif- could not be said to have taken the place of the first surgeon ferences between the two sets of experiments. Sir Benjamin’s of London until the retirement ofSir Astley Cooper, in 1828. facts and observations remain untouched. Before his experi- Cooper, as the nephew of Cline, and as the senior of Brodie, ments, the generation of heat in living bodies was accounted took a lead, which it was impossible for any man to pass. But for upon purely chemical principles. He discovered to a de- when Cooper resigned the surgical sceptre, there was no one monstration, that the nervous centres exerted a modifying in- who could pretend to dispute it with Sir Benjamin. Since that fluence upon this process of the animal economy. The further time universal consent has given him the first place in the proprogress of science has shown the relation of the production of fession. During the later years of his life Sir Benjamin declined animal heat to the oxygenation of the blood, but it has also important operations, acting on the principle that work should shown the infiuence of the nervous centres on calorification. always be done by those who are best capable of doing it, and For this latter, physiology is, in the first instance, undoubtedly feeling himself less able to cope with the fatigue and harass of indebted to the experiments of Sir Benj. Brodie. operationsthan when a younger man. But though this diAmongst the works of Sir Benjamin Brodie, his classical minished his income somewhat, Sir Benjamin never saw more treatise " On the Pathology and Surgery of Diseases of the patients, nor saw them more effectively, than for some years Joints," and his volume " On Certain Local Nervous Affections," after declining to operate. The strength of his practice lay in will ever hold a high place in surgery; for they mark an era the immense number of cases in which his opinion was taken. It in this department of the profession. William Hunter had might be thought that Sir Benjamin’s success and income delaboured with great success at the anatomy and diseases of pended on the aristocracy of this country; such was not, howthe joints; but still, before Sir Benjamin’s publications, and ever, the case. His patients chiefly came from various parts of especially his demonstrations of his actual practice, the country, and from medical men. He would often tell great confusion existed in the diagnosis of affections of the the pupils of St. George’s that he owed all his success joints. No just discriminations were made between the dis- to the good opinion of his professional brethren; and he would urge this as an incentive to them to strive after a high eases of the various tissues which go to constitute a joint; and no clear diagnosis existed between neuralgic and hys. professional standard of excellence. Without the confidence terical affections of these organs, and other diseases of a more of the profession, no great practice can be held in this country serious and more strictly local nature. Numberless were the for any length of time. Practices dependent on fashion, or on limbs removed for mere 1-)ain, in which no disease could after- some particularity of treatment, may rule for a time ; but wards be detected; but, now-a-days, the youngest tyro in sur- nothing save a solid reputation ensures full and permanent gery would hold it a disgrace to his art to see a limb removed occupation. For many years, Sir Benjamin’s practice reached without some obvious pathological reason. The result of the £ 10,000 a year, but we believe it never much exceeded £11,000 progress of modern surgery has been to make the knife more in any single year. The mass of this was taken, not in large daring than ever upon real occasions, but to keep it inactive, fees, but in single guineas. Home-practice is the most profitunless upon ample cause for its exercise. Never were human able to men in plenty of work. It is the number of persons limbs held in greater respect, and treated more conservatively, gathered into the waiting-rooms of our great physicians and than at present. We owe much of this state of things to Sir surgeons morning after morning, that make up the great inBenjamin’s efforts in diagnosis and pathology. Perhaps some of. comes. Sir Astley Cooper once took a fee of .61000, but he his followers have carried his views to extremes, and have mis- always laughed when he spoke of this, and said great fees were taken organic disease for neuralgia; indeed, we have ourselves no indications of great practice. The men who do get great known of such cases. To illustrate, however, the excessive and fees are those whose time admits of their paying immense to particular cases. This, a first-rate physician or culpable recklessness which formerly prevailed, we may relate an anecdote, for the truth of which we vouch, and we could, can never do, unless the rank of the patient be suffiif we pleased, name the hospital at which the case occurred. ’ cient to demand undivided services, and scarcely even then. Late one evening a person came into our office, and askedSir Benjamin Brodie always acted on the principle of calling

