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-not against death. His practice is not to be copied, but it is well worthy of our most attentive study. It is full of instruction, both in its good and in its bad results.
There is a world of common sense-motherwit as it was then called-in Sydenham, and we may derive from a perusal of his writings many useful hints. He was a great advocate for horse-exercise, and he gives many striking examples of its curative efficacy. He goes so far as to say, that he considers it as specific in phthisis as bark in quartan ague. But the grand contribution to the development of the Art of Medicine made by the English Hippocrates was this: he proved that the true mode of cure was the direct one by specifics, and that all the indirect ones by revulsions or anodynes, were precarious, mischievous, or only palliative; and thus he stands midway between Hippocrates and Hahnemann. One hand he stretches to the ancient Greek, and the other he holds out to the modern German, and so he is a link in the apostolical succession of the living Church of Medicine.
Stahl and Hoffmann-Stahl a Sour Metaphysician-Soul the only Living Force in the Body-Roughly Handled by Haller-Darwin and Whytt-Animal Spirits -Nervous Fluid-Theory of Stimulation-Hoffmann; his Early CareerTheory of Spasms-Fuge Medicos et Medicamenta-Soul and Spirit Identical -Boerhaave-His Birth-His World-wide Fame-His Institution-Superficial and Plausible-Galvanism-Contraria Contrariis curantur-Estimate of his Character.
THE names of Stahl and Hoffmann, or rather of Hoffmann and Stahl, like those of Castor and Pollux, are always associated; but, unlike the demigods, they are linked in perpetual antagonism: to believe in Stahl is to disbelieve in Hoffmann, and vice versa.
Because they were
great rival teachers when alive, their personal rivalry has
From a painting by Mandelaar, taken when Boerhaave was seventy
years of age.
been regarded as inherent in their doctrines.
to be an error. They appear to have been what we may call polar opposites, therefore organically identical, or at least, very similar. They started from opposite points and arrived at dissimilar conclusions; but they traversed nearly the same space, and the apparent opposition of their ideas. is due rather to the method in which they are arranged, than to their essential contrast. They are both represented as the founders of schools, although there is nothing really novel in the speculations of either, and they should be classed rather with medical preachers than with apostles.
To the same order belongs Boerhaave, the most celebrated teacher and practitioner of his age-almost of any age; in whose ante-room one might have encountered the representatives of the Emperor of China, sent from "remote Cathay" to consult the great oracle of his time. Letters directed to "Dr. Boerhaave, Europe," used to be safely delivered into the hands of this modern Galen. se conformer à la methode de Boerhaave dans la médicine," wrote the decided Frederick the Great of Prussia, to the Royal Academy of Berlin.'
Each of these three men was the exponent of a great intellectual movement, and each represented a different aspect of the progress of medical speculation. For thought may
be said to move in line, rather than column; and while Hoffmann commanded one wing, consisting of medical mechanics, Stahl was at the head of the other wing, formed of vitalists; while Boerhaave occupied the centre, composed of what might be called Rationalists and Eclectics.
George Ernest Stahl was born at Anspach, in the year 1660, when Sydenham was beginning to come into notice as a great practical writer, being then about thirty-six years of age. After obtaining his degree of Doctor of Medicine at Jena, in 1683, and occupying the post of Court Physician
1 Madame de Staël. Vol. I., p. 151.
at Weimar for a few years, Stahl was appointed, in 1694, to the chair of medicine at Halle. For twenty-two years he taught in that university: the only other medical professor being Hoffmann, who lectured on anatomy, chemistry, surgery, and the practice of physic; while Stahl taught botany, physiology, materia medica, and the institutes of medicine. In attempting to form a correct estimate of Stabl, we must bear in mind that he was sole colleague to a much more brilliant man than himself. Hoffmann was one of the most popular teachers of the age, and was the great glory of Halle. Stahl was not a popuHaller calls him homo acris et metaphysicus,
"a sour metaphysician."
In virtue of his metaphysical nature, he resented the attempt to explain the whole nature of man on the principles of chemistry and mechanics. Admitting that it was the true method to interrogate nature, and not to attempt to dictate, he began his interrogation in his own consciousness. "What am I? Am I a mechanical apparatus or a chemical laboratory? Are the motions that perpetually take place in this my frame, to be explained by the fermentation of acids and alkalies, or by the size of the atoms of the fluids in relation to the vessels through which they pass? Will this explain how I turn pale when I hear of the death of a friend, or why my face grows crimson when I am insulted? Will this explain how my appetite is destroyed by joy or sorrow, or why a man's hair will turn white in the course of an hour under intense emotion? These undeniable facts are not explained to the slightest extent, either by chemistry or mechanical philosophy. The effervescence of a mixture of acids and alkalies is no way under the influence of their feelings. No intelligence communicated to the retort will either favour or control the cloud of bubbles that rise and burst; nor will the action of a pump be affected by its change of owners. We must look to something beyond the mecha
nism if we want to obtain a key to the mystery of the human organism."
While the so-called mechanical school strove to arrive at an explanation of the problems of organic structure, by a careful examination of all the parts, by taking the watch to pieces, proceeding from without inwards, Stahl followed the opposite method, and worked from within outwards. The body of man was not to him a curious aggregation of wellfitting parts, acting and re-acting on one another; it was an organic whole, springing out of the influence of mind.
By a rapid analysis he arrived at the conclusion, that what we feel within us and name the soul, is at once the subject of emotion and the moving power. It is the same mind or soul that thinks and feels, that is aware of danger, and contrives a means of resistance or escape-the very same soul that raises the arm to strike, or moves the legs to run. This soul, then, is the living force in the body; it not only stimulates the muscles to contract, but it presides over all secretions. What makes the tears flow in sorrow, but the soul? What parches the mouth in fear, by sealing up the sources of the water of the mouth, but the soul? The soul is every where present; it does everything. "The body, as body, has no power to move; it must always be put in motion by an immaterial principle. movement is immaterial, and a spiritual act (ein geistiger act)." 1
Stahl felt this, and expressed his feelings on the subject with the passionate earnestness of a man who utters convictions derived directly from consciousness. To him they were absolute truth, truth he had won for himself. It was characteristic of the man, that, assuming the mystic language of inspiration, he should be intolerant of contradiction, and should resent as an insult, the suggestion that whether his doctrines on the subject of the soul were true or false, at all events they were not new; for that
1 Theorie Med., pp. 43, 260.