John E. B. (John Eyton Bickersteth) Mayor.

Modicus cibi medicus sibi, or, Nature her own physician online

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vpJtv (J.)i fj.fpinva.Tf rfj tyvxy v^wv, ri <f>dyr)re 1) rt irirjTf

MATT, vi 25.

iridfa (JLOV rb CTW/J.O. Kal Sov\aytoyio

i COR. ix 27.

tv Se iropi(T/ ntyas rj eucre/Seia yuero avrapKfias

i TIM. vi 6.

quod si quis vera vitam ratione gubernet,
divitiae grandes homini sunt vivere parce
aequo animo ; neque enim est umquam penuria parvi

LUCRETIUS v 1117 g.

But is there yet no other -way, besides

These painful passages, how -we may come

To death, and mix with our connatural dust ?

"There is" said Michael "ift&au well observe

The rule of NOT TOO MUCH, by temperance taught

In what thou eafst and drink 'st, seeking from thence

Due nourishment, not gluttonous delight,

Till many years over thy head return :

So may'st thou live, till like ripe fruit thou drop

Into thy mother's lap, or be with ease

Gathered, not harshly pluckt, for death mature"

MILTON, P. L. xi 527-537.

sjmll %g fet m fym

Second Sunday in Lent, 1880

foaffiv, ftfftp ir\tov 7}/uru iravrtis,

Kal a.a<po1>4\(j> /j.ty' ovtiap

HESIOD op. et d. 40, 41.

a\\a TTOTOV re /teTpoc Kal ffirov yvfj.vaff'i<av re
8e \tyw r6S', t> fjci] <r' avrfiffei

aur. carm. 32-34.

KOLV^V 8e Tiva ffv^ovK^v 8.iraffi rots TO.VTO. avajvci>(TOfj.(Vois,
iSidorats fj.fv TTJS larptKrjs, OVK ayvfivaaTois 8e rbi> \oyifffji.6v, viro-
TiOffMai ToioaffSf p-f), Ka.Ba.iTfp ol iro\\ol T<av CLvOptairuv us &\oya
<fa SiaiTtavTai, Kal avTovs ovrcas e^ejj/, a\\a Kal 5ia TTJS irtipas
Kpiftiv, T'IVO. /jity avTovs ^8eV^ioTt re Kal jr6f J Lara /SAairrej, rives 8e
Kal iruffai Kivricreis .....

OVTOI fjLev oiiv ffiravioi KaO' fKarfpov rb yevos, o'l re fj.eyd\<os
/JAairTcfyifvot Kal oi jurjSej' aSiKovfjifvoi- rb Se /j.fra^v irav iv rf
/j.a\\6v Tf Kal ?ITTOV fls rb TTO\V Ttav avOptairuv fKrfrarai ir\riQos.
S>v TO?S ireirai8ev/>ois (oi> yap ol rv^&vres yf Tavra avayvuffov-
rai) (Tvfj.^ov\evca irapafyvXaTTeiv, virb -rivtav u(f>e\ovvTat Kal /SAair-
rovraf (rvfj-^fffrat yap ovTcas OUTO?S eis 6\iya SflffBai. rcav larpwy,

GALEN de sanitate tuenda vi 14 f. (vi 449, 450 Kiihn) .

Tax^ yap KaTair'urTOVO'U' eirl rb Spav rb /*)] bv ol irai/ro Spcav-
res a f6v. . . . ei yap Kal TO /uoAterTO evfKev TU>V avBptaircav fyfvtro
TO. iravra, a\\' ov iraffi \pri<rQai Ka\6v, a\\' ovSe det

CLEM. AL. paed. n i 14.


