Excerpt from American Medical Biography, or Memoirs of Eminent Physicians Who Have Flourished in America: To Which Is Prefixed a Succinct History of Medical Science in the United States, From the First Settlement of the Country
Among the various sciences and literary pursuits... of life, there is no one more pre-eminently important than that which is empha tically styled the healing art that which restores health, and brings comfort and joy to suffering humanity. It is an inestimable blessing, bestowed in mercy, to counterpoise the frail condition of our nature, and to meliorate or remedy the miseries which result from the indulgence of our vicious propensities. It assuages the anguish of corporeal disease, and soothes that keen mental distress which overwhelms the faculties of the soul. When we contem plate the condition of the inhabitants of the earth' in the primitive ages of the world, we are struck with the formidable embarrass ments which they were doomed to encounter. Unacquainted with the means of fortifying themselves against the numerous evils of life, they were continually exposed to casualties and disease, and at the same time destitute of such assistance as would afford the desired relief. Ignorant of the structure of the human frame, and of the laws of the animal economy, no rational method of cure could be devised, and their medical knowledge could consist only of an incongruous mixture of superstition and absurdities.
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