Imatges de pàgina

are those who eat animal food, live well, and whose occupation leads them to take strong exercise in the open air, such as butchers, Scotch fish-wives, Cornish fishermen, stable boys, grooms, and dragoons. Those classes suffer the most severely who are the worst fed, and lead sedentary lives, as tailors, weavers, spinners, &c.

These inferences are not without their value: to a people who suffer so severely as the English from pulmonary consumption, it is of importance to know, that the chief victims of this disease are not those who live in the most inclement climate, but those classes of a temperate climate, who are the worst clad, the worst fed, and the worst exercised; and that warm clothing, nourishing diet, and regular strong exercise, prevent that delicacy of constitution which disposes to the disease.

A General Dispensatory, or Arrangement of the Pharmaco

pæias of London, Edinburgh, and Dublin; in which the strength of various preparations is expressed by Pharmaceutical numbers; the different synonyms of each article, doses, qualities, Chemical numbers, &c. are likewise added: and to the whole are prefixed, some Observations upon the present state of the nomenclature of Pharmacy. By S. RooTSEY, F.L.S. Bristol, printed for Baldwin, Cradock, and Co. London. pp. 142.

[From the London Medical and Physical Journal, for February, 1816.]

This is one of the most extraordinary little books we ever remember to have met with in the progress of our labours. In the space of about one hundred and fifty pages, more than half of which are devoted to materia medica and index, the author has actually accomplished all that he promises in his long title-page. After this observation, our readers will not expect us to offer an analysis of what is expressed with as much brevity as possible, and perhaps even in fewer words on some occasions than could be wished. The title itself loo shows the intention of every division. We must, therefore, content ourselves with short extracts, to show the manner in which so much is compressed into so short a compass. The preface will assist us a little; and, as it is short, we shall transcribe the whole.

“ In writing the following work, my principal object was to explain my method of expressing the composition and the strength of various medicinal preparations by means of pharmaceutical numbers; and having been for some time in the constant use of what I conceived to be a more philosophical language of pharmacy, I determined upon uniting both of these ideas in one publication, and printing them in the form of a dispensatory as they now appear,

“ The former presents us advantages so important and so obvious, that I consider no apology can be necessary for my making it known. But, as my own opinion of the necessity of nomenclatural reform may not with my contemporaries possess any weight, I shall adduce the opinions of some of those philosophers who are justly considered as high authority.

“I have been stimulated in my undertaking by the advice which the illustrious Bergman once gave to M. de Morveau; "Spare no improper names, those who are learned will always be learned, and those who are ignorant will thus learn sooner.' And I may also urge as relevant to this point the arguments of the unfortunate Lavoisier, whose zeal and freedom in the promotion of science have never been surpassed. As ideas, he justly observes, are preserved and communicated by means of words, it necessarily follows that we cannot improye the language of any science without at the same time improving the science itself; neither can we on the other hand improve a science without improving the language of nomenclature which belongs to it.'

“Sir H. Davy, who has devoted much of his attention to this subject, likewise judiciously remarks (p. 46 of his Elem,) that 'a theoretical nomenclature is liable to continued alterations; oxygenated muriatic acid is as improper a name as de phlogisticated marine acid; every school believes itself to be right; and if every school aşsumes to itself the liberty of alterVol. VI.

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ing the names of chemical substances in consequence of new ideas of their composition and decomposition, there can be no permanency in the language of the science, it must always be confused and uncertain.' Aud in his advertisement he says, "'till a more simple system is adopted, innovation will be censured, sometimes perhaps even when it is necessary, and neology generally brought forward as a reproach.'

“But still more weighty and impartial may appear to some, the arguments of Bacon and Locke, who flourished at an ear. lier period, and whose luminous writings have served, and should still serve, as a compass to direct our course in the promotion of philosophy. To those who possess the philosophic spirit of the former, or who are acquainted with his works, it will be unnecessary for me here to adduce what he has said de Idolis Fori.' And the latter has given us, in our vernacular tongue, several excellent rules as criteria of the imperfection of any particular language of pharmacy for instance,) which are so much to the present purpose, that I cannot forbear to conclude with the following transcript from his essay upon the human understanding.

