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Forty Years in the Wilderness of Pills and Powders Cogitations and Confessions of an Aged Physician   By: (1798-1859)

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First Page:

[Illustration: Engraved by J. C. Buttre, expressly for Fireside Lectures.

Doct. W'm. A. ALCOTT.]

FORTY YEARS

IN THE WILDERNESS

OF

PILLS AND POWDERS;

OR, THE

COGITATIONS AND CONFESSIONS OF

AN AGED PHYSICIAN.

BOSTON: JOHN P. JEWETT AND COMPANY.

NEW YORK: C. M. SAXTON AND COMPANY. ROCHESTER, NEW YORK: E. DARROW AND BROTHER. 1859.

Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1859, by JOHN P. JEWETT AND COMPANY, In the Clerk's Office of the District Court for the district of Massachusetts.

LITHOTYPED BY COWLES AND COMPANY, 17 WASHINGTON ST., BOSTON.

Printed by Geo. C. Rand and Avery.

PREFACE.

The present volume was one of the last upon which its author was engaged, the facts having been gathered from the experience and observation of a long life. It was his design to publish them anonymously, but under the changed circumstances this is rendered impracticable.

A short time previous to his death, the writer spoke of this work, and said, in allusion to the termination of his own somewhat peculiar case, "This last chapter must be added." In accordance with this desire, a brief sketch, having reference chiefly to his health and physical habits, with the closing chapter of his life, has been appended.

Boston, June, 1859.

TO THE READER.

In the sub title to the following work, I have used the word "Confessions" not to mislead the reader, but because to confess is one prominent idea of its author. It is a work in which confessions of the impotence of the healing art, as that art has been usually understood, greatly abound; and in which the public ignorance of the laws of health or hygiene, with the consequences of that ignorance, are presented with great plainness. The world will make a wiser use of its medical men than it has hitherto done, when it comes to see more clearly what is their legitimate and what their ultimate mission.

These remarks indicate the main intention of the writer. It is not so much to enlighten or aid, or in any way directly affect the medical man, as to open the eyes of the public to their truest interests; to a just knowledge of themselves; and to some faint conception of their bondage to credulity and quackery. The reader will find that I go for science and truth, let them affect whom they may. Let him, then, suspend his judgment till he has gone through this volume once, and I shall have no fears. He may, indeed, find fault with my style, and complain of my literary or philosophic unfitness for the task I assigned myself; but he will, nevertheless, be glad to know my facts.

Should any one feel aggrieved by the exposures I have made in the details which follow, let me assure him that no one is more exposed nor, indeed, has more cause to be aggrieved than myself. Let us all, then, as far as is practicable, keep our own secrets. Let us not shrink from such exposures as are likely, in a large measure, to benefit mankind, while the greatest possible inconvenience or loss to ourselves is but trifling.

Some may wish that instead of confining myself too rigidly to naked fact and sober reasoning, I had given a little more scope to the imagination. But is not plain, "unvarnished" truth sometimes not only "stranger," but, in a work like this, better also, than any attempts at "fiction"?

THE AUTHOR.

AUBURNDALE, March, 1859.

CONTENTS.

CHAPTER. PAGE.

I. EDUCATIONAL TENDENCIES 1

II. MY FIRST MEDICAL LESSON, 6

III. THE ELECTRICAL MACHINE, 9

IV. THE MEASLES, AND POURING DOWN RUM, 11

V. LEE'S PILLS AND DROPSY, 13

VI. THE COLD SHOWER BATH, 16

VII. MY FIRST SICKNESS ABROAD, 18

VIII. LESSON FROM AN OLD SURGEON, 20

IX. LEE'S WINDHAM BILIOUS PILLS, 23

X. DR. SOLOMON AND HIS PATIENT. 26

XI... Continue reading book >>




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