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upon an empty stomach, for fourteen or twenty days together, or longer.'
If the Doctor were not fo very much addicted to mistake, we fhould now conclude that the long contefted queftion, concerning the antiquity of the venereal difeafe, was abfolutely fettled. But after all, it may be afked, by others as well as ourselves, who is this fame Diofcorides? We have all, it is true, heard of an ancient Greek of that name; but never fufpected that he had left a prefcription behind him for the pox. Thefe fame Greeks were, to be fure, a fet of furprifing, long-fighted mortals. It has been affirmed, that, with the mind's eye, they fpied the fatellites, without the ufe of telescopes; and that they became acquainted with the animalcula in femine, without the help of a microfcope: but had they fuch a reach of fight as to discover a difeafe in fieri, 1200 years before the time of its probable conception and developement in these eaftern parts of the earth? or, if they really peeped fo far into the womb of time, as to spy the germen or feed of this villainous diftemper lurking at the farther end of it, were they fo very hafty as to prescribe at it, at fuch a diftance?-Be it Grecian, or be it modern, the Doctor feems very fond of this curious receipt: for he has given it us again, (and it is the only one which he has thus honoured) in the very index, under the article, Gonorrhea; kindly cautioning us once more about the black pepper. But woe be to the fhins and nofes of those who put their truft in this dietdrink a la Grecque !?
This is the fecond fingular medicine for this diftemper, which we have met with in the course of our critical labours within a few months past. The Abbé Chappe, in the Travels into Siberia, of which we gave an account in our laft Appendix, informs us that the Calmuck Zongore Tartars ufe in this diftemper, with great confidence in its efficacy, a powder rafped from at baked idol, made of earth taken from one of their facred mountains, and representing one of their divinities. What if we were to pit this Tartarion powder against the Grecian diet-drink? Our medical Readers will, we believe, be ftrangely puzzled to which of the two medicines to give the preference. For our own parts, we rather incline to the powder; as it is fimpler, has no mace, cinnamon, black pepper, or other fpice in it, and will not make the patient tipfey; as a gill and a half of wine, made into a cawdle, and toffed off in a morning, fafting, might be apt to do, in fome conftitutions.
The preceding inftances appear ftrange with regard to the fubftance or matter of them. There are many of the same kind in this work; and a ftill greater number whofe strangeness confifts, we apprehend, in the manner, or the Author's uncouth mode of expreffing his meaning. To give but two inftances.
We were greatly staggered with a very odd expreffion of the Author, which occurs at page 316, where mentioning his dif approbation of the exhibition of hot diaphoretics, he fays, that ⚫ there is feldom occafion for them, except to kill the patient.'-But when can fuch occafion ever occur? Whatever opinion we may entertain of the Doctor, as a writer, we hope he is a good man: -though, by the bye, this is ftrange talking!
As the Author, in the preceding paffage, advifes us not to give hot diaphoretics, unless there fhould be occafion to kill the patient, at page 436 he appears to us, by his manner of expreffion, to diffuade us from throwing away a purge on a man that is dying, and, least we should commit this needlefs piece of extravagance, he gives his reasons. Hence, we fee,' fays he, fpeaking of the action of the muscles of the thorax and ab domen in the exclufion of the faces, it is in vain to give purges to dying perfons, for the refpiration alfo fails at the fame time; therefore in vain do we expect them to operate.'-But, it may be faid, why give purges at all to the dead, or (which amounts to the fame thing) the dying, if they would even operate ever fo plentifully? Would any body think of giving a cathartic, as a viaticum, in articulo mortis? Will the faul fare the better for it?-for the body is out of the question. No, Mr. Critic: but you are either dull by defign, or have no knack at fishing out a meaning. The Doctor means-but it is fcarce worth while to fay what.
