THE TRUE HEALING ART:
Or, HYGIENIC vs. DRUG MEDICATION
DELIVERED AT THE SMITHSONIAN INSTITUTE, WASHINGTON, D. C.,
BY R. T. TRALL, M.D.
FOWLER & WELLS, PUBLISHERS
(This book first appeared at the Soil and Health Library,
important source of books
on holistic agriculture, holistic health, self-sufficient living, and personal development)
MY OBJECTIVE IN GOING TO WASHINGTON
MY INTERVIEW WITH PROFESSOR HENRY
DR. TRALL TO PROFESSOR HENRY
THE WASHINGTON LECTURE ASSOCIATION
THE TRUE HEALING ART
A FEW words in explanation of the circumstances under which the following address was delivered, and which induced me to visit Washington, are necessary to the elucidation of the text. While on my homeward journey from a lecturing tour to the West, it seemed to me that an opportunity presented for introducing the subject of the True Healing Art in the National Capital which would probably never again occur, and in a manner which must more or less attract the attention of men of position and influence. My resolution was soon taken, and the difficulties and the result of the enterprise I copy from a statement published in the March number of the WATER-CURE JOURNAL.
MY OBJECTIVE IN GOING TO WASHINGTON
The soldiers of our camps and hospitals were dying off fast of typhoid fever, pneumonia, measles, dysentery, etc., and quite unnecessarily. I knew that the application of our system of hygienic medication would save most of their lives. I was well advised that there were surgeons of our school in the army who gave no drug medicines in these diseases, and who lost no patients. Also I was in correspondence with nurses who had attended our school, who were saving the lives of all the sick soldiers in their hands by putting aside the drugs and nursing them properly. The subject of the best or most successful treatment of the diseases of our officers and soldiers in the field being of national importance, it seemed to me that I could present the merits of our school versus the drug school, in high places, so as to be heard by the dignitaries of the land, and through them by the civilized world.
Accordingly I determined if the thing was within the scope of possibility, to expose the fallacies of drug medication, and explain the truths of the hygienic system, in the place and under the circumstances that would command attention. I addressed letters to President Lincoln, the secretaries of State, War, the Navy, and the Treasury, giving them references to Members of Congress in Washington and elsewhere, who had been my patients, as to personal character and standing, and assuring them that I would be very glad of an opportunity to explain, in the halls of Congress or elsewhere, before the "powers that be," the Medical Faculty and Bureau, and the learned and scientific men of the nation, a system of the healing art which, applied to the treatment of the diseases prevailing in the camps and hospitals of our armies, would save thousands of the lives of our officers and soldiers. I offered, moreover, to meet and answer all criticisms and objections that might be presented to my positions from any source whatever; and to remove all appearance of "pretentious empiricism," I offered, if my propositions were favorably entertained, to afford them an opportunity for any personal examinations or acquaintance they desired before deciding whether I should have a hearing. To these letters I received 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 of Congress, 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 Christian Association, on Pennsylvania Avenue, opposite Brown's Hotel, a very central and convenient place, and also room in a convenient private house a few doors distant, where I could be 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 sent a letter of introduction to Hon. Ira Harris, of the United States Senate, soliciting his aid, and assuring him that my subject, in importance, was all that was claimed for it. It was also my good fortune to meet, in Washington, Hon. L. S. May, of Western New York, who aided us so efficiently five years ago in securing a charter for our College from the New York Legislature, who kindly promised all the assistance he could render. Armed and equipped with such missiles, and supported by these and other friends, 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 introduced me to Judge Harris, who promised me all the assistance he could render to get a hearing in 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 place as 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 who have mistaken their own ingrained prejudices for established principles. I have known men who could not entertain an idea if presented to them outside of the formulary of some standard textbook. I have had an interview with Professor Henry, of the Smithsonian Institute of Washington City, the capital of these United States.
I was introduced by Dr. Condict, who assured the Professor that I was a regular physician in good standing, and that I had letters of introduction from 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 the unpopularity of my subject. It was not orthodox; or rather it did not come to the world through the usual channels. I asked the privilege of giving a lecture in that temple of science, on the true healing art, and in exposition of the errors of the present 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 human family than all the subjects which had been discussed in the Institution, or would be in the next century. The Professor replied that the introduction of radical subjects had already occasioned some trouble, and he had no doubt that when the trustees met again, they would come to the conclusion not to admit anything in future outside of its own regular scientific business, etc. I remarked that so long as the trustees had taken no order on the subject, I could not understand why I might not be permitted to speak. But the Professor deemed it advisable to anticipate the presumed action of the trustees in denying me a hearing. I was unable to see the propriety of this course. Indeed, I looked upon it then, as I do now, as an extreme manifestation of scientific illiberality, and I was informed that, so unfair and bigoted is the presiding genius of the Smithsonian, that he will not permit a scientific lecture on any subject when he can help it, if the speaker entertains any notions which in the least conflict with his own opinions. Such a professor is better fitted to preside over a Spanish inquisition than over an institution endowed by the munificence of an individual to "diffuse knowledge among mankind."
Professor Henry was curious to know my points--what I would say if I could have the chance. I explained that my subject was a purely scientific one; that the medical profession had always been in error respecting the fundamental premises 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 involved not only the issues of health and disease, life and death, but the physical salvation of the human race. I also stated that I could and would explain all of the problems in medical science which medical men confessed themselves unable to explain, and even regarded as incomprehensible mysteries. The Professor admitted that there might be some truth in my views, but he thought I assumed too much. "No matter what I assume," I replied, " give me the opportunity and I will prove it."
"How will you prove it?" asked the Professor, with a simplicity almost childlike. "To tell you how I will prove it would be to prove 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 the whole medical profession cannot controvert. And here is precisely the place where my subject should be presented. Here are a learned Medical Faculty, a capable Medical Bureau, men distinguished in all the departments of literature and science, who are capable of appreciating the principles of my system if true, and of refuting them if 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 of the people against the popular medical system, and if we are wrong, our business ought to be stopped; and if we are right, the people ought to know it. And now, Professor Henry, I propose to present this whole subject to the wise men of the nation, so that, 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, if I cannot defend it against all cavils or criticisms from any source, and answer all the objections that you or all of the learned men of the nation can bring against it, I will pledge myself never to speak in its advocacy again."
Did I not expect that this fair offer and eloquent appeal would have brought the Professor to terms? But it did not. His answer reminded me of certain specimens 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 meant well, but--and here the shoe pinched, "but it might occasion trouble. If I lectured in 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 public attention." He was sorry, very sorry, that circumstances were such that it would not be prudent nor judicious to accede to my wishes. I bid "good-by" to the Professor, but not to my project.
DR. TRALL TO PROFESSOR HENRY
On returning to my rooms, and thinking an hour or two on the subject of "diffusing useful knowledge among mankind," I concluded to make one 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. I have 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 permit me to present it before the scientific men of the capital of the nation, but you would invite me so to do. I send you my last school catalogue, in which you will find, on page 26, a very brief exposition of my principles; also, on page 47, my proposition 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, ample references as to character, freedom from all "pretentious empiricism," etc.
My whole life has been devoted to the investigation of those medical 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. I know--and I can not only prove, but I can demonstrate--that I have ascertained the exact truth in relation to each and all of the problems which are fundamental in medical philosophy, and which knowledge the world is perishing for want of. All I desire is the privilege of giving this knowledge to the world, in such a manner as will induce it to investigate it, and accept it.
I have mailed you my program of lectures now being delivered in 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 the very 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 splendid palace in which he dwells.
THE WASHINGTON LECTURE ASSOCIATION
There is in Washington city an organization under the above title, composed mainly of the more progressive minds of the place, and embodying a 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; and other 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 "National Republican;" N. B. Devereux, D. T. Smith, and W. A. Croffett, of the Treasury Department, and W. C. Dodge, Examiner in the Patent Office.
On learning that I wished to make a demonstration in Washington which 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 influence of members of Congress, Dr. Jones made the acquaintance of some members of the committee above 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 the aid in his power, but could not give much encouragement that could obviate the finality of 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-workers in the temperance cause in New York in the days of the Washingtonian movement--took the matter in hand and declared that I should speak, and that, too, in the Smithsonian--the Professor to the contrary notwithstanding.
And I did speak.
The gentlemen of the committee did not profess to be sufficiently familiar with my subject to judge of its merits, nor did they, in any manner, commit themselves 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 consideration of the people, and that I had been refused a hearing simply because my theme was unknown, and hence, of necessity, unpopular. Free discussion was in issue, and the committee was determined to see established on a basis never more to be questioned in the nation's capital. Forthwith a paper was drawn up, and signed by all the members of the committee, with two exceptions, inviting me to deliver the next lecture of their 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 the Washington Lecture Association. It is due to Mr. Herbert to say that, while all of the gentlemen named rendered all the aid I desired, he was especially active and vigilant, and devoted much the to preparing the way and making all needful preparations for the lecture. Mr. Van Vliet also exerted himself judiciously and effectively to secure the final success of my enterprise.
I had never before faced so intelligent an audience. There were present many members of Congress, military officers, physicians of different schools, army surgeons, gentlemen of literary, scientific, and judicial distinction from different States, and a large audience of the most thinking and progressive people to be found in Washington.
In such company I could not but feel at home, for I knew my theme would be appreciated, and I determined to talk so long as the audience could be kept together. I inquired how long a Washington audience could be kept patiently in their seats, and was informed that about one hour was the usual length of lectures in 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 audience listened with profound attention two hours and a half--from eight o'clock to half-past ten. I am indebted to Rev. Dr. Pierpont for a very complimentary introduction to the audience, and to the politeness of Mr. Devereux for sending his private carriage to 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 repeated plaudits of the audience, I had the full sympathy of at least nine-tenths of the house.
