« AnteriorContinuar »
highly rectified spirit of wine, oil of olives, or oil of vitriol, no finty crust was formed ; and that it appeared only when there was water in the receiver. Mr. Forster likewise, in his inftruétions, considers Quartz (one of the Ainty stones) as a compound consisting only of this new acid and steams of water meeting together; and thinks it highly probable that even the diamond is formed of the most subtile steam of water, united with this particular acid.
It may however be suggested, by those who find it difficult to conceive that flints and diamonds are compounds only of acid and water, that the stoney matter, that appears on the surface of the water in the above-mentioned process, may posibly have been sublimed, in that form, from the mass in the retort.- But it would be equally inconvenient and unfair for us to enforce any doubts of this nature, against the justice of the preceding inferences, as we have not room to give, at full length, all the experiments and their circumstances, from which they are deduced. We thall only therefore once more refer the curious to the original: at the same time, however, recommending to their confideration the contents of a paper of Mr. Marggraf's, published in the 24th volume of the Berlin Memoirs (and of which we gave a short account in our last Appendix +) on the Volatilisation of the Flus-Spaht; which may posibly throw some light on this curious subject.
We shall finish our account of this small but useful and in. teresting publication, by adding the purport of an advertisement annexed to the preceding paper ; in which Mr. Forster informs us that Mr. Scheele, Prof. Torbern Bergman, and Mr. J. G. Gahn have lately, by a series of curious and interesting experiments, succceded in analysing and regenerating various mineral substances, and particularly Zeolites, Garnets, Cockle, Quarts, Feld-Spar, or Rhombic Qruriz, Soap-rock, or Soap-stone, and Blacklead; and that the result of their discoveries will be published in the Memoirs of the Swedish Royal Academy of Sciences; 'by which means a new light will be thrown on Mineralogy and the claslification of foilil substances will be greatly facilitated. Wc thall only add that the present painphlet is terminated by some useful notes and additions to Cronstedt's Mine- . ralozy, by Prof. M. T. Brunnich.
+ Vol. xlvi. page 669.
Art. XI. A Treatise on the medicinal Virtues of the Waters of Aix la
Chapelle and Borset. The whole drawn from a Chain of pbftal Reasoning upon their Nature and Effets, &r. To which is added, A Chemical Analysis of the Waters, from a Number of Experiments made on the Spot. By J. Williams, M. D. 8vo. 4 s. sewed. Becket. 1772.
F the many creatises that have been published relative to
these celebrated waters, the present publication appears to us to contain the most rational and satisfactory account of their nature and effects on the human body, ascertained by actual experiment and observation. The late very ingenious Dr. Lucas was, we believe, the only person who attempted to investigate the true nature and contents of these medicinal springs in a scientific manner, and on true chemical principles : but it appears, from the present Author's account, that this excellent chemist was, in many instances, imposed upon by the members of the faculty and others resident at Aix,' who thought it was their interest to deceive him ;' and whole principles and practice, as represented in this work, are such as give us no very high idea or opinion either of their honesty or understandings.
With respect to the first, we need only to mention the charges urged by the Author against many of the physicians at this place, who are generally recommended to the strangers that arrive here by the respective malters of the great bathing houses; and who accordingly make it a rule to recommend, in return, the houses or baths of their good friends : although they are conscious of the great inferiority, in strength and efficacy, of the baths which they patronize on such felfish and unworthy motives. Several instances are here given by the Author, to prove the justice of this observation.
As to the discernment of these medical sages, we shall only observe, that, in several of the cases here related, we see thele worthy disciples of Dr. Sangrado, improving on the practice of their great master, and not only indiscriminately drenching all who present themselves, without regard to the nature of the disease, or the conftitution of the patient; but likewise, in many cases, where the use of the waters might be proper, obviously counteracting and defeating their salutary powers, by a concomitant and uninterrupted course of drastic and debilitat. ing purgatives, procured from the shops. We give there short hints merely with a view to excite those who peruse our journal, and who may be interested in this subject, either as physicians or patients, to consult the work itself; fron which they may extract some useful information relative to the intrigues practised at this celebrated and much frequented wa. tering place; where, according to the Author's repeated after. tions, the healths of many are facrificed to self interest, ignorance, and a long established and ablurd routine.
The analysis, and the observations relating to the effects of these waters, were made by the Author upon the spot; where he was countenanced in the prosecution of these enquiries by some of the burgomasters and principal inhabitants of the city, who were desirous that the world. Thould be rightly informed of the medicinal virtues of their waters, and be judges for themselves, in a matter which must evidently bé éliential lo many a diseased person, and which may likewise not a little contribute to the interest of the state.'
Though we cannot follow the Author throughout his che: mical analysis of these waters, we fall flop to collect a few particulars relating to a curious and much contraverred chemi. cal question intimately connected with it: we mean the end quiry whether these medical springs really contain that particuJar principle, with which they, and the other waters of the same class, are supposed to be impregnated ; and to which they owe their distinguishing title or epithet of sulphureous.
