Imagens das páginas

by a revision of the Pharmacopeias, with the special view of securing, not so much superior quality, as accuracy and equality of strength in active remedies. One great and not difficult improvement would be the expulsion from prescriptions of articles known to be of various qualities in commerce. Why, for example, should the oft-quoted raw scammony be used at all? Why should not scammonium be defined to mean the active resin of the plant, while the English scammony remains as the commercial designation? Then those who wished their patients to find certain results follow the medicine, would write scammonium; those who wished them to take the chance of having sometimes 6 per cent., and sometimes 80 per cent., of activity in the powders, could order in English. The same remark would apply to jalap and several other vegetable matters, found, by all parties who inquired, to be sold of most various strengths, not by the wilfulness of the dealers, but because they are so produced by nature.

The carrying out fairly and consistently these and a few other simple expedients, which would naturally suggest themselves to a medical corporation, would in a few years secure to England a purity of drugs not only equal to other countries, for that she appears to have already, but equal to her civilization in other respects.

Before we conclude this Article, it is proper to make a few remarks on a fear that has been expressed, and among others by Mr. Wakley, that the agitation of the subject, and the diffusion of knowledge about it, has a tendency to increase adulteration. He urges this as a reason for some immediate legislation. Now we should not object to immediate legislation, if cautious; but we must demur to the grounds on which it is asked. The general diffusion and the popularization of knowledge, such as is contained in the books here quoted, is most useful, and conduces to arrest the evil. Does a publication of the tricks of card-sharpers and thimble-riggers augment their profits or guard the simple against them? Surely the latter. Manuscript books of modes of adulteration appear from the statements of several witnesses to have been very recently kept by manufacturing druggists; these of course were secretly handed over with the goodwill of the house; and very likely still more precious secrets were transferred viva voce from father to son, and froin partner to partner. But the revelations of traitorous science, the true Zaphnath-paaneah, have now put the customer equally in possession of the knowledge, and it is his own fault if he does not use it to his advantage.

It must not be supposed, even, that the publication in print of modes of adulteration is a new thing, the evil consequences of which should require us to be in a hurry to guard against them. Beginning with Colin at Tours, in 1513,* and Lodetto at Brescia in 1569,+ M. Chevallier enumerates eleven authors on the subject before the present century. And from this list probably a good many are omitted, whose works, valuable when first published, have been obscured by advancing

. * Histoire des Drogues, &c. A second edition is in the library of the College of Physicians.

† Dialogo de gl' Inganni d'alcuni Malvaggi speciali. In the library of the MedicoChirurgical Society is also a later edition.

science. Cordus, for instance, is not named, whose · Dispensatorium,' published in 1598, contains a complete list of the adulterations of drugs and some articles of diet (such as sugar), with practical directions for detecting them by their physical properties. During the French revolutionary period, the dreadful mania for commercial swindling, so graphically described by M. Goncourt,* gave an unexampled activity to every kind of fraudulent sophistication. The consequence, not the cause, was the translation of Remer's work by Bouillon Lagrange, in 1816, and the appearance of many more French writers, of whom a list is given in the preface to the Dictionnaire. The most valuable previous to the work under review, seems to be the Traité des Moyens de Reconnaître les Falsifications des Drogues simples et composées,' by MM. Bussy and Bourtron-Charlard.

So that even if he did not come into MS. knowledge by inheritance, any manufacturer who could get a foreign book translated for him, need never have been at a loss to know what articles to use for adulteration, and what his customers are likely to find out. The advantage of the modern works over the older is, that while the latter simply enumerate the methods of fraud, and give a customer data by which he may detect it, the former put him in possession of accurate means of ascertaining not only the presence, but the amount also, of the enemy-an important consideration in distinguishing the real guilty adulterations from the innocent. Instead therefore of being frightened at the recent multiplication of that literature, of which there are quoted in the heading two of the most commonly known examples, we canuot but consider it a safeguard of continually increasing value. M. Chevallier's volumes have been translated into German, with valuable additions by Dr. Westrumb at Göttingen, and it is probable that an English version would be well received both in this country and in America, especially if it were brought up quite to the scientific knowledge of the present time.

