« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »
disease is which asks for cure, and then also to know what remedies and methods evince their power and fitness to heal. He needs to know the precise spot of malady which should be touched by the Ithuriel spear of healing art, and the mode by which that touch may be surely and effectually given. This power Dr. Ives possessed in a degree never surpassed, if it was equaled, in this region of the country.
A necessary accompaniment to the power just mentionednecessary to make a physician of learning and resources,-is a comprehensive and retentive memory. This Dr. Ives possessed. His memory retained accurately and securely the facts regarding diseases and remedies, which his power of insight and observation had acquired. And they were so arranged and classified as to be at his command. His arrangement of them often seemed to others rather miscellaneous, as were things in his yard, and plants, shrubs, trees and flowers in his garden. But they were so arranged, in the one case as in the other, that he knew where to find them at once; and they were forthcoming at his bidding.
Another, a third, characteristic of Dr. Ives, which rendered him a physician of eminent learning and large resources, was his extensive and thorough knowledge of materia medica, of materials having remedial or curative power, especially those furnished by the science of botany, and most especially those which are indigenous, or native to our soil. Those who have been acquainted with his practice will remember how often he used to prescribe the use of some botanical plant, and not rarely one growing in this region, telling just where to go and find it, and not infrequently the place would be his own garden or back yard. In the botanical department of materia medica he was far beyond his age, and was the most learned physician of his time in this country. In this part of medical learning, Dr. Æneas Monson, as has already been intimated, gave him inspiration and instruction. That he made such attainments in this department of knowledge, is truly wonderful; for at that period there were no books published on that subject in this country, and it was almost impossible to obtain them. Dr. Monson acquired his knowledge in this department
by his own observations, experiments, and experience, and by the communicated observations and experience of those around him, and of those with whom he corresponded for that purpose, in this country and in Europe. And Dr. Ives, his pupil, gained his knowledge from the same sources, and also from a few books which he obtained with great difficulty from Europe.
And this suggests a statement, which may appropriately be made at this point, that Dr. Ives was a very diligent and thorough student of medical and scientific books, especially in his early and middle life. He sought for knowledge on his favorite topics wherever it was to be found. He sought it for himself independently in the book of nature; and he sought it also in the books in which other men have recorded what they have learned from nature's book.
This large knowledge of the materials of medicine is evidently a very essential element in the character of an able physician. For if it is a prime quality of such a physician that he is able to perceive what it is in the patient that needs cure, it is surely a quality next in order and not second in importance to know what to cure it with. In this knowledge Dr. Ives was eminent, indeed preëminent, in his day. I had heard quoted at some time a remark of Dr. Knight, made many years since, to this effect, that "Dr. Ives, more than any other man within his acquaintance, had in his knowledge and control the materials of healing power, whether furnished by earth, sea, or air." In my interview with Dr. Knight I repeated that remark, and asked him if he ever made it. He replied, “I do not remember making it. Very likely I did. For it was true. No doubt about that.”
A fourth characteristic of Dr. Ives in his practice, was his ability and habit of adapting his remedies to the individual case in hand, instead of treating it according to a routine, or fixed custom. He took an independent view of each case, and chose such remedies as suited it. This faculty and habit enabled him to meet the ever varying and shifting forms of diseases, and rendered him especially successful in treating those which are most variable in their types, such as fevers.
Nearly allied to this, or necessary to it, was another, a fifth,
characteristic great care in watching his patients, and in noting all the phenomena, especially the changes, of their diseases, and the effect of remedies. This was particularly true of him in the earlier periods of his medical life, when he could devote more time to individual cases.