T F I could have taken any pledge, beyond the bap-
tismal vow, to bind my future life, I would have
pledged myself never to publish a sermon. But
when asked to print this Lent discourse for dis-
tribution among my hearers, I resolved not (as on
former occasions) to let it appear ah Manuscript
gedruckt with a tacit understanding that it was not
to be placed in a public library, or published in any
other way but to give it to the world. From child-
hood I had known (having lived as a Vegetarian
of the strictest observance one Lent when twelve or
thirteen years of age) that men may enjoy perfect
health on a diet far more spare than is common
among Englishmen of any class. By degrees I had
approached a natural diet in my own personal prac-
tice, e.g. tobacco I have never smoked or chewed ;
from the time I came to college I had meat but once
a day as a rule ; butter, tea, coffee, strong wines, have
for many years been to me rare luxuries ; cocoa and
light wines have followed in their train, and in my



rooms whole-meal bread, porridge and water, have
been my staple fare. As a proselyte to the Vege-
tarian society I have added fruit to farinacea and so
become more luxurious.

Yet from sheer ignorance and sloth I have con-
formed to culinary customs which in my heart I have
condemned as wasteful and irrational. Thus I am
to blame, as much as any one, for the popular
superstition which ranks fellows of colleges with alder-
men as lovers of 'good things.' A guest of mine
contrasts the plain living of Roger Ascham's days
with the ' bloated luxury ' of our present Cambridge. 1

When I was a child, few Englishmen of any class
took meat (at least in any quantity) more than once a
day. The three heavy dinners (called breakfast,
lunch, dinner) which ruin the health of the wealthy
now and maintain an army of quacks, as yet were
not. I remember many years ago being alarmed by
the ignorance (I think) of Lord Clarendon, who, as a
member of the Public Schools Commission, asked
every headmaster whether his boys had meat three
times a day. Nowadays philanthropists, in insti-
tutions professing to help poor students, find it hard
to make both ends meet, because forsooth brain work
requires a ' generous ' diet of meat and strong drink.
So entirely forgotten are the laws of health taught
and practised by saints and sages of all time.

Plutarch (vn sap. conv. 16 p. i6o, Holland's

translation, p. 341) observes : "our eating and drinking
is not only the meanes of our life, but also the cause
of our death : for thereupon a number of diseases
take hold of our bodies, which . . . proceed, no lesse
from fulnesse than emptinesse, and many times we
have more adoe to concoct, consume, and dissipate
our food, than we had to get and provide it. And
much like as if the daughters of Danaus were in
doubt what to do, and what life to lead, or how to be
emploied, after they were delivered and freed once
from their servile task imposed upon them, for to fille
their tunne boared full of holes ; even so doubt we
(in case we were come to this passe, as to cease from
stuffing and cramming this unsatiable flesh of ours,
which will never say Ho, with all sorts of viands that
land or sea may affoord) what we should do ? and al
because for want of experience and knowledge what
things be good and honest, we love all our life time
to seeke for to be provided of necessaries : and like
as they who have beene slaves a long time, after they
come once to be delivered from servitude, do of
themselves and for themselves the very same services,
which they were woont to performe for their masters,
when they were bound ; even so, the soule taketh now
great paines and travel to feed the bodie, but if once
she might be dispatched and discharged from this
yoke of bondage, no sooner shall she finde herselfe free
and at libertie, but she will nourish and regard her-


selfe, she will have an eie then to the knowledge of
the truth, and nothing shall plucke her away, or di-
vert and withdraw her from it."

Suppose that Cambridge, this May term, set itself
to teach plain living, by precept and example, to its
gay visitors : no longer spending money for that which
is not bread, and labour for that which satisfieth not.
Suppose that our missionaries, instead of ' committing
the great blunder of throwing too much drink and
too much meat in the face of the Indian nation,' 3
taught our countrymen there that free living in a
tropical climate is death. Suppose the clergy and
schoolmasters, who go out from among us, had sat
(like George Herbert and Nicholas Ferrar) in the
school of Cornaro and Lessius; 3 what would hap-

