Imatges de pàgina

of the sixteenth century, twelve years after the death of Columbus, the infections were transported by the Spaniards to Hispaniola, and soon after to Mexico, and diffused speedily over that hemisphere also." p. 110.

In Chapter V. Mr. Moore details, with considerable erudition, “the various theories and treatment of the small-pox from its appearance in Arabia, to the fifteenth century,” begining with Ahron, who wrote subsequently to the epoch of the Hegyra, (622), but whose works are lost, except some fragments preserved by Rhazes, and ending with Arnold of Villanova, Gilbertus Anglicus, and John of Gaddesden. The author appears to have examined the works of all these author's with great industry, and he has detailed the principal doctrines and methods of treatment, which they have respectively adopted with respect to the small-pox, as well as the leading circumstances of their lives and characters; so that this chapter is a neat but comprehensive compendium of the medical history of Arabia, and is enlivened by many judicious remarks on the peculiar merits and imperfections of these writers, as well as by various anecdotes not immediately connected with the small-pox. The minute and amusing account of Arnoldus de Villanova evinces, among others, the zeal and success with which Mr. Moore has sifted the writings of these ancient authors. The most curious parts of the voluminous works of this writer, as well as the works of John of Gaddesden, are those which relate to the various subjects on which they appear to have been consulted by both sexes, relative to the improvement of their mutual attractions. Arnold treated of sorcery, too, as of a malady in the physician's province; and describes many witcheries, and the potent spells by which they may be overcome. The terror of cold, which was strongly inculcated by the first writer on small-pox, Ahron, upon hypothetical principles, was not less carefully inculcated by all subsequent writers down to Sydenham; and John of Gaddesden and his contemporaries ascribed much efficacy to every thing scarlet, probably from its fiery hue.

Chapter VI. is headed, “From the fifteenth to the middle of the seventeenth century. Fire, philosophy, and the alexi

pharmic treatment." The author has here shewn the same able discrimination of character, in his biographical sketches of the writers, whose doctrines he briefly describes, and characterizes by some pointed quotation or appropriate anecdote, as well as the same intimate acquaintance with their works. Fracastorius, Paracelsus, Fernel, Forestus, Mercurialis, Sennertus, Van Helmont, Willis, Riverius, Diemerbroek, Kircher, Sylvius, and some others, are thus passed in review, with an account of their opinions and practice in respect to the smallpox.

In the VII. Chapter, the author treats of “the cold treatment.-Sydenham, Boerhaave.” Between these two lumina. ries of medical science, he has also given brief accounts of the opinions of Etmuller and Doldus. His biographical sketch of Sydenham is short, but his detail of the particular improvements in the treatment of small-pox, which Sydenham introduced, is very copious, and he justly laments the hypothetical error, of bleeding in the last stages of confluent small-pox, into which that able physician fell. Boerhaave admitted that the history of small-pox and measles, which Sydenham left, could not be improved; but from his general reasonings on febrile diseases, he had the merit of introducing two essential improvements on the practice of that author, the exhibition of aperients in the beginning, and changing the antiphlogistic for a cordial regimen towards the conclusion of the confluent small-pox

In the three following chapters, the author has given an animated account of the discovery and progress of inoculation, from the Chinese custom of sowing the small-pox, down to the improvements made by the Suttons, Dimsdale, and others; together with a detail of the controversies which it excited, and of the various publications, religious and medical, to which it gave rise in this country. And in the eleventh, and last, chapter, he treats of the opinions of Dr. Cullen, and of the final treatment in which physicians at length terminated their dissensions. Mr. Moore then inquires into the result of the labours of twelve centuries to remedy this malady; and confesses that the view is rather mortifying to a medical phiVol. VI.

3 R

No. 24.


losopher. The immense general mortality, however, he justly remarks, is not disgraceful to the art of medicine; because in individual cases the fatality of the disease has been much diminished by the improvements in practice, and especially by inoculation, and indeed in no disease perhaps has the salutary influence of medicine been more conspicuous. For in countries where ignorance of the disease prevailed, the small-pox has proved a most fatal pestilence; but here, a very large proportion of the community, who submitted to professional instruction, have escaped all the calamities incident to the disease. The mischief has arisen principally from the difficulty of inducing all persons to resort to inoculation; and under that impossibility, it has been increased from the want of some laws of exclusion, analogous to those of quarantine, by which those, who produce the disease by inoculation, should be prevented from exposing the inoculated persons in the way of those who are liable to the infection. A recent decision in the Court of King's Bench, however, has shown, that such an exposure, where it produces the disease in others, is a misdemeanour by common law, and a medical practitioner, and an ignorant mother, have recently been subjected to imprisonment for being guilty of this act. We submit to the most severe laws of quarantine, for the sake of evading the introduction of foreign contagion, (laws which allow any individual to take the life of a person seen in the act of breaking them) and there seems no sound reason why we should not guard against the wilful propagation of domestic contagion, by a law which should preclude all persons infected with the small-pox from mixing with the public.

