Page images

fome measure, make it his own. But the Doctor follows an eafter and more expeditious method, which may be illuftrated by a not very diffimilar allufion. Before the flesh of a turkey, for inftance, can be affimilated into the fubftance of a fox, and become a conftituent part of his being, it must undergo the various operations and proceffes of maftication, deglutition, digeftion, chylification, &c. but the Doctor's process of Identifica tion is performed without any of thefe long formalities. The individual fubftance of Pringle and Huxham is affimilated into that of the Doctor, the inftant he lays his right hand, armed with a goofe quill, upon it; and, by the mere motion of that little tool, without either rumination or digeftion, he performs, in a jerk, a true literary TRANSUBSTANTIATION.-But to pro ceed :

Befide the patched-up differtations above-mentioned, which are followed by accounts of the nature and virtues of the particular medicines, fimple and compound, under their respective claffes, which are, upon the whole, very meagre, jejune, and unfatisfactory, we should obferve that this work contains fome particular chapters, interfperfed here and there, which treat of certain phyfiological points; and that fome of the claffes of medicines have certain diseases in their train, of which the Author particularly treats. Indeed these are the only parts of the work which diftinguish it from a common dispensatory. Thus the first section, on nervous fimples, is preceded by three chap ters, in which the Author difcourfes on the folids, and fluids, and on the circulation of the blood. In the first of these, he affirms, that we have an intuitive knowledge of the nature; caufe, and symptoms of difeafes;' and exclaims, how vain and ridiculous it is to fay, there is no certainty in phyfic, when it is attended with the greateft certainty, INTUITION !'-The Doctor must be peculiarly gifted above his fellows, if he is right in these, and his former pretenfions to all this certainty and intuition fee our account of his Differtation on the Nerves, M. R. Oct. 1768, p. 307, 308.] On that fuppofition, we really envy the lot of those fortunate beings, who are happily feated within the sphere of our intuitive Author's practice, and are in a condition to enjoy the full benefit of his unerring prefcriptions. At the fame time, we are forry (we speak in the name of all our brother Reviewers, of the medical tribe) that we feel but a moderate portion of thefe inward convictions, in our own prac tice; and are no less concerned that the Doctor wants either the will or the power of communicating his certainties and illuminations to us, and his other bewildered medical readers.After all, however, we must confefs, that we are fomewhat inclined to doubt of their exiftence, and that we rather approve of the very oppofite and modeft declaration of a celebrated practitioner,


who, as we are told by D'Alembert, terminated a very creditable courfe of thirty years practice, honeftly exclaiming, “ I am sired to death with GUESSING."

To the fourth fection, which comprifes the ftomachic clafs of medicines, are added two fhort chapters on fermentation and digeftion; and in the fourth chapter of the fifth fection, under the article, Detergents, the Author, after copying, according to custom, the little that Quincy has faid on that clafs of medicines, gives us, without any previous warning of his intention, a fet difcourfe on the fcurvy: the firft diftemper which has yet made its appearance in form, in this work. After a very rambling account of this disease, he wanders into the rationale of fevers, the fundamental cause of which he makes to be a fulphureous and faline matter combined, and clofes the chapter with a very notable coup de main, by falling pell-mell on Mr. Sutton, in a place where he might leaft expect fuch an attack. We cannot help figuring to ourselves that unfortunate gentleman, reading and yawning over this fame chapter on the fcurvy, with the greateft fangfroid imaginable, and Dr. Smith, armed cap-a-pé, rufhing forth from his ambuscade, towards the close of it, on this poor unsuspecting, and unprepared inoculator. As the Doctor, in a subsequent part of the work, treats professedly and regularly of the small-pox, in a chapter a-part, we naturally fufpect that this fudden onfet was the refult of deep defign, and think that the Doctor has fhewn great generalfhip in this manœuvre.

