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tors of them who were authorized to watch for the general good, were bound to punish their infraction. In any other case, if the inquiry did not embrace subjects of so grave a character—was but one of the many occurrences in life, I would not feel authorized in so marked a manner, to call your attention to it. The case before the court, to the consideration of which I am earnestly endeavoring to confine the attention of the jury, is one of extraordinary interest. You will see, gentlemen, that the difficulty and importance I allude to, grows out of the circumstances of the case as presented to the court—it affects not the changeful variant interests of society, which may be diverted into other channels, and leave an opportunity to repair the evil incurredno, gentlemen of the jury, those may be subjects ordinarily sufficiently grave to occupy your valuable time; but the case before you rises in the vastness of its magnitude far above all others that may be named, when you are told that it affects the human system ; its operations, its health, its life.
It is not sufficient to believe that the individual is prompted to the deed by no malicious wish to work injury to his fellow. A desire of gain is too liable to lead men astray; and when we superadd to it the grosser motives which blind the judgment and influence the conduct of many, you will perceive the pressing necessity of guarding well every avenue to abuses in this particular. Error in judgment on his part is likely to involve the patient in difficulties and dangers, from which he may not be able to extricate himself from the false representations of heartless, designing persons. Experience proves that the most innocent medicines may be administered injuriously. Take an hundred persons, have them attended with such medicines—some would get well without any medical treatment—all they may need will be a little cessation from the intense application they pay to their ordinary business, and they will get well. A large majority of the balance will, under ordinary medical treatment, get well—there yet are a few whose cases require the utmost attention and care, and all the resources of the well informed
in the healing art; place such as these under the care of the unskilful, and they will certainly kill them; in the charge of the skilful they will as certainy recover. Question the conduet of the individual through whose agency this evil has been produced; call him to this bar to answer for his misdeeds, and immediately all that conceived themselves to be benefited by his medicines, come into court and willingly testify to the value of those medicines to which they attribute their relief. In case that individual is incompetent to judge correctly what remedy is indicated by a perfect knowledge of the characteristic symptoms of the disease, every attempt he may make to remove the evil may be fraught with the most pernicious and fatal consequences, which may be enhanced in its reprehensibleness—in the enormity of its character, by rashness and inattention to the plain dictates of humanity. You are, at least, to determine whether gross rashness, ignorance, and lack of that tender care for the condition and sufferings of the individual, the causes of whose death you are called to investigate, was not the procuring means which occasioned the death of the individual, to answer a charge of which the prisoner at the bar was presented by the Grand Jury, and brought before this honorable court.
Take a view of the circumstances connected with the case, and you will see a blind infatuation on the one part, and a manifest lack of judgment on the other. But before we proceed to a further investigation of the treatment, let us examine the means of instruction furnished, and the spring to action of the author and his followers. Observe his labored attempt to deceive the reader, and rouse up evil passions in the possessor of his book. Be not deceived by appearances -in the present case a party of individuals and the prisoner undertake to remove disease, and pretend to do so for the benefit of society at large. Before we admit the position, (and I would be as ready to allow all reasonable credence to the professions of others as any gentlemen in this court, if proofs did not justify the reverse) will it not be well to test the motives which seem to govern the individuals coming
before the court for the defense, the prisoner at the bar, and the author of this little book (Dr. Thomson's Guide to Health). We have a right to examine it, because by scanning its contents, we may be able to arrive at a knowledge of the motives and principles of its originator. I have carefully read it, that due justice might be rendered to its merits or demerits, as well as to the case more immediately presented to the consideration of the court, and must confess my surprise that there are to be found in this enlightened community, and among its members, those who vend, and those who circulate it. What does it contain? It tells a lamentable story of the evils occasioned by the use of medicine which have been received into common practice, and borne and triumphed over the test of ages, as useful and salutary. Here the author is evidently engaged, not in presenting to the cool judgment of the reader remedies which have been tested by men of close investigation and deep research, but in inflaming the bad passions