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phrase, should be painted on the walls of every deliberative assembly whose deliberations are on large, scientific matters. “Great Scott! Leave it unsettled! The world is full of unsettled questions !” Too few members of such assemblies seem to realize that they are met for investigation, for argument, to throw light, to accumulate data; not in any possible sense to make decisions and issue pronunciamentos. It is altogether and ridiculously childish to suppose that a majority vote on a scientific question is of the slightest imaginable value. It were as sensible to vote on the probable state of the weather a year from date, and imagine the vote has settled its prospective fairness or foulness. Great questions move in great orbits; they are governed by the mighty laws of ascertained fact, not by the whiffling laws of changing human opinion. What the immutable laws of fact are we shall learn the sooner when we realize that scientific assemblies are to investigate and search out laws; not to make them. We commend this truth, and its vivid embodiment in the Era's epigram to the pilgrims journeying to the forthcoming Institute session.
TELLING STATISTICS — and the story they tell is worth yards of theoretical argument to homeopathists fighting the good fight for homeopathic recognition in state and national institutions ! — are those which we herewith append. They tell, at a glance, the relative work done in five Massachusetts asylums for the insane. It is to be noted, as suggestive, that the cases "recovered” in the Westborough hospital do not include the cases of habitual drunkards, though such are included in the “recovered ” of the asylum at Worcester. The showing for the hospital under homeopathic control is a fine one, of which homeopathists everywhere cannot but be justly proud :
GENERAL STATISTICS OF THE FIVE MASSACHUSETT HOSPITALS FOR THE INSANE, FOR THE YEAR
Ending SEPTEMBER 30, 1891.
254 933 253 52 39 45 63 53 4
636 183 45 14 53 40 31 3
Recovered, 42. [All H. D.'s
Recovered, o; much imp., 6;
Recovered, 1; improved, 1;
Recovered, o; improved, 9;
Recovered, 16; much im-
The moment of leaving the hospital is the uniform time in all hospitals for estimating the mental condition of patients.
The last column refers only to habitual drunkards. They have been included in the totals of each hospital, but
A SUNDAY LECTURE.
BY WM. TOD HELMUTH, M. D. [Delivered February 14th, 1892, (St. Valentine's Day), before the New York
Homæopathic Medical College.] It is not often that services are observed on Sundays or on Saints' days in a medical college. It is not often that St. Valentine, who died in Rome, A. D. 270, is worshipped at all, other than by the traditional interchange of verses, mostly breathing of love, sometimes of fun, sometimes even of ridicule.
The facts about St. Valentine's day are these: In Rome, about the middle of February, great feasts were celebrated in honor of Pan and Juno. One of the chief ceremonies of the day consisted in placing the written names of young women in a box, from which the men were directed to draw, each man thus securing his mate. The priests of the early church, endeavoring to establish Christianity by some commutation pagan iums, substituted the names of saints for the names of women, and the drawing was made to take place on the 14th of February, or St. Valentine's day. This, however, viz., the substitution of saints for the girls, would in no way satisfy the men ; and why should it? It was found impossible to entirely obliterate a ceremony to which the people had become familiar through ancestral tradition; and though the outline of the ceremony was preserved and St. Valentine held in high regard, yet letters and scraps of paper passed between the sexes, breathing all sorts of love, or, as I have already said, sometimes ridicule, and sometimes even malice. It is recorded also, as a rural tradition, that as each bird chooses it mate on St. Valentine's day so the young man looked forward to select his lady love on the 14th of February. So much for St. Valentine's day; and as very soon I shall expect to have your names all before me, and be one of a number to draw out the papers on which your future may depend, I shall elect to be your Valentine to-day, not a foolish or sentimental, but a good valentine, and lilt out to you some things which I fancy a doctor ought to know, and which never can be spoken of in the regular curriculum ; first, because the subjects are out of place in a regular course of instruction on a specific subject; and second, because there is no time.
Let me, therefore, begin by saying, that in face of the astounding pace at which the sciences are moving, be careful not to be carried about, as St. Paul says, “with every wind of doctrine.”
