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OF ENGLISH MEDICAL PRACTITIONERS, A SKETCH OF THE HISTORY
OF THE WATER CURE, AND AN ACCOUNT OF
THE PROCESSES USED IN THE TREATMENT.
BY JAMES WILSON, M.D.
PHYSICIAN TO HIS SERENE HIGHNESS PRINCE OF NASSAU,
&c. &c. &c.
Wasser thut's freilich!
THE REV. WILLIAM MARSH, D.D.
MY DEAR SIR, WHEN I have had the good fortune to enjoy your society, I have always felt that I was under the cheering influence of one whose mind was at peace, and overflowing with charity and good-will.
To whom then could I better dedicate, than to yourself, this attempt to advocate a system designed for the relief of suffering humanity, and to defend myself from the errors and misrepresentations of ill-will ? With every sentiment of respect and esteem,
The opening letter of this Pamphlet explains in a great measure the motives for its publication. It has been put together in a hasty manner as a reply to a series of professional attacks, decrying the Water Cure as an imposition, and all who practise it as impostors.
In so far as it may be considered a personal defence, I have entered upon it with unwillingness, and in deference to the wishes and opinions of others. I have come into court with my witnesses, and the reader is at liberty to cross question them, while I claim the privilege granted to persons under such circumstances,—the privilege of speaking in my own defence.
To account for the style in which the pamphlet is written, I may remark that it is intended for non-professional persons, although I am persuaded that if medical men would take the trouble to read these pages, they would find facts, which it would be worth their while to consider, albeit they are not clothed in a learned dress.
Popular works on the art of healing are considered infra dignitatis, but I may be allowed to think professional dignity,-even supposing it infringed upon- to be of secondary consideration in this matter, seeing that it will not assist in restoring a shattered constitution, make a man happy in the possession of sound digestive organs, cure gout and rheumatism, or prevent apoplexy and consumption.
To write on the Water Cure for medical men alone, would, at the present moment, be a waste of good ink and paper; in this I was confirmed by a recent visit from an old medical friend, whose first complimentary question was, Well, are you here still, and is there really something in the Water Cure?” I asked if he had not had the curiosity to read any of the works written on the subject; “ Not a syllable,” was his reply. In the meantime the multitude are suffering, and to a great extent unnecessarily, under a variety of diseases, and if medical men will not inquire for them, they shall have the opportunity of inquiring for themselves. Facts are simple as well as stubborn things, and they can be well understood by persons to whom their rationale cannot be fully explained.
In addition to the statement of cases,—to show that I am not solitary in some of my opinions, I have introduced those of several eminent English practitioners. I have also thought it advisable to give a sketch of the history of the Water Cure, with an account of the processes used in the treatment, and some explanation of the manner in which they act on the human body. If this volume should have the effect of producing in the reader even a slight interest in this important subject, my first object will have been gained.
The next part of the work will be a joint production with my colleague Dr. Gully, on the History and Doctrine of Chronic Diseases, with the Theory and Practice of their Cure by Water.