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Within our own memory, Gassner has made fimilar attempts with fuccefs; for confident pretensions will always succeed.
The system, from Paracelsus to St. Kenelm Digby, was the following. The universal spirit was supposed to be diffused in every part, and to be the bond of union between the most diftant bodies ; but, independent of this, there was a vital spirit, belonging to each individual, diffused through all its parts. Any portion therefore of the individual, as containing its share of the vital spirit, might be acted on, and similar effects would be felt in the body, through the medium of the universal spirit. Hence were derived the falutary powers of fir Kenelm Digby's powder of sympathy for wounds, and Paracelsus' cure for different diseases. We shall extract a receipt of this kind, from an old work, by a genuine scholar of this famous quack, printed in 1611, Concerning the Lamp of Life.' The warm blood of the patient must be boiled with the thell. and yolk of an egg; this must be mixed with some meat, and given to a hungry dog, to whom the complaint, be it dropsy, gout, or jaundice, will be conveyed. We ourselves knew a person who constantly believed that her daughter's ague was conveyed to a dog, by boiling her urine with a particular herb, which the dog was forced to drink.
The practice however soon became more refined. It was no longer necessary to have any part of the person who was to be tormented or cured. Likeness in clay, or other materials, was sufficient; and this opinion is not, even now, entirely destroyed.
But we need not trace any farther these monuments of fun perstition.-Mr. Mesmer has refined, even on the modern dæmonology; and sometimes by pressure, frequently pointing only in a particular direction, produces sensible evacuations, called crises or convulfions. We lately read of a similar effect in an author, who seemed to know nothing of magnetism: in a medical work, as an instance of sympathy, we were told of a lady's fainting by a gentleman's inadvertently squeezing her hand.' We think the age and situation of the pasties might have been added, and then it would probably not have appeared miraculous.
We cannot give a more complete idea of Mr. Mesmer's proceeding, and the foundation of its effects, than by extracting some of the reflections of Mr. Thouret.
• That the touch frequently employed in his method for a considerable time, and on regions extremely sensible, such as those of the stomach, is of itself capable of producing effects, by communicating a vivid impulse to the nerves of the plexuses which are there ftuated, and which have an intimate conneç.
e every necef
examination, flible way, it at the whole as chiefly on
nd Enquiries nd of impoan Helmont, 1, Santanelli ast century, ne faculty of
were figned Patrick : laied minds !
tion with the whole nervous system ; that authentic records pre sent us with a great number of facts of this kind, and that in consequence, the sensations, which originate in the application of the touch, do not prove the existence of a separate fluid or agent.
• That the heat produced by the hand, and the motion commonicated to the air, may occasion very strong impressions upon a person extremely sensible, and whose fibres are in a state of convulfion, without these imprellons being calculated to prove a new agent.
* That in subduing the imagination by folemn preparations, by extraordinary procecdings, by the confidence and enthusiasm inspired by magnificent promises, it is posible to exalt the tone of sensible and nervous fibres, and afterwards to direct, by the application of the hands, their impulse towards certain organs, and to excite in them evacuations or excretions, without there resulting any addition to the sciences, either of pliilosophy or medicine.
• That the partisans of the animal magnetism do not produce what they call crises, that is, a state of convulsions, but in subjects extremely irritable, extremely nervous, and above all, in women, whole sendibility has been already excited by the means we have described.
• That ameng these disposing causes, particular stress is to be laid upon the presence of a person already in a state of convulfion, or ready to fall into that itate ; that just as an organ attacked with pasmodic affections, easily propagates these af. fections to the other organs, in like manner are they transmitted from one man to another; that we have therefore no reason to be surprised, if in the halls, where the pretended magnetical operations are performed, spasms, and even convulsions are diffused with extreme alacrity; and that history furnithes a great number of facts, of convullions propagated through whole vil. lages or towns, in a manner till more astonishing than that of which the animal magnetism presents us with an example.
