History of Osteopathy
(and Twentieth-Century Medical Practice)

E. R. Booth, Ph.D, D.O.



What were good methods, and healing doses, and saving prescriptions a generation ago are now condemned, and all the past is adjudged to be empirical. - JOSEPH CHOATE.

The beginning of the practice of medicine is coeval with the dawn of history. The term medicine is here used in its original and general sense. There is, properly speaking, no Father of Medicine, but a careful search among historic archives would probably reveal as many real or mythical persons bearing that title as there have been different schools or kinds of practice and as there are places in which the practice of medicine can not be traced directly to some other people. The brief outline of the history of medicine given in this chapter, is presented from the view point of theory and practice through the centuries, rather than its origin and progress in different nations. A special attempt is made, of course all too briefly, to show the relation existing between the divergent theories of disease and the practice of the art of healing by those holding the several theories.

Some account of the healing art is found in the literature of every ancient people. In every case the practice was closely allied with religion, and physicians were generally included in the sacerdotal order. It is, therefore, not surprising that the same spirit should manifest itself at the present time, and that the practice of healing the sick should, by many, be relegated to the duly accredited or self-constituted representatives of the Divine, or to spiritual organizations.

The serpent upon the staff was quite universally the symbol among the ancients of the medical art. The serpent signified the principle of occult life, and the staff or rod was the symbol of magic power. The sacred writer said that "Moses made a serpent of brass, and put it upon a pole; and it came to pass, that if a serpent had bitten any man, when he beheld the serpent of brass, he lived." (Numbers xxi, 9.) And the prophet Elisha said to Gehazi, "gird up thy loins and take my staff in thine hand, and go thy way: if thou meet any man, salute him not; and if any man salute thee, answer him not again: and lay my staff upon the face of the child." (2 Kings iv, 29.) Thus by commingling the principles of occult life and magic power, love of mysticism was satisfied, and reliance upon a higher influence was shown. These are essential elements in all religions and it is not at all surprising that they should manifest themselves in the healing art during its infancy.


We learn from Egyptian history that authorized physicians belonged to the sacerdotal order. They were required to follow certain courses of treatment and were held responsible for the consequences if they adopted different methods or remedies. Six of the "Books" inscribed to the god Thoth or Hermes "were devoted to medicine and surgery, and contained some one hundred and fifty prescriptions and modes of treatment. One chapter of eight pages was devoted to the optic nerve and diseases of the eyes." Their remedies were drugs of both vegetable and mineral origin, and their prescriptions were made out in precisely the same way as those of a modern doctor. Herodotus says:

"Medicine is practiced among them upon a plan of specialties, each physician treats a single disorder, and no more. Thus the whole country swarms with medical practitioners; some undertaking to cure diseases of the eye, others of the head, others again of the teeth, others of the intestines, and some those complaints which are not local."

That the supernatural element was ever present was evident in the fact that sentences and invocations were repeated by the physician while preparing the medicine, and when about to administer it to the patient. Their skill in bandaging and their knowledge of preservatives are attested by the mummies to be seen in almost every museum of ancient relics. "They inserted artificial teeth and plugged cavities, operated successfully for cataract and performed lithotomy."


Medical practice in Babylonia and Assyria was similar to that in Egypt. Astrology, magic lore, and religious worship were closely allied to medicine, and invocations and incantations were often relied upon to banish disease. The following is a sample:

"Merciful one among the gods,
Generator who brought back the dead to life,
Silik-mulu-khi, the king of heaven and earth,
May the invalid be delivered from his disease,
Cure the plague, the fever, the ulcer."

If we may believe the following, it is evident that great reliance was placed upon the efficacy of material means and that pharmacy had become an art among the Assyrians:

"For the Eruptions and Humors which Afflict the Body
Fill a vase which has held drugs with water from an inexhaustible well;
Put it in a sheet of ______, a ________ reed, some date-sugar, some urine, some bitter hydromel;
Add to it some _________;
Saturate it with pure water [and]
Pour upon it the water of the [sick] man,
Cut reeds in an elevated meadow ;
Beat some pure date-sugar with some pure honey;
Add some sweet oil which comes from the mountain;
Mix them together;
Rub [with this ointment] the body of the [sick man]."


In India surgery evidently attained a high degree of perfection. Their medical literature contains directions for many operations upon the internal organs that are generally considered of recent origin. Drugs were used extensively. Over 500 were in common use; must of them were prepared by steeping and decoction. But a decaying nation is a hot-bed for a decaying science. The following quotation from a modern Indian physician portrays the condition reached through generations of intellectual stagnation:

"The nomenclature of diseases, with their classes arranged according to the seat, origin, or nature, was transmitted through successive generations of enfeebled and depressed intellects; and practitioners of the art were compelled to ply it on the borrowed and indirect testimony of legendary accounts of supposed and often fanciful virtues of drugs and their combinations. Such unworthy followers of Sushruta and Charaka being necessarily dwarfed in intellect and warped in observing powers, were compelled to live largely on the credulity of their patients, or by acting in a measure upon their imagination and prejudices; alternately seeking to kindle hope or to excite fear of loss of health, of death; they themselves, in their turn, trusting to the mercy of chance, or to the fancied contrivances of an erring imagination. This state of medical science still prevails among the Hindus unhappily to a large extent."


Greece was the reputed home of the hero-god of the healing art, Esculapius. The Asklepiads claimed to be the lineal descendants of Esculapius. They professed to possess all religious and occult learning; hence their methods of healing consisted in the use of magical or mesmeric agencies as well as drugs and surgery. The poet Pindar, who lived 700 or 800 years after Asculapius, says "Esculapius cured ulcers, wounds, fevers, and pains of all who applied to him, by enchantment, calming potions, incisions, and by external applications."

It has been the pride of many cultured people to trace all they possess, especially in art, to Greece, forgetting that the Grecians,too, were borrowers from more ancient and doubtless in some cases more cultured people. So every religious sect takes delight in proving, at least to its own satisfaction, that, if not strictly the original church, it is most nearly in harmony with the form of worship and government instituted by its founder. Each political party also is wont to claim that it is the legitimate successor of all that was best in some historic party that is held in reverence because of the great deeds of its great men. So osteopaths might be pardoned for assuming a like antiquity for their school of practice; indeed they might claim to be the only real successors and followers of Aculapius, the reputed father of medicine. A little ancient history, or mythology that has attained almost the authenticity of history, may be cited in proof of such a seemingly unwarranted claim.

