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Topic: Quimby Manuscripts
Section: Chapter 08 - Contemporary Testimony, part 1 of 3
Table of Contents to this Topic
Chapter 8 CONTEMPORARY TESTIMONY
[Under date of July 8th, 1856, a former patient wrote a brief article entitled "An Important Discovery in the Healing Art," as if intending it for publication. The Ms. has been preserved, and from it we quote the following:]
THIS truly wonderful discovery is now practised by Dr. Quimby, of Belfast, a very respectable gentleman, for intelligence, agreeableness and integrity. He is able to cure without the use of medicine diseases which have baffled the skill of most eminent physicians. Of this we have evidence in his curing those who have been afflicted with sickness and pain for several years, without once knowing the cause of their sufferings, and were given up by their physicians as having a complication of diseases that were incurable. Having therefore to abandon all hope of a recovery and giving themselves up to die, they heard of Dr. Quimby and his successful mode of curing disease. Feeling no longer able to swallow the poisonous draughts administered for their relief, they with faith as a grain of mustard seed were at last induced to put themselves under his treatment. By the blessing of God they were in a short time healed of their infirmities. They also learned something of the nature and cause of disease, the effects of the mind upon the bodily functions, and how the mind may become a physician for the body, which is of more real worth than all the mines of Golcond. For when in possession of this knowledge we learn to remedy our own ills, and no longer remain a prey to disease.
I now come to speak of myself and will give a short sketch of my own experience. For almost four years previous to my consulting Dr. Quimby I had been an invalid. In December, 1851, I contracted a violent cold, which brought on influenza, attended with a severe cough. Every part of me seemed wracked with pain, and it was with much difficulty I could move at all. This continued for some six weeks, when there was a change in my case which presented no favorable aspect. My physician was a man of considerable skill and experience, as I had received medical aid at his hand some two years previous, which produced the desired effect. I felt the fullest confidence that he would be successful a second time. But all his efforts proved unavailing, as the medicine I took only afforded me momentary relief. . . . My suffering at times was such as I shall not attempt to describe. I continued to take medicine, getting a little better and then worse until nearly two years of my sickness had elapsed . . . until August, 1854, when I was no longer able to walk, and obliged to lie down more than two thirds of the time . . . to the time of my consulting Dr. Quimby, October, 1855.
I had heard of his effecting wonderful cures in hopeless cases of long standing. Although I could not readily conceive the manner in which it was done, I did not doubt the truth of the assertion or think it absurd; but deemed it impossible for anything in like manner to be wrought in my case. I therefore listened with indifference to all I heard respecting his wonderful skill and superior knowledge until a few weeks previous to putting myself under his treatment. I had used every restorative recommended for my case, and all without benefit. I was at last compelled to give up trying, as it was only something simple I could take at all. I therefore concluded there could be no risk in applying to one who was represented to cure without the use of medicines, and hearing his mode of treatment spoken of in the best terms by many of the learned class.
I had the pleasure of seeing Dr. Quimby at my own home a few weeks before I was carried to Belfast. He gave me encouragement, said he could help me and soon enable me to walk again. This I thought was doing too much. I dared not believe. And yet I was impotent to know the truth . . . that I could not even fancy to be a reality . . . I set out on my journey with as much fortitude as could reasonably be expected of one so weak. . . I felt glad to lie down and rest myself after so fatiguing a journey. I was much dis?tressed, but wished to make as little ado as possible, for fear of alarming those who accompanied me.
Dr. Quimby made me a visit the same day, and expressed an opinion a second time that he could help me. In one week's time I was able by slight assistance from Dr. Quimby to walk down stairs. It was learning to walk a second time in life. I began to think, feel and act like a new being. Although I was very deficient in knowledge of the truth which was to set me free, I had already learned sufficiently to enable me to perform in one week what I had not done for the past fourteen months. I had never known what true happiness was before, so thankful did I feel for the pleasure of walking. Yet so sudden was the change and so speedy the recovery that it seemed like trying to do something altogether unnatural.
