I FIRST ENCOUNTERED the name Elisha Bartlett in Osler's collection of biographical papers entitled An Alabama Student and Other Biographical Essays. Not very long ago I took the occasion to read over Bartlett's unhappily neglected volume entitled The Philosophy of Medical Science. It is a thoughtful critique of the great clinical and scientific contributions of the famous clinical school of Paris in the first half of the 19th century. Fortunately for us it provides the only thorough and detailed description of how medical practice came of age when continually corrected by a systematic comparison of clinical observations with notes on the autopsy findings. Never before had this been done systematically. For the first time in medicine we have the application of the statistical method to clinical experience. Up to that time post hoc always was assumed to follow propter hoc.
Elisha Bartlett was a peripatetic. His identification with Rhode Island