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The practices of hydropathy are nominally the dousings and swillings of water in the world. founded upon this theory. If, however, the Further, the use of cold external applications is water be the cause of the benefit experienced, sometimes very dangerous, and there is no doubt there would be no occasion for hydropathic es but that hydropathy manslaughters many a victablishments. Such have been considered indis- tim. pensable, however, since the folly was first set The truth is (with the exception just stated, a-going by Priestnitz. We really cannot take where perspirations which can be excited by the trouble of opening the little pile of hydro- hydropathy are likely to be beneficial), neither pathic treatises, lying on the table before us, to homeopathy by its drugs, nor hydropathy by its ascertain in what year this happened. Priestnitz drenches, nor animal magnetism by its manipuis an illiterate German peasant, but one who ev- lations and passes, ever did or ever could cure idently possesses an immense amount of cunning. one single diseased action ; and the evil they exHe tells, we believe, some kind of a cock-and-creise by removing their votaries out of the reach bull story about the manner in which his atten- of regular medicine is incalculable. tion was first directed to this wonderful discov When the physician, however, speaks thus to ery. It is, if we remember aright, that a frac- his inquiring neighbor, he is answered, “ That tured rib, or at any rate some fractured bone, may be all ingenious reasoning, but I have read united under the influence of cold bandages, as of cases of cures in such and such respectable if all the world did not know that under ordina- works by this quack medicine or by infinitesry circumstances broken bones always unite in imal and homeopathic doses, or by a residence a certain given time, and all the external appli- in a hydropathic establishment, or by being cations in the world will neither promote nor thrown into magnetic sleep; nay, I have known retard that time a single moment.
intimate friends of my own, who have had for The man, however, set up a boarding estab- years this and that frightful disease, who have lishment, enforced a rigorous system of diet upon consulted the physicians of most reputation, and his visitors, and made them use water in various who have got no better by following their advice; manners, pretending that different diseases re- and yet by these systems of quackery, as you quired it to be so employed. He succeeded in call them, they perfectly recovered. How can getting plenty of custom, and many similar es- you account for this, or how do you get over tablishments have been since set a-going. In that?” them large quantities of water are drank, and This is a very important question, the answer baths of various kinds are used. The wet sheet to which the public in general have not been which so astonishes some people is only one form able to understand, and we fear that our reply of bath. The obvious effect of the water is prin- to it will not at first be believed. cipally profuse perspiration. That the external In the first place, we leave out of consideraapplication of water has this effect is well known, tion all downright and wilful lies about cures of and copious draughts of it, by over-supplying the which quack medicine advertisements are full, blood with watery fluid, causes nature to cast it and from which some works on the more reputaoff by the skin. When this happens, the patient, ble systems of quackery are not free. We conadopting an old and exploded medical hypothe- fine ourselves to those cures, or supposed cures, sis, believes that he has got rid of the peccant which are related in good faith by the votaries matter, which, circulating in his blood, caused of homeopathy, hydropathy, &c. the disease. Sometimes, when it is long since To give a faithful account of any occurrence, he has been well washed, the perspiration is it is not only requisite to have the desire and none of the cleanest. Then he says that the determination to tell the truth, but it is also inmorbific matter of his disease was dark colored, dispensable to have the faculty of correctly oband that by hydropathy he got rid of it. serving. How many have not this faculty ?
