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Cheltenham. Of these, the last is the most valuable, as containing some useful information respecting the method that has been adopted for warming the baths by steam, according to the plan proposed by Count Rumford. The scheme appears to have fully answered the des signed end, and to be much more convenient and economical than the usual mode of applying the heat.
Art. 16. Cursory Remarks on Corpulence. By a Member of the Royal College of Surgeons. 8vo. 23. Callow. 1810.
Our attention is here called to a subject which has not often been treated medically, but which may well deserve to be thus considered. An excessive accumulation of fat is often a serious inconvenience, and is occasionally, as far as we can judge, the immediate cause of death. In order to escape a corpulent state of the body, it is generally sufficient to avoid its exciting causes, luxury and indolence: but, in some instances, the predisposition is so strong that the individual, even while maintaining a very temperate regimen, becomes a sufferer from his constitutional habit. Temperance, however, is to be considered as a relative term; and it appears that, in all cases, the object may be accomplished by carrying this rule to a sufficient length, and joining it to a sufficient quantity of exercise: but the plan will probably often fail of success, from the want of resolution in those who are the subjects of it. It does not appear that any system, which can properly be intitled to the appellation of medical treatment, is applicable to the reduction of excessive corpulence; all the substances that have been used for this purpose seem to operate by injuring the digestive powers; and as far as they do this, they must prove extremely inju rious to the constitution.
Art. 17. Cheap Tract on the Cow-pox. A plain Statement of Facts, in favour of the Coru-pox, intended for Circulation through the middle and lower Classes of Society. By John Thomson, M.D. late President of the Royal Medical Society of Edinburgh, &c. &c. 8vo. 6d. Crosby and Co. 1809.
This is unquestionably the best tract of the kind that has been published; and we do not hesitate to say that the author has very happily accomplished his object. In the space of a few pages, he has collected the principal arguments in favour of the cow-pox, and has candidly considered the objections which have been urged against it; at the same time pointing out a number of such facts, as are the best calculated to make an impression on the minds of those persons for whom the pamphlet was intended. The style is simple and perspicuous; and we think that few persons, even among the most uneducated, would be unable to comprehend the reasoning of the author, or would fail to be struck with its force.
Art. 18. A Practical Materia Medica, in which the various Articles are fully described, and divided into Classes and Orders, according to their Effects: their Virtues, Doses, and the Diseases in which they are proper to be exhibited, are fully pointed out. Interspersed with some practical Remarks, and some select Formulæ. To which is added a general nosological Table. Intended principally for the REV. Nov. 1810. Use
Use of Students and junior Practitioners. 12mo. 5s. Boards.
Some useful matter is here supplied in a cheap form, and so far the work is worthy of commendation: but we have been not a little amused with a paltry attempt at originality which it displays, in the arrangement of the articles of the materia medica. They are divided into four classes, of which the first is intitled stimuli, is subdivided into 13 orders, and contains so great a variety of substances, that we were at a loss to imagine what could be reserved for the remaining classes. Under the head of stimulants, besides what usually pass under this denomination, which are here called general stimuli, and also such medicines as are supposed to increase the action of particular organs, (as diuretics, cathartica, &c.) we have the tonics and astringents placed in this class; and likewise the narcotics, including opium, hyosciamus, &c.— Having thus, as we conceived, exhausted all the materia medica, we turned to the second class, which is called atonics, and which we found to consist of blood-letting, issues and setons, nauseants, cathartics, gases, and abstinence. We must, however, differ from the ingenious author in this disposition of his subject; we cannot allow that blood-letting, issues and setons, gases, and abstinence, are articles of the materia medica: nauseants and cathartics have already been enumerated among the stimuli; and with respect to gases, we should not admit that they have a claim to appear in any part of a medical arrangement. The third class consists of vermifuges, all of which, we think, may be distributed under the heads of tonics, bitters, cathartics, or general stimulants, and will therefore belong to the first class, or to that of substances which have no efficacy. The fourth class is composed of antacids, some of which are fairly intitled to the name; and we should not object to such a disposition of them, had not the magnitude of the first class rendered all the rest comparatively insignificant. If the author ever attempts to improve on his present work, we advise him either to avoid all arrangement, by placing his articles in the alphabetical form, or, which would be a less violent change, to convert the present orders of his first class into so many classes, to which the three remaining classes, with a little correction, might be placed as appendages.
