A Treatise on the Eclectic Southern Practice of Medicine Page: 10 of 724
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would their theories sound to us? They taught that there were
thirty-six demons, each of which was supposed to have the power
of exercising an influence over a particular part of the body;
and the physician called to relieve the sick invoked the demon,
according to the part affected.
The Greeks surpassed them not. On the contrary, borrowing
from them, they deified the first physician who appeared amongst
them, made the healing art hereditary in his family, and for the
cure of all diseases relied upon incantations.
Even Hippocrates, one of those sublime geniuses whom Pro-
vidence from time to time raises up and who so far surpass their
cotemporaries as to create and mark an era in any science they
touch, who won from his own age and maintains to the present
day the title of Father of Medicine-even, he was not free from
this all pervading influence of theory.
Imbued with the principles of the Pythagorean philosophy-
a philosophy which teaches that fire is the first origin of all
matter, producing by its agitations and peculiar combinations
the four elements: fire, earth, air and water. He considered that
the human body itself was composed of these four elements,
and taught that the fluids are the primary seat of all diseases,
an opinion which still prevails in the school of the Humoralists.
But he enjoyed the peculiar advantage which so few physicians
possess of not allowing himself in practice to be carried away
by his own favourite theory. Relying, perhaps, too much on
the curative powers of nature, which he called evyk, he delayed
applying his remedies until the fatal crisis, when neither science
nor art could avail. And some of his more sanguine followers
in this particular gave rise to that system of treatment which
we may be permitted to term the expectant school.
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Massie, J. Cam. A Treatise on the Eclectic Southern Practice of Medicine, book, 1854; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth143817/m1/10/: accessed June 28, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting University of Texas Health Science Center Libraries.