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Title: The Art of the Bone-Setter - A Testimony and a Vindication
Author: Bennett, George Matthews
Language: English
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  C. W. SMARTT, _Photo._      _Leamington._

  Faithfully yours





  A Testimony and a Vindication.




  _Specialist for all kinds of Dislocated Joints, Fractures,
     Sprains, etc._





  SOHO, W.

            TO THE MEMBERS
                OF THE
            IS INSCRIBED BY

                              THE AUTHOR.


I have been requested, from time to time, by my numerous patients
and friends to publish some record of the Bone-setter’s art, to
which they can refer their relatives and acquaintances, when asked
for some particulars of the cures effected and the pain alleviated
by those who follow the profession of a Bone-setter. I am aware that
in acceding to the request of those who “have the courage of their
convictions,” I am laying myself open to the sneers and innuendos of
the medical profession generally; but as the descendant of a long line
of Bone-setters, who distinguished themselves in the profession they
followed, and whose name was a “household word” in Midland homes
when broken bones, sprains, and dislocations occurred. I feel, as the
inheritor of their practice and in some degree of their reputation,
that I should not be true to myself and to the profession I follow, if
I did not comply with a request so gracefully made by those who have
not only placed their faith in the special practice I pursue, but who
are grateful for the relief from pain they have felt, the ultimate
cures effected, and who wish to make their experiences widely known.

It was, therefore, with diffidence that I collected from divers sources
the testimony of those who are beyond the reach of suspicion, as to
the cures which those who practise the “Art of the Bone-setter” have
accomplished, even after experienced surgeons have failed; but I was
reassured when I found that these recorded cures, and the repute of
the hundreds of thousands which have not been recorded, but which are
treasured in the memories of a thankful people, had aroused a feeling
of emulation (for I can hardly use any other term) in the surgical
world to adopt some of our methods, which up to a recent period,
they had publicly called the arts of the charlatan and the quack,
and resolved to practise in that “neglected corner of the domain of
surgery” which they had before ridiculed. They did not hesitate to
apply terms of approbrium to us when they were, according to their own
admission, ignorant of our practice, attributing our cures to “luck”
and our popularity to tampering with and trading on the prejudices of
the poor and ignorant, instead of inquiring into their truth.

Dr. Wharton Hood in his treatise “On Bone-setting (so-called)” has
pointed out that even Sir James Paget (eminent though he is in the
surgical world) spoke in ignorance when, in a clinical lecture
delivered at St. Bartholomew’s in 1867, he detailed the “Cases that
Bone-setters may cure.” His arguments were founded on conjecture,
therefore many of his conclusions were wrong. The great master of the
world of surgery, however, deserves the thanks of the Bone-setters
at large, for he was the first to stand forth in the whole of the
medical profession to announce that the much despised and ridiculed
Bone-setters were in possession of a “knack”—an art—which surgeons
had long overlooked and neglected which tended to alleviate pain and to
restore the use of lost limbs to unfortunate sufferers from accidents
and other external injuries. Dr. Wharton Hood appears to have taken
Sir James Paget’s words to heart, for becoming acquainted with the
late Mr. Richard Hutton, the well-known Bone-setter, whose name so
frequently appears in these pages, he studied his method of procedure
and practice. On the death of that gentleman, Dr. Hood published his
experiences with diagrams, and since that period—now some dozen years
ago a change has taken place in the expression of professional opinion
with respect to the art of the Bone-setter. There is no attempt now
to deny that in practical surgery, that what is called the Empirical
School, can hold its own against mere scientific theory. They have
vindicated our art from the charge of quackery and charlatanism. It
would now appear they now want to secure our practice as well as our
reputation as skillful manipulators. I feel therefore I am more than
justified in thus publishing the testimony of relieved patients, of the
almost recantation of the faculty with respect to our art, to justify
those who have trusted our skill and who have seen no cause to regret

There may, indeed, be persons who call themselves bone-setters, who are
ignorant, presumptuous, and destitute alike of skill and experience,
whose blunders are charged on the profession generally—there may
be many such whose names are even in the _Medical Registry_—but no
one can read the testimony of men beyond the reach of bribe, and who
have no personal interest to serve, without admitting that there are
Bone-setters who have both skill and experience as well as the ability
to use their acquirements for the benefit of suffering mankind. The
art, it is true, may not be taught in schools, but it is at least as
old as Hippocrates, if not coeval with mankind’s “loss of Eden.” I have
felt it a duty to myself, to my relatives, to my patients and friends,
as well as to my fellow professors of the art to publish this testimony
and vindication.

I have acknowledged as far as possible the sources from which I
have taken the information in the following pages, if any have been
accidentally omitted, I hope this apology will be sufficient. To those
friends who have helped me with their advice and supervision of these
pages I tender my warmest thanks, as well as to those patients who
have offered their testimony to my own skill and success, and allowed
me to add them to those collected from public sources for this book,
as Turner wrote in his edition to “The Compleat Bone-setter” some
two hundred years ago is not intended for Sutorian or Scissarium
doctors, but I leave them amongst the Caco-Chymists, to boast of their
_arcanas_, but not of their reason, whilst I shall modestly remain


  Milverton, Leamington, Easter, 1884.


  Page 16, line 10, for “Captain” _read_ “Copt.”
  Page 32, line 14, for “hind” _read_ “him.”
  Page 85, line 4, for “former” _read_ “latter.”
  Page 123, line 10, for “hreak” _read_ “break.”
  Page 132, line 4, _dele_ “which.”

  PLATE 4, Figure 18, “tibia and fibula” are misprinted for
  “ulna and radius.”



“At present my desire is to have a good Bone-setter.”—Sir J. DENHAM.

  Surgery in the past—_The Compleat Bone-setter_—Old
  practitioners—Sneers of the Faculty—Praise by Mr.
  Charles Waterton—Mrs. Mapp of Epsom, her success—_Regina
  Dal Cin_—German toleration—The late Mr. Richard
  Hutton—Testimony of the _Lancet_—Mr. Burbidge of
  Frumley—Mr. Joseph Crowther of Wakefield—Egyptian
  Bone-setters—Algerian practitioners.                               1-18


“The simple energy of Truth needs no ambiguous

  Mr. C. Waterton’s case—The testimony of Mr. G. Moore, his
  anguish, his hesitation, and his relief.                             34


“All these are good, and these we must allow, and these are everywhere
in practice now.”—TAYLOR, _the Water Poet_.

  Mr. William Chamber’s testimony—A drummer
  practitioner—Various testimonies—An Indian civilian—Mr.
  Evan Thomas—A Northant’s Clergyman on the author’s
  skill—Cases mentioned by Dr. Wharton Hood—Mr. Hutton’s
  skill—The testimony of the Hon. Spencer Ponsonby—The
  testimony of Dr. Wharton Hood—A correspondent of _Nature_, on
  a scientific Bone-setter.                                            67


“What in the Captain’s but a choleric word is in the soldier rank

  Sir James Paget on “Cases that Bone-setters cure”—Change
  of opinion—Valuable testimony, and strange doubts—The
  opinion of the _British Medical Journal_—The _Lancet_,
  on the Bone-setters Art—Doubts of the faculty—Mr.
  Archibald Maclaren’s Independent review in _Nature_—His
  astonishment—“_Is it quackery?_”                                     87


“Why what you have observed, Sir, seems so impossible.”—BEN JONSON.

  Mr. Howard Marsh’s experience—Mr. Hulke—Dr. Monckton—Dr.
  Bruce Clark in doubt—Dr. Keetley—A gleam of truth at the
  Clinical Society.                                                    94


“Who shall decide when doctors disagree.”

  The Jubilee of the Medical Association—Dr.
  Howard Marsh on the Bone-setter—False
  deductions—Disparagement—Inconsistencies.                           102


“Is this then your wonder? nay, then you shall hear more of my
skill.”—BEN JONSON.

  Mr. R. Dacre Fox relates his experiences—Old Lancashire
  Bone-setters—What Bone-setters really do cure—Hints for the
  Doubters—A Professional Vindication.                                115


“Man’s life, sir, being so short, and then the way that leads unto the
knowledge of ourselves, so long and tedious; each minute should be

  A Bone-setter’s Refutation—The Human Skeleton
  and its parts—Liability to Injury—Symptoms—The
  _Illustrations_.—Dislocations—Fractures and Ruptures—The
  Arteries—Mode of stopping bleeding—Hints for Bystanders.           136


“—— If our virtues Did not go forth of us, ’twere all alike as if we
had them not.”—SHAKESPEARE.

  Testimonies from the Lord-Lieutenant of Warwickshire-Lady John
  Scott—The Rev. Dr. Dixon, Canon of Worcester—Rev. H. G. de
  Bunsen, Rural Dean of Shrifnal—The Rev. R. Skipworth—The
  Proprietor of the _Leamington Spa Courier_—Mr. Pluncknett,
  etc., etc.                                                          137


  PORTRAIT                                FRONTISPIECE

  PLATE I.—The HUMAN SKELETON                        1

  PLATE II.—DISLOCATIONS:—                          19

  Fig. 1. finger; 2. thumb; 3. hand and radius
  forward; 4. radius back; 5. humerus;
  6. shoulder joint; 7. humerus; 8. radius

  PLATE III.—DISLOCATIONS:—                         35

  9. elbow; 10. radius back; 11. jaw; 12. hip
  outward; 13. hip inwards.

  PLATE IV.—DISLOCATIONS:—                          68

  14. shoulder joint; 15. foot inwards; 16. foot
  backwards; 17. knee-joint; 18. elbow.

  PLATE V.—FRACTURES:—                              88

  19. un-united fracture; 20. pelvis; 21. humerus;
  22. scapula; 23. jaw; 24. femur.

  PLATE VI.—FRACTURES:—                             95

  25. humerus, lower extremity; 26. humerus;
  27. ulna; 28. leg (fibula).

  PLATE VII.—FRACTURES ETC.:—                      103

  29. a dislocated spine; 30. Colles’ fracture;
  31. Colles’ fracture; 32. fractured patella;
  33. fractured femur; 34. ruptured


  36. Pott’s fracture (showing sinews); 37.
  Pott’s fracture (badly set); 38. rupture of
  the rectus femoris; 39. dislocation of the
  metatarsus; 40. dislocation of metatarsal







  “At present my desire is to have a good Bone-setter.”—_Sir J.

These words, which Dr. Johnson used to illustrate the word Bone-setter
in his famous dictionary, are better known than any other quotation
bearing on the ancient art of the Bone-setter. There are scattered
through the realms of English literature frequent allusions to those,
who, in times past, practised this special branch of the surgical
art, for the art is as old as the history of civilization itself, and
was probably coeval with the fall of man. The assuaging of pain and
the cure of injuries caused by external violence would naturally
excite the ingenuity of the sufferer and suggest contrivances to those
around them. The Egyptians are credited with a knowledge of surgery,
though they appear to have relied on incantation and astrology for
their medical practice. It is somewhat curious that one of our leading
medical journals should have suggested, within a brief period, that
Bone-setters likewise had recourse to charms and magic—thus credulity,
in those who would ridicule the credulous, repeats itself even in
these enlightened days. The intermediate history of surgery is full of
strange changes and mutations; but, apart from the ordinary practices
of the art, (with its cauterization and its cruel operations,)
the cure of sprains, the reducing of dislocations and fractures,
appears to have been practised by those who were neither leeches
or barber-chirurgeons. In the seventeenth century when Harvey was
studying the circulation of the blood, and Wiseman publishing those
treatises which are the foundation of the modern system of surgery,
one Friar Moulton had published _The Compleat Bone-setter_, and in
the year 1665 an edition of it, “Englished and Enlarged” by Robert
Turner, was printed for Thomas Rooks, of the “Lamb and Ink Bottle” at
the East-end of St. Pauls. I have not been able to trace any separate
publication on this subject during the two centuries which intervened
between it and the work by Dr. Wharton Hood, which was issued in 1871,
in a separate volume, after the greater part of it had appeared in the
_Lancet_. Before the publication of this work, the poor Bone-setter had
to endure contumely and insult at the hands of the faculty. Through
their organs in the press they were denounced either as charlatans
or quacks—as ignorant or presumptuous individuals who traded upon a
“lucky” case to the detriment of the general practitioner. There were
some, indeed, who by intercourse and observation knew that Bone-setters
pursued their calling with success; that the principles which they
followed were sound, gained by experience and improved by constant
practise; that they possessed, in the different parts of the country
where they lived, the confidence of the people, though they were not
educated in the medical or surgical schools. They received their
training at the hands of their predecessors, for the art was a special
one and peculiar to several families whose traditions, observation,
and method of practise were handed down from father to son. Daughters
practised the art with success as well as the sons, and success
crowned their efforts, and amongst them all the family of Matthews were
pre-eminent in the Midlands, and whose representative I have the honour
and privilege to be.

Mr. Charles Waterton, of Walton Hall, the eminent naturalist, who
bears testimony to the good the Bone-setters have done, tells us, in
the pleasant autobiographical notes to his _Wanderings and Essays
on Natural History_—that every country in Europe, so far as I know
to the contrary, has its Bone-setter independent of the surgeon. In
_Johnson’s Dictionary_, under the article “Bone-setting,” we read that
a Sir John Denham exclaimed “Give me a good Bone-setter!” In Spain
the Bone-setter goes under the significant denomination of Algebusta.
Here in England, however, the vast increase of practitioners in the
art of surgery appears to have placed the old original Bone-setter in
the shade; and I myself in many instances, have heard this most useful
member of society designated as a mere quack; but most unjustly so,
because a quack is generally considered as one devoid of professional
education, and he is too apt to deal in spurious medicines. But not so
the Bone-setter, whose extensive and almost incessant practice makes
ample amends for the loss of anything that he might have acquired, by
attending a regular course of lectures, or by culling the essence of
abstruse and scientific publications. With him theory seems to be a
mere trifle. Practice—daily and assiduous practice—is what renders
him so successful in the most complicated cases. By the way in which
you put your foot to the ground, by the manner in which you handle
an object, the Bone-setter, through the mere faculty of his sight,
oftentimes without even touching the injured part, will tell you
where the ailment lies. Those only, who have personally experienced
the skill of the Bone-setter, can form a true estimation of his merit
in managing fractures and reducing dislocations. Further than this,
his services in the healing and restorative art would never be looked
at. This last is entirely the province of Galen and his numerous
family of practitioners. Wherefore, at the time that I unequivocally
avow to have the uttermost respect for the noble art of surgery in
all its ramifications, I venture to reserve to myself the following
(without any disparagement to the learned body of gentlemen who
profess it) sincere esteem for the old practitioners who do so much
for the public good amongst the lower orders, under the denomination
of British Bone-setters. Many people have complained to me of the
rude treatment they have experienced at the hands of the Bone-setter;
but let these complainants bear in mind, what has been undone by force
must be replaced by force; and that gentle and emollient applications,
although essentially necessary in the commencement, and also in the
continuation of the treatment, would ultimately be of no avail, without
the final application of actual force to the injured parts. Hence the
intolerable and excruciating pain on these occasions. The actual state
of the accident is to blame—not the operation. The thanks of every
Bone-setter is due to the eminent naturalist for his testimony of the
value of, and his vindication of, the art they practise. His own quoted
case is a peculiar one, but the experience of every Bone-setter could
furnish a parallel and even more surprising instances of cures effected
when the resources of scientific surgery have failed.

Of the older Bone-setters we find some extraordinary accounts, and
evidently not penned by friendly hands. One of the most famous of the
Bone-setters of the last century was Mrs. Mapp, of Epsom, who was the
daughter of a Bone-setter named Wallin, of Hindon, Wiltshire. The
accounts of her life and career, which have come down to us, are very
contradictory. For instance, the _London Magazine_ tells us that in
August, 1736, the town was surprised with the fame of a young woman at
Epsom, who, though not very regular in her conduct (so it was said)
wrought such cures that seem miraculous in the Bone-setting way. The
concourse of people to Epsom on this occasion is incredible, and it
is reckoned she gets nearly 20 guineas a day, she executing what she
does in a very quick manner. She has strength enough to put in any
man’s shoulder without any assistance; and thus her strength makes
the following story the more probable. A man came to her, sent, as is
supposed by some surgeons, on purpose to try her skill, with his hand
bound up, and pretended his wrist was put out, which upon examination
she found to be false; but, to be even with him in his imposition, she
gave it a wrench which really put it out, and bade him _go to the fools
who sent him and get it set again_, or, if he would come to her that
day month, she would do it herself. It is further stated that since she
became famous she married one Mr. Hill Mapp, late servant to a mercer
on Ludgatehill who, it is said, soon left her and carried off £100 of
her money. Her professional success, however, says another account,
must have gone far to solace her for matrimonial failure. Besides
driving a profitable trade at home, she used to drive to town once a
week in a coach-and-four, and return again bearing away the crutches
of her patients as trophies of honour. She held her levees at the
“Grecian” Coffee House, where she operated successfully upon a niece
of Sir Hans Sloane. The same day she straightened the body of a man
whose back had stuck out two inches for nine years; and a gentleman who
went into the house with one shoe-heel six inches high came out again
cured of a lameness of twenty years standing, and with both his legs
of equal length. It does not appear that she was always so successful,
for one Thomas Barber, tallow-chandler, of Saffron-hill, thought proper
to publish a warning to her would-be patients. The cure of Sir Hans
Sloane’s niece made Mrs. Mapp town talk, and, if it was only known
that she intended to make one of the audience, the theatre favoured
with her presence, was crowded to excess. A comedy was announced at
the Lincoln’s Inn Fields Theatre, called _The Husband’s Relief; or the
Female Bone-setter, and the Worm Doctor_. Mrs. Mapp attended the first
night, and was gratified at hearing a song in her praise, of which we
give two verses as a specimen:

  You surgeons of London who puzzle your pates
  To ride in your coaches and purchase estates;
  Give over, for shame, for your pride has a fall,
  And the doctress of Epsom has outdone you all.

  Dame Nature has given her a doctor’s degree,
  She gets all the patients and pockets the fee;
  So if you don’t instantly prove it a cheat,
  She’ll loll in a chariot whilst you walk the street.

