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between visions and realities, and to another class less deserving of commiseration and more meriting contempt, whose moral habitudes are so loose that expediency weighs in their estimation more than truth, interest more than principle. The few persons who have thus made shipwreck of their medical faith, have wisely and seasonably withdrawn themselves from the honourable associations of the Society and its district organizations, so that they are relieved from the necessity of applying to these cases their wholesome discipline. Still, as many of these persons are legally licensed practitioners, this Society ought perhaps to determine how far it will permit its members to maintain professional intercourse with them. Some there may be, who, regarding these persons as lawful physicians, think they may, without violation of professional honour, meet them in consultation and extend to them the right hand of fellowship; others there are who decline all intercourse with them, feeling that, when men differ in regard to their first principles, no advantage can arise from consultation, and that he who abandons the system which he was licensed to practice, and uses his license as a cloak for empiricism, though he escape legal penalties, is not entitled to professional recognition. Uniformity on this subject is very desirable, and an expression of the views of the Society in regard to it, is due to those who wish scrupulously to govern themselves by the recognized ethics of the profession.
Another question, in connection with this subject, on which an expression of the opinion, if not the adoption of some regulation by the Society, seems at this time demanded, is, to what extent its members may humour the prejudices of their patients and their friends in favour of false systems of practice, without forfeiture of professional good standing. The Committee submit this inquiry without comment, themselves believing that professional harmony and good feeling are greatly endangered by the conflicting opinions and practice which prevail on this subject.
POPULAR INSANITY AS EXEMPLIFIED IN THE FAVOR
ACCORDED TO HOMEOPATHY.
By A L EXANDER N. DOUGHERTY, M. D. Read at Newark before the Essex County Medical Society, Dlay 4, 1847.
Homeopathy, from its very inception, has been reared by the true Baccnian process of inductive philosophy. Not a step has been taken which has not rested on facts, and the only question to decide is, whether these facts are true or false.”
Ticknor on Hornæopathy, p. 21. “ Diseases will not, out of deference to our stupidity, cease to be dynamic aberrations, which our spiritual existence undergoes in its mode of feeling and acting--that is to say, immaterial changes in the state of health.”
Hahnemann's Organon, p. 19, The ancient poets make fervid mention of the early happiness of our race, when, as they imagined, the earth brought forth her stores spontaneously, and brotherly harmony prevailed everywhere amongst men. Arcadian bowers bloomed in Lapland, and the fruits and flowers that bless with their rife abundance the equatorial regions, then sprung and matured and withered, with few to pluck them, close in the neighborhood of the Poles. The lion and the lamb lay down together, and the infant could sleep securely by the mouth of the cockatrice's den. All went merry as a marriage bell. As Virgil hath it, predicting a return of that felicitous period,
" Then mild become the years devoid of wars,
Foams powerless from out her gory mouth.” Then followed the age of Silver, when licentiousness and wrong prevailed. After this the age of Brass, violent, savage, and bloody. And finally the age of Iron, in which Hesiod thought the world was at his day,) when Justice and Honor had flown to their native skies. Many phases has earth which bears us exhibited since, many
cycles has it rolled through in its eternal career, but without ever as yet approaching the Saturnian starting-point. Alas! for the Hæperian gardens and their golden fruit. They had no existence save in the frenzied inspiration of genius; nor less a fable was the story of a golden age, unless it be an age wherein every man accumulates as much gold as possible. That indeed still exists. The auri sacra fames still gnaws at the heart of every man, woman, and child, giving rise, among other abominations, to the countless quackeries, one of which it is our purpose presently to discuss.
Yes, since the beginning, the green sward of the temperate climes, the eternal snows that gird the poles, and the fiery sands of the tropics, have been alike the arena of man's conflict with his fellow-have looked alike upon the wrong done by the strong to the weak, upon the advantage taken by the crafty of the simple-upon the universal and infinite selfishness of the race wherever located.
We have had the classic ages, distinguished for literary productions, which will serve as models for all time, and which, though gray with antiquity, are yet beautiful and fresh as the face of an angel; the dark ages when Art had veiled her head, and Science slept, and a funeral pall enveloped Christendom; the chiralric ages, when for ladies' love the bold knight, lance in rest, and visor down, adventured every risk and “hair-breadth 'scape;" the age of reason, so called by that
“ Most sage Philosopher,
Who had read Alexander Ross over,” with Voltaire and Rousseau to boot, thereby arriving at the conclusion that religion was a farce, and morality a thing to scoff at, and death an eternal sleep.