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, related to details and illustrations, and not to essential facts or primary principles. I should mention also that, on account of some previous disagreement among the members of the Washington Lecture Association, respecting the subjects that were properly within the scope of their organization, a rule had been adopted disclaiming all responsibility for the doctrines and sentiments which any speaker might introduce. This fact will explain my allusion in the opening paragraph.
R. T. T.
THE TRUE HEALING ART
I am very thankful, Mr. President, for this introduction, and especially for this disclaimer. It is what I am accustomed to, and it makes me feel at home. It assures me that I am indeed "free and independent," as I desire to be; that I am privileged to select my own theme, and that I can speak on my own responsibility of my own peculiar "isms" or "ologies," without compromising any association, and without involving any individual, because of my utterances.
And I am very grateful, Ladies and Gentlemen, to the members of the Washington Lecture Association, for having prepared the way for free discussion in this place; even for the presentation of the most radical subject that can be named--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, that I 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 for the physicians of one School to dissolve the fraternal and philosophic bonds which have 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 independent actors, a decent respect for the opinions of mankind, and a conscientious regard for the welfare of the human race, should prompt them to declare the causes which impel them to a separation.
I hold these truths to be self-evident, or, at least, susceptible of positive proof and absolute demonstration That the doctrines and theories commonly entertained among men, and taught in medical schools and books, and practiced by the great body of the medical profession, and which constitute the so-called "Science of Medicine," and on which the popular practice of the so-called "Healing Art" is predicated, are untrue in philosophy, absurd in science, in opposition to Nature, and in direct conflict with every law of the vital organism; and that these are the reasons, and the only reasons, why medical science does not progress as do all other sciences; why success in the healing art bears no relation to the advancement of all of the collateral sciences, and to the progress of intelligence among mankind; why medical theories are ever changing; why all of its assumed principles are in controversy; its hypotheses in dispute; why its fundamental rules and primary premises are wholly overlooked or misunderstood; and why its application to 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 true premises of medical science, which discovery enables me to explain all of its hitherto mysterious problems, even those problems which have ever baffled the investigations of medical men, and which are to this day regarded by the standard authors and living teachers as without the pale of human comprehension, to wit: The Essential Nature of Disease, and the Modus Operandi of Medicines; and thereon to predicate a philosophy and a practice of medicine which is correct in science, in harmony with all of the Laws of Nature, in agreement with every structure and function of the living 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 literality and in their broadest implications. It is for those who hear me to judge for themselves whether I make these allegations good. But I do now and here, as everywhere, most respectfully, yet most unreservedly, challenge the whole scientific world to meet the 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 enlightenment of the people of a nation, but to "the diffusion of knowledge among mankind;" and in this keen and concentrated intellectual atmosphere, surrounded by the moral power of a great and mighty nation, before some, and I hope many, of the chosen representatives of--in the language of one of your number--"the most glorious country that the sun has ever shone upon," and, as one of the sovereign people, speak to the wise heads and great hearts of these Dis-United but soon to be Re-United--in bonds never more to be broken or even questioned--States, the great truths which concern the Preservation of Health and the Cure of Disease; which involve the issue of the rise and fall of nations; and which, next to the Gospel of Christianity, are the most 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 successfully upon the "Contraband Confederacy" does not involve the prosperity and destiny of our country so deeply as do the principles on which I wage exterminating war against a false medical system.
With these preliminaries, and your kind indulgence, I will now address myself to my subject.
It has always been one of the most difficult practical problems in the world how to present new truths so as not to offend old errors; for persons are very apt to regard arguments directed against their opinions as attacks upon their persons; and many there are who mistake their own ingrained prejudices for established principles.
And here I must be permitted to say a few words by way of personal explanation. Why do I go to the people instead of the medical profession with my controversy? And why do I seek controversy at all? Because the profession utterly refuses to discuss the issues I present; and because controversy is the only method by which both sides and all points of our subject can be brought fully and fairly before the public mind. It is difficult for one person to represent both sides of 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 times invited and challenged a discussion with the strong men of the profession on the merits and demerits of our respective systems. I wish to bring our controversy before the whole people, that all may see and judge for themselves where the truth is. If I 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. There is 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. Its only safety consists in non-agitation, and all it asks is to be "let alone."
But the system I teach cannot live without investigation. The more it is examined, the better it is liked; the better it is understood, the more it is confided in; and no person probably lives on the broad earth who has fully investigated it who does not fully believe it. Give me the most capable expounder and 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 the doctors, 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 trembles on the verge of the grave? Tell me what value you place on health; inform me what advantage it would be to you to be relieved of all danger and all apprehension of dying 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 Medical System and the Hygienic Medical System.
One employs poisons as the proper and natural remedies for diseases; the other employs normal or hygienic materials and agencies. There are 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 all differ in certain secondary and unimportant problems and theories; but they all agree in primary premises. They are all reducible to the fundamental proposition of "curing one disease by producing another." They are all based on the principle of inducing a drug disease to cure a primary disease. It is true that Eclecticism and Physio-Medicalism do not recognize this principle; but it is true nevertheless.
Drug Medication, no matter in what disguise nor under what name it is practiced, consists in employing, as remedies for diseases, those things which produce 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 vital functions; all are antagonistic to living matter; all produce disease when brought in 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 preserve health in well persons. It rejects all poisons.
And here let me correct a common error abroad in relation to what thousands of people have understood as "Hydropathy" or "Water Treatment," the "Water-Cure," and the "Cold-Water-Cure," etc. It is a prevalent opinion that the advocates of this system accept the philosophy of the Allopathic system, but reject its remedies, employing water, diet, etc., as substitutes for drug medicines.
The true system of the Healing Art---Hygienic Medication--rejects not only the drugs, medicines, or poisons of the popular system, but also repudiates the philosophy or theories on which their employment is predicated. It is in direct antagonism with the Drug System, both in theory and in practice. It does not propose to employ air, light, temperature, water, etc., as substitutes for drugs, or because they are better or safer than drugs. It rejects drugs because they are intrinsically bad, and employs hygienic agencies because they are intrinsically good. I would reject drugs if there were no other remedial agents in the universe, because, if I could not do good, I would "cease to do evil" I would not poison a person because he is sick. No physician has ever yet given the world a reason that would bear the ordeal of one moment's scientific examination, why a sick person should be poisoned more than should a well person; and I do not believe the world will endure until he finds such a reason. The medical profession may prosecute this inquiry another three thousand years, and destroy other hundreds of millions of the human race in experiments with drugs and doses, but they will never arrive any nearer to a solution of 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 your attention to certain facts which may tend to convince you that the philosophy of my 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 before the learned men and the honored servants of the American people, and through them to the nation, and through the nation to the whole civilized world.
And I especially invite and solicit the attention of medical men 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 condemn nearly all of their practice. If I know myself, I have no motive, no desire, and no interest in this discussion, save the advancement of truth. And I ask medical gentlemen to hear me through, and take exceptions to every word I utter amiss, and to state their objections to whatever I affirm which they deem erroneous, as frankly and as publicly as I express my opinions.
In this intellectual as well as commercial age, most people prefer to reason inductively--to construct principles from facts--rather than to deduce facts from theories. I will, therefore, refer to certain historical data in the shape of "fixed facts," which go to prove, in a general sense, the propositions I have announced, and afterward proceed to develop the principles which underlie them, and the premises which explain them.
And here it becomes necessary for me to make a brief introduction to my preface. I must indicate the groundwork of my whole argument, that you may be the better able to judge, as I go along, whether the facts and the logic which I 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, in all 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 lectures of 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 science and all the principles of the Healing Art. Each is fundamental. Without an exact knowledge of the truth of each, the physician can have no True Medical Science, no rational or Successful Practice. All must be presumption or assumption in theory, and empirical or experimental in practice. His theory will amount to little more than technical gibberish--"incoherent expressions of incoherent ideas;"and his practice, "blind experiments on the vitality of the patient." But on to 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 observation and long experience, whose lives were consecrated to the relief of suffering humanity with honest zeal and tireless assiduity, have become convinced, fully and thoroughly convinced, that medicines do not cure patients; that they hinder more than they assist Nature'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 same conclusion with regard to particular diseases, for example, scarlet fever, croup, cholera, diphtheria, pneumonia, rheumatism, measles, dysentery, small-pox, and all forms of typhoid fever; and in every instance when they have discontinued all medicine--everything in the shape of drug or apothecary stuff--and relied wholly on Hygiene, their success has been remarkably increased. To this testimony I believe there is no exception on all the earth in all the ages.
More than two hundred physicians of the United States have written me, within ten years, that they were entirely convinced that drug medicines were worse than useless, and that they had wholly discontinued their employment; and every one 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 all drug medicines, never employing drug doctors except to get their opinions as to the name or nature of the disease; and that by means of such information as they could obtain from the "Hydropathic Encyclopedia," they had been enabled to cure themselves and families without ruining their constitutions by a course of drug-medicine-poisoning. And these are growing sentiments among physicians and people, and surely they mean something.
Certain distinguished medical men have regarded nearly all of the 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, and my citation of authorities, mainly to the diseases which are just now of especial interest to the audience before me--diseases which constitute the chief sources of mortality in our armies.