Mrs. Mapp soon afterwards removed from Epsom to Pall Mall, but she
did not forget her country friends. She gave a plate of 10 guineas to
be run for at Epsom, and went to see the race. Singularly enough the
first heat was won by a mare called “Mrs. Mapp,” which so delighted
the doctress, that she gave the jockey a guinea, and promised to make
it a 100 if he won the plate, but to his chagrin he failed to do so.
The fair Bone-setter’s career was but a brief one. In 1736 she was at
the height of her prosperity, yet, strange to say, she died at the end
of 1737 in miserable circumstances, as set forth in a paragraph in the
_London Daily Post_ of December 22nd, 1737. The success and reputation
of Mrs. Mapp has met with a parallel in our own day. Just at the time
when Dr. Wharton Hood was showing the English surgeons how to imitate
the practice and cures of the Bone-setter, the medical journals gave
prominence to the doings and manipulation of a female Bone-setter named
Regina Dal Cin, who had astonished the surgical world both in Italy
and Austria. Dr. A. Joannides[1] describes her manipulations which he
witnessed in company with many hundreds of medical men and students
in the Ospedal Civico at Trieste. He says, “No case of reductions of
the femur were witnessed by me. Many cases of muscular rigidity of
the upper and lower extremities, and more especially of the small
articulations, have been either completely and instantaneously cured
or partially ameliorated. No attempt has been made in cases of old
dislocations with fistulas or scars.” Her doings excited some attention
even in this country. We are told that she was an intelligent looking
woman, about fifty-five years of age, and that she had practised
the art, which had been taught her by her mother and grandfather
for about forty years at a place named Vittoria, in the province of
Treviso. After the death of her mother, she joined her brother, who
kept a public-house, where she exercised her skill on the lame and the
crippled frequenters of the establishment, and effected a number of
cures. A medical eye witness tells us that her activity, flexibility,
and sensibility of the tips of her fingers, and her habit of
incessantly talking to the patient whilst operating, are the qualities
on which her success in operating depends. Gradually coming into notice
among persons of various classes of society, she obtained a wide spread
of reputation, and visited among other places, Venice, Trieste, Pesth,
and Vienna. In each place crowds of patients, both belonging to the
locality and coming from a distance flocked to her. She professed
especially to treat deformities of the hip joint, even reducing
dislocations of long standing, whether congenital or acquired. She
does not operate except in the presence of a surgeon. This, according
to one account of her, was a measure taken for her own safety, as she
was once interfered with by the Austrian law for practising without a
legal qualification. A Royal Commissary of the district of Vittoria,
however, gave her permission to practice the reduction of human joints,
and especially of femoral luxations, provided that she operated in the
presence of a physician. The _British Medical Journal_ devoted some
space to Regina Dal Cin’s method of procedure which shows that she
practised on similar grounds to the English Bone-setter, as detailed
in these pages. We are told by the journal in question she first
applies poultices for some days, for the purpose of softening the
tissues; this having been effected to her satisfaction, she operates
by rapidly performed process of manipulation. Professional opinion
was divided as to her merits. Her supporters alleged that her cures,
including the reduction of old dislocations, were genuine; that—as
Dr. Schivardi of Milan observes—“science ought to be grateful to
her for having amply demonstrated by a vast number of facts (1) that
dislocations even of long standing can be cured without recourse to
any great violence, or to the ponderous instruments hitherto deemed
indispensable; (2) that small and modest apparatus suffice, after the
operation, to keep the limb in its place—nay, are more efficacious
than strong instruments; (3) that quiet and absolute repose for eight
days, and moderate repose for other twenty days, suffices to enable
Nature to bring to the new domicile given to the head of the joint all
the materials necessary for the fabrication of the fresh ligaments
required.” On the other hand her opponents, more or less, denied her
cures, and considered her an impostor. Dr. Neudoorfer, apparently
admitting some of her cures of ankylosed hip-joint, states that
the method which she follows is nearly the same as the process of
“apolipsis,” recommended and practised by him several years ago, for
the removal of fibrous ankylosis. She paid a visit to Vienna, where
her proceedings attracted a good deal of attention, and gave rise, to
some degree, of controversy in medical circles. A specially appointed
committee accompanied her in her visits to four patients, and their
report was unfavourable to her pretensions, and resulted in the
withdrawal of the permission given to practice in Vienna.

A few months prior to these experiments in Vienna, there died at
Watford, one of the best known bone-setters, Mr. Richard Hutton of
Watford, Herts. The _Lancet_ in recording his decease on January
6th, 1871, makes the following admission in a very different tone it
assumed barely two years before. It calls him a successful bone-setter,
for “successful he certainly was, and it were folly to deny it, in
some cases which had baffled the skill of the best surgeons; but
his failures were many, though these of course were little heard
of. Following the general practice of bone-setters he diagnosed a
dislocation, or several dislocations, in every case in which he
was consulted; and when, fortunately, the case was one of chronic
thickness about a joint, with possibly partial ankylosis or adhesion
of tendons, the greatest success attended his rough manipulations in
many instances. Every now and then Hutton got into difficulties by
attacking an acutely inflamed joint, or by lighting up mischief in an
old case; but as a rule he was too cautious thus to be caught out.
We have seen some of his successes and some of his failures, and the
redeeming feature about him was that though an empiric, he was not an
extortionate one, and in many cases refused remuneration altogether.”

It was through this Mr. Hutton that the _Lancet_ was enabled to
publish a portion of the system practised by him, and which has been
since partly followed by the faculty; but even the _Lancet_, after
admitting the skill of the Bone-setters and their success, cannot
repress the habitual sneer at their successful and humble operations.
We have an instance of this, when recording the death in May, 1875,
of a celebrated Bone-setter, of the name of Burbidge, who died in
Frimley, Surrey, where local tradition ascribed numerous cures to his
manipulative skill. “We do not know” says the leading medical organ
“whether any _spells_ or _incantations_ were used at the ceremonies
in which he operated, as practised by some of his genus!” The writer
must have been dreaming of the medical practitioners in the time of the
Pharaohs when he penned this. Mr. Burbidge’s father and grandfather
were celebrated Bone-setters.

Another famous and “good Bone-setter” is recorded by Mr. C. Waterton,
in his _Essays on Natural History_ before quoted: “About half a mile
from Wakefield’s Mammoth Prison, on the Halifax Road, nearly opposite
to a pretty Grecian summer-house, apparently neglected, resides Mr.
Joseph Crowther, the successful Bone-setter. He has passed the prime of
life, being now in his seventy-seventh year, but unfortunately he has
no son to succeed him. I might fill volumes with the recital of cases
which he has brought to a happy conclusion. Two in particular, dreadful
and hopeless to all appearance, have placed his wonderful abilities in
so positive a light before my eyes, that I consider him at the head
of his profession as a Bone-setter, and as a rectifier of the most
alarming dislocations which are perpetually occurring to man in his
laborious journey through this disastrous vale of tears.”

The published accounts of voyagers and travellers are full of
anecdotes of those who practise “bone-setting” in different parts of
the world. There is a wonderful similarity in their modes of treatment
as thus detailed. An instance or two will suffice. Mons. C. S. Sonnini,
in his _Travels in Upper and Lower Egypt_, published, at the beginning
of this century, on his journey towards Abyssinia, was sent for in his
character as a physician to attend the second officer in command at
Miniet, who had broken his leg three days before. He found that the
leg had been set by a Copt, whose “curious” mode of treating the
case was thought worthy of chronicling by the traveller. “The patient,”
he tells us, “was laid on the ground without either mattress, bed, or
carpet, but merely on a bed of sand. His leg and thigh were extended
and fixed between stakes driven into the earth, which also supported
a small brick wall, raised on each side in such a manner that the
fractured limb was confined in a piece of mason work, where it was
to remain till the completion of the cure. In order to promote the
formation of the callus of the fracture, the doctor had made a sort of
cement, oil, and the white of eggs, which he every day applied to the

Friar Moulton gives a recipe of a similar kind to be applied whilst
the bone is “setting.” Cateron, in his _Travels in Algeria_, gives a
instance of the same mode of treatment. He writes, “On our return, I
called upon the Schiek, Lisaid-Mansor, I found him stretched on a couch
built of stonework, cemented with clay, covered only with a few rags,
and with a stone for a pillow. His leg surrounded with bandages and
herbs, was firmly tied up in and kept straight by a thick slip of bark.
His foot was immovably fixed to a stake, stuck in the ground. He is
obliged to remain in this condition until the bones are united. This
severe treatment is not unfrequently fatal, but, if the Arab has a good
constitution, and gangrene does not set in, he recovers with a limb
more or less straight. The poor Schiek was busy flipping off with a
handkerchief tied to a stick, the swarms of flies which were attracted
to his wound. At the foot of the couch was the Tebib or surgeon,
himself reciting incantations like his Egyptian predecessors, and
prayers over the broken limb. He appeared much put out by my entrance,
for the Arabs think that all Europeans understand medicine; but he was
re-assured when he saw I looked on without interfering.”

There have been many, and are still Bone-setters of eminence in
different parts of the country, who are ready with their welcome and
useful services, when other Denhams cry out for “a good bone-setter.”
The benefits they have conferred in the past on the sufferers by
external violence will be indicated by the testimony of well-known
public personages in the next chapter.


1. Dislocated Finger. 2. Dislocated Thumb. 3. Dislocation of hand
and radius forwards. 4. Dislocation of radius and ulna forwards. 5.
Subglenoid dislocation of humerus. 6. Outward appearance of ditto. 7.
Subcoracoid dislocation of humerus. 8. Dislocation of radius forwards
(outward appearance).]



  “The simple energy of Truth needs no ambiguous

In answer to the frequent questions as to what special good
Bone-setters have done in their special calling I have thought it best
to let the relieved patients of others speak before my own. First,
because they are well-known. Their cases are indisputable, and they
show that Bone-setters understand their art. I have culled these
cases from various sources, all of which I have acknowledged as far
as possible. I have already quoted Mr. Charles Waterton’s opinion of
Bone-setters from his “_Wanderings of a Naturalist_.” I will now direct
attention to the cure he vouches for by the Yorkshire Bone-setters:—

Before I close these memoranda, I have to describe another mishap of
a very dark complexion. Let me crave the reader’s leave to pen down a
few remarks on Bone-setting, practised by men called Bone-setters, who
on account of the extraordinary advance in the art of surgery, are not
now I fear, held in sufficient estimation amongst the higher orders of

Towards the close of the year 1850, I had reared a ladder, full seven
yards long, against a standard pear tree, and I mounted nearly to
the top of this ladder with a pruning knife in hand, in order that I
might correct an overgrown luxuriance in the tree. Suddenly the ladder
swerved in a lateral direction, I adhered to it manfully, myself
and the ladder coming simultaneously to the ground with astounding
velocity. In our fall I had just time to move my head in a direction
that it did not come in contact with the ground; still as it afterwards
turned out, there was a partial concussion of the brain; and added to
this, my whole side, from foot to shoulder, felt as though it had been
pounded in a mill. In the course of the afternoon I took blood from
my arm to the amount of thirty ounces, and followed the affair up the
next day with a strong aperient. I believe that, with these necessary
precautions, all would have gone right again (saving the arm) had not
a second misadventure followed shortly on the heels of the first; and
it was of so alarming a nature as to induce me to take thirty ounces
more of blood by the lancet. In order to accommodate the position of
my disabled arm. I had put on a Scotch plaid in lieu of my coat, and
in it I came to my dinner. One day the plaid having gone wrong on
the shoulder, I arose from the chair to rectify it, and the servant
supposing that I was about to retire, unluckily withdrew the chair,
unaware of this act on his part, I came backwards to the ground with an
awful shock, and this, no doubt, caused concussion of the brain to a
considerable amount.

Symptoms of slowly approaching dissolution now became visible. Having
settled all affairs with my solicitor betwixt myself and the world, and
with my Father Confessor, betwixt myself and my Maker, nothing remained
but receive the final catastrophe with Christian resignation. But
though I lay insensible, with hiccups and _sub sultus ten dimon_, for
fifteen long hours, I at last opened my eyes, and gradually arose from
my expected ruin.

I must now say a word or two of the externals damaged by the fall of
the ladder. Notwithstanding the best surgical skill, my arm showed the
appearance of stiff and withered deformity at the end of three months
from the accident. And now my general state of health was not as it
ought to be; for incessant pain prevented sleep, whilst food itself did
little good. But my slumbers were strangely affected. I was eternally
fighting wild beasts, with a club in one hand, the other being bound up
at my breast. Nine bull-dogs attacked me one night, on the high road,
some of them having the head of a crocodile.

I had now serious thoughts of having the arm amputated. This operation
was fully resolved upon, when, luckily, the advice of my trusty
game-keeper, John Ogden, rendered it unnecessary. One morning,
“master,” said he to me, “I’m sure you’re going to the grave. You’ll
die to a certainty. Let me go for our old Bone-setter. He cured me,
long ago, and perhaps he can cure you. It was on the 25th of March,
then—alias Lady Day, which every Catholic in the universe knows is
solemn festival in the honor of the Blessed Virgin—that I had an
interview with Mr. Joseph Crowther, the well known Bone-setter, whose
family has exercised the art from father to son time out of mind.” On
viewing my poor remnant of an arm—“Your wrist,” said he, “is sorely
injured, a callus having formed betwixt the hand and the arm. The
elbow is out of joint and the shoulder somewhat driven forward. This
last affair will prevent your raising your arm to your head.” Melancholy
look out! “But can you cure me, doctor?” said I. “Yes,” replied he
firmly; “only let me have my own way.” “Then take the arm, and with
it elbow, wrist and shoulder. I here deliver them up to you; do what
you please with them. Pain is no consideration in this case, I dare
say I shall have enough of it.” “You will,” said he, emphatically.
This resolute bone-setter, whom I always compared to Chiron the
Centaur for his science and his strength, began his operations like a
man of business. In fourteen days, by means of potent embrocations,
stretching, pulling, twisting, and jerking, he forced the shoulder and
wrist to obey him and to perform their healthy movements. The elbow
was a complicated affair. It required greater exertions and greater
attention—in fact, it was a job for Hercules himself. Having done
the needful to it (secundum artem) for one-and-twenty days, he seemed
satisfied with the progress which he had made; and he said quite
coolly, “I’ll finish you off this afternoon.” At four o’clock _post
meridian_, his bandages, his plasters and his wadding having been
placed on the table in regular order, he doffed his coat, tucked his
shirt-sleeves above his elbows, and said that a glass of ale would do
him good. “Then I’ll have a glass of soda water with you,” said I, “and
we’ll drink each other’s health and success to the undertaking.”

The remaining act was one of unmitigated severity, but it was
absolutely necessary. My sister Eliza, foreseeing what was to take
place, felt her spirits sinking and retired to her room. Her maid, Lucy
Barnes, bold as a little lioness, said she would see it out; whilst
Mr. Harrison, a fine young gentleman, who was on a visit to me (and
alas! is since dead in California), was ready in case of need. The bone
setter performed his part with resolution scarcely to be contemplated,
but which was really required under existing circumstances.

Laying hold of the crippled arm just above the elbow with one hand,
and below with the other, he smashed to atoms by main force the callus
which had formed in the dislocated joint, the elbow itself cracking,
as if the interior parts of it had consisted of tobacco pipe shanks.
Having predetermined in my mind not to open my mouth, or to make any
stir during the operation, I remained passive and silent, whilst this
fierce elbow contest was raging. All being now effected as far as force
and skill were concerned, the remainder became a mere work of time.
So putting a five pound note by way of extra fee into this sturdy
operator’s hand, the binding up of the now rectified elbow-joint was
effected by him with a nicety and a knowledge truly astonishing.

Health soon resumed her ancient right; sleep went hand-in-hand with a
quiet mind; life was once more worth enjoying; and here I am just now
sound as an acorn.

Dr. Wharton Hood disparages the lucid statement and style of Mr.
Waterton, but does not gainsay his testimony or facts.

The testimony of Mr. George Moore, the eminent philanthropist to the
skill of a “bone setter,” is duly recorded by Dr. Smiles, in the life
of the Cumberland Worthy and London Merchant.[2] Mr. Moore was very
fond of hunting, both as a recreation and as a means of health. “I
hunt,” he says, “not only for pleasure, but for my health. The
exercise does me great good. I really do not see any harm in a gallop
with the hounds; if I did I would not go out again.” He hesitates
and deliberates on the subject again and again. “I make my health my
excuse. The fresh crisp air does me good. I am always at home when on

“In March, 1867,” says Dr. Smiles (pp. 292), “he met with an accident
which put a stop to his hunting.” The meet was at Torpendow. From
thence they went to the top of Binsey, a heathery fell, to the south of
Whitehall. There they found a fox, and viewed him away. Always anxious
to keep up with the hounds, Mr. Moore rode fast down the hill. But his
bay mare got her foot in a rabbit hole, and the rider got a regular
cropper. He found that his shoulder was stiff. Nevertheless, he mounted
again and galloped away. The hounds were in full cry. He kept up pretty
well, though his shoulder was severely hurt.

Next day he entertained a dozen friends, amongst whom was the
master of the hunt and Frank Buckland. Nothing was talked about but
fox-hunting. “I think,” says Mr. Moore, “I must make yesterday my last
day’s hunting.” Shortly after he consulted a celebrated surgeon, at
Carlisle, about his shoulder. The joint was found “all right,” though
the muscles were pronounced strained and hurt. Nothing could be done
for the pain but to grin and hide it.

He went to the Castle Compensation Meeting, at Carlisle, in which he
took an active part. Then he went to sit on the bench at Wigton, for
he was a Justice of the Peace for Cumberland. After that he had twenty
friends and relatives to tea and supper. “I hope,” he says, “that I
shall never forget my poor relations and friends.”

Notwithstanding the intense pain in his shoulder, Mr. Moore continued
to hunt. The year after his shoulder had been dislocated, he invited
the Cumberland Hunt to meet at Whitehall. About sixty horsemen were
present. They breakfasted in the old hall and then proceeded to mount.
Mr. Moore was in low spirits because of the pain in his shoulder,
and at first he did not intend to join his friends. But Geering, his
coachman, urged him to go, and Sir Wilfred Lawson joined him in his
persuasions. At length Mr. Moore’s favorite horse, Zouave was brought
out, and with his arm in a sling and a cigar in his mouth he consented
to mount. Mrs. Moore and Lady Lawson ascended the tower and saw the
brilliant red coats ride away through the park.

The array of horsemen passed on to Watch-hill and found a fox. He was
viewed away, and went across Whitehall-park, close under the wall of
the west-front garden, followed by the hounds and riders. It was a
sight not often to be seen. The day was splendid, although it was in
November. The sun was shining and the red coats, jumping hedges and
fences amidst green fields, brightened up the picture. The fox went
up the hill, out of sight of the gazers from the tower, and was lost
in Parkhouse covers. Again the hunt proceeded to Watch Hill and found
another fox. Away it went almost in the same direction, passing through
Whitehall Park with the hounds and hunters at its heels. There was a
slight check at Park-wood. Then it took straight away for Binsey, went
up the side of the hill, and passed on to Snittlegarth, and was lost at

It grew dark. No more could be done that night. No fox had been killed,
though the hunters had got a splendid run. Mr. Moore returned home with
his arm in his sling, though nothing the worse for his day’s exercise.
“It was,” he says, “a very enjoyable day. I do like a day’s hunting. I
always feel more light and buoyant after it.” It was his last hunt.

The various surgeons to whom Mr. Moore applied did not give him any
relief from the pain he suffered in consequence of this accident. He
bore it throughout the year, 1868, during the time he was Prime-Warden
of the Fishmongers’ Company.

Dr. Smiles says (pp. 318, 319)—“He had consulted the most eminent
surgeons. They could find no cure for the pain in his shoulder. Some
called it rheumatism, others neuralgia, some recommended a six months’
sea voyage, others strapped up his shoulder with plasters and told
him to keep his arm in a sling. At length the pain became unbearable.
Sometimes the shoulder grew very black. The dislocation forward, which
it seems to have been, interrupted the circulation of the blood. Still
he continued to work on as before.”

On the 7th December, 1868, he writes with difficulty in his diary—“I
was struck down with neuralgia at the Middlesex Hospital, when on a
committee for selecting a clergyman. I had my shoulder cut open to
insert morphia. I am _very_ bad!”

He was taken home in a cab by the late Mr. De Morgan (surgeon). When
he entered the house he clung by a pillar as if he were drunk. He could
scarcely get up to his bedroom, and there he dozed and rambled; but
the pain was somewhat relieved. He called in one of the most eminent
surgeons in London, but, as Mr. Moore writes—“he did not understand my
shoulder.” Another surgeon was called in—and still another, but the
result was the same. It was with great difficulty he could attend the
consecration of his church in Somers’ Town, with his arm in a sling.
“The shoulder,” he says, “is not so black as formerly, but the pain is
more acute.” Then the first physician in London was called in.—“It is
a most painful affection of the shoulder-joint.” The patient already
knew that. But the physicians as well as the surgeons could do nothing
for him.