The myths of ancient Greece ascribe the development of the art of healing to a sage of Thessaly, Kheiron (Cherron) . He belonged to the tribe of the Kentaurs (Centaurs), a mythic race prominent in ancient fable, pictured with human forms above and equine forms below. This Kheiron was the instructor of Jason the Argonaut; of Herakles (Hercules), the giant in strength; of Asklepios (Esculapius), the god of medicine; and of Akhillius (Achilles), the hero of Homer's Iliad. Both Esculapius and Achilles were famous for their knowledge and skill in healing. After Kheiron, his followers were known as the Kheironidea, and the art which they practiced was called Kheirourgike. It is thought that the name Kheiron was derived from the word kheir, which means the hand; and the word kheirourgike, from kheirourgos, from kheir, the hand, and ergon, work. Our word surgery is derived from this word kheirourgos. Therefore it is plain that surgery means hand work, that is, manipulation, which in ancient Thessaly was synonymous with the whole healing art as practiced at that time. This is strictly in accord with the claim of Dr. Still and other eminent osteopaths, that Osteopathy is surgery in its primitive sense and in the rational acceptation of that term. On page 165 it is shown that the practice of medicine does not mean the giving of drugs. Therefore we are justified in drawing the conclusion that Osteopathy, as promulgated by its founder, Dr. Still, and as practiced by all his consistent followers, is the practice of medicine in which the most important and distinctive element is surgery. As this was the primitive form of the practice of the healing art, has always been a prominent method of procedure in treating the ills and accidents of the human body, Osteopathy may justly claim to be in direct line with not only the teaching and practice of Esculapius and the school to which he belonged, but also of the reputed father of that school, Kheiron himself.

Pliny declared that the healing art during the archaic period of history was confined to the treatment of wounds. This seems to accord with what we have said about the Kheironid.

All sacerdotal orders in ancient times were secret societies, and the Esculapian fraternity exercised a like exclusiveness. Its knowledge was transmitted from father to son by word of mouth, and teachers required pupils to take an oath not to reveal their secrets to those not belonging to the order. Their methods were therefore an admixture of the method of the strict disciples of Kheiron and the mysteries pertaining to religion. Thus the immediate followers of the reputed father of medicine departed radically from the methods of Esculapius, whose traditional sons the Asklepiads claimed to be, but even more radically from the methods of his teacher Kheiron. Hence the practice of medicine was degraded to the ranks of mysticism, occultism, and uncertainty which have been its chief characteristics down to the present time. From the changes that were made it is evident that the physician in ancient times was prone to resort to all sorts of adjuncts, just as many of them do at the present time, instead of holding to fundamental and unassailable principles.

To Hippocratas (B. C. 460-377?) is given the credit of creating a literature of medicine. He attained a high reputation as a practitioner and introduced more rational procedures than most of his predecessors. He taught that those in health should abstain entirely from all kinds of medicine and discouraged the use of cathartics at all times. A more rational life, free from excesses of all kinds, was the surest passport to health. Cures were effected by calling nature to his aid; not by interfering with her. "Nature is the first of physicians," was his maxim. He placed reliance upon cooling drinks in acute disorders, and insisted upon total abstinence from food till after the patient had passed the critical period. The extent, however, to which drugs were used at that time is seen from his description of about 30 mineral, 300 vegetable, and 150 animal substances used as medicines. He was also quite skillful in surgery and devised several kinds, of apparatus for surgical operations. But the knowledge of anatomy was very imperfect. Renouard, in his "History of Medicine," gives a terse statement of the conditions and shows the proneness of the physicians of that time to resort to dogmatism, rather than science.

"With the exception of the skeleton, they possessed very limited and imperfect notions of any organic apparatus. They confounded under a common name, the nerves, ligaments, and tendons ; they did not distinguish, or very imperfectly, the arteries and veins, and the muscles, in their eyes, were inert masses designed solely to cover the bones, and serve as an envelope or an ornament. They possessed, in short, only gross and false ideas on the structure and functions of the brain, heart, liver, lungs, digestive and generative apparatus - for the reason that they had never been able, as well remarks the author of the "History of Anatomy," to devote themselves to regular dissection; but this did not prevent them from adducing very decisive opinions on the organs and their functions which no one could either verify or deny."

The condition of the people of Athens during the time of Pericles (B. C. 495?-429) is tersely described by Plato:

"Numerous law-courts and dispensaries are necessary, because insubordination and diseases have multiplied in the commonwealth. Can you adduce any greater proof of bad and shameful training than the fact of needing physicians and presiding magistrates and these, too, not only for craftsmen of the lower classes, but also for those who boast of having been well brought up? And to need the art of medicine, not on account of wounds or some epidemic complaint, but because of sloth and luxurious feeding being distended with rheum and flatulence like lakes and obliging the scholarly Asklepiads to invent new names for the diseases, such as dropsies and catarrhs - do you not think this abominable?"

Aristotle (B. C. 384-322) compiled works containing practically all the scientific knowledge of his age. Among them were fifty books upon comparative anatomy and natural history, illustrated with anatomical drawings. None of them, however, have reached us. His grandson, Erasistratos, was the first writer that distinguished surgery from medicine. He was probably the first among the Greeks to engage in the dissection of the human body, his predecessors confining their investigations to the dissection of the bodies of animals. It is claimed that we are indebted to him for our first knowledge of the brain and spinal cord, the lacteals, and even the circulation of the blood. He was a bold surgeon and often opened the abdomen to remove diseased parts or to apply remedies.

The study of anatomy received a new impetus under Herophilus, who flourished about 280 B. C. it is said that he actually dissected seven hundred human corpses, and even opened the bodies of living criminals in order to study the phenomena of life and search for its origin. He was the first to make post-mortem examinations for the purpose of determining the cause of death; hence is recognized as the founder of pathologic anatomy. He practiced blood-letting and used drugs very extensively.

Ancient Rome was not a suitable place for the development of medicine. The physician's calling was not held in repute among the patricians. 1t was considered ignoble to make a trade of caring for the sick or to seek profit from the misfortunes of others. Pliny says the people got along without physicians "for a period of more than six hundred years - a people, too, which has never shown itself slow to adopt all useful arts, and even welcomed the medical art with avidity until, after a fair experience, there was found ample reason to condemn it."

Stern old Cato (B. C. 234-149) was not only relentless in his hatred of the Greeks, but feared the Greek physicians because of the possibilities of danger through their ministrations. He said:

"The race of Greeks is very vicious; and, my son, believe this as the voice of an oracle, that, with its literature, it will spoil everything at Rome. It will be worse still if it sends us its physicians. They have sworn among themselves to kill all other nations with their medicines. They exercise their art for the sake of gain, and seek to get our confidence in order to be able to poison us the more easily. Remember, my son, that I charge you to have nothing to do with physicians."

Cato was the author of a treatise upon "Family Medical Treatment," He was a firm believer in medicines chiefly of vegetable origin. The following treatment for dislocations shows the tenacity with which they held to charms and incantations:

"Take a green rush, four or five feet long, cut it in two in the middle, and let two persons hold it on your thighs. Begin to sing, and continue to do so until the two pieces are joined together again. Wave a blade over them when the two pieces are joined and touch one another, seize hold of them, and cut them across lengthwise. Make a bandage herewith on the broken or dislocated limb, and it will heal. Sing, however, over the dislocation daily."

Human nature was much the same in the time of Pliny (A. D. 23-79) as now. The practice of writing prescriptions in an unknown tongue or in characters unintelligible to the laity is very old, and Pliny probably gave the true reason for such practices when he said:

"People lose confidence in what is intelligible to them. Even the few Romans who studied medicine thought it necessary to write their prescriptions in Greek, because if they should attempt to treat the disease in any other language, they would certainly lose all credit, even with the ignorant who did not know a word of Greek."

