A Treatise on the Eclectic Southern Practice of Medicine Page: 13 of 724
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Original genius, paralyzed, as it were, by his immense authority,
suffered progress in the healing art to cease, and obedient to
his nostrums, men-carried science and rational practice no far-
ther. It cannot be denied, that from his death, medical science
declined. That individual merit continued to live in it, such
names as Sextus Empyricus and others prove. But medicine
took no active march until the prevalence of the teachings of
the Arabian school.
The accidental preservation of the writings of Hippocrates
and Galen, at the destruction of the Alexandrian library, gave
to the few Mahometan men of genius a turn towards medical
inquiry. Several Arabian physicians of eminence flourished.
The names of Avicenna, Avinzoa, Avaroes are too well known
to require even mention from us. It is true that to them we
owe no theoretical prog~ess. Not original in their character,
their theories were based upon the writings of their Greek pre-
decessors. Yet their industry was the means of introducing
to the profession many remedial agents not before known, of
which, when vegetable, their climate, soil, and overland com-
merce with the more distant East, were singularly prolific; and
candour compels us to acknowledge that to them is die the im-
provement of extracting from vegetable substances their more
active principles, thereby giving rise to the chemical school, and
the special art of the apothecary.
Chemistry, that' noble science, emerging from the obscurity
in which it had been so long detained by the alchymists-those
blind and greedy searchers after the philosopher's stone, which
was supposed to have the power to commute all metals into gold
-and profiting by all that had been really valuable in their
labours, (the preparations of mercury, antimony, and other
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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/m1/13/: accessed September 20, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting University of Texas Health Science Center Libraries.