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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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to the contrary, should have peculiar weight with those who acknowledge its authority, especially with those whose profession
it is to understand and explain it, but who, by their example, do very much to sustain the present unnatural and demoralizing practice. The Episcopal Church very properly prays 'for all women in the perils of childbirth;' but if they would first follow the teachings of Scripture and Nature on this subject, and encourage the employment of such assistants as were 'dealt well with' by Him to whom the prayer is addressed, and have a little more faith in the promise, 'she shall be saved,' on certain reasonable conditions, the petition would be answered with a blessing, instead of the moral and physical curse, which too often attends the meddling of men.
Common history, as well as sacred, is all in favor of midwives. The Greeks employed them. We are told that Phanarete, the mother of Socrates, was a midwife. Hippocrates and others make mention of them; and Plato speaks at large of midwives, and explains their duties. 'We have reason to believe that the obstetric art was altogether in the hands of women, the natural delicacy of femaes having reluctant recourse to the professional aid of the other sex. And indeed we are informed that such was the chasteness of the times, that the operation for lithotomy on the female subject was practised by females, and those too only who had been instructed as accoucheurs; and at Athens, the positive enactments of the law were insufficient to overcome their scrupulous modesty.'---Denmans' Midwifery, Francis's Edition.
It is said that the Athenian doctors procured a legal enactment transferring the practice of midwifery to themselves. The women rebelled en masse, and declared they would die rather than submit to such an outrage. The consequence was, the law was speedily repealed; and since then no government has been so ridiculous as to compel such unnatural interference. Now, it cannot be doubted that American women are naturally as chaste and delicate as the Grecian ladies; but fashion and necessity have led and forced them into a custom repugnant to their natures and revolting to their feelings.
It appears from the quotation from Dr. Denman, that the women of Greece, in those days of comparative darkness, could perform surgical operations, ---those too attended with great difficulty and danger, and requiring peculiar skill; certainly, then, our women,

with the present facilities for knowledge, can become qualified to manage at least the ordinary difficulties of parturition.
The Romans employed women only. Pliny, in his Natural History, speaks of midwives, explains their duties, and names some of great reputation. According to the Roman law, midwives were recognized as a distinct class in society, and enjoyed certain rights and immunities in common with the medical profession. Among the Romans, Lucina was the beneficent goddess who presided in the puerperal chamber. Had they approved of male assistants, they would doubtless have delegated the superintendency of their nativity to Jupiter, or Mars, or perhaps assigned the province jointly to Vulcan the Mercury---the first being a blacksmith, and the second an elegant waiter, and, withal, the most mechanical genius among the gods.
In China, as we are informed in the Encyclopedia britannica, the matter is managed in this way; The midwives attend to all the ordinary practice; but there is a class of obstetric surgeons, devoted exclusively to this department, perfectly skilled in the use of instruments and the management of every possible difficulty. One of these is located in a particular district with a given number of inhabitants; and after a woman has been a certain number of hours in labor, the midwife is required by law to call in the surgeon---a very judicious arrangement; one that might be imitated with advantage in this country, especially in cities and large villages.
It is certain that, till lately, all civilized nations have employed females only as midwives. This appears evident from their names, whichin manhy different languages as all feminine. There were, however, espcially in greeat cities, surgeons who applied themselves to the art of midwifery, and made it their peculiar study. Ther were sent for in difficult cases, where the midwives found their incapacity; and then the surgeons endeavored to deliver thewomen by having recourse to instruments useful in these cases, as by crotchets, blunt hooks, &c.; but as these cases happened but seldom, women remained in possession of this business.'---Kendrick's Medical Dictionary.

Origin of Man-Midwifery.

In conversation with a man, upon this subject, a few weeks since, he had not a very

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