• That history has also transmitted to us a great number of curea operated by fear, by joy, or the commotion of any violent pallion ; which proves beyond controversy, the power of nervous influences over diseases.'
We are convinced that the chief, if not the whole, of Mr. Mesmer's power, is by the influence of the imagination only. We are sufficiently acquainted with its effects in producing or curing diseases; and have seen from it, consequences equally extraordinary. The efects of pressure alone, even on the hypochonders or the epigallic region, are little known. The plexus of nerves can scarcely be affected, on account of che intestines yielding easily io it: and we have no reason to think the ovaria acutely fentible, if they were not, in a great degree, defended by the fuperincumbent parts. The relation
entic records pre lind, and that in in the application 2 separate fluid or
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emn preparations, ce and enthusiasm
to exalt the tone to direct, by the -ds certain organs, ns, without there of philosophy or
of Kauw Boerhaave,' respecting the convulsions in the orphanhouse ac Harlem, is well known. In France, we have found similar effects. The influence of the imagination in the cure of agues, fevers, epilepsy, and scrophula, is frequently observed ; for no one will suppose that the strokings of an Irish gentleman, or even of a descendant from a Tudor or a Stuart, can have great effect in the last instance. If we examine more accurately, we shall find the imagination infenfibly affected in a variety of instances, usually unobserved; and, when we have once perceived its general power in minute circumstances, we Thall not refuse credit in greater ones, when it is intended to be affected by a magnificent apparatus and pompous promises ; when these are allifted by artful delusions, and the example of interested confederates.
We cannot conclude our account without the warmest en. comium on the extreme accuracy of the commissioners' experiments, and the malterly execution of their Report. The tranflator has also performed his talk with propriety.- ACceffes' instead of paroxysms, and actual' for present, with a few similar blemishes, are the only exceptions which we have discovered. We scarcely however understand him when he says that the French • have lately seemed to take the lead of us in philosophical discoveries.'-We think the English can equal even the celebrated and incomparable discovery of the aeroftatic globe,' if we regard utility and convenience, instead of splendid spectacles. The public are already in poffeffion of our opinion on this subject ; and whaterer reputation we may have lately lost in politics, our pretensions to the more sublime and useful parts of philosophy are certainly unrivalled.
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The Domestic Physician; or Guardian of Health.' By B. Corn
well, M. L. 8vo. 6s. 6d. in Boards. Sold by the Author. B. Cornwell
, M. L.!---We are entirely unacquainted with him or his title. The race of M. D's are numerous; the LL. D's are not uncommon; the M. B's too some. times occur. We must not surely refer to the inimitable Foote's Major Sturgeon, where Lint translates P. L. and M. D. by PLAGUY LYARs, and MURDEROUS DOGS; and so, I quod prius ordine verbum, posterius faciamus :' That would be too severe. May it not be medicinæ licentiatos? The latter word is of doubtful authority ; but we know that it occurs in Martial, though in no very reputable sense. Let us turn to our dictionary: here it is ; from Martial too. Licentiatus, qui licentiam habet ad consequendam dignitatem fupremi ti
iuli, idem ac Promagifter melladidascalus.' Reviewers are jurymen in literature; they ought never to avoid the most difficult and intricate discussions; for, at last, both science and the author will profit by their labours. This difficulty, which itruck us in the threshold, when once elucidated, is the strongest proof of the author's modelty: he comes to us with an amiable diffidence, not diēlating ex cathedra, as a master, but hinting in a subordinate character: to come nearer to the subject, not as a doctor, but an apothecary, perhaps even an apothecary's apprentice. There are indeed licentiates of a higher class in the Royal College, yet they never assume the title, since they are previously doctors of physic.—Let us return then to our apothecary; for, though he has given us power, by his own confession, we would not degrade him lower : it is our duty to countenance and to raise a modest author, not to depress him.
