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they thrust their dressings betwixt the ends of the broken bones, as if they had been afraid of the formation of callus,
At one period, all wounds were cured by the process of sucking ; it was chiefly practised in the army, the drummers of the regiment were the suckers; and the common soldiers submitted to this cure secretly, in order to conceal their quarrels from their officers and priests. The practice of duelling had proceeded to such lengths in France, that even the common soldiers settled their drunken disputes with their swords. A hasty word betwixt soldiers of two regiments in garrison, established a perpetual quarrel between the corps. They went out in the evening to the skirts of some adjoining wood, and fought by scores; when they happened to quarrel in taverns, they fixed their pocket-knives upon the brooms and mopsticks; and when their knives and side-arms were taken from them, they fought with sticks sharpened and hardened in the fire, which we find made more desperate wounds than tempered swords; wounds, bruised, livid, and sloughing, like those made by shot. When a party went out to the wood, the drummer of the regiment, or some good experienced sucker, went along with them. The duel ended the moment that one of the combatants received a wound; the sucker immediately applied himself to suck the wound, and continued sucking and discharging the blood until the wound ceased to bleed; and then, the wound being clean, he applied a piece of chewed paper upon the mouth of it, tied up the limb with a tight bandage, and the patient walked home. The savoir-faire, or trick or cunning of this way of cure, consisted in making grimaces and contortions, signing their patient with a sign of the cross, and muttering between their teeth some unintelligible jargon. All their care was to keep this profession among themselves; and it was from this profanation of the name of Christ, and this abuse of the sign of his cross, that there arose a hot war between the suckers and priests : the priests refusing confession, extreme unction, or any sacrament of the church, to those who had undergone these magical or diabolical ceremonies; while the suckers, on the other hand, refused to suck those who had any connexion with the priests. The former were afraid of losing the dues of the church, and the privilege of giving extreme unction, and dismissing the soul to heaven (for those who submitted to the secret dressing were usually past all relief, before the secret was disclosed to the priest) : the latter, on their parts, were careful to preserve a trade which was not without its emoluments. Verduc observes, Suxerunt quidem at non sanguinem sed potius aurum: “They were more skilful in sucking gold than blood."
Contrast this barbarous surgery with the improved and rational principles which guide the surgeons of the present day, and the conviction must be, that the science of healing is in a vastly improved condition. The art of surgery is not what it formerly was. It does not consist, as it did in by-gone days, in the performance of manual operations. Mere dexterity in using the knife is not an infallible test of surgical skill. The man, who, by the application of the principles of his art, can prevent the mutilation of the human frame, is considered to take the highest position in the ranks of his profession.
The improvement in medicine has been equally great. Diseases are more easily detected; the cultivation of morbid anatomy has thrown considerable light on the situation of those structural alterations, which too often baffle the skill of the most able men in the profession; materia medica, chemistry, and all the auxiliary sciences which mutually bear upon and illustrate that of medicine, have proportionally advanced in improvement, and still continue to do so. The application of the stethoscope, in the detection of diseases of the thoracic viscera, has been of the most essential service in enabling the physician to discover, with wonderful accuracy, the early dawnings of affections of the lungs and heart. This subject, however, will be more minutely considered in another part of this work.
In conclusion, we would observe, that if ever the science of medicine be destined to take an elevated position, that rank, which it is fully entitled to claim, it must be by the application to the study of its many branches those unerring principles of induction, which the great mind of Lord Bacon has so fully developed in his master-production. * Let medical men study this work more than they have hitherto done, and much good to the science which they investigate will be the result.
• The Novum Organum.
ECCENTRIC MEDICAL MEN.
Dr. Mounsey-Dr. Marryatt—Sir John Hill-Sir Richard Jebb
-Sir John Eliot-Dr. Radcliffe-Mr. John Abernethy.
WHOLE volumes might be written on this subject, full of interest and instruction! Many of the most distinguished ornaments of the medical profession have been most eccentric in their manners; and although the eminence they attained cannot altogether be attributed to this circumstance, still we ought not entirely to overlook it in our calculation of the causes which have enabled them to obtain so great a degree of the confidence and support of the public.
Many justly celebrated practitioners have been naturally singular in their habits of acting and thinking, independently of the position they held in the medical world: others have aped the manners of their superiors, hoping, by this circumstance, to acquire notoriety and practice.
We will not, in this place, pretend to inquire how much the success of the late John Abernethy was to
be attributed to his blunt eccentricity; but we may venture to assert it was of service to him, notwithstanding his pre-eminent talents would have commanded success, had he been the very reverse of singular in his deportment.
The late Lord Erskine has observed, that “it is in the nature of every thing that is great and useful, both in the animate and in the inanimate world, to be wild and irregular, and we must be contented to take them with the alloys which belong to them, or live without them."
How many, in imitation of this great surgeon, have assumed his manners without possessing one particle of his genius, as if roughness and ill-breeding would alone ensure success in life; of such men, well might it be said
“ This is some fellow,
It is said, that there are excesses of the suaviter in modo, even more designing and censurable than the overacting of the fortiter in re. Dr. Gregory marks, and forcibly condemns the double-faced and fee-seeking satyr, who blows south in the mansions of wealth, and north in the hovels of poverty; the cur, who having grown rich by compliance with good manners,