What is it? What are the principles on which it is founded ? and what are the results of those principles, carried out in practice? Science is knowledge. The science of medicine is a knowledge of the art of preventing and curing disease. Where can this knowledge be obtained? Should we heap together all that has been written on the subject of medicine, it would form a mountain, the base of which would spread out over the earth, and its summit penetrate the clouds. In perusing these works, we are astonished and disappointed: astonished, that such a combination of talent, erudition, and persevering research,should arrive at conclusions so visionary and unsatisfactory; disappointed, in not finding the knowledge of a remedy for the cure of disease. We must give these authors the credit of making untiring effort, and bestowing incessant labor upon the subject, but like the man who attempted to cross a pond frozen over, during a violent snow-storm; the snow flew so thick, that he soon lost sight of either shore, and after wandering many hours, he found himself on the same shore from which he started. So with medical authors: having no compass, and the visionary theories of others flying so thick about them, involved them in darkness, and they wandered in uncertainty and doubt, until they arrived at the same point from which they started, having found no facts on which to base medical science.
The reason is obvious. Truth is plain and simple. God, in his wisdom, has adapted important truths to the capacity of feeble intellects,-- "has chosen the weak things of the world to confound the wise." While the learned and wise in the literary lore of medical universities were groping amidst this darkness, uncertainty and doubt, in search of facts on which to base a correct theory each fully conscious that the discovery of such facts would enable him to write his name high on the temple of fame--Dr. Thomson, an illiterate farmer, stumbled on the prize. Rude and uncultivated though he was, he discovered facts which are destined to overturn the visionary theories of his predecessors. With nothing more than a general knowledge of the structure of the human body and the functions of its organs, he, by experience alone, dictated by common sense and reason, obtained the knowledge of a safe and efficient method of treating disease, that the experience of thousands for forty years, has confirmed. We shall endeavor to prove that the system of practice introduced by Dr. Thomson, and improved by many of his coadjutors, has more claim to the appellation of "the science of medicine," than any other system that has been yet introduced. Imperfect though it may be, its success in the cure of disease stands unrivaled.