« AnteriorContinuar »
species exhibiting some degree of inflammation, as well as of the
Our author farther illustrates his opinion on this subject by
Four ounces of blood taken from a person who never had the small-pox, and suffered to flow from the vein upon a small quantity of sal glauberi in powder, and stirred till cold to prevent coagulation, was equally divided into two phials. Phial, No. 1, contained the uncoagulated blood; Phial, No. 2, contained the same; to which was added a small portion of variolous matter, and Maken together.
Both phials were placed in a heat of 98o. The result of this experia - ment was, that phial No. 2 acquired a putrid smell 48 hours sooner than phial No. 1.
The fame idea respecting the inflammatory-septic nature of va.
In the fourth chapter the ingenious author proceeds to deduce
-* A young woman, a patient in the clinical ward of the Royal Infirmary, some years ago, died under a load of confluent small-pox. She was opened, with a view to ascertain whether there was an eruption of pustules upon any of the viscera. Most of the students who attended the diffection, were seized with a malignant fever, and narrowly escaped with life ; each of them having formerly passed through the small-pox, were not susceptible of a second infection. Is it not therefore probable that this fever, with which they were seized, was the effect of the inflammatory-septic contagion?"
· as other ferments do on the bodies to which they are applied; by assimilating a less or greater proportion of some of the conftituent parts of the blood into its own nature. This is Dr. Walker's chief reason for using the term; and in such an ufe of it; he is doubtless supported by modern writers of the first eminence. It is proper, however, on this subject, that we should communicate his sentiments with precision. When he asserts that variolous contagion acts as a ferment to our fluids, he: does not mean, by this action, that the blood is converted into pus, in the system of circulating Auids; the production of purulent matter being an effect of inflammatory suppuration. But,' says he,
• How can variolous contagion produce a fermentation in the course of circulation, where we must suppose it in a perpetual state of motion? As it is admitted that the contagious particles enter the blood, they must necessarily mix and unite with some of its constituent parts; in which case, these particles will more readily fall into contact with different parts of that Auid, in the course of circulation, than if the contagion was confined to one point, and remained in a ftate of rest. Variolous contagion is active and penetrating in its own nature, and though its subtilty eludes examination, its powerful effects are evident upon the vital Auid, where, instead of being extinguished as a spark of fire in water, or of rolling on in a friendly conjunction with the circulating mass, without producing any change upon its sensible qualities, we plainly see, in every bad case of smallpox, from the effects of this contagion upon the vital Auid, a considerable separation of some of its constituent parts, appearing in an'accumulation of contagious ichor in the fystem, the quantity of which may be conceived of, by a numerous eruption of pimples over. the whole furface; by its rushing to the head and faucial glands; by profuse perspiration, or diarrhea, or general tumefaction of the body; each of which secretions partake of the contagion of the disease, as ftreams from the infected fountain, indicate its attenuated state, and thew, especially in cases of the confluent and malignant small-pox, that a confiderable change has taken place in the 'sensible qualities of the blood.' -The limits of a Review will not permit us to follow the ingenious author through all his arguments relative to the progress of variolous contagion in the circulating fluids. We can only say, that he establishes his theory of a morbid assimilation upon such minute and learned inquiry, and such practical facts, as seem to leave not the small doubt of the perfect stability of his doctrine, Nor has he omitted to investigate,' by a number of conclusive experiments, what constituent parts of the blood are most readily affected by variolous contagion.
Our author, after endeavouring to prove, as far as the nature of the subject would admit, that variolous contagion has a certain
action on the blood, some of the component parts of which are affimilated into the nature of the contagion, proceeds afterwards to thew that different quantities of this contagious ichor are generated in the system, in different kinds of small-pox. The evi. dence which he adduces in support of this doctrine, seems to be absolutely demonstrative of the fact, and throws great additional light on his general theory of the disease.
In the same chapter in which this interesting inquiry is profecuted, the author likewise attentively examines the pathological question, Whether the variolous pustules invade the viscera and internal parts ? some writers asserting the reality of this phænomenon from their own observation, and others no less pofitively contradicting it. Dr. Walker assures us that, in the different dissections of variolous patients that he has witnessed, he has never seen the appearance of puftules upon any of the vilcera, or upon the intestinal canal ; nor does he think it probable that they can take place in those parts. Did variolous pustules,' says he,
• Inveft the external membrane of the lungs, liver, stomach, or intestines, and pass through the common stages of inflammation and fuppuration, we might expect a regular course of internal complaints, more urgent and distressing than what occurs on the surface of the body; but we never find this to be the case. Besides, we see a certain construction of the cuticle that has an influence in detaining the affimilated fluids, that does not exist in the membraneous coverings of the viscera, which are not only preserved from the effects of the external air, to which the skin is exposed, but constantly bedewed with a moisture that evinces the perviousness of their coats.'