I have publicly announced that the system of Hygienic Medication which I teach and practice, and which I claim to be the True System of the Healing Art, would, if applied to the treatment of typhoid fevers, pneumonia, measles and dysentery, so prevalent in our camps and hospitals, save to our country the lives of thousands of our officers and soldiers, and to our treasury millions of money.
And although I am no friend to sensational literature nor sensational advertising, yet when words of modesty and candor cannot be heard amid the "noise and confusion" of the times, and when all ears are intently listening to the din 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 earnest in 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 criticisms of the scientific men of this noble Institution. I knew that I had truths, great truths to utter; and I knew that if I could, by any announcement, secure a hearing from them, the result could hardly fail to be such as would rejoice the heart of every philanthropist in the land. For this reason it was that I sent letters and circulars and books to the President, Secretary of State, and Secretaries of the Treasury, War, and Navy. To these I received no response. I did not expect any. But I felt my mission to be important, and it seemed to be my duty to leave no means untried 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 pneumonia in the hospitals, he did not give any medicine at all in the hospitals, mark you! But how in private families? "There," said the professor, "it would not do to refuse to prescribe medicine." Would not 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 or forty 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 the treatment 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 Medical and Surgical Journal, that he had treated all the cases of small-pox, which had prevailed endemically in that city, without a particle of medicine, and that all of the cases--some of which were very grave ones--recovered.
Dr. John Bell, Professor of Materia Medica in one of the Philadelphia colleges, and also in the Medical College of Baltimore, testifies, in a work which he has published ("Bell on Baths"), that he and others have treated many cases of scarlet fever with bathing, and without medicines of any kind, and without losing a patient.
Dr. Ames, of Montgomery, Alabama, a few years since published, in the New Orleans Medical and Surgical Journal, his experience and observations in the treatment of pneumonia. He had been led to notice, for many years, that patients who were treated with the ordinary remedies--bleeding, mercury, and antimony--presented certain complications which always aggravated the malady, and rendered convalescence more lingering and recovery less complete. Such patients were always liable to collapses and re-lapses; to "run into typhoid; "to sink suddenly, and die very unexpectedly.
He noticed particularly that patients who took calomel and antimony were found, on post-mortem examinations, to have serious and even fatal inflammation of the stomach and small intestines, attended with great prostration, delirium, and other symptoms of drug poisoning. These "complications" were neither more nor less than drug diseases. And Dr. Ames found on changing his plan of treatment to 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 a large volume on the diseases of that noble animal, the horse--a work, I fear, no reasonable beast will have any reason to thank him for. Horse Doctor Youatt gets his 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, as the 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 lives or 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," says the professor of Equine Pathology, "after having the pneumonia once, he will always be feeble, and very liable to relapses."
The same remark, as to feebleness and relapses, will just as well apply to a man treated in a similar manner.
I have known several Allopathic physicians who, seeing or believing that the ordinary remedies, instead of helping the patient to live, assisted him to 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 of the Vermont Academy of Medicine at Castleton, Vt., informed his medical class, when I attended his lectures, that some years previous the typhoid pneumonia was so fatal in some places in the valley of the Connecticut River, that the people became suspicious that the physicians were doing more harm than good; and in their desperation they actually combined against the doctors and refused to employ them at all; "after which," said Professor TuIly, "no deaths occurred." And I might add, as an historical incident of some pertinency in this place, that regular physicians were once banished from Rome, so fatal did their practice seem, so far as the people could judge of it.
So long ago as my earliest school-boy days--and that was not very long ago, for I do not confess to being an old man yet--the advent and career of our district schoolteacher made an impression on my mind which induced me to study medicine 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 dozen or fifteen miles. But people were sick. Agues prevailed. Colds and coughs were as common 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 known and duly appreciated. But nobody died. Many persons were very sick, but somehow or other all came out well and sound in the end. Catnip teas, hemlock sweats, warm water for the feet, and gruel for the stomach and bowels, seemed to be infallible in all cases. No doctors were to be had, and nurses were obliged to rely on domestic remedies and common-sense appliances alone. And children were born. It was dreadful to be without 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 those years, and that was the case of an old man who froze to death on a bitter cold December night. The rum-fiend, however, had to do with this death.
At length, as the country settled around, a stranger of good address came along and. offered to teach the village school. He was employed. It was soon noised around that he was a doctor. How fortunate! At this time colds, and pneumonia, and influenza, and pleurisies were prevalent. The schoolteacher soon began to visit patients out of school hours, and the calls for his professional services became so frequent and urgent that he was obliged to relinquish teaching in the middle of the term and devote himself night and day to doctoring. Then it was that people began to die. I soon became familiar with funerals, and in a few years, cripples and bed-ridden women were numerous in the neighborhood. Three of my father's family--my mother and two brothers--for some slight indisposition, called the doctor; and neither of 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 practiced the Hygienic Medical System, treated all forms and hundreds of cases of typhus and typhoid fevers, pneumonia, measles, and dysentery and have not lost a patient of either one of these diseases. And the same is true of scarlet and other fevers. And several of the graduates of my school have treated these cases for years, and none of them, so far as I know or have heard, have ever lost a patient when they were called in the first instance, and no medicine whatever had been given.
I fear there is too much truth in the statement of Professor B. F. Barker, M.D., of the New York Medical College: "The remedies which are administered 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 graduates or 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 yet lost a patient.
The great Magendie, of France, who died two years ago and who long 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 the world--performed this experiment. He divided the patients of one of the large Paris hospitals 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 to the third class he gave no medicine at all. The result was, those who took less medicine did better than those who took more, and those who took no medicine did the best of all.
Magendie also divided his typhoid-fever patients into two classes, to one of whom he prescribed the ordinary remedies, and to the other no medicines at all, relying wholly on such nursing and such attention to Hygiene as the vital instincts demanded and common sense suggested. Of the patients who were treated the usual way, he lost the usual proportion, about one-fourth. And of those who took no medicine, he lost none. And what opinion has Magendie left on record of the popular healing art? He said to his medical class, "Gentlemen, medicine is a great humbug."
Who has not heard of Dr. Jennings, now of Oberlin, Ohio? Some years ago he practiced medicine in Derby, Conn. Being a close observer and a very conscientious 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; that drugs, instead of curing persons, or aiding Nature to cure them, really hindered the cure, or changed the primary malady to a drug disease as bad or worse; and to put the matter to the proof, he practiced for several years without giving a particle of medicine of any kind. But his patients did not know it. The people did not mistrust that they were humbugged out of their diseases; cheated into health; deceived into 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, diseases seemed to have lost all of their malignancy and danger, and to have assumed a singularly mild and manageable form, type, and diathesis. He gave harmless placebos--colored water, sugar pellets, and starch powders, to keep up confidence and furnish the mind with some charm of mysteriousness to rest its faith upon and then he directed such attention to Hygienic conditions as would enable Nature to work the cure in the best possible 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 a few years, having conclusively demonstrated the principle involved, he disclosed to his medical brethren the secret of his extraordinary success. And do you not think that 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, in all Connecticut, The Connecticut doctors all thought, doubtless, with Dr. Flint, of New York, "This no-medicine plan may do in public hospitals, but it will never answer in private families. It may do for Dr. Jennings or for the people, but will never answer for us."
And the "Matchless Sanative"--who has not known of its marvelous cures? Twenty-five or thirty years ago it was all the rage in some places. I have seen many chronic invalids who had worn out half a dozen regular physicians, and swallowed the whole round of patent nostrums; but nothing ever did them so much good as the "Matchless Sanative." Well, it was a matchless medicine. It was the very best remedy, as a universal panacea, ever sold to an afflicted mortal at an extravagant price, for it was pure water, and nothing else. The price was only two and a half dollars per half ounce!
And our friends the Homeopaths. They treat the gravest forms of disease with almost no medicine at all. They come as near to non-entity as possible and miss it. Their remedies, when prescribed Hahnemann-style, may be represented for all practical purposes by the formulary of the solution of the shadow of a shade of nothing at all, to begin with. One Allopathic dose of magnesia or cod-liver oil, diluted through a body of water which would fill all of the ethereal space from the earth's surface to the farthest star within the reach of telescopic vision, and one millionth part of a drop of this vast expanse of fluid for a dose, would not exaggerate 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 their rivals, the Allopaths, in the treatment of disease? Let their rapidly increasing numbers, and their employment in the families of so many thousands of the wealthy and intelligent, answer. This is not because the people believe in Homeopathy more, but because they fear it less.
The Homeopaths of New York have been offering for years, to go into the public hospitals, and treat all manner of diseases side by side with Allopathy, as a test experiment of the relative value of the two systems. But they are 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 on its advantages, and says, "Let us have no dangerous experiments. The dignity of the profession will not permit us to countenance any irregular system, nor to encourage quackery in any shape."
Did dignity ever cure anybody? Does Allopathy, in refusing this fair offer, fear for the dear people, or does it fear for itself? Even now the Homeopaths are importuning for the privilege of having a department in our army hospitals, where their system can be administered to such patients as prefer it. Should, their petition be granted, I would not predict what the result would be. I simply know it would not be favorable to Allopathy.
Last week the New York State Medical Society (Allopathic) met at Albany, and passed resolutions against the "introduction of Homeopathic practice in any portion of our army." Of course! But have not the people some right to some voice in this matter? Is it not as much their business as the medical profession's? It is they who are to foot the bills, and endure the sickness, and suffer the dying.
I may here, perhaps, make a remark, in passing, of some practical importance. It is with all schools of medicine as it is with each individual practitioner of 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 more attentive to Hygienic conditions--to good nursing--which always was, and ever will be, all that there is really good, useful, or curative in medication. Such physicians are 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 disturbing influences of any kind. And this is Hygienic Medication; this is the True Healing Art. Nor God nor Nature has provided any other; nor can the Supreme Architect permit any other without reversing all the laws of the universe, and annulling every one of His attributes, as I expect to make appear in due time.