He went about, though looking very ill, to the Field Lane Refuge—to
the Industrial Dwellings—to Christ’s Hospital—to the Court of the
Fishmongers. He even travelled down to York to stay a few days with
the Archbishop. On his return he attended a meeting of Christ’s
Hospital, “about a reform in the mode of education in the school.” A
few days later he says, “The neuralgia came on fearfully all day, and
at night I was in torture. Mrs. Moore rushed off in the brougham to
fetch Dr.——, that he might see my arm at the blackest. Still nothing
could be done. Then Mr.—— came and plastered and bandaged up my arm.”
The patient could not write; it was with difficulty that he could
sign a cheque. His wife then became his amanuensis. At a banquet at
the Fishmongers’, he was seized with one of his furious paroxysms of
neuralgia. A surgeon was sent for, who came and gave him chloroform.

At length he could bear his pain no longer. He had been advised to
go to a well-known bone-setter. No! He would not do that. He had put
himself in the hands of the first surgeons of the day. Why should he go
to an irregular practitioner? At length, however, he was persuaded by
his friends. As the surgeons had done their best, why should he not try
the bone-setter? He called upon Mr. Hutton, at his house. He looked at
the shoulder. Well, he would try and put it in. This was new comfort.
Mr. Hutton recommended his patient to buy some neat’s-foot oil and rub
it in as hot as he could bear it. “Where can we buy the stuff?” asked
Mrs. Moore. “You can take a soda-water bottle and get it at a tripe
shop in Tottenham Court Road.” “We have not got a soda-water bottle
with us.” “You can get one at the corner at the public-house!—you
might get it at a druggist’s,” he continued, “but he will charge you
three times as dear.” The neat’s-foot oil was at last got; the shoulder
was duly rubbed with it; and the bone-setter arrived at Kensington
Palace Gardens to do his best or his worst. He made Mr. Moore sign a
paper before he proceeded with his operation, in which he agreed to
be satisfied whether failure or success was the result. Hutton took
the arm in his hand, gave it two or three turns, and then gave it a
tremendous twist round in the socket. The shoulder-joint was got in!
George Moore threw his arm out with strength straight, before him, and
said, “I could fight,” whereas, a moment before he could not raise it
two inches. It had been out for nearly two years.

Mr. Moore was taken to task by his professional friends for going
to a quack about his shoulder. “Well,” said he, “quack or no quack,
he cured me, and that was all I wanted. Whereas, I was blind, now I
see.” After presenting a bust of Lord Brougham and a silver claret
jug to the Fishmongers’, in memory of his prime wardenship, he set
out for Whitehall on the following day and invited Mr. Hutton (the
bone-setter) to join him in Cumberland, as a token of his thanks to him
for having relieved his sufferings. The shoulder continued to improve.
When his benefactor Hutton, the bone-setter, arrived at Whitehall, he
gave him a hearty welcome, and sent him away rejoicing. Mr. Moore was
no more troubled with his shoulder.

Hutton died soon afterwards, and Mr. Moore remarks in his diary that he
was as much struck by his unworldliness as by his skill, for he refused
to take any fee additional to the £5 that was at first asked. It was
with great pressure that Mr. Moore prevailed upon him to take £5 more.

During his repeated accessions of pain he entered, or made Mrs. Moore
enter, many memoranda in his diary, of which we subjoin a few:—

“We must wait until the day dawns, and the shadows flee away, to know
how wise and suitable every dealing of God is with us.”

“I am ashamed to think that I sometimes doubt whether God hears my
prayers—they are so poor, so weak, so spiritless. I thank God my faith
is as simple as a child’s.”

“I have sorrows to go through, but they will only prove joy afterwards.
Whom our Master loveth He chasteneth. No Cross no Crown. As I suffer so
I shall enjoy. Prayer is the mightiest influence men can use. Like the
dew in summer, it makes no noise. It is unseen, but produces immense

“Exercise is the secret of a healthy body, and active working for
God is the secret of a healthy soul. He that watereth other shall be
watered himself.”

[Illustration: Plate III.—DISLOCATIONS.

9. Dislocation of radius backwards. 10. Dislocation of ulna backwards.
11. Dislocation of jaw. 12. Dislocation of hip outwards.
13. Dislocation of hip inwards.]



  “All these are good, and these we must allow,
  And these are everywhere in practise now.”

  _Taylor the Water-Poet._

The case related by Dr. Smiles is interesting to every Bone-setter,
as well as to the public at large, for it drew attention to the fact
that there existed a number of “specialists” who had made bone-setting
and sprains their study, who had inherited the experience of their
predecessors, and who, though not recognised by the “schools,” or
enrolled under the various acts for the registration of medical
practitioners, had done a vast amount of good and had alleviated
a great deal of pain which had baffled the _skill_ of the regular

Dr. William Chambers, in the _Journal_ which bears his name, had
drawn attention to the case of Mr. George Moore, in a review of Dr.
Smiles’ book, which seems to have excited the indignation of several
surgeons, who “called in question the accuracy of the story.” To these
the editor, presumably Dr. Chambers himself, replies by quoting the
testimony of a number of correspondents who had favoured him with
their experiences. Dr. Chambers refers those who doubt the statement
about Mr. George Moore, to Dr. Smiles himself, whom he truly says “is
not given to romancing.” “We have,” he continues,[3] “ourselves,
however, known some curious instances of illiterate men who, by a sort
of natural tact, were eminently successful as bone-setters.” One of
these instances was that of a drummer in a militia regiment as long
ago as 1812, who, when discharged at the peace of 1815, set up as a
bone-setter, and made a living by his profession. Not long since, there
died an eminent bone-setter on Spey-side, to whom persons suffering
from dislocations flocked from all quarters. It seems ridiculous
to pooh-pooh instances of this kind. A wiser policy would consist
in finding out what were the special modes of operation of these
bone-setters, and taking a hint from them.

While one correspondent has favoured us with his doubts on the subject
of unprofessional bone-setting, others have written to verify cases
such as that recorded by George Moore’s biographer. One of these
communications is as follows: ‘In 1865, I had met with a severe
accident on board a ship coming home from India, and among other
injuries the middle finger of my right hand was much injured. There
were two or three doctors among the passengers besides the ship’s
surgeon, and they all agreed that it was merely a severe bruise. I
thought little of it, hoping it would soon get right; but when six
weeks had passed and the finger was still quite powerless, I consulted
an excellent general practitioner in England, who said the joint was
enlarged, and recommended an application of iodine, which took off the
skin, but had no other effect. Two other surgeons—one of them a man
of considerable repute—were consulted, but with no better result; and
eventually I was persuaded to go to a bone-setter in Liverpool. The
moment he felt the finger he said “It’s dislocated.” The treatment
was very simple. The finger was enveloped in a bag of bran and kept
constantly wet for a fortnight, and then it was set. The operator gave
it a violent wrench. I heard a crack like that made when one pulls
one’s finger-joints sharply; and from that moment I had the full use of
my finger, which until then was absolutely powerless. The fee, as far
as I remember, was ten shillings, certainly not more.

“The case which led me to consult this bone-setter was much more
remarkable. Among the passengers on board the same ship was an Indian
civilian who had been severely mauled by a tiger, in trying to save a
fellow-sportsman’s life, and had quite lost the use of one arm. He was
on his way home to see if anything could be done to restore it; and his
disappointment was great when, after some months’ treatment by one of
the greatest of London surgeons, there was hardly any improvement, and
no hope was held out of more than a very partial cure. While down in
Wales, he heard of the bone-setter above mentioned, who was a native of
the Principality, and determined to try his powers. In a few months, by
simple treatment and the wonderful power of manipulation which this man
possessed, the use of the arm was entirely restored, and has ever since
remained so.”’

The gentleman above alluded to was undoubtedly Mr. Evan Thomas, of
Crosshall Street, Liverpool, whose reputation and skill enabled him
to realise a handsome competence. The record of his cures, and the
instances in which he has given relief when regular surgeons have
failed, would fill a volume. A well-known actor on the London stage has
furnished several instances which fell under his personal knowledge.
Mr. Evan Thomas is now represented by a relative (a son I believe) who
has taken out a diploma as a surgeon, and is therefore a “bone-setter”
according to Act of Parliament.

The writer of the above anecdotes expressly points out that he does
not for a moment wish to disparage the skill and care shewn by the
regularly qualified surgeons in ordinary and in many extraordinary
cases. They are with few exceptions, upright and generous men, and
their kindness and tenderness seem specially developed by the pain
which they so often have to inflict; but there are cases—more
frequent, I believe, than is commonly supposed—where something more
than training and practise is needed; and there are a few men (and
women too) who seem intuitively to possess this something—a gift of
touch which tells them when a joint, or it may be a muscle or tendon,
is not in its right place, and enables them to put it right.

“It is this which I think the medical profession and the public
generally should recognise, instead of speaking of these bone-setters,
as is often done, as quacks, and their cures as fables, or at best
happy accidents. In some cases the possessors of this gift have taken
the necessary diploma which permits them to practise; in others they
have not the means or education which would enable them to do so; or
perhaps they have only discovered their gift comparatively late in
life, when they have settled down to other professions.” “Surely,” the
Editor remarks, “some means could be devised by which this gift, when
it is discovered in an individual, can be utilised for the benefit of
suffering humanity without the ordinary diploma, and yet with some
check which would prevent imposture. The first step is the recognition
that such a gift does exist; and then let it be the subject of
intelligent inquiry.”

The next instance given in the _Journal_ before referred (pp. 712)
is contributed by a well-known clergyman of Northamptonshire, and is
a voluntary and unlooked for testimonial to the author. He writes as
follows:—“Some twelve years since, when returning from a visit to a
friend on a bitterly cold December evening, I unluckily slipped upon
a sheet of ice on the foot-path, and fell with my leg bent completely
under me. The pain was intense, and for a quarter of an hour I was
unable to raise myself up. Fortunately, I was not far from home, and
managed to crawl to my own door. For two or three subsequent days I
endured excruciating agony, and consulted my usual medical men in
the town of ——, who pronounced my injury to be a violent sprain of
the muscles of the knee, and after tightly bandaging the joint, they
recommended entire rest for some days. For six weeks I hardly moved
out-of-doors, and was quite unable, without assistance, to put on my
stockings and boots.

“One day a neighbour suggested my seeing a celebrated bone-setter
who pays a weekly visit to this neighbourhood. I eagerly adopted
the suggestion, and by the aid of two sticks, attended by a friend,
I contrived to get into and out of the train, and reached the
bone-setter’s residence in due course. He first directed me to undress,
and placed a chair to rest my leg upon. After manipulating the limb,
he pressed my leg with such force that I fainted away, and when I
recovered my senses, the perspiration was literally streaming down my
face. I asked for some brandy, which he produced out of a cupboard
close by, remarking: ‘I always keep my physic here.’

“For some ten minutes afterwards I felt very faint and in great pain;
and without noticing his movements, he again suddenly pressed my leg,
causing me to faint away a second time; and when I came to, I found my
friend at my side whom I had left up-stairs, and who, startled by my
screams, had hastened down to see what was the matter.

“The bone-setter then said: “Get up and walk; your knee was dislocated,
but you are now all right.” To my inexpressible joy I found my knee
replaced, and was able to walk as well as ever, and which for six weeks
I had been unable to do without the assistance of two sticks. For ten
years my leg was so well and strong, that I never needed the services
of the bone-setter. Unfortunately, about two years since, in pulling
off my boot I again dislocated the same knee, but in moving suddenly
in my chair to reach a book, the joint returned into the socket, like
the sharp report of a pistol. It has once since been out, but I have
managed to replace the joint myself; but I occasionally go to the
bone-setter to have the limb tightly plastered and bandaged, and over
the bandage I always wear an elastic knee-cap.

“A neighbour of mine had a bad fall out hunting about two years ago,
and injured his shoulder, and for several weeks was unable to raise his
arm, and like myself, put himself under the charge of his usual medical
attendant. As the injury did not seem to abate, I advised him to go
to this same bone-setter, which he did, and in a very short period he
quite recovered the use of the limb, and is now able to drive and ride
as well as ever; the remedy he was ordered to adopt was hard friction,
night and morning, with rum and neat’s-foot oil.

“I will mention an anecdote told me by this bone-setter. A poor
servant-girl who had been an in-patient of a neighbouring infirmary for
seventeen weeks, and had been discharged as incurable, consulted the
bone-setter, who discovered her ankle to be dislocated. With a violent
twist he replaced it, and she gladly left behind her, in his house, the
two crutches she had used for upwards of four months!

“Although it seems almost incredible that regularly qualified surgeons
do not understand the art of bone-setting, or adopt their somewhat
rough usage, I believe they really dare not do so for fear of being
accused of rude treatment, by ladies or persons of sensitive feelings.
I believe the knack of bone-setting to be hereditary; at any rate it is
so in the case of my bone-setter (which is literally true), who is of
the third generation in this style of treatment.”

The following is a case related by Dr. Wharton Hood, in his work on

“A gentleman, whom I will call Mr. A——, when sitting on a stool
at his office, hastily descended it to welcome a friend. As soon as
his feet reached the ground he turned his body without moving them,
and in so doing he twisted or wrenched his left knee. He immediately
felt considerable pain in the joint, which lasted for an hour or two,
but decreased as the day wore on, and he continued to move about as
occasion required. In the night he was aroused by increased pain,
and found the joint much swollen. Mr. A—— was the brother of the
professor of midwifery at one of the principal medical schools in
London, and he had the best surgical advice that London could afford.
He was ordered to rest the limb and to apply heat and moisture. In
this way he obtained some diminution of the pain, but the swelling
continued. He at last sent for Mr. Hutton, who at once declared that
the knee was “out,” and proposed to replace it. An appointment for
this purpose was made, but in the meantime the patient had again seen
eminent surgeons, and he wrote to prevent Mr. Hutton from coming. Two
years of uninterrupted surgical treatment passed without improvement,
and then Mr. A—— sent for Mr. Hutton again. On this the second visit
I accompanied him, and what I witnessed,” says Dr. Hood, “made a great
impression on my mind. We found the knee-joint enveloped in strapping;
and when this was removed, the joint was seen to be much swollen,
the skin shining and discoloured. The joint was immovable, and very
painful on the inner side. Mr. Hutton at once placed his thumb on a
point over the lower edge of the inner condyle of the femur, and the
patient shrank from the pressure and complained of great pain. He (Mr.
Hutton) made no further examination of the limb, but said: “What did I
tell you two years ago?” Mr. A—— replied: “You said my knee was out.”
“And I tell you so now,” was the rejoinder. “Can you put it in?” said
Mr. A——. “I can.” ‘Then be good enough to do so,’ said Mr. A——,
holding out his limb. Mr. Hutton. however, declined to operate for a
week; ordered the joint to be enveloped in linseed poultices and rubbed
with neat’s-foot oil, made an appointment, and took his leave. During
the dialogue I had carefully examined the limb, and satisfied myself
that there was no dislocation, and had arrived at the conclusion that
rest, and not movement, was the treatment required. At the expiration
of the week I went again to the house, and Mr. Hutton arrived shortly
afterwards. “How’s the knee?” was his inquiry. “It feels easier.” “Been
able to move it?” “No.” “Give it to me.” The leg was stretched out, and
Mr. Hutton stood in front of the patient, who hesitated, and lowered
his limb. “You are quite sure it is out, and you can put it right?”
There was a pause, and then: “Give me your leg, I say.” The patient
obeyed reluctantly, and slowly raised it to within Mr. Hutton’s reach.
He grasped it with both hands, round the calf, with the extended thumb
of the left hand pressing on the painful spot on the inner side of the
knee, and held the foot firmly by grasping the heel between his own
knees. The patient was told to sit steadily in his chair, and at that
moment I think he would have given a good deal to have regained control
over his limb. Mr. Hutton inclined his knees towards his right, thus
aiding in the movement of rotation which he impressed upon the leg with
his hands. He maintained firm pressure with his thumb on the painful
spot, and suddenly flexed the knee. The patient cried out with pain.
Mr. Hutton lowered the limb, and told him to stand up. He did so, and
at once declared he could move the leg better, and that the previously
painful spot was free from pain. He was ordered to take gentle daily
exercise, and his recovery was rapid and complete. In a few days
he returned to business, and from that time until his death, which
occurred three years afterwards, his knee remained perfectly well.”

Another case was that of the Honourable Spencer Ponsonby, who is
suffered to tell his own story. “On November 26th, 1864, in running
across the garden at Croxteth, near Liverpool, I felt and heard
something crack in the calf of my left leg. It was so painful that I
rolled over like a shot rabbit, and could scarcely reach the house, a
few yards off. I at once put my leg up to the knee in a pail of hot
water, and boiled it for an hour. Next day, being no better, I sent
for a medical man in the neighbourhood, who told me I had snapped a
muscle, and must keep quiet for a few days. He rubbed in a strong
liniment, there being no sign of inflammation; and put on a strong
leather plaster. In a couple of days I was able to hobble; but being
telegraphed to London, and going into an empty house, I knocked my toe
against a tack in the floor, and hurt myself worse than ever. From
this time (December 2nd) to the beginning of May, I was attended by
Mr. A—— and Mr. B—— in consultation, who agreed in saying that the
“stocking of the calf was split” (gastrocnemius, I think they called
it) and treated me accordingly. Occasionally my leg got better; but the
slightest exertion produced pain and weakness.

“On the 2nd of May, Mr. C—— undertook me. He agreed as to the injury,
but thought that, constitutionally, I was out of order, and gave me
some iron, &c., without effect. My leg was also fixed in an iron
machine to relieve the muscles of the calf from the weight of the leg.
Another eminent surgeon came in consultation on June 26. He agreed in
Mr. C——’s treatment, and in the cause of the lameness; as did Dr.
D——, who was consulted as to my going to Wildbad.

“_August 14._—As I did not improve, Mr. C—— put my leg into a
gum-plaster for a month. I then went yachting, so as to obtain perfect
repose for that time. My health, which had been getting bad, was
improved by the sea-air, but my leg was no better. The surgeon on board
the yacht, Dr. E——, also examined me, and agreed as to the cause of
the lameness, but said: ‘An old woman may cure you, but no doctor will.’

“On September 7 the gum-plaster was removed, and galvanism was then
tried for about three weeks. At the end of this time I went on a yacht
voyage for four months, and, during the whole of this period had
sea-water douches. All this time I had been either on crutches or two
sticks. My health was much improved by the sea-voyage, but my leg was
the same as before, and had shrunk to about half its proper size.

“_April 5._—Mr. F—— began his system to cure my leg. His idea
was, that the muscles were separated, but that if brought together
continuously, they would rejoin. I wore a high-heeled boot during the
day, and during the night my heel was fixed so that it was kept in the
same position. No good arose from this treatment; and consequently,
after a month’s trial, I went to Mr. Hutton, who, on seeing my high
heel, said: ‘What do you wear that machine for? Do you want to lame
yourself?’ I was proceeding to tell him the opinion of the various
surgeons on my case, when he said: ‘Don’t bother me about anatomy; I
know nothing about it; but I tell you your ankle is out, and that I can
put it in again.’

“After a few weeks, during which he had been to the North, and
could not therefore undertake my case, I returned to him on June
27, telling him that I had in the meantime consulted surgeons who
had assured me that, whatever else might ail me, my ankle was most
assuredly ‘all right,’ but that I would notwithstanding submit to
his treatment. He again examined me most carefully, beginning at the
ankle round bone, and he then put his thumb on to a place which hurt
me a good deal, and produced a sensation of a sharp prick of a pin. He
proceeded to operate upon me, and after a time there was a distinct
report, and from that moment the pain was gone. Mr. Hutton desired me
to walk moderately, but to take no violent exercise for a long time,
and to use a good deal of cold water. From that moment my leg gradually
got better. I was able to walk out shooting quietly in September, and
on the 14th October, having missed a train, walked home fifteen miles
along the high-road. In the following year I resumed cricket, tennis,
and other strong exercise, and have continued them ever since.

