« ForrigeFortsæt »
The IMPROVEMENTS, shall now, be concisely noticed. There are, at present, a large réservoir under ground--two commodious cold baths, two warm. A large boarding house, and two small detached buildings for lodging rooms. Besides which, the proprietor is now engaged in erecting large additions to the means of accommodation at the springs. The inns and boarding houses of the town, will also be rendered more convenient and comfortable to those who may visit the springs during the ensuing season.
The sequestered vale contiguous to the mineral springs, is now, though almost in a state of nature, a delightful spot; the enjoyment of which, alone, one would think almost sufficient to impart vigour and cheerfulness to the body and mind, labouring under disease and despondency. Nature has done much for it; yet from the hand of art, it is susceptible of very high degrees of embellishment. Who can withhold his grateful admiration of that gracious-that liberal provision, which Nature's God has made to remedy those physical evils, which afflict his creatures!
If men will take the trouble carefully to compare the means narrated in this plain statement of facts, with those which books and long experience have taught, they will require nothing more to bring conviction to their minds. They will here see detailed the whole catalogue of efficient remedies, in the treatment of chronic diseases-remedies which strengthen the system, without alarming the feelings which conciliate health, whilst they amuse--which exhilarate the heart, whilst they invi-. gorate the muscles, and sooth the nerves with new sensations.
Here amid the mazy forest, or rugged landscape, they steal the roses of youth from the zephyrs of the mountains and vallies, and purify their feelings, whilst they lave their bodies in the translucid streams, sparkling with the richest gems of Hygeia.
J. W. Bedford, Pennsylvania, April 11, 1811.
REVIEW-FOR THE PORT FOLIO.
Sixteen Introductory Lectures, to courses of lectures upon the Institutes and
Practice of Medicine, with a Syllabus of the latter. To which are added, Two Lectures upon the Pleasures of the Senses and of the Mind; with an inquiry into the proximate cause. Delivered in the University of Pennsylvania. By Benjamin Rush, M.D. Professor of the Institutes and Practice of Medicine, in the said University. Philadelphia, published by Bradford and Inskeep.
We might justly be regarded as impertinent and obtrusive if, unacquainted as we profess to be with medical subjects, we. should venture an opinion on the merits of the volume now before us, when considered in a medical point of view. Here the author might claim the benefit of the common law, a trial by his peers, and to a tribunal so constituted, we cordially resign the task of investigating, and of deciding on the professional merits of the volume. The work is divided into sixteen lectures, comprehending a variety of subjects. The necessary connection between observation and reasoning in medicine; the character of Dr. Sydenham; the causes of death in diseases that are not incurable; the influence of physical causes in promoting the strength and activity of the intellectual faculties; the vices and virtues of physicians; the causes which have retarded the progress of medicine, and the means of promoting its activity and greater usefulness; the education proper to qualify a man for the study of medicine; the construction and management of hospitals, form the important subjects of the first eight lectures. The remaining eight comprehend the following topics: the pains and pleasures of a medical life; the means of acquiring business, and the causes which prevent the acquisition and occasion the loss of it, in the profession of medicine; the utility of the knowledge of the faculties and operations of the human mind in a physician; the opinions and modes of practice of Hippocrates; the duty and advantages of studying the diseases of domestic animals, and the remedies proper to remove them; the duties of patients to their physicians; the means of acquiring knowledge and the study of medical jurisprudence. To these are added, a syllabus of a course of lectures upon Physiology, Pathology, Therapeutics, and the practice of medicine, and two lectures on the pleasures of the senses and of the mind, with an inquiry into the proximate cause, The venerable professor here occupies ground inaccessible to us; and we must profess ourselves to be utter strangers to that system of chivalry that assails with a certainty of defeat. We wish not to resemble the valorous knight of antiquity who held it the very perfection of chivalry to suffer without revenge, who deemed courage to be merely a passive virtue, and whose own broken bones were the only testimonials of his knightly valour he was able to produce. -Had this book been exclusively confined to professional gentlemen, we should have passed it by without a comment. It has been too much the custom of professional men to endeavour to fence off the scientific grounds they respectively occupy. Not satisfied with those boundaries which nature has so visibly drawn between the several sciences, they have superadded imaginary obstacles, as if their particular science was a totally distinct and independent territory by itself. If their dogmas are entitled to implicit credit, there is no commerce or good fellowship between the sciences whatever, they are so many separate provinces, each of which must assert its own sovereignty, and without any common league must defend the integrity of its own dominions. The more liberal and enlightened members of these different coinmunities have had the boldness to advance quite a different language. Adopting