Зображення сторінки
[ocr errors][merged small]

task he assumes. The Professor appears to have mistaken the instincts of animals for the common sense of mankind; for he says in his attempted explanation on this head, “every individual has this kind of sense. It is very common."

It is very common.” And, again, in the next sentence, he seems to give common sense an uncommon wide range. He says: “It is that general intelligence which the farmer employs in planning and arranging, cultivating and securing his crops; which the mechanic brings to bear in all his vari

; ous contrivances; which the mathematician invokes in solving a problem ; which the astronomer makes use of in calculating the conjunctions and eclipses of planets.' It guides the cook in the culinary department, &c.” Following out this illustration, he reiterates his proposition as follows: “ Common sense is but another name for the universal intelligence of mankind, or that degree of it which is common to all sane minds."

Let me, here, appeal to the consciousness and observation of each one who hears me, whether “all sane minds” possess naturally, or by instinct, “that universal intelligence” which would enable each to pursue, with success, agriculture or the mechanic arts—work out a problem in mathematics, or calculate the conjunctions or eclipses of the planets ? To state such a foolish proposition, is to refute it. And for one occupying the position of our opponent, to start out with such a statement, evinces a wonderful confusion of ideas, or a lamentable want of them. Is it not a self-evident proposition that mankind naturally have no knowledge of any of the arts or sciences; but that, in order to become fitted for agricultural or mechanical pursuits, or for the calculations of mathematics or astronomy, the individual must add study and experience? Then how puerile appears the confident assertion presented by our learned Professor, viz: that all “ mindsare in possession of that “common sense” which fits each for philosophers, astronomers and mathematicians! I shall attempt to show that so far from all “sane minds” possessing this common sense, a very few can boast of it in sufficient amount to enable them to occupy the position of artizans, astronomers and mathematicians. I will now give my own view of the “common sense,” which is requisite to enable any one to judge correctly of, or to pursue with success, either the science of agriculture or astronomy, the mechanic arts or even cookery! We shall, perhaps,


[merged small][ocr errors]

see that “common sense is a very indispensable matter when brought to bear on subjects which merely address themselves to man's reasoning powers, but when elevated to the position of arbiter on questions of which it knows nothing, it utterly fails in its office. The fact is this, we know nothing of nature except what our bodily senses teach us. We have no innate knowledge of philosophy or science. We commence life with no knowledge concerning the world which surrounds us. Our minds are a blank, as it respects the material world. But, at the same time, we are endowed with senses or powers capable of receiving impressions from external objects, and of appropriating the knowledge thus gained to the uses of life. Thus is it apparent, tuat it is through the bodily senses, viz: sight, hearing, smelling, tasting, and touching, that the mind obtains a knowledge of matter and its motions, and that we have no other means of adding to this knowledge; it must follow, that we know nothing beyond the mere surface of things; of the internal action of bodies upon each other we are wholly ignorant-hence we are not in a condition to form a correct opinion, much less to pronounce a true judgment upon substances or operations in nature concerning which our bodily senses have, as yet, taught us nothing. The truth of this proposition is evident upon reflection. In what department of nature do we know anything beyond what our bodily senses teach us? What should we know concerning the moon, if we had never seen it? We have an instructive lesson which sets this matter in its true light, in the answer of the blind man who was asked this question: “What is scarlet like.” “It is like the sound of a trum

" pet," was the ready reply. Again, the ideas of nature which exist in the minds of men, have come through their bodily senses. We all think and reason about objects we have seen, sounds we have heard, odors we have smelled, food we have tasted, and bodies we have handled. We thus find our bodily senses receive impressions which our mental faculties appropriate and store away for future use. From no other source do we gain knowledge of natural things. I am aware that there is in the minds of men an undefined notion that the powers of reason, or the mental sense, can discover things hidden from the bodily senses, and so can gather opinions and form correct judgments concerning natural things without being dependent upon, or indebted to

the eye

or the ear. This is an error. The unaided operations of the mind may, indeed, speculate, and guess, respecting external things; but how can the reality be perceived ? Such speculations can be no more reliable than dreams. If these propositions be true, the conclusion follows :-we have no original knowledge of matter, or, in other words, of nature; the knowledge we acquire is obtained through our bodily senses; we are not in a condition to form correct opinions, or true judgments, concerning any substance which may exist, or any event which may happen, any cause or any effect of which we have not been informed by our bodily or natural senses. Hence we are not justified in pronouncing any uninvestigated phenomena impossible, or any unobserved facts contrary to common sense. The assertion, therefore, of our author, that HOMEOPATHY is contrary to common sense, is nothing less than the cry of ignorance: for he does not even pretend to have given the matter his candid and serious attention. No, not he! He is too high in the heavens of his own self-derived intelligence to deign to notice seriously so unmitigated a humbug !"

