I think I am correct, perhaps, in stating that at the present time no one man is more fully in the public eye, among the medical men, than Dr. W. C. Abbott of Ravenswood, Chicago.
Eclectics are born kickers, perhaps because they have always had something to kick about. The very existence of the school under the aggressive circumstances of its origin and development, has made it a target. And justly, the inherent tendency of its members has been to "kick back." For many years they have complained that the regulars took the good things eclectics had proven, and gave them no credit for the faithful, laborious work they had done in bringing them out. This is true, and they are doing it today. They even give the first man who steals Eclectic thunder credit for the original observations, thus putting a premium on the theft. Bartholow learned the larger part of his therapeutics in an Eclectic School and was not honest enough to acknowledge it.
But charges of this kind cannot be laid at Dr. Abbott's door. I think I know the doctor and I know that he is nothing if not honest. He has been accused of appropriating Eclectic ideas, but he has never denied for a moment that he uses them. He has quoted our authorities freely and has used our suggestions of drug action openly as a basis in many cases for studies in alkaloidal medication. Buy and read a copy of his last work on Alkaloidal Medication if you doubt my word. These principles are being brought out constantly in The American Journal of Clinical Medicine.
This very honesty is one of the things that has helped precipitate the virulent attack recently made upon him by the Journal of the American Medical Association, an attack which he is fully able to cope with.
No man among regulars has more fully recognized the truth of Scudder's basic principles of practice, or used them more freely or more openly; no man has so fully aroused the regular profession to the importance of an exact study of disease indications and the adaptation of exact, positive and reliable remedies to these indications as the basic principles of our school teaches; no man has produced so complete a change in the methods of study of his school, or has directed them more fully into a course which means a more perfect therapeutics for the entire profession; no man has ever directed so fully the attention of the total profession to the exact, reliable and correct character of eclectic work, and has thus caused a general inquiry for, and a study of our literature, thus making us firm friends among those who were once bitterly prejudiced against us; no man today is doing more to break down obnoxious sectarian barriers and obliterate the bitter prejudices of the long past.
In principle Dr. Abbott is eclectic and he acknowledges it. In education he is a regular and he demands all its privileges. St. Paul said he was a Jew and a Pharisee but he was a born Roman and he claimed his birthright.
I do not believe in giving a man fulsome praise, but there has been so much said against Dr. Abbott by those who are prejudiced by personal interest, and by those who do not know him, that I believe that it is my duty to tell some of the things I have discovered about him that are of interest to eclectics, and so help stop unmerited censure. I believe in giving every man his due, irrespective of "school."
Ellingwood's Therapeutist, Vol. 2, 1908, was edited by Finley Ellingwood M.D.