In page 103 to 109 of his work before quoted, Dr. W. Hood relates
the experience of his father in treating of sprained ankles, in a
manner similar to that practised by the bone-setter, and illustrates
the system by these two typical cases, which, though by no means
extraordinary in their treatment and cure, have been thought worthy of
publication by him. Mr. J—— sprained his left ankle eighteen weeks
before coming under treatment. For the first month he laid on a sofa;
at the end of that time he was able to get about on crutches, and when
he presented himself for treatment was compelled to use a couple of
sticks. At no time since the injury had he been able to walk farther
than two or three hundred yards without resting. He complained of pain
on the inner side of the foot, and stiffness and pain in the great
toe when he attempted to use his foot. He was operated upon for the
purpose of replacing the bone of the foot, and overcoming the stiffness
of the toe. He returned home by rail the same day, and, on alighting
at the station walked half-a-mile slowly to his house. His powers of
locomotion steadily improved, and four days after the operation he
walked three miles.

Mr. G—— came to Mr. H—— on the recommendation of Mr. J—— and
also was induced to do so from the benefit he saw that Mr. J—— had
derived from the treatment. In this case the ankle had been sprained
and bruised by a horse falling on him a year-and-a-half previous to his
visit to Mr. H——. Owing to the road along which he was riding having
been much cut up by cart wheels, his injury was much more severe than
would usually occur from this form of accident. When the horse fell
he was not thrown but went down with it; the injured foot touched the
ground, sinking into one of the ruts, when before he could withdraw it,
the animal rolled over, wrenching and bruising the limb most fearfully.
The foot was seen by Mr. H——, was still much swollen, and very stiff
in all parts. He was considered to have “five bones out” and the usual
manipulations were employed for their reduction. It required three
operations, at intervals of a week, before the stiffness of the foot
was removed, but at the end of three weeks he walked as well as he ever
did in his life. When he came he had his foot in a sling suspended from
his neck, so utterly useless was the limb.

The advantage of the employment of movement a few days after the
receipt of the injury is shown, he says, by the history of one of the
cases that he saw with Mr. Hutton:

J. F. (Stanmore) was thrown from a cart by the horse stumbling when
going down hill. He fell on his right shoulder and side of his head.
He remained stunned for about an hour; on coming to himself and trying
to raise with the assistance of the right arm, he found himself unable
to raise it, much less to bear any weight upon it. He succeeded with
great difficulty in getting into his cart (the horse it appears did
not fall completely and waited quietly at the side of the road) and
driving home. He suffered great pain all night, the arm being perfectly
useless, and the parts about the shoulder much swollen. He saw Mr.
H—— the following day and was directed by him to poultice and use
neat’s foot oil for a week. At the end of the week he was operated
upon. Increased pain followed the operation; it was not, however, in
the same spot, having shifted from the shoulder to the outer side of
the arm, near the insertion of the deltoid. No improvement in power
of movement occurred at the time; he could not raise his hand to his
head or bend his forearm. On his next visit, three days afterwards,
he said that the pain continued through the night, that he dropped
off to sleep towards morning, and when he awoke he found that it had
materially abated, and his sufferings had been comparatively slight
since. The swelling had diminished, but the motions of the joint were
not much freer.

At the expiration of a week from the time of the operation, he appeared
again; and he could then place his hand behind his head and also on
the opposite shoulder. “With the exception of a slight stiffness, he
considered his limb quite well.”

Yet two other cases from the same source:—

Mrs. J——, on rising from her chair one day in 1864 caught her heel
in her crinoline, and fell backwards upon her sacrum. She did not feel
much pain from the fall at the moment although she felt a good deal
shaken. At this period she had been six weeks pregnant. On the fifth
day from the date of the accident, having in the meantime, without any
definite cause of complaint, been “out of sorts,” she noticed a feeling
of stiffness and numbness extending over the whole of the body, but
more especially in the extremities. Shortly after this occurred she was
seized with convulsions of an epileptiform character. These convulsions
they recurred at varying intervals of sometimes three or four days,
and at other times of ten days or a fortnight, until her confinement.
After this event she was subject to them, but at longer intervals until
October, 1869. Their increased frequency about this time induced her to
consult Mr. Hutton, both she and her friends considering that, as she
had never had any affection of this description previous to her fall,
the blow on her back might fairly be looked upon as the cause of her
trouble. A very tender spot was complained of at the junction of the
last lumbar vertebra with the sacrum. The sensations which preceded
the commencement of the fit were referred to that spot and the opinion
given by Mr. Hutton was that a bone was “out” there. On the three or
four days preceding his visit she had many severe convulsions; she was
suffering from exhaustion consequent upon them and fully expected to be
obliged to remain in bed some days to recover herself. She describes
herself as suffering at the same time from head-ache and fullness; her
back was very painful; she was flushed in the face, very depressed in
spirits, her eyesight was dim and she was very faint.

When operated upon in the manner, hereafter to be described, she
felt “a sudden feeling of numbness of the brain,” this feeling
travelling upwards from the spot where the pressure was applied, and
then immediately following this a sensation which made her say “I am
all right.” In a minute or two she got into bed without assistance,
lay down on her left side—a position she had not been able to take
before—her color became natural, her head felt as if a weight had been
removed from it, the dimness of sight disappeared, and a difficulty of
raising the lids previously had gone. She remained in bed two hours,
and then was able to be dressed and go down stairs. She had no return
of the fits and had been quite free from them up to October, 1870.

The other case mentioned by Dr. Hood is given in the words of the
patient, who states—

“In July, 1859, I was playing in the garden with my children, when one
of them tossed a large indiarubber ball into the adjoining garden,
which was separated from my own by a stone wall about six feet high.
I procured a pair of steps and got over the wall; and coming back I
sat for a few minutes on the top of the wall, and then jumped down,
alighting upon the gravel walk. I felt no ill effects from the jump at
that time, but, awaking early nest morning I found my left leg very
stiff, and supposing this would pass off I went to business as usual;
but on walking I experienced pain on the inside of the knee joint,
which increased during the day, and at night I could scarcely walk.

“The next morning I sent for my medical man (Mr. A——) who after
examining the knee pronounced the injury to be external to the joint,
and I think he said some cartilage had been strained. He ordered me
to pump cold water on it, which I did for several days; but the pain
increased and the knee began to swell. Mr. A—— then ordered leeches
to be applied, and afterwards a large blister enveloping the knee.

After this the leg became very rigid at the joint, and flexed so
that the heel would not touch the ground, and I could only move from
one room to another by the help of crutches. After about two months’
confinement to the house my appetite failed and I became very unwell.
I then saw another surgeon (Mr. B——) who thought that there was
something forming in the joint, but that my general health was failing,
and that I ought to have change of air, so by his and Mr. A——’s
advice I went to the sea-side where I remained until November.

“Whilst there I applied sea-weed poultices, and bathed my knee in warm
sea water; but was soon obliged to discontinue this treatment as it
greatly irritated the joint, which became so tender and painful that
I could not bear the weight of the sheet upon it as I lay in bed. The
flesh of my thigh began to waste away at this time, and I lost
power in my left arm, thumb, and forefinger; so that for some time I
was unable to use a fork at meals. I called in a local practitioner
(Mr. C——) who gave me medicine; but as he said the pain in the knee
was of secondary importance, he did not prescribe for it. I took
exercise occasionally in an invalid chair, but, owing to the difficulty
of getting down stairs and the vibration of the chair itself, this did
me more harm than good.

“I returned home in November, and passed the winter with very little
improvement; and having purchased a very easy invalid carriage with
shafts for a donkey, went out when the weather permitted.

I continued to apply iodine and kept wet cloths constantly upon the
limb to keep down inflammation, and this treatment succeeded in a
measure, but only so long as I kept the leg at rest; for on making the
smallest attempt to use it the inflammation returned.

In the spring of 1860 it was thought advisable I should consult Sir
B. Brodie, and my medical man (Mr. A——) went with me to London; but
finding that Sir Benjamin was out of town he took me to Mr. D——,
who affected to treat the matter very lightly, and said that I was to
take a tonic, which he prescribed, and that as my health improved my
knee would get well. He also sent me to a surgical bandage maker, who
measured me for a knee cap which was to enable me to walk and take more
exercise than I had hitherto done.

This knee cap I was however unable to wear, until some months later,
when, the inflammation having subsided, I found it gave me some
support; but I was never able to wear it without much discomfort.
Up to October 1865 (a period of six years and a quarter) I used
crutches—sometimes two, at other times one crutch and a stout stick
and was never at ease, the knee always stone cold when in bed or
otherwise resting, and hot after exertion of any kind—the pain
becoming acute whenever I attempted to use the limb beyond just
crossing the room. During this period (six years) I spent a portion of
every summer at the seaside, and was withdrawn almost entirely from
business. At length after so long a course of treatment, I ceased to
seek further advice, believing what I was told, that the cause of all
my suffering was constitutional, and I settled down to the conclusion
that I should be a cripple for life and that this was unavoidable.

“In June, 1865, I was recommended by a friend to consult Mr. Hutton,
but when I had learned he was an irregular practitioner, I declined;
and it was not until October, when, owing to an accidental stumble
against the door-sill, I was in much pain again, that I acceded to the
earnest solicitations of my friends. I then wrote to him and made an
appointment. At the first interview he came to me in the waiting-room
and, looking me hard in the face, he said, ‘who sent you here?’ I told
him who it was that recommended me to him. He said, ‘Do you know that
I am not a regular surgeon?’ I answered, ‘Yes.’ ‘Well, then, what’s
the matter with you?’ I told him I was lame. ‘Are those your sticks?’
pointing to the crutches. ‘Yes.’ ‘Well, let me look at your leg.’ He
then instantly placed his thumb on the tender spot inside the knee,
causing me great pain. I said, ‘Yes, that is the place, and no other.’
‘Ah!’ he replied, ‘I thought so. That will do. How long have you been
lame?’ ‘Six years.’ ‘What treatment have you had?’ I told him, and
also that my lameness resulted from constitutional causes. He said,
‘Bah! If you had not had a pretty good constitution they would have
killed you.’ I told him that I had seen Mr. D——. ‘Well,’ he said,
‘You might as well have seen my cook. He can’t cure that knee.’ I asked
him what he thought was the matter with it. He said, ‘That knee is out;
I’ll stake my reputation upon it, and I can cure it.’ I was ordered to
apply linseed meal poultices for a week, and then go to him again, and
happily with the best results. I have never needed the use of crutches
since, and although it was some time before I gained much strength in
the leg, I am now able to walk as well as before the injury. I forgot
to mention that before leaving Mr. Hutton’s house I walked up a flight
of stairs and down again, a feat I had not accomplished for years.”

As a contribution to the patient’s point of view, and as a pendant
to some remarks made in the course of the preceding pages, Dr. Hood
thought it desirable to print a portion of the letter that accompanied
the narrative:—

  “_May, 1871._

  “MY DEAR SIR,—In my communication I have confined myself to a
  relation of facts only, abstaining from all comment,
  but I should now like to say that I think you are doing great
  service to the public in bringing the subject of (so-called)
  bone-setting prominently before the profession, so as to
  induce them to give it a measure of attention, instead
  of pooh-poohing it, as has been their almost invariable
  practice hitherto. In my own case, after submitting to Mr.
  Hutton’s manipulation, I was instantly relieved from that
  pain, tension, and coldness in the joint that I had suffered
  for six years, and was able to walk. This recovery, which
  to myself and friends seemed little short of a miracle, was
  thus accounted for by the faculty:—Mr. A—— (whose patient
  I had been) on the subject being mentioned to him, laughed,
  and said, with a significant shrug, ‘Yes, yes! a nervous
  knee! we all know what nervous knees are! ay! ay!’ Mr. B——,
  who, as a friend, had seen my knee frequently (though not
  professionally) assured all who mentioned the case to him that
  I might have walked twelve months earlier had I cared to do
  so. Other medical men accounted for the manifest change in my
  condition on one hypothesis and another, whilst all affected
  to smile at my ignorance and delusion.

  “Thus much as to the profession, but what were my own thoughts
  and those of my friends and the public generally? I was like
  the man spoken of in the Gospels, who had been blind, and now
  could see I had been lame and in pain, but could now walk and
  was at ease. I cared nothing for professional sneers as to
  nervous or not nervous; and had the whole College of Surgeons
  clearly demonstrated to their entire satisfaction that I could
  not possibly have been benefitted by Mr. Hutton’s treatment,
  my opinion would not have been shaken by it.

  “Then as to the public: my case having been well known my
  recovery was quickly noised abroad, and a number of people
  in the neighbourhood who had suffered many things of many
  physicians and were nothing bettered, but rather grew worse,
  sought Mr. Hutton’s advice, and were cured; and this has
  happened in so many instances that public confidence in the
  ability of the regular practitioner to deal with this class of
  cases has been greatly shaken. I cannot better illustrate this
  than by relating the following case:—

  “One Thursday morning last autumn a man came to me, and, on
  my inquiring his business, he told me he wanted my advice.
  He was a laborer in a factory who in lifting a weight, had
  twisted his knee which was much swollen and painful when he
  walked. I asked him what advice he had had. He said he had
  been under the doctors’ hands some time, but the leg was worse
  and he was now ordered to lay up entirely for a month, and
  was assured that unless he did so he would lose his leg. In
  one hand he held a medical certificate to entitle him (being
  unable to work) to go on his club; in the other he had a large
  lump of dark paste, about the size of an egg, which he said
  was a blister, and which he was ordered to apply to the joint
  immediately and to rest at home until the doctor called on him
  the next day. I examined his knee, and from the similarity
  of his symptoms to those I had myself experienced, I felt
  satisfied his was a case for Mr. Hutton and I told him so. He
  immediately told me he had heard of my case and so many others
  that _he would rather take my advice than the doctor’s_. I
  explained to him that he could not follow the advice of both,
  and if he decided on going to Mr. Hutton he must on no account
  apply the blister. To this he assented. The doctor’s assistant
  called on him the next day, and was very angry that he had not
  done as he was ordered, and then left, threatening to return
  with his master, who he said would make him put the blister
  on whether he liked it or not. This threat however, was not
  carried out, and on Monday morning he went to Mr. Hutton with
  several other patients who were going up on a similar errand.
  He did not return until the last train at night, and I learned
  next morning that, after visiting Mr. Hutton, he walked
  several miles to see a friend and then back to the railway
  station; he rested the next day, and on Wednesday returned to
  his work, and has been quite well ever since.

  “The sentence in italics is one to which I desire to call
  particular attention, since it gives expression to a feeling
  of want of confidence in the profession, which I know to
  be widely, though often secretly, entertained in this

  “Would it not, then, be to the interest of the profession to
  examine into these cases and not obstinately to close their
  eyes to facts, which, but for professional prejudice, would
  not fail to see as clearly, and reason upon as logically as
  common people do.

  “I am, my dear sir,

  “Yours very truly,

The publication of Dr. Wharton’s book, added to the published testimony
of so many patients, awakened the “faculty” to the knowledge that
after all there was something more than luck in the Bone-setter’s art.
The change of tone was however gradual, with occasional relapses
into the old line of thought, not by any means without misgiving.
When professional attention was publicly drawn to the subject many
instances came to light which showed that Bone-setters proceeded on
true scientific which were neglected by, if not unknown to the faculty
at large. As frequently happens the earliest instance of professional
adoption of the art of the “Bone-setter” occurred in America. After the
publication of Dr. Hood’s work. A correspondent of _Nature_[4] seeing
a review of the work wrote to describe an accident he met with, the
failure of the surgeons at New York to cure him, and his subsequent
cure by one he calls “a scientific Bone-setter” who, of course, was
not an “empiric,” though he adopted the practise of the Bone-setter’s
art. The correspondent in question, Mr. Joseph P. Thompson, who dates
from Berlin, May 22nd, states that more than _twenty_ years ago in the
city of New York, while swinging upon parallel bars in the gymnasium
fell backwards, and to save his head threw out his left arm, thus
catching the fall upon the palmar head of the radius, and as it proved
fracturing the head of the radius at the point of articulation with
the ulna. I sent for one of the most eminent surgeons (then professor
and surgeon) to a large hospital, but several hours elapsed before his
arrival, and by that time the swelling and inflammation of the elbow
had all the appearance of a sprain, and the fracture was not detected.
Some days afterwards the surgeon found out that there had been a
fracture, and that a false adhesion had begun. This was broken up, and
the arm set in splints, according to the approved method. After
the usual time the bandages were removed, but the forearm was incapable
of flexion, extension, or rotation. Every appliance was used to restore
it to its normal condition, such as lifting, friction, sponging, &c.,
but without effect. The arm became useless, and began to shrivel. It
was examined by the first surgeons in New York and other cities. Some
thought that the radius had adhered to the ulna, others that it was a
deposit of interosseous matter, but none could suggest a remedy. It
was some nine months after this, Mr Thompson goes on to say, that he
chanced to be in Philadelphia, and called upon Dr. Klea Barton, who,
though he had retired from practice, consented to look into the case.
After a careful examination he said, ‘If you will consent to suffer the
pain, (it was before the use of chloroform) I will agree to restore the
arm.’ He went on to say that pressure demonstrated a slight crepitation
at the joint, and also a slight elasticity; and this assured him
that the trouble was in the ligaments; that in consequence of the
long imprisonment of the arm in splints, while under inflammation,
a ligamentous adhesion had taken place, and the synovial fluid had
been absorbed. He then applied one hand firmly to the elbow, and the
other to the palmar end of the radius, and diverting my attention by
anecdote and wit, thus relaxing the resistance of the will to pain,
he gave a sudden wrench, there was a sound like the ripping of cotton
cloth, and the arm lay outstretched before me, quivering with pain,
but capable of motion. Mechanical appliances for a few weeks, so far
completed the restoration that I have ever since had about four-fifths
of its normal use and power.”

Here was evidently an instance of manipulation, which, if done by
a bone-setter, would be called empirical, but as it was performed
by a retired surgeon, it was “scientific.” If the benefit is the
same, why this difference of designation? Let the “faculty” reply in
person—“What in the captain is but a choleric word; in the soldier is
rank blasphemy.”



  “What in the captain but a choleric word is in the soldier
    rank blasphemy.”

The first volume of the British Medical Journal for 1867 opens with a
report of a Lecture delivered by Mr., now Sir James Paget, Bart., on
“Cases that Bone-setters cure.” The Lecture is the first recognition
as far as I am aware that the profession of the Bone-setters received
at the hands of a professional surgeon, or qualified medical man,
anything more than the opprobrium of being a “quack,” an empiric, or
a charlatan. Ignorance, presumption, want of skill and knowledge were
laid to the charge of the Bone-setter. His success, if success, as
it admittedly did, attend his efforts to alleviate the anguish of a
sprain, to reduce a fracture or a dislocation, was attributed to a
happy accident, or “luck,” whilst any failure, or any mistake,
as if failures and mistakes were never made by those whose names
were duly printed in the _Medical Register_, was trumpeted always in
the medical journals and in the private coteries frequented by the
local doctors who happened to hear of the case. The many cures were
pooh-poohed, only the failures were deemed worthy of publicity. It
appears to have been forgotten that not many years have elapsed since
the barber-chirurgeons were the only recognised professors of surgery.
That the present scientific system of surgery is of comparatively
recent date. That there are instances on record of both physicians and
surgeons being tabooed and denounced because they had wandered from the
beaten path and had found out modes of curing disease and alleviating
suffering which were not known before, or at least only to a few. The
host of appliances and new methods of treatment are in the opinion
of many old and experienced medical men decidedly unnecessary. They
lead the student and the practitioner to disregard the empirical—the
practical—manual part of his art—to trust to a mechanical system and
not to himself, or to his personal skill and his experience. No one
can read Sir James Paget’s lecture without feeling that throughout
his address he was touching a subject that had only been brought under
his notice in the course of his professional career, and that only
in a partial manner. If anyone dissents from this view he has only
to compare the original report of the lecture in the journal I have
mentioned with the revised lecture and notes, edited by Mr. Howard
Marsh, and published more than twelve years after the lecture had been
first delivered. During that period, a great change had come over
the surgical world with respect to the much despised Bone-setters.
The greater publicity given to the cures of the Bone-setters by
independent men of mark, who had found their pains alleviated and their
afflictions cured by the professional Bone-setter, boldly stating their
experiences, told the faculty there must be something more in this
system of “quackery,” than was “dreamt of in their philosophy.” It was
evident, that however distasteful it might be, it must be treated with
respect, even if it jarred with their previously expressed opinions and
shocked their ideas of strict professional etiquette.