attention surgeon

455 another person to his aid in all cases requiring great care. On this account he never took any very enormous fees-never, we believe, so large a fee as that recorded of Sir Astley ; but the reason is creditable to his conscientiousness and straightforward dealing, and indicative of his possession of the qualities requisite to the first-rate physician or surgeon. Sir Astley Cooper is declared to have made in one year .623,000, an enormous sum, such as could only have been amassed by the performance of a large number of operations, when the rage for operative proceedings and the fashion for Sir Astley was at its height. As regards operations, Sir Benjamin Brodie stood at some disadvantage, from always having up to a late period the immensely popular reputation of Cooper to compete against. At the time of his contemporary’s retirement from operative practice, Sir Benjamin had reached a mature age, and, moreover, Liston came rapidly treading on his steps as an operator. But we believe this income of Cooper to be without parallel for a single year, not only in our own profession, but in the ordinary departments of the law. LTnless a large number of operations and journeys were crowded into a single year, such receipts would be quite impossible in any medical or surgical practice. The total earnings of Sir Benjamin Brodie, however, undoubtedly exceeded those of Sir

Astley Cooper,

him closely through his attended in the down to Windsor

last illness.

He used to go

morning, visiting the King at early six o’clock, and stay chatting with him for a couple of hours. On one of these occasions, he would sometimes relate, finding the legs of his patient enormously oedematous, he punctured them freely; the quantity of fluid which escaped was surprisingly great, and the Kinglay back immediately without a word, and for the first time for days fell into a sleep which lasted for some hours. He used to say that of all the dying King’s wishes and wants, that which most remained in his The Cottage," memory was his longing hope to be removed to of which he was never tired of talking. When King William IV. succeeded to the throne, Mr. Brodie was appointed SergeantSurgeon with flattering promptitude, and in a very complimentary manner. The health of her present Majesty and the royal family has happily been so good as to involve rarely calls upon the skill of Sir Benjamin Brodie ; but he was always highly regarded, and much favoured by the Queen. Mr. Brodie was made a baronet by William IV., upon his promotion to the sergeant-surgeoncy, on the death of his old master, Sir Everard Home, in lb32, but the patent of the baronetcy is dated August 21st, 1834. The physicians and surgeons who have been raised to the baronetage in recent times have generally had the benefit of political connexions. Sir Henry Halford’s son represented Leicestershire; a nephew of Sir AstlEy Cooper, the present baronet, we believe, sat for Norfolk ; and Sir Benjamin’s brother, Mr. William B. Brodie, was for many years member for Salisbury, with which city the Brodies have long been honourably connected. We do not mean to aver that these baronetcies were bestowed for merely political reasons, but no doubt they had their weight. But a state of things in which science is nil, and dross everything, cannot last, and does not deserve to last. Sir Benjamin had ever been distinguished for the concentration of his powers upon his profession. His profession was the great aim which he had ever pursued. He was accustomed to say, that he always kept in mind the saying of William Scott, afterwards Lord Stowell, to his brother John, the great Lord Eldon, on his entering upon the study of the law-" John, always keep the Lord Chancellorship in view, and you will be sure to get it in the end," an advice and prophecy fulfilled to the letter. A similar tenacity of purpose marked Sir Benjamin’s career. We may relate a fact, which shows this in a very striking manner. One day a very clever young surgeon, an old pupil, went to ask his assistance in getting him named surgeon to an insurance office. Sir Benjamin’s first question "

