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Cato, who wrote to this effect, died in his eighty-fifth year, in the year of the City 605; so that no one is to suppose that he had not sufficient time to form his experience, either with reference to the duration of the republic, or the length of his own life. Well then-are we to conclude that he has stamped with condemnation a thing that in itself is most useful? Far from it, by Hercules! for he subjoins an account of the medical prescriptions, by the aid of which he had ensured to himself and to his wife a ripe old age; prescriptions1 upon which we are now about to enlarge. He asserts also that he has a book of recipes in his possession, by the aid of which he treats the maladies of his son, his servants, and his friends; a book from which we have extracted the various prescriptions according to the several maladies for which they are employed.

It was not the thing itself that the ancients condemned, but it was the art as then practised, and they were shocked, more particularly, that man should pay so dear for the enjoyment of life. For this reason it was, they say, that the Temple of Æsculapius, even after he was received as a divinity, was built without the City, and afterwards on an island;2 for this reason, too, it was, that when, long after the time of Cato, the Greeks were expelled from Italy, the physicians were not3 exempted from the decree. And here I will4 improve upon the foresight displayed by them. Medicine is the only one of the arts of Greece, that, lucrative as it is, the Roman gravity has hitherto refused to cultivate. It is but very few of our fellow-citizens that have even attempted it, and so soon as ever they have done so, they have become deserters to the Greeks forth with.5 Nay, even more than this, if they attempt to treat of it in any other language than Greek, they are sure to lose all credit, with the most ignorant even, and those who do not understand a word of Greek; there being all the less confidence felt by our people in that which so nearly concerns their welfare, if it happens to be intelligible to them. In fact, this is the only one of all the arts, by Hercules! in which the moment a man declares6 himself to be an adept, he is at once believed, there being at the same time no imposture, the results of which are more fraught with peril. To all this, however, we give no attention, so seductive is the sweet influence of the hope entertained of his ultimate recovery by each.

And then besides, there is no law in existence whereby to punish the ignorance of physicians, no instance before us of capital punishment inflicted. It is at the expense of our perils that they learn, and they experimentalize by putting us to death, a physician being the only person that can kill another with sovereign impunity. Nay, even more than this, all the blame is thrown upon the sick man only; he is accused of disobedience forthwith, and it is the person who is dead and gone that is put upon his trial. It is the usage at Rome for the decuries7 to pass examination under the censorship of the emperor, and for inquisitions to be made at our party-walls8 even: persons who are to sit in judgment on our monetary matters are sent for to Gades9 and the very Pillars of Hercules; while a question of exile is never entertained without a panel of forty-five men selected for the purpose.10 But when it is the judge's own life that is at stake, who are the persons that are to hold council upon it, but those who the very next moment are about to take it!

And yet so it is, that we only meet with our deserts, no one of us feeling the least anxiety to know what is necessary for his own welfare. We walk11 with the feet of other people, we see with the eyes of other people, trusting to the memory of others we salute one another, and it is by the aid of others that we live. The most precious objects of existence, and the chief supports12 of life, are entirely lost to us, and we have nothing left but our pleasures to call our own. I will not leave Cato exposed to the hatred of a profession so ambitious as this, nor yet that senate which judged as he did, but at the same time I will pursue my object without wresting to my purpose the crimes practised by its adepts, as some might naturally expect. For what profession has there been more fruitful in poisonings, or from which there have emanated more frauds upon wills And then, too, what adulteries have been committed, in the very houses of our princes even! the intrigue of Eudemus,13 for example, with Livia, the wife of Drusus Cæsar, and that of Valens with the royal lady previously mentioned.14 Let us not impute these evils, I say, to the art, but to the men who practise it; for Cato, I verily believe, as little apprehended such practices as these in the City, as he did the presence of royal ladies15 there.

I will not accuse the medical art of the avarice even of its professors, the rapacious bargains made with their patients while their fate is trembling in the balance, the tariffs framed upon their agonies, the monies taken as earnest for the dispatching of patients, or the mysterious secrets of the craft. I will not mention how that cataract must be couched16 only, in the eye, in preference to extracting it at once—practices, all of them, which have resulted in one very great advantage, by alluring hither such a multitude of adventurers; it being no moderation on their part, but the rivalry existing between such numbers of practitioners, that keeps their charges within moderation. It is a well-known fact that Charmis, the physician17 already mentioned, made a bargain with a patient of his in the provinces, that he should have two hundred thousand sesterces for the cure; that the Emperor Claudius extorted from Alcon, the surgeon,18 ten millions of sesterces by way of fine; and that the same man, after being recalled from his exile in Gaul, acquired a sum equally large in the course of a few years.

These are faults, however, which must be imputed to individuals only; and it is not my intention to waste reproof upon the dregs of the medical profession, or to call attention to the ignorance displayed by that crew,19 the violation of all regimen in their treatment of disease, the evasions practised in the use of warm baths, the strict diet they imperiously prescribe, the food that is crammed into these same patients, exhausted as they are, several times a day; together with a thousand other methods of showing how quick they are to change their mind, their precepts for the regulation of the kitchen, and their recipes for the composition of unguents, it being one grand object with them to lose sight of none of the usual incitements to sensuality. The importation of foreign merchandize, and the introduction of tariffs settled by foreigners,20 would have been highly displeasing to our ances- tors, I can readily imagine; but it was not these inconveniences that Cato had in view, when he spoke thus strongly in condemnation of the medical art.

