The institution of the new Diploma in Psychiatry by the Universities of Edinburgh, Durham, and Manchester, with the coincidence in my case of entering on my fiftieth year of membership of the Medico-Psychological Association—I find, alas! there are now only four names above those of Dr. Yellowlees and myself—has made a strong impression on my mind. The diploma seems the beginning of another stage of progress of our branch of science. We have in the half-century advanced all along the line, in our original research work—the core of the matter after all—in our literature, in our teaching, in our professional status, in our nursing, and in our salaries and pensions. The rate and amount of progress have been steady and considerable. Many of our younger men, I find, take that progress for granted. They scarcely realise the conservatism of the powers that be, medical and otherwise, in Great Britain, nor the former deep-rooted neglect of the public and of our profession towards anything connected with “Lunacy.” It is not, I am convinced, our administrative work nor our public usefulness alone that have helped us. It is the glamour which our science has lately cast on the public mind. Its inherent interest and its mystery have, almost more than anything else, aided our cause. I never yet had an audience of students in the class-room, or of ordinary citizens in the lecture-hall, or of the élite round a dinner-table whom I could not interest in the marvels of the human brain and the disturbances of its mental functions from the scientific point of view. The subject in its social relations is in the air at present. The man among us who fails to use this leverage for the ends of progress does not know his power. I have always cultivated an optimism in regard to the future of brain knowledge that has been unchanging and incurable. It seems to me that a retrospect and review of our position may be of interest to some of our workers. The new diploma gives me a chance of such a review.
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