The intention of the licentiate is to instruct private families in the symptoms and cure of every disease. We might doubt the propriety or the possibility of the plan ; but, fince a spirit of quackery is very generally diffused, we must admit both the one and the other. It remains only to examine the execution. If we were to except against every thing which is left incomplete and imperfect, our criticism would be indeed extensive ; but there is one kind of imperfection so common to all writers of this kind, that we cannot avoid mentioning it. They describe genera of diseases not species, artificial aslo. ciations in fonie intances, and abstract ideas in others. It indeed often happens, that there is only a single species belonging to each genus ; but various, and almost innumerable complications, frequently occur, which no rules can teach the unexperienced practitioner to distinguish or relieve. We well know the usual conduct on these occasions : the flightest resemblance is caught at with eagerness, as an accurate description ; the name of the disease is ascertained, and the prescription aimed only at the word, instead of its proper object.
This apothecary is by no means full in his account either of the causes or of the cure; but he is very full of hard words, and almost unintelligible terms. A cough, a simple cough is well known : is it better understood when defined to be a
conculsory and clifory motion of the breast ?' Will the fond mother, eager for the welfare of her child, be able to comprehend the following reasoning? or, if she does comprehend it, and is inclined to follow this future teacher, this mellodidascalus, muft she not deprive her child of almost every kind of nutriment?
wers are jorye most difficult ience and the fficulty, which
is the strongest with an amiable er, but hinting he subject, not en apothecary's higher clafs in tle, fince they -n then to our er, by his own
it is our duty 700 to depress
private families e might doubt t, fince a Spirit uft admit both bine the execuwhich is left be indeed exfo common to mentioning it. artificial aflo in others. It pecies belong. umerable comcan teach the
We well ne fightest recurate descripd the prescripper object.
«Thus food too salt, viscid, auftere, acid, and pinguious, too plentifully taken, and not well concocted, produce a greater increase of acido-viscid crudities. So likewise in summer, prejudice is done by crude and immature summer-fruits, which commonly conceal, in the contexture of their particles, a latent acid, which, by irritating and spafinodically afflicting the fibres of the intestines, may excite diarrhæas, dysenteries, gripes, and other symptoms, particularly at the approach of autumn.'
Even innocent milk, if coagulated, is hurtful; our licentiate knows not that it must always be coagulated, in order to be digefted; but, to prevent a misfortune fo tremendous, prescribes a powder of crabs eyes, egg.shells, the root of forentine orris, saffron, the feeds or oil of anise, spermaceti, cinnabar, and a solution of crabs eye.' In what proportions ? Here we are left in total darkness; for even in the appendix, where we occasionally meet with a faint ray, we find not the least illumination of this dreary waste. Again,
I juftly and with very good reason, esteem remedies of mercury, however prepared, especially when given to fucking infants in powder, and in considerable and repeated doses, to be deleterious and highly prejudicial ; partly, because, by their gravity, they firmly adhere, in several places, to the folds of the stomach and oesophagus : and partly, because, by the addition of a more acrid bile, and corrosive acid, they assume a more violent and corroding nature.'
This is only nonsense, and therefore harmless ; but our au. thor proceeds in his censures on other metallic remedies, par. ticularly aurum fulminans, Aurum fulminans! and for children too. We recollect that Banner gave it for a ptyalism in consequence of mercury, and for the colic ; but his practice 'has never, so far as we know, been followed. Perhaps the pro-magifter found it in some of the authorities which he fo carefully quotes ; such reading as was never read, and such authors as were scarcely ever heard of. These are absurdities which can do no great harm, though they swell the volume's price a shilling ; but the following paffage, and it is not a singular one, is too bad even for the apothecary's apprentice.
· When the matter is too tough and viscous, the bufiness then is, on the contrary, to incrasate, and reduce it to a soft pulpose body. This is effected by liquorice-root or juice, with gum arabic, figs, ftarch, together with all the fulphureous medicines,
count either of of hard words, mple cough is fined to be a Will the fond
able to comes comprehend er, this melloost every kind