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A Treatise on the Art of Midwifery, Setting Forth Various Abuses Therein, Especially as to the Practice with Instruments
Nihell, Elizabeth
Published by Printed for A. Morley, London
Location of original: Countway Rare Books, Harvard University
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Page 68


68 A  T R E A T I S E  

rather make a better figure than the men, Midwifery seems their appropriate lot : and rather a gift than an acquisition. They hold from nature herself, in this matter, a certain expertness and dexterity, to which not all the more abstruse refinement of art can ever conduct the men. Nor will the operation of iron and steel instruments ever equal the suppleness, safety and effectual ministry of the fingers of an expert midwife, who understands her business.

   LET me then be permitted to ask retortingly in my turn, What is, at the best, a man-midwife? Is not he one of a new set of operators unknown to our ancestors? A creature in short hard to be defined? In no original or primitive language is there so much as a word to express one of this profession. The common word for him in the English language is a contradiction in terms, a monstrous incongruity ; a MAN-mid-WIFE. Sensible of the ridiculous sound of this expression, scarcely less so than that of a woman-coach-man, they have, by way of remedy, borrowed the term of accoucheur from that nation whence the fashion

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 Title page   Dedication page i   Dedication page ii   Dedication page iii   Dedication page iv 
 Preface page i   Preface page ii   Preface page iii   Preface page iv   Preface page v 
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 Preface page xvi   Contents page i   Contents page ii   Contents page iii   Contents page iv 
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