Listen to the physician who has done more than
any living man to make the laws of health popular,
whose voice is always raised on behalf of temperance,
chastity and mercy. Dr. Nichols tells us (Herald of
Health, Mar. 1880, report of his first lecture in Cam-
bridge, 30 Jan.) : " There is no reason why students
should be compelled to eat a luxurious and unhealthy
diet of flesh, or even to pay for it. 4 Every head would
be clearer, the blood of every student would be purer,
if they would live on sixpence a day, and they would
study none the worse if they were obliged to earn it.
A university ought to be a seat of learning and not

of luxury, and there is room for great reforms not only
at Cambridge and Oxford, but at Eton and Harrow.
The Scottish students who carried their sacks of oat-
meal to Edinburgh, Aberdeen or Glasgow, were not
the worse students for their homely and frugal fare,
and there is better brain food in a basin of oatmeal
porridge, than can be found in sirloins of beef or legs
of mutton. ... If the young men in schools and
universities would live temperately, live like refined
Athenians, if not like the more hardy Spartans, we
should not see so many bloated and gouty aristocrats,
nor so many ruined constitutions, among those who
are foolish enough to follow bad examples."

It would be well if our faculty of medicine, of
which we are justly proud, and which is now on the
point of being endowed at the expense of the colleges,
following the example of Dr. Nichols and Dr. B. W.
Richardson, would teach laymen the meaning of the
golden rule pnte" &yat> in respect of meats and drinks.
Surely they might make it impossible for any resident
in Cambridge to have recourse to quacks. Meanwhile,
such of us laymen as have made a rule of life for
ourselves (and I for one, having never regulated my
diet by professional 'order,' have not known ill-
ness for forty-five years) may encourage others also
to follow Galen's advice, 5 i.e. to learn by personal
experiment what diet suits their constitutions. Plu-
tarch (de sanit. 24 p. i$6e, Holland, p. 626) "Tiberius


Casar was wont to say : That a man being once
above three-score years of age deserveth to be mocked
and derided, if he put forth his hand unto the phy-
sician for to have his pulse felt. For mine own part,
I take this speech of his to bee somewhat too proud
and insolent ; but me thinks this should be true :
That every man ought to know the particularities and
properties of his own pulse, for there bee many diver-
sities and differences in each one of us : also that it
behooveth no man to be ignorant in the severall com-
plexion of his owne bodie, as well in heat as in
drinesse : also to be skilfull what things be good for
him, and what be hurtfull, when he useth them : for
he that would learne these particularities of any other
than of himselfe, or goeth to a physician to know of
him, whether he be better in health in summer time
than in winter ; or whether hee stand better affected
in taking dry things rather than moist ; also whether
naturally he have a strong pulse or a weake, a quicke
or a slow ; surely hath no sense or feeling of himselfe,
but is as it were deafe and blinde, a stranger he is
dwelling in a borrowed body, and none of his owne :
for such points as those are good to be knowen and
easie to be learned; for that we may make proofe
thereof every hower, as having the body with us

"Also meet it is, among meats and drinks, to know
those rather which be good and holsome for the

stomack, than such as be pleasant for the tooth; 6 and
to have experience of that which doth the stomacke
good, more than of that which is offensive thereto; as
also of those things that do not trouble and hinder
concoction, than which content and tickle the taste.
For to demand of a physician, what is easie of di-
gestion, and what not; what doth loose, and what
bindeth the belly; me thinks is no lesse shamefull
than to aske him, what is sweet, what bitter, what
soure, tart or austere. But now we shall have many
folke, that know well how to find fault with their
cooks and dressers of meat for seasoning their broths
or making sauce to their viands, being able to dis-
cerne which is sweeter than it ought to be ; which is
over-tart or too much salted : and yet they themselves
are not able to say whether that which is put into the
bodie and united therewith be light or no; and
whether it be harmlesse, not offensive, or profitable.
Hereupon it is that their pottage misseth not often
the right seasoning ; whereas contrariwise, for want of
well seasoning their owne selves, but daily faulting
therein, they make much worke for physicians : for
they esteeme not that pottage best which is the
sweetest, but they mingle therewith many sharpe
juices and soure herbs, to make it somewhat tart
withall ; but contrariwise, they send into the bodie all
maner of sweet and pleasant things, even untill it cry,
Ho ; partly being ignorant, and in part not calling to


