« SebelumnyaLanjutkan »
tion. For information respecting these points, we must refer the reader to the work itself.
Inflammation of the stomach and bowels comes next under discussion. Dr. D. seems to confound inflammation of the muscular coat, and that of the mucous lining, of the intestines, together; although in practice it is of the greatest importance to distinguish the one from the other, as their respective curative means may be said to be in a great measure opposed to each other. The author deprecates cathartics in the early stages of enteritis, because they are likely to stimulate the surfaces on which they act. We have never noticed this to be the case in real enteritis, or inflammation of the muscular coat of the bowels; but, when their lining membrane is inflamed, cathartics, especially saline ones, we have invariably found to aggravate the disease. The most decided symptom of acute disease of the intestinal mucous membrane is a violent diarrhea, attended with pinching pain in the bowels; and vomiting, when the disease extends to the lining of the stomach; whereas, when the disease is related with the muscular coat, constipation is a constant symptom. There is also much tenderness when the region of the bowels is pressed.
In both peritonitis and enteritis Dr. D. strongly recommends early bleeding, leeching, &c. In the former, he speaks very highly of the application of cold to the abdomen. As this is a subject of very great importance, we may
be allowed to offer a few additional remarks relative to it. The curative results of the antiphlogistic plan of treatment, is very equivocal in peritoneal and musculo-intestinal inflammations. We have scores of times seen it carried, and carried it ourselves, to the greatest extent, and at a very early stage of the disease, with very undecidedly good effect. Bleeding, leeching, purging, antimonials, cold and warm applications,
blisters, and every other remedy which is generally called antiphlogistic; and, lastly, all these remedies combined, will too frequently fail in stopping the progress of the disease, and more especially when it is connected with the puerperal state. But, happily, there is one remedy which may be depended upon in these cases, when carried to a proper length. This remedy is mercury, in the form of calomel.After one good bleeding, it has been given in large doses, combined with opium, every two, three, or four hours, till the gums were slightly affected, when the disease has been invariably found to give way.
It is an object to bring on a slight ptyalism as soon as possible, before much disorganization takes place in the seat of disease. We have found that its effects are nearly as beneficial when bleeding is not premised; but the gums are not so soon affected, consequently the disease is not so quickly cured. Bleeding, particularly when the system is plethoric, will remove a part of a mechanical cause of irritation in the affected seat, and will slacken the march of the disease until the system become affected by the mercury; it is, therefore, safe always to put it in practice, except in very particular cases, consequent on hemorrhages, &c. when it would be likely to reduce the system below the power of maintaining its vital functions. The mercury should be very much diminished in quantity, or entirely left off, as soon as the breath begins to be tainted with it, or the gums begin to be sore, so as to avoid a violent salivation. The chief object is to keep the system slightly under its influence for a few days, so as to alter the condition of the related seats of the disease.
Dr. D.’s next subject of consideration is blood-letting. He examines the comparatively good and evil results of this practice with great minuteness. We beg leave to extract the three following periods, which we consider important:
“We are, however, in perpetual hazard of doing too little, or too much, in the practice of physic: this is particularly the case with the adoption of blood-letting, because it is not at all periods an easy task to make our measures just suited for the removal of the urgent symptoms, without exhausting the resources of the system. Blood, the vital fluid, is not to be drawn off by measure so much as by its effects. To write down in a prescription the number of ounces to be taken away, is absurd, as being aitended with the most serious danger; because half the quaj. tity, when put to the test, may in some cases, agreeably to the nature of the disease, and the constitution of the patient, prove sufficient; while, on the contrary, twice the quantity ordered might not be enough to saba due the morbid action; and this may be readily evinced at the time, by examining and comparing physicians' prescriptions, wherein it is so written."
We consider the above remarks very correct; for neither the state of the pulse, nor the general appearance of the patient; nor, lastly, the degree of pain attending the disease, is a sufficient guide for the quantity of blood to be abstracted. This is particularly the case in fevers. We have frequently found very good results from the abstraction of a small quantity of blood even in the advanced stages of typhus and mixed fevers, and giving stimulants at the same time. The quantity taken away should be regulated according to its effects on the system at the time. Dr. Dods then proceeds to examine the opinions of different authors respecting the efficacy of blood-letting, but we have no room to follow him through the different tracts which he pursues. We beg to refer the reader to the work itself, where he will find some valuable information. The title is, perhaps, the most objectionable part of the work, as the work itself contains much good and interesting matter. We consider it more adapted for the perusal of professional men than for that of people in general. The latter part of it consists of a chain of discussion on various subjects, such as hepatitis, indigestion, and other chronic diseases, with their respective modes of treatment.
The Inverted Scheme of Copernicus ; with the pretended E.c
periments upon which his Followers have founded their Hypotheses of Matter and Motion, compared with Facts, and with the Experience of the Senses ; and the Doctrine of the Formation of Worlds out of Atoms, by the Power of Gravity and Attraction, contrasted with the Formation of one World by Divine Power, as it is revealed in the History of the Creation. Book the First. To which is prefixed, A Letter to Sir Humphrey Davy, Bart., President of the Royal Society. By B. Prescot.--8vo. pp. 216. Rivingtons.