Why have you a "Sanitary Commission" to look after the health of our soldiers in the field? Where are the Doctors? For what purpose have 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 supervise the medical department? Why do we not have, in private families, some benevolent clergyman, or some intelligent layman, to regulate the Hygiene while the physician deals out the drugs?
The "Sanitary Commission" visits the camps and hospitals of our armies, and reports that no proper attention is paid to the most obvious conditions of health. And it has been gravely charged in the newspapers that the Medical Bureau feels its dignity wounded and its prerogative intruded upon by the outside and unprofessional interference. The "Sanitary Commission" report that no proper attention is paid to ventilation; that cleanliness is disregarded; that stagnant waters are allowed to be drunk; and that sources of miasms, infections, and contagions are permitted to accumulate and breed pestilence. Why all this? Do our physicians understand the conditions of health? Do they know what are the causes of disease? If they do, why cannot they attend to these matters as well as outsiders? Are they reckless, ignorant, or indifferent?
Oh, no, hygiene--health--is not in their technically professional line. 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, by dosing and drugging.
Strange as the announcement may sound in this hail, I must assert that Health is not taught in the popular schools of medicine, nor explained in their books, nor much regarded in the prescriptions of their physicians. But when the typhoid pestilence and the malignant pneumonia appear as the inevitable consequences of the permitted causes, the doctors can drug and dose secundem artem. They can administer quinine in huge doses; give any quantity of calomel, and subdue the vital struggle--and too often the patient--with bleeding and narcotics.
Who supposes that this quinine, so freely administered as a curative, and even a preventive of miasmatic diseases, is a deadly poison? Who does not know that arsenic is a poison? Yet I read, this very day, in last week's New York Medical Times (which speaks by authority), an article in favor of arsenic 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 European journal of the Allopathic school), several articles commending arsenic as the better article 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 for each other? I think I shall be able to show in what the delusion consists.
The Medical Bureau can have no excuse for disregarding the sanitary condition of our armies, save that of a false medical system and an erroneous or defective medical education. If it knows its duty and does it not, it is more to be execrated than all the rebels in Dixie's Land. No, I say most emphatically, that health is taught in but one medical school in the world--the New York Hygiene Therapeutic College--and this school is repudiated by the medical profession of this land of the 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 acknowledge it. Medical students go to College to learn the symptoms of disease, and how to cure them, or rather in what way to drug them; not to learn the conditions of health and how to preserve it. Are physicians, as a class any more observant of the laws of life or more exempt from ordinary disease and infirmities than others?
And Florence Nightingale! Is that name new or strange in this place? For what purpose did that noble and heroic English girl, overflowing with patriotic emotion, and full of sympathy for suffering humanity, as only woman can be, pitch her tent and make her abiding-place amid the wailing of the wounded, the groans of the dying, and the stench and contagion of camps and hospitals? Alas! She must needs go to the Crimea to teach the British surgeons health; to instruct the graduates 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 scholastic honor, and high-sounding titles, and large experience, and many degrees, that invalids cannot breathe without air; that personal cleanliness is essential to the successful management of disease; that water, and light, and equable temperature, and rest, are requisite to correct morbid excretions, restore normal secretions, purify the vital current, and dissipate and destroy the ever-engendering miasms and infections of such places.
The British surgeons could amputate limbs admirably, dress wounds skillfully; bleed dexterously; mercurialize strongly; narcotize effectively; give quinine hugely, and administer arsenic powerfully; but they could not purify--and purification 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 admirable physiologist 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 no quinine to "neutralize malaria;" no arsenic to cure fevers; and so he was obliged to prevent them. Had Moses been as ignorant or as regardless of Hygiene as are our modern medical men, civil or military, before he could have led the Israelites a quarter of a forty years' journey, they would all have perished of the pestilences so prevalent among modern armies.
I have visited the camp and hospitals of our armies in this vicinity, and I have learned--just what I knew before. One of the surgeons told me yesterday that his regiment was the healthiest one in the department. He gives no medicine and his associate almost none. They have had several cases of typhoid fever, many cases of pneumonia, and some hundreds of cases of dysentery to treat, and have lost none.
I will not mention their names here, for prudent reasons. It might compromise their position. But when this war is ended--on or before the Fourth of 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 than one) in the hospitals inform me that hundreds of sick soldiers implore them to throw away the medicine. They do not want to take a particle of any kind. Many of them fear 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 the medicines all went in some other direction than down the esophagus. And did these patients die, think you? No. They all recovered!
I saw many patients in all stages of these diseases, and of convalescence; all were doing well; none of them had any complications; no one feared relapses or collapses. In the largest hospital in this department are several nurses who 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 hospitals give 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 practitioners are a most hopeful class of community. They are sure of success. They start out in life with twenty remedies for every disease; and after an experience of thirty years or less they find twenty diseases for every remedy." And again: "The older physicians grow, the more skeptical they become of the virtues of medicine, and the more 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 into the system from without, and effete or waste matters retained. In either case the result 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 effort to remove obstructing material from the organic domain, and to repair damages. Disease is a process of purification. It is remedial action. It is a vital struggle to overcome obstructions and to keep the channels of the circulation free. Should this struggle, this self-defensive action, this remedial effort, this purifying process, this attempt at reparation, this war for the integrity of the living domain, this contest against the enemies of the organic constitution, be repressed by bleeding. Should it be suppressed with drugs, intensified with stimulants and tonics, subdued with narcotics and antiphlogistics, confused with blisters and caustics, aggravated with alternatives, complicated and misdirected, changed, subverted, and perverted with drugs and poisons generally?
To give drugs is adding to the causes of disease; for drugs always produce disease. Indeed, they cure one disease, when they cure at all, by producing others. Can causes cure causes? Can poisons expel poisons? Can impurities deterge away impurities? Can Nature throw off two or more burdens more easily than one? No, never. Poisoning a person because he is impure is like casting out devils through Beelzebub, the prince of devils. It is neither Scriptural nor philosophical.
The effect of drug-curing or drug-killing, as the case may be--I mean drug medication--is to lock up, as it were, the causes of the disease within the 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 nor thwarted with poisons which create new remedial efforts (drug diseases), and thus embarrass 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 the rebels by firing at our own soldiers in the rear, while they are attacking the enemy in front. Can our army manage two adversaries better than one? It is like tying one hand fast to the body and form of the Constitution, and going at the rebels with the other. Had you not better employ both hands?
But, before I pursue the argument further, let us briefly glance at 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 " "Medicines are those articles which make sanative impressions on the body." This may 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 only author in modern times who had made any serious attempt to write the philosophy of medical science; and the "United States Dispensatory," edited by Professors Wood and Bache, of Philadelphia, is universally recognized as "good authority" in the United States. And here are our two leading authorities starting with a point-blank contradiction. Which is right? Who are we to believe? Or is it of 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 least occasion certain effects?
It seems to me that everything depends on a correct starting-point--on the truth of the primary premise.
But again says Professor Paine "Remedial agents operate in the same manner as do the remote causes of disease." This seems to be a very distinct 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 more sanative the impression"? This would be as consistent as was the Irish doctor's handwritten bill: "To curing your wife till she died."
As it is important in this controversy of Paine vs. United States 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 College of Physicians and Surgeons: "All of our curative agents are poisons, and as a 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 same manner 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 derangements of the digestion."
. . . Says Professor H. G. Cox, M.D., of the same school: "The fewer 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 regarded as a "rhetorical flourish," or a "glittering generality." It is 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 author of the Allopathic School, save the "United States Dispensatory," who affirms the absurd proposition.
But, waving for a moment the question whether medicines are sanative or morbific, let us see what the authors say of their effects and modus operandi.
. . . Says Professor E. H. Davis, M.D., of the New York Medical College: 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 University Medical School: "We do not know whether our patients recover because we give medicines, or because Nature cures them."
. . . Says Professor E. S. Carr, of the same school: "All drugs are more or less adulterated; and as not more than one physician in a hundred has sufficient knowledge in chemistry to detect impurities, the physician seldom knows just how much of a remedy he is prescribing."
The authors disagree in many things; but all concur in the fact that medicines produce diseases; that their effects are wholly uncertain, and that we know nothing whatever of their modus operandi.
But now comes in the testimony of the venerable Professor Joseph M. Smith, M.D., who says: "Drugs do not cure disease; disease is always cured by the vis medicatrix naturae."
And Professor Clark further complicates the problem before us in declaring that, "Physicians have hurried thousands to their graves who would have recovered if left to Nature." And again: "In scarlet fever you have nothing to do but to rely on the vis medicatrix naturae."
We are in a sad predicament. Professors Wood and Bache inform us that medicines are sanative. Professors Clark and St. John declare that they are poisonous. Professor Paine explains that they cure one disease by producing another; and Professor Smith asserts that they do not cure at all. "In the midst of counsel there is much perplexity.
But has it come to this? Are we to believe that the profession has been accumulating remedies for three thousand years; that whole libraries have been written in laudation of their curative "virtues;" that twenty classes and two thousand drugs are already recorded on the pages of the works on materia medica and therapeutics; that the cry is "still they come," and yet that they do not cure at all? No, not by "sanative impressions; nor by "morbific operations; nor by "poisoning the blood; nor by "diminishing the vitality; nor even by "producing another disease. Why, then, give drugs? If the vis medicatrix naturae is the curative agent, why not administer the vis medicatrix naturae? Ah! But drugs may "aid and assist the vis medicatrix naturae." How? By making sanative impressions? By making morbific impressions? By poisoning the 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 medical books; but I intend to solve them before I leave the stand. They never can be answered until another and a primary question is solved. What is disease? Says Professor Gross: "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 reach the elements of disease; but not very successfully; because we have not yet learned the essential nature of the healthy actions, and cannot understand their derangements."
