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CRITICISMS OF THE MEDICAL PRESS
EDITION OF THIS WORK.
The British and Foreign Medico-chirurgical Quarterly Review, July, 1857.
WE doubt whether, among our human relations, there is one that exerts a greater influence upon most of us than that which draws its impulses from the sexual feelings. Indirectly, it governs the whole life of the female, from the time at which she dandles her first doll to the time when she teaches her grandchild "pattycake, pattycake;"—the vices and the virtues of the sterner sex-less confessedly, perhaps, but no less really-result from the vagaries and dreams of boyhood, or the waywardness or resolution of adult age, that are prompted by the sexual instincts.
Sexual excesses are the monster evil of the present, no less than of former times; it is not, except in particular forms, a subject for legislation, because legislation cannot reach it; but it is essentially a subject for the clergyman and the schoolmaster to deal with. It is folly to ignore what every man who has been at a school must know to prevail. It is wisdom to avail ourselves of the holiest aspirations of the youth to enable him to shun evil, not from fear-though from fear, if need be—but from a just appreciation of the immutable laws, which may be traced equally in Holy Writ and in natural theology. We think Mr. Acton has done good service to society by grappling manfully with sexual vice, and we trust that others, whose position as men of science and teachers enable them to speak with authority, will assist in combating and arresting the evils which it entails, and thus enable man to devote more enduring energies and more lofty aims to the advancement of his race, and to the service of his God.
We are of opinion that the spirit which pervades it is one that does credit equally to the head and to the heart of the author.
The Lancet, May 30th, 1857. The only way by which some of the most important functional ailments and aberrant physiologic states affecting humanity can be rescued from the grasp of the most disgusting and villanous quackery, and treated with benefit to the patient, is by the scientific and conscientious practitioner openly taking them under his own charge.
Now, however, that legitimate and able practitioners permit themselves to be known as willing to bestow as much consideration on the aberrations of the generative fiinction as on those of any other, we trust that some stoppage will be put to the basest system of plunder ever conducted under the mask of "medical advice."
In the work now before us, all essential detail upon its subject matter is clearly and scientifically given. . We recommend it accordingly, as meeting a necessary requisition of the day, refusing to join in that opinion which regards the consideration of the topics in question as beyond the duties of the medical practitioner.
The Medical Times, May 16th, 1857.
Mr. Acton has devoted himself for many years with unwearying assiduity to the study of the diseases of the reproductive organs, and after an intimate acquaintance with syphilitic diseases gained in the Clinique of M. Ricord, he has pursued in this country the same series of researches as those which he commenced under that distinguished specialist. Indeed, with Mr. Acton, the investigation of every circumstance connected with the generative function has been (without intending a pun) a labour of love; and we accordingly find that whether as regards the structure, the functions, or the diseases of the organs in question, every circumstance has received the minutest attention.
On the subjects of Impotence and Spermatorrhæa, those bugbears of so many weak and foolish persons, and sources of inexhaustible wealth to the quack fraternity, Mr. Acton discourses with good sense, and indignantly exposes the nefarious tricks of the scoundrels who, on the pretence of curing a disease which often exists only in imagination, extract enormous sums from their unwary victims. He seems to regard the spermatorrhæa-phobia, as we may term it, to be a species of monomania, in which light we ourselves are inclined to regard it; but he judiciously advises that to a patient labouring under this form of mental malady, the tone adopted should be one of sympathy and attention, not of ridicule or disbelief; and that by the employment of appropriate moral and therapeutical means, the morbid terrors of the imagination may be dispelled, and a healthy and hopeful tone of mind be restored.
WORKS BY THE SAME AUTHOR.
A Practical Treatise on Diseases of the Urinary and
Generative Organs (in both Sexes). — Part I. Non-Specific Diseases. Part II. Syphilis. Entirely Re-written, with Copious Additions. Illustrated by Woodcuts and Coloured Plates. Third Edition. Octavo.
Prostitution, considered in its Moral, Social, and Sanitary
Aspects, in London and other Large Cities ; with Proposals for the Mitigation and Prevention of its Attendant Evils. Octavo, cloth. 10s. 6d.