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it is, that the Drop of Seed from which we are produced, should carry in itself the Impression not only of the bodily Form, but even of the Thoughts and Inclinations of our Fathers ? Where can that Drop of fluid Matter contain that infinite Number of Forms? And how do they carry on these Resemblances with so precipitant and irregular a Progress, that the Grandson shall be like his Great Grandfather, the Nephew like his Uncle? In the Family of Lepidus at Rome, there were three, not fucceffively, but by Intervals, that were born with one and the same Eye covered with a Web At Thebes,
At Thebes, there was a Race that carried, from their Mothers Womb, • the Mark of the Spear of a Lance,' and who was not born so, was looked upon as illegitimate'. And Aristotle says, “That, in a certain Nation, where the Women were ' in common, they assigned the Children to their Fathers • by their Resemblance.'
'Tis to be believed, that I derive this Infirmity from The Author's
my Father, for he died wonderfully tormentFather afflict. ed with a great Stone in his Bladder ; he was ed with the
never sensible of his Disease till the sixty-seStone.
venth Year of his Age, and, before that, had never felt any Symptoms of it, either in his Reins, Sides, or any other Part; and had lived, till then, in a happy State of Health, little subject to Infirmities, and, having lived seven Years in this Disease, died a very painful Death. I was born above twenty-five Years before this Distemper seized him, and in his most healthful State of Body, was his third Child in Order of Birth: Where could his Propension to this Malady lurk all that while ? And, he himself being so far from the Infirmity at my Birth, how could that small Part of his Substance, of which I was composed, carry away so great an Impression of its Share ? And how was it so concealed, that, till forty-five Years after, I did not begin to be sensible of it? being the only one, to this Hour, amongst so many Brothers and Sisters, and all of one Mother, that was ever
troubled e Plin. lib. vii. of his Nat. Hift. c. 12.
Plutarch in his Treatise of the Persons whose Punishment is delayed by God, c. 19. of Amyor’s Translation ; but he does not say, that those of this Race, who had not this Mark, as some had not, were deemed illegitimate.
troubled with it. He that can satisfy me in this point, I will believe him in as many other Miracles as he pleases; always provided, that, as the Manner is, he does not give me a Doctrine much more intricate and fantastic than the Thing itself, for current Pay.
Let the Physicians a little excuse the Liberty I take for by this same Infusion, and fatal Infinua
His Contempt tion, it is, that I have received a Hatred and
of Phyfic. Contempt of their Doctrine. The Antipathy I have against their Art is hereditary to me. My Father lived seventy-four Years, my Grandfather sixty-nine, my Great Grandfather almost fourscore Years, without ever tasting any sort of Physic; and, with them, whatever was not ordinary Diet, was instead of a Drug. Physic is grounded upon Experience and Examples, so is my Opinion : And is not this an express and very advantageous Experience ? I do not know that they can find me, in all their Records, three that were born, bred, and died under the same Roof, who have lived fo 'long by their own Conduct. It must here, of Necessity, be confessed, that, if
Reason be not, Fortune at least is on my Side,' and with Physicians, Fortune goes a great deal further than Reason ; let thein not take me now at this Disadvantage ; let them not threaten me in the demolished Condition I now am, for that were foul Play : And, to say Truth, I have got so much the better of them by thefe domestic Examples, that they should rest satisfied. Human Things are not usually so constant ; it has been two hundred Years, fave eighteen, that this Trial has lasted, in our Family, for the first of them was born in the Year 1402. 'Tis now, indeed, very good Reason, that this Experience should begin to fail us : Let them not therefore reproach me with the Infirmities under which I now suffer ; is it not enough, for my Part, that I have lived forty-seven Years in perfect Health? Though it should be the End of my Career, 'tis of the longer fort.
My Ancestors had an Aversion to Physic by some secret and natural Instinct, for the very Sight of a The fame CoxPotion was loathsome to my Father. The tempt of it by Seigneur de Gaviac, my Uncle by the Father's his Ancestors.
Side, a Churchman, and a Valetudinarian from his Birth, and yet one who made that crazy Life to hold out
to sixtyseven Years ; being once fallen into a violent Fever, it was ordered, by the Physicians, he should be plainly told, « That if he would not make use of Help (for so they call " that which is very often a Hindrance) he would infallibly
be a dead Man. The good Man, tho' terrified with this dreadful Sentence, yet replied, 'I am then a dead Man.' But God, soon after, proved the Prognostic false. The youngest of the Brothers, which were four, and by many Years the youngest, the Sieur de Busaget, was the only Man of the Family that made use of Medicine, by reason, I suppose, of the Commerce he had with the other Arts, for he was a Counsellor in the Court of Parliament, and it succeeded so ill with him, that, being, in outward Appearance, of the strongest Conftitution, he yet died before any of the rest, the Sieur St. Michel only excepted.
