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Untitled Resource

A Review of: A Statement of the Claims of Charles F. Jackson, M.D., to the Discovery of the Applicability of Sulphuric Ether to the Prevention of Pain in Surgical Operations.  By Martin Gay, M.D.  Boston: David Clapp.  1847.  8vo.  pp. 29 and xviii.

Taken from Brownson's Quarterly Review, October 1847.

So far as we can judge, this pamphlet fully vindicates the claim of Dr. Jackson to the discovery of the applicability of sulphuric ether to the prevention of pain in surgical operations.  Dr. Jackson is an honorable man, and utterly incapable of claiming such discovery, if he is not entitled to it.  The statement made by Dr. Gay, and the testimony he introduces, are perfectly conclusive, and set the matter at rest.  There is only one point on which there is any room for regret.  Dr. Jackson was wrong, and he admits it, in suffering his name to appear with that of Dr. Morton, as an applicant for a patent.  We believe him, when he says it was not for the sake of pecuniary profit, but to prevent Dr. Morton from robbing him of the whole honor of the discovery; but he should not have yielded.  A similar statement to the one now published would, at any time, have vindicated his claim before the public.  Such a discovery should not have been patented; and if Dr. Morton was unwilling the afflicted should be relieved without putting money into his, Morton's, pocket, he should have suffered him to enjoy alone the honor of such meanness and inhumanity.  We know nothing of Dr. Morton but the fact of his wishing to keep the discovery a secret, and secure to himself the monopoly of it; and that is all we wish to know of him.  Of the value of the discovery itself there can, we think, be little doubt.  Its being patented made us, we own, distrust it; but the testimony to its efficacy is so ample, and from such reliable sources, that the question really appears to us no longer debatable; and in its discovery, unless something should appear, not now apprehensible, we must believe Dr. Jackson has proved himself a real benefactor of the afflicted.  The public cannot fail, ultimately, to regard him as such; and Dr. Morton's claims will also, we trust, be treated as they deserve.