Chapter VIII of The Quimby Manuscripts by Horatio W. Dresser
[Under date of July 8th, 1856, a former patient wrote a brief article entitled “An Important Discovery in the Healing Art,” as if intending it for publication. The Ms. has been preserved, and from it we quote the following: (Horatio W. Dresser)]
THIS truly wonderful discovery is now practised by Dr. Quimby, of Belfast, a very respectable gentleman, for intelligence, agreeableness and integrity. He is able to cure without the use of medicine diseases which have baffled the skill of most eminent physicians. Of this we have evidence in his curing those who have been afflicted with sickness and pain for several years, without once knowing the cause of their sufferings, and were given up by their physicians as having a complication of diseases that were incurable. Having therefore to abandon all hope of a recovery and giving themselves up to die, they heard of Dr. Quimby and his successful mode of curing disease. Feeling no longer able to swallow the poisonous draughts administered for their relief, they with faith as a grain of mustard seed were at last induced to put themselves under his treatment. By the blessing of God they were in a short time healed of their infirmities. They also learned something of the nature and cause of disease, the effects of the mind upon the bodily functions, and how the mind may become a physician for the body, which is of more real worth than all the mines of Golcond. For when in possession of this knowledge we learn to remedy our own ills, and no longer remain a prey to disease.
I now come to speak of myself and will give a short sketch of my own experience. For almost four years previous to my consulting Dr. Quimby I had been an invalid. In December, 1851, I contracted a violent cold, which brought on influenza, attended with a severe cough. Every part of me seemed wracked with pain, and it was with much difficulty I could move at all. This continued for some six weeks, when there was a change in my case which presented no favorable aspect. My physician was a man of considerable skill and experience, as I had received medical aid at his hand some two years previous, which produced the desired effect. I felt the fullest confidence that he would be successful a second time. But all his efforts proved unavailing, as the medicine I took only afforded me momentary relief. . . . My suffering at times was such as I shall not attempt to describe. I continued to take medicine, getting a little better and then worse until nearly two years of my sickness had elapsed . . . until August, 1854, when I was no longer able to walk, and obliged to lie down more than two thirds of the time . . . to the time of my consulting Dr. Quimby, October, 1855.
I had heard of his effecting wonderful cures in hopeless cases of long standing. Although I could not readily conceive the manner in which it was done, I did not doubt the truth of the assertion or think it absurd; but deemed it impossible for anything in like manner to be wrought in my case. I therefore listened with indifference to all I heard respecting his wonderful skill and superior knowledge until a few weeks previous to putting myself under his treatment. I had used every restorative recommended for my case, and all without benefit. I was at last compelled to give up trying, as it was only something simple I could take at all. I therefore concluded there could be no risk in applying to one who was represented to cure without the use of medicines, and hearing his mode of treatment spoken of in the best terms by many of the learned class.
I had the pleasure of seeing Dr. Quimby at my own home a few weeks before I was carried to Belfast. He gave me encouragement, said he could help me and soon enable me to walk again. This I thought was doing too much. I dared not believe. And yet I was impotent to know the truth . . . that I could not even fancy to be a reality . . . I set out on my journey with as much fortitude as could reasonably be expected of one so weak. . . I felt glad to lie down and rest myself after so fatiguing a journey. I was much distressed, but wished to make as little ado as possible, for fear of alarming those who accompanied me.
Dr. Quimby made me a visit the same day, and expressed an opinion a second time that he could help me. In one week’s time I was able by slight assistance from Dr. Quimby to walk down stairs. It was learning to walk a second time in life. I began to think, feel and act like a new being. Although I was very deficient in knowledge of the truth which was to set me free, I had already learned sufficiently to enable me to perform in one week what I had not done for the past fourteen months. I had never known what true happiness was before, so thankful did I feel for the pleasure of walking. Yet so sudden was the change and so speedy the recovery that it seemed like trying to do something altogether unnatural.
During my stay at Belfast Dr. Quimby had more practice than he could well attend to, and several whose cases came under my own observation had long been considered hopeless were in a short time restored to their natural strength. By the leave of one young lady, Miss C., from Bucksport, I will narrate her sufferings and the help she received. She had been a sufferer for more than ten years, and had had fifteen medical attendants that were considered men of skill in their profession, who were at last obliged to admit her case as something which surpassed their knowledge of disease. She learning of my speedy recovery, desired to learn more particularly concerning it, and consequently came to see for herself. . . . Dr. Quimby examined her case and bid her be of good cheer, and thought he could help her. . . Strange as it may seem, in a little less than three weeks she was able to leave for home, and could walk two miles with much pleasure. She lives with a heart full of gratitude to God for the blessed means by which she was restored.
