THE TRUE HEALING ART:
HYGIENIC vs. DRUG MEDICATION
DELIVERED AT THE SMITHSONIAN INSTITUTE, WASHINGTON, D. C.,
BY R. T. TRALL, M.D.
FOWLER & WELLS, PUBLISHERS
A FEW words in explanation of the circumstances under whichthe following address was delivered, and which induced me to visit Washington, arenecessary to the elucidation of the text. While on my homeward journey from a lecturingtour to the West, it seemed to me that an opportunity presented for introducing thesubject of the True Healing Art in the National Capital which would probably neveragain occur, and in a manner which must more or less attract the attention of menof position and influence. My resolution was soon taken, and the difficulties andthe result of the enterprise I copy from a statement published in the March numberof the WATER-CURE JOURNAL.
MY OBJECTIVE IN GOING TO WASHINGTON
The soldiers of our camps and hospitals were dying off fastof typhoid fever, pneumonia, measles, dysentery, etc., and quite unnecessarily. Iknew that the application of our system of hygienic medication would save most oftheir lives. I was well advised that there were surgeons of our school in the armywho gave no drug medicines in these diseases, and who lost no patients. Also I wasin correspondence with nurses who had attended our school, who were saving the livesof all the sick soldiers in their hands by putting aside the drugs and nursing themproperly. The subject of the best or most successful treatment of the diseases ofour officers and soldiers in the field being of national importance, it seemed tome that I could present the merits of our school versus the drug school, in highplaces, so as to be heard by the dignitaries of the land, and through them by thecivilized world.
Accordingly I determined if the thing was within the scope ofpossibility, to expose the fallacies of drug medication, and explain the truths ofthe hygienic system, in the place and under the circumstances that would commandattention. I addressed letters to President Lincoln, the secretaries of State, War,the Navy, and the Treasury, giving them references to Members of Congress in Washingtonand elsewhere, who had been my patients, as to personal character and standing, andassuring them that I would be very glad of an opportunity to explain, in the hallsof Congress or elsewhere, before the "powers that be," the Medical Facultyand Bureau, and the learned and scientific men of the nation, a system of the healingart which, applied to the treatment of the diseases prevailing in the camps and hospitalsof our armies, would save thousands of the lives of our officers and soldiers. Ioffered, moreover, to meet and answer all criticisms and objections that might bepresented to my positions from any source whatever; and to remove all appearanceof "pretentious empiricism," I offered, if my propositions were favorablyentertained, to afford them an opportunity for any personal examinations or acquaintancethey desired before deciding whether I should have a hearing. To these letters Ireceived no response, nor did I expect any. But I had determined to be heard in Washington,and was unwilling to leave naught undone toward effecting that object.
Meanwhile I had written my friend and former patient and associate,Dr. H. F. Condict, of Washington, to secure a place for a course of popular lectures,and also addressed several letters to gentlemen of distinction and ex-members ofCongress, asking them to speak a word for me in the right quarter to favor the enterprise.Dr. Condict telegraphed me at Dayton, Ohio, that he had secured the hall of the ChristianAssociation, on Pennsylvania Avenue, opposite Brown's Hotel, a very central and convenientplace, and also room in a convenient private house a few doors distant, where I couldbe at home and receive calls. I wrote also to my sterling friend, Hon. H. R. Low,of the New York Senate, asking such assistance as he could render. He promptly senta letter of introduction to Hon. Ira Harris, of the United States Senate, solicitinghis aid, and assuring him that my subject, in importance, was all that was claimedfor it. It was also my good fortune to meet, in Washington, Hon. L. S. May, of WesternNew York, who aided us so efficiently five years ago in securing a charter for ourCollege from the New York Legislature, who kindly promised all the assistance hecould render. Armed and equipped with such missiles, and supported by these and otherfriends, acquaintances, and old patients, some of whom were officers in the army,I felt an assurance that I could "carry the war into Africa." Mr. May introducedme to Judge Harris, who promised me all the assistance he could render to get a hearingin the Capitol. Meanwhile some friends suggested that the Smithsonian Institute,being a national concern, founded for "diffusion of useful knowledge among mankind,"and having a large and excellent lecture hall, would be quite as desirable a placeas the Capitol. And so I turned my efforts in that direction.
MY INTERVIEW WITH PROFESSOR HENRY
I have heard of fossilized conservatism. I have seen men whohave mistaken their own ingrained prejudices for established principles. I have knownmen who could not entertain an idea if presented to them outside of the formularyof some standard textbook. I have had an interview with Professor Henry, of the SmithsonianInstitute of Washington City, the capital of these United States.
I was introduced by Dr. Condict, who assured the Professor thatI was a regular physician in good standing, and that I had letters of introductionfrom the first men in our own city and State to Hon. Members of Congress in Washington.But this was not the point--my character was not questioned. The difficulty was theunpopularity of my subject. It was not orthodox; or rather it did not come to theworld through the usual channels. I asked the privilege of giving a lecture in thattemple of science, on the true healing art, and in exposition of the errors of thepresent medical system. The Professor thought my subject, though perhaps important,did not come within the strict line of subjects proper to be discussed in the Institution.I reminded him that radical speakers--Emerson for example--had been heard there,and that my subject was intrinsically more important to the welfare of the humanfamily than all the subjects which had been discussed in the Institution, or wouldbe in the next century. The Professor replied that the introduction of radical subjectshad already occasioned some trouble, and he had no doubt that when the trustees metagain, they would come to the conclusion not to admit anything in future outsideof its own regular scientific business, etc. I remarked that so long as the trusteeshad taken no order on the subject, I could not understand why I might not be permittedto speak. But the Professor deemed it advisable to anticipate the presumed actionof the trustees in denying me a hearing. I was unable to see the propriety of thiscourse. Indeed, I looked upon it then, as I do now, as an extreme manifestation ofscientific illiberality, and I was informed that, so unfair and bigoted is the presidinggenius of the Smithsonian, that he will not permit a scientific lecture on any subjectwhen he can help it, if the speaker entertains any notions which in the least conflictwith his own opinions. Such a professor is better fitted to preside over a Spanishinquisition than over an institution endowed by the munificence of an individualto "diffuse knowledge among mankind."
Professor Henry was curious to know my points--what I wouldsay if I could have the chance. I explained that my subject was a purely scientificone; that the medical profession had always been in error respecting the fundamentalpremises of medical science, and that I could show in what the error consisted; and,moreover, explain the true premises of medical science; and that my subject involvednot only the issues of health and disease, life and death, but the physical salvationof the human race. I also stated that I could and would explain all of the problemsin medical science which medical men confessed themselves unable to explain, andeven regarded as incomprehensible mysteries. The Professor admitted that there mightbe some truth in my views, but he thought I assumed too much. "No matter whatI assume," I replied, " give me the opportunity and I will prove it."
"How will you prove it?" asked the Professor, witha simplicity almost childlike. "To tell you how I will prove it would be toprove it. Listen to me through a two hours' lecture and you shall have the proof,which you cannot gainsay, and which all the scientific men of Washington and thewhole medical profession cannot controvert. And here is precisely the place wheremy subject should be presented. Here are a learned Medical Faculty, a capable MedicalBureau, men distinguished in all the departments of literature and science, who arecapable of appreciating the principles of my system if true, and of refuting themif false. This system is rapidly extending. We have a chartered medical college.We are educating and sending out male and female physicians to turn the minds ofthe people against the popular medical system, and if we are wrong, our businessought to be stopped; and if we are right, the people ought to know it. And now, ProfessorHenry, I propose to present this whole subject to the wise men of the nation, sothat, if we are in error, the error may be shown, and that if we are in the truth,the truth may be known. And further, let me explain our system here; and then, ifI cannot defend it against all cavils or criticisms from any source, and answer allthe objections that you or all of the learned men of the nation can bring againstit, I will pledge myself never to speak in its advocacy again."
Did I not expect that this fair offer and eloquent appeal wouldhave brought the Professor to terms? But it did not. His answer reminded me of certainspecimens of petrified plants and animals I have read of, and which are, no doubt,on exhibition in the museum of the Smithsonian. "He did not doubt that I meantwell, but--and here the shoe pinched, "but it might occasion trouble. If I lecturedin the Smithsonian, the lecture might go forth to the world having, in some sense,the endorsement, or at least the reputation of the Institution to commend it to publicattention." He was sorry, very sorry, that circumstances were such that it wouldnot be prudent nor judicious to accede to my wishes. I bid "good-by" tothe Professor, but not to my project.
DR. TRALL TO PROFESSOR HENRY
On returning to my rooms, and thinking an hour or two on thesubject of "diffusing useful knowledge among mankind," I concluded to makeone more appeal to the stolid heart and book-cased head of the Smithsonian Institution.The next morning I addressed him the following. communication:
WASHINGTON, D. C., 487 SIXTH STREET, Feb. 4, 1862
PROFESSOR HENRY--Dear Sir:
I cannot go home in peace without appealing to you once more. Ihave no manner of fault to find with neither my reception nor your decision yesterday.But I am not understood. I know that if you knew my theme, you would not only permitme to present it before the scientific men of the capital of the nation, but youwould invite me so to do. I send you my last school catalogue, in which you willfind, on page 26, a very brief exposition of my principles; also, on page 47, myproposition to discuss my differences with the medical gentlemen of other schools.I can give you, in this city, and in almost any place in the civilized world, amplereferences as to character, freedom from all "pretentious empiricism,"etc.
My whole life has been devoted to the investigation of thosemedical problems, and those relations of vital or living, and inorganic or dead matter,which underlie all Medical Science, and are the sole basis of the Healing Art. Iknow--and I can not only prove, but I can demonstrate--that I have ascertained theexact truth in relation to each and all of the problems which are fundamental inmedical philosophy, and which knowledge the world is perishing for want of. All Idesire is the privilege of giving this knowledge to the world, in such a manner aswill induce it to investigate it, and accept it.
I have mailed you my program of lectures now being deliveredin the Hall of the Christian Association, with season tickets,
Very truly yours, for humanity,
R. T. TRALL, M.D.
Did I not flatter myself that this missile would penetrate thevery depths of the Professor's soul? But again I was mistaken. I received no reply.The Professor was as inexorable as the stone, and brick, and mortar of the splendidpalace in which he dwells.
THE WASHINGTON LECTURE ASSOCIATION
There is in Washington city an organization under the abovetitle, composed mainly of the more progressive minds of the place, and embodyinga large class of energetic young men of the "Down East" go-ahead stamp.Rev. John Pierpont, of world-wide fame, is Chairman of the Executive Committee; andother members of the committee to whom I am under obligations for courtesy and assistance,and of whom I feel it a duty as well as a pleasure to make honorable mention are,J. K. Herbert, Esq., attorney-at-law; J. N. S. Van Vliet, Esq., of the "NationalRepublican;" N. B. Devereux, D. T. Smith, and W. A. Croffett, of the TreasuryDepartment, and W. C. Dodge, Examiner in the Patent Office.
On learning that I wished to make a demonstration in Washingtonwhich would tell on the nation and the world, one of my assistants, Dr. F. H. Jones,of New York, came on to Washington to assist; and his services were most efficient.While I was "working the wires" to get into the Capitol, through the influenceof members of Congress, Dr. Jones made the acquaintance of some members of the committeeabove named, who at once, with generous liberality, espoused my cause. Rev. Dr. Pierpont,whom I had often met in temperance conventions, called on me and proffered all theaid in his power, but could not give much encouragement that could obviate the finalityof Professor Henry's refusal. But on learning the true state of affairs, Messrs.Herbert and Van Vliet--the last-named gentleman having been one of my fellow-workersin the temperance cause in New York in the days of the Washingtonian movement--tookthe matter in hand and declared that I should speak, and that, too, in the Smithsonian--theProfessor to the contrary notwithstanding.
And I did speak.
The gentlemen of the committee did not profess to be sufficientlyfamiliar with my subject to judge of its merits, nor did they, in any manner, committhemselves to or indorse any of my peculiar "isms" or "ologies."It was enough for them that I desired to present a new subject for the considerationof the people, and that I had been refused a hearing simply because my theme wasunknown, and hence, of necessity, unpopular. Free discussion was in issue, and thecommittee was determined to see established on a basis never more to be questionedin the nation's capital. Forthwith a paper was drawn up, and signed by all the membersof the committee, with two exceptions, inviting me to deliver the next lecture oftheir course, in the Smithsonian, and to select my own subject. The day was gained.My victory was complete, thanks to the untrammeled souls of a few young men of theWashington Lecture Association. It is due to Mr. Herbert to say that, while all ofthe gentlemen named rendered all the aid I desired, he was especially active andvigilant, and devoted much the to preparing the way and making all needful preparationsfor the lecture. Mr. Van Vliet also exerted himself judiciously and effectively tosecure the final success of my enterprise.
I had never before faced so intelligent an audience. There werepresent many members of Congress, military officers, physicians of different schools,army surgeons, gentlemen of literary, scientific, and judicial distinction from differentStates, and a large audience of the most thinking and progressive people to be foundin Washington.
In such company I could not but feel at home, for I knew mytheme would be appreciated, and I determined to talk so long as the audience couldbe kept together. I inquired how long a Washington audience could be kept patientlyin their seats, and was informed that about one hour was the usual length of lecturesin that place, and that the longest lecture thus far had been one hour and a half.The reader may judge of the interest felt in my subject, when I state that the audiencelistened with profound attention two hours and a half--from eight o'clock to half-pastten. I am indebted to Rev. Dr. Pierpont for a very complimentary introduction tothe audience, and to the politeness of Mr. Devereux for sending his private carriageto and from the lecture-room. As my address was prepared with the view to publication,I will not dwell on the points presented; but if one can judge from the repeatedplaudits of the audience, I had the full sympathy of at least nine-tenths of thehouse.
It is proper to add that, on account of the length of the address I had prepared,some portions of it were omitted in the delivery. These portions, however, relatedto details and illustrations, and not to essential facts or primary principles. Ishould mention also that, on account of some previous disagreement among the membersof the Washington Lecture Association, respecting the subjects that were properlywithin the scope of their organization, a rule had been adopted disclaiming all responsibilityfor the doctrines and sentiments which any speaker might introduce. This fact willexplain my allusion in the opening paragraph.
