This system of medical practice, unlike most other systems, is the result of experience. Facts were first established, and then a theory based on such facts. Without facts it is as impossible to establish a correct theory as to commence building a chimney at the top. There would be no difficulty if the first brick could be made to stick. So in medical science. Establish one important fact, and you have a foundation on which you may build with safety.
Dr. Thomson, the author of the system that bears his name, was altogether unacquainted with the prevailing theories of medicine. His mind was therefore untrammeled. If, as Dr. Rush has said, those physicians become most eminent who soonest emancipate themselves from the tyranny of the schools of physic; was it good reason why Dr. Thomson could not be a reformer, because he had never been enslaved by these theories ? He took reason and common sense for his guide, and established every principle by long experience. It was the inefficiency of the regular practice that induced him to turn his attention to the subject of medicine. His children were attacked by disease, a regular physician was called, exhausted his skill, and abandoned them to the cold embrace of death. At this critical period, Dr. Thomson resolved to call into exercise his own judgment in the use of such remedies as he had become acquainted with in his earlier days. Necessity is the mother of invention. He applied these remedies, and succeeded beyond his most sanguine expectations. All of them recovered under his treatment, besides his companion who was given up by five physicians.
In this simple manner originated a system of medical practice, based on the immutable principles of truth, that has saved thousands of suffering human beings from the jaws of death, who had been abandoned by the medical faculty to die. It soon became a topic of conversation, in the region around, that Mr. Thomson, an illiterate farmer, had cured five of his family after the doctors had given them up to die. Soon he was called to administer to his neighbors after all other remedies failed, and such universal success attended his practice, that his name and unexampled success were soon known abroad: and so numerous were his calls to attend the sick, that he was under the necessity of relinquishing his farm and devoting himself exclusively to the practice of medicine. We now find the illiterate farmer a doctor-- a graduate of the school of nature, with almost universal success for his diploma.
Little did he think, when he yielded to the pressing requests of the suffering and dying to administer to their relief, that he should call down upon his head the curses and denunciations of the whole medical faculty, whose craft they now saw to be is danger. But he soon fully realized that the sentiment of the celebrated Dr. Harsey was true-- "that he who attempts a reform in medicine, runs the risk of the sacrifice of his life, reputation, and estate." Such was his success in curing the incurables of the faculty, that their indignation was aroused against him, and poured on his devoted head without mercy. Every means within their power were used to destroy him and his followers. If one in a thousand of his patients died, although they might have been incurable when he commenced upon them, he was charged with murder, and in one instance was prosecuted and put into prison. Notwithstanding the deep rooted prejudice, and time-honored usages of the people, and the hellish animosity and unprecedented persecution of a profession whose influence was almost omnipotent, Thomsonism has flourished and progressed until its remedial agents have found admittance into nearly every hamlet and mansion in the United States.