It is quite true that in many cases of disease Look at what daily occurs in our courts of jusin frequent instances of fever for example — the tice. How often do we see two witnesses, both return to health is contemporaneous with a per- respectable men, both anxious to speak the spiration ; but the perspiration is not the cause, truth, who yet give different versions of a very but the effect of the cure. If artificially excited plain matter-of-fact occurrence which took place before this time, it is not of the slightest efli- in the eyesight of both of them not a month becacy. In one or two diseases a discharge from fore! and if the prejudices of a numerous class the skin is undoubtedly beneficial, but it is are interested in the result of any event, what not so in the immense majority of cases of dis- different versions do we hear of it! How difease which are found in hydropathic establish- ferent often is the account of a Whig, from the ments; and, moreover, we possess means more narrative of the same event by a Tory! Why effectual and more certain to produce it than all I do the soberminded of the community not be
lieve the many tales of ghosts and apparitions by means of homeopathic and infinitesimal doses. which vulgar and credulous eye-witnesses relate ? One of these we extract. It is entitled — Why do they not believe the signs, and wonders,
Disease of the Wrist Joint. - W. H., aged and miracles of many a little evangelical con- fifty-three, a healthy-looking man, applied at the venticle? Because they know that such contra- dispensary on February 18th. He states that dict general laws, the truth of which is certain, the affection of the wrist commenced two years and because they are narrated by a class of peo- ago, but can assign no reason for it. He applied ple sanguine, credulous, and enthusiastic, and to an eminent surgeon, who blistered the part at whom they consider to be incapable of the art
least twenty times, but with no benefit. . After of rightly observing. In like manner the sober- he left in August, 1841, after having been six
this he entered the Edinburgh Infirmary, which minded and educated physician does not believe
teen weeks under treatment; but the disease the asserted fortunate results or cures of quack- increased, instead of getting better. The treatery, because such are in contradistinction to ment pursued in the hospital was application well-ascertained and undoubted laws of medical of mercurial ointment, from which he was saliscience, and because he does not consider those vated, then poultices and stimulating washes, tonarrating them to be capable of accurate ob gether with a dose of salts when he chose to servation. And is not this latter notoriously recommended to go to the country, but the dis
take them. These means having failed, he was the case? The medical men of integrity who
ease got no better. Ile then returned to the hoshave joined such systems are universally men pital, when amputation was advised as the only ignorant of medical principles, who have always means. This he refused to submit to, and leti. been addieted to false theory, and who, if they He was recommended by a gentleman to whom are old enough, have, before they embraced he showed his arm to apply at this dispensary. their present erroneous theories, in turn em The right wrist presented, as he himself debraced and rejected others as erroneous.
scribed it, the appearance of a boiled turnip,
much swollen, with the cellular tissue hardened. lay proselytes have even still more notoriously a
There are two sinuses which communicate with like character. We would ask our reader to the joint, the one opening anteriorly, and the suminon to his memory such of them as he is other posteriorly. From these there is a copersonally acquainted with. Are they not very pious yellow discharge. Unable to move the flighty people? Have they not all their lives wrist or flex the fingers; any attempt to do so been given to embrace opinions very different is attended with pain. from those which sensible people ordinarily ac The Report then states the medicines emcept, and are they not always ardently admiring ployed, and gives occasional notices from date to something with the charm of novelty to recom date of the favorable progress of the case. On mend it?
March 25th, there is “ no pain in the joint; is It is not easy to give actual instances of the able now to use it a little ; can even lift a buckfacility with which men who believe false theo- et of water. Sil” (this means the medicine emries are ready to believe and promulgate false ployed). Then the Report goes on, — “Confacts. After reading a list of reputed cures in tinued to improve under the use of Sulph. Sil. some treatise on hydropathy or homeopathy, it is Hep. S., and on the 19th of July it was provery dillicult to make inquiries into the real his-nounced cured. The man went to the harvest, tory of C. D., Esq., aged 43; or into that of and up to this date, the 17th of November, has William Smith, of Whitechapel; or John Jones, continued well, engaging daily in his occupaof St. Giles's. We select, however, one case in tion." Report of Edinburgh Homæopathic which it was possible to pursue such investiya- Dispensary. tions, as ailording a striking example of the fact We beg particular attention, not only to the we are now pointing out.
decided tone of all this narrative, but also to one Dis. Black and Russell, two highly respectable or two particular statements. The severity of young physicians, although they were accused the cisease, “two sinuses communicating with of knowing particularly little about the princi- the joint," is stated. Then the man's previous ples of regular medicine, became converts to treatment, “ salivation,” is brought forward, no the doctrines of homeopathy. We may remark doubt as a sneer, with a view of contrasting it that both these gentlemen are perfectly incapa- with their elegant plan of treatment. Then ble of uttering a fulsehood. They introduced amputation and mutilation are threatened the their new doctrines into Elinburgh. Among poor fellow by regular surgery. This shows other proceedings to promulgate them they es- that the hospital surgeons thought it a hopeless tablished a dispensary; and, after the expiration case. Lastly, he got quite well, “ went to harof some time, they published a Dispensary Re- vest, and up to this date, the 17th of November, port, containing details of several very remark- has continued well, engaging daily in his occuable cures which they thought they had effected | pation.” Strange as it may seem, not one of
these assertions turned out, upon inquiry, to themselves in these maladies. We may remark have one grain of truth in it.