We know not whether our critical character will be advanced, either with the public or our brethren, by the notice of this work; but it embraces a subject of the first magnitude, and comprises some singular statements that are entitled to investigation. Indeed, the literary association from which our Journal emanates, peculiarly requires its conductors to examine the merits of whatever theories are propounded in science and literature; and, as we are precluded from entering upon political and theological controversy, we must claim the privilege to discuss, with full liberty, all other subjects and opinions. We have no peculiar views or theories to maintain, and our pages must be open to the most free and candid enquiries.
The publication before us presents some of the most startling propositions that modern philosophy has furnished. Phrenology is a curious disquisition upon the nature of the human species ; but the works of Mr. Prescot present us with a new system of the UNIVERSE. The logic of Aristotle, which held sway over the reasoning powers of mankind for many centuries, at length yielded to the light of modern intelligence; and we are now called upon to dismiss the hypotheses of Copernicus, KEPLER, and NewtON! The author maintains, that their system of physics is utterly fallacious, and that the explanations furnished of the solar system by modern astronomers, are totally at variance with fact and
He insists that the earth is the centre of the system, and that the sun and planets revolve round it. He is also completely at issue with his predecessors upon the question of the distances of the sun and planets.
The author has published a second book, in which he has fully developed and explained his system ; but at present we must confine our attention to his first production. Sufficient for the day is the evil thereof! It is enough for one evening's contemplation to dispose of the opinions (or prejudices) of the last century and a half. When we have quite determined that we have all our lives been in the wrong road, we will then consider what new course we shall adopt. Newton may have misled us; but it does not follow, that (dismissing him) we must take Prescot for our guide. There are two questions to be decided, which are perfectly distinct from each other: Is the Copernican system true? An answer in the negative to this, will not establish the affirmative of the next point-Is the Prescotian theory true?
The object of the volume before us, is to destroy the theories or systems of previous astronomers. The author clears the ground before he commences his building; he removes out of his way the labours of other architects, that he may have
room for his own. It is our intention, on the present occasion, to lay before our readers the substance of the objections which are brought forward against the prevailing doctrines. At another opportunity we shall notice, as fully as possible, the theory which Mr. Prescot proposes to substitute in their stead.
We forbear to enter upon that part of the subject in which the author refers to the history of the Creation, given in the Ist chapter of Genesis, and to the circumstances stated in the 10th chapter of Joshua, and the 38th of Isaiah. The reasoning which has been employed by various writers, to reconcile the conflicting accounts between the Copernican system and the delineations of Scripture, are well discussed by Mr. Prescot. We do not pretend to determine any question of theology; and we think, indeed, that this problem, like many others, may be investigated without reference to texts of Scripture. We do not, however, blame the author for enlisting, if he can, the feelings of the religious world in favour of his theory, and thus counterpoising the difficulty which he has to encounter in obtaining even a hearing on a subject opposed to the distinguished authority of Sir Isaac Newton.
The author has, however, the evidence of the senses, also, on his side; and, if he can falsify the data of his opponents, or overthrow some essential part of their system, he will go far to establish his own. A theory that coincides with what we actually see, is very likely to be believed, though founded in other respects on imperfect evidence.
Besides the appeal to the Scriptures, and the evidence of the senses, the author has fortified himself with the authority of some eminent men. Thus he attempts to neutralize the weight of the celebrated names which are arrayed against him, that he may come before the reader free from the idola of prejudice.
“ Lord Bacon, Sir William Temple, Sir Matthew Hale, Sir Thomas Brown, and the Hon. Robert Boyle ; these celebrated men either declared the hypothesis of the solar system to be chimerical, or they bore positive testimonies against it. So did the excellent Sir Henry Saville, the founder of the mathematical and astronomical professorships at Oxford, wbich still bear his name. The Hon. Edward Howard, of Berks, who understood astronomy well, in the year 1705 dedicated a book to the Prince of Denmark, titled, Copernicans of all sorts convicted.' In which he undertakes to prove, that 'their bypothesis was astronomically, philosophically, and sensibly false to all impartial apprehensions.'”
“ " Though in pure mathematics he that can demonstrate well, may be sure of the truth of a conclusion, without consulting experience about it; yet because demonstrations are wont to be built upon suppositions or postulates; and some things, though not in arithmetic or geometry, yet in physical matters, are wont to be taken for granted, about which men are liable to slip into mistakes; even when we doubt not of the ratiocination we may doubt of the conclusion, because we may of the truth of some of the things it supposes.
“ Therefore it cannot but be a satisfaction to a wary man to consult sense about these things that fall under the cognizance of it, and to examine by experience whether men have not been mistaken in their hypotheses and reasonings.”
Sir Matthew Hale inclines to the opinion, “ rather that the earth is the common centre, than the imaginary hypotheses of Copernicus, Galileus, Kepler, and Descartes." "Mr. Blundevil, a tutor in Lord Bacon's family, in his Cosmography, observes: “Some deny that the earth is in the midst of the world, and some affirm that it is moveable, as Copernicus, by way of supposition, and not that he thought so indeed.”
Mr. Prescot observes, that though many of the learned had seen the fallaciousness of Sir Isaac Newton's principles of creation, and of planetary motion, “ most, if not all of them, seem to have taken for granted the applicability of bis real or imaginary experiments, and the truth of his assumed facts, without ever putting them to the test of examination. It seems to have been gratuitously admitted, that his system rested upon a mathematical basis; but the truth is (contends our author), that the foundations of it are altogether ima