« ZurückWeiter »
in the category of the electrical cylinder with the insutedla cushion, which (i. e., the cushion) gives off negative electricity. I had not however the means at hand for testing this.
If this be not the true explanation of the phenomenon, perhaps yourself or some one of your correspondents may be able to fur
To the Editor of the Medical Examiner.
DEAR DR.-In my communication in the last No. of the Med. Examiner, on Wounds from Fire-arms without Ball, the 2d Experiment is thus reported: “ Distance six inches, parts covered as before, clothes lacerated, wad lodged one inch and a half below the surface."
This is a material error; it should read, one half inch below the surface; and as the experiment may possibly be referred to in future medico-legal inquiries and criminal prosecutions, thou wilt oblige me by giving this correction in the next number of the Examiner.
Respectfully and truly, thy friend,
PAUL SWIFT. Philadelphia, 3d mo. 11th, 1847.
A Dictionary of Practical Medicine: comprising General Patho
logy, the Nature and Treatment of Diseases, Morbid Structures, and the Disorders especially incidental to Climates, to the Sex, and to the different Epochs of Life; with numerous prescriptions for the 'Medicines recommended, a classification of Diseases according to pathological principles, a copious Biography, with references, and an appendix of approved Formulæ: the whole forming a Library of Pathology and Practical Medicine, and a Digest of Medical Literature. By James COPLAND, M, D., F. R. S., Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians; Honorary Member of the American Philo. sophical Society, &c. Part XI. London: 1847.
Another part of this valuable Dictionary, which “drags its slow length along," has just reached us from England; com
prising the remainder of the article on “hæmagastric pestilence,” (yellow fever,) septic or glandular pestilence [a bad name] or plague; protection from pestilences; phlegmasia alba dolens, Pityriasis and Diseases of the pleura, (in part.) It bears all the wonted characteristics of the Author's ability and industry; but exhibits less freedom from emotion, and more unilateral prepossessions than many—perhaps any-of its predecessors. We notice it especially to draw the attention of the able American editor to the exceptionable tone, and imperfect and unsatisfactory exposition of the different views advocated on the great question of communicability of yellow fever; and to the general neglect of facts and opinions entertained on the subject on this side of the Atlantic, except where they accord with those of the author,who is an ultra-contagionist. The tone in which he supports his views may be appreciated by the following extract:
“ It cannot be denied by any one who has attended to the subject of quarantine, especially as it has been agitated in recent times, and with a due knowledge of the influence which the ruling passion—the desire of amassing wealth—exerts upon all the more generous and social emotions of the mind, that the restrictions imposed upon trade, arising out of precautions against the introduction of pestilential infections, have been the chief causes, directly or indirectly, producing the opposition to the doc. trine of the infectious properties of pestilences; and that all that has been written to disprove this doctrine—and written with no sinall virulence by some-has not proceeded from a firm conviction of the justice of the cause espoused, but are either special pleadings subservient to sordid purposes, and to the gratification of disappointed feelings or of private resentments, or the outpourings of minds teeming with mistaken views, arising out of imperfect observation and hastily formed opinions, and excited hy a desire of acquiring notoriety in a contest involving the interests of the whole community." p. 152.
Nothing can well be more objectionable than the tone of the above paragraph, as applied to a matter of scientific investigation and discussion. In this country, the mass of observers have arrived at conclusions diametrically opposed to those of the Author; and if they were to forget proprieties, they might with as much foundation hurl back the charges of interestedness, &c., upon him.
His next paragraph in continuation of the subject is not less objectionable.
“Let any one altogether unprejudiced as to the infectious or contagious properties of pestilential maladies, attentively peruse most of what has been written respecting them in this and in other countries, carefully examine the evidence adduced before committees of the House of Commous, or in other places, and critically weigh the import and truth of the conclusions arrived at by commissions sent to investigate facts on the spots of their occurrence, and the various circumstances connected with the facts adduced-let any one who poss sses sound common sense, with some share of science, but who is at the same time entirely free from the undue influence of prejudice, of temper and of interest, enquire into the matter—and I cannot believe that he can arrive at a different conclusion from that to which I have arrived, after the best attention I have been able to bestow upon this most important and much discussed subject. Whoever may enter upon this very unpleasant investigation, with these moderate qualifications, which, however necessary, are quite sufficient to the formation of just conclusions respecting it, will be surprised to find that, amongst members of a learned profession, so much ignorance should be displayed in the literary character of some of these writings, in the scientific and professional execution of others, and in the illogical inferences of many of them. The duly qualified and candid investigator will detect statements made without proof, facts assumed without evidence, and supposititious agents believed in as real existences, and these made the bases of reasonings altogether inconclusive even as regards the conduct of the argument. He will find things, facts and diseases dissimilar from one another, and presenting no connection either as to nature or to sequence, viewed as identical with each other. He will detect the suppression of important facts and circumstances, and an undue prominence given to others of a doubtful character. He will remark the imputation of motives which did not exist, and ignorance of those which influenced, if they did not impel the writers. He will observe the precipitancy with which the young, the inexperienced and the ignorant, have rushed into print, and attacked with disgusting flippancy and intemperance much abler and better informed writers. In every medical periodical existing during the late war, he will find accounts of a disease never seen by the describers, their own mistakes, proceeding from profound ignorance of the name and na. ture of the malady seen by them, serving as the basis of their lucubrations and their arguments.
