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he promises a great reformation upon the subject : but this falls so far short of the idea of British physicians, that I need not make any remarks upon it. With respect to his list of simples, or Emporetica, as he is pleased to term them, an English apothecary would smile at it; and with respect to his Officinalia, I believe they are to be found nowhere but in the Codex Medicamentarius of Paris; and in his Magistralia his doses are generally such as the most timid practitioner of this country would hardly descend to, and such as none of our practitioners of experience would depend upon. In short, the whole of the work, both with respect to the theories with which it abounds, and to the facts which it gives, will not, in my apprehension, bear any serious criticism. But I must conclude, and shall only say further, that such as I have represented it, is this work, executed by a man of the first rank in the profession. It is indeed for that reason I have chosen it as the example of a work, upon the plan of giving facts only, and of avoiding the study, or even the notice, of the proximate causes of diseases : and with what advantage such a plan is pursued, I shall leave my readers to consider.
In the following treatise, I have followed a different course. I have endeavoured to collect the facts relative to the diseases of the human body, as fully as the nature of the work, and the bounds
necessarily prescribed to it, would admit : but I have not been satisfied with giving the facts, without endeavouring to apply them to the investigation of proximate causes, and upon these to esta . blish a more scientific and decided method of cure. In aiming at this, I flatter myself that I have avoided hypotheses, and what have been called theories. I have, indeed, endeavoured to establish many general doctrines, both physiological and pathological; but I trust that these are only a generalization of facts, or conclusions from a cautious and full induction, and if any one shall refuse to admit, or directly shall oppose, my general doctrines, he must do it by shewing that I have been deficient or mistaken in assuming and applying facts. I have, myself, been jealous of my being sometimes imperfect in these respects; but I have generally endeavoured to obviate the consequences of this, by proving, that the proximate causes which I have assigned are true in fact, as well as deductions from any reasoning that I may seem to have employed. Further, to obviate any dangerous fallacy in proposing a inethod of cure, I have always been anxious to suggest that which, to the best of my judgment, appeared to be the method approved of by experience, as much as it was the consequence of system.
Upon this general plan I have endeavoured to form a system of physic that should comprehend
the whole of the facts relating to the science, and that will, I hope, collect and arrange them in better order than has been done before, as well as point out in particular those which are still wanting to establish general principles. This, which I have attempted, may, like other systems, hereafter suffer a change; but I am confident, that we are at present in a better train of investigation than physicians were in before the time of Dr. Hoffman. The affections of the motions and moving powers of the animal economy, must certainly be the leading inquiry in considering the diseases of the human body. The inquiry may be difficult; but it must be attempted, or the subject must be deserted altogether. I have, therefore, assumed the general principles of Hoffman, as laid down in the passage which I have quoted above: and if I have rendered them more correct, and more extensive in their application; and, more particular. ly, if I have avoided introducing the many hypothetical doctrines of the humoral pathology, which disfigured both his and all the other systems which have hitherto prevailed; I hope I shall be excused for attempting a system, which, upon the whole, may appear new.
Edinburgh, November 1783.
PRACTICE OF PHYSIC.
1. In teaching the PRACTICE OF PHYSIC, we endeavour to give instructions for discerning, distinguishing, preventing, and curing diseases, as they occur in particular persons,
2. The art of DISCERNING and DISTINGUISHING diseases, may be best attain ed by an accurate and .. complete observation of their phenomena, as these occur in concourse and in succession; and by constantly endeavouring to distinguish the peculiar and inseparable concurrence of symptoms, to establish a METHODICAL NOSOLOGY, or an arrangement of diseases according to their genera and species, founded upon observation alone, abstracted from all reasoning. Such an arrangement I have attempted in another work, to which, in the course of the present, I shall frequently refer.