Pulmonary consumption is characterized by emaciation, debility, cough, hectic fever, and purulent expectoration, night sweats, etc. One writer enumerates thirty different species of consumption; but this enumeration seems unnecessary for practical purposes. When one lobe is affected, the disease is very slow in its progress, often lasting for many years; but when the substance of both lungs is affected, the disease progresses rapidly, commonly called the galloping consumption.

This disease has prevailed extensively from the earliest periods of history to the present time, and has swept more from the earth than the sword or famine. In all northern climates it commits the most terrible ravages. A writer, some years since, computed that out of a population of eleven millions, in the island of Great Britain, fifty-five thousand annually died of the consumption- and the same fatality attends the disease in this climate. I presume one third of all those who die in this country are taken off by pneumonic diseases, or affections of the lungs; all which shows not only the prevalence and fatality of the complaint, but likewise the inefficacy of the various methods of treatment, including the vast number of boasted nostrums of the day, with which the community are now so shamefully deceived and imposed upon.

A consumptive taint may be transmitted from parents to children, and produce a development of the disease at different periods of their lives, owing to those circumstances which are calculated to call this consumptive predisposition into action. A whole family has enjoyed comparative good health, till a certain period of life, when, upon a sudden attack of severe cold, or some other exciting cause, consumption has supervened and proved fatal to all; no doubt, some such case has come under the observation of the reader.

Among the remote causes, we may enumerate the particular formation of the body; such as prominent shoulders, narrow chests, etc.; scrofulous habit, bronchitis, pneumonia scrofula, and the sequel of eruptive diseases; particular employments, exposing the person to inhalation of dusty particles of matter, and fumes of metals and minerals; sedentary life, depressing passions, great evacuations, intemperance, nursing of infants too long, and whatever else induces debility; tight lacing, which serves to compress the chest and circumscribe the action of the pulmonary muscles; and lastly, the application of cold to the body, when in a state of perspiration, which is by far the most common of all causes; which shows the danger of the ball-room, where exercise is performed till the pores are opened, and suddenly closed by the application of cold, which ends in consumption; nearly every patient who applies for medical aid, in speaking of the cause of his disease, refers to the time when he experienced a sudden check of perspiration, and date it from that period.

I may also mention those positions of the body which oblige the person to continue long in a stooping posture, as at the desk, in the manufacture of shoes, factories, sewing, etc.; also such employments as keep the hands and feet unnaturally cold.

The proximate or immediate cause may be ascribed to irritation on the delicate coat of the lungs, producing organic change or lesion of their structure, subsequently inducing tubercles or ulcers. There is a deleterious agent or fluid carried to this organ, which all of us daily receive into the system in our food and drink, instead of being carried off by the excretory vessels of the system. As an evidence of this, we find that as soon as a person whose lungs are weak, or who is predisposed to consumption, experiences a check of perspiration, or to use a common expression, takes cold, he immediately feels an irritation on the lungs, and begins to cough. This demonstrates that there is an offending matter, or noxious agent, which should be carried off by perspiration; hence the importance of keeping up a uniform determination to the surface, in order to preserve health.


It is generally supposed that pulmonary consumption is incurable. But the success of the Thomsonian practice in curing this form of disease, goes to prove that in many cases it can be cured. The patient, in order to be cured, must be willing to pursue strictly the prescribed course; denying himself of every indulgence that is injurious, and faithfully attending to every prescription calculated to benefit him.

It is generally necessary to administer two or three courses of medicine in a week, after having prepared the system for them by taking warming medicines a number of days previously. Between the courses, take one of the pills No. 1, every four hours, and the composition and spiced bitters according to the directions under the head of compounds.

A proper regard to diet, exercise and air, is very important in consumptive cases. The food should consist of coarse wheat bread, rice, ripe fruit, etc., eaten at regular meals only, and regular exercise in the open air, if the strength and weather permit. An effort should be made to exercise as much as possible, as many persons have been cured by a persevering effort of this kind. The surface should be bathed all over twice a day in cold water, if there be sufficient vitality to produce reaction; or if not, brandy and water, followed by friction with a coarse towel fifteen or twenty minutes. The feet should be protected from wet and cold.