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ing its vigorous action. Was this extravasated during the pains, and were the consequent sensations suspended for a time by the composure of the royal patient, during so long, so tedious, and without doubt often so painful, a labour? Where all is conjecture, we may be allowed to offer ours. To the Editors of the London Medical and Physical Journal.

GENTLEMEN, Some time ago you were pleased to notice, in terms of the most fattering approbation, my humble efforts to improve ope rative surgery by the invention of my "Annular Saw." This instrument has obtained so generally the sanction of the most eminent surgeons in the metropolis, and in various parts of the country, as to beconie part of the surgical apparatus in the depots of the army and navy, and in most of the provincial hospitals.

From a fondness for the mechanic sciences, I have directed much of my attention to their application in surgery; and have considered, with the closest attention, the nature and treatment of those diseases, which, being marked by a greater or less deviation from the ordinary symmetry of parts, are included under the general terin Distortion, whether arising from original malconformation, muscular contractiou, debility, or the effects of accidental violence. Much reflection and experience convince ine, that the mode in which adventitious aid is usually applied in cases of this description, has arisen from erroneous pathology, and is, consequently, for the niost part, very inadequate to the cure.

I am now substituting, in the place of metallic inelastic machines, the inefficacy of which the generality of practitioners of the present day admit, an apparatus which, whilst it affords the necessary support, is constructed in such a manner as incessantly to counteract the morbid inclination, or unnatural deflection, of the parts, with out occasioning painful weight, pressure, or any unsightly appear

I have the honour to be, &c.

THOMAS MACHELL,

Member of the Royal College of Surgeons, Great Ryder-street, St. James's;

Sept. 1817. * We are glad to find tliat this most ingenious artist has in the press a practical Treatise illustrative of his improved mode of treating Distortions in general; and, most of all, that he has been prevailed on to direct his chief attention to a department of surgery which has hitherto been consigned to individuals wholly unacquainted with the principles and practice of medical science, the more immediate, and originally the sole object of his professional exertions.-EDIT.

In our last, we mentioned a fracas between a royal physician and a surgeon of some experience, almost over the dead body of Mr. Curran, the late Irish Demosthenes. The surgeon, having now left the country, may be mentioned by name. Mr. ROBERTON, whose correspondence has lately appeared in our Journal, contrived to

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elade the diligence of the police officers, till he embarked to assume the head of the medical staff of the insurgent army in South Ame. rica. This appointment is well suited to one not deficient in abili. ties or practical knowledge. It is also no inconsiderable acquisition in a country to which few at his age would be willing to migrate.

A late event has proved, that the venom of a viper, when applied in a sufficient quantity, or to a sufficient surface of absorption, iş equal to produce death in a full-grown human subject. A confidential servant of a nobleman was amusing some of the younger part of the family, by exhibiting the apparatus for the venom in a dead viper. Unfortunately, the man's fingers had been excoriated, and the application of the poison proved fatal on the following day. This is the second authenticated case which we can offer of death from such a cause. In all but one other instance which have come to our knowledge, (three in number,) the linib in which the puncture was inflicted, has become extremely tuinid, and the skin over the whole body suffused with yellow: some fever has attended, but in three or four days the patient recovered.

The other fatal case was in a practitioner in Essex. Retiring from the high road to uncover his feet, as is delicately expressed in holy writ; be trod on a viper, which instantly bit him in the scro. tum. Whether from the delicacy of the part, and, possibly, from the wound penetrating to the testicle, the symptoms increased in severity till death. It need scarcely be added, that every means of assistance was soon at hand.

St. George's Hospital.- Sir EveRARD Home removed lately, from the head of a woman, a tumour weighing fifteen pounds and some ounces, It consisted of fat attached to a basis of bone, which was taken away by sawing it from the cranium. There was not so much bæmorrhage as might be expected, though the operation was "Dearly an hour performing. The patient is doing very well.