From the various reports which have been every now and then circulated respecting medical incomes, some of the readers of THE LANCETwill be surprised to learn that our great surgeon’s income should not have gone beyond £ 1I,000 a year. But let them consider that this sum amounts to no less than i30 per diem, and their surprise will cease. Thirty fees a day for one hand to take, and one head to earn, and that for every day of the 365, allowing no time for illness, holiday, or absence, is, in reality, an enormous sum. When we multiply this splendid income by the number of years Sir Benjamin was in first-rate occupation in this metropolis, we see that he had the means of realizing an ample fortune. On the 21st of May, 1816, Mr. Brodie married Ann, the third daughter of Mr. Serjeant Sellon, the late Lady Brodie; by her he had issue, two sons and one daughter. The eldest son, Mr. Benjamin Collins Brodie, who succeeds him in the baronetcy, had greatly distinguished himself in experimental chemistry, and is Professor of Chemistry at Oxford. The youngest son is the Rev. William Brodie, married to Maria, daughter of the eighth Earl Waldegrave. Sir Benjamin had considerable landed property in the neighbourhood of Hadleigh, in Suffolk, and an estate at Broome Park, near Dorking. He generally before retiring was-" Do you want it to enable you to live ? because, if so, I from practice went to the latter place on Saturday afternoon, will try to get it for you." He replied, it was not absolutely returning to London early on Monday morning. Here, too, he that, but he thought it would be a good appendage. " Then," generally passed his holiday in the autumn, spending two or said Sir Benjamin, "Iwill do nothing of the kind; stick to three months in complete retirement from the fatigues of your school, and your lectures, and to practice, and they will "


At the time the

carry you through. There stands in Kensal Green a huge Egyptian-looking monument, the largest in the place, except, perhaps, that dedicated to Morison, the hygeist. It marks the burial-place of St. John Long, and the inscription whiningly implores the reader to excuse what he did amiss on the of good motives. We cannot give our biographical sketch of Sir Benjamin without paying him the tribute of saying, that to him was largely due the merit of arresting St. John Long’s fashionable but destructive career. Sir Benjamin was the impersonation of caution, and it was only some great occasion which could have brought him into open collision with such a fellow. It happened in this way :-Sir Benjamin was one afternoon going to visit a friend at a villa at Hampstead, when he was summoned to Miss Cashin. He found an enormous slough on her back, and on examining it, and learning the state of the patient, he exclaimed-" Why, this is no better than murder!" The lady died ; and these words having been treasured up by the friends, the inquest, trial, and condemnation of the quack followed. It chanced that within a few days Mr. Vance called Sir Benjamin to another case, in which an enormous slough had been produced by the quack’s embrocation, and in which death, and the proof of St. John Long’s knavery followed. In both these cases Sir Benjamin Brodie acted as the fearless witness in behalf of the profession. Well would it be if all the medical baronets of modern creation had done as much against

in THE Brodie informed the writer that, at the time he received his baronetcy, he was making £ 5000 a year by his profession, but that he had since realized property to the extent of £5000 per annum-a circumstance which shows that the fruits of his practice had been successfully invested, and that he had followed throughout his career a liberal and yet frugal course. Since that date, Sir Benjamin continued for many years in large practice ; and it may be mentioned to his honour that he worked on, when he might have retired to enjoy the leisure he had hardly earned, not for himself, but for others, at the call of what he nobly and self-denyingly considered his duty. It is characteristic of the rapid rise of Mr. Brodie in fame and fortune that, at the age of thirty-nine, he was summoned, at the instance of King George IV., to assist at the operation for removal of encysted tumour of the scalp, which that monarch underwent. The authentic history of that operation is known to few, nor is it desirable perhaps even now that all the details should be made known. But thus much we may give on the most unequivocal authority. The tumour was first shown by the King to Sir Everard Home while the latter was dining at the royal table. Sir Everard recognised the nature of the tumour, and told the King it must be removed. At the instance of Sir William Knighton, M.D., a consultation was held, at which Sir Everard Home, Sir Astley quackery!T. Cooper, Mr. Cline, and Mr. Brodie were present. It was the In a quiet way, Sir Benjamin Brodie took his part in medical King’s own expressed wish that Mr. Brodie should perform thepolitics. It is now pretty well known that it was to his operation; but that wish was overruled on the ground that his influence with Sir James Graham that we owed the Charter the College of Surgeons. Though that Charter was in many Majesty was one of the Estates of the Realm, and that the of its provisions most unjust, though thousands of practitioners highest reputed surgical skill must alone be employed. Sir Benjamin was a great favourite of King George IV., and ’ felt themselves aggrieved and insulted thereby, and though in

original biography was published

LANCET, Sir Benjamin




it quiries.

