Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 23.djvu/793

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There is, however, probably no doubt that the mutual action of the atoms, their attractions, and their unequal combining capacity—in short, that "affinity" follows the general dynamic and static laws of mechanical phenomena, and that, in chemistry, as in mechanics, the right of the stronger prevails; with this assumption, general dynamic and static laws may be developed for the phenomena of chemistry, although the real nature of "affinity" is still entirely unknown.


NURSING is as old as the human species. Even among animals, such as they are at present, we find occasional sympathy with fellow-suffering, and meet with efforts for the purpose of relief. We can not imagine that human beings, in ever so remote prehistoric times, should have lived together, or near each other, without mutual attempts at relief, when suffering or sick. But this is presumption only, not history. No book, no tradition refers to facts in regard to the subject until the times of ancient Hellas and its successor in civilization, ancient Rome. Antiquity yields but few proofs of systematic nursing. It is true, hospitality was the pre-eminent virtue of the Greek. The stranger was always welcome. If he was sick, he was doubly so. In all Hellas poor sick citizens found ready admission to and nursing in the houses of the rich. It may be that the facility of finding private relief on the part of the sick was one of the causes why no systematic and collective efforts for the purpose of attending and nursing the sick were ever made to any extent. That such was the case, there can be little doubt; for the temples of Æsculapius and the adjoining residences of the physicians were probably not hospitals, but temporary domiciles for those who congregated in large numbers around the homes of the gods. Of the same nature was the edifice erected by Antoninus Pius near the temple of the Epidaurian Æsculapius. In Italy, also, the temple of Æsculapius, on the island in the Tiber, between Rome and the outlet of the river, was never of much importance as a hospital or sanitarium. The only real hospitals at all comparable with institutions such as we have, existed in favor of human property, and for the benefit of soldiers. According to the testimony of Columella, Seneca, and Celsus, the Romans had hospitals for slaves, warriors, and gladiators. In Greece, also, as early as the period of

  1. Address delivered at the first commencement of the Mount Sinai Training-School for Nurses, May 12, 1883.