R. T. T.
THE TRUE HEALING ART
I am very thankful, Mr. President, for this introduction, andespecially for this disclaimer. It is what I am accustomed to, and it makes me feelat home. It assures me that I am indeed "free and independent," as I desireto be; that I am privileged to select my own theme, and that I can speak on my ownresponsibility of my own peculiar "isms" or "ologies," withoutcompromising any association, and without involving any individual, because of myutterances.
And I am very grateful, Ladies and Gentlemen, to the membersof the Washington Lecture Association, for having prepared the way for free discussionin this place; even for the presentation of the most radical subject that can benamed--the ne plus ultra of ultraism; and, moreover, for the first appearance,on this stage, of the most unpopular speaker who could be introduced on this platform;for I have been so long contending against what I deem to be popular errors, thatI am now as unpopular as it is possible to be. I have nothing more to lose, and am,therefore, thoroughly free, and can afford to be honest, and to keep a conscience,knowing that any change which occurs henceforward must be in the direction of popularity.
When in the course of human events, it becomes necessary forthe physicians of one School to dissolve the fraternal and philosophic bonds whichhave connected them with another, and to assume, among the institutions of the earth,the position to which Truth and Nature entitle them, as free thinkers and independentactors, a decent respect for the opinions of mankind, and a conscientious regardfor the welfare of the human race, should prompt them to declare the causes whichimpel them to a separation.
I hold these truths to be self-evident, or, at least, susceptibleof positive proof and absolute demonstration That the doctrines and theories commonlyentertained among men, and taught in medical schools and books, and practiced bythe great body of the medical profession, and which constitute the so-called "Scienceof Medicine," and on which the popular practice of the so-called "HealingArt" is predicated, are untrue in philosophy, absurd in science, in oppositionto Nature, and in direct conflict with every law of the vital organism; andthat these are the reasons, and the only reasons, why medical science does not progressas do all other sciences; why success in the healing art bears no relationto the advancement of all of the collateral sciences, and to the progress of intelligenceamong mankind; why medical theories are ever changing; why all of its assumedprinciples are in controversy; its hypotheses in dispute; why its fundamentalrules and primary premises are wholly overlooked or misunderstood; and why its applicationto the cure of disease and the preservation of health is so uncertain, so dangerous,often so fatal, and, on the whole, so vastly more injurious than useful to the world.
And I claim, on the other hand, to have ascertained the truepremises of medical science, which discovery enables me to explain all of its hithertomysterious problems, even those problems which have ever baffled the investigationsof medical men, and which are to this day regarded by the standard authors and livingteachers as without the pale of human comprehension, to wit: The Essential Natureof Disease, and the Modus Operandi of Medicines; and thereon to predicatea philosophy and a practice of medicine which is correct in science, in harmony withall of the Laws of Nature, in agreement with every structure and function of theliving system, and successful when applied to the prevention or cure of disease.
I am about to prove the falsity of the popular medical systems--
1. By facts universally admitted
2. By the testimony of its advocates
3. By the testimony of its opponents
4. By the Laws of Nature
5. By argument and logic
By all the data of science applicable to the subject.
These are bold, plain, sweeping assertions--radical, aggressive,revolutionary. But I mean all that my words import, in their strictest literalityand in their broadest implications. It is for those who hear me to judge for themselveswhether I make these allegations good. But I do now and here, as everywhere, mostrespectfully, yet most unreservedly, challenge the whole scientific world to meetthe issues which I shall present.
I am most happy to be privileged to stand in this presence;in this magnificent Temple of Science, consecrated not only to the enlightenmentof the people of a nation, but to "the diffusion of knowledge among mankind;"and in this keen and concentrated intellectual atmosphere, surrounded by the moralpower of a great and mighty nation, before some, and I hope many, of the chosen representativesof--in the language of one of your number--"the most glorious country that thesun has ever shone upon," and, as one of the sovereign people, speak to thewise heads and great hearts of these Dis-United but soon to be Re-United--in bondsnever more to be broken or even questioned--States, the great truths which concernthe Preservation of Health and the Cure of Disease; which involve the issue of therise and fall of nations; and which, next to the Gospel of Christianity, are themost important to the perpetuity of this nation, the permanency of its institutions,and the welfare and progress of the American people.
Even this mighty and majestic war you are now waging so successfullyupon the "Contraband Confederacy" does not involve the prosperity and destinyof our country so deeply as do the principles on which I wage exterminating war againsta false medical system.
With these preliminaries, and your kind indulgence, I will nowaddress myself to my subject.
It has always been one of the most difficult practical problemsin the world how to present new truths so as not to offend old errors; for personsare very apt to regard arguments directed against their opinions as attacks upontheir persons; and many there are who mistake their own ingrained prejudices forestablished principles.
And here I must be permitted to say a few words by way of personalexplanation. Why do I go to the people instead of the medical profession with mycontroversy? And why do I seek controversy at all? Because the profession utterlyrefuses to discuss the issues I present; and because controversy is the onlymethod by which both sides and all points of our subject can be brought fully andfairly before the public mind. It is difficult for one person to represent both sidesof an argument. He may not do equal and exact justice to the positions of his opponent,or if he does, the public may suspect him of unfairness, or ignorance, or prejudice.
For these reasons is it that I have long desired and many timesinvited and challenged a discussion with the strong men of the profession on themerits and demerits of our respective systems. I wish to bring our controversy beforethe whole people, that all may see and judge for themselves where the truth is. IfI am wrong, I wish to be righted. If my opponents are right, they should be sustained.If my system is true, theirs is false. If their system is true, mine is false. Thereis an "irrepressible conflict" between them.
And again, the Drug Medical System cannot bear examination.To explain it would be to destroy it, and to defend it even is to damage it. Itsonly safety consists in non-agitation, and all it asks is to be "let alone."
But the system I teach cannot live without investigation. Themore it is examined, the better it is liked; the better it is understood, the moreit is confided in; and no person probably lives on the broad earth who has fullyinvestigated it who does not fully believe it. Give me the most capable expounderand defender of the Drug Medical System that the Colleges can furnish for an opponent,and I will soon have three-fourths of the American people, and nine-tenths of thedoctors, of my faith.
And what interests have you, Ladies and Gentlemen, in this discussion?Who appreciates health except those who have lost it? Who values life till it trembleson the verge of the grave? Tell me what value you place on health; inform me whatadvantage it would be to you to be relieved of all danger and all apprehension ofdying of disease; say what you are worth to yourselves, to your families, to society,to humanity, and then I will calculate the value of my subject to you.
There are but two medical systems in existence--the Drug MedicalSystem and the Hygienic Medical System.
One employs poisons as the proper and natural remediesfor diseases; the other employs normal or hygienic materials and agencies. Thereare several branches or sects of the Drug Medical System--the Allopathic, Homeopathic,Eclectic, Physio-Medical, etc. But they are essentially one and the same. They alldiffer in certain secondary and unimportant problems and theories; but they all agreein primary premises. They are all reducible to the fundamental proposition of "curingone disease by producing another." They are all based on the principle of inducinga drug disease to cure a primary disease. It is true that Eclecticism and Physio-Medicalismdo not recognize this principle; but it is true nevertheless.
Drug Medication, no matter in what disguise nor under what nameit is practiced, consists in employing, as remedies for diseases, those things whichproduce disease in well persons. Its materia medica is simply a list of drugs, chemicals,and dyestuffs--in a word, poisons. They may be vegetable, animal, or mineral,and may be called "apothecary stuff" or medicines; but they are, nevertheless,poisons. They may come to us in the shape of acids, alkalis, salts, oxides,earths, roots, barks, seeds, leaves, flowers, gums, resins, secretions, excretions,etc., but all are subversive of organic structures; all are incompatible with vitalfunctions; all are antagonistic to living matter; all produce disease when broughtin contact in any manner with the living domain; truly all are poisons.
On the contrary, Hygienic Medication consists in employing,as remedial agents for sick persons, the same materials and influences which preservehealth in well persons. It rejects all poisons.
And here let me correct a common error abroad in relation towhat thousands of people have understood as "Hydropathy" or "WaterTreatment," the "Water-Cure," and the "Cold-Water-Cure,"etc. It is a prevalent opinion that the advocates of this system accept the philosophyof the Allopathic system, but reject its remedies, employing water, diet, etc., assubstitutes for drug medicines.
The true system of the Healing Art---Hygienic Medication--rejectsnot only the drugs, medicines, or poisons of the popular system, but also repudiatesthe philosophy or theories on which their employment is predicated. It is in directantagonism with the Drug System, both in theory and in practice. It does not proposeto employ air, light, temperature, water, etc., as substitutes for drugs, or becausethey are better or safer than drugs. It rejects drugs because they are intrinsicallybad, and employs hygienic agencies because they are intrinsically good. I would rejectdrugs if there were no other remedial agents in the universe, because, if I couldnot do good, I would "cease to do evil" I would not poison a person becausehe is sick. No physician has ever yet given the world a reason that would bear theordeal of one moment's scientific examination, why a sick person should be poisonedmore than should a well person; and I do not believe the world will endure untilhe finds such a reason. The medical profession may prosecute this inquiry anotherthree thousand years, and destroy other hundreds of millions of the human race inexperiments with drugs and doses, but they will never arrive any nearer to a solutionof the problem. They will never be able to give a satisfactory answer to the question,for none exists.
In approaching the argument, allow me, firstly, to call yourattention to certain facts which may tend to convince you that the philosophy ofmy subject (if indeed, it has a philosophy), is worthy of your profoundest attention;and which will, moreover, explain why I am so glad of this opportunity to speak beforethe learned men and the honored servants of the American people, and through themto the nation, and through the nation to the whole civilized world.
And I especially invite and solicit the attention of medicalmen of all the Drug Schools. I shall controvert all of their fundamental dogmas;deny all of their pretended science; challenge all of their philosophy; and condemnnearly all of their practice. If I know myself, I have no motive, no desire, andno interest in this discussion, save the advancement of truth. And I ask medicalgentlemen to hear me through, and take exceptions to every word I utter amiss, andto state their objections to whatever I affirm which they deem erroneous, as franklyand as publicly as I express my opinions.
In this intellectual as well as commercial age, most peopleprefer to reason inductively--to construct principles from facts--rather than todeduce facts from theories. I will, therefore, refer to certain historical data inthe shape of "fixed facts," which go to prove, in a general sense, thepropositions I have announced, and afterward proceed to develop the principles whichunderlie them, and the premises which explain them.
And here it becomes necessary for me to make a brief introductionto my preface. I must indicate the groundwork of my whole argument, that you maybe the better able to judge, as I go along, whether the facts and the logic whichI shall adduce, agree or disagree with my premises and my conclusions.
I charge, and shall undertake to prove--nay, I shall prove,for it is true, and I have the evidence--that the regular medical profession, inall of its standard authorities, text-books and schools, and in all its current periodicals,and in all of its floating literature, and in all its history, and in all the lecturesof its living authors, teaches--
- A False Doctrine of the Nature of Disease.
- A False Doctrine of the Action of Remedies.
- A False Theory of Vitality.
- A False Theory of the Vis Medicatrix Naturae.
- A False Doctrine of the Relations of the Disease and the Vis Medicatrix Naturae.
- A False Doctrine of the Relations of Remedies to Diseases.
- A False Doctrine of the Relation of Disease to the Vital Functions.
- A False Doctrine of the Relations of Remedies to the Healthy Structures.
- A False Theory of the Relations of Organic and Inorganic Matter.
- A False Doctrine of Diseases in Relation to their Causes and Effects.
- A False Doctrine of the Law of Cure.
- A False Doctrine of the Nature and Source of Remedies.
These propositions comprehend all the premises of medical scienceand all the principles of the Healing Art. Each is fundamental. Without an exactknowledge of the truth of each, the physician can have no True Medical Science, norational or Successful Practice. All must be presumption or assumption in theory,and empirical or experimental in practice. His theory will amount to little morethan technical gibberish--"incoherent expressions of incoherent ideas;"andhis practice, "blind experiments on the vitality of the patient." But onto the facts.
It is well known that, in various periods of the world's history,and in various parts of this and of other countries, physicians of close observationand long experience, whose lives were consecrated to the relief of suffering humanitywith honest zeal and tireless assiduity, have become convinced, fully and thoroughlyconvinced, that medicines do not cure patients; that they hinder more than they assistNature's process of cure, and that they are more injurious than useful in all diseases.
A still greater number of practitioners have come to the sameconclusion with regard to particular diseases, for example, scarlet fever, croup,cholera, diphtheria, pneumonia, rheumatism, measles, dysentery, small-pox, andall forms of typhoid fever; and in every instance when they have discontinuedall medicine--everything in the shape of drug or apothecary stuff--and relied whollyon Hygiene, their success has been remarkably increased. To this testimony I believethere is no exception on all the earth in all the ages.
More than two hundred physicians of the United States have writtenme, within ten years, that they were entirely convinced that drug medicines wereworse than useless, and that they had wholly discontinued their employment; and everyone of them testifies to better success in the treatment of all forms of disease.And thousands of fathers and mothers have written me that they have discarded alldrug medicines, never employing drug doctors except to get their opinions as to thename or nature of the disease; and that by means of such information as theycould obtain from the "Hydropathic Encyclopedia," they had been enabledto cure themselves and families without ruining their constitutions by a course ofdrug-medicine-poisoning. And these are growing sentiments among physicians and people,and surely they mean something.
Certain distinguished medical men have regarded nearly all ofthe diseases to which flesh is heir as better left to Nature than treated with things.But I must not detain you too long, and I will limit my remarks on this point, andmy citation of authorities, mainly to the diseases which are just now of especialinterest to the audience before me--diseases which constitute the chief sources ofmortality in our armies.
