A Treatise on the Eclectic Southern Practice of Medicine Page: 14 of 724
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medicines of metallic bases, being almost exclusively due to the
alchymist,) became of incalculable influence in the practice of
medicine. But, like every thing else useful, carried too far
when attempted to be reduced to a universal system, it was
applied by a medical sect to explain the causes of life, disease
and death. The various parts of the human body, they en-
deavoured to subject to a chemical analysis, (an analysis which,
in those times, must have been very imperfect, and for the most
part conjectural,) and such remedies were employed for the cure
of diseases, which were supposed to be analogous to the chemical
composition of the vital organs. As if chemistry could create!
as if the living body could be acted on by the 'same process as
the matter of which they supposed it to be composed in its inert
and unorganized state.
At the head of this school stood Paracelsus, the greatest and
most sublime of quacks, in ancient or modern times. He pre-
tended to have discovered the great panacea, the universal cure
of all diseases, the vain dream of the older alchymists-not
without interest for its tinge of romance-which he professed to
hold concealed in the hilt of his dagger, an imposture which his
own death satisfactorily exposed. He publicly burnt the writings
of Galen, on the grounds that they could no ,longer be of any
utility, and were calculated to check, by their authority, the.
discovery and advancement of truth. Nor did he and his fol-
lowers disdain to resort to astrology and magic, vain incanta-
tions, idle rites and ceremonies in the treatment of their patients.
Sad comment on the superstition of the age in which he lived !
Between this school and the Galenists, an exterminating war
was for a hundred years carried on, and cannot be said to have
finally terminated till the seventeenth century. They persecuted
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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/m1/14/: accessed July 22, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting University of Texas Health Science Center Libraries.