14. Dislocation of shoulder joint. 15. Dislocation of foot inwards.
16. Dislocation of foot backwards. 17. Dislocation of tibia and fibula
forwards. 18. Dislocation of ulna and radius backwards.]

No Bone-setter can find fault with Sir James Paget’s lecture beyond his
vulgarising, if I may so term it, his opening illustration. Such an
instance might occur, for there are “Bone-setters and Bone-setters.”
The term is doubtless assumed by many whose practice brings disgrace
upon those who pursue an honorable calling, even if they do not belong
to a chartered society, or are recognised by Act of Parliament and
therefore not “legally qualified practitioners,” it is true that they
are qualified by long experience, by early training, and the skill
gained by the constant practice of many years, but the law does not
recognise them.

Sir James Paget appears to imagine that all the formula of a
Bone-setter is to say that “a bone is out,” and to use a wrench to
put it in again, which wrench he admits does good in some cases.
He admits “of course they have a certain number of real fractures
and dislocations which they reduce, and of old ankylosis which they
loosen.” “Of these,” he adds, “I need say nothing; for I believe there
is nothing in their practice in these cases which is not as well or
better done by regular surgical men.”

He instances what he calls the “rare accident” of the slipping of a
tendon which a wrench may cure, and he is polite enough to say “I can
hardly doubt that a Bone-setter has occasionally done unwittingly,
a lucky trick, when, with wrenchings and twistings of a joint, he
has made some dislodged tendon slip back into its place.” Sir James
further enumerates a series of cases of injuries to joints, which
may, and indeed are, daily cured by Bone-setters, and he shows how
sometimes patients themselves may unlock a stiff knee whether caused
by loose cartilages, a stiffness of the muscles, or from other
causes. “It may be admitted generally,” he tells his audience, “that
from paying particular attention to this class of cases, which are
constantly occuring, that the Bone-setters have achieved their great
reputation where eminent surgeons have failed.” Sir James too dwells
on suppositious cases, which if treated by the Bone-setter’s wrench
would certainly end in mischief, and alludes to bad boys who simulate
stiff joints who often “escape disgrace by lying and letting the
Bone-setter be believed when he professes that he has ‘put in’ their
dislocations.” “Amongst all these cases of muscular difficulty,” Sir
James says, “there is a good harvest for Bone-setters and without doubt
their remedy is rough as it is real.” “But,” he continues, “there is yet
a larger class of cases which Bone-setters sometimes succeed in curing
very quickly, namely, ordinary sprains.” “I cannot doubt,” he says,
“that some recently sprained joints may be quickly cured, freed from
pain, and restored to useful power, by gradually increased violence of
rubbing and moving.” He admits that this has sometimes been introduced
into regular surgery, but, he goes on to state, that it is in cases
where old sprains have remained long uncured that Bone-setters, and
especially those who combine rubbing and shampooing with their setting,
gain their chief repute. He, therefore, cautions the surgeons against
giving too much rest, to avoid cold joints, excessive exercise, and try
more gentle methods than are popularly attributed to the Bone-setter,
as if the latter gloated over causing pain, which is not the case,
though he often thinks that one sharp pang is better than days of
agony, and, when over, his patient always coincides with him. The great
Master-Surgeon also points out that what are called “hysterical joints”
afford a rare opportunity for a victory for a Bone-setter, which may be
cured by sheer audacity of being pulled about.

“From this you may see,” says Sir James, “that the cases that the
Bone-setters may cure are not a few, but,” he continues, “the _lessons
which you may learn from their practice are plain and useful_. Many
more cases of injured joints than one commonly supposed to be thus
curable may be successfully treated with rough movements.”

“Learn, then, to imitate what is good, and avoid what is bad in the
practice of Bone-setters; and if you would still further observe the
rule, _Fas est ab hoste doceri_, which in no calling is wiser than
in ours, learn next what you can from the practice of rubbers and
plasterers; for these know many clever tricks; and if they had but
educated brains to guide their strong and pliant hands, they might be
most skilful curers of bad joints, and of many other hindrances of

Such is in brief the testimony of the great Master-Surgeon of the
age to the methods of practice adopted by the Bone-setters, who have
practised their art as their fathers and grandfathers have done before
them. His testimony at least shows that the Bone-setter works on truly
scientific grounds, and that he is not a mere “lucky trickster,”
a charlatan who works on the credulity of the public for the sake
of gain, pretending to cure others by his own conceit. As I have
before pointed out, Sir James Paget himself had occasion to modify
his originally expressed opinion when the process and mode of cure
practised by the late Mr. Richard Hutton was explained by Dr. Wharton

To this gentleman the profession and the public were indebted for
the first published authoritative account of the Bone-setter’s
art. There are but few Bone-setters who will say that Dr. Hood has
exhausted the subject, for he has not; he has only indicated a few
salient points, in which the practice of Mr. Hutton varied materially
from that taught in surgical schools. He showed that more might be
done in the surgical world by the leverage of the limbs, than by the
employment of complicated and expensive apparatus. He bemoaned the
“cost and loss” which the practitioners of surgery have sustained by
the resort of patients, affected by impaired mobility or usefulness of
limbs, after disease or injury to the Bone-setters, who so frequently
give relief and speedily cure a patient by their manipulations and
treatment. It is but just to Dr. Hood to say that he has given a
number of cases illustrative of his statements, which the faculty have
“condescended” to notice, and some of which, in my desire to give the
widest illustrations of the usefulness of the Bone-setter’s art, I
have embodied in this treatise. He dwells somewhat on the supposition
that all Bone-setters declare that “a bone is out” in every case of
thickened or stiff joint that is brought to them, but he seems to
forget that these are only a fraction of the “cases which Bone-setters
cure,” and on which our reputation so securely rests. The quarry men
of North Wales, as detailed in the _British Medical Journal_, in 1875,
preferred Mr. Thomas Evans, of Pen-y-groes, to their old regular
medical practitioner in cases of external injury to body or limb,
and though the profession were indignant at any medical men, being
associated with a mere Bone-setter in the rules of Friendly Society or
Sick Club, the connection is not unfrequent. The faculty have evidently
much to learn ere they can successfully compete with Bone-setters
in the special cases to which they devote their time, abilities and
attention. The patients are the best judges of results, and by results
the surgeon must be judged. Their case is not helped by detailing how a
Chinese farrier killed a girl the Emperor desired to marry, by forcibly
straightening her hump-back, as recorded in page 900 of the _Lancet_
for 1872. It is far better for them to admit as Dr. G. Reed admitted
in the same journal that he “had his eye wiped” by a Bone-setter, at
Liverpool, who cured a sailor whom he failed to relieve.

Throughout the medical publications from 1871 to 1880, there are
frequent allusions to the bone-setter and several admissions by
surgical practitioners,[5] that they have followed the method of
the bone-setter with success, and discarded therefore the teaching
of the schools; for though the _Lancet_ itself welcomed Dr. Wharton
Hood’s exposition of the art of the Bone-setter, as tending “to
afford the means for the suppression of a widely prevalent and _very
mischievous_ form of quackery which has been based, as every _success_
of the kind must be upon some _neglected_ or _forgotten_ truth. The
late Mr. Hutton, on whose practise, Dr. Wharton Hood’s papers are
founded, was for many years a sort of bugbear to not a few of the most
distinguished surgeons of London, and every few months some fresh case
was heard of in which he had given immediate relief and speedy cure
to a patient who seemed vainly to have exhausted the legitimate skill
of the metropolis.” This is an admission somewhat at variance with
its previous utterances, and not as frank as the organ of a boasted
liberal profession should be, and is far from generous, for its tone is

It however goes on to say, that “in some country places and especially
in mining districts, in which large labouring populations are much
exposed to chances of injury, bone-setters become formidable opponents
to regular practitioners, and, like their London representative,
have their surprising cures to boast. It is true that they often
inflict injury; but this is not the aspect of the case to which our
attention should be first directed. They are not valued because they
do harm, but because they do a certain amount of good; and the way
in which this good is brought about is the matter of chief interest
to the profession.” The _Lancet_ goes on to say “that quackery is
only an expression of the extent to which legitimate practitioners
fail to meet the desires of the sick,” and then somewhat unfairly and
unjustly introduces the quack who pretends to cure phthisis or other
mortal illness, as if Bone-setters professed impossibilities. After
this inconsistent divergence it points out “that in the particular
in question (the art of the Bone-setter) it is incontestible that a
large number of irritable and useless joints have been restored to a
natural condition by Bone-setters after a long period of unavailing
surgical treatment, and that the profession has not known how this
desirable result has been produced, or what has been the true nature
of the lesion treated. The quack always said that a bone was “out” and
that he had replaced it, and the doctor knew quite well that these
statements were not correct. The doctor would not meet the quack; and
the quack kept his methods secret, and would not show them to the
doctor. The quack obtained more credit for a cure after the doctor had
failed, than the doctor for a hundred cures in an ordinary course; and
the Bone-setter, of all quacks was the one who did most to injure the
reputation of the profession.

We once heard a military man of considerable distinction describe how
his son was instantly cured of a sprained knee by Hutton, after a
distinguished hospital surgeon had treated him to no purpose; and the
speaker wound up with the remark ‘you doctors are all duffers.’

       *       *       *       *       *

“At all events, for good or evil, the treatment pursued by Bone-setters
will now be fairly before the profession and scientifically educated
surgeons will soon be in a position to define accurately its merits,
its dangers, and the limitations of its usefulness. Its application by
ignorant men to unsuitable cases has often been followed by injurious
consequences; but no such consequences ought to occur in the hands of
the profession. We have little doubt that Dr. Wharton Hood has really
called attention to a neglected corner of the domain of surgery, to
morbid conditions that have been only very faintly described in books,
and scarcely at all recognised in practice, to precautions that have
been either unfounded or exaggerated, and to a method of cure at once
simple and intelligible. We hope to see as the result of his labour,
that the art of the Bone-setters will become extinct, after having
been for a time exercised only upon those cases for which treatment by
movement would be really unsuitable, and, as a necessary consequence,
hurtful instead of curative.

“There may be other forms of quackery also under which some valuable
knowledge may lie concealed; and no better service can be rendered to
the profession or the public than to bring quack knowledge to the light
of day, and to make it available for the general good.”

The publication of Dr. Wharton Hood’s book had however a different
effect on the public mind than what was intended. There was previously
a sort of general belief that the doctors might be right in dubbing
Bone-setters “quacks” without much discrimination as to who the
bone-setter was. Some of the complaints which appeared in the _Lancet_
prior to this, were like the petulant utterances of a child deprived
of its plaything, rather than the opinions of a scientific inquirer,
for it must have struck the thinking part of the faculty, as it
subsequently did Sir James Paget, and gleamed on the writer in the
_Lancet_, that the fame of the many cures could not have been the
effect of chance, or the “luck” of ignorant charlatans. Mr. Archibald
Maclaren, who noticed Dr. Hood’s book in _Nature_, seems to have
been aware of this. He pertinently says with reference to his work
_On Bone-setting_, “It will be asked, What is Bone-setting, who are
the Bone-setters, and who are their patients? And it will be readily
answered Why, of course, Bone-setting is the art of setting bones that
have been broken, or joints that have been dislocated, and this is
done doubtless by surgeons; and equally doubtless, and of course their
patients are persons whose bones are fractured, or whose joints are

  “There needs no ghost come from
   The grave to tell us that.”

Perhaps not, but the answer is quite wrong for all that; quite the
reverse, indeed, of what is actually the case, for _Bone-setting
is_ NOT _the art of re-setting broken bones or dislocated joints;
Bone-setters are_ NOT _surgeons_, or regular practitioners in any sense
of the title; and then patients, even when they have suffered injury to
joint or bone, have been pronounced by the regular practitioner _cured_
before seeking the help of the Bone-setter.”

The writer very properly calls this “a triple paradox,” and quotes what
Dr. Hood has to say in explanation:—

  “A healthy man sustains a fracture of one or both bones of the
  forearm, and applies at a hospital, where splints are adapted
  in the usual way. He is made an out-patient, and the splints
  are occasionally taken off and replaced.

  “After the lapse of a certain number of weeks the fracture
  becomes firmly united, the splints are laid aside, and the
  man is discharged cured. He is still unable to use either his
  hand or his forearm, but is assured that his difficulty arises
  only from the stiffness incidental to long rest of them, and
  that it will soon disappear. Instead of disappearing, it
  rather increases, and in due time he seeks the aid of the
  Bone-setter. The arm and forearm are then bent nearly at a
  right angle to each other; the forearm is intermediate between
  pronation and supenation; the hand in a line with it; and
  the fingers straight and rigid, the patient being unable to
  move them, and also unable to move either the wrist or elbow.
  Passive motion can be accomplished within narrow limits, thus
  produces sharp pain, distinctly localised in some single spot
  about each joint, in which spot there will be also tenderness
  in pressure.

  “The Bone-setter will tell the man that his wrist and his
  elbow are “out.” The man may object that the injury has been
  in the middle of the forearm, perhaps from a blow or other
  direct violence. The reply be then; perhaps the arm had indeed
  been broken as alleged, but that the wrist and the elbow had
  been put out at the same time, and that these injuries had
  been overlooked by the doctors. The Bone-setters would then,
  by a rapid manipulation hereafter to be described, at once
  overcome the stiffness of the fingers, and enabled the patient
  to move them to and fro. The instant benefit received would
  dispel all scruples about submitting the wrist and elbow
  to manipulation, and these also would be set free in their
  turn. The man would go away easily flexing and extending his
  lately rigid joints, and fully convinced that he had sustained
  grievous harm at the hands of his legitimate doctors.”

“The art of Bone-setting, then, is the art of overcoming these
impediments in joints, these conditions or impaired freedom which not
unfrequently supervene on the curative processes of treatment in use by
surgeons in case of fracture or dislocation, or which may arise from
and be observed only after the subsidence of active rheumatism, gout,
gangrene swellings, or other local affections; and this brings us to
the question—How is it done? how are these stiffened joints set free?
how are these impediments to healthy action overcome? The answer of the
regular practitioner is that which has been already quoted, namely—‘to
rest it’—advice which usually entails a distressing failure; the
answer of the irregular practitioner, _i.e._, the Bone-setter, is
precisely the opposite, namely—that freedom can only be restored to
the stiffened joint by movement, by manipulation, and manipulation,
too, of the most formidable kind, nothing less than suddenly and
forcibly rupturing, tearing asunder the adhesions formed between the
articulating surfaces of the affected joint, an operation which is so
frequently successful that it forms the very basis of the Bone-setter’s

This is very forcibly and clearly expressed, but its verbiage tends
somewhat to place the Bone-setter in a formidable and forbidding light,
as opposed to the regular practitioner, but as a matter of every-day
experience such is not the case. It is true, that the injury of years
cannot be removed in a twinkle of an eye, without the patient suffering
any pain or inconvenience. No bone-setter pretends to do that, but his
mode of procedure is not of that violent and repellant character which
Mr. Maclaren’s words would seem to imply:—

“It is here,” continues Mr. Maclaren, “that the Bone-setter steps in
front of the scientific surgeon, _and we must confess to a feeling
of disappointment that their relative positions are not reversed_,
that the surgeon is not called in to rectify the malpractices of
the quack, instead of the latter being sought out to complete the
shortcomings of the former.” These are not our words, but the words
of an independent reviewer in a scientific periodical. He tells his
readers that the Bone-setter is not a man with only one remedy and one
resource, but that “he has a clearly defined system of treatment for
each separate joint, if not for each specific affection to which each
joint is subject.” What qualified surgeon, what regular practitioner
has more than that? He follows the dogma and doctrine of the schools.
The Bone-setter that of experience, practice and the traditions of
generations of practitioners. The one is recognised by law, and the
other is not.

Mr. Maclaren seems to have seen that there was something which required
explanation in all this. With the facts in Dr. Hood’s book before him,
he says “Bone-setters, we are told, are for the most part uneducated
men, wholely ignorant of anatomy and pathology.” In the anecdotes of
Mr. Hutton, this is always accentuated in the professional accounts of
his proceedings, for he made a little boast of his ignorance, but the
writer continues, “we are not told what we greatly wish to know, and
that is, the manner and method in which the secrets, the mysteries, and
the other traditions of the craft, are communicated to each other.[6]
No doubt there exists a freemasonry in the craft, so that when
individual members meet, revelations are made and notes compared, but
we are not informed of any regular or organised system of instruction,
either for the maintenance and extension of the craft, as a craft,
or for the enlightenment of the separate and detached members of the
fraternity. The most celebrated, we may even say distinguished,[7]
Bone-setter of our day, was the late Mr. Hutton, whose successful
treatment of cases which had baffled the skill of the foremost surgeons
now living, as related in detail by Dr. Hood, and about the accuracy of
which there can be no question or doubt, is little short of marvellous;
and the question is ever recurrent, while we read ‘How and where was
this skill acquired?’ for a Bone-setter of Mr. Hutton’s calibre could
put his finger on the spot, where lurked the seat of an affection that
had crippled a patient for half a dozen years, and had defied the
scientific treatment of the ablest surgeons of our time; nay, he could
point to this spot without ever seeing the limb affected, guided merely
by observing the attitude, gait, or action of the patient. Now whence
comes this skill of these illiterate men? It appears to have been
gained solely by observation of symptoms and results of treatment, the
accumulated knowledge of from day-to-day experience; and, as we often
see that one sense is quickened and functional power increased by the
loss or impairment of some other sense; so, perhaps, the narrowing of
the field of instruction and counting of the sources of information,
may have intensified the powers of observation of the Bone-setters,
allowing in a measure for the absence of the revelations of science.”

Is not this equally applicable to the oculist, the aurist, the dentist,
and to the “specialist” of every description. The Bone-setter keeps
within his special knowledge, and though he may be called “a quack,” he
can point to the results of his skill and experience, and ask if these
are quackery? The patients, whose sufferings have been alleviated,
_must_ answer, “If this is quackery, we wish there was more of it in
the world.”



  “Why, what have you observed, sir, seems so impossible.”—_Ben

Like the Royal Society, when Charles II. asked that learned body the
answer to certain propositions, the medical profession continued for
years to “hum and haw” over the self-evident fact that Bone-setting
was not only an institution, but a successful profession. I have taken
somewhat at random from my voluminous collection of notes on the
subject, a few of the printed opinions of those “who were convinced
against their will,” but could _not_ “be of the same opinion still,”
but wished to modify the self-evident facts or gloss them over to
harmonise with previously expressed declarations.