Physicians were held in much greater repute in the Roman Empire. There was a much greater division of labor in the practice than ever before. The work of the physician became distinct from that of the surgeon; and many became specialists, confining their attention to the eye, ear, teeth, diseases of women and children, etc. Wilder characterized the profession in later Roman history in the following language:

"Avarice, according to Pliny, was the leading characteristic of the Roman practitioners of medicine. So great were their gains that artisans, such as boot-makers, carpenters, butchers, tanners, and even grave-diggers entered the profession, while other callings were adopted by physicians who had not been able to obtain a foothold, Galen describes them as charlatans, boorish in manners and contemptible for their ignorance. The greater part of them, he declared, were unable to read, except with great difficulty. He satirically recommends that they should be very careful when discoursing with their patients not to make grammatical blunders; and he did not hesitate to assert that rival physicians, when at the bedside of sick persons, so far forgot themselves that they would abuse each other, thrust out their tongues, and even come to blows. Yet they were, as Galen himself experienced, obstinately tenacious of their regularity and standing as medical men. The more unfit they were in morals and other qualifications the more arrogant were they in this respect. The archiatri held a sort of predominance over the commonalty of physicians, and there were medical societies or guilds that assumed the authority to examine candidates desirous to engage in the practice of medicine. All the same, ignorance was in the foreground, and with the support of their guild in case of prosecution, the laws to punish ignorant or unscrupulous practitioners were incompetent."

Galen (130-200?), who was the one great medical light in Roman history, is known to every educated doctor. The following quotation from Wilder gives an idea of the scope of his knowledge and practice:

"He regarded the knowledge of the structure of the human body as the foundation of the healing art. In his works, almost every bone and process of bone, every twig of nerve, every ramification of blood-vessel, every viscus, muscle, and gland known to modern anatomists, is described with great minuteness. He appears to have followed Herophilus, and he has been severely criticised by Vesalius, but was as warmly defended by Eustachius. He pointed out clearly the distinction between the cerebral and spinal nerves, as well as the distribution into nerves of motion and nerves of sensation. He also defined the functions of the arteries and veins, and explained endosmosis and exosmosis as the 'attractive' and 'expulsive' faculties. In operative surgery, he confined himself principally to the methods of the Alexandrian school. He gives us an account, however, of an operation which he performed, cutting open the breast-bone of a patient so as to lay bare the heart, in order to give vent to a collection of fluid in the thoracic cavity. He appears, however, to have conformed at Rome to the prejudice against surgical practice; and in his capacity of archiatros, he kept a dispensary and drug shop in the Via Sacra, to which patients resorted.

"He gave much attention to Materia Medica and Pharmacy, but his medicinal articles from the vegetable kingdom were far less in number than those named by Dioskorides, although he enumerates more animal and mineral remedies. He was very full in his accounts of disease, but not comprehensive. He considered stagnation and putridity as causing every morbid change in the fluids of the body. All fevers were attributed to this source, except the kind called ephemera. Unfortunately, the theory gave rise, at a more modern period, to a mode of treatment most injurious. Instead of air, water, and a cooling regimen, the curtains were drawn in the room of the sufferers, fires were kept up, and the food and medicine were of the most heating kind. It required the most zealous protest of the later schools to produce a change to more rational measures."


Practically no progress was made in medicine during the middle ages. Paracelsus (1490-1541) was the first great light in what may be called modern medicine. He was an independent thinker and investigator. He had little respect for the practice of his age, but high ideals for the physician himself, as will be seen from his words, as quoted by Wilder:

"Popular medicine knows next to nothing about any diseases that are not caused by mechanical means, and the science of curing internal diseases consists almost entirely in the removal of causes that have produced some mechanical obstruction in the body. But the number of diseases that originate from unknown causes is far greater than those that come from mechanical causes; and for such our physicians know no cure, because not knowing such causes they can not remove them. All that they can prudently do is to observe the patient and make their guesses about his condition; and the patient has good cause to rejoice if the medicines administered to him do him no serious harm and do not prevent his recovery.

"The best of our popular physicians are the ones who do the least harm. But, unfortunately, some poison their patients with mercury, and others purge or bleed them to death. There are some who have learned so much that their learning has driven out all their common sense, and there are others who care a great deal more for their own profit than for the health of their patients. A disease does not change to accommodate itself to the knowledge of the physician, but the physician should understand the causes of the disease. A physician should be the servant of nature, and not her enemy; he should be able to guide and direct her in her struggle for life, and not throw, by his unreasonable interference, fresh obstacles in the way of recovery.

"He who can cure disease is a physician. To cure diseases is an art which cannot be acquired by the mere reading of books, but which must be learned by experience. Neither emperors nor popes, neither colleges nor high schools can create physicians. They can confer privileges and cause a person who is not a physician to appear as if he were one, but they can not cause him to be what he is not; they can give him permission to kill, but they can not enable him to cure the sick.

"One of the most necessary requirements for a physician is perfect purity and singleness of purpose. He should be free of ambition, vanity, envy, unchastity, pomposity, and self-conceit, because these vices are the outcome of ignorance and are incompatible with the light of divine wisdom which should illuminate the mind of the true physician.

"I threw myself with fervent enthusiasm on the teachers; but when I saw that little resulted from their practice except killing, death, laming and distorting; that the greatest number of complaints were deemed by them incurable, and that they scarcely ever administered anything but syrups, laxatives, etc., with everlasting clysters, I determined to abandon such a miserable art, and to seek truth by some other way."

William Harvey (1578-1657) is generally accredited with the discovery of the circulation of blood; but others are entitled to a share in this honor. Andrea Cesalpino (1519-1603), of Italy, claimed to have made the discovery in 1569, and proof of his claim is not wanting. Professor Ceradini, of Genoa, says of Cesalpino that he "discovered the physiological and continued passage of the blood from the arteries to the veins across the capillary anastomosis in all parts of the body, and defined by circulation the perpetual motion of the blood from the veins to the right heart, from this to the lung, from the lung to the left heart, and from the left heart to the arteries; producing in 1593 the experimental proof of this circulation, in the fact that the veins, when tied in any part of the body, swell between their original capillaries and the ligature, and when cut, let out first the black venous blood, and then the red arterial blood."

Harvey's investigations seem to have been conducted independently of Cesalpino's, and he is probably entitled to the weed of honor given him. Like other advanced thinkers he had to suffer the calumny of ignorance and prejudice, and everything was done that could be done by his profession to discredit his work and make him an object of derision. Wilder says of him:

"In 1619, having perfected his demonstrations, he made known his discovery of the general mechanism of the circulation. The storm which he encountered was fierce and threatening. Medical men are generally conservative and constitutionally averse to innovations which cast their notions and methods into the shade. Hume, the historian, remarked accordingly, the significant fact that no physician in Europe who had reached forty years of age ever to the end of his life adopted Harvey's doctrine of the circulation of the blood. It ran the gauntlet of the schools, was severely attacked on every side, and the promulgator himself personally denounced for obtruding it upon the public attention. When a scientific fact cannot be successfully met, dishonest adversaries usually vent their spite upon the person who brought it to view. Then the pretense is made that the discovery or invention is of no value, involving it and its discoverer in a common odium. This failing, the next expedient is to assert that it really is not new, that some one of their own number has discovered it, or at least introduced it, so that the merit is claimed as all their own."

