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older than the history of man. It was the divine art of Cheiron, the science of the Asklepiads, the chirurgery of Hippokrates, and more than that-even more than modern incredulity and superstition will consent for us to say. I am glad that the Lost Art is revived; I wish that the Missing Science had accompanied it. The art of medicine rightly understood, the knowledge which elevates the intellect and preserves the body, renewing the animal vigor and arresting the progress of decay itself, should be the end which we strive after. Nor did Macbeth demand any unreasonable boon
"She is troubled with thick-coming fancies,
Macb.-Cure her of that!
Canst thou not minister to a mind diseased;
Cleanse the stuff'd bosom of that perilous stuff
When we rise to the perception of things in their causes we can then understand effects. We have a better method of philosophising in the way of analogy than is furnished in the Novum Organum. In the exploration of the grand system of ganglionic nerves we have been enabled to observe that each organ of the body is connected with every other, and the whole corporeal structure with the mind. Medical knowledge, to be really scientific, must recognise the influence of mental states over the vital functions, as a fundamental truth. The vis medicatrix nature, or healing energy of nature, is only an outcome from that department of existence.
Nor can the knowledge of the interior, life-ministering nervous structure be wisely neglected. Overshadowed as it may be by brain-science, it remains unrepressed and immutable, and lives on as a guard and witness, to note all that takes place and hold to rigid account. It keeps the middle place between the within and without, standing at the last verge of mortal being. It is the first thing created in our bodies, the last which is palsied by death. It contains the form which abides and controls the shaping of every part of the corporeal organism; and at the same time it mirrors the whole universe.
SCIENTIFIC BASIS OF ECLECTICISM IN MEDICINE.
It is a big hold-out in a paper not exceeding twenty pages of print. And all the more so because the Scientific Basis of Eclecticism in Medicine, if anything, is what it is on the only condition that it be the scientific basis of medicine altogether. Why so? Because, if the definition of Eclecticism in Medicine holds good, that it is the art to find out the proper way of medical practice, independent of the different schools or any dogmatism or doctrinarily-biased theory and practice of medicine, Eclecticism, be it thought of ever so little by its adversaries, is All Medicine. Eclecticism may appropriate with sufficient propriety the dictum of the Abbe Sieyes of the first French Revolution, referring to the "Tiers Etat": "What is it? Nothing. What shall it be?
This is my standpoint at least.
Eclecticism claims to have freed itself "from the house of bondage," to have accomplished its "disenthrallment from exclusiveness and medical bigotry," and to have got "into the glorious position of scientific knowledge and investigation."* And by virtue of this independence it makes bold to assert that it will select the very best remedy in every particular case. If this is true, Eclecticism must be on the road to verity. For, if anything, the best must be the right.
Now then, again, if the Eclectic practice is the right because it is the best, and vice versa, there must be a principle to it, the veracity of which is beyond a doubt, and which, although seemingly fundamental to Eclectic practice only, will turn out to be the scientific basis of medicine altogether.
Is the Eclectic maxim, "Vires vitales sustinete," such a principle? I doubt it.
It is a watchword, and was invented as a reformatory outcry aimed at a particularly gross default of the practitioners of the Old School. But it is not a scientific basis, nor was it intended as such, being the out-working of learned scholarship. * Transactions, Vol. X., p. 45.; Address of Wm. S. Latta, M. D., President.
It is a maxim, not a principle. It tells about what Eclecticism would wish to accomplish, but nothing with regard to the theory of its scientific methods.
Even as a maxim, however, one cannot vindicate for it a universal character that would render it fit, or give it a chance, to supersede the antiquated and altogether erroneous maxims of its adversaries: "Contraria contrariis apponenda" and "Similia similibus curentur." Vires vitales sustinete is a physiological, not a pathological suggestion; no Eclectic practitioner will ever be guided by it when doubting whether he has to exhibit Digitalis or Veratrum viride, morphia or Hyosciamus. A strict interpretation of the maxim would lead rather to the exclusiveness of a hygienic treatment, forbidding, indeed, all medicine whatsoever. But as a theoretical principle it is far from coming up to the scientific task which Eclecticism has to fulfill.* And this will be the case so long as Eclecticism is considering itself a special school, and does not aim at the universalism which is the natural goal of all scientific endeavor.