"Theriace"21 is the name given to a preparation devised by luxury; a composition formed of six hundred22 different ingredients; and this while Nature has bestowed upon us such numbers of remedies, each of which would have fully answered the purpose employed by itself! The Mithridatic23 antidote is composed of four and fifty ingredients, none of which are used in exactly the same proportion, and the quantity prescribed is in some cases so small as the sixtieth part of one denarius! Which of the gods, pray, can have instructed man in such trickery as this, a height to which the mere subtlety of human invention could surely never have reached? It clearly must emanate from a vain ostentation of scientific skill, and must be set down as a monstrous system of puffing off the medical art.

And yet, after all, the physicians themselves do not understand this branch of their profession; and I have ascertained that it is a common thing for them to put mineral vermilion24 in their medicines, a rank poison, as I shall have occasion25 to show when I come to speak of the pigments, in place of Indian cinnabar, and all because they mistake the name of the one drug for that of the other! These, however, are errors which only concern the health of individuals, while it is the practices which Cato foresaw and dreaded, less dangerous in themselves and little regarded, practices, in fact, which the leading men in the art do not hesitate to avow, that have wrought26 the corruption of the manners of our empire.

The practices I allude to are those to which, while enjoying robust health, we submit: such, for instance, as rubbing the body with wax and oil,27 a preparation for a wrestling match, by rights, but which, these men pretend, was invented as a preservative of health; the use of hot baths, which are necessary, they have persuaded us, for the proper digestion of the food, baths which no one ever leaves without being all the weaker for it, and from which the more submissive of their patients are only carried to the tomb; potions taken fasting; vomits to clear the stomach, and then a series of fresh drenchings with drink; emasculation, self-inflicted by the use of pitch-plasters as depilatories; the public exposure, too, of even the most delicate parts of the female body for the prosecution of these practices. Most assuredly so it is, the contagion which has seized upon the public morals, has had no more fertile source than the medical art, and it continues, day by day even, to justify the claims of Cato to be considered a prophet and an oracle of wisdom, in that assertion of his, that it is quite sufficient to dip into the records of Greek genius, without becoming thoroughly acquainted with them.

Such then is what may be said in justification of the senate and of the Roman people, during that period of six hundred years in which they manifested such repugnance to an art, by the most insidious terms of which, good men are made to lend their credit and authority to the very worst, and so strongly entered their protest against the silly persuasions entertained by those, who fancy that nothing can benefit them but what is coupled with high price.

I entertain no doubt, too, that there will be found some to express their disgust at the particulars which I am about to give, in relation to animals: and yet Virgil himself has not disdained —when, too, there was no necessity for his doing so-to speak of ants and weevils, "And nests by beetles made that shun the light."28 Homer,29 too, amid his description of the battles of the gods, has not disdained to remark upon the voracity of the common fly; nor has Nature, she who engendered man, thought it beneath her to engender these insects as well. Let each then make it his care, not so much to regard the thing itself, as to rightly appreciate in each case the cause and its effects.

1 Marked by their supereminent absurdity, as Fée remarks.

2 Formed by the river Tiber. See the Quæst. Rom. of Plutarch, on this subject.

3 We have adopted Sillig's suggestion, and read "nec" for "et" here. The meaning, however, is very doubtful.

4 "Augebo providentiam illorum." The meaning of this passage also is doubtful.

5 By adopting that language instead of the Latin; Sextius Niger, for instance.

6 Diplomas seem to have been less cared for in those times than at the present day even, when quackery has so free a range.

7 See B. iii. c. 26, and B. xxxiii. cc. 7, 8.

8 "Inquisitio per parietes." The reading is doubtful, but he not im- probably alludes to the employment of spies.

9 Hardouin thinks that he alludes to Cornelius Balbus here, a native of Gades. See B. v. c. 5, and B. vii. 44.

10 "Electis viris datur tabula." He alludes to the three tablets delivered to the Judices, one of which had inscribed on it "Acquitted," another "Not proven," and a third "Guilty"—Absolvatur, Non liquet, and Condemno.

11 "In this place he casteth in the Romans' teeth, their Lecticarii, Anag- nostec, and Nomseclatores."—Holland. Letter-bearers, readers, and prompters as to the names of the persons addressed.

12 He alludes to the resources of medicine.

13 A physician at Rome, who was afterwards put to the torture for this crime. Livia was the daughter of Drusus Nero, the brother of Tiberius.

14 Messalina, mentioned in c. 5 of this Book.

15 Nothing could possibly be more remote from his republican notions, than "reginæ" at Rome.

16 "Emovendam." In order that a future job may be ensured.

17 In c. 5 of this Book.

18 "Vulnerum medico."

19 "Ejus turbæ."

20 See B. xxiv. c. 1.

21 The origin of our word "treacle." See B. xx. c. 100, and Note 97.

22 Used as a round number, like our expression "ten thousand."

23 See B. xxiii. c. 77, and B. xxv. c. 26.

24 "Minium." This red lead had the name of "cinnabaris nativa," whence the error.

25 In B. xxxiii. c. 38.

26 As tending to effeminacy, or undermining the constitution.

27 See B. xxviii. c. 13.

28 "Lucifugis congesta cubilia blattis." Georg. I. 184, IV. 243.

29 Il. xvii. 570, et seq.

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