Surgeon, or Chirurgeon, an appellation bestowed on profes-:.sl characters who exercise that branch of the healing art, which chiefly relates to the treatment of external or local affections. In latter times, however, the practice of surgery is more ive, and likewise more respectable; since its professors have been finally separated from the Company of Bar-, whose mechanical pursuits are now confined to blood-letting, teeth-drawing, and shaving. The two former operations, however, are also performed by surgeons, on scientific principles; so that the lower classes, and country-people, only resort to the barber.
At length, the wisdom of the British legislature, has granted to the honourable profession of surgery a royal charter, by virtue of winch, all examined and approved members, on paying certain fees may be incorporated in the Royal College of Surgeons of London, established in 18OO.
With respect to the duties of a Surgeon, we refer to the article Physician, and decline the task of pointing out those casts of com-plicated internal , in which the latter may be preferably consulted. And, though it must be admitted that the separation of these two professions i as been, and ever will be, detrimental to the progress and interest of medical science ; yet, on the other hand, some distinction appears ;justly to prevail in the present state of things; as, otherwise, there would be no occasion for physicians, or they would be compelled to employ the knife and the lancet. - Such an expedient, however, might be the means of encroaching on the practice of surgeons, who have devoted their attention to the healart both in external and constitutional complaints : Hence, we are of opinion, that it would be highly beneficial to society, if both professions were again united, as they have originally been in the days of the greatest practitioner of ancient and modern times, namely, those of Hippocrates.
Lastly, the present surgeons, who have devoted themselves to the practice of medicine, in general, seldom dispense drugs, but prescribe them to be prepared in the public shops ; thus enjoying and deserving all the prerogatives of the most respectable physicians, hose privileges which are merely nominal: on the con-trary, the surgeon-apotheca who distribute their own medicinal preparations, and in a manner combine the three branches of the profession, together with midwifery, are entitled only to the exemptions stated under the head of Apothecary.