« ForrigeFortsæt »
quent than in the more southern parts of the Mediterranean. He is, however, I believe, perfectly correct where the spasm is confined to the neck. Where it extends further, Mr. Hunter is supported by Hippocrates in the prognosis
, though the latter protracts the critical days.* From the ancient authors it would be in vain to expect an account of the immediate cause of death, because in their time morbid anatomy was so little cultivated. Mr. Hunter has supplied this desideratum; and his observation, twenty years after his death, has been confirmed by a writer, unacquainted with him or his opinions on this subject.
“The following is an instance not less to the point: “Dr. Baillie, with equal modesty and a sense of justice, has the following note in all, excepting the first edition, of his Morbid Anatomy.
** This diseased change I formerly confounded with the scirrhous enlargement of the uterus, considering them as varieties of the same disease, and therefore blending their description together; but, in consequence of the accurate observations of Dr. Adams, in his
Treatise on Morbid Poisons,' I have thought it proper to separate them.'--Morbid Anatomy, Second Edition; Article, Ulcer of the Uterus.
“Though Dr. Baillie has honoured me so far as to give me credit for the above observation, it becomes me to ackuowledge the source from which I derived it; and it is with no small satisfaction I have since seen the same sentiinent expressed by Aretæas, with scarcely any difference but the language of the two;f so that had Mr. Junter understood Greek, he might have been accused of plagiarism; an accusation which cannot be brought against any scholar who has written on cancer.
« The two diseases above referred to may, with much greater propriety, be called the opprobria chirurgorum than the gout opprobrium medicorum. Not to be able to cure a disease may be pardonable; but nothing can excuse the slightest inattention to its phenomena, particularly to those characters by which it is to be distinguished. It is but justice to the rising generation, to admit a progressive improveinent in all these nicer distinctions; and if many of thein are not yet aware of the sources from which they derive such advantages, Mr. Hunter, in this respect, only shares the fate of most others who have improved science. He may, indeed, be considered niore fortunate than his predecessors, inasmuch as what was entirely overlooked in them is slowly attracting notice wlien repeated by him.
* Happy had it been for the four last centuries if another passage in Celsus had been earlier attended to. Is Mr. Hunter again to be
Hippocr. sect. v. p. 125, ed. Foesii. "+ By the spasm extending to the heart. See a valuable paper by Mr. Howship, Lond. Med. Journal, vol. xxii. page 188.
| Aretæus de Caus. Morb. Diniurn, lib. i. chap. 12.” to NO.222.
accused of plagiarism from the ancients, because he almost translates a whole chapter, which, though immediately connected with the most learned and widely-extended controversy in medicine, has been in its application overlooked by all the learned? The medical reader will at once refer this to the chapter in Celsus, De obscenarum partium vitiis, in which we meet with an accurate description of every kind of ulcer on those parts first distinguished by Mr. Hunter from the truly syphilitic. How gladly would he have availed bimself of such an authority we may easily conceive, by the reference he makes to so many modern writers.
“ What has been just remarked, is not to be considered as a mere critical inquiry. The suggestion of Mr. Hunter gave rise to the first attempt at distinguishing the various diseases at one time indiscriminately confounded under the term cancer; and it is now frequently remarked, that, by reviving one opinion from Aretæus, he has saved many a saint from an operation, and, by reviving another from Celsus, many a sinner from repeated salivations.
“ In considering the above, we cannot but admit that medicine is less progressive than most other sciences. It may be urged, indeed, that important facts, though noticed by the ancients, are mixed with fables, and preserved in a language little cultivated by those who are most engaged in practice. The obvious inference is, that our records should be confined to well ascertained facts, and that those facts should always be kept in view. On this account, I have often felt surprised, that Sir Everard Home should regret the caution, or, as he calls it, the tardiness of Mr. Hunter, in giving his observations to the public. • But (continues the same writer) such was his turn for investigation, and so extensive the scale upon which he instituted his inquiries, that he always found something more to be accomplished, and was unwilling to publish any thing which appeared to himself unfinished. His Observations on the Muscular Action of the Blood-vessels were laid before the Royal Society in 1780, and yet he delayed publishing them till his ob servations on tlie Blond and Inflammation were arranged, and they will be found to niake a part of the present work.'