'Tis possible I may have derived this natural Antipathy His Reason for to Physic from them ; but, had there been no making so very other Consideration in the Case, I would have light of Phyfic. endeavoured to have overcome it: For all Conditions that spring in us without Reason, are vicious, and is a kind of Disease that we are to wrestle with : It may be I had naturally this Propension, but I have supported and fortified it by Arguments and Reasons, which have established in me the Opinion I have of it: For I also hate the Consideration of refusing Physic for the nauseous Taste : I should hardly be of their Humour, who find Health worth purchasing by all the most painful Cauteries and Incisions that can be applied : And, according to Epicurus, I conceive, “That Pleasures are to be avoided, if
greater Pains be the Consequence; and Pains to be co' veted, that will terminate in greater Pleasures.' Health is a precious Thing, and the only one, in Truth, meriting that a Man should lay out, not only his Time, Sweat, Labour, and Goods, but also his Life itself to obtain it, forasmuch as, without it, Life is a Burden to us. Pleasure, Wisdom, Learning, and Virtue, without it, wither and vanish; and to the most laboured and solid Discourses, that Philosophy would imprint in us to the contrary, we
need no more but oppose the Idea of Plato, being struck with an Epilepsy or Apoplexy; and, in this Presupposition, to defy him to call the rich Faculties of his Soul to his Affiftance: All Means that conduce to Health I can neither think painful, nor dear : But I have some other Appearances that make me strangely suspect all this Merchandise : I do not deny but there may be some Art in it, and that there are not, amongst so many Works of Nature, some Things proper for the Preservation of Health, that is most certain ; I very well know, that there are some Simples that moisten, and others that dry; I
experimentally know, that Radishes are windy, and Senna Leaves laxative ; and several other such Experiences I have, which I am as sure of, as I am that Mutton nourishes, and Wine warms me: And Solon would say, That Eating was, like other Drugs, Physic against the Disease of Hunger. I do not disapprove the Use we make of Things the Earth produces, nor doubt, in the least, of the Power and Fertility of Nature, and disapprove not the Application of what the affords to our Necessities : I very well see that Pikes and Swallows thrive by its Laws; but I mistrust the Inventions of our Wit, Knowledge, and Art; to countenance which, we have abandoned Nature and her Rules, and wherein we keep no Bounds nor Moderation. As we call the Modification of the first Laws, that fall into our Hands, Justice, and their Practice and Difpensation often very foolish and very unjust : And as those who scoff at, and accuse it, do not mean, nevertheless, to wrong that noble Virtue, but only condemn the Abuse and Profanation of that sacred Title ; so, in Physic, I
very much honour that glorious Name, and the End it is studied for, and what it promises to the Service of Mankind, but its Prescriptions I neither honour nor esteem.
In the first Place, Experience makes me dread it ; for, amongst all of my Acquaintance, I see no Experience not Race of People so foon sick, and so long be- very favoura
ble to Medicine. fore they are well, as those who are Slaves to Physic. Their very Health is altered and corrupted by the Regimen they are constrained to. Physicians are not content to deal only with the Sick, but they change Health
into Sickness, for fear Men should, at any Time, escape their Authority. Do they not, from a continual and perfect Health, infer an Argument of some great Sickness to enfue ? I have been fick often enough, and have, without their Aid, found my Maladies as eafy to be supported (tho' I have made trial of almost all sorts) and as short, as those of any other, without swallowing their nauseous Doses. The Health I have is full and free, without other Rule or Discipline than my own Custom and Pleasure : Every Place ferves me well enough to stay in, for I need no other Conveniences when I am sick, than what I must have when I am well : I never disturb myself that I have no Physician, no Apothecary, nor any other Assistance, which I see most Men more afflicted at, than they are with their Disease! What, do the Physicians themselves, by the Felicity and Duration of their own Lives, convince us of the apparent Effect of their Skill ?
There is not a Nation in the World that has not been Physic un many Ages without Physic; and the first known to many Ages, that is to say, the best and most hapNations.
py, knew no such Thing; and the tenth Part of the World knows nothing of it to this Day. Several Nations are ignorant of it, where Men live more healthful and longer than we do here, and even, amongst us, the common People live happily without it. The Romans were : six hundred Years before they received it; and, after having made trial of it, banished it from their City, at the Instance of Cato the Cenfor, who made it appear, how easy it was to live without it, having himself lived fourscore and five Years; and kept his Wife alive to an extreme Old-age, not without Physic, but without a Phy, fician; for every Thing that we find healthful to Life,
may & Montaigne might very well affure us, upon the Authority of Pliny, lib. 29, C. 1. That the Romans did not admit of Phyfic till 600 Years after the Foun: dation of Rome ; and that, after they had made trial of the Art, they condemned and banished the Physicians from their City ; but, as to his Addition, that they were expelled at the Instance of Cato the Cenfor, Pliny is fa far from authorising it, that he expressly fays
the Romans did not banish the Physicians from their City till long after the Death of Cato. Several modern Writers have fallen into the fame Error as Montaigne, as may be seen in Bayle's Dictionary, under the Article Porcius, in the Note H.