During my stay at Belfast Dr. Quimby had more practice than he could well attend to, and several whose cases came under my own observation had long been considered hopeless were in a short time restored to their natural strength. By the leave of one young lady, Miss C., from Bucksport, I will narrate her sufferings and the help she received. She had been a sufferer for more than ten years, and had had fifteen medical attendants that were considered men of skill in their profession, who were at last obliged to admit her case as something which surpassed their knowledge of disease. She learning of my speedy recovery, desired to learn more particularly concerning it, and consequently came to see for herself. . : . Dr. Quimby examined her case and bid her be of good cheer, and thought he could help her. . . Strange as it may seem, in a little less than three weeks she was able to leave for home, and could walk two miles with much pleasure. She lives with a heart full of gratitude to God for the blessed means by which she was restored.
Ever since my return home my health has been improving, although very many thought my sudden cure was nothing to be relied on, and if I still persisted in taking exercise I might ere long be in as perilous a situation as when I first applied to Dr. Quimby. But they have become Convinced that it is reality, and think me almost a miracle in the history of disease. I have been able to attend a singing school during the past winter without experiencing the slightest injury. Permit me to say to those like myself when looking for a remedy that you have only to go to Dr. Quimby and "apply thy heart unto understanding, and thy ears to the words of knowledge. So shall the knowledge of wisdom be unto thy soul. When thou hast found it, then there shall be a reward, and thy expectation shall not be cut off."
I have deferred publishing this statement until the present time that all might know that I am now well, and suffer from none of my former difficulties, that I have recently gone to housekeeping and have "nothing to molest me, or make me afraid" as regards to my former difficulties. I desire always to bless the Lord, who has so wonderfully dealt with me, and also to express my deepest gratitude to Dr. Quimby, as the means employed to change my conditions. .
[A writer in the Bangor Times tells of the case of a Mrs. Hodsdon of Kenduskeag, who had been sick with a complication of diseases for two years. "Dyspepsia in its worst form, and a difficulty about the head, had utterly prostrated her, so that, for the two years, she had been unable to walk a step or to be moved in an upright position without fainting. Dr. Quimby called upon the sufferer, and in two hours the patient rose from her bed without assistance, seated herself in a chair and sat up two hours. She rested well that night, she steadily improved and in due time gained twenty pounds of flesh. All this came as the result of a single visit. The writer states that he has heard of other cases of remarkable relief, and he wonders what power there is behind Dr. Quimby's "gift." The testimony of others is mentioned regarding the "marvellous power" following Quimby's efforts. No theory is proposed, but the writer evidently agrees with one signing himself "Exeter" in the Bangor Jeffersonian, Feb., 1858, who declares that it is "too late an hour for the cry of `humbug' in Mr. Quimby's treatment of disease. . . . People are beginning to inquire, `Who and what is Dr. Quimby? By what strange agency does he cure disease which for years has baffled the skill of our most eminent physicians?"' Another newspaper writer of the period says,]
"We have been told that the `age of miracles' is passed, but we have recently heard of several astonishing cures performed by a Dr. P. P. Quimby, which seem to border on the miraculous. How these cures are effected, it is impossible to say, as no visible means are employed. The most obstinate cases of disease have been made to disappear at the mere will, it would seem, of the Doctor. . . . Having heard of a remarkable recovery, we called on the patient, an intelligent young lady, who stated to us her case, and the manner of her cure, the facts of which she embodied, at our request, in the following letter."
PORTLAND, ME., August 29th, 1860.
I have been sick since five years ago last July, having a great deal of pain in my back and limbs, "caused by blue pills taken two years before," physicians said, giving me "spinal disease." Very soon I was unable to walk, or even stand, and for months I was prostrate upon my bed and confined to a dark room, having neuralgia in the optic nerve, dyspepsia in its worst form, making me a great sufferer. After being for two years in the care of my uncle and brother, they decided medicine would not cure me, and took me to a Water Cure, at Hill, N. H. At this time I could not stand and was wheeled about in a wheel chair; my general health improved, and two years ago this fall I was able to walk about the room for two weeks only, and with this exception I have not walked in five years. The Water Cure physician decided there was no help for me there, concluding the spinal marrow was diseased.
Hearing of you, I set out at once to see you. Arriving at the United States Hotel in Portland, August 15th, A.M., I was carried up stairs to my room in my wheel chair, and in fifteen minutes after I saw you, Dr. Quimby, I was walking. I went down stairs to dinner without any assistance, and to my room again, and during the P. M., I took long walks of about forty steps and back again, and when you consider that in the morning of the same day, I could only stand for an instant, and take two or three steps with assistance, you will not wonder that I was wild with delight, or that I was to myself like one risen from the dead. The second day I walked on the street sixteen rods, and during the sixth day I walked four miles and a half, and in less than two weeks I walked into Portland from Falmouth, four miles. My disease is entirely gone, my back is perfectly well, and I have no fears of a relapse.
