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Old and New Edinburgh Vol. IV


302 OLD AND NEW EDINBURGH. ? [Surgeon Square. We may close our notice of the Old Royal Infirmary by a reference to the Keith Fund, established by the late ME.. Janet Murray Keith and her sister Ann for the relief of incurable patients who have been in the house. These generous ladies by trust-deed left a sum of money, the interest of which was to be applied for the behoof of all who were discharged therefrom as incurable by the loss of their limbs, or so forth. The fund, which consists of Bank of Scotiand stock, is held for this purpose by trustees, who are annually appointed by the managers of the Royal Infirmary, the annual dividend to which amounts to Lz50. In 1877 there were on the list of recipients IOI patients receiving allowances varying from AI to A4; and in their deed of settlement the donors express a hope that the small beginning thus made for the relief of such sufferers, if well managed, may encourage richer persons to follow theiI example. Although this trust is appointed to be kept separate for ever from the affairs of the Royal Infirmary, the trustees are directed to publish annually, with the report of the managers, an abstract of the fund, with such other information % they may deem desirable. In the account of the west side of the Pleasance we have briefly adverted to the ancient hall of the Royal College of Surgeons,* which, bounded by the eastern flank of the city wall, was built by that body when they abandoned their previous place ol meeting, which they rented in Dickson?s Close foi L40 yearly, and acquired Cumehill House and grounds, the spot within the angle of the wall referred to. This had anciently belonged to the Black Friars, but was secularised, and passed suc. cessively into the hands of Sir John and Sir Jamer Skene, judges of the Court of Session, both undei the title of Lord Cumehill. Sir James Skene ?l succeeded Thomas, Earl of Melrose, as Presidenl on the 14th Feb., 1626, in which office he con. tinued till his death, which took place on the 15tk October, 1633, in his own lodging beside thc Grammar School of Edinburgh.? After them it became the property of Samue Johnstoun of the Sciennes ; and after him of thr patrons of the university, who made it the housc I of their professor of divinity, and he sold it to thc surgeons for 3,000 merks Scots in 1656. This house, which should have been described ir its place, is shown by Rothiemay?s plan (see p. 241: in 1647 to have been a large half-quadrangular four storeyed house, with dormer windows, a circulai turnpike stair with a conical roof on its north front Vol. I., pp. 381-3. md surrounded by a spacious garden, enclosed on he south and east by the battlemented wall of he city, and having a doorway in the boundary wall of the High School yard on the north. On he site of this edifice there was raised the future Royal College of Surgeons, giving still its name to he adjacent Square. On the west side of that square stood the hall of .he Royal Medical Society, which, Amot says, was :oeval with the institution of a regular school of iiedicine in the University ?by the establishment if professors in the different branches of that science. Dr. Cullen, Dr. Fothergill, and others if the most eminent physicians in Britain, were imong the first of its members. None of its records, however, of an earlier date than A.D. 1737, have been preserved.? Since that year the greater number of the students of medicine at the University, who have been distinguished in after years by their eminence, diligence, and skill, have been members of this Society, to which none are admitted until they have made some progress in the study of physic. In May, 1775, the foundation stone of their new hall in Surgeon Square was laid by Dr. Cullen in the presence of the other medical professors, the presidents of the learned societies, and a large audience. This Society was erected into a body corporate by 5 royal charter grantedon the 14th of December, 1778, and lC is intended,? says Amot, writing of it in his own time, ? l as a branch of medical education, and a source of further discoveries and improvements in that science, and those branches of philosophy intimately connected with it. The members at their weekly meetings read in rotation discourses on medical subjects, which, at least Six months previous to their delivery, had been assigned to them by the Society, either at their own request or by lot. And before any discourse be publicly read it is communicated in writing to every member, three of whom are particularly appointed to impugn, if necessary, its doctrines. From these circumstances the author of every discourse is induced to bestow the utmost pains in rendering it as complete as possible ; and the other members have an opportunity of coming prepared to point out every other view in which the subject can be rendered. Thus, emulation and industry are excited, genius is called forth, and the judgment exercised and improved. By these means much information is obtained respecting facts and doctrines already published ; new opinions are often suggested, and further inquiries pointed out. -4nd it is acknowledged by all who are acquainted with the Univer
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