in passing, that the office of the physician is to Edinburgh not being a large place, and par- give this tendency fair play, - in a word, to obticulars being given of the above case the viate the tendency to death, and to alleviate “eminent surgeon,” the initial of the man's pain and uneasy sensations. In the practice of name, and the date of his admission and dis- regular medicine, it is sometimes not easy to charge from the infirmary — induced some gen- determine whether the cure is to be attributed tle.nen connected with the medical press of to nature or to treatment; but the difficulty Edinburgh to investigate the matter. It turned mainly lies in the natural tendency of human out that the case narrated was that of one Wil- | nature to exaggerate the value of its own interliam Heslop, for a long time a hospital and an ference. And this is often undoubtedly the out-door patient of Dr. Duncan. It also turned cause of much, although honest enough, quackout, first, that the two sinuses did not communi- ery in the profession. The value of remedies cate with the joint, and that moreover, the ho- is, however, ascertained by testing their efficacy maopathic physicians, although they so stoutly on a very large scale, and, above all, by seeing asserted such to be the fact, never probed either if their physiological action is, from what we of them, -i. e. never even tried to ascertain know is taking place in any disorder, likely to whether such was the case or not; secondly, prove beneficial. The remedies of quackery both on the evidence of the man and of Dr. respond to neither of these tests. Duncan, he never had been salivated ; thirdly, In the consideration of the causes of restoraDr. Duncan never thought of amputating the tion to health, great weight is always to be atarm, and Ileslop stated that the reason he left tached to the action of a doubtlessly important the infirmary was domestie afHiction at home; therapeutical agent, — diet or regimen. Both fourthly, to use the language of the writer of the homeopathy and hydropathy lay down strict investigation published in the Edinburgh Month- rules for this. The hydropath removes his paly Journal of Medical Science, “ the wrist is not tient from home and business and cares, and yet cured, and the man never went to the har- makes him lead a regular life with a due provest, just because it was not cured.” Drs. Black portion of exercise. The homeopath does not and Russell very candidly confessed that Iles- do exactly this, but, in common with the profeslop was the man, and in excuse for the state sor of the cold water system, he enforces a plain ment about the salivation, amputation, &c., stated diet, from which wine, spirits, even tea and cofthat they understood so from the patient himself; | fee, are excluded. This for a continuance, and and for that about the cure, that they understood for a person in what may be termed a working it was so from the dispensary porter! Any one condition, is an unsuitable system; but there is attentively criticising reports of quackery cases no doubt of its temporary efficacy, especially will find tales like this as plentiful as blackberries. when applied to individuals removed for a time
Inasmuch, then, as we doubt the accuracy of from the anxieties of active life, and buoyed up the reports of quacks, and as, moreover, we with that certain hope of recovery which the know from ascertained laws of medicine that quack confidently announces. their treatment cannot cure disease, we Speaking of the influence of hope brings us quite entitled to deny that any successful termi- to the consideration of a most important theranation of a case under quack treatment proves peutical agent to the uninitiated, the unknown any thing in favor of any system of quackery. cause of an immense number of so-called cures Arid we are not called on to explain in any such of quackery. We refer to the influence of the cases, when a successful termination is witnessed, imagination in curing disease. We do not mean to what this cure is to be attributed. We have to say that by strongly impressing the imagination a right to say to the narrator, “it is not as you an attack of fever can be checked, or a pleurisy say, — it is not, as you state, owing to your be cured, or a fit of apoplexy ke avoided, or the treatment.” If we choose, however, we can acute rheumatism got rid of. No such thing. But take a lower ground, and we can explain how there are classes of disease greatly under the the cure is brought about in such cases.
