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[564] in the spinal cord.1 In his view the original injury had resulted in an effusion of liquid about the brain, and in a slight degree of congestion,—chiefly, if not wholly, confined to the membrane around the brain, but taking effect by counter-stroke in the spine. To Sumner's instant inquiry as to the remedy, the doctor replied ‘fire;’ and the patient asking for an immediate application, the moxa was applied that afternoon to the back of the neck and to the spine.2 Sumner was asked whether he would take chloroform or not, and he at once wished to know whether the remedy would be less effective with its use; and being answered that it might be, he refused it, although in other like cases it was usually availed of to moderate pain. During the application, which lasted from five to ten minutes, Sumner held firmly the back of a chair, and griping it in his agony, broke the back. The fire was applied six times within two weeks, leaving wounds which, with the inflammation and suppuration, made motion difficult, and seriously interrupted sleep. Pains came in other parts of the body, as in the legs,—driven there, as it was thought, by the moxa. The doctor came daily to dress the wounds, and by the middle of August had made forty-five visits, passing nearly an hour with his patient at each visit. He gave a memorandum at the time:—

I have applied six moxas to Senator Sumner's neck and back, and he has borne these exceedingly painful applications with the greatest courage and patience. A moxa is a burning of the skin with inflamed agaric (amadou), cotton wood, or some other very combustible substance. I have never seen a Man bearing with such fortitude as Mr. Sumner has shown the extremely violent pain of this kind of burning.3

1 Works, vol. IV. p. 33n. Two letters from the correspondent of the New York Tribune, the first dated June 23, and published July 9, and the second dated July 26, and published August 10, give an account of the treatment, after interviews with the doctor and his patient.

2 The moxa is a mode of cauterization known to the ancients, but in modern times is chiefly confined to Japan and China, where it is freely applied. It is now rejected as a remedy in civilized countries, and is barely mentioned in the medical literature of the present day, milder applications being found equally effective. Larousse's ‘Dictionnaire Universel,’ vol. XI.; Holmes and Hulkes's ‘System of Surgery,’ vol. i. p. 946; vol. III. pp. 640-642. Dr. Hayward at the time recommended Vienna paste instead of the moxa. He had advised against consulting Velpeau, for the reason that he would apply a hot iron to the spine. D r. Brown-Sequard has not treated the moxa at length in any publication; and after applying it to Sumner he discontinued its use, regarding the pain which he saw him suffer as too severe for the human system. This explanation of his disuse of the remedy he gave to the writer in Paris, who has endeavored to obtain from him a complete account of his treatment of Sumner's case; but though promised, it has never been given.

3 In a lecture in Boston, March 14, 1874, the doctor stated that he never saw a patient who submitted to such treatment in that way, and that Sumner's terrible suffering was the greatest he had ever inflicted on any being,—man or animal. New York Tribune, March 18, 1874.

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