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Summary of the Transactions of the College of Physicians of
Philadelphia. Vol. 1. From Nov. 1841 to August 1846. 8 vo.
During the last five years it has been the custom of the College of Physicians to publish quarterly summaries of its proceedings.
These have now become sufficiently extensive to make a good sized volume, and are bound up in that form for the use of the members and such others as may desire to purchase it.
Beside reports on most of the branches of the science, made at stated periods by Committees, these “transactions" contain the discussions of the members on the various interesting points presented before the College, either in the reports or oral communications, and express, generally, the views and experience of the speakers on the doctrines and practice of the day. On various occasions we have enriched our pages with extracts from these quarterly reports, and find that many of our brother journalists have done the same, which is sufficient evidence of the value of the matter they contain.
THE MEDICAL EXAMINER.
PHILADELPHIA, JANUARY, 1847.
THE BULLETIN OF MEDICAL SCIENCE, EDITED BY JOHN BELL, M. D.
The December number of this Journal contains the farewell address of its Editor, in which he announces that “ The SELECT MEDICAL LIBRARY and The BulletIN OF MEDICAL Science will cease to be published after this date.” “ These instruments," says the Editor, “ through which we have long discoursed with our professional brethren, will no more give utterance to our exhortation, our praises, our monitions and rebukes : our voice, henceforth, comes down to the key and pitch of those who may have, hitherto, listened with some attention, not unmixed, perhaps, with some deference.” Those who, like ourselves, have long been in the practice of reading the productions of his ever ready and well pointed pen, will regret that any circumstances should render it necessary for the able and estimable Editor to retire from a position which education and habit so peculiarly qualified him to fill. His personal friends, however, of which number for nearly a quarter of a century we have had the pleasure of considering ourselves one, recollecting his late severe indisposition, and the causes of it, will hope from the change for a longer continuance of his useful labors, than could have been reason. ably expected under the excessive mental occupation to which he was exposed. No one probably enjoyed the pleasures that pertain to an Editors position more than Dr. Bell, or better knew its labours and responsibilities, so graphically sketched in the following extraci.
“ But if, in thus descending from our • high estate,' we divest ourselves of the appendages of office, and cease to enjoy its honors, its emoluments, and its collateral advantages, we, at the same time, cast off heavy responsibility and ever-recurring anxieties. Those engaged in the busy walks of life have little conception of the toilsome efforts, and the many trying hours encountered by the occupant of the editorial sanctum,-in the task of selection and arrangement of contemporary materials, and of interweaving them with the learning of the past, so as still to preserve a philoscphic texture,-a careful analysis and an impartial adjudication of conflicting claims of discovery and improvement, the support of modest merit,—and the rebuke of arrogant pretensions."
“ Ten years have elapsed since the first publication of the Select Medical Library ; during which time, it has been the good fortune of its Editor to make it a vehicle for the dissemination, throughout the length and breadth of the land, of works, many of which adorn our medical literature and have contributed, not a little, to the practical instruction of our medical men, at the same time that they have inspired them with more curiosity, and a desire for a still wider circle of reading and research.”
The business relations of Dr. Bell and the publishers, Messrs. Barrington and Haswell, are to be continued, and hereafter his labours, instead of being partly occupied with the journal, will be wholly employed on works destined—we hope--to be of a less ephemeral character.
NATIONAL MEDICAL CONVENTION.
In our Record department we have given the names of the gentlemen who have been appointed to represent the Medical Faculty of the University of Pennsylvania, the College of Physicians of Philadelphia, and the Philadelphia Medical Society, in the Convention to be held in this city in May next; in all twenty-seven. If all the other medical societies and institutions throughout the country shall be represented in an equal ratio, it will certainly be a large assemblage.
As the period at which the Convention is to take place grows nearer, we discover a more general interest manifested in the subject, and a freer expression of opinion as to the feasibility or otherwise of the various schemes likely to be proposed. On another page we have treated cursorily of some points which it is probable will be mooted, and may perhaps advert to the subject again on some future occasion; in the meanwhile we shall be happy to receive from any of our correspondents, temperate arguments on the questions expected to be raised, and especially those to be reported on by committees appointed at the late Convention, held in the city of New York.
GUN COTTON. This preparation, it appears, explodes at a temperature as low as 140° of Fahrenheit, which renders it much more dangerous to handle than gunpowder. We have heard of some serious accidents happening to persons of skill and prudence, while engaged with it. In one instance, a letter containing a small portion was blown to atoms, from the heat of the wax used in sealing it. In another case, a chemist, whilst drying a few ounces of it in a current of warm air, not exceeding the temperature of 140 degrees, was badly burnt by its explosion.
