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oxide, the other the chloride of the metal sodium; secondly, as common salt or the chloride of sodium is a neutral body, it seems to us that it cannot possibly have the power of giving alkalinity to the humours.

At page 38, we are told that sulphur passes from one region to another in a similar manner, from the sea, which contains sulphur in large quantities, to the atmosphere. That sulphur passes from the sea to the atmosphere is a fact entirely new to us, we may therefore be excused asking the question-" In what form, and by what physical law, does this transposition take place?" Surely the author cannot mean that the transition of sulphur from the water surrounding our globe to the atmosphere, takes place in the form of sulphuretted hydrogen, for it is well known that the sea as a whole yields not a particle of that gas.

We shall now turn to the chapters on Organic Chemistry, and point out those parts in it with which we do not entirely agree. The first statement which we are not prepared to endorse is, that "fibrin forms nearly the whole substance of the muscles." If by the word fibrin our author means that substance which coagulates in drawn blood, we think it would have been perhaps better had he somewhat qualified the above statement, for although muscles are composed of a substance possessing many of the characters of fibrin, the two are nevertheless far from being identical.

On examining the classification of the different kinds of food adopted by our author, we cannot say that it appeared to us to be a good one. For in his classification he has entirely omitted to mention the saccharine group. Merely including the albuminous, fatty, pigmentary, and mineral. We have read over his remarks on the various foods with great care, nevertheless we are at a loss to account for the above omission, unless we suppose that he has replaced the saccharine by the pigmentary group of foods.

At page 40, we are informed that the mere union of a little oil and albumen is all that is required for the formation of tissue—

"The development of a young animal from an egg (our author tells us), is a good illustration of this fact. It contains only albumen, and a yellow fat, with some traces of iron. Yet we see in the process of incubation, during which no foreign matter except atmospheric air can be introduced, that feathers, claws, blood corpuscles, fibrin, cellular tissue, and vessels are produced."

We do not know how to regard this statement, for our author cannot possibly mean to tell us that the earthy salts which compose the bones of the chick are developed out of a mixture of albumen and fat, with some traces of iron. As our space is nearly exhausted, and we have not yet analysed more than a quarter of the little book, we must confine the remarks which we would otherwise make in regard to the next division, to raising an objection to the statement made at the bottom of page 53 regarding the action of the atmosphere. It is there remarked that: "If cold and condensed, there is more oxygen, which will unite with the tissues during respiration and produce more waste, while greater evaporation will take place from the surface."

It appears to us that instead of the word "greater," the word “lesser" ought to have been used; for we had the idea that the evaporation diminished in proportion as the surrounding air became colder and more condensed.

In the physiological part of the volume, at p. 66, in speaking of the blood-glands, the author says that, "in infancy and early childhood the thymus and supra-renal capsules are large and active; they then decline, and almost disappear in man." We are surprised at this statement, for it is now well known that although the thymus diminishes in proportionate size and activity as age advances, such is not the case with the supra-renal capsules. The latter organs do not even so much as become proportionally more atrophied in old age than many of the other persistent internal organs.

At p. 74 we again meet with another statement which we cannot let pass without a word of remark. The cranium is there compared to a pneumatic trough. "Hence the notion, that by general or local bleeding you can draw blood from the brain, is erroneous, although by weakening the action of the heart it is of course possible to diminish the pressure it exercises on the cerebral vessels." We are perfectly aware that in the Edinburgh school the author's predecessors taught, like teachers elsewhere, this doctrine; but we were not aware until we read the above passage that a doctrine which had been proved to be incorrect still found supporters north of the Tweed. Experimental physiology has clearly pointed out to us that the cranium cannot be compared to a pneumatic trough, and that the amount of blood circulating in its vessels is liable to be influenced by the same agents that act upon the circulation of the other organs of the body.


Two pages further on, when on the subject of respiration, our author informs us that oxygen is absorbed and carbonic acid exhaled by the lungs in accordance with Graham's law of the diffusion of gases. author seems altogether to have forgotten that Graham's law of the diffusion of gases only operates when the membranes through which the gases pass are perfectly dry. When they are moist, as we find them in the air vesicles of the lungs, an entirely different law comes into play, namely, the law of absorption.

At page 83 the following sentence occurs :- "The blood corpuscles of which we have previously spoken float in a stream of coloured transparent fluid (the liquor sanguinis), which, when it ceases to circulate in the vessels, has the property of coagulating." While a little farther down in the same page, we are told that "the clot of the blood, therefore, is composed of the fibrin and corpuscles, while the serum is set free." And again: "In addition to the fibrin, the liquor sanguinis holds in solution albumen, fat, &c." How are we to reconcile these statements? At one place we are told that the liquor sanguinis has the power of coagulating, at another that it does not coagulate, but that one of its constituents possesses the property of doing so. Such statements as these must be very confusing to the student. We shall content ourselves with one more quotation. At page 90, while speaking of the formation and destruction of sugar in the animal

body, the author tells us that the sugar " is decomposed by the oxygen of the air in the lungs, and there disappears." This is a statement which rather surprises us, considering the source from which it comes. For within the last two years, experiments have been published, both in England and abroad, which clearly demonstrate that the sugar does not become decomposed in the lungs, but that it disappears in the capillaries of the general circulation.

Although we have spoken disapprovingly of numerous passages contained in Dr. Bennett's Outlines, we do not wish to disparage the entire work. Had it been written by a man of an inferior stamp it might have passed without much observation, but as more might have been expected of an original thinker and searcher like Dr. Bennett, we should have been guilty of a dereliction of duty to our readers had we not pointed out what we consider to be its blemishes.


