VENEREAL OR SEXUAL DISEASES
OF all the diseases to which flesh is heir, none bring so much misery, moral and physical, as those called sexual or venereal. To the physician, they are the source of the greatest anxiety and perplexity. They bring him into possession of the most delicate secrets, secrets which involve the peace of families and neighborhoods, secrets which his honor as a man, and his truth as a physician, compel him to lock fast in his own breast, and hold sacredly apart even from his nearest companions, secrets which, if revealed would fill domestic circles with unutterable bitterness and heart burnings, and whole neighborhoods with scandal and immorality. These secrets are often a burden to him. They are in his breast like undigested food in the stomach, disturbing the whole nature.
The patient, if a man of sensibility, suffers even more, of course, than his physician. In many cases, he is a man of virtuous intentions, and perhaps of religious habits, who has fallen in a moment of temptation; and he fears that the effect of his sin will spread itself through his whole system, and extend to the end of life; or, still worse, that having poisoned the fountain of his life, it will go down as a heritage of misery to his offspring; or, what he would deprecate as almost equally calamitous, that the partner of his bosom may become the innocent partaker of his disease.
In this state of apprehension, he turns to his physician, not merely to keep his secret, but to cure his disease. How great a pity that, in such circumstances, he does not always fly immediately to an honorable physician, instead of seeking the advice, a,. many do, of those miserable quacks, who lure Mm to their dens only to get his money, having no intention or ability to cure his complaint.
These diseases are divided into two great branches, characterized, in part, by different symptoms, and generally held to be entirely different complaints. The first to come under consideration is Syphilis.
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