^ «The ends of language,' he remarks, 'being chiefly these three-1, to make kuown one man's thoughts or ideas to another; 2, to do it with as much ease and quickness as possible; and 3, to convey the knowledge of things;-language is either abused or deficient when it fails of any of these three.' After treating at some length upon certain abuses, he thus proceeds:

“To remedy the defects of speech before-mentioned in some degree, and to prevent the inconveniences that follow from them, I imagine the observation of these following rules may be of use. 1. A man should take care to use no word without a signification, no name without an idea for which he makes it stand. 2. The ideas he annexes to his words, if they be simple, must be clear and distinct; and, if complex, determinate. 3. Care must be taken to apply words as near as may be to such ideas as common use has annexed them. 4. Because men, in the improvement of their knowledge, come to have ideas different from the vulgar and ordinary received ones, for which they must either make new words, or else use old ones

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in a new signification; therefore it is sometimes necessary, for the ascertaining the signification of words, to declare their meaning, where either common use has left it uncertain and loose, or where the term, being material, is liable to doubtfulness or mistake, which may be done by synonyms, by exhibition, by definitions, by drawings, and by adhering to one signification. These remedies, he continues, are necessary to the improvement of philosophy; and though :he market and exchange must be left to their own ways of talking, and gossipings must not be robbed of their ancient privilege; though the schools and men of argument would, perhaps, take it amiss to have any thing offered to abate the length or lessen the number of their disputes; yet those who pretend seriously to search after or maintain truth, should think themselves obliged to study how they might deliver themselves without doubtfulness or equivocation. For he that uses words without any clear and steady meaning, only leads himself and others into errors; and, if he does it designedly, he ought to be looked on as an enemy to truth and knowledge.'"

Perhaps the author's having hit upon our favourite topic, and even concluded with a strong expression in favour of accurate language, may have induced for him a sympathy which may betray us into some partiality. This we trust, however, will be a venial offence. The following are his remarks on nomenclature, and his rules of etymology.

“LAWS OF NOMENCLATURE, which no author is at liberty to supersede, and which it is the duty of critics to see enforced. These laws are scattered over the writings of various authors upon language, and I have endeavoured to collect those which were necessary to my purpose. Linnæus, in his different works, has laid down many rules, so excellent, that as soon as they were promulgated they were generally embraced, and the impulse which was given to natural history by his writings will make his name eternally dear to its votaries. In the nomenclature of inorganic substances, the proposals of the French chemists, Lavoisier and others, have met with great approbation. But the discoveries which have been the consequence menclatural reform, have rendered some changes necessary.

“The language of science, unfortunately, is not calculated

of no

to be the language of business; and from the length of the names of organic substances, and uncertainty of those of inorganic, neither have been generally adopted in pharmacy; nor has any one succeeded in giving commercial names that have been universally approved of. Notwithstanding this, much has been written upon the subject, but it has commonly been to point out a few errors, and not to establish the whole upon a grand and lasting foundation. Finding, in the nomenclature of the three British pharmacopæias, important differences in many names, such as chamomile, blistering fly, &c. I found myself obligated to give my reasons for selecting those which I have preferred; and the manner in which I have executed this task will, I hope, exempt me from censure, considering that it is the duty of authors to use those names which they feel to be the most proper and the most classical. In doing this I have proceeded with caution, and have arranged the names of species according to my view of their classicality and propriety, by which it will appear, that my proposed alterations extend only to names indubitably aukward, uncommercial, or unclassical. It is certainly desirable that the language of pharmacy should be classical; and there are those who, “in defiance of all undue authority,' will ever oppose the depravity and barbarism into which we are at present planged, and which must ultimately be extirpated, so that the taste of the last age will be succeeded by another less corrupt.

“ LAW I. When a name is once attached to a single species, it must not be given to another, except as an epithet. In other words, no name ought to be rendered equivocal, that is not so already.

“Law II. When a name, usually considered as generic, is used specially, it must be understood as implying the original species, if it can be satisfactorily ascertained, and if not contrary to the generally-received opinion. It will also be necessary

for the author who uses it in that sense to give some ad. vertisement of it.

“ LAW III. When a new species is introduced into commerce, it must have a new name of one word as pure as the Linnæan genera.

“ Law IV. Names must be as classical as possible, and it is

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