The intense thirst for new discoveries, especially in therapeutics, is owing to its uncertainty. The right-minded doctors are eager and anxious to cure their patients. They are true to the cause they have adopted, and the welfare of the patient is the chief end of their life-work; but patients still die. Every moment a life passes to the inevitable beyond ; every time the clock strikes it not only marks the death of the hour, but tells the tale that sixty souls have entered into eternity since it last tolled the requiem of sixty others passing away. We all know it, and as death mocks our best efforts and laughs at our attempts to baffle him in his onward and inevitable course, we rouse ourselves to look for something better than we have hitherto employed; to find other surer methods than we have essayed, and hearing of some vaunted drug, or some new appliance, we are prone to fly to it, without much thought and without much examination, taking it very much upon trust, and deserting our older and welltried medicines. This craze for novelty in the old school is remarkable as it is true, and it is because the best men in it know they have no formula to guide them, and that their compass on the wide sea of suffering is experience only. Science cannot exist without law, and hence the unstability and the variability of their therapeutics. This time last year the whole old-school medical world was in a convulsion — a shaking, shivering, shattering convulsion. Tuberculosis was to be cured. It was no longer beyond the pale of curable diseases. Koch had found the tubercle bacillus, and phthisis pulmonalis was to be no more. Thousands upon thousands of medical men left their homes and their patients to obtain small modicums of the inestimable treasure, which was doled out in most minute particles to those of especial position and eminence, or to those having “a pull." The great medical journals, at immence cost, had extras telegraphed to them regarding the methods and the results of the “Koch treatment.” Hospital wards were arranged, and even set apart by some governments, for the accommodation of the patients undergoing the inoculations. Hospital nurses were instructed how to follow the scientific medical gentlemen through the wards and clap on the compresses that not the hundred thousandth part of a drop should be lost. New hypodermic syringes were invented that not a single atom of dust, or an infinitesimal proportion of air, should be mixed with the precious fluid. New charts were printed, new urinometers and thermometers constructed, and millions of observations made ; and for what? Nothing; absolutely nothing!
There never has been such a reaction in medicine since Hippocrates was born. What do you hear now about Koch's bacillus ? Where are the long editorials ? Where are the extra
numbers of the journals? Where are the minutely-written records ? Where are the Koch's wards in the hospitals? Where are the long strings of observers? And, I may ask more particularly, where are the patients suffering from real tuberculosis? Aye! Where? Dead as Koch's lymph. Methinks I see a funeral procession, in which
A Hottentot, with setons in his ears,
, On which is written : "He has fooled us all." I was asked over a year ago, in this very theatre, before the assembled class, what I thought of "Koch's lymph cure.” You may remember my answer.
It is a matter of history that the homeopathists, as a body, either here or abroad, did not become insane concerning the lymph, and the reason was that they were, in a measure, satisfied with their own therapeutics ; they knew they had a law to guide them in the treatment of disease, and knowing this, even perhaps unknown to themselves, they waited, and were vigilant. This is the lesson I desire to teach you from this allopathic fiasco. Be cautious how you leave the tried for the untried ; don't leave the more certain for the uncertain ; don't forsake what you know to be true for that which has not been so proven. By so doing you will be regarded as safe men to trust, and reliable men in times of severe distress and adversity.
There are other things besides the administration of medicine or the operations in surgery that are necessary to the true doctor. He must take into his being the welfare of his patient, mentally as well as physically. Really in these days, when we are beginning to see but not to understand, what immense power is hidden within the nervous centres ; when hypnotism and personal magnetism are acknowledged to possess such force, there is no saying how much personality may influence disease, especially of the nervous system. You can carry brightness or gloom in your countenance; you can carry sympathy or coldness; you can carry pleasantness or mournfulness; but to do this you must preserve your health, and you must have cultivated that which to a doctor is his chiefest endowment, namely, humanity. You never lower yourselves by talking pleasantly with the poorest patient at the clinic; it is not beneath your dignity to shake hands with the pauper in the wards of yonder hospital ; it is not unmanly to show sympathy for distress of any kind; but be sure you put your sympathy in the right form and express it in the right place, otherwise, instead of comfort, you may bring absolute consternation and misery. Witness the following true story: