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Man-Midwifery Exposed and Corrected
Gregory, Samuel
Published by George Gregory, New York
Location of original: Countway Rare Books, Harvard University
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woman and chastity; a triumph over delicacy, and that shrinking, modest reserve, the safeguard of virtue and the charm of female character. A glorious triumph! such as a more gallant pagan would blush to acknowledge. The doctor's doubt as to the full completion of the triumph is very reasonable. To those who have not read the history of this great 'revolution,' it may be interesting to know what hard conflicts have been witnessed, and what uproar has been heard during this long and hard-fought war between the invaders and the defenders of 'certain natural and inalienable rights.' One more quotation then from the champion, Dr. Davis. 'The transfer of these duties from one sex to the other was not indeed effected without POWERFUL OPPOSITION, and without exciting a PRODIGIOUS CLAMOR.'
With such opposition and uproar has a partial triumph in a few countries been achieved. It has evidently been uphill work for the assailants. Inch by inch has the ground been disputed.
As a specimen of the hazards incurred by the early movers in this revolution, we are informed that one Dr. Vites, of Hamburg, having disguised himself in female attire, (a very proper one, by the way, for men-midwives,) succeeded in being present at a childbirth. He was, however, arrested, and, for this outrage against the laws of nature and propriety, was publicly branded.
It appears then that we permit medical gentlemen not only to perform, but pretty much to monopolize a business, to be a spectator of which once aroused public indignation, and branded the offender with infamy. Yet, contradictory as it may seem, we have some practitioners, and some patients, and some employers, so much more delicate and pure than the good people of Hamburg, as to be utterly shocked and ready to perform a swoon at the bare idea of exposing and correcting the pernicious custom.
The progress of the new order of things was very slow, having to encounter that natural sense of propriety which even custom cannot annihilate nor thoroughly subdue. This moral and physical plague first appeared, as we have seen, in the top, or scum of society, and gradually penetrated the more solid and healthy strata.
The writer of the article 'Midwifery,' in Rees's Cyclopedia, says, 'That the poor who could not, and those who from prejudice still refused to employ men, might reap the benefits of the improvements that have been

made in the practice of the art, no women are allowed to engage in the business, who have not been previously instructed by some public teacher, and who do not obtain from him certificates of their qualifications.' This is very humane, for the authorities to provide educated midwives for the poor and the scrupulous. Among us there are multitudes of this latter class who are obliged to employ men because we have not provided midwives, with that knowledge and those certificates which would at once insure confidence in their abilities, and give them the preference over men-operators. And for our rulers and the sovereign people, by this negligence and necessity, to force the fair demurrers to act against their delicate scruples, is worse tyranny than to compel Quakers, against their consciences, to take oath or fight the Mexicans.
If, by having educated midwives, the poor and the particular can 'reap the benefits of the improvements that have been made in the practice,' as stated in the above quotation, why may not the whole community reap the same benefits in the same way?
Neither the Puritans nor the other colonists brought over any accoucheurs with them. Indeed, the name had not been 'invented,' nor the thought conceived. And for more than a century after, such a personage was not known among them.
Dr. Shippen, of Philadelphia, was the first public lecturer on midwifery, in the United States. He commenced in 1762, with a class of ten pupils.
A Dr. Atwood was the first in the city of New York, who ventured to advertise himself as a man-midwife, in 1762.
The innovation commenced somewhat later in New England. In 1820, a pamphlet, entitled, 'Remarks on the Employment of Females as Practitioners in Midwifery, by a Physician,' was published in this city of Boston. The circumstances which gave rise to the pamphlet are peculiarly interesting in connection with this subject, and the document itself is a very remarkable one, of which some use will be made in the following pages; the history of its origin will also be given. At present the pamphlet will furnish a little information as to the antiquity of man-midwifery in Boston, where the profession were first in assuming and have been foremost in playing 'the trade of a midwife.'
'Among ourselves,' says the 'Physician,' 'it is scarcely more than half a century since females were almost the only accoucheurs. It was one of the first and happiest fruits of
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