We have, then, the confession of the highest authorities, that the medical profession knows nothing of the nature of disease; nothing of the modus operandi of medicines; and of course it can know nothing of the relations of the remedies to the diseases for which they are prescribed; and for this very reason physicians should not prescribe them at all. Nor would they, if they understood the rationale 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 States should understand these questions tonight, there would be no drug doctor in all this land with tomorrow's rising sun. It is precisely because medical men do not understand the relations of remedies to diseases that they administer poisons because a person is 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, which they term disease, they are really warring on the human constitution. I do not believe there is a physician on earth who has so poor a judgment or so bad a conscience as to be a drug doctor for one moment after lie understands the essential nature of disease, or the rationale of the action of medicines.
Three brilliant names have recently gone down from the political firmament, like suns setting at mid-day. Three strong, vigorous, stalwart men, in the 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, and crumble to dust, when they should have remained on the earth, and would have continued above ground, had it not been for
"The deadly virtues of the healing art,"
which "cures one disease by producing another." I mention names familiar in this place--Senator Douglass, Count Cavour, Prince Albert.
Mark you! When I intimate that these men were killed, I do 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 lawyers say. 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 to show 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 fourteen or fifteen years of age, full of vitality and of excellent constitution, die because of a cold, or a pneumonia, or a fever? [Note: a few days after this lecture, Willie Lincoln 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 more exalted 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 death of Prince Albert, makes a very significant remark: "The disease was typhoid fever, not very severe in its early stages. But this is a disease which has inevitably proved far more fatal to sufferers of the upper classes of life than to patients of the poorer kind." Let me be poor, aye, very poor indeed, if I must go through the ordeal of drug medication.
But let me finish the testimony. I said I would prove the popular medical system to be false by the testimony of its advocates. I have already done this indirectly. I will now do it directly. I could give you a volume of quotations similar to those I have thus far adduced; but I have one piece of evidence, which covers 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 kind of evidence that lawyers and judges and juries can best appreciate. It is the Medical Profession of the United States vs. Itself. The medical profession of the United 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 believe in 1855 or 56--a National Medical Convention. This convention was composed of the very elite of the profession--professors in medical colleges, presidents of medical societies, authors of standard books, and other gentlemen of distinction from all parts of the country. And they met professedly for the purpose of elevating the character and dignity of the profession, conserving the public health, and putting down quackery.
Well, what did this body of learned and influential Aesculapians do 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 representatives of medical science and these conservators of the health of the dear people sat down to
"The feast of reason and the flow of soul,"
were forty kinds of alcoholic liquor! --a display not very complimentary to the "teetotalers." And I mention the grog merely to say that, if it be suspected that the resolution, or any part thereof, was passed under the inspiration of the
Cup that cheers and also inebriates,
the members of the "American Medical Association," like all prisoners at the bar, shall have the benefit of the doubt.
The resolution, which was deliberately discussed, adopted, and recorded, 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 medical system, which will cure, and not kill.
But what do these words mean? Are they true? And when did these medical gentlemen ascertain that the system which they had practiced so long was "erroneous in theory and fatal in practice?" Did they make the discovery while in convention assembled, or had they known it long before? And have they discontinued this "injurious, and often, very often, fatal practice," now that hey know it to be predicated on a false doctrine? I fear not. I suspect that all of them are practicing this false system to this day and hour. Have they a moral right to do this? And do they wish for the people to have confidence in a system that they declare to be false and fatal? Would I, would you, prosecute any calling which you knew to be wrong in principle and injurious in practice, and especially when you professed to 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 of sickness 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 neither appreciated nor understood. If a physician, in treating a simple fever, which if left to itself or to Nature would terminate in health in two or three weeks, drugs the patient into half a dozen chronic diseases, and nearly kills him half a dozen times, and prolongs his sufferings for months, he will receive much money and many thanks 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 be small, and the thanks nowhere, because he has not been very sick!
But the majority of the people still demand drug doctors, and so long as they demand them they will have them. Whenever there is a demand for hygienic physicians, they will be forthcoming. Much is said in these days of reforming medical practice. I can give you an infallible recipe for providing the very best of physicians at the least possible expense. Pay your physician when you are well, and stop his pay when you are sick, or else pay him a stipulated salary whether you are sick or well. 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 complicates your maladies and keeps you sick. As it is now, he is hired, virtually bribed, to do the very worst he can for you.
I know many of you will say, "My physician is a very excellent man and a good scholar--I have all confidence in him." But he says his system is false. Is your confidence in him or in his system? If in his system, you are to be pitied. If in him, take his good advice and refuse his bad medicine.
We offer the medical profession the very system, which it says an intelligent community absolutely demands, and the profession not only refuses to adopt it, but even to investigate it. And it applies to those of us who advocate and practice it, such unpleasant epithets as "quack," "fanatic," "one-idealist," etc. "One-idealism," indeed! I will show you that the one-idealism is all on the other side. What is drug medication? It is simply poisoning a man because he is sick. How many ideas are there in that idea? I can see but one and that happens to be a very bad one. True, there are two thousand drugs in 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 apothecary shop, 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 everything except poisons. My system rejects only poisons, and adopts everything else.
But now a truce with facts and authorities. I come now to the principles 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 these conflicting authorities?
I will give you an infallible criterion of judgment, which will apply to the solution of all the medical problems under consideration; and then I will give you an invariable rule of practice, which will apply to the treatment of all manner of diseases. And this criterion, and this rule, will be found in the laws established in the constitution of all living beings. Without some fixed and unalterable and demonstrable rule of judgment, all of our reasoning may be in vain; facts may be 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 principle of 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 knowledge of the law that determines the results, we may rightly apply all of the data of science and misapply none; we may use all things, and abuse nothing.
The grand fundamental error of medical men, and the great primary mistake of physiologists and chemists, and of philosophers, psychologists, and metaphysicians, and even of theologians, so far as their doctrines and dogmas apply to the subject in hand, consists in mistaking the relations of living and dead matter. They have erected all of their systems and philosophies on a false basis--on a reversed order of Nature. And, think you, can the superstructure be reliable and enduring if the foundation 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 acts on the medicine.
Medical schools and books teach--and the whole drug system is predicated 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 impressions on them. Nature teaches the contrary.
Nature teaches that the relation of medicines to the vital tissues is that of antagonism, not affinity.
There is no word in our language that covers so much delusion as this little word, impression. Our philosophers have in all ages wholly mistaken its 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 theory of the action of remedies; a false medical science, and a false healing art
What is an impression? Not the action of an external object on the body or mind, as our doctors and philosophers teach, but the recognition by the body or mind of the object. Whatever action results from the impression or recognition, is the action of the living system in relation to the object, and not the action of the object on the living system. An impression is not the action of an inert substance--of a thing that does not act at all--but simply vital or mental recognition. And if I am correct in the definition of this word, all of the doctrines which medical men have entertained and taught for three thousand years, in relation to 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 which external 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 "impenetrable mystery," for all that I presume to know or pretend to teach, in relation to life and health, diseases and remedies, depends on knowledge of this subject.
Strictly speaking, external objects do not make any impressions on 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 external objects and the relation of the body the house it lives in--to them. This is the solution of the mystery. All Nature is marvelously simple, 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 bodily structures. Mental instincts take (we could almost say "fake") cognizance of 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 surrounding objects and to other beings.
The doctrine that external objects act on the vital structures has been the source of many ridiculous practices, as well as the cause of many grave errors 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 the various organs, etc. But when this idea of dead matter acting on living is carefully analyzed, 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 living structure, could result in nothing but a displacement of particles or organs.
In explaining the philosophy of vision, philosophers tell us that the rays of light, being reflected from the object perceived to the eye, paint or impress its image or picture on the retina of the optic nerve. But as this does not 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 optic nerves to its origin--the thalami nervorum opticorum, and even to the cineritious or gray matter of the brain. But, admitting all this, it affords no clue to the rationale of seeing.
On the supposition that the last impression on the retina would be the most distinct, and that impressions on the optic nerve were like mechanical indentations or foreign substances, obliterating each other as the successive waves of the ocean erase the ridges or indentures in the sand along the shore, it has been seriously proposed to apply the microscope to detect a murderer! It was imagined that, as the murderer might be the last object which the victim would see so as to have a strong impression made on the retina, before his organ of vision lost the power of recognition, the image of the murderer would be stamped thereon so distinctly that it might be seen with the aid of a powerful microscope. And the experiment was actually tried in Auburn, N. Y., a few years ago--fruitlessly, of course--and was proposed, though not tried, in the case of the late Dr. Burdell, who was assassinated in Bond Street, New York, ten years ago.
On the theory that remedies act on the living system, and by a power or property inherent in themselves, and that this property enables them to elect 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 materia medica as emetics which act on the stomach; purgatives, which act on the bowels, diaphoretics, which act on the skin; diuretics, which act on the kidneys; expectorants, which act on the lungs cholagogues, which act on the liver; stimulants, which act on the blood-vessels; tonics, which act 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 the west, and passes around the earth once in every twenty-four hours. Does he not see it with his own eyes? But with knowledge of the law of gravitation, he would know that this appearance was illusory, and that the earth revolved on its axis, while the sun stood still.
