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Phineas Parkhurst Quimby: His Complete Writings and Beyond

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Historical Newspaper Articles

Letter from Louisville.

The following letter was sent us for publication. It speaks for itself. It was written by the Doctor, at the request of the sister, whose case it chronicles. It is unnecessary to offer any comments on the matters mentioned in it. Still it may not be amiss to say we have personal knowledge of the facts it sets forth.

Besides, the Doctor himself, came to the International Hotel, by the advice of this very sister mentioned in this very letter, an invalid, so feeble that he had to be assisted in getting into the door—and afterwards to his room on the second floor.

He was so terribly dyspeptic that he could eat no solid food—nor could he swallow cold water. Both, before they visited Dr. Quimby, had been doctored long periods, without the slightest benefit, and by physicians deemed skilful. The Doctor left, completely cured, in about six weeks from his coming to visit Mr. Quimby.

Since we have been at the Hotel, a lady from Vermont, who had spent much time and money to get what the Doctors called a cancer, cured, came there to Dr. Q. She went away, cured, in less than two months.

But we cannot take time to relate one in ten of the cures he has performed during the past winter, that have come under our observation.

About the facts of the Doctor’s remarkable cures, there is no doubt; but there may be questions about HOW they are done. To us they present nothing wonderful. We think we can easily explain the why and wherefore. At any rate we shall try to do so, by and by.


[For the Advertiser.]

MR. EDITOR:—I believe you have some knowledge of Dr. Quimby of the International, and his peculiar mode of practice. By a chain of unforseen circumstances, I have been led to know something of Dr. Q. and the modus operandi in the treatment of his patients. With a broad faith in the virtue of men, I believe him to be an honest man in his profession, who practices as he believes, and would not intentionally deceive any one. His treatment is peculiar to himself, and independent of all systems, or forms of practice whatever. For that pretentious class, who in the guise of spiritualists, clairvoyants, and all other charletans who with no previous study, or knowledge of the power or effect of the medicines they prescribe, seek to humbug communities, impose on the suffering, and line their pockets, he has as little esteem, and holds himself as sensitively separate from them, as the most orthodox practitioner. He has no sympathy or connection with them. Neither is his practice more nearly allied to that of the regular practitioner. He gives no medicine. The whole scope of his Materia Medica, would comprehend water, and a pitcher to hold it. The application consists, if the case demands, in an imbibition of this fluid that would put the votaries of Lager to blush—

The patient will find him unassuming in his manners, and no more ready to talk of his successes, than other men of theirs—not that modesty characterizes the spirit of the age. He will explain to you his way of practice—give you the benefit of his treatment—entertain you with stereoscopic views of his theory or belief, and end off perhaps by explaining a few passages of scripture. However, a man’s belief is one thing, and his success in practice is another; this alone wins a favorable opinion and wise confidence. There can be no doubt that Dr. Q. has been the means of doing much good, as many patients from their homes, now in the enjoyment of health—Heaven’s best gift, are willing to testify, in some instances his treatment has been attended by the most unexpected and happy results, affording great and immediate relief, when hope almost had failed. These are not isolated cases, but none the less wonderful. I will briefly relate the history of the following case, in which the ties of near consanguinity awakened the liveliest sympathy, and the happy termination of which was the cause of equal surprise and pleasure. A member of our family had, while in that transition period between happy childhood and budding womanhood, gradually lost the power of walking or standing, and for a number of years (some five or six) was wholly unable to make any use of her limbs whatever. There was no deformity, nor any discoverable lesion, but weakness, and all attempts to use them were attended by such excessive pain that they had to be given up. During this time she was confined exclusively to the house, as the jar of a carriage could not be borne; and often the tread of an incautious foot across the floor was productive of pain. She was visited by some of our most skilful practitioners, men of acknowledged ability and professors, in popular colleges. They expressed a belief that in time a recovery might be hoped for. Several years passed, and time, as it rolled away, brought no healing on its wings, but new causes of suffering. Her disease began to assume a much graver type—the eyes became morbidly sensitive to light, which increased to such an extent that the least degree of light seemed unbearable. The shutters were closed, curtains were drawn,—and heavy blankets followed, tacked closely over the windows. The digestive powers became much impaired. The stomach, in failing to perform its office, sympathizes with the rest of the system. The simplest articles of diet could not be taken into it without so much pain and distress that each returning meal became a source of dread and suffering. For five months the only nourishment that could be borne, so great was the distress, was a few cups of milk and water, drank during the twenty—four hours. In darkness, helpless and unable to take any proper food, she wasted away till she was but the shadow of her former self. Greatly prostrated and seemingly emaciated to the last degree, scarcely a hope was left for recovery. Through the earnest representation of friends, Dr. Quimby was employed, certainly with the least expectation of any benefit. We were little prepared to witness the surprising and gratifying amendment that attended his visit.

The relief afforded was immediate and entire.—All pain and irritation ceased,—and the patient was convalescent—light again began to shed its cheering rays through the room for six months darkened. The digestive powers increased, and she was able to eat simple food. The use of her limbs returned; and under a more generous diet, and as new strength gave power to them, she was able to walk, In a few months her weight more than doubled—running up from sixty, to one hundred and twenty five pounds. At that time stopping at a distant city I soon came home to witness these happy results. How great was the change!—Thick curtains no longer darkened the room, in the obscurity of Erebus. Like a child, she was again learning to walk, The hue of health was chasing from the cheek the pallor of sickness, whist the returning smile and speaking eye told of the happiness within. Her whole aspect showed that she was indeed a new being.

Save an occasional drawback, which a visit of a few weeks to Dr. Q., set all right, she has steadily mended to the present, (nearly two years).—The eyes are still troublesome, but improving; otherwise her health is apparently confirmed.—Other cases equally remarkable have come to my knowledge, whose history and symptoms were every way different. It is apparent that his influence is not confined to on class of diseases, an in no case could one safely predicate whether or not hope to be set at once in the broad highway to health; Most must travel up the weary way to that Elysium that stretches so fair before; others seek health painfully and in vain, never to find it on the borders of time. Considering the means employed, and the diversity for cases, Dr. Q.’s success is remarkable—whether it depends more upon the man, or he acts upon the first principles of that, which, when better understood shall be recognized as a new remedial agency in mitigating the physical ills to which flesh is heir, time will determine.

These few remarks are made as an act of justice to Dr. Q.—not that ought will, or can, supply the place of that ancient school of practice whose history and growth spring from an era when philosophy and history were in their infancy, and the earliest of reinspired poets sang in the sublime strains of his great epic. Every age in the unfolding of creatures from that period down has recorded grateful remembrances of its benefits to man. Let us then in the exercise of Christian charity, if plain facts are before us, and we find an individual who can alleviate the pains of a single sufferer, and strew flowers in his pathway through life accept them as a verity, and bid him God speed.

Asst. Surgeon, U. S. A.
Louisville, Ky.

[“May 1862” is handwritten at the side of this article.—Ron Hughes]
[Published Date: Thursday, March 6, 1862; Paper: Portland Daily Advertiser (Portland, ME); Volume: 32; Issue: 54; Page: 2.—Ron Hughes.]

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