Dr. Paine's Introductory Lecture

1841 Boston Medical and Surgical Journal  
It has ever happened, as an inevitable consequence of the fundamental alliance between healthy and morbid processes, that, whenever chemistry, or physics in a more general sense, has invaded organic nature, the philosophy of disease and of therapeutics has followed in abject submission. I cannot now conduct you through the astonishing details, which, taken one by one, would show you that organization-aye. lhat intellectual being whose divine portrait was so vividly drawn on Tuesday eveningis
more » ... uesday eveningis practically regarded, as it is theoretically pronounced, a mere chemical laboratory,* composed of tubes of various calibre, amenable to the laws of chemistry, which, it is imagined, may yet be imitated by the hand of man, and that with the aid of the vital properties in the elements of matter (and of course, by analogy, the soul also), whose primeval existence in this relation is maintained for contingent purposes, the confident hope is promulgated that the laboratory will yet be able to exert the highest Prerogative of Creative Power. Already, indeed, it has been given out, ex cathedra, that nothing is easier than the accomplishment of digestion by artificial mixtures, in the preparation of which, as I have said, the furnace is sometimes instrumental-that nothing is easier than the artificial fabrication of those organic compounds which are elaborated by an unfathomable organization that was designed for this specific purpose by the Divine Mind-but, not till the alimentary material has been vitally decompounded and its elements recombined in a mysterious manner by the gastric juice-then subjected to the farther organizing effects of the bile and other organic products-passed through the wonderfully vivifying lacteals-carried forward and subjected to the whole animating influence of the pulmonary system-perfected in its exalted endowments by the whole labyrinth of the circulatory organs-and lastly, though not least, determined from the blood in one everlastingly exact manner by other complex living systems-but how, no imagination can form the most remote conception, but through the instrumentality of those specific properties of life, which were the only power concerned from the beginning to the ending of the astonishing series of unvarying changes ;-and, as might be inferred from the utterly groundless pretensions, aspirants have lately appeared with animals, composed of nerves, stomachs, respiratory organs, eyes, ears, instinct, Sic.-both male and female, as on a former
doi:10.1056/nejm184112220252001 fatcat:o7drngbu4bfgjehpoay5fykz3a