the good old opinion of the Roman orator, they have endeavoured to fraternize the warring sciences, and to introduce something like a cosmopolitan spirit. Nay, those very champions who so stoutly defend the independence of every science, call in the aid of all the others for its defence. The moment the enemy is by their combined efforts beaten off, they refuse to acknowledge the good services of their allies, and assume to themselves the exclusive glory of the triumph. We are inclined to suspect that those very gentlemen who surround their professions with so much solemn mystery, are not themselves the most eminent members of their profession. Recollecting with what difficulty they acquired whatever portion of knowledge falls to their lot, they assume an air of inscrutable mystery to monopolize with the greater ease and certainty the profits. This auspicious and imposing reserve prevents all inquiry, and is an
artifice often adopted by ignorance for the laudable purpose of self-defence. Where the principle to be explained is too deep for the understanding of a man who is not a proficient; it is an admirable auxiliary likewise to veil the ignorance of one who professes to be a proficient. Minds, conscious of their own strength, cannot condescend to such expedients. It is the pride of such men to simplify research, and to deal in perspicuous phraseology. They feel no apprehension that their profes.. sion will be made common property if oracular mystery is thrown aside and the rudiments of their art developed and defined. With an honest boldness they solicit discussion, and call upon every other science for its auxiliary lights. Medicine receives from this source incalculable advantages. The importance of the study, a study in which the life and health of every individual is involved, demands every possible aid that all the other sciences can furnish. Vulgar minds are prone to consider medicine as a science exclusively appropriated for the benefit of the physician, forgetting that we all have an interest in its im. provement and perfection. It is under Providence the guard and security of our lives, and the interest of every man who deems life worth preserving. Narrow sighted indeed, therefore must be that policy, that endeavours to darken with mystery a science so important. Simplicity clears the ground for experiment, the only infallible test by which the merits of this science can be known. Dr. Rush has, and with what success, it belong's to others to determine, attempted to simplify this science; but even the attempt, if he fails of success, is honourable to him. There are not wanting those who are competent to expose his mistakes, and who can ascertain how far his system is sanctioned and how far it is condemned by experiment. Evils of this na. ture are capable of being rectified; they are thrown open to the day, whereas the defects of this mysterious system are in a great measure inherent and radical. Certainly then that man is entitled to no ordinary share of praise, who boldly stands forth the champion of investigation, in a case of such high and dangerous responsibility as the present. But this volume aspires to a merit more than professional. It may be read not only with advantage by the medical student, the mere literary lounger
may divide with him the pleasure of perusal. The learned professor has not forgot that Apollo the protecting deity of medicine was also the sovereign of the muses, for his page seems to recognize and to illustrate these separate jurisdictions. There is a vein of moral piety that runs throughout the work, that raises the character of the author in our estimation superior to all the honours that medicine can bestow. While engaged in the perusal of the volume, the physician seemed to disappear from our eyes, even the classical graces of the scholar were forgotten, and we were presented with a still more fascinating object, the hoary and venerable disciple of Jesus. There seems to be a kind of heavenly remuneration to those, who with a generous contempt of indolence, exercise their faculties; they pass that boundary usually assigned to intellect, and their minds continue strong, brilliant and beautiful to the last. Dr. Johnson, whom our author so frequently quotes, declared that “it was a man's own fault, it was from want of use if his mind grows torpid in old age.” Edmund Burke was a remarkable instance of the justice of this remark; his noon-day sun never blazed with such transcendant lustre as when it touched the horizon. We delight to contemplate such soothing spectacles. It leads to the belief that the nearer the good man approximates to the world of spirits, and the nearer he is towards shaking off this dissolu. ble mortality, his mind partakes more of the spiritual nature and is indulged with larger views in proportion as eternity begins to open. Dr. Johnson somewhere employs an argument of this nature, to prove the immortality of the soul. « Is it probable (says he) that those large and expansive desires which life is incompetent to satisfy, shall be extinguished at the tomb." Does it not indicate imperfection in the works of the Deity? Dr. Rush follows this precedent, and uses the same argument in a physical light. “Is it probable (says he) that a wise and good being, whose means and ends are so exactly suited to each other, in such parts of his works as we are able to comprehend, will finally waste or throw away the costly and beautiful apparatus he has given us for the enjoyment of mental and corporeal pleasures?" We would wish to make an additional remark. Would an allwise and benevolent being suffer an intellect to brighten amidst the decay of years, to be extinguished forever.