Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 26.djvu/861

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Messrs. Editors:

Referring to Dr. Hamilton's excellent article on "Medical Expert Testimony" in the March "Science Monthly," I am reminded of a very amusing incident reported in the "Daily Register" of this city a few months since. A negligence case was on trial in one of our courts. A physician was called as an expert, who testified that the plaintiff was suffering from the remote effects of an injury to the vaso-motor system of nerves, and would in time become insane. Being cross-examined with some severity, the doctor was asked, among other things, concerning his familiarity with Gross, "On the Recent and Remote Effects of Head-Injuries"; Lanery, "On Injuries of the Head"; Zehmayer, "On the Subsequent Effects of Nervous Shock"; and Carson, on "The Surgery of the Head," and he testified that he had read these books, and his library contained them all.

The opposing counsel called to the witness-stand a clerk from his office, who testified that the works above named were fictitious, and the titles were invented by him to expose the doctor's ignorance! In addition to Dr. Hamilton's very logical protest against the proposed appointment of a board of experts to be used on all occasions like a court crier or interpreter, I know of no more forcible protest than the above incident. These pedantic "experts" would be the only physicians who could afford to accept the position for its slender emolument, and men of Dr. Hamilton's caliber, who are the only men who ever should be called, would be wholly excluded!

A. W. Gleason.
New York, February 20, 1885.



HARVARD UNIVERSITY is to be congratulated on its leadership in the important work of liberalizing the traditional college education. It has ended—or is on the way to ending—the narrow and intolerant policy of forcing upon all its students an old study not required by them, and the imperfect general acquisition of which has become a reproach to the institution, and the standing scandal of college education. Harvard has at last begun in earnest the work of putting Greek where it properly belongs, on the same basis as other studies. She has divested it of its arrogant claims, withdrawn the compulsion that has so long given it factitious consideration, and left it to be taken up and pursued like other subjects by those who value it. This is called waging war against the noble study of Greek; desecrating classical ideals, and destroying liberal education. It is quite the reverse. It is giving freedom to Greek; it is putting classics on their rightful foundation, and giving to education the liberality of greater liberty. But there is wailing in the classical camp. The newspapers are talking of the "fall of Greek," of "perilous experiments," of "momentous revolutions" and the sordid encroachments of the money-making spirit! And what has happened? Why, Harvard University has consented to accept of its candidates for admission a certain thorough and well-defined preparation in physics in place of the Greek formerly exacted. This is surely moderate, for they are not "fanatical iconoclasts" who have carried this reform to its present result in Harvard University. It is not true that this venerable institution has got on a useful-knowledge rampage and ordered all its dead-language books to be thrown into Boston Harbor. Those who desire to study Greek can still do so, but, by leaving it upon this basis, if there are fewer Greek students they are certain to be better ones. One would think that this consideration would weigh with the classicists, and that they would not distress themselves because their favorite study is to be elevated and yield more creditable results in the future. But, if they will be miserable over such a manifest step of improvement in dealing with their own subject,