the fittest champion, in view of the impending danger,---it is to be
regretted that, from the poor opinion of the cause in which he was engaged,
or some other reason, he should have withheld his own proper name, appearing
only as a 'Physician;' otherwise he might have been handed down as worthy
of the eternal gratitude of posterity, perhaps side by side with that
great obstetric benefactor, Dr. Slop. And if he is now living, he will
probably be ambitious to step forward and claim the paternity of his offspring,
as it is now of age, and like to be 'known in the world.'
The two physicians, who had been so forgetful of their obligations to
the brotherhood of the Medical Society, as to recommend the midwife, soon
desisted, as report says, from the course they had taken; for what reasons
it would probably be easy to guess; but it could not have been from having
become disbelievers in the safety of employing midiwives.
High Authority in Boston.
It may be doing justice to the two eminent medical gentlemen
who were more particularly active in introducing the midwife, before named,
into practice in this city, and whose commendable endeavors, as I am informed,
were a matter of notoriety at the time---it may, I say, be doing them
injustice to withhold their names, as being on the right side in regard
to this most important subject; it is, at any rate, doing injustice to
the cause. However, the reader may rest assured that their authority,
in regard to the safety and propriety of employing females in the practice
of midwifery, is as good as can be found in Boston, and perhaps
in the world.
There are, moreover, several other of the oldest and most distinguished
physicians of this city, who, I am satisfactorily informed, have expressed
themselves in favor of employing midwives. One of them (whose interest
would lead him to speak otherwise) remarked to an acquaintance, at the
time of the 'Lectures' here last fall, that he did not care how many midwives
they had, if they were only qualified. A gentleman states, that another
eminent physician here said, in his hearing, that he thought it rather
small business for physicians to be engaged in this women's work.
An elderly and excellent man very recently told me, that one of the two
physicians alluded to recommended Mrs. Alexander to him, as
and said it was as safe to employ her as any physician. He even presented
some reasons why it was better to have a female attendant: one was,
she had more time, could wait, and not be hurried away by other duties;
another was, she being all the time in that particular branch of practice,
her mind was upon it, and she became more familiar with the minutiae of
the business than the physician who attends to all branches of medicine;
a third reason he gave was, that she was more properly qualified by nature
for this duty.
Excellent authority! Admirable arguments in favor of midwives!
So it appears that here in Boston, the head-quarters and stronghold of man-midwifery,
the oldest and most eminent medical men are in favor of the employment of
females in the practice of midwifery.
These facts are very encouraging, and lead us to believe that as soon as
the public shall demand a change, the most eminent and influential physicians
will openly and boldly cooperate with them in bringing it about. Boston
is in a measure the depot of Fashion for New England, and here, where this
absurd custom was first introduced, is the place where its correction should
commence; and as is the fountain so will be the streams. There is here abundance
of wealth, and public spirit, and moral principle, to carry out any enterprise
which the general good requires. Surely, then, an object, which is recommeded
by the common sense of mankind and their innate ideas of the fitness of
things, cannot long remain in need of the influence and aid requisite for
The first thing needed is a suitable degree of knowledge upon the subject,
to make its importance duly appreciated. Let, then, those who have correct
ideas endeavor to enlighten others. Let every man, in public or private,
communicate the information he possesses, and exert his influence. Let every
woman who detests the present practice endeavor to inspire the same feeling
in the minds of her acquaintances; and it will not be long before the community
will be leavened. Public instruction and diplomas for midwives are
the things to be aimed at, but women should not lose time by waiting
for them. They should read books on midwifery, and those who have the practical
knowlege should assist others in acquiring it.
But let us now inquire whether it is safer to employ men or women as midwives.