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pearances, we will not indeed contend that it must be true; but, for our own parts, we would not exchange the truth for it. If Dr. Reid will reflect, he will find that Des Cartes' Vortices are by no means equally satisfactory. One part of his objections we shali not touch on, for we speak only of the mode of communication to the brain ; all beyond is doubt and uncertainty : it is only clear, that the impression made must resemble, in its obvious properties, the manner in which it is made.
• Philosophers have accounted, in some degree, for our various sensations of found, by the vibrations of elastic air. But it is to be observed, first, that we know that such vibrations do really exist; and, secondly, that they tally exactly with the most remarkable phænomena of found. We cannot, indeed, show how any vibration should produce the sensation of sound. This must be resolved into the will of God, or into some cause altogether unknown. But we know, that as the vibration is strong or weak, the found is loud or low. We know, that as the vibration is quick or flow, the sound is acute or grave. We can point out that relation of synchronous vibrations which produces' harmony or discord, and that relation of fucceflive vibrations which produces melody: and all this is not conjectured, but proved by a sufficient induction. This account of sounds, therefore, is philosophical ; although, perhaps, there may be many things relating to found that we cannot account for, and of which the causes remain latent. The connections described in this branch of philofophy are the work of God, and not the fancy of men.
• If any thing similar to this could be shown in accounting for all our sensations by vibrations in the medullary substance of the nerves and brain, it would deserve a place in sound phi. losophy. But, when we are told of vibrations in a substance, which no man could ever prove to have vibrations, or to be capable of them; when such imaginary vibrations are brought to account for all our sensations, though we can perceive no correspondence in their variety of kind and degree to the vas riety of fensations, the connections described in such a fyftem are the creatures of human imagination, not the work of God.
• The rays of light make an impression upon the optic nerves ; but they make none upon the auditory or olfactory. The vibrations of the air make an impression upon the auditory nerves; but none upon the optic or the olfactory. The effluvia of bodies make an impression upon the olfactory nerves; but make none upon the optic or auditory. No man has been able to give a Madow of reason for this. While this is the case, is it not better to confess our ignorance of the nature of those impressions made upon the nerves and brain in perception, than to Hatter our pride with the conceit of knowlege which we R 4
have not, and to adulterate philosophy with the spurious brood of hypotheses ?'
We have quoted this passage merely to notice two defects : the one, that the author overlooks what he had before mentioned of the vibrations not being in the nerves themselves, but in the medium connected with them : the other, to remind him that the organs of sense are expressly formed to produce the peculiar impression on each. The organ of hearing, for instance, cannot be affected by the visual rays while it is lodged in a cavity in the skull. But these little errors do not mate, rially affect the work itself, which is, in general, entitled to our approbation.
An Account of the Foxglove, and some of its Medical Ufes:
with Practical Remarks on Droply, and other Diseases. By William Withering, M. D. Physician to the General Hospital
at Birmingham. 8vo. 55. in Boards. Robinson. WE
E cannot be too eager to diffeminate useful knowlege;
and if those practitioners who daily lament the diftressful and unrestrained ravages of dropsy, should catch a ray of information from our account of thịs work, we would re. commend to them not to be contented with an uncertain light, but to receive a greater illumination from the essay itself, They will find many valuable observations which we cannot abridge. We selected, in our fifty-seventh Volume, an extract from an ingenious work on the utility of Botanical Analogy,' which contained some remarks on digitalis. The author, from the nature of its companions in a natural class, conjectured that it was sedative and diuretic. We selected it, at that time, because we suspected that this judicious conjecture would be verified; and Dr. Withering's practice, with the observations of his correspondents, are the strongest testimony in its favour.
We have great reason to suppose that the foxglove may be a valuable remedy. It is powerfully diuretic, in a dose which does not excite that distressing nausea, inseparable from the beneficial effects of some other narcotic remedies. Our author employs the leaf, gathered when the flowers are expanding; and, after rejecting the leaf-Atalk and mid-rib of the leaves, dries and powders them. From one to three grains of this powder is a dose for adults. If a liquid medicine be preferred, a drachm of the leaves is to be infused in half a pint of boiling water, adding to the strained liquor an ounce of any fpirituous water, An ounce of this infusion is a mean dose for an adult.
The foxglove when given in very large and quickly-repeated dores, occasions fickness, vomiting, purging, giddiness, cone fused vision, objects appearing green or yellow; increased fecreţion of urine, with frequent motions to part with it, and sometimes inability to retain it; flow pulse, even as Now as 35 in a minute, cold sweats, convulsions, fyncope, death.
s When given in a less violent manner, it produces most of these effects in a lower degree ; and it is curious to observe, that the fickness, with a certain dose of the medicine, does not take place for many hours after its exhibition has been discontinued ; that the flow of urine will often precede, fometimes accompany, frequently follow, the sickness at the distance of fome days, and not unfrequently be checked by it. The sickness thus excited, is extremely different from that occafioned by any other medicine ; it is peculiarly distressing to the patient; it ceases, it recurs again as violent as before ; and Thus it will continue to recur for three or four days, at distant and more diftant intervals,
But this severity is unnecessary; in the milder doses which we have described, it acts with little pain or distress, and the patient's appetite grows better.
