the present instance. If it were necessary to offer any illustration on this subject, I could, with great confidence, appeal to the conduct of the Royal College of Physicians of London. The charter of that Royal College was granted for the avowed purpose of restraining "ignorant and incapable persons" from practising Physic, and for improving the Science of Medicine. But the daily newspapers blazon forth the fame of numerous impudent Empirics, some of whom even assemble with impunity, as a pretended Medical Board. And as a proof of the anxiety of that Royal College to improve the Science of Medicine, they have passed bye-laws, restricting their Fellowships to Graduates of the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge, where there is not even the semblance of medical education, and excluding from that honor the Graduates of the first school of Physic, at least in the British dominions, probably in the world.

That all this is not idle declamation, and that, according to your proposed Bill, the Royal Colleges of Surgeons of London, of Edinburgh, and of Dublin, may, without infringing the letter of the law, abuse in various ways the privileges which it confers, might be very easily shown; but I am most unwilling to enter into any minute details on so unpleasant a subject. I shall content myself, therefore, with a very few hints.

Thus there is nothing in your Bill to prevent the Members of the said Royal Colleges from enacting a Bye-law to limit the number of their Apprentices, according to the usage of many other incorporated trades. In the same way, they may extend the period of their apprenticeship to such a number of years as may deter young men from engaging in such a bond.

If, however, the enlarged views now so prevalent in the united kingdom, should prevent their enacting such bye-laws, they might, under very fair pretences of consulting the public welfare, prescribe so tedious and expensive a course of study as would lessen greatly the number of pupils; and although in your proposed Bill it be enacted in general terms, that candidates for admission are to pay the usual fees, there could be no difficulty of increasing those fees to any amount, and that too for the avowed purpose of promoting the respectability of the profession.-The usual fees of any of the three Royal Colleges might probably be found to be the sum which the majority of the members might choose to dictate.

I cannot conclude this Letter without explaining my reason for adopting this method of communicating the remarks contained in the preceding pages. While I feel convinced that your sole motive in bringing forward the "Bill for regulating the Practice of Surgery throughout the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland," is an anxious desire to promote the general good, I am at the same time

impressed with the belief that the information upon which you have proceeded, in arranging the details of that Bill, has been founded on partial views. And as all private communications upon public measures are apt to be regarded with suspicion, I deem it incumbent upon me, holding the station of Professor of Midwifery in the University of Edinburgh, 10 express, in a manner which can be neither misunderstood nor overlooked, my sentiments on a proposed Regulation that appears to me highly discreditable to the department of the Profession which it is my duty to protect, and most injurious to the best interests of society at large.

In the confident hope that you will weigh the suggestions thus offered with candor and impartiality, I have the honor to be, with every sentiment of respect,


Your most obedient humble Servant,


Edinburgh, 23, St. Andrew's Square, April 11, 1817,

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By G. DYER, A. B.


Ce n'est point à moi à examiner si les Anglois jouissent actuellement de cette liberté, ou non. Il me suffit de dire qu'elle est établie par leurs loix, et je n'en cherche pas davantage. Montesquieu De l'Esprit des Loix. It is my business to examine, whether the English actually enjoy this liberty, or not. It is sufficient for me to say, that it is established by their laws, and I inquire no farther. Montesquieu's Spirit of Laws.


Nam non nisi optimis legibus populum regere licet, etiam ut dicit Philosophus; Natura deprecatur optima-Non sunt hæc tantis celata mysteriis, ut de liberatione egeant ingenti. Fortescue de Laudibus Legum Angliæ, cap. vii. For a people should not be governed, but by the best Laws, even as the philosopher saith, Nature seeketh the things which are best.-These things are not concealed in so great mysteries, as to require great deliberation. Fortescue on the Praises of the Laws of England, ch. vii.


The Third and Fourth Letters will be printed
in No. XXIV.




THESE Essays were first published in a Miscellany, as Letters ; they were republished, because they needed some corrections; and because the writer thought, that, in some material points, they were susceptible of improvement.

It was suggested, indeed, that the times were favorable to the publication; though he was not sanguine on that head. Temporary questions have a chance of becoming popular by local pleas, or by accidental circumstances. But there is nothing in the aspect of the times so auspicious to political discussions; and these letters proceed on the most general principles, addressing all Englishmen, and applicable to all times: and as for any purpose of a popular election (being first printed just after one) they came too late; so for men asleep over political principles, they now come too soon; and, therefore, but few copies are printed.

Of the value of the subject every reader must be left to judge for himself; and the writer be allowed to say, that his work, though a small, imperfect, production, was not hastily conceived. Nearly thirty years ago he was much engaged in inquiries, which obliged him to think seriously on the English Constitution, and to acquaint himself with such writers, as, whether liberally or illiberally, discussed it. Since that time, many events in England, and on the Continent several publications, to which those events gave birth, and the great inconstancy of public opinion, which ensued, are so many facts; and on these, he has elevated his thoughts, enlivened his affections, and confirmed his reasonings. And, though

The Work alluded to was published in 1789.

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