The description which is there given of the effects of overdose of quinine, narrated as of a friend, forms, we believe, a transcript of the sensations of Sir Benjamin himself on this occasion. An accident happened to Sir Benjamin, cess of time this Charter will no doubt be amended and exhowever, many years ago, which was little known, and changed; but the representative principle-the Magna Charta might probably now be omitted from the record if it were of our profession-will never again be lost, as long as the not that his last malady had affected the joint then inCollege exists. We are happy to say that Sir Benjamin him- jured. Mr. White Cooper tells us that about 1834, while self lent a hand towards the improvement of his offspring. We staying at an hotel in the Isle of Wight, he saw from the believe also, that, many years ago, Sir Benjamin wasone of window a carriage drive up, from which was lifted out a the first to advocate the admission of obstetricians to seats in gentleman covered with mud, and evidently in some pain, who was no other than Sir Benjamin Brodie. He had been thrown the Council. With his evidence before the late Parliamentary Com- from a pony, and was suffering from dislocation 01 the mittee, and before Mr. Warburton’s Committee in 1834, the shoulder-joint. Mr. Bloxam, a well-known practitioner of professional public are acquainted. It proves that Sir Ben- that day and place, came in, and Mr. White Cooper and Mr. jamin’s political opinions were liberal in tone; and they were, Bloxam together reduced the dislocation. Sir Benjamin said in fact, embodied in the first Bill of Sir James Graham, that he used to think lightly enough of dislocation of the which, but for the unfortunate speech made by that right shoulder, but he should never do so again. It was in this joint honourable baronet, on its introduction to the House of that fatal disease recently showed itself. In July, 1860, Commons, and the absence of all restrictions upon quackery, Sir Benjamin Brodie found it necessary to seek advice respectwould have found favour with the profession. Sir Ben- ing the enfeebled condition of his vision. After ’some little jamin’s own opinion was, that repression is unnecessary ; but discussion, he submitted to iridectomy on both eyes, under here weare bound to disagree with him. In matters of the influence of chloroform ; subsequently to extraction of a life and death, Ignorance should not have the sanction of the cataract ; and finally to an operation for artificial pupil. Sir law-and it has, virtually, this sanction, when in all matters Benjamin was accustomed to express his aversion to operative of life and death the quack and pretender is put on precisely measures more strongly than ever, subsequently to the unforthe same footing as the regnlarly-educated practitioner, tunate results of those of which he was the subject. The ultiThough Sir Benjamin opposed the admission of general prac- mate result was, that he was left with just so much glimmertitioners to the Council of the College of Surgeons, he made ing perception of light that he could track his way along a provision for their forming part of the Supreme Council which favourite path, after it had been dusted with white sand so as it was proposed should govern the profession. On the moral strongly to reflect the light. His last affection had made its and scientific improvement of the profession, Sir Benjamin often appearance somewhat suddenly. He was in London during descanted, with a clearness and force amounting to eloquence, the winter of 1861-62, and was then in fair health. At the in his various addresses and introductory lectures. He never end of April he returned to Broome, and in a few days was did so more beautifully than at a soiree of the Western attacked with severe lumbago, followed by an attack of fever, Medical Society, when resigning the presidency into the hands which continued for some time. About July he began to comof Dr. Robert Lee. On that occasion, instead of descanting on plain of pain in the right shoulder, with considerable prostrathe "degeneracy" of the profession, he summed up the whole tion. Sir Benjamin Brodie then went for a week to the seaquestion of the dignity or degradation of medicine in a few side. The pain in the shoulder increased, there was a conwords : Gentlemen," said he, "MEDICINE IS A -NOBLE tinued quick pulse, and feverish symptoms. In the early part SCIENCE, BUT A LOW TRADE." This is true : pursued as Science, of September, a swelling appeared in his right shoulder, which nothing can be higher ; followed merely as a Trade, nothing continued to increase gradually. Its nature, there is little can be more ignoble ; and the man in the poorest practice may reason to doubt, was malignant. During