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ON THE ORIGIN OF HOSPITALS FOR
ceed, as any noise or alarm might occasion the death of both lady and child. The captain inquired when the lady had been confined ? “ Within The Greeks had no name to express this hour," the servant answered:- what we understand by the word hosCaptain Macdonald stopped. The ser- pital. Norozmusoy has a different meanvant added, “ They are just going to ing in the classical Greek writers, and christen the infant." -Macdonald, tak- is first used, as we now translate it, by ing off his cockade, said, “ Let her be St Jerome and St Isidore. At Athens, christened with this cockade in her provision was made in the prytaneum cap; it will be her protection now, for the maintenance of those who had and after, if any of our stragglers been severely wounded in war, as well should come this way: We will await as for that of their wives and children; the ceremony in silence;"-which they but there was no asylum for even accordingly did, and then went into these persons in case of sickness. Far the coach-yard, and were regaled with less was any such accommodation withbeef, cheese, ale, &c. They then went in the reach of the poor citizens, or off, without the smallest disturbance. the mercenaries who always formed a
My white cockade was safely pre- large proportion of the Athenian force. served, and shewn to me from time to At Lacedemon, where, according to time, always reminding me to respect the rule of Lycurgus, all the citizens the Scotch, and the Highlanders in eat in common, there was nevertheless particular.--I think I have obeyed the no establishment which bore any reinjunction, by spending my life in semblance to our hospitals. The HeScotland, and also by hoping at last to lots were abandoned in case of sickdie there.
ness; and a similar fate attended even ROSEMARY CLERK. the Ephori themselves, if they happen
ed to have no private fortune. This P. S. If the above anecdote can be neglect of the Athenian and Spartan of any interest to you or the public, it legislatures was imitated by the other is very much at your service. I have Grecian states. In the oath of Hippomentioned all the names of the persons crates, that illustrious physician swears, concerned, which you may retain or “ that he will all his life visit the sick leave out, as you think fit.
and give them his advice gratis.” At Miss Law, Prince's Street, hearing that time the medical practitioners of the above anecdote, sent me a pre- were both surgeons and apothecaries, sent of the Prince's picture, and that so it would appear that Hippocrates of his lady, the Princess Stollberg. furnished the sick in his neighbourEdinburgh, April 21st, 1817. hood with medicines without expect
ing any reward.
Among the Romans, in like manner, we should seek in vain for any establishments intended to alleviate the sufferings of the indigent sick. Nothing of
sort is mentioned among The following inscription was lately the pious institutions of Numa; and discovered when digging in the church Servius, who distributed the people inof St Hilary, in the island of Jersey. to classes, never thought of the numeIf we except one barbarism, and one rous classes of poor, sick, and infirm. strong license, the epitaph may bear a During the time of the republic there comparison with most of the inscrip- were frequent distributions of land, tions in the Latin Anthology.
and divisions of the spoils taken from
the enemies of the state, which ameEnysea de stirpe meum Cornubia partum liorated in some degree the lot of those Vindicat. Hillarius jam tenet ossa sacer. who were called the capite censi, bePer Sporades Gallosque pium comitata ma. cause they could offer nothing to the
ritum, Deferor huc: visa est sors mihi nulla gravis. lour and their life. Yet all these
service of their country but their vaViximus unanimes, et prima prole beati; In mundum duplici morte secunda venit.
largesses and gratifications were disPignora dividimus : comitatur me morien. tributed among those who enjoyed
good health, and no establishments Mortua ; solatur filia prima patrem. for the sick were erected either under
INSCRIPTION IN THE CHURCH OF
the republic or under the emperors. a seigneurial hospital destined for These last indeed erected baths and their reception. But it is not till the thermæ for the use of the poor, and establishment of Christianity that we also made public distributions of food; can find any traces of those institu, and in these respects their example tions, which are now so common in was followed by the wealthy patrie Christendom, for the accommodation cians, who affected to give every day of the infirm and the unfortunate. In to their poor clients what went by the spite of all the persecutions to which name of the sportula. We see by the the first Christians were exposed, we descriptions of Juvenal, that the poor find, that about the year 258, Laurenand infirm dependants of these nobles tius, chief of the deacons, assembled a had no other resource to look to; for, great number of poor and sick, who according to him, the most acute dis- were supported by the alms of the tempers could not prevent them drag, church. But it was in the year 380 ging their steps to the portico, and that the first regular hospital was soliciting their share in the sportula. built. St Jerome informs us, that “ Quid macies ægri veteris quem tempore Fabiola, a Roman matron of distin. longo
guished piety, founded, for the first Torret quarta dies olimque domestica febris, time, a nosocomium, that is, as he &c.”
