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skeleton, of the history of this art, from its origin to the present times. With respect to the distribution of the matter - this historical compendium, brought down to near the middle of the 15th century, occupies nearly one half of this volume: so that the remaining historical narrative relating to the subsequent and more interesting period of about 300 years, is crowded and compreffed into the comparatively few remaining pages of the work. We pay the Author no great compliment when we obferve, that the execution of it is more to be commended than the plan; or the attempt to give a satisfactory account of the numerous and important medical discoveries and improvements of the last three centuries, within the narrow bounds of about 170 pages; where, in his rapid course through this busy period, he frequenily, and indeed necessarily, to use his own expression, • degenerates into a mere nomenclator,' and is obliged frequently to give us only a mere list of the subjects of his work, or of the titles of their performances. In other parts of this superficial compendium,' as the Author justly calls it, not quite two pages are allotted to Sydenham, and a single page only to the great Harvey. The entire history of chemistry and physics, from the beginning of the 16th century to the present time, is compressed into 14 pages; and that of botany into fix. The Author however is so good an economist of the little space which his plan admits for matters purely historical, as to find room for various incidental reflections on the subjects that pass in review before him. We shall notice a few detached passages as specimens of the work. He makes the following observations, when he speaks of the London College of Physicians.
Before the establishment of this college, in the time of Henry VIII, the Bishop of London, and the Dean of St. Paul's, por feffed the privilege of vending licences or diplomas to the laity, clergy, and empirics, to exercise the professions of phyfic and furgery within the city and suburbs; and the Bithops of different dioceses over the kingdom poffefled, or at least usurped, a fimilar power.
. By some monkih abuse,' fays the Author of the above medical institution, the honours and privileges of the London college are monopolized by a very small club of physicians, calling themselves Fellows, whose only merit, or pretensions to fuperiority, confifts in having studied medicine ai Oxford or Cambridge. I will not, with Dr. Mandeville, say, that a man may as well learn to be a Turkey merchant, as to be a physician, at either of the English universities. I see no reason why, under new and proper regulations, medicine might not be as well taught there as at Leyden or Edinburgh : but that has not hitherto been the case. On the other hand, I can see no plausible or public pretence for excluding those who have really Audied medicine as many years, at other universities, as any of
the Fellows of the college, from an equal participation, after the usual examination, of all the privileges of the latter. InItead of this, what is called a Licentiate of the London College of Physicians (and there are some of that description now alive, who were, probably, born at the beginning of the present century), after examination and approbation by a few of the Fellows, pays down fifty pounds, in return for which, he receives a scrap of parchment, authorifing him to practise medicine in London and its suburbs, but is admitted to no other privilege whatsoever of the college: nor can I discover, with what right or propriety, a mere Licéntiate affumes to himself the empty title of Member of the College of Physicians; within whose walls, after examination, he is never allowed to enter. In fact, were the College to inlift upon the right of examining every physician, who practises in London, they must either examine him as a Fellow, or be silent.'
This particular abuse is here properly noticed; and the Author afterwards justly, though not with sufficient minuteness criticises the general medical establishment in this country. We Thall only particularly notice, and add an observation or two of our own, on what he says respecting the manner in which physicians and apothecaries are paid for their services. He justly remarks, that, as medicine is now practised in this ifland, fick persons and apothecaries would both be benefited by the former paying a reafonable sum for the apothecaries visits, instead of forcing him to lay all his expences upon the number and quantity of prescriptions.' After proposing what we judge to be an impracticable scheme, he observes, that physicians might render their skill of more general use, and oftener resorted to, by. diminishing, with unanimous consent, their usual fees to a half, or even a fourth; and ftill more by preparing and compounding the medicines which they prescribe, and for which they may find examples in the person of Hippocrates, and of the present physicians of North America.'
Nothing surely can' equal in absurdity our conduct in this particular. To the physician a large fee is given, which few can afford to pay, and Atill fewer to repeat, for bis medical skill, exerted perhaps for half an hour, in the confideration of the case of a patient, whom, particularly in the country, he never faw before, either fick or well, nor may ever see again : while the apothecary is not paid for his skill, and necessarily frequent attendance, but in a manner the most debasing to him, and frequently injurious to the patient:-that is, by a profit on the fum total of drugs swallowed by the patient, at his infligation :-this profit too, seemingly most exorbitant, if the drugs be viewed in the light of articles of traffic; and which yet muft, in many cases, be totally inadequate to his services, when he
conscientiously and intelligently dispenses no more than are nes cessary.
On the other hand, the less conscientious practitioner, or the medical shopkeeper, has it in his power, as Pitt *, with severity, but not without humour, long ago expressed it, to break the patient's hart and substance with cordials, and by tricks of subdividing into little parcels ;' and yet the most honest apothecary, according to the present absurd system, muft in many inftances, nay in all, except in works of charity, do this, or something like this,-or starve. But even in those cases, where an abundance of remedies, or repeteturs, is really necessary, how greatly must the patient's faith in their efficacy, and consequently his willingness to perfist in the regimen, be diminiled (unless he has indeed a very high opinion of the honesty of the dispenser) by the doabes, which will naturally occur, for whose benefit he is thus incessantly labouring-whether that of himself, or that of the medical tradesman constantly at his elbow, and pressing him to take off his wares.
The Author, we apprehend, is mistaken in saying that Dr. Nooth lately published a new mode of preserving water on board thips at sea, from being corrupted; which was by adding some quicklime to each cask, and afterwards by a particular apparatus to throw fome fixed air into the veslel, so as to precipitate the lime previous to use.'-At least Mr. Henry published such a proporal; as may be seen in our Review for November 1781.
