INTRODUCTION. 25 was an accidental result of their universal distribution, or, being still more conservative, retained the old un- questioning faith that the bacteria, whose presence in putrescent wounds as well as in artificially prepared "media was unquestionable, were spontaneously generated there. The following extracts from TyndalPs work1 will illus- trate the slow growth of the germ theory even among men of eminence : " At a meeting of the Pathological Society of London, held April 6, 1875, the * germ theory' of disease was formally introduced as a subject for discussion, the debate being continued with great ability and earnestness at sub- sequent meetings. The conference was attended by many distinguished medical men, some of whom were profoundly influenced by the arguments, and none of whom disputed the facts brought forward against the theory on that occasion." "The leader of the debate, and the most prominent speaker, was Dr. Bastian, to whom also fell the task of replying on all the questions raised." u The coexistence of bacteria and contagious disease was admitted; but, instead of considering these organisms as probably the essence, or an inseparable part of the es- sence, of the contagium, Dr. Bastian contended that they were pathological products spontaneously generated in the body after it had been rendered diseased by the real con- tagium." "The grouping of the ultimate particles of matter to form living organisms Dr. Bastian considered to be an operation as little requiring the action of antecedent life as their grouping to form any of the less complex chem- ical compounds." "Such a position must, of course, stand or fall by the evidence which its supporter is able to produce, and accordingly Dr. Bastian appeals to the law and testimony of experiment as demonstrating the soundness of his view." " He seems quite aware of the 1 op. at.