Correspondence between Thomas Lewis and James MacKenzie
From Sir James MacKenzie
To Dr Thomas Lewis
Headed New Park, St Andrews, NB
Date 13 July 1918
My dear Lewis
My seclusion was disturbed by a request from the Government to go to America as one of the British representatives to the Congress and the American Medical Association. So I sailed on 22 May two days ago. We had a very busy time, royally welcomed and entertained and I found myself playing a part for which nature never intended me – a stump actor. While there I was approached by a publisher who wanted me to join Christian as Editor of a Cyclopaedia of Medicine and to undertake the responsibility of the article on the heart. I rejected the proposal at once but the publisher man was so insistent and made me such a liberal financial offer that I paused and reflected. And this was outcome of my reflections. You know I was disappointed that Morley Fletcher never asked me to join the Medical Research Committee and I see there was no prospect in that quarter for my views being carried out. Now it occurred to me that there was a chance of getting money to start a clinic of the kind I wanted. I had hoped to have done so out of my earnings but the increased taxes and high rate of living absorbed all my income. So I closed with the publisher and propose at once starting a clinic and a clinic here to sort out my views, and if it proves a success then I can go to certain wealthy people who I have my eye on and get them to endow the place which explanation is necessary for you to understand and the next request which was that Christian asked you to be associated with me in writing the article on Heart Disease. I know and sympathise with your objections to writing encyclopaedias but I should be glad if you would consent to work with me in this instance. It will probably be the only piece of work we will do together and I would associate with no one but you. If you agreed we could agree to certain broad principles in which the subject would be written and both of us would write separate articles. The remunerations is $4 per page. In my travels I had as companion Arbuthnot Lane a more delightful companion I could not have had. I got from him a full account of his philosophy and found that I had never really understood what he was after. There is a good deal in what he says and I asked to interest the professor of anatomy here in the matter and his views will form a convenient hypothesis for interesting research work.
I saw many medical institutions and conversed with many medical ‘pioneers’ as they delight to call themselves. I found them instead as extraordinary with hidebound people with no broad outlook. I could see how their minds were working at what they called progress but of that more anon.
Your young men are getting very fanciful judging from their publications. It seems they play more in imaginative nomenclature than on accurate observation – that may lead to the old weary paths of much noise ?? ?? doing. Did you see the report by the Heart Hospital of 10,000 electrocardiograms? And did ever come across a better instance of blundering, misspent energy? Give my kind regards to Mrs Lewis and believe me yours sincerely
PS Tell me what you are doing.
From Sir James MacKenzie
To Dr Thomas Lewis
Date 20 July 1918
Knowing of your views I did not expect any other answer. Fortunately my part in the work is to be very slight and will not take up three hours per week except what I can ??? as my own article. Once I have had time to think and service my past experience I am beginning to see a little more clearly to a lot of things and I shall be trying a few experience which I will first expound in this Cyclopaedia for instance I intend that that preface should be written by me and I have just finished a brief article dealing with the function of medicine. The article is so opportune especially when the Ministry of Health is likely to be appointed and R Dawson are spreading themselves in the American Journal of Medicine that I may send it to The Times being now out of practice I can express myself freely in lay papers and I want to go for the ‘Times’ work which Dawson advocates as I find it in great ??? in the States. Barker being its great advocate I hope I never forget to tell you of my visit to Johns Hopkins and of the psychopathic ward.
I think I will try and write on heart affection after a new model and if it comes off I’ll expand it into a monograph.
I begin on Monday at the Angina Pectoris in earnest but working always at my symptom book. For many years I use to think in ?? and I found cases with a short diastolic whiff. The second sound not closing properly and best heard with the wooden stethoscope I kept track of a number years after finding a sign on this murmur and concluded I had been mistaken. This was one of the reasons that made me so urgent on the response to effort and size of the heart a test. You may find out more than I can but there are very few auscultators I would trust and I would like your electro phonograph to help you. I wish I could get up enthusiasm for birds and botany but I find my weekend notions are so engrossing that I have been doing nothing else. I can’t find time enough.
PS My estate and animals take up a little time too wit 9 acres of garden and pasture, one cow, two cats, one kitten.
PPS I won’t have anything to do with the Maclongtasy and they know it. Still these new appointments were made at my suggestion.
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