Sydenham (1624-1689), "the English Hippokrates," was the next great light in medical science. He had a profound contempt for the book learning of his time. His attempt to reform medical practice by giving less drastic potions, had much to do with shaking the belief of many in the efficacy of drugs. John Locke, the great philosopher, said of him:

"You can not imagine how far a little observation carefully made by a man not tied up to the four humors [like the Galenists], or to sal, sulphur, or mercury [like the alchemists and followers of Paracelsus] - or to acid and alcali, which has of late prevailed [with the disciples of Willis) - will carry a man in the curing of diseases, though very stubborn and dangerous; and that with very little and common things, and almost no medicine at all."

Sydenham's radicalism led him into the egregious error of bleeding in fevers and inflammations more than any of his predecessors. Others followed his example, and the lancet became a more certain means of death than the diseases for which it was considered a remedy. He instituted a radical change in the treatment of smallpox. Cool air and mild remedies took the place of the stimulating regimen then in vogue, and the inexcusable custom of inoculation. His success was so great that he said of small-pox:

"As it is palpable to all the world, how fatal that disease (smallpox) proves to many of all ages, so it is most clear to me, from all the observations that I can possibly make, that if no mischief be done, either by physician or nurse, it is the most slight and safe of all other diseases."

Prior to the sixteenth century small-pox was known but little beyond the confines of Asia. It then appeared as an epidemic in France, and the next century in England. The greatest outbreak followed the great plague in. 1667. Inoculation with small-pox virus, that is the artificial production of the disease, had been practiced in Turkey for a long time. Wilder says of its introduction into England:

"Lady Mary Wortley Montagu, having accompanied her husband, when ambassador to Turkey in 1716, became acquainted with the practice of inoculation. She afterward persuaded Dr. Maitland to introduce it into England. But it was observed that the patients were about as liable as ever to contract small-pox; and several persons, among whom was the youngest son of King George III, died with the disease thus produced. Dr. Bromfield, a surgeon of the Court, and Dr. Langton, of Salisbury, attacked the practice in pamphlets. All this, however, did not convince practitioners. As is generally the case, a radical change of sentiment requires a new generation of men. Nevertheless, many non-medical men became very distrustful."

Vaccination was a very natural outgrowth of inoculation. A peculiar disease was observed among the milkers which resembled small-pox so closely that it was conjectured that it might be a preventive of that loathsome disease. A man by the name of Jesty first inoculated his children with the purulent material from a diseased mulch cow in 1774. Edward Jenner pushed the idea, notwithstanding the fact that many cases were presented in which milkers so infected had afterwards contracted small-pox. Then as now there were two opposing opinions as to the efficacy of the procedure. The pro-vaccinists gained in number and influence, till in the beginning of the twentieth century vaccination is quite generally enforced. Yet the anti-vaccinists are so strong, especially in the presentation of facts, that compulsory vaccination is nowhere popular. Both sides present statistics to prove their contentions. The old saying, "figures don’t lie," is true and the other that "the manipulators of figures often do," is also true. Rely upon statistics to prove either side of the question and conviction must follow. The whole discussion reminds one of the saying of the wag: "There are lies, lies, and statistics." That much evil has been done by vaccination can be proven; that any good has been accomplished by the practice is yet an open question.

Concerning the condition of medical science one hundred years ago, Bichat, the great French physician, said:

"Materia medica, an assemblage of incoherent opinions, is perhaps, of all the physiological sciences, that which most exhibits the contradictions of the human mind. In fact, it is not a science for a methodic spirit; it is a shapeless assemblage of inexact ideas, of observations often puerile, of imaginary remedies strangely conceived and fastidiously arranged. It is said that the practice of medicine is repulsive. I will go further; no reasonable man can follow it, if he studies its principles as are forth in our materia medica."

While surgery has been practiced from time immemorial, as a science and an art, it is of recent origin. Here and there throughout history, we find instances of operations, striking for their boldness, and remarkable for their results. John Hunter (1728-1793) is the reputed founder of modern surgery. He made a profession of what had hitherto been a craft. Prior to his time barbers performed most surgical operations, even the extracting of teeth. Hence the striped pole of the barber's sign, the emble of his former practice. Wilder says:

"In both London and Edinburgh the Company of Barbers and Surgeons had long been in existence as one corporation. Under Henry VIII, the two professions, as both were considered, were united in one corporation; the barbers being restricted to blood-letting and the extracting of teeth, and the surgeons prohibited from 'barbery or shaving.' In 1745, the two callings were separated by act of Parliament, and surgery then was ready to attain a higher eminence in the United Kingdom"


Enough has been said to show the trend of medicine through the centuries. Theories had been advanced only to be declared irrational. Practices had been sanctioned for a time, only to be declared Useless. Methods that had long since sunk into oblivion had been resurrected, only to fall into disrepute again. Diseases had multiplied and their virulence intensified. The substantial progress that had been made in a knowledge of anatomy and its allied science counted for naught in the application of scientific knowledge to the treatment of diseases, except occasionally in surgical cases. Hygiene even had lost the place it held in ancient times as an influence favorable to health. All the time mysticism was upon the throne, science upon the scaffold. He who dared to cross the boundaries of tradition into the field of independent thought and action was condemned, persecuted, ostracized. It was with the rise of the spirit of independence in America, that the shackles that had fettered thought in the old world for centuries were partially thrown off.

Perhaps some of the selfish traits of the early practitioners were the heritage of the old world, which have not become extinct in the new world, after the lapse of two and a half centuries. The "regulars" have always been active against other systems. The surgeons in New Amsterdam, now New York, looked after their own interests in 1662 just as they do now. It should be remembered that surgeons were barbers, and barbers surgeons, in those days, and those belonging to the clan wanted a monopoly of both businesses. The Dutch Records for February 2, 1652, contained the following:

"On the petition of the chirurgeons of New Amsterdam that none but they alone be allowed to shave, the director and council understand that shaving alone doth not appertain exclusively to chirurgery, but is an appendix thereunto; that no man can be prevented operating on himself, nor to do another the friendly act, provided it be through courtesy, and not for gain, which is hereby forbidden."

Inoculation found a fruitful field in America. Dr. F. R. Packard, in "The History of Medicine in the United States," says:

"To the Rev. Dr. Cotton Mather, of Boston, is to be ascribed the first suggestion in this country of the use of inoculation to combat the ravages of small-pox.

"But the persecution which befell Mather and Boylston and those who supported inoculation is almost incredible. Almost every medical man of the city joined in reprobating the practice and vilifying the personal character of those who had introduced it. The clergy and the newspapers took up the hue-and-cry, and finally the legislature and the courts took a hand in the effort to suppress a measure of such incalculable value to the community. A fast and furious pamphlet war was precipitated, and the current literature teemed with articles for and against the practice. Many pious, respectable personages were of the opinion that should any one of his patients die the doctor should be hung for murder."

