By Author [ A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z |  Other Symbols ]
  By Title [ A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z |  Other Symbols ]
  By Language
all Classics books content using ISYS

Download this book: [ ASCII | HTML | PDF ]

Look for this book on Amazon

We have new books nearly every day.
If you would like a news letter once a week or once a month
fill out this form and we will give you a summary of the books for that week or month by email.

Title: Medical Women - Two Essays
Author: Jex-Blake, Sophia
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Medical Women - Two Essays" ***

This book is indexed by ISYS Web Indexing system to allow the reader find any word or number within the document.

produced from images generously made available by The
Internet Archive)

Transcriber’s Note

In this text version of “Medical Women”: words in italics are marked
with _underscores_ and words in small capitals are shown in UPPER CASE.

Footnotes have been moved to end of each essay.

Variant spelling and inconsistent hyphenation are retained.

A very few changes have been made to punctuation for consistency. Other
changes are listed at the end of the book.


  Two Essays




  Medicine as a Profession for Women.


  Medical Education of Women.




  [_All Rights Reserved._]







Medicine as a Profession for Women.


“We deny the right of any portion of the species to decide for another
portion, or any individual for another individual, what is and what is
not their ‘proper sphere.’ The proper sphere for all human beings is
the largest and highest which they are able to attain to. What this is
cannot be ascertained without complete liberty of choice.”--Mrs J.


    “The universe shall henceforth speak for you
    And witness, She who did this thing, was born
    To do it; claims her license in her work.
    And so with more works. Whoso cures the plague,
    Though twice a woman, shall be called a leech.”

    “_Aurora Leigh._”

It is a very comfortable faith to hold that “whatever is, is best,”
not only in the dispensations of Providence, but in the social order
of daily life; but it is a faith which is perhaps best preserved by
careful avoidance of too much inquiry into facts. The theory, if
applied to past as well as to present times, would involve us in some
startling contradictions, for there is hardly any act, habit, or custom
which has not been held meritorious and commendable in one state of
society, and detestable and evil in some other. If we believe that
there are eternal principles of right and wrong, wisdom and equity, far
above and greater than the “public opinion” of any one age or country,
we must acknowledge the absolute obligation of inquiring, whenever
matters of importance are at stake, on what grounds the popular
opinions rest, and how far they are the result of habit, custom, and
prejudice, or the real outgrowth of deep convictions and beliefs
inherent in the most sacred recesses of human nature. While the latter
command ever our deepest reverence, as the true “vox populi, vox Dei,”
nothing can be more superficial, frivolous, and fallacious than the

In a country where precedent has so much weight as in England, it
doubly behoves us to make the distinction, and, while gratefully
accepting the safeguard offered against inconsiderate and precipitate
change, to beware that old custom is not suffered permanently to
hide from our eyes any truth which may be struggling into the light.
I suppose that no thinking man will pretend that the world has now
reached the zenith of truth and knowledge, and that no further upward
progress is possible; on the contrary, we must surely believe that each
year will bring with it its new lesson; fresh lights will constantly be
dawning above the horizon, and perhaps still oftener discoveries will
be re-discovered, truths once acknowledged but gradually obscured or
forgotten will emerge again into day, and a constantly recurring duty
will lie before every one who believes in life as a responsible time of
action, and not as a period of mere vegetative existence, to “prove
all things, and hold fast that which is good.”

The above considerations arise naturally in connexion with the subject
of this paper, which is too often set aside by the general public, who,
perhaps, hardly appreciate its scope, and are not yet fully aroused
to the importance of the questions involved in the general issue. We
are told so often that nature and custom have alike decided against
the admission of women to the Medical Profession, and that there is in
such admission something repugnant to the right order of things, that
when we see growing evidences of a different opinion among a minority
perhaps, but a minority which already includes many of our most earnest
thinkers of both sexes, and increases daily, it surely becomes a duty
for all who do not, in the quaint language of Sharpe, “have their
thinking, like their washing, done out,” to test these statements by
the above principles, and to see how far their truth is supported by

In the first place, let us take the testimony of Nature in the matter.
If we go back to primeval times, and try to imagine the first sickness
or the first injury suffered by humanity, does one instinctively feel
that it must have been the _man’s_ business to seek means of healing,
to try the virtues of various herbs, or to apply such rude remedies as
might occur to one unused to the strange spectacle of human suffering?
I think that few would maintain that such ministration would come
most naturally to the man, and be instinctively avoided by the woman;
indeed, I fancy that the presumption would be rather in the other
direction. And what is such ministration but the germ of the future
profession of medicine?

Nor, I think, would the inference be different if we appealed to the
actual daily experience of domestic life. If a child falls down stairs,
and is more or less seriously hurt, is it the father or the mother
(where both are without medical training) who is most equal to the
emergency, and who applies the needful remedies in the first instance?
Or again, in the heart of the country, where no doctor is readily
accessible, is it the squire and the parson, or their respective wives,
who are usually consulted about the ailments of half the parish? Of
course it may be said that such practice is by no means scientific, but
merely empirical, and this I readily allow; but that fact in no way
affects my argument that women are _naturally_ inclined and fitted for
medical practice. And if this be so, I do not know who has the right
to say that they shall not be allowed to make their work scientific
when they desire it, but shall be limited to merely the mechanical
details and wearisome routine of nursing, while to men is reserved all
intelligent knowledge of disease, and all study of the laws by which
health may be preserved or restored.

Again, imagine if you can that the world has reached its present
standing point, that society exists as now in every respect but
this,--that the art of healing has never been conceived as a separate
profession, that no persons have been set apart to receive special
education for it, and that in fact empirical “domestic medicine,” in
the strictest sense, is the only thing of the kind existing. Suppose
now that society suddenly awoke to the great want so long unnoticed,
that it was recognized by all that a scientific knowledge of the
human frame in health and in disease, and a study of the remedies of
various kinds which might be employed as curative agents, would greatly
lessen human suffering, and that it was therefore resolved at once to
set apart some persons who should acquire such knowledge, and devote
their lives to using it for the benefit of the rest of the race. In
such case, would the natural idea be that members of each sex should
be so set apart for the benefit of their own sex respectively,--that
men should fit themselves to minister to the maladies of men, and
women to those of women,--or that one sex only should undertake the
care of the health of all, under all circumstances? For myself, I have
no hesitation in saying that the former seems to me the _natural_
course, and that to civilized society, if unaccustomed to the idea, the
proposal that persons of one sex should in every case be consulted
about every disease incident to those of the other, would be very
repugnant; nay, that were every other condition of society the same as
now, it would probably be held wholly inadmissable. I maintain that not
only is there nothing strange or unnatural in the idea that women are
the fit physicians for women, and men for men; but on the contrary,
that it is only custom and habit which blind society to the extreme
strangeness and incongruity of any other notion.

I am indeed far from pretending, as some have done, that it is morally
wrong for men to be the medical attendants of women, and that grave
mischiefs are the frequent and natural results of their being placed
in that position. I believe that these statements not only materially
injure the cause they profess to serve, but that they are in themselves
false. In my own experience as a medical student, I have had far
too much reason to acknowledge the honour and delicacy of feeling
habitually shown by the gentlemen of the medical profession, not to
protest warmly against any such injurious imputation. I am very sure
that in the vast majority of cases, the motives and conduct of medical
men in this respect are altogether above question, and that every
physician who is also a gentleman is thoroughly able, when consulted by
a patient in any case whatever, to remember only the human suffering
brought before him and the scientific bearing of its details; for as
was said not very long ago by a most eminent London surgeon, “Whoever
is not able, in the course of practice, to put the idea of sex out
of his mind, is not fit for the medical profession at all.” It will,
however, occur to most people that the medical man is only one of the
parties concerned, and that it is possible that a difficulty which may
be of no importance from his scientific standpoint, may yet be very
formidable indeed to the far more sensitive and delicately organized
feelings of his patient, who has no such armour of proof as his own,
and whose very condition of suffering may entail an even exaggerated
condition of nervous susceptibility on such points.[1] At any rate,
when we hear so many assertions about natural instincts and social
propriety, I cannot but assert that their evidence, such as it is, is
wholly for, and not against, the cause of women as physicians for their
own sex.

If we take next the ground of custom, I think the position of those who
would oppose the medical education of women is far less tenable than is
generally supposed; indeed, that a recent writer stated no more than
the truth when he asserted that “the obloquy which attends innovation
belongs to the men who exclude women from a profession in which they
once had a recognised place.”[2] I believe that few people who have
not carefully considered the question from an historical point of view
have any idea of the amount of evidence that may be brought to support
this view of the case.[3]

Referring to the earliest classical times, we find distinct mention
in the Iliad of a woman skilled in the science of medicine,[4] and a
similar reference occurs also in the Odyssey.[5] Euripides is no less
valuable a witness on this point. He describes Queen Phædra[6] as
disturbed in mind and out of health, and represents the nurse as thus
addressing her: “If thy complaint be anything of the more secret kind,
here are women at hand to compose the disease. But if thy distress is
_such as may be told to men_, tell it, that it may be reported to the
physicians;” thus indicating a prevailing public opinion that there
were natural and rigid limits to the medical attendance of men and
women, and that therefore some women were specially trained to do what
the regular physicians must leave undone. It is at least remarkable
to find such evidence of general feeling on this matter in a state of
society supposed to possess much less delicacy and refinement than our

We find records of several Grecian women who were renowned for their
medical skill, among whom may be instanced Olympias of Thebes, whose
medical learning is said to be mentioned by Pliny; and Aspasia, from
whose writings on the diseases of women, quotations are preserved in
the works of Aëtius, a Mesopotamian physician.[7] On the authority of
Hyginus rests the history of Agnodice, the Athenian maiden whose skill
and success in medicine was the cause of the legal opening of the
medical profession to all the free-born women of the State.[8]

In more modern times, when almost all learning was garnered into the
religious houses, which were not only the libraries but the hospitals
of the day, it seems evident that the care of the sick and wounded fell
at least as often to the share of the Nunneries as of the Monasteries,
and probably medical skill, such as it was, found place among the
sisters quite as often as among the brethren of the various religious

The old ballad of Sir Isumbras gives one illustration out of many of
the prevailing state of things, relating how the nuns received the
wounded knight, and how

    “Ilke a day they made salves new,
    And laid them on his wounds,
    They gafe hym metis and drynkes lythe,
    And heled the knyghte wonder swythe.”[9]

It may be remembered that Sir Walter Scott,[10] after describing how
Rebecca “proceeded, with her own hands, to examine and bind up the
wounds,” goes on to remark, “The youngest reader of romances and
romantic ballads must recollect how often the females, during the
dark ages, as they are called, were initiated into the mysteries of
surgery.... The Jews, both male and female, possessed and practised the
medical science in all its branches.”

In the fourteenth century, when the Medical School of Salerno enjoyed
high reputation, we find record of a female physician named Abella, who
lived there, and wrote in Latin various works on medicine.[11]

Early in the next century an Italian lady, Dorotea Bocchi, was actually
Professor of Medicine at the University of Bologna,[12] and among the
traditions of the same University is preserved the name of Alessandra
Gigliani, who, in even earlier times, was a learned student of

In the sixteenth century, at Alcarez in Spain, lived Olivia Sabuco de
Nantes, who “had a large knowledge of science and medicine,” and whose
medical works were printed at Madrid in 1588.[14]

It is clear that in Great Britain at an early period women were
commonly found among the irregular practitioners of medicine; and
it is equally clear that their male competitors greatly desired to
deprive them of the right to practise. In 1421 a petition was presented
to Henry V., praying that “no woman use the practyse of fisyk under
payne of long emprisonment.”[15] Within a few years after the first
incorporation of the Colleges of Physicians and Surgeons, an Act[16]
was passed for the relief and protection of “Divers honest psones, _as
well men as women_, whom God hathe endued with the knowledge of the
nature, kind, and operaçon of certeyne herbes, rotes, and waters, and
the using and ministering them to suche as be payned with customable
diseases, for neighbourhode and Goddes sake, and of pitie and
charytie,” because the “Companie and Fellowship of Surgeons of London,
mynding onlie their owne lucres and nothing the profit or ease of the
diseased or patient, have sued, vexed, and troubled,” the aforesaid
“honest psones,” who were henceforth to be allowed “to practyse, use,
and mynistre in and to any outwarde sore, swelling, or disease, any
herbes, oyntements, bathes, pultes or emplasters, according to their
cooning experience and knowledge ... without sute, vexation, penaltie,
or losse of their goods.”[17]

This provision clearly referred to general practice other than that
of midwifery, which latter branch of the profession was then, as for
centuries both before and after, almost exclusively in the hands of
women. The very word _midwife_, with its Latin synonym “_obstetrix_,”
is sufficiently significant on this point, for in neither language has
it any masculine equivalent, and the clumsy term “Man-midwife” served,
when first needed and used, to mark the general sense of what the
writer in the _Athenæum_ forcibly calls “masculine intrusion into that
which natural instinct assigns to woman as her proper field of labour;”
and this same very suggestive title is the only one which at the
present day in legal phraseology distinguishes the male practitioners
of this branch of medical art.

From the time of Moses onwards this part of the profession has always
been mainly in the hands of women, and in many countries of Europe
no other usage has ever prevailed. The first regular French medical
society, “La confrairie de St Cosme and St Damien,” included within its
organization the Company of Midwives,[18] and from that time down to
the present it seems in France to have been the custom to give to these
women a regular education, terminating in sufficient examinations, an
example which England would have done well to follow.

In this country, however, midwives appear to have held a most
respectable position some centuries ago, and a curious idea of their
importance, their duties, and their credit, may be gathered from a
MS. volume (without date) now preserved in the British Museum,[19]
which was evidently written at a time when hardly any but women
were employed in the “mysteries of the profession,” and when it was
a comparatively rare thing, that needed to be specially advised in
certain cases, for them to “make use of (_i.e._, call in) a physitien.”
The writer remarks that “it is meet that the midwife be a woman well
read and well experienced,” and gives a caution that “drunkenness is a
sordid sin in any who use it, but is a blemish worthy greater blame in
ministers, magistrates, midwives, physitiens, and chirurgeons.”

Mrs Celleor, in her letter previously referred to,[20] tells us that in
1642, “the physitiens and chirurgeons contending about it, midwifery
was adjudged a chirurgical operation, and midwives were licensed at
Chirurgeon’s Hall, but not till they had passed three examinations
before six skilful midwives, and as many chirurgeons;” but for some
reason (connected probably with their occasional baptismal functions)
the midwives were, in 1662, referred for their licence to Doctors’
Commons, thus losing their official connexion with the medical world.

How it came that English midwives fell gradually from their high
estate is partly explained by a very public-spirited book (with the
appropriate motto “Non sibi sed aliis”) written by a surgeon in
1736.[21] The writer adverts to the accusations of ignorance then
brought against the midwives, and remarks that “the only method by
which this fatal distemper can be cured, is to put it in the power of
midwomen to qualify themselves thoroughly and at a moderate expense....
To which method of qualifying themselves I doubt not the midwomen will
object, and say that they would readily be at any reasonable expense
and fatigue to be so thoroughly instructed, but it is not in their
power. The midwomen cannot, and the midmen will not instruct them. The
midmen will object and say that the midwomen want both capacity and
strength (instruct them as ye please). To which I reply (_ore rotundo,
plenis buccis_) that it is not want of capacity, docility, strength, or
activity ... which is evident to a demonstration from the successful
practice of women in the Hôtel Dieu at Paris (the best school for
midwifery now in Europe).... Would not any person then be deservedly
laughed at who should assert that our women are not as capable of
performing their office had they the same instruction as the French
women?” This chivalrous surgeon then proposes that regular provision
should be made for proper instruction, and for examinations by two
surgeons (who have lectured to the women), “and six or seven other
persons appointed by His Majesty, because I don’t think it reasonable
that so many people’s bread should depend on the humour or caprice of
two men only;” adding that “If some such scheme was put in execution,
I’m satisfied that in a very few years there would not be an ignorant
midwife in England, and consequently the great agonies most women
suffer at the very sight of a man would be almost entirely prevented,”
and great expense and much life saved.

However, we must suppose that these noble words of protest fell upon
deaf ears, and the midwives, being left in their ignorance, their
practice gradually passed into the hands of the medical men, who had
every advantage of learning at their command.[22]

It is, however, only very recently that men-midwives have been allowed
to attend on royal patients in this country; indeed, I believe that
the Princess Charlotte was the first to establish the precedent, and
that our present Sovereign was the first queen who followed it. In a
very interesting series of papers, by Dr Aveling, recently published
in the _Lancet_,[23] accounts have been given of a number of the royal
midwives whose names have been honourably preserved in history, such as
Alice Dennis, who attended Anne of Denmark, and received a fee of £100
“for her pains and attendance upon the Queen, as of His Highness’s free
gift and reward, without account, imprest, or other charge to be set on
her for the same.”

The same writer mentions that Margaret Mercer was sent express from
England in 1603 to attend on “His Majesty’s dearest daughter, the
Princess Electress Palatine.”

It is also recorded that “Mrs Labany attended Mary of Modena, Queen
of James II., when she was delivered, on June 10th, 1687, of James
Francis Edward, afterwards called the Pretender.”[24] Mrs Wilkins,
another midwife, seems also to have been present on this occasion, and
it is stated that each of these persons received a fee of five hundred
guineas for her services.

It is well known that Queen Charlotte was always attended by a
woman,[25] and the late Duchess of Kent employed the Frau von Siebold,
of whom mention is made elsewhere.[26]

Now that public attention is awaking to the subject, and educated
women are once more desirous of undertaking this peculiarly womanly
work, we may indeed anticipate, with the already quoted writer in the
_Athenæum_, that a reactionary movement will soon make itself felt, and
that the usage “which even up to the present time a large proportion
of our English families, especially those of our northern towns and
outlying country districts, have never adopted, will most likely be
discontinued in all classes of English society before the end of the
present century.”

On the Continent of Europe, owing to their better education, the
midwives retain much of the position that they have for a time lost
in England; and we hear that in Russia “a medical man is very rarely
called in; notwithstanding, fatal cases are of far less frequent
occurrence in Russia than in England;” and the same authority tells us
that ladies practising midwifery are admitted into society as doctors
would be, and are well paid, both by the Government and by private

While thus briefly tracing out the history of midwifery in modern
times, and the causes which led to its practice passing from the hands
of women into those of men, I have not paused to mention, in due
chronological order, those women who, in the last three centuries, have
been distinguished for a knowledge of the other branches of Medicine
and Surgery. Of these I will now enumerate a few, though my time and
space are far too limited either to give a complete list, or to relate
any but the most prominent particulars of each case mentioned; but I
can promise that any one who will consult the authorities quoted will
be abundantly repaid by the long and interesting details that I am
forced to pass over in almost every instance.

In the seventeenth century, in England, one of the women most noted for
medical skill was Lady Ann Halket,[28] born in 1622, daughter of the
then provost of Eton College. “Next to the study of Divinity she seems
to have taken most delight in those of Physick and Surgery, in which
she was no mean proficient; nay, some of the best physicians in the
kingdom did not think themselves slighted when persons of the greatest
quality did consult her in their distempers, even when they attended
them as their ordinary physicians. Many from England, Holland, and
the remotest parts of the kingdom, have sent to her for things of her
preparing; and many whose diseases have proved obstinate under all the
methods of physicians, have at length, by the physicians’ own advice,
been recommended and sent to her care, and have been recovered by her.”

In 1644 was born Elizabeth Lawrence, afterwards wife of the Rev.
Samuel Bury, of Bristol, who wrote her life,[29] and who bears witness
that “it was not possible there should be a more observant, tender,
indulgent, and compassionate wife than she was; a more sympathising
spirit is very rarely found.” He records that “she took much pleasure
in Anatomy and Medicine, being led and prompted to it partly by her own
ill health, and partly with a desire of being useful.” The difficulties
that she encountered in her studies may be guessed, since “she would
often regret that so many learned men should be so uncharitable to
her sex, and be so loath to assist their feebler faculties when they
were anywise disposed to an accurate search into things profitable
and curious. Especially as they would all so readily own that souls
were not distinguished by sexes. And therefore she thought it would
have been an honourable pity in them to have offered something in
condescension to their capacities, rather than have propagated a
despair of their information to future ages.” Her husband, however,
tells us that “she improved so much, that many of the great masters of
the Faculty have often been startled by her stating the most nice and
difficult cases in such proper terms;” and, remarking that, “How much
knowledge and skill soever she attained in the practice of Physick,
by long observation, conversation, and experience, yet she was very
distrustful of herself,” he adds that the “instances of her successes
in the preservation of human lives were not easily numbered.”

As a contemporary of these Englishwomen, we find in Germany Elizabeth
Keillen, who published several medical works, and died in 1699. She
is said by Finauer to have had “great knowledge of medicine and

In comparatively recent times, Bologna was remarkable as ever for its
liberal encouragement of learned women, and about the middle of the
last century the Chair of Anatomy at that University was filled by
Anna Morandi Mazzolini, whose exquisitely delicate anatomical models,
executed in wax, became the pride of the Museum at Bologna. She first
became interested in the study of Anatomy in consequence of her wish
to help her husband, who was a distinguished anatomist, and a maker
of anatomical designs and models. He fell into ill-health and mental
despondency, and therefore “his wife, loving him dearly, and fearing
that he would desist from his work, gave herself up to his comfort;
and for this purpose became herself an anatomical sculptor, reading
works of anatomy, consulting anatomical tables and preparations, taking
theoretical and practical lessons from her husband, and, marvellous
to say, even dissecting dead bodies with resolute mind, and with
incredible perseverance.... Too long to describe are the works executed
in wax by the able hands of this illustrious woman. They were collected
in five elegant cases in our Anatomical Museum.... The fourth case
encloses delicate illustrations of all the parts belonging to the
senses of sight, smell, hearing, taste, and touch--stupendous works in
which she surpassed herself, and also her husband, and his colleague,
Ercole Lelli.... These models were for some time kept in her own house,
and each one who saw them spread her renown, so that through distant
countries was spread the fame of her works, so that every learned and
distinguished person passing through Bologna was solicitous to visit
and know personally the maker of these wonders.”[30] Signora Mazzolini
also made original discoveries in anatomical science, which obtained
for her many marks of distinction from the learned colleges and
societies of the day. She was offered a Chair at Milan, with increased
revenues, but preferred to remain at Bologna, where she lived till
her death in 1774. Medici, in his records of the Anatomical School of
Bologna, speaks of this lady with profound respect, as distinguished
alike by “rare powers, great erudition, gracious manners, and delicate
and gentle temperament,” and relates that her fame reached the ears of
the Emperor Joseph II., who visited her in 1769, and “having seen her
works and heard her conversation,” loaded her with public honours. Her
example seems to have inspired others of her countrywomen to follow
in the steps of one so honoured, alike in the stern duties of her
profession, and in the sanctities of household life; for in the course
of the next half century several Italian women availed themselves of
the thorough medical education which the Italian Universities never

In 1788 Maria Petraccini[31] took a degree in medicine at Florence,
and we find her, a little later, lecturing on anatomy at Ferrara, in
presence of the medical professors. She married Signor Feretti, and has
left several works on the physical education of children.

Her daughter, Zaffira Feretti, seems to have inherited her mother’s
talents, for she studied Surgery in the University of Bologna, and
there received a medical degree[32] in May 1800. She obtained an
appointment under the Italian Government, and for some time lived in
Ancona acting as Director-General of the midwives in all parts of the
country. She afterwards went to Turkey, and died at Patras in 1817.

Maria Mastellari seems also to have been a woman of unusual talent,
and “progressed diligently in the most rigid sciences.” She obtained
a medical degree at Bologna in 1799. She subsequently became the wife
of Signor Collizoli-Sega, and is described as possessing a “sweet and
gentle temperament, with special love of silence and quiet. She centred
her interests in her family, which she managed admirably.”[33]

Still more distinguished in the annals of medicine was Maria delle
Donne, who also studied in the University of Bologna, and “received
the doctoral laurel” in 1806.[34] She “constantly practised both
Medicine and Surgery,” and was appointed by Napoleon Bonaparte to the
Chair of Midwifery at Bologna. The _Gazette Medicale_, quoting from the
“_Raccoglitore Medico_,” gives the following account of her:--“Anna
Maria delle Donne, docteur en médecine, auteur d’élégants vers latins,
professeur d’obstetrique, à l’Université de Bologna, membre de
l’Academie, bénédictine, &c., est décedée le 9 Janvier, 1842. Cette
femme distinguée qui a succedé à Madame Mazzolini et à Madame Bassi,
est une des gloires scientifiques de Bologna. Elle soutint en 1800,
avec un très grand succès, une thèse de Philosophie, de Chirurgie, and
de Medicine. Peu après, à la suite d’un examen public, on lui conféra
le grade de docteur et de consultant. Napoleon en passant à Bologne
fut frappé du savoir de cette dame, et institua pour elle une Chaire
d’Obstetrique, où elle se fit une grande renommée.”[35]

Nor was Italy alone noted as the birthplace of women skilled in
Medicine. In Germany, early in this century, Frau von Siebold so
greatly distinguished herself in the practice of midwifery that the
degree of M.D. was conferred on her by the University of Giessen;[36]
and her daughter Marianne, afterwards Frau von Heidenreich, studied
in the Universities of both Göttingen and Giessen, and took her degree
in the regular way in 1817. She is spoken of as “one of the most famed
and eminent female scholars of Germany,” and as being “universally
honoured as one of the first living authorities in her special branch
of science.”[37] She died only in 1859.

In France, the name of Madame Lachapelle[38] was known and honoured as
that of one of the ablest teachers of Midwifery during the latter part
of the last century. She has left several valuable works on subjects
connected with her specialty. Her funeral in 1821 was followed by
all the chief physicians of Paris. Her pupil and successor, Madame
Boivin,[39] was still more distinguished for her medical knowledge and
skill, and for her contributions to anatomical science. Her “Memoire de
l’art des Accouchements” was approved by the highest medical authority,
and was appointed as the text-book for students and midwives by the
Minister of the Interior. She was invested with an Order of Merit
by the King of Prussia in 1814, and in the same year was appointed
co-director (with the Marquis de Belloy) of the General Hospital for
Seine and Oise, and in 1815 was entrusted with the direction of a
temporary Military Hospital, for her services in which latter capacity
she received a public vote of thanks. She was also entrusted with the
direction of the Hospice de la Maternité, and of the Maison Royale de
Santé, and was one of the most distinguished practitioners of the time.
She made original discoveries in Anatomy, invented various surgical
instruments, and obtained prizes for medical theses from the Société de

Her medical writings were distinguished by “precision et clarté,
jugement sain, erudition choisie, et savoir solide.” In 1846 one of her
books was eulogized by Jourdan as “ouvrage éminemment pratique, et le
meilleur que nous possedions encore sur ce sujet,” with the additional
remark that “tout se réunit pour lui mériter une des premières places
parmi les productions de la littérature medicale moderne.” She was a
member of the Medical Societies of Paris, Bordeaux, Berlin, Brussels,
and Bruges, and was honoured with the degree of M.D. from the
University of Marbourg. She died in 1841.

These numerous instances of the successful practice of Medicine by
women seem to have been little known, or else forgotten, to judge by
the surprise expressed when, after surmounting many difficulties,
an English lady, named Elizabeth Blackwell, succeeded in obtaining
medical education and the degree of M.D. from a medical school in
America in 1849. The novelty, in truth, was not in the granting
of the medical degree to a woman, but in its being received by an
Englishwoman, for it is hardly gratifying to one’s national pride to
find that England never has accorded such encouragement to female
learning as was found in Italy, Germany, and France; and it is still
more painful to realize that this country, almost alone, stands still
aloof from the movement of liberal wisdom that has now in all these
lands, as well as in Switzerland, and even in Russia, granted to woman
the advantage of University education and degrees. English women are
not behind others in desiring knowledge, but as yet they are forced to
seek it on foreign shores, for hitherto no British University has ever
fully admitted women to its educational advantages; and a few years
ago, that of London, with all its professions of liberality, refused a
woman’s petition even for examination for the degree of M.D.!

So much for the historical evidence bearing on this question. I am
indeed sorry to have paused so long on this part of the subject, but it
seemed essential to a proper statement of the whole case.

If, then, nature does not instinctively forbid the practice of the
healing art by women, and if it cannot be denied that some at least of
its branches have long been in their hands, we must go further to seek
on what grounds their admission to the medical profession should be

Probably the next argument will be that women do not require, and
are not fitted to receive, the scientific education needful for
a first-rate Physician, and that “for their own sakes” it is not
desirable that they should pursue some of the studies indispensably
necessary. To this the answer must be, that the wisest thinkers teach
us to believe that each human being must be “a law unto himself,”
and must decide what is and what is not suitable for his needs, what
will and what will not contribute to his own development, and fit him
best to fulfil the life-work most congenial to his tastes. If women
claim that they do need and can appreciate instruction in any or all
sciences, I do not know who has the right to deny the assertion.

That this controversy is no new one may be proved by reference to a
very curious black-letter volume now in the British Museum,[40] wherein
the writer protests, “I mervayle gretely of the opynyon of some men
that say they wolde not in no wyse that theyr doughters or wyves or
kynneswomen sholde lerne scyences, and that it sholde apayre their
cödycyons. This thing is not to say ne to sustayne. That the woman
apayreth by connynge it is not well to beleve. As the proverbe sayeth,
‘that nature gyveth maye not be taken away.’”

If it be argued that the study of Natural Science may injure a woman’s
character, I would answer, in the words of one of the purest-minded
women I know, that “if a woman’s womanliness is not deep enough in her
nature to bear the brunt of any needful education, it is not worth
guarding.” It is, I think, inconceivable that any one who considers
the study of natural science to be but another word for earnest and
reverent inquiry into the works of God, and who believes that, in
David’s words, these are to be “sought out of all them that have
pleasure therein,” can imagine that any such study can be otherwise
than elevating and helpful to the moral, as well to the mental nature
of every student who pursues it in a right spirit. In the words of
Scripture, “To the pure, all things are pure,” and in the phrase of
chivalry, “Honi soit qui mal y pense.”

It has always struck me as a curious inconsistency, that while almost
everybody applauds and respects Miss Nightingale and her followers
for their brave disregard of conventionalities on behalf of suffering
humanity, and while hardly any one would pretend that there was any
want of feminine delicacy in their going among the foulest sights and
most painful scenes, to succour, not their own sex, but the other,
many people yet profess to be shocked when other women desire to fit
themselves to take the medical care of those of their sisters who would
gladly welcome their aid. Where is the real difference? If a woman is
to be applauded for facing the horrors of an army hospital when she
believes that she can there do good work, why is she to be condemned
as indelicate when she professes her willingness to go through an
ordeal, certainly no greater, to obtain the education necessary for a
medical practitioner? Surely work is in no way degraded by being made
scientific; it cannot be commendable to obey instructions as a nurse
when it would be unseemly to learn the reasons for them as a student,
or to give them as a doctor; more especially as the nurse’s duties may
lead her, as they did in the Crimea, to attend on men with injuries and
diseases of all kinds, whereas the woman who practises as a physician
would confine her practice to women only. It is indeed hard to see any
reason of delicacy, at least, which can be adduced in favour of women
as nurses, and against them as physicians.