A knowledge of the law of vitality would teach medical men that only living structures have inherent powers to act; that all dead things, in relation to 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--the power to do nothing.
The living system acts on food to appropriate it to the formation and replacement of its organs and tissues. This is digestion and assimilation--the nutritive process. And the living system acts on drugs, medicines, poisons, impurities, effete matters, miasma, contagions, infections on everything 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 outlet best adopted to the purpose under the circumstances.
And herein is the explanation of the classes of medicines; the rationale of the action of medicines, which has so puzzled the brains of medical philosophers in all ages.
And this equally mysterious entity called disease! Is not its essential nature sufficiently apparent? The disease is simply the process of getting the poisons out of the system; and so this perplexing problem is also solved.
That the explanation I have given of the nature of disease and the modus operandi of medicines is the true one may be demonstrated in this way. We can take all of the medicines of the pharmacopoeia and produce all the diseases of the nosology. Thus certain combinations of brandy, cayenne pepper, and quinine will produce, in a healthy person, inflammatory fever; calomel, nitre, and opium yield typhus symptoms or typhoid fever; gamboge, scammony, and ipecac simulate cholera morbus; nitre, antimony, and digitalis, the Asiatic or spasmodic cholera; cod-liver oil, salt, and sulfur, the scurvy, etc. Castor oil, Epson salts, and a hundred other articles called cathartics, will occasion diarrhea; and lobelia, Indian hemp, tobacco, and many other drugs, will induce vomiting. And what in the name of medical science and the healing art are the diarrhea and the vomiting except efforts of the living system to expel the poisons--purifying processes, diseases?
Any person, who can explain the philosophy of sneezing, has the key that may be applied to the solution of all the problems before us. Does the dust 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 unless there is something abnormal in or about the nasal organ. Then sneezing is a remedial effort, a purifying process, a disease, as much as is a diarrhea, a cholera, or a fever.
And this brings me to the rule for the successful treatment of all diseases. Disease being a process of purification, I do not wish to subdue it, but to regulate it. I would not repress the remedial action, but direct it. Patients are always safe, as the remedial action is nearly equally directed to the various depurating organs, or mainly to the skin. They are in danger just to the extent that the 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 perform its 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 for these purposes we have no more need of drugs than a man has of a blister on his great toe to assist him to travel. He wants useful, not injurious, things.
Perhaps I can give an illustration of the leading problems of my 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, having been 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 three days 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 on the snake, or did the snake act on the blanket? Again, to expel a bed-blanket from the stomach is not physiological. No boa constrictor in the normal state ever did it. Then it must be pathological, and pathology is disease. The blanket was the cause of disease--the obstructing material, and the disease itself was the process--the vomiting, which expelled it. Should this process of ejecting the blanket have been counteracted, suppressed, or subdued, or killed, or cured; or regulated and directed?
All the functions of vitality may be resolved into two sets of processes one transforms the elements of food into tissue, and throws off the waste matters; this is Health--Physiology. The other expels extraneous or foreign substances and repairs damages; this is Disease--Pathology. Is this not all plain enough?
But some authors tell us that medicines cure disease, and other authors 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 the disease and the vis medicatrix naturae being antagonistic entities or forces at war with each other, they are one and the same. And if this be the true solution of 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: "Every dose diminishes the vitality of the patient."
The announcement of the doctrine that the remedial powers of Nature and the disease are the same; that the vis medicatrix naturae which saves 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 and universally 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 of thought, and all the theories of their books and schools. Their minds have been so long wedded to the dogma, that disease and the vis medicatrix naturae are in some inexplicable way hostile powers, that, after I have talked with them for hours on the subject, answered all of their criticisms, and silenced every one of their objections, they cannot overcome their prejudices and prepossessions sufficiently to comprehend it. And some of my medical students have revolved, and pondered, and criticized, 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 problem which medical men had been assiduously investigating for seventeen centuries--he knew so well the inveterate prejudices of the profession, and its blind adhesion to ancient dogmas, that for many years he did not dare to publish his discovery to the world. And when he did announce it, some ten years after he had completely demonstrated its truth, he was reviled and persecuted by his medical brethren. And it is recorded in medical history, that not a single physician over forty years of age ever acknowledged the truth of Harvey's discovery.
But if Harvey's discovery, which in no way affected the interests of the profession, and did not very materially disturb the prevailing practice, elicited such bitter opposition, what may not we expect when we announce a doctrine that not only revolutionizes the whole system of medical practice, but virtually annihilates the whole medical profession?
A few words as to the forms of disease. This is another of the vexed questions of medical philosophy. I know of no author who attempts to explain it. 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 pretend to know is, that there are different forms of disease; the why and wherefore are among the "impenetrable mysteries."
Why do persons, for example, have inflammatory, bilious, typhus, typhoid, intermittent, remittent, or continued, etc., fevers? Why one instead of another? 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 on the solution of the primary problem, what is inflammation? And what is fever? And the answer to these questions must be traced back to the primary premise, what is disease?
In the light of correct premises there can he no difficulty in 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 medical journals 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 which receives laws from its own nature, and not from foreign influences; one which, after it 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 consistent with the prevalent false doctrines of the nature of disease.]
Fever has no seat; fever is an action. Do not forget the primary question, What is disease? Fever is one form of disease; and as disease is a process of purification, fever must be one of the methods in which the system relieves itself of morbid matter.
How much longer will medical men expend brain and labor, and waste pen, ink, and paper, in looking for a thing which is no thing at all, 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 whereabouts of the electrical force, as for our doctors to turn their mental microscopes to any given locality in the vital domains, to ascertain the local habitation of a fever.
But there are many kinds of fever, and there are precisely as many different conditions under which the process of purification takes place. A person of vigorous constitution, and not greatly infected with morbid matter, will determine the remedial effect almost wholly to the surface, and this will constitute the inflammatory diathesis of fever, and the continued type. A person of more gross and impure conditions will have the putrid form of fever--the "typhus." Another less gross and feebler will have the nervous form of fever--the typhoid. And those who have been longer exposed to malaria or other causes, so that the liver or other depurating organs have become chronically congested or torpid, will have the intermittent or remittent form, etc. I have not time to follow out these illustrations, but I have indicated the principle which will explain every manifestation of morbid action, and the rationale of 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"--contraries cure opposites. The Homeopaths proclaim "similia similibus curantur"--like cures 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 employment of "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 consequences of transgression, and then provide remedies to do away the penalties? Would Nature ordain disease and suffering as the corrective discipline for disobedience to the laws of life, and then permit the doctor to drug and dose away the penalties? There is a condition of cure, and this is obedience.
And now, if Nature has provided no law of cure, she has provided no 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 deluging the land, filling the newspapers with lying advertisements, and robbing the sick and suffering of millions of their hard earnings annually? The regular practice and the irregular trade are based on the same false dogmas; and when one goes to oblivion the other will soon follow.
I have asked many of the professors of the Drug Schools to explain to me how their remedies acted, and how their "Law of Cure" operated--the why, the wherefore, the rationale? Not one of them could ever tell me; yet each referred to his own experience to prove that his method of prescribing drugs was the best one. None of them had ever thought of the primary question, is any drug medical system right?
Experience! What is experience? It is merely the record of what has happened. It only tells what has been done, not what should be. I would not give a green cucumber for all the experience of all the medical men of all the earth in all the ages, unless predicated on some recognized law of nature, and interpreted by some demonstrable rule in philosophy. Medical men have been curing (killing?) folks for three thousand rears with drug medicines, and their experience has led them away from truth and nature continually.
If a dozen persons are sick of a fever for one, two, or three months, and the physician gives them half a dozen drugs half a dozen times a day while the fever lasts, and one half of them die and the other half recover, the question then arises, what the drugs had to do with the results? The drug doctor will of course assume 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, who reasons 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): "The effects of remedies are so mixed up with the phenomena of disease, that the mind has difficulty in separating them."
Indeed it has. It never can separate them. The "effects of 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--as a very good tonic. Homeopathy prescribes nux vomica--dog's-bane--as an admirable nervine. Eclecticism selects hyoscyamus--hen-bane--as a proper sedative. And Physio-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 prove that these medicines are remedies for sick folks? In precisely the same way that Toxicologists prove that they are poisons for well folks.
When these remedies are given to well persons they produce more or less of nausea, vomiting, purging, pain, heat, swelling, griping, vertigo, spasms, stupor, coma, delirium, and death. When they are given to sick persons they produce the same manifestations of disease, modified, more or less, by the condition of the patient and the circumstances of the prior disease.
Was there ever any reasoning in the world like unto medical reasoning? If the medical man with good intentions administers one of these drug poisons, or a hundred of them, and the patient dies, he dies because the medicine can't save him. But if a malefactor with murderous disposition gives the same medicine to a fellow being, and the fellow being dies, he dies because the poison killed him! 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 such reasoning were offered in a court of justice, would they not say that the individual offering it ought to be tried by a commission de lunatico inquirendo, on the issue of sanity?
Why, this infernally murderous strychnine, which is employed to medicate bad whiskey and give potency to moldy tobacco; which the rebels are accused of 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 numerous diseases. It is almost universally prescribed for paralytic affections; and an Eclectic medical journal published in Cincinnati, has lately lauded it highly as a remedy for dyspepsia (Eclectics, you know, go for "sanative" medication). I remember that a clergyman, Rev. Jacob Harden, was hung in New Jersey last year for giving this medicine to his wife. I gave a dose once to a mischievous dog, and it cured him of all his bad habits.