Why "a measure of such incalculable value to the community" should have fallen into disuse now for more than a century may seem strange to the reader. But that aggregation of "pious, respectable personages," "the select-men of the town of Boston," and doubtless many others, were evidently opposed to the practice, and not without reason, if we may believe the following from Hutchinson's "History of Massachusetts."

"At a meeting by Public Authority in the Town-house of Boston before his Majesty's Justices of the Peace and the Select-Men; the Practitioners of Physick and Surgery being called before them concerning Inoculation, agreed to the following conclusions:

"A resolve upon a Debate held by the Physicians of Boston concerning Inoculating the Small Pox, on the twenty-first day of July 1721. It appears by numerous Instances, That it has proved the Death of many Persons soon after the Operation, and brought Distempers upon many others, which have in the end proved fatal to them. That the natural tendency of infusing such malignant Filth in the Mass of Blood, is to corrupt and putrefy it, and if there be not a sufficient Discharge of the Malignity by the Place of Incision or elsewhere, it lays a Foundation for many dangerous Diseases.

"That the Operation tends to spread and continue the Infection in a Place longer than it might otherwise be.

"That the continuing the Operation among us is likely to prove of most dangerous Consequence.

"By the Select-Men of the Town of Boston, July 22nd."

Benjamin Franklin became an earnest advocate of inoculation, and was willing to practice his preaching. He speaks of losing a son in 1736, in the following language:

"A fine boy of four years old, by the small-pox taken in the common way. I long regretted him, and still regret that I had not given it to him by inoculation. This I mention for the sake of parents who omit that operation, on the supposition that they should never forgive themselves if a child died under it, my example showing that the regret may be the same either way, and therefore that the safer should be chosen."

The practice of inoculation evidently became quite a fad, probably equal to that of removing the appendix now in some localities. Those commercially inclined took advantage of the credulity of the people then, just as they do now. Boston was in the front rank, "following the fashion" in inoculation as she is now in operating for appendicitis. Hannah Winthrop said in 1776:

"The reigning subject is the Small Pox. Boston has given up its Fears of an invasion & is busily employed in Communicating the Infection. Straw Beds & Cribs are daily Carted into the Town, That ever prevailing Passion of following the Fashion is as predominant at this time as ever. Men, Women and Children eagerly crowding to inoculate is I think as modish as running away from the Troops of a barbarous George was the last year."

Vaccination was the natural successor of inoculation in America. Whether it is less or more successful than inoculation is an open question. Philadelphia has had her troubles, off and on, from that day to this. The New York Medical Journal and Philadelphia Medical Journal for April 2, 1904, reports sixty-five cases of smallpox, with fifteen deaths, over twenty-three per cent, for the two weeks ending March 26, and makes the following comment:

"The small-pox epidemic in Philadelphia, which has been receding for several weeks, has been the cause of some unfortunate errors in diagnosis, as well as in the handling of the cases by attending physicians. Last week a man died from small-pox, which, it is said, was reported as Bright's disease. In this instance it became necessary to search for many people who attended the funeral, in order that they might be vaccinated. Unfortunately, many errors are made in mistaking subcutaneous hemorrhages occurring in the hemorrhagic variety of small-pox for other diseases. On one occasion a man infected with small-pox walked directly into the office of the board of health."

The people of that day became an easy prey to a much more innocent fad than inoculation. Perkins' tractors seem to have made a success comparable with that of the electric belt and other harmless devices of the present day. The Medical Book News, March, 1905, says:

"It was just a century ago that the great Perkinsian Institution, or Metallic-Tractors Hospital, for the benefit of the poor, was established in London. Dr. Elisha Perkins, of Plainfield, Conn., had died a few years previously, but his son carried the new gospel to poor and rich alike, especially to those 'rich in dollars but poor in sense.' England received the miraculous tractors with enthusiasm. 'Eight professors in four different universities, 21 regular physicians, 19 surgeons, and 30 clergymen were among those who testified publicly to the efficacy of the treatment. Twelve physicians connected with the Royal Hospital at Copenhagen, embodied their observations on cases treated with tractors in a bulky octavo volume, and naught disparaging to Perkinsism did that work contain. Poetry was written, even, about the boon conferred on mankind by the invention of tractors."'

Dr. Benjamin Rusk (1746-1813), "the Hippocrates of America," "the American Galen," "The American Sydenham," "the father of medicine in America," signer of the Declaration of Independence, true patriot that he was, read the signs of the times. He was familiar with the rise of and the opposition to the "Brunonian System" in Europe, and clearly saw that the dominant practice was not in harmony with the liberality and freedom demanded by the colonists. He knew, no doubt, of the attempts to regulate the practice of medicine in the colonies. His knowledge of the history of medicine and of the practices of his time must have shown him that wisdom was not the exclusive possession of the medical profession. Remembering these, it is not surprising that he should say:

"The Constitution of this Republic should make specific provision for medical freedom as well as for religious freedom. To restrict the practice of the art of healing to one class of physicians and deny to others equal privileges constitutes the Bastiles of our science. All such laws are un-American and despotic. They are vestiges of monarchy and have no place in a republic.

"I am insensibly led to make an apology, for the instability of the theories and practice of Physic. Those physicians generally become the most eminent in their profession who soonest emancipate themselves from the tyranny of the schools of physic. What mischiefs have we done under the belief of false facts and false theories? We have assisted in multiplying diseases; we have done more, we have increased their mortality.

"Conferring exclusive privileges upon bodies of physicians, and forbidding men of equal talents and knowledge from practicing medicine within certain districts of cities and countries are inquisitions - however sanctioned by ancient charters and names - serving as the Bastiles of our profession."

Dr. Rush's independence and progressiveness brought upon him the anathemas of his profession. His knowledge gained during the yellow fever epidemic in Philadelphia in 1762, and his experience during its greater visitation in 1793, helped to bring him into prominence. He seemed to be very successful in treating the disease, and studied its nature very carefully. Some idea of the opposition to his views and methods may be obtained from the following utterances by Dr. Rush in 1794.

"A charge of insanity, which had been made against me the year before, was now revived, and propagated with so much confidence, that one of my patients who had believed it, expressed her surprise at perceiving no deviation from my ordinary manner in a sick room."

Dr. Packard says of the epidemic of 1794:

"The Board of Health took an active part in the opposition to Dr. Rush. They refused to publish the epidemic nature of the disease, or to take any steps towards reopening Bush Hill Hospital. The Committee invited all the physicians of the city, except Drs. Rush, Physick, and Dewees, to appear before them at the City Hall. Those who attended united in declaring that there was no reason to apprehend an outbreak of yellow fever in Philadelphia.

"The physicians of the city became divided into two groups, those who followed the method of treatment of yellow fever pursued by Benjamin Rush, and those who were adherents of William Gurrie. Rush held that the disease was of domestic origin. Currie held that it was imported from Southern ports. Rush believed in a course of mercurial and copious bleeding; the followers of Currie disapproved of bleeding as having a tendency to weaken the patient."