REVIEW VI. 1. History of Medicine from its Origin to the Nineteenth Century; with

an Appendix, containing a Philosophical and Historical Review of Medicine to the Present Time. By P. V. RENOUARD, M.D. Translated from the French by CORNELIUS G. COMEGYS, M.D., Professor of the Institutes of Medicine, Miami Medical College.-Cincinnati,

1856. 8vo, pp. 719. 2. The Medical Profession in Ancient Times : an Anniversary Discourse

delivered before the New York Academy of Melicine, November 7th, 1855. By JOHN WATSON, M.D., Surgeon to the New York Hospital. Published by order of the Academy.-New York, 1856.

8vo, pp. 222. That an acquaintance with the chief particulars in the History of Medicine from its birth or origin, onwards, should be regarded as an

• Histoire de la Société Française pendant la Directoire. Paris, 1854.

indispensable complement of the well-informed physician or surgeon, probably all will be found willing to acknowledge. When, however, we consider what means have been employed, and what facilities provided, to enable the earnest student of his profession to overcome the difficulties, and to assist him in the research and observation so requi. site for obtaining a satisfactory knowledge of this subject, we find few landmarks to guide him. In it our English literature has been hitherto far from varied or accurate, while, complete as the opportunities for the instruction of students of medicine by lectures have become in every other essential department, in this they have been at all times acknowledged as deficient. To a certain extent the neglect of the History of Medicine, as an important subject of professional instruction, has prevailed in other countries than our own; but, considering the fame which Great Britain has acquired in the cultivation of Scientific Medicine, it is impossible to suggest this as an excuse for an essential element of the physician's and surgeon's education being overlooked. Strictly speaking, indeed, the great medical schools of our country are in this particular very greatly behind those of the Continent; for though the study of the History of Medicine is nowhere among the latter prescribed as imperative, in Paris, as well as Berlin and other German cities, lectures upon it are delivered ; while even at Athens, in no degree famous as a medical school, the History of Medicine forms the subject of a distinct course of prelections. A part altogether from the interest which necessarily pertains to a subject extending, as the History of Medicine does, from the very earliest to the present time, occupied with almost every country and nation of men, not excepting the rude and uncivilized, a knowledge of Medical History is calculated to secure the establishment of what alone is true, or at all events well founded; and that physician or surgeon who has undergone the additional mental culture it implies, is undoubtedly in a better position for the avoidance of error and for the rejection of unsound views. The consideration of the doctrines, theories, and practice of former races of physicians and surgeons, interesting as they must be, will also be eminently serviceable; and for the physician and surgeon now, we can conceive no duty more agreeable, and none more profitable, than the contemplation and comparison of the views of their predecessors. Such was the habit of the illustrious and the learned Scarpa : “Fu mai sempre mio costume nell' esercizio della chirurgia di confrontare le mie osservazioni con quelle dei più accreditati Maestri dell'arte che in ogni età fiorirono."*

We have spoken of the deficiency of our English literature upon the subject of Medical History, and, compared with that of France or Germany, it is indeed limited. We possess no such large or complete works as those of Le Clerc, Portal, Sprengel, Hecker or Haeser. In our language, the smaller works of Friend—which in some respects may be regarded as a continuation of Le Clerc's-Hamilton, Walker, William Black, and Moir, are those hitherto chiefly known and consulted. The absence of any complete and altogether trustworthy

* Trattato delle principale Malattie degli occhi.

guide to the English student of Medical History must not, however, be considered to argue the want of individuals from time to time qualified for the duties of its authorship. Though we possess no extended History of Medicine, there are many admirable works in our language upon particular branches of the subject, greater or smaller, while the recent appearance of Dr. Wise's learned work on Hindoo Medicine, * and the varions highly interesting contributions of Dr. Simpson, in illustration and elucidation of Greek and Roman physic, prove that with us an increased attention is being directed to it. Of late years, too, the indefatigable labours of Daremberg and Littré, in France, of De Renzi and the late Professor Vulpes at Naples, throwing light upon previously dark and obscure periods of the History of Medicine, and bringing to light in all their excellence the treasures of its ancient and forgotten heroes, have been worthily followed by Greenhill, Adams, and others, in our own country.

