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Kay's Originals Vol. 1


60 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES, him to others. The favoured pupil was at length permitted to give an evening lecture, in which he repeated, and sometimes illustrated, the morning lecture of the professor, for which purpose he was entrusted with Cullen’s own notes. This friendship, however, was not of permanent duration. When the theoretical chair of medicine became vacant, Brown gave in his name as a candidate. On a former occasion, of a nature somewhat similar, he had disdained to avail himself of recommendations, which he might have obtained with ease; and, though his abilities were far superior to those of the other candidates, private interests then prevailed over the more just pretensions of merit. Such was his simplicity that he conceived nothing beyond pre-eminent qualifications necessary to success. The Magistrates and Council of Edinburgh were the patrons of this professorship, and they are reported, deridingly, to have inquired who this unknown and unfriended candidate was ; and Cullen, on being shown the name, is said to have exclaimed, “Why, sure this can never be our Jock ! ” Estranged from Dr. Cullen, Brown gradually became his greatest enemy, and shortly afterwards found out the New Theory, which gave occasion to his publishing the ‘‘ Elementa Medicinq,” in the preface to which work he gives an account of the accident that led to this discovery. The approbation his work met with among his friends encouraged him to give lectures upon his system. Though these lectures were not very numerously attended by the students, owing to their dependence upon the professors, he had many adherents, to whom the sobriquet of (‘Brunonians ” was attached.’ It is unnecessary to enter upon all the angry disputes that subsequeritly arose. Suffice it to say that the enmity of his medical opponents, his own violence, and the pecuniary embarrassments he laboured under, ultimately compelled him to leave Edinburgh for London in 1786. During his residence in Edinburgh, Dr. Brown was elected President of the Medical Society in 1776, and again in 1780. Observing that the students of medicine frequently sought initiation into the mysteries of Freemasonry, our author thought their youthful curiosity afforded him a chance of proselytes. In 1784 he instituted a society of that fraternity, and entitled it the “ Lodge of the Roman Eagle.” The business was conducted in the Latin language, which he spoke with uncommon fluency. “ I was much diverted,” observes Dr. Macdonald, ‘‘ by his ingenuity in turning into Latin all the terms used in Masonry.” In lecturing, Dr. Brown had too frequently recourse to stimulants. He usually had a bottle of spirit,s-whisky generally-on one side, and a phial of laudanum on the other. Whenever he found himself languid preparatory to commencing, he would take forty or fifty drops of laudanum in a glass of whisky, repeating the quantity for four or five times during the course of the lecture. By these A close intimacy ensued. It may be mentioned as a curious fact, that a “perlegi” was ordered to be put at the end of each medical Thesis, for the purpose of seeing that no part of the Brunonian system was introduced by the candidates for a degree.
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