Imatges de pÓgina

and requiring students to attend them, preparatory to their undergoing an examination and procuring a licence to practice.

“ Although a medical college has been in existence in this state since 1792, and a considerable number of students have resorted to it, attendance on lectures has never been imperative ; indeed, until 1818, no inducement was held out for such attendance. În a law passed that year, by the legislature, it was enacted, that the regular term of study should be four years, from which one year might be deducted, if the student bad attended one full course of lectures at some incorporated medical institution in this state or elsewhere. This last provision, although not positively requiring attendance on lectures, has had a more important influence on the spread of medical education, in this state, than any other provision in the statutes regulating the practice of physic and surgery. At first, most of the students attended lectures, rather with a view to shorten the term of study, than from any expectation of special benefit from the lectures-so little were the great body of practitioners aware of the advantages the public schools possessed over private offices, for the instruction of students.”

The example first set in Philadelphia, in 1763, by Dr. Wm. Shippen, to establish a Medical School in the then colonies, was soon followed by New York. In 1767, a medical faculty was organized, under the charter of King's (now Columbia) College. During the revolutionary war, however, the lectures were discontinued, and were not again resumed until some time after the return of peace.

“ In 1792, the trustees of Columbia College re-organized the medical faculty, consisting of six professors, and the school was re-opened. It began with the fairest prospects of success- being situated in the largest and most commercial city in the Union-possessing an able faculty, and having in its vicinity an extensive hospital, to which its pupils could resort, for practical instruction. Nor were the expectations of its friends disappointed. It continued to rise in character and to increase in the number of its pupils until 1807, when in an evil hour, another medical school was established in ihe same city.”

The reference made to the new school was the College of Physicians and Surgeons, which was incorporated. The struggle between the two schools is represented to have been a discreditable strife, productive of disastrous consequences to both, as well as to the profession at large.

“A union between the Faculty of Medicine of Columbia College and the College of Physicians and Surgeons took place in 1814. From this time a new era for the College of Physicians and Surgeons began. It rapidly acquired fame, and a corresponding accession of students, from every part of the United States, from the West Indies, and from the British Provinces."

But these brilliant prospects and beginning fruition of lucre and fame were blighted by discord between the Board of Trustees, composed chiefly of medi. cal men, and the professors. The difficulties between these parties could not be adjusted, and the professors in a body resigned their chairs, (1825).

A new faculty was appointed by the regents, and the ex-professors, “not relishing private life, immediately organized another medical school, in opposition to the state institution.” They first attempted to connect themselves with Rutgers' College in the state of New Jersey; but the legislature of New York prohibited this union under the penalty of all degrees and licences to practice onder it being void. Their efforts next were directed, and for a while with success, to a connexion with Geneva College, in the western part of the state. But this was of short duration,

“For by the revised law of 1827, it was declared, that no diploma or degree conferred by any college in this slate should be a license to practice medicine,

and that no college should have or institute a medical faculty to teach the science of medicine in any other place than where the charter locates the college.'

Reference is made to the want of encouragement from the legislature of the state, or from the municipal authorities of the city, of New York, to the present medical school, the College of Physicians and Surgeons. The number of students attending the lectures in its halls never exceeded, we are told, 220, during its most palmy days. One great cause of the difference of the fortunes of this school and that of the Pennsylvania University, seems to us to be the establishment of medical schools in the interior of the state of New York, which have naturally diminished the confluence of students at the city. Of these we next learn :

“ The College of Physicians and Surgeons of the Western District, was the next medical school instituted by the state. It was incorporated in 1812. It is located at Fairfield, in Herkimer county—a small country village. The legislature granted $15,000, to be raised by lottery, as an endowment. The greater part of this fund was expended in the erection of buildings, and in paying small salaries to the earlier professors.”

After overcoming adverse fortune, the particulars of which are given in the Address, its prospects assumed a more brilliant hue.

“Every thing promised a prosperous course for the school, and the professors flattered themselves, that they were about to be rewarded for their exertions, and remunerated for their expenditures. In the session of 1834, there were 217 students in attendance-a larger class than ever attended at a country medical institution. But it was now discovered, apparently for the first time, that the western part of the state was sadly destitute of the means of medical education,-that a whole million of people, west of Utica, were without a medical school for their children."

This want, real or fictitious, was gratified by the establishment of a medical faculty in Geneva College, and its being legally empowered to grant degrees in medicine. Of this institution Dr. McNaughton says :

“ It has completed its third session. The number of students in attendance last session, was between 50 and 60, and at the institution at Fairfield, 164; being an aggregate not exceeding the class in attendance at Fairfield alone in 1834. Even if the two schools were to divide equally the number of students between them, neither of them could be said to be in a flourishing state. There is not support enough for two respectable schools in the country; and it is more than probable, that at no distant period, one or both of the existing ones must be discontinued.”