The author next considers, at great length and with his usual accuracy, the predisposition neceffary to variolous infection; shewing, at the same time, that two different diathefes, viz. the inflammatory and putrid are powerful predisposing causes to. wards the reception of the disease. With regard to the proximate cause of the small-pox, he observes that we shall find few diseases where it appears with more certainty, and consequently where the indications of cure are more apparent; nor where the mode of treatment, arising from those indications, is oftener crowned with success. “The blood,' says he, in consequence
of the action of the variolous ferment, during the stage of fermentation, being more or less assimilated, and the contagious ( particles accumulated in the system, we consider to be the
proximate cause of small-pox.' 'It is certain that this view of the subject coincides with the history of the different species of the disease, whether mild or malignant. ENG. REV. VOL. XV, FEB.1789.
In the eighth chapter the author describes the symptoms preceding eruption, and delivers an accurate history of the disease, under the different species of the contiguous, the fimple confluent, the putrid, and the crystalline small-pox; passing over the kind denominated discreta benigne, as being sufficiently well known..
In the ninth chapter the author proceeds to treat of the indi+ cations arising from the preceding histories; but we must at present suspend the examination of this important part of the work, which certainly forms one of the most elaborate, interefting, and useful productions of the medical kind that have ever come under our observation.
Art. IX. The Art of Criticisin, as exemplified in Dr. Johnson's
Lives of the most eminent English Poets. 8vo. 45. boards,
Hookham. London, 1789. W HEN we consider the variety of inducements men have
W to write, we shall less wonder that the press so constantly teems. Of those who write for bread, happily for our craft, the numbers are but few; and yet, like most others, our trade, is perhaps overrun. But the constant defire of novelty might enable us to feed better, were the occupation confined to ourselves; and did not leisure, and the misfortune of a liberal education, induce many to give their thoughts to the public from the ro mantic idea of reforming their manners, or the vanity of improving their taste. Where the first is the only object, it does not become us to censure, how much foever, in our hungry moments, we may be induced to murmur; but, in the latter cafe, the affectation of novelty or fingularity, and an impatience of correctness, usually give us ample scope to snarl, if we cannot bite.
The work before us seems the production of a man of leisure, well educated, and fond of fingularity; willing to write a book, but too idle to work with steadiness, or to correct what he has written. Though it is not always easy to determine whether he is censuring or approving, nor precisely whether he has any meaning at all, we can frequently discover an agreeable boldness of thought, united with well-turned expressions and accuracy of language. Of this mixed kind seems his definition of genius, ' A mind vigorous, comprehensive, and endowed with ' curiosity and susceptibility of impression. This he opposes to Johnson, who defines the true genius a mind of large and
general powers, accidentally determined to some particular direction.' Neither of these is in our opinion satisfactory. As
to the last, we need only desire our readers to recollect characters who have shewn a strong propensity to fome particular art or science, and neither a disposition or capacity for any other. The former is so general, that, without being explained by the author; it might be supposed by some to mean the fame as Johnson's; for if the doctor's last clause [accidentally determined to some particular direction) were added, the sense would only seem more complete. But while we make this objection to our author's expression, we agree with him in opinion, and would propose, in his next edition, the addition of a single word: 'A mind
vigorous; comprehensive, endowed with curiosity and a suscep
tibility of fome particular impressions. That this is our au. thor's meaning, he afterwards fufficiently illustrates. The striking difference between him and Johnson is, that the former ascribes taste and fondness for any particular pursuit to accident, while the latter considers them as arising froin an original dispoa fition and brought forward by accidental circumstances.
As in the present work a critique is given of all the poets to whom Johnson was biographer, we may suppose many of them are short. The first of any length is upon Milton. It begins with a vindication of some part of Milton's character, and particularly of his smaller performances. After this we have Johnson's opi nion of Paradise Lost, which it is difficult to know whether our author approves or not. It leads him, however, to a short discussion of metrical compositions, in which are some forcible arguments in favour of blank verse. Mrs. Montague's remarks on the fubject are extracted from her critique on Corneille's Cinna. These are much approved of, but disinifled with a censure on their principal beauty. Poor Milton fares no better ; he is driven from the stage with many more severe epithets than Johnson ventured to be patter him with.
To give our readers some idea of the style of this curious med. ley, we have selected the following passage, because, being as little connected with the life it is taken from as with any other, no introduction will be necessary, nor shall we be accused of concluding abruptly:
- Antitheses, especially in rhyme, present themselves at once to the mind, like a regular building. Mallet, in his life of Bacon, has fome, such strokes. Voltaire abounds with them, delighting especially to level them at priests, whose aslistance he is nevertheless said to have craved when fick, though I can hardly believe him to have been so weak as to reft his salvation on a suborned repentance in the lap of men, who, like.indeed other religionilts, devote their faces to God, and hearts to the devil; and, a few members excepted, ought to be hooted out of the world for their villainous hypocrisy, and will doubtless bring the grey hairs of the church with sorrow to the grave; wretches, whose trade it is to barter inheritances in the other