minde and remembrance that nature adjoineth alwaies
unto things that be good and holsome, a pleasure not
mingled with displeasure and repentance. Moreover,
we are likewise to remember and beare in minde all
those things that be fit and agreeable to the bodie, or
contrariwise, in the changes of the seasons in the yere,
in the qualities and properties of the aire, and other
circumstances, to know how to accommodat and apply
our diet accordingly: for as touching all the offences
proceeding from nigardise, avarice and pinching, which
the common sort doe incurre about the painfull inning
and laborious bestowing or laying up of their corne
and fruits; who by their long watchings, by their
running and trudging to and fro, discover and bewray
what is within the bodie, rotten, faulty and ulcerous :
we are not to feare, that such accidents will befall to
learned persons or students, nor yet to states-men and
polititians, unto whom principally I have addressed
this discourse ; but they ought to beware and eschue
another kinde of more eager covetousnesse and illi-
berall nigardise in matter of studie and literature,
forcing them to neglect and not regard their owne
poore bodies, which oftentimes being so travelled and
outwearied, that they can doe them no more service,
yet they spare them never the more, nor give them
leave to be refreshed and gather up their crummes
againe ; but force that which is fraile and mortall to
labour a vie with the soule, which is immortall ; that

(I say) which is earthly, to hold out with the spirit,
that is heavenly. Well, the ox said unto the camell
his fellow servant, who would not ease him a little of
his burden : Thou wilt not helpe me now to beare
somewhat of my charge ; but shortly thou shalt carie
all that I carie, and me besides : which fell out so
indeed, when the ox died under his burden : sem-
blably it hapneth to the soule, which will not allow
the sillie bodie (wearied and tired) some little time of
rest and repose : for soone after comes a fever, head-
ach, dizzinesse of the braine, with a dizzinesse of the
sight, which will compell her to lay aside all books, to
abandon all good letters, disputations and studie ; and
in the end is driven to languish and lie sicke in bed
together with it for company."

Thus we are called by high authority to be phy-
sicians to ourselves, and the vast experience accumu-
lated by the Vegetarian society proves that it is
feasible and easy, in every rank of society, even in
this luxurious age, to live the life, as far as diet goes,
of Socrates, or Curius, or St Paul. Thousands have
tried (to speak with a paper-hanger, Vegetarian Mes-
senger, i, 1851, suppl. p. 18) 'the new system of
living without doctors or doctors' bills, and without
butchers or butchers' bills.' It is self-discipline to
which we are invited, and plainly we are at liberty to
be a law unto ourselves.

The case is different when we are urged to uphold


penal laws, affecting the health or happiness of other
living creatures, of woman, or child, or 'the dumb
animals,' whose impotence under torture is eloquent
in the ears of mercy.

Dr. Andrew Clark, addressing the students of the
London Hospital in October 1876 (T. L. Nichols,
Herald of Health, November 1876, p. 132) pro-
tested against the law which regulates vivisection : he
trusts that every member of this great profession, and
every thoughtful man beyond its pale, will
make this cause his own, and will offer to threatenings
of fresh legislation such a united, earnest and implacable
opposition that the statute-book of England shall never
again be sullied by penal enactments against the just
liberties of men. The highest heritage of humanity is in
our keeping. All the past and all the future conspire to
make us loyal to the sacred charge, and at whatsoei'er
cost of whatsoei'er kind we must hand down the freedom
of experimental inquiry unmortgaged to future genera-
tions. The comments of Dr. Nichols (I.e.} will prove
that the medical profession is not unanimous in this
view of ' the just liberties of men.'

Some years ago I met at Basel an enthusiastic
young German physiologist. He complained that
vivisection of the human subject was as yet forbidden,
but looked forward to a millennium of science, when
these shackles would be removed. He had probably
never read Celsus, or he would have known that there


was once a golden age of free science, but Celsus
hugged his chains.