himself explains it, a house in the It is easy to see that no public a- country for the reception of those un. sylum was open for their reception. happy sick and infirm persons who Both Greeks and Romans, then the were before scattered among the places two most polished nations of antiqui- of public resort,--and for the purpose ty, consecrated no retreats for the un- of furnishing them in a regular man fortunate. This was most probably ner with nourishment, and those me the consequence of their constitutions dicines of which they might stand in and forms of government. Divided at need." This establishment was situ. all times into freemen and slaves, the ated at some distance from the city, legislatures of these two nations never and in a healthy part of the country bestowed much attention on the second When Constantine transferred the of these great bodies of men-but al- seat of the empire to Byzantium, he ways regarded them as of a different
caused an hospitium to be erected for race, and, as it were, the dregs of hu. the use of those strangers and pilmanity. A slave dangerously ill was grims who had by his time begun to left entirely to the care of his fellows visit the East from motives of religion. in servitude; in many instances his This edifice was constructed after the master would not even be at the ex- model of the house which Hircanus pense of burying his corpse, and allow. had built at Jerusalem, about 150 ed it to be thrown out to the vultures. years before the commencement of our The Esquiline Mount, whitened, ac- That prince sought, by the escording to Horace, by the great num- tablishment to which I allude, to puriber of bones left there in heaps by fy himself, in the eyes of the Jews, these birds of prey, is a sufficient proof from the stain which he had contracthow little care was taken of the fune- ed by the sacrilegious rifling of the rals of the poor. These unhappy men, tomb of David. The riches which he of whom there was always a great had procured in that impious manner, number even in the best days of Athens would, he flattered himself, be less and Rome, had then no other resource unfavourably regarded, if he should in their calamities but private charity, share them with the poor pilgrims, the strength of their constitutions, or whom zeal or curiosity drew in multithe crisis of nature.
tudes to the capital of Judea. This, The temple of Esculapius, in the according to Isidore, is the origin of island of the Tiber, was indeed a sort the name ziv doglov, i. e. hospital for of hospital, although far from corres- strangers, which was given to this ponding exactly to what we call by building. In the year of our Lord that name ; at least, the law of the 550, the Emperor Justinian constructEmperor Claudius, which declares that ed, at Jerusalem, the celebrated hosslaves abandoned by their masters in pital of St John, which was the cradle the island of Esculapius, should be held of the military order of the knights of free in case of their recovery, seems to Rhodes and Malta. His successors intimate that there was in that place imitated his example with so much
zeal, that Ducange thinks Constanti- formed, by order of the French govern. nople contained at one time thirty-five ment, about the year 1788, in which a different charitable institutions of this committee of medical persons and arnature. Those who travelled to the chitects, gave their united opinions as holy land were there received gratis to the general rules which ought to be into commodious hotels, and from these observed in all buildings of this nathe caravansaries of the East have taken ture. Their principal remarks are these their origin-buildings which a few -that all the wards should be sepacenturies ago attracted so much admi- rate that a free communication, by ration from Europeans, accustomed to means of covered galleries, should be the hostelleries of their own countries, kept up between all parts of the house at that time at once dear and filthy. -so large as to admit of the utmost The Emperor Julian attributed in a purity of air, and to be serviceable, as great measure to these charitable insti- promenades, for the convalescents. tutions the rapid progress of Christian- The hospitals of this city, and of ity, and had it in view to attempt the Glasgow, have been long regarded with re-establishment of Paganism by simi- much admiration by all visitors; and lar means. “We pay not sufficient at- the Lunatic asylum, lately erected in tention (says he in a letter to Arsaces, the latter city, is perhaps the most sovereign pontiff of Galatia) to those noble monument of the professional means which have most contributed to talents of the late Mr Stark.* Q. the extension of the Christian super- Edinburgh, March 1817. stition—I mean kindness to strangers, and attention to the burial of the poor. Erect forthwith, in all your cities, hos
SITTING BELOW THE SALT." pitals for the reception of strangers,
MR EDITOR, not only those of your own faith, but all indifferently; and if they stand in In your last Number I read a short need of money, let them bé supplied paper, entitled, “ On sitting below the by the imperial officers.”
