« ForrigeFortsæt »
able trunk hose, which were breeches sitting close to the leg, and stuffed out enormously about the hips. The women appeared in long boddices, with or without skirts, and the famous farthingale, which was an immense hooped petticoat; they also invented a kind of doublet with high wings and puffed sleeves, a costume in full fashion in the beginning of the reign of Elizabeth. To give our readers a better notion of the costume of this period, we will again quote from Scott, who was extremely correct and minutely accurate in his descriptions. Whom, then, can we select, as a more worthy representative of the fashions of the sixteenth century, than that renowned cavalier Sir Piercie Shafton? His first appearance is thus described: "He has a crimson velvet bonnet, and long, brown hair falling down under it, and a beard on his upper lip, and his chin clean and close shaved, save a small patch on the point of it, and a sky-blue jerkin slashed, and lined with white satin, and trunk hose to suit." Again, in speaking of his wardrobe, Sir Piercie gives the following catalogue, which might drive a modern dandy to despair. "My rich crimson silk doublet, slashed out and lined with cloth of gold, which I wore at the last revels, with baldric and trimmings to correspond; also two pair of black silk slops, with hanging garters of carnation silk; also the flesh-colored silken doublet with the trimmings of fur, in which I danced the salvage man at the Gray's Inn mummery." "There are four suits of as pure and elegant device as ever the fancy of a fair lady doated upon, every one having a treble and appropriate change of ribbons, trimmings, and fringes, which, in case of need, may, as it were, renew each of them, and multiply the four into twelve. There is also my sad-colored riding suit, and three cut-work shirts with falling bands," &c. Such were the wonders of the wardrobe in the sixteenth century.
And here we leave the subject of costumes. The changes of dress since that time have been great. The subject is ample and amusing, as connected with politics, literature, and religion, as well as fashion, but we forbear to pursue it. We have already far exceeded the limits we first fixed for our article, and we might engage in speculations which would be thought foreign to the matter.
ART. VII. Boylston Prize Dissertations for the Years 1836 and 1837. By OLIVER WENDELL HOLMES, M. D., Fellow of the Massachusetts Medical Society, and Member of the Société Médicale d'Observation of Paris. Boston; Charles C. Little and James Brown. 1838. 8vo. pp. 371.
IN 1803, Ward Nicholas Boylston established a fund, affording an income of one hundred dollars a year, to be expended in prizes for Medical Dissertations; the fund to be managed by the Corporation of Harvard University, and the prizes to be awarded by a committee of physicians, appointed by the Corporation. At first three subjects were proposed in each year; and the premium awarded to the author of the best dissertation on each, was a gold medal of the value of thirty-three dollars. In 1815, the number of annual questions was reduced, at the suggestion of the Committee, to two, and the value of the medal increased to fifty dollars; and so it continues to the present time. It would have been still better, if the whole sum had been appropriated to a single medal each year. The Committee, in 1815, recommended this change; but the founder did not assent to it.
As it is, the Boylston medal has drawn out a considerable number of discussions, some of them of no small degree of merit. The questions proposed are such as the committee judge to be best suited to lead to valuable discoveries or important observations; and entire impartiality in the adjudication of the premium is secured by having the names of the authors concealed until after the award is made, when the sealed packet, accompanying the successful dissertation, is alone opened. Unsuccessful authors are never known, unless they choose to avow themselves; and thus they are spared any mortification, which might otherwise add to the disappointment of their failure. The volume before us contains three Dissertations, for which the Boylston premiums were awarded to the author in 1836 and 1837. It affords a proof of his industry as well as of his talents, that the author should be successful in obtaining three prizes in two successive years, gaining in the latter year both that were offered.
The first Dissertation is a "History of Intermittent Fever,"
so far as it is known to have prevailed in New England, on the question, as proposed by the Committee; "To what Extent, and in what Places, has Intermittent Fever been indigenous in New England?" For many years past, the only cases of this disease, which have appeared among us, except in a few peculiar situations, have been evidently caused by exposure elsewhere. There were some traditions, and some scattered notices, which seemed to imply that it was not always so; but that, on the contrary, the early settlers of New England, had, in common with most pioneers in a new country, to encounter this among the other difficulties of their enterprise. The inquiry, therefore, involved more of antiquarian research than of recent history. The materials for the investigation were few, and of the most miscellaneous character. The few physicians who accompanied the early Pilgrims, seem to have had too much else to do, to employ themselves in writing for the benefit, or to gratify the curiosity, of their successors. There were no medical journals to receive occasional communications; and to make a medical book was an undertaking in that day rarely accomplished, and in this new world not attempted till long after.
