Phineas Parkhurst Quimby


Letter To Mr J. Watts, Esq.



Mr. J. Watts, Esq.:

In the letter I wrote to you about my coming to your place, I said nothing about my pay, from the fact that I knew you would know the person who wishes to see me; neither did I want to give any idea in the papers, for if I should, it would bring on such hard cases that it might upset my plans. My plan is this, to make some cure that would give me a position in your place that can't be put down by one or two failures. But if I open the door to all, I might fail. Again, the first impression lasts the longest, and I don't want to enter your service, as one of Maine's politicians, entering Governor Fairfield's room to solicit an office; just as he entered, he stumped his toe, and in he went, headlong, saying, “Your fearless hire lays before you.” I don't want to stumble against such ones, at present. My object is to make my profession have character, and to do this, it must be respected; and if I don't respect it, I can't expect others will.

Here is the difference between myself, as a man, and my practice. My character speaks for itself, and I am judged according to my acts, like all others. But you know that a profession has two identities, one is attached to the profession and the other, to the man. Now reverse the tables. Take Dr. Wood of this place; say nothing about either character; give me his professional character and attach it to my practice, and give him my art or gift, as he would call it, and attach it to his practice, and then you can see popularity is in his profession, and not in his wisdom. But my wisdom has no character, but is a sort of power or gift.

Here is where I stand; the people will give me all the power, but they won't, the wisdom. You know, to establish a standard like the one I am trying, requires more wisdom than Jeff Davis; one is based on one man's opinion, and the other is based on the fact that his opinion is faith. The medical faculty's opinion is based on the opinion of what they see of effect; they know not the cause. Mine is based on what I know of the cause, like action and reaction. You know if you throw a ball in the air, it will return with just as much force as it received; so the answer was in the action. So it is with all my practice. The medical practice admits the ball comes down, but can't say but what it was in the air from the beginning.

Here is the difference, the medical profession sees an eruption on the skin; here is the reaction. Now to account for it is the point in dispute. I feel the causes and effect in my own person, and the doctors don't feel either; but the effect on the sufferers, they see with their eyes, to account for it in various ways; but all admit that is nothing very marvelous, but it is still a mystery. So their version reminds me of a story I will relate here. In a town called Berklay in Massachusetts, a sea captain knew that the inhabitants were very superstitious, so he went to the barn and found an egg and took his pencil and wrote, "Woe unto you, Berklay folks." The egg was found by a child, and a church meeting was called; so the parson opened the case, by expressing his opinion, and the deacon was called to give his version on the phenomenon. He took the egg and examined it very minutely, looked very wise and made this remark, that he had no doubt it was the Lord's doing, but that he had observed one very important fact, which was this. The Lord did not spell Berkley right!

The doctors are making just such observations all the time; never accounting for any phenomena, but giving their opinion, like the deacon, and there is just about as much wisdom in one, as the other. Now all I do is to show the sick the absurdity of both; this explains the cause, and the effect, being in the cause, the wisdom regulates both.

P. P. Quimby


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