1. Clinical Illustrations of the Pathology and Treatment of Delirium Tremens. By THOMAS LAYCOCK, M.D., &c. (Edinburgh Medical Journal,' No. 40, Oct. 1858, p. 289.)

2. The Pathology of Delirium Tremens, and its Treatment without Stimulants or Opiates. By ALEXANDER PEDDIE, M.D., F.R.C.P., &c.-Edinburgh, 1854. pp. 51.

3. Statistics of Delirium Tremens.



(The Indian Annals of Medical Science,' Nos. 5 and 6, pp. 1, 658. Oct., 1855; April, 1856.-Calcutta.)

4. Observations on the Use of the Shower Bath in Delirium Tremens and other similar cases of Cerebral Excitement. By ROBERT LAW, M.D., &c. (The Dublin Quarterly Journal of Medical Science,' No. 49, p. 33. Feb. 1858.-Dublin.)

5. Remarks on the Treatment and Pathology of Delirium Tremens. By CHARLES MOREHEAD, M.D., &c. (Transactions of the Medical and Physical Society of Bombay,' Nos. 6 and 9, 1843, 1849. pp. 139, 123. 'Clinical Researches on Disease in India.' Vol. ii.

p. 530.-London, 1856.)

6. Observations on the Treatment of Delirium Tremens without Opium. By T. CAHILL, M.D. (The Dublin Journal of Medical Science,' vol. xv. p. 396, 1839.)

7. Cases of Delirium Tremens, with Commentary. By JOHN HUGHES BENNETT, M.D., &c. Clinical Lectures on the Principles and Practice of Medicine. pp. 409. Second Edition.-Edinburgh,

1858. 8. Meningitis Phantasmatophora; Brain Fever of Drunkards. (Elements of the Practice of Physic.' By DAVID CRAIGIE, M.D., &c. Vol. ii. p. 50.-Edinburgh, 1840.)

9. Remarks on the History and Treatment of Delirium Tremens. By JOHN WARE, M.D.-Boston, 1831.

10. Vergiftung durch Alkohol und Alkoholische Getränke (Alkoholismus. Morbi ex nimio usu et abusu Alkoholicorum). Von Dr. C. Ph. FALCK, zu Marburg. (Handbuch der Speciellen Pathologie und Therapie. Zweiter Band. Erste Abtheilung s. 293. Intoxicationen, Zoonosen, &c. Redigirt von Rud. Virchow.-Berlin, 1855.) Poisoning by Alcohol and Alcoholic Drinks. By Dr. C. Ph. FALCK. (Handbook of Special Pathology and of Therapeutics. Edited by Rud. Virchow. Vol. ii. p. 293.—Berlin, 1855.)

A WELL known writer, not less remarkable for his paradoxes than for his taste and eloquence, observes,* that

"He never met with a question yet of any importance which did not need for the right solution of it at least one positive and one negative answer, like an equa* Cambridge School of Art: Mr. Ruskin's Inaugural Address, delivered at Cambridge, Oct. 29th, 1858.

tion of the second degree. Mostly matters of any consequence are three-sided or four-sided, or polygonal, and the trotting round a polygon is severe work for people any way stiff in their opinions. For myself, I am never satisfied that I have handled a subject properly until I have contradicted myself three times."

Without any desire to keep Mr. Ruskin company in the last mentioned laudable endeavour, we purpose testing ourselves by one of his trials-i.e., by reconnoitring some of the sides of the polygon within which the subject of delirium tremens lies entrenched. Some portions of the fortification we have long considered dreadfully weak, and we have at length made up our mind to play upon them a little of our artillery. We take the privilege of selecting, of course, our own points of attack, declining to invest the whole circuit of circumvallation. We therefore state, in limine, that with the psychical, maniacal, forensic, and social relations of delirium tremens we shall have nothing to do, but will confine ourselves to some portions of its more material pathology, and the question of its treatment. We are satisfied that upon these matters our views have been-as the milliners say-cut on the bias; and the tendency of the prevailing doctrines concerning the heterodoxy of depletion and the orthodoxy of brandy and water in the treatment of disease generally, is to uphold the fashionable falsities we would here expose. In doing so, it may be possible that we speak unpleasantly dogmatic; but it should be remembered that to blend the history of the present with the politeness of drawing-rooms, is not easypraise may be thrown back as impertinence-blame will be as an insult, revenged.

Since the time when the opinions of Abercrombie, Bright, Guldberg, Frank, Speranza, Andreæ, Craigie, and others, who regarded delirium tremens as symptomatic of some modification or variety of meningitis, went out of favour, the more generally received view of its nature has been such as is expressed by Dr. Watson, when he replies to his pupils: "You ask me what is the essential nature of the disease, and I can only state in reply, that it consists in nervous irritation nervous exhaustion goes along with and augments the nervous irritability." This view of its being the result of irritation and exhaustion of nervous power from excessive stimulation, has been associated with the belief that an identically similar state, as the delirium tremens à potu, may be seen to follow the abuse of opium, tobacco, and from extreme mental and emotional excitement. The opinion has also prevailed that it is the sudden withdrawal of the accustomed stimulus that generally constitutes the immediate exciting cause of the outbreak of the affection. Thus has resulted what seemed a legitimate corollary-viz., that the proper treatment for the malady consisted, on the one hand, in the continued administration of alcoholic stimulants, and on the other, "the great remedy is sleep; that . . . . opium must be given in full doses, and it must be fearlessly repeated if its desired effect do not follow.”+ Now, speaking generally, we regard these several doctrines as essentially erroneous, and that both theoretic teaching and practical ex* Lectures on the Principles and Practice of Physic, vol. i. pp. 400, 401. Third edition. † Watson, op. cit.

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