• Let the medicine, therefore, be given in the doses, and at the intervals mentioned above :- let it be continued until it either acts on the kidneys, the fomach, the pulse, or the bowels ; let it be stopped upon the first appearance of any one of these effects, and I will maintain that the patient will not suffer from its exhibition, nor the practitioner be disappointed in any reasonable expectation.
! If it purges, it seldom succeeds well,
• The patients should be enjoined to drink very freely during its operation. I mean, they ihould drink whatever they prefer, and in as great quantity as their appetite for drink demands. This direction is the more necessary, as they are very generally prepossessed with an idea of drying up a dropsy, by abstinence from liquids, and fear to add to the disease, by indulging their inclination to drink.'
We must add a little more, in the words of our attentive author.
• It seldom succeeds in men of great natural strength, of tenfe fibre, of warm kin, of forid complexion, or in those with a tight and cordy pulse.
• If the belly in ascites be tense, hard, and circumscribed, or the limbs in anasarca solid and resisting, we have but little to hope.
• Ôn the contrary, if the pulse be feeble or intermitting, the countenance pale, the lips vivid, the skin cold, the swoln belly soft and fluctuating, or the anafarcous limbs readily pitting under the pressure of the finger, we may expect the diuretic effects to follow in a kindly manner.
Iş • In cases which foil every attempt at relief, I have been aiming, for some time past, to make such a change in the conHitution of the patient, as might give a chance of succefs to the digitalis.
• By blood-letting, by neutral falts, by chryftals of tartar, fquills, and occasional purging, I have succeeded, though imperfectly. Next to the use of the lancet, I think nothing low, ers the tone of the system more effe&tually than the squill, and confequently it will always be proper, in such cases, to use the fquill; for if that fail in its defired effect, it is one of the bek preparatives to the adoption of the digitalis.'
A paralytic affection, or a calculus, are not increased by its ufe, though a fedative and diuretic.
The work, in general, contains a description of the cases in which the foxglove was used by our author, with its effects; and to these are added the observations of his correspondents, We cannot abridge them; nor is abridgement necessary, since we have already mentioned their results : we must, however, add, that the several cases contain many useful practical re. marks, and afford many instances of decisive and judicious conduct.
This volume is concluded by observations on anasarca, and the different species of dropsy, with its several combinations; on asthma, epilepsy, and insanity, so far as they depend on water effused; on hydrocephalus and phthifis,
On hydrocephalus Dr. Withering fuggefts, that the watery effusion is probably an effect rather than the cause of disease, It was, we believe, a remark of the late amiable and judicious Dr. Gregory, that the apparent cause of the disease was not in any proportion to the symptoms; but he did not fuggest any other foundation for it. Dr. Withering supposes an inflammation previous to the effusion ; yet, from a full consideration of the circumstances, we think it scarely probable. The fever is apparently remittent; a form of fever not the attend. ant of inflammation. The symptoms are those of irritation without coma, as restlessness, picking the nose, &c. which we do not perceive, when any part of the brain is affected by inflammation. We know not that the state of the brain has been accurately examined; but, from the symptoms, the na: ture of the patients usually affected, its being peculiar to families, we thould suspect some constantly irritating power; perhaps, if we nay judge from the consequences, the absorb. ent system of the brain, which we may now, probably, speak of with confidence, is diseased, and the glands may be enlarged. This view of the disease will explain the operation of repeated topical bleedings, vomits, and parges, which are
certainly fometimes successful in the early states. We can add our testimony to that of Dr. Withering, that the disease may occur without the usual diagnostics. We saw an instance where the cause was ascertained by dissection, in which none of the common symptoms were observed. It was very
difficult to purge the child ;' but no paralysis or dilatation of the pupil was observed, About two days before the death of the child the face swelled, and appeared like that of an anasarcous leucophlegmatic person.
Dr. Withering thinks the phthisis pulmonalis is certainly infectious; the foxglove was once thought serviceable in it; but it is now useless. From this, and other circumstances, he supposes' the disease was then more easily curable than it is at present.?
A print of the foxglove is prefixed. It is taken from Mr. Curtis's Flora Londinensis, drawn with his usual accuracy, and coloured under his inspection.
The Talk, a Poem, in Six Books. By William Cowper, Esq.
8vo. 45. in Boards. Johnson. TI HE author informs us that ' a lady, fond of blank verse,
demanded a poem of that kind from the author, and gave him the Sofa for a subject He obeyed; and having much leisure, connected another subject with it; and pursuing the train of thought to which his situation and turn of mind led him, brought forth at length, instead of the trifle which he at first intended, a serious affair-a volume.'
In the name of the public we pay our acknowledgments to this lady, as the primary cause of a publication which, though not free from defects, for originality of thought, strength of arguinent, and poignancy of satire, we speak in general, is superior to any that has lately fallen into our hands. We here meet with no affecied prettiness of style, no glaring epithets, which modern writers 1o induttriously accumulate ; and revers. ing Homer's exhibition of his hero in rags, convey the image of a brggar, clothed in purple and fine linen.' This poem is divided into fix books ; to the first of them, though but a small part has any thing allufive to it, the Sofa gives name, The author begins with tracing, in a humorous manner, the progress of refinement in what may be called sedentary luxury ; from the joint-tool on which
! Immortal Alfred Sway'd the fceptre of his infant realms,' to the invention of the accomplished sofa' He proceeds in expresing his wishes to live estranged from the indulgencies it yields.