Punch,  47 (1864), 115.

Snobs and Surgeons in the Army



Letter, Spoof


Medical Practitioners, War, Class, Medical Treatment

    The writer begins by asking Punch not to blame 'the Swells' for the 'Surgeon-Famine in the Army' and identifies himself as a swell whose family has 'always lived sumptuously on the labour of others' and who entered the army in order to become something more than a swell. Upholds the claim that the surgeon is the most gentlemanly of all 'in a Regiment', not least because of his education, and explains other officers' indignation towards army surgeons on the grounds that the former regret not having 'rank and birth'. Accordingly notes the low breeding of most army officers, many of whom are sons of 'a large mercantile rogue, or a swindling railway jobber'. Being 'purse-proud' snobs they assert their position by 'insisting on the abasement of Army Surgeons'. Reasons that it is the 'Snobs' rather than the swells who are 'insolent to the Surgeon', and defends the need to regard surgeons as much as combatant officers as others. Threatens to resign his commission if the 'reasonable demands of the Army Surgeons' are not granted, and upholds the need for effective surgery in the army.

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