It seems that Dr. Rush fell into the common error of extolling the merits of waters simply because they were disagreeable. He wrote a treatise on "Experiments and Observations on the Mineral Waters of Philadelphia, Abington, and Bristol, Pennsylvania," which was read before the American Philosophical Society, June 18, 1773. A recent writer, Hildeburn, says:

"The waters of Abington and Bath, near Bristol, were much resorted to till near the middle of the present century. The fame of the supposed 'Philadelphia Mineral Water,' on the disagreeable taste and fetid smell of which Dr. Rush has much to say, was short lived. The true causes of these qualities being discovered to arise not from mineral sources, but from one which put an immediate stop to the use of the water, and made its advocates and their disciples a subject of ridicule."

Dr. Rush was naturally a reformer. But he never realized the fact that reform does not take place from within. Some mighty force from without must be hurled against the citadel of custom, of prejudice, of pride. Dr. Rush tried to reform his profession by changing its practices and especially insisting upon cleanliness as the most important factor in preventive medicine. He said Philadelphia was filthy; his colleagues said it was not. He said yellow fever would visit the city if it was not cleaned up; the profession said he was crazy, - that the only danger from yellow fever was by the importation of those afflicted with the disease. He said yellow fever existed there as an epidemic; the profession said it did not, and only when the people were dying by hundreds, finally reaching more than one thousand, did they admit that he was telling the truth.

But Dr. Rush could not depart radically from the methods of his school of practice. He poured in mercury and drew out blood. But he wanted to do otherwise. Later he even held audience with that despised Dr. Samuel Thomson, bade him God-speed, and gave him real encouragement.

Thomas Jefferson, writer of the Declaration of Independence, saw the evils of medical practice, sounded a clear note of warning, and expressed a hope realized a century later by the development of Osteopathy in the first state framed from the territory which he purchased from France. He said:

"Disciples of Hoffman, Boerhaave, Stahl, Cullen, and Brown, succeed each other like the shifting figures of the magic lantern; and their fancies, like the dresses of the annual doll-babies from Paris, becoming, from their novelty, the vogue of the day and yielding to the next novelty their ephemeral favors.

"I believe we can safely affirm that the inexperienced and presumptuous herd of medical tyros let loose upon the world destroys more lives than all the Robin Hoods, Cartouches, and Macheaths do in a century.

"I hope and believe that it is from this side of the Atlantic that Europe, which has taught us so many useful things will be led into sound principles in this branch of science, the most important of all, to which we commit the care of health and life."

While surgery has been practiced ever since the dawn of history, it was not till the nineteenth century that operations within the deepest cavities of the body became general and, it may be added, popular. Dr. Ephriam McDowwell, of Danville, Ky., removed the ovaries of a lady in 1809, and the patient lived till 1834. He afterwards performed the same operation upon thirteen patients, eight of whom survived. The discovery that germs are often responsible for the unfavorable conditions following severe operations, and the adoption of aseptic methods, that is, as nearly as practicable, absolute cleanliness, have made it possible to make such proceedings much less dangerous than at first. The discovery of artificial anesthesia was also a great stimulus to surgery by removing the pain and many of the horrors of severe operations. These two great and beneficent discoveries, antisepsis and anesthesia, may be responsible for the fact that medical practice has run largely into surgery, and surgery often has become little less than butchery. In fact, at the beginning of the twentieth century, surgery had become a fad with many and now some insist upon an operation at the earliest possible moment in many cases which can be treated with almost absolute success without any of the risks or the bad after-effects of surgery. What satisfactory Excuse a scientist can make for much of the indiscriminate cutting, curetting, and cauterizing so common, as in enlarged tonsils, real or imaginary appendicitis, many female troubles, etc., remains to be seen. While osteopaths believe in surgery, Osteopathy is a living practical protest against about nine-tenths of the surgical work which has been considered necessary by some of, the other systems.

The early botanic physicians of America seem to have obtained the first knowledge of their practice from the Indians. Much of the knowledge given by Rafinesque, Barton, Elisha Smith, and others who wrote about medicinal plants, was obtained from the natives. Not coming through the regular channels of medical learning, of course, the new ideas presented were vigorously opposed. New remedies were first rejected, then tolerated, and finally adopted. Wilder speaks as follows of the change that has taken place as a result of the innovations introduced by the early botanists.

"Very many of them have been adopted and palmed off upon the public as 'new remedies,' by writers and others who were by no means friendly to that school of practice; the precaution being taken at the same time, however, to avoid any rendering of credit due, or even an honest mention, of the sources from which the medicines had been learned and going so far sometimes as to name some individual of their own partisan complexion as having introduced them to the medical profession."

Dr. Wooster Beach, the reputed father of the Eclectic system, attempted to introduce the reformed practice of medicine through the regular profession. He soon saw that a reform in the practice of medicine, like all great progressive movements, must come through the enlightenment of the common people. He said:

"An art founded on observation can never arrive at any high degree of development while it is confined to a few who make a trade of it. The only hope of a reformation and revolution in medicine, under Divine Providence, is the dissemination of our principles through the mass of the community."

The introduction of anything radically new in medicine, or the casting of a doubt upon the recognized procedures of the dominant school, has always been accompanied by an outburst of opposition.

A weak cause seeks, whenever possible, the aid of the state to bolster up its doubtful merit or its waning prestige. The rapidly increasing following of "irregular" physicians in America in the early part of the nineteenth century aroused the vigorous opposition of the "regulars." From Maine to Georgia, bills were introduced into the legislatures making the practice of medicine a misdemeanor, except by physicians of the dominant school. Pennsylvania was saved from that disgrace by the exercise of the veto power by her governor, and western states generally refused to deliver their bodies to a profession steeped in traditions and actuated by prejudices. The condition in America was not unlike that in England, when William Harvey, the discoverer of the circulation of blood, wrote:

"After the space of so many hundred years' experience, not one single medicine has been detected that has the least force directly to prevent, resist, and expel a continued fever. Should any, by a more sedulous observation, pretend to make the least step toward the discovery of any such remedies, their hatred and envy would swell against him as a legion of devils against virtue. The whole society will dart their malice against him with all the calumnies imaginable, without sticking at anything that would destroy him root and branch. For he who professes to be a reformer of the art of Physic must resolve to run the hazard of the martyrdom of his reputation,
life, and estate."

Samuel Thomson is one of the most interesting characters in medical history. His opportunities for an education were limited, but he displayed a passion early in life for learning the names and medicinal properties of plants. On account of his defective education he was not allowed to study with Dr. Fuller, a botanic physician. Like other reformers, he had convictions and an unflinching tenacity of purpose. Sickness in his growing family made it necessary for him to employ physicians. He soon saw that the prevailing medical treatment aggravated the sufferings of the victims. This forced him to undertake the care of members of his family himself, and he found that they recovered more quickly than under "regular" treatment.

Thomson was only a farmer, but his success in practice soon attracted the attention of his neighbors, and he was often called to minister to them also. His fame extended, and he was soon looked upon as the founder of a new system. He did not claim originality for all his procedures, but he surely did possess the talent to elaborate what be found at hand and what he discovered into a new system. Dr. Benjamin Waterhouse, of Harvard Medical School, compared him with the great English surgeon in the following words:

"Had John hunter, whom I well knew, been born and bred where Samuel Thomson was, he would have been just such another man; and had Samuel Thomson been thrown into the same society and associations as John Hunter, he would, in my opinion, have been his equal, with probably a wider range of thought; but both are men of talent and originality of thought."