What have we now? What, indeed, but the new age of Brass ? Our times have been variously designated according to the fancy or predilection of each self-constituted sponsor. Thus some, of a religious complexion, call this the missionary age, in reference to the extraordinary efforts now in progress for the enlightenment and conversion of the heathen. According to others, interested only in prosaic affairs, it is the practical age, because men are now very earnest in the pursuit of bare utilities, to the neglect of the former poetic dreams and reveries. While others still affect the name of mechanical, since in mechanical contrivances, from a steam engine, with its automatic might, to the many fingered spinning-jenny, this age is unrivalled.
But let us see if there be not really strong and pre-eminent reasons for the name we have taken the liberty to confer.
Whatever other distinctive traits the times may present, the universal prevalence of effrontery and impudence will be conceded without dispute, as well as their correlative, a sawney-like simplicity, and readiness to be cheated with brass counters for true gold. And though the brass be rusted, though it have not even a thin coating of the precious metal, though the most superficial examination might suffice to detect the imposition, it passes equally current and unquestioned among large masses (we had almost said the majority) of people.
True, Mrs. Mapp, the bone-setter, has passed away, but her place has been adequately filled by the Sweet family. St. John Long does not now pretend to extract mercury from the head of an illustrious patient, (it were easier, methinks, to find lead there,) but our worshipful Botanic doctors do not allow the world to suffer by his loss. Perkins, in spite of his metallic tractors, has descended to the shades, but happily bis mantle has fallen upon the mesmeric fraternity,--Morrison's Pills (now no more) have begotten a numerous progeny. Brandreth's, Peter's, Hibbard's, Moffat's, &c., &c., &c., which, (Oh! that they had died in the birth,) will beget still others to tease the bowels of posterity, down to the latest generation-unless by an extreme reaction Homeopathy and Hydropathy, discarding all medicine, should sway their airy and watery sceptres over an undosed world.
Let it be observed that while humbug has existed in all ages, it seems to have prospered most in ours.
That, within a few years, great wonders in natural science have been wrought, and capabilities brought to light which had hitherto lain hid and unsuspected, is undeniable. No less true is it, that when first promulged they seemed incredible; they were rejected by the world, and those who proclaimed them subjected to contempt. Does it follow, however, that we are therefore, and without severe tests, to receive any new and astounding revelations respecting the operations and powers of nature, which any man, or set of men, may choose to unfold ? Under this ample shield are the uncounted and Protean shapes of quackery, that thrust their grotesquely ridiculous or horridly ugly visages into every house in Christendom to take shelter, which only need investigation conducted in the proper manner, and by men properly taught,—that is taught to think,—to exhibit their inherent fallacy, and disappear like unsubstantial ghosts at break of day.
Has not the discovery of the philosopher's stone, with its marvellous gold-producing qualities, been announced a thousand times? If human testimony can be relied on, has not the elixir vita, the guaranty of immortality on earth, rewarded the anxious search of numerous experimenters? And what shall we say of the bubbling fountain of youth that Ponce de Leon found in the Bahamas, wherein, if the venerable matron washed, her wrinkles at once were smoothed, her attenuated frame was clad anew with the firm flesh of youth, and long-forgotten passions pervaded her renovated nature. And has not that veracious traveller, Sir John Mandeville, testified to having seen Prester John and his kingdom in the middle of Asia, and to having visited the glittering El Dorado? But leaving ancient fables, all of us can recollect the success of the moon hoax, Hardly a family in the land but contained some enthusiastic believers.
It is useless to multiply examples. Sufficient has been said to show that if the world has erred occasionally by refusing credence to actual verities, it has erred infinitely oftener by bestowing it on lies; and by how much more numerous are the lies than the truths, by so much the more obstinate have we a right to be in demanding the clearest and most convincing proof of all extraordinary novelties.
Let one, however, hesitate to admit in full the accuracy and the reality of clairvoyant vagaries, and at once he is assailed with stories of illustrious men, whose merits were unacknowledged at first, and whose opinions were decried until time and experience