“Some opposition," says the author, in his concluding paragraph,“ might be expected from those who live by spreading contagion among the community. But there are a set of men whose immoral conduct merits rather the castigation of the magistrate, than the consideration of the legislature. And few even of them would have the effrontery to raise objections to a statute for extinguishing the most fatal pestilence that ever preyed upon man; which, like the benign law for abolishing the slave-trade, would reflect lustre on the mover, adorn the annals of parliament, and add grace to the sovereign; and would likewise form (though it may spoil the climax) the most agreeable conclusion possible to the eventful History of the Small-Pox."

The foregoing sketch of the contents of this work will afford some idea of the very complete view, which the industry and ability of the author have enabled him to present, of the evidence which is extant respecting the progress and treatment of the small-pox; but it will afford no adequate impression of the various collateral information, connected with me. dical history, with which it abounds, and of the sprightliness of the manner in which it is detailed, both of which contribute to extend its interest beyond that of the medical reader.

Reports of the Pestilential Disorder of Andalusia, which ap

peared at Cadiz in the Years 1800, 1804, 1810, and 1813; with a detailed Account of that fatal Epidemic, as it prevailed at Gibraltar during the Autumnal Months of 1804; also Observations on the Remitting and Intermitting Fever, made in the Military Hospitals at Colchester, after the Re. turn of the Troops from the Expedition to Zealand in 1809. By Sir James FELLOWES, M. D. &c. &c. pp. 484. London, 1815. Longman and Co.

[From the Edinburgh Medical and Surgical Journal, for January, 1816.]

This work comes from the very highest authority, not only on account of the professional rank of the author, but much more on account of the zeal with which he availed himself of his opportunities of examining minutely the subject on which he writes. Sir James Fellowes has divided his book into five Reports. The first relates to the fever which prevailed in Cadiz in 1800; the second to that of Gibraltar and Malaga in 1804; the third to the fever of Cadiz in 1810; the fourth to that of 1813 in the same city; and the fifth Report relates to


the Walcheren fever, as it appeared in Colchester in 1809. To these are added a Conclusion, and eight Appendices.

Sir James Fellowes had been with Admiral Christian in the West Indies, and had had only too many opportunities of witnessing the pestilential fever which committed such ravages among our soldiers in St. Domingo. He is therefore good authority, when he describes the peninsular fever as “ appearing under a similar form of malignity, and showing many of the strongly marked characters of the St. Domingo fever." Upon this point, and indeed upon almost every point, Sir James entertains opinions nearly similar to those of Mr. Pym, and, like him, strongly combats the account which Dr. Bancroft has given of the origin and mode of propagation of these diseases. Indeed, it is impossible to deny the contagious nature, at least of the peninsular fever, after having perused the documents collected by Sir James Fellowes. Whether he has been successful or not in tracing the introduction of the fever into particular places, we shall not stop to inquire. However satisfactory the proof of such a fact might be, it is almost impossible to ascertain it, so as not to admit of explanation in controversy; and, in disputing about circumstances of very secondary importance, we lose sight of the much more conclusive evidence derived from an extended view of the whole. Although we have so lately expressed our sentiments on the subject, we cannot refrain from confirming them by some general arguments derived from the perusal of the instructive volume before us.

The first is the total disproportion between the increased number of deaths, and any supposable increase of any alleged endemic cause. Even if it were ascertained that the weather in these destructive years was somewhat hotter or colder, or drier or moister than usual, we should only expect the endemic diseases to be proportionally more severe and more numerous than usual; at the most we should expect a very un. healthy year; but the change in the peninsular diseases was not in degree, it was in character. It was not merely that a much greater number of people were attacked, and that of these a much larger proportion died, but we find that, in these

[ocr errors]
« AnteriorContinua »