“ After these remarks, we may still hope to see 'some valuable fragments, at least, from so desirable a source. Whenever they appear, it is much to be wished that they may be in the author's own words, however unconnected they may seem. The 84th vol. of the Philosophical Transactions, published a year after his death, contains, ' Facts relative to Mr. Hunter's preparation for the Croonian lecture, by Everard Home, Esq.' In the subsequent part of the same volume, the fallacy of these facts' is shown by the person wlio brought them forward. New facts are introduced, confirmed by experiments, illustrated by plates, witnessed by Mr. Ramsay, and among these facts, we are informed, that the eye loses none of its adjusting powers by a deprivation of the lens. In the succeeding volume, these experiinents' are shown to be uncertain. All this may evince candour, and may be considered as a tribute to the memory of the deceased, by thus bringing his successor into notice.
But we cannot, in the midst of it, fail to applaud the prudence of Mr. Hunter, who, whatever his opinions were, knew better than to consider them as ' facts,' or to offer them in their crude state to the public.
"Since the days of Bacon, we have learned to be satisfied with nothing less than facts. Hence, an experiment is often considered as necessary in the support of every theory; and we are apt to suppose, that every experimeut is worth being recorded. Men accustomed only to the changes which they detect in common 'matter, are seldom aware of the intricacy of experiments, when' inade on living matter. The bare making them on living animals incluces a pew Įrain of actions, or the cessation of certain actions, which the inexperienced operator is apt to confound with the result of his inquiry. Another maxim should be always kept in view, that when a fact is once proved, all experiments to confirm it are unnecessary.
“I was led to these considerations by Mr. Brodie's paper, in the Philosophical Transactions, respecting the influence of the braio on the actions of the heart, and on the generation of animal heat.'
“In making experiments (says this gentleman) on aniinals, to ascertain how far the influence of the brain is necessary to the action of the heart, I found, that when an animal was pithed by dividing the spinal marrow in the upper part of the neck, respiration was immediately destroyed; but the heart still continued to contract circulatiug dark-coloured blood, and that, in some instances, from ten to fifteen minutes elapsed before its action had entirely ceased. I further found, that, when the head was removed, the divided bloodvessels being secured by a ligature, the circulation still continured, apparently unaffected by the entire separation of the brain. Tliese experiments confirmed the observations of Mr. Cruikshank and M. Bichat, that the brain is not directly necessary to the action of the heart, and that when the functions of the brain are destroyed, the circulation ceases only in consequence of the suspension of respiration. This led me to conclude, that, if respiration was produced artificially, the heart would continue to contract for a still longer period of time after the removal of the brain. The truth of this conclusion was ascertained by the following experiments', *ឬម
Eight or nine experiments follow, made on living animals a tbe result of which is, that, by keeping up artificial breathing, after the heart is deprived of all connexion with the brain, the circulation may still be continued ; but the secretions and animal heat no longer continue. ,,From this, Mr. Brodie concludes, that the action of the heart is independent of the brain; that animal heat does not depend on the circulation, but on the nervous system; and that the seere tions cease when deprived of the nervous influence. but Respecting the first, (that the brain is not directly necessary to the action of the heart) though, only Cruikshank and Biehat are mentioned, yet Mr. Brodie's experiment in proof of it was only a repetition of Mr. Hunter's, and by probably the samne instrument.
I invented (says Mr. Hunter) a double pair of bellows, constructed igas such a manner as, by one action, 10 throw fresh air into the
jungs; lungs; and by another, to suck out again the air which had been thrown in by the former, without mixing them.* -A spall tube (says Mr. Brodie) of elastic gum was so connected to a pair of bellows, that the lungs might be inflated and allowed to empty themselves.' By these contrivances, whether the same or not, each proved the same thing, and no more; namely, that the action of the heart seems sympathetic with respiration. Both continued their experiments about the same time. Mr. Brodie observed further, that, in such a state of things the secretions were discontinued, and the generation of leat also.'
