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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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not to be permitted to hear such lectures---the arguments in favor of midwives and against men-meddlers,---especially they ought not to hear the exposure of medical depravity, lest it should corrupt their morals. Perhaps the 'married men,' to whom the lectures were addressed, feel competent to listen to an important subject, and then judge for themselves. Physicians dictate in the obstetric room, and often tell the husbands they 'can't come in;' but when 'married men' wish to attend a public lecture, they may not think it necessary to ask leave of their men-midwives.
But, says the critic, 'the lecture which we attended was publicly announced to be for married men. This was another contrivance, under the semblance of extreme delicacy, to gather a crowd. There were young men present who were not old enough to assume the reponsibilities of a married life, besides numbers who would not if they could.'
The door-keeper was not authorized to demand the 'marriage certificate' of those who presented themselves, and it is not easy to tell by a man's looks precisely whether he is married or not; and the Journal does not pretend to say that there were any there younger than 'young men.' But by what sort of physiological or physiognomical science he ascertained that there were 'numbers who would not if they could,' does not appear; but the insinuation is as unhandsome as it is unjust to the gentlemen assembled there; for not a more respectable or attentive audience could be found in this or any other city. Hear the testimony of a non-professional editor upon this matter.
The Boston Traveller, in a notice of 'Lectures to Married Men,' says, 'We took occasion to listen to Mr. Gregory, on Thursday evening, and came to the conclusion that it was a subject of importance; and the audience, which was evidently composed of thinking, candid men, manifested a high degree of interest. Considering the course which Mr. G. takes, of inviting in married men only, we can see no impropriety in enlightening the public; every one may then be his own judge in the matter.'
In fact, so far from being improper to inform those 'who are not old enough to assume the responsibilities of married life,' it is highly important that young men and young women should, in season, have instilled into their minds an abhorrence of this demoralizing practice. The next day after one of my lectures, a young married man, an entire
stranger, who had heard the lecture, stopped me in the street, shook my hand very cordially, and said he was exceedingly gratified that he had become informed seasonably in regard to this subject. Others have said, 'If I had known before what I do now, I should have done differently from what I have."
In order to correct the iniquities which grow out of this and other medical duties, it is absolutely necessary to expose them to public view; and he who condemns the exposure, prefers the continuance of them. The greatest danger is, that it will excite in the minds of still greater numbers of young men a desire to study medicine---wild young men having, as Dr. Ewell says, 'great curiosity about women.' Just to show how the mind sometimes runs: A gentleman in Weymouth said to me, that he had a medical student boarding with him, teaching the district school, to pay the expenses of his medical tuition. It happened that on one occasion they were sitting up after midnight; and the gentleman remarked to the student, 'Well, sir, it is about time you were abed.' 'O,' said he, 'never mind; I must get toughened to it; I shall have to be up taking care of the women'!!! In the name of decency and morality, cut off such allurements to those interesting and curious young men; cut off the golden bait which accompanies the other attractions; let 'taking care of the women' be given up to women; and it would tend to check the rush of young men into the medical profession. And this would be of essential benefit to those already in practice; for no physician can now go to bed with any feeling of security, that when he steps out in the morning he will not see the sign of young Dr. Somebody for his next door neighbor.
Having noticed the main points in the criticism of the Medical and Surgical Journal, we now come to a valuable item in it---very valuable, from the high source from which it emanates. The editor thinks 'the idea that the whole system of obstetric medicine can be changed,' by such humble means, is utterly 'preposterous.' He finds fault with the authority,' not only as regards the lecturer, but with that drawn from professional sources. But perhaps he will admit such testimony as this work presents from eminent medical men, 'in good and regular standing,' and also such evidence as is obtained from his excellent Journal, and certainly that derived from himself. Here it is:
'We should be perfectly satisfied to have
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