Death by Lightning.--During a visit to a friend in Herefordshire, I was desired to examine the body of a man whose life bad been suddenly destroyed by lightning, at Colwall, near Ledbury. The wife of the deceased obstinately refusing permission to open The body, my examiyation was confined to the effects of the eleciric fluid on the external surface. On viewing the head, I found the hair and the beard of the left side singed, and the skin of the ear, cheek, and upper part of the neck, perfectly black, but entire. Between the shoulders, there was another black spot of the size of a crown, exactly over the spine, and on the outside of the thigh of the right side just above the knee, there was another black spot, which I could scarcely cover with my hand. The parts of the shirt and fannel lining of the breeches and jacket wbich covered the injured skin were charred, but neither the exterior of the sinall-clothes (which were made of corduroy) nor of the jacket, were burnt, the electric fluid having only occasioned a laceration resembling an incision made by a sharp instrunient. It appears, that the electric matter entered the left side of the head, passed through the chest 3 X 2

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and abdomen in an oblique direction, and escaped just above the knee on the opposite side of the body. Whether the fluid entered or escaped at the spot on the back, I am at a loss to say; but from the external part of the jacket not being burnt, I suspect a quantity escaped there. The spots were perfectly black, and exhibited the same appearance as is produced by the caustic alkali after remaining several hours on the skin; and, from its flabby state, the mischief was no doubt deep. Whether the fluid produced the same effect on the internal parts through which the fluid passed as it did on the skin, is a question which I shall be obliged to you, or some of your readers who have ascertained the fact in a similar case, to answer. The man, at the time the accident happened, was under an oak-tree, and, when the lightning struck him, he sprung forward and fell on his face; soon after which, there was a second flash, and this might have produced the spot between the shoulders; but if so, where did it escape?

About twenty years ago, I had an opportunity to examine a man 'who was struck dead by lightning in a field near Hereford, with an umbrella over his head. On that man the electric fluid produced no evident effect, either externally or internally. The brain had a sulphurous smell.

Queries.- Did the passing of the fluid through the umbrella prevent its burning the body? As no apparent injury was done to the body, bow are we to account for its effects in destroying life? Did it terminate life by destroying the electrical powers of the brain? I hope some of your readers will, through the medium of your valuable work, favour me with some remarks on these cases, and replies to my queries. R.R.-Phil. Mag.

Optics.--A very interesting case has just occurred, of a person born blind being restored to sight by the means of a surgical ope. ration:-A native of Burdwan, of the age of eighteen, was lately sent by his family to Dr. Luxmore, of whose success in the removal of the cataract they had heard by public report. The operation was performed on the 26th, and in six days he began to see and distinguish objects. After the celebrated case of Dr. Cheselden's pátient, whose sensations have been so minutely and philosophically laid before the public, it can hardly be expected that any discovery regarding the origin of our ideas of figure, distance, or quantity, could be extracted from the observation of an ignorant country boy, who, unaccustomed to think abstractedly, is little able to describe the gradual improvement of his intellect, under this sudden and astonishing introduction to the visible world. He confirmed, however, with readiness the conclusion, so obvious from the feelings of Dr. Cheselden's patient, that our common judgment of figure, quantity, and distance, is not an inherent faculty in the mind, but a practical result, from the ever-repeated experiment of comparing the perspective with the actual figure, bulk, or distance. For a cricket-ball was put in one hand, and a cube of soap in the other, and he was desired to describe their shape; he was unable to do it by his newly-acquired and inexperienced vision, and was obliged to have con. stant recourse to the more practised sense of feeling. When any ob

ject

ject is presented to him, although he can, without hesitation, declare its colour, he is wholly unable to decide on its quality, until he is allowed to handle it. - Bengal Paper. Hybernation

of Swallows.-Extract of a Letter from Joseph Wood, Esq. to a Gentleman in Washington, dated Marietta, June 30.

I came to this country in the autumn of 1785, and resided at Belleville, about three miles below this place, on the Virginia side, till 1791. During my residence there, I observed one evening, a little after sunset, a vast number of swallows collected together high in the air, and hovering over a particular spot; this was in autumn, when the weather began to grow cool. Having been informed by some of my school-mates, when a boy, that they had seen swallows dive into a mill-popd, and disappear; I was determined to watch these, and in about ten or fifteen minutes, as darkness approached, they lowered their flight, and concentrated in a smaller circle, and at length, to my surprise, poured into a very large hollow sycamoretree, about seventy feet above the ground. I observed that they came out for several successive days, and returned in the evening in the same manner. In the following year, some of the settlers cut down the tree; the hollow was about six feet in diameter, and was filled six inches deep with bones and feathers, and other remains of dead birds ;-such, probably, as were too old and feeble to fly out in the spring. They must have occupied the tree for many years. I have since seen two other trees that have fallen, with similar appearances.-Phil. Mag.

Our readers, who are not ignorant of the strong partics which exist in Liverpool concerning Miss M‘Evoy, may consider the following as a hoax of the incredulous sect. We know no informa. tion beyond what we ineet with in the Times Newspaper.