Ever since my return home my health has been improving, although very many thought my sudden cure was nothing to be relied on, and if I still persisted in taking exercise I might ere long be in as perilous a situation as when I first applied to Dr. Quimby. But they have become convinced that it is reality, and think me almost a miracle in the history of disease. I have been able to attend a singing school during the past winter without experiencing the slightest injury. Permit me to say to those like myself when looking for a remedy that you have only to go to Dr. Quimby and “apply thy heart unto understanding, and thy ears to the words of knowledge. So shall the knowledge of wisdom be unto thy soul. When thou hast found it, then there shall be a reward, and thy expectation shall not be cut off.”
I have deferred publishing this statement until the present time that all might know that I am now well, and suffer from none of my former difficulties, that I have recently gone to housekeeping and have “nothing to molest me, or make me afraid” as regards to my former difficulties. I desire always to bless the Lord, who has so wonderfully dealt with me, and also to express my deepest gratitude to Dr. Quimby, as the means employed to change my conditions....
[A writer in the Bangor Times tells of the case of a Mrs. Hodsdon of Kenduskeag, who had been sick with a complication of diseases for two years. “Dyspepsia in its worst form, and a difficulty about the head, had utterly prostrated her, so that, for the two years, she had been unable to walk a step or to be moved in an upright position without fainting. Dr. Quimby called upon the sufferer, and in two hours the patient rose from her bed without assistance, seated herself in a chair and sat up two hours. She rested well that night, she steadily improved and in due time gained twenty pounds of flesh. All this came as the result of a single visit. The writer states that he has heard of other cases of remarkable relief, and he wonders what power there is behind Dr. Quimby's “gift.” The testimony of others is mentioned regarding the “marvellous power” following Quimby’s efforts. No theory is proposed, but the writer evidently agrees with one signing himself “Exeter” in the Bangor Jeffersonian, Feb., 1858, who declares that it is “too late an hour for the cry of ‘humbug’ in Mr. Quimby’s treatment of disease. . . . People are beginning to inquire, ‘Who and what is Dr. Quimby? By what strange agency does he cure disease which for years has baffled the skill of our most eminent physicians?’ ” Another newspaper writer of the period says,]
“We have been told that the ‘age of miracles’ is passed, but we have recently heard of several astonishing cures performed by a Dr. P. P. Quimby, which seem to border on the miraculous. How these cures are effected, it is impossible to say, as no visible means are employed. The most obstinate cases of disease have been made to disappear at the mere will, it would seem, of the Doctor. . . . Having heard of a remarkable recovery, we called on the patient, an intelligent young lady, who stated to us her case, and the manner of her cure, the facts of which she embodied, at our request, in the following letter.”
[This is the first installment of a four part series originally written and published as Chapter VIII. CONTEMPORARY TESTIMONY, of The Quimby Manuscripts by Horatio W. Dresser. THOMAS Y. CROWELL COMPANY, 1921.—editor.]
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Today we are beginning to examine chapter 8, CONTEMPORARY TESTIMONY, of Horatio W. Dresser’s 1921 publication of The Quimby Manuscripts.
The first testimonial, dated July 8, 1856, is most significant in terms of the patient’s recovered health, coupled with her several biblical references. She writes, “Although I was very deficient in knowledge of the truth which was to set me free, I had already learned sufficiently to enable me to perform in one week what I had not done for the past fourteen months.”
What we should notice here, is that she gives credit to “the truth which was to set me free,” and directly correlates the restoration of her health, with her incremental understanding of this truth. This biblical truth is something that this patient is learning from P. P. Quimby.
She later quotes from the book of Proverbs 23:12 “Apply thine heart unto understanding [instruction], and thine ears to the words of knowledge.” And, 24:14 “So shall the knowledge of wisdom be unto thy soul: when thou hast found it, then there shall be a reward, and thy expectation shall not be cut off.”
One of the most fascinating aspects of my work with the PPQ Resource Center is that I have the privilege of historically documenting his theory, science, or methodology. I am working directly from photocopies and microfilms of the original handwritten documents. This provides me with direct experience of the documents, and therefore, I do not have to settle for someone’s opinion of what these documents contain.
I recently transcribed this testimonial and I can report to you that Dresser abridged the document for his book. Olive S. Turner is the author of this manuscript, and she provides additional details of her previous attempts to regain her health. She also identifies her previous doctor, as well as the other patient from Bucksport, Maine.
In the original document, Turner closes her testimonial by quoting English poet and satirist, Charles Churchill (1732-1764):
“Most of the evils we poor mortals know
From doctors, and imagination flow.”
Next week, we will move deeper into Chapter 8, and CONTEMPORARY TESTIMONY.
Follow along with us as we trace his footsteps!
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