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NEW-ENGLAND MEDICAL GAZETTE.
Contributions of original articles, correspondence, personal items, etc., should be sent to the publishers,
IN THE NATURE OF A BOOMERANG. There are many famous and proverbial illustrations of malicious endeavor which proved fatally reactionary. There, for - instance, is the man who digged a pit for his enemy, to fall therein himself ; the engineer hoist with his own petar; the inexperienced boomerang-thrower on whose own head his weapon recoils. And, lately, the same idea is brilliantly illustrated by the gentleman who is in the way of doing homeopathy admirable and lasting service, through an artless effort to bring homeopathy to confusion. We refer to the gentleman who, with all the ardor which inspired Quixote of windmill-fame, has, within a few months, started out to fight fiery dragons which his own diseased imagination sees in the sails of certain medical windmills which are daily grinding out honest and useful grist of help for mankind's fleshly ills. The spear of this modern Quixote is his vitriolic pen, and his tourney-ground the columns of our once reputable contemporary, The Medical News. A recent assault on his delirious dragons takes the form of a prize, modest indeed in amount, offered for the paper which shall most thoroughly and effectively "expose” homeopathy.
Since, without doubt, there are many in the ranks of allopathy to whom even the small sum in question, coupled with the advertisement to be secured from competition in this not altogether savory contest, will make persuasive appeal, homeopathy may congratulate itself that it is shortly to be rendered a two-fold service. The offer of our dragon-haunted friend will serve the
VOL. XXVII.- No. 8.
cause against which it runs amuck in two ways. First, it will introduce homeopathy, as homeopathy is today, to a goodly number of young allopathic practitioners, who else might remain indefinitely in careless ignorance of its scientific status, its merits, and its claims. The merely venal and shrewd among those who take the offer seriously will, of course, grasp the idea at once that what is wanted is not the results of honest investigation, but of malicious invention, and will set themselves on the straight road to success by studying Don Quixote's own recent example, and presenting a tissue of ingenious misrepresentation, unblushing falsification and coarse abuse. Their work, and the outcome of it, can safely be left to the fate that has unfailingly overtaken such since attacks on homeopathy began. But it is hardly to be doubted that many honest minds may be led to study homeopathy in a spirit of fair-mindedness, and thus, inevitably, in a search for demonstrable errors, discover demonstrable facts and merits. Such will not, in a study of homeopathy as it exists to-day, hark back to the mistakes of yesterday, or accept eagerly the vagaries of its fanatics as the creed of its representatives. Studying homeopathy in the only spirit possible to any honest investigator, namely, as it is preached and practised to-day by its most scholarly, broad-minded, and able practitioners, the investigators will find so much which appeals to reason and challenges experiment that we fearlessly predict many conver: sions to homeopathic practice, which shall date from this maliceprompted search for homeopathy's errors. Second, and not less important service that will be rendered to homeopathy by this last onslaught of Don Quixote, will be the absolutely unanswerable argument it affords, that the spirit of rabid, unscrupulous, cowardly prejudice is the sole spirit in which those allopathic societies and coteries work, who yearly, persistently, blatantly demand, in the name of a helpless and injured public, legislation adverse to homeopathy. This printed offer, and the essay to : which its prize will be awarded, will be testimony past price for homøopathy to lay before fair-minded legislators everywhere, as to the animus in which their adversaries are working, as to their adversaries' utter and wilful dishonesty, their self-revealed hy. pocrisy. No “campaign document" could be of more instant
and convincing worth than this which Don Quixote is considerately preparing for our use. Let us joyously thank him, and eagerly await its coming.
Don Quixote? The title is inaptly given after all. Addlewitted as he was, the noble old chimera-fighter, he at least had a brave and honest heart. His pardon, then, for taking his name in vain! Let us rather, with un-malicious laughter, see in our young friend of the News the fin-de-siècle Mrs. Partington sweeping back the ocean of medical progress with his droll little broom of outraged prejudice ; while the ocean's mighty billows must boom ever forward long after the Groll little broom is broken to bits and the sweeper's ardor hopelessly and forever Gould — we beg pardon --- cooled.
EDITORIAL NOTES AND COMMENTS.
A SERVICEABLE, PRACTICAL, AND Honest Distinction is that made between “curative" and "palliative" therapeutics, by our much-esteemed confrère Dr. P. Jousset, in a recent address on “Positive Therapeutics and Homeopathy." Dr. Jousset answers the familiar charge of our friends the allopaths, that homeopathists are charlatans, trading on a name, because they sometimes employ medicines other than homeopathically, by the sensible claim that homøopathists, remaining loyally such, have as honest a right to employ palliative means as they have to employ surgical means, or dietetic means; or any other means within the possibilities of the broadly-educated practitioner, for the alleviation of suffering. It is not curatively but palliatively, and altogether legitimately, that the homeopathist, in frankly noncurable cases, will employ morphine to alleviate agonizing pain, or chloral to secure necessary sleep. And as to the size of dose employed, says Dr. Jousset, the homoeopathist, like all commonsense practitioners, will “ follow the teachings of the clinic, and no other guide.” If the clinic teaches that syphilis demands mercury in appreciable doses, and malaria does the like with quinine, he will employ these entirely homeopathic remedies courageously, in whatever doses experience teaches him will be most effective. And as to the allopathic taunt, that homeopa
thists employ dilutions only for imaginary ills, “let them," says Dr. Jousset, "study our clinical records, and mark the results following our invariable employment of small doses in pneumonia, typhoid, the eruptive diseases, cholera — maladies not ordinarily classed, I believe, as benign!”
THE GROWTH OF HOMEOPATHY IN AUSTRALIA is a fortunate and interesting fact to which we have often taken occasion to refer. A glimpse of the subject, as viewed from the inside, is furnished in a pleasant letter, which lately reached the GAZETTE, from Dr. W. K. Bouton, of Melbourne. We take pleasure in quoting a few passages from the letter in question for the benefit of our readers. We may add that Dr. Bouton, having left hospital work for private practice, his present address is 7 Collins street, Melbourne, Dr. Bouton writes: "A brief history of matters in this part of the world might interest you, and is prompted by the receipt in this mail of papers giving the opening of the new buildings — hospital and medical school — at Boston, in which, of course, I am very much interested. When I came to Melbourne, in '85, the old hospital (which was a private house used as such) consisted of sixteen beds, and was just closing Soon after, the new building was opened, with a capacity of sixty beds; though at one time, in the height of a fever epidemic, I managed to crowd into it as many as seventyeight patients. When first opened, and in fact for the first year, we had a difficulty in maintaining an average of one half the regular capacity. So little known and appreciated was homeopathy or the hospital that it was with the greatest difficulty we could get sufficient funds to carry on the small work that fell to our lot. But what do we find now, six years later (after spending $150,000, in paying debts and adding to buildings and surroundings)? A hospital double its former size, beds constantly full, and applications standing over ; while financially there is a steadily increasing fund at the bank, and this too in the face of great financial depression throughout the country. Don't think that this has been easily achieved ; on the contrary, adverse criticism is very strong, and homeopathy has only succeeded by its successes. We have just as much to contend with as ever,