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3. The prevention of diseases depends upon the knowledge of their remote causes; which is partly delivered in the general pathology, and partly to be delivered in this treatise.
4. The cure of diseases is chiefly, and almost unavoidably, founded in the knowledge of their proximate causes. This requires an acquaintance with 'the institutions of medicine; that is, the knowledge of the structure, action, and functions of the human body; of the several changes which it may undergo; and of the several powers by which it can be changed. Our knowledge of these particulars, however, is still incomplete, is in many respects doubtful, and has been often involved in mistake and error. The doctrine, therefore, of proximate causes, founded upon that knowledge, must be frequently precarious and uncertain. It is, however, possible for a judicious physician to avoid what is vulgarly called theory, that is, all reasoning founded upon hypothesis, and thereby many of the errors which have formerly taken place in the institutions of medicine. It is possible also for a person who has an extensive knowledge of the facts relative to the animal economy in health and in sickness, by a cautious and complete induction, to establish many general principles which may guide his reasoning with safety; and while, at the same time, a physician admits, as a foundation of practice, those reason. ings only which are simple, obvious, and certain, and for the most part admits, as proximate causes, those alone that are established as matters of fact rather than as deductions of reasoning, he may with great advantage establish a system of practice chiefly founded on the doctrine of proximate causes. But when this cannot be done with sufficient cer tainty, the judicious and prudent physician will have recourse to EXPERIENCE alone; always, however, aware of the hitherto incomplete and fal. lacious state of empyricism.
5. With a strict attention to these considerations in the whole of the following treatise, I proceed to treat of particular diseases in the order of my Mythodical Nosology.
OF PYREXIÆ, or FEBRILE DISEASES.
6. PyrexiÆ, or febrile diseases, are distinguished by the following appearances. After beginning with some degree of cold shivering, they shew some increase of heat, and an increased frequency of pulse, with the interruption and disorder of several functions, particularly some diminution of strength in the animal functions.
7. Of these pyrexiæ I have formed a class, and have subdivided it into the five orders of FEVERS, INFLAMMATIONS, ERUPTIONS, HEMORRHAGIES, and FLUXES. See Synopsis Nosologiæ Methodicæ, edit, 3, 1780.
OF THE PHENOMENA OF FEVERS.
s. Those diseases are more strictly called FEVERS, which have the general symptoms of pyrexia, without having alongst with them any topical affection that is essential and primary, such as the other orders of the pyrexiæ always have.
9. Fevers, as differing in the number and va. riety of their symptoms, have been very properly considered as of distinct genera and species. But we suppose, that there are certain circumstances in common to all the diseases comprehended under this order, which are therefore those essentially necessary to, and properly constituting the nature of fever. It is our business, especially, and in the first place, to investigate these; and I expect to find them as they occur in the paroxysm or fit