As the paffage above alluded to is undoubtedly of the Author's own compofition, we fhall give it as a fair fpecimen of his manner, when writing in a polemical capacity: first premifing (that we may do juftice to the fhare of argument contained in it) his obfervation that, in the fmall-pox, the variolous matter requires a certain time to come to maturity, and to become fit to communicate that diftemper, fo as to fecure the patient from any future infection, and that if one was to inoculate from the variolous matter before it is thrown out to the firface of the body,' [the Doctor does not fay how, or by whom, this feat is to be done] then perhaps it would raise no ferment in the body:'- but that when it is separated upon the furface of the body, it is a fluid fui generis-and will not fail to raife a fermentation.' He then proceeds:

What the difpofition of the habit, and the modification of the parts of the variolous matter, and how the myasma raises a fermentation, or gives the fmall-pox to one that never had it, and not to another that has, are matters that have been generally looked upon as above our comprehenfion; but I believe it will be found to depend upon the ftructure of the abforbent lymphatics; which receive more or lefs infection, according as they are more or lefs dilated; and, if this is true, it will be no difficult

difficult matter to conceive, and also to demonftrate, that fome people cannot, by any means, have the fmall-pox, while others have it and it is very easy to see the danger many are in of a fecond infection, who have been inoculated by Mr. S. and fome other of our modern quacks:' [who, we beg leave to add, are not, we must fuppofe, fo intimately acquainted with the exact gage or bore of the absorbent lymphatics, or at what rate thefe pipes will receive and convey the variolous myafma, as our demonftrating Doctor] therefore I beg leave, ferioufly, to advife people, not too haftily and rafhly to run into the fashion of inoculation; and, when they do determine to be inoculated, let them look out for one who has judgment and learning enough to know his duty;' [we all know who this means-the Doctor is a y-boots] and integrity enough to do it. I fhall conclude this fubject, at present, as I defign to handle it more at length in another part of this book; by afking thofe that are fo fond of inoculation, and run into it as a blind horfe into a ditch, how they come to know whether they should ever have had the fmallpox, if they had not gone to the giver of that difeafe, Mr. S.? and if the perfon dies, is not that perfon guilty of suicide? Many have had the fmall-pox, by means of inoculation, that never would have had it in the natural way; even though they had frequented places, and vifited patients in the fmall-pox. If Mr. S. does not understand, and believe this, let him difcover his ignorance, or infidelity; and if he has any sense, more than that of impofing upon the credulous, and thereby of getting more,' [what?]he fhall receive fatisfaction.'If Mr. Sutton be not abfolutely ftupid, or incorrigible, furely he must profit by the forceable, close and confequential reasoning contained in this quotation, and which neither he, nor any man elfe, will find it easy to answer.

The next, or fixth divifion of the work, in which the Author treats of Diuretics, is a very wholefome fection; as it has not a fingle difeafe annexed to it: but under the seventh, on Diaphoretics, (we know not why here, rather than any where

For I, read, Dr. Huxham; if the Author means his fubfequent chapter on the fmall-pox: for almost every paragraph in it, except the two or three first, is properly his. And yet the Doctor fets off with great parade, declaring that when one confiders that the cure” of this difeafe is undertaken by every illiterate mechanic, and ignorant boafting quack,-it is almoft enough to difcourage a regular phyfician from treating of the natural fmall-pox:' and, after expreffing no great liking to inoculation, and giving poor Sutton a fecond drubbing, I fhall proceed,' fays he, to treat of the natural small-pox, as there are still many left who muft and will wait God's time for having it.'-And then falls to his old trade of tranfcribing from Huxham, as fast as he can lay his pen to the paper.

[ocr errors]


elfe) the distempers come, all at once, thick and threefold upon us-fevers, phrenfies, peripneumonies, fore throats, and various inflammations; with the fmall-pox bringing up the rear, which is clofed with no lefs than one hundred and twenty-five prefcriptions, of the diaphoretic clafs, following each other in One continued ftring, without any breaks, or other diftinctions, than of antiphlogistics and antifeptics. A force fufficiently ample, to rout this mighty host of diftempers, if it be in the power of diaphoretics to do the business.

