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HE author has endeavored to give in this work a comprehensive view of the evolution of the art and science of Medicine from its origin, to set forth its Institutes, or the principles upon which it is founded, and at the same time to make mention of men who have more largely contributed to their development. To this end he has indulged in discussions of, and dissertations upon, medical theories and hypotheses, and criticised rather freely, but without malice or prejudice, medical sects and their votaries. While the critic may take exception to this latter feature of the work as being inconsistent with an impartial narrative of the progress of medical events, the author believes that the course he has pursued, while not impairing the judicial accuracy of the narrative, was indispensably necessary to a lucid illumination of his theme. He has written in the interest of the rising generation of medical students as well as the medical profession generally.
The author has spared no pains to be accurate. The facts of which he has availed himself are accessible for the most part to all students of history: the conclusions are his own; and if they differ from those of writers or thinkers on the
same theme, we trust that the reader may attribute it to a difference of point of view.
The history of Medicine is largely the history of science and philosophy. It is not a narrative of events simply, but more a tracing of the evolution of the various branches of the sciences, the ensemble of which comprises Medicine. In this connection he has given brief sketches of physicians and surgeons who have been the most conspicuous in advancing that art and science.
The author trusts that the followers of medical schisms, sects, and cults may not feel aggrieved for any criticism in which he has indulged. He has treated them as amiably as was possible for one to do who possesses strong convictions of truth and duty and recognizes the claims of both upon his conscience. Neither friends nor foes can be considered when truth is in the balance. To paraphrase Aristotle's epigram concerning Plato, he can say: "Amicus Christus, sed magis amica veritas."
The author makes his grateful acknowledgment to all who have kindly offered him suggestions and made criticisms, sent him books, documents, excerpts, monographs, and illustrations, containing information in respect of subjects which otherwise might have escaped his notice. To the learned, painstaking, and scrupulously accurate "Pronouncing and Biographical Dictionary" of the late Dr. Joseph Thomas, of Philadelphia, published by the Messrs. Lippincott Company of that city,
and to the publications of the New Sydenham Society, London, the author feels under special obligation. He desires to acknowledge also the valuable assistance that Miss Bertha Rehbein has rendered in proof-reading, and in the preparation of the excellent index that accompanies the work.
New York, 1910.
D. A. G.