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The frontispiece of this number of the ' Monthly Repository / presents the likeness of a philosopher whose long life was incessantly and laboriously devoted to the good of his species ; in pursuance of which he ever felt that incessant labour a happy task , that long life but too short for his
benevolent object . The preservation of his remains by his physician and friend , to whose care they were confided , was in exact accordance with his own desire . He had early in life determined to leave his body for dissection . By a document dated as far back as the year 1769 , he being then only twentytwo years of age , he bequeathed it for that purpose to his friend Dr Fordyce . The document is in the following remarkable words : — .
" This my will and special request I make , not out of affectation of singularity , but to the intent and with the desire that mankind may reap some small benefit in and by my decease , having hitherto had small opportunities to contribute thereto while living . "
A memorandum affixed to this document , shows that it had undergone his revision two months before his death , and that this part of it had been solemnly ratified and confirmed . * The Anatomy Bill , which has been passed since his death , for which a foundation had been laid in the''Use of the Dead to the
Living * ( first published in the ' Westminster Review / and afterwards separately , and a copy given to every Member of Parliament ) , and which Mr Warburton succeeded in carrying through the House of Commons , has removed the main obstructions in the way of obtaining anatomical knowledge ; but the ptate of the law previous to the adoption of the Anatomy Act was such as to foster the popular prejudices against dissection ,
and the effort to remove those prejudices was well worthy of a philanthrop ist . It requires some reflection to perceive how indispensable it is to the well-being of the community that the practice of dissection should be made imperative upon every medical man . The organs of the body , on the integrity of which life depends , are for the most part concealed from sight . Any considerable alteration or modification of their action constitutes disease . No rational efforts can be made towards the
cure of disease without a knowledge of the internal structure and functions of organs , the disorder of which constitutes disease : such knowledge can bfc obtained . solely by dissection . Jn like manner , the success of the surgeon in performing every operation from the simplest to the most complex , must depend on his intimate acquaintance with the structure , the function , , * The name of the friend to whom he confided the trust , being necessarily changed .
X 16 Memoranda of Bmtkam .
MEMORANDA OF BENTHAM .
Monthly Repository (1806-1838) and Unitarian Chronicle (1832-1833), Jan. 2, 1837, page 16, in the Nineteenth-Century Serials Edition (2008; 2018) ncse.ac.uk/periodicals/mruc/issues/vm2-ncseproduct1827/page/16/