This very diftempered fection is followed by another, on Emetics, which has not a fingle difeafe accompanying it, except that general and complicated diftemper under which the whole work labours. In the ninth fection, on Cathartics, the Author gives us a chapter on the Dysentery, and another upon the Dropfy, which is the laft difeafe treated of in this work. We have named all the others as we went along. Speaking of the last of these diftempers, he says, that if a person, from living upon crude aliments, that are not eafily diffolved, is of a cold, pituitous, and fluggish conftitution, and threatens a dropfy let him take every hour Venice foap, reduced into pills of gr. 2, and after each of thefe pills, nitre gr. 10, or Glauber's fixed falts, or fixed falt of tartar, or gum ammoniac, in white-wine or mint-water. After fome days,' [that is, we fuppofe, if the droply regards not his threats, but keeps poffeffion of the abdomen] let him take every evening one pill of aloes of gr. 3 to 4, and next morning a like pill with gr. fs. or one of euphorbium; by this method the patient will foon be recovered.'-Now Dr. Lewis, under the article Euphorbium, declares that fubftance, on account of its acrimony, is abfolutely unfit for any internal ufe;" and even fo fays Dr. Smith, literally copying him, in another part of this work. What an uncertain man is this! He threatens and routs a dropfy, in one page, by euphorbium adminiftered in pills, every morning; and treats that caustic subftance, as abfolutely inadmiffible into the human stomach, in another. Surely the Doctor, and his boafted familiar, the fpirit of CERTAINTY, alias INTUITION, are at high variance on this point, and must have had many fquabbles on the subject of this and other staring contradictions and inconfiftencies contained in this work. But thus we fuppofe the matter to have been at laft compromised between them: the Doctor to fet down his opinion, in one page; and Certainty, her flat contradiction, in another; but at a decent diftance, agreed upon between them. In the present inftance, they settled it, to be at the length of two chapters.

[ocr errors]

If any of our Readers have had the patience to accompany us thus far in our progress through this work, we invite them to jog on with us yet a little longer, while we prefent them with a


few more of the many choice things contained in it; which we fhall give without any particular felection, but just as they pre fented themselves to us: beginning with the wond tful virtues afcribed by the Author to certain fubftances, which we fhould not have fufpected to have been poffeffed of them, and ending with a specimen or two of the Author's philofophy.

In the wort fcurvies,' fays the Doctor, page 27, and when the blood abounds with acrid particles, if the patient, though never fo languid, takes cream, fresh butter, or marrow of animals, for fome time fafting, he will find himself wonderfully cured.' WONDERFULLY indeed!

Speaking of alcohol, or tartarifed fpirit of wine, at p. 69, he fays, that it is good in gout, rheumatism, fcurvy, dropfy, jaundice, colic, green-fickness, and calculous cafes;'dofe from guit. 50 to 32, in wine and water.'-Who could have ima gined that brandy, first deprived of its phlegm or water, by being diftilled from falt of tartar, and retaining aifcarce perceptible portion of this falt, fhould, on being mixed with water again, (in fhort, with the addition of a little fugar, made into bumbo) become poffefled of all these extraordinary virtues! On the contrary, we are acquainted with many fubjects, who, by a too affiduous application to this powerful medicine, have, we apprehend, got fome of the very diftempers above enumerated. Either the Doctor is wrong, or they must surely have overdofed themselves.

[ocr errors]

We have a wondrous account too of the virtues of the balfamic syrup, at page 210, where we are told that it is good in the gout, and proves of wonderful service in all decays from age, as it keeps the fhrinking fibres yet moift, warm, and elaftic. And will a little fugar and water, flavoured with balfam of Tolu, do all this? We queftion whether even Dr. Hill's tincture of fage can do more. But enough of these wonders: though perhaps the following paragraph contains as great matter of wonderment as any of them.

Under the article, Lapathum, or Dock, we are prefented with a curious receipt for the cure of the lues venerea, in the following words: Diofcorides fays, that the lues venerea will yield to an infufion of 6 ounces of water-dock root, and 2 ounces of faffron, of mace, cinnamon, gentian root, liquorice root, and. black pepper, each 3 drachms, (where the pepper is improper, 6 drachms of liquorice may be ufed')-[begging. Diofcorides pardon, we think the pepper rather deplacé on this occafion-] reduced into a coarfe powder, and put into a mixture of 2 gallons of wine, and the yolks of three eggs; the whole digefted with a moderate warnith for three days in a glazed veffel, well stopped up: the dofe from 3 ounces to 6, every morning,


« EelmineJätka »