good reason for employing this one, there is good reason for employing
another; therefore, why employ her at all? And besides, one cannot last
forever, so that her patients must finally return to the employment of
physicians, which must become doubly disagreeable from the idea which
has been cherished, and will become more powerful, that their employment
is indelicate and improper.
And this in fact affords the only argument which can be adduced
with any show of plausibility in favour of the employment of females.
It is founded on a consideration of the natural delicacy of feeling which
is violated by the employment of physicians as accoucheurs. There would
certainly be some weight in this taken singly; but if what has been said
is just, it is of little moment. Safety is the first circumstance to be
regarded; every thing else must and will yield to this.
But it is worth while to examine this point a little more
closely. I respect as much as any man those nice feelings of delicacy
in the sex, on which this argument is founded; it is upon their preservation
that the honour, the dignity, the virtue of the sex depend. There can
be no doubt that the attendance of a female must be more grateful to these
feelings, and that they must be somewhat wounded at first by the presence
of a physician. But is there really any less delicacy of character? If
the indelicacy is not felt till it is suggested, it does not exist. Such
have been the customs of society for several generations, that the employment
of physicians has been considered as a matter of course. The propriety