I have publicly announced that the system of Hygienic Medicationwhich I teach and practice, and which I claim to be the True System of the HealingArt, would, if applied to the treatment of typhoid fevers, pneumonia, measlesand dysentery, so prevalent in our camps and hospitals, save to our countrythe lives of thousands of our officers and soldiers, and to our treasury millionsof money.
And although I am no friend to sensational literature nor sensationaladvertising, yet when words of modesty and candor cannot be heard amid the "noiseand confusion" of the times, and when all ears are intently listening to thedin of preparation for, and when all minds are momentarily expecting the crash of,
Battle's magnificently stern array,
the necessity of the occasion may perhaps justify the means. I was quite in earnestin my endeavors to attract the attention of "the powers that be" in Washington,and the notice of the professors of the medical college here, and the criticismsof the scientific men of this noble Institution. I knew that I had truths, greattruths to utter; and I knew that if I could, by any announcement, secure a hearingfrom them, the result could hardly fail to be such as would rejoice the heart ofevery philanthropist in the land. For this reason it was that I sent letters andcirculars and books to the President, Secretary of State, and Secretaries of theTreasury, War, and Navy. To these I received no response. I did not expect any. ButI felt my mission to be important, and it seemed to be my duty to leave no meansuntried to accomplish it.
I intend to make all of my statements good; and now to the proof:
Professor Austin Flint, M.D., of the New York Medical College,and physician to one of the large hospitals of our city, said, a few weeks since,in a clinical lecture to his class of medical students, that, in treating pneumoniain the hospitals, he did not give any medicine at all inthe hospitals, mark you! But how in private families? "There," saidthe professor, "it would not do to refuse to prescribe medicine." Wouldnot do? Why not? We will see presently. Dr. Flint loses no patients in the hospitals.In private families the deaths of pneumonia in the city of New York are thirty orforty per week.
Professor B. F. Parker, of the New York Medical College, said,not long since, to a medical class "I have recently given no medicine in thetreatment of measles and scarlet fever, and I have had excellent success."
Dr. Snow, Health Officer of Providence, R. I., two years ago,reported for the information of his professional brethren, through the Boston Medicaland Surgical Journal, that he had treated all the cases of small-pox, which hadprevailed endemically in that city, without a particle of medicine, and thatall of the cases--some of which were very grave ones--recovered.
Dr. John Bell, Professor of Materia Medica in one of the Philadelphiacolleges, and also in the Medical College of Baltimore, testifies, in a work whichhe has published ("Bell on Baths"), that he and others have treated manycases of scarlet fever with bathing, and without medicines of any kind, and withoutlosing a patient.
Dr. Ames, of Montgomery, Alabama, a few years since published,in the New Orleans Medical and Surgical Journal, his experience and observationsin the treatment of pneumonia. He had been led to notice, for many years, that patientswho were treated with the ordinary remedies--bleeding, mercury, and antimony--presentedcertain complications which always aggravated the malady, and rendered convalescencemore lingering and recovery less complete. Such patients were always liable to collapsesand re-lapses; to "run into typhoid; "to sink suddenly, and die veryunexpectedly.
He noticed particularly that patients who took calomel and antimonywere found, on post-mortem examinations, to have serious and even fatal inflammationof the stomach and small intestines, attended with great prostration, delirium, andother symptoms of drug poisoning. These "complications" were neither morenor less than drug diseases. And Dr. Ames found on changing his plan of treatmentto milder and simpler remedies, that he lost no patients.
And here a remark made by a veterinary surgeon of some celebrity,Dr. Youatt, is illustrative and significant. The Doctor has recently published alarge volume on the diseases of that noble animal, the horse--a work, I fear, noreasonable beast will have any reason to thank him for. Horse Doctor Youatt getshis ideas for treating pneumonia in the horse from the allopathic materia medica.Ho proposes to manage the animal when suffering of inflammation of the lungs, asthe human doctors do their fellow-beings when sick of the same malady--with bleeding,blisters, salts, calomel, and antimony.
Well, the animal goes through the disease and the treatment,or the disease and the treatment go through the animal, and the animal either livesor dies. If the poor horse happens to survive the disease and the treatment, Dr.Youatt advises the owner to get rid, of him as soon as he can; "for," saysthe professor of Equine Pathology, "after having the pneumonia once, he willalways be feeble, and very liable to relapses."
The same remark, as to feebleness and relapses, will just aswell apply to a man treated in a similar manner.
I have known several Allopathic physicians who, seeing or believingthat the ordinary remedies, instead of helping the patient to live, assisted himto die, have abandoned all strong medicines, and from that hour have lost no patients.
The late Professor Wm. Tully, M.D., of Yale College, and ofthe Vermont Academy of Medicine at Castleton, Vt., informed his medical class, whenI attended his lectures, that some years previous the typhoid pneumonia was so fatalin some places in the valley of the Connecticut River, that the people became suspiciousthat the physicians were doing more harm than good; and in their desperation theyactually combined against the doctors and refused to employ them at all; "afterwhich," said Professor TuIly, "no deaths occurred." And I might add,as an historical incident of some pertinency in this place, that regular physicianswere once banished from Rome, so fatal did their practice seem, so far as the peoplecould judge of it.
So long ago as my earliest school-boy days--and that was notvery long ago, for I do not confess to being an old man yet--the advent and careerof our district schoolteacher made an impression on my mind which induced me to studymedicine much more critically and suspiciously than I would otherwise have done.Western New York was then sparsely populated, and there was no doctor within a dozenor fifteen miles. But people were sick. Agues prevailed. Colds and coughs were ascommon as rain, sleet, and slosh. Pneumonia and influenza were every-day affairs.Whooping cough, mumps, and measles were as plenty as blackberries; and bilious, inflammatory,and even typhoid fevers, with now and then a case of rheumatism, were well knownand duly appreciated. But nobody died. Many persons were very sick, but somehow orother all came out well and sound in the end. Catnip teas, hemlock sweats, warm waterfor the feet, and gruel for the stomach and bowels, seemed to be infallible in allcases. No doctors were to be had, and nurses were obliged to rely on domestic remediesand common-sense appliances alone. And children were born. It was dreadful to bewithout a doctor, but, strange to say, all the mothers persisted in getting along"as well as could be expected." But one death occurred in the town thoseyears, and that was the case of an old man who froze to death on a bitter cold Decembernight. The rum-fiend, however, had to do with this death.
At length, as the country settled around, a stranger of goodaddress came along and. offered to teach the village school. He was employed. Itwas soon noised around that he was a doctor. How fortunate! At this time colds, andpneumonia, and influenza, and pleurisies were prevalent. The schoolteacher soon beganto visit patients out of school hours, and the calls for his professional servicesbecame so frequent and urgent that he was obliged to relinquish teaching in the middleof the term and devote himself night and day to doctoring. Then it was that peoplebegan to die. I soon became familiar with funerals, and in a few years, cripplesand bed-ridden women were numerous in the neighborhood. Three of my father's family--mymother and two brothers--for some slight indisposition, called the doctor; and neitherof them ever saw a well day afterward. These things I noticed then and wondered.Now I think I can understand and explain them.
I have myself, during the sixteen years that I have practicedthe Hygienic Medical System, treated all forms and hundreds of cases of typhusand typhoid fevers, pneumonia, measles, and dysentery and havenot lost a patient of either one of these diseases. And the same is true of scarletand other fevers. And several of the graduates of my school have treated thesecases for years, and none of them, so far as I know or have heard, have ever losta patient when they were called in the first instance, and no medicine whatever hadbeen given.
I fear there is too much truth in the statement of ProfessorB. F. Barker, M.D., of the New York Medical College: "The remedies which areadministered for the cure of measles, scarlet fever, and other self-limited diseases,kill far more than those diseases do."
During a recent tour to the West, I have seen the graduatesor practitioners of our school, who reside in Peoria and Aurora, Ill., Iowa City,Wabash, and Huntington, Indiana. and Dayton, Ohio, all of whom give the same testimony.Deaths of these diseases are frequent all around them; but none of them have yetlost a patient.
The great Magendie, of France, who died two years ago and wholong stood at the very head of Physiology and Pathology in the French academy--which,by the way, has claimed to be, and perhaps is, the most learned body of men in theworld--performed this experiment. He divided the patients of one of the large Parishospitals into three classes. To one he prescribed the common remedies of the books.To the second he administered only the common simples of domestic practice. And tothe third class he gave no medicine at all. The result was, those who took less medicinedid better than those who took more, and those who took no medicine did the bestof all.
Magendie also divided his typhoid-fever patients intotwo classes, to one of whom he prescribed the ordinary remedies, and to the otherno medicines at all, relying wholly on such nursing and such attention to Hygieneas the vital instincts demanded and common sense suggested. Of the patients who weretreated the usual way, he lost the usual proportion, about one-fourth. And of thosewho took no medicine, he lost none. And what opinion has Magendie left on recordof the popular healing art? He said to his medical class, "Gentlemen, medicineis a great humbug."
Who has not heard of Dr. Jennings, now of Oberlin, Ohio? Someyears ago he practiced medicine in Derby, Conn. Being a close observer and a veryconscientious man, and, withal, something of a philanthropist, he became a "reformer,"and what all true reformers must be in the world's estimation, a "radical,"an "ultraist," a "one-idealist," a "fanatic," etc.He became fully convinced that the system of drug medication was all wrong; thatdrugs, instead of curing persons, or aiding Nature to cure them, really hinderedthe cure, or changed the primary malady to a drug disease as bad or worse; and toput the matter to the proof, he practiced for several years without giving a particleof medicine of any kind. But his patients did not know it. The people did not mistrustthat they were humbugged out of their diseases; cheated into health; deceivedinto saving the greater part of their doctor's bills, all of their apothecary's bills,and the better part of their constitutions. Under Dr. Jennings' administration, diseasesseemed to have lost all of their malignancy and danger, and to have assumed a singularlymild and manageable form, type, and diathesis. He gave harmless placebos--coloredwater, sugar pellets, and starch powders, to keep up confidence and furnish the mindwith some charm of mysteriousness to rest its faith upon and then he directed suchattention to Hygienic conditions as would enable Nature to work the cure in the bestpossible manner and in the shortest possible time.
His success was remarkable. His fame extended far and wide.The praises of his wonderful skill were heard in all the region roundabout. In afew years, having conclusively demonstrated the principle involved, he disclosedto his medical brethren the secret of his extraordinary success. And do you not thinkthat they were all swift to adopt the no-medicine plan of Dr. Jennings? Not quite--no,not one of them. Dr. Jennings has not at this day a single disciple, perhaps, inall Connecticut, The Connecticut doctors all thought, doubtless, with Dr. Flint,of New York, "This no-medicine plan may do in public hospitals, but it willnever answer in private families. It may do for Dr. Jennings or for the people, butwill never answer for us."
And the "Matchless Sanative"--whohas not known of its marvelous cures? Twenty-five or thirty years ago it was allthe rage in some places. I have seen many chronic invalids who had worn out halfa dozen regular physicians, and swallowed the whole round of patent nostrums; butnothing ever did them so much good as the "Matchless Sanative." Well, itwas a matchless medicine. It was the very best remedy, as a universal panacea, eversold to an afflicted mortal at an extravagant price, for it was pure water, andnothing else. The price was only two and a half dollars per half ounce!
And our friends the Homeopaths. They treat the gravest formsof disease with almost no medicine at all. They come as near to non-entityas possible and miss it. Their remedies, when prescribed Hahnemann-style, may berepresented for all practical purposes by the formulary of the solution of the shadowof a shade of nothing at all, to begin with. One Allopathic dose of magnesia or cod-liveroil, diluted through a body of water which would fill all of the ethereal space fromthe earth's surface to the farthest star within the reach of telescopic vision, andone millionth part of a drop of this vast expanse of fluid for a dose, would notexaggerate the idea of the "pathogenic" potency of the infinitesimal pharmacology,however much it might transcend the grasp of the human imagination.
And are not the Homeopaths quite as successful as are theirrivals, the Allopaths, in the treatment of disease? Let their rapidly increasingnumbers, and their employment in the families of so many thousands of the wealthyand intelligent, answer. This is not because the people believe in Homeopathymore, but because they fear it less.
The Homeopaths of New York have been offering for years, togo into the public hospitals, and treat all manner of diseases side by side withAllopathy, as a test experiment of the relative value of the two systems. But theyare not permitted to do so. Allopathy has all the power in its own hands. It is incorporated,as it were, into the national, State, and municipal governments, and it stands onits advantages, and says, "Let us have no dangerous experiments. The dignityof the profession will not permit us to countenance any irregular system, nor toencourage quackery in any shape."
Did dignity ever cure anybody? Does Allopathy, in refusing thisfair offer, fear for the dear people, or does it fear for itself? Even now the Homeopathsare importuning for the privilege of having a department in our army hospitals, wheretheir system can be administered to such patients as prefer it. Should, their petitionbe granted, I would not predict what the result would be. I simply know itwould not be favorable to Allopathy.
Last week the New York State Medical Society (Allopathic) metat Albany, and passed resolutions against the "introduction of Homeopathicpractice in any portion of our army." Of course! But have not the people someright to some voice in this matter? Is it not as much their business as the medicalprofession's? It is they who are to foot the bills, and endure the sickness, andsuffer the dying.
I may here, perhaps, make a remark, in passing, of some practicalimportance. It is with all schools of medicine as it is with each individual practitionerof the healing art--the less faith they have in medicine, the more they have in Hygiene;hence those who prescribe little or no medicine, are invariably and necessarily moreattentive to Hygienic conditions--to good nursing--which always was, and ever willbe, all that there is really good, useful, or curative in medication. Such physiciansare more careful to supply the vital organism with whatever of air, light, temperature,food, water, exercise, or rest, etc., it needs in its struggle for health,and to remove all vitiating influences--all poisons, impurities, miasms, or disturbinginfluences of any kind. And this is Hygienic Medication; this is the TrueHealing Art. Nor God nor Nature has provided any other; nor can the Supreme Architectpermit any other without reversing all the laws of the universe, and annulling everyone of His attributes, as I expect to make appear in due time.
