May 26, 2013

LETTERS FROM PATIENTS

    Chapter IX of The Quimby Manuscripts by Horatio W. Dresser
[Continued from last week.—editor.]
[Then follows a letter from the patient herself who, after a visit to Dr. Quimby in Portland, writes concerning the one trouble now remaining, her eye—trouble, which she says is extremely obstinate. She finds that the eyes are better only when she is under Quimby’s direct influence. Feeling entirely dependent upon her restorer for health and happiness, she is eager for more help from him. It was Quimby’s endeavor to put his patients in possession of the healing principle so that they would not depend upon the “influence” they felt while sitting by him or receiving absent help; but this was a question of time, especially in the case of trouble with the eyes.
A patient who had been restored to health in a remarkably short time after years of invalidism in which she had been unable to walk, writes as follows after returning from Portland:]

HILL, N. H., Oct. 27, 1860.            

My dear Doctor
How I do want to see you. I am well and happy. You can’t imagine how the people stare at me here at the Water Cure. Dr. Vail thinks he will come and see you. I talk as much of your Science to him as I know how to. I wish I knew more. I want you to prove to me mind is matter, so I can to them. . . 1 I went to see one of the old—school doctors. He is coming to see you and see if he can learn your way. He . . . greatly rejoices with me. . . . I can’t make the religious part go. I can’t understand it. It doesn’t seem to suit me. I go to church, though the preaching does not always suit me, to prayer meetings, and I pray as I used to. What do you think of me ? 2
1 That is, prove that mind is susceptible to opinions, leading to changes in the body, as Quimby explains in his writings.
2 This is typical of people who tried to return to their old ways after coming in touch with Quimby and sensing his religious spirit. Quimby’s emphasis was on good works, not on doctrine, and he directed attention to the Divine presence with all men as guiding Wisdom.
My uncle and brother, doctors in Lowell, were so anxious and had so many fears for me that I had to get out on the street soon as I could and go off on a walk four miles long. I went just as fast as I could, some of the time running, until all the fears were gone. They make my back feel strangely (the fears), and I can’t seem to sit as erect.
I will send all I can to you. I will start some from this vicinity. I am a great sight to the people. . . . There are many more people ready to receive this theory than I had supposed. My uncle and brother did not seem to get any clue to it, and said they did not know what to think of it....
It does seem good to walk, and my heart is full of gratitude to you and God. I am so glad I went to see you. I can’t express it.
[Nearly a year later, writing from Wilmington, Ills. this patient expresses the thought that her restorer has helped her since she left home, although she has had little to meet save homesickness. She says in part:]
I wish you would take away that longing for the East, at those times when I feel I would give all to see Dr. Quimby. I try to think you are not far away. I like to think of that place by you which is mine. I laugh over the “sittings” I had with you, don’t you? when I think how dreadfully distressed I was lest you were wanting to cast me out of the way to give room for new friends. How funny that you should know how I felt all the while. How you can understand the feelings hidden within others are entirely ignorant of, appears to me quite mysterious. When I consider what you have done for me and others, and that you are continually doing greater and greater cures, I conclude I cannot tell what may not be done, and that you possess a knowledge far superior to any other person I have known or heard of. I am glad I ever came to you, almost glad I was sick to need your assistance, that I might know and feel these things. When one is raised from a long illness to perfect health, as it were instantly, do you not realize what a healthy person cannot? Would they want to help feeling glad, and that the man who did such a splendid thing for them was the nicest, best man in the world?
It does me good to know the Science is being appreciated, that you are successful. . . . I want to know if a knowledge of mind acting on mind will enable one to control an ungovernable child without using any means of punishment, and what you do in the next world with profane, drunken, stealing, murdering men—people commonly sent into eternal punishment?
I wish I could tell you how I feel. But it is the same as when I sat with you: an undefinable longing for something.
[Another letter of the same year begins by raising a problem:]
I wonder if everything that occurs through life that makes me sad has got to make me sick. Can’t you tell me something about it, and give me some good fatherly advice? Something quite unpleasant has occurred since I was in Chicago that gave me a great deal of trouble night and day, and I find myself out of fix. . . .
Doctor, I often get your picture and I imagine I have regular sittings with you. They do me good, I do believe. But the picture is not equal to the live man.... You know the gratitude of my heart better than I can express it.
[Other letters written from time to time indicate that the cure was permanent, although there are slight matters requiring her healer’s advice. Writing from her old New England home four years after she was cured, Miss X. says that everybody remarks how strange it is that she is so well. She also says:]
I have never lost a moment from sickness since I have been in school, nearly two years. I walk six and eight miles in a day, very often. . . . I feel so thankful I am well. If it had not been for you I would have been in my grave or much worse off long before now. I cannot tell you, Dr. Quimby, how much I think of you, and love you for what you have done for me. . . . When I went to school in Chicago my friends said in less than three months I should be sick. I wrote you and you said you would not let me, and I have not been. Now I want that knee of mine cured up. . . .1
1 These letters indicate that the chief difficulty encountered by former patients who depended solely on the new Science was in avoid­ing old fears and other mental associations readily called up when meeting sceptical friends.
[Another series of letters, dating from 1860 to December 25, 1864, begins with the description of the patient’s case, a fibrous tumor about to be operated upon and other conditions as diagnosed by competent physicians, and traces the results from time to time, as the patient reports her progress. She, too, experiences difficulty in avoiding the recurrence of old symptoms, for her case was well known, the doctors are sceptical, sometimes angry, and she must maintain her faith against opposition. At times she can hardly call herself well, and so writes to Dr. Quimby to express her difficulties and receive his advice or help. The following letter is typical of those written to express gratitude:]