Dr. E. M. Hale, of Hahnemann Medical College, Chicago, said of him:

"This man, although uneducated, had in him the elements of a great reformer; and had he had the literary advantage of some of his allopathic persecutors, would have done more for the advance of medical science than most any other man of his day. Dr. Hollenback declares that he was 'one of the greatest and best of medical benefactors, whose crude system of practice broke the mysterious chains which had bound the people of America and Europe for about two centuries.' Certain it is that Thomson was the first to publicly attack Allopathy in America; and his attack may be said to be the first that shattered the foundations of that school, and made way for such scientific reforms as Homeopathy. In every state of the Union the 'Botanic' practice of medicine preceded the Homeopathic, and broke down those legal barriers that Allopathy had placed around her."

Knowing the spirit of intolerance existing then, it is not surprising that Thomson was outlawed. He was threatened with assassination, accused of murder, arrested, imprisoned; but the prosecution failed to make out a case. Dr. Waterhouse, quoted above, speaks as follows:

"Samuel Thomson, like most reformers, has endured in our county of Essex as much severe persecution as ever was perpetrated in it; which is saying a great deal, when we call in mind the days of the delusion of witchcraft. Though capitally indicted for murder by using lobelia, he was discharged without a trial, after something like a reprimand of the Solicitor-General by the Court."

Thomson himself said:

"The doctors were enraged at me for no other reason than because I had cured persons whom they had given up to die. Persecution raged against me - all the presses in the country were closed against me - priests, doctors, lawyers, and legislators were combined against me - ex-post facto laws were put in operation prosecutions commenced - false witnesses arose - bigotry, prejudice, and superstition like Salem witchcraft, waved their magic wand."

Much abuse was heaped upon Dr. Thomson for procuring patents for his medicines. Here is his justification of his conduct in this respect:

"In obtaining a patent it was my principal object to get the protection of the Government against the machinations of my enemies, more than to take the advantage of a monopoly. In all cases where a person possesses desirable information from his own experience or ingenuity, there can be no reason why he should not have a right to sell it to another, as well as any other property."

The question of an education for a physician during the first half of the nineteenth century was one often discussed. Dr. Samuel Thomson, himself an illiterate man, did not believe in high educational requirements. Even his sons were at odds with their father for years upon this subject. The better-educated followers of Thomson saw the necessity of keeping up with the educational procession. Dr. Benjamin Colby, in The Thomsonian Recorder, said:

"The importance of Thomsonians having a general knowledge of anatomy, physiology, pathology, surgery, and midwifery," he declared, "to be deeply felt by every one who entered the practice; he cannot obtain the confidence of the community without this knowledge.

Dr. Thomson considered such a departure from his ways and methods as an apostasy and a reverting back to the old school of practice. Yet several botanico-medical colleges were established, especially in the west and south, and their educational requirements were probably not inferior to those of the "regulars." The United States Commission of Education, as late as 1884, said that in most of the medical colleges "no examination for entrance, nor any evidence of the possession of a respectable disciplinary education is called for."

Proscriptive medical legislation was the order of the day. A law was actually proposed in New Hampshire which would prohibit Samuel Thomson by name from treating the sick. Dr. E. J. Mattocks, of Troy, N. Y., depicted the situation in the following forcible language:

"Collect all the facts you may and still you will be unable to give but the tithe of the malicious prosecutions, and in some cases, the imprisonment, these early pioneers had to suffer in consequence of their faith and practice. Such men as Wooster Beach, Elisha Smith, S. W. Frisbee, Abiel Gardner, H. M. Sweet, John Wesley Johnson, and a host of others, could their voices be heard, would confirm my statement."

Dr. Thomas Lapham, mentioned above, said:

"In any state where any law has existed, or does now exist, regulating medical practice, it has never originated with the people but with a class of men who subsist on the miseries of the people. Fines, prisons, dungeons, chains and death are accounted better security to their standin than all the combined skill and wisdom of all the ancient schools of medicine."

Many old school doctors were more favorable to the reform treatment. Dr. Geo. McClellan, father of the late General Geo. B. McClellan, and grandfather of the present mayor of Greater New York, favored the new practice for the same reason that some M. D.'s now favor Osteopathy. He said:

"We must adopt the Thomsonian medical agents, or lose our practice. I have used steam, cayenne, and lobelia, and found them useful to remove disease."

In 1841 there were twenty-six states in the union. All but five or six of them had enacted laws which tended to restrict the freedom of the people in choosing their own physicians and the liberty of others to engage in a peaceable and beneficial pursuit. But the current of opinion had already turned in the other direction, so that sixteen states had repealed the obnoxious laws. The battle continued with unabated fury in New York. One proposed bill went so far that it "provided that no person should receive a license to practice medicine till he had served as clerk to a physician for seven years; and no physician should receive the medical degree till he had been three years in practice or had spent six months in a hospital. That bill was laid upon the table." Horatio Seymour and Horace Greeley, both later candidates for President of the United States, did valiant service for liberty in the contest, and lived to enjoy the fruits of their labors. The will of the people prevailed and the unjust medical law was wiped from the statute books in May, 1844.

The brute force and mob rule engendered by slavery in the latter part of the first half of the nineteenth century is paralleled by the same elements used against reform medicine. The medical college at Worthington, Ohio, was one of the victims, and Dr. Morrow, the president, was prosecuted. The prejudices of the lawless were aroused and instigated by the physicians of that locality, they pillaged the college buildings and placed the town at the mercy of a drunken rabble in the spring of 1840.

There was practically no cessation of the warfare against those who did not subscribe to the tenets of the "regulars" during the latter half of the nineteenth century. Then came Osteopathy, which intensified the hatred of the old schools and which has had to contest every inch of ground, as shown in Chapter IV.

Several attempts have been made by the regulars" to establish what might be termed a national system of medicine. In 1890, a bill was introduced in the United States Senate which would have given the "regulars" a monopoly of the practice of medicine in the District of Columbia. It was all done so quietly that its friends had a hearing before the opposition knew what was being done. The Eclectic Medical Society heard of the movement and appointed a committee, of which Dr. T. A. Bland was chairman, to oppose it. The chairman of the committee to which the bill was referred, said it would be a waste of time to hear the opposition, "for we are going to pass the bill." He finally consented to give a hearing, after which he said, "you can go hone and, rest easy, gentlemen, for this bill will not pass this year."

Another attempt was made in 1891, but it failed in the committee. In 1892, a bill was presented providing for three medical boards, an allopathic, a homeopathic, and an eclectic. The eclectics opposed it; yet it passed the Senate, but failed to pass the House. The next year a bill was introduced which proposed a board of seven doctors, four "regulars," two homeopaths, and one eclectic. It was smothered in the committee by a unanimous vote, Dr. Bland, in opposing the bill, said:

"I oppose all such bills on the ground that they are paternalistic, monopolistic, and despotic. They are in the form of class legislation, being designed to give special privileges to some physicians, and denying to others equal privileges.