Why have you a "Sanitary Commission" to look afterthe health of our soldiers in the field? Where are the Doctors? For what purposehave we a Medical Bureau? Why should it be necessary for a self-constituted committee,with a clergyman at its head, and a non-professional person for secretary, to supervisethe medical department? Why do we not have, in private families, some benevolentclergyman, or some intelligent layman, to regulate the Hygiene while the physiciandeals out the drugs?
The "Sanitary Commission" visits the camps and hospitalsof our armies, and reports that no proper attention is paid to the most obvious conditionsof health. And it has been gravely charged in the newspapers that the Medical Bureaufeels its dignity wounded and its prerogative intruded upon by the outside and unprofessionalinterference. The "Sanitary Commission" report that no proper attentionis paid to ventilation; that cleanliness is disregarded; that stagnant waters areallowed to be drunk; and that sources of miasms, infections, and contagions are permittedto accumulate and breed pestilence. Why all this? Do our physicians understand theconditions of health? Do they know what are the causes of disease? If they do, whycannot they attend to these matters as well as outsiders? Are they reckless, ignorant,or indifferent?
Oh, no, hygiene--health--is not in their technically professionalline. The prevention of disease, the preservation of health, must be left to others,save so far as diseases may be prevented, or rather changed into other forms, bydosing and drugging.
Strange as the announcement may sound in this hail, I must assertthat Health is not taught in the popular schools of medicine, nor explained in theirbooks, nor much regarded in the prescriptions of their physicians. But when the typhoidpestilence and the malignant pneumonia appear as the inevitable consequencesof the permitted causes, the doctors can drug and dose secundem artem. Theycan administer quinine in huge doses; give any quantity of calomel, and subdue thevital struggle--and too often the patient--with bleeding and narcotics.
Who supposes that this quinine, so freely administered as acurative, and even a preventive of miasmatic diseases, is a deadly poison? Who doesnot know that arsenic is a poison? Yet I read, this very day, in last week'sNew York Medical Times (which speaks by authority), an article in favor ofarsenic as a substitute for quinine and arsenic in large doses. And I read, too,this day, in Braithwaites's Retrospect, for January 1862 (the leading Europeanjournal of the Allopathic school), several articles commending arsenic as the betterarticle of the two. Is there not some mistake somewhere? Can it be that two articles,one a harmless tonic and the other an intense poison, are perfect substitutes foreach other? I think I shall be able to show in what the delusion consists.
The Medical Bureau can have no excuse for disregarding the sanitarycondition of our armies, save that of a false medical system and an erroneous ordefective medical education. If it knows its duty and does it not, it is more tobe execrated than all the rebels in Dixie's Land. No, I say most emphatically, thathealth is taught in but one medical school in the world--the New York Hygiene TherapeuticCollege--and this school is repudiated by the medical profession of this land ofthe free and home of the brave.
True, this school is chartered by the Legislature of New York,and legalized by the people of that State, but the profession will not acknowledgeit. Medical students go to College to learn the symptoms of disease, and how to curethem, or rather in what way to drug them; not to learn the conditions of health andhow to preserve it. Are physicians, as a class any more observant of the laws oflife or more exempt from ordinary disease and infirmities than others?
And Florence Nightingale! Is that name new or strange in thisplace? For what purpose did that noble and heroic English girl, overflowing withpatriotic emotion, and full of sympathy for suffering humanity, as only woman canbe, pitch her tent and make her abiding-place amid the wailing of the wounded, thegroans of the dying, and the stench and contagion of camps and hospitals? Alas! Shemust needs go to the Crimea to teach the British surgeons health; to instruct thegraduates of the first medical schools in the world in the simplest maxims of plain,unsophisticated common sense; to show to medical men of learned lore, and scholastichonor, and high-sounding titles, and large experience, and many degrees, that invalidscannot breathe without air; that personal cleanliness is essential to the successfulmanagement of disease; that water, and light, and equable temperature, and rest,are requisite to correct morbid excretions, restore normal secretions, purify thevital current, and dissipate and destroy the ever-engendering miasms and infectionsof such places.
The British surgeons could amputate limbs admirably, dress woundsskillfully; bleed dexterously; mercurialize strongly; narcotize effectively; givequinine hugely, and administer arsenic powerfully; but they could not purify--andpurification was the one thing needful in most cases.
Oh, for a Moses among the doctors! When Moses, in olden time,led the reckless and sensual Israelites a forty years' journey through the wilderness,how strict and inexorable were his Hygienic injunctions! How careful was that admirablephysiologist in directing all the minutia of the sanitary condition of his people.And that no source of pestilence should be tolerated, he would not allow any nuisance,or impurity even, to defile the camp ground. Fortunately for his people, he had noquinine to "neutralize malaria;" no arsenic to cure fevers; and so he wasobliged to prevent them. Had Moses been as ignorant or as regardless of Hygiene asare our modern medical men, civil or military, before he could have led the Israelitesa quarter of a forty years' journey, they would all have perished of the pestilencesso prevalent among modern armies.
I have visited the camp and hospitals of our armies in thisvicinity, and I have learned--just what I knew before. One of the surgeons told meyesterday that his regiment was the healthiest one in the department. He givesno medicine and his associate almost none. They have had several cases of typhoidfever, many cases of pneumonia, and some hundreds of cases of dysenteryto treat, and have lost none.
I will not mention their names here, for prudent reasons. Itmight compromise their position. But when this war is ended--on or before the Fourthof July I hope--the names will be given to the world, and these facts will be certified.Suffice it to say now that they are of my school and my faith. Nurses (more thanone) in the hospitals inform me that hundreds of sick soldiers implore them to throwaway the medicine. They do not want to take a particle of any kind. Many of themfear the doctor's drugs more than they do the rebels' bullets, and well they may.I was assured that in scores of cases of typhoid fever and pneumonia themedicines all went in some other direction than down the esophagus. And did thesepatients die, think you? No. They all recovered!
I saw many patients in all stages of these diseases, and ofconvalescence; all were doing well; none of them had any complications; no one fearedrelapses or collapses. In the largest hospital in this department are several nurseswho give the medicines to the gutter, and they have not lost one patient of disease.
I was told, moreover, that the young surgeons in the hospitalsgive a great deal of medicine, while the old surgeons give comparatively little.This accords with the testimony of the venerable Professor Alexander H. Stevens,M.D., of the New York College of Physicians and Surgeons: "Young practitionersare a most hopeful class of community. They are sure of success. They start out inlife with twenty remedies for every disease; and after an experience of thirty yearsor less they find twenty diseases for every remedy." And again: "The olderphysicians grow, the more skeptical they become of the virtues of medicine, and themore they are disposed to trust in the powers of Nature."
There are, aside from accidents--mechanical injuries but two sources of disease in the world, namely poisons or impurities taken intothe system from without, and effete or waste matters retained. In either case theresult is obstruction. These extraneous particles are the causes of disease,and, aside from mental impressions and bodily injuries, the only causes.
So what is this mysterious thing, disease? Simply the effortto remove obstructing material from the organic domain, and to repair damages. Diseaseis a process of purification. It is remedial action. It is a vital struggle to overcomeobstructions and to keep the channels of the circulation free. Should this struggle,this self-defensive action, this remedial effort, this purifying process, this attemptat reparation, this war for the integrity of the living domain, this contest againstthe enemies of the organic constitution, be repressed by bleeding. Should it be suppressedwith drugs, intensified with stimulants and tonics, subdued with narcotics and antiphlogistics,confused with blisters and caustics, aggravated with alternatives, complicated andmisdirected, changed, subverted, and perverted with drugs and poisons generally?
To give drugs is adding to the causes of disease; for drugsalways produce disease. Indeed, they cure one disease, when they cure at all, byproducing others. Can causes cure causes? Can poisons expel poisons? Can impuritiesdeterge away impurities? Can Nature throw off two or more burdens more easily thanone? No, never. Poisoning a person because he is impure is like casting out devilsthrough Beelzebub, the prince of devils. It is neither Scriptural nor philosophical.
The effect of drug-curing or drug-killing, as the case may be--Imean drug medication--is to lock up, as it were, the causes of the disease withinthe system, and to induce chronic and worse diseases. The causes should be expelled,not retained. The remedial struggle--the disease--should be aided, regulated, directed,so that it may successfully accomplish its work of purification, not subdued northwarted with poisons which create new remedial efforts (drug diseases), and thusembarrass and complicate the vital struggle.
To give drugs is to give the living system more work to do.It is aiding and assisting the enemy. It is, in effect, very much like fighting therebels by firing at our own soldiers in the rear, while they are attacking the enemyin front. Can our army manage two adversaries better than one? It is like tying onehand fast to the body and form of the Constitution, and going at the rebels withthe other. Had you not better employ both hands?
But, before I pursue the argument further, let us briefly glanceat the authorities. I will cite mainly the standard textbooks of medical schools,and the exact words of the living teachers.
Says the "United States Dispensatory " "Medicinesare those articles which make sanative impressions on the body." Thismay be important, if true. But, per contra, says Professor Martin Paine,M.D., of the New York University Medical School, in his "Institutes of Medicine:""Remedial agents are essentially morbific in their operations."
This is rather a bad beginning. Professor Paine is the onlyauthor in modern times who had made any serious attempt to write the philosophyof medical science; and the "United States Dispensatory," edited byProfessors Wood and Bache, of Philadelphia, is universally recognized as "goodauthority" in the United States. And here are our two leading authorities startingwith a point-blank contradiction. Which is right? Who are we to believe? Or is itof no sort of consequence whether medicines produce "sanative" or "morbific"impressions? Is it not enough for us to know that they make impressions of some sort,good, bad, or indifferent? That they operate somehow, or in some way, or at leastoccasion certain effects?
It seems to me that everything depends on a correct starting-point--onthe truth of the primary premise.
But again says Professor Paine "Remedial agents operatein the same manner as do the remote causes of disease." This seems to be a verydistinct announcement that remedies are themselves causes of disease. And yet again:"In the administration of medicines we cure one disease by producing another."This is both important and true.
Professor Paine quotes approvingly the famous professional adage,in good technical Latin,
"Ubi virus, ibi vitus"
which, being translated, means, "our strongest poisons are our best remedies."Would professors Wood and Bache say, "the more powerful the poison the moresanative the impression"? This would be as consistent as was the Irish doctor'shandwritten bill: "To curing your wife till she died."
As it is important in this controversy of Paine vs. UnitedStates Dispensatory, to know which party is in the right, let us seek for other testimony.
. . . Says Professor Alonzo Clark, M.D., of the New York Collegeof Physicians and Surgeons: "All of our curative agents are poisons, and asa consequence, every dose diminishes the patient's vitality."
. . . Says Professor Joseph M. Smith, M.D., of the same school:"All medicines which enter the circulation poison the blood in the samemanner as do the poisons that produce disease."
. . . Says Professor St. John, of the New York Medical College:"All medicines are poisonous."
. . . Says Professor E. R. Peaslee, M.D., of the same school:"The administration of powerful medicines is the most fruitful cause of derangementsof the digestion."
. . . Says Professor H. G. Cox, M.D., of the same school: "Thefewer remedies you employ in any disease, the better for your patients."
The authorities all seem to be on the side of Professor Paine;and I imagine that the Dispensatory's idea of a sanative poison must be regardedas a "rhetorical flourish," or a "glittering generality." Itis a favorite pretension of the professors of the Eclectic and PhysioMedical schools,that the poisons of their materia medica are sanative; but I can find no authorof the Allopathic School, save the "United States Dispensatory," who affirmsthe absurd proposition.
But, waving for a moment the question whether medicines aresanative or morbific, let us see what the authors say of their effects and modusoperandi.
. . . Says Professor E. H. Davis, M.D., of the New York MedicalCollege: The modus operandi of medicines is still a very obscure subject.We know that they operate, but exactly how they operate is entirely unknown."
. . . Says Professor J. W. Carson, M.D., of the New York UniversityMedical School: "We do not know whether our patients recover because we givemedicines, or because Nature cures them."
. . . Says Professor E. S. Carr, of the same school: "Alldrugs are more or less adulterated; and as not more than one physician in a hundredhas sufficient knowledge in chemistry to detect impurities, the physician seldomknows just how much of a remedy he is prescribing."
The authors disagree in many things; but all concur in the factthat medicines produce diseases; that their effects are wholly uncertain, and thatwe know nothing whatever of their modus operandi.
But now comes in the testimony of the venerable Professor JosephM. Smith, M.D., who says: "Drugs do not cure disease; disease is always curedby the vis medicatrix naturae."
And Professor Clark further complicates the problem before usin declaring that, "Physicians have hurried thousands to their graves who wouldhave recovered if left to Nature." And again: "In scarlet fever you havenothing to do but to rely on the vis medicatrix naturae."
We are in a sad predicament. Professors Wood and Bache informus that medicines are sanative. Professors Clark and St. John declare thatthey are poisonous. Professor Paine explains that they cure one disease byproducing another; and Professor Smith asserts that they do not cure at all. "Inthe midst of counsel there is much perplexity.
But has it come to this? Are we to believe that the professionhas been accumulating remedies for three thousand years; that whole libraries havebeen written in laudation of their curative "virtues;" that twenty classesand two thousand drugs are already recorded on the pages of the works on materiamedica and therapeutics; that the cry is "still they come," and yet thatthey do not cure at all? No, not by "sanative impressions; nor by "morbificoperations; nor by "poisoning the blood; nor by "diminishing the vitality;nor even by "producing another disease. Why, then, give drugs? If the vismedicatrix naturae is the curative agent, why not administer the vis medicatrixnaturae? Ah! But drugs may "aid and assist the vis medicatrix naturae."How? By making sanative impressions? By making morbific impressions? By poisoningthe blood? By diminishing the ‘vitality? By inducing a new disease? What is the rationale?Was there ever another such a metaphysicotherapeutical muddle?