Vivisection of the human subject, which is now
only a 'frommerWunsch,' was possible to the ancients :
(Celsus i praef. p. 4 1. 35 Daremberg) the dietetics
taught necessarium . . . esse incidere corpora mortuorum,
eorumque -viscera atque intestina scrutari ; longeque
optime fecisse Herophilum et Erasistratum, qui nocentes
homines, a regibus ex career e acceptos, vivos inciderint,
considerarintque etiamnum spiritu remanente, ea quae
natura ante clausisset. Some condemned the practice
as cruel (p. 7 1. 15) neque esse crudele, sicut plerique
proponunt, hominum nocentium, et horum quoque pau-
corum, snpplidis remedia populis innocentibus saeculorum
omnium quaeri. The empirics regarded such torture
as misleading no less than cruel (p. 7 1. 14) atque ea
quidem, de quibus est dictum, supervacua esse tantum-
modo; id -vero, quod restat, etiam crudele: vivorum
homimim alvum atque praecordia incidi et salutis
humanae praesidem artem non solum pestem alicui, sed
hanc etiam atrocissimam, inferre; cum praesertim ex
us, quae tanta violentia quaeranlttr, alia non possint
omnino cognosci, alia possint etiam' sine scelere; (1. 34)
ita mortui demum praecordia et viscus omne in conspectum
latrocinantis medici dari necesse est tale, quale mortui sit,
non quale vivi fuit. si quid tamen sit, quod adhuc
spirante homine conspectui subiciatur, id saepe casum
afferre curantibus. inter dum enim gladiatorem in harena


v el militem in ode vel viatorem a latronibus exceptum sic
vulnerari, ut eius interior aliqua pars aperiatur, et in
alioalia: ita sedem positnm ordinem figurant similiaque
alia cognoscere prudentem medicum, non caedem sed sani-
tatem molientem ; idque per misericordiam discere, quod
alii dira crudelitate cognorint. ob haec ne mortuorum
quidem lacerationem necessariam esse, quae, etsi non
crudelis, tamen foeda sit: cum aliter pleraque in
mortuis se habeant, quantum vero in vivis cognosci
potest, ipsa curatio ostendat. Celsus himself (p. 12 1.
35) endorsed this censure: incidere autem vivorum
corpora et crudele et stipervacuum est : mortuorum,
discentibus necessarium : nam positum et ordinem nosse
debent ; quae cadaver a melius, quam vivus et vulneratus
homo, repraesentant. sed et cetera, quae modo in vivis
cognosci possunt, in ipsis curationibus vulneratorum
paulo tarditts, sed aliquanto mitius, usus ipse monstrabit.
In the early days of the Royal Society, while bear-
baiting and bull-baiting were still in fashion, all Cam-
bridge was of one mind with Dr. A. Clark. Barrow
exclaims ('oratio ad academicos in comitiis' in his
opuscula 128-9 or ms works, Camb. ed. ix 46): quin
et oculos auriculis succenturiatis ac duci rationi comitem
adiungitis experientiam. quando enim, obsecro, a con-
dita academia in tot canum piscium volucrumque neces
ac lanienas sanguinolenta curiositas saeviit, quo vobis
partium constitutio et usus in animalibus innotes-
ceret? o innocentissimam crudelitatem et feri-


tatem facile excusandam ! So a Cambridge
scholar, 15 Sept. 1648 (Sir T. Browne's works, 1836, i
360) : I have now by the frequency of living and dead
dissections of dogs run through the whole body of anatomy.
Of Matt. Robinson, elected fellow of St. John's 3 Apr.
1650, we are told (Life, Camb. 1856, pp. 31-2) in
anatomy he was the most exquisite inquirist of his time,
. . . insomuch that he was invited by some learned per-
sons in other colleges many years his senior to shew them
vivisections of dogs and suchlike creatures in their cham-
bers, to whom he shewed the whole history of the circu-
lation, the venae lacteae, the cutting of the recurrent
veins in the neck, with many experiments then novel, to
great satisfaction, and no augur ever was more familiar
with bowels than he: every week having some singularity
or other of this nature to search in. Insomuch that one
morning having been busy in his chamber with anato-
mising a dog, and coming to dinner into the college hall,
a dog there smelling the steams of his murdered com-
panion upon his clothes, accosted him with such an
unusual bawling in the hall that all the boys fell a
laughing, perceiving what he had been a doing, which
put him to the blush.