[Illustration: PLATE V.—FRACTURES.

19. Disunited fracture. 20. Fracture of pelvis. 21. Extra capsular
fracture of humerus. 22. Fracture of scapula. 23. Fracture of jaw. 24.
Fracture of femur.]

In 1880, the Clinical Society, at their meeting, held on April 9, had
the subject of “Bone-setting” under discussion. Mr. Howard Marsh, whose
experience is elsewhere given (page 95) gave instances of a number of
cases he had treated after the Bone-setter’s manner, and which had
been quite successful. He gave his testimony to the great service Sir
James Paget had rendered to the profession by drawing attention to
the subject in his clinical lectures which had since been republished
with others (see pp. 69-74). He further said that _displacements of
cartilages, and slipped tendons might be, and doubtless sometimes
were, put right by Bone-setters; but he believed the cases of
adhesions—especially such as occurred after an injury outside a
joint_, which itself was healthy, afforded by far the most numerous
instances of improvement after forcible movement, and he expressed
his conviction that they were much more frequent in practice than
was generally supposed. He gave other several instances where he had
followed the Bone-setter’s treatment as given by Dr. Wharton Hood.
He, of course, was silent as to the practice of the Bone-setters in
reducing fractures, and their treatment of cases which never came under
the care of the faculty at all, and which were satisfactory to the

Mr. Hulke thought it was an approbrium to surgery that so many
persons sought advice from Bone-setters, and he mentioned that “even
intelligent people are blinded by these men!” Many alleged instances
of injury following the treatment of the Bone-setter, but there was a
little contemptuous tone with respect to country surgeons, which ere
long evoked a reply.

In the next number of the _Lancet_, there appeared a letter from Dr.
D. H. Monckton, of Rugeley, pointing out that it would seem “that the
chief object sought in the debate was to prove to country surgeons that
their metropolitan brethren understand, and can cure such conditions
of the joints if only they are sent up to them.” In other words,
they want to occupy the place and receive the fees of the ousted
Bone-setters, whose secrets they had appropriated, after covering them
with approbrium as quacks and empirics.

At another meeting of the profession there was the same _pro_ and _con_
argumentation. The obvious “willingness to wound,” but yet “afraid to
strike” in the face of the overwhelming testimony in favour of the
_bete noir_ of the profession:—the healer outside the fold “who in the
wilderness doth stray.” At this meeting Dr. Bruce Clarke read a paper
on the practice of the Bone-setter, in which after briefly alluding
to the variety of cases that found their way to the Bone-setter, and
derived benefits from his treatment, he adverted to the pathology of
stiff joints, and showed from observations of several cases which he
had been able to examine after removal of the limb, that adhesions
were usually found outside joints and tendon sheaths, and were due
to contractions of the connective tissue of the limb. Adhesions were
rarely formed inside the tendon sheaths or joints, and when they were,
the disease was far more serious and rarely yielded to treatment. In
cases of old stiff joints, the skin, and probably the subcutaneous
tissues, became weakened and atrophied by disease, and were so rendered
more liable to injury—in proof of which he cited several examples of
tearing and lacerating the skin without the employment of due violence.
The usual history, he tells us, of the class of cases that came under
the hands of the Bone-setter was this:—

The patient met with an injury resulting in a dislocation, or fracture,
or perhaps, only a severe bruise, or a sprain. He readily recovered
up to a certain point; but when all inflammation had subsided, there
remained a stiffness accompanied by pain on movement. In other cases
there were periodical attacks of synotictus. The treatment in all
such cases was active movement, with or without chloroform, which was
usually accompanied by a click or crack, ascribed by the Bone-setter
to the replacement of a bone, but which was due to the freeing of the
connective tissue bands. In slight cases, one violent flexion might
cure the trouble of months: in severe cases, the treatment might be
measured by months rather than minutes. The pathology of such cases
was as well marked as that of iritis, where there was the advantage
of seeing the adhesions not only form but rupture and disappear. He
expressed his obligation to Mr. Wharton Hood’s lecture which had
induced him to study the subject. The difficulty of these cases was
the selection of time for rupture, and for rest. Signs of inflammation
were their guides in that matter. Rest should be regulated to its
proper position in surgery, and should not be kept up when it increased
instead of abating the patients’ troubles.

Dr. Keetley thought Dr. Clarke could hardly have chosen a more
interesting subject, undoubtedly, the Bone-setter frequently earned
great credit by the manipulations which broke down adhesions outside
a joint, and at the same time, removed the cause of inflammation, for
in these cases there was no contraction of membrane. When there was an
osseous fibrous hand the case was of a strumous origin, it was due to
the presence of organisms. In such cases the joints became altered,
and there was great danger from the rough usage of the Bone-setter.
In the treatment of such joints he had put on ice for several days
with great advantage, and had repeatedly put them straight. When
once convalescent, a joint very rarely became strumous. There was
much bewilderment with regard to the value of rest, which was only a
negative factor. It was the natural tendency of a column of germs to
die as the joint became healthy.

Dr. Alderson related the case of a knee which became enlarged fourteen
days after confinement, but without pain. He called in Dr. Hewitt who
ordered rest, and the knee to be rubbed with salad oil. He also used
Scott’s dressing. Subsequently, at Brighton, a sea-weed poultice was
used. The treatment was successful.

Dr. Alden Owles had seen several cases confirmatory of the opinions
advanced in the paper. Once was a shoulder, the manipulation of which
caused agony to the patient, but in which motion was regained. Another
regarded at first as a strumous joint was eventually cured by somewhat
violent manipulation.

Dr. Vinen referred to the case of an officer of the 60th Regiment, who
sustained a compound fracture below the knee whilst playing at football
in India. The bones were set by some naval surgeons who were watching
the game; but in consequence of the leg being deformed, the adhesions
were broken and the limb reset. The ankle then remained fixed, and the
patient’s health suffered. However, Mr. Erichsen was called in, broke
the adhesion, and the patient recovered so thoroughly, that he was
enabled to rejoin his battalion in the Transvaal. Dr. Bruce Clarke in
reply, pointed out the necessity of distinguishing chronic cases, as
such were usually made worse by movement.

In the course of this discussion only one point of the Bone-setter’s
practice was alluded to—that of rigid or strumous joints, as if the
renown of the Bone-setters art rested on these alone. “There are none
so blind as those who will not see.”

[Illustration: PLATE VI.—FRACTURES.

25. Fracture of humerus. 26. Fracture of ulna. 27. Colles’ fracture.
28. Compound fracture of leg (tibia and fibula).]



  “Who shall decide when doctors disagree?”

Dr. Howard Marsh, the learned Editor of Sir James Paget’s Lectures,
who had previously been subjected to the criticism of country
practitioners for his somewhat supercilious allusion to their failure
to adopt the processes of the Bone-setter, thought it becoming at
the jubilee meeting of the British Medical Association at Worcester
in 1882, to resume the worn-out sneer at the Bone-setter’s ignorance
and superstition. He seems, indeed, to have drawn on his imagination
for his facts, or to have resuscitated the history of his own
profession for that of the modern Bone-setter. From his high and
mighty stand-point he told the assembled medical practitioners in the
“faithful city” this faithless story:—

“Bone-setters are a very miscellaneous group, who resemble each
other mainly in the negative point, that they have never studied
either anatomy, pathology, or surgery. Some are blacksmiths on the
Cumberland hills, or shepherds in the sequestered valleys of Wales.
Practitioners of this kind, standing in the same relation to surgery
that herbalists bear to medicine, have existed in these remote
districts from immemorial times. They belong to the same order which
in bye-gone times included fortune-tellers, ring-charmers, and the
workers of all kind of village miracles. At the other end of the scale
are practitioners of a less unsophisticated stamp. Residing in large
towns they equip themselves with the names of the principal bones and
muscles, and with a few stock medical phrases they procure a skeleton
on which they undertake to show patients the precise nature of their
complaints; they employ anæsthetics freely, and make full use of daily
passive movements, rubbing and shampooing; while in spinal cases they
often put on Sayre’s plaster jacket. These individuals however, are in
the same position as the most homely of their order in this important
particular—that diagnosis, properly so called, forms no part of their
system. Indeed, diagnosis and their method are two things incompatible.
At present, the Bone-setter’s programme is both concise and logical.
In every case alike he asserts that “a bone is out,” and that he can
put it in. Now, the second clause of this formula postulates the first.
But let him once enter upon diagnosis—let him once find, not that a
bone is out, but that the case is one of tumour, or paralysis, and he
has cut the ground from under his own feet. No. Beyond the assertion
that “a bone is out” or similar phrase, he never goes. If pressed for
particulars, he cuts the knot by saying, “I can cure you—what more
do you want?” Old Mr. Hutton, of Watford, used to say, “Don’t bother
me with anatomy—I know nothing about it.” A patient, therefore, who
consults a Bone-setter, is simply playing a game of hazard. His fate
depends on what is the matter with him. If he has a stiff ankle after a
sprain he will very likely be cured. If he has a strumous joint he will
be more or less injured, while if he has a bunion, or a node on his
tibia, he will find himself neither better nor worse for his venture.”

       *       *       *       *       *

I have quoted Mr. Howard Marsh thus far without comment in order to
show that he is something like the Old Bailey advocate, who thinks
to serve his clients best by abusing the attorney on the opposite
side. He seems neither to have learned Sir James Paget’s admissions,
or was anxious to pose as a dogmatic teacher at the expense alike of
truth and experience. His whole knowledge and deductions are made from
the two or three cases related by Dr. Wharton Hood, for so learned
a doctor was not likely to look for facts in the domain of general
literature outside the schools. He then proceeded to say—“But how is
it that Bone-setters sometimes succeed where surgeons have failed? My
answer is the following:—There are a considerable number of minor
ailments of and around the joints that interfere with free movement,
or produce pain, such as adhesions, slipped tendons, hysterical
affections, rigidity of the muscles, &c. These conditions, though they
differ widely from each other, and are met with under a great variety
of circumstances, have yet this one point in common, that they may be
cured by free movement.

“Now, how have Bone-setting and surgery respectively dealt with these
cases? What is Bone-setting? Bone-setting is a system embodied in a
single clause. Ignoring alike anatomy, pathology, and diagnosis, it
begins and ends in a summary act of treatment. It consists in the
process of carrying the affected joint through its full natural range
of movement in all directions, especially in the direction in which
there is the greatest resistance. Thus, a Bone-setter, who says, in
every case alike that a bone is out, and that he can put it in, is
like a practitioner who should tell all his patients alike that their
complaint was constipation, and should promise to cure them all with
sulphate of magnesia. Now, although sulphate of magnesia given for
strangulated hernia or typhoid, or Bone-setting employed for sarcoma
or a scrofulous joint, can do nothing but harm, there are many cases
in which both these agents do real good; and these genuine successes,
like the fragment of truth that lies at the bottom of every method
which shows any sustained vitality, are enough, when they are seen
through the glamour that surrounds this system to outweigh in the eyes
of the public the failures that stand on the other side of the account.
How has it been with surgery? Surgery is no stranger to the use of
manipulation. The method has frequently been employed, and is fully
discussed in the writings of many surgical authorities; but it has
always been unpopular; and for this reason.

It has been used mainly in cases in which limbs have been left stiff
or distorted after the subsidence of serious disease of the joints
themselves, and the result has been disappointing. The joint though
yielding freely under manipulation, has usually grown stiff again; and
not rarely there has been a fresh outbreak of the original disease.
These, however, are not the cases which are suitable for this method.
If the secreting structure of the synovial membrane has once been
destroyed, or if the cartilage has been removed and replaced by
adhesions, the joint is practically converted into a cicatrix, and
although that cicatrix may be completely torn across the functions
of the articulations cannot be restored. The effect of these cases
has been that, finding they have done no good, and sometimes even
harm, surgeons have too much discarded manipulative treatment, and
have too exclusively adopted the motto _non vi arte_. Thus it has
happened that Bone-setters, helped by their ignorance, have stumbled on
success, while surgeons, deterred by the unsatisfactory results, met
with in a particular group of cases, have refrained from manipulation
in instances in which it is the only treatment that is likely to be

I have said that a Bone-setter’s formula is, that a bone is out, and
that he can put it in. To do this he carries the limb through all its
natural range of movement, and he stops only when all resistance has
been overcome. Thus, if a knee is flexed, it has to go straight just
as a horse that jibs at a fence—if he happen to have a rough rider on
his back—has to go over it. In the majority of cases, however, the
force that is used in a majority of cases is absolutely slight; for,
in the first place, an anæsthetic is often given, so that the muscles
being relaxed, the effort used takes effect directly on the source of
abnormal resistance, whatever that may be. Secondly, Bone-setters
acquire by practice much facility in handling and moving the various
joints; they know how to seize the limb at a advantage, not only with
the force, but with the skill of a wrestler; and thirdly, in cases
in which an anæsthetic is not given, they take care to divert their
patients’ attention so that the muscles are off their guard.

In the common run of cases in which Bone-setters succeed, very moderate
force is sufficient to break down all resistance that is encountered.
This latter is a very important point. The main objection entertained
by surgeons to manipulation is that it is a resort to violence; it is
_vi non arte_. This view, however, if founded mainly on the experience
of cases in which fibrous ankylosis of the larger joints has been
broken down. But these, I venture to repeat, are not the cases by
which to judge this method. I can recall but few cases in which free
motion has been restored to a joint that could be moved only by the
use of considerable force. The most striking successes are obtained in
instances in which some slight impediment to motion is easily overcome.
Indeed, it may be taken as an axiom—almost, perhaps, self evident,
that the less the force which is required to remove the impediment, the
more successful will be the result. Thus so far from the opinion being
a correct one, that manipulation is necessarily a resort to violence;
the truth is, that in appropriate cases, force which could inflict
injury on the natural structures is very seldom required. I think
when this fact is more clearly recognised, much of the distrust now
entertained respecting manipulative treatment will have been removed.”


29. Dislocation of spine. 30. Appearance of bones in Pott’s fracture.
31. Appearance of foot in do. 33. Fracture of patella (separation of
fragments). 34. Signs of fracture of patella on knee-cap. 35. Rupture
of long tendon of biceps.]

Thus Dr. Howard Marsh argues admittedly on the slightest and most
imperfect knowledge of the Bone-setter’s art and their method of
procedure. He is kind enough to admit that they sometimes reduce
recent dislocations, disperse a bursa, and succeed in nervous so-called
hysterical joints and spines. (See George Moore’s case, 29-32 _ante_.)
They sometimes, he admits, “replace a slipped tendon,” and operate
successfully in cases of internal derangement of the knee joint, and in
relieving joints which, though healthy, are stiffened and painful from
surrounding adhesions. He approves to some extent of manipulations,
and his whole paper is one of disparagement, or “damning with faint



          “Is this then your wonder?
  Nay, then, you shall understand more of my skill.”—_Ben Jonson._

Lest it should be thought that I have only my own authority for calling
in question Dr. Howard Marsh’s dogmatic assertions with respect to the
method of practice by modern Bone-setters I find at the same medical
jubilee, Mr. R. Dacre Fox, Fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons,
of Edinburgh, the surgeon to the Southern Hospital, Manchester;
surgeon to the Manchester police force, and whose other practice and
official appointments entitle his opinion to some weight, gave his
practical experience of the Bone-setter’s art, so entirely different
and so much nearer the truth, that I shall content myself with merely
quoting, whilst thanking him, for his remarks which appeared in the
_Lancet_, for 1882 (vol. ii. pp. 844.) Speaking from three years’
experience with the late Mr. Taylor, a celebrated bone-setter at
Whitworth, Lancashire, whose family have been bone-setters for more
than two hundred years, he told the medical men in plain terms that,
“Much misconception exists as to the practice of Bone-setters; many
of the methods of treatment popularly attributed to them have no
other existence than in the imagination of ignorant patients, whose
stories we, as a profession, are perhaps rather too ready to believe.
It is certain that some families—notably the Taylors, Huttons, and
Masons—have by their manipulative and mechanical skill justly acquired
a great reputation. In what has their practice consisted? First, in
the treatment of fractures and correction of deformities. The general
impression in the profession appears to be that the Bone-setter’s art
consists of nothing more or less than the forcible “breaking up” of
stiff joints, so as to make the same man walk as if by a miracle. The
practice at Whitworth was a large one, furnishing constant employment
for at least two active men, and consisting chiefly of the cases I have
mentioned. Speaking from memory, I do not believe that fifty joints of
all sorts were “cracked up” during the time I was there; but it was
not an uncommon event to have to put up half a dozen fresh fractures
and twice as many recent sprains in a single morning. In the North
of England, the origin of nearly all the men who are fairly good at
Bone-setting can be traced to the Whitworth surgery, and while, so far
as I know, the Taylors, in their various settlements at Whitworth,
Todmorden, Stock-wood, and Oldfield-lane, were the only qualified
surgeons who practised Bone-setting; amongst the hills and dales of
Lancashire, Yorkshire, and the Lake district, there were many who did
so without being qualified, some of whom, I must in fairness say, put
up fractures uncommonly well. But apart from the legitimate credit they
have won by the skill displayed in their handicraft, they owe some of
their success to the carelessness or indifference of the general body
of practitioners, who are apt to overlook little injuries which often
become very painful and troublesome. It sometimes seems to me that
it is beneath the dignity of the ordinary practitioner to employ any
active treatment whatever for a sprain. It is hardly fair then to guage
the work of Bone-setters solely by their method of treating diseased
joints (probably the most unsatisfactory class of cases in the whole
realm of surgery), but we ought also to take into account the patience
and skill they display in the treatment of injuries for which they are
not unfrequently consulted by the patients of qualified practitioners.
I have no desire to hold a brief for every idle fellow who calls
himself a Bone-setter, but I am anxious to give credit where credit is
due, and to explain that the _art_ of Bone-setting is not what it is
often thought to be a mere mixture of charlantanism and good luck.

       *       *       *       *       *

From my own experience, I should classify weak joints as follows:—

  1.—Those that have become stiff from enforced rest.

  2.—Those that have become stiff by chronic disease.

  3.—Joints stiff from injury to the bones entering into their

  4.—Joints stiff and weak from sprains, including displacement
  of tendons and partial luxation.

Apart from the previous history of the case, and the evident existence
of constitutional disease, there are some external appearances which
help to distinguish cases and to afford indications of treatment,
and of these the Bone-setters have learned by experience to avail

1.—In the first-class I have mentioned the stiffness of the structures
about the joint impeding its movement is the result of purely
mechanical causes, is in fact simply due to prolonged disuse. No cause
for functional activity exists, and consequently the elasticity, the
flexibility and power of adaptation to movement in the parts about the
joints not being required they become stiff and rigid. No degenerative
changes however taking place, and they are capable of being recalled
into activity unimpaired. In such a joint, the bony points, and the
outlines of the tendons and ligaments about it, seem unnaturally
prominent, probably from absorption of the adipose and connective
tissue; the rigid ligaments impart a sense of hardness, and if the limb
be flexed to its utmost, it shows considerable resilliency, such joints
may, I believe, be “cracked up” without fear of consequences, and
this constitutes one of the successful operations of Bone-setters. My
own recollection carries me back to some apparently almost miraculous
results. I am convinced _suddenness ought_ to be insisted on in doing
this; the advantage derived from it being, I believe, mainly due to the
fact, that it is less likely to set up any irritation in the joint than
the “dragging” of gradual extension.

2.—In the next class of cases, in which stiffness is due to
degenerative changes, the external appearances are exactly reversed,
the outlines of the joint are more or less gone. In these cases, no
matter the character of the disease, manipulative interference is
positively vicious; and while it is in them that ignorant Bone-setters
do so much mischief, the better informed, by the use of splints and
well applied pressure, are highly successful in their treatment. I
am sorry to say many cases of this kind come to Bone-setters which
have not been properly treated before, owing to their not having been
recognised, especially hip-joint disease.

