has been the means of lessening in a considerable degree the monstrous poly-pharmacy which has always been the disgrace of our art, by at once diminishing the frequency of administration of drugs and lessening their dose. . . .
"In a word, almost every drug in our overflowing materia medica, whether inert or active, has been on one ground or another copiously prescribed in every variety of disease under the supposed sanction of this pseudo-specific on empirical indication. Nor let it be supposed that this empirical practice is one of the past day only. It is at this very time in as great vogue as ever, although its employment may be often veiled under the technicalities of newer science.
"Nor is it confined to the ignorant or inexperienced among us, but adopted and followed by men of the greatest abilities and greatest eminence in the profession. . . .
"As in religion and politics, and in those departments of knowledge which are not of a positive or demonstrable kind, early and long continued education, comprising not merely direct instruction, properly so called, but the influence of habitual example, deference to seniority and superiority, unconscious imitation, etc., induce conventional belief of the strongest kind—strong as demonstrated truth itself—and create a sort of wizard circle of power, beyond which the mind of the disciple, however bold, scarcely ever dares to wander. So in medicine, the great majority of practitioners retain the same doctrines and pursue the same practice which they learned in the schools, or, if changing both doctrine and practice, as time and fashion dictate, hold fast, at least, the great fundamental doctrine impressed upon the very core of their professional hearts—viz., that the interference of Art is essential in all cases, and therefore never to be foregone. It need not, therefore, surprise us that it is only a very small minority of medical practitioners who, in ordinary circumstances, can see in disease the true workings of Nature through the artificial veil which conventionalism and professional superstition have thrown over them. . . .
"The conviction of the great autocracy of Nature, in the cure of diseases derived from this source, is much more widely spread among the senior members of the profession than is at all believed by the great body of practitioners. . . . The number of cases that recover and would have died had Art not interfered is extremely small."
These trenchant words from Sir John Forbes carry great weight as a commanding critic in his own profession. Had his strictures upon his brethren and their practices come from an alien pen, they would undoubtedly have been attributed by the allopathic school to malevolence and ignorance; and, doubtless, Sir John Forbes will not escape the same fate, because, if his statements are true, those of whom they are spoken are incapable of perceiving or admitting their truth.
But, conceding the allopathic to be a correct or a possible system of cure, it by no means follows that because it requires large doses to