The Brown Institution


    IT is now just seven years since the Brown Institution was opened, under the auspices of the Senate of the University of London, as a place for the study of the diseases of animals. It was at that time placed by the Senate under the direction of a committee comprising the most eminent members of the medical profession, with Dr. Sharpey as their chairman. Dr. Burdon-Sanderson was appointed superintendent, with Dr. Klein—who had then recently migrated from Vienna to London—as his coadjutor. A hospital had been built for the reception of diseased anmals, and placed under the care of a highly qualified veterinarian, Mr. Duguid, and in connection with it a good and sufficient laboratory had been erected for the purpose of carrying out pathological and therapeutical experiments. No provision could be made from the funds of the Institution for the expenses of such investigations, it having been found necessary to devote the whole available income to the purely charitable purposes which the founder had associated with the investigation of disease in his testamentary statement of the objects he had in view. Pecuniary aid for research was, however, not wanting. The work done in the laboratory was, during the first three or four years, for the most part conducted at the instance of Mr. Simon, who was at that time at the head of the Medical Department of the Privy Council, and it was thus provided for by annual grants of public money. For a time all went on favourably, and it seemed possible that the Brown Institution would eventually fulfil the functions and acquire the importance of those State-supported establishments for research which have recently accomplished so much for the advancement of medical science in Germany. But, alas ! clouds soon began to gather. That strange, popular agitation which culminated in the passing of the “Vivisection Act”showed itself to be specially hostile to those systematic experimental investigations which, at the present moment, are absolutely necessary for the elucidation of fundamental questions in pathology. Accordingly, the Brown Institution became a prominent object of attack. When the Act was passed it became apparent that the realisa tion of the hopes which had been entertained was no longer probable, for it was soon found that, in their bearing on pathological inquiries, the restrictions imposed really amounted to prohibitions.

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