« ForrigeFortsæt »
whose inhabitants retained the name of Romans, though they durst not encamp without their walls. But by surpassing the Arabians in art, they burnt their fleet with Greek fire, and compelled them to raise the siege. Thus the Mahometan empire was bounded by the Hellespont, and that entrance for the small-pox into Europe was barred up. And this was done so effectually, that it appears by Nonus, a physician who lived at Constantinople in the middle of the roth century, that the small-pox and measles were unknown even then.
• In spite of this check, the Arabians carried their arms eastward; the small-pox accompanied the Koran, and attacked some of the Saracen monarchs. For three of the early caliphs were pitted with small-pox, two had a white spot on each of their eyes, probably from the same cause, and one fell a victim to this disease.'
It will not be necessary for us to accompany the author through his detail of the gradual introduction of the disease into the different parts of Europe: but he has collected many interesting documents on the subject, and has shewn considerable acuteness in the application of the scattered observations of various writers to the object of his work. We shall notice only one circumstance, that it seems to have been the small-pox with which Charles VIII. was attacked, on his expedition for the conquest of Naples at the end of the fifteenth century.
Having now traced the account of the origin and progress of small-pox, we enter, in the fifth chapter, on a detail of the various theories that have been formed, and the plans of treatment that have been successively adopted. The narrative is arranged into periods, the first occupying the time from the appearance of the disease in Arabia to the fifteenth century; the second, from the fifteenth to the middle of the seventeenth century; and afterward the practice adopted by Sydenham and still supported to our own times. During the first of these periods, we do not expect much rational hypothesis or correct reasoning; yet we are indebted to the writers who then flourished, especially the Arabians, for an account of the phænomena of the disease, which is tolerably correct and characteristic; and, if their mode of treatment was not very efficacious, it was on the whole less decidedly bad than that of many of their successors. During the second period, when the theories prevailed which Mr. Moore designates by the title of · fire, philosophy, and the alexipharmic treatment,' we are compelled to admit that the interference of the medical art must have been injurious. One of the best informed writers of this age was Sennert, who practised at the commencement of the seventeenth century, rejected many of
the false doctrines of his predecessors, and discarded much of the astrological and alchemical reasoning which was fashionable among his contemporaries; yet
, respecting the management of small-pox, he lays down the most fatal doctrines :
Sennert was cautious of bleeding, and adverse to the exhibition of purgatives; and painful it is to relate that he considered the great indication was to expel the noxious humour by perspiration.
• To accomplish which, he recommended decoctions of figs, and of various seeds and plants supposed to possess sudorific properties. And when these failed, other drugs and compounds, which were termed alexipharmics, were had recourse to. Among these the bezoar, the coral and pearls, though costly, were very inno. cent: but the mithridate and Venice treacle were efficacious medicines : : yet, as their real powers were little understood, it may be doubted if much advantage accrued from their exhibition. He lastly directs" that while using the above medicines, every attention is to be paid, especially in winter, to hinder the admission of cold air. The patient is therefore to be tended in a warm chamber, and carefully covered up; lest by closing the pores of the skin, the efforts of nature should be impeded, the humors should be repelled, and the matter which ought to be driven out should be retained : from which anxiety, fever, and all the other symptoms would be augmented, to the imminent danger of the patient."
The history of the introduction of inoculation into this country by Lady Mary Wortley Montague, the virulent opposition which it had to encounter, its very slow progress, and the injurious effects which were produced by the influence of false hypotheses, are detailed in an interesting manner. Mr. Moore gives the following account of the nature of the operation, as it was practised about the middle of the last century; premising that a violent controversy had taken place respecting the use of purgatives :
The election made by different practitioners of the medicines of this class was various. In America, a combination of calomel and antimony became a favourite composition, and was thence transferred to England. And besides purgatives, emetics, bleed. ing, blisters, opiates, and nervous drugs, were all in use to combat the fever and convulsive fits, which sometimes ensued after inocu. lation. It was also the established practice then to confine the patients to their beds, and to encourage perspiration. The sores from inoculation frequently required much attention : they were always painful, and as the discharge was encouraged, they usually remained open during five or six weeks, and often longer.
• Inoculation had therefore become a very serious affair: for the preparatory treatment lasted commonly a month, and medical at. tendance was requisite for five or six weeks longer : and though occasional disasters were palliated, they could not be wholly concealed. Families, in moderate circumstances, and timid mothers, were not therefore very easily induced to incur the expence and risk of such a process. Consequently, the practice of inoculation, though widely diffused, was in a great measure confined to the opulent. In London, it was more generally practised than elsewhere ; and four or five hundred poor people were likewise annually inoculated in the Small-pox Hospital. The practice in Scotland had been resumed at Dumfries in 1733, and was gradually extended to Edinburgh, and to the most remote cities. It appeared from a calculation made by Professor Monro in 1765, that between five and six thousand persons had been inoculated in the whole of Scotland, in thirty-one years; which, on an average, was one hundred and eight annually: and the fatal cases amounted to one in seventy-eight. Nothing therefore could be more vain than the expectations of those who imagined that such a system could ever be universally adopted.'
