Historical Reprints Health Related Funny Side of Physic

Funny Side of Physic

Funny Side of Physic
Catalog # SKU3653
Publisher TGS Publishing
Weight 2.00 lbs
Author Name A. D. Crabtre
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$36.95
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Description

The
Funny Side of Physic
Or,
The Mysteries of Medicine


Presenting The
Humorous and Serious Sides
of Medical Practice.

An Exposé of
Medical Humbugs, Quacks, and Charlatans
In All Ages and All Countries.


By
A. D. Crabtre


Medical humbugs began to exist with the first pretenders to the science of healing. Quacks originated at a much later period. So materially different are the two classes, that I am compelled to treat of them separately. The word humbug is a corruption of Hamburg, Germany.

Larger Print, 12 point font

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Excerpt:

The word humbug is a corruption of Hamburg, Germany, and seems to have originated in London. The following episode is in illustration of both its origin and meaning:-

"O, Bridget, Bridget!" exclaimed the fashionable mistress of a brown stone front in Fifth Avenue, New York, to her surprised servant girl, "what have you been doing at the front door?" "Och, murther! Nothin', ma'am."

"Nothing!" repeated the mistress.

"Yes'm-that is-" stammered Bridget, greatly embarrassed.

"What were you doing at the front door but a moment since?"

"Nothin', ma'am, but spakin' to me cousin; he's a p'leeceman, ma'am, if ye plaze, ma'am," replied Bridget, dropping a low courtesy to the mistress.

"No, no; I did not mean that. But haven't you been cleaning the door-knob and the bell-pull?" "Yes'm," replied Bridget, changing from embarrassment to surprise.

"Why, Bridget, didn't I tell you never to polish the front door-knobs during the warm season? Now my friends will think that I have returned from Saratoga-"

"And is it to Saratogy ye've been, ma'am?" exclaimed Bridget.

"No, you dunce; but was not the front of the house closed, and the servants forbidden to polish the plates and glass, that my friends might be led to believe we had all gone to the watering-place?" That was true humbug. Double humbuggery! for the servant girl was humbugging her mistress by pretending to polish the door-knobs, while she was really coqueting with a policeman; and the mistress was humbugging her friends into the belief that the house was closed, and the family gone to Saratoga. So, Hamburg, on the Elbe, being a fashionable resort of the upper-ten-dom of London, those who would ape aristocracy, yet being unable to bear the expense of a trip to the Continent, closed the front of their dwellings, moved into the rear, giving out word that they had gone to Hamburg.

When a house was observed so closed, with a notice on the door, the passers by would wag their heads, and exclaim, questionably, "Ah, gone to Hamburg!" or, "All gone to Hamburg!" "It's all Hamburg!" and so on. And, like a thousand other words in the English language, this became corrupted, and "humbug" followed. Hence, taking the sense from the derivation of the word, humbug means "an imposition, under fair pretences;" cheat; hoax; a deception without malicious intent. Webster says it is "a low word." The humbugs in medicine, we assert, began to exist with the first persons of whom we have any account in the history of the healing art. Among the early Egyptian physicians, Aesculapius was esteemed as the most celebrated. He was the first humbug in his line. However, nearly all the accounts we have of him are mythological. If we are to credit the early writers, this great healer restored so many to life, that he greatly interfered with undertaker Pluto's occupation, who picked a quarrel with Aesculapius, and the two referred the matter to Jupiter for adjudication.

But we may go back of this "god of medicine." If he was physician to the Argonauts, we must fix the date of his great exploits at about the year B. C. 1263. It is claimed by good authority that the Book of Job dates back to B. C. 1520, and is the oldest book extant. Herein we find Job saying, "Ye are forgers of lies; ye are all physicians of no value." Since his friends were trying their best to humbug him, Job certainly intimates that physicians-some of them, at least-were looked upon as humbugs. But, then, Job was only an Arab prince; not an Israelite, at all; nor does he condescend to mention that "peculiar people" in his book. And besides, what reliance can be based upon the opinion of a man respecting physicians, whose only surgical instrument consisted of a "piece or fragment of a broken pot"?