It is expressly from the conviction of the deficiency of the English language in works on the History of Medicine, that we are indebted to Dr. Comegys for the excellent translation of the comparatively recent work of Renouard, the title of which is placed at the head of this article. With it we have associated the very able discourse on the Medical Profession in Ancient Times, by another American physician, Dr. John Watson-an essay which we have perused with much pleasure, and which is calculated to shed additional lustre on the distinguished body before whom it was delivered. It is not a little remarkable that for these, the two most recent additions to our historical medical literature one original, the other a translation from the French-we have to thank our American brethren. Aided by the labours of Dr. Watson and M. Renouard, and appealing to the writings of others, we shall endeavour to signalize what, in our opinion, are some of the chief points of importance and of interest in one of the most instructive portions of the History of Ancient Medicine, whether regarded by the enlightened practitioner or the student of medicine. Our readers may perhaps be inclined to start at the magnitude of the task we have thus proposed to ourselves, but in the present article we have no further object than to enlist their sympathies in the scheme of making instruction in the History of Medicine to be regarded as an essential of professional education, in something of the same light as the History of the Church is looked upon in schools of divinity. How much is due to the early cultivators of our science-how great the debt we owe to Hippocrates, for example,-can only be truly appreciated by him who has made the History of Medicine, antecedent to its great father and since his time, the subject of careful study.

It is interesting to observe how in all ages the question of the probable origin of medicine has occupied the attention of those who have themselves advanced the science. That, indeed, may be traced back to the very infancy of the human family—to a period regarding which we bave po historical account, and possess only what Sprengel terms fabelhafte Ueberlieferungen.t Into the speculations which this inquiry • Termed by Haeser, in his · Lehrbuch der Geschichte der Medicin," " eine sehr gedie, + Versuch einer Pragmatischen Geschichte der Arzneikunde. Erster Theil, p. 10.

gene Arbeit."

has given rise to, we shall not enter, though at many times it has been discussed with very great learning, talent, and acuteness. Van Helmont, in his remarkable work, entitled “Ortus Medicinæ,' &c., and Le Clerc, in the work already alluded to, Histoire de la Médecine ou l'on voit l'origine et les progrès de cet Art, de siècle en siècle, &c., may with much advantage be consulted; and not less so the remarks in the treatise ‘On Ancient Medicine,' one of the Hippocratic collection. That the origin of medicine may legitimately be traced to motions of the human intellect, and need not be attributed, as some have attempted to do, to a direct divine communication to man, is rendered probable from the circumstance that a variety, rude indeed, and oftentimes most uncouth, of medical and surgical practice has invariably been found to exist in newly-discovered countries, even thongh at the period of their discovery these have been sunk in the most degraded barbarism. Judging from this fact alone, we should feel inclined to adopt the opinion that medicine in its origin was coeval with man, or, as Le Clerc has observed, “Le premier homme a été en un certain sens le premier Médecin."*

We cannot in this article devote space to the consideration of Primitive Medicine--a subject which, though possessing much intrinsic interest, has only that charm to reward our speculation, as it cannot be maintained that the progress of mythological medicine among the Hindoos, Chinese, and other nations, has any intimate relation with the real advance of our science. If we turn to ancient Egypt, a country in which we know the arts of civilized life to have been very early cultivated, there can be little doubt that the profession of medicine existed in it. The first physicians of Egypt were the priests; of their practice, and indeed of the constitution of their order, the kuowledge we possess is limited; but this we do know, that medicine in Egypt was blended with superstition, and mixed up with all kinds of religions and fanatic observances. It was practised by a sect of the priests known as Tacropopot, on account of the long vestures which they wore, and because they were employed on certain ceremonial days in carrying the bed of the goddess Venus. These medical priests, we hare reason to believe, were treated with great raspect, and this we can the more readily understand when we consider that the occurrence of diseases was viewed by the Egyptians, just as it was atterwarls by the early inhabitants of Greece and Italy, as a direct manifestation of the displeasure and interposition of their deities, and being thus assured they would naturally look to the ministers of these deities the officiating priests of their temples, to be the means if only indirectly, of procuring their removal. In this way it probably was that the priests of Egypt became Egypt's first physicians a subdivision of labour existed, that something resembling the spe

That cialities of the present day obtained among the Egyptians, we learn from Herodotus

* The art of medicine the sand is thus diriddi amori them; cach phy; Setan es himself to one disease only, and not more. All places abound a paletaas; spre phriomans are for the enes, obers for the head, others

• Histoire de la recima Premiere partie. ni

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