the whole of his illness Sir Benjamin Brodie was attended by Mr. Peter Martin, reverence the profession as a science, while the richest may grovel before it as mere trading ! of Reigate, and Mr. Charles Hawkins, who had the benefit, in It is true praise of Sir Benjamin Brodie to say, that he was consultation, of the advice of Dr. Watson, Mr. Hodgson, Mr, more distinguished as a physician- surgeon than as an operatThat his intellect had been Caesar Hawkins, and Mr. Cutler. ingsurgeon. His vocation was more to heal limbs than to re- ever active and penetrating none could for a moment doubt, His imagination had never been dazzled by the after reading the lines which thought, rather than feeling, had move them. brilliancy of the knife, to any great operative display. He graven-in upon his clearly-cut features. We cannot enumerate all the professional contributions of was, however, always a most steady and successful operator : lightness of hand ; caution, without timidity ; never-failing Sir Benjamin. His various labours show him to have been one coolness, and fertility of resources, were his distinguished and of the most incessant indefatigable workers of his time. If characteristics. He made no secret of his opinion, that the practice had been the most moderate, his other works would operative part of surgery was not its highest part. Diagnosis have given him a great reputation; but our respect for his had always been hiss great strength, and his opinion was, genius and industry becomes unbounded when we consider therefore, alwaysdeeply valued by the profession and the that the multifarious duties of an immense practice occupied public. We believe his heart was with hospital, rather him from an early period of his professional career. Those who than private practice, but in almost all cases men are knew Sir Benjamin, know him to have been most punctilious We more fond of their early occur tions than of those which iin the discharge of his hospital duties towards the sick. come afterwards. As a teac,,, r, he was always distin- have already referred to his connexion with Mr. Wilson as an guished for the value of the matte,’ he had to communi- anatomical teacher. He gaveaformal course on Surgery at cate. Those who heard him in the early part of his career St. George’s Hospital, from 1808 to 1830-a period of twentysay that he was then energetic rather than polished ; that he two years. From 1813 to 1S4S he never missed, save for one appeared to struggle with the weight and mass of facts he year, to give a course of clinical lectures, the last course he ever delivered having been published in THE LANCET of the had stored up in his mind. But, in later years, his No man in his profession could deliver He was one of the largest contributors to the was fluent and perfect. year. himself more readily or more elegantly than Sir Benjamin Transactions" of the Royal Medical and Chirurgical Society ; Brodie. scarcely any other man has done so much as a contributor His habits of life were simple. A sincere Christian, he found to the periodical medical press. After his retirement from the time, notwithstanding his many occupations, for religious pursuit of his profession, Sir Benjamin employed his still active duties, and he was to be seen, when in town, a regular atten- mind in the production of two elegantly written and most dant at St. James’s Church on Sunday afternoons. He was an charming volumes, under the title Inquiries," early riser ; unaffected in dress and manners ; and what was in which he entered into an elaborate disquisition on the influwonderful was, that in spite of an originally delicate constitu- ence exerted by physical causes on the exercise of the inteltion. he preserved a far healthier and more vigorous aspect lectual faculties. than has been often met with at his age. His slight stoop was The important posts Sir Benjamin held would be enough to occupy the long life of any man of moderate industry and scaroely more than would be natural even to a young man studious habits. Indeed, amongst all his practical labours, he ability. We have seen him as Croonian lecturer. In 1819, he was appointed Professor of Anatomy and Surgery to the Royal k-ept the air of a student nearly to the last. His health up to laff period of life was fortunately very good. Sir Benjamin once College of Surgeons ; in 1837. he delivered the Hunterian suffered severely from an accidental overdose of quinine, taking Oration; in 1839 and 1840, he filled the chair at the Medical and as much as one ounce of the tincture. The results are described ’ Chirurgical Society; in 1849, he was president of the Western ill the course of the second volume of his Psychological In- Medical Society. During the entire term of his presidency