And he will, moreover, be grieved to remark the opinions of learned and experienced men either misrepresented or impugned in jejune and paltry performances, evincing a most remarkable ignorance of the language in which they are written, and a still greater ignorance of that from which they profusely and inappropriately quote. In thus attempting to reach the pure spring of truth at the bottom of the deep code of research, he will have to penetrate not only through the rubbish thrown in by unfaithful, by mistaken, and by ignorant inquirers, but also through the accumulated filth of uncandid and intemperate controversy.
This is a strange exordium for one whose mind has been made up on one side; and who is assuredly most sparing in his references to testimony on the opposite view of the question,-a view, too, which is embraced on this side of the Atlantic by most of those—and many of them highly distinguished in their profession-who had ample opportunities for investigating the whole matter during the prevalence of yellow fever epi. demics, in Philadelphia more especially; not one of whom—we are persuaded—was in the slightest degree swayed by the unworthy motives ascribed to supporters of that side of the question by the author of the article before us.
What greater intolerance could they have exhibited than that which is comprised in the above extract, or in the following ?
“The opinions of several physicians are adduced by Dr. Bancroft in favour of the non-infectious nature of this pestilence; but upon referring to them, it will be found that they actually sup. port a very opposite doctrine; and that their ideas, as to a noninfectious character, had reference entirely to the remittent endemics of which they were treating, and not to epidemic yellow fever-a piece of sophistry of the most dishonest and contemptible kind."
We hope that the American Editor of the Dictionary-Dr, Lee-will be full in his citations of authorities on both sides of this vexed question, in order that the article may be truly cyclopædiac in its character, and more worthy of companionship with the many admirable essays contained in the work.
It is long since Part X appeared; and if the remaining parts are as tardy in presenting themselves, it must be many years before the Dictionary is completed.
Cours de Microscopie Complémentaire des Etudes Médicales
Anatomie Microscopique et Physiologie des Fluides de l'economie. Atlas exécuté d'après Nature au Microscope Daguerréotype. Par M. Donné, Docteur en Médecine, ex-chef de Clinique de la Faculté de Paris, Professeur particulier de , Microscopie, &c., et Léon Foucault. Fol. p. 30. Paris, 1845– 1946.
The text of the Cours de Microscopie of M. Donné was published in 1844, in Paris, but the Atlas before us has only just been completed. M. Donné has long been celebrated for his chemical and other investigations into the nature of certain of the animal secretions, and especially of the milk. His Mémoire sur le Lait was published many years ago, and has been exhausted—he inforins us;—and it was in consequence of his having teen invited to issue a new edition of it, that he determined to reproduce it in a separate work, and to associate with it his microscopic researches into the different fluids of the economy. Accordingly, the Cours de Microscopie contains the whole of his examinations of mucus, urine, sperm, milk, &c.
“ These researches”—he observes—"extended and perfected as far as it was practicable for me since my first publications, united with the physiological considerations and practical applications that flow from them, form the principal portion of the lectures which I now reproduce.” p. 9.
In his introduction to the “ Cours," M. Donné announced, that an Atlas would be added to the work, and that it would present an innovation. “ It will comprise," he remarked, “ figures of two orders—the one will be executed according to the ideas I have formed of the intimate structure of the microscopic objects depicted; these systematic figures are intended to elucidate the descriptions in the text, and to complete them. Alongside these figures will be placed others representing accurately the objects independently of all interpretation. To attain this result I have been desirous not to trust either my own hand or that of a designer, always more or less influenced by the theoretical ideas of the author. Profiting by the marvellous invention of the daguerreotype, the objects will be reproduced with a rigorous fidelity unknown hitherto by means of photographic processes." And he subsequently added :