“Did it prove, then, that heat is independent of the circulation; because, under such a circulation, and thus mutilated, the animal grew colder? or, did it prove that the brain and nerves were alone necessary for the generation of heat; because, when the head was separated, no lieat was generated ? I mean not by this to undervalue Mr. Brodie's talents. I have no doubt that, at this time, he would gladly recall his papers. But I cannot help urging any future young experimenter, that he should learn what such men as Mr. Hunter have done on the subject of their inquiries, and also recol. lect his remark on the necessity of frequent experiments before we trust to the result of any other. Had Mr. Brodie done this, he would have found, that, though Mr. Hunter had anticipated his esperiment, he was too prudent to form such hasty conclusions.
To show that aniinal heat is not entirely dependant on circulation, he took the opportunity of an apopleetic subject, whose external heat was preserved by the bed-clothes, and whose pulse was regular; yet, even here, he found the heat vary. This might have led him to suppose, that animal heat depends on the brain, as that organ was oppressed; but numberless arguments occurred to convince him of ihe contrary; and he concludes by observing, that apimal heat, like the secretions, depends on the powers of the whole system, and that, in proportion as they are more perfect, the standard heat will be more perfectly preserved."
The case follows, extracted from Mr. Abernethy's Essays, after which the author remarks, that, in most cases in which there is any permanent obstacle to the transmission of the blood through the jungs, there seems a difficulty in preserving the standard heat.
“ * Treatise on Blood, p. 152. Animal Economy, second edig tion, page 134."
"+ Anim. Economy, p. 103 and 104. It is worth while to observe bow bearly this language coincides with Celsus-Neque enim nasura sanguinis est ut calet, sed ex his quæ in homine sunt, is vel calescit vel frigescit, lib. iv. cap. 3.- Since writing the above, the second edition of Blumenbach's Physiology bas reached me; in which I see he makes no scruple to give the old doctrine of the ches; mical production of animal heat. This I should not have attended
Anecdotes of the late Dr. Lett som ; extracted from Memoirs of
his Life and Writings, by T.J. PETTIGREW, Esq. “ JOHN COAKLEY LETTSOM was one of a lwin, born at Little Vandyke, on the 22d of November 1744.* At six years of age le departed from the West Indies.
“ About two miles from Lancaster, near which was a school under the direction of Gilbert Thompson, an unmarried man, whose house was kept by his sister. He was celebrated among the Society of Friends. Under his tuition Lettsom was placed, and lodged at the house of Mrs. Barnes, then a widow. The affectionate Lindo, the faithful friend of Lettsom's father, took him to this rural residence. The house was situated in the parish of Sankey, which gave name to a street in Warrington. Within about 200 yards of this residence ran a stream of water, or brook, which empties itself into the river Ribble, and divides the parish of Sankey from Penketh, in which parish the school was erected. Adjoining to it was a meeting-house for the Society, which was frequently visited by Samuel Fothergill. A common, or heath, about three miles in circumference, intervened between the dwelling-house and the school. The number of boys at the school varied from 40 to 60: they were governed and instructed by the master and an usher, his nephew, of the same name. These particulars are here introduced, because they materially coytributed to the preservation of his health, and the invigoration of his constitution.
“The widow Barnes had a son settled in Liverpool, to whose house she retired, and took Lettsom with her.
“ His remoyal to Liverpool took place aboạt the conclusion of his 14th year. The death of his father had been recently communicated to him; and soon afterwards he heard of the second niarriage of his mother to Mr. Samuel Taine, and that his father's executor had neglected his property, and had disposed of the sugar-plantation in Cane Garden Bay, No instructions had been recently transmitted
to, but for a note which revived the recollection of one of
my own remarks about twenty-five years ago.
“Blumenbach's note is as follows:- Hence the constant coldness of those wretched beings who labour under the blue disease, which arises from a inal-conformation of the heart. Sometimes the septa of the heart are imperfect, sometimes the aorta arises from the right ventricle, as in the tortoise. Among innumerable instances of this lamentable disease, suffice it to quote John Abernethy's Surgical and Physiological Essays, part iii. p. 158; and Fr. Tredman's Zoology, t. i. page 177.'”
The Doctor informed the writer of this, that his mother had seven times had twins, all of whom were males. He and his twin brother Edward were the last children borne by her, and the only two who survived.”