What notices there are of the early diseases of New England, are to be found chiefly in the incidental mention of them in the letters and journals of the first settlers, as collected in biographical memoirs, and local histories; and in the traditions, which, in some instances, have been handed down and preserved by curious conservators of the sayings and doings of their ancestors. In these repositories of ancient occurrences Dr. Holmes has made a diligent search; and he has succeeded in bringing together many facts, of which the record was scarcely known to exist, and in rescuing from oblivion others, of which the knowledge would soon have been irretrievably lost.
It may serve as an encouragement to the inhabitants of some of our new settlements to hope for healthier days, at least for their children, when their forests shall have more thoroughly decayed, to learn, that the same fever and ague, which now so seriously disturbs their comforts and enjoyments, once pervaded the most healthy parts of New England, from which it has wholly disappeared for more than a century. The justly celebrated Eliot contracted the disease in his missionary excursions to the Indians on the hills in
Newton; where no trace of it has been seen for several generations.
Since the early forests were cleared off, Intermittent fever has appeared in New England only in a very few situations, in which some peculiar local cause has operated to produce it. An example of this kind occurred on the banks of the Connecticut River, in Hampshire county, MassachuA dam was carried across the river, in 1792, at South Hadley, to aid the operations of a canal, in consequence of which the low grounds on the borders of the river were partially overflowed. For several years after, fever and ague prevailed to a considerable extent in the neighbourhood; and so confidently was it attributed to the dam, that several of the sick persons recovered damages at law from the canal corporation, and ultimately the dam was removed by order of court, and the disease has rarely, if ever, originated there since.
The valley of the Housatonic River, in Berkshire county, has been still more productive of intermittents. The detailed accounts of these, given by Dr. Holmes, belong rather to the members of his profession, interesting as they are to them, than to our readers in general. But we cannot forbear to quote an amusing example of successful confidence in an empirical remedy, from the letter of one of his correspondents, written at the advanced age of eighty-seven years.
"About forty years ago," writes Dr. Partridge, of Stockbridge, "a Mr. Smith, from the hills east in Connecticut, bought a farm, mostly tillage land, in the southwest part of Stockbridge, bounding east on the river, (west on a hill,) here raised some way above and below said, farm; no stagnant water near, fogs rare (except in calm weather), and more rarely reaching his house, on rising ground, so as to hide the morning sun. His wife of a sedate disposition, quiet and slow of speech, not readily disturbed and rarely from home. After about two years (1802 I think), the occurrence took place. I lodged in Tyringham, say about ten miles southeast from home; in the morning rode a few miles northeast into Haycock Hollow, to see a patient, and return home down said vale through South Lee; between 9 and 10 A. M., I met said Mrs. Smith, riding southeast up said vale, as I supposed, out only on a visit, and passed with only a 'Good morning.' I here was nine miles from home, and she nearly thirteen. The same day, at four o'clock, P. M., four miles northwest from home, I
met Mrs. Smith again, three miles north from her home. I stopped to say, Where have you been to-day? You must have been a round-about way, to be returning on this road.' She says, 'I do not know where I have been. A few days ago, the fever ague took me, and I was told, that if I would rise early in the morning, eat some crusts of bread and drink water, and take an horse, and crusts in my pocket, and ride all day, all the roads I could find which I never see before, and eat only crust and drink water, I should lose the fever ague.' 'Well, is this your fit day? 'Yes.' 'Have you felt any ague? 'No; a little before I see you in the morning, I might have a little chill; but I did not regard it, the sun was so warm and pleasant.' Any fever?' 'No; but may have drinked more water than common with my crusts, and felt pretty well all day, but now am some tired.' Where have you been?' I do not know. After I saw you in the morning I rode on, and coming to the hills, turned and came back, took a road, went on north, till noon, or after, and turned about to find the way home, going right, I suppose?' 'Yes, farewell.' Desiring to know the issue of the strange impression on her mind, with the exercise and diet, I soon after went and inquired as to the event, and found that she lost the ague and fever that day, and had no more of it."
pp. 98, 99. The second Dissertation, "On the Nature and Treatment of Neuralgia," gives scope to a different kind of investigation. A young man, just entering upon the practical duties of his profession, cannot of course be expected to do much in the way of discovery, by original observations, in reference to an obscure and not very frequent disease. All that is left for him to do is, to collect the best observations of others, and, by a skilful examination and comparison of them, to draw from them such a description of the disease, and of its character and treatment, as they afford the means for. This Dr. Holmes has done; and with such industry and ability, as to render his treatise highly valuable to the profession.
The third Dissertation, "On the Utility and Importance of Direct Exploration in Medical Practice," had been already published; and under rather peculiar circumstances. It obtained for its author the Boylston premium for 1836. Two other dissertations on the same subject, though not entitled to the prize as being the best, were thought by the Committee worthy of notice; and, a liberal medical gentleman having furnished the means, they awarded a prize of the same pe