Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 41.djvu/753

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extraordinary cures under extraordinary conditions, the proof of which, depends alone on the statements of the cured.

Then comes the old story of persecution by physicians and scientists, and of posing as martyrs, public benefactors, and pioneer discoverers, with indirect appeals for sympathy from the broad and liberal minded. Back of all this is a pecuniary field actively tilled which yields rich harvests, and altogether it is the same old familiar history of empiricism, which is always to be found on the advancing frontiers of science. Within two years a large number of charlatans have appeared, claiming to have found remedies and specifics for the certain and permanent cure of the drink disease. A great variety of means and drugs are offered, each one claiming to be superior to all others. Recently one of these empiric specific cures has led all the others in boldness and prominence. Starting from an obscure Western village, it has spread out into many branches, all organized and conducted on one general plan, and federated together. Physicians have been enlisted to conduct each branch, companies have been organized, houses hired, and elaborated arrangements made for the work. Special papers have been established to defend its interests, and the pulpit and press have indorsed and freely praised these efforts. Every possible avenue to attract public attention has been industriously cultivated to keep the subject before the people.

Large numbers of persons who claim to be cured have organized into clubs, and display hysterical enthusiasm to prove the reality of their cure and the greatness of the projector.

It is assumed that the inventor of this specific was the first to urge the theory of disease in modern times; also that he has made a great discovery of a new remedy the nature of which he carefully conceals from the rest of the world. The most wonderful and complete cures of the most incurable cases are accomplished in two or three weeks on some unknown physiological principle. These assertions are sustained by certificates of clergymen, reformed men, and others, and are accepted as facts without question or other evidence. Dogmatic statements and bold assertions, coupled with savage criticism of those who dare to doubt, together with half-truths and wild theories, mark all the literature of this specific. The commercial side of this remedy is equally startling and Napoleonic as a business success. It is a curious fact that this particular cure is very closely followed in all its details and claims by a number of imitators, who have made equally wonderful discoveries in precisely the same way, but all are concealed for the same pretended reasons. It is equally curious to note the absence of novelty and originality of methods compared with the means and efforts used to make popular and create a sale for most of the proprietary articles on the market to-day. All