Their natural capacity for the one sphere or the other is, of course,
a wholly different matter, and is, indeed, a thing not to be argued
about, but to be tested.[41] If women fail to pass the required
examinations for the ordinary medical degree, or if, after their
entrance into practice, they fail to succeed in it, the whole question
is naturally and finally disposed of. But that is not the point now at

That the most thorough and scientific medical education need do no
injury to any woman might safely be prophesied, even if the experiment
had never been tried; but we have, moreover, the absolute confirmation
of experience on the point, as I, for one, will gladly testify from
personal acquaintance in America with many women who have made Medicine
their profession; having had myself the advantage of studying under
one who was characterized, by a medical gentleman known throughout the
professional world, as “one of the best physicians in Boston,” and who,
certainly, was more remarkable for thorough refinement of mind than
most women I know,--Dr Lucy Sewall.

Of course there may always be unfortunate exceptions, or rather there
will always be those of both sexes who, whatever their profession may
be, will be sure to disgrace it; but it is not of them that I speak,
nor is it by such individual cases that the supporters of any great
movement should be judged.

The next argument usually advanced against the practice of medicine
by women is that there is no demand for it; that women, as a rule,
have little confidence in their own sex, and had rather be attended by
a man. That everybody had rather be attended by a competent physician
is no doubt true; that women have hitherto had little experience of
competent physicians of their own sex is equally true; nor can it be
denied that the education bestowed on most women is not one likely
to inspire much confidence. It is probably a fact, that until lately
there has been “no demand” for women doctors, because it does not
occur to most people to demand what does not exist; but that very many
women have wished that they could be medically attended by those of
their own sex I am very sure, and I know of more than one case where
ladies have habitually gone through one confinement after another
without proper attendance, because the idea of employing a man was so
extremely repugnant to them. I have indeed repeatedly found that even
doctors, not altogether favourable to the present movement, allow that
they consider men rather out of place in midwifery practice;[42] and
an eminent American practitioner once remarked to me that he never
entered a lady’s room to attend her in confinement without wishing to
apologize for what he felt to be an intrusion, though a necessary and
beneficent intrusion, in one of his sex.

I suppose that the real test of “demand” is not in the opinions
expressed by those women who have never even seen a thoroughly educated
female physician, but in the practice which flows in to any such
physician when her qualifications are clearly satisfactory. In England
there are at present but two women legally qualified to practise
Medicine, and I understand that already their time is much more fully
occupied, and their receipts much greater, than is usually the case
with medical men who have been practising for so short a period. Dr
Garrett Anderson’s Dispensary for poor women is also largely attended,
and during the five years which have elapsed since it was opened, more
than 40,000 visits have been made to it; 9000 new patients have been
admitted, and 250 midwifery cases have been attended by the midwives
attached to the charity, Dr Garrett Anderson being called in when

When we turn to America, we find that a considerable number of
women have very extensive practice and large professional incomes
(more, indeed, than in some cases seems warranted by their medical
qualifications). The Report of a little hospital, managed entirely
by women, in Boston, U.S., relates that during 1867 the number of
in-patients was 198; of persons visited at their homes, 281; and of
those able to attend at the dispensary, 4,576; all these patients being
women and children only. In fact, the attendance at the Dispensary
became so excessive in proportion to the resources of the charity,
that in 1868 a rule was passed by the Committee requiring each patient
to pay twenty-five cents (or about ninepence) for medicines, at each
visit, except when she brought “a certificate of her poverty, properly
authenticated.” This regulation brought out still more strongly the
distinct _choice_ of poor women in this matter, for, though the General
City Dispensary gave medicines gratuitously, the number of those who
attended at the Woman’s Hospital was much less diminished than was
expected, being still 3,236 in 1868. In New York also, where the
Dispensary managed by women doctors is but one of many, the crowd of
patients is very great, the numbers being, in 1867, no less than 6354,
while 545 persons were attended at their homes either in confinement
or during severe illness. Of course it will be understood that each
patient thus entered on the books implies not one visit, but many, paid
to the Dispensary, or often repeated attendance at the patient’s home.

Of the Boston Hospital for Women and Children I can speak from
lengthened experience in it as a student. When standing in its
dispensary I have over and over again heard rough women of a very poor
class say, when questioned why they had not had earlier treatment for
certain diseases, “Oh, I _could not_ go to a man with such a trouble,
and I did not know till just now that ladies did this work;” and from
others have repeatedly heard different expressions of the feeling that,
“It’s so nice, isn’t it, to be able at last to ask ladies about such

As I am alluding to my own experience in this matter, I may perhaps
be allowed to say how often in the same place I have been struck with
the _contingent_ advantages attendant on the medical care by women of
women. How often I have seen cases connected with stories of shame or
sorrow to which a woman’s hand could far most fittingly minister, and
where sisterly help and counsel could give far more appropriate succour
than could be expected from the average young medical man, however
good his intentions. Perhaps we shall find the solution of some of our
saddest social problems when educated and pure-minded women are brought
more constantly in contact with their sinning and suffering sisters, in
other relations as well as those of missionary effort.

So far from there being no demand for women as physicians, I believe
that there is at this moment a large amount of work actually awaiting
them; that a large amount of suffering exists among women which never
comes under the notice of medical men at all, and which will remain
unmitigated till women are ready in sufficient numbers to attend
medically to those of their own sex who need them, and this in all
parts of the world. From India we hear urgent demands for “educating
native women of good caste, so as to qualify them to treat female
patients and children.”[43] We are informed that “this is a work
which can only be carried on by women, as the native women in many
cases will rather die than be seen by a man in times of sickness,”[44]
and arrangements have already been made for a systematic “Female
Medical Mission,” though perhaps the standard of medical knowledge
required can, under existing circumstances, hardly be fixed as high
as is desirable. To show, however, the eagerness with which the
native women avail themselves of the aid thus offered, I may mention
that when a lady (who had had some medical training, but possessed
no degree,) was sent out by the Society[45] in December 1870, she,
during the first three months of her stay, had occasion to pay no less
than 313 professional visits to zenanas, and to treat 158 patients at
her dispensary, which was arranged with a view to affording them the
utmost privacy. Subsequently her visits to zenanas averaged as many
as seventeen a day, while nearly twice as many patients came to her
dispensary. Efforts are also being made to train native Hindoo women
for some branches, at least, of the medical profession. Dr Corbyn of
Bareilly, in 1870, wrote as follows:--“I am educating a number of
native girls, and three have already passed as native doctors. They
are of all castes,--Christians, Mahommedans, and Hindoos. My school is
divided into three classes. The first-class pupils can read and write
English and Urdee with accuracy. They are taught medicine, surgery,
midwifery, diseases of women and children (especially the latter
two). The second-class learn anatomy, materia medica, and physiology,
in English and Urdee. The pupils of the other (preparatory) class
are taught English and Urdee. We have a female ward attached to the
dispensary for women and children, and these girls entirely attend to
them, under my and the sub-assistants’ supervision. It is wonderful how
they can manipulate; they have plenty of nerve.”[46] Even more recently
we learn that “the Mahommedan Nawab of Rampoor has presented to the
Bareilly mission a large building for the purpose of a medical school
for women. Several women are now going through a scientific course of

About eight or ten years ago, “several of the wild tribes of Russian
Asia petitioned the Government to send them out properly qualified
women to act as midwives. Their petition was granted, the Government
undertaking all the expense of the education and maintenance of a
certain number of women for this purpose. After a time one of these
tribes, the Kirgesen, petitioned further, that the women thus sent to
them should also be taught some branches of the art of Medicine. One of
the women, then being trained as a midwife, hearing of this petition,
wrote to the Kirgesen, proposing that she should study Medicine
thoroughly, and go out to them as a qualified doctor. She suggested at
the same time that they should try to get permission for her to enter
the Academy of St Petersburg as a regular medical student. The Kirgesen
welcomed the proposal, and, through an influential Russian general,
obtained an official document, empowering their future doctor to attend
the Academy as a student. They have regularly sent money for her
education and maintenance, and from the first have taken the greatest
interest in her progress and welfare, requiring, among other things,
periodical bulletins of her health. Hearing last summer that she was
not well, they sent money for her to go abroad for her holiday, and
asked for an extra bulletin.”[48]

I cite the above facts to show that the demand for female physicians is
no artificial or imaginary one, and that it does not spring out of any
fanciful whim of an over-refined social state; but lest it should be
supposed on the other hand to be confined to half-barbarous nations, I
may quote the opinions expressed on this subject two years ago in one
of the most thoughtful of our English journals: “We heartily admit
that the only way to discriminate clearly what practical careers women
are, and are not, fitted for, is to let them try. In many cases, as in
the medical profession, we do not feel any doubt that they will find
a special kind of work for which they are specially fitted, which has
never been adequately done by men at all, and which never would be done
but by women.... We have heard the opinion of one of the most eminent
of our living physicians, that one of the new lady physicians is doing,
in the most admirable manner, a work which medical men would never even
have had the chance of doing.”[49]

I am told by Catholic friends that a great many cases of special
disease remain untreated in convents, because the nuns, with their
extreme notions of feminine seclusion, think that it would be little
short of profanation to submit to some kinds of medical treatment
from a man.[50] Indeed, it is expressly laid down by a great Catholic
authority, St Alphonsus,[51] that though monks and nuns are required
to place themselves in the doctor’s care when commanded to do so by
their superiors, a special exception is to be made in the case of
nuns suffering from certain maladies, who can only be required to
accept treatment from a skilled woman, if any such be available; as,
under existing circumstances, is so rarely the case. I do not ask any
reader to applaud or even justify these poor nuns, if they, esteeming
themselves “the martyrs of holy purity,” sacrifice life to such
scruples; but I do most emphatically ask, in the name of humanity,
whether the state of things can be defended which may drive women,
from the highest and most holy motives, to submit to the extremity of
physical suffering and even death itself, because it is impossible for
them to obtain the medical services of their own sex, and because they
believe they can best fulfil the spirit of their vows by accepting no

I am informed by a friend that Archbishop Manning, when expressing to
her his strong interest in the question of the medical education of
women, alluded to facts like those referred to above, as affording one
of the strongest motives for such interest in the minds of Catholics.
Nor, surely, need sympathy in such a case be limited within the bounds
of any religious denomination.

To pass to the consideration of other cases of a less exceptional
kind, there can, I think, be little doubt that an enormous amount of
preventible suffering arises from the unwillingness of very many girls
on the verge of womanhood to consult a medical man on various points
which are yet of vital importance, and to appeal to him in cases of
apparently slight illness, which yet issue but too often in ultimately
confirmed ill-health. I firmly believe that if a dozen competent women
entered upon medical practice at this moment in different parts of
England, they might, without withdrawing a single patient from her
present medical attendant, find full and remunerative employment in
attending simply to those cases which, in the present state of things,
go without any adequate treatment whatever; for I believe that many
suffering women would be willing to consult one of their own sex, if
thoroughly qualified, when they refuse, except at some crisis of acute
suffering, to call in a medical man.[52] Probably Queen Isabella of
Castile[53] was neither the first nor the last woman whose life was
sacrificed to her modesty. Even if such extreme instances are rare,
I think it cannot be denied that very much needless pain, “and pain
of a kind that ought not to be inflicted,” is caused, especially to
young girls, by the necessity of consulting men on all occasions, and I
believe that those who know most of the facts insist most strongly on
this point.

I do not know how far the Medical Profession would acknowledge the
truth of the above statement; it is probable that they are really less
competent to judge about it than women are themselves, for, as an
eminent divine remarked that it was considered a point of politeness
not to express theological doubts before a clergyman, it may probably
be thought still more obligatory not to question the adequacy of the
existing medical profession before one of its members. One can hardly
imagine a lady sending for a doctor to tell him why she will _not_
consult him; it is sufficient to know that many cases of disease among
women go without treatment; it is surely open to any one at least to
suggest the above as one of the possible reasons.

And indeed, if no such special suffering were often involved in the
idea of consulting a man on all points, it seems self-evident that a
woman’s most natural adviser would be one of her own sex, who must
surely be most able to understand and sympathise with her in times
of sickness as well as of health, and who can often far more fully
appreciate her state, both of mind and body, than any medical man would
be likely to do.[54]

Nor can I leave the subject without expressing a hope that, when women
are once practising medicine in large numbers, great gain may accrue
to medical science from the observations and discoveries which their
sex will give them double facilities of making among other women. One
of the most eminent of the so-called “ladies’ doctors” of the day
writes:--“The principal reason why the knowledge of diseases of women
has so little advanced, is the hitherto undisturbed belief that one sex
only is qualified by education and powers of mind to investigate and to
cure what the other sex alone has to suffer.” After alluding to women
physicians of both ancient and modern times, Dr Tilt further remarks,
that, “if well educated, they may greatly improve our knowledge of the
diseases of women.”[55]

Moreover, there is reason to hope that women doctors may do even more
for the health of their own sex in the way of prevention than of cure,
and surely this is the very noblest province of the true physician.
Already it is being proved with what eagerness women will attend
lectures on physiology and hygiene when delivered to them by a woman,
though perhaps not one in ten would go to the same course of lectures
if given by a medical man. I look forward to the day when a competent
knowledge of these subjects shall be as general among women as it now
is rare; and when that day arrives, I trust that the “poor health”
which is now so sadly common in our sex, and which so frequently
comes from sheer ignorance of sanitary laws, will become rather the
exception than, as now too often, the rule. I hope that then we shall
find far fewer instances of life-long illness entailed on herself by
a girl’s thoughtless ignorance; I believe we shall see a generation
of women far fitter in mind and body to take their share in the work
of the world, and that the Registrar will have to record a much lower
rate of infantile mortality when mothers themselves have learned to
know something at least of the elementary laws of health. It has been
well said that the noblest end of education is to make the educator no
longer necessary; and I, at least, shall think it the highest proof
of success if women doctors can in time succeed in so raising the
standard of health among their sister women, that but half the present
percentage of medical practitioners are required in comparison to the
female population.

Of course I do not expect that every reader will look at this
question from my point of view, or will be able to arrive at the same
conclusions respecting it. But I think that many who have never before
seen the matter in the light in which I have tried to place it, will be
ready to admit that there are at any rate _primâ facie_ grounds for my
argument, and that allowing even for considerable over-statement on my
part, there may still remain subject for serious consideration.

Even if I am wholly mistaken, and if all that needs doing _can_ in
England be effectually done by men, we have still, I think, no reason
for the exclusion of women from the medical profession;--there is still
no ground on which it can be right to refuse to every patient the
power of election between a physician of her own sex and of the other,
when women as well as men are desirous of qualifying themselves for
this work, seeing that it will after all be always a matter of choice;
for we cannot suppose that the time will ever come when women will be
arbitrarily prevented from employing men, as they now are arbitrarily
prevented from employing women, as their medical attendants.

The assertion that women _are_ at present “arbitrarily prevented from
employing women as their medical attendants” may sound startling, but
it is at this moment practically true in England, in the most literal
sense. Since medical practice has, for the protection of the public,
been made a matter of legislation, it has been absolutely illegal for
any physician or surgeon to practise as such in this country, unless
registered by the appointed Medical Board, and that Board is not
obliged to register any one who has not a British medical degree. It is
evident, then, that to deny all British medical degrees to women,--not
only to refuse them instruction, but to refuse to examine them if they
have acquired knowledge elsewhere,--_is_ most arbitrarily to prohibit
all women, whatever their qualification, from practising medicine in
the United Kingdom, except under legal pains and penalties.

Of course no such arbitrary action was even contemplated when the Act
of 1858 was passed; and I think that when once the great practical
injustice of the present state of things is fully understood by the
public, a change is inevitable,--either British medical degrees will
be thrown open to women, as is most desirable, or the legal conditions
of practice will be modified to meet the case of those to whom such
degrees are denied. It is perhaps hardly to be expected, though very
much to be desired, that medical men as a body should themselves take
the initiative in this matter, and throw open the doors to all women
who desire worthily to join their fellowship, for it proverbially
“needs _very_ good men to give up their own monopoly;” but the action
of the general public in the matter can hardly be doubtful except as
a question of time;--no English court could be expected to condemn to
legal penalties a succession of highly-educated ladies who may have
seized, often with great effort, every opportunity open to them to fit
themselves thoroughly for a work which they believe to be especially
their own.

The recent action taken in the matter by the authorities at
Apothecaries’ Hall is exactly of the kind to outrage an Englishman’s
sense of fairness, and therefore is sure before long to bring its
own redress. As the facts may not be thoroughly understood in the
non-medical world, I will briefly recapitulate them. When Miss Garrett
first began to study medicine in 1860, she tried to obtain admittance
to one School and University after another, and finally found that
Apothecaries’ Hall was the only body which, from its charter, had no
power to refuse to examine any candidate complying with its conditions.
She accordingly went through the required five years’ apprenticeship,
and obtained her diploma in 1865, having gone to very great additional
expense in obtaining privately the required lectures by recognised
Professors,--sometimes paying fifty guineas for a course when the
usual fee, in the classes from which she was debarred, was but three
or four. Not content, however, with indirectly imposing this enormous
pecuniary tax on women, the authorities now bethought them to pass a
rule forbidding students to receive any part of their medical education
privately,--this course being publicly advised by one of the leading
medical journals as a safe way of evading the obligations of the
charter, and yet effectually shutting out the one chance left to the

Of course the efficacy of this measure ceases the moment that any
regular medical school fairly opens its doors to women; but till that
day comes, it presents a formidable, if not insuperable, difficulty.
Commenting on this proceeding, the _Daily News_ remarks:--“We recommend
these facts to the good people who think that coercion, restriction,
and the tyranny of combination, are peculiar to any one class of
society. It will be a great day in England when the right of every
individual to make the most of the ability which God has given him,
free from interested interference, is recognised, and to that goal we
are surely advancing; but our progress is slow, and it is very clear
that it is not only in the lower ranks of the community that the
obstructive trades-union spirit is energetically operating.”

While such is the state of affairs in England, other European nations
have taken a very different position. We have already seen that the
Italian Universities were, in fact, never closed to women, and that at
Bologna no less than three women held Professors’ chairs in the Medical
Faculty.[57] We have several instances of degrees granted to women in
the Middle Ages by the Universities of Bologna, Padua, Milan, Pavia,
and others; the earliest instance that I have found being that of
Betisia Gozzadini,[58] who was made Doctor of Laws by the University of
Bologna in 1209. In Germany also several such instances have occurred.
At Paris no less than seven degrees in Arts and Sciences have been
granted to women by the University of France within the last ten years,
and a number of women are now studying in the Medical School there. In
answer to my enquiries in 1868, the Secretary to the Minister of Public
Instruction made the following communication:--

  “_Paris, le 18 Août 1868,
  “Ministère de l’Instruction Publique._

 “MADEMOISELLE,--En réponse à la lettre que vous me faites
 l’honneur de m’adresser, en vous recommendant du nom de Lord Lyons,
 qui a écrit pour vous à Mons. le Ministre, je m’empresse de vous faire
 savoir que le Ministre est disposé à vous autoriser, aussi que les
 autres dames Anglaises qui se destineraient à la médecine, à faire vos
 études à la Faculté de Paris, et a y subir des examens.

 “Il est bien entendu que vous devez être munie, par voie d’équivalence
 on autrement, des diplômes exigés pour l’inscription à la faculté de

 “Agreez, Mademoiselle l’assurance de mon respect,

  (Signed) “DANTON.”

Since this Essay was first published, two women have obtained the
degree of M.D. in Paris, after passing brilliant examinations in each
case. The first graduate was our distinguished countrywoman, Miss
Garrett, who, after passing the five examinations required, received
her degree in June 1870. The _Lancet_ records that “her friends must
have been highly gratified to hear how her judges congratulated her on
her success, and to see what sympathy and respect was shown to her by
all present.”[59]

The next lady who graduated was Miss Mary C. Putnam of New York,
who, after quietly pursuing her studies (combined with original
researches), like a second Archimedes, during both the sieges of
Paris in 1870–71, took her degree with great honour in August 1871.
The _Lancet_[60] remarked--“Miss Putnam has just been undergoing the
very strict examinations for the doctor’s degree in Paris, and has
passed very creditably. This is the second case in the Paris faculty,
the innovation being made quietly, whilst elsewhere angry discussions

At Lyons, also, two women have obtained degrees in Arts, in 1861 and
1869 respectively. At Montpellier a degree in Arts was also conferred
on a woman in 1865, and another lady has passed the first two
examinations in the _Ecole de Pharmacie Supérieure_ in that city.

For several years past the University of Zurich has been thrown open
to women as freely as to men; a Russian woman, named Nadejda Suslowa,
being the first to obtain a degree in Medicine, in 1867. Several more
have since then graduated, and others are at present pursuing their
studies there in the ordinary classes.[61]

In March 1870 it was announced, on the authority of the _Lancet_,
that the University of Vienna had formally decided to admit women as
students, and to confer on them the ordinary medical degrees.[62]

A month or two later the Swedish newspapers published in their official
columns a royal decree, granting to Swedish women the right to study
and practise medicine, and ordaining that the professors of the
Universities should make arrangements for teaching and examining them
in the usual way.[63]

Even Russia seems in advance of England in this matter. In 1869, “the
Medico-Chirurgical Academy of St Petersburg conferred the degree of
M.D. upon Madame Kaschewarow, the first female candidate for this
honour. When her name was mentioned by the Dean, it was received with
an immense storm of applause, which lasted for several minutes. The
ceremony of investing her with the insignia of her dignity being over,
her fellow-students and colleagues lifted her upon a chair, and carried
her with triumphant shouts through the hall.”[64]

At Moscow, also, “the Faculty of Medicine, with the full concurrence of
the Council of the University of Moscow, have decided to grant to women
the right of being present at the educational courses and lectures of
the Faculty, and to follow all the labours of the Medico-Chirurgical
Academy. The tests of capacity will be precisely the same as for male
students.”[65] Still more recently we hear from St Petersburg that “the
success of the lady physicians is encouraging other ladies to devote
themselves to medicine, and a considerable step has been made in this
direction. ... A person who interests herself in the higher education
of women has requested the Minister of State to accept the sum of
£8000, and to devote it to the establishment of medical classes for
women at the Imperial Academy of Medicine.”[66]

Nor is the progress of liberality less marked on the other side of
the Atlantic. It is well known that several of the smaller medical
schools in the United States admitted women as soon as they applied
for instruction, but until 1869 no American University threw open
its doors. About the end of that year, however, the State University
of Michigan took the initiative in this matter, and the following
statement was inserted in last year’s official Calendar:--“Recognising
the equality of rights of both sexes to the highest educational
advantages, the Board of Regents have made provision for the medical
education of women, by authorising a course of education for them,
separate, but in all respects equal to that heretofore given to men
only. The conditions of admission, as well as graduation, are the same
for all.” During the first year fourteen women appeared as students in
the Faculty of Arts, three in that of Law, and thirteen were studying
Medicine and Surgery. In the spring of 1871 Miss Sanford received the
first medical degree granted to a woman by an American University; and
it is worth notice that this lady (herself a pupil of Dr Lucy Sewall
of Boston,) took her place among the most distinguished graduates of
the year;--her thesis on “Puerperal Eclampsia” being the one selected
by the Medical Faculty for publication. The number of women studying
at Michigan University during the session 1871–72 was sixty-eight, as
compared with the thirty of the previous year; such rapid increase
being tolerably significant of the avidity with which women embrace
the long-denied opportunities of instruction, and offering sufficient
encouragement to any British University that may resolve to try the
same experiment.

It will thus be seen that many nations have, from the earliest period,
recognised and acted upon the truth that “Mind is of no sex,” and
that, where this has not been the case in former times, the barriers
are being rapidly and readily thrown down as civilization advances,
till, in truth, Great Britain now stands almost alone in refusing to
admit her daughters to the national universities, and in denying them
the opportunity of proving experimentally whether “the male mind of
the Caucasian race[67]” is indeed so immeasurably superior to its
feminine counterpart. It may be remarked, by the bye, that it is
very curious to notice how the very people who loudly maintain the
existence of this vast mental disparity are just those who strenuously
resist every endeavour to submit their theory to the touchstone of
experience, instead of welcoming the application of those tests that
might be expected so triumphantly to prove their point! But, jesting
apart, the present state of things can hardly be agreeable to English
self-respect; and it is to be hoped that our country will soon descend
from her bad eminence, and no longer be marked out as the one land
where men only can reap benefit from the educational advantages
provided at the expense of the nation at large. It can hardly be an
object of ambition to the learned men of any people to deserve the
woe pronounced of old against those who “have taken away the key of
knowledge, and them that were entering in, they hindered.”

There seems to be practically no doubt now that women are and will be
doctors. The only question really remaining is, how thoroughly they are
to be educated and fitted to take their share of responsibility in the
care of the life and health of the nation; how far their difficulties
are to be lightened or increased; and whether the state of things shall
continue by which they are driven into unwilling quackery on the one
hand, or made to suffer real oppression from irresponsible authority on
the other.

Men who, after an irregular education and incomplete training, claim
the name of physicians, are justly stigmatised as quacks, and excluded
from honourable fellowship, for they have refused the straight and
direct path as too laborious, and have sought admittance by crooked
ways. It is right enough to impose heavy penalties on them for
practising without a diploma which it needs only industry on their
part to obtain; but what shall we say when women are refused admission
to every regular Medical School, and then, when they have perhaps
painfully and laboriously gathered their own education, either in
England or abroad, are excluded from the fellowship of the profession,
for the sin of having been unjustly treated! That some women have
succeeded in acquiring most competent medical knowledge and skill can
hardly be denied, except by those who really know nothing of the facts,
or are wilfully blind to them; but in almost every case they have done
so at a cost of money, effort, and personal sacrifice, that can be
expected only from the few. Imagine all medical students met by the
difficulties which female students must encounter;--how many properly
educated doctors should we have?

Many persons, however, who would gladly see women engage in the
practice of Medicine, yet think it undesirable that they should
obtain their education in the same schools as men; and here another
practical point arises for consideration. If it is indeed true that no
one is fit for the profession of Medicine unless able to banish from
its practice the personal idea of sex, it certainly seems as if all
earnest students seeking the same knowledge for the same ends, ought
to be able to pursue their studies together. We are constantly told
(and I think rightly) that no woman _need_ object, when necessary,
to consult a medical man on any point, because the physician will
see in it simply an impersonal “case,” and will, from his scientific
standpoint, practically ignore all that would be embarrassing as
between persons of opposite sexes. If this is and ought to be true, it
does not seem too much to demand equal delicacy of feeling among those
who will in a year or two be themselves physicians; and, from personal
experience when studying in large American hospitals with students
of both sexes, I believe that no serious difficulty need ever occur,
except in cases of really exceptional coarseness of character on one
side or the other. That such joint study will be for the first few
days novel and embarrassing is of course natural; but I believe that,
as the first novelty wears off, the embarrassment too will disappear
in the interest of a common study, and that no thoroughly pure-minded
woman, with an ordinary amount of tact, need ever fear such association
with students of whom the majority will always be gentlemen. It is of
course a radically different thing to study any or all subjects with
earnest scientific interest, and to discuss them lightly in common

Not only in America has the system of joint education been tried, but
at Paris and at Zurich ladies are at the present moment studying in
the regular Medical Schools, and friends at each place assure me of the
complete success of the experiment, if such it is considered. Dr Mary
Putnam (the first lady ever admitted to the Parisian Medical School) in
1869 wrote thus: “There is not the slightest restriction on my studies
or my presence at the Classes.... I have never found the slightest
difficulty in studying with the young men with whom I am associated,
not only at lectures, but in the hospitals, reading-room, laboratory,
&c. I have always been treated with a courtesy at once frank and
respectful.” A lady studying Medicine at the University of Michigan
in 1870, wrote--“We are very much pleased with the way in which we
have been received here, both by professors and students; they have
treated us in every respect with great courtesy.” Another lady, when
studying at Zurich, reported that “in the Medical School of Zurich,
no advantage which is afforded to the male students is denied to the
women. Every class is open to them, and they work side by side with the
men. The students have invariably been to me most friendly, helpful,
and courteous.” In answer to an official letter of enquiry, the Dean
of the Medical Faculty at Zurich wrote: “Since 1867, ladies have been
regularly admitted as matriculated students, and have been allowed all
the privileges of _cives academici_. As far as our experience has gone,
the new practice has not in any way been found to damage the interests
of the University. The lady students we have hitherto had have all been
found to behave with great good taste, and to be diligent students.”
Such evidence must surely carry more weight than the opinions of those
who merely theorize about probabilities, especially when such theorists
start, as is often the case, with a predisposition to find “lions in
the way.”

If the admission of women to the regular Medical Schools has been
proved to bring no evil consequences, wherever teachers and professors
have shown good will, it needs strong arguments to justify their
exclusion from advantages which they can hardly obtain elsewhere; for
it has been well remarked, that nothing can be more false than to
confound a “small injustice” with “injustice to a small number.”

It is simply a mockery, and one calculated to mislead the public, when
a medical journal[69] announces that “We would offer no obstacle
to any steps which women may think would be conducive to their own
benefit. But if it be indispensable that they should study Anatomy
and Medicine, let them, in the interests of common decency, have an
educational institution and licensing body of their own.” And again,
“If women are determined to become Medical Practitioners, they are at
perfect liberty to do so; but it is only consistent with decency that
they should have their own special Schools and examining bodies.” Such
writers know perfectly well that it is utterly impossible for two or
three struggling women students to found “their own special Schools,”
(though, when a sufficient number of women are educated, they may
gladly make such provision for those who will succeed them,) and that,
if in truth women as well as men have a right to claim opportunities of
education, the duty of providing separate instruction for them clearly
falls on the existing Schools, if the authorities refuse to admit them
to share in the general advantages offered.

For myself, I cannot see why difficulties that have in France and
Switzerland been proved chimerical, should in England be supposed
(without any fair trial) to be insurmountable; as I, for one, cannot
believe that less good and gentlemanly feeling should be expected from
English and Scotch students, wherever their Professors set them an
example of courtesy, than is found among the undergraduates of foreign

But this is a point which I do not greatly care to urge; although
Medical Science can undoubtedly be most favourably studied under those
conditions which only large institutions can command, and which
could for many years be but imperfectly attained in a Medical College
designed for women only. Still there is no doubt that women, thoroughly
in earnest, and with a certain amount of means at their command,
_can_ obtain adequate medical instruction without entering any of the
existing Schools for men, and no doubt arrangements could be made to
secure all that is necessary with much less effort and expense than at
present. We should be very thankful to have the Medical Schools thrown
open to us, to be allowed some share in the noble provision made,
chiefly with public money, for the instruction of medical students; but
this is not absolutely indispensable; we may be refused this, and yet
gain our end, though with greater toil and at greater expense. As time
goes on, and as the number of women attracted by the study of Medicine
increases, it will probably, apart from all extrinsic considerations,
be both natural and convenient that they should have a Medical School
of their own, in which every means of study should be specially
provided for, and adapted to, their needs. It is not, however, I think,
desirable that this should be done until the number of students is
sufficient to guarantee funds for the liberal payment of first-rate
teachers, and the ample provision of all needful facilities. If no
women are to be made competent physicians till they have a school of
their own, there never will be any at all; for those who broadly oppose
the movement will always be able to say, “Women have never proved
that they can use such advantages as will be thus furnished; do not
establish a College for them till they have.”

