Letter from George Oswald Sym, London to W. Mackenzie, Paris

Scope and Content

Discusses state of the country. The working classes are on the “brink of absolute want.” Immense public meetings have been held in the larger towns which dispersed without trouble except the one yesterday which has made “a deep impression on the public mind.”The college of Glasgow is not flourishing, particularly the medical classes. Jeffray has no more than sixty students and Pattison the same. Edinburgh is not so reduced but “is apprehensive about a falling off next year.” William Couper has got his degree and has taken a shop in College Street with the intention of retailing and exporting drugs. The Apothecary and clerks of the Infirmary “have at last come to an open and very scurvy rupture with the Matron.” Cowan and James Sym were acquitted by the manager but Heron was reprimanded. “I wish my brother would leave the Infirmary, for in the present regime it is no place for a gentleman.” Sym applied for the Professorship of Natural Philosophy at Belfast but was not appointed.

John Couper and Moses Buchanan are in London at present “studying under and admiring your friend Abernethy.” Couper and perhaps Buchanan will be in Paris in February.