In behalf of the fair fex, we cannot pafs over, without animadverfion, the Author's reviving a cruel practice proposed by Celfus, in the tympany, which he adopts by mentioning it without. difapprobation. Celfus advifes,' fays he, to make ulcers in feveral parts of the belly with red hot iron, and keep them running a good while. We have formerly taken notice of a propofal of making a prolapfed uterus retreat into its place, by prefenting a red-hot poker, at a diftance, before it: but that is mere playful dalliance, compared with this clofe rencounter. Our imaginations are fhocked by the idea of Celfus's irons, after having been cooling for many centuries paft, brought again to a red heat, and hiffing against the tender abdomen of a tympanitic girl. Nay, the Author himself feems to relent, immediately adding, if this operation appears cruel, then ufe blifters, which ought to be often repeated.' Agreed: apply any thing you pleafe to it, except these horrid irons.
But we promised a fpecimen or two of the very high-flown philofophy contained in this treatife, which we could fwear to be the Author's own, with as much confidence as if Author loquitur had been printed in the margin. The Doctor nowhere envellopes himself in a thicker and more impenetrable coat of myftery, than where he fpeaks of the air. I thall beg Teave,' fays
he, page 301, to fay two or three words concerning the nature of air, which feems to be a fluid very similar to the nervous; and upon it both the life and REASON of animals, the vegetation, and growth of vegetables, and all the motions and revolutions of the Heavens, depend.'
That the reafon of animals depends upon the air, is an un contravertible truth. The profoundeft reafoner of us all, even the Doctor himself, cannot go on with the plaineft argument five minutes without it. He might indeed as well attempt to Feason without a head. No human noddle was ever yet known to fyllogize in vacuo. And yet this is too plain a truth, we think, to be the Author's meaning: but we cannot pretend to foar up to the fublimities, or to fathom the profundities of fuch writing as this. The Author foars or finks, we know not which, beyond mortal ken, in the paffage which follows:
• Air exists in three ftates or conditions, which go under different names, viz. fire, light, and fpirit; and fire is light, and light is fpirit, and spirit is fire, and these three are one; fpirit is air in a forkened*, languid, and dead state, and according as it is more or less fluggish, torpid, and grafs, fo we have more or lefs darkness. Light is air in a more rarified fluid ftate, with a greater degree of motion and circulation. Fire is air in its moft rarefied, fubtile and refined state, with a very quick, impetuous, and rapid motion.'
Now, what can all this mean? Verily, we are as perfect Atrangers to the import of every fyllable that we have been tranfcribing, as we are to the language and philofophy of George's Ifland, or Terra Antarctica. We may indeed view and review fuch philofophy as this till we are blind, without growing one jot the wifer: accordingly we venture not to exprefs a fingle fentiment of our own upon this paragraph; as we find ourselves in fuch a mortifying fituation, that we can neither contradict nor affent to, its contents. We can only humbly admire it as a chef d'œuvre of compofition, and particularly the four graceful triads of well-chosen and distinctive epithets, with which the Author has adorned this deep mystery, and which, to do honour to, and to fhew our taste for, good writing, we have distinguifhed by Italics t.
* We have been, and ftill remain, grievously puzzled about the import of this ftrange word, which feems to be a favourite of the Author's. It has lain in our path no less than three times in the compass of five lines, and even twice in one line, and has tripped up our critical heels as often as we have ftumbled against it.but ftrange doctrines, we fuppofe, require uncouth words to cloath them in.
+ We have luckily an opportunity, before this article goes to the
We are glad to find the Author defcend from his altitudes, ad captum humanum, or down to our level, in the fucceeding and concluding fentence of this paragraph. The weight of the air,' fays he, differs in different parts of the earth, and at different feafons of the year and weather, and at different hours of the day; for the air is always heaviest at night when it is groffeft, for the weight of air depends upon its grofinefs, and that again depends upon its greater or fmaller motion; and accordingly the ftate of the air difpofes more to fleep at night than in the day.'-For our own parts, we have always thought we were most difpofed to fleep at night, because it was dark; because we had been awake all day; becaufe- But, not to fquabble with the Author about a trifle, Sancho Panca's heartfelt exclamation on this fubject is, perhaps, of more worth than all that the Doctor or we can fay upon it. Bleffings on his beart," cries the honeft fat-headed fellow," who firft invented this felf-fame thing called fleep-it covers a man all over like a cloak."