3.—On the third-class of cases, in which a fracture has taken place
into the joint, causing stiffness, the condition is due to disturbed
relationship of the bones from faulty setting, and is recognised
by comparison with the bony landmarks of the sound limb. In these
cases forcible treatment does good; though, of course, the result is
in proportion to the amount of bone-displacement, but it should be
supplemented by passive movements for some time. In joints stiff after
diagonal fracture through the condyles of the humerus so common in
children, I have seen many most gratifying results; one in a boy about
twelve years old, whose elbow had been stiff three years is especially
impressed on my mind.

4.—In the fourth-class of cases, and those to which I would draw
particular attention, I include lameness, and weakness, the result of
the various forms of injury, which we group together under the general
term a “sprain.” I affirm most unhesitatingly, from an experience
of some hundreds of cases, that nothing has done more to lower the
prestige of regular practitioners, and to play into the hands of
unqualified Bone-setters, than the way in which so many practitioners
tamper with a sprained joint. Sprains, of course, vary greatly in
severity; they may be broadly divided into two kinds, of which one
consists merely of a temporary over distention of the parts round a
joint which rest, and anodyne applications soon cure, while the other
involves pathological results a much more serious nature. A _severe_
sprain is the sum of the injuries that the parts in and about a
joint sustain, when, by their passive efforts, they exercise their
maximum power of restraint to prevent luxation. Under such conditions
I conceive the following changes to take place in the integrity of
a joint. In the case of the synovial membrane, temporary hyperæmia
accompanied by pain, and some slight effusion into the cavity of the

In the case of the tendons, over-stretching and loosening of the
lining membrane of their sheaths, more or less disturbance to the
adjacent cellular tissue forming the bed of the tendon groove,
and hyperæmia with exudation of plastic fluid, subsequently
forming adventitious products. In the case of the non-elastic
fibrous ligaments—firmly attached at either end to the adjacent
periosteum—over-stretching, mostly involving partial rupture, with
swelling, softening, and disintegration of their structure. It is
beyond the purpose of this communication to draw attention to the
plan of treatment adopted by Bone-setters under these circumstances;
it is, however, described in a paper of mine, of which an abstract is
given in the _British Medical Journal_, of September 25th, 1880. The
stiffness of a sprained joint is partial. The surface is generally
cold, or more or less œmatous, and each joint has one particular
spot in which pressure causes acute pain; the Bone-setters have learned
by experience the situation of these spots, and this fact has done more
than anything to strengthen the popular faith in their intuitive skill;
they certainly form an important guide to treatment since they indicate
the seat of greatest injury to the ligaments, and point out where their
power of passive resistance has been most severely tested, and where
adhesions are most likely to have formed, Dr. Hood, in his record of
Mr. Hutton’s practice, has enumerated some of these painful spots, the
chief of them are as follows:—

1.—Over the head of the femur in the centre of the groin,
corresponding to the ilio-femoral band of the capsular ligament (which
is most severely stretched when the thigh is over extended, as when the
trunk is flung violently backwards the commonest cause of a sprained

2.—For the knee joint, at the back of the lower edge of the internal
condyle, in other words, at the posterior border of the internal
lateral ligament where it blends with Winslow’s ligament, and where the
senior membranosus tendon is in intimate relation with it. These parts
suffer most because as Mr. Morris says: ‘During extension they resist
rotation outwards of the tibia upon a vertical axis’ and a sprained
knee is almost always caused by a twist outwards of the foot.

3.—For the shoulder at the point corresponding to the bicipital
groove, because in nine cases out of ten a man sprains his shoulder to
prevent himself from falling, his hand grasps the nearest support, the
body is violently abducted from the arm, the long head of the biceps
is called upon to exert its utmost restraining power, the bicipital
fascia is overstretched, and the tendon very often displaced.

Again for the elbow the painful place is at the front of the tip of
the internal condyle; the fan-shaped internal lateral ligament has
its apex at that point, and it is most stretched in over-supination,
with extreme extension of the forearm. On the front of the external
malleolus, at the apex of the plantar arch, the tip of the fifth
metatarsal bone, the styloid process of the ulna, the inside of
the thumb, and the annular ligament in the front of the wrist, are
respectively the most painful spots when those joints are severally

The manipulative part of the treatment of joints stiff from being
sprained may be briefly said to consist in pressure over the part
most injured, and momentary extension of the limb, followed by
sudden forcible flexion. The method varies with each joint, and I
can with confidence refer you to Dr. Wharton Hood as being faithful
word-pictures, supplemented, too, by very accurate drawings.

The following are some of the lesser injuries, the non-recognition of
which has frequently come under my notice at Whitworth. In the upper
limb: fracture of the tip of the acromion; practical luxation of the
acromio-clavicular and sterno-clavicular joints (often happening to men
who carry weights on their shoulders); partial dislocation of the long
head of the biceps, with over extension of the bicipital fascia (common
in men who throw weights or use a shovel as malsters or navvies).
Dislocation of the head of the radius forward on the condyle, which
is very common in children, and has a marked tendency to cause stiff
elbows; fracture of the tip of the internal condyle; overlooked Colles’
fracture; partial luxation of the head of the ulna (impeding supination
of the hand, and having a tendency to gradually grow worse); severe
sprain at the carpo-metacarpal joint of the thumb (very common in stone
masons and caused by the ‘jar’ of heavy chisels).

In the lower limb: Fracture of the fibula, just above the malleolus and
at its tip (these are fruitful sources of lameness, often overlooked,
and, if of old standing, very troublesome to treat); partial rupture
of the ligamentum patellæ at its insertion into the tubercle of the
tibia, which is much more common than is ordinarily supposed; neglected
over-stretching of the ligament of the plantar arch, and tearing of
the plantar ligament at its insertion into the os-calcis; rupture of
the penniform muscular attachments of the tendo Achillis and muscular
hernia in the calf.

I trust I shall be forgiven if I have dwelt too much on the
_étourderie_ of some of us, but I am sure so-called _trifling_ injuries
deserve more attention at our hands, since living at the high pressure
men do now-a-days, with every part of their bodies tested to its
utmost capacity, the slightest impairment of the mechanism of a limb
must be an incalculable source of personal annoyance, discomfort, or

“When doctors disagree who shall decide?” The readers of this little
manual will probably say as they read Mr. Dacre Fox’s paper, that it is
alike a testimony and a vindication of the “Art of the Bone-setter.”



  “Man’s life, Sir, being so short, and then the way that
  leads unto the knowledge of ourselves, so long and tedious;
  each minute should be precious.”—_Beaumont and Fletcher._

Throughout the many references to the Bone-setter and his art, which
I have quoted in the foregoing pages, the Bone-setter is constantly
misrepresented. He is described as a man of one idea, one formula, and
one mode of operation. His ruling idea is said to be that a “bone is
out” in all cases submitted to him. His formula to wrench the joint
so as to break adhesions, and to replace the bones in their normal
conditions. His mode of operation is said to be brute-force suddenly
applied. Nothing can be further from the truth. It is an offhand
generalization from a few cases out of thousands, and therefore
misleading. If these statements were true there would be but few who
would trust themselves and their painful limbs to the Bone-setter’s
care lest his force should be applied in the wrong direction. A
brother Bone-setter (Mr. J. M. Jackson, of Boston), has pointed out
how irrational and absurd Mr. Hood’s statements on the one hand and
admissions on the other necessarily are. Bonesetters, as a rule, are
as regular and legitimate in their practice as any medical man can be,
though they are not recognised by law. As Mr. Jackson truly says: “All
kinds of fractures and dislocations, and other injuries are constantly
being placed under their care and treatment, with the utmost confidence
on the part of the patients and their friends; a confidence inspired by
indisputable success on the part of a practitioner in a given locality
and district, for a series of years—it may be for a lifetime.” Mr.
Jackson, in his timely little pamphlet, very truly points out that
“living reasons” for this confidence can be found in town and country
where the practice has been carried on, or who have experienced the
greatest benefits under the skilful treatment of the Bone-setter, even
after the wisdom of the faculty had declared there was nothing wrong.
That such men are ignorant of anatomy, and but seldom have dislocations
under their care, and, that when they have, and succeed in replacing
the joint, that it is done unconsciously, and what they do is the
result of blind chance and ‘sudden movement’ without any knowledge of
how, or why such results are brought about; the idea is ridiculous
in the extreme; upon this hypothesis the practitioner would nearly
approach the “supernatural!” I am glad to record this opinion, because
it not only reflects the opinion of the public, but shows that the
faculty have tried to prove too much. The position of the Bone-setter
may be clearly defined, thus:—“_We lay no claim to skill beyond what
is the result of sound original teaching, thoughtful consideration, and
common sense_,” and we possess well-earned reputations won in proof
that we have succeeded in our special practice.


36. Displacement of bones of foot in Pott’s fracture. 37. Badly
set Pott’s fracture (curable). 38. Rupture of rectus femoris. 39.
Dislocation of metatarsus. 40. Dislocation of metatarsal bones.]

Even at the risk of being classed by the present, or some future Dr.
Howard Marsh, as being amongst those sophisticated Bone-setters,
“who keep a skeleton in the cupboard,” or a few bones to amuse the
credulous, I cannot close this little manual without saying something
about the bones of the human skeleton. Throughout the extracts I have
quoted from surgical and other writers, reference is made to the
various parts of the body, where bones are fractured, or “put out.”
These bones are mentioned by their scientific names, and may be as
_caviare to the million_. I have therefore inserted a rough engraving
of a skeleton, plate I., pp. 1 which cannot offend the susceptibilities
of surgeons, for it is one which is placed in the hands of the students
of the ambulance classes of the Order of St. John of Jerusalem, in
England. It will be observed that the skeleton is divided into three
parts. 1. The Head; 2. The Trunk; and 3. The Limbs, i.—The _Head_ has
the skull-cap and face. ii.—The _Trunk_, the back-bone, breast-bone,
with the ribs. iii.—The Limbs; the shoulders and arms; the haunches
and legs. The shoulders and arms are the origin of prehension, whilst
the haunches and legs form the origin of support and progression. The
skull is composed of eight and the face of fourteen bones. The facial
bones, except the lower jaw, are firmly pressed together. The latter is
the one subject to dislocation.

The Trunk is divided into 1.—The thorax, or chest. 2.—The abdomen, or
belly. 3.—The pelvis.

The bones of the Thorax, are i.—The spine (behind). ii.—The sternum,
or breast-bone (in front); and iii.—The ribs and the cartilages (at
sides). The _Spine_ is divided into five parts. There are seven bones
in the _Cervical_ or neck portion. Twelve bones in the _Dorsal_ or back
portion. Five bones in the _Lumbar_ or lower portion. There are five
bones fixed into one in the _Sacrum_ or rump bone. The incipient tail,
this _Os Coccyx_ terminates the column.

The STERNUM, or breast-bone, forms the front of the chest; it has
attached to either side a collar-bone and the cartilages of seven upper

The RIBS are twelve pairs of bony arches forming the walls of the
chest. They are all attached behind to the spine. The upper seven are
termed _true_ ribs, being fixed to the breast-bone by their cartilages:
the lower five are termed _floating_ or _false_ ribs, having no
attachment in front.

The ABDOMEN is supported behind by the lumbar spine, and below by the
bones of the pelvis.

The PELVIS is the basin-shaped cavity which forms the lowest portion of
the trunk; and contains the bladder, the internal organs of generation,
part of the intestines, and several great blood-vessels and nerves. The
pelvis is composed of four bones—_2 Innominate or haunch-bones._ _1
Sacrum or rump-bone._ _1 Coccyx._

The INNOMINATE or haunch-bones, with the lower portion of spine (sacrum
and coccyx), form the lowest portion of the trunk. The innominate bones
on their outer surfaces have cup-like depressions for the reception of
the heads of the thigh-bones.

The SHOULDER is formed by the _clavicle_ or _collar-bone_ and _scapula_
or _blade-bone_.

The CLAVICLE, or collar-bone, has a double curve; it marks the line
dividing the neck and chest.

The SCAPULA, or blade-bone, lies on the back of the chest, is of a
triangular shape, and forms the socket for the humerus or arm-bone.

The UPPER LIMB comprises—1 _Humerus_, arm-bone. 2 _Radius and
Ulna_, fore-arm. 8 _Carpus_, wrist. _Metacarpus_, palm. _Phalanges_,

The HUMERUS, or bone of upper arm, extends from the shoulder to the
elbow; above, it is joined to the scapula, and below to the bones of

The ULNA is the larger bone of the fore-arm, lies on the inside, and
extends from elbow to wrist.

The RADIUS lies on the outside of the fore-arm.

The CARPUS is a double row of small bones which help to form the

The METACARPUS consists of five bones, and forms the body of the hand.

The PHALANGES are the fourteen finger-bones.

The LOWER LIMB is composed as follows:—1 _Femur_, thigh-bone. 1
_Patella_, knee-cap. 2 _Tibia and Fibula_, leg-bones. 7 _Tarsus_,
ankle-bones. 5 _Metatarsus_, instep-bones. 14 _Phalanges_, toe-bones.

The HIP joint is a ball-socket joint, and is somewhat similar to the
joint at the shoulder.

The FEMUR, or thigh-bone, extends from hip to knee joint, both of which
joins it helps to form.

The PATELLA (_knee-cap_) is the small oval bone which forms the
prominent point of knee.

The KNEE JOINT is formed by the lower end of femur, the patella, and
the upper end of the tibia.

The TIBIA is the main bone of the leg, and extends from knee to ankle,
on the inside of the limb.

The FIBULA is the small bone on the outside of the limb: the lower ends
of the tibia and fibula form prominent projections at the sides of
the ankle.

The TARSUS, ankle-bones, are seven irregular shaped bones, firmly
united together; above they are attached to the tibia and fibula, and
in front to the metatarsus.

The METATARSUS forms the instep, and together with the tarsus the arch
of the foot.

The PHALANGES, bones of the toes, are fourteen in number, two for the
great toe, and three for each of the others.

These bones are liable to be broken, dislocated, or fractured by
violence. Fractures or broken bones, they are usually divided into four
classes, which are termed—

  1.—Simple fracture, a simple break.

  2.—Compound fracture, a flesh wound commencing with the
  broken ends of the bone.

  3.—Complicated fracture, injuries to soft parts, blood
  vessels, nerves, or internal organs.

  4.—Comminuted fracture, smashing of bones into pieces.

They vary very much in extent and form. Some are very simple indeed,
and there is but little perceptible looseness of the ends of the
fractured part or sign of fracture. A case of this kind might easily
be mistaken for a mere contusion, which has often been done. Bones are
often broken obliquely, and with sharp points, and require skilful
treatment both in reduction and the application of splints. Compound
fractures, of course, require care and skill, but many fractures are
so easy to understand and rectify, that all is required is a little
common sense treatment.

The SYMPTOMS of fracture are:—1. Alterations in shape and general
appearance (plate V., fig. 88., pp. xix).—2. Unusual mobility at seat
of fracture.—3. Crepitus or crackling in placing hand over the broken
part and creating motion with the other.—4. Shortening of limb.—5.
Some inequality felt on moving the fingers along the surface of the
injured bone.

These have to be distinguished from dislocations, and in doing so, the
following facts must be remembered:—

         _Fractures._                _Dislocations._

  Crepitus.                     No crepitus.
  Unnaturally movable.          More or less fixed.
  Easily replaced.              Replaced with difficulty.
  Limb often shortened.         Limb may be shortened
  Seat of injury in the shaft     or lengthened.
    or body of the bone.        Seat of injury at a joint.

DISLOCATIONS are partial or complete. Partial dislocations are most
common and most difficult to understand, as the ordinary signs are
not so clear as in complete dislocations, and may be overlooked or
misunderstood, but as Mr. Jackson has before pointed out to the
experienced Bone-setter, symptoms, which cannot be described appear;
and motions, or want of motions equally unexplainable, are felt, so
that he has very little difficulty in determining the nature of the

Partial dislocations, displacements of tendons, and other injuries of a
similar character, may sometimes be rectified a considerable time after
the injury has been sustained, but should be attended to within a short
time after the accident—at least, within a few days. Much, however,
depends upon the nature of the injury, that no definite time can be
given which the patient may take before seeking proper advice.

Many of the cases so graphically described in “Chambers’ Journal” and
Dr. Hood’s book were evidently not complete dislocations, but partial
dislocations of joints or displaced ligaments, etc., which admitted of
being rectified by dexterous manipulation.

In plate II., figs. 1 and 2, I have given the appearances of a
dislocated thumb and a dislocated finger (2) a very common form of
accident; fig. 3 shows the radius of the arm fixed forward; fig. 4
shows the dislocation of the radius at the elbow-joint; and fig. 5 the
dislocation of the humerus or upper arm-bone at the shoulder joint;
figs. 6 and 7 the appearances of a dislocated shoulder-joint; fig. 8
shows the radius dislocated forward a dislocated elbow; fig. 9 is a
painful and yet not uncommon accident, and one that frequently comes
under the Bone-setter’s care, whilst fig. 8 shows the dislocation of
the radius forward; fig. 10, plate III, page 35, shows its appearance

The dislocation of the jaw is a laughable accident to all but the
sufferer (fig. 11), unfortunately it is liable to recur at any time
when the patient is laughing or gaping.

The hip is likely to be dislocated by the jerking of the body. Figs.
12 and 13 show two modes in which this accident may present itself
when the “hip is out.” It is as well to lay the patient on the bed and
pack the knee with cushions or pillows so as to relieve the pain. The
manner of packing will depend upon the form of dislocation or injury,
but the position in which the patient lies the easiest is best, and in
that position it should be supported. Bran poultices should be applied;
scald the bran in hot water, or steam it, then put it into a bag and
lay it upon the hip as warm as it can be borne, and repeat it until
advice can be procured.

Plate IV, page 68, gives representations of five varieties of
dislocation. The dislocated shoulder joint is shown at fig. 14. If
the elbow hangs off from the side, which will be the case if the
dislocation is downwards, it is well to place a small cushion between
the elbows and the sides and place the arm in a sling. The dislocations
of the first, inwards or outwards (figures 15 and 16), are very painful
and are frequently accompanied with sprains. Figs. 17 and 18 show
the dislocation of the knee and elbow joint and fig. 29, a curious
dislocation of the vertebræ of the neck and arm.

In treating of fractures, two points have to be considered; 1.—To
reduce the fractured ends or portions to their natural positions;
secondly, to retain them there immovable till nature has effected
a permanent cure, or otherwise the result will be similar to fig.
19, plate V. It should be borne in mind that there is no urgency in
treating a broken limb, provided no attempt is made to remove the
person, but if the patient must be moved in the absence of a skilled
“Bone-setter,” it is an absolute necessity to secure the limb by
putting it in splints, which can be easily extemporised in the manner
taught in the ambulance classes of the Order of St. John of Jerusalem.

A stretcher is the only safe means of conveyance for cases of fracture.
Unskilful handling may cause either serious mischief or even loss
of life; the dangers are pressing the sharp ends through the flesh,
blood-vessels, nerves, or into some internal organ, such as the lungs.


FRACTURE OF THE SKULL is caused by blows or falls. The external signs
are not always present. In fracture of the base there may be hæmorrhage
from ear, mouth, or nose; red patches of blood under conjuctivæ of
eyes; and oozing of watery fluid from the ears. Accompanying these
there may be symptoms of concussion, or symptoms of compression.

