eral, while it calls for the exercise of the functions of high rank and a corresponding expenditure. The world is governed by the standard of society, and it is useless to hope for the prominent services of accomplished and trustworthy men, when the only means of receiving such qualities are ignored. The military mind is influenced in regard to the profession of medicine applied to armies by the traditions of the middle ages. There is also reason to suspect that the despotic element which exists, in connection with supreme command, although by no means necessary to its highest and most complete exercise, takes offense at the independence of judgment which, in his own sphere, is one of the attributes of the medical officer.
The military mind fails to apprehend the change which has been wrought in the profession of medicine, or to understand how essential its honor and influence are to the well-being of troops, the efficiency of the service, discipline, the principles of humanity and real heroism. It would hardly seem to require the assertion that the medical department should be on a level, so far as rank, pay, and military respect are concerned, with the next honorable staff departments, and that medical officers, individually, should be required to correspond in attainments, character, and soldier-like qualities with that standard. If the purely military portion of the services chooses the standard of the middle ages, when barbers, farriers, and sow-gelders, as a rule, constituted the medical staff of armies, they ought not to complain when they have the misfortune to fall into the hands of medical officers of a quality and character little superior to the leeches of the days of Pepin, Clovis, and Charlemagne.
There is more than enough of the rank of major. The aggregate rank and pay, distributed through the grades, from major-general to lieutenant, according to service, functions, and qualifications, is enough to remedy the existing evil without additional expense, The difference in the expense of employing and paying highly-qualified men would be saved annually be economy and precision in the administration of costly drugs. The idea of expense, however, ought not to receive a moment's consideration. The Government can afford to do simple justice to an able and honorable body of military surgeons, and thereby elevate the interests of humanity and civilization, and woo many young men from objectless and worthless lives into a path of honor and ambition. The standard of the medical profession, as was said before, is a gauge of the civilization of a country and a measure of the real advancement of an age or people.
I beg leave to suggest that it might be possible to form a corps of surgeons of reserve, from approved medical officers, whose terms of service have expired, and from surgeons of volunteers, who are mustered out at the end of the war, or who many honorably resign; that this corps should have certain privileges granted by legislation, and be subject to call on emergency, returning with the same rank they retired with, but not to the prejudice of surgeons remaining permanently in service. This corps should be considered in the light of honorably membership of the regular staff, and be selected with strict reference to service and merit. The plan is not offered as mature, but the idea is suggested for elaboration if entertained. I recommend the institution of prizes for the best collection of reported cases in military surgery and medicine.