About this period, a great improvement took place in the method of managing the operation, which was effected in the first instance by the Suttons. Both the disease itself was rendered less dangerous to the individual and the practice was much more extensively diffused : yet a very unfortunate consequence on the general state of society was produced ; viz. that, by keeping the contagion always alive, a great number of deaths from small-pox actually ensued:
« The confession that must be made is mortifying to a profes. sional man : for, according to such records as we possess, it appears, that in spite of all medical exertion, the mortality of small-pox had progressively augmented. It has been made evi. dent by calculations from the bills of mortality of the city of London, renowned for medical science, that at the beginning of the eighteenth century, about one-fourteenth part of the inhabitants died of the small-pox. And, during the last thirty years of that century, when the practice in small-pox was highly improved, the mortality by that disease had augmented to one-tenth.
• The annual loss of lives by small-pox in Great Britain and Ireland in this latter period was separately calculated by two able physicians, and the result laid before a Committee of the House of Commons. The one estimated the numbers at 34,260, adding that he believed those deaths to be under the truth." The other physician made them amount to 36,000.'
This statement, of the truth of which no reasonable doubt can be entertained, affords the strongest argument for the substitution of the vaccine instead of the variolous inoculation; and, when we farther reflect that, in this latter operation, even if conducted on the most improved plan, death sometimes ensued and occasionally very unpleasant consequences of a different kind, we cannot feel sufficiently grateful
for the benefits which we have it in our power to obtain from the cow-pox. - We shall conclude with recommending Mr. Moore's work to all our medical readers, and even to those who are not immediately connected with the profession, as containing a large fund of curious and interesting information, conveyed in a clear and lively manner.
ART IX. Memoirs of the Life of the Rev. Richard Price, D.D. F.R.S. By William Morgan, F.R.S. 8vo. pp. 189. 6s.
Boards. Hunter. W
ELL known as the name of Dr. Price has been for so
many years, and much as he has been respected for his talents and his virtues, the public cannot fail to welcome an account of his life from the pen of his nephew, whose own name is also not new in the annals of literature and science. It will give us pleasure to make a brief abstract of the information which he has communicated to us.
We learn that the amiable subject of these memoirs was born 23d Feb. 1723, at Tynton, in the parish of Langeinor, in the county of Glamorgan; his father being minister to a congregation of Protestant Dissenters at Bridgend in the same county, and so deeply tinctured with Calvinistic principles, that the liberal and enlightened spirit which the son displayed throughout his life can be in no degree attributed to paternal admonition. Indeed, having one day discovered his son reading a volume of Clarke's sermons, he was so much exasperated by this supposed contamination of the youth's orthodoxy that he threw the book into the fire. This feeling actuated bim still farther; and, at his death in 1739, he bequeathed almost the whole of his property to another and more favoured son; so that the subject of these memoirs, with his mother and five more children, was left in circumstances of considerable embarrassment.
At the age of eighteen years, Richard Price left Wales for the metropalis; where he was admitted into the academy, which Mr. Coward had founded for the education of Dissenters. Here he devoted himself with ardour to the pursuit of knowlege, and obtained a great proficiency in mathematical science and theological literature. On quitting this academy, Mr. Price resided during nearly thirteen years as chaplain in the family of Mr. Streatfield, at Stoke Newington ; sometimes officiating in different dissenting congregations, particularly in that of the Old Jewry, to which Dr. Chandler was then minister. On one of these occasions, the Doctor reproved the manner of his clerical auxiliary as being characterized by too much vehemence, and deficient in the requisite modesty. It is probable that a little envy at the popularity which Mr. Price was acquiring lurked at the bottom of this reproof: but it is certain that the reproof itself made a strong and undesirable impression on his sensitive temperament; his subsequent delivery being marked rather by a chilling languor than a redundant animation. This alteration rendered him less popular in the pulpit, and, during a considerable interval in his ministry, diminished the number of his auditors and weakened the effect of his preaching.
In 1756, the pecuniary circumstances of Mr. Price were improved by a legacy bequeathed to him by Mr. Streatfield, and by some property which had been left to him by his uncle. The amount of this latter benefaction might probably have been greater, if the orthodoxy of the nephew had made a nearer approximation to that of the uncle: but the latter, having on one occasion discovered that his nephew did not acquiesce in the proper divinity of Jesus Christ, declared that “ he had rather see him transformed into a pig, than that he should have been brought up to be a dissenting minister without believing in the Trinity.” Mr. Price moved his residence to Newington Green in the year 1758, having married a lady of the name of Blundell in the previous year; and about this time he published his treatise on the Foundation of Morals, which introduced him to the acquaintance of several persons of literary eminence; -- to that of Dr. Adams, of Pembroke College, Oxford, Dr. Douglas the late Bishop of Salisbury, and David Hume.
Mr. Price appears to have been always forcibly impressed with a devout sense of the duties which belong to the ministerial office: but, at this period, he seems to have considered other studies as a sort of unauthorized deduction from the time which ought to be occupied by more sacred contemplation. Hence, during the first few years of his residence at Newington Green he devoted himself almost wholly to the composition of sermons, and the toils of theological disquisition. In 1762 he accepted an invitation to succeed Dr. Benson, as evening-preacher in Poor-Jewry-lane: but, not withstanding this accession to his ecclesiastical labours, he appears to have been so much discouraged by the apathy of his auditors, (a great part of whom he mentions, on one occasion, to have fallen asleep while he was preaching on the future . judgment,) that he had determined to give up preaching altogether, from an idea that his talents were totally unfit for the office of a public speaker.'