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willingly allow that the Bath does possess great merits in its applicability to some particular forms of disease, but whose minds are imbued with speculative apprehensions respecting its safety in certain cases. An indefinite and undefinable dread is felt, that dangerous consequences might possibly result from its use, and while such a feeling exists it is only natural to expect that it should be shared, to a large extent, by the public. All such apprehensions, however, arise from the want of sufficient experience. It was experience alone that, for example, inspired a rational practical confidence in the use of chloroform, and in like manner, it is only experience that can make practitioners and patients acquainted with the value and safety of the Bath. Experience will teach that objections have been urged against its use, which are altogether of a visionary character, and have arisen from a careful investigation of its properties and uses not having been practically instituted. One ill-informed person conveys to another equally ill-informed his imaginary apprehensions, which are thus retailed in society until they come to be regarded as established facts. In this way error is propagated, and doubts and anxieties created, which can only be removed by the diffusion of sound knowledge derived from the calm investigations and successful results of experience.
Hydropathy in Disease-Illustrative cases-Dr. James Wilson, Dr. Griffith, Dr. Bennett, etc., etc.-Medical men the most appreciative Hydropathic patients-The Bath in Croup, contrasted with Drug-practice-The Bath in all Infantile Disease, and as a means of saving young life-The Bath a domestic necessity.
DR. James Wilson was the first English physician who, attracted by the fame of Priessnitz, visited Gräfenburg, and subsequently introduced and established Hydropathy in England. He says in the preface to his most instructive work on the Water Cure—
"I had long suffered from ill-health; for after an unusually long professional education at home and on the continent, devoting myself to it as my great pleasure, as well as my business, I entered at once, without sufficient rest, on a rather large private practice, and, at the end of ten years, had become diseased myself.
"This pathological condition consisted in chronic inflammation of the duodenum, a congested liver, nervous dyspepsia, and psoriasis, with frequent attacks of neuralgia-an inveterate complication which scientific medical men know to be all but incurable, and quite so by any exclusive medicinal
Finding no permanent relief from the best medical advice, combined with nearly three years continental travel, when I was first told of the bold and comprehensive treatment, which a man without any professional education had ventured to make upon the human body, mainly by the application of pure water, my informants seemed to consider that they were less citing a great discovery in remedial art, than a new instance of the audacity of empirics and the credulity of mankind. I had reason to think differently, and had often contemplated the possibility of a rational system of hydro-therapeutics.
"Soon after my matriculation at Trinity College, Dublin, in 1825, having already studied some years at a large hospital, I heard from the lips of one of the greatest Professors of the day, the following remarkable words:-' If men knew how to use water, so as to elicit all the remedial resulte
which it is capable of producing, it would be worth all other remedies put together.' Knowing sufficiently the grounds upon which Dr. Macartney made this assertion, and coming from one who was then my Magnus Apollo, it made a more indelible impression, perhaps, than it did on any other of his hearers; and now, after the lapse of many years, I heard of a nonprofessional man attempting to solve the problem indicated in the dictum of one of our most profound physiologists and best teachers. I did not hesitate to proceed at once to investigate those pretensions, and put them to the proof in my own person, for a period exceeding a year."
Now, what was the result of the experiment? Why, "at the end of three months' treatment," says Dr. Wilson, "I could walk twenty miles, and eat hard cow beef with any man!" And after remaining more than a year at Gräfenburg, undergoing the system and studying it, he returned, he says, "in as perfect health as I had ever enjoyed." But when he spoke of introducing the system into England, he says, "few medical men would even listen to me, or discuss the rationale of the system; and, with one exception, all my friends in the profession sought to dissuade me from the undertaking." Happily, however, he was not dissuaded, and he has lived to see scientific Hydropathy established with a success that was not to be dreamed of when he commenced his enlightened labours.
Dr. Wilson mentions a fact which is worthy of consideration by the public at large. He says, "my best patients have often been retired medical men-acute, learned, and experienced→→ men mature in judgment and in years-men sufficiently clearsighted to see the errors and inefficiency of the old system of the drug-treatment of chronic disease, and too independent and too honest not to hail an ally of the healing art, come in what guise, under what name, from what quarter it might." Is this not significant? It consists with the experience of every gentleman who has had extensive Hydropathic experience; and ought not the knowledge of such a fact make the public reflect on the merits of the two systems?
