Ҿ˹˹ѧ
PDF
ePub

now

A little book is always a good book. 'In limine, however, we are going to differ from Dr. M., where he attributes the increase of palsy to the disuse of bleeding. On the contrary, we decidedly attribute its increase to the abuse of this very practice; a practice, of which we have witnessed the fashionable rise, and the gross misapplication of which is becoming more sensible every day. It is by bleeding, by repetition of bleeding, that a slight attack of palsy, sufficiently common, and produced by far other causes than excess of blood, becomes confirmed or reiterated. Would this were the only evil that has followed this fashion; a fashion which is fast returning us to the epocha of Sangrado, and to which are owing more murders than even to calomel. But "

many more shall this one ensue," before the fashion changes, and then we shall wonder, and then it shall revolve again to bark and wine ; and thus even physic has its fashions, like coats and sacques, and thus the world goes round.

If " deep-rooted prejudices still subsist against the practice of vaccination," it is because every body understands every thing; lawyers, old women, country justices, haberdashers, and the rest. We cannot, indeed, well see the use of the medical profession, or trade : it is

every man his own washerwoman." As to vaccination, we might say a good deal more than we chuse ; not medically, but politically, and arithmetically. But it was all said by the Jew boy with whom we bargained for oranges, wondering at the number of merchants, “ Too much shildren.” Too many menthe insurance offices at fault-Mr. Babbage with a new scheme—seven hundred claimants for one post-colonies colonizing—and doctors, jurists, chimney-sweepers, and fine gentlemen, out of employ.

If we were not designing at some future day to give our readers a larger dose of malaria, we should now have commented on Dr. Macmichael's remarks on it, and with perfect harmony. But one observation we will make, on a contest which seems to have been carried on between the two Journals, commonly called Rivals, and between which we hold a position perfectly neutral. It is extremely proper, doubtless, that whateveris advanced in the north, should be controverted in the south. Edinburgh is at war with London on politics: but why should it not be at war in philosophy also ; in physic, chemistry, law, and chimney-sweeping ? This is a gallant spirit: that spirit which will not receive even truth from an imaginary enemy. An ingenious writer, after a minute enquiry, has advanced certain facts respecting Malaria, which have all the evidence that can exist; and which, even if they were not minutely accurate, it would

ܪ

be our safest policy to believe. Steps forth a dashing disputant,(because this comes out of Edinburgh,) unacquainted with the subject, learning the little he knows of it from the very person whom he tries to controvert, and treating with easy ridicule, what he has not an argument, nor a fact to disprove, The very person whom he quotes as living in St. James-street, spite of the malaria, died of ague, of ague become habitual ; and but for that he might have reached a century. But it is not worth while to waste words on this topic : though the public may be entitled to hesitate in its gratitude, to a journal or a writer, who, like Dr. Maclean, with his plague non-contagious, would remove the safeguards of health, established by experience and knowledge.

A word on that writer: after the experience of two thousand years, reiterated in every form and manner that is possible, and all proving the plague to be a highly contagious disorder; after facts familiar to children as to history; after a solemn examination before the legislature; all the evidence confirming the popular and received opinion, this dangerous scribe steps forward again in two large octavo volumes, to prove that he is right, and that all the world has been wrong since the deluge. We trust we shall never see the day when the quarantine laws shall be rescinded, to gratify the theories and triflings of any individual.

On the subject of the diverse energy of contagious diseases in different seasons, Dr. Macmichael has very properly remarked, that the term "constitutio aeris," is without meaning. We know nothing about the causes ; but it is always easy to string words together, and such has been PHYSIC. Such it is now, and such it is likely long to be, while men are satisfied with words in lieu of ideas. As to Sydenham, he has been often enough bepraised; but we should be glad to know what he has added to the stock of medical philosophy. "Constitutio aeris,"-"changes in the bowels of the earth,"—when he ought to have looked for them in the bowels of his patients; bleeding and purging, purging and bleeding. But he wrote in Latin; and in Latin, good or bad, there is wisdom.

The faets produced by Dr. Macmichael, to shew that typhus, or contagious fever, cannot be generated by individuals, in consequence of mere confinement, filth, &c. are very strong. Yet they are scarcely satisfactory, while the reverse is supported by a very strong analogy in the brute creation. Sheep crowded together in a ship produce a contagious peculiar fever, and the same is true of other animals. It seems true of man himself in the case of prisons; and the body of evidence

here is such as scarcely to admit of doubt. In the cases quoted it is not difficult to imagine, that the existence of scurvy might produce such a change in the body as to render it unsusceptible of fever, or incapable of generating it ; but we willingly leave the question, as likely to require more room than we can bestow on it.

The main object of this little book is a plan to diminish the dangers of the scarlet fever.

It is well known, that at certain seasons, or periods, the small-pox, fever, measles, hooping-cough, and other epidemic and contagious diseases are much more mild than at others. This is equally true of the scarlet-fever. In the case of measles, it has been attempted, but without success, to inoculate; but the general fact of its comparative mildness at certain times, is sufficiently known to the public to have led to the practice of exposing children to the infection at these periods, with the hopes of a mild disorder.

This practice is rational, because the disorder rarely occurs more than once. It is no less rational in the case of scarletfever; and this is the object of Dr. Macmichael's book to inculcate. Though scarlatina does sometimes happen twice in the same person, that event is sufficiently rare to justify us in elassing it with measles and small-pox in this point of view. As to the practical proceeding, it is only necessary to watch for a period in which the cases are mild, and then, after such preparation of the constitution, as we need not detail, to expose the children to the infection.