instances the most ludicrous mistakes occurred, yet must never be forgotten, that the great principle of REPRESE-NTATION, and the election of the COUNCIL by the fellows, in contradistinction to self-election, formed a part of it. In prosome




latter and

of" Psychological

of a

457 unanimous approval of the profession. It was thought that at this time the Government might have taken the opportunity of doing just honour to the medical profession, and of recognizing the distinguished position of Sir Benjamin Brodie. A great. Acting up to his axiom, that the debates in the Society report arose that he would be raised to the peerage, as Baron Betchworth of Betchworth ; but Lord Derby’s Ministry made constituted its most important and interesting feature, he al ways encouraged discussion. He would wait for a few minutes haste to give official contradiction to the welcome rumour. A to see if any fellow was inclined to begin, and if he was disap- triend received, shortly after this time, a letter from Sir Benpointed in this, after calling attention to some of the more jamin, in which, with his usual and unaffected modesty, he prominent and salient points in the production before them, he expressed the satisfaction he felt at the want of confirmation would lead the way by giving his own opinions and experience which the report had received. There can be little doubt Few of those who had the pleasure of that if Lord Palmerston’s plan of creating life peerages had on the subject matter. hearing him will forget with what precision he spoke; how not been defeated, Sir Benjamin Brodie would have died a completely he kept ad rem, and how easily he brought his vast peer. As it is, the peerage is an honour still, as far as experience, and that, too, without preparation, to bear upon precedent is concerned, beyond the reach of the medical prothe production of the author, whoever it might be. We fession. So far as wealth.position, and national esteem can scarcely recollect a single evening during the two sessions that go, there can be no question that Sir Benjamin Brodie would Sir B6nja.min presided in which he did not address the meeting. have graced and honoured the peerage as much as any clerical He seemed not to be at a loss on any subject, and no one could or legal creation of modern times. We believe Sir Astley help being astonished, no less at the extent of his acquire- Cooper was once near receiving a coronet; and we have been ments, than at the facility with which they were made avail- assured by a relative of Sir Richard Croft that he was proable. He was remarkable, also, in keeping the various speakers mised a peerage by George IV. if all had gone well with the within bounds, for whilst he was a staunch friend to discussion Princess Charlotte. We can only hope, for the honour of the to its legi. imate extent, he could not tolerate discursive flights, profession, that Sir Charles Locock, now almost the only medical baronet, and in every way holding a higher position than " To show the stretch of human brain, Mere curious pleasure or ingenious pain." ir Richard Croft could ever have aspired to, may reach the He encouraged discussion, too, at a time when it was not eminence hitherto unattained by any medical man. fashionable to do so : some of his predecessors in office having almost " burked" it, and some of the members of the governLETTER FROM MR. CHARLES HAWKINS. ing body having actually meditated a war against the press for To the Editor of THE LANCET. publishing the debates of the Society. Rising above all such Sirt-It is with much regret that I announce to you the petty feelings and motives, Sir B. Brodie took the enlarged view of the subject, and contended that a greater publicity of death of Sir Benjamin Brodie. His most valuable life was the proceedings of the Society could only add to its reputation brought to a close last night, with as little suffering as was and its usefulness. From the period of his presidency may be possible under the circumstances of the case. dated the remarkable prosperity of the Me! ical and ChirurAnything that concerned the welfare and honour of the gical Society, and this is mainly attributable, we believe, to medical profession interested him to the last. A few days the mo(le in which he fostered and protected discussion. before his death, when speaking of the probable speedy termiShould the Society fall into a useless and silent meeting-place, nation of his life, he said to me-" If any of my medical it will be from the future presidents not following in the foot- friends should speak to you of me, remember me kindly to them." steps of the distinguished subject of our sketch To the Sir In the pages of THE LANCET, and there only, are preserved a great number of facts and opinions arising out of the