Selected writings of John M. Scudder.
The following is Dr. Scudder's first editorial upon assuming co-editorship of the Eclectic Medical Journal and is the beginning of his editorial career. His policy is clearly stated—the expression of truth and his honest convictions—hewing to the line, no matter where the chips might chance to fall. Great fidelity to this purpose may be traced throughout all his written utterances. He contended always that "honesty is the best policy." His retrospective view of Eclectic medicine was not comforting to him and he promised better things to come. No standstill policy would be tolerated; for not to go ahead was to be run over. His manly appeal had its effect, and Eclecticism took on renewed life.—Ed. Gleaner,
PROLEGOMENA.—Having been invited to assist in editing the Journal for the coming year, I make my best bow to its readers, wishing them a happy New Year. What I shall write for these pages will be my honest convictions; and if I should chance to tread on anybody's corns, I beg their pardon beforehand, with the advice that they speedily consult their chiropodist as to the advantage resulting from extraction versus compression. As we enter upon the new year, it becomes us to look back at the past, and see what progress we, as Eclectics, have made in improving the art of healing. For my part, the retrospect is not very flattering. I see, in years gone by, a class of earnest seekers after truth; men of strong wills, keen discrimination, and unwavering perseverance, who were attracted to Eclecticism by their love for truth—who pursued the study of medicine continuously, devotedly, oftentimes under the most discouraging circumstances; but who attained results of the most nattering character. They were the men who proved to the people the great advantages of this reform in medicine, and who fixed it on a firm foundation. They were, doubtless, not as well polished as our physicians now; but they were better diagnosticians and therapeutists. We want more energy, greater diligence, and less disposition to settle back upon the reputation Eclecticism has already obtained with the people. Couple this with our increase of physiological and pathological knowledge, and the really good remedies lately introduced, and we will be able to chronicle progress in years to come. We will have to make progress, for old-school medicine, which was left so far behind, is following us with giant strides, appropriating our therapeutic resources, and wielding them with such skill, as to take away, in some sections, the prestige which appears to be, to some extent, the modern eclectic's capital. We must go ahead, or be run over. If our practitioners will put their shoulders to the wheel—go at it in earnest, and report through the Journal, or otherwise, 1861 will be a year that can be marked with a white stone.—SCUDDER, Eclectic Medical Journal, 1861.
The Biographies of King, Howe, and Scudder, 1912, was written by Harvey Wickes Felter, M. D.