Yours with much esteem,
F. C. B.
Residence, Williamstown, Vt.
[To this testimony may be added that of Mr. Julius Dresser, restored to health by Mr. Quimby three months before and devoting himself to conversing with patients on "the Truth." Mr. Dresser saw Miss B. in her invalid condition, then walked and talked with her during some of the trips above mentioned, learning the facts of the case at first hand, and seeing that she was perfectly restored to health. The newspaper writer above quoted continues his account in the Evening Courier, Sept., 1860, as follows:]
Now, if this were a solitary case, we might ascribe the cure to the imagination, as it is well known that imagination has worked wonders in this way. But this is but one of a number of equally remarkable cases which have occurred here in our midst, and witnesses stand ready to bear testimony to the facts. One lady who had been severely afflicted with rheumatism, and for years was bent nearly double, a perfect cripple, unable to use her hands or feet, was in a short time restored to health, and is now a living, working evidence of the Doctor's skill. A gentleman, a friend of ours, had for years been afflicted with a hip complaint. He had for a long time been confined to his bed, and was brought so low his physicians had given him up, with the intimation he could live but a few days. It was purposed to call in Dr. Quimby. This the gentleman objected strenuously to, being bitterly opposed to anything like humbuggery, and the Dr. he considered one of the biggest of humbugs. His wife, however, insisted on calling in Dr. Q. He visited him and yesterday we met the patient on the street, going home to dinner, looking heartier than we have seen him for a long time. He considers himself entirely cured of the complaint. We told him people considered all these cures as humbugs. So did I, was his reply, but here I am, and if humbug can work such wonders, glory be to humbug, say I: and so say we. We might cite a dozen other cases, but we refrain. We have no other motive in mentioning these rare cures than to make our readers acquainted with the remarkable phenomena. We have but a slight acquaintance with Dr. Quimby, and have no interest in publishing his astonishing cures to the world. We have mentioned them as affording matters of curious speculation. We must confess there is something about them more than our philosophy ever dreamed of. (1)
(1)The editor 'of a Lowell, Mass., paper prints a communication from Miss B. in which she gives the same facts cited above, and says, "The young lady who sends us the following . . . has relatives in this city whom she has recently visited. We have no question of the entire truthfulness of her statements, which we have heard orally and with more particularity." The communication is dated Oct. 22, 1860.
[The next testimonial first appeared in the Lebanon, N. H., Free Press, and was then copied by other papers in Maine and New Hampshire.]
LEBANON, Dec. 3, 1860.
Just at the present time there is a good deal said about Dr. Quimby, of Portland, and it may not be considered amiss to mention the case of a young lady of this town who has been greatly benefitted by him. For nearly three years she has been an invalid-a great part of the time confined to her bed, and never left her room unless carried out by her friends. A few weeks since she heard of Dr. Quimby, and resolved to visit him. She did so, and after remaining under his care four days she returned home free from all pain and disease, and is now rapidly regaining health and strength.
The reputation of Dr. Quimby as a man who cures diseases has extended without the narrow limits of his own state, and the sick from various parts have learned to avail themselves of his services. The increasing respect and confidence of the public in his success suggests the day of miracles, and brings up a question as absurd as that of two thousand years ago, "Can any good come out of Nazareth?" Can actual disease be cured' by humbug? Dr. Quimby effects his cures without the aid of medicine or outward applications, and his practice embraces cases like the above, where all ordinary treatment has failed to relieve. These facts at first place him in the rank of the mysteries of a superstitious world, but there are few of his patients after a second interview who do not think the mystery is in them and not in him. . . . It is here that Dr. Quimby stands, his explanation and his cures go hand in hand. While his senses [intuition] are penetrating the dark mystery of the sick, he is in com?plete possession of his consciousness as a man. Not fearing to investigate the operation of the mind, be penetrated the region [where] nothing but magicians, sorcerers, witchcraft and spiritualists have ventured, and going far beyond them in his experiments, he arrived at the knowledge of the principle regulating happiness.