So the double argument would run thus: “Do not found a Female Medical
School till we are sure that women can successfully study Medicine; do
not let any woman study Medicine except in a Medical School of their
own.” Between such a Scylla and Charybdis who can steer clear?

Supposing, however, that this dilemma were escaped, and that adequate
means of instruction were provided, (with men, or apart from them,
I care not,) it would still, I think, be essential, not only to the
interests of women doctors, but to those of the public at large,
that the standard for medical practitioners of both sexes should be
identical; that women should be admitted to the examinations already
established for men, and should receive their medical degree on exactly
the same terms. I do not for a moment desire to see degrees granted
to women by a College of their own, or to see a special examination
instituted for them; for there would be extreme difficulty in measuring
the exact value of any such diplomas, and danger would arise, on the
one hand, of injustice being done to those thoroughly competent, but
possessing “only a woman’s degree,” and, on the other, of the standard
being really lowered, and the medical degree coming to possess an
uncertain and inferior value.

Of this latter danger we have abundant warning in America, where every
fresh College is allowed the right of “graduating” its own students
on whatever terms it pleases, and where, indeed, one is confounded
by the innumerable diplomas granted by all sorts of Colleges to all
sorts of people, so that one has need to inquire whether the M.D.
attached to a name represents a degree granted by some “Eclectic” or
“Hygeio-therapeutic” College of mushroom growth, or by the Universities
of Harvard and Yale.

We cannot wish for such a state of things in England. Let British
degrees continue to be of perfectly definite value; make the conditions
as stringent as you please, but let them be such as are attainable by
all students, and are clearly understood by the general public; and
then, for all that would worthily win and wear the desired honours, “a
fair field and no favour.”

Is there not one of the English, Scotch, or Irish Universities that
will win future laurels by now taking the lead generously, and
announcing its willingness to cease, at least, its policy of arbitrary
exclusion? Let the authorities, if they please, admit women to study in
the ordinary classes with or without any special restrictions (and it
is hard to believe that at least the greater part of the lectures could
not be attended in common); or let them, if they think needful, bid the
women make their own arrangements, and gather their knowledge as they
can;[70] with this promise only, that, when acquired, such knowledge
shall be duly tested, and, if found worthy, shall receive the Hall-mark
of the regular Medical Degree.

Surely this is not too much to ask, and no more is absolutely
essential. If, indeed, the assertions so often made about the
incapacity of women are true, the result of such examinations (which
may be both theoretical and practical, scientific and clinical,) will
triumphantly prove the point. If the examinations are left in the hands
of competent men, we may be very sure that all unqualified women will
be summarily rejected, as indeed it is to be desired that they should

If, on the contrary, some women, however few, can, under all existing
disadvantages, successfully pass the ordeal, and go forth with the full
authority of the degree of Doctor of Medicine, surely all will be glad
to welcome their perhaps unexpected success, and bid every such woman,
as she sets forth on her mission of healing, a hearty God-speed!


[1] See _Note A_.

[2] _Athenæum_, Sept. 28, 1867.

[3] In his “Essai sur les Femmes,” Thomas points out that “Chez la
plupart des sauvages ... la médecine et la magie sont entre les mains
des femmes.”

[4] The passage is thus rendered by Professor Blackie:--

    “His eldest born, hight Agamede, with golden hair,
    A leech was she, and well she knew all herbs on ground that grew.”

    (Iliad, xi. 739).

In his Notes the translator remarks that “it seems undeniable that
women have a natural vocation for exercising certain branches of
the medical profession with dexterity and tact.... It is gratifying
therefore to find that a field of activity which has been recently
claimed for the sex ... finds a precedent in the venerable pages of
the Iliad.... In fact, nothing was more common in ancient times than
medical skill possessed by females,” in proof of which assertion he
mentions Œnone and others. (Professor Blackie’s “Homer and the Iliad.”
Edmonston & Douglas.)

[5] Odyssey, iv. 227.

[6] Hippolytus, 293–7.

[7] Finauer’s “Allgemeines Verzeichniss gelehrten Frauenzimmer.”

[8] I subjoin as a curiosity the quaint version of this story that is
given in a letter from Mrs Celleor (a fashionable midwife of the reign
of James II.), published in 1687, and now to be found in the British
Museum. After saying that “Among the subtile Athenians a law at one
time forbade women to study or practise medicine or physick on pain of
death, which law continued some time, during which many women perished,
both in child-bearing and by private diseases, their modesty not
permitting them to admit of men either to deliver or cure them,” she
continues, “Till God stirred up the spirit of Agnodice, a noble maid,
to pity the miserable condition of her own sex, and hazard her life to
help them; which to enable herself to do, she apparelled her like a
man, and became the scholar of Hierophilos, the most learned physician
of the time; and having learned the art, she found out a woman that had
long languished under private diseases, and made proffer of her service
to cure her, which the sick person refused, thinking her to be a man;
but, when Agnodice discovered that she was a maid, the woman committed
herself into her hands, who cured her perfectly; and after her many
others, with the like skill and industry, so that in a short time she
became the successful and beloved physician of the whole sex.” When her
sex became known to the public, “she was like to be condemned to death
for transgressing the law ... which, coming to the ears of the noble
women, they ran before the Areopagites, and the house being encompassed
by most women of the city, the ladies entered before the judges, and
told them they would no longer account them for husbands and friends,
but for cruel enemies that condemned her to death who restored to them
their health, protesting they would all die with her if she were put
to death.... This caused the magistrates to disannul the law, and make
another, which gave gentlewomen leave to study and practise all parts
of physick to their own sex, giving large stipends to those that did it
well and carefully. And there were many noble women who studied that
practice, and taught it publicly in their schools as long as Athens
flourished in learning.”

[9] “Thornton Romances,” Camden Society.

[10] “Ivanhoe,” chap. xxviii.

[11] “Nuovo Dizionario Istorico;” Bassano, 1796.

[12] Fachini’s “Prospetto Biografico delle Donne Italiane,” Venezia,

[13] Medici’s “Scuola Anatomica di Bologna.”

[14] Finauer.

[15] _New York Medical Gazette_, April 24, 1869.

[16] 34 Henry VIII. 8.

[17] Maitland, in giving an account of the foundation of the
Edinburgh College of Physicians in 1681, begins by saying that “the
Practice of Physick had been greatly abused in Edinburgh by foreign
Impostors, Quacks, Empirics, and illiterate Persons, _both men and
women_.”--Maitland’s History of Edinburgh, 1753.

[18] The statutes of 1268 ordained that “les matrones ou sages
femmes sont aussi, de la dite confrairie et subjects ausdits deux
chirurgiens jurez du Roy au Chastelet, qui ont dressé certains statuts
et ordonnances tant pour les droicts de la confrairie que pour leur
estat de sage femme, qu’elles doivent observer et garder.”--Du Breul’s
“Antiquités de Paris,” pub. 1639.

[19] “The Midwive’s Deputie ... composed for the use of my wife (a
sworne Midwife), by Edward Poeton, Petworth, Licentiate in Physick and

[20] “Letter to Dr----” written by Elizabeth Celleor, “from my house in
Arundel Street, Strand, Jan. 16, 1687–8.”

[21] “A Short Account of the State of Midwifery in London. By John
Douglas, Surgeon. Dedicated to the Right Hon. Lady Walpole.”

[22] It may be interesting to give the following quotation on this
subject from a popular magazine of thirty years ago:--“The accoucheur’s
is a profession nearly altogether wrested out of the hands of women,
for which Nature has surely fitted them, if opinion permitted education
to finish Nature’s work. But women are held in the bonds of ignorance,
and then pronounced of deficient capacity, or blamed for wanting
the knowledge they are sternly prevented from acquiring.”--_Tait’s
Magazine_, June, 1841.

[23] _Lancet_, April 13th and 20th; May 4th; June 1st; 1872.

[24] It will be remembered that an attempt was made to throw doubt on
the birth of this prince, but Dr Aveling remarks that “Dr Chamberlen,
in his letter to the Princess Sophia, showed the absurdity of this
hypothesis”--(_i.e._, of the charge of conspiracy).

[25] “Delicacy had in those days so far the ascendancy, that the
obstetrical art was principally practised by females, and on this
occasion the Queen was delivered by Mrs Stephen, Dr Hunter being
in attendance among the ladies of the bedchamber, in case of his
professional assistance being required.”--HUISH’S “_Life of
George IV._”

[26] “It is a curious coincidence, considering the future connection of
the children, that Madame Siebold, the accoucheuse spoken of above as
attending the Duchess of Coburg at the birth of Prince Albert (August
1819), had only three months before attended the Duchess of Kent at the
birth of the Princess Victoria.”--_Early Years of the Prince Consort._

[27] “Rites and Customs of the Greco-Russian Church,” by Madame
Romanoff. Rivingtons, 1868.

[28] Ballard’s “Memoirs of several Ladies of Great Britain.” Oxford,

[29] “An Account of the Life and Death of Mrs Elizabeth Bury.” Bristol,

[30] “Scuola Anatomica di Bologna,” by Medici.

[31] Fachini.

[32] Ibid.

[33] Ibid.

[34] Fachini.

[35] “Gazette Medicale,” du 10 Janvier 1846.

[36] Klemm, “Die Frauen.”

[37] _Athenæum_, July 1859.

[38] Arnault’s “Biographie nouvelle des contemporains.”

[39] Quérard’s “Littérature Française.”

[40] “The Boke of the Cyte of Ladyes,” by Christine Du Castel, 1521.

[41] See _Note B_.

[42] “There is one subject in which I have long felt a deep, and
deepening concern. I refer to _man-midwifery_.... Nature tells us
with her own voice what is fitting in these cases; and nothing but
the omnipotence of custom, or the urgent cry of peril, terror, and
agony--what Luther calls _miserrima miseria_--would make her ask for
the presence of a man on such an occasion, when she hides herself
and is in travail. And, as in all such cases, the evil reacts on the
men as a special class, and on the profession itself.”--“_Locke and
Sydenham_,” by Dr JOHN BROWN.

“Nothing probably but the deadening force of habit, combined with the
apparent necessity of the case, has induced us to endure that anomalous
person against whose existence our language itself bears a perpetual
protest--the man-midwife. And this single instance suggests a whole
class of others in which the intervention of a man is scarcely less
inappropriate.”--_Guardian_, Nov. 3, 1869.

[43] _Delhi Gazette_, 1866.

[44] “In many parts of India--I think I may say most parts--native
ladies are entirely shut out from any medical assistance, however
great may be their need, because no man who is not one of the family
can enter their apartments or see them; and though thousands thus
die from neglect and want of timely help, yet nothing can be done to
assist them until we have ladies willing and able to act in a medical
capacity.”--_The Queen_, June 8, 1872.

[45] _Treasurer_, T. B. WINTER, Esq., 28 Montpelier Road,

[46] _Scotsman_, Oct. 26, 1870.

[47] _Brit. Med. Journal_, May 25, 1872.

[48] _Macmillan’s Magazine_, September 1868.

[49] _Spectator_, April 13, 1867.

[50] See _Note C_.

[51] “_Theologia Moralis_,” by St Alphonsus.

[52] A curious coincidence recently occurred which may illustrate
this feeling. Not long ago I was attacked in the newspapers for
having alluded to this subject, and a certain doctor published three
letters in one week to prove that “ninety-nine out of every hundred
Englishwomen suffering from female diseases freely consulted medical
men.” During that very week no less than three women, in different
classes of society, appealed to me for advice and treatment for
sufferings about which they “did not like to ask a gentleman.” In each
case I advised them to consult a medical man, as I was not yet myself
in practice, and there were no women doctors in Edinburgh; but in each
case I found that their feeling in the matter was too strong to allow
them to do so.

[53] “Concerning her death, it was magnanimous and answerable to the
courage of heroes,” &c.--_Gallerie of Heroick Women_, written in French
by Pierre le Moyne, and translated by the Marquess of Winchester, 1652.

[54] See _Note D_.

[55] “_Handbook of Uterine Therapeutics_,” by Edward John Tilt, M.D.

[56] See _Note E_.

[57] Besides these we have, at Bologna,--Maddalena Buonsignori,
Professor of Laws, 1380; Laura Bassi, Professor of Philosophy, 1733;
Maria Gaetana Agnesi, Professor of Mathematics, 1750; Clothilde
Tambroni, Professor of Greek, 1794; and also other instances in various
Italian Universities.

[58] Ghirardacci, “Historia Bologna,” Bologna, 1605.

[59] _Lancet_, June 18, 1870.

[60] _Lancet_, August 26, 1871.

[61] See _Note F_.

[62] _Scotsman_, March 22, 1870.

[63] _Pall Mall Gazette_, August 1870.

[64] _Medical Gazette_, New York, February 27, 1869.

[65] _British Medical Journal_, October 1871.

[66] _British Medical Journal_, May 18, 1872.

[67] For a _reductio ad absurdum_ of the whole question, let me refer
to Dr Henry Bennet’s letter, containing the above words, in the
_Lancet_ of June 18, 1870. An answer to it occurs in the _Lancet_ of
July 9, 1870, and is referred to in _Note B_.

[68] See _Note G_.

[69] _Medical Times and Gazette_, Feb. 23, 1867, and April 24, 1869.

[70] It would have been perfectly easy in Edinburgh, during 1871–72, to
make complete arrangements for instruction, partly inside and partly
outside the walls of the University, if only the authorities would have
authorised the lady students to organize the necessary classes for
themselves at their own expense. But the obstructive party took refuge
behind the traditional non-possumus, and could not be driven from their
position, though the Lord Advocate of Scotland gave a distinct opinion
to the effect that any needful arrangements might legally be made, and
though the more far-sighted Professors strongly deprecated such an
abnegation of University power for the purpose of subserving a merely
temporary object. In point of fact, the whole history of this struggle
is one long illustration of the good old proverb,--“Where there’s a
will, there’s a way.”


Medical Education of Women,




    “You misconceive the question like a man,
    Who sees a woman as the complement
    Of his sex merely. You forget too much
    That every creature, female as the male,
    Stands single in responsible act and thought,
    As also in birth and death.

         .        .        .        .        .

    ----I would rather take my part
    With God’s Dead, who afford to walk in white,
    Yet spread His glory, than keep quiet here
    And gather up my feet from even a step
    For fear to soil my gown in so much dust.
    I choose to walk at all risks.”

    “_Aurora Leigh._”


    “When free thoughts, like lightnings, are alive,
    And in each bosom of the multitude,
    Justice and Truth, with Custom’s hydra brood,
    Wage silent war.”

Starting, then, with the assumption that women may, with profit to
themselves and to the community, become practitioners of medicine, it
is clear that they must, in the first place, secure such an education
as shall make them thoroughly competent to take their share of
responsibility in the care of the national health; and, secondly, that
they must obtain this education in accordance with the regulations
prescribed by authority, so that they may be recognised by the State
as having conformed to all its legal requirements, and may practise on
terms of perfect equality with other qualified practitioners.

It is essential to the thorough comprehension of this last point
that the laws regulating medical practice in this country should be
clearly understood, as these can never be lost sight of by those who
are engaged in the battle which we are now waging, and I will, before
proceeding further, endeavour to state clearly the provisions of the
Medical Act of 1858. For the protection of the public against ignorant
and mischievous quacks, the Act provided that no person should be
recognised as a legally-qualified practitioner of medicine in the
United Kingdom unless registered in a Register appointed to be kept for
that purpose. The Act provided that all persons possessing the degree
of M.D. from any foreign or colonial University, and already practising
in this country at the date of the passing of the Act, should be
entitled to be so registered; but that, with this exception, (and a
curious one in favour of those on whom the doctorate had been conferred
by the Archbishop of Canterbury,) no medical practitioners could demand
registration unless holding a licence, diploma, or degree, granted by
one of the British Examining Boards specified in the schedule attached
to the Act. It is, of course, self-evident that these provisions were
intended solely to defend the public against incompetent practitioners,
and, though it is perhaps to be regretted that the Act did not
expressly require the Medical Council to examine, and, on proof of
competency, to register the holders of foreign diplomas, and all others
who had pursued a regular course of medical study, it could not be
anticipated that any great injustice would be done by the omission
of any such a clause; and still less, assuredly, was it intended by
this Act to secure to one sex a monopoly of all medical practice. But,
at the present moment, it is certain that great danger exists that
the Act may be wrested from its original purpose and made an almost
insurmountable barrier to the admission of women to the authorised
practice of medicine; and this because the Act, as it at present
stands, makes it obligatory on all candidates to comply with certain
conditions, and yet leaves it in the power of the Medical Schools,
collectively, arbitrarily to preclude women from such compliance.

The following clauses of the Act of 1858 will show the absolute
necessity that now exists for the registration of all practitioners of

 ... “After January 1, 1859, the words ‘legally qualified Medical
 Practitioner,’ or ‘duly qualified Medical Practitioner,’ or any words
 importing a Person recognised by Law as a Medical Practitioner or
 Member of the Medical Profession, when used in any Act of Parliament,
 shall be construed to mean a Person registered under this Act....

 “After January 1, 1859, no Person shall be entitled to recover any
 Charge in any Court of Law for any Medical or Surgical Advice,
 Attendance, or for the Performance of any Operation, or for any
 Medicine which he shall have both prescribed and supplied, unless he
 shall prove upon the Trial that he is registered under this Act....

 “After January 1, 1859, no Certificate required by any Act now in
 force, or that may hereafter be passed, from any Physician, Surgeon,
 Licentiate in Medicine and Surgery, or other Medical Practitioner,
 shall be valid unless the Person signing the same be registered under
 this Act.

 “Any Person who shall wilfully and falsely pretend to be, or take or
 use the Name or Title of a Physician, Doctor of Medicine, Licentiate
 in Medicine and Surgery, ... or any Name, Title, Addition, or
 Description implying that he is registered under this Act, or that
 he is recognised by Law as a Physician, or Surgeon, ... shall, upon
 a summary Conviction for any such offence, pay a sum not exceeding
 Twenty Pounds.”

It is, then, sufficiently plain that any doctor practising in this
country without the required registration, not only places himself in
the position of a quack and a charlatan, but actually incurs legal
penalties for assuming medical titles, however fairly they may have
been won in the most eminent of foreign universities. It is therefore
clear that it becomes a _sine quâ non_ that any women, desiring to
practise medicine in this country, should obtain their education in
such a way as will entitle them to demand registration.

There are at this moment two Englishwomen whose names appear on the
Register as legally qualified medical practitioners; and it may be
necessary for me now to explain how they came respectively to attain
this position, and how it happens that no more women are able to avail
themselves of the means that were open to them.

Though several English ladies are recorded in history as having
studied medical science, I am not aware that any of our country-women
ever graduated in medicine before the year 1849, when Miss Elizabeth
Blackwell, after surmounting many difficulties, obtained the degree of
M.D. from a college in the State of New York. Returning subsequently to
England, she took advantage of the clause in the Act of 1858, which I
have already mentioned, and demanded and obtained registration in the
British Register. But the clause referred to was, as I have explained,
retrospective only, and no one can now obtain an American degree, and
in virtue of it claim registration in this country.

This being the case, when, in the year 1860, Miss Garrett resolved to
begin the study of medicine, with a view to practising in England, it
was necessary that she should obtain her education under the auspices
of some one of the medical corporations empowered to give registrable
qualifications. After trying in vain to obtain admission to one School
and College after another, she finally found entrance at Apothecaries’
Hall, which was, from its charter, taken, as I suppose, in conjunction
with the provisions of the Apothecaries’ Act of 1815,[71] incapable of
refusing to examine any candidate who complied with its conditions of

In order to observe the regulations of Apothecaries’ Hall, she was
obliged to attend the lectures of certain specified teachers; and
though she was, in some cases, admitted to the ordinary classes,[72]
in others she was compelled to pay very heavy fees for separate and
private tuition by the recognised lecturers. She had also considerable
difficulty in obtaining adequate hospital teaching, though there was,
in truth, hardly the slightest difference between the advantages
she needed and those now habitually accorded to lady probationers
and trained nurses, who are constantly present with the ordinary
students at the bedside and in the operating theatre.[73] She
obtained admission, however, to the Middlesex Hospital, and might,
I suppose, have studied there as long as she pleased, had she not
been unfortunate enough to acquit herself too well in some of the
_vivâ-voce_ examinations in which she took part with the male students,
thus arousing their manly wrath, which showed itself in a request that
she should be required to leave the Hospital,[74] and this noble and
magnanimous application was actually granted! She, however, completed
her studies elsewhere, and especially at the London Hospital; being,
it is to be presumed, too discreet to enter again on the field of
competition. Thus, at length, she obtained her education, and, in 1865,
received the licence to practise from Apothecaries’ Hall, which enabled
her to place her name upon the British Register. But no sooner had she
thus demonstrated the existence of at least a postern gate by which
women might enter the profession, than the authorities took alarm, and,
with the express object of preventing other women from following so
terrible a precedent, a rule was passed, forbidding students henceforth
to receive any part of their education privately, it being well known
that women would be rigorously excluded from some at least of the
public classes!

As, then, the different doors by which the two ladies above-mentioned
entered the profession of medicine were both closed after them, it is
evident that, when, three years ago, I looked round for the means of
obtaining medical education in this country, it was necessary that some
new way should be devised. It is true that in several of the European
Universities women were at that moment studying medicine;--indeed, I am
not aware that any of the Italian,[75] French, or German Universities
have ever been closed against women who applied for admission. I might,
no doubt, have obtained, at the world-renowned _Ecole de Médicine_
in Paris, a medical education at least equal, and, in some respects,
probably superior, to anything that this country affords; and at the
University of Zurich, also, a considerable number of women have,
for some years, been receiving an excellent medical education. But
it seemed to me radically unjust, and most discreditable to Great
Britain, that all her daughters who desired a University education
should be driven abroad to seek it; only a small number of women could
be expected thus to expatriate themselves, and those who did so would
have to incur the great additional difficulty and disadvantage of
studying all the departments of medical science in a foreign language,
and under teachers whose experience had been acquired in a different
climate and under different social conditions from our own. And even if
these difficulties could be overcome, another objection appeared to me
absolutely insuperable. The Act of 1858 distinctly declares that only
British licenses, diplomas, and degrees can now claim registration, and
that without registration no practitioner can be considered as legally
qualified. It is well known with what distinguished honour Miss Garrett
lately passed her examinations in Paris, and with what brilliant
success she gained one of the most valuable medical degrees in Europe,
and yet in the official British Register her name appears only and
solely as that of a licentiate of Apothecaries’ Hall. As no such
license was now open to me and to other women, it was clear that those
of us who went abroad for education might expect, after years of severe
labour, to return to England to be refused official recognition on
the Register, and, in fact, in the eye of the law, to hold a position
exactly analogous to that of the most ignorant quack or herbalist who
might open a penny stall for the sale of worthless nostrums. As such a
position was hardly to my taste, it became necessary to try other means.

It seemed to me highly desirable that, if women studied medicine at
all, they should at once aim at what is supposed to be a high standard
of education, and that, to avoid the possibility of cavil at their
attainments, they should forthwith aspire to the medical degree of a
British University.

I first applied to the University of London, of whose liberality one
hears so much, and was told by the Registrar that the present Charter
had been purposely so worded as to exclude the possibility of examining
women for medical degrees, and that under that Charter nothing whatever
could be done in their favour. Knowing that at Oxford and Cambridge the
whole question was complicated with regulations respecting residence,
while, indeed, neither of these Universities furnished a complete
medical education, my thoughts naturally turned to Scotland, to which
so much credit is always given for its enlightened views respecting
education, and where the Universities boast of their freedom from
ecclesiastical and other trammels. In March 1869, therefore, I made
my first application to the University of Edinburgh, and I hope in
the following pages to give a rapid sketch of the chief events of the
subsequent three years in connexion with that University, though time
and space oblige me to make the sketch so brief that I must ask the
reader’s indulgence if, in some points, it is less plain and distinct
than it might be if I could enter more fully into details.

For the sake of clearness, let me first explain, in few words, who
constitute the different bodies that take a share in the government
of Edinburgh University, taken in the order in which my application
was considered by them. The Medical Faculty of course consists of
Medical Professors only; the Senatus comprises all the Professors
of every Faculty, and also the Principal; the University Court is
composed of eight members only;[76] and lastly, the General Council
of the University consists of all those graduates of Edinburgh who
have registered their names as members. Each of these bodies had to be
consulted, as also the Chancellor, before any important change could be

When I first went to Edinburgh, I found many most kind and liberal
friends among the Professors. In the Medical Faculty itself, Sir James
Simpson, Professor Hughes Bennett, and Professor Balfour, Dean of the
Medical Faculty, at once espoused my cause; and I need not say that
Professor Masson and other members of the non-medical Faculties were
not a whit behind in kindness and help. I found, on the other hand,
a few determined enemies who would listen to nothing I could urge on
the ground of either justice or mercy, and one or two who seemed to
think that the fact of a woman’s wishing to study medicine at all
quite exempted them from the necessity of treating her even with
ordinary courtesy. The majority, however, occupied a somewhat neutral
position;--they did not wish arbitrarily to stretch their power to
exclude women from education, and yet they were alarmed at what seemed
to them the magnitude and novelty of the change proposed.

Several Professors were especially timid about the question of
matriculation, and argued that, till they had some evidence of
probable success, it would be premature to let women matriculate,
since, by so doing, they would acquire rights and privileges of the
most extensive kind. To meet this difficulty I gladly accepted a
suggestion made to me privately by the Dean of the Medical Faculty,
that I should, for the present, waive the question of matriculation,
and should, during the summer months, attend his class in Botany and
that of Professor Allman in Natural History, to see whether, as the
_Spectator_ expressed it, “Scotch and English students were really
so much more brutal than Frenchmen and Germans,” or whether a lady
could, without discomfort, attend the ordinary classes. This plan met
with much approval, and some of the Professors’ wives most kindly
offered to accompany me to the classes when the time should come. The
Medical Faculty and Senatus successively sanctioned this tentative
plan, and, after a short stay in Edinburgh, I left for England to make
preparations for returning to spend the summer session as arranged.

But two or three hostile Professors appealed to the University Court;
some of the students also sent up a memorial against the arrangement
proposed, and the question was reconsidered.

       *       *       *       *       *

I am anxious, as far as possible, to avoid personalities in this
matter, and yet, I think, I cannot properly tell my story without
explaining at the outset that, in my opinion at least, the whole
opposition to the medical education of women has in Edinburgh, been
dictated by one man and his immediate followers. It is hardly necessary
to say that that man is Sir Robert Christison,[77] whose great age and
long tenure of office naturally give him unusual weight, both in the
University and among the medical men of Edinburgh. Having said this, I
need only remark further that Professor Christison has, ever since I
came to Edinburgh, been the only professor and the only medical man who
has had a seat in the University Court, and also the only person who
has all along been a member of every body, without exception, by whom
our interests have had to be decided, viz., of the Medical Faculty,
the Senatus, the University Court, the University Council, and the
Infirmary Board.

The question then was brought before the University Court in April
1869. The meetings of the Court are held in strict privacy, (against
which the public and the members of the University Council have often
protested,) and I can only state the result of their deliberation.
On April 19th the following resolution was passed:--“The Court,
considering the difficulties at present standing in the way of carrying
out the resolution of the Senatus, as a temporary arrangement in the
interest of one lady, and not being prepared to adjudicate finally on
the question whether women should be educated, in the medical classes
of the University, sustain the appeals, and recall the resolution of
the Senatus.”

The very palpable invitation to other ladies to come forward, which
appeared on the face of this resolution, bore fruit; for, in the course
of the next month, or two, four more ladies expressed their wish to
be admitted as students, and certain of the University authorities
held out hopes that an application for _separate_ classes would be
successful. Accordingly, in June 1869, I addressed a letter to the
Rector of the University, who is also President of the University
Court, enquiring whether the Court would “remove their present veto
in case arrangements can be made for the instruction of women in
separate classes; and whether, in that case, women will be allowed to
matriculate in the usual way, and to undergo the ordinary Examination,
with a view to obtain medical degrees in due course?”

I also wrote to the Senatus asking them to recommend the matriculation
of women as medical students, on the understanding that separate
classes should be formed; and, moreover, addressed a letter to the
Dean of the Medical Faculty, offering, on behalf of my fellow-students
and myself, to guarantee whatever minimum fee the Faculty might fix as
remuneration for these separate classes.

On July 1st, 1869, at a meeting of the Medical Faculty of the
University, it was resolved to recommend to the Senatus:--

 (1.) That ladies be allowed to matriculate as medical students, and
 to pass the usual preliminary examination for registration; (2.)
 That ladies be allowed to attend medical classes, and to receive
 certificates of attendance qualifying for examination, provided
 the classes are confined entirely to ladies; (3.) That the medical
 professors be allowed to have classes for ladies, but no professor
 shall be compelled to give such course of lectures; (4.) That, in
 conformity with the request of Miss Jex-Blake’s letter to the Dean,
 ladies be permitted to arrange with the Medical Faculty, or with the
 individual professors as to minimum fee for the classes.

At a meeting of the Senatus Academicus, July 2, 1869, the Report of
the Medical Faculty was read, agreed to, and ordered to be transmitted
to the University Court. At a meeting of the University Court, on 23d
July 1869, “Mr Gordon, on behalf of the Committee appointed at last
meeting to consider what course should be followed in order to give
effect to the resolution of the Senatus, reported that the Committee
were of opinion that the matter should be proceeded with under section
xii. 2, of the Universities Act, as an improvement in the internal
arrangements of the University. Mr Gordon then moved the following
resolution, which was adopted:--

 “The Court entertain an opinion favourable to the resolutions of the
 Medical Faculty in regard to the matriculation of ladies as medical
 students, and direct these resolutions to be laid before the General
 Council of the University for their consideration at next meeting.”

This resolution was approved by the General Council on October 29th,
1869, and was sanctioned by the Chancellor on November 12th, 1869. The
following regulations were officially issued at the same date, and
inserted in the Calendar of the University:--

 (1.) Women shall be admitted to the study of medicine in the
 University; (2.) The instruction of women for the profession of
 medicine shall be conducted in separate classes, confined entirely
 to women; (3.) The Professors of the Faculty of Medicine shall,
 for this purpose, be permitted to have separate classes for women;
 (4.) Women, not intending to study medicine professionally, may be
 admitted to such of these classes, or to such part of the course of
 instruction given in such classes, as the University Court may from
 time to time think fit and approve; (5.) The fee for the full course
 of instruction in such classes shall be four guineas; but in the event
 of the number of students proposing to attend any such class being too
 small to provide a reasonable remuneration at that rate, it shall be
 in the power of the professor to make arrangements for a higher fee,
 subject to the usual sanction of the University Court; (6.) All women
 attending such classes shall be subject to all the regulations now or
 at any future time in force in the University as to the matriculation
 of students, their attendance on classes, Examination, or otherwise;
 (7.) The above regulations shall take effect as from the commencement
 of session 1869–70.[78]

In accordance with, the above resolutions, four other ladies and myself
were, in October 1869, admitted provisionally to the usual preliminary
examination in Arts, prescribed for medical students entering the
University. Having duly passed, and received certificates to that
effect from the Dean of the Medical Faculty, we, after the issue of
the regulations above cited, all matriculated in the ordinary manner
at the office of the Secretary of the University. We paid the usual
fee, inscribed our names in the University album, with the usual
particulars, including the Faculty in which we proposed to study, and
received the ordinary matriculation tickets, which bore our names, and
declared us to be “_Cives Academiæ Edinensis_.” We were at the same
time registered in due course as students of medicine, by the Registrar
of the Branch Council for Scotland, in the Government register kept by
order of the General Council of Medical Education and Registration of
the United Kingdom, such registration being obligatory on all medical
students, and affording the sole legal record of the date at which they
have commenced their studies.