The questions I have propounded are not answered in medicalbooks; but I intend to solve them before I leave the stand. They never can be answereduntil another and a primary question is solved. What is disease? Says ProfessorGross: "Of the essence of disease very little is known; indeed, nothing at all."And says Professor George B. Wood. M.D., of Jefferson Medical College, Philadelphia("Wood's Practice of Medicine"): "Efforts have been made to reachthe elements of disease; but not very successfully; because we have not yet learnedthe essential nature of the healthy actions, and cannot understand their derangements."
We have, then, the confession of the highest authorities, thatthe medical profession knows nothing of the nature of disease; nothing of the modusoperandi of medicines; and of course it can know nothing of the relations ofthe remedies to the diseases for which they are prescribed; and for this very reasonphysicians should not prescribe them at all. Nor would they, if they understood therationale of either one of these subjects.
Now I do profess to understand the essential nature of disease,the rationale of the action of remedies, and the relations of remedies to diseases,and I do not prescribe drug medicines. And if all the physicians of the United Statesshould understand these questions tonight, there would be no drug doctor in all thisland with tomorrow's rising sun. It is precisely because medical men do not understandthe relations of remedies to diseases that they administer poisons because a personis sick. I admit that physicians, as a class, are honest; but I know they are mistaken.I know that when they suppose themselves to be opposing and subduing an enemy, whichthey term disease, they are really warring on the human constitution. I do not believethere is a physician on earth who has so poor a judgment or so bad a conscience asto be a drug doctor for one moment after lie understands the essential nature ofdisease, or the rationale of the action of medicines.
Three brilliant names have recently gone down from the politicalfirmament, like suns setting at mid-day. Three strong, vigorous, stalwart men, inthe very prime of life, in the beginning almost of their maturity and their usefulness,have been sent to premature graves, to molder beneath the clods of the valley, andcrumble to dust, when they should have remained on the earth, and would have continuedabove ground, had it not been for
"The deadly virtues of the healing art,"
which "cures one disease by producing another." I mention names familiarin this place--Senator Douglass, Count Cavour, Prince Albert.
Mark you! When I intimate that these men were killed, Ido not mean to say that they were murdered. I would use the milder term, manslaughter,and in the fifth degree. There was no malice prepense, as the lawyerssay. It was excusable, if not justifiable homicide.
I shall revert to these names again presently, and explain,if I have time, how they were sent to their graves by medical treatment.
And three Presidents of the United States--Washington, Harrison,and Taylor--were manslaughtered by their medical advisers, as I may have time toshow you. But, perhaps, it would not be judicious on this occasion to dwell on particulars.
I read in your papers, a day or two since, that Willie Lincoln,the son of the President, was sick. Why should a healthy, vigorous boy of fourteenor fifteen years of age, full of vitality and of excellent constitution, die becauseof a cold, or a pneumonia, or a fever? [Note: a few days after this lecture, WillieLincoln was among the dead]
Ah! When I have read of illness in the presidential mansion,I have trembled; not always for my country, but always for some individual. The moreexalted in life is the position of the patient, the more doctors, the more medicines,and the more danger. The London Lancet, of Feb. 1862, in allusion to the deathof Prince Albert, makes a very significant remark: "The disease was typhoidfever, not very severe in its early stages. But this is a disease which has inevitablyproved far more fatal to sufferers of the upper classes of life than to patientsof the poorer kind." Let me be poor, aye, very poor indeed, if I must go throughthe ordeal of drug medication.
But let me finish the testimony. I said I would prove the popularmedical system to be false by the testimony of its advocates. I have already donethis indirectly. I will now do it directly. I could give you a volume of quotationssimilar to those I have thus far adduced; but I have one piece of evidence, whichcovers the whole ground. It is conclusive in itself in the absence of all other testimony,for it is the best the nature of the case admits of. And this is precisely the kindof evidence that lawyers and judges and juries can best appreciate. It is the MedicalProfession of the United States vs. Itself. The medical profession of theUnited States has arraigned its own system as false in theory and fatal in practice.And it only devolves on me to prove and illustrate what they allege.
There assembled at St. Louis, Mo., a few years ago--I believein 1855 or ‘56--a National Medical Convention. This convention was composed of thevery elite of the profession--professors in medical colleges, presidents ofmedical societies, authors of standard books, and other gentlemen of distinctionfrom all parts of the country. And they met professedly for the purpose of elevatingthe character and dignity of the profession, conserving the public health, and puttingdown quackery.
Well, what did this body of learned and influential Aesculapiansdo in St. Louis? Among other things they ate a huge dinner, and passed a great resolution.I mention the dinner merely to say that on the table at which these representativesof medical science and these conservators of the health of the dear people sat downto
"The feast of reason and the flow of soul,"
were forty kinds of alcoholic liquor! --a display not very complimentaryto the "teetotalers." And I mention the grog merely to say that, if itbe suspected that the resolution, or any part thereof, was passed under the inspirationof the
Cup that cheers and also inebriates,
the members of the "American Medical Association," like all prisonersat the bar, shall have the benefit of the doubt.
The resolution, which was deliberately discussed, adopted, andrecorded, is in these words
"It is wholly incontestable that there exists a widespread dissatisfaction with what is called the regular or old allopathic system of medical practice. Multitudes of people in this country and in Europe express an utter want of confidence in physicians and their physic. The cause is evident erroneous theory, and springing from it, injurious, often--very often---FATAL PRACTICE! Nothing will now subserve the absolute requisitions of an intelligent community but a medical doctrine grounded upon right reason, in harmony with and avouched by the unerring laws of Nature and of the vital organism, and authenticated and confirmed by successful results."
In plain English, an intelligent community demands a medicalsystem, which will cure, and not kill.
But what do these words mean? Are they true? And when did thesemedical gentlemen ascertain that the system which they had practiced so long was"erroneous in theory and fatal in practice?" Did they make the discoverywhile in convention assembled, or had they known it long before? And have they discontinuedthis "injurious, and often, very often, fatal practice," now that hey knowit to be predicated on a false doctrine? I fear not. I suspect that all of them arepracticing this false system to this day and hour. Have they a moral right to dothis? And do they wish for the people to have confidence in a system that they declareto be false and fatal? Would I, would you, prosecute any calling which you knew tobe wrong in principle and injurious in practice, and especially when you professedto serve your neighbor for pay?
The medical profession holds a most false relation to society.Its honors and emoluments are measured, not by the good, but by the evil it does.The physician who keeps some member of the family of his rich neighbor on a bed ofsickness for months or years, may secure to himself thereby both fame and fortune;while the one who would restore the patient to health in a week or two, will be neitherappreciated nor understood. If a physician, in treating a simple fever, which ifleft to itself or to Nature would terminate in health in two or three weeks, drugsthe patient into half a dozen chronic diseases, and nearly kills him half a dozentimes, and prolongs his sufferings for months, he will receive much money and manythanks for carrying him safely through so many complications, relapses, and collapses.But if he cures in a single week, and leaves him perfectly sound, the pay will besmall, and the thanks nowhere, because he has not been very sick!
But the majority of the people still demand drug doctors, andso long as they demand them they will have them. Whenever there is a demand for hygienicphysicians, they will be forthcoming. Much is said in these days of reforming medicalpractice. I can give you an infallible recipe for providing the very best of physiciansat the least possible expense. Pay your physician when you are well, and stop hispay when you are sick, or else pay him a stipulated salary whether you are sick orwell. Let your health be to his advantage, and not your sickness his opportunity.Then he will study Hygiene, which keeps you well, instead of druggery, which complicatesyour maladies and keeps you sick. As it is now, he is hired, virtually bribed, todo the very worst he can for you.
I know many of you will say, "My physician is a very excellentman and a good scholar--I have all confidence in him." But he says his systemis false. Is your confidence in him or in his system? If in his system, you are tobe pitied. If in him, take his good advice and refuse his bad medicine.
We offer the medical profession the very system, which it saysan intelligent community absolutely demands, and the profession not only refusesto adopt it, but even to investigate it. And it applies to those of us who advocateand practice it, such unpleasant epithets as "quack," "fanatic,""one-idealist," etc. "One-idealism," indeed! I will show youthat the one-idealism is all on the other side. What is drug medication? It is simplypoisoning a man because he is sick. How many ideas are there in that idea? I cansee but one and that happens to be a very bad one. True, there are two thousand drugsin the list of remedies. But they are all poisons--banes, venoms, and viruses--
The dregs and scum of earth and sea.
Take one of them separately, and it is a poison. Give a patient the whole apothecaryshop, and it is one mass of poison. It is poisonopathy first, last, and always.
Now the remedies of the Hygienic System, as I have already stated,comprehend everything in the universe except poisons. The Drug System rejects everythingexcept poisons. My system rejects only poisons, and adopts everything else.
But now a truce with facts and authorities. I come now to theprinciples and premises of our subject; to the philosophy that underlies this discussion.How shall we explain the facts before us? How can we reconcile or understand theseconflicting authorities?
I will give you an infallible criterion of judgment, which willapply to the solution of all the medical problems under consideration; and then Iwill give you an invariable rule of practice, which will apply to the treatment ofall manner of diseases. And this criterion, and this rule, will be found in the lawsestablished in the constitution of all living beings. Without some fixed and unalterableand demonstrable rule of judgment, all of our reasoning may be in vain; facts maybe misapplied experience misinterpreted; observation deceptive; and logic perverted.
Though an angel speak to us in the voices of the rolling thunders;though God send instruction in the red lightning's flash; yet, without a principleof interpretation, without the recognition of some law by which to explain the phenomena,we only know that it thunders, and that the sky is ablaze. But with the knowledgeof the law that determines the results, we may rightly apply all of the data of scienceand misapply none; we may use all things, and abuse nothing.
The grand fundamental error of medical men, and the great primarymistake of physiologists and chemists, and of philosophers, psychologists, and metaphysicians,and even of theologians, so far as their doctrines and dogmas apply to the subjectin hand, consists in mistaking the relations of living and dead matter. They haveerected all of their systems and philosophies on a false basis--on a reversed orderof Nature. And, think you, can the superstructure be reliable and enduring if thefoundation be laid in error?
Medical schools and books teach that medicines--acids, alkalis,salts, earths, minerals, more drugs--which are dead, inert and inorganic substances,act on the living system. Nature teaches the contrary; that the living system actson the medicine.
Medical schools and books teach--and the whole drug system ispredicated on this idea--that particular medicines, in virtue of "inherent affinities"which they possess for certain parts and organs of the body, act upon or make impressionson them. Nature teaches the contrary.
Nature teaches that the relation of medicines to the vital tissuesis that of antagonism, not affinity.
There is no word in our language that covers so much delusionas this little word, impression. Our philosophers have in all ages wholly mistakenits meaning. And a false definition of the word, applied to pathology and therapeutics,has given the world a false doctrine of the nature of disease, and a false theoryof the action of remedies; a false medical science, and a false healing art
What is an impression? Not the action of an external objecton the body or mind, as our doctors and philosophers teach, but the recognitionby the body or mind of the object. Whatever action results from the impressionor recognition, is the action of the living system in relation to the object, andnot the action of the object on the living system. An impression is not the actionof an inert substance--of a thing that does not act at all--but simply vital or mentalrecognition. And if I am correct in the definition of this word, all of the doctrineswhich medical men have entertained and taught for three thousand years, in relationto diseases and remedies, are exactly contrary to truth and Nature.
Baron Cuvier, in defining the boundaries of the various sciences,in his great work on the "Animal Kingdom," says "The manner in whichexternal objects make their impressions on the mind is an impenetrable mystery."I must solve this problem, or I cannot go on. I must penetrate this "impenetrablemystery," for all that I presume to know or pretend to teach, in relation tolife and health, diseases and remedies, depends on knowledge of this subject.
Strictly speaking, external objects do not make any impressionson the mind at all. Dead matter does not act on living, but the contrary. The mind,through the medium of the special senses, perceives the existence of externalobjects and the relation of the body the houseit lives in--to them. This is the solution of the mystery. All Nature is marvelouslysimple, when we understand it.
Vital and mental impressions or recognitions differ in this.The vital or organic instincts take cognizance of things in contact with the bodilystructures. Mental instincts take (we could almost say "fake") cognizanceof objects at a distance. Vital instincts or powers relate us to food or poisons;to things usable or injurious. Mental instincts or powers relate us to surroundingobjects and to other beings.
The doctrine that external objects act on the vital structureshas been the source of many ridiculous practices, as well as the cause of many graveerrors in theory. Light is said to act on the eye; sound on the ear; air on the lungs;food on the stomach; diseases on the blood, nerves, and viscera; medicines on thevarious organs, etc. But when this idea of dead matter acting on living is carefullyanalyzed, it amounts to nothing neither more nor less than a mechanical indentation.In the very nature of things, the action, so to speak, of a dead substance on a livingstructure, could result in nothing but a displacement of particles or organs.
In explaining the philosophy of vision, philosophers tell usthat the rays of light, being reflected from the object perceived to the eye, paintor impress its image or picture on the retina of the optic nerve. But as this doesnot make the question, how the mind knows the existence of the object, any clearer,we are gravely informed that the object, or its image, is passed along the opticnerves to its origin--the thalami nervorum opticorum, and even to the cineritiousor gray matter of the brain. But, admitting all this, it affords no clue to the rationaleof seeing.
On the supposition that the last impression on the retina wouldbe the most distinct, and that impressions on the optic nerve were like mechanicalindentations or foreign substances, obliterating each other as the successive wavesof the ocean erase the ridges or indentures in the sand along the shore, it has beenseriously proposed to apply the microscope to detect a murderer! It was imaginedthat, as the murderer might be the last object which the victim would see so as tohave a strong impression made on the retina, before his organ of vision lost thepower of recognition, the image of the murderer would be stamped thereon so distinctlythat it might be seen with the aid of a powerful microscope. And the experiment wasactually tried in Auburn, N. Y., a few years ago--fruitlessly, of course--and wasproposed, though not tried, in the case of the late Dr. Burdell, who was assassinatedin Bond Street, New York, ten years ago.
