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College of Surgeons

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SURGEONS, COLLEGE OF. The present College of Surgeons of England, had its origin in the Company of Barber Surgeons, which was incorporated by royal charter in the first year of Edward IV. By this charter of 1 Edward IV., the barbers practising surgery in London, who had before associated themselves in a company, were legally incorporated as the Company of the Barbers in London. Their authority extended to the right of examining all instruments and remedies employed, and of bringing actions against whoever practised illegally and igno rantly ; and none were allowed to practise who had not been previously admitted and judged competent by the masters of the company.

This charter was several times con firmed by succeeding kings, but in spite of it many persons practised surgery in dependently ofthe company, and at length associated themselves as membess of a separate body, and called -themselves the surgeons of London. In the 8rd year of Henry VIII. it was enacted " that no person within the city of London, or within seven miles of the same, should take upon him to exercise or occupy as a physician or surgeon, except he he first examined, approved, and admitted by the bishop of London or by the dean of St. Paul's for the time being, calling to him four doctors of physic, and for surgery other expert persons in that faculty." All who under this act obtained licence to practise were of course equally qualified, whether members of the company of barbers or not ; and in the 32nd year of Henry VIII. the members of the latter company, and those who had incorporated themselves as the company of surgeons, were united in one company, " by the name of masters or governors of the mys tery and commonalty of barbers and sur geons of London." In the 18th year of George II. an act was passed by which the union of the barbers and surgeons was dissolved, and the surgeons were constituted a separate company ; and in the 40th year of George III. a charter was granted by which it was confirmed iu all the privileges which had been conferred upon it by the act of George II. By this charter the title of the company was altered from that of the masters, governors, and commonalty of the Art and Science of Surgeons to that of the Royal College of Surgeons in London. Under this charter it was governed by a council or court of assist ants, consisting of twenty-one members, of whom ten composed the court of ex aminers. Of these ten one was annually elected president, or principal master, and two were annually chosen vice-presidents or governors. By the bye-laws which the council were empowered by the charter to make, the members of the council were to be chosen for life from those members of the College whose practice was confined to surgery, and were to be elected by ballot at a meeting of the council. The ex aminers were generally chosen in or der of seniority from the members of the council: the presidents and presidents were chosen in rotation from the court of examiners, the presider; for the current year having been the senior vice-president during the pa./ year.

A new charter was granted to the Col lege of Surgeons in the 7th year d Victoria, by which it is declared, that the name of the college shall henceforth be The Royal College of Surgeons of England ; and that a portion of the mem bers of the said college shall be fellows thereof, by the name of The Fellows of the Royal College of Surgeons of Eng land. The charter declares that the present president and two vice-presidents and all other the present members of the council of the said college, andadso such other persons, not being less than 250 nor more than 300, and being members of the said college, as the council of the college, at any time before the expiration of three calendar months from the date of the charter, shall elect and declare to be fellows in manner by the charter di rected; together with any such other persons as the council of the said college, after the expiration of the said three calendar months and within one year from the date of the charter, shall appoint in manner by the charter authorized, shall be fellows of the said college. But no

person, except as hereinbefore named, is to become a fellow, unless he shall have attained the age of twenty-five years, and complied with such rules as the council of the college shall think fit, and by a bye-law or bye-laws direct ; nor unless he shall have passed a special examination by the examiners of the said college. Every person admitted as a fellow, as last mentioned, is to become a member of the College by such admission, if he is not already a member. Henceforth, no member of the College, who is not a fel low, is to be eligible as a member of the council. There are also (10) some other restrictions as to eligibility. The present members of the council are to continue life members as heretofore ; and the number of members of council is to be increased from twenty-one to twenty four, and all future members are to be elective, and to be elected periodically, in the manner prescribed by the charter (12) when the number of elective members of the council shall be completed and made up to twenty-four. Three members shall go out annually, but they may be re-elected immediately. The members of council are to be elected by the fel lows, including the members of the coun cil as such, in the manner prescribed by the charter (15); and the election is to be by ballot (17). There are various spe cial provisions as to the eligibility of fellows for which we refer to the charter. There are to be ten examiners of sur geons for the college, and the present examiners are to continue for life ; and all future examiners are to be elected by the council, either from the members of the council, or from the other fellows of the college, or from both of them ; and all future examiners of the College shall hold their office during the pleasure of the council. The charter contains other regulations, and confirms the powers of the college and the council, except so far as they are altered by the charter • and it declares that no bye-law or ordinance hereafter to be made by the council shall be of any force until the crown shall have signified its approval thereof to the Col lege under the hand of one of the princi pal secretaries of state, or otherwise as in the charter stated (22). "The Bye Laws and Ordinances of the Royal College of Surgeons of England" contain the regu lations as to the candidates for the fellow ship (sect. 1), for the examination of can didates for the fellowship (2), admission of fellows (3), election of members of council (5). By section 1, it is required that every candidate for the fellowship, among other certificates, shall produce a certificate, satisfactory to the court of examiners, that he has attained a compe tent knowledge of the Greek, Latin, and French languages, and of the elements o. mathematics. The subjects of examina tion for the fellowship are Anatomy and Physiology on the first day, and Patho logy and Therapeutics and Surgery on the second day. The examination is to be by written answers to written or printed ques tions ; but any candidate may be interro gated bythe examiners, on any matter con nected with the questions or answers. In the anatomical examination the candidate must also perform dissections and opera tions on the dead body in the presence of the examiners.

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