Salt,” in which the author gives seIn the Byzantine historians, and in veral quotations to prove thať the anthe ancient charters, these hospitals cient custom mentioned in the “ Black receive different names, as Nosoco- Dwarf,” and “ Old Mortality,” of mium, retreat for the sick-Xenodo- placing the guests above or below the chium, Xenon, retreat for strangers salt, according to their respective digPtochium, Ptochodochium, Ptochotro. nities, was not a mere fabrication of
the writer's brain. In common with phium, hospital for the poor and mendicants-Brephotrophium, asylum for your correspondent, I have heard men indigent children ---Orphanotrophium, of information, and even of antiquarian orphan hospital-Gerocomium, hospi- research, express their doubts as to tal for old men- -Pandochæum, gratui
the existence of such a custom during tous hotel or caravansary-Morotro- any period of our history. phium, hospital for idiots.
Being an ardent admirer of the two In the very interesting work of works which have recently called our Durand, entitled, “ Parallele des Edie attention to this fashion fices de tout genre,
we find a com
cestors, and as it is in these works parative view of the plans of a great ables' me to judge, that such a prac
alone, in as far as my information enmany different hospitals of various kinds, such as those of Milan, Geneva, tice has been alluded to in modern Plymouth, St Louis at Paris,
Langres, times, I feel anxious to contribute tothe Incurables at Paris, the Lazaretto wards the exculpation of their myste
rious author, from the charge of for persons afflicted with the plague at Milan, &c.—The great hospital at mingling the spirit of fiction with the Milan, on account of its vast dimene voice of truth. sions, and the form of a cross in which
In addition, therefore, to the proofs it is built, and also on account of the which have been adduced in your first numerous galleries which every where Number, I beg leave to call your atsurround the building, was long look
tention to the following extracts, which ed upon as the best model of hospital have escaped the notice of J. M.; and architecture. The architects of the which, besides shewing the universalidifferent hospitals in Paris, as well as
* The reader may find much information those of this country, have all taken upon this interesting subject, in Beckmann's useful hints from it. A report was History of Inventions, vol. 4.
ty of the practice, are somewhat curió Revels, by Ben Jonson, I find the folous in themselves, and worthy the lowing passage :perusal of your readers.
“ Merc. He will censure or disI find the distinction of seats, in re- course of any thing, but as absurdly lation to the position of the salt-vat, as you would wish.-His fashion is, familiarly known to English writers as not to take knowledge of him that is far back as 1597, at which time were beneath him in clothes.--He never published the earlier works of Joseph drinks below the salt." -Act II. Scene Hall, successively bishop of Exeter III. and Norwich, and one of our first legi- And in the “ Unnatural Combat of timate satirists. As Hall's satires have Massinger, the same custom is alluded never been printed in a commodious to. form, they may not have fallen into “ Stew. My Lord much wonders, the hands of the generality of your
That you that are a courtier as a soldier, readers, and as the one which contains
In all things else, and every day can vary the illusion to the custom in question Your actions and discourse, continue conis short, and affords a good example To this one suit. of that writer's style, I shall insert it Belg. To one ! 'tis well I have one at full length.
Unpawn'd in these days; every cast com“A gentle Squire would gladly entertaine
mander Into his house some trencher-chaplaine ;
Is not blest with the fortune, I assure you. Some willing man that might instruct his But why the question ? does this offend
him ? And that would stand to good conditions. Stew. Not much, but he believes it is the First, that he lie upon the
truckle-bed, Whiles his young maister lieth o'er his head. You ne'er presume to sit above the salt.” Second, that he do, on no default,
Act III. Scene I. Ever presume to sit above the salt.
“ It argues little (says Gifford on Third, that he never change his trencher the above passage) for the delicacy of twice.
our ancestors, that they should admit Fourth, that he use all common courtesies ; Sit beare at meales, and one half rise and but in truth they seem to have placed
of such distinctions at their board ; wait. Last, that he never his young master beat,
their guests below the salt, for no betBut he must ask his mother to define,
ter purpose than that of mortifying How many jerkes she would his breech them.' should line.
That this custom was not limited All these observed, he could contented be to our own island, but was familiar To give five markes and winter liverie." at least in France, is evinced by the
Satire VI. B. 2d.
