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March 1966

Benjamin Franklin in Medicine.

Arch Intern Med. 1966;117(3):470-471. doi:10.1001/archinte.1966.03870090154044

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It is always difficult to get the right savour of a work from translation. Language difficulty must be responsible for many strange breakdowns in communication in this interesting sketch of Franklin. Sometimes the writing is a little ornate and euphuistic. Even if we leave out the chauvinistic comments, we have the impression that the writer is talking down to the reader, something Franklin never did. We all would deny that "clear and true assertions" make Franklin an early exponent of the hypothesis of contagion. Assertions may or may not be true. Since we still do not know the main etiological factors in gout, it is unlikely that Franklin did. I have never heard bifocal glasses called Franklin's glasses, though this was no doubt true long ago.

Despite the essayist's serious shortcomings, Franklin stands forth in this sketch as a great man, great in his humanity, his wisdom, his urbanity, and

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