As to the conftant, increased weight of the air at night, we propofe to look fharp to our barometers, for the future; as we proteft it had hitherto efcaped us. In the next paragraph, the Author difcourfes about the fun, and of the refined beings who, he fays, probably inhabit that ball of liquid fire or air,' and all that. But we have not forgot the trip which we took with the Doctor last October into the Empyreum, foundering every step in the darkness in which he involved us. One fuch voyage in a year, in such company, is abundantly sufficient to satisfy any
prefs, of faving, in fome degree, our critical credit, by hinting a fufpicion that we have been rather too hafty in offering to wear to the Author's property in the preceding paffages, which we have now great reafon to believe are tranfcripts from the writings of the profound author of Mofes s Principia, the Rabbi Hutchinfon. In our account of the Differtation on the Nerves, (M. R September 1758, p. 222, 223) we complained of the "more than Hutchinfonian darkness" of certain paffages which we quoted from that work, little dreaming that it was neither more nor lefs than the darkness of Hutchinson himself, cloathed in the identical fable veft, in which that fage was wont to envellope his myfterious doctrines. Surely-(but we will not fwear to it; as we are not deeply read in the works of that adept, and know not now where they are to be found) we have been all this time profanely fneering, not only at the doctrines, but at the very words of this myftic feer. On that fuppofition, well may the Doctor triumph, and exclaim with our fatyric poet,
I cannot chufe but smile,
When every coxcomb knows me by my ftile." We should take fhame to ourselves on this flip of ours, did we not now find the Doctor to be fo univerfal a plagiarift, that old Scaliger himfelf would be puzzled to fay what his ftyle is: for we now confefs we know not in what part of his works a specimen of it is to be found.
REY. Oct. 1769.
reasonable curiofity; and we have no inclination to be in nubibus again.
But though we are shy of accompanying the Author in thefe his tranfcendental excurfions, we own we are grieved at his extreme refervednefs, in withholding from us the many curious and important experiments which he declares himfelf qualified 'to give us, relating to a fubject nearer home: we mean the arr mephiticus, whofe effects, he fays, page 304, are not only wonderful and enlightening, but likewife fatisfactory; as leaving the foul entirely fatisfied, without the least room to doubt. Many experiments,' adds he, have I made, which I fhould at this time have been glad to have mentioned, was I not afraid of the Reader's displeasure in being fo much interrupted.'-Right glad, however, fhould we have been, to have feen fome of thefe enlightening and fatisfactory experiments recorded in this work; particularly thofe, by means of which, we fuppofe, the Author difcovered that the higheft volatilifed part of the air fupplies the nervous fluid itfelf,' while the harder part' of the fame air goes to fupply the coats of the nerves; that is, in plain Englith, how the nerves are fed and cloathed by air of different qualitics. By the prifm of Newton, and by the electrical kite of Franklyn, we fwear we would exchange the New and General Syftem of Phyfic, which coft us fourteen fhillings, fewed, for one good experiment on this, or any other fubject.-What a niggard this Doctor is of his own, and how profufe he is of other people's intellectual property! A contrast to the character of Catiline, as given us by Salluft, he is alieni prafujus, fui parciffimus.
After fo particular an account of this work, we may now with confidence pronounce that it carries a mifnomer in almoft every word of the title of it. It cannot juftly be called a system. of phyfic, any more than fcattered heaps of brick, and mortar, and rubbish, can be called a palace. Much lefs, fuppofing it a fyftem, can it be termed a general one: ftill lefs a new fystem. We can only call it a huge, overgrown difpenfatory, with wens, or morbid excrefcences protuberating from different parts of it; or, in three words, a bulky mafs, without form, or light,
Monflrum-informe, ingens, cui lumen ademptum.
Before we take cur leave of this work, we think it proper to add a word or two by way of addrefs to our Readers and to the Author. In the first place, we would apologife to fuch of the former, as may be of opinion that we have dwelt too long on a performance which, according to our own account of it, does not appear to have merited fo large a notice; by obferving that we thought it expedient, indeed neceffary, to accompany fo full and abfolute a condemnation of a work, ufhered into the world