After the Bath had been established by Dr. Barter in Ireland, among the first who took it up in England was a retired medical gentleman, Dr. George Witt; and it was in his private Bath in
London, erected 1858, that Erasmus Wilson says, "I first took rank as a bather," and obtained that knowledge which led him to declare its establishment "a boon to humanity.' In like manner the most zealous and the ablest advocates of the Bath, as of Hydropathy generally, have been medical gentlemen who, as a sort of forlorn hope, after protected suffering, and the utter failure of all drug treatment to afford relief, were induced to make trial of its curative properties. In this way, Dr. Griffith relates, in one of his able and useful publications on the Bath, that he first became acquainted with its merits. He says:
"He sought the benefit of the Bath, after being reduced to an emaciated and enfeebled state by a course of drug-treatment prescribed by an eminent Dublin Physician, and never can feel sufficiently grateful for the benefits received from it." He says, "his experience of the various remedies for rheumatism and rheumatic gout has been no slight one, comprising as it does, the trial on several occasions, of almost every drug-remedy in the Pharmacopoeia, usually prescribed for those diseases; from colchicum, hydriodide of potassium, bark and ammonia, down to Dover's powder, lemon juice, and iron; but until he made use of the Bath, the delight and enjoyment of perfect health had been for years unknown to him."
Dr. E. Haughton, who has written with much ability on the Bath, and has had a large experience as a Hydropathic physician, said in 1867:
"He was sixteen years ago a patient in that establishment (St. Anne's), long before Dr Barter had thought of the Turkish Bath; and during that time he directed his attention to hydropathy and to the value of temperature. Any measure of health which he now enjoyed, he attributed to the treatment he received from Dr Barter. Of course he had consulted medical doctors and physicians of the town where he lived, and he had the best advice gratuitously, being a medical student; nevertheless they did not succeed in doing him any good, but hydropathy did."
Dr. Wollaston, who served in the Medical Staff of the Army during the Russian war, says:—
"In my professional attendance on the sick, I contracted a severe attack of fever, which nearly proved fatal. After having partially recovered, by the skill and zeal of my medical friends, Dr Delmege and Dr Calder, of the 47th Regiment—whose names I cannot forbear mentioning-I was induced to try a Turkish Bath, notwithstanding my debility. I laboured under severe hepatic disease and jaundice, followed by edema of the legs
and abdominal dropsy. I confess that the first Bath was somewhat difficult to bear, owing to the exhaustion which attended my illness. Afterwards I greatly enjoyed the Bath, and each successive one made me feel fresher and fresher, till they materially altered the whole character of my illness. The copious perspiration gave me immense relief. My skin, which had been hot, dry, parched-up, and irritable, now became cool, soft, and pleasant; the cuticle peeled off the whole body like the desquamation from scarlet fever: I had the pleasure of renewing the whole surface of the body, as if I had been moulting. The new cuticle was as smooth as velvet, and the organ of touch extremely sensitive, but not at all painful. The biliary secretions gradually returned, the absorbent system, heightened into action, removed the dropsy from the abdomen and extremities, and the general functions improved: I slept better, and my appetite became keen. I will venture to assert most distinctly that I experienced more benefit from a continuance of the Bath on alternate days than I derived from all other medicines put together, and that I owe my life to the Turkish Bath."
This is the usual story the medical supporters and advocates of the Bath have to relate, and a large volume might be filled with similar experience and testimony; but we will only give the latest case that has come under our notice. It is that of Dr. Bennett, who has had charge of the Dispensary District of Bruff, in the County of Limerick, Ireland, for more than a quarter of a century. He wrote, "I owe my life to the Bath, which I look upon as the greatest adjunct to Medical Science that ever was discovered." Like others, he was prejudiced against the Bath, for it ran counter to all his professional training and practice; yet, as a forlorn hope, he had recourse to it in 1867, and now lives in the enjoyment of good health. In a letter to Dr. Barter, he says:
"You pronounced what I now know to be a most perfectly correct and most accurate diagnosis of the disease from which I had been suffering for the last ten months, the last two of which were to me the most trying, with unmitigated never-ceasing pain day or night-the result of recedent gout; and although I did all in my power to obtain relief, having consulted the heads of my profession both in Cork and Dublin-men of learning and scientific attainments, who I knew felt a lively interest in my recovery and welfare, yet it was all to no purpose.
"At the request of many friends, and as a dernier resort, I consented— although prejudiced against it—to consult you, having been informed by some medical friends that, from the debilitated state under which I laboured