It seemed now as if smooth water had at length been reached, after
seven months of almost incessant struggle. The temporary scheme
first suggested had been set aside, but its place had been taken by
one much more comprehensive, which had resulted from five months of
consideration and consultation, and which had ultimately received the
sanction of every one of the University authorities in succession. Not
only were women allowed the privilege of matriculation which we had
been told involved so much; but formal regulations, entitled “For the
Education of Women in Medicine in the University,” had been framed,
and have now for three years formed an integral part of the University

For six months our hopes seemed realised. We pursued most interesting
courses of study in the University, and found nothing but kindness
at the hands of our teachers, and courtesy from the male students,
whenever we happened to meet them in the quadrangle or on the
staircases. Even Dr Christison was reported to have said in Senatus
that, as the experiment was to be tried, he for one would co-operate to
give it a fair trial.

Though the lectures were delivered at different hours, the instruction
given to us and to the male students was identical, and, when the class
examinations took place, we received and answered the same papers at
the same hour and on identical conditions, having been told that marks
would be awarded indifferently to “both sections of the class,”--this
latter expression being, by the bye, repeatedly used during the course
of the term by both the Professors who instructed us.

I am obliged now to mention the results which appeared in the
prize-lists, not with a view to claim any special credit for the
ladies,[79] (whose efforts to obtain education might well make them
more zealous than most of the ordinary students,) but because I believe
that the facts I am about to mention had a real and immediate connexion
with subsequent events.[80]

In the class of Physiology there had been 127 male students, of whom
25 appeared in the honours list; in the Chemistry class there were 226
male students, of whom 31 obtained honours; of the 5 women, 4 were in
honours in both classes. One of the ladies obtained the third place
in the Chemistry prize-list; and, as the two gentlemen above her had
already gone through a course of lectures on the same subject, Miss
Pechey was actually first of her year. In the College calendar it was
stated that “the four students who have received the highest marks _are
entitled_ to have the Hope Scholarships,”--such scholarships giving
free admission to the College laboratory, and having been founded by
the late Professor Hope from the proceeds of lectures given to ladies
some fifty years previously.[81]

It had occurred to us that if any lady won this scholarship she might
be debarred from making full use of it as regards the laboratory,
in consequence of the prohibition against mixed classes, but as it
had been distinctly ordained that we were to be subject to “all the
regulations in force in the University as to examinations,” it had
_not_ occurred to us as possible that the very name of Hope Scholar
could be wrested from the successful candidate and given over her head
to the fifth student on the list, who had the good fortune to be a

But this was actually done.

At the same time that the Professor announced to us his intention of
withholding the Hope Scholarship from the student who had won it, on
the ground that, having studied at a different hour, she was not a
member of _The Chemistry Class_, though he, at the same time, gave her
a bronze medal of the University, (to which I should think her claim
must have been neither greater nor less, since these medals were given
to the five students highest on the list,) he offered us written
certificates of having attended a “ladies’ class in the University,” as
of course he saw that to give the ordinary certificates of attendance
on “_The_ Chemistry Class of the University” would be to destroy his
own argument with reference to the Scholarship. As, however, such
certificates were absolutely worthless to us as students of medicine,
we declined them, and appealed to the Senatus to ordain that the
ordinary certificates should be granted to us, as they alone would
qualify for professional examination. At the same time Miss Pechey made
an appeal to have the Hope Scholarship awarded to her in due course. It
is hardly credible that (by very narrow majorities in each case) the
Senatus decided that we were to have exactly the ordinary certificates,
which declared us to have attended _the Chemistry Class_ of the
University of Edinburgh, and yet acquiesced in Miss Pechey’s being
deprived of her Scholarship on the ground that she was not a member of
that class!

I do not wish to dwell longer on these incidents, but I have narrated
them here because I believe that the above mentioned results of the
class examinations aroused in our opponents a conviction that the
so-called experiment was not going to fail of itself, as they had
confidently hoped, but that if it was to be suppressed at all, vigorous
measures must be taken for that purpose.

At the previous meeting of the University Council, no Professor had
stood up to oppose the admission of women, though Dr Andrew Wood had
covered himself with glory by protesting that he had too many sons to
provide for, to acquiesce in the education of women for the Medical
Profession![83] At the next meeting, however, of the Council, in
April 1870, Professor Masson moved that, in view of the success that
had hitherto attended the ladies’ studies, the existing regulations
should be so far relaxed as to allow of the attendance of women in the
ordinary classes, where no special reasons existed to the contrary,
that they might be spared the additional expense, inconvenience, and
difficulty, attendant on the formation of separate classes in every
subject. Professor Balfour, Dean of the Medical Faculty, seconded
this motion, and expressed his opinion that arrangements might easily
be made to carry it out. Professors Laycock and Christison, however,
opposed it vigorously, and that in speeches of such a character that
the _Times_[84] remarked in a leading article:--“We cannot sufficiently
express the indignation with which we read such language, and we must
say that it is the strongest argument against the admission of young
ladies to the Edinburgh medical classes that they would attend the
lectures of Professors capable of talking in this strain.”[85] When the
vote was taken, the motion in our favour was lost by forty-seven votes
to fifty-eight, and no change was therefore made in the University

The Professor of Botany kindly made arrangements for giving to us and
other ladies a separate course of lectures, though he much regretted
to be forced to this double, and needless, expenditure of time and
trouble. Dr Allman, the Professor of Natural History, who had in
the previous summer consented to my entering his ordinary class,
stated that his health would not allow him to undertake the labour
of two classes, and, therefore, he could not teach us. We then made
application for instruction to Dr Alleyne Nicholson, the extra-mural
teacher of the same subject, and he at once agreed to our request.
Before making any arrangements, he spoke to the members of his class
at their first meeting, and, mentioning our application, he enquired
whether they would unite with him in inviting us to join their class.
This they unanimously did; and, as we had no objection to offer, the
first “mixed class” was inaugurated, and continued throughout the
summer without the slightest inconvenience.[86]

In the meantime, we were anxious to make arrangements for the next
winter session, and it was especially necessary that a course of
instruction in Anatomy should be provided, as the subject was one of
the greatest importance, and the University professor flatly refused
either to instruct us himself or allow his assistant to do so in any
way whatever. Under these circumstances we endeavoured to obtain a
competent extra-mural teacher who should form a special class for
our instruction; but I was repeatedly warned that, by this time, the
medical prejudice had been so strongly aroused against us, and the
medical influence was so strongly at work, that we should fail in
our endeavours, as no young medical man dare run the risk of being
ostracised for giving us help. The only extra-mural teacher of Anatomy
who was already recognised by the University was Dr Handyside, who
was one of a band of nine associated lecturers who conjointly rented
a building, called Surgeons’ Hall, for their lectures. Some of these
lecturers were indignant at the way in which we were treated in
the University, and, in July 1870, they, by a majority, passed the
following resolutions:--

 1. That it is expedient that lecturers in this Medical School should
 be free to lecture to female as well as to male students.

 2. That no restrictions be imposed on the lecturers as to the manner
 in which instruction is to be imparted to women.[87]

After the passing of this regulation, we applied to Dr Handyside to
know if he could make arrangements for giving us a separate class. He
replied that it would be quite impossible for him to do so consistently
with his duty to his other students, but that if we liked to attend his
course of Anatomy in the ordinary way, he should be happy to receive
us. Dr Heron Watson similarly consented to admit us, to his ordinary
course of Lectures on Surgery, and so our arrangements for winter
lectures were complete.

The class of Practical Anatomy always meets at the beginning of
October, although the lectures do not commence till the following
month. The more studious and industrious students usually come up at
the earlier date, but those who care less about their work seldom
appear till November, as that is the beginning of the compulsory
session. All through October we studied under Dr Handyside with great
comfort; the students who worked with us, though in another part of
the room, were never uncivil, and in fact we hardly exchanged a dozen
sentences with any of them during the month. Dr Handyside and his
demonstrator both told us that they had never seen so much steady,
earnest work as since we joined the class, and expressed their opinion
that the results were quite as valuable for the male students as for
our ourselves. With November 1st the lectures began, and everything
went on satisfactorily for another ten days.

About this time, acting on the advice of a medical friend, we made
an application for permission to study in the wards of the Royal
Infirmary, and, somewhat to our surprise, were met by a curt refusal.
As we knew that several of the managers were liberal-minded and just
men, we felt sure that they could not have fully understood the
importance to us of the concession we desired, and, on enquiry, I found
this was the case. One of those who had voted against our admission
confessed to me that he had, in so doing, been guided simply by the
medical members of the Board, and that he was not even aware that we
were matriculated students of the University, and that we could not
complete our education without attending the Infirmary, as there was
no other hospital in Edinburgh of the size prescribed for “qualifying
instruction.” We, therefore, drew up a memorial stating our grounds
of application, and another was also sent in by our two teachers, Dr
Watson and Dr Handyside, urging on the Board the great injustice that
would be done by our exclusion. We also obtained and sent in a written
paper from three of the medical officers of the Infirmary, promising
to give us all needful instruction if we were admitted.[88] When
these documents were presented to the managers, a majority of those
present were in favour of our immediate admission, but, on the ground
of want of notice, our opponents got the matter deferred for a week.
From that time the behaviour of the students changed. It is not for me
to say what means were used, or what strings were pulled; but I know
that the result was, that instead of being, as heretofore, silent and
inoffensive, a certain proportion of the students with whom we worked
became markedly offensive and insolent, and took every opportunity
of practising the petty annoyances that occur to thoroughly ill-bred
lads,--such as shutting doors in our faces, ostentatiously crowding
into the seats we usually occupied, bursting into horse-laughs and
howls when we approached, as if a coalition had been formed to make
our position as uncomfortable as might be. At the same time a students’
petition against our admission to the Infirmary was handed about, and
500 signatures were obtained, though, if some of the reports I heard
were true, but a very small number out of the 500 had even read the
petition before signing it. Be this as it may, the petition was got
ready for the adjourned meeting, and when that came, every opponent
we had among the managers was at his place, while some of our friends
were unavoidably absent, and the Lord Provost, being in the chair,
was precluded from voting, so that the medical party gained an easy
victory. But when I say the medical party, I ought to explain that
three medical men voted on our side,--a point on which I shall have to
say something subsequently.

The students were naturally elated at finding so much attention paid
to their petition,[89] especially as I was told that some of the
medical Professors had warmly applauded them for their exertions, and
I suppose the lowest section among them began to wonder whether, if
they had succeeded in keeping us out of the Infirmary, they might not,
by a little extra brutality, drive us away from the lecture-room. Two
days later, came the second competitive examination of the term, and
on this day occurred the riot, when the gates were shut in our faces
by a mob,[90] who stood within, smoking and passing about bottles of
whiskey, while they abused us in the foulest possible language. It
would be difficult to speak in too strong terms of the conduct of those
engaged in this outrage, or of those who were morally responsible for
it; but I am glad to say a word to-day about a part of the story which
has not been made sufficiently public,--viz., the conduct of those of
the students whose indignation against the rioters was even deeper than
our own.[91] One gentleman rushed down from Surgeons’ Hall, and, at
great risk to himself, forced open the gates for our admission, and a
number of others made their way in after us to see that we came to no
harm. When the class, which was interrupted throughout by the clamour
outside, was over, Dr Handyside asked me if we would withdraw through a
back door, but I said that I thought there were quite enough gentlemen
in the class to protect us; and so it proved. As I spoke, a number
came around us and formed a regular body-guard in front, behind, and
on each side, and, encompassed by them, we passed through the still
howling crowd at the gate, and reached home with no other injuries
than those inflicted on our dresses by the mud hurled at us by our
chivalrous foes. Nor was this all. When we arrived at the College next
day, at the same hour, we found quite a formidable array of gentlemen
with big sticks in their hands, who were keeping back a rabble that
looked greatly disgusted, but merely vented their spite in remarkably
bad language as the gentlemen referred to raised their hats as we
approached, and instantly followed us in and took their seats on the
back rows. After the lecture was over they formed round us, as on the
evening before, escorted us home, gave us three deafening cheers, and
dispersed. The explanation of all which was, that, hearing rumours of
renewed rioting, a certain number of manly men among the students had
resolved that the thing should not be, and for the next two or three
days this same stalwart body-guard awaited and attended us daily, till
the rowdies tacitly agreed to lay aside hostilities. Then I myself
asked our volunteer guard to discontinue their most chivalrous escort,
and quiet was restored.

No further event of importance occurred during the winter, except the
meetings of Infirmary contributors, at the first of which a close
contest took place between managers known to be favourable to us and
those known to be unfriendly. A new Act came into operation at this
date, and all the managers had to vacate their seats unless re-elected.
I can give no more significant proof of the immense amount of pressure
brought to bear by the medical clique than by stating that, of the
three medical men who had voted for us six weeks before, it was found
when the day of election came that two had turned their coats, while
the one who refused to do so was unseated by the medical body that he
had represented!

At the Contributors’ Meeting on Jan. 2, 1871, at which six managers
were to be elected, the Lord Provost himself proposed the election
of six gentlemen known to be friendly to the admission of ladies to
the Infirmary; but by the very narrow majority of 94 votes to 88, the
managers previously on the Board were returned. No other question was
raised, and those who voted with the Lord Provost did so simply in
consequence of the importance they attached to the exclusion of the
ladies by those managers who now desired re-election.[92]

At a subsequent meeting, the Rev. Professor Charteris brought forward
a motion expressive of the desire of the contributors that immediate
arrangements should be made for the admission of the ladies, and
this motion was seconded by Sir James Coxe, M. D., but was lost by
a similarly small majority. On this latter occasion, two incidents
occurred that deserve notice. Firstly, a petition in favour of the
ladies’ admission was presented, signed by 956 women of Edinburgh.[93]
Secondly, Mrs Nichol, an elderly lady whose name is venerated
throughout Edinburgh, made, in spite of ill health, the great exertion
of coming forward at that public meeting, to ask one question,--“not,”
as she distinctly said, “in the interests of the lady students, but
on behalf of those women who looked forward to see what kind of men
were they who were to be the sole medical attendants of the next
generation of women, if women doctors are not allowed.” The question
which she said she had been commissioned to ask by more than 1300
women, belonging to all classes and all parts of the country, was as

 “If the students studying at present in the Infirmary cannot
 contemplate with equanimity the presence of ladies as fellow-students,
 how is it possible that they can possess either the scientific spirit
 or the personal purity of mind which alone would justify their
 presence in the female wards during the most delicate operations on,
 and examinations of, female patients?”

This question was received, according to the newspaper report, with
“_Laughter, hisses, and applause_,” but no one opened his mouth to
reply. Perhaps in truth no reply could have been more significant than
the burst of yells and howls which greeted the question from a gallery
filled by students, who indeed so conducted themselves generally as to
elicit a remark to me from a learned Professor, famous for his quaint
sayings: “Well! ye can say now ye’ve fought with beasts at Ephesus!”

About the same time a petition, signed by twenty-three male
students,[94] was presented to the Infirmary managers, praying that
the lady students should no longer be excluded, but no attention was
paid to the request; and when subsequently a similar application was
made to the Managers by a deputation of very influential citizens,[95]
they again refused, by a majority, to do anything in our behalf.
Professor Balfour moved the appointment of a Committee to enquire into
a scheme for the instruction of ladies proposed by certain of the
medical officers of the Infirmary, but Professor Christison carried
an amendment negativing even this measure; and thus another year of
Hospital instruction was lost.

With each succeeding Session new students joined our small class,
partly in consequence of the very kind encouragement held out by
Lady Amberley, Dr Garrett Anderson, and other friends, in the way of
Scholarships; for, since public indignation was excited by the refusal
of the Hope Scholarship to Miss Pechey, hardly a term has passed
without some generous offer of valuable prizes for those ladies who
needed such assistance to pursue their studies, and who, by their
success in competitive examinations, showed themselves worthy of them.
Such kindness is the more valuable at a time when, by incessant delays
and constantly-recurring difficulties, every effort is evidently being
made to exhaust alike the patience and the purses of the troublesome
women who desire to complete the work they have begun.

It is not necessary for me to enter into details respecting the
ladies’ progress in their studies, further than to state that in every
course in which they have competed for prizes, more than half of the
whole class have been in the honours list, and in some cases every lady
student has so appeared;[96] so that any refusal to grant them further
instruction can hardly be based on the plea that they have not done
their best to avail themselves of what was already afforded.

During the two years, 1869–70 and 1870–71, the five original students
who entered in 1869 had completed the first half of their University
course, partly by attendance on separate classes in the University, and
partly by means of extra-mural lectures. But at the end of these two
years a dead-lock appeared imminent. The rules of the University forbid
any student to take more than four classes outside the walls, and those
four classes we had already taken. Professor Christison and others,
whose classes came next in term, gave a curt refusal to our request
for instruction, although we again offered to guarantee any fee that
might be required. In this dilemma we applied for help to the Senatus,
and suggested that, if no other means could be devised, the difficulty
might be solved in either of two ways--(1) by appointment of special
University lecturers, whose payment we would guarantee; or (2) by the
relaxation in our case of the ordinary regulations, so that we might
take an increased number of extra-mural classes. When these proposals
came before the Senatus, it was decided to take a legal opinion as to
the rights and powers of the University; and an opinion adverse to our
interests having been given, the Senatus decided, on July 28, 1871, by
a majority of one, that they would take no action in the matter.

In these circumstances, a Committee[97] of friends which had been
formed for our assistance, caused a statement of the facts to be drawn
up and submitted to other Counsel, and obtained from the Lord Advocate
and Sheriff Fraser an Opinion to the following effect:[98]--That it was
quite competent to the University authorities to make any necessary
provision for the completion of the ladies’ education; and that
the Medical Faculty were bound to admit the ladies to professional
examination on the subjects in which they were already qualified to

I must explain that the advice of counsel had been asked on this last
point in consequence of a rumour that difficulties might be made
respecting the examination that was now due at the end of two years of
professional study. The first official notice on this subject was,
however, received by us on Saturday, October 14, after the fees for
such examination had been paid, and tickets of admission obtained; the
examination itself being due on the 24th of the same month, and the
ladies concerned having studied for two years with the view of passing
this examination, for which they had more especially been preparing
assiduously for the last six months.

On the following Monday, October 16, I, moreover, received an official
notice that the Dean of the Medical Faculty had been interdicted by
the Faculty from giving to ladies any papers for the Preliminary
Examination in Arts, which was to take place _on the following day_,
October 17! Three ladies had come up to Edinburgh from different parts
of the country with the express object of passing these examinations,
and, if prevented from doing so, they would be retarded in their
studies to the extent of one year. The excessive shortness of the
notice given made it impossible even to appeal to the Senatus, and
the only course open to me was to submit the facts for the opinion
of counsel. This was done, and we were informed that the course
taken by the Medical Faculty was quite illegal,[99] while an express
invitation to lady students formed part of the official calendar of the
University. This opinion was forwarded to the Dean, whose kindness
to us had been invariable; and, I am sure that he was glad by it to
be released from the painful necessity of obeying the Medical Faculty
in this matter. The ladies were accordingly examined in the ordinary

But the excitements of the month were not yet at an end. On applying
for matriculation tickets the ladies were informed by the Clerk that
the Principal, Sir Alexander Grant, had written him word that, in
consequence of representations made to him by Professor Christison, he
desired that no ladies should at present be allowed to matriculate. On
this point, and that regarding the Professional Examination, we, of
course, appealed at once to the Senatus. At the meeting at which our
appeal was considered, “the Committee for securing complete Medical
Education for Women in Edinburgh” also presented the opinion obtained
by them from counsel, together with a letter urging that complete
provision should be made for our instruction. At their meeting on
October 21, the Senatus at once decided both points of appeal in our
favour. The Principal’s prohibition, which had never had any legal
weight, was overruled, and the permission to women to matriculate
and pass the Arts Examinations was renewed, and declared to be in
force so long as the present regulations stood in the calendar. The
Medical Faculty also were instructed at once to admit the ladies who
were prepared for it to the Professional Examination on the following
day; and I am happy to say that, in spite of the incessant worry to
which they had been subjected for the past ten days, they all passed
successfully. I am sure that all those who have had to prepare for
severe University examinations will appreciate the difficulties under
which they did so.[100]

A few days later came a meeting of the University Council, when Dr
Alexander Wood made a gallant attempt to get a vote passed to the
effect that “the University is bound, in honour and justice, to
render it possible for those women who have already commenced their
studies, to complete them.”[101] The _Lancet_ remarked, respecting
this motion:--“This is precisely the ground we have always taken
up about the matter; and we hope that the General Council of the
University will, by the adoption of Dr Alexander Wood’s motion, put
an end to the controversy which had redounded so little to the credit
of that school.”[102] A memorial in favour of the resolution was
also presented, signed by more than nine thousand women, residing
in all parts of the country, and representing almost every rank in
society.[103] Very vigorous opposition to it was, however, made by
Professors Turner, Thomson, and Christison, all of whom were members
of the Medical Faculty, and ultimately an amendment, which proposed to
leave the question to be settled by the Senatus and University Court,
was carried by 107 votes to 97.[104]

At a meeting of the Senatus held on Oct. 30th, the question of making
further provision for the instruction of women was brought forward,
and a letter was received from the Committee of our friends stating
that, “in the event of special lecturers being appointed by the
University to give qualifying instruction to women, the Committee are
willing to guarantee the payment to them of any sum that may be fixed
by the Senatus for their remuneration, in case the fees of the ladies
are insufficient for that purpose; and that, if necessary, they are
willing further to undertake to provide such rooms and accommodation
as may be required for the delivery of the said lectures, if it should
be found absolutely impossible for the University to provide space
for that purpose.” After a long debate the Senatus decided, by a
majority, that they would not take any steps to enable us to complete
our education. At a meeting a few days later the Senatus further
decided, by fourteen votes to thirteen, to recommend to the University
Court that the existing regulations in favour of female students be
rescinded, without prejudice, however, to the rights of those already
studying. This resolution was, as I said, passed by fourteen votes to
thirteen, and it may be worth while to mention that two of the fourteen
votes were those of Dr Christison and Sir Alexander Grant, who were
themselves members of the University Court to which the recommendation
was to be made. That the proposed measure was not the wish of a real
majority of the Professors was soon made abundantly clear, for a
protest against it was sent up to the Court, signed by eighteen out
of the thirty-five Professors of the University, while two out of the
remaining seventeen were persistently neutral, never indeed having
voted on the question from first to last. In the teeth of this protest
it was, of course, almost impossible that the Regulations could be
rescinded, and so they were once more confirmed by the University Court
on January 3, 1872.

The next event of importance was the annual re-election of Infirmary
managers, six of whom were to be chosen at the contributors’ meeting at
the beginning of January 1872. As on a former occasion, the election
evidently turned wholly on our admission to, or exclusion from, the
Infirmary wards. The medical party moved the re-election of the former
managers, and they were sure of the support of everybody who did not
consider our admission a vital question. Our friends, on the contrary,
brought forward a list of gentlemen, all of whom were known to be
friendly to our cause. After a very warm debate the list of our friends
proved to be successful, being supported by 177 votes, while 168 were
recorded on the other side. Professor Masson then moved that a Statute
be enacted by the Court of Contributors, giving the same educational
advantages in the Infirmary to female as well as to male students.
The hostile party, finding themselves in a minority, endeavoured to
prevent this being put to the vote on technical grounds which were
subsequently found to be of no legal importance. Failing in this, they
then adopted the remarkably dignified course of decamping in a body,
accompanied, I must confess, by some ironical cheers from those left
behind. In the lull that succeeded Professor Masson brought forward his
motion, which was seconded by the Rev. Dr Guthrie, and passed without a
dissentient voice. This Statute is, therefore, now actually law in the
Infirmary, and considering that managers friendly to us had also been
elected, it might have been thought that our difficulties there were
at end. But now comes the most extraordinary part of the whole story.
On a scrutiny of the votes it was found that with the majority had
voted twenty-eight firms, thirty-one ladies, and seven doctors. On the
other side were fourteen firms, two ladies, thirty-seven doctors, and
three druggists. These figures may seem, indeed, to have a tolerable
moral significance, but it is not with that that I am at this moment
concerned. It occurred to the defeated party that here might be found a
straw for them, drowning, to catch at,--that possibly a legal objection
might be sustained against the votes of firms which were so largely in
our favour, and that, if so, the victory might yet be secured![105]
The result was, that, when the Contributors assembled at the adjourned
meeting,[106] for the purpose of hearing the result of the scrutiny
and the final declaration of the election, the Lord Provost found
himself served with an Interdict forbidding him to declare the new
managers duly elected, on the ground that the votes of firms were
incompetent, and that by means of these the majority had been obtained!

Instances have occurred before now where personal feelings have
triumphed over public interests, but I do not think that I ever heard
of quite so reckless a course as this, by which the medical clique has
plunged the great Edinburgh Hospital into litigation, and that with
some of its own most generous supporters, rather than allow a dozen
women to obtain in its wards the instruction that the Contributors had
decreed they should receive![107]

The litigation thus begun is still pending, and the incomplete Board
of Managers have for all these months carried on the business of
the Infirmary without any representatives at all from the Court of
Contributors; and it is probable that they make the very fact of their
deficient numbers the excuse for having up to this moment given no
effect whatever to the Statute unanimously passed in our favour last
January by the Court of Contributors. We applied immediately after
the meeting for tickets of admission, but were told that the managers
must first be consulted, and from that day to this no tickets have
been issued to us, though the statute referred to legally secured that
“henceforth all registered students of medicine shall be admitted to
the educational advantages of the Infirmary, without distinction of
sex.” The matter, however, can now be only one of time; and, since
the law of the Infirmary is at length on our side, our opponents may,
I think, rest assured that our patience in awaiting the end will be
at least equal to theirs. In all such struggles a present triumph
may be snatched by those in brief authority, but the future belongs
inalienably to the cause of justice and liberality.

In the meantime, I had, on behalf of my fellow-students and myself,
appealed to the University Court to provide us with the means of
completing our education, and our friends of the Committee also
forwarded to the Court a further legal Opinion from the Lord Advocate
and Sheriff Fraser, to the effect,--that the University authorities
had full powers to permit the matriculation of women in 1869; that the
Resolutions then passed amounted to a permission to women to “_study
medicine_” in the University, and that therefore the women concerned
were entitled to demand the means of doing so; and finally, that if
such means were persistently refused, the legal mode of redress lay in
an Action of Declarator.[108]

On January 8th, 1872, the University Court declared that they could not
make any arrangements to enable us to pursue our studies with a view
to a degree, but that, _if we would altogether give up the question of
graduation_,[109] and be content with Certificates of Proficiency, they
would try to meet our views!

In reply, I represented to the Court that no “Certificates” were
recognised by the Medical Act, and that any such documents would
therefore be perfectly useless to us. I further urged that as
matriculation fees had been exacted from us, in addition to the fees
for tuition, and as we had been required to pass the Preliminary
Examination “_for the medical degree_,” and as some of our own number
had moreover passed the first Professional Examination, I could not but
believe that we were entitled to demand the means of completing the
ordinary University education, with a view to obtaining the ordinary
degree; such belief being moreover confirmed by the emphatic opinion of
very distinguished counsel. On these grounds I entreated the Court to
reconsider their decision, and made the following suggestion:--

 “That, as the main difficulty before your honourable Court seems to be
 that regarding graduation, with which we are not immediately concerned
 at this moment, we are quite willing to rest our claims to ultimate
 graduation on the facts as they stand up to the present date; and, in
 case your honourable Court will now make arrangements whereby we can
 continue our education, we will undertake not to draw any arguments in
 favour of our right to graduation from such future arrangements, so
 that they may at least be made without prejudice to the present legal
 position of the University.”

I appeal to every intelligent man and woman to say whether these
words, taken in connection with my previous argument, were in the
slightest degree ambiguous, or whether any doubt could really exist
that in them I was pleading for facilities for such an education as
would ultimately enable us to become legal practitioners of medicine,
although I was willing that the actual question of graduation should
remain in abeyance for a few months, till decided by legal authority,
or otherwise. The public evidently so understood my letter, which was
published in the papers, for it was considered that I had substantially
gained my end, when the following reply from the secretary of the Court
was also published:--

 “I am desired to inform you that you appear to ask no more than was
 offered by the Court in their resolution of the 8th ultimo, in which
 it was stated that, while the Court were restrained by legal doubts
 as to the power of the University to grant degrees to women from
 considering ‘the expediency of taking steps to obtain, in favour of
 female students, an alteration of an ordinance which might be held not
 to apply to women,’ they were ‘at the same time desirous to remove,
 so far as possible, any present obstacle in the way of a complete
 medical education being given to women; provided always that medical
 instruction to women be imparted in strictly separate classes.’ On the
 assumption, therefore, that while you at present decline the offer
 made by the Court with reference to certificates of proficiency, you
 now ask merely that arrangements should be made for completing the
 medical education of yourself and the other ladies on behalf of whom
 you write, I am to state that the Court are quite ready to meet your
 views. If, therefore, the names of extra-academical teachers of the
 required medical subjects be submitted by yourself, or by the Senatus,
 the Court will be prepared to consider the respective fitness of the
 persons so named to be authorised to hold medical classes for women
 who have, in this or former sessions, been matriculated students
 of the University, and also the conditions and regulations under
 which such classes should be held. It is, however, to be distinctly
 understood that such arrangements are not to be founded on as implying
 any right in women to obtain medical degrees, or as conferring any
 such right upon the students referred to.”

My friends, as I say, congratulated me on this apparently important
concession; but to make assurance doubly sure, I resolved to have
absolute official confirmation of the apparent meaning of the
Resolution, and therefore addressed another letter to the Court, in
which, after thanking them for their apparent good intentions, I
enquired whether I was correct in understanding--

 “1. That, though you at present give us no pledge respecting our
 ultimate graduation, it is your intention to consider the proposed
 extra-mural courses as ‘qualifying’ for graduation, and that you will
 take such measures as may be necessary to secure that they will be so
 accepted, if it is subsequently determined that the University has the
 power of granting degrees to women.

 “2. That we shall be admitted in due course to the ordinary
 Professional Examinations, on presentation of the proper certificates
 of attendance on the said extra-mural classes.”