following passage from Perat, who In an entertaining old book, by flourished about the middle of the sixNixon, entitled, “ Strange Foot-Post, teenth century. In speaking of the with a packet full of strange petitions, manners suitable to men of noble birth, London 1613, 4to, the author, speak- in regard to the different kinds of ridiing of the miseries of a poor scholar, cule and pleasantry, he says of one makes the following observations : species, “ Neque ejusmodi dicacitates
Now, as for his fare, it is lightly nobilitatem honestant: quamvis enim at the cheapest table, but he must sit clientium caterva, amicorum humiliunder the salt, that is an axiome in ores, totaque omnino infra salinum stisuch places :-then having drawne his pata cohors, scurrantem dominum, et knife leisurably, unfolded his napkin (ut ait Flaccus,) imi Derisorem lecti, mannerly, after twice or thrice wiping cachinnationibus suis insulsis adulari his beard, if he have it, he may reach soleant; ii. tamen,” &c.-De Inst, the bread on his knife's point, and Nob. p. 36. fall to his porrige, and between every The foregoing quotations, however sponefull take as much deliberation as curious in themselves, may, I fear, in a capon craming, lest he be out of his regard to the subject which they are porrige before they have buried part intended to illustrate, have appeared of their first course in their bellies.' redundant or unnecessary to some of (F. 3.)
your readers, particularly after the In the works of our early dramatists satisfactory instances brought forward there are not unfrequent allusions of by J. M. of the prevalence of the a similar nature.
same custom. Thus, in the play called Cynthia's On a general view, it would form a
ON THE FALL OF VOLCANIC DUST IN
THE ISLAND OF BARBADOES.
curious subject of research, and might bining, in their persons, the different throw considerable light on the man- characters of both parties? Or, 2dly, ners and institutions of our ancestors, Did these opposite extremes unite in to investigate thoroughly the history the person of an individual on either of this singular fashion, and to mark side of the table, placed immediately the different changes which an indi- in front of the salt-vat? Or, 3dly, Was vidual of talent and enterprise was al- there no such“ union of extremest lowed to make in taking up his posi- things” permitted, but a vacant space tion at table, according to the increase or gap opposite the salt-vat on both of his wealth and consequent utilitysides, leaving a blank in the fair chain and the effects of such changes on his of gradation, similar to that which has general habits, and on the behaviour been caused in the scale of nature's of those who were formerly his com- works by the extinction of the mighty panions in obscurity.
Mastodon, which formerly inhabited The passages quoted by J. M. from the salt-licks of North America ? that most curious work, the Memorie Hoping that the preceding quota of the Somervilles, clearly demonstrate tions, observations, and queries, may the wide distinction of rank that existo meet with a favourable reception, if ed in this country at comparatively a not on their own account, at least from recent period, between noble and igno- the chance of their exciting the attenble tenures-between the Goodman, tion of others more able to communiRentaller or Yeoman, and the Laird or cate information on such curious to
Baron. It would be an interesting pics, I remain, respectfully, your obeinquiry, to trace the circumstances dient servant,
P. F. which contributed to break down the Edinburgh, 1st May, 1817. jealous barriers of feudal honours, and to point out the period and manner in which the nature
of the holding came to be at last almost overlooked in aug.
[The following excellent letter, containmenting or disparaging gentility. ing an account of the fall of volcanic dust
On a more minute investigation, it in Barbadoes, has been communicated to would be equally curious to examine us by a friend.] specific distinctions which existed
SIR, between the two men who were placed In compliance with your request, I together, the one above and the other have drawn up a detail of the circuma below the salt-vat, and to study that stances (as far as I was an eye-witness) beautiful combination of character, by of the fall of volcanic dust in the island which they formed the links in the of Barbadoes, which occurred on May social chain which united the nobility 1st, 1812, and which was produced of one end of the table, with the hum- by an eruption of the volcano in the ble tenants of the other,---leading by neighbouring island of St Vincent, an almost imperceptible transition from lying to leeward, or to the westward the meanest appendage of a feudal of Barbadoes. feast, to the mailed retainer and the I was at that time resident on the plumed baron.
north-east coast of the island of BarBut I am unwilling to anticipate the badoes, or in what is termed the windobservations of your correspondent, ward part of that island, about eleven who will, I trust, make good his pro- miles from the principal town. On mise, of favouring the public with a the shore of this district, it may
be continuation of his remarks.
proper to remark, there is almost conIn the meantime, to exercise the stantly a heavy surf rolling, produced learning and ingenuity of your anti- by the trade-wind impelling the sea quarian friends, I beg leave to propose on a coast completely iron-bound by the following queries, the solution of rocks and rocky shoals. which will tend greatly to facilitate the During the night preceding May labours of future inquirers.
1st, I was awakened by what I took 1st, Were the two great classes of to be signal-guns of distress from some society assembled at the same table, ships wrecked at no great distance ; connected by means of two individuals in a very short time the explosions on each side, seated together, the one became so frequent, as to induce me as it were placed opposite to the upper rather to believe that they proceeded or noble half of the salt-vat, the other from two vessels engaging each other. to the lower or ignoble half, and come In the town, these explosions, as I