control of the imagination, and which, in fact, In the first place, all diseased actions (except when got better of while under the hands of a ing such as are necessarily fatal) have a strong quack, are cured by the force of the imagination. natural tendency to a spontaneous and favorable The most important of these are chronic functermination. This is most distinctly witnessed tional diseases of the nervous system, especially in acute and febrile diseases, but it is also suffi- those of the kind called babitual. Of this nature ciently obvious in chronic disorders. One form are many cases of nervous and neuralgic pains in which it is shown in the latter is in the tem- in different parts of the body; the protean forms porary amendments which so often manifest in which hysteria shows itself, cases of imagina
ry spinal disease (a very common malady), some purpose of curing the diseases of the poor. An cases of epilepsy, and the like. To these we intelligent physician would, of course, much must add a class of diseases unfortunately now to the indignation of the admirers of the tracvery common in this country, and in which the tors, have attributed such cures to the imaginadisorder exists solely and entirely in the imagi- tion. And this, fortunately, was in due time nation, and in which there is no functional disor- ascertained to the satisfaction of every body. der of any kind whatever.
Among other places, the tractors became fashTo give many illustrations of this effect of ionable at Bath. Their efficacy was tested by imagination would exceed our space. One or Drs. Haygarth and Falconer. Wooden tractors two, however, we must find room for. Indeed, were made of the same shape, and painted so the very common disappearance of toothache at as to look exactly like the metal ones. Fire the sight of the dentist is an illustration of it. cases, stated to be chronic rheumatism, but unWe can quote, however, more striking instances. doubtedly mixed up with neuralgic pain, were A very amusing one happened to Sir Humphry selected, and the patients were led to believe Davy. When the powers of nitrous oxide, or that they were about to be touched by the polaughing gas, were first discovered, Dr. Beddoes tent and mysterious metallic tractors. The woodimagined that it might be useful in chronic pa en ones were drawn over the skin, so as to touch ralysis
. A m anafilicted with this disorder (un- it in the slightest manner possible. All the padoubtedly in this case depending upon function- tients except one declared that they felt relieral disease merely) was procured, and Davy was ed, and three stated that they experienced much requested to make him inhale the gas. Previous benefit. One felt his knee warmer, and, with to doing so a small thermometer was inserted un much satisfaction, showed that he could walk betder his tongue. to ascertain his temperature, with ter. Next day the metallic tractors were employed a view of comparing it with that after the inbill with the same, but with no greater, results. tion had been begun. The patient was quite Mr. Smith, of the Bristol Infirmary, carried ignorant of the process to which he was to sub- the matter still further. IIe had a patient atmit, but was firmly impressed with the idea that flicted with a painful affection of the shoulder, it was to cure him. No sooner was the thermom- which rendered the arm quite useless. He was eter placed under his tongue than he declared operated upon with leaden tractors :that he felt already its benign influence through
In the course of six minutes no other effect out his whole body. This was too tempting an
followed the application of these pieces of lead opportunity to lose; nothing was done to the than a warmth upon the skin. Nevertheless, the man except applying the thermometer. This patient declared on the following day that be application was repeated every succeeding day had received so much benefit that it had enabled for a fortnight. The man's health gradually him to lift his hand from his knee, which he had improved, and at the expiration of that time he in vain several times attempted on Monday (the was quite recovered.*
previous day) evening, as the whole ward One of the most remarkable examples of the ed that the patent tractors possessed no specific
had witnessed. But although it was thus provtruth of what we are saying, of the actual and powers independent of simple metals, he thought undoubted influence of the imagination in cur it advisable to lay aside the metallic points, lest ing disease, inasmuch as it was on a large scale, the proofs should be less complete. Two pieces occurred in the effects of tractors, metallic or of wood, properly shaped and painted, were otherwise, which were noticed some balf a cen
next made use of. In a few minutes the man
raised his hand several inches, and he had also tury ago. About this period an American quack, of the lost the pain in his shoulder. "Ile continued to
undergo the operation daily, and with progresname of Perkins, introduced a new therapeuti- sive good effect, for on the 25th [i. e. in a week's cal (?) agent. This was composed of two small times he could touch the mantelpiece. On the pieces of metal joined together, and named a 27th, two common iron nails, disguised with sealtractor. This was applied to painful parts, and, ingwax, were substituted for the pieces of maif we remember aright, some theory of a mag- hogany before used. In three minutes the same netic fluid generated by the tractor was enter- patient felt something moving from his arın to tained. The metals employed were a secret, rules, which was suspended a foot above the
his head, and soon after he touched the board of and the tractors sold for a high price. The ap- mantelpiece. plication of them was often said, and with truth,
followed by great relief, and they became We say it with deliberation and firm conviction, very
fashionable. A public establishment, called that the intelligent physician can, in the immense the ** Perkerian Institution," was set afoot for the majority of cases of disease which have come
to a successful termination under the treatment * Vide Dr. Paris's Pharmacolgia.