This circumstance, together with its comparative costliness, renders it probable that, notwithstanding its tremendous power, it will not supersede the old material for ordinary explosive purposes.
NEW MEDICAL ASSOCIATION. We are gratified to learn that a number of the physicians residing in the northern section of Philadelphia, embracing Spring Garden, Northern Liberties, Kensington, Germantown, and Frankford, are about forming themselves into an association for literary and scientific improvement, and the promotion of good fellowship and sound medical ethics among the members. It is intended to admit none as members but graduates in medicine, excluding all who are practising VOL. X.
or encouraging the various systems of charlatanry, under the mask of reform, and thereby undervaluing the science and skill of regular. physicians, and thus bringing the profession into disfavour with the community.
Many of our oldest and most respected physicians reside in the district mentioned, and their association for such praisworthy objects cannot but be productive of good, especially to their junior brethren, who will by this means be admitted to their more intimate fellowship.
TO CORRESPONDENTS AND PUBLISHERS, We have received several books, tracts, and introductory lectures, which we shall endeavour to notice in our next number.
RECORD OF MEDICAL SCIENCE.
Delegates to the National Medical Convention. The Medical Faculty of the University of Pennsylvania, have appointed of their number, Drs. Chapman, Jackson, and Wood, to represent them in the Convention in May next..
The Philadelphia Medical Society, at a meeting held November 21st, elected the following gentlemen as delegates to the Convention : Drs. Bell, Emerson, Isaac Parrish, West, Ashinead, Norris, B. H. Coates, Bond, S. G. Morton, Yardley, and Griscom. There is still a vacancy to be filled up by the election of a delegate, so as to complete the number, twelve, authorised by the Society.
The College of Physicians of Philadelphia, at a meeting, Dec. 1st. appointed a delegation to consist of Drs. Hewson, J. W. Moore, S. Jackson (formerly of Northumberland County), Hays, A. Stillé, J. R. Paul, Pepper, Fox, Randolph, C. Morris, Condie, and Bridges.
The Medical Society of New Jersey, which dates its origin from the 23d of July, 1766, and to age adds the merit of high standing among sinilar associations in the United States has elected delegates to the Convention. The list consists of Drs. Smith and Peirson of Essex County, Marsh of Passaic, Stewart of Morris, Forman of Mercer, Parrish of Burlington, Taylor and Cooper of Camden, Garrison of Gloucester, and Howell of
The District Medical Society of Burlington County has appointed, as delegates, Drs, Cole, Stration, and Read.
The delegates of the Philadelphia Medical Society, and of the College of Physicians, have been directed, respectively, to make ar
rangements, in connexion with the delegates that may be appointed by other institutions in the city, for the reception and a suitable place of meeting of the Convention.
The Vermont Medical Society has appointed Drs. Charles Hall, C. W. Horton, A. G. Dana, and Dyer Storer, as its delegates to the Convention.-Bulletin of Medical Science.
Report on the Protective Powers of Vaccination.-In April, 1842, the undersigned were appointed by the College, a committee to investigate the protective powers of vaccination ; the phenomena resulting when those who have been already vaccinated are again subjected to the disease, and the subject of re-vaccination generally. Various obstacles, beyond their control, prevented their performing, at an earlier period, the task submitted io them, in a manner that would have proved at all commensurate with its importance; they have, however, been enabled, at length, to bring their labours to a close, the result of which is here submitted.
The first object embraced in the resolution, under which the committee was appointed, is one of acknowledged interest; it refers to the protective powers of vaccination.
The most obvious and conclusive mode of determining the degree of protection imparted by vaccination against the influence of smallpor, is to inoculate, with variolous matter, the persons who have been previously vaccinated.
At the close of 1801, the first successful efforts were made at vaccination in this city. In the early periods of this practice, until the year 1812, every mean was employed which, at the time, was deemed best calculated to determine whether the process of vaccination would afford full protection against the small-pox. The first step generally taken, after having observed the genuine character of this vaccine pock, was to insert a portion of variolous matter, and to note its progress.
Where due attention had been paid to the selection and insertion of this matter, a small red pimple appeared about the third day. On the fifth day this was converted into a purulent crust, surrounded by inflammation, generally of no great extent, which, after this period, began to fade, and was rarely perceptible 'beyond the eighth day; it left no trace beyond the tenth.' The full and distinctive character of the variolous pock was not observed on these occasions. The persons thus treated were not affected with fever, or any general disarrangement of the system, nor was any eruption observed on the skin. The persons having been submitted to this test, were next exposed to the small-pox in the most direct manner, often by placing them in the beds with those labouring un. der the disease, even in its most virulent form. A like immunity altended this experiment.
From repeated observations thus conducted, observing that no instance of small-pox had been communicated to those on whom the operation of vaccination had been duly performed, the profession