On the theory that remedies act on the living system, and bya power or property inherent in themselves, and that this property enables them toelect or select the organ or structure on which they will make an impression(we drop for the moment the question whether the impression be "sanative "or "morbific"), medical men have arranged and classified their materiamedica as emetics which act on the stomach; purgatives, which act onthe bowels, diaphoretics, which act on the skin; diuretics, which acton the kidneys; expectorants, which act on the lungs cholagogues, whichact on the liver; stimulants, which act on the blood-vessels; tonics, whichact on the muscular fibers; narcotics, which act on the brain, etc.
All this seems very plausible, but there is no truth in it.
The person who is ignorant of the first principle of astronomy,could affirm most conscientiously that the sun rises in the east and sets in thewest, and passes around the earth once in every twenty-four hours. Does he not seeit with his own eyes? But with knowledge of the law of gravitation, he would knowthat this appearance was illusory, and that the earth revolved on its axis, whilethe sun stood still.
A knowledge of the law of vitality would teach medical men thatonly living structures have inherent powers to act; that all dead things, in relationto living, are entirely passive; and that the only property they possess is inertia,which is the tendency to remain quiescent until disturbed by something else--thepower to do nothing.
The living system acts on food to appropriate it to the formationand replacement of its organs and tissues. This is digestion and assimilation--thenutritive process. And the living system acts on drugs, medicines, poisons, impurities,effete matters, miasma, contagions, infections oneverything not useful or usable in the organic domain--to resist them; to expel them;to get rid of them; to purify itself of their presence through the channel or outletbest adopted to the purpose under the circumstances.
And herein is the explanation of the classes of medicines; therationale of the action of medicines, which has so puzzled the brains of medicalphilosophers in all ages.
And this equally mysterious entity called disease! Is not itsessential nature sufficiently apparent? The disease is simply the process of gettingthe poisons out of the system; and so this perplexing problem is also solved.
That the explanation I have given of the nature of disease andthe modus operandi of medicines is the true one may be demonstrated in thisway. We can take all of the medicines of the pharmacopoeia and produce all the diseasesof the nosology. Thus certain combinations of brandy, cayenne pepper, and quininewill produce, in a healthy person, inflammatory fever; calomel, nitre, and opiumyield typhus symptoms or typhoid fever; gamboge, scammony, and ipecac simulate choleramorbus; nitre, antimony, and digitalis, the Asiatic or spasmodic cholera; cod-liveroil, salt, and sulfur, the scurvy, etc. Castor oil, Epson salts, and a hundred otherarticles called cathartics, will occasion diarrhea; and lobelia, Indian hemp, tobacco,and many other drugs, will induce vomiting. And what in the name of medical scienceand the healing art are the diarrhea and the vomiting except efforts of the livingsystem to expel the poisons--purifying processes, diseases?
Any person, who can explain the philosophy of sneezing, hasthe key that may be applied to the solution of all the problems before us. Does thedust or the snuff sneeze the nose, or does the nose sneeze the dust or the snuff?Which is acted on or expelled, and what acts? Is sneezing a healthy or a morbid process?No one will pretend that it is normal or physiological. No one ever sneezes unlessthere is something abnormal in or about the nasal organ. Then sneezing is a remedialeffort, a purifying process, a disease, as much as is a diarrhea, a cholera, or afever.
And this brings me to the rule for the successful treatmentof all diseases. Disease being a process of purification, I do not wish to subdueit, but to regulate it. I would not repress the remedial action, but direct it. Patientsare always safe, as the remedial action is nearly equally directed to the variousdepurating organs, or mainly to the skin. They are in danger just to the extent thatthe remedial action is diverted from the skin and concentrated on some internal organ.Our rule, then, is to balance the remedial effort, so that each organ shall performits due share of the necessary labor, and no part be disorganized and ruined by overwork.And to direct and control the remedial effort we have only to balance the circulation;and to balance the circulation we have only to regulate the temperature, and forthese purposes we have no more need of drugs than a man has of a blister on his greattoe to assist him to travel. He wants useful, not injurious, things.
Perhaps I can give an illustration of the leading problems ofmy subject still more obvious and satisfactory. I read in a newspaper the other day,that a boa-constrictor, while on exhibition in one of the theatres in Paris, havingbeen kept without food for a long time,
"Began to feel, as well he might,
The keen demands of appetite,"
and took it into his fancy to swallow a bed-blanket. The snake was two or threedays in getting the blanket down and after retaining it for some four or five weeks,the blanket, after another two or three days' struggle, was found in its former position,and not much the worse for the vain attempt of the monster to digest it.
Now the questions to be answered are: did the blanket act onthe snake, or did the snake act on the blanket? Again, to expel a bed-blanket fromthe stomach is not physiological. No boa constrictor in the normal state ever didit. Then it must be pathological, and pathology is disease. The blanket was the causeof disease--the obstructing material, and the disease itself was the process--thevomiting, which expelled it. Should this process of ejecting the blanket have beencounteracted, suppressed, or subdued, or killed, or cured; or regulated and directed?
All the functions of vitality may be resolved into two setsof processes one transforms the elements of food into tissue, and throws off thewaste matters; this is Health--Physiology. The other expels extraneous orforeign substances and repairs damages; this is Disease--Pathology. Is thisnot all plain enough?
But some authors tell us that medicines cure disease, and otherauthors tell us that the vis medicatrix naturae cures. They are both wrong.‘What is the vis medicatrix naturae? It is vital struggle in self-defense;it is the process of purification; it is the disease itself. So far from thedisease and the vis medicatrix naturae being antagonistic entities or forcesat war with each other, they are one and the same. And if this be the true solutionof this problem, it is clear enough that the whole plan of subduing or "curing"disease with drugs is but a process of subduing and killing the vitality.‘We see, now, the rationale of the truth of the remark of Professor Clark: "Everydose diminishes the vitality of the patient."
The announcement of the doctrine that the remedial powers ofNature and the disease are the same; that the vis medicatrix naturae whichsaves and the morbid action which destroys are identical, may sound strange at first;and so do all new truths which are in opposition to doctrines long entertained anduniversally believed. It seems exceedingly difficult, and in many cases utterly impossible,for medical men to get hold of this idea, so contrary is it to all their habits ofthought, and all the theories of their books and schools. Their minds have been solong wedded to the dogma, that disease and the vis medicatrix naturae arein some inexplicable way hostile powers, that, after I have talked with them forhours on the subject, answered all of their criticisms, and silenced every one oftheir objections, they cannot overcome their prejudices and prepossessions sufficientlyto comprehend it. And some of my medical students have revolved, and pondered, andcriticized, and controverted this idea for months before they fully understood it.But it is true, nevertheless.
When Harvey discovered the circulation of the blood--a problemwhich medical men had been assiduously investigating for seventeen centuries--heknew so well the inveterate prejudices of the profession, and its blind adhesionto ancient dogmas, that for many years he did not dare to publish his discovery tothe world. And when he did announce it, some ten years after he had completely demonstratedits truth, he was reviled and persecuted by his medical brethren. And it is recordedin medical history, that not a single physician over forty years of age everacknowledged the truth of Harvey's discovery.
But if Harvey's discovery, which in no way affected the interestsof the profession, and did not very materially disturb the prevailing practice, elicitedsuch bitter opposition, what may not we expect when we announce a doctrine that notonly revolutionizes the whole system of medical practice, but virtually annihilatesthe whole medical profession?
A few words as to the forms of disease. This is another of thevexed questions of medical philosophy. I know of no author who attempts to explainit. And how can physicians understand the rationale of the forms of disease,so long as they cannot understand what disease itself is? All that our authors pretendto know is, that there are different forms of disease; the why and whereforeare among the "impenetrable mysteries."
Why do persons, for example, have inflammatory, bilious, typhus,typhoid, intermittent, remittent, or continued, etc., fevers? Why one instead ofanother? Why a fever instead of an inflammation? Why a cholera, or spasm, or dyspepsia,or consumption, instead of either? The answers to all of these questions depend onthe solution of the primary problem, what is inflammation? And what is fever? Andthe answer to these questions must be traced back to the primary premise, what isdisease?
In the light of correct premises there can he no difficultyin understanding all of these subjects.
Certain forms of diseases--measles, smallpox, scarlet fever,etc., are said by certain modern authors to be "self limited"; and medicaljournals are still discussing the questions, "Where is the seat of fever?""Is typhoid fever a blood-disease or a nervous affection?
[Dr. Bigelow, of Boston, in a late work ("Nature in Disease"),says "By a self-limited disease, I would be understood to express one whichreceives laws from its own nature, and not from foreign influences; one which, afterit has obtained foothold in the system, cannot, in the present state of our knowledge,be eradicated or abridged by art." Dr. Bigelow's notions are entirely consistentwith the prevalent false doctrines of the nature of disease.]
Fever has no seat; fever is an action. Do not forget the primaryquestion, What is disease? Fever is one form of disease; and as disease is a processof purification, fever must be one of the methods in which the system relieves itselfof morbid matter.
How much longer will medical men expend brain and labor, andwaste pen, ink, and paper, in looking for a thing which is no thing atall, and in trying to find a seat for a disease which has no localized existence?As well might a general point his spy-glass to the moon to discover the whereaboutsof the electrical force, as for our doctors to turn their mental microscopes to anygiven locality in the vital domains, to ascertain the local habitation of a fever.
But there are many kinds of fever, and there are precisely asmany different conditions under which the process of purification takes place. Aperson of vigorous constitution, and not greatly infected with morbid matter, willdetermine the remedial effect almost wholly to the surface, and this will constitutethe inflammatory diathesis of fever, and the continued type. A personof more gross and impure conditions will have the putrid form of fever--the"typhus." Another less gross and feebler will have the nervousform of fever--the typhoid. And those who have been longer exposed tomalaria or other causes, so that the liver or other depurating organs have becomechronically congested or torpid, will have the intermittent or remittentform, etc. I have not time to follow out these illustrations, but I have indicatedthe principle which will explain every manifestation of morbid action, and the rationaleof all forms of disease.
We are told that Nature has provided a "law of cure."Here is another vexed question for us to settle, and I meet it by denying the fact.What is this law of cure? The Allopaths say it is "contraria contrariis curantur"--contrariescure opposites. The Homeopaths proclaim "similia similibus curantur"--likecures similar. The Eclectics declare that the law exists in or consists in "Sanative"medication, and the Physio-Medicals believe that the law is fulfilled in the employmentof "physiological" remedies.
They are all wrong; there is no law of cure in the entire universe;Nature has provided nothing of the sort; Nature has provided penalties, not remedies.Think you, would Nature or Providence provide penalties or punishment as the consequencesof transgression, and then provide remedies to do away the penalties? Would Natureordain disease and suffering as the corrective discipline for disobedience to thelaws of life, and then permit the doctor to drug and dose away the penalties? Thereis a condition of cure, and this is obedience.
And now, if Nature has provided no law of cure, she has providedno remedies. What then becomes of the materia medica and its two thousand drugs?And what becomes or should become of the hundreds of quack nostrums which are delugingthe land, filling the newspapers with lying advertisements, and robbing the sickand suffering of millions of their hard earnings annually? The regular practice andthe irregular trade are based on the same false dogmas; and when one goes to oblivionthe other will soon follow.
I have asked many of the professors of the Drug Schools to explainto me how their remedies acted, and how their "Law of Cure"operated--the why, the wherefore, the rationale? Not one ofthem could ever tell me; yet each referred to his own experience to prove that hismethod of prescribing drugs was the best one. None of them had ever thought of theprimary question, is any drug medical system right?
Experience! What is experience? It is merely the record of whathas happened. It only tells what has been done, not what should be. I would not givea green cucumber for all the experience of all the medical men of all the earth inall the ages, unless predicated on some recognized law of nature, and interpretedby some demonstrable rule in philosophy. Medical men have been curing (killing?)folks for three thousand rears with drug medicines, and their experience has ledthem away from truth and nature continually.
If a dozen persons are sick of a fever for one, two, or threemonths, and the physician gives them half a dozen drugs half a dozen times a daywhile the fever lasts, and one half of them die and the other half recover, the questionthen arises, what the drugs had to do with the results? The drug doctor will of courseassume that all that survive owe their lives to the medication, while all that die,die in. spite of the medicine. But one who reasons from another stand-point, whoreasons from the law of vitality instead of the false dogmas of medical schools,will conclude that those who die are killed by the medicine, while those who recover,recover in spite of it. Such is medical experience.
Says Dr. Bigelow ("Nature in Disease," page 17): "Theeffects of remedies are so mixed up with the phenomena of disease, that the mindhas difficulty in separating them."
Indeed it has. It never can separate them. The "effectsof remedies" are the "phenomena of disease," and nothing else.
And what are the remedies which God and Nature have provided?Drugs, poisons, chemicals, banes of every name and kind? Banes, did I say?Has not every medical school its favorite bane? Allopathy regards arsenic--rat's-bane--asa very good tonic. Homeopathy prescribes nux vomica--dog's-bane--as an admirablenervine. Eclecticism selects hyoscyamus--hen-bane--as a proper sedative. AndPhysio-Medicalism considers erigeron--flea-bane--as an excellent febrifuge.Professor Paine is right. We do indeed "cure one disease by producing another."
But the provings, aye, the provings! How do medical men provethat these medicines are remedies for sick folks? In precisely the same way thatToxicologists prove that they are poisons for well folks.
When these remedies are given to well persons they produce moreor less of nausea, vomiting, purging, pain, heat, swelling, griping, vertigo, spasms,stupor, coma, delirium, and death. When they are given to sick persons they producethe same manifestations of disease, modified, more or less, by the condition of thepatient and the circumstances of the prior disease.
Was there ever any reasoning in the world like unto medicalreasoning? If the medical man with good intentions administers one of thesedrug poisons, or a hundred of them, and the patient dies, he dies because the medicinecan't save him. But if a malefactor with murderous disposition gives the same medicineto a fellow being, and the fellow being dies, he dies because the poison killedhim! Does the motive of the one who administers the drug alter its relation to vitality?
I speak in the presence of lawyers. If such testimony and suchreasoning were offered in a court of justice, would they not say that the individualoffering it ought to be tried by a commission de lunatico inquirendo, on theissue of sanity?