It is affirmed by many, that mineral waters of this kind contain an actual sulphur diffolved in them; and a late French analyser of the waters of Aix la Chappelle, in particular, has endeavoured to prove that a portion of that mineral is actually diflolved in thein. The Author, however, though he repeatedly observes and acknowle Iges, that more or less real sulphur is found in all the vaults of the close covered sources, and in many of the aqueducts that convey these waters from the great source to the diiferent baths, and that the said sulphur is undoubtedly the product of these waters; yet he absolutely denies that they contain a single particle of that mineral. We cannot here describe the different experiments produced in proof of this affertion, nor discuss how far they are decisive: but shall observe, that the seeming contrariety that presents itself between his acknowledgment that sulphur is actually fublimed from these waters, and his assertion that they contain no sulphur, vanithes on attending to this disinclion; that though these baths are not impregnated with real sulphur, yet they evidently contain the vitriolic acid and phlogiston, the two component principles of that mineral; each of which fingly rising in the form of vapour, afterward unite and condense or the adjoining bodies, and, by this union, constitute the real folid fulphur which may be collected from them. In short, these waters, according to the Author's idea, may he said, if we may be allowed the expression, to contain fulphur virtually or potentially, but not actually or fubstantially-On this occation we shall offer, merely by way of illustrating the Author's opia
nion, an instance that occurs to us of a similar production of this same concrete, from a body which cannot properly be faid to have contained it à priori.
That curious chemical production, usually termed Homberg's Phosphorus, or more properly Pyrophorus, which takes fire im. mediately on being exposed to the air, confills, as is well known, only of a vegetable or animal coal, mixed with alum, or (as M. de Savigny has since shewn *) with some other via triolic salt, both reduced to a powder, which is afterwards lub. jected to a considerable degree of heat in a matrass. Before this powder is exposed to the fire, it cannot properly be said that the mixture contains fubftantially a single grain of sulphur. It contains, however, the vitriolic acid in the alum, and the phlogifon in the charcoal. By the heat applied, these two principles, possibly before any fulphur is formed in the matrass, rise up to the mouth of it, and by their union constitute an actual sulphur, which may be collected there; and the presence of which may be otherwise, and more easily, afcertained by the appearance of the sulphureous flame always observable in the mouth of the vial, during the time of the process. The circumstances, we must observe and acknowledge, are not the fame in the two cases : accordingly we mention these appearances, not as a proof of the justice of the Author's hypochefis; but merely as an illustration of his manner of accounting for the generation of the fulphur, that evidently appears in the various receptacles or conduits, which receive or convey these waters. To give our opinion on this subject in the gross, we shall observe, that the Author's experiments do not appear to us fully to prove that these two principles may not have been actually united in the waters at Aix, as they are found to be in the phosphorus, at the end of the process; and that it is very possible to prepare an artificial solution of sulphur in water, which will stand the tests here applied to those of Aix la Chappelle.
After having given the analyfis of these waters, which, how. ever, is rendered somewhat incomplete by the Author's either not being acquainted with, or at least overlooking the probable inftrumentality of fixed air, as a menftruum or solvent of the solid contents of mineral waters; and after having described the various baths, which differ very considerably in strength and efficacy, by the loss of their volatile principles, in propor
* In the Third Volume of the Collection of Memoirs, presented by the Correspondents of the Royal Academy of Sciences at Paris; where an ingenious and very plausible theory of this extraordinary process is given,
tion as they recede from the original sources, the Author treats very particularly of the medical virtues of these springs, and describes those disorders which they are qualified to relieve, as well as those in which the use of them is undoubtedly pernicious. His observations on these heads, are founded not only on the medical qualities of their contents; but on the remarks which he has made on their effects, in a variety of cases that have fallen under his immediate observation, several of which are here related. On the whole, this appears to be a very lonsible and judicious performance; and though the Author's theory may not be every where perfectly unexceptionable, bis Temarks and directions with respect to the use of thele waters, and his hints relating to the management or practices of those who dispense them, may be highly serviceable to such as, from their fituation and circumftances, may be disposed and enabled to make trial of their efficacy; as they appear to be the result of a judicious and attentive observation of their good and bad effects, in a great variety of diseases.
ART. XII. Obfervations on the Operation and Use of Mercury in the
Venereal Disease. By Andrew Duncan, M.D. Fellow of the
in the cure of venereal disorders, in all their different stages, render an investigation of its real mode of operation, and an enquiry into the best forms of exhibiting it, a matter of very confiderable importance in the medical art. The ingenious Author of this little tract first enquires into the probable manner in which mercury produces the salutary effects known to attend the exhibition of it. Nothing, he justly oblerves, can contribute more to safe and effectual practice, than an acquaintance with those principles on which remedies operate. By such a knowledge certainly, founded on experiment, accurate observation, and a careful induction, we are enabled to accommodate their use to particular circumstances, and, by means of analogy, largely to extend their application to very different disorders.
In the prosecution of this enquiry, he controveits the doctrine maintained by many of the faculty, that the good effects produced by mercury, in the cure of the Lues Vencrea, are to be ascribed to the cvacuation which it occalions. Ho fhews the insufficiency of the arguments brought in support of this bypothefis, and produces many strong obje&tions and observations, which seem to furnish fufficient grounds to reject it ; fuppofing even that no fallacy could have been detected in the arguments used by the patronilers of it. He oble: res, in particular,