In reply, I was calmly informed that the Court meant nothing of the
kind; that they would not agree to count any classes we might take
as qualifying, and that in fact they would not stir a finger in any
way whatever to enable us to become legally qualified doctors, though
they might, if we spent a good many years of labour and a quite
unlimited sum of money in obtaining our education, give us at the end
these wonderful Certificates of Proficiency, which would be worth

What had been the meaning of the previous letter of apparent concession
I confess myself quite at a loss to conceive. What advantage could
accrue to us from submitting the names of extramural teachers to
the Court, in which Professor Christison was the only medical man,
I have never been able to guess, since the Court did not intend to
take any means to make their teaching qualify for graduation, and we
hardly needed its sanction in order to make private arrangements for
non-qualifying instruction! One is inclined to wonder whether the
idea was that the University Court possessed some supernatural power,
analogous to that supposed by certain churches to reside in episcopal
laying on of hands, which would in a miraculous way benefit those
lecturers whom they might “authorise” to teach us, though such teaching
was to be given in place and manner wholly unconnected with that
University with which I had supposed their functions to be exclusively
connected. However, I am content to leave this among the unexplained
mysteries, with very hearty thankfulness that, at least, by timely
enquiries, we saved ourselves from a still more hopeless waste of time
and money, which indeed we were on the point of incurring, in reliance
on the good faith of the Court, and the apparent meaning of its
mysterious Resolution.[110]

Having, however, at length arrived at a certainty that the Medical
Faculty would rest with nothing short of our expulsion, if by any
possibility they could attain that end; that the Senatus, though far
more friendly, had not a sufficient majority of liberal votes to
secure the permanent concession of our claims, however just, in the
teeth of the strong medical opposition; and that the University Court
would offer only such concessions as were quite valueless for our
end, it became clear that it was useless to prolong the series of
supplications which had, for nearly a year, been addressed in vain to
one after another of the the ruling powers of the University.

On the other hand, we had no less authority than that of the Lord
Advocate of Scotland for believing that we were absolutely entitled
to what we had so humbly solicited, and that a Court of law would
quietly award to us what seemed unattainable by any other means;
we had the very widely spread and daily increasing sympathy of the
community at large, and received constant offers of help from friends
of every kind, who were none the less inclined to befriend us because
our opponents stood in high places, and were utterly relentless in
their aims and reckless in their means. Under these circumstances, we
have done the one thing that remained for us to do, we have brought an
action of Declarator against the Senatus of the University;--praying
to have it declared that the Senatus is bound, in some way or other,
to enable us to complete our education, and to proceed to the medical
degree which will entitle us to take place on the Medical Register
among the legally qualified practitioners of medicine. By this
action it will be decided,--once more to quote our great champion,
the _Scotsman_,--whether, indeed, “a University can, with formal
solemnity, and with the concurrence of all its component parts, decree
the admission of women to study for the profession of medicine, and
then deny them access to those means by which alone they can enter that
profession; whether, indeed, a University is absolved from all duties
towards such of its matriculated students as may have the misfortune
to be women. It will have to be decided whether any corporate body can
make a contract of which all the obligations are on one side, and can
exact fees and demand obedience to regulations, without in its turn
incurring any responsibility; and can at pleasure finally send empty
away those whose presence is inconvenient, without any regard to the
money and time and labour which they have expended in simple reliance
upon its good faith.”[111]

It is a very great satisfaction to me to find that some of the most
illustrious members of the Senatus have expressed their own opinion on
these points in the most emphatic way, for they have refused utterly
to be parties to the defence of this action, and have entered on the
Record a Minute from which I extract the following passage:--

“We dissent from and protest against the Resolution of the Senatus
of March 27, 1872, to undertake the defence of the action. This we
do for the following reasons:--(1.) Because we see no just cause for
opposing the admission of women to the study and practice of medicine,
but on the contrary, consider that women who have honourably marked out
such a course of life for themselves, ought to be forwarded and aided
in their laudable endeavour as much as possible, by all who have the
means, and especially by those having authority in any University or
other Institution for Education; (2.) Because in particular, we feel
such aid and encouragement, rather than opposition and discouragement,
to be due from us to those women who have enrolled themselves in the
University of Edinburgh, and we entirely concur with respect to them,
in the desire expressed by Sir William Stirling-Maxwell, the Rector
of the University, that they should obtain what they ask--namely,
a complete medical education, crowned by a degree; (3.) Because we
have seen no sufficient reason to doubt the legal and constitutional
powers of our University, to make arrangements that would be perfectly
adequate for the purpose, and we consider the public questioning of
such powers, in present circumstances, by the University itself, or
any of its component bodies, unnecessary, impolitic, and capable of
being construed as a surrender of permanent rights and privileges of
the University, in order to evade a temporary difficulty; (4.) Because,
without pronouncing an opinion on the question now raised as to the
legal rights which the pursuers have acquired by matriculation in the
University, admission already to certain examinations, or otherwise, to
demand from the University continued medical instruction and the degree
on due qualification, we yet believe that they have thereby, and by
the general tenor of the proceedings, both of the Senatus and of the
University Court in their case, hitherto acquired a moral right, and
created a public expectation, which the University is bound to meet by
the full exercise of its powers in their behalf, even should it be with
some trouble; (5.) Because, with these convictions, and notwithstanding
our utmost respect for those of our colleagues from whom we may have
the misfortune to differ on the subject, we should individually feel
ashamed of appearing as defenders in such an action, and should account
any such public appearance by us in the character of opponents to women
desiring to enter an honoured and useful profession, a matter to our

The following are the names of the six Professors who have taken this
memorable stand:--John Hughes Bennett, M.D., Professor of Institutes
of Medicine; David Masson, M.A., Professor of Rhetoric and English
Literature; Henry Calderwood, LL.D., Professor of Moral Philosophy;
James Lorimer, M.A., Professor of Public Law; Archibald H. Charteris,
D.D., Professor of Biblical Criticism and Biblical Antiquities; and
William Ballantine Hodgson, LL.D., Professor of Political Economy.[113]

And so I have brought down as clearly and as briefly as I have been
able the history of this great struggle to the present moment, for that
it is a great struggle, and one that will astound most of those who may
read these lines some thirty years hence I think no thoughtful person
will deny.

I should like in conclusion to say a very few words on two only of the
general questions which are bound up with the final solution of the
problem of the Medical Education of Women.

And, first, as to the difficulties which are, or are not, inherent
in the admission of women to a University, and especially in them
studying in mixed classes. I believe most firmly that if, when we
first applied for admission in Edinburgh, we had simply been given
the ordinary tickets, and, if either no notice had been taken of our
entering the classes, or the other students had been invited, as
they were by Dr Alleyne Nicholson, to join in welcoming us to their
midst, no difficulties would ever have arisen at all; or at least no
difficulties but might have been most easily smoothed away by any
manly teacher with a real reverence for his subject, and a belief in
the profound purity of Science.[114] I am sure that in theory it is
both possible and right for ladies and gentlemen to study in the same
classes any and every subject which they need to learn, and I have
very little doubt that this will ultimately be the usual arrangement
as civilization advances. But I am equally certain that boys of a low
social class, of small mental calibre, and no moral training, are
utterly unfit to be admitted to a mixed class, and I confess that I
was most painfully surprised in Edinburgh to find how large a number
there are of medical students who come under this description. I had
honestly supposed, as I wrote three years ago, that ladies need fear
no discomfort in an ordinary medical class, as “the majority of the
students would always be gentlemen.”[115] I regret that on this point
I have been compelled somewhat to modify my opinion, though I would
fain hope that the circumstances which obliged me to do so were to a
great extent exceptional and local.[116] Nor do I think it possible
that a mixed class can be satisfactorily conducted by any man who is
not capable of inspiring his students with a reverence for purity,
or who does not naturally teach them alike by example and precept,
that the fear of competition is essentially low and mean, and that
the acme of degradation is reached when strength of any kind is used
for the injury or annoyance of the weaker or less protected; and,
this being so, I acquiesce very heartily in the decision that, at
present, wherever professors and students think it necessary, women
shall be taught medicine only in separate classes, though I hope, even
in my life-time, to see the day when such regulations are no longer
required, because students and teachers alike have risen to a higher
moral level.[117] In the meantime, let us but be granted permission
to acquire our knowledge in separate classes, at whatever cost, and
the authorities may be very sure that we shall not trouble them with
requests again to be subjected to the unsavoury companionship of which
we had such full experience in 1870–71.[118]

And, lastly, with regard to future legislation respecting medical
practice, I would say but one word. It is clearly right that, for the
protection of the helpless and ignorant, the State should take means
to distinguish between competent and incompetent practitioners of
medicine, and I hope that women as well as men will always be required
very thoroughly to prove their fitness for practice before they are
allowed to undertake it, at least under national sanction. But it
is not in the least for the good of the nation that any monopoly
should be encouraged, whether in matters of teaching, examination,
or practice. Is it not simply shameful that all that I have now been
relating should be _possible_ in this country, and possible because of
a law which appoints but one door to the medical profession,--that of
Registration,--limits Registration to those who have passed through
certain definite Schools, and satisfied certain definite Boards, and
yet allows those Schools and Boards absolute power to shut their
doors on one-half of the human race, and that even in the case of
Universities largely subsidised from public funds, and at a time when
the public are positively clamouring for women doctors for women? We
can see plainly enough why it is (in the lowest sense) the interest
of medical men to exclude women from their profession,--though, thank
God, there are hundreds of medical men who would scorn to put their
interests in one scale when justice weighed down the other,--but it
is _not_ the interest of the public or of the nation to sanction any
such monopoly;[119]--it is their interest to throw open the gates of
competition as widely as possible, insisting only on a uniform standard
of attainment for all, of either sex, who would enter them; for, by
thus increasing the supply of really competent doctors, they give
themselves the best possible opportunities of selection; and, as I have
pointed out elsewhere, they double the chances of growth and advance in
the fields of medical science.

When this momentous question again comes before Parliament, I trust
that the issues involved will be fully realised; and that, while
providing for the most stringent examination of every candidate, no
arbitrary barrier will be placed in the way of any, and no regulations
be allowed to stand which militate against the good old English motto
for all,--a Fair Field and no Favour!


[71] By this Act a Court of Examiners was appointed and declared to be
“authorised _and required_ to examine all person or persons applying to
them, for the purpose of ascertaining the skill or abilities of such
person or persons in the science of medicine, and his or their fitness
and qualification to practise as Apothecaries;”--it being, however,
stipulated that all candidates, so applying, should have gone through
certain preliminary studies and apprenticeship.

[72] The classes attended by Miss Garrett, in common with the other
students, were as follows:--Chemistry, Practical Chemistry, Materia
Medica, Botany, Zoology, and Natural Philosophy.

[73] See _Note H_.

[74] “A woman must have uncommon sweetness of disposition and
manners to be _forgiven_ for possessing superior talents and
acquirements.”--Miss ELIZABETH SMITH (_Memoir, by H. M.

[75] In the year 1870 the question was formally asked of the Italian
Government whether women were legally entitled to study in the
Universities, and the answer was in the affirmative.

[76] The University Court consists of the Rector, the Principal, and
the Lord Provost of Edinburgh; with five others appointed respectively
by the Chancellor, the Rector, the Senatus, the Town-Council of
Edinburgh, and the General Council of the University.

[77] On this point I may quote the following passage from the
_Scotsman_, whose great influence has always been most nobly exerted
in this question on the side of justice and liberality, and to whose
help in arousing the moral sense of the community, we owe a debt that
we can never hope to pay. The words quoted occur in a leading article
referring to a meeting of the General Council, of which mention will
be found elsewhere:--“Even Dr Christison, who is well known to be in
truth the very soul and centre of the opposition, and whose personal
influence alone has probably prevailed to carry it on so long in the
teeth of public opinion, thought it advisable to say at the Council
meeting, that ‘if anything could be done to get the ladies out of their
difficulty, he should be glad to be one to give them assistance.’ This
expression sounds somewhat farcical to those who are aware that the
present dead-lock arises simply from the fact that the ladies’ studies
have now brought them to that point at which Dr Christison’s class
comes next in turn to be attended, and that the Professor, in spite
of his verbal gallantry, has flatly refused either to instruct them
himself or facilitate arrangements by which any one can do so in his
place.”--_Scotsman_, October 31, 1871.

[78] As some attempts have been lately made to throw doubt on the
validity of the regulations just quoted, and, in fact, on the legality
of the matriculation of women, I think it well to specify distinctly
certain of the persons who were most immediately concerned in the
University action just described. The University Court which drew up
the above regulations, contained among its members Mr Moncreiff, then
Lord Advocate of Scotland, and Mr Gordon, who had held the same office
under a previous Government, besides two other legal members. The
Chancellor who gave his express sanction to all the measures taken,
was Lord Glencorse, (Inglis,) the Lord Justice-General of Scotland. I
leave the public to judge how far it is probable that these gentlemen
conjoined to do an illegal and invalid act on behalf of the University.

[79] I fully agree in the following remarks made by a local paper when
the results of the next summer term were declared:--“The whole number
of gentlemen who appear in the prize-lists (in Botany) are 32, out of
140 competitors,--_i.e._, about 23 per cent.; of the ladies, _all_.
We believe that these results prove, not that women’s capacities are
better than those of men--a thing that few people would assert--but
that these women who are devoting themselves to obtain, in spite of
all difficulties, a thorough knowledge of their profession, are far
more thoroughly in earnest than most of the men are, and that their
ultimate success is certain in proportion. Nor would we omit the
inference that, this being so, those who wantonly throw obstacles in
the way of this gallant little band incur a proportionately heavy
responsibility, as wanting not only in the spirit of chivalry, but even
in the love of fair play, which we should be sorry to think wanting in
any Briton.”--_Daily Review_, August 5, 1870.

[80] Compare Miss Garrett’s experience, p. 78.

[81] I am told that on this occasion the obstructives of the day
actually shut the College gates on the ladies, but that the gallant old
Professor, nothing daunted, admitted them through a ground-floor window
in South College Street!

[82] See _Note I_.

[83] The following passage occurs in a leading article on the riot got
up in Philadelphia by male medical students, when in 1869 ladies were
first admitted to the Pennsylvania Hospital:--“Their riotous procedure
is just a manifestation of the same trades-union spirit that will stoop
to any meanness, join in any tyranny, be guilty of any cruelty, rather
than allow interference with what is considered as its ‘vested rights.’
In last week’s _Lancet_ we find a letter from a medical man, who asks
with _naïve_ surprise whether the advocates of female physicians can
possibly be aware that there are hundreds of medical _men_ not able to
make a comfortable living! We know not which most to admire--the cool
assumption that the medical profession exists only or mainly to fill
the pockets of its members, or the serene assurance that takes it for
granted that no woman has a right to expect to be allowed the chance of
earning a living, till all male competitors are safely and sufficiently
provided for! It is rather amusing to contrast the evidently keen
dread of successful competition which degrades a man thus to plead
_in formâ pauperis_, with the voluble assurances, in this and other
medical papers, that nature has clearly interdicted to women the
practice of medicine, and that here at least they cannot but utterly
fail.”--_Scotsman_, Dec. 4, 1869.

[84] _Times_, April 25, 1870.

[85] See _Note J_.

[86] “In answer to an incorrect statement which appeared in one of the
medical papers respecting his class, Dr Alleyne Nicholson has forwarded
to its editor a letter, from which we extract the following passage:--
... “The course of lectures on Zoology, which I am now delivering to a
mixed class, is identically the same as the course which I delivered
last winter to my ordinary class of male students. I have not hitherto
emasculated my lectures in any way whatsoever, nor have I the smallest
intention of so doing. In so acting, I am guided by the firm conviction
that little stress is to be laid on the purity and modesty of those who
find themselves able to extract food for improper feelings from such
a purely scientific subject as zoology, however freely handled. ‘To
the pure all things are pure.’” In the moral courage and manly purity
of the above letter we find fresh cause to congratulate the ladies on
the teacher they have secured on a subject which might easily have
been made offensive by a man of prurient mind. As teachers of truly
scientific spirit become more common, we shall, doubtless, hear less
and less of the difficulties of giving instruction to classes composed
of medical students of both sexes.”--_Daily Review_, June 14, 1870.

[87] I am sorry to say that hardly a year later a majority of these
lecturers were so overborne by the prevailing medical influence, that
they rescinded the above regulations, merely permissive as they were,
and, in spite of the remonstrances of the gentlemen whose classes
we had attended, passed a resolution forbidding any of their number
to instruct lady students, either in mixed or separate classes,
in Surgeons’ Hall. That no doubt whatever might remain as to the
_animus_ which dictated this resolution, they distinctly confined the
prohibition to the case of ladies _who were registered students of
medicine_,--expressly allowing the continued instruction of midwives!
I wish that space would permit of my quoting the remarks made on this
occasion by the _Scotsman_ of July 19, 1871, and by other papers.

[88] See _Note K_.

[89] See _Note L_.

[90] This mob was not wholly or mainly composed of our fellow-students
at Surgeons’ Hall, though a few of them were present. The larger
number, however, belonged to the lowest class of University students,
who had been summoned together by an anonymous missive circulated in
the class-rooms the same morning.

[91] See _Note M_.

[92] It is worth remark that, for the first time within memory, lady
contributors used their right of voting on this occasion, and it is
tolerably significant that more than a dozen voted on our behalf, and
not one against us. The number of doctors who voted for us was three or
four; against us, more than twenty.

[93] The text of the petition was as follows:--

 “_To the Court of Contributors to the Royal Infirmary._

 “LADIES AND GENTLEMEN,--We, the undersigned Women of
 Edinburgh, not being able to attend the Meeting at which the admission
 of Female Medical Students to the Infirmary will be discussed, desire
 hereby to express our great interest in the issues involved, and
 our earnest hope that full facilities for Hospital study will be
 afforded by the Managers to all women who desire to enter the Medical

[94] See _Note N_.

[95] Several of the principal citizens, including the senior member
for Edinburgh, had spoken strongly on our behalf at the meetings just
mentioned; indeed it has been remarkable throughout how strongly the
municipal element has been on our side, while the leaders of the
opposition have, with hardly an exception, been medical men, and their
immediate friends and followers.

[96] See _Note O_.

[97] See _Note P_.

[98] See _Note Q_.

[99] See _Note R_.

[100] On a subsequent very similar occasion the _Scotsman_
remarked:--“It may be noticed that this is the third time that
startling announcements have been fired at the lady students on the
very eve of important examinations, possibly with the professional view
of testing the soundness of their nerves.”--_Scotsman_, March 21, 1872.

[101] The text of the resolution was as follows:--“That in the opinion
of this Council, the University authorities have, by published
resolutions, induced women to commence the study of medicine at the
University; that these women, having prosecuted their studies to
a certain length, are prevented from completing them from want of
adequate provision being made for their instruction; that this Council,
without again pronouncing any opinion on the advisability of women
studying medicine, do represent to the University Court that, after
what the Senatus and Court have already done, they are at least bound
in honour and justice, to render it possible for those women who have
already commenced their studies to complete them.”

[102] _Lancet_, October 28, 1871.

[103] I am assured by Mrs Henry Kingsley, who kindly acted as _Hon.
Sec._ to this memorial, that the signatures might have been multiplied
tenfold, had any organized effort been made to obtain them by means of
paid agents taking the papers from house to house.

[104] “The Edinburgh school has come badly out of its imbroglio with
the lady students. The motion of Dr Alexander Wood, to which we made
reference last week, was negatived by a majority of ten. As we then
pointed out, the issue before the General Council was neither more
nor less than this--to keep faith with the female students whom
the University had allowed to proceed two years in their medical
curriculum. The Council was not asked to commit itself in the slightest
degree to any opinion, favourable or unfavourable, to the admission
of ladies to a medical career. It had only to concede, in common
courtesy, not to say common fairness, the right to which the best legal
advice had clearly shown the female students to be entitled,--the
right to carry on the studies they had been allowed to prosecute half
way towards graduation. Will it be believed? An amendment postponing
the settlement of the difficulty till it had been duly considered by
the authorities of the University was put and carried; as if there
was any more room for “consideration” in the matter! Thus Edinburgh
stands convicted of having acted unfairly towards seven ladies whom
she first accepted as pupils, and then stopped half-way in their
career.”--_Lancet_, Nov. 4, 1871.

[105] “It mattered nothing that firms had voted ever since the
Infirmary was founded; that contributors qualified only as members of
firms had, as has now been ascertained, sat over and over again on
the Board of Management, and on the Committee of Contributors. It was
of equally slight importance that the firms whom it was now sought to
disqualify had been among the most generous benefactors of the charity,
and that, with the imminent prospect before them of great pecuniary
necessity, it would probably be impossible, without their aid, to carry
out even the plans for the new building. The firms had voted in favour
of the ladies, and the firms must go, if, at least, the law would
(as it probably will not) bear out the medical men in their reckless
endeavour to expel them.”--_Scotsman_, January 29, 1872.

[106] At this meeting a Committee of Contributors, previously
appointed, reported in favour of the admission of lady students, and
against the exclusion of the votes of firms, and this Report was
approved by 232 votes to 227. On this occasion there voted for the
approval of the Report 41 ladies and 10 doctors; against it, 6 ladies,
44 doctors, and 5 druggists.

[107] See _Note S_.

[108] See _Note Q_.

[109] In support of this suggestion the Court remarked that the
question had been needlessly “complicated by the introduction of the
subject of graduation, which is not essential to the completion of a
medical or other education.” They _forgot_, however, to mention that
though a degree is “not essential” to a medical education, it _is_
absolutely indispensable to any practical use of it,--that is to say,
to any lawful practice of the medical profession.

[110] The correspondence above referred to is given in _Note T_.

[111] _Scotsman_, March 25, 1872.

[112] _Scotsman_, May 7, 1872.

[113] Though a majority of the Senatus did decide to defend the action,
I believe that it is understood that such decision did not imply, on
the part of all who acquiesced in it, any moral conviction that we are
not entitled to obtain the desired Declarator, since several other
Professors appear to have agreed in feeling with the six dissentients,
but to have acquiesced in the defence of the action for the sake of
having a formal legal decision given on one side or the other.

[114] “I am bold enough to say that there is nothing in the art of
healing which may not fitly be spoken of before an audience of both
sexes, provided there be a generally good tone prevailing among them,
and the lecturer be of a pure and manly spirit. Indeed, I will go
farther, and say that his example in treating subjects of the kind
incidental to his work with equal purity and courage will be far
from the least valuable part of his teaching. It will bring home to
the hearts of his hearers, with more force than any other argument,
the truth that every creature, every ordinance of God, is good and
pure.”--_Medical Women_, by Rev. THOMAS MARKBY. London:

Compare with the above the following statement made by an Edinburgh
medical student in the columns of the _Scotsman_:--“I beg leave to
relate what I myself listened to in a lecture-room of the University,
during the last summer session. On the occasion to which I refer,
the Professor went a long way beyond the requirements of scientific
teaching--into the regions of “spicy” but indelicate narrative--in
order that he might appropriately introduce remarks to the following
effect:--“There, gentlemen, I have minutely described to you those
interesting incidents which it would have been impossible for me to
notice if women were present; and I hope that we may be long spared the
annoyance which their presence here would inflict upon us.” The tempest
of applause that followed showed only too well the harmony which
existed between teacher and pupils on points that would have been far
better left unnoticed.”--_Scotsman_, December 26, 1870.

[115] See “_Medicine as a Profession for Women_,” p. 62.

[116] “The truth is, a class of young men, inferior socially to
their predecessors of ten years ago, now resort to the Edinburgh
School, which has lost much of its attractiveness now that London
and other seats of learning are so well appointed and so efficiently
worked.”--_Lancet_, February 17, 1872.

[117] “_Mundis omnia munda!_ Neither ladies nor lecturers are conscious
of ‘indelicacy’ or ‘breach of decorum.’ Can it be that the unruly
students are ‘nice’ only upon Dean Swift’s principle, because they are
‘nasty?’”--_Globe_, Dec. 10, 1870.

[118] See _Note U_.

[119] “The wrong done to individuals by denying them the training
necessary to the pursuit of a branch of knowledge, and the practice of
an art for which they may have a special taste and capacity, is very
great; and it involves a wrong not less signal to society, in limiting
the sources whence good may come to it.”

  _Daily News_, Nov. 1, 1871.


NOTE A, p. 11.

The following are a few only out of many indications of the existence
of the painful feeling alluded to in the text. The reader will hardly
need to be reminded that this is especially a subject respecting which
a maximum of feeling may well exist with a minimum of expression, for
hardly anything but a sense of duty would make a woman write on such a
question to the newspapers.

 ... “But there remains to be considered the modesty and delicacy of
 the patients,--a question hardly yet mooted; these poor women having,
 I suppose, too much of the reality to raise the point. It cannot be
 denied that at least one-half of the patients of medical men are
 women, or that usually (from natural causes) they require medical
 services more certainly and frequently than men; and operations
 delicate or indelicate, so called, must be performed, questions,
 delicate or indelicate, must be asked, and answered too, if not by the
 patient herself, by the nurse, who, I believe, is usually a woman.

 “There is much reason to believe that many women, either owing to the
 nature of their malady, or from constitutional nervousness or reserve,
 never avail themselves of the services of a medical man without
 reluctance. To them it is always a painful effort--the twentieth time
 as much as the first. It would, I think, be odd if something of this
 kind were not felt very strongly by every woman on some occasions,
 and I have seen very experienced mothers quite distressed, if by any
 chance, they were deprived of the assistance of ‘the doctor they
 were used to.’ The wives of medical men have told me that it was
 their one comfort to feel that in their hour of suffering only their
 own husband and a good nurse need be with them. I think this is not
 unnatural.”--Letter by “MEDICUS,”

   _Pall Mall Gazette_, May 11, 1870.

 “I happened to be speaking to a young shopwoman--a total stranger to
 me--and in the course of conversation advised her to seek medical
 advice, when she replied, with a sudden gush of tears in her eyes,
 that she _had_ been in the Infirmary, in Dr Matthews Duncan’s wards
 for a fortnight, and had during that time suffered so much from the
 constant presence of crowds of male students during certain inevitable
 but most unpleasant examinations of her person, that, as she herself
 forcibly expressed it, ‘it almost drove me mad.’”
   _Daily Review_, Nov. 18, 1870.

 “SIR,--A new obstacle has been thrown in the way of women
 acquiring a knowledge of the medical profession. The special obstacle
 at present is injury to the delicacy of mind of the male students.
 This delicacy, if real, must be a serious drawback to the proper
 exercise of their profession in after life. That it is so, many a
 suffering woman knows.

 “The question, however, arises--which evil is the greater,--that five
 hundred youths, in full health and vigour, should be made a little
 uncomfortable by the presence of seven women, or that seven times five
 hundred women, unnerved by suffering, should be subjected to the very
 trial they shrink from.

 “That women do truly shrink from this trial, the number of wretched,
 broken-down sufferers from chronic disease but too clearly proves. It
 is only when racked by constant pain that a woman’s natural delicacy
 at last gives way, often only to hear said the words (how bitter they
 are!) ‘too late.’

 “The returns of the Registrar-General could easily prove the vast
 sacrifice of life, did delicacy not again step in with ‘consumption
 and liver complaints,’ as more euphonious terms for the real disorders
 of which these are the mere after-results.

 “This objection, looked at fairly, is a case of the delicacy of five
 hundred men _versus_ that of all suffering women.

 “I leave the fathers and husbands of Edinburgh to judge righteous
 judgment thereon.--I am, &c., A SUFFERER.”

   _Scotsman_, November 21, 1680.

 “I think most thoughtful women will bear testimony to the amount
 of preventible suffering that passes unaided, because the natural
 sensibilities of women prevent their resorting with comfort to
 treatment by medical men for certain diseases. I can count almost by
 dozens the cases which have come under my personal observation of
 health ruined, and life’s pleasures and usefulness alike lost with it,
 because young girls (and sometimes older women too) will not submit
 to receive from a man, however respected, the personal examination
 and treatment necessary for their restoration, and because no woman’s
 skill has been at their command. Let your readers divest themselves
 for a moment of conventional habits of thought, and inquire what would
 then be their instinctive opinion of the existing custom which compels
 one sex to be dependent on the other for medical treatment of the
 most delicate kind. Imagine the case reversed. If henceforth women
 alone were to attend on men, what would the world say to that? At any
 rate, is it not time that women should at least be allowed a choice in
 this matter? And if this be so, it is clear that some women must be
 thoroughly educated for the medical profession....--I am, &c., A

   _Manchester Examiner and Times_, November 30, 1870.

 “Mention is rarely made of the many women who are waiting longingly
 for the time when it will be possible for them to consult doctors of
 their own sex--when they will no longer be forced, at the risk of
 their health, and perhaps life, to consult men in circumstances under
 which their natural feelings of delicacy revolt; but I am sure that
 the number of these is not small, and long suffering as they have
 hitherto been, their voice in time will make itself heard, if all
 other monitions are disregarded. I am, &c., A WOMAN WHO DESIRES A

   _Daily Review_, Dec. 22, 1870.

 “We often hear of the possible dislike of male patients to the
 presence of lady students, but let us also give the weaker sex a
 little credit for these same much-talked-of feelings of modesty and
 decency. Many a time have I stood by the bedside of poor girls who
 seemed ready to sink under the shame of being exposed before a number
 of young men--a feeling which could not be overcome even by the agony
 of the operations.... A MEDICAL STUDENT.”

   _Scotsman_, Dec. 26, 1870.

   EDINBURGH, Dec. 28, 1870.

 “SIR,--In the present controversy regarding the extension
 to women of facilities for obtaining a complete medical education,
 it is reiterated on one side that there is a no demand among women
 themselves for doctors of their own sex. In visiting a district
 of nine families in a poor quarter of the Old Town, inhabited
 principally by Irish, I found four women seriously out of health;
 not so seriously, however, but that they might have been cured by
 timely medical advice. I urged each of them more than once to go to
 the Dispensary, but all persistently refused, each of them saying in
 different words that, if ladies were doctors, as they had heard they
 were in some places, they would have had medical advice long before.
 The feelings of these poor women were so strong on the subject that
 I found it was useless to urge them further. It seems only just and
 reasonable that qualified female medical attendants should be within
 the reach of those who either have a strong preference for it, or who
 will not avail themselves of any other.--I am, &c., A DISTRICT

   _Scotsman_, Dec. 29, 1870.

 “As one who, for a short time, was a patient under a late very eminent
 doctor of Edinburgh, I say that I believe nothing would again induce
 me to do what I then did, in ignorance of what was before me. The
 anguish of mind suffered silently by women in such circumstances is
 not to be described, and is likely seriously to influence the effect
 of the medical treatment. It is surely time for men to cease to speak
 of what _women feel_ in this matter. It is impossible for them to
 know what women will never tell them--the unwillingness, the delay,
 often _too long_, which precedes their stammered request for advice.
 What women need is, that some of their own sex should have the power
 of qualifying themselves to act as their advisers. Who has a right to
 say they shall not, when the voice of their countrywomen calls on them
 to do it?--I am, &c., AN ENGLISHWOMAN.”

   _Scotsman_, June 6, 1872.

NOTE B, p. 37.

In answer to the sufficiently arrogant enquiry from Dr Henry
Bennet,--“What right have women to claim mental equality with men?”--I
addressed the following letter to the _Lancet_, and as it seems to me
to sum up our position fairly enough, I here reprint it.

   EDINBURGH, June 21st, 1870.

