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company of amiable, handsome, and delightful young women, and an enlivening glass.'
We can hardly wonder that a system which seemed to lead to such excesses should excite the strongest opposition in the minds of all moderate and sensible persons, and that the enthusiasm for it among the young and ardent should soon burn down after the death of its vehement apostle. Had Brown been a man of sobriety, he might have placed his doctrines on a much more enduring footing, and have himself achieved a great and permanent renown. Brown was the Paracelsus of Scotland.
He was gifted with great genius, but the victim of the most degrading vice. His career of folly impaired the power of his speculations. These, if read with attention, will be found singularly ingenious and captivating, from their logical coherence and simplicity; but they are radically fallacious as a guide to practice. On applying to his main doctrine the grand touchstone of experience, it was found not to answer, and has become entirely extinct, leaving, however, as genuine thoughts always do, an influence behind, which we find incorporated in succeeding systems.
“ Brown was wrong,” writes Fletcher, “in considering his excitability as imparted to every man in a certain proportion at birth, and not rather continually renewed ; he was wrong in making it in every part of the body of the same nature and not everywhere different; and, above all, he was wrong in allowing his doctrine concerning asthenic diseases, including most cases of inflammation and fever, to lead to the most pernicious employment of general stimuli, to the neglect of blood-letting in practice.
And these errors are too often held in remembrance,
while the real merits of his theory are forgotten or undervalued.
" " The evil that men do lives after them,
The good is oft interred with their bones.'” 2 Op. cit., p. clx.
thology, edited hy Dr. Drysdale and ? Fletcher's Elements of General Pa- Dr. Russell, p. 47.
Fatal and Disfiguring Effects of Small-pox—Jenner's Early Training–His Per
sonal Appearance-His Life in Gloucestershire—John Hunter on Hedgehogs and Love-sickness-His Marriage-His Patience-Difficulties of the Investigation–The Profession discourages him-He visits London-Declines London and £10,000 a-year-Danger of Vaccination from False Friends-Discussed in Parliament-Grants voted to Jenner-Opposition he encountered -Dr. Moseley on its Horrors-Moseley-charity suggests the proper Reward -Dr. Rowley backs Dr. Moseley-Vaccination spreads to Greece—French Claims considered-Jenner's Death and Monument.
The name of Jenner will for ever be honoured as the discoverer of the means of preventing the most terrible pestilence of modern times. It will seem no exaggeration to speak thus of the small-pox, if one considers the long period it has prevailed, its almost universal diffusion over the globe, the number of the victims it has destroyed, and the permanent injury it has inflicted on those whose lives it has spared. It is believed that small-pox has
existed from the remotest ages in China and Hindustan.' It is certain that it appeared in Arabia in the seventh century along with Mahomet-whether transported thither by human intercourse, or moving in obedience to that mysterious law of progress which regulates the advance of epidemics from east to west, is unknown; and that when the Saracens invaded Europe, they brought with them an ally more destructive than themselves, and one that remained in occupation long after their expulsion. The dread of the small-pox was so great in the East, that the person affected was abandoned by his friends, relatives, and neighbours. On one occasion, the capital of Thibet was deserted for three years by all its inhabitants, except the victims of this disease, who, of course, were left to perish. Similar scenes took place in Ceylon and in Russia. In one year two million persons are reported to have died of small-pox. In Iceland, in 1707, it destroyed sixteen thousand persons—one-fourth of the whole population. It has been calculated that there perished of this disease annually in Europe alone 210,000. So much for its diffusion and deadliness: it is more difficult to form an accurate estimate of the evils, when not fatal to life, which it left behind it. Some conception of its effects may be formed from the fact, that of the inmates of a blind asylum, three-fourths had lost their sight in consequence of small-pox. And to this we must add the amount of disfiguration it occasioned; which was so great that Addison gives as the example of the greatest shock he can conceive, the effect produced upon a pretty woman on first viewing her face in a mirror immediately after she has recovered from an attack of small-pox. Surely the man who succeeded in subduing this terrible dragon, had he been a Greek, and lived in the age of mythology, would have
1 Moore's History of the Small-pox. 2 Travels in the Island of Iceland,
by Sir George Mackenzie. 1810.
3 Moore's Reply, pp. 64-66.
come down to us as one of the demi-gods. But times are changed, and the life of this Englishman was sufficiently prosaic.
Edward Jenner was the third son of a clergyman of the Church of England. He was born in May, 1749, at Berkeley, in Gloucestershire. It became a most important fact in the world's history that Jenner was born and reared in the vale of Gloucester, a district celebrated for cows. Had he been born in any other than a dairy county, it is very unlikely he would have made his great discovery; for he was a man of observation and induction, not of erudition and speculative genius. Whether anyone else would have occupied his niche in the Temple of Fame, is a question we need not entertain; certain it is, that the facts from which he started had been long known, and were as ready for others as for him. His discovery was one of those open secrets of nature which, when once announced, seem so obvious and simple, that the affronted world exclaims, “We knew it all before.” At a very early age he showed a strong taste for natural history, collecting nests of the dormouse, fossils from the great oolitic formation on which he lived, and other objects of this kind. After the usual school-education of a boy in his circumstances, he was sent to the neighbourhood of Bristol, to be instructed in the practice of his future profession under the care of a Mr. Ludlow. Let us here remark, that two of the most celebrated British physicians, Cullen and Jenner, were both very early initiated in the practical part of their art; and without wishing to generalize from what some may consider cases of exceptional genius, let us suggest the question, whether the essential—that is, the practical—faculty would not be in danger of being sacrificed to the very important, but not quite essential element of medical education, if the student were obliged to go through a long general curriculum before being admitted to his professional studies? Of
course, if it were possible to combine literature and science with technical instruction, it might be a great advantage.
While engaged in assisting Mr. Ludlow, an incident occurred which gave rise to Jenner's first anticipation of his great discovery. A young countrywoman came for advice, and mentioned that she could not take small-pox, because she had had cow-pox. This was the local tradition, known
a tradition by many, and treated by the learned as a popular delusion. But the words sunk deep into the mind of young Jenner; and when he went to London, in 1770, one of the subjects on which he conversed with his teacher, John Hunter, was the possibility of substituting vaccination for inoculation. “ Dont think, but try," was the characteristic reply of the great British physiologist and surgeon, who, when a youth, had been assisted by Cullen, and now in his turn befriended Jenner. In speaking of
, Hunter, Jenner always called him “the dear man," and preserved all his letters with venerating care.
It seems to have been in the year 1773, or 1772 (for there is rather a confusion of dates in the life of Jenner), that he returned to his native county, and settled as a country surgeon in the small town of Berkeley. The following description of his personal appearance at that time, is given by his friend Edward Gardner :-"His height was rather under the middle size ; his person was robust, but active, and well-formed; in his dress he was particularly neat; and everything about him showed the man intent and serious, and well-prepared to meet the duties of his calling. When I first saw him it was at Frampton Green.
I was somewhat his junior in years, and had heard so much of Mr. Jenner, of Berkeley, that I had no small curiosity to
He was dressed in a blue coat and yellow buttons, buckskins, well-polished jockey-boots, with handsome silver spurs, and he carried a smart whip with a silver handle. His hair, after the fashion of the times, was done