An extraordinary discovery in natural history was made at Lin verpool about a fortnight ago. As one of the stone-masons, in the employ.of the Dock Trustees, was dressing, on the sea-wall of the Regent's Dock, a huge stone, brought from the Western Point quarry, and after he had broken a considerable thickness from its outside, le discovered, in a hole of small diameter which was partially filled with clay and a loamy sand, three bees, in a state of animation, to the inexpressible astonishment of himself and fellowr workmen, many of whom were witnesses of this strange pbenonie

The foreman of the works put thenı into his handkerchief, where they remained for several hours afterwards; but, while exbi. biting his newly-resuscitated strangers, two of thenı flew away, and he voluntarily gave the third its liberty. These bees are described to us as having been of the drone species. We have questioned the person as to the truth of so singular a statement, and he attirms, that they were found in the interior of the solid stone, as we have described above, without any perceptible communication from witbout. Toads, and other similar animals, have been found, in a living state, in situations equally extraordinary; but we never heard be fore of any of the winged tribe being incased in the heart of a solid stone. This discovery is singular, and will furnish watter of curious speculation to the naturalist and the philosopher,"

non.

The following circular was, we believe, sent to most of the hospital and dispensary physicians in and about the metropolis :

GENTLEMEN,The Medical Committee of the Institution for the Cure and Prevention of Contagious Fevers in the Metropolis, being desirous of Jaying before the public the best information which they can procure rela. tive to the present state of febrile diseases in London, take the liberty of requesting you to favour them with your opinion as to the following points, yiz. Whether there has been, within the last few inonths, a greater quan. tity of fever admitted than for some time previous; and if so, of what cha sacter it has been, and of what degree of severity!

The Committee baving adjourned from this day to Tuesday next, the 11th inst, they will feel themselves particularly obliged by the favour of an answer, forwarded to me by Monday next, the 10th inst.

I am, Gentlemen, your obedient humble servant, 13, John-street, Bedford-row; (For CHARLES MURRAY, Secretary) Noo. 4, 1817.

JAMES A. MURRAY, It may seem strange that such a circular should appear at a time when the town is actually healthier than usual. That the late distresses have occasioned the usual fever attendant on want of food, and on other privaLions, is beyond a doubt; but, it is equally certain, that this fever has been less frequent and milder among the poor, than that which occurred at the close of the last, or beginning of the present, century. The reason is obvious,--the distresses have been less, and the readiness ac meeting them by subscriptions greater. The want of employment, too, has been more temporary, and the principal source of complaint now is the low rate of wages, particularly for common and agricultural labour. As hands are more wanted, this evil, it is to be hoped, will cure itself. Those who see as much of the working part of the community as falls to the lot of media cal men, must be aware that the imputation of idleness is far more general than the fact authorizes. The truth is, that most of these people are disposed to work too hard. It must be acknowledged, that this excess of Jabour often induces, whilst it serves as an apology for, an excess of drinks ing, both of which are inconsistent with health or longevity. On all these occasions, the fault is as vften with the employer as with the labourer, Men, properly educated, must, we should conceive, be aware, that, as a horse, however well fed, is soon worn out by hard work, the condition of a man must be similar. It becomes, therefore, the duty of masters to refuse an improper share of labour, and to employ inore hands, rather than in dulge this disposition to support unnatural exertions by artificial means. When men cannot continue their work without having recourse to an immoderate quantity of porter, no arguments are required to prove, that they are destroying themselves by labour, at the same time that a considerable part of their earnings is expended in increasing the very means of destruction.

All this while, our readers may be expecting us to say something about typhus If any thing could increase the absurdity of the term, it is,

tbat at last it has reached Prince Leopold.-He, we are told, has had symptoms of typhus. lf, as the nosologists teach us, typhus is febris lenta ner. vosa, certainly he has had cause enough for such an effect; and, if the term is confined to such cases, or to any cases whatever, we mighi learn what those who use it mean, That the fever from poverty has appeared in a mild form among the labouring class, cannot be questioned, and that it has, by some accidental communication, reached the mansions of the rich, is equally certain. But, in the first instance, it has extended to the whole house, and often to the wbole neighhourhood; in the last, it has ceased with the person affected. It is true, in the latter instauces, the disease has been inore severe, and sometimes fatal. This has occurred oftener in Ireland, and the provincial towns of England, than in London, because the distress having been greater, the quantity of fomes inhaled in the same quantity of almosphere bas been much more considerable, and, when re

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