Imatges de pàgina

conducted by Dr. Foart Simmons. After the publication was discontinued, he became a frequent contributor to the London Medical and Physical Journal. He was among the first to recognize the important discovery of his friend and pupil Dr. Jenner; and having satisfied his own mind of its truth and utility, he did not hesitate to announce his conviction, and to support it by some striking facts, the result of his own inquiries, at a time when vaccination had made a comparatively small progress in public opinion. Two letters by him on this subject appeared in the 3d and 4th volumes of the work last mentioned. Communications more immediately connected with his own pursuits were published in the 2d and 14th volumes. In the 27th he wrote a paper on the Structure of Cancerous Parts, and a Description of a curious case of Polypus; and in the 34th another paper on Cancer.

He published in 1809, in the 3d volume of the Transactions of a Society for the Improvement of Medical and Surgical Knowledge, a very valuable paper on Excrescences of the Womb; and in 1810, a pamphlet consisting of treatises on the Rupture of the Uterus, on the Snuffles in Infants, and on Mania Lactea.

Dr. Denman always felt a strong desire to discover a remedy for cancer, and deemed it almost criminal in medical men to despair of an object so interesting to humanity. To pronounce that dreadful disease incurable, he thought was in some degree to make it so; and his mind was continually on the watch for information on the subject. In 1801, indeed, he was instrumental in forming a charity for the exclusive relief of persons afflicted with cancer, and recommended it by a circular paper, which may be considered as an admirable specimen of the method to be pursued in conducting medical enquiries. Some account of that establishment, which was given up after a trial of a few years, is contained in a pamphlet“ on the Cure

, of Cancer," published by him in 1810: in the following year he wrote observations in this Journal on the review of his pamphlet, which it had given. When Mr. Young made public his mode of treating cancer, Dr. Denman was disposed to flatter himself that this great end was on the eve of being accomplished; he gratuitously attended several patients under the

care of that gentleman, in order to become acquainted with his practice; and, having thus ascertained that it was both innocent and beneficial, and believing that it held forth a fair promise of the most important consequences, he introduced it to the public attention by a letter which was inserted in the October number of this Journal. With the same view, he prepared for the press a second edition of his pamphlet on the subject, subjoining a full statement of Mr. Young's system, and his own remarks


it. Good sense and practical utility are the leading features in all Dr. D.'s compositions. They not only explain with clear. ness what had been before discovered, and add the sanction of the author's experience, where it accords with former opinions, but they perform the still more valuable service of correcting such opinions when found to be erroneous, and of enriching the stock of previous knowledge with original observations. It may be stated in particular, that the formidable disease in children called the malignant snuffles, was very little known till it was described by Dr. Denman, who had also the good fortune to point out a mode of treating it, which is generally successful. The evolution of the child, in certain circumstances, by the action of the uterus, is a most curious and important fact, first discovered by him. He was the first also who recommended, in cases of retroverted uterus, the frequent emptying of the urinary bladder by a catheter, as all that was necessary for the restoration of the womb to its proper position. The excitement of premature labour, for the preservation both of the mother and the child, in certain cases of deformed pelvis, is a most important operation suggested by him, which has been successful in almost every instance where it has been adopted. In convulsions preceding labour, particularly where the pulse is slow, he recommended copious bleeding, instead of nervous medicines, and advised that there should be no artificial delivery, until the head of the child shall have passed through the os uteri. These are examples of important practical improvement, which will preserve Dr. Denman's name in remembrance, and give him a just claim to the gratitude of posterity.

This enumeration of his works is most probably incomplete: Vol. VI.

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No. 23.

but those which have been mentioned will sufficiently prove that the author was constantly employed in endeavoring to improve the medical art, and diminish the extent of human suffering. It is apprehended that they also exhibit an understanding peculiarly gifted with all the faculties, and regulated by all the dispositions, that are most favorable to the investigation of truth. And, when it is remembered that they were all composed in the midst of unceasing professional engagements, always severe, and frequently both harassing and afflicting, they will be allowed to evince an unwearied activity and perseverance in the pursuit of benevolent and useful objects, which are excelled only by the motives that prompted their exertion.