We are quite aware, that such a proposal will be met by the usual theological argument, and most particularly among our neighbours north of the Tweed. Yet it is but inoculation. It is the choice of a mild disease to avoid the contingency of a

If this be a truth, it is unfortunately however, but a sort of truth, which makes little impression on those who are swayed by words, and not ideas--on the mass of mankind. It is not done with a lancet, and therefore it is.“ a provoking of the Almighty." When mankind shall reason, then Dr. Macmichael's proposal will be adopted; but not before. In the meantime let us die in infancy, if we are to die at all ; for it is pleasanter and cheaper. There is great saving in many ways: and if we are to have vaccination, vice small-pox, measles, that require no medicine, and scarlet-fever, which ends as it began, in heightening the complexion, we shall shortly have to triple the Jew boy's saw, and say, "too mush men, too mush womens, too mush shildren.”

severe one,

The Private Memoirs and Confessions of a Justificd Sinner. Written

by Himself with a Detail of curious Traditionary Facts, and
other Evidence, by the Editor. Post 8vo. Pp. 390. London.
Longmans. 1824.

This work, which has been, we believe unjustly, attributed to Mr. Hogg, is one of that class in which the authorship of Scotland has been of late years prolific. The stern shape which religion has been compelled to assume in that country, naturally produces a reaction, and we are entitled to expect something like violent repugnance where we find remorseless discipline. The present performance is conceived in this spirit of pugnacity, and may be looked on as an angry, and, of course, an extravagant portraiture of the gloom and sullenness, the dangerous pride, and the bitter bigotry, with which sectarianism has been charged in its severer time.

The tale is founded on the adventures of a red hot puritan, who is deluded by the Evil Spirit into the commission of the most detestable crimes; and it is separated into two distinct portions: one consisting of a kind of introduction, styled the “ Editor's Narrative,” and the other purporting to be the “ Confessions” of the “ Justified Sinner” himself. The above plan appears to us to involve one great disadvantage with regard to this romance: namely, that the interest of the latter division, which gives the name to the work, and is naturally expected to turn out its most prominent part, is forestalled, and thereby essentially weakened. In fact, the “ Narrative" is by far the most attractive and clever, and may, we think, be safely pronounced, as striking a fiction as has been put forth by any getter-up of romances of living notoriety. Mr. George Colwan, a Scotch proprietor, has, or rather his lady has, two sons; for the introduction of the latter of whom, however, he conceives himself indebted to the mediation of a certain priest of the name of Wringhim. Indeed, a quarrel is stated to have taken place very early between the unregenerate husband and the regenerate wife--the latter absconding, and seeking again the protection of her father, a Glasgow bailie.

[ocr errors][merged small]

"Ay, ay, Raby! An' sae I find that Dalcastle has actually refused to say prayers with you when you ordered him; an' has guidit you in a rude indelicate manner, outstepping the respect due to my daughter as my daughter. But wi' regard to what is due to his own wife, of that he's a better judge nor me. However, since he has behaved in that manner to my daughter, I shall be revenged on him for aince; for I

shall return the obligation to one nearer to him: that is, I shall take pennyworths of his wife, an' let him lick at that.'

6. What do you mean, Six ?' said the astonished damsel.

"I mean to be revenged on that villain, Dalcastle,' said he, "for what he has done to my daughter. Come hither, Mrs. Colwan, you shall pay

for this. “ So saying, the bailie began to inflict corporal punishment on the runaway wife. His strokes were not indeed very deadly, but he made a mighty flourish in the infliction, pretending to be in a great rage only at the laird of Dalcastle. Villain that he is !' exclaimed he, • I shall teach him to behave in such a manner to a child of mine, be she as she may; since I cannot get at himself, I shall lounder her that is nearest to him in life. Take you that, and that, Mrs. Colwan, for

your

husband's impertinence !'

“ The poor afflicted woman wept and prayed, but the bailie would not abate aught of his severity. After fuming and beating her with many stripes, far drawn and lightly laid down, he took her up to her chamber, five stories high, locked her in, and there he fed her on bread and water, all to be revenged on the Laird of Dalcastle ; but ever and anon, as the bailie came down the stair from carrying his daughter's. meal, he said to himself, I shall make the sight of the Laird the blithest she ever saw in her life !'"

The hopeful bud of puritanism grows up with a most pious inveteracy against his brother and reputed father, whom, as unconverted sinners, he believes doomed to eternal condemnation. Having been from his birth handed over to the care of the Reverend Wringhim, he has no opportunity of meeting the fraternal object of his scorn until both youths are verging towards manhood; and the particulars of their first interview are given by the author with a force and reality which evidence at once the strength of his talent, and his abhorence of spiritual assumption. Previously to this, however, the juvenile saint has been encountered by a mysterious stranger, whose appearance has startled him by an extraordinary resemblance to himself; he falls into conversation with the stranger, whose principles, tnrning out to be as similar as his person, our young Mr. Wringhim Colwan and he have much sweet counsel together, This personage, whom, in a little time, we recognise as another incarnation of Satan, acquires and maintains entire influence over the enthusiastic and wandering intellect of the sinner, whom, after prompting him by arguments, built upon his own superstition, to the murder of his brother, and sundry other abominable offences, he finally instigates to self-destruction.

We have stated our opinion that the “ Editor's Narrative" is the most entertaining part of the work; and this appears to

« ͹˹Թõ
 »