Another, a sixth, characteristic of Dr. Ives's practice, was its boldness, enterprise, and energy when an exigency demanded it. His course in ordinary instances of disease was to use mild and gentle remedies, reserving severe remedies for the severe and especially for desperate cases, in which his measures were bold, energetic, and often extraordinary. Such cases appealed to his large resources, and called them out-to his deep insight, his wide knowledge of remedial agents, and to his skill in adapting them. To such cases he was frequently called, especially in consultation, and was unusually successful in them, not infrequently curing persons who had been given up in despair. And his success in these instances was largely owing to his boldness and decision in employing powerful and extraordinary measures, which physicians generally would not have ventured to employ. An instance illustrating this was related to me recently. The eminent man who gave the Address to the Alumni of Yale College, at the last Commencement, when informed by me of the illness of Dr. Ives, said: "I owe him a great debt of gratitude. He saved my life when I was in College. I was very ill with fever; and my physician regarded my case as hopeless; when Dr. Ives was called in consultation. Considering my disease desperate, and calling for desperate remedies, he gave me an enormous dose of a powerful medicine. It was what the case needed. It had such an effect as to rally my system and to break and turn the power of the disease; and I recovered. Whatever I have been and done since, I owe, under divine Providence, to the skill of Dr. Ives, and to the boldness and enterprise of his practice."
Dr. Ives was remarkable in his conduct as a physician for some qualities, which, though they belong to the moral department of his character, yet, as they influenced his medical practice, should be mentioned in this connection.
He was characterized by great integrity as a physician. He was fair, upright and honorable in his intercourse with patients, and in his intercourse with other physicians, especially when called in council, consulting without regard to his own interest in the case. "He acted in his medical practice," said Dr. Knight, "with remarkable independence of pecuniary considerations, and was in all respects a very fair and honest minded man."
He was characterized also by a genial and generous interest in other physicians, especially the younger members of the profession, treating them with great kindness and courtesy, and endeavoring to promote harmony of feeling and action. "In this latter particular," said Dr. Knight, "he brought about quite a reform in New Haven when he entered upon the profession." There was at that time, and had been, a great deal of jealousy and rivalry and unpleasant feeling among the physicians of the place. For the purpose of remedying this, as well as for promoting the objects of medical science and skill, he proposed and had a leading influence in forming, in the year 1803, the New Haven Medical Association, which from the time of its origin has held meetings every fortnight, that have had an excellent influence in promoting mutual acquaintance, confidence, fellowship, and harmony. Of its original members he was the last
And, finally, Dr. Ives was a decided friend and promoter of progress in medical science and practice. He was no friend to quackery, or empiricism, or charlatanry. But he was a friend to truth in relation to disease and medicine, and he believed that there is far more of it than has yet been ascertained. And he was willing to accept it from whatever quarter. He earnestly sought for it in all quarters and by all means at his control. He thought and acted in the spirit of the stanza:
"Seize upon truth, where'er 'tis found,
Among your friends, among your foes,
The flower 's divine, where'er it grows."
For truth in relation to medical science and skill he sought by his individual and independent efforts. And he sought for
it by promoting associated effort. He was forward, as has been already said, in forming the New Haven Medical Association. He was an active friend of the State Medical Society, and of the National Medical Society, which, at its recent meeting in this city, honored him by choosing him, notwithstanding his age and infirmities, their presiding officer.
But the most important service which Dr. Ives rendered to medical science and practice was his agency in originating and sustaining the Medical Department of Yale College. This leads me to speak of another and large division of the labors of his life-that of a Teacher of Medical Science, and a Professor in the Medical College.
The origin of that College was due chiefly to two men, Dr. Eli Ives and Professor Benjamin Silliman, acting under the suggestions and inspiration of that eminent friend of science, Dr. Dwight, President of Yale College. The Medical College, or rather the Medical Department of Yale College, was organized in 1813, by the appointment of five Professors, viz, Æneas Monson, Nathan Smith, Eli Ives, Benjamin Silliman, and Jonathan Knight. Dr. Monson was appointed Professor of Materia Medica and Botany, with Dr. Ives as his Associate. Dr. Monson, however, on account of his great age,-being then about eighty years old,-declined the active duties of the Professorship, which were wholly performed by Dr. Ives. Indeed, the appointment of Dr. Monson was intended simply as a deserved compliment to his medical learning and his zeal in behalf of medical science. What has already been said in another part of this discourse of Dr. Ives's knowledge of materia medica, preeminent in this country at that day, precludes the necessity of saying anything more as to his qualifications for the professorship in that department. In that department he continued for sixteen years-from 1813 to 1829-when, upon the decease of Professor Nathan Smith, he was transferred to the department of the Theory and Practice of Medicine. In that department he remained twenty-three years-from 1829 to 1852-when, owing to his advanced age and increasing infirmities, he resigned, and his place was