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harm. That is as far from being true as their knowledge is far from truth. To inspect Reece or Buchan, and administer whatever chance, or the cook dictates, is their only rule. They do not know or reflect that it is the disease, not the medicine, which is to be known, that in no two stages does the same disease admit the same remedies, that a name is not a disease, that the same named disease is not the same disease, even in two individuals, and that, even were all this so, they have not the means of knowing one disease from another. If the books of Buchan, Reece, and the rest, had been burned by the common hangman, it would have been an act worthy of the law which sets up to regulate the practice of physic as a profession, and leaves all interlopers and dilettantes free to commit murder at pleasure.
If the Bountifuls do no harm, they need not do any thing: if their medicines are neutral, they are useless. But even neutral medicines, bread-pills if they please, do harm, if they divert the patient from attending to an insidious disease, and keep off the only advice that ought to be sought. The fact itself is matter of daily occurrence. There is a colic, perhaps, (we must illustrate at the risk of professional language) and my lady administers peppermint. By to-morrow, the apothecary, who ought to have been sent for yesterday, is called in, and mortification has commenced. The patient dies, and the Bountiful continues the same career.
As to the facts, the truth of all this, and much more, of all that we have said and much that we might have said, we leave it to the experience of those who have had experience in the Bountiful practice. We have seen mothers kill their children, as effectually as if they had administered poison ; and this, even in defiance of advice and caution. We could name an instance where a mother exterminated in succession her whole family, of seven children, and it is an instance not known to ourselves alone. The truth is, that instead of being innocent, their practice is often extremely and dangerously active. When they take to the lancet, they will complete it. In a minor way, perhaps, it is notorious to the whole world, that the great mass of failures in vaccination has arisen from the interference of women and country curates, or of others attempting what they could not understand. Thus chiefly has discredit been brought on this useful discovery. And thus also does a collateral mischief arise from the prevalence of this dilettante vanity and conceit. Every woman,
and now most men, have learned to read their prescriptions, and to reason in their own way about them, with numerous evil results. As far as the power of medicine influences the disease through the imagination, it is often rendered useless or pernicious. Thus also they decline that, of which they pretend to judge better than the practitioner, or alter or increase the doses, or, to use a fashionable phrase, cheat the doctor, forgetting that it is themselves they are cheating. Thus also a physician is often deterred from the use of a powerful or a probable remedy, knowing that the blame of failure will be laid on himself and the medicine, not on the disease; and thus also any bad change in its symptoms or progress, is attributed to the medicine administered, to the loss of the physician's reputation.
And now perhaps we might leave the Lady Bountifuls to God and their own consciences, did we think they possessed any in this matter. As far as relates to their own personal self-practice, we would rather try to influence them by assuring them that they ruin, by their calomel and salts, the beauty which they are so anxious to preserve and improve. We would try to influence them in this also, by telling them that they render themselves odious to our sex; peevish, fretful, anxious, gloomy, and irascible. We might tell them that they become nervous, and that there is nothing which man so abhors as a nervous woman. We might also tell them, that, to practice physic, is a masculine assumption which a man detests; that to practice on themselves, to frequent Cheltenham and to talk of its necessity ; that to be acquainted with medical terms, and to talk, or even insinuate, physic, in any of its forms or modes, is nauseating and disgusting; and that love flies, as it did from Celia, at the repulsive notions excited by physic, apothecaries, calomel, and the whole detestable jargon.
PROM UNPUBLISHED MANUSCRIPTS.
[We continue our extracts from the singular hoard of similes, allu
sions, and reasonings, which the author of Hudibras was in the habit of accumulating in his common-place book. The present selection is made from a mass of the same kind, under the head of ASTROLOGY. We have avoided such as the author had used in his admirable poem.--Ed.]
How planets in conjunction, ev'ry minute
The ancients held no omen was so dire
And if the Heavens be but one constellation As all to any have the same relation, (Except those two erroneous vagabonds, With which the earth as fully corresponds,) The whole to all the rest may freely claim An equal property, beside the name. Astrology and magic charms and spells Are all that's left of the devils oracles, Have acted greater diabolic sorceries Than all the litters of his Lapland nurseries ; The best astrologers are always made Of crack'd mechanicks of some other trade, And when the planets are designed to ert, How much more must the dull astrologer : When those, he is to be directed by, Are nam’d from fraud, imposture, and a lie! And have their most erroneous sant'rings made, The principles, and basis of a trade. For tradesmen and mechanicks are the primest And best of all astrologers aud chymists. Only the devil is, yourselves aver The most profound and deep astrologer; With whom no other, ever durst compare For as he's prince and sultan of the air ; Without whose licence and commission had, No influences dare presume to trade ; For 'tis but labour thrown away, t' incline Unless he give them special quarantine ; And he, who perfect'st understands their use, Does equally know where, to pick and choose, Then whether you apply yourselves to him, This way or any else'tis but a whim. As those that buy a salmon draught, Pay for the fish before 'tis caught; Suppose a figure calculated, The geniture exactly stated; Another of the self same person With equal care and animadversion By way of hoary inspection The effect, of this, or that erection Must be the very same, or else The one or both must need be false. When all your several ways of virtuosing Are but a formal sort, of dry deboshing : Which made the ancients celebrate an owl As the only proper Philosophic Fowl. Fools are familiars to themselves That serve the cunning men for elves, And make them only pimp and set, And own the tricks, they counterfeit, That loire and prompt them to detect, The parties whom they must suspect ; And tell them first what kind of men That they may tell it them again And with their learning lay the elves They only conjured up themselves. The factories of folly and imposture, That with the weak and ignorant pass muster : Astrology and all those monstrous fictions, To cheat the world with counterfeit predictions
That serve for nothing, if they should be true,