expeCHARLES HAWKINS. rience of Sir Benjamin, and communicated by him to the Society, with which otherwise it is more than probable the great A TOOTH DRIVEN INTO THE JAW. body of the profession would not have been made acquainted. We take some credit to ourselves for having preserved these To the Editor of THE LANCET. memorials in the durable form given to them by the exertions of an independent medical press. SiR,—If you deem the following case of sufficient interest to In his address at the close of each sfssion Sir B. Brodie was entitle it to be recorded in your columns, I shall be glad if you particularly happy, and as these addresses at the time were will kindly insert it. W. T-, aged fourteen, whilst out ploughing on July 28th, published in THE LANCET, we need do no more than call attention to them. On his retirement as President of the Society, 1862, in the capacity of waggoner’s lad, was kicked in the face we do not believe there was a single fellow who did not regard by one of the horses composing the team, and received the folit as a personal loss and misfortune. lowing injury :-A wound of about two inches in length, passOne evidence of the general consent with which Sir Benj. ingohliquely through the right cheek and lower lip into the Brodie was regarded as the head of the profession, may be mouth. The teeth, with the exception of the right upper found in the frequency with which his advice was sought by canine, which had disappeared from view, had escaped injury. the different Governments of the day in any matter of diffi My first impression was that the crown of this tooth had been culty connected with Medicine. One of the latest instances of broken off, but on further examination it was found to be comthis related to the Smethurst case, when, after consulting the pletely buried within its alveolus, the apex of it only being highest obstetrical opinion, Sir Benjamin, as is well known, visible on separating the gum. Finding, after having extracted it with a pair of Clennou’s srump forceps, that it was to all reversed the decision of the judge and jury. For a long series of years he fulfilled the duties of Examiner appearance uninjured, I at once replaced it in its natural posiof the College of Surgeons and member of the Council, having tion, desiring he boy to live on fluids for a few days, or until only retired from the examinership a few years since. He has the tooth had become sufficieutly firm to allow of its being used The wound, the edges of which were brought also tilled the offices of Vice-President and President of the in masti:i«;ion College. He was an ex-offlcio member of the Board of Ex. together by sutures and adhesive plaster, healed in a few days, aminers as Serjeant- Surgeon, but at his wish the Council peti. and at the exyiration of a week from the receipt of the injury, tioned her Majesty to abrogate this privilege, and on his re the dislocated tooth had become quite firmly fixed on a level tirement it was abolished. At the Royal Societyhe was 2 with the neighbouring teeth. There appear to me to be two points of interest in this otherconstant worker as member of the Council, and formerly a; member of the Physiological Committee. He was the surgical wise simple case. viz.:—That the tooth should have been so attendant of three sovereigns, from George IV. to Victoria in completelv driven into the j nv like a nailwithout either itself elusive, and uo man charged him that his duties to rich ot or snstaining any injury; to be accounted for, by the fact. of the canine teeth being frequently more poor had been ill-performed. When we reflect upon all these various works, we must confess the author was a great man ir prominent th!)n the others, and which I found, by examining the fellow-tooth on the opposite side, to be the case in this boy. our profession, and capable of greatness in any walk of life. When the passing of the Medical Reform Act, for the firs1 Also that the tooth should have been so speedily and firmly rein its natural position after having been entirely time in the history of Medicine, gave a legal head to the entir, medical profession of the three kingdoms, and indeed of the removed from its alveolus—a circumstance which had never whole British empire, in the person of the president of tbf previously come under my notice, although I was aware that General Council of Medical Education and Registration, Si it was not a verv rare, occnrrence.- Y ours. &cJ. H. TYLECOTE, M.D. Benjamin was elected to fill this dignified position, with th<

of the Royal Medical and Chirurgical Society, we believe that he was not absent on a single occasion, and this is no small praise to a surgeon in his extensive and laborious practice. But it was after the reading of a paper that he was particularly

neighbours perhaps,