Art. 19. Considerations respecting the Expediency of establishing an Hospital for Officers on Foreign Service: suggested by the Writer's Experience during the late Occupation of Walcheren. By A B. Faulkner, Fellow of the London College of Physicians, and Phy sician to the Forces. 8vo. 1s. Murray. 1810.
We learn that Dr. Faulkner was employed in the ill-starred expedition to Walcheren, and that, from his experience of the inconvenience then felt, he deduces his present recommendation. He advises that, on foreign service, a hospital should always be prepared for the use of the officers, instead of their being (as at present) dispersed in different places. The plan now adopted causes a great difficulty in procur ing the necessary assistance of servants and medical attendants, and sometimes in obtaining suitable apartments. These evils appear to have been severely felt in the instance above mentioned; and parti
cular facts are adduced, which would appear fully to justify Dr. Faulkner's remarks. It must be observed that a plan very similar to the one here recommended is actually adopted by the French; and the author, being aware of this circumstance, while he was at Middleburgh, obtained from M. Boudriot, chief surgeon to the military hospital, some account of the details of his establishment; which are here communicated in a letter from M. Boudriot, and form not the least valuable part of the pamphlet.
Art. 20. Thomæ Simsoni, Medicina Professoris Candossensis in Academia Andreana apud Scotos, de Re Medica, Dissertationes quatuor. In usum medicina et bumanitatis, studiosorum iterum excudi ́curabat Andreas Duncan, sen. M.D. et P. principis Scotia Medicus primarius. His adnectuntur, De Asthmate infantum spasmodico Dissertatio, Auctore Jacobo Simson: De Alvi purgantium natura et usu Dissertatio ; et de laudibus Gulielmi Harvei Oratio, Auctore Andreas Duncan. 8vo. PP. 327. Constable and Co.
The principal portion of this volume consists of a republication of some tracts written by Dr. Simson, who enjoyed a considerable share of reputation during his life time, and who must still be regarded as a respectable author. Although the value of his works is much diminished in consequence of his attachment to a system which is now discarded, yet they may still be perused with advantage. The essay on purgatives, which originally appeared as Dr. Duncan's inaugural dissertation, is a sensible performance, and deserves to be preserved.
An Abridgment of Universal History, adapted to the Use of Families and Schools; with appropriate Questions at the End of each Section. By the Rev. H. I. Knapp. 12mo. 3s. Law, &c.
Under the head of Antient History, this author treats of the period 'extending from the beginning of any record until the Christian era: under that of Middle History, he includes the first fourteen hundred years of the Christian era; - and under that of Modern History, the ́
last four centuries are contained.
This division of periods is somewhat arbitrary. We should have preferred to consider as Antient History whatever precedes the acces sion of Constantine. It was the establishment of Christianity by that Emperor, and the transfer to Constantinople of the seat of government, that in fact extinguished the peculiar spirit of the antient world, and introduced in its stead those principles of religion and government which prevailed during the Catholic millennium. The papal ascendancy began to abate at the Reformation, which is a fit epoch for the close of Middle History.
Antient History is subdivided into seven periods, which are all dispatched in forty-six pages, or rather in twenty-three; since the author first gives a paragraph of narrative, and then repeats in the form of interrogation each preceding sentence. As a sample, we select the sixth period:
From the commencement of the sixth period, a new power is seen to arise. Alexander, son of Philip, king of Macedonia, pursued the same object as his father. He sighed after universal dominion; became master of nearly the whole of Greece; attempted to overturn the great Persian empire, and succeeded in his attempt. He overran all Asia Minor; thrice attacked and overcame Darius Codomanus, the last king of Persia; after which he extended his conquests as far as India.