A few weeks since I surveyed, from the dome of the capitol of the State of Maine, one of the most beautiful cities, and one of the most salubrious localities that mine eyes had ever beheld, and in my lectures to the people there I said, "Surely this is no place for doctors."
Yet I learned that typhoid fevers, diphtheria, pneumonia, and consumption were prevalent. A few minutes after arriving there, I saw a solemn procession of 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 late playmates, a beautiful girl, who had died the day before of diphtheria.
My friends, go with me, in imagination, to any one of your rapidly peopling 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? Was it scarlet fever that dragged that beautiful child down to the cold grave? Did rheumatism so soon cause that vigorous youth to lie pale and prostrate beneath the clod of the valley? Did typhus fever send that stalwart man to his final account? Was it the mere incident of childbirth, with a slight cold, which hurried that mature woman out of the world so suddenly and so strangely?
Or was it a "mysterious Providence," or a more mysterious chance?
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 tell you in deep sepulchral but in thunder tones: "This infant died of antimony and ipecac. This child was destroyed with calomel and opium. This youth was killed with nitre and digitalis. This man was slain with bleeding and blisters. This woman perished of henbane and strychnine, and all victims to medical science.
There would be exceptions. But such would be the general rule of 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 once more. 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 destructive processes--bleeding, leeching, scarifying blistering, caustics, irritants, parasites, corrosives, minerals, vegetable excrescences and animal excretions--all of the causes of disease known to the three kingdoms of Nature.
And are these the remedies that Nature has provided? The assumption is a libel on the God of Nature.
No, no! Nature has not stultified herself, but man has mistaken her teachings. So far from Nature providing drugs as remedies for diseases, the truth is, every drug taken into the living system induces a new disease. Every drug has its own penalty. Every dose is an outrage on the living system, and in disobedience to physiological law.
Let me illustrate how this "curing one disease by producing another" works in practice.
On the cars between Rock Island and Iowa City my attention was called to an invalid soldier, whose pale, thin face, short, husky cough, and unsteady walk told too plainly that consumption was far advanced. I had seen and heard so much of the "typhoid" in the camps and hospitals of our armies, and of the drug treatment which cured the fever by killing the patient, that I seemed to understand 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, and been drugged into a fatal consumption."
Soon I approached the sufferer, and inquired: "How long since 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 the road 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, the typhoid, and the consumption, were most clearly the effects of the remedies that were administered for the measles.
I was called last week to visit an officer of one of the New York 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 "set in." 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 spasmodically contracted, 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 be undrugged and his limbs straightened--not for the grave, but for service in the tented field.
All of these complications, the inflammation of the liver, the typhoid, and the rheumatism, were drug diseases, and were caused by the remedies given to cure the rheumatism. This patient rapidly recovered under hygienic treatment
Last year a patient came to me with both arms paralyzed. Three months before he had, acute rheumatism--a disease I have treated scores of cases of, and never failed to cure within two weeks--for which his physician prescribed mercury, antimony, colchicum, and potassium hydroxide. The drugs had cured the rheumatism, but ruined the patient. And what do you suppose his physician proposed to "try" next? Why, strychnine, of course!
I saw a patient, a few weeks since, in Cleveland, Ohio, on my way to the West. Four years ago, the young man--he was a youth then, and of excellent constitution--had lung fever. His physician reduced his fever and his vitality with powerful doses of antimony, and kept blisters on the chest continually. In two weeks he appeared to be convalescent, but soon relapsed, when calomel was given in large doses. 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 liver and spleen were badly congested and enlarged, and he was put on a course of mercury in 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 for two years longer, among which was hellebore, irritating plasters, several kinds of pills, 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 forward and to one side; the lower extremities are very weak; the ankle-joints lame; the knees incline to stiffness; there is a tight, husky cough; the chest has a constant sense of soreness all through; the heart throbs incessantly; the feet are constantly cold; 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 very large Individuality--are now feeble and confused; and his eyes are so weak, it is painful 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 doctored nearly to death, is the effect of the medicines he has taken. I have seen and investigated thousands of such cases, and know whereof I affirm. The drugs which were administered to cure the primary disease, induced the secondary or drug diseases; and then drugs were given to cure the drug diseases, and this occasioned still other drug diseases, "typhoid," "relapses," and "complications." And all together have induced the indurated organs, curved spine, shattered nervous system, consumptive diathesis, and mined constitution. And even now his drug doctors, having brought him to the borders of the grave, and destroyed the best part of his vital stamina forever, can propose nothing better for this newly old young man than more drugs!
Nor can his friends, neighbors, or parents even, yet understand why, 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 similar cases 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 years ago he had the ague, for which he took quinine in huge dozes. This treatment so paralyzed the functions of the liver that it became greatly congested and enlarged; for which mercury was prescribed. The mercury induced chronic inflammation of the duodenum--mercurial duodenitis --for which antimony and opium were administered. These drugs extended the inflammation to the kidneys, prostrated the external circulation, and torpified the 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 phase of disease was termed "nervous debility," and then strychnine was prescribed. After the nervous debility had been sufficiently cured with strychnine, the doctors diagnosed "spinal disease," and proceeded to blister and cauterize the 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 the spleen, crooked spine, short breath from enlarged liver and spleen, and semi-paralysis of the abdominal and dorsal muscles, catarrh, laryngitis, duodenitis or "canker in the stomach," albuminuria or degeneration of the kidneys, constant heat and tenderness throughout the abdomen, inability to lie in the horizontal position, coldness and 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 occasioned by 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 would have been well and sound in a mouth; or had he been put into the hands of a competent Hygienic physician he might have been well in a week, in either case avoiding the expense of a five years' course of drug medication, and the inconvenience of a ruined constitution, and the horrors of carrying about a shattered and frail organism for the remainder of his days.
Let me mention one more case. I have noted the particulars of many similar ones during a recent tour in the Western States. The students of the medical class of the New York Hygienic-Therapeutic College for 1856-7, will recall to 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; but why did he die? Walter was among the earliest, as was his only brother, to volunteer his services at the call of his country. His brother entered the Missouri army, while he 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 superior officers; and the surgeon of his regiment--of course a drug doctor--did all he could to save him, and that was precisely what destroyed him.
Walter Nevins would not voluntarily have taken a single dose of apothecary poison; he would much sooner have faced the masked batteries of the foe than have swallowed the more deadly drugs of the surgeon; but, as has happened in many similar cases, he became delirious, with the determination of blood to the brain, and was powerless to resist. So the murderous missiles were poured into his system, and the soul went out. Walter died, as the majority of our soldiers have died, not of rebels' bullets and bayonets, not of disease, but of drugs.
His father was earlier telegraphed, and had started immediately for 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 been drugged to death.
Now I do not regard typhoid fevers, nor pneumonia, of which so many of our officers and soldiers are said to die, as dangerous diseases. They would seldom terminate fatally if the patients were not doctored at all. I have not lost a case in fifteen years, and have treated hundreds. The fatality is attributable to the medication.
Do you know how many drug medicines, or poisons, you are liable to take into your system, for example, during an ordinary course of fever? Two or three kinds of medicines are usually administered several times a day, each probably compounded of several ingredients, so that a dozen drugs, on the average, may be swallowed daily. These are changed for new ones, to a greater or less extent, nearly every day, and in a month's sickness fifty to one hundred poisons--rebels, if you please--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 wonder that 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 brought the patient to the vulnerable point, or within range of their influence. Under Hygienic treatment 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 hygienic treatment, and of which he should not have died under any treatment. His severe labors and unphysiological habits induced obstructions in the liver and joints, and Nature made an effort to relieve the morbid condition by deterging the impurities from the body. The disease was drugged, the rheumatism was "cured," and the patient--killed.
Paracelsus, the quack and vagabond of the fifteenth century, and the author of the calomel, antimony, and opium practices, acquired great reputation by curing a printer of gout in the foot. The patient died a few days afterward of apoplexy in the head; but no one suspected that the medicine that cured the gout caused the apoplexy.
Commodore Perry died very suddenly and unexpectedly, in New York, two years ago. The colchicum relieved the gout, but the patient died.
How strange, that no sooner had the doctor subdued the rheumatism, than the typhoid "set in" and carried off the patient! Queries--Where was the typhoid while the patient was being doctored for the rheumatism? How did it exist before Senator Douglas had it, or before it had him? Where did it come from? Where did it go? And what was it? I answer: it was the prostration of the patient caused by the treatment. Maltreat any form of febrile or 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 for years, exhausted with care, study, intermittent fever, and dyspepsia, and of course in a very low state of vitality; he was bled six times in two days, when he really needed twice as much blood, instead of less. Death was a necessary consequence of the treatment.
I alluded to the late Prince Albert. The report at first came to us that he was attacked with gastric fever. Why should any one die of gastric fever? What man among you, living somewhat promiscuously at hotels or boarding-houses, and not standing on your physiology in dietetic, sleeping, and working habits, has not had gastric fever a dozen times? It is merely a slight indigestion, for which rest and abstinence are infallible restoratives.
Prince Albert was in the prime of life. Possessing excellent constitution, and of temperate and regular habits, and, withal, opposed to taking medicine, he should have lived many years.
I said Prince Albert was opposed to taking medicine; so was the Queen, and no wonder. The most eminent of the British authors and professors had condemned it time and again. Let me give you a few specimens of their utterances.
"The medical practice of our day is, at the best, a most uncertain and unsatisfactory system; it has neither philosophy nor common sense 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." JOHN ABERNETHY, M.D., "The Good," of London.
