| ceived this seal of affection, had
heard that their husbands were seen kissing other ladies, they would have
had sad forebodings that improper sentiments at least existed between the
An honorable physician would not designedly do
any thing to bring about an unhappy result; but in the medical profession,
as in others, there are all sorts of men. Many a one, of course, base enough
to gratify his vanity by making a conquest of another man's wife. Many others,
in Bible language, 'having eyes full of adultery, and that cannot cease
from sin; beguiling unstable souls; a heart have they exercised with covetous
practices; cursed children.' Various hypotheses have been offered to explain
why the study and practice of medicine tend to irreligion, infidelity, and
consequent want of principle, as has been observed by moralists, and medical
authors themselves. Some suppose the constant dwelling on the material part
of human nature creates an indifference to the spiritual and moral portion.
A truer explanation would be, the nature of the physician's duties, the
great intimacy now required between physician's and the female population.
It operates unfavorably both by drawing depraved men into the practice,
and by depraving men who were upright and honorable when they entered upon
Clerks and cashiers in banks, in consequence of handling
so much money, look upon it as cheap, and, as the temptation is constantly
before them, they are very liable to make unlawful appropriations. So the
physician, by constant familiarity, comes to consider female delicacy and
reserve as not worth preserving, and even fidelity and virtue are perhaps
considered of as little consequence as bank notes.
Quite as bad is the effect on the patient. Many a daughter
of infamy could date her ruin from some customary professional intimacy.
That was the time she passed the Rubicon. No man ever suddenly became a
drunkard, a debauchee; no woman without a preliminary moral prostitution
ever became a harlot.
William Cobbet, an acute observer and widely celebrated
author, in speaking on this very subject, the great intimacy of physicians
with the female population, says, 'We have this conclusion, this indubitable
proof of the falling off in real delicacy; namely, that common
prostitutes, formerly unknown, now swarm in our cities, and are seldom wanting
even in our villages; and where there was one
illegitimate child only fifty years ago, there are now twenty.
And who can say how far the employment of men, in the cases alluded
to, may have assisted in producing this change, so disgraceful
to the present age, and so injurious to the female sex? The prostitution
and swarms of illegitimate children have a natural and inevitable tendency
to lessen that respect, and that kind and indulgent feeling, which is
due from all men to virtuous women. And many a man is disposed to adopt
the unjust sentiment of Pope, that "every woman is at heart a rake."
Who knows, I say, in what degree the employment of men-operators
may have tended to produce this change, so injurious to the female sex?'
--This was spoken of man-midwifery in England, but it is strictly applicable
to our own country.
Buffon, --whose one hundred and twenty volumes, on the
Natural History of the earth, minerals, plants, animals, and man, testify
to his comprehensive mind and his vast research, and who for his gigantic
labors, was honored by his king with the title of 'Count,' -- the intelligent
observer of nature, Buffon says, "This species of folly, which considers
female chastity merely a physical existence, has given rise to
many absurd opinions, customs, and ceremonies, and to the most illicit
abuses, and to practices which shock humanity. In the submission of women
to the unnecessary examinations of physicians, exposing the secrets of
nature, it is forgotten that every indecency of this kind is a violent
attack against chastity, that every situation which produces an internal
blush is a real prostitution."
If the opinion of this eminent man be correct, man-midwifery,
with other 'indecencies,' is a great system of fashionable prostitution;
a primary school of infamy --as the fashionable hotel and parlor wine
glass qualify candidates for the two-penny grog-shop and the gutter. Who
wonders at the present rage of women for exhibiting themselves upon the
stage, in state of semi-nudity, so that the public generally may be entertained,
without the trouble and expense of studying medicine!
The advertisement of the Medical Lectures for 1847,
in the New York University, says, 'During the past five sessions, more
than 1200 cases of midwifery have been attended by the students of the
university.' Procuring and prostitution go hand in hand. This institution
is bound to flourish, affording such facilities for information.
Physicians make great account of the fact,