In the Menagiana, Amst. 1713, n pp. LII-LIII is an
amusing squib on the ' old philosophy ' (in a ' requete
a nosseigneurs de Mont Parnasse ') : Que le sang ne
cir culer a plus, et que le coeur ne lui ouvrira plus la porte
pour entrer au poulmon. Quelefoye sera re'integre dans


son premier office defaire le sang, sans que le cocur Ini ose
plus disputer ledit office, et que le chile rira trouver tout
dr oft par la veine porte sans s 9 am user a a Her monter vers
les jugulaires, nonobstant aussi les oppositions experi-
mentales de M. Pecquet, auquel il sera nouvelle-
ment fait inhibitions et defenses de plus a
1'avenir faire ouverture des chiens vivans
pour prouver le contraire.

Has anything occurred since the seventeenth cen-
tury to moderate raptures like Barrow's ? Or is every
' thinker ' bound to echo the war-cry of Dr. A. Clark ?

Such books as Mr. E. B. Nicholson's ' Rights of an
animal' (Lond. 1879) a recent lecture on those
rights by Prof. Chandler at Oxford these and other
symptoms prove that in "the hell of animals" conscience
begins to own a duty to the lower creation. Assured-
ly rank, even the highest, will not long screen the
heroes of battues and the like cruelties from prosecu-

Few of us perhaps regret that our law prohibits
entertainments such as those at which Matthew
Robinson played the augur. With Juvenal 7 we see
only degradation to woman in dallying with torture.
But we may well doubt our competence to form an
opinion on Dr. A. Clark's invitation. I have therefore
sought professional advice. I will call the writer X,
because I am forbidden to make the name public. It
is not safe, in this nineteenth century, for physicians


to proclaim opinions counter to the fashion of the

"It is certainly possible," writes X, "as my own experience
shews, to pass all the . . . examinations required . . . without
even once witnessing a vivisection ; but it is impossible to escape
studying these cruel experiments as recounted in the various
books one has to ' get up ' for the examinations. I have several
times been asked the method, results and inductions of vivi-
sectional experiments, and have of course been compelled to
reply. This fact however does not hinder me from asserting
that whatever knowledge may have been attained by such
means, could have been otherwise obtained in nine cases out of
ten, and I do not consider that the tenth exceptional case
compensates fairly from a scientific point of view for the mass of
error and false induction to which the practice of vivisection has
undoubtedly given rise. The obscurity surrounding the study of
the localisation of the various motor centres of the brain is a
good example of misleading tendency of vivisectional experi-
ments. [Then follows a full explanation of this point.] It is
clear to the student of nervous disease, that such experiments
cannot have any real value, and that slow as may be the pro-
gress of knowledge acquired by clinical observation, it is far
better to wait for the development of such observations than to
rush incontinently and impatiently to false and obscure con-
clusions obtained by such experiments as Ferrier's

"Of course, from a moral point of view, which is the only real
standard of vision for a civilised person, vivisection is absolutely
barbarous and abominable, no matter what may or could be
expected from it. For my own part, I prefer to take my stand
on the moral ground entirely, for if once one admits \h^ principle
involved in vivisection as a legitimate one, I do not see where
one is to draw the line. If experiments on animals can be

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Online LibraryJohn E. B. (John Eyton Bickersteth) MayorModicus cibi medicus sibi, or, Nature her own physician → online text (page 1 of 7)