 “SIR,--I see in your columns of June 18th a letter on ‘Women
 as Practitioners of Midwifery,’ and appeal to your sense of fairness
 to allow me a fourth part of the space it occupied, for a few words in

 “It is hardly worth while to discuss the early part of the letter, as
 the second paragraph sufficiently disposes of the first. After saying
 that women are ‘sexually, constitutionally, and mentally unfitted
 for hard and incessant toil,’ Dr Bennet goes on to propose to make
 over to them, as their sole share of the medical profession, what he
 himself well describes as its ‘most arduous, most wearing, and most
 unremunerative duties.’ In the last adjective seems really to lie the
 whole suitability of the division of labour, according to the writer’s
 view. He evidently thinks that women’s capabilities are nicely
 graduated to fit ‘_half-guinea_ or _guinea_ midwifery cases,’ and
 that all patients paying a larger sum, of necessity need the superior
 powers of the ‘_male_ mind of the Caucasian race.’ Let whatever is
 well paid be left to the man, then chivalrously abandon the ‘badly
 remunerated’ work to the woman. This is the genuine view of a true
 trades-unionist. It is well for once to hear it candidly stated. As I
 trust the majority of medical men would be ashamed of avowing such a
 principle, and as I am sure it would be indignantly disavowed by the
 general public, I do not care to say more on this point.

 “But when Dr Bennet proceeds to dogmatise about what he calls our
 claim to ‘mental equality,’ he comes to a different and much more
 important question. I, for one, do not care in the least either
 to claim or disown such equality, nor do I see that it is at all
 essential to the real question at issue. Allow me to state in a few
 words the position that I, and, as I believe, most of my fellow
 students take. We say to the authorities of the medical profession,
 ‘State clearly what attainments you consider necessary for a medical
 practitioner; fix your standard where you please, but define it
 plainly; put no obstacles in our way; either afford us access to the
 ordinary means of medical education, or do not exact that we shall
 use your special methods; in either case subject us ultimately to
 exactly the ordinary examinations and tests, and, if we fail to acquit
 ourselves as well as your average students, reject us; if, on the
 contrary, in spite of all difficulties, we reach your standard, and
 fulfil all your requirements, the question of ‘mental equality’ is
 practically settled, so far as it concerns our case; give us then the
 ordinary medical license or diploma, and leave the question of our
 ultimate success or failure in practice to be decided by ourselves and
 the public.’ This is our position, and I appeal, not to the chivalry,
 but to the justice, of the medical profession, to show us that it is
 untenable, or else to concede it at once.--I am, Sir, your obedient
 servant, SOPHIA JEX-BLAKE.”

   _Lancet_, July 9, 1870.

NOTE C, p. 46.

The statement in the text was made the subject of a newspaper
controversy; and I append the following very valuable evidence which
was thus elicited in support of my assertion:--

 “SIR,--Permit me to bear my testimony to the state of the
 facts on this question as far as English convents are concerned. I
 was for some years medical attendant to a Franciscan convent, and
 was frequently consulted by the nuns. They were examined and treated
 like other patients, except where certain maladies were concerned,
 and then they suffered in silence, or with such relief as could be
 given by medicines, after a diagnosis founded on questions and general
 symptoms only. I especially remember two cases.... In neither of these
 any examination was permitted, or any surgical treatment regarded
 as a possibility, in spite of all the representations I could make,
 and although, I believe, I possessed the full confidence of the
 patients and of the Superior. Whether a female surgeon would have been
 allowed to examine and operate I cannot say.--I am, Sir, yours, &c.,

   _Lancet_, May 18, 1872.

 “SIR,--Kindly permit me to say a few words with regard to Miss
 Jex-Blake’s statement, that very many women, and in particular, nuns,
 would certainly show a preference for the medical and surgical aid
 of one of their own sex, were any choice possible to them. As being
 myself a Catholic, and having many near relatives nuns, I can most
 confidently confirm this assertion. “I have known, for many years,
 and in the closest intimacy, ladies, members of various religious
 orders, in this country and in France, and I am quite aware that
 recourse to male medical advice, in peculiar cases, is looked upon
 in religious houses as something much more painful than any physical
 suffering, or even death.

 “My father was medical attendant to a convent of English nuns, and I
 think I may safely say that any advice given to nuns in such cases
 was entirely at second hand, the doctor’s wife being the favourite
 resource in these emergencies....

 “Then, again, how can any man, medical or not, know what agonies of
 shame and outraged modesty women can and do undergo, when submitting
 to male medical and surgical treatment? How many women cannot overcome
 their repugnance, and die with their special ailments unsuspected,
 or discovered too late? On the other hand, how many women are at
 great pains to _conceal_ the shrinking which they feel when exposing
 their peculiar ailments to even a long-known and valued medical man?
 Why should we have these added to our other unavoidable sufferings?
 The reality of these feelings is, I am certain, within the personal
 knowledge of every one of your female readers. No one wishes to deny
 modesty to the stronger sex; but let us suppose them _compelled_ to
 reveal all their physical ills to _women_--how would they feel?--I am,

   _Scotsman_, May 27, 1872.

NOTE D, p. 49.

While reviewing the above for the press (May 1872), the following lines
came under my notice, and I think them the more suitable to quote as
they are from the pen of a woman who has never herself shown the least
inclination for the study of medicine, and who, therefore, speaks
entirely from the abstract point of view:--

 “Nothing will ever make me believe that God meant men to be the
 ordinary physicians of women and babies. A few masculine experts
 might be tolerated in special institutions, so that cases of peculiar
 danger and difficulty might not be left, as they are now, to the
 necessarily one-sided treatment of a single sex; but, in general, if
 ever a created being was conspicuously and intolerably out of his
 natural sphere, it is in my opinion, the male doctor in the apartment
 of the lying-in woman; and I think our sex is really guilty, in the
 first place, that it ever allowed man to appear there; and, in the
 second, that it does not insist upon educating women of character and
 intelligence and social position for that post.

 “Indeed, common delicacy would seem to demand that all the special
 diseases of women should be treated principally by women; but this
 aside, and speaking from common sense only, men may be as scientific
 as they please,--it is plain that thoroughly to know the women’s
 organism, what is good for it and what evil, and how it can best be
 cured when it is disordered, one must be one’s self a woman. It only
 proves how much unworthy passion and prejudice the great doctors
 allow to intrude into their adoration of ‘pure science’ and boasted
 love of humanity, that, instead of being eager to enlist the feminine
 intuitions and investigations in this great cause, as their best
 chance of arriving at truth, they are actually enacting the ignoble
 part of churls and misers, if not of quacks. For are they not well
 enough aware that often their women patients are so utterly beyond
 them that they do not know what to do with them! The diseases of
 the age are nervous diseases, and women are growing more nervously
 high-strung and uncontrollable every day, yet the doctors stand
 helplessly by and cannot stop it. When, however, there shall be a
 school of doctresses of high culture and thorough medical education
 going in and out among the sex with the proper medical authority, they
 will see, and will be able to prevent, much of the moral and physical
 neglect and imprudence which, now unchecked in school and home, make
 such havoc of the vital forces of the present generation.”

   “_Co-operative Housekeeping_,” by Mrs C. F. Pierce.

NOTE E, p. 53.

For the edification of the next generation, to whom all this bigotry
will probably appear almost incredible, I subjoin the passage alluded
to in the text. I am sorry to say it is by no means the worst I might
have quoted from the same paper.

 “For ourselves, we hold that the admission of women into the ranks
 of medicine is an egregious blunder, derogatory to the status and
 character of the female sex, and likely to be injurious, in the
 highest degree, to the interests and public estimation of the
 profession which they seek to invade.

 “By insisting on the attendance of all students at the public-class
 delivery of anatomical lectures, and in the public-class
 dissecting-room, the only possible guarantee of uniformity of teaching
 will be obtained, and, at the same time, a difficulty will be placed
 in the way of female intrusion which it will not be easy for women of
 character, and clearly none else are eligible, to surmount. We hope,
 however, that the Court of Examiners will not stop with the erection
 of the barrier we suggest, but that they will distinctly refuse to
 admit any female candidate to examination unless compelled by a legal
 decision from the bench; and we also hope that they will be supported
 in such refusal by the Master and Wardens of the Society, as well as
 by the profession out of doors.”

   _Medical Times and Gazette_, Feb. 27, 1867.

NOTE F, p. 56.

Since the first admission of women to the University of Zurich in 1867,
five women have taken degrees there in Medicine, but none at present in
any other Faculty. During the present year (1872) there are at Zurich
no less than 51 women studying in the Medical Faculty, and 12 in that
of Arts.

NOTE G, p. 62.

 “Now at last the vexed question of mixed classes will be solved,
 and there can be no doubt in the minds of those who have ever been
 engaged in scientific study of the favourable result to be expected.
 It is curious to note in the history of the present movement how,
 one after another, old objections have vanished, and old arguments
 have become no longer available. It is pretty certain that this last,
 and perhaps greatest, stumbling-block to the minds of many will also
 disappear when it is seen with what beneficial results the system of
 mixed education is attended. And one great advantage to be expected
 is the benefit that will accrue from the higher reverence for science
 that must necessarily result from such a system. Once admit the
 impropriety of teaching men and women together, and you tax science
 with impurity; and while such a feeling is entertained (and it surely
 must be lurking in the minds of those who oppose mixed classes), the
 study of science, if not absolutely injurious, must be robbed of great
 part of its power to elevate the mind and heart.... Science has had to
 fight many a hard battle. For a long time it was asserted that science
 and religion were antagonistic to each other, but a Faraday has shown
 us how the two may go hand in hand, each helping and supporting the
 other. Last April we were told that the study of science was linked
 with impurity of thought, and we look upon the present action of the
 Lecturers of Surgeons’ Hall as a result of the indignant protest which
 every pure-minded man of science must have longed to utter against
 such a wholly false and calumnious statement. It is as the champions
 of science rather than of medical women that these gentlemen must be
 regarded. In any case science would have passed through this last
 attack, as she has ever done through all similar attacks, victorious
 and unscathed and unrestrained in her power to bless and help mankind;
 but the lecturers of our city have the no small honour of having
 publicly testified their unqualified conviction of the entire purity
 of all scientific knowledge and research.... Now that the Lecturers
 of Surgeons’ Hall have come forward as a body to affirm the same
 principle, we may indeed hail the beginning of the end, and may trust
 soon to see the day when the man who condemns the teaching of science
 to classes of both men and women will simply stand self-convicted as
 wanting alike in true scientific spirit and in genuine purity of mind.”

   _Daily Review_, July 11, 1870.

 “It seems that two ladies have this week applied for admission as
 students to St Thomas’s Hospital in London, and a medical contemporary
 makes this fact the excuse for a fresh onslaught on all women who
 may, for the sake of a thorough medical education, wish to enter the
 existing schools which at present possess a legal monopoly of that
 education. The editorial delicacy declares--‘that any women should
 be found who desire such fellowship in study is to us inexplicable.’
 This ill-bred sneer directed against ladies as medical students is
 peculiarly ill-timed at a moment when the medical profession are
 loudly calling on women to come to their aid in the military hospitals
 of the Continent, teeming, as we know them to be, with horrors which
 certainly far surpass any that ladies are likely to encounter in their
 ordinary course of study, and which must inevitably be witnessed in
 company ‘with persons of the opposite sex.’ Certainly no reasons of
 delicacy at least can justify women’s co-operation in the one case,
 and yet demand their exclusion in the other.

 “The truth is, that of course a certain conventional standard of
 propriety exists, which it is well and desirable to maintain under
 ordinary circumstances, as between persons of opposite sexes; and this
 rule forbids the casual discussion of most medical and some scientific
 subjects in chance audiences composed of ladies and gentlemen. But a
 higher law remains behind--_Salus populi suprema Lex_. If perishing
 humanity cries aloud for help, as during the present fearful struggle,
 we should think little of the pretended delicacy which could hinder
 either men or women from flocking to the rescue, and bid them
 pause, ‘in the name of modesty,’ to consider whether, under these
 circumstances, drawing-room proprieties would always be observed. So,
 too, when the question really at stake is whether all women are to be
 deprived of the medical services of their own sex, for fear some men’s
 ‘delicacy’ should be shocked by the idea of their studying in the
 ordinary class-rooms, it is time to protest that, true science being
 of necessity impersonal, is absolutely pure. We remember that, when
 an attack was made on Dr Alleyne Nicholson a month or two ago, for
 admitting women to his classes, he replied in a letter to one of the
 medical papers, that he laid ‘small stress on the purity or modesty of
 those who find themselves able to extract food for improper feelings
 from a purely scientific subject,’ and we confess that we are inclined
 to share his opinion, which we suspect will be that of all the noblest
 and most enlightened men of science.

 “A great deal of nonsense has been talked with reference to ‘mixed
 classes,’ and as it is probable that the subject may come up again
 in a practical shape before long, it is as well to say a few plain
 words about the question at issue. First of all, let it be clearly
 established that medicine cannot be taught advantageously, nor
 indeed legally, in holes and corners to half-a-dozen or even a dozen
 students. In the very paper in which appeared the offensive paragraph
 to which we have alluded, we find a plea for the consolidation of the
 London Medical Schools into a smaller number, because ‘there are not
 students enough’ to support them all in perfection, and because two
 or three well-paid lecturers with abundant apparatus could teach to
 far greater advantage than twice or thrice that number under present
 circumstances. If this is true where there are at least several
 hundred students to be divided among the eleven existing schools,
 how palpably absurd it is to recommend our countrywomen to ‘have
 separate places of medical education and examination,’ when the whole
 number of ladies desiring to study medicine in England may perhaps
 number a score! Our own University professors tell us plainly that
 separate classes for half-a-dozen ladies are an impossibility, and
 the practical experience of Surgeons’ Hall, pointing in the same
 direction, evidently guided its lecturers in their recent vote. The
 broad fact, therefore, must be accepted, that either the door must be
 shut in the face of all women, and that at a moment when some of them
 are proving to a demonstration their remarkable fitness to enter it,
 or they must be allowed, as they long ago requested, to enter quietly
 and without remark, and take their places with other students, to
 learn the common lessons equally necessary for all.

 “And, after all, what are the arguments on the other side? We are
 told oracularly that what is proposed is _contra bonos mores_, and are
 warned with equal solemnity of the imminent downfall of any school
 that dares to break loose from the bondage of Medical Trades-Unionism
 and afford to women exactly the same advantages as to other students.
 We do not wish to speak solely, or even chiefly, in the interests of
 women; we wish to look at the question broadly and with a view to the
 possible moral results to the public at large; and from this point of
 view we cannot but feel that the more general association of the sexes
 in earnest labour, and especially in scientific and medical study, may
 be of the greatest importance to the community. Though the traditions
 of the Bob Sawyer period are happily passing away, there yet seems to
 linger an idea that medical students as a rule adopt a lower moral
 standard and are of a more generally reckless character than those
 studying for other professions. If this is so, may not the explanation
 be found in the sort of half-expressed idea that seems prevalent in so
 many people’s minds that there is in medical study something which, if
 not actually improper and indelicate, certainly tends that way, and
 had better be ignored as much as possible--something at least which
 the average public would probably sum up as ‘rather nasty.’ We believe
 that it is on this popular idea--which every true physician would
 indignantly disclaim--that the opponents of women’s education trade
 when they try to enlist public feeling against mixed classes. They
 talk in a vague and very offensive way about certain studies which
 form a necessary part of medical education, and not being themselves
 capable of seeing the true dignity and profound purity of all science,
 especially when pursued with the aim of succouring pain and combating
 disease, they manage too often to impress the general public with the
 idea that by sanctioning the joint study of medicine by men and women
 the said public would commit itself to some shocking impropriety,
 all the more awful for being quite indefinite--_omne ignotum pro
 magnifico_. It is probable that this sort of vague terror is, in fact,
 the best weapon yet forged against women students, but, like many
 another terror, it is one that vanishes in the clear daylight. Let it
 once be broadly understood that science has no hidden horrors, that
 the study of God’s works can never be otherwise than healthful and
 beautiful to every student who brings to their contemplation a clear
 eye and a clean hand, and this weapon of darkness will be shivered for
 ever. We believe, indeed, that nothing could be more desirable for the
 average young medical student than to find himself associated in daily
 study with women whom he cannot but respect; nothing more calculated
 to give him an earnest sense alike of the dignity and of the purity
 of his vocation than to labour in it side by side with ladies whose
 character and whose motives are to him a daily reminder that he and
 they alike are set apart both as the votaries of science and the
 ministers of suffering humanity.”

   _Daily Review_, October 11, 1870.

NOTE H, p. 78.

The following extracts will show the position and opportunities of
study enjoyed by lady probationers and nurses at London hospitals. The
first is taken from a letter written by a lady who was herself trained
as a surgical nurse in a hospital. She writes:--

 “In the ordinary course of the day’s work, I went round the wards with
 the visiting surgeons, and at the same time as the students, and, in
 fact, I should think, enjoyed exactly the same opportunities that
 people profess to be so much shocked at your desiring to obtain in
 Edinburgh. Part of my time was spent in study in the female and part
 in the male wards; and I never found either students or patients see
 anything at all exceptional in my presence in the latter, though I
 often had to perform services for the male patients which would never
 be expected of you as students. When any patients from my wards went
 into the theatre, for operation, I, as a matter of course, accompanied
 them, and was present during the operation, standing often quite near
 the surgeon, however many students might be there at the time. I was,
 therefore, constantly associated with the students in the hospital
 work, as were all the other ladies studying in the same capacity, and
 I never saw any difficulty in this arrangement, nor had any reason to
 suppose that the students did.”

Thinking that a lady’s evidence might be challenged on this matter, I
wrote to one of the principal surgeons of the Middlesex Hospital for
confirmation of her statement, and received the following reply:--

 “Nurses and lady probationers are present in the wards, and attend the
 surgeons in their visits, and are present at operations. The students
 never, so far as I observed, took any notice of the question as to
 whether the female attendants in the wards were ladies or ordinary
 nurses--never, in short, troubled themselves about them.”

While on the subject, I will quote an extract from a letter received
from Dr Elizabeth Blackwell, the first Englishwoman who ever received a
medical degree. She says:--

 “I walked St Bartholomew’s Hospital in the years 1850–51. I received
 permission to do so from the Governors, and was received by the
 medical faculty with a friendly courtesy for which I shall always be
 grateful. I always went round with the class of students during the
 physician’s visits. The medical class numbered about thirty students.
 I spent between five and six hours daily in recording and studying
 cases. During the visits, I never received anything but courtesy
 from the students. When studying in the wards, I received much kind
 assistance from the clinical clerks and dressers. While leaving the
 hospital the treasurer said to me--‘When we gave you permission to
 enter, we thought we were doing something so unusual that we were
 rather anxious about the result, but, really, everything has gone on
 so quietly, so exactly as usual, that we had almost forgotten you
 were here.’ ... My observation of mixed study is, that a small select
 number of women may join an ordinary school with little difficulty,
 and that there is even less trouble in arranging hospital visiting
 than class-room instruction.”

The last case that I will cite with reference to hospital instruction
is that of Mrs Leggett, who is now attending as a regular student in
Steevens’ Hospital, Dublin, and who writes:--

 “I had the unanimous consent of the Board to pursue my medical
 studies in Steevens’ Hospital. As to the medical students, they are
 always civil. Dr Macnamara, President of the College of Physicians of
 Ireland, said it was his opinion that the presence of ladies would
 refine the classes.”

With reference to the attendance of this lady, Dr Hamilton, Medical
Secretary of Steevens’ Hospital, writes--

 “So far as we have gone, we find the education of mixed classes in one
 hospital to work very well.”

NOTE I, p. 93.

The following are a few only out of very many expressions of public
indignation at this episode:--

 “One of the most singular of University ‘scandals’ comes to us from
 decorous Edinburgh. True, it is the very antithesis of cases--such as
 are only too familiar on this side the Border--of debauchery at night,
 and a scene in court next morning, but it is not a whit the less
 discreditable. The transgressor, however, is not a college student,
 but a college professor. The case admits of, we might say demands,
 historic treatment. Some years ago, Dr Hope, then Professor of
 Chemistry in the University, gave a course of lectures to ladies--at
 that time quite an experiment--and was so much gratified, we are
 told, at their popularity, that he devoted the proceeds, amounting
 to about a thousand pounds, to found what have since been termed
 Hope Scholarships. We now get to a very modern period indeed. The
 Chemistry class during last winter numbered no less than 236 students,
 of whom six were ladies, who had been admitted to study in the
 medical classes, ‘in accordance with the decision of the University
 authorities at the beginning of the session.’ A few days ago the
 results of the examination were made known, when it appeared that one
 lady, Miss Mary Edith Pechey, was in the proud position of third in
 the list of honours, and another lady, Miss Sophia Jex-Blake, tenth.
 Miss Pechey’s success is the more gratifying, inasmuch as she is a
 fresh student, while the two gentlemen who stood above her on the
 list have attended a previous course of lectures. Dr Crum Brown, the
 Professor of Chemistry, in announcing the results, took upon himself
 to say that he should pass over Miss Pechey and award one of the Hope
 Scholarships to the next male on the list. This is directly in the
 teeth of the regulations made and provided for his guidance; according
 to which these scholarships are to be awarded to ‘the four students
 whose names stand highest in the chemistry class for the session.’
 We understand that Professor Crum Brown justifies his action on the
 ignoble plea ‘that the women now studying in the University class do
 not form part of the University class, on account of their meeting at
 a different hour.’ Great indignation has very naturally been excited
 in Edinburgh by this incident, and the question has been referred to
 the Senate of the University, who, though a corporate body, will, we
 hope, act as honourable men.”

   _Manchester Examiner and Times_, April 6, 1870.

 “The inferior sex has always been a nuisance and a bore. A wise old
 Sultan of Turkey used to ask, whenever anything went wrong, ‘Who was
 she?’ One day while the Sultan was making an addition to his palace
 (as is the habit of Sultans), a labourer fell from the scaffold and
 was killed. ‘Who was she?’ said the Sultan at once. The inferior sex
 is always plaguing the superior sex in one way or another, and now
 it seems that the inferior sex are winning _our_ scholarships over
 our most sacred heads. This is a matter which must be looked to. We
 will stand a great deal, but this is going a little too far; we must
 agitate; members must pledge themselves on the hustings to a bill
 providing that any one of the inferior sex who gains a scholarship
 must not have it at any price whatever, or we shall all be undone. We
 must have an Act for the repression of women; we are very sorry to
 say such terrible words, but the thing must be done: it had better be
 done at once while the nation is in a mood for repression. Particular
 cases thrust themselves prominently on the national mind, and cause
 legislation: the Coercion Bill for Ireland was thrust on to an
 unwilling Government by a very few of the later agrarian outrages: the
 last ounce breaks the camel’s back. If Miss Edith Pechey chooses to
 come in _facile princeps_ at the head of the Chemistry Class of her
 year, we of the superior sex must really look to ourselves. We have
 the power of legislation still left in our hands, and we warn such
 ladies as Miss Edith Pechey and Miss Jex-Blake that we shall use it.
 We must have a bill for the protection of the superior sex.

 “We feel sure that the ladies will forgive joking about a very absurd
 matter. Ladies should surely understand the power of ridicule.
 We think that the ‘_reductio ad absurdum_’ in this matter is the
 proper line of argument. The facts of the case seem to be simply
 these:--After protracted delays and much discussion, the University
 authorities last autumn vouchsafed to ladies the permission to
 enter the College as matriculated medical students, with the single
 restriction that their instruction should be conducted in separate
 classes. On referring to the minutes of the University Court, we
 find the following definition of the position to be taken by the new
 students:--‘All women attending such classes shall be subject to all
 the regulations now, or at any future time, in force in the University
 as to the matriculation of students, their attendance on classes,
 examination, or otherwise.’ We turn to the Calendar to see what are
 the ‘regulations in force in the University’ as to examination in
 chemistry, and we find at page 84 the following:--‘The class honours
 are determined by means of written examinations held during the
 session. The four students who have received the highest marks _are
 entitled to have the Hope Scholarships_ to the laboratory of the
 University.’ The ladies accepted in good faith the regulations of the
 University, and, fired by a laudable ambition to prove themselves
 worthy of the privileges now accorded for the first time to women,
 worked with an assiduity that may be guessed when it is found that
 one of them, Miss Pechey, actually gained the highest number of
 marks awarded during the session to any student attending chemistry
 for the first time, though she was excelled (by one and two marks
 respectively) by two gentlemen who had gone through a previous
 course of lectures. But when the day arrived which was to reward all
 this work, the Professor announced, without, as it seemed to us, a
 shadow of justification, that the four scholarships would be given,
 _not_ according to the University regulations to the four students
 ‘_entitled to them_,’ but to the three gentlemen who had won the
 first, second, and fourth places, and to the one who stood fifth on
 the list, this last having earned a most honourable place by his
 talents and industry, but _not_ the Hope Scholarship, though now he
 has, of course, the right to claim free admission to the laboratory
 as it has been promised to him. This, then, is a University episode.
 Six students are admitted on the distinct understanding that, with one
 exception (dictated, as we think, by a whimsical propriety), they are
 to be ‘subject to the regulations of the University;’ no hint is given
 to them that this statement is analogous to the one which pithily
 describes women’s political condition in England--‘_He_ means _she_
 when it’s a question of hanging; _he_ doesn’t mean _she_ when it’s a
 question of voting.’ The ladies are encouraged to exert their utmost
 power for work; when the rewards are to come, and it is found that one
 of them has earned one of the highest honours attainable by the class,
 she is calmly informed that that honour has been given to somebody
 else! A neater instance of generosity with other people’s property it
 has never been our lot to witness, and we don’t care how long it is
 before we repeat the experience.

 “The only excuse that we can with the utmost stretch of charity
 imagine in this case would be that Dr Crum Brown thought some
 difficulty might arise respecting Miss Pechey’s use of the
 scholarship (which gives free admittance to the laboratory), under
 the restrictions now imposed on women by the University Court--for
 we will not suppose for a moment that the Professor could himself
 wish to impede the further progress of a student of such merit. But
 if such difficulty occurred it might be an excellent reason for
 relaxing those restrictions, when they are seen to deprive a student
 of the full reward of her past work, and at the same time to prevent
 her prosecuting further the study in which she has so distinguished
 herself; but we are quite at a loss to see how any legitimate argument
 can be drawn thence to justify Dr Brown in laying violent hands on a
 scholarship which has been fairly earned by one person for the purpose
 of presenting it to another. It is possible that A’s circumstances
 may prevent his deriving full benefit from some of his possessions,
 but the law would hardly consider this fact a valid reason for B’s
 ‘annexing’ the said possession for the benefit of C. If Dr Brown
 chooses to admit a fifth student to the laboratory he can of course do
 so, but unless we are greatly mistaken he will probably be informed
 by the Law Faculty (whom he might previously have consulted with
 advantage) that neither he nor any other person can alter the fact
 that Miss Pechey and no one else _is_ third Hope Scholar.”

   _Daily Review_, April 1, 1870.

 “A very odd and very gross injustice appears to have been attempted
 in the University of Edinburgh. In that University the lady medical
 students are taught in a separate class,--not from any wish of their
 own, but through the delicacy of the professors. In the chemical
 class, Miss Edith Pechey gained the third place, and was first of
 the first year’s students, the two men who surpassed her having
 attended the class before. The four students who get the highest marks
 receive four Hope Scholarships,--scholarships founded by Dr Hope some
 years ago out of the proceeds of a very popular _ladies’ class_ of
 chemistry, with the success of which he had been much gratified. Yet
 Miss Edith Pechey was held by the professor not to be entitled to the
 third scholarship, and omitting her name, he included two men whom
 she had beaten, and who stood fourth and fifth in the examination,
 his excuse being that the women are not part of the University class,
 because they are separately taught. Yet Dr Crum Brown awards Miss
 Pechey a bronze medal, to which only members of the University class
 are said to be entitled! It is quite clear that such a decision cannot
 stand. To make women attend a separate class, for which they have to
 pay, we believe, much higher fees than usual, and then argue that they
 are out of the pale of competition because they do so, is, indeed, too
 like the captious schoolmaster who first sent a boy into the corner
 and then whipped him for not being in his seat.”

   _Spectator_, April 9, 1870.

 “The letter Miss Pechey addressed to us the other day was written in
 an admirable spirit, and must insure her the hearty sympathy of all,
 whatever their opinions upon the points in question. She has done her
 sex a service, not only by vindicating their intellectual ability
 in an open competition with men, but still more by the temper and
 courtesy with which she meets her disappointments. Under any view
 of the main question, her case is a hard one, for it is clear both
 she and the other lady students were led to attend the classes under
 the misapprehension of the privileges to which they were admissable.
 If the University intended to exclude ladies from the pecuniary
 advantages usually attached to successful study, the intention should
 have been clearly announced. Miss Pechey, in the spirit of a true
 student, says she is abundantly repaid for her exertions by the
 knowledge she has acquired; but it is none the less hard that, having
 been encouraged to labour for a coveted reward, and having fairly won
 it, she should be disqualified by a restriction of which no warning
 had been given her.”

   _Times_, April 25, 1870.

 “There are probably few persons who did not learn with regret the
 decision of the Edinburgh Senatus in respect of the Hope Scholarships.
 It is not pleasant that such a story of, at least, seeming injustice
 should circulate through foreign universities, to the discredit of
 our own, for there cannot be much doubt as to the view that will
 be taken of the case by those nations--now forming the majority in
 Europe--who have admitted women to their medical colleges on terms of
 exact fairness and equality with their other students.... A medical
 contemporary argues that this affair proves how unwise it was to
 admit women to the University of Edinburgh--such admission being, as
 is asserted, the natural source of ‘constant squabbles.’ But most
 unprejudiced people, judging the case at first sight, would surely
 rather see here the evil of a partial, restricted, and permissive
 legislation. If women have a claim to medical education at all, they
 have exactly the same claim as men; if they are to be received as
 students at all, they must certainly be treated with even-handed
 justice, and not as social or rather academical _pariahs_, to whom
 the bare crumbs of instruction are vouchsafed as a grace and bounty;
 while all the honours and rewards are to be reserved to their male
 competitors. Looking at the thing for a moment, merely in the
 interests of the young men, and as a question of expediency, we cannot
 imagine anything much worse for their moral guidance than to find that
 women are indeed to compete with them, but so shackled that they can
 never win; or rather that, if they do win, the prizes will be snatched
 from their grasp and given to men whom they have beaten. We have heard
 that, in both classes where the ladies have this year studied, a very
 unusual access of zeal and energy has been noticed among the gentlemen
 in the other section of the class--a happy effect of such competition,
 which has often been observed in the mixed colleges of America, and
 which surely need not be neutralised here by the providence of the

   _Scotsman_, April 15, 1870.

 “The Senatus has, by a small majority, confirmed Professor Crum
 Brown’s decision with regard to Miss Pechey and the Hope Scholarship,
 on the grounds previously presumed by us. But these grounds, if so
 they may be called, are in our opinion insufficient to deprive Miss
 Pechey of the Scholarship. Whatever may be our views regarding the
 advisability of ladies studying medicine, the University of Edinburgh
 professed to open its gates to them on equal terms with the other
 students; and unless some better excuse be forthcoming in explanation
 of the decision of the Senatus, we cannot help thinking that the
 University has done no less an injustice to itself than to one of its
 most distinguished students.”

   _British Medical Journal_, April 16, 1870.