Having completed a sketch of the course of medical legislation, and of the history of the medical institutions of this state, Dr. McNaughton next proceeds to animadvert on the obstacles to a good medical education. These consist, as he shows, mainly in, first, the defective preliminary education of students of medicine, and, secondly, the want of practical instruction, when they are fairly ernbarked in the study. Some of the particulars given in the address will, perbaps, be introduced by us on a future occasion, when this ever and properly recurring subject of medical education comes up.

We are compelled, for want of space, to forego at this time an analysis of the contents of many other papers in these Transactions; and must content ourselves, if not our readers, by an enumeration of their titles. It is, however, far from (ur intention to debar ourselves, in future numbers of the Journal, from a fuller notice.

Following the Address of Dr. Steel in the first Part, is A Medical Topographical Report of the County of Tompkins, by Dr. Bacon; Report on the Varioloid by Drs. McCall, Eights, Bay, and T. Romeyn Beck, Committee of the Society. In Part II., after Dr. McNaughton's Address, we have the Prize Dissertation for 1837, by Benjamin W. McCready, on the Influence of Trades, Professions, and Occupations in the United States, in the Production of Diseases; Medical Topography of the County of Tioga, by Dr. Wm. Bacon; Dr. Manley's Memorial on the Cholera; Observations on the Causes of the large proportion of still-born Children in our large Cities over those of London, by the late Stephen W. Avery, M.D., of New York; An Essay on Typhus Fever, by James Fountain, M.D.; Directions for the Establishment and Government of a Lunatic Asylum, by M. Brierre de Boismont, M.D., &c. (translated from the French by E. Quincy Sewell, M.D.); Physiological Explanation of the Beauty of Form, by Benjamin F. Joslin, M.D., Professor of Natural Philosophy, and Lecturer on Anatomy and Physiology in Union College, N. Y.; Statistics of the Deaf and Dumb in the State of New York, the United States, and in various countries of Europe, by T. Romeyn Beck, M.D.; Observations on some of the Injurious Effects of the Secale Cornutum, by Thomas Chavasse, Esq., Surgeon, Birmingham, (extracted). An Abstract of the Proceedings of the State Medical Society closes each of the two Parts.


Comment est ce que cela se fait ? Mais se fait il ? faudroit il dire.-MONTAIGNE.

What is Animal Magnetism? We shall answer this question in two ways:In the first, we shall give the creed and its proofs, as advanced by the true • believers. In the second, it will be our endeavour, in a suitable magnetic frame

of mind, to show the antiquity of this science, and the numerous authorities and curious facts of retrospective lore in its favour. If we perform the first part of our purpose with a gravity befitting the importance of the subject, we may reasonably hope that our readers will not allow any ill-timed levity or unseasonable expression of doubt to distract their attention in the perusal of the second part. It would be a sad lack of courtesy in him, who has just told of his having voyaged some days on the back of a dolphin, in the equatorial sea, to smile incredulously, when his friend should assure him that, during this time, he had visited the moon, borne thither by a Condor of the Andes.

Mesmer is commonly regarded as the discoverer (inventor?) of animal magnetism. He began his public career in 1772 at Vienna, by attempting cures with the application of the mineral magnet, which had been lauded by Paracelsus, Van Helmont, and others. To a certain Jesuit, however, of the name of Hehl, was Mesmer indebted for the immediate suggestions to try this practice. By the latter, experiments were multiplied, and cases of magnetic cures recorded with such effect that, one might say, all Germany was covered with magnetic rings, seals, and rods. But, soon, he made the notable discovery, that the magnet was not necessary to procure these brilliant results,—and he advanced a theory which supposes a mysterious agency, allied to the magnetic power, and depending on a principle diffused throughout nature,

,-a fluid, in fact, through which the heavenly bodies, the earth and animated bodies reciprocally act on one another. Whilst admitting the universal diffusion of this fluid, Mesmer taught, at the same time, that all living bodies are not equally susceptible either of receiving or of retaining it; and that some are rebellious to its impression, and will even neutralize its power. To the operation of this fluid, by its passage from some favoured beings (magnetisers) into the frames of others (the magnetised), was given the title of animal magnetism. By its means, the physician would be enabled to ascertain the state of health of all persons submitted to his inspection, and to determine positively the origin, nature, and progress of their diseases, prevent the increase, and accomplish the cure of these latter, without ang unpleasant or dangerous consequences, whatever may be the age, sex, or temperament of the party afflicted.