Why, this infernally murderous strychnine, which is employedto medicate bad whiskey and give potency to moldy tobacco; which the rebels are accusedof poisoning wells with, and which is supposed to be the cause of the hog cholera,is becoming one of the most common remedies all over the civilized world for numerousdiseases. It is almost universally prescribed for paralytic affections; and an Eclecticmedical journal published in Cincinnati, has lately lauded it highly as a remedyfor dyspepsia (Eclectics, you know, go for "sanative" medication). I rememberthat a clergyman, Rev. Jacob Harden, was hung in New Jersey last year for givingthis medicine to his wife. I gave a dose once to a mischievous dog, and it curedhim of all his bad habits.
A few weeks since I surveyed, from the dome of the capitol ofthe State of Maine, one of the most beautiful cities, and one of the most salubriouslocalities that mine eyes had ever beheld, and in my lectures to the people thereI said, "Surely this is no place for doctors."
Yet I learned that typhoid fevers, diphtheria, pneumonia, andconsumption were prevalent. A few minutes after arriving there, I saw a solemn processionof twenty young girls, all dressed in snowy white, with bare heads and bare arms,marching behind the black hearse which contained the corpse of one of their lateplaymates, a beautiful girl, who had died the day before of diphtheria.
My friends, go with me, in imagination, to any one of your rapidlypeopling cemeteries, where the freshly broken earth tells of the newly made graves,and there interrogate the moldering bodies of the prematurely dead.
Ask them why and of what did they die? What will, what must,their answer be?
Did cholera infantum take that smiling babe away? Wasit scarlet fever that dragged that beautiful child down to the cold grave?Did rheumatism so soon cause that vigorous youth to lie pale and prostratebeneath the clod of the valley? Did typhus fever send that stalwart man tohis final account? Was it the mere incident of childbirth, with a slightcold, which hurried that mature woman out of the world so suddenly and so strangely?
Or was it a "mysterious Providence," or a more mysteriouschance?
No, no, human beings do not die so easily of such trifling ailments.No, I say! Could those crumbling bones and ghastly relics speak, they would tellyou in deep sepulchral but in thunder tones: "This infant died of antimonyand ipecac. This child was destroyed with calomel and opium.This youth was killed with nitre and digitalis. This man was slainwith bleeding and blisters. This woman perished of henbane andstrychnine, and all victims to ‘medical science.
There would be exceptions. But such would be the general ruleof graveyard testimony.
"God lent his creature light and air,
And waters open to the sky;
Man locks him to a stifling lair,
And wonders why his brother dies.
Look at the materia medica of this false and fatal system oncemore. If you could see it but for one instant with clear vision and unbiased minds,you would recoil from it with horror. You would renounce and execrate it forever.What are its agents, its medicines, and its remedies? Poisonous drugs and destructiveprocesses--bleeding, leeching, scarifying blistering, caustics, irritants, parasites,corrosives, minerals, vegetable excrescences and animal excretions--all of the causesof disease known to the three kingdoms of Nature.
And are these the remedies that Nature has provided? The assumptionis a libel on the God of Nature.
No, no! Nature has not stultified herself, but man has mistakenher teachings. So far from Nature providing drugs as remedies for diseases, the truthis, every drug taken into the living system induces a new disease. Every drug hasits own penalty. Every dose is an outrage on the living system, and in disobedienceto physiological law.
Let me illustrate how this "curing one disease by producinganother" works in practice.
On the cars between Rock Island and Iowa City my attention wascalled to an invalid soldier, whose pale, thin face, short, husky cough, and unsteadywalk told too plainly that consumption was far advanced. I had seen and heard somuch of the "typhoid" in the camps and hospitals of our armies, and ofthe drug treatment which cured the fever by killing the patient, that I seemed tounderstand his case at a glance and I remarked to my travelling companions "That poor soldier is going home to die. He has probably had the typhoid fever, andbeen drugged into a fatal consumption."
Soon I approached the sufferer, and inquired: "How longsince you had the typhoid fever?"
"It was not the typhoid fever at first, but the measles."
"How long were you sick of the measles?"
"About ten days."
"Did you take medicine for the measles?"
"Yes, lots of it."
"What happened after you recovered of the measles?"
"I had bleeding at the lungs--hemoptysis."
"Did you take drugs for the hemoptysis?"
"Yes, any quantity."
"How long were you doctored for this?"
"About one week."
"What happened next?"
"Then the typhoid set in."
"You took medicines for the typhoid?
"Ever so much, for nearly two weeks."
"Well, what next?"
"I got about, but have had a bad cough since."
"You are now consumptive, probably?"
" 0h, no, I hope not; but I guess I am pretty well on theroad toward it."
"Was your constitution originally good?"
"Excellent. I was never sick before in my life."
My suspicions were confirmed. The bleeding at the lungs, thetyphoid, and the consumption, were most clearly the effects of the remedies thatwere administered for the measles.
I was called last week to visit an officer of one of the NewYork regiments. His brief, sad story may be soon told. Two months ago he had jaundice.This was cured with drugs in one week. Then inflammation of the liver "setin." This was drug-cured in another week. Then the typhoid fever "attacked"him. This was drugopathically silenced in another week, and then the rheumatism "supervened."Now, his right arm is badly swollen, his left knee enlarged, and the cords spasmodicallycontracted, his finger-joints distorted, and the whole body crippled and neuralgic.Yesterday he left for my establishment in New York, where his system will soon beundrugged and his limbs straightened--not for the grave, but for service in the tentedfield.
All of these complications, the inflammation of the liver, thetyphoid, and the rheumatism, were drug diseases, and were caused by the remediesgiven to cure the rheumatism. This patient rapidly recovered under hygienic treatment
Last year a patient came to me with both arms paralyzed. Threemonths before he had, acute rheumatism--a disease I have treated scores of casesof, and never failed to cure within two weeks--for which his physician prescribedmercury, antimony, colchicum, and potassium hydroxide. The drugs had cured therheumatism, but ruined the patient. And what do you suppose his physician proposedto "try" next? Why, strychnine, of course!
I saw a patient, a few weeks since, in Cleveland, Ohio, on myway to the West. Four years ago, the young man--he was a youth then, and of excellentconstitution--had lung fever. His physician reduced his fever and his vitality withpowerful doses of antimony, and kept blisters on the chest continually. In two weekshe appeared to be convalescent, but soon relapsed, when calomel was given in largedoses. And lingering several weeks, the disease was said to have run into the typhoid,for which more calomel was prescribed. The fever next assumed the intermittent form,attended with profuse sweating, for which iron and quinine were liberally administered.He was drugged continually for six months, when it was discovered that the liverand spleen were badly congested and enlarged, and he was put on a course of mercuryin a new shape--blue-pill mass. After this the disease assumed many complications,as well it might, for which a promiscuous medley of medicaments were prescribed fortwo years longer, among which was hellebore, irritating plasters, several kinds ofpills, and a variety of homeopathic pellets and placebos.
Now, the patient has an enlarged and indurated liver; "ague-cake"of the spleen; a double curvature of the spine, so that the head is thrown forwardand to one side; the lower extremities are very weak; the ankle-joints lame; theknees incline to stiffness; there is a tight, husky cough; the chest has a constantsense of soreness all through; the heart throbs incessantly; the feet are constantlycold; along the back he has frequent rigors or chills, like a "dumb ague";his mind and memory, once vigorous and clear--he possesses large Language and verylarge Individuality--are now feeble and confused; and his eyes are so weak, it ispainful to read with them at all. In a word, he is a miserable wreck.
But what has done all this? Drug medicines, and nothing else.Every one of the secondary diseases and complications, for which he has been doctorednearly to death, is the effect of the medicines he has taken. I have seen and investigatedthousands of such cases, and know whereof I affirm. The drugs which were administeredto cure the primary disease, induced the secondary or drug diseases; and then drugswere given to cure the drug diseases, and this occasioned still other drug diseases,"typhoid," "relapses," and "complications." And alltogether have induced the indurated organs, curved spine, shattered nervous system,consumptive diathesis, and mined constitution. And even now his drug doctors, havingbrought him to the borders of the grave, and destroyed the best part of his vitalstamina forever, can propose nothing better for this newly old young man thanmore drugs!
Nor can his friends, neighbors, or parents even, yet understandwhy, if he is sick, he should not have the doctor come again and take more medicine!
In Peoria, Illinois, I examined and prescribed for several similarcases before an audience of nearly a thousand persons. Among them was a Mr. Gorsuch.He was twenty-eight years of age--of originally excellent constitution. Five yearsago he had the ague, for which he took quinine in huge dozes. This treatment so paralyzedthe functions of the liver that it became greatly congested and enlarged; for whichmercury was prescribed. The mercury induced chronic inflammation of the duodenum--mercurialduodenitis --for which antimony and opium were administered. These drugs extendedthe inflammation to the kidneys, prostrated the external circulation, and torpifiedthe action of the skin; for which more mercury, in the shape of blue-pill, with narcotics,was given. These remedies so exhausted the vital energies, that the next phaseof disease was termed "nervous debility," and then strychnine was prescribed.After the nervous debility had been sufficiently cured with strychnine, thedoctors diagnosed "spinal disease," and proceeded to blister and cauterizethe back. Lastly, neuralgia "set in," and the doctors resorted to henbane.
The condition of the patient, as I explained it to the people,in presence of several drug doctors, was this. An enlarged liver, ague-cake of thespleen, crooked spine, short breath from enlarged liver and spleen, and semi-paralysisof the abdominal and dorsal muscles, catarrh, laryngitis, duodenitis or "cankerin the stomach," albuminuria or degeneration of the kidneys, constant heat andtenderness throughout the abdomen, inability to lie in the horizontal position, coldnessand torpor of the extremities, and a thoroughly ruined constitution.
The doctors had worked at this young man for four long years,continually killing him with their curings, every one of his maladies,except the original ague, being nothing more nor less than the disease occasionedby the drugs administered for the preceding disease. Had the patient been let alone,as I stated to the audience, and had there been no doctors in the world, he wouldhave been well and sound in a mouth; or had he been put into the hands of a competentHygienic physician he might have been well in a week, in either case avoiding theexpense of a five years' course of drug medication, and the inconvenience of a ruinedconstitution, and the horrors of carrying about a shattered and frail organism forthe remainder of his days.
Let me mention one more case. I have noted the particulars ofmany similar ones during a recent tour in the Western States. The students of themedical class of the New York Hygienic-Therapeutic College for 1856-7, will recallto mind one of their number, Walter Nevins, a noble youth, full of life, animation,happiness, hope, and promise of future usefulness. He died in December last; butwhy did he die? Walter was among the earliest, as was his only brother, to volunteerhis services at the call of his country. His brother entered the Missouri army, whilehe received a commission in the army of Kentucky. There, as a result of severe exposure,he sickened of typhoid fever. He was a favorite with all, especially with his superiorofficers; and the surgeon of his regiment--of course a drug doctor--did all he couldto save him, and that was precisely what destroyed him.
Walter Nevins would not voluntarily have taken a single doseof apothecary poison; he would much sooner have faced the masked batteries of thefoe than have swallowed the more deadly drugs of the surgeon; but, as has happenedin many similar cases, he became delirious, with the determination of blood to thebrain, and was powerless to resist. So the murderous missiles were poured into hissystem, and the soul went out. Walter died, as the majority of our soldiers havedied, not of rebels' bullets and bayonets, not of disease, but of drugs.
His father was earlier telegraphed, and had started immediatelyfor the camp; but before reaching his son, in order to rescue him from the doctors,the very thing which he feared had happened--his well-beloved and noble son had beendrugged to death.
Now I do not regard typhoid fevers, nor pneumonia, of whichso many of our officers and soldiers are said to die, as dangerous diseases. Theywould seldom terminate fatally if the patients were not doctored at all. I have notlost a case in fifteen years, and have treated hundreds. The fatality is attributableto the medication.
Do you know how many drug medicines, or poisons, you are liableto take into your system, for example, during an ordinary course of fever? Two orthree kinds of medicines are usually administered several times a day, each probablycompounded of several ingredients, so that a dozen drugs, on the average, may beswallowed daily. These are changed for new ones, to a greater or less extent, nearlyevery day, and in a month's sickness fifty to one hundred poisons--rebels, if youplease--are sent into the domain of organic life.
No wonder there are nowadays all sorts of "complications,"and "collapses," and "relapses," and "sinking spells,"and "running down," and "changing into typhoid," etc. No wonderthat new diseases seem to hover around the patient and infest the very atmosphere,like a brood of malignant imps or voracious goblins, ready to "set in,"or "supervene," or " attack," whenever the medication has broughtthe patient to the vulnerable point, or within range of their influence. Under Hygienictreatment these occurrences are wholly unknown.
I mentioned the late Senator Douglas. He had acute rheumatism,a disease of which he would certainly have recovered in a week or two under hygienictreatment, and of which he should not have died under any treatment. His severe laborsand unphysiological habits induced obstructions in the liver and joints, and Naturemade an effort to relieve the morbid condition by deterging the impurities from thebody. The disease was drugged, the rheumatism was "cured," and thepatient--killed.
Paracelsus, the quack and vagabond of the fifteenth century,and the author of the calomel, antimony, and opium practices, acquired great reputationby curing a printer of gout in the foot. The patient died a few days afterward ofapoplexy in the head; but no one suspected that the medicine that cured the goutcaused the apoplexy.
Commodore Perry died very suddenly and unexpectedly, in NewYork, two years ago. The colchicum relieved the gout, but the patient died.
How strange, that no sooner had the doctor subdued therheumatism, than the typhoid "set in" and carried off the patient!Queries--Where was the typhoid while the patient was being doctored for therheumatism? How did it exist before Senator Douglas had it, or before it hadhim? Where did it come from? Where did it go? And what was it? I answer: it was theprostration of the patient caused by the treatment. Maltreat any form of febrileor inflammatory disease; reduce the patient sufficiently by bleeding, blistering,or drugging, and the typhoid will be sure to make its appearance.