Speaking of the imitation of mineral waters the Author briefig observes, that Dr. Priestley directs how to imitate the Pyrmont, and Bergman, of Sweden, the hot waters :' and he adds,
whether such artificial imitations possess the full medicinal powers of the natural spring, is not so well ascertained. When physicians observed that lemons and oranges cured the scurvy, they concluded, from analogy, that the same effect must be produced by other acids; but after trying vinegar, and the strongo ést mineral acids diluted, they found them ineffc&tual, and that the natural fruit was endowed with some latent virtue wbich: they could not discover nor counterfeit. Medicated springs, in like manner, feem impregnated with a fubtile spirit, which evades the chemical torture; in their resolution of the separate ingredients.'
Surely the Author cannot be ignorant that the subtile fpirit, or rather spirits, with which medicated springs seem imprego nated,' have not totally evaded the chemical corture.' Two of the capital ones, at least, have certainly been detected. He cannot but know, that Dr. Brownrig first expelled and caught
• Treatise on the Frauds of Physic.
one of these subtile fpirits, in the guise of fixed air, from the Pyrmont waters; and that M. Bergman afterwards laid hold of another, under another but fimilar disguise, in the fulphureous
Since these discoveries have been made, though not before, there are no just grounds to fufpect that the natural mineral waters are endowed with any " latent virtue,' which may not be communicated to common water, even in a greater degree, in some cases; as the folid, faline, or other contents of thele mineral waters are generally known, and easily procured.
Whatever other circumstances therefore may contribute to a recovery, by a course of the Pyrmont, Bath, or any other waters on the spot, they are not to be fought for, we apprehend, in the waters themselves : nor will the most fublime chemistry ever be able to discover, in them, the unknown subtile spirits which the Author speaks of. Could a fair trial be made of the medical virtues of the two classes of waters above specified, the natural and artificial; we are confident that the result, which, we own, would most probably turn out in favour of the former, would not be owing to their fupposed unknown, or inimitable ingredients, but to their constant concomitants, or acceffaries;--particularly to that greatest of all doctors, TIME, with certain medical virtues in his train, particularly Faith, atrended by her conftant companion, PATIENCE, afitted by TEMPERANCE, or regularity, together with exercise, amusements, change of scene, prepoffeffion, and other powerful co-operators. The analogical reasoning of phyficians, above alluded to by the Author, which led them to substitute vinegar and other acids in the room of the recent vegetable acids, before the late discoveries respe&ing fixed air, is now known to have been erroneous ; nor is bis inference from thence just or applicable to the present case,
In fact, the Author does not seem to have attended much to the late aftonifhing discoveries respecting air, made by Dr. Priestley; particularly fixed air, the air we breathe, &c. and which are so nearly connected with the history of medicine. All that he says on this most interesting subject is contained in five lines, and is expreffed in the following extraordinary and frigid terms:
The fubtile analysis of the atmospheric element, and its various impregnations and properties, has been lately revived by Dr. Prieitley; and the rage for this particular inveftigation is now widely diffused amongit the chemical sect of philosophers.'
The Author, however, presents us with some just observations and criticisms on the modern fyftems of Nosology; or that branch of medicine in which diseases are arranged, in the manner of the Naturalists, into classes, orders, genera, and species. Classification, he observes, is folely intended to aflift the memory, to enable us to attain knowledge with more ease and dif
patch; so that by a natural order, and a few essential marks, not too numerous to be retained in the memory, every disease may be readily found, and unerringly discriminated from all others.'--Some of the modern Nosologists, by curtailing essential symptoms, have rendered the characters of each disease, or, in other words, the genus, faint and obscure, and stript them into naked skeletons, where the features are no longer distinct and visible ;- so as frequently to degenerate into mere pomenclators. Others, on the contrary, are too prolix ;-the memory is taxed and teazed, and becomes fatigued with futile dirtinctions. They sometimes cut a single disease into a number of pieces, or species, and confuse the reader to search for the scattered fragments amongst a number of heterogeneous orders, Their clafles and orders, like those of the firittum and laxum of the ancient Methodics, are frequently forced and artificial; and diseases totally discordant in their nature, causes, and method of cure, fettered together.'
The Author, with equal justice, criticises the singular and obscure terms, or names that have been given to diseases, by some of the Nosologists. The technical terms of science, one of the greatest nuisances which defiles and darkens every branch of Phyfic, are unnecessarily increased by the Norologifts. Sauvages has an order called Hallucinationes, and Morofitates; Vogel, diseases called Alotriophagia, Sparganosis, Hemantosis, Acatopolis, and Carebaria; the etymology and meaning of which the old Greeks, were they to return to the earth, would be puzzled to decypher. Should the career of Norology, and licentious af. fectation of new terms, go on for a century, we shall, it is to be feared, have a synod of Nofological methodifts, a new language and medical orthography, and all the old books will be rendered scarce intelligible.
To this Compendium of medical history and biography the Author bas prefixed a still more summary view or chronological chart of medical and surgical authors, on one large Theet, in imitation of Dr. Priestley. This chart, the chronology of which commences 400 years before Christ, comprehends the names of the various writers in the different branches of medicine, including natural history; and at the same time denotes the century in which each of them lived.
ART, II, The birt of Pain'ing of Charles Alpbonse Du Frejnoy.
Translated into English Verle by William Mason, M. A. With