By a dulness of perception, not uncommon in all ages, on the part of mankind to its greatest benefactors and benepromisers, the good people of Vienna could not appreciate the merits and importance of animal magnetism, or of Mesmerism as it was called. They were even so ungrateful as to accuse its author of fraud, in his pretended restoration to sight of a blind female musician; and he found it most convenient to quit Vienna and to repair to Paris, then, as now, a fitting stage for every innovation which can captivate the imagination and excite wonderment. This was in the year 1778, a time when greater changes were in process of accomplishment, and greater miracles performed in these United States under the extasis of patriotism, than have been yet recorded in the annals of Mesmerism. At Paris our magnetic philosopher met with varied success, until finally his system and his claims were reported on by a committee, consist ing of some members of the Academy of Sciences and Physicians,-among whom was Franklin. Bailly drew up this report, which set at rest, for many years, what was considered the charlatanry and vagaries of animal magnetism.

Mesmer's magnetic parties must have been passably amusing. In a large hall the patients were ranged in a circle, in the centre of which was a wooden bowl, and on its top were numerous holes, to allow of iron rods, jointed and moveable, passing through them. Each person had his rod, and could, if need be, apply it to the diseased parts. A rope or cord was carried round the circle composed of the bodies of the persons subjected to the magnetic process, which served to unite them all together. Sometimes a second circle was formed out side of the first; the patients of the latter being placed in communication with those of the former by taking hold of hands. The magnetiser held in his hand a small rod of iron, from ten to twelve inches long, which was represented to be a conductor of the magnetic fluid. Sound was, also, made to convey the magnetic influence; and a rod of iron, as above, was brought in contact with a piano, on which, during the ceremony, different tunes were played, with sometimes the accompaniment of song.

The patients, thus ranged in great numbers and in several rows round the .baquet,' as the wooden tub was called, received magnetism by all these different ways;—by the iron branches which came out of the tub, by the cord which was entangled round their bodies, by the union of the thumbs, by the sound of the piano, and of the agreeable voices which mingled with it. 'They were more directly magaetised by means of the finger and the iron rod moved before the face, above or behind the head, and upon the diseased parts; the distinction of the poles being always observed. They were acted upon by a fixed look; but, above all, they were magnetised by the application of hands, and by the pressure of fingers upon the hypochondria and upon the abdominal region; an application often continued for a long time, sometimes during several hours.

So much for Mesmer and his imposing process. For further details of which, and of the report of the French sarans already mentioned, we would refer to the work of Dr. PRICHARD on INSANITY published in the Select Medical Library. In later times, since the subject of animal magnetism has been resumed, and the • vonderful vonders,'as the cockney showman has it, of the new science increased beyond all reason, the coldly sceptical might say—a more simple course, consiste ing in manipulation and maneuvre, is generally adopted. The person to be magnetised is seated on a chair or sofa, and before him or her, as the case may be, is seated, on a somewhat higher chair, the magnetiser;--so that the knees and extremities of their feet may touch. The latter, seeming to collect his thoughts for a brief space, takes held of the thumbs of the patient, dupe or victim, as the case may be, and retains them in apposition with his own, the insides of both being the parts in contact, until an equilibrium of temperature is established between them. The magnetiser then places his hands on the shoulders of his patient, and after some minutes draws them down the arms, taking care to direct the extremity of his fingers along the tract of the nerves which are there spread. This manipulation, designated by the term passe, must be repeated several times; after which the operator, or magnetiser, or charmer, according as we may choose to call him, then places his hands over the head of the patient, rests them there for a moment, and draws them downwards before and at a dis tance of an inch or two from the face, and continues them as low as the epigastrium, on which he rests for a time his fingers. Afterwards, he carries his hands along down to the knees, and even, at times, to the feet. The hands are brought back by a gradual travel upwards to the head; care being taken that they do not, this time, touch the body of the magnetised. The manipulation downwards from the head, or the passe, is then to be repeated several times. Finally, the operation is terminated, some would say completed, by the magnetiser prolonging the passes beyond the termination of the hands and feet, and each time shaking his fingers: he then makes transversal movements, or passes, at the distance of three or four inches from the face and chest of the magnetised, holding the two hands together and then suddenly separating them.

Sometimes the magnetiser places his fingers, of each hand, at the distance of three or four inches from the head and stomach of the patient, retains them in this position for one or two minutes, then alternately withdraws them from, and approaches them to, these parts with more or less quickness; imitating therein the very natural movement by which one endeavours to throw off any fluid that may have been adherent to the ends of the fingers. During the whole time, the magnetiser must keep his eyes fixed on the subject of his manipulations.

Among the conditions which have been laid down for the success of the mag netic procedure, are—a strict silence on the part of all who are present, and an avoidance of any expression of countenance which should embarrass the mag netiser or cause any doubt in the magnetised. The attention of the magnetiser must be entirely concentrated on his operation; any distraction of mind being

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