"Gentlemen, ninety-nine out of every hundred medical facts are medical lies; and medical doctrines are, for the most part, stark, staring nonsense."--Prof. GREGORY, of Edinburgh, author of a work on "Theory and Practice of Physic."
"It cannot be denied that the present system of medicine is a burning shame to its professors, if indeed a series of vague and uncertain incongruities deserves to be called by that name. How rarely do our medicines do good! How often do they make our patients really worse! I fearlessly assert that in most cases the sufferer would be safer without a physician than with one. I have seen enough of the mal-practice of my professional brethren to warrant the strong language I employ."--Dr. Ramage, Fellow of the Royal College, London.
"The present practice of medicine is a reproach to the name of Science, while its professors give evidence of an almost total ignorance of the nature and proper treatment of disease. Nine times out of ten, our miscalled remedies are absolutely injurious to our patients, suffering under diseases of whose real character and cause we are most culpably ignorant."--Prof. Jamison, of Edinburgh.
"Assuredly the uncertain and most unsatisfactory art that we call medical science, is no science at all, but a jumble of inconsistent opinions; of conclusions hastily and often incorrectly drawn; of facts misunderstood or perverted; of comparisons without analogy; of hypotheses without reason, and theories not only useless, but dangerous."--Dublin Medical Journal.
"Some patients get well with the aid of medicines; more without it; and still more in spite of it."--Sir John Forbes, M.D., F.R.S.
"Thousands are annually slaughtered in the quiet sickroom. Governments should at once either banish medical men, and proscribe their blundering art, or they should adopt some better means to protect the lives of the people than at present prevail, when they look far less after the practice of this dangerous profession, and the murders committed in it, than after the lowest trades."--Dr. Frank, an eminent author and practitioner.
"Our actual information or knowledge of disease does not increase in proportion to our experimental practice. Every dose of medicine given is a blind experiment upon the vitality of the patient."--Dr. Bostock, author of "History of Medicine."
"The science of medicine is a barbarous jargon, and the 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 of Nature," "A System of Nosology," "Study of Medicine," etc.
"I declare, as my conscientious conviction, founded on long experience and reflection, that if there were not a single physician, surgeon, man-midwife, chemist, apothecary, druggist, nor drug on the face of the earth, 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 unacquainted with the opinions of those distinguished physicians. Prince Albert was inclined to medical studies and physiological investigations. He has probably done more to improve the sanitary condition of the poor of London than all the doctors of the British Empire have.
Prince Albert was afraid to take the medicine of the regular profession, yet he was killed by it. Lord Byron held medicine in contempt, and execrated bleeding; 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 the technical sense. Why should he? Do not all of the learned chemists teach that alcohol is "respiratory food?" Do not all the standard physiologists call it a "supporter of vitality?" Do not physicians everywhere prescribe it in all cases of debility and exhaustion? Why should the Prince have been wise above what is written? How could he refuse to take alcoholic stimulus when all the authorities of the entire civilized world declared it to be both nourishing and vitalizing?
Perhaps Prince Albert had not noticed the fact, that the distinguished author, Pereira, who, in his treatise on "Food and Diet," places alcohol among the "alimentary principles," in his elaborate work on Materia Medica, declares it to be a "caustic and irritant poison," and demonstrates, by a 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 absurdity abroad, 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 on this issue I am willing to debate all the physicians of the United States, and all the learned men of the earth.
The story comes to us in the English newspapers, that Prince Albert was "kept up on stimulants" for five or six days. No one suspected any danger. Physicians did not regard the complaint as anything serious. But, all at once, the patient became prostrated. The typhoid set in. His system refused to "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 constant commotion 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 reduced to the dying point!
So inexplicable and mysterious was the death of Prince Albert, that suspicions were entertained of foul play for political considerations. My own opinion is that the treatment is sufficient to account for the death.
The late King of Portugal died in a similarly sudden and mysterious manner, as did also his royal brother, and in their cases intentional poisoning was suspected.
I recollect that soon after President Taylor died, newspapers and medical journals were discussing the cause, and it was then hinted that politics had more to do with the death than disease. Physicians imputed the malady of which he is said to have died--a slight bowel complaint--to having partaken rather freely of blackberries and milk a couple of days before, while on an excursion connected with official business.
Blackberries and milk! Such a meal could not have seriously damaged a nursing baby, much less the hardy old veteran who was almost proof against Mexican bullets. When I heard of blackberries as among the causes of General Taylor's death, 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 patient was physicked and leeched; the typhoid "set in," and handed him over to the grim grasp of death. After his death the medical journals disputed the propriety of 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 trebly killed; that he was bled to an extent that would of itself have caused death; that he took of antimony and of calomel each enough to have killed him outright, had there been no other medication.
I would respectfully commend to Presidents and Princes, Counts and Senators, Lords and Kings, and to all who desire to live long in the land that they may do more good in their day and generation, the example of that shrewd man and enigmatical monarch who rules the destinies of France. Louis Napoleon does not resort to drug medicines when he is sick, and his enemies have little ground to hope that he will die of disease. A few years ago, when suffering of that serious and generally fatal malady, albuminuria, he resorted to a bathing establishment, and recovered. The Paris correspondent of the New York World says that the Emperor has depended principally upon the Hydropathic treatment for several years, and that he keeps two "water-cures" completely fitted up, one in the palace of the Tuileries, and the other at St. Cloud.
But I have detained you too long. Yet I cannot conclude without one more allusion to the alcoholic controversy. Has any one yet discovered the cause of the Bull Run disaster, that strangest of all the strange panics yet recorded in history--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 appear to be very satisfactory, even to their authors.
There have been panics among armies before, but never such a panic. Both armies running from each other, and the abandoned artillery remaining for twenty-four hours undisturbed on the affrighted field, neither party going to claim 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 liquor panic. It was a "respiratory" food explosion. It is in evidence that some of our officers were intoxicated on that day and occasion. Who does not know that persons who use liquor habitually, will, on extraordinary occasions, drink extra quantities? The surgeon of one of the New York regiments, Frank Hamilton, M.D., has reported, through the New York Medical Times, that he not only furnished brandy plentifully to the wounded, but also caused it to be freely distributed to the soldiers engaged 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 hopes and fears sway the mind by turns, and when the whole soul is furious with conflicting emotions, a trivial addition to the causes of disturbance may unbalance the mind entirely? An unusual quantity, an extra dose of intoxicating liquor, might easily, under such circumstances, and I think did, cause the officers, or the soldiers, or the 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 happened more than once during our pending struggle. They might imagine a reinforcement to the 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 battalion existed; or they might fancy the distant forest or the waving bushes to be newly-advancing columns; and they might run forty miles to Washington ere the fumes of alcohol were sufficiently dissipated to enable them to look back and discover that the enemy, too, was running--the other way! In my judgment, there is something grossly wrong or radically defective in that government which, while its brave defenders are assaulting the enemy in front, cannot protect them from an alcoholic fire in the rear.
I have detained you too long; yet I have only hinted at many important problems I would like time and opportunity to explain. I could speak two hours each evening for a whole year on the multitudinous problems involved in this discussion, without exhausting the subject. But, if my theme is worthy of your earnest thought, I have already said enough; if not, I have said too much.
I have publicly declared that the system of the Healing Art which I advocate, if applied to the treatment of typhoid fever, and other diseases prevalent in our army, would save thousands of lives and millions of money. Would you, would the "powers that be," know all the particulars? Do you or they desire information as to the details of the treatment? Would you know how to manage hygienic medication at the bedside of the sick? You have only to indicate the wish for such knowledge, and it will be forthcoming. Tonight I have only time to indicate principles, and present such data as I hope will induce some of you, at least, to investigate further.
If I am right, the people ought to know it. If I am wrong, surely somebody 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 have presented, or else to controvert and refute them; for I assure them that the doctrines I advocate are rapidly extending among the people. My school is sending out every year lecturers and practitioners--missionaries of the gospel of health--who are continually and 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 and humble opinion to the accumulated lore of three thousand years. No matter--are my positions true? If false, the medical faculty has the ability, and ought to have the 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 imputation of presumption. I do, indeed, profess to be able to refute and disprove all of the assumed philosophy of all the drug medical schools. I do most unqualifiedly claim to have discovered the true premises of medical science and the true principles of the Healing Art; and I do most unreservedly declare my readiness to explain and defend them against all possible controversy.
I claim, however, no merit; no superior intelligence; no extraordinary genius; no wonderful sagacity; no remarkable opportunities. I do not blame physicians of the drug system for practicing as they do. They cannot help it. They act consistently with their theories, as I do with mine. Once I honestly believed in the drug system, and conscientiously practiced it.
It was mere accident--a necessity of my existence--which led me to do what no other medical man had ever done, so far as I know--to investigate the premises of medical science in their relation to the laws of Nature. Many men have written its history; hundreds have investigated its hypotheses; thousands have discussed its problems; and a few have studied its philosophy. But no one before me had explored its primary premises. All have assumed the dogmas of their predecessors as starting-points; dogmas which originated in the ignorance and superstition of the dark ages, and which have been admitted and accepted, uninvestigated and unquestioned, as self-evident truths; but which, when examined in the light of the "unerring laws of Nature," are found to 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, human health declines, vital stamina diminishes, diseases become more numerous, more complicated, and more fatal, and the human race deteriorates. On the contrary, wherever the Hygienic Healing 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 and Gentlemen, are the reasons why I esteem the opportunity to speak in this place so auspicious for the cause I represent, and so important to the welfare of the great human family.
R. T. Trall, 1862