_Treatment._ Place the patient in a dark and quiet room on his back,
with head slightly raised. Apply cold to head as soon as reaction sets
in and patient gets hot and feverish, and send for a surgeon.

FRACTURE OF LOWER JAW (Fig. 23, plate V.), is caused by direct blows;
falls on chin. The symptoms are irregularity in the line of the teeth
and the outline of the lower margin of bone; inability to move jaw. The
treatment is simple. First fix lower jaw to upper jaw by a bandage,
until the Bone-setter or surgeon connects the fractured parts.

FRACTURE OF COLLAR-BONE is caused by blows on shoulder; falls on elbow
or hand. It is a frequent accident, and when it occurs the shoulder
sometimes drops; finger along the arm is helpless, and there is an
irregularity on drawing surface of bone; a pad should be placed in
arm-pit, bind the arm to side just above elbow, and sling forearm, as
when a “shoulder is out.”

FRACTURES OF RIBS are variously caused by blows, falls, weight passing
over chest or back; there is pain and difficulty in breathing, and the
usual signs of fracture. All that can be done at first is to apply a
broad roller bandage firmly round chest, so as to prevent all movement;
or strap the injured side with adhesive plaster.

FRACTURE OF THE HUMERUS (Fig. 21). It is caused by direct falls on
elbow (fig. 26). The symptoms are mobility at seat of fracture,
crepitus, or crackling, shortening, usually present when fracture is
oblique, as in fig. 25. Apply first a roller bandage from hand to
elbow, abduct arm and apply three or four splints from shoulder to
elbow. Support arm in a sling. If there is looseness about the part
apply a splint; if the flesh is broken stop the bleeding as directed
elsewhere; if, however (as is often the case in a fracture of the
forearm), there is no particular looseness of the bones, the case may
be treated as dislocations and injuries to muscles, ligaments, &c. (see
page 36.)

FRACTURE OF THE FOREARM is variously caused by direct violent blows,
falls, &c. The symptoms are crepitus, mobility, alteration in shape of
arm (fig. 27), and in treating it, semiflex forearm with thumb pointing
outwards. Apply two splints, one in front from bend of elbow to the
tips of the fingers, and one behind from elbow to knuckles. The splints
should be well padded. Place arm in sling.

FRACTURES ABOUT WRIST AND HAND are caused by blows or other injuries.
There is pain, swelling, irregularity in the outline of the bones and
crepitus. The limb must be bandaged to a flat board or splint, and
supported by sling.

FRACTURES OF FEMUR OR THIGH-BONE (fig. 24) are caused by blows or
falls, and pain and loss of power is instantly felt with crepitus,
shortening, or the broken ends may be felt and the foot turned out.

FRACTURES (both of the leg or thigh).—First straighten the limb if
bent, then tie a handkerchief round the fractured part, after which
place a splint made of a broad lath, or something like it, from one
joint to the other—say from the knee to the hip, if it is a broken
thigh—and then tie handkerchiefs above and below the fracture, near
the ends of the splint, tie the limbs together at the ankles, knees,
and elsewhere, so that one supports the other. The object is to prevent
motion of the fracture while the injured person is being moved, either
to home or hospital. In doing this care should be taken to avoid
jolting or shaking, as far as possible.

FRACTURE OF PATELLA OR KNEE-CAP (fig. 33) may be caused by blows, or
excessive muscular action, and the person is made to stand upon leg
first. Fragments can also be felt. Raise limb to a position at right
angles to body, and apply a figure-of-eight bandage around the knee,
including the fragments.

FRACTURES OF BONES OF THE LEG (fig. 28), are frequent from blows,
falls, crushing weight, such as wheels passing over the limb. There is
pain and loss of power; alteration in shape; crepitus, and the broken
ends may be felt. Apply two splints, one inside and one outside the
limb, as directed above, and elevate limb.

FRACTURES ABOUT FOOT AND ANKLE. These are various results of blows
or other injuries—(see figs. 30, 31, 36, and 37)—pain, swelling;
alteration in outline of bones; crepitus. _Treatment._—Elevate foot;
apply cold water.

It must be remembered that the treatment for fractures here given is
only temporary, to enable the patient to be moved without further
injury, which might result in the loss of the limb or even life, till
advice can be had.

When the fractured bone protrudes through the flesh, and there is much
bleeding, first straighten the limb and close the wound, and tie a
handkerchief tightly round over the wound, until a pad can be made,
then as quickly as possible make a pad by folding old rags or cloth,
or anything of the kind to be got closely together, of some thickness,
and broad enough to cover the wound well, then remove the handkerchief
already tied on, and place the pad over the wound and tie it lightly,
so that the pad presses hard upon the wound and stops the bleeding; the
bandage or handkerchief cannot well be too tight. Many a life might
be saved, which is now lost if this or a similar method were adopted
promptly. The materials are almost always at hand, and the application
of them easy and simple. Immediately after the bleeding is stopped
remove the sufferer, and call in professional advice without delay.

The stoppage of bleeding from arteries is taught practically in the
ambulance classes, and though it forms no part of the Bone-setter’s
art, yet many a life may be, and has been saved by this little
knowledge, so I subjoin the directions given in the hand-book of the
order of St. John, by the lamented Surgeon-Major Sheppard, whose
humanity cost him his life after the battle of Isandula.

  “_The following situation of the main arteries in the
  different regions of the body, and their treatment when

IN THE REGION OF THE HEAD there is the _Temporal Artery_ in front of
ear, one _P. Auricular_ at the back of ear at the _Occipital_, back of
head. Compress over the wound, and bandage.

IN THE NECK the _Carotid Arteries_ ascend in a line from inner ends of
collar-bones to angles of jaw. Digital compression in line of vessels
above and below the wound, or directly into wound on the mouths of the
bleeding vessels.

IN THE ARMPIT, the _Auxiliary Artery_ lies across hollow space of
armpit. Compress subclavian artery behind middle of collar-bone, or
digital pressure into the wound.

IN THE UPPER ARM, the _Brachial Artery_ lies on inner side of arm, in
a line with seam on coat sleeve—from inner fold of armpit to middle of
bend of elbow. Compress artery by a tourniquet above wound.

IN THE FORE-ARM the _Radial and Ulnar Arteries_ begin below the
middle of bend of elbow, and descend one on each side of the front of
the arm to the wrist. Compress Brachial artery in the upper arm by
a tourniquet, _or_ place a pad in hollow of elbow and bend fore-arm
against arm.

IN THE PALM OF THE HAND, the _Radial and Ulnar Arteries_ give a number
of branches, which spread out and supply the palm. Apply two small firm
pads to arteries at wrist, or forcibly close and fix hand over a piece
of stick or hard substance, and bandage.

IN THE THIGH, the _Femoral Artery_, from middle of fold of groin runs
down the inside of thigh in its upper two-thirds. Pressure at middle of
fold of groin, with fingers or by tourniquet above wound.

IN THE HAM, the _Popliteal Artery_ lies along the middle of ham.
Compress popliteal artery above wound, or compress femoral artery in
front of thigh by tourniquet.

In the BACK OF THE LEG are the _Post_, _Tibial_ and _Peroneal
Arteries_ descend the back and outside of leg from below ham, passing
behind ankle-bones. Compress at ham or in front of thigh or double leg
on thigh with a pad in the ham.

In FRONT OF THE LEG AND INSTEP the _Anter. Tibial Artery_ descends
along middle of front of leg and instep. Compress artery above wound.

In the SOLE OF THE FOOT the _Post. Tibial and Peroneal Arteries_
descend behind ankle-bones; the former supplies branches, which spread
out on sole of foot. Compress by a pad behind inner ankle-bone; if this
fails, place pads behind outer ankle-bone and on middle of front of the

In dislocations generally, and displacement of cartilage, tendons &c.,
and also sprains and bruises, flannels soaked in warm water may be
applied frequently, or warm bran poultices. This kind of treatment will
almost always be suitable in the first instance. After some time has
elapsed, when a little inflammation sets in, which mostly occurs some
hours after the injury has been sustained, apply cloths soaked in cold
water or cooling lotion, and repeat them as often as they get dry; if
they are pleasant when applied, that will be an indication that they
are suitable.

Displacement of cartilage, tendons, and similar injuries as Mr.
Jackson points out are of frequent occurrence, and require very close
attention and considerable experience to understand them. Theory is
quite insufficient of itself to enable an operator to ascertain the
nature of, and rectify the displacement. Such cases may be remedied
by a simple manipulation, but it must be a carefully studied one, and
acquired by constant practice.

Another form of accident is that of ruptured muscles which frequently
come under the Bone-setter’s care; an illustration of a ruptured biceps
is given in fig. 35 and fig. 38, shows the _rectus femioris_ rupture.

These useful hints can hardly be called superfluous in a manual on the
art of the Bone-setter, which is admittedly “a neglected corner of the
domain of surgery.”



                   ——“If our virtues
  Did not go forth of us, ’twere all alike as if we had them

In the foregoing pages I have quoted the testimony of many persons of
eminence who have been relieved of their ailments and cured by the art
of the Bone-setter, when regular surgeons have failed to accomplish
that desirable result. One, at least, of the cases thus published was
contributed by one of my own patients without my knowledge. I have
thought it my duty in vindicating my special art to give prominence
to the opinion of others. I have shown how the sneers of the faculty
have been turned to doubts, and under many who went forth to scoff at
the despised “Bone-setter” remained to pray. Our so-called secrets
have been appropriated and published, but our skill and reputation
remain. In justice to myself I have added the testimony of a few of
the many hundred patients who have sought and found relief at my
hands. These testimonies are very gratifying to me as they include the
Lord-Lieutenant of Warwickshire, and many clergymen and gentlemen of
reputation and position, as well as a few of the general patients who
from day to day and from week to week seek relief at my hands.


  _April 22nd, 1881_.

  Lord Leigh has much pleasure in stating that Mr. Matthews
  Bennett is a very skilful operator, and has attended him and
  several of his neighbours and servants on various occasions
  with very great success.


  _July 10th, 1882_.

  Lady John Scott begs to say that she has known several cases
  which were in the hands of Mr. Matthews Bennett, and she has
  always heard his treatment spoken of with the greatest praise,
  and in many instances which has come under her observation he
  was invariably successful. She has more than once sent for
  him in preference to any one else, for people in whom she was


  _February 14th, 1883_.

  Miss Holy has taken every opportunity of mentioning Mr.
  Matthews Bennett’s skill in his profession.

  Of his successful treatment of her sprains, she can speak
  with confidence—not only from her own experience, but from
  personal knowledge of other cases.


  _March 17th, 1882_.

  I have much pleasure in stating that Mr. G. Matthews Bennett
  attended me for a broken foot, and that his treatment was so
  successful, that for the last eight years I have been able to
  walk with much ease and comfort.

  R. DIXON, D.D.,

  _Hon. Canon of Worcester, and Vicar of
  St. Matthews, Rugby_.


  _January 9th, 1882_.

  The Rev. C. F. Nightingale has known Mr. Matthews Bennett for
  several years, and can testify with pleasure to the great
  skill with which Mr. Bennett has treated him, as also friends
  of his.


  _December 11th, 1883_.

  I have great pleasure in bearing testimony to the proper
  attention and remarkable skill shown by Mr. G. Matthews
  Bennett, of Leamington, in every case which has come under my

  In two cases especially he has been enabled to restore the use
  of limbs, which had become useless partly from accident and
  partly from the insufficient or defective treatment which they
  had before received.

  H. G. de BUNSEN, M.A.,

  _Rector of Donington, Rural Dean
  of Shifnal_.

  The Rev. H. G. de Bunsen also writing under date December 1st,
  1882, gives particulars of one of the cases he mentions:—

  “My dear Sir,—It was only yesterday that I could catch the
  wife of Richard Wood, of Albrighton, to give me particulars
  of his accident, of his lameness, and your care. He is about
  50 years old. It was in April, 1880, that he “sprained” (or
  I believe rather dislocated somehow) his foot by its turning
  on one side when he trod on and slipped from a brick. He had
  his club doctor, who treated it and called it a sprain, sent
  lotion, &c. But for 17 weeks he could not tread on it, and was
  in pain all the time. Then me hearing of it sent him to you
  in August. He was driven to the station at Albrighton, and
  from Snow Hill to Bullivant’s Hotel, where you saw him, moved
  his foot up and down, then gave a strong jerk up, it snacked,
  and you bandaged it, and he walked up and down the room for
  the first time after the accident! He came again to you a
  fortnight after driving to the Albrighton Station, and from
  Snow Hill to your Hotel. But he walked back to the station by
  your permission; his wife accompanied him both times. He came
  once more to show you his foot a fortnight after that, but
  his wife did not think it necessary to accompany him, and he
  walked both ways without feeling any the worse.

  It was not till April, 1881, that he went regularly to work
  again, and he has continued at it without intermission.”


  _April 28th, 1881_.

  Dear Sir,—I have pleasure in stating that you successfully
  replaced a dislocation of my knee-joint some years since, and
  that I have every confidence in your skill as a Bone-setter.
  I shall be glad to learn that your practice is extending and
  with every good wish.

  I am, yours faithfully,



  _December 6th, 1883_.

  Dear Sir,—I have much pleasure in bearing testimony to the
  skilful manner you treated me for a contracted shoulder
  some years since, having now free use of the shoulder, and
  suffering no ill effects from the injury.

  Yours truly,



  _April 27th, 1881_.

  Dear Sir,—I have great pleasure in saying that I am indebted
  to your skill in curing my knee after twelve months’ treatment
  of surgeons, except a twinge now and then I believe the joint
  is perfectly sound.




  _December 31st, 1880_.

  Sir,—It is with a spirit of deep thankfulness that I write to
  tell you that I have now been able to resume my duties to-day.

  On February 19, while in performance of duty I was knocked
  down and severely injured by an infuriated cow. For these
  injuries I was treated first at the Coventry Hospital, and
  afterwards at the General Hospital, Birmingham, also by an
  eminent physician or surgeon, but from these institutions nor
  from the gentleman mentioned did I seem to derive any benefit,
  and it was only when examined by you (Nov. 8th) that I was
  aware that any bone was injured. From that time my improvement
  has been rapid, and to-day I am able to work again.

  I need scarcely say I consider myself under a deep debt of
  gratitude to you, and shall at all times be anxious to serve
  you by any means in my power.

  I am, yours obediently,


  _Foreman Porter, Coventry Station_.


  _November 29th, 1883_.

  Dear Sir,—I have very much pleasure in testifying to the
  marked ability with which you restored my arm in 1880 when
  suffering from a very severe sprain of the ligaments in
  consequence of being thrown from my trap. Medical men, whom I
  called in at the time, failed to discern the real diagnosis of
  the case.

  I am, dear Sir, Yours very truly,



  _December, 1883_.

  Dear Sir,—I hear you are publishing a book, and thought,
  perhaps, you would like my case. On April 4, 1882, I came to
  your house at Milverton suffering from a dislocation of the
  jaw which you reduced at once. I might add that a medical man
  had been attending me for a week previously, but could not
  reduce the dislocation.

  Yours very gratefully,



  _February 23rd, 1882_.

  Dear Sir,—About nine years ago I consulted you about my
  knee. I had been under treatment for synovites in my right
  knee by two eminent surgeons for twelve weeks, and afterwards
  an in-patient of Leicester Infirmary. I left the latter
  institution on crutches and with a stiff joint. After six
  weeks of your treatment I had recovered full use of my leg and
  resumed my ordinary employment. Since then I severely injured
  my other knee, and your treatment of that was eminently

  Yours faithfully,


  _November 28th, 1882_.

  Dear Sir,—It is a pleasure as well as a duty to bear
  testimony to the great benefit I have derived from your skill
  in restoring my shoulder. It had been out of joint nine
  months, and was very badly contracted, now I can use it as
  well as the other.

  I am, dear Sir, Yours very truly,



  _November 9th, 1882_.

  Dear Sir,—I feel great pleasure in sending you my testimonial
  to your skill. Having been under Dr. Deyons, of Fenny
  Stratford, with fracture and dislocation of elbow for three
  months, and who left me at that time a complete cripple, I was
  not able to feed myself or do anything at my trade. I then had
  advice from two prominent medical doctors of this town, but
  neither would undertake the operation, and the advice received
  from both was go to Guy’s Hospital. I then presented myself to
  you, and you have succeeded far better than I anticipated, for
  I am now able to work at my trade and earn my living, and my
  arm is getting stronger every day.

  I am, gratefully yours,



  _December 1st, 1883_.

  Dear Sir,—About twelve months ago I was suffering from pains
  in my left shoulder which I thought was rheumatism. After
  waiting about four months I consulted my medical man, who said
  the collar-bone was broken. He set it and attended me about a
  month. Being no better I was advised to go to you. You told me
  it had not been broken, but that the ligaments of the shoulder
  were contracted, and I could not got my hand higher than my
  head. After your treatment and advice I am happy to say it is
  now well and strong, and had it not been for your skill, I
  feel sure I should have lost the use of it.




  Dear Sir,—I have great pleasure in stating I am quite sound
  again. Also allow me to state I have every confidence in
  your skill as a practical Bone-setter. You relieved me after
  suffering for two months with dislocation of my knee. I could
  not get my heel to the ground till one Sunday morning (which
  I shall never forget) when I sent for you and you put my knee
  in. I was able to walk at once free from pain. I had been
  under our local surgeon some time and received no benefit.

  I am, yours respectfully,

  HEAD COACHMAN to the Lady Charles Bertie Percy.


  _January 27th, 1883_.

  Dear Sir,—It is with much pleasure that I write to thank
  you for your kindness and skilful attention to my arm. I may
  mention on the 10th of October, 1882, I was thrown from my
  bicycle near Dunchurch, and severely fractured my left elbow.
  I saw a surgeon at Stratford-on-Avon on the 12th and 16th of
  October after the accident, who said there was no fracture
  or dislocation. Not feeling satisfied, my employer gave me
  a ticket to go into the Kidderminster Hospital. The doctor
  there told me my elbow was ruined for life—that I should
  have a stiff joint; the thought of it gave me an awful turn,
  knowing that the means of earning my living would be very
  much impaired. I therefore made up my mind to go to you, and
  am now very thankful I did go, for after two months of your
  skilful treatment I can use my arm again quite freely. I find
  it no detriment to my work whatever, and am able to follow my
  occupation as well as before the accident.

  With very many thanks, I remain,
  Yours very gratefully,



  _August 9th, 1881_.

  John Knight wishes to say that he has every confidence in
  Mr. Matthews Bennett’s skill having been under his treatment
  several times with broken bones and dislocations, the last of
  which was a fracture of both thighs and a collar bone caused
  by a fall of earth in a coal pit belonging to Mr. Newdegate,
  M.P., January 2, 1875, and with God’s blessing and Mr.
  Bennett’s kind skill and attention he is now perfectly well.

  (Signed)      JOHN KNIGHT.

  To G. Matthews Bennett, Esq.,
  Specialist, &c., Milverton, Leamington.


[1] See _Lancet_, May 27th, 1871.

[2] George Moore, merchant and philanthropist. By Samuel Smiles,
L.L.D., author of “Lives of the Engineers,” etc. London: Routledge &
Sons, 1878.

[3] Chambers’ Journal, fourth series, No. 776, pp. 711, 712.

[4] Vol. VI. pp. 82 (1872).

[5] Vol. ix. i., p.p. 750; vol. ii. p.p., 80., 1875; p.p.,

[6] Dr. Dacre Fox touches on this question in his paper, p. 103-9.

[7] Undoubtedly, as far as the metropolis is concerned, but some of the
Lancashire Bone-setters had a far more extensive practice.—G. M. B.

Printed by G. J. PARRIS, 57, Greek Street, Soho, London.

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