Eclecticism will supersede Allopathy and Homœopathy only on the condition that it reposes its ambition in the establishing of medical universality which does not admit any more of any particular party platform of medical science whatsoever; such a particular party-basis of medical science being a contradictio in adjecto indeed.
Even if the maxim "Vires vitales Sustinete" should in its substance be correct, its form would be scientifically inadmissible, so to say theoretically incorrect, because of too narrow a scope to embrace all the scientific points of view which would link the medical theory to the principles of the fundamental sciences, the veracity of which must be the exodus of our confidence to attain anything like scientific exactness, or any knowledge worth while to be cared about in medicine.
By taking such grand views of its purport Eclecticism can realise the hopes which were so manfully held out at its birth. By constricting its mission to the narrow boundaries of sectarianism, it will share the fate to which Allopathy and Homœopathy are doomed by the rolling wheel of time and the
* Compare LATTA in Transactions, Vol. X., p. 52, 53.
work wrought to fulfill the destiny of mankind: universal and never-ceasing progress. The scientific basis of Eclecticism cannot be found except on such a high standpoint as will not admit of any party-spirit, but, being the acme of medical thought, commands submission of all honest minds whose opposition is something nobler than wilful obstinacy.
It would be difficult for Eclecticism to work that much in a given time, and it would be a proceeding next to ridiculous to undertake anything of the kind in a paper like this. But happily for our purpose the universal basis of scientific medicine need not be sought after any more. The investigation of the many noble scholars who gave a life-work for their fellow-creatures' enlightenment established it long ago; and we need only take the trouble of pointing it out to the profession. It is only the adaptation of the general principles of natural science to medicine. This has been neglected, and supplementary scientific work is necessary in regard to it.
There are as yet a number of open questions and undecided points in physical science. In all probability mankind will never reach a stage of progress in its pursuit of truth where science can pretend to have settled all questions. It would be a sign of retrogression. But there are two points with which physical science will stand and fall, namely: Ist. That Matter is invariably connected with force; and 2d. That force is never without motion. Not only all the modern physicists, but moreover, physiologists like DuBois-Reymond, recognise force as the invariable concomitant, if not as the essential attribute or primary quality of matter; asserting that to every constant primordial mass belongs a constant primordial quantity of force, and that all the transformations of matter are produced by a differentiation of this primordial force.* Now then, force is any cause which moves or tends to change its motion.† Hobbes, Leibnitz, and Huygens already more or less emphatically pronounced in favor of this principle, "and in the first comprehensive treatise in physics ever published, that
* T. B. STALLO: Modern Physics, p. 153. (New York, 1882.) WHERVELL, Mechanics, p. 1.
of Musschenbrook, it is put forth as an axiom that no change is induced in bodies whose cause is not motion;"* which definition does not differ much from that of Helmholtz: "The object of the natural sciences is to find the motions upon which all other changes are based and their corresponding motive forces," and "citations like these, from the writings of eminent physicists, might be multiplied almost indefinitely."‡
Nobody can tell exactly what is the nature of the atoms of the 65 elements to which chemistry has analytically reduced all matter: "I know well that the atoms are invisible and inappreciable to the senses, and I do not believe that the direct proof of their existence and mutual attraction can ever be furnished. But nevertheless, the character of atomicity is investigated, and it has been placed by conclusive experiment beyond all doubt that no chemical change is going on without motion. Motion and atomicity are to a certain extent convertible terms, in as much as atomicity is nothing else than the peculiar character which the different kinds of atoms bear in their moving action. "This fundamental propriety governs the form of the combination, and marks its degrees and limits. It appears in the law of multiple proportions, manifests itself in the fact of the saturation, explains the functions of those incomplete groups called radicals, and exhibits the profound. meaning of the theory of types." ||
Practical Chemistry, I hold, furnishes ample illustration of the theory that all chemical changes are evolutions of dynamic power. The formula of a nitroglycerine molecule is
When it explodes what does take place? The oxygen
* STALLE, 1. c., p. 117.
† ID. ibid.
ID. 1. c., p. 19.
§ A, WURTZ, The Atomic Theory, p. 247.
| AD WURTZ: Historie des Doctrines, Chymiques depuis Lavoisier, p. 81, Dictionnaire de Chimie TI. (Paris, 1869.)