Those glorious men of science who have been for centuries the lawful administrators of the big boluses, the powerful powders, the biting blisters and the almighty emetics were ever busy drugging their victims with heroic doses of their poisons. They had made of disease an entity which they regarded as an enemy in the citadel of life and in their blind efforts to destroy this enemy, they have all too often destroyed the citadel. The patient was poisoned and poisoned and poisoned and at his funeral the people were told that "he died in the providence of God and will come to life again in the great resurrection." Instead of improving health, drugs destroy the human constitution; instead of curing our diseases, they poison us to death.

How is a man who is already sick to be made less so by swallowing a substance that would sicken, even kill him if he were to take it in a state of health? Whoever has had his bowels moved into convulsions by cathartics, his teeth rotted by mercurials, his liver enlarged and impaired by tartar emetic knows that the effects of drugging are many and varied, but always evil. In the days of which we write, patients were bled, blistered, purged, puked, narcotized, mercurialized and alcoholized into chronic invalidism or into the grave. The death rate was high and the sick man who recovered without sequelae was so rare as to be negligible. It is certain that if well persons had been put to bed and subjected to the same treatment to which the sick were subjected, they would have inevitably been made very sick and some of them would have been killed. Writing in the Journal, January 1862, Dr. Jackson says that the practices of burning, blistering and cauterizing had fallen off. Blistering had been almost as universally practiced as bleeding and for as wide a variety of conditions. "But a few years ago," he says, "if a man had a pain in the neck and sought medical advice, the physician was sure to put on a blister. If he had a pain in the side and escaped blood-letting, he was sure to have a blister as a substitute. If he had a violent headache, and the physician could not readily determine what caused it, more likely than not he would apply a blister to some part of the head; or if he desired to appear very skillful, he would put it upon some remote part of the body, intending thereby, as common folks would say, 'to draw the pain away.' Blistering was a common method of treating the following diseases: congestion of the brain, inflammation of the brain, sore eyes, sore throat, inflammation of the stomach and lungs, of the liver, of the spleen, spinal irritation, bilious, typhus and typhoid fevers, and a great many other diseases too numerous to mention. Now the day of blistering has nearly gone by."

Dr. Jackson was a bit optimistic. Blistering was still being practiced when the present author was a young lad. Not only did drug stores handle blistering plasters in the early part of this century, but physicians prescribed them and patients were tortured by them. In Jackson's day and prior thereto, physicians would bleed for palpitation, puke for bitter stomach, purge for a torpid state of the bowels, blister for pains in the side, put plasters on the chest for pains in the chest; but they would never think of removing causes. Treatment grounded upon erroneous diagnosis and indefensible in the light of later developments has always been scientific practice while in vogue. Prof. N. Chapman, M.D., while professor of medicine in a Philadelphia medical college, said to his class that by giving calomel to their patients, they could in the course of one tolerably successful season lay the foundation of the business of a lifetime, as they would ever after have as much as they could do to patch up the broken constitutions they would make during that one season. Calomel in large and frequent doses was, at that time, the chief anchor of practice among the allopaths. An old couplet has it: "Their souls were sent to heaven or hell by doctor's dose of calomel."

Chapman's was a sweeping statement, but while made in reference to the mercurials, is equally true as regards the drug system as a whole. Physicians who are free with their drugging keep themselves busy treating the effects of the drugs. It is true that often their victims desert them and go to other physicians; but the result is the same--the other physician is kept busy treating the effects of the prior drugging. Brethren of the lancet and pestle school of so-called healing were all engaged in the same sorry practice, that of poisoning the sick.

For at least a century strychnine was the best remedy the profession had for palsy, paralysis and paralytic affections. It was used to kill cats and dogs; it was deadly to hogs and cattle and, when given as a poison, slaughtered human beings. But when given as a medicine, it was a tonic, a nervine, a remedy for our palsied fellow men. Another favorite tonic of the period, one which was administered in all cases of fever and came to be regarded as a specific in malaria, was the protoplasmic poison, quinine. When McClellan's army was encamped in the Chickahominy Swamps in 1862, his soldiers were fed on quinine, administered by physicians and surgeons as a preventive of malaria at the rate of $16,000 a day with corresponding rations of whiskey. When they became sick with malaria, their doses were increased. Never was a drug so unmercifully exposed as a failure, both as a preventive and as a cure; yet, the profession continued to use it and to swear by it.

There were fads in drugging then as now. Writing in the Journal, May 1857, Solomon Fraese, M.D., said: "A druggist said to me, 'There is not one bottle of cod liver oil sold now where there were 20 sold four years ago.' Alas for the evanescent character of medical remedies! Alas for the reputation of medical men! Who does not remember the high praises that were sung to cod liver oil only four years ago?" This is but one example of the way in which drugs were lauded, widely used and then discarded, to be followed in their turn by other drugs equally as useless and often even more harmful. It was not an uncommon thing for an allopathic physician to admit that he often administered drugs that he would not take himself, nor would he permit their administration to his wife and children.

Physicians were not content to pour drugs into the stomachs and to rub them onto and into the skin, but also sent them into the body by way of the lungs. The old practice of fumigating was one of drugging the breathing apparatus with every foul thing that could be smoked, solvented, pulverized and gasified. It had long occupied the profoundest attention of many medical men. Almost everything that is known to render the atmosphere impure and unsatisfactory for healthy lungs has been inhaled by diseased lungs. The smoke of resinous substances, the miasma of swamps and effluvia of cow stables have been among the regular prescriptions for consumptive patients. Trall tells us that within a few years not less than a dozen influences and improved methods were invented to facilitate the introduction of vegetable, mineral and animal poisons and factitious and mephitic gases into the lungs.