I spoke of Count Cavour. A feeble, brain-working invalid foryears, exhausted with care, study, intermittent fever, and dyspepsia, and of coursein a very low state of vitality; he was bled six times in two days, when he reallyneeded twice as much blood, instead of less. Death was a necessary consequence ofthe treatment.
I alluded to the late Prince Albert. The report at first cameto us that he was attacked with gastric fever. Why should any one die of gastricfever? What man among you, living somewhat promiscuously at hotels or boarding-houses,and not standing on your physiology in dietetic, sleeping, and working habits, hasnot had gastric fever a dozen times? It is merely a slight indigestion, for whichrest and abstinence are infallible restoratives.
Prince Albert was in the prime of life. Possessing excellentconstitution, and of temperate and regular habits, and, withal, opposed to takingmedicine, he should have lived many years.
I said Prince Albert was opposed to taking medicine; so wasthe Queen, and no wonder. The most eminent of the Britishauthors and professors had condemned it time and again. Let me give you a few specimensof their utterances.
"The medical practice of our day is, at the best, a mostuncertain and unsatisfactory system; it has neither philosophy nor commonsense to commend it to confidence."--Dr. EVANS, Fellow of the Royal College,London.
"There has been a great increase of medical men of late,but, upon my life, diseases have increased in proportion." JOHNABERNETHY, M.D., "The Good," of London.
"Gentlemen, ninety-nine out of every hundred medical factsare medical lies; and medical doctrines are, for the most part, stark,staring nonsense."--Prof. GREGORY, of Edinburgh, author of a workon "Theory and Practice of Physic."
"It cannot be denied that the present system of medicineis a burning shame to its professors, if indeed a series of vague and uncertainincongruities deserves to be called by that name. How rarely do our medicines dogood! How often do they make our patients really worse! I fearlessly assertthat in most cases the sufferer would be safer without a physician than withone. I have seen enough of the mal-practice of my professional brethren towarrant the strong language I employ."--Dr. Ramage, Fellow of the Royal College,London.
"The present practice of medicine is a reproach tothe name of Science, while its professors give evidence of an almost total ignoranceof the nature and proper treatment of disease. Nine times out of ten, our miscalledremedies are absolutely injurious to our patients, suffering under diseasesof whose real character and cause we are most culpably ignorant."--Prof. Jamison,of Edinburgh.
"Assuredly the uncertain and most unsatisfactory art thatwe call medical science, is no science at all, but a jumble of inconsistentopinions; of conclusions hastily and often incorrectly drawn; of facts misunderstoodor perverted; of comparisons without analogy; of hypotheses without reason, and theoriesnot only useless, but dangerous."--Dublin Medical Journal.
"Some patients get well with the aid of medicines; morewithout it; and still more in spite of it."--Sir John Forbes, M.D., F.R.S.
"Thousands are annually slaughtered in the quietsickroom. Governments should at once either banish medical men, and proscribe theirblundering art, or they should adopt some better means to protect the livesof the people than at present prevail, when they look far less after the practiceof this dangerous profession, and the murders committed in it, thanafter the lowest trades."--Dr. Frank, an eminent author and practitioner.
"Our actual information or knowledge of disease does notincrease in proportion to our experimental practice. Every dose of medicine givenis a blind experiment upon the vitality of the patient."--Dr. Bostock,author of "History of Medicine."
"The science of medicine is a barbarous jargon, andthe effects of our medicines on the human system in the highest degree uncertain;except, indeed, that they have destroyed more lives than war, pestilence,and famine combined."--John Mason Good, M.D., F.R.S., author of "Book ofNature," "A System of Nosology," "Study of Medicine," etc.
"I declare, as my conscientious conviction, founded onlong experience and reflection, that if there were not a single physician, surgeon,man-midwife, chemist, apothecary, druggist, nor drug on the face of theearth, there would be less sickness and less mortality than now prevail."--Jas.Johnson, M.D., F.R.S., Editor of the MedicoChirurgical Review.
Prince Albert and the Queen could hardly have been unacquaintedwith the opinions of those distinguished physicians. Prince Albert was inclined tomedical studies and physiological investigations. He has probably done more to improvethe sanitary condition of the poor of London than all the doctors of the BritishEmpire have.
Prince Albert was afraid to take the medicine of the regularprofession, yet he was killed by it. Lord Byron held medicine in contempt, and execratedbleeding; yet he was bled to death. Prince Albert refused to take the ordinary drugs,but consented to take alcoholic stimulants. There was the fatal error.
Prince Albert did not regard alcohol as drug medicine in thetechnical sense. Why should he? Do not all of the learned chemists teach that alcoholis "respiratory food?" Do not all the standard physiologists call it a"supporter of vitality?" Do not physicians everywhere prescribe it in allcases of debility and exhaustion? Why should the Prince have been wise above whatis written? How could he refuse to take alcoholic stimulus when all the authoritiesof the entire civilized world declared it to be both nourishing and vitalizing?
Perhaps Prince Albert had not noticed the fact, that the distinguishedauthor, Pereira, who, in his treatise on "Food and Diet," places alcoholamong the "alimentary principles," in his elaborate work on Materia Medica,declares it to be a "caustic and irritant poison," and demonstrates, bya series of experiments, that it is inimical to everything that has life.
Prince Albert had not learned, nor do medical men seem to understand,that stimulation and nutrition are incompatibilities. There is no grosser absurdityabroad, no greater delusion on earth, than the notion that alcohol is in any sense,or under any circumstances, a supporter of vitality, or respiratory food; and onthis issue I am willing to debate all the physicians of the United States, and allthe learned men of the earth.
The story comes to us in the English newspapers, that PrinceAlbert was "kept up on stimulants" for five or six days. No one suspectedany danger. Physicians did not regard the complaint as anything serious. But, allat once, the patient became prostrated. The typhoid set in. His system refusedto "respond" to any further stimulation. Why did his system refuse to respond?Because his vitality had all been stimulated away. His system needed quiet, repose;but he was kept in a feverish commotion, in an inflammatory excitement, in a constantcommotion with alcoholic poison--I mean, "respiratory food."
Ah! This terrible "typhoid." how ready to "supervene,"or "set in," whenever and wherever a drug-doctored fellow-mortal is reducedto the dying point!
So inexplicable and mysterious was the death of Prince Albert,that suspicions were entertained of foul play for political considerations. My ownopinion is that the treatment is sufficient to account for the death.
The late King of Portugal died in a similarly sudden and mysteriousmanner, as did also his royal brother, and in their cases intentional poisoning wassuspected.
I recollect that soon after President Taylor died, newspapersand medical journals were discussing the cause, and it was then hinted that politicshad more to do with the death than disease. Physicians imputed the malady of whichhe is said to have died--a slight bowel complaint--to having partaken rather freelyof blackberries and milk a couple of days before, while on an excursion connectedwith official business.
Blackberries and milk! Such a meal could not have seriouslydamaged a nursing baby, much less the hardy old veteran who was almost proof againstMexican bullets. When I heard of blackberries as among the causes of General Taylor'sdeath, I thought of blue-pill, and gray powders, and green tinctures,and red lotions, and brown mixtures.
President Harrison was sick, as the medical report vaguely stated,of congestion of the liver and derangement of the stomach and bowels. The patientwas physicked and leeched; the typhoid "set in," and handed him over tothe grim grasp of death. After his death the medical journals disputed the proprietyof the bleeding part of the treatment. Some contended that he was bled too much,and others insisted that he should have been bled more.
Washington, too, died suddenly and strangely. A British author,Professor Reid, of Edinburgh, Scotland, has publicly declared that he was treblykilled; that he was bled to an extent that would of itself have caused death; thathe took of antimony and of calomel each enough to have killed him outright, had therebeen no other medication.
I would respectfully commend to Presidents and Princes, Countsand Senators, Lords and Kings, and to all who desire to live long in the land thatthey may do more good in their day and generation, the example of that shrewd manand enigmatical monarch who rules the destinies of France. Louis Napoleon does notresort to drug medicines when he is sick, and his enemies have little ground to hopethat he will die of disease. A few years ago, when suffering of that serious andgenerally fatal malady, albuminuria, he resorted to a bathing establishment, andrecovered. The Paris correspondent of the New York World says that the Emperorhas depended principally upon the Hydropathic treatment for several years, and thathe keeps two "water-cures" completely fitted up, one in the palace of theTuileries, and the other at St. Cloud.
But I have detained you too long. Yet I cannot conclude withoutone more allusion to the alcoholic controversy. Has any one yet discovered the causeof the Bull Run disaster, that strangest of all the strange panics yet recorded inhistory--an army fleeing when no enemy pursued; indeed, when the foe was also retreating?Each army seemed to labor under the delusion that it was "badly whipped,"or "all cut to pieces." Many theories have keen suggested, but none appearto be very satisfactory, even to their authors.
There have been panics among armies before, but never such apanic. Both armies running from each other, and the abandoned artillery remainingfor twenty-four hours undisturbed on the affrighted field, neither party going toclaim it, or scarcely daring to look in the direction where it was last seen.
Well, I have my theory. I am of the opinion that it was a liquorpanic. It was a "respiratory" food explosion. It is in evidence that someof our officers were intoxicated on that day and occasion. Who does not know thatpersons who use liquor habitually, will, on extraordinary occasions, drink extraquantities? The surgeon of one of the New York regiments, Frank Hamilton, M.D., hasreported, through the New York Medical Times, that he not only furnished brandyplentifully to the wounded, but also caused it to be freely distributed to the soldiersengaged in battle, to sustain them, as he expressed it, in their arduous duties.
Who cannot understand that, when the brain is so intensely excited,as in the struggle of mortal combat when the passions are almost maddened; when hopesand fears sway the mind by turns, and when the whole soul is furious with conflictingemotions, a trivial addition to the causes of disturbance may unbalance the mindentirely? An unusual quantity, an extra dose of intoxicating liquor, might easily,under such circumstances, and I think did, cause the officers, or the soldiers, orthe teamsters, or the spectators, to see with disordered and with double vision.They might mistake friend for foe and fire in the wrong direction, as has happenedmore than once during our pending struggle. They might imagine a reinforcement tothe enemy of 30,000 strong, in a cloud of dust raised by a retreating quartermaster.They could perceive a legion of rebels where only a broken and scattered battalionexisted; or they might fancy the distant forest or the waving bushes to be newly-advancingcolumns; and they might run forty miles to Washington ere the fumes of alcohol weresufficiently dissipated to enable them to look back and discover that the enemy,too, was running--the other way! In my judgment, there is somethinggrossly wrong or radically defective in that government which, while its brave defendersare assaulting the enemy in front, cannot protect them from an alcoholic fire inthe rear.
I have detained you too long; yet I have only hinted at manyimportant problems I would like time and opportunity to explain. I could speak twohours each evening for a whole year on the multitudinous problems involved in thisdiscussion, without exhausting the subject. But, if my theme is worthy of your earnestthought, I have already said enough; if not, I have said too much.
I have publicly declared that the system of the Healing Artwhich I advocate, if applied to the treatment of typhoid fever, and other diseasesprevalent in our army, would save thousands of lives and millions of money. Wouldyou, would the "powers that be," know all the particulars? Do you or theydesire information as to the details of the treatment? Would you know how to managehygienic medication at the bedside of the sick? You have only to indicate the wishfor such knowledge, and it will be forthcoming. Tonight I have only time to indicateprinciples, and present such data as I hope will induce some of you, at least, toinvestigate further.
If I am right, the people ought to know it. If I am wrong, surelysomebody ought to show it.
I appeal to your medical men, to your professors of science,to show wherein I am in error. I appeal to them as conservators of the public health,and for the cause of suffering humanity, to admit and adopt the principles I havepresented, or else to controvert and refute them; for I assure them that the doctrinesI advocate are rapidly extending among the people. My school is sending out everyyear lecturers and practitioners--missionaries of the gospel of health--who are continuallyand surely indoctrinating the masses in favor of hygienic and against drug medication.If they are teaching truth, it is the duty of men of science, of power, and place,and influence, to bid them God-speed in their good work. If they are teaching falsity,it is their duty to expose and denounce it.
It may seem presumptuous in me to oppose my feeble voice andhumble opinion to the accumulated lore of three thousand years. No matter--aremy positions true? If false, the medical faculty has the ability, and ought to havethe disposition to make it appear, for the issue of life and death is involved.
But it may help my cause to relieve myself of the imputationof presumption. I do, indeed, profess to be able to refute and disprove all of theassumed philosophy of all the drug medical schools. I do most unqualifiedly claimto have discovered the true premises of medical science and the true principles ofthe Healing Art; and I do most unreservedly declare my readiness to explain and defendthem against all possible controversy.
I claim, however, no merit; no superior intelligence; no extraordinarygenius; no wonderful sagacity; no remarkable opportunities. I do not blame physiciansof the drug system for practicing as they do. They cannot help it. They act consistentlywith their theories, as I do with mine. Once I honestly believed in the drug system,and conscientiously practiced it.
It was mere accident--a necessityof my existence--which led me to do what no other medical man had ever done, so faras I know--to investigate the premises of medical science in their relation tothe laws of Nature. Many men have written its history; hundreds have investigatedits hypotheses; thousands have discussed its problems; and a few have studied itsphilosophy. But no one before me had explored its primary premises. All haveassumed the dogmas of their predecessors as starting-points; dogmas which originatedin the ignorance and superstition of the dark ages, and which have been admittedand accepted, uninvestigated and unquestioned, as self-evident truths; but which,when examined in the light of the "unerring laws of Nature," are foundto be self-evident absurdities.
I conclude with a single remark. All history attests the fact,that wherever the Drug Medical System prevails, desolation marks its track, humanhealth declines, vital stamina diminishes, diseases become more numerous, more complicated,and more fatal, and the human race deteriorates. On the contrary, wherever the HygienicHealing System is adopted--and there is no exception--renovation denotes its progress,and humanity improves in all the relations of its existence. And these, Ladies andGentlemen, are the reasons why I esteem the opportunity to speak in this place soauspicious for the cause I represent, and so important to the welfare of the greathuman family.
R. T. Trall, 1862