by putting forth libels on the conduct and motives of a respectable and learned body of men. Not by their appearances but by the principles ought all their motives to be judged. The performance of the duty is a painful one, but justice imperiously demands the performance of it at this time from me. It is neces. sary to advert to the words of the fountain head of its slanders to learn whether a spirit of rivalry or an anxious desire to afford relief to suffering humanity, is the predominant principle. The practice of the regular phy. sicians is injurious to mankind, the book says, on page 11. Is there anything to justify this? Does the conduct of that community deserve such a character? It is but an address to prejudice and not to the reasoning faculties of men—it promotes the exercise and indulgence of feelings, which should be carefully avoided. Again, “Much has been said and written upon fevers, by the professedly learned Doctors of Medicines”; this class of individuals pay no attention to the origin and application of proper remedies. All his effort is used to sustain the fever, and he says, p. 15, “The Herb
doctor uses all his skill to kill the fever”-“nature is heat” — “heat is life”—and thus he argues in a circle, arriving always at the starting point. Again he advances a new doctrine (pp. 18-19), “Nature never furnishes the body with more blood than is necessary for the maintenance of health,” etc. Here he boldly charges even eminent physicians with practicing it for experiment sake even on themselves! The charge of experimenting is, evidently, only a design to mislead the reader. On page 27, he comes boldly and unmaskedly forward, and enters his caveat against certain medicines, which he abuses in no measured terms, still keeping in action a full share of the tenor of his slanders. I have before me a whole chapter headed “On giving poisons as medicine." The author says, “The practice of giving poison as medicine, which is so common among the medical faculty at the present day, is of the utmost importance to the public, and is a subject that I wish to bring home to the serious consideration of the whole body of the people of this country; and enforce, in the strongest manner, on their minds, the pernicious consequences that have happened, and are daily taking place, by reason of giving mercury, arsenic, nitre, opium, and other deadly poison, to cure disease. It is admitted by those who make use of these things, that the introducing them into the system is very dangerous, and that they often prove fatal.” To cover the ground he assumes, and mislead the judgment, so by the occasional utterance of a truth he may have the semblance of a cause for his observations, and an excuse for ignorance and want of skill, he proceeds: “Those who make use of these things as medicine, seem to cloak the administering them under the specious pretense of great skill and art in preparing and using them; but this kind of covering will not blind the people. If they would examine it, and think for themselves, instead of believing that everything said or done by a learned man must be right; for poison, given to the sick by a person of the greatest skill, will have exactly the same effect as it would if given by a fool.” Here we find the author purposely misstating the subject, and evidently with the view to slander others, and thereby the better to cover his own selfish designs. Indeed, the whole book appears to me a work full of deception; and they that vend, and they that advocate and own it, participate in the criminality of its author, by endeavoring with their countenance and support to palm it upon the community as a truth, and the book as a work deserving of attention. “This covering” will not exempt themselves from a censure wherever the book is candidly examined. No medicine is as harmless in the hands of a fool as with a skillful practitioner who has made the subject the theme of his study by years of painful and laborious investigation. Nothing is harmless when taken in improper quantities into the stomach-even the most nourishing and innocent food we eat, may be partaken improperly and inordinately of, and do serious injury. The science of medicine is more complicated, and the evils of misapplication of proper remedies is attended with more pernicious consequences, than deviations from propriety, in the administration and reception of healthy food.
The subject of medicine, for the purpose of practicing to afford relief, should never be meddled with by any but men of extensive reading and close investigation. The author has a whole chapter headed, “The doctors without a system.” Hear how he slanders a respectable and learned profession. “That the doctors have no system is a fact pretty generally acknowl. edged by themselves; or, at least, they have none that has been fixed upon as a general rule for their practice. Almost every great man among them has had a system of his own, which has been followed by his adherents, till some other one is brought forward more fashionable.” With him, when a man has discovered anything superior in its kind, no advance is to be made—no improvement sought after—and no deviation from or change of views can take place in relation to any subject of investigation, without just ground for an implication of the correctness of the motive. The whole medical world are accused of being governed by fashion, and men of sound judgment and correct habits are