NOTE J, p. 96.

For the credit of the profession, I append also the following indignant
protest from the chief medical paper:--

 “There are very varying opinions abroad in the medical profession and
 among the public, as to the advisability of allowing women to practise
 medicine. There are still more serious and widely-spread doubts as
 to the possibility of educating ladies in the same lecture rooms and
 dissecting rooms with male students. But, until last week, we were not
 aware that any one in the profession, or out of it, held that the mere
 fact of ladies wishing to be educated in common with men, in order
 that they might make sure of receiving the highest and most thorough
 scientific training, justified those who held contrary opinions in
 loading them with abuse and vulgar insult. It has been reserved for
 Dr Laycock, professor in the famous University of Edinburgh, to set
 an example which, we trust, even the least courteous and gentlemanly
 of first-year’s students will hesitate to follow.... We shall only
 remark that if the coarsest of those few students who still keep alive
 the bad traditions of the Bob Sawyer period had given utterance to
 the insinuations which were used by this distinguished Professor, we
 should simply have shrugged our shoulders, and concluded that the
 delinquent would be at once expelled with ignominy from his school.
 Unfortunately there are no such punishments for highly-placed men like
 Dr Laycock, but at the least we can express the deep indignation and
 disgust which we are certain every gentleman in the profession must
 feel at the outrage of which he has been guilty.”

   _Lancet_, April 30, 1870.

NOTE K, p. 101.

The following are the papers referred to in the text:--

(1.)--_Letter from the Lady Students._

 “MY LORD AND GENTLEMEN,--We, the undersigned registered
 students of medicine, beg to lay before you the following facts, and
 to request your kind attention to them:--

 “On applying in the usual course for students’ tickets of admission to
 attend the practice of the Royal Infirmary, we were informed by the
 clerk that the Managers were not prepared to issue tickets to _female_
 medical students. We earnestly request you to reconsider this decision
 on the following grounds:--

 “1. That the authorities of the University of Edinburgh and of the
 School of the College of Physicians and Surgeons have admitted our
 right to study medicine with a view to graduation.

 “2. That an important and indispensable part of medical education
 consists in attending the practice of a medical and surgical hospital,
 and that the regulations of the Licensing Boards require, as part of
 the curriculum of study, two years’ attendance at a ‘general hospital
 which accommodates not fewer than eighty patients, and possesses a
 distinct staff of physicians and surgeons.’

 “3. That the only hospital in Edinburgh possessing the required
 qualifications is the Royal Infirmary, and that exclusion from that
 institution would therefore preclude the possibility of our continuing
 our course of medical study in this city.

 “4. That, in the present state of divided opinion on the subject, it
 is possible that such a consummation may give satisfaction to some;
 but we cannot suppose that your honourable Board would wish to put
 yourselves in the attitude of rendering null and void the decisions
 of the authorities of the University of which we are matriculated
 students, and of the School of the College of Physicians and Surgeons,
 where we are now attending the classes of anatomy and surgery.

 “5. That it has been the invariable custom of the Managers to grant
 tickets of admission to students of the University and of Surgeons’
 Hall, and that, as far as we are aware, no statute of the Infirmary
 limits such admission to students of one sex only.

 “6. That the advertised terms on which the wards of the Infirmary
 are open to all registered and matriculated students were such as to
 leave no doubt on our minds that we should be admitted; if, therefore,
 our exclusion should be finally determined, we shall suffer great
 pecuniary loss and damage by this departure of the Managers from their
 advertised regulations.

 “7. That if we are granted admission to the Infirmary by your
 honourable Board, there are physicians and surgeons on the hospital
 staff who will gladly afford us the necessary clinical instruction,
 and find no difficulty in doing so. In support of the above assertion,
 we beg to enclose the accompanying papers, marked A. and B.

 “8. That we are fellow-students of systematic and theoretical surgery
 with the rest of Dr Watson’s class in Surgeons’ Hall, and are
 therefore unable to see what legitimate objection can be raised to our
 also attending with them his hospital visit.

 “9. That a large proportion of the patients in the Infirmary being
 women, and women being present in all the wards as nurses, there can
 be nothing exceptional in our presence there as students.

 “10. That in our opinion no objection can be raised to our attending
 clinical teaching, even in the male wards, which does not apply with
 at least equal force to the present instruction of male students in
 the female wards.

 “11. That we are unable to believe it to be in consonance with the
 wishes of the majority of the subscribers and donors to the Infirmary
 (among whom are perhaps as many women as men) that its educational
 advantages should be restricted to students of one sex only, when
 students of the other sex also form part of the regular medical

 “We beg respectfully to submit the above considerations to the notice
 of your honourable Board, and trust that you will reconsider your
 recent decision, which threatens to do us so great an injury, and
 that you will issue directions that we, who are _bona fide_ medical
 students, registered in the Government register by authority of the
 General Council of Medical Education and Registration of the United
 Kingdom, be henceforth admitted to your wards on the same terms as
 other students.--We are, my Lord and Gentlemen, yours obediently,


 “November 5, 1870, 15 Buccleuch Place.”

  November 5, 1870.

 _Paper A._--“We, the undersigned physicians and surgeons of the
 Royal Infirmary, desire to signify our willingness to allow female
 students of medicine to attend the practice of our wards, and to
 express our opinion that such attendance would in no way interfere
 with the full discharge of our duties towards our patients and other

 In _paper B_, Dr Matthews Duncan and Dr Joseph Bell expressed their
 readiness, if suitable arrangements could be made, to teach the female
 students in the wards separately.

(2.)--_Letter from, Dr Handyside and Dr Watson._

  November 5, 1870.

 “MY LORD AND GENTLEMEN,--As lecturers in the Edinburgh
 Medical School, we beg most respectfully to approach your honourable
 Board, on behalf of the eight female students of this school whom,
 we understand, you object to admit to the practice of the Royal
 Infirmary. On their behalf we beg to state:--

 “1. That they are regularly registered students of medicine in this

 “2. That they are at present attending, along with the other students,
 our courses of anatomy, practical anatomy, demonstrations of anatomy,
 and systematic surgery, in the school at Surgeons’ Hall.

 “3. That as teachers of anatomy and surgery respectively, we find no
 difficulty in conducting our courses to such mixed classes composed of
 male and female students, sitting together on the same benches; and
 that the presence of those eight female students has not led us to
 alter or modify our course of instruction in any way.

 “4. That the presence of the female students, so far from diminishing
 the numbers entering our classes, we find both the attendance and the
 actual numbers already enrolled are larger than in previous sessions.

 “5. That in our experience in these mixed classes the demeanour of the
 students is more orderly and quiet, and their application to study
 more diligent and earnest, than during former sessions, when male
 students alone were present.

 “6. That, in our opinion, if practical bedside instruction in the
 examination and treatment of cases is withheld from the female pupils
 by the refusal to them of access as medical students to the practice
 of the Infirmary, we must regard the value of any systematic surgical
 course thus rendered devoid of daily practical illustration, as
 infinitely less than the same course attended by male pupils, who have
 the additional advantage of the hospital instruction under the same

 “7. That the surgical instruction, being deprived of its practical
 aspect by the exclusion of the female pupils from the Infirmary, and
 therefore from the wards of their systematic surgical teacher, the
 knowledge of these female students may very reasonably be expected to
 suffer, not only in class-room examinations, but in their capacity to
 practise their profession in after life.

 “8. That our experience of mixed classes leads us to the conviction
 that the attendance of the female students at the ordinary hospital
 visit, along with the male students, cannot certainly be more
 objectionable to the male students and the male patients than the
 presence of the ward nurses, or to the female patients than the
 presence of the male students.

 “9. That the class of society to which these eight female students
 belong, together with the reserve of manner, and the serious and
 reverent spirit in which they devote themselves to the study of
 medicine, make it impossible that any impropriety could arise out of
 their attendance upon the wards as regards either patients or male

 “In conclusion, we trust that your honourable Board may see fit, on
 considering these statements, to resolve not to exclude these female
 students from the practice of, at all events, those physicians and
 surgeons who do not object to their presence at the ordinary visit
 along with the other students.

 “Such an absolute exclusion of female pupils from the wards of the
 Royal Infirmary as such a decision of your honourable Board would
 determine, we could not but regard as an act of practical injustice
 to pupils who, having been admitted to the study of the medical
 profession, must have their further progress in their studies
 barred if hospital attendance is refused them.--We are, my Lord and
 Gentlemen, your obedient servants,


At a meeting of the lecturers of the Extra-mural School, held in
Surgeons’ Hall, on Wednesday, Nov. 9, the following resolution was
proposed and carried, a corresponding communication being laid before
the Managers at their meeting on Saturday, Nov. 12, 1870:--

 “That the extra-mural lecturers in the Edinburgh Medical School do
 respectfully approach the Managers of the Royal Infirmary, petitioning
 them not to offer any opposition to the admission of the female
 students of medicine to the practice of the institution.”

The following letter was also submitted at the next meeting:--

  “15 Buccleuch Place, Nov. 13, 1870.

 “MY LORD AND GENTLEMEN,--To prevent any possible
 misconception, I beg leave, in the name of my fellow-students and
 myself, to state distinctly that, while urgently requesting your
 honourable Board to issue to us the ordinary students’ tickets for the
 Infirmary (as they alone will ‘qualify’ for graduation), we have, in
 the event of their being granted, no intention whatever of attending
 in the wards of those physicians and surgeons who object to our
 presence there, both as a matter of courtesy, and because we shall be
 already provided with sufficient means of instruction in attending the
 wards of those gentlemen who have expressed their perfect willingness
 to receive us.--I beg, my Lord and Gentlemen, to subscribe myself your
 obedient servant, SOPHIA JEX-BLAKE.”

 “To the Honourable the Managers of the Royal Infirmary.”

NOTE L, p. 102.

As ballads are said to be even more significant than laws of the
popular feeling, I do not apologise for appending the following:--



(_Suggested by a recent Students’ Song, containing the following

    “_The little band plied the battering ram,
    With General Blake at its head,
    When ‘specials’ rose five hundred strong,
    And raised the siege--they fled,
                              Brave Boys!_”)

       *       *       *       *       *

    ONCE more the trumpets sound to arms!
    Once more ring forth war’s wild alarms!
    Once more be Scotia’s host poured forth
    To guard the bulwarks of the North--
          The foe is o’er the Tweed!
    Bring forth the banner Flodden saw,
    Rear high the standard of the war!
    Let every Gael in battle stand,
    To drive the invader from the land--
          Speed to the rescue, speed!

    What mean the rushing footsteps fleet?
    What mean the squadrons in the street?
    “Five hundred specials” now appearing--
    Five hundred voices hoarsely cheering,
          Wild and disorderly!
    Strange oaths pollute the evening air,
    Foul jests the banners proudly bear;
    What mean these bands in fierce array?
    Champions of “delicacy” they,
          And manly modesty.

    Then marked the bard who stood afar
    The gallant leaders of the war--
    The plumèd crest of Andrew Wood,
    Who for his sons in battle stood,
          A Christison hard by!
    A Turner, Laycock, Lister too,
    All met for deeds of derring-do;
    Gillespie, Douglas (Oh, that shame
    Should fall on that time-honoured name!),
          Dun-Edin’s chivalry.

    To arms! to arms! the foe is nigh,
    “Five hundred specials” do or die!
    Admiring Europe’s eyes are cast
    On Scotia’s greatest fight, and last,
          O’er her Infirmary!
    Press on! press on! Immortal gods!
    What matter if o’erwhelming odds
    Make others blush--_they_ know no shame,
    “Brave boys!” led on by chiefs of name
          To glorious victory!

    The foe at last! With modest mien
    And gentle glance, at length are seen
    The seven women, whom to crush
    The noble hundreds onward rush,
          Undaunted to the fray!
    What if in idle tales of yore
    The man to guard the woman swore!
    Such trash is bygone!--_now_ men stand
    To guard their _craft_ from female hand,
          In nineteenth century!

    “_Women_ to claim _our_ lordly state!”
    Cries Reverend Phin in fierce debate.
    “_Women_ to strive _our_ gains to share!”
    Shrieks Andrew Wood in wild despair,
          “While five fair sons have I!”
    “That _English_ girls should thus aspire!”
    Quoth Christison in Scottish ire.
    “Though their princess to Scotland come,
    We’ll drive these errant damsels home,
          For hospitality!”

    “Great is Diana!” loudly cry,
    Be imprecations heard on high!
    Be mud upgathered from the street,
    And flung with ribald oaths, to greet
          The dreadful enemy!
    Seven women yield, they must confess
    On t’other side is _major vis_;
    Glorious Five hundred, O rejoice!
    Swell, each “brave boy” with tuneful voice,
          Pæans of victory!

    _Scotsman_, Feb. 10, 1871.

NOTE M, p. 103.

The following letter is an excellent illustration of the indignation
felt by the more manly students at the events referred to:--

   “EDINBURGH, November 19, 1870.

 “SIR,--As a certain class of medical students are doing their
 utmost to make the name of medical student synonymous with all that is
 cowardly and degrading, it is imperative upon all those who wish to be
 regarded as men, either individually or collectively, to come forward
 and express, in the strongest possible terms, their detestation of the
 proceedings which have characterised and dishonoured the opposition to
 ladies pursuing the study of medicine in Edinburgh. In the name, then,
 of all that is courteous and manly, I, as a student of medicine, most
 indignantly protest against such scenes as were enacted at the College
 of Surgeons on the evenings of Thursday and Friday last, and indeed on
 several occasions during the week.

 “I would it were possible to point out to public execration the movers
 and actors in such scenes; but it is difficult to decide where the
 responsibility begins.

 “Are only the hot-headed youths to be blamed who hustle and hoot at
 ladies in the public streets, and by physical force close the College
 gates before them? Or are we to trace their outrageous conduct to the
 influence of the class room, where their respected professor meanly
 takes advantage of his position as their teacher to elicit their mirth
 and applause, to arouse their jealousy and opposition, by directing
 unmanly inuendoes at the lady students? If such conduct be permissible
 on the part of the professors, alas for the school whose teachers have
 not even but one halfpennyworth of manliness to their intolerable deal
 of nastiness, or boasted philanthropy, as the case may be, and whose
 students crowd the academic precincts to hustle, hoot at, cover with
 mud, and even to strike at, ladies who have always shown themselves to
 be gentle and noble women.

 “The current report is, that these disgraceful outrages were
 originally and principally carried out by students of the College
 of Surgeons. This is contrary to fact. Certainly the majority of
 them conducted themselves in a most contemptible manner, roused, not
 by a word or look from the ladies, but by the possibility of being
 outstripped by them in the race for honours; and therefore did they
 elect to end the rivalry by an appeal to brute force. The truth,
 however, is that the rioters were called together by a missive,
 circulated by the students in the _Chemistry Class of the University_
 on Friday morning, on the back of which was written, “To be opened by
 those who signed the petition to the managers against the admission of
 female students.” This missive called upon the petitioners to assemble
 at the College of Surgeons before four o’clock, for the purposes
 which they so thoroughly carried out. The proceedings of Friday will
 therefore enable the public now to judge of the value which the
 majority of the managers of the Infirmary ought to have attached to
 the prayers of _such_ petitioners. Moreover, the professor who is
 to receive the complimentary address which is being got up by the
 same memorialists for his exertions in their cause, must feel highly
 flattered by the implied association.

 “What now is to be done with this vexed question of female education?
 Will it be settled by continuing those brutal exhibitions, or by
 asking the ladies to withdraw? Neither course is likely to prove
 successful. Another and a more honourable course has been suggested
 by some of the original memorialists, who--considering their honour
 dearer to them than their sympathies--declare that the blot can
 only be wiped away by their joining to aid the ladies who have
 been so thwarted and so abused in obtaining the object for which
 they have wrought so hard and endured so bravely.--I am, &c.,  VIR.”

   _Scotsman_, November 22, 1870.

NOTE N, p. 107.

The following is the petition referred to:--

 “_To the honourable the Managers of the Royal Infirmary._

 “MY LORD AND GENTLEMEN,--We, the undersigned Students
 of Medicine, moved solely by feelings of honour and justice,
 desire to approach your honourable board on behalf of our female
 fellow-students, whom, we understand, you object to admit to the
 practice of the Infirmary, under any circumstances whatever.

 “We do not pretend to offer any opinion on the question of mixed
 classes, or on the medical education of women; but we consider that,
 as the University of Edinburgh has admitted those ladies as students
 of medicine, and as they have now been engaged for some time in
 striving honourably and successfully to gain a knowledge of our
 profession, it is great injustice to attempt to bar their further
 progress by refusing them permission to attend the practice of the

 “We also have certain pretensions to feelings of decency and morality,
 but we are not aware that the lady students have either attempted or
 succeeded in outraging them. On the contrary, our feelings have been
 outraged by the unthinking and misguided of those of our own class
 who oppose them; for their disgraceful actions we would seek to atone
 by asking your honourable Board to make some arrangement by which the
 ladies may be admitted to the practice of the wards.

 “As a matter of compromise, we would respectfully request that the
 ladies be admitted to the wards of the three medical gentlemen who
 are willing to receive them. On our part we beg leave to express
 our perfect willingness to attend with them in considering the most
 serious and delicate cases in the wards.

 “We feel proud to assert our ability to study those cases from
 scientific and philanthropic points of view, with those feelings of
 delicacy and kindness which ought to actuate every medical man who has
 female patients under his care.”

NOTE O, p. 109.

The results of the winter session 1869–70 have been given in the
text. During the succeeding summer session all the lady students
(six in number) appeared in the prize lists in both classes which
they attended, viz., Botany and Natural History. During the next
winter, 1870–71, the classes taken were Anatomy and Surgery. Out of
seven ladies, three were in honours in Anatomy (one of them in two
departments), and four in Surgery. During the summer of 1871 there were
five lady medical students in the Botany Class, and of these three
appeared in the prize lists,--one of them in two departments. During
the winter 1871–72, nine ladies attended Chemistry, and, of these,
seven appeared in first-class honours, Miss Pechey, in this her second
course, obtaining 100 per cent.; nine also attended Physiology, and,
of these, two obtained first-class and three second-class honours; six
being also in honours in Practical Physiology.

It must be understood that, in the above statement, I have included
only those ladies who were regular students of medicine; other ladies,
on several occasions, joined the classes, and also appeared in the
prize lists.

NOTE P, p. 110.


 “In view of the determined opposition from certain quarters which
 has met every effort made by ladies to obtain a medical education
 in Edinburgh, it was resolved, in January 1871, that a Committee
 should be formed, comprising all those who felt the injustice of the
 present arbitrary exclusion of women from the medical profession, and
 who desired to co-operate in the following objects:--(1.) To arrive
 at a thorough understanding of the real difficulties of the case,
 distinguishing clearly between those hindrances which are interposed
 by prejudice or self-interest, and the real obstacles (if any) which
 are inherent in the question. (2.) To secure the admission of women
 to Edinburgh University on the ordinary terms, though not necessarily
 in the same classes with men. (3.) To provide the means of qualifying
 Hospital instruction in Edinburgh for all ladies who are registered
 students of medicine.

 “To these primary objects the circumstances of the case have
 subsequently led the Committee to add the following:--(4.) To make
 such temporary arrangements as may be required to provide the ladies
 with qualifying instruction, in accordance with the present incomplete
 regulations of the University, until such time as the authorities
 themselves may see fit to make complete and adequate arrangements.
 (5.) To co-operate, from time to time, with the lady students,
 whenever necessary, and especially to aid them in obtaining such legal
 assistance as may be required to ascertain and assert their rights as
 matriculated students of the University, and as registered students of

 “Of this Committee the Lord Provost of Edinburgh consented to act
 as chairman; and the following ladies and gentlemen constituted the
 original Executive Committee: The Right Hon. The Lord Provost; Dr
 G. W. Balfour; Professor Bennett, M.D.; Dowager Countess of Buchan;
 Mrs Hill Burton; Professor Calderwood; Treasurer Colston; Andrew
 Coventry, Esq.; James Cowan, Esq.; Mrs Fleeming Jenkin; Mrs Henry
 Kingsley; Professor Lorimer; Professor Masson; Miss Agnes M‘Laren;
 David M‘Laren, Esq.; Dr Macnair; John Muir, Esq., D.C.L.; Mrs Nichol;
 Dr Niven; Alexander Nicholson, Esq.; Admiral Sir W. Ramsay, K.C.B.; Dr
 Heron Watson; Miss Eliza Wigham. W. S. Reid, Esq., _Hon. Treasurer_;
 Miss L. Stevenson, _Hon. Secretary_.”

NOTE Q, pp. 110, 120.

The case, drawn up by order of the Committee and submitted to Counsel,
contained the facts relating to the Edinburgh lady students, which are
narrated in the text, and further proceeded, as follows:--

 “ ... It is stated in ‘Maitland’s History of Edinburgh’ that the first
 mention of erecting a College in Edinburgh was found in the will of
 Robert Reid, Bishop of Orkney, who, dying in 1558, bequeathed eight
 thousand Scottish merks towards founding a College ‘for the education
 of youth.’

 “In the subsequent benefactions and charters granted by Queen Mary in
 1566, and by King James in 1582, no stipulation is made as to the sex
 of the students for whose benefit the College was to be established;
 and in 1583 proclamation was made inviting ‘all who were inclined to
 become scholars therein’ to enter their names in a certain book opened
 for the purpose.

 “The older University of Glasgow was founded under a Bull granted by
 Pope Nicholas V. at the suit of James II. of Scotland, and in this
 Bull it was expressly stated that the University of Bologna was to
 be followed as a model, and that the doctors, masters, and students
 of Glasgow were to enjoy all the privileges and rights possessed by
 those of Bologna. There is abundant historic evidence that women were
 never excluded from the University of Bologna, but frequently studied
 and took degrees there during the Middle Ages, and that no less than
 seven women at different times filled professorial chairs in this
 University, three of them being in the Medical Faculty, viz.:--

 “Dorotea Bucca, Professor of Medicine, early in the fifteenth century;
 Anna Morandi Mazzolini, Professor of Anatomy, 1750; Maria Della Donne,
 Professor of Midwifery, 1810.

 “It appears that the University of Edinburgh was founded generally
 on the same model, and the University Calendar states that ‘in 1621
 an Act was passed by the Scotch Parliament which ratified to the
 University, in ample form, all the rights, immunities, and privileges
 enjoyed by other Universities in the kingdom.’

 “There does not appear, in any of the statutes or ordinances
 subsequently issued, any regulation that male students alone should
 attend the University; nor in the recent Act of 1858 is there any such
 regulation. As a matter of fact, no applications for admission to the
 University of Edinburgh seem to have been made by women until the year
 1869, as above mentioned.

 “In the Universities (Scotland) Act of 1858, section 12, power was
 given to the University Court ‘to effect improvements in the internal
 arrangements of the University, after due communication with the
 Senatus Academicus, and with the sanction of the Chancellor, provided
 that all such proposed improvements shall be submitted to the
 University Council for their consideration.’

 “By the same act (section 21), provision was made for ‘providing
 additional teaching by means of assistants to the Professors in
 any professorships already established or to be established,’ and
 several assistants were accordingly appointed by the Commissioners
 under the Act; and, subsequently, the Senatus appointed certain other
 assistants, and made them allowances out of the University revenues.
 None of these assistants have, however, hitherto delivered courses of
 lectures qualifying for graduation, though there does not appear to be
 any clause in the Act which forbids their doing so. The only course of
 instruction qualifying for medical graduation which is given entirely
 by an assistant is that of practical chemistry.

 “During the illness or absence of professors, temporary substitutes to
 lecture in their stead have frequently been appointed by the Senatus,
 with the sanction of the University Court.”

The following Queries were not all asked in the first instance, but
in part on a subsequent occasion (see p. 120); as, however, they were
all submitted on the same case, and concern the same subject, I give
them here consecutively, arranged in the order in which the Opinions
obtained thereon were presented to the Senatus or University Court:--

 “_Query_ 1.--In the permission given to women to study ‘for the
 profession of medicine’ in the University of Edinburgh (bearing date
 November 12, 1869), was it involved in clauses 1, 2, and 6, that they
 should be allowed to pass the ordinary professional examinations
 and to proceed to the degree of M.D. in the University, subject
 only to the restrictions laid down in the said regulations; and is
 it therefore incumbent on the Medical Faculty to admit them to the
 necessary examinations to the extent of the subjects in which they are
 already qualified to pass?

 “_Opinion._--Reading the regulations referred to in connection with
 the resolutions of the Medical Faculty which were approved of by the
 Senatus, the University Court, and the General Council, we think
 that their import and meaning is that, subject to the restrictions
 laid down in the regulations, women shall be allowed not merely to
 qualify themselves for the ordinary professional examinations with a
 view to obtain a medical degree in the University, but also, when so
 qualified, to be admitted to these examinations. We are, therefore, of
 opinion that it is the duty of the Medical Faculty to admit them to
 examination accordingly.

 “_Query_ 2.--If this was not involved, is it in the power of the
 Senatus, either alone or in conjunction with the University Court,
 to accord the required permission to admit them to professional
 examination with a view to graduation?

 “_Opinion._--Upon the ground of keeping faith with the women who have,
 in reliance upon the regulations and in compliance with the terms
 thereby prescribed, qualified themselves for professional examination
 with a view to graduation, we are of opinion that the Senatus is
 entitled to direct that they shall be admitted to examination; and
 we also think that, without any further direction or authority than
 the regulations necessarily imply, the Medical Faculty is entitled to
 admit them to examination.

 “_Queries_ 3 and 4.--Is it competent for the Senatus, either directly
 or in conjunction with the other University authorities, to appoint
 special lecturers to deliver qualifying courses of lectures to women
 who are matriculated and registered students of medicine, when such
 instruction cannot be obtained from the professors of the special
 subjects in question? Is it competent for the Senatus or other
 University authorities so far to relax the ordinary regulations with
 respect to extra-mural classes as to authorise women to attend outside
 the University those courses of lectures which are denied to them by
 the Professors within the walls, such courses being held to qualify
 for graduation beyond the number of _four_, as contemplated in the
 present regulations?

 “_Opinion._--If the existing regulations with respect to graduation in
 medicine stand upon statutes passed by the University Commissioners,
 whose powers have now expired, it is competent for the University
 Court to alter them with the written consent of the Chancellor and
 with the approval of Her Majesty in Council. This is provided by
 section 19 of the Act of 1858. If they stand on the authority of the
 Court, or of any other power in the University itself, we should think
 that they may be altered by the University Court under section 12 of
 the Act, ‘after due communication with the Senatus Academicus, and
 with the sanction of the Chancellor,’ but with the proviso that the
 proposed alteration ‘shall be submitted to the University Council for
 their consideration.’ In one or other of these ways it appears to
 us that any provision which may be deemed necessary, or proper and
 reasonable, for enabling women to complete their medical studies, with
 a view to graduation, maybe made.”

 “_Query_ 5.--Whether the Senatus, University Court, University Council
 and Chancellor, had collectively the power of granting to women the
 permission to matriculate as students as they did in 1869, and whether
 the regulations issued officially (November 12, 1869) are valid as
 regards such matriculation?

 “_Opinion._--We are of opinion that the University Court, in virtue
 of the powers conferred upon it by the 12th section (2) of the Act
 1858, have power, after communication with the Senatus, and with the
 sanction of the Chancellor, and after the University Council have
 considered the subject, to grant permission to women (as they did in
 1869) to matriculate as students, and the resolutions of the Court in
 that year are valid.

 “_Query_ 6.--Whether the medical Professors are exonerated from
 obligation to teach, in some way or other, all matriculated students,
 by the fact, that, in clause 3 of the regulations quoted above, it is
 merely stated that they ‘shall be permitted to have separate classes
 for women?’

 “_Opinion._--The University Court having statutory powers to ‘effect’
 improvements in the ‘internal arrangements of the University,’ and it
 being within their power, under this enactment, to allow women to be
 educated at the University, we are of opinion that this resolution
 must be carried out in good faith and obeyed by the Professors. The
 third resolution of the University Court of November 1869, which
 ‘_permits_’ the Professors to have separate classes for women, in no
 way derogates from the resolution of the Court that women ‘shall be
 admitted to the study of medicine.’

 “_Query_ 7.--In case such women as are matriculated students of
 medicine in the University are refused instruction by the individual
 medical Professors, what is their legal mode of redress, and against
 whom should it be directed?

 “_Opinion._--We are of opinion that the University Court can compel,
 by action, the medical Professors to obey the resolutions of November,
 1869, by holding separate classes for the education of women. With
 respect to the title of the women, we think that those of them who
 have matriculated and passed the preliminary examinations have a
 title, and may enforce their rights by action. The proper form of
 action is, we think, a declarator against the Professors refusing to
 obey the resolution of the University Court, with petitory conclusions
 to the effect that they should be ordained to hold separate classes
 for the instruction of the pursuers, they receiving their due

 “_Query_ 8.--Whether, in the first constitution or charter of the
 University, or in any of the subsequent statutes, there is anything
 which limits the benefits of the University to male students.

 “_Opinion._--The Charter of Erection and Confirmation of the ‘College
 of Edinburgh’ by King James VI., dated 14th April, 1582, granted
 certain lands and revenues to the Magistrates and Town Council of
 Edinburgh, with a license to employ those revenues, and such others
 as well-disposed persons might bestow on them, in the erecting of
 suitable buildings for the use of professors and ‘scholars’ of
 grammar, humanity, and languages, philosophy, theology, medicine,
 and laws, and other liberal sciences. The King, by this charter
 (as interpreted by decision of the Courts), delegated to, or
 conferred upon, the magistrates and Town Council the character of
 patron and founder of this new seminary of education. The powers
 of superintendence and control thus conferred upon the Magistrates
 and Council remained with them till the Act of 1858 was passed, by
 which the more important powers were transferred to the University
 Court. The Magistrates and Council never conferred upon the College
 any independent constitution, so as to enable the members of it to
 exercise any power of internal government. As founders, patrons, and
 delegates intrusted by the royal grant, the Magistrates and Council
 remained in the full right of management, regulation, and tutelage of
 their own institution.

 “An Act of Parliament was passed in 1621 (c. 79), which may be
 considered as the charter of erection of the University. It narrates
 the charter of 1582, and the licence thereby given to found a College
 and choose Professors, and sets forth the King’s zeal for the growth
 of learning, and his purpose to grant the College all immunities
 enjoyed by other colleges. The statute then confirms the erection of
 the College, and ratifies all the mortifications made to the town by
 the King or others towards its support. It bestows on the College
 the name of ‘King James’ College,’ and grants to the Magistrates ‘in
 favour of the said burgh of Edinburgh, patrons of the said College,
 and of the College, and of rectors, regents, bursars, and _students_
 within the same, all liberties, freedoms, immunities, and privileges
 pertaining to a free College, and that in as ample a form and large
 manner as any College has or bruickis within His Majesty’s realm.’

 “The statute concludes with ordaining a new charter to issue, if need
 be, for erecting the College, with all such privileges and immunities.
 No such charter was ever issued; but the statute itself may be held
 equivalent to a charter. It was a charter in favour of the Magistrates
 and Council as founders and patrons, and in no way prejudiced, but on
 the contrary confirmed their power of superintendence, control, and
 regulation of all matters concerning the internal government of the

 “We are of opinion that, in virtue of the powers they thus possessed,
 the Magistrates and Town Council could at any time, during their 266
 years of University rule, have done what the University Court did in
 1869--grant permission to women to be educated at the University.