Similar assertions and similar ignorance have not unfrequently displayed itself before Dr. Linton's day of grace. “It is contrary to common sense!” Take the notable history of Galileo. Prof. Powell gives the following account of the invention of the telescope and the discovery of the moons of the planet Jupiter: “Galileo having sufficiently improved upon his instrument, now began sedulously to direct it to the heavens. Jupiter formed the next object of examination, and no sooner was the telescope pointed to that planet than the existence of the satellites was detected, and their nature soon ascertained. (Feb. 1610.) These and other observations were described in a tract entitled, “Nuncius Siderius,' which excited an extraordinary sensation the moment it appeared. Many in the most positive manner denied the possibility of such discoveries; others hesitated; all were struck with astonishment. Kepler describes, in a letter to Galileo, the impression made on him by the announcement. He considered it totally incredible. Others took a more decided, but still less rational mode of meeting the difficulty, somewhat more like our doughty opponent here. The principal professor of philosophy at Padua (in which University Galileo was also a professor,) pertinaciously refused to look through the telescope.

[ocr errors]


[ocr errors]

The track of history is studded with similar instances of the stupidity of the professors of knowledge, as evinced by their opposition to new discoveries and new principles on scientific subjects. In each successive age new truth has had a similar reception; declared impossible, incredible, "contrary to common sense.” That Homeopathy should be thus treated is, therefore, only just as we might have anticipated. The announcement of its efficacy is startling, but not more so than that made by Galileo, viz: “the succession of day and night is occasioned by the rotation of the earth and not by that of the sun and stars”-an announcement for making which, it will ever be remembered, he was imprisoned in the Inquisition, by the Lintons of his day. How much does the statement that the earth moves, seem to contradict the common sense and common observation of all men! Still it is now confessed to be true—for it has been established by careful inquiry and demonstration. What kind of a show would our author's common sense make in deciding a question of this sort—that “universal intelligence of mankind!! which is common to all sane minds!! This “common intelligence” he tells us, is "the Ithurial Spear, which only truth can stand.Well, Galileo and Harvey and Jenner, and their sublime discoveries were subjected to this ordeal and were condemned, and it should not be surprising that Homeopathy receives a like condemnation by the same class of men. The evidence which proves the truth of the principles of Homeopathy, is the same kind as that which proves any other natural fact—it is the evidence of observation and experiment that which our senses afford us. It is of the same nature as the evi. dence we have of the relation of cause and effect, in any event which happens around us. We are not entitled to reject any thing which professes to be a fact, if supported by a sufficient amount of evidence, merely because it is inconsistent with our expectations, or does not coincide with our former experience. We are not justified in concluding against a statement of facts by a priori reasoning or theoretical considerations. Analogies may render an assertion probable, or the contrary; but no reasoning is conclusive against a matter of fact. The question is purely a question of evidence; if the evidence is sufficient, as we assert, then reason and common sense demand our assent.

[ocr errors]

With these remarks, I will leave the appeal that our opponent has made in favor of common sense, as an arbiter in experimental facts of which it knows nothing.

We pass now to notice another wonderful discovery made by our Professor, viz: “ The main remedy in most diseases is nature !” He goes on : “ What do we mean when we say that nature cures disease ? Simply this, that diseases get well of themselves; ninety out of a hundred will get well without a single dose of medicine !'” Not having had the advantages of listening to the instructive lectures of the learned Professor, I have no means of knowing with how much honesty he verifies his faith in the curative powers of nature, “in curing ninety out of every hundred cases of disease;" but suspecting that the admission was made merely to throw dust in the public eye, in reference to the cures of Homeopathy, which he could not gainsay, I opened one of his “ Text Books,”-recommended by him to his pupils, for the study of practice of medicine—“Wood's Practice of Medicine,” published in 1858; and the first chapter which struck my eye was the treatise on Bilious Fever, which all know is a very common disease in this western valley. And what treatment does Dr. Linton recommend, through Dr. Wood, for this affection? an emetic; 2nd, an active cathartic, calomel being recommended as best, 20 grs., followed in six or eight hours by 1 dr. of S. magnesia-or, in its place, either rhubarb, jalap, or com. ex colo., 8 or 10 grs. each at a dose. If this does not prove sufficient, a wine-glassful of infusion of senna with epsom salts, manna, and cardamon seed every two hours; after the bowels have been opened, once or twice a day, a repetition of the last farrago.” Another recommendation, in the early stages of bilious fever, is bleeding, from 12 to 20 ounces may be taken at once—then opium is to be administered, then diaphoritics come in, as the book says -antimonials come next, then citrate of potassa and carb. potassa. If all this produces gripings of the bowels, with frequent discharges, laudanum or sol. sulph. morphia must be added. Then comes the neutral mixture, then Dover's powders—then comes the Sampson of the Materia Medica, quinine,' which, he promises, will “cut short the disease,”-and, after all the preceding treatment, I should not be surprised if it would, and cut the patient short too.


[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]
« НазадПродовжити »