Therefore, leaving the "Arab prince," we will turn for a moment to the early Jewish physicians. Josephus does not enlighten us much respecting them. The Old Testament makes mention of physicians in three instances,-the last figuratively.

The first instance-a rather amusing one-where physicians are mentioned in the sacred writings, is in 2 Chron. xvi. 12: "And Asa, in the thirty-ninth year of his reign, was diseased in his feet, until the disease was exceeding great; yet in his disease he sought not to the Lord, but to the physicians." The compiler adds, very coolly, as though a natural consequence, "And Asa slept with his fathers!" This reminds us of an anecdote by the late Dr. Waterhouse. An Irishman obtained twenty grains of morphine, which, instead of quinine, he took at one dose, to cure the chills. The doctor, in relating it long afterwards, added, laconically, "He being a good Catholic, his funeral was numerously attended." For generations nearly all the pretensions to healing were made by the priests and magicians, who humbugged and "bamboozled" the ignorant and superstitious rabble to their hearts' content. Kings and subjects were alike believers in the Magi. Saul believed in the magic powers of the "witch of Endor."

The wicked king Nebuchadnezzar classed Daniel and his three companions with the magicians, although Daniel (chap. xi. 10) denied the imputation. Joseph laid claim to the power of divination; for, having caused the silver cup to be placed in the sack of corn, and after having sent and brought his brother back, he said (Gen. xliv. 15), "What deed is this that ye have done? Wot ye not that such a man as I can certainly divine?" It seemed necessary to deal with the people according to their belief. It was useless to dispute with them. As late as the preaching of Paul and Barnabas, the whole nations of Jews and Greeks were so tinctured with belief in magic and enchantment in healing, taught and promulgated by the priesthood, that when the apostles healed the cripple of Lystra, the rabble, headed by the priests, cried out, "The gods are come down to us in the likeness of men." And they called Barnabas Jupiter, and Paul Mercurius.

The town clerk in the theatre said to the excited crowd, "These men are neither robbers of churches, nor yet blasphemers of your goddess."

Diana was appealed to for women in childbirth; Mercurius for the healing of cutaneous diseases (herpes), probably because he carried a herpe, or short sword, also, at times, the caduceus; and Jupiter for various diseases. But to return to the times of Saul and David.

It seems that the business became overcrowded, and the vilest and most degraded of both sexes swelled the ranks of sorcerers, astrologers, and spiritualists, until every class and condition of people became impregnated with these beliefs, from kings to the lowest subject. Finally, the strong arm of the law laid hold of them, and the edict went forth that "a witch shall not live," that "a wizard shall be put to death," and that "the soothsayer be stoned."

Nevertheless, the wretches continued to practise their deceptions, but less openly for a time, and they are made mention of throughout the sacred writings, until "the closing of the canon." But the Scriptures are almost totally silent on surgery, and the remedies resorted to by those pretending to the science-as also by physicians and priests-were such as to lead us to believe that their materia medica was very limited. Under the head of Ridiculous Prescriptions, we shall mention these remedies:-

The earliest record we find of surgical operations in the Old Testament is in Judges xix. 29,-a "capital operation," we may judge, for the account informs us that the patient, a woman, "was divided into twelve pieces."

Turning to the profane writers for information, we plunge into an abyss of uncertainty, with this exception; that the practice of medicine-it could not be called a science-was still in the hands of the priesthood, and partook largely of the fabulous notions of the age, being connected almost entirely with idolatries and humbuggeries. The cunning priests caused the rabble, from first to last, to believe that all disease was inflicted, not from the violation of the laws of nature, but by some angry and outraged divinity, whose wrath must be appeased by bribes (paid to the priests), by incantations, and absurd ceremonies, or else the afflicted victim must die a painful death, and forever after suffer a more horrible eternity.




470 pages - 8½ x 11 softcover


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