 “On examining the records, we find that the superintendence of the
 patrons was active and constant. They made, at various times during
 the two centuries and a half while their jurisdiction lasted, sets
 of laws and regulations for the College, which embrace all things
 connected with the duties and rights of professors and students, the
 series and order of studies, the days and hours of lecture, the books
 to be read, the conduct of students in and out of College hours, the
 modes of trial and graduation, the attendance of the professors at
 their classes, attendance at church, dress to be worn by students,
 fees to be paid, &c., &c. “All these regulations proceed on the
 footing that only male students attended the University; many of them
 were inapplicable to females, and we cannot find any trace of its
 being contemplated by the patrons that females might be students. And
 we do not find any evidence of a female having attended the University.

 “Therefore, while we are of opinion that the Magistrates and Council
 had the power to pass a regulation authorising the attendance of women
 at the University, and to compel the professors to teach them, yet as
 they never passed any such regulation, no women could have insisted
 upon admission to University education as a legal right prior to 1869.

 “The University Court, by sec. 12 (2), are now vested with all the
 powers of internal management and regulation formerly possessed by
 the Magistrates and Council; they have done what the latter never
 did, although they lawfully might. They have, by their resolution of
 November 1869, given to women the right to demand, equally with male
 students, admission to the University.”

NOTE R, p. 111,

 “The extraordinary history of the vicissitudes endured by the lady
 students seems at last to have reached its most extraordinary phase.
 It appears, as stated in our columns of yesterday, that on Saturday
 last the Medical Faculty of the University of Edinburgh--a body which,
 collectively, forms one of the law-makers of the College--passed a
 vote by a majority whereby they instructed their Dean deliberately
 to break a law of the University, or rather expressly ‘interdicted’
 him from complying with it. What makes the matter the more remarkable
 is that this special law was in the first instance inaugurated by
 themselves, and subsequently approved by the Senatus and other
 authorities, and incorporated in the official regulations published
 in the ‘Calendar.’ ... It would seem clear enough that a decision
 which had been deliberately confirmed by each university authority
 successively, and which had thus become law, could not be disturbed
 by any one except after an equally formal process of revocation.
 It is, however, well known that, though all the bodies enumerated
 passed the above regulations by a majority, there was in most cases
 a dissatisfied minority, who wished that all privileges should be
 withheld from the lady students. It would have surprised no one to
 hear that a formal attempt had been made to obtain the withdrawal of
 the privileges conferred; but the public were probably sufficiently
 astonished to learn yesterday that, though no such open and honourable
 attempt had been made, a secret _coup d’état_ was planned, by which it
 was apparently hoped, at the very last moment, when no appeal to the
 Senatus, or other authorities was possible, to crush the hopes of the
 medical ladies, at least for the present year. At the Faculty meeting
 to which we have referred, a vote was actually passed to ‘interdict’
 the Dean, whose friendliness to the ladies was well known, from giving
 to any women who were about to join the medical class the papers
 necessary to enable them to pass the preliminary examination in Arts,
 which is indispensable before registration--this examination having
 been not only previously allowed, but actually passed by numerous
 ladies on no less than four occasions! At this same notable meeting,
 a vote was also passed that the Medical Faculty should disregard
 alike their own previous resolutions, the official regulations of the
 ‘Calendar,’ and the tickets of admission already paid for and obtained
 by those other ladies who are now ready to proceed to their first
 professional examination; and, accordingly, a letter was sent to each
 of these three ladies, informing them that their tickets had been
 granted ‘in error,’ and that they could not be examined ‘without the
 sanction of the Senatus Academicus,’ as if that sanction had not been
 already given in the most emphatic manner!

 “The story is not a pleasant one. That a minority, obliged to
 acquiesce in an act of liberality on the part of the majority,
 should, when unable to prevail by fair means, endeavour to compass
 their end by a side-wind and in an underhand manner, is sufficiently
 discreditable; but that, rather than relinquish their own dogged
 resolution to obstruct the ladies, these Professors should
 deliberately abstain from all previous warning of the means they
 intended to employ--should allow many months of severe study to
 be passed with a definite aim and hope, and should then silently
 dig a pitfall at the very threshold of the door through which the
 ladies must pass, and hope, by an arbitrary exercise of authority
 against a few wholly unprepared women, completely to destroy their
 prospects, for the present year at least--is something almost too
 monstrous to be believed, did the circumstances admit of any doubt
 in the matter. Whether these medical gentlemen really supposed that,
 by their unsupported fiat, they could set aside all the existing
 regulations of the University, or whether they trusted to the ladies’
 want of knowledge in legal matters not to challenge their authority,
 it is of course impossible to say, but one would rather believe in
 the ignorance of law implied by the former alternative, than in the
 lamentable want of honourable feeling that would be conveyed in the
 latter. Be this as it may, it is not easy to exaggerate the damaging
 effect that a story of this kind is likely to have on the minds of the
 public. That such a line of conduct _could_ be planned and carried out
 by a body of men claiming the name of gentlemen, and belonging to a
 profession that calls itself ‘liberal’ and ‘learned,’ is perhaps as
 striking a proof as could be given of the fatally blinding influence
 of professional prejudice and unreasoning trades-unionism.”
   _Scotsman_, Oct. 20, 1872.

 “We confess that the conduct of the medical faculty amazes us. Can
 they suppose that such obstructions are calculated to stop the
 movement? Why should they not show a little practical sense, and
 choose their fighting-ground with reasonable judgment? A single
 Professor, whose classes must be attended according to present
 regulations, might have hoped successfully to resist the demand that
 he should teach mixed classes. There are many people who do not look
 with particular complacency upon the efforts of a few ladies to obtain
 a place in the medical profession; but paltry persecutions like these,
 and little dodges sprung upon them suddenly, will assuredly turn the
 popular tide in their favour. The medical profession seem to think
 that they have only got to get behind these too devoted students,
 and shout ‘bo!’ loud enough to frighten them out of their five wits.
 They might surely have known Miss Jex-Blake better by this time. Are
 the Edinburgh Medical Faculty really afraid of the competition of
 the ladies? Do they look upon them as ‘knobsticks,’ against whom the
 doors must be closed in spite of law, reason, and liberty? They are
 welcome to their fears--narrow as they are--and to their opinions on
 the question of lady doctors; but we trust that the University of
 Edinburgh will see that its regulations are maintained. Having given
 permission to females to study medicine under conditions which are
 strict enough, and even somewhat hard, the University must prevent
 any combination of Professors from taking the matter into their
 own hands, and debarring the ladies from the privileges for which
 they have so gallantly fought. In the meantime, we congratulate the
 five ladies on the prompt spirit in which they have repelled the
 insidious attempt of a majority of the medical faculty--we believe
 only a very small majority--to cut their studies short. We need not
 urge them to persevere, for they seem to have that ‘faculty’ in
 predominance, but we think we can assure them that every victory that
 they gain, and every defeat that they suffer, adds to the number of
 their sympathisers, and breaks down no inconsiderable portion of
 the mountain of prejudice that they had to face when they commenced
 their career as students. If the Medical Professors want to defeat
 them, they must get better advisers, and not court humiliation. Their
 present counsellor is like Adversity, ugly and venomous in appearance
 only. Without the ‘precious jewel,’ the treasure of ill-judged and
 unreasonable persecutions, which he carries in his head, the little
 forlorn hope of courageous ladies, whose ranks are thinned from time
 to time by marriage and other maladies, would hardly be so likely to
 plant their triumphant flag on the top of the Castle rock at last.”

   _Glasgow Herald_, October 20, 1871.

NOTE S, p. 119.

The following verses are no bad indication of the popular feeling
respecting the incidents narrated above, and this is rendered the more
characteristic by the national form in which it finds expression:--


(_A New Version o’ an Auld Sang_,)

_Dedicated without special permission to Sir Robert Christison, Bart.,
and intended to be sung at the next convivial meeting of the “Infirmary


      It fell aboot the New-Year time,
        And a gay time it was then, oh!
      That the lady students in oor auld toon
        Had a fecht wi’ us medical men oh!
    _Chorus_--Aboot the barrin’ o’ oor door weel, weel, weel,
                The barrin’ o’ oor door weel.

    When first they cam’ tae learn oor craft
      We laughed at them in oor sleeve oh!
    That women could e’er gang on wi’ sic wark,
      What medical man could believe oh!
        _Chorus_--For the barrin’, &c.

    So we pouched a’ the fees they gied tae us
      For lecture or for Exam. oh!
    We fleeced them a’ as clean and as bare
      As was ever a sheep or a lamb oh!
        _Chorus_--A’ for the barrin’ o’ oor door, &c.

    But when we found they meant to use
      The knowledge for which they had paid oh!
    And on the trade o’ us medical men
      Micht mak’ a furious raid oh!
        _Chorus_--We began the barrin’ o’ oor door, &c.

    Hech, sirs, tae drive thae women awa’
      Was a job baith sair and teuch, sirs;
    It gied Sir Robert and Andrew Wood
      Vexation and bother eneuch, sirs.
        _Chorus_--Did the barrin’ o’ oor door, &c.

    Oor students got up a bonny bit mob
      To gie the ladies a fright, sirs;
    Wi’ physical force, Young Physic did wark,
      Tae get us oot o’ oor plight, sirs.
        _Chorus_--And help the barrin’ o’ oor door, &c.

    We frightened the douce Infirmary folks
      W’ stories o’ classes mixed, sirs;
    They werena just true--but what o’ that?
      We a’ hae oor ain trade tricks, sirs.
        _Chorus_--For the barrin’ o’ oor door, &c.

    Scandals we spread owre a’ the toon
      Against the ladies’ guid fame, sirs;
    We drove them frae the Infirmary gate,
      Though some citizen fools cried “Shame,” sirs.
        _Chorus_--For the barrin’ o’ oor door, &c.

    But they lived a’ scurrilous scandals doon
      Wi’ true feminine perversity--
    They roused the folk owre a’ oor town
      ’Gainst oor clique in the University.
        _Chorus_--For the barrin’ o’ oor door, &c.

    A year gaed by, and then they tried
      Again tae force their way, sirs,
    Into the wards we’ve sworn maun be oors
      Until oor dying day, sirs.
        _Chorus_--For the barrin’ o’ oor door, &c.

    Sir Robert bullied and cracked his big whip,
      And Turner put on the screw, sirs;
    Yet we a’ got beaten that New-Year’s Day,
      For the ladies’ friends stood true, sirs.
        _Chorus_--Oh! the barrin’ o’ oor door, &c.

    Sir Robert looked blue when he heard o’ the vote,
      And Turner he tore his hair, sirs;
    He forgot there wasna muckle to tear,
      Sae deep was his despair, sirs,
        _Chorus_--Aboot the barrin’ o’ oor door, &c.

    And Andrew Wood fell into the airms
      O’ twa o’ his “five fair sons,” sirs;
    “Puir bairns,” quo’ he, “we’ll a’ starve noo,
      For oor craft will be over-run, sirs.”
        _Chorus_--Oh! the barrin’ o’ oor door, &c.

    And Nicholson whimpered wi’ clerical whine,
      And Muirhead shook his fist, sirs,
    As he thocht o’ how the Scotsman wad chaff
      O’ the class he had that day missed, sirs.
        _Chorus_--And the barrin’ o’ oor door, &c.

    Lister wept owre his petulant speech,
      When he swore he’d resign his chair, sirs,
    If women entered the hospital wards--
      Eh! noo he repented him sair, sirs.
        _Chorus_--For the barrin’ o’ oor door, &c.

    But when we cam to oor senses a’,
      We planned a bonny bit plan, sirs,
    Tae quash the votes o’ thae merchant firms
      That supported the ladies’ men, sir.
        _Chorus_--For the barrin’ o’ oor door, &c.

    The firms may leave us--we carena a straw--
      The Infirmary may sink, sirs,
    If we may but keep females aff oor preserve,
      We carena what folk think, sirs.
        _Chorus_--O’ the barrin’ o’ oor door, &c.

    The Infirmary meeting against us gaed,
      But the Court o’ Session befriends us;
    Oot o’ the hospital managing board
      Neither women nor traders shall send us!
        _Chorus_--For the barrin’ o’ oor door, &c.

    Confusion, then, let each man drink
      To the ladies and their supporters, sirs;
    For Monopoly’s rights let us a’ fecht or fa’,
      Or be brayed up small in oor mortars, sirs!
        _Chorus_--Ho! for the barrin’ o’ oor door weel! weel! weel!
              The barrin’ o’ oor door weel!

    _Scotsman_, Feb. 13, 1872.

NOTE T, p. 125.

This correspondence is so remarkable that I subjoin it entire.

(1) _To the University Court._

   “15 Buccleuch Place, November 21, 1871.

 “GENTLEMEN,--It is now two years since you passed a series of
 resolutions, dated 12th November 1869, to the effect that ‘women shall
 be admitted to the study of medicine in the University.’

 “In the time that has since elapsed, I and those ladies who
 matriculated with me at that date, have completed one-half of the
 studies necessary for graduation in the University of Edinburgh.
 Nearly five months ago, I ventured to point out to the Senatus
 Academicus that, unless further arrangements were made, it would be
 impossible for us to complete the studies which we have begun with
 your express sanction. After pointing out the existing difficulties, I
 ventured further to make two suggestions, either of which, if adopted,
 might enable us to complete our education in the University. In reply,
 however, I was informed that the Senatus, ‘having taken the opinion of
 counsel with reference to the proposals contained in the memorial of
 date 26th June 1871, find themselves unable to comply with either of
 those proposals.’

 “I understand, however, that since the date referred to, another legal
 opinion has been obtained from the Lord Advocate and Sheriff Fraser,
 and has been laid before the Senatus, and by them forwarded to your
 honourable Court. As, however, the Senatus still appear unwilling to
 initiate any measure by which we may be relieved from our present
 difficulties, I feel constrained now to appeal to you, in my own name
 and that of my fellow-students, to take such action as shall enable us
 to complete our studies.

 “I beg to represent to you that we have all paid matriculation fees
 for the present year, and are by our tickets declared to be ‘Cives
 Academiæ Edinensis,’ and that yet we, who commenced our studies in
 1869, are unable during the present session to obtain any further
 classes whatever towards completing our required course of study.

 “We understand from those friends who have taken legal opinion on
 the subject--and doubtless such opinion will be laid before you
 simultaneously with this letter--that we are entitled to demand from
 the University the means of completing our studies, and that, failing
 any other alternative measures, we can claim the instruction of the
 Medical Professors to the extent needed to complete our curriculum.

 “We beg, therefore, most respectfully to request that, unless any
 other mode of supplying our needs seems preferable to you, you will
 vouchsafe to ordain that the Professors, whose courses we are bound
 by the University regulations to attend, shall give us the requisite
 instruction.--I beg to subscribe myself, Gentlemen, your obedient


(2.) _Minute of University Court of January 8, 1872._

 “The University Court have had under consideration the letters of Miss
 Jex-Blake and Miss Louisa Stevenson, of 21st November, 1871, and other
 relative documents laid before them on behalf of the women who have
 been admitted by the regulations of the Court of November 10th, 1869,
 to study medicine in the University.

 “In these papers it is stated that certain Professors of the Faculty
 of Medicine have declined to give separate classes of instruction to
 women; and the Court are asked either (1) to extend, in the case of
 female medical students, the privilege granted by ordinance by the
 Universities’ Commissioners, to lecturers, not being Professors in
 a university, of qualifying for graduation by their lectures, which
 privilege is now restricted to four of the prescribed subjects of
 study; or (2) To authorise the appointment of special lecturers to
 give, in the University, qualifying courses of instruction in place
 of those Professors who decline to do so; or (3.) To ordain that the
 Professors referred to shall themselves give the necessary courses of
 instruction to women.

 “The second course suggested it is not in the power of the Court, or
 other University authorities, singly or jointly to adopt.

 “The third course is equally beyond the power of the Court. The Act of
 1858 vests in the Court plenary powers to deal with any Professor who
 shall fail to discharge his duties, but no Professor can be compelled
 to give courses of instruction other than those which, by the use and
 wont of the University, it has been the duty of the holders of his
 chair to deliver.

 “The first of the proposed measures would imply an alteration in one
 of the ordinances for graduation in medicine (No. 8, clause vi.,
 4). Such alteration could be made by the University Court only with
 the consent, expressed in writing, of the Chancellor, and with the
 approval of Her Majesty in Council.

 “But to alter, in favour of female students, rules laid down for the
 regulation of graduation in medicine would imply an assumption on the
 part of the Court, that the University of Edinburgh has the power of
 granting degrees to women. It seems to the Court impossible to them to
 assume the existence of a power that is questioned in many quarters,
 and which is both affirmed and denied by eminent counsel. So long
 as these doubts remain, it would, in the opinion of the Court, be
 premature to consider the expediency of taking steps to obtain, in
 favour of female students, an alteration of an ordinance which may be
 held not to apply to women.

 “Though the Court are unable to comply with any of the specific
 requests referred to, they are at the same time desirous to remove,
 so far as possible, any present obstacle in the way of a complete
 medical education being given to women,--provided always that medical
 instruction to women be imparted in strictly separate classes.

 “The Court are of opinion that the question under reference has been
 complicated by the introduction of the subject of graduation, which is
 not essential to the completion of a medical or other education. The
 University of London, which has a special charter for the examination
 of women, does not confer degrees upon women, but only grants them
 ‘certificates of proficiency.’ If the applicants in the present case
 would be content to seek the examination of women by the University
 for certificates of proficiency in medicine, instead of University
 degrees, the Court believe that arrangements for accomplishing this
 object would fall within the scope of the powers given to them by
 section 12 of the Universities’ (Scotland) Act. The Court would be
 willing to consider any such arrangements which might be submitted to

(3.) _To the University Court._

   “15 Buccleuch Place, Edinburgh, January 18, 1872.

 “GENTLEMEN,--I have received from your Secretary a copy
 of your minute of the 8th instant, and I beg you to allow me most
 respectfully, but at the same time most emphatically, to protest
 against the decision therein contained, on the following grounds:--

 “1. That when women were admitted to study ‘for the profession of
 medicine’ in the University of Edinburgh, and were required to pay the
 ordinary matriculation fees as _Cives Academiæ Edinensis_, in addition
 to those for instruction, it was believed to be involved that, subject
 only to the restrictions laid down in the regulations of November 12,
 1869, we should be allowed to complete our education, and should,
 as a matter of course, proceed to the degree of M.D., no official
 intimation to the contrary being given to us at the time, nor indeed
 until now, when we have half completed our University curriculum. You
 will allow me to remind you further, that we have very high legal
 authority for believing that these expectations were well founded,
 and that matriculation does involve necessarily all the privileges of
 studentship, including graduation, as was indeed recently admitted
 by a legal Professor, who has always been one of our most determined
 opponents, when addressing your honourable Court in favour of
 rescinding the present regulations.

 “2. That, except with a view to ultimate graduation, it was quite
 meaningless to require us to pass, as we did, the preliminary
 examination in Arts, which has not any necessary connection with the
 study of medicine itself, but is expressly stated to be ‘the first
 examination _for the medical degree_.’

 “3. That we have all along pursued our studies with a view to the
 further professional examinations; that, in the resolutions passed
 by the Medical Faculty on July 1, 1869, it was distinctly stated
 that ‘ladies be allowed to attend medical classes and to receive
 certificates of attendance qualifying for examination;’ that,
 further, on April 9, 1870, the Senatus Academicus expressly ordained
 that exactly the same University certificates of attendance should
 be issued to students of both sexes, for the special purpose of
 qualifying for professional examination.

 “4. That no kind of official notice was ever given to us that a
 doubt existed respecting our admission to the ordinary professional
 examinations, until certain of our number had completed their
 preparations for the first professional examination, and had paid
 their fees for, and received tickets of admission to, the same; and
 that, when the matter was brought before the Senatus, it was by
 them decided that ladies should be admitted to the examination, and
 accordingly the ladies in question were examined in the ordinary
 course and passed the examination successfully.

 “5. That under the existing Act of Parliament it is impossible for any
 person to practise medicine under legal sanction, without a distinct
 ‘qualification’ as defined by the said Act of Parliament.

 “6. That the only ‘qualification’ which it is in the power of the
 University of Edinburgh to grant, is the ordinary medical degree, and
 that no ‘certificates of proficiency’ would possess the slightest
 legal value unless a special Act of Parliament was passed making such
 certificates registrable qualifications.

 “7. That the difficulty and expense of procuring such a special Act
 of Parliament would be very much greater than that of obtaining the
 sanction of the Queen in Council to such minor alterations in the
 University Ordinances as are alone necessary to enable us to complete
 our education by means of additional extra-mural classes; even if your
 honourable Court declines to make the necessary arrangements _within_
 the University.

 “8. That we are informed on high authority that it is at present
 within the power of your honourable Court, in conjunction with the
 Senatus, to make the necessary arrangements within the University,
 without any external sanction; either by ordaining that the present
 Professors shall instruct women in separate classes, or by appointing
 special lecturers for that purpose. As regards the former course,
 I venture to remark that several Professors in the Faculty of Arts
 are already delivering two or more lectures daily, and that, as I
 presume it was always contemplated that each Professor should instruct
 all matriculated students desiring to study his subject, it is
 quite conceivable that it might become necessary from the number of
 students, or otherwise, for the medical Professors also to be required
 to deliver two courses; and that, therefore, it could hardly be
 considered a hardship if they should be required to deliver a second
 course, with proper remuneration for the same, to those matriculated
 students who are forbidden by the University to attend in the ordinary
 classes. As regards the second alternative, I believe that it has
 never been doubted that the Senatus and University Court, conjointly,
 have the power of appointing any number of assistants or special
 lecturers in any faculty, if they are required for the efficient
 performance of the teaching of the University.

 “9. That as the main difficulty before your honourable Court seems
 to be that regarding graduation, with which we are not immediately
 concerned at this moment, we are quite willing to rest our claims
 to ultimate graduation on the facts as they stand up to the present
 date, and in case your honourable Court will now make arrangements
 whereby we can continue our education, we will undertake not to draw
 any arguments in favour of our right to graduation from such future
 arrangements, so that they may at least be made without prejudice to
 the present legal position of the University.

 “10. That we are informed by high legal authorities that we are
 entitled, as matriculated students, to demand from the University
 complete arrangements for our instruction, and that we are further
 entitled to bring an action of declarator to obtain the same from the
 several Professors if no alternative measures are devised, and that
 we shall inevitably be driven to pursue this course, with whatever
 reluctance, if your honourable Court persistently refuses to make, in
 any form whatever, such arrangements as may enable us to complete our
 education, and to obtain a legal qualification to practise.

 “Earnestly commending the above considerations to your most favourable
 notice, I have the honour, &c.,


(4.) _From the Secretary of the University Court._

  “University of Edinburgh, 5th February 1872.

 “MADAM,--I am desired by the University Court to inform you
 that your letter, dated the 18th ultimo, has been laid before them and

 “In reply, I am to say that in several points of your view of the past
 history and present position of the question relative to the medical
 education of women in Edinburgh the Court are unable to concur.

 “Without going into the discussions which might be raised on these
 points, it appears to the Court that it is only necessary for them to
 enter upon the subject of your ninth paragraph, in which you say:--

 “‘That as the main difficulty before your honourable Court seems to be
 that regarding graduation, with which we are not immediately concerned
 at this moment, we are quite willing to rest our claims to ultimate
 graduation on the facts as they stand up to the present date; and in
 case your honourable Court will now make arrangements whereby we can
 continue our education, we will undertake not to draw any arguments in
 favour of our right to graduation from such future arrangements, so
 that they may at least be made without prejudice to the present legal
 position of the University.’

 “On this I am desired to inform you that you appear to ask no more
 than was offered by the Court in their resolution of the 8th ultimo,
 in which it was stated that while the Court were restrained by legal
 doubts as to the power of the University to grant degrees to women,
 from considering ‘the expediency of taking steps to obtain, in favour
 of female students, an alteration of an ordinance which might be
 held not to apply to women,’ they were, ‘at the same time, desirous
 to remove, so far as possible, any present obstacle in the way of a
 complete medical education being given to women: provided always that
 medical instruction to women be imparted in strictly separate classes.’

 “On the assumption, therefore, that while you at present decline the
 offer made by the Court with reference to certificates of proficiency,
 you now ask merely that arrangements should be made for completing the
 medical education of yourself and the other ladies on behalf of whom
 you write, I am to state that the Court are quite ready to meet your
 views. If, therefore, the names of extra-academical teachers of the
 required medical subjects be submitted by yourself, or by the Senatus,
 the Court will be prepared to consider the respective fitness of the
 persons so named to be authorised to hold medical classes for women
 who have in this or former sessions been matriculated students of the
 University, and also the conditions and regulations under which such
 classes should be held.

 “It is, however, to be distinctly understood that such arrangements
 are not to be founded on as implying any right in women to obtain
 medical degrees, or as conferring any such right upon the students
 referred to.

  “I have, &c.,
  J. CHRISTISON, Secretary.”

(5.) _To the University Court._

   “15 Buccleuch Place, February 9, 1872.

 “GENTLEMEN,--I beg to thank you sincerely for the resolution
 to which you came on Monday the 5th inst., and which, if I understand
 it rightly, will, I trust, prove a satisfactory solution of our
 present difficulties.

 “We will, if you wish it, very gladly prepare and submit to your
 honourable Court a list of extra-academical lecturers and of gentlemen
 prepared to qualify as such, who may, with your sanction, instruct us
 in the various subjects which we have to study; but before doing so, I
 venture to beg for official confirmation of my interpretation of your
 late resolution in two essential particulars.

 “I trust that I am correct in understanding--

 “1. That though you at present give us no pledge respecting our
 ultimate graduation, it is your intention to consider the proposed
 extra-mural courses as ‘qualifying’ for graduation, and that you will
 take such measures as may be necessary to secure that they will be
 accepted if it is subsequently determined that the University has the
 power of granting degrees to women.

 “2. That we shall be admitted in due course to the ordinary
 professional examinations on presentation of the proper certificates
 of attendance on the said extra-mural classes.

 “You will, I am sure, understand that, while we are quite willing
 to accept present arrangements for instruction without any pledge
 that they will confer a right to graduation, it would be useless for
 us to attend any classes which would be incapable of qualifying for
 graduation, and impossible for us to acquiesce in any agreement which
 might prejudice the claim which we believe ourselves to possess to the
 ultimate attainment of the medical degree.--I am, &c.,


(6.) _From the Secretary of the University Court._

   “University of Edinburgh, 24th February 1872.

 “_Madam_,--Your letter dated 9th instant has been considered by the
 University Court. In it you say:--

 “‘I trust that I am correct in understanding---

 “‘I. That though you at present give us no pledge respecting our
 ultimate graduation, it is your intention to consider the proposed
 extra-mural courses as ‘qualifying’ for graduation, and that you will
 take such measures as may be necessary to secure that they will be so
 accepted, if it is subsequently determined that the University has the
 power of granting degrees to women.

 “‘II. That we shall be admitted in due course to the ordinary
 professional examinations on presentation of the proper certificates
 of attendance on the said extra-mural classes.’

 “In reply, I am desired to point out that no extra-mural courses,
 beyond the number of four allowed by the Ordinance of the Universities
 Commissioners, could either qualify for graduation, or for the ordinary
 professional examinations, except under a change in the ordinance;
 which change could be made only by a resolution of the Court sanctioned
 by the Chancellor, and approved by the Queen in Council.

 “The Court have already declared, in their resolution of the 8th of
 January last, that they cannot even enter on the consideration of the
 expediency of such a change in the ordinance until the legality of
 female graduation has been determined.

 “It would not only be premature for the Court to express at present
 any views or intentions on the points to which you refer, but it would
 be clearly contrary to their duty to do so. For, supposing the legal
 question to be decided in a way favourable to your wishes, those points
 would then doubtless be referred to the Court for their decision, when
 various parties would probably desire to be heard with regard to them.

 “I am to add that in your letter of the 18th January, you appeared
 merely to ask that the Court ‘will now make arrangements whereby we
 can continue our education,’ and that the Court offered, as stated in
 my letter of the 5th inst., to meet your views in the only way which
 appeared to lie within their competency. The Court are still of opinion
 that it is quite impossible for them at present to add anything to that
 offer.”--I have the honour, &c.,

   J. CHRISTISON, Secretary.

NOTE U, p. 133.

I am anxious to guard myself from being supposed to attribute to
Scotch nationality the exceptionally bad conduct of certain students
in Edinburgh, during 1870–71. I cannot but hope that such behaviour
as I have described would have been impossible in any English Medical
School, but, in so saying, I do not by any means wish to imply that
Scotch students have less good feeling than others, when their
superiors set them an example of courtesy. In point of fact, moreover,
some of those who took most pains to make themselves obnoxious were
not Scotchmen at all, but Englishmen of an extremely low class. Some
Scotch lads no doubt behaved very badly, but, on the other hand, the
guard of honour (see page 104) was almost wholly composed of Scotch and
Irish students, who showed the utmost indignation at the conduct of the

Transcriber’s Note

The “Notes” were originally printed in a very compressed format. Some
citations and signatures have been moved to new lines.

Other changes made by the transcriber are:

  Page    To          From           In

   37  required    re-required     the required examinations
   54  Il          It              Il est bien entendu
   90  University  Uni-sity        the University authorities
  138  at          as              regarded as a possibility
  140  Times       Tines           Medical Times and Gazette

*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Medical Women - Two Essays" ***

Doctrine Publishing Corporation provides digitized public domain materials.
Public domain books belong to the public and we are merely their custodians.
This effort is time consuming and expensive, so in order to keep providing
this resource, we have taken steps to prevent abuse by commercial parties,
including placing technical restrictions on automated querying.

We also ask that you:

+ Make non-commercial use of the files We designed Doctrine Publishing
Corporation's ISYS search for use by individuals, and we request that you
use these files for personal, non-commercial purposes.

+ Refrain from automated querying Do not send automated queries of any sort
to Doctrine Publishing's system: If you are conducting research on machine
translation, optical character recognition or other areas where access to a
large amount of text is helpful, please contact us. We encourage the use of
public domain materials for these purposes and may be able to help.

+ Keep it legal -  Whatever your use, remember that you are responsible for
ensuring that what you are doing is legal. Do not assume that just because
we believe a book is in the public domain for users in the United States,
that the work is also in the public domain for users in other countries.
Whether a book is still in copyright varies from country to country, and we
can't offer guidance on whether any specific use of any specific book is
allowed. Please do not assume that a book's appearance in Doctrine Publishing
ISYS search  means it can be used in any manner anywhere in the world.
Copyright infringement liability can be quite severe.

About ISYS® Search Software
Established in 1988, ISYS Search Software is a global supplier of enterprise
search solutions for business and government.  The company's award-winning
software suite offers a broad range of search, navigation and discovery
solutions for desktop search, intranet search, SharePoint search and embedded
search applications.  ISYS has been deployed by thousands of organizations
operating in a variety of industries, including government, legal, law
enforcement, financial services, healthcare and recruitment.