Midwifery, or the obstetrical art, a branch of mediciue which requires no farther definition.—In most countries of Europe, and in other parts of the globe, it is prac-1 by women ; for it comprehends their management both before and after delivery, as well as the treatment of the child during the earliest period of life.
A!though we have, in a preceding part of this Ency/clopaedia, re-he reader to the present article, with respect, to after- birth, yet we cannot, conformably to our plan, enter minutely on the subject. It deserves, however, to be remarked, that every degree of anxiety, or impatient conduct, in mid wives and nurses, is highly reprehensible on such occasions ; for Nature rarely fails to perform her kind offices to the mother as well as to the infant. Hence it will be found from experience, that those accoucheurs are uniformly the most successful in the exercise of their profession, who possess a due share of knowledge of the human con-stitution, together with a philosophical coolness to resist the solicit-ous, applications made by timorous, and often mischievous relations.— On the whole, we cannot omit this opportunity of expressing our con-:ion of the benefits which society has already derived from professional accoucheurs ; and, if the lower classes are still inclined to employ their favourite midwives, we trust the day is not far distant, when such persons will be subjected to a rigorous examination of their talents, and qualifications to undertake an office, equally important and fraught with responsibility.—We have ventured to express these sentiments, neither with a view to decry the propriety of employing women (who, if possessed of equal skill and information, cer-tainly deserve the preference) in this primary department of the healing art ; nor is it our intention indiscriminately to introduce into families an inexperienced young accoucheur, instead of a grave and •expert old matron. The former Would be an encroachment on female privilege 5 while the latter might prove a rash and dangerous ure.