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VI PREFACE.

most in every undertaking whose object has been to extend the boundaries of knowledge, and to exalt mankind? Who know half so much of the wants and the wishes, of the joys and the sorrows, of the community?—who are the friends and comforters, in adversity especially, of persons in every grade of life—from the sovereign and the peer, to the wretched outcast of the streets, houseless, homeless, friendless else? Who disarm pestilence of its power, and give J timers to the world? Who follow in the field through the thickest of the fire, not that they may aid destruction in her work, but, God-like, that they may staunch the wounds she makes? In one word—the medical profession, medical men. The servant of religion hath not more of true sanctity about him than the good physician; the service, indeed, that was rendered of old in special temples to the Divinity conceived in one of his most beautiful attributes, is not yet extinct upon earth, but has its ministering priest, ennobled by Christianity, in every worthy member of the medical profession. Oh! let society cherish and exalt its medical community: let it become aware, that if science cannot aid it in its struggles with disease, neither can ignorance; that nothing can by possibility be known to the quacksalver and

PREFACE. VU

empiric that is not familiar to the educated physician; that a youth of preparation, and a life, however protracted, of ceaseless devotion to his art, are all too little to familiarize him with all the varieties of disease, and the means of meeting them successfully; and that there is no access to the Temple of Medicine save through an intimate knowledge of the laws by which we live, and move, and have our being.

In publishing this little work, I ought to say that I have rather paraphrased than translated my friend; that I have often added to his words, sometimes retrenched from them, sometimes made him speak otherwise than he does of himself.—I had not only to make him speak English, but also to speak as an Englishman: in short, I had done so much, that it became necessary for me to submit the proof-sheets of the work to Dr. Marx, and it is with his concurrence and wish that my name is associated with his own on the title-page. In a letter which I lately received from him, he says: "Wie wir auf dem Titelblatte zusammenstehen, so wollen wir, wie die Dioscuren, treuvereint immer beisammen bleiben."

R. WILLIS.

ON THE

DECREASE OF DISEASE, &c

We frequently hear complaints, to the effect that the present times, however rapidly and certainly they advance in a material and intellectual point of view, still fall short physically and morally of what they ought to be; that mankind are weaker and more fragile than they were once; that they are obnoxious to many more dangers now than formerly; and that diseases, in particular, have increased both in number and severity.

There is much that, on a hasty survey, seems to countenance such complaints; in especial, the excessive refinement of manners, and the luxuries which civilization brings in her train; whence effeminacy and debility;—whilst the swelling nomenclature of diseases, and the new and endless variety of means imagined for their cure, are assumed as unquestionable evidence of the fact, that matters are even going on with mankind from bad to worse.

INFLUENCE OF CIVILIZATION.

Such a view, however, .although it may greatly commend itself to us at first, is soon discovered, when fairly put to the proof, to he wholly without foundation. It will, therefore, I believe, be held as neither uninteresting nor unnecessary, if I undertake, by a somewhat circumstantial detail, to show that with the increase and spread of civilization, the sanatory condition of states and smaller communities has undergone an actual improvement; that diseases, far from augmenting, have rather been falling off in number, and decreasing in intensity; and that every onward step in the path of knowledge and true refinement has had a beneficial influence on the entire corporeal being of mankind.

It is, in fact, not difficult to show that the efforts of science, co-operating with a general humanity of manners, have succeeded not only in eradicating the seeds of many diseases, but even in arresting in the bud such as have come to life; so circumscribing them, that, finding no congenial soil, they have soon died out, never extending beyond the isolated spot in which they sprung.

It is unquestionable, indeed, that, with the progress of civilization, not only does population in general increase, but that the length of individual life is augmented, whilst the liability to sickness, and the amount of suffering to which every being born may be assumed as obnoxious, are lessened. Epidemical diseases, which, in the olden time, and even in ages not far removed from our own, were regarded as

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