In returning, however, from India, he died at Babylon, not without some suspicion of having been poisoned. On account of his exploits he was surnamed the Great, and is generally considered the founder of the Macedonian empire.
The vast possessions which Alexander left were divided among his Generals, who sacrificed to their ambition the whole family of Alexander, even to his mother and sisters. Nothing was witnessed around but scenes of bloodshed arising from continual disputes, and
At length, out of the vast empire of Macedonia, were formed the kingdoms of Macedonia, Thrace, and Syria, which last included at that time Babylon; soon after which sprung up those of Parthia, Bactriana, Pontus and Pergamus.
By these means, the language and manners of the Greeks were circulated through Egypt, as well as a great part of the East.
What is seen at the commencement of this period? In whom was this new power vested? Whose son was he? To what did he aspire? What actions did he perform? Where did he go after extending his conquests to India? What happened to him in this place? What is supposed to have been done to him? What is he surnamed, and why? What is he generally supposed to have founded? Into whose hands did the power fall, after his death? Who suffered from the ambition of the usurpers? What were the dreadful consequences which followed upon this? What kingdoms arose after the destruction of the Macedonian empire? What others? What were circulated by these new divisions? As far as what country were they made to spread ?'
This couciseness is surely excessive: the body of fact is too meagre; and the particulars recommended to the memory are insufficient for every-day purposes. It is necessary to read some fuller account, in order to complete even the outline of universal history.Yet, for an abridgment so brief, it is executed with much judgment, knowlege, and propriety. A due sense of proportion is observed: the details expand as the events become more important; and a morality religiously tolerant and politically passive pervades the reflec
Some blemishes have occurred to our notice. At p. 91., among the questions to be asked of the pupil, is this: What shall we soon be informed of?' At p. 99, the Albigeois are called Albigeans, instead of the more usual Albigenses.-P. 128. the island first discovered by Columbus was Guanahani, not San Domingo.
Avaunt, ye crying philosophers, your sobbing and blubbering will not do now. "Take it for all in all," it is a poor sort of a pastime; and a good hearty laugh, which helps to shake the dust and cobwebs of melancholy off the heart, is worth a belly-full of it. If we did not at first altogether relish the idea of having one of the esteemed tragedies of our divine bard metamorphosed by low burlesque, we could not help shaking our old sides when we found the thing so well done. Now, gentle reader, think not that our senses are gone to the valley of the moon on our making this confession. Had Shakspeare himself, who was a merry grig of the first water, been alive, he would have delighted in this very comic travestie of his Hamlet, and have relished the humourous blackguardism by which affecting scenes are converted into broad farce. The modern slang is played off to good effect, both in the dialogue and in the songs, which are substituted for the soliloquies; and throughout the burlesque is well preserved. We feel ourselves obliged to the author for relieving the ordinary dullness of our occupation, by so sprightly a sally: we have relished his fun; and we recommend a perusal of it as no bad expedient for dissipating the effects of November and December fogs:-for he who laughs heartily will never be disposed to tuck himself up to his bed post, or to throw himself into the river. That our readers may have a taste of this oddly cooked and fantastically garnished Hamlet, we present them with the substitute for the sublime soliloquy in the first, act beginning "◇ that this too too solid flesh," &c. which is thus untragedized; • SONG. HAMLET.
A ducat I'd give if a sure way I knew,
How to thaw and resolve my stout flesh into dew!
Derry down, down, down, derry down.
Derry down, &c.
but 'tis all too late now,
To wed such a bore!
Derry down, &c.
So fondly he lov'd her, I've oft heard him tell her,
Derry down, &c.
* A handkerchief so called from Belcher the boxer.