of hydropaths, homeopaths, and the like, clearly
distinguish which of the three — the tendency mental phenomena, are in accordance with to a spontaneous favorable termination, the ef- known general principles of mental philosophy. fect of diet and regimen, or the influence of the Want of space, however, forbids this. imagination — has been the cause of cure. It! On the many melancholy disasters produced may, perhaps, be said, If the imagination have so in this world by quackery — the mourning mothpowerful a control over disease, and if, as is er, the curtailed domestic circle, the young
widundoubtedly the case, the quack can influence it ow, the starving orphan, and the like (for he holds out hope of certain relief to all) not dwell. We began by saying that the two more than the regular physician, then is the for- great causes of quackery are ignorance and premer after all a benefit to society. This is, how. sumption. Both are surely great crimes. A ever, a very superficial saying. The quack holds man who is ignorant of that which he ought to out hope to all, and a minority recover. But know the ploughman how to make his furwhat becomes of the many, whose expectations rows, the railway driver how to manage his enhave been raised but to be crushed, when they gine, the statesman how to rule (at least in those find that they have bartered the hope of a pos- happy countries where rule is still committed to sibility of recovery, and the undoubted assur- statesmen), and every one how to conduct himance of relief from pain, or at any rate compar- self in that state of life to which he is called, as ative ease, for the impossible boastings of a char a man of common sense, of honesty, or honor, latan? Is not the dejection and the misery they and as a moralist and a Christian — has deserted and their friends now experience far greater a great trust committed to him, and has incurthan the temporary hopes they so inconsiderate- red a deep responsibility. But there is a crime ly cherislied ? Nor is this all the evil. If, as greater than that of ignorance, and that is premany learned and cautious men who have had sumption. A landsman will not venture to steer every opportunity of forming an opinion be a ship, nor does a man unacquainted with melieve, and if as men similarly situated have be-chanics presume to govern an engine or a locolieved for centuries, regular medicine possesses motive. Yet thousands who know nothing of the power of prolonging lite, of shortening dis- medicine rush into the arena of medical strife ease, and of alleviating pain,
- if this, we say,
as judges — for it is notorious that the grand be trae, how cruel is it to deprive those whose promoters of various forms of quackery are laylives are in danger, whose strength is prostrated admirers, busy bodies who know nothing of by sickness, or whose bodies are racked by pain, medicine — and we may safely say that these indiof the remedies provided for them ? And yet viduals commit more havoc, destroy more huthis is what every system of quackery does. man happiness, and crush more of that singular
We had proposed to have made a few remarks bounty, human life, than if every ship in the upon animal magnetism. The tales that have navy were committed to the mercies of the been anú are told about clairvoyance, prophesy- waves, with only lunatics at the helm, or than if ing, and the like, are just so many falsehoods. every engine on every railway were driven by But that by its practices so many per cent of the wildest of the inhabitants of Bedlam. When ordinary people can be thrown into a state of we think of the conduct of such presumptuous insensibility, or, if numbers be present, be made people, let us hope that either their mental conunconsciously to do very extraordinary things, stitution is originally so feeble, or that vanity is true enough. We purposed, however, shew- and conceit have so unco
nconsciously crept upon ing that this ordinary somnambulism, the state them, that they are not morally answerable for described in some religious books as reverie, all the misery, and anguish, and woe that they spectral illusions, and many other extraordinary | cause. — Fraser's Magazine.
“ THE MERCIFU'ESCAPE."
Among the vestiges of former times remaining the hollow reverberations which its pavement in the town of Dundee, is a wynd, or rather gives back to passing steps or vehicles. court, leading from the High Street, and known Time and fires have considerably diminished in native parlance as " the Voults.” It is so their numbers, especially of late years; but it is called from being supposed to pass over exten- evident that the Voults was once as densely insive vaults belonging to an ancient monastery, habited as city wynds were wont to be in the whose site is no longer discernible; and the days of our ancestors; and those antiquated popular belief is in some degree confirmed by mansions, that look as if they had seen and