Dec. 22, 1815.

Biographical Notice of W. Nicholson.

[From the London Monthly Magazine, for April, 1816.j MR. W. Nicholson, whose death was recently announced, was born in 1753, in London, where his father practised the law, as a solicitor in the Inner Temple. The son received his education at a school in the north of Yorkshire; but at the age of sixteen he entered into the East India service, in which he made two voyages before the year 1773. He was afterwards employed in the country trade in India; but, in 1776, he was engaged on the continent as a commercial agent to the late Mr. Wedgewood. Soon after this he settled in London, and became a teacher of mathematics; to which profession he added that of an author, translating from the French with great facility, and publishing, besides many useful compilations of his own, chiefly on historical and scientific subjects. In 1781 he printed an “ Introduction to Natural Philosophy,” in two volumes octavo; which work was well received. In the year following Mr. Nicholson published a new edition of Ralph's Survey of the Public Buildings of London and Westminster, with additions. In 1784 he brought out his “ Navigator's As


sistant, containing the theory and practice of navigation," in one volume octavo. In 1786 we find him publishing, “ An Abstract of the Acts relative to the exportation of Wool;” to which subject he was led by his acquaintance with the clothiers. The next year he printed a “Review of the Controversy be: tween Kirwan and the French Academicians on the subject of Phlogiston;" and in the Philosophical Transactions for the same year,

a paper of his containing, “ The principles and illustration of a method of arranging the differences of Logarithms, on lines graduated for the purpose of computation.” In the following volumes of the Transactions, are two papers of Mr. Nicholson's, one, “ The description of an Instrument which produces the two states of electricity without friction, or communication with the earth;" the other, “Experiments and Observations on Electricity.” In 1788 appeared his translation of Fourcroy's Elements of Natural History and Chemistry, in four volumes octavo; to which, the year following, he added a supplemental volume,“ On the first principles of Chemistry.” In 1790 Mr. Nicholson translated from the original manuscript, “ Memoirs and Travels of the Count de Benyowsky," two volumes, quarto. The next year came the translation of Chaptal's Elements of Chemistry, in three volumes octavo. In 1795 appeared, “ The Dictionary of Chemistry,” in two quarto volumes; and, two years afterwards, the first number of his “Journal of Natural Philosophy, Chemistry, and the Arts;" which was printed originally in the quarto form, but was afterwards changed to an octavo. About the year 1799 he opened an establishment in Soho for twenty pupils, which institution he carried on several years; but it at last declined, chiefly owing, as we believe, to the attention paid by Mr. Nicholson to other objects; particularly the West Middlesex Water-works, the plan of which originated with him, as did that for the supply of Portsmouth and Gosport. He was also engaged in a similar undertaking for the borough of Southwark; and, besides these different concerns, he prepared drafts of patents for mechanical inventions. In 1799 he printed a work translated from the Spanish, “ On the Bleaching of Cotton Goods, by oxygenated muriatic acid;" and, in 1801, appeared, “ A general System of Chemical Knowledge, with a set of synoptic tables from

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the French of Fourcroy,” in two volumes octavo, and one in folio. In 1808, he printed “A Dictionary of Chemistry,

« in one closely-printed volume octavo; and this was followed by another work with his name, entitled, “ The British Encyclopedia,” in six volumes octavo, in which he had little personal trouble, but it is false that the same person wrote this and the similar work of Dr. George Gregory; the latter gentleman having diligently superintended the Cyclopedia which bears his name, though aided by various co-operation. In 1810 Mr. Nicholson had some dispute relative to the work in which he was employed, as engineer to the Portsea Island Water-work Company, on which he published, “ A Letter to the Proprietors of the Portsea Water-works, occasioned by an application made to them by the Assigns under an act for bringing water from Farlington.” This truly ingenious and indefatigable man shared the common fate of projectors, to be continually employed without enjoying any material advantage from his labours. Though incessantly occupied in useful concerns, and ardent in promoting the interests of science, he was generally embarrassed in his circumstances; and, notwithstanding his uncommon industry, he lived in trouble, and died poor.


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