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HYDROPATHY AND ALLOPATHY., Ashburton Guardian, Volume 1, Issue 70, 6 March 1880
HYDROPATHY AND ALLOPATHY.
To the Editor. Sir, —There is very little in the letter of your correspondent, “Eve’s Grandson,” with which I do not entirely agree. The greater part of his letter seems intended to show how difficult it is to be quite sure that we are right as to the character of any particular disease, and how easily one disease may be mistaken for another. No one doubts or denies this, and it appears to me one of the strongest arguments he could produce against allopathic treatment, or against any kind of treatment which avowedly depends upon such distinction being correctly made. His argument most strongly recommends a system in which we deal only with what wo can see, and feel, and in -which we adopt a treatment that will certainly assist nature to throw off the disease, whatever it may be. It may be exceedingly interesting for a patient to know the difference betw r eeen the “ symtom expectation ” and the “ sign sputa,” to be sure the disease lie is suffering from is one which his learned medical attendent can do nothing whatever cither to cure or alleviate. But I think most sensible persons would prefer to know that, whether the disease of the lungs has or has not reached the incurable stage, the utmost possible relief is afforded them by immensely improving the action of the skin, relieving the stomach, and purifying the blood—all of which the intelligent hydropathist knows how to do. Then, even if “ scarlatina co-exists with typhoid fever,” the great business of the hydropathist would still be to get the skin restored to healthy action, and the combinations, known or unknown, would lead him into no mistakes. He never dreams of the incomprehensible folly of producing perspiration on the known, seen, felt, and accessible skin by using James’ powder, or putting a “drug, of which he knows nothing, into a stomach of which he knows less. ” If we even happen to mistake, as we are told “ ignorant people ” must do, “ malignant scarlatina for diphtheria,” we should still make no fatal mistakes in the treatment. Both require the utmost attention to the skin, the utmost care for the stomach, and the utmost economy of every atom of strength, and in neither case do we want to bleed, or purge, or stupify with opium, salivate with mercury, burn with caustic, paint with iodine, or paralyse with brandy. Themostsuccessful treatment I ever saw in my life was a qase of small pox, which was mistaken by the sufferer’s ‘ ‘ ignorant ” wife for fever, and vigorously packed until the unmistakeable eruptions showed her the alarming mistake she had made. But her patient recovered with a rapidly and completeness that never follows from any other treatment. I once saw the same mistake admittedly made an allopathic practitioner, whose died, as a matter of course. The mistake was found out and exposed by the legally qualified fraternity, because the practitioner was not “ legally qualified,” but was an old man who had acted for thirty years as the trusted and undoubtedly trustworthy assistant of a legally qualified doctor with a large country practice, in which the assistant had given pounds of opium and mercury, cartloads of brandy, and drawn hogsheads of blood from the doctor’s poorer patients, entirely on his own Your correspondent says— ‘ ‘ Mr. Saunders makes a very sweeping charge against medical men generally when he says that they make grievous mistakes in their treatment.” To that I can only say that I could fill many volumes with evidence of that well known fact; but I never yet met with anyone to deny it. Your correspondent greatly mistakes me when he says that “Mr. Saunders insinuates that if all patients were treated hydropathically they would not have died.” You will admit, Sir, that this is very hard upon me, after I concluded my long letter with a very plain intimation that I hoped to die myself in a warm bath or a wet sheet. I think, too, that his notice of the great founder of homoeopathy is rather unkind. Both phrenologically, professionally, and historically, I have always thought Hahneman a truly great man, and I cannot help thinking that the allopaths would find out a lot of their mistakes if they would only do as he did, and try their medicines on themselves before they try them on their patients. I admit that it is passing strange, and that it puzzles mo more than anything else I know of, that those who are most intimately acquainted with the anatomy of the human body, and haveacquiredthegreatest skill as surgeons, and have devoted their lives to disease and its cure, who have the advantage of all past experience, a monopoly of the evidence to be obtained from dissections, and information taught in our hospitals, of all the advice that the most able men of their day can impart to them, have never led but always dragged behind in the art of curing disease ; have left a poor hunted down heretic to discover the circulation of the blood, and to be burnt, with his books, at the stake for his success ; a brave and intelligent milkmaid to tell them that baying taken cow pox would make her safe in nursing a case of small pox, and a poor farmer to show them that water and not mineral poison is the agent by which animal poison can be washed out of the animal system. In every century they have condemned in the strongest terms, and proved in the most satisfactory manner, that the practice of their craft in the past century was not only useless and mistaken, but culpable and destructive. Nay more, we need not go from one century to another to get a condemnation of their practice—each generation of doctors condems the practice of the past one, and proves that they were worse than useless ; and yet when they look back three thousand years, at once the most modern legally qualified practitioners tell us that “ it is positively certain that none among the most eminent of the new schools, or sects of more modern date, havebeen more successfulin curing diseases than were Hippocrates, Galen, and Sydenham,” or, as Dr. Rush says, “We have done little more than to multiply diseases and increase their fatality.” flow can we account for such a total and admitted failure by thousands of the best and ablest men in every civilised community, under every advantage of experience and education, except on the ground thatallalongtheyhave been hunting on a false scent, have been wasting all in attempting im
possibilities, and expecting to cure disease by the drugs that are only fitted to produce it, whilst our untrammelled farmers, an I manufacturers, and mechanics have, successfully sought the agency, nut of' poisons, but of the great carrier which nature uses to effect every important change, and to build up and sustain every function both of vegetable and animal life.—l am, Ac, A LURED S A UNDER',.
HYDROPATHY AND ALLOPATHY., Ashburton Guardian, Volume 1, Issue 70, 6 March 1880
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