A Treatise on the Eclectic Southern Practice of Medicine Page: 18 of 724
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PREF A CE.
it seems to have been to form an eclectic school. lie, indeed,
selected from the doctrines of his predecessors whatever he
deemed valuable; but out of this selection he built a system of
his own, which, with the authority of a master, lie passed upon
his pupils, as a system, and so far fell short of true eclecticism,
which the University of Edinburgh, in the person of Cullen,
was destined more nearly to approach. This great physician
exploded the idea of there existing in truth any one peculiar
theory, of itself sufficient to account for and relieve the symp-
toms of all diseases. Edinburgh may well glory in the honour
of having produced him to the world. He must ever be looked
upon as a great benefactor of the human race.
Notwithstanding the rationality of Cullen's teachings, such is
the proneness of the human mind to be misled by the apparent
simplicity of systems, which, attractively yet deceitfully, pro-
mise science without toil, that he found, in his life-time, and
from amongst his own pupils, too, a rival, who opposed his efforts
for the real progress of medicine, by attempting to set up a new
theory. Brown taught, in the very university where Cullen
flourished, as a theory applicable to all diseases, that there exists
in the body a certain property, which he called " excitability;"
that every thing acted upon the body, through this property, as
an excitant, and that disease is the result of excessive or defec-
tive excitement; consequently, that its treatment must be solely
directed to increase or diminish this excitement, as the case may
be, without paying the slightest attention to, or endeavoring in
the least to allay the specific symptoms with which it may be
One other practitioner of great eminence we cannot refrain
from mentioning, as an instance of the mischief, we are labouring
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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/m1/18/: accessed January 19, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting University of Texas Health Science Center Libraries.