"If this government were paternalistic in form, and the people were ruled by a monarch, the proposed legislation would be in line with such a government. But our ancestors rebelled against that sort of government, threw off the yoke of King George, and founded a republic, a government of the people, for the people, and by the people."

Attempts have been made since, in one form or another, to create a medical monopoly in the capital of our country; but they have failed. Yet there is no abatement of the effort on the part of the "regulars" to control all medical and health interests of the United States. There exists now a Committee on Legislation appointed by the American Medical Association, whose duty it is to urge upon Congress the necessity of enacting laws for the purpose of securing legislation which, judging from past experience in the nation and in the states, would be inimical to the welfare of all but "regular" physicians and restrictive upon the rights of the people. Dr. C. A. L. Reed presented the following at the meeting of the American Medical Association, at New Orleans, in May, 1903:

"It shall be the duty of the committee to represent before Congress and elsewhere the wishes of this Association regarding any proposed legislation, that in any respect bears on the promotion and preservation of the public health, or on the material or moral welfare of the medical profession. This committee shall invite to a conference at Washington, D. C., once in each year, or oftener if need be, the auxiliary committee herein created, at which shall be considered questions of national and state legislation, with the view of uniting all of the influences of the entire profession throughout the country in support of all proper legislation, and of securing uniformity in the same, so far as may be possible and expedient. The Committee on National Legislation shall have power to act ad interim, and its necessary expenses shall be paid by this Association."

The following year was one of unusual activity as will be seen by the following from the report of the Association at Atlantic City, in June, 1904:

Dr. C. A. L. Reed, of Cincinnati, Ohio, reported that the committee had arranged to have a correspondent in every county in the United States. They had received the hearty co-operation of almost all the state societies, and now had 1,940 such correspondents, and had issued commissions urging them to use all means, both personal and political, to secure such legislation as the association should desire. An urgent appeal was made to have all physicians exert their influence to have physicians nominated and elected to congress, as the lack of such representation was a most serious obstacle in the endeavors of the association in behalf of the public welfare and of the profession."


The "regular" school of practice is the oldest and largest. It is often spoken of as the Allopathic School, which appellation is resented by advocates of that system. Gould says:

"According to Hahnemann, the inventor of the term, that method of the treatment of disease consisting in the use of medicines the action of which upon the body in health produces morbid phenomena different from those of the disease treated. Opposed to homeopathy. It need hardly be said that modern scientific medicine is based upon no such theory, or definition, as that supplied by homeopathy … Regular Physician, one of the school of scientific medicine who adheres to no clique, sect, 'pathy,' or 'ism."'

How the "regulars" can claim to be a "school of scientific medicine" is not clear, in view of the many and constant changes in their theories and methods of practice. Most that is said above by way either of praise or blame, probably belongs more to this system than to those mentioned below, The other schools have been a protest against the extremes to which this has gone and the revolting methods quite generally used.

The greatest change in the practice of the healing art prior to the introduction of Osteopathy was due to the rise of Homeopathy. Samuel Hahnemann (1755-1843) was the father of the system. His dictum "similia similibus curantur" (similars are cured by similars) is the fundamental principle in its practice. Hence remedies are selected, which, if given in sufficient quantities to a well person, will produce symptoms similar to those of the person to whom the medicine is to be given. The idea was not altogether new, but Hahnemann deserves the credit of establishing a school of practice based upon that principle. He also proclaimed the theory of attenuation, by means of which the quantity of a drug would be reduced while its potency would remain. By trituration, succussion, and dilution, he claimed, "the spiritual power which lies hid in the inner nature of medicines" was brought into operation.

The Thomsonian School in this country, so named from Dr. Samuel Thomson, its founder, was the natural successor to the "Brunonian," in Europe. His remedies, the virtues of which were learned largely from the Indians and from the crude practices of the early settlers, were generally vegetable rather than mineral. He encouraged the organization of friendly botanic societies and issued a call for a United State Thomsonian Convention of delegates from such societies to meet at Columbus, Ohio, December 17, 1832. Annual meetings were held till 1838, when dissension rent the association asunder.

One division, under the leadership of Dr. Alva Curtis, dropped the name Thomsonian, and has been generally known since as the Physio-Medical School. It holds a co-ordinate position in many states with the allopaths or "regulars," the homeopaths, and the eclectics. Its origin may be traced to Dr. John. Brown, for many years professor of the theory and practice of medicine in Edinburgh University. His followers called his the "Brunonian System" in honor of its founder. The system was based upon the hypothesis of excitability. Diseases were either sthenic or asthenic, the result of an excess or a deficiency of excitement. Bleeding, low diet, and cathartics were the remedies for the former; stimulants for the latter. Brown's theories and practice found favor upon the continent. Broussais, in France, promulgated similar doctrines and brought upon himself the hostility of the whole medical profession of Paris. He was the author of the famous dictum, "bleed the patient till he is white," which became the ruling practice in America, under which the life of Washington was undoubtedly cut short.

The Eclectic School, founded by Dr. Wooster Beach, is also a recognized system. The term eclectic had been used long before in a general way, but this was the beginning of its use to designate a school of medical reformers. A reformed medical college was organized in Cincinnati, Ohio, about 1842, which was incorporated and named the "Eclectic Medical Institute" in 1845. Its charter contained the following sentence:

"Our college will be strictly what its name indicates - Eclectic - excluding all such medicines and such remedies as 'under the ordinary circumstances of their judicious use, are liable to produce evil consequences, or endanger the future health of the patient,' while we draw from any and every source all such medicine and modes of treating disease as are found to be valuable, and at the same time not necessarily attended with bad consequences. "

After much tribulation the Eclectic Medical Institute became the recognized seat of learning of the eclectic system, and it now claims to be the oldest Eclectic Medical College in existence. The National Eclectic Medical Association, in 1851, adopted a platform of principles which contained the following:

"To encourage the cultivation of medical science in a liberal spirit, especially to the development of the resources of the vegetable materia medica, and the safest, speediest, and most efficient methods of treating disease.

"That a departure from the healthy condition interrupts the bodily functions, and only the recuperative efforts of nature can effect their restoration. The object, therefore, of medication accordingly is to afford to nature the means of doing this work more advantageously, and under circumstances in which she would otherwise fail.

"The excluding of all permanently depressing and disorganizing agencies - such as depletion by the lancet and medication of a dangerous tendency; also a preferring of vegetable remedies, but no exclusive system of herbalism and no rejection of a mineral agent, except from the conviction of its injurious effect."

Osteopathy is the only other system of practice which is universal in its application and at the same time requires a thorough training in the sciences pertaining to the human body in health and disease. It also is legalized in most of the states and holds a position co-ordinate with the other four systems already mentioned. In point of number of pupils pursuing the required courses of study, it is second. It now has nine recognized schools, and about 4,000 practitioners. According to the report of the Commissioner of Education, 1899-1900, the "regulars" have 121 schools; the homeopaths, 22; and the eclectic and physio-medics, 8. The last census places the number of physicians and surgeons in the United States, at 132,225.