Page images





To deliver a system of the doctrines and rules proper for directing the practice of physic, is an undertaking that appears to me to be attended with great difficulty; and, after an experience of more than forty years in that practice, as well as after much reading and reflection, it was with great diffidence that I ever entered upon such a work. It was, however, what seemed to be my duty as a professor, that induced me to make the attempt ; and I was engaged in it by the same sentiments that the illustrious Dr. Boerhaave has expressed in the following passage of the preface to his Institutions. Simul enim docendo admotus eram sensi, propriorum cogitatorum explicatione docentem plus proficere, quam si opus ob alio conscriptum interpretari suscipit. Sua quippe optime intelligit, sua quique præ cæteris placent, unde clarior fere doctrina, atque animata plerumque sequitur oratio.

VOL. 1.

Qui vero sensa alterius exponit, infelicius sæpenumero eadem assequitur ; quumque suo quisque sensu abundat, multa refutanda frequenter invenit, unde gravem frustra laborem aggravat, minusque incitata dictione utitur. It is well known, that a text-book is not only extremely useful, but necessary, to students who are to hear lectures : and, from the same considerations that moved Dr. Boerhaave, I also wished to have one for myself ; while, at the same time, from some peculiar circumstances in my situation, I had some additional inducements to undertake such a work..

Before I was established as a professor of the practice of physic in this university, I had been employed in giving clinical lectures in the royal infirmary; and upon that occasion had delivered what, in my own opinion, seemed mast just, with regard to both the nature and the cure of the diseases of which I had occasion to treat. But I soon found, that my doctrines were taken notice of as new, and peculiar to myself; and were accordingly severely criticised by those who, having long before been trained up in the system of Boerhaave, had continued to think that that system neither required any change, nor admitted of any amenda ment., I found, at the same time, that my doctrines were frequently criticised by persons who either had not been informed of them correctly, or who seemed not to understand them fully; and

« PreviousContinue »