« PreviousContinue »
It is a common practice in the German Medical Schools for the Teacher to publish a Textbook on the subject of which he treats, and, taking this with him into the Class-room, to enlarge upon it, and thus form his lecture. This is the reason why, in the work of ChElius, many things are but slightly noticed, and some only hinted at, which seem worthy of being fully and completely detailed.
Had I confined myself to a mere translation of my original, many important points must have been omitted, and the object for which I undertook the publication of the Handbook could not have been attained. I was therefore obliged to resort to annotations and comments, the result of my own experience and reading, for the purpose of filling up and enlarging the Author's short notices, so as to render them more generally useful both to the student and the practitioner. In doing this I have far exceeded the limits I had originally proposed to myself, but the subject is so important, and fresh matter was so constantly at hand, that my great difficulty has been in restricting my work within its present bounds.
My first object in undertaking this task was to render Surgeons in this country more conversant with foreign practice than they had hitherto been. French Surgery, with its showy, but sometimes too bazardous operations, had indeed been pretty well known among us erer since the peace of 1815, soon after which, medical students, with other British visitors, flocked in crowds to the French capital. Bat of the Surgery of the German Schools very little had been known in England until within the last few years, no standard German book having appeared in English since the publication of HEISTER's valuable work a century ago.
Several years since, when I was preparing to deliver Lectures on Surgery at St. Thomas's Hospital, (soon after commencing which, severe illness forced me to resign my appointment,) I was thankful for the great assistance I derived from becoming acquainted with Chelius's excellent Handbuch der Chirurgie; and as I grew more familiar with the work, it appeared to me that a translation of it would present to my countrymen a fair and satisfactory view of the important services which our German brethren have rendered to Surgery. Still, however, I felt it would be necessary to add notes of my own, for the purpose of explaining and discussing occasional, and sometimes important, differences in the practice of the German and English Schools. In doing this I trust I have fairly stated the arguments on both sides, and shown on what grounds I have decided between them.
I shall be charged, I fear, with having buried my Author beneath a mass of notes and comments. They are indeed numerous, and they might occasionally have been made shorter, had I condensed, in my own words, the opinions of the authors I have cited. To this practice, however, though not uncommon, I am utterly opposed. The meaning of a writer ought to be best set forth in his own words, and if others attempt to convey his meaning briefly, they not unfrequently fail to declare his opinions, or they altogether misrepresent them. I have, therefore, with but few and unimportant exceptions, quoted the statements of authors in their original words. I have also, as far as possible, endeavoured to award to the originators of new modes of practice, their just meed of credit; and if, as may occasionally have happened, I have passed by unnoticed any of the leading Surgical writers of the British Schools, I hope on a future opportunity to repair my seeming inattention.
To Professor Chelius, with whom I communicated previously to the commencement of my publication, my best thanks are due, for his kindness in furnishing me with the several parts of his new edition, at the earliest opportunity. I trust he will be gratified with the pains I have taken to place him in a condition to be estimated as he truly deserves to be by British Surgeons, and to make his work a stock book in English Surgical Literature.
I have also to thank many kind friends who have furnished me with information which has been of great use to me, and which I could not otherwise have obtained. But to none am I more deeply indebted than to my able and excellent friend James Dixon, Surgeon to the London Ophthalmic Hospital, and lately Demonstrator of Anatomy in St. Thomas's School, for his ready and constant assistance during the whole course of this work; and it is with much pleasure that I take this opportunity of offering my testimony to his high professional talent and private worth.
Before I conclude, it is but justice to my Publisher to acknowledge his liberality in allowing me entirely to control and conduct this work, according to my own views, no less than his readiness in undertaking, solely on my recommendation, the publication of a book, which, although well known and estimated abroad, was almost new to English Surgeons, and could only be brought out, in the manner I desired, at considerable risk and expense. To him, therefore, is due in part the appearance of this eighth translation of Caelius's Handbook, since without his assistance it would probably have never seen the light.
I know not whether to consider it a matter of gratulation, that a reprint of my translation has been begun at Philadelphia. Nine numbers have already appeared, without any communication having been made with my publisher, although he had offered to furnish an edition for the American market before the forms were broken up. I must at least feel gratified that my Author's celebrity has reached to the western hemisphere: it will be extended to India, in a way more satisfactory to my publisher, through the munificence of the Directors of the Honourable East India Company. .
John F. SOUTH.
Blackheath, February, 1847.
ABDOMEN, WOUNDS OF, i. 456; varieties of
Founds of the abdomen, i. 456 ; super-
467 ; objections to the use of stitches in
passing afterwards per anum, i. 474.
on poultices, i. 85; on opening a cold