Therefore his curing disease is perfectly intelligent and is in itself a new philosophy of life. The foundation of his theory . . . is that disease is not self-existent, nor created by God, but that it is purely the invention of man. Yet it is so firmly established in our belief, and substantiated by so much wisdom that its existence as an independent entity is never questioned. In his treatment he makes a complete separation between the sufferer and the sickness; for the latter he has no respect, and while he is battling or destroying the faith or belief of which it is made, he respects the intelligence of the patient, which he leaves free and unchained.
It is impossible in a brief communication to do anything like justice to Dr. Quimby's system. Enough has been said to separate him from quacks and imposters. The case cited above is not a solitary instance of his skill in practising his science, and his increasing popularity with all classes shows that the confidence of the public is not misplaced.
ONE WHO HAS BEEN RELIEVED.
[Having heard that Quimby had restored a woman who had been dumb, an interested reader reported the results of investigations he had been prompted to make concerning this cure, which occurred during the same year, 1856, the patient being a daughter of Capt. Blodgett, of Brooksville. The patient had been suddenly deprived of her speech two years before.]
No cause was known, and the fact excited a melancholy surprise in herself. . . . She had not been sick . . . nor had any trouble of mind or body been known to have produced speechlessness. . . . One evening her speech was observed to be slightly impaired. She retired as usual, and on waking in the morning she found herself utterly speechless. From that time . . . she had not uttered an audible word. . . She is now in full possession of her former powers of speech. . . . One physician attributed the cause to a sort of paralysis of the vocal organs. ['The best medical aid had been sought without avail]. . . .
Mr. Q. says he employs no medicine of any kind for any complaint he is called upon to treat. His theory is . . . that all diseases of the body are caused by a derangement of the mind! And that the cure of all diseases may be effected, theoretically, by a restoration or rectification of the mind of the invalid, to its natural, proper condition. He has this faith, and when he succeeds in imparting it to the patient, the disease vanishes and the whole person is restored to harmonious natural functions. His formula of faith is confessedly that of the Saviour and the woman who touched the hem of his garment and became whole. The operation is purely mental. Mr. Q. discards this scriptural fact as a "miracle," but regards it as natural, as properly reproductive by those who have the right idea of diseases and their cure, and who have the faith to attempt to relieve human suffering. . . . He refrains entirely from any manipulation over the patients, such as are generally known to be the accompaniments of mesmeric experiments. He neither puts them to sleep nor biologizes them, but takes them as he finds them . . . explains the method he proposes for a cure. . . This is the way in which he says he restored this young lady to the power of speech with no other application but the power of his speech upon her mind. . . We have no reason to doubt the material statements in this case. . . . Mr. Quimby is not a "spiritualist" in any sense of the term. [Interest in this case led to the reporting of another instance by the same writer, that of a Miss Buker, afflicted with a hip disease, the conditions being described in much detail. In an utterly hopeless condition she consulted Mr. Quimby in Belfast, and the account continues as follows:]
She began immediately to improve, and has grown better every week to a wonderful degree. The disease has measureably departed from the hip, and the leg has resumed almost its natural length and strength. She threw aside her crutches a week or two ago . . . and now she walks with considerable ease and no pain, with the aid of only a small cane in one hand. She lifts her foot with ease, and bears her whole weight upon it momentarily while walking-a thing which until within a few weeks she had not been able to do for fifteen long years. The reader may imagine the enthusiastic congratulations in which she indulges at the cheering prospect she now has of being completely restored to health. She is apparently in the enjoyment of a new life.... Dr. Quimby has used no medicine or material appliances whatever, inter?nally or externally-he has not even seen nor touched the part afflicted. All he has done has been by acts of volition, conversing with his patient daily for about six weeks, "teaching her," as he says, "the use of her limbs and how to walk." He feels confident that he has obtained the mastery of the disease . . . he got the mind and most of the body of the patient on the winning side. He believes that their mutual "faith" will yet make his patient "whole." "He says he is not performing a miracle" but a "cure," by the exercise, in a novel way, of those powers of intellect and reason with which the Creater has endowed him in common with all intelligent beings. [This eminently fair-minded man appeals to his readers to visit the patient if so inclined and see for themselves while the actual process of restoration to health is going on.]