PLYMOUTH, Oct. 17th, 1858.            

Dr. Quimby,
MY PRESERVER AND FRIEND: With feelings of gratitude and kind respect, I will write you, and inform you that I am able to walk as well as ever I could, a pleasure which I could not have enjoyed had it not been through your unceasing and untiring care and treatment. Words will not express my thankfulness to you, kind Dr., for the pleasures I am permitted to enjoy. When I contemplate my past helplessness, and know that to you I am indebted for all I do now enjoy, my heart is ready to burst in gratefulness.
I continue to improve in walking day by day, as you told me [I would], and now I can run up and down stairs (not as fast as you can, because you are so spry) but as well as most any one else. My friends receive me with wonder depicted upon their countenances, I assure you, to see me walking all by myself, was a joy to them indescribable, and believe me their whole tribute of praise is tendered to you. With all love and respect, I remain,
Your young friend, E. C.
[This is the second installment of a two—part series originally written and published as Chapter IX. LETTERS FROM PATIENTS, of The Quimby Manuscripts by Horatio W. Dresser. THOMAS Y. CROWELL COMPANY, 1921.—editor.]

Quotation by Phineas Parkhurst Quimby


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Editor’s Corner

Today we conclude our review of extracts of Letters From Patients, as Chapter 9, in Horatio W. Dresser’s 1921 publication of The Quimby Manuscripts.
These letters and more, now preserved in the Howard Gotlieb Archival Research Center of Boston University, Boston, Massachusetts, provide testimonial evidences of the astonishing cures facilitated by P. P. Quimby.
For whatever reason, Dresser has neglected to identify the writers of today’s testimonials. The first writer is the delightful young woman, Fanny C. Bass. You may recall from our previous review of Quimby’s scrapbook of newspaper clippings, the Bass testimonial was first published in the Portland Evening Courier, and then subsequently, in the Lowell Daily Citizen and News, Lowell, MA.
Five letters from Fanny Bass in the Boston University collection span from October 27, 1860, through August 4, 1864. There is also one letter from her sister, Clara F. Bass, dated January 17, 1863. Clara was also an enthusiastic Quimby patient.
As Dresser mentions above, by August 1861, Fanny Bass relocates to Will County, Illinois, and never meets with Quimby in person again. Yet, she continues to correspond with him, his son George Quimby, and the sisters, Emma Ware and Sarah Ware. Her letters reflect Quimby’s activities during this time span, documenting the “theory,” “Truth,” and “Science,” he taught to her during her initial 1860 treatment with him.
It is interesting to notice that Fanny writes, “I want you to prove to me mind is matter, so I can to them.” Writing from Belfast, Maine, on July 11, 1862, Quimby does just that, by writing the short article, Prove to Me that Mind Is Matter.
On January 17, 1863, Clara Bass closes her letter to Quimby with a fascinating remark: “Do you grow old or young; or don’t you grow at all, you used to say you were growing young.” This suggests a paradigm—shifting possibility!
Lastly, today, Dresser includes the majority of the letter written by a young and most grateful patient that he identifies as “E. C.” The name of this writer is “Etta Cooke.” She explains the circumstances of her writing as, “You will please excuse this note, as Mr. and Mrs. Low are about ready to leave for Bangor [Maine] and propose taking this to you. I will soon write you a good long letter if acceptable.”
Next week, we will move on to Chapter 10 of Horatio W. Dresser’s 1921 publication of The Quimby Manuscripts, and LETTERS TO PATIENTS.
Follow along with us as we trace Quimby’s footsteps!
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Ron Hughes

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