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prince, in point of antiquity. Accordingly, says our Author, Se ma-tsien goes as far backward as a personage called Hoang ti, but without marking any dates.
This first historian of China, whom even the Chinese behold with a suspicious eye, did not live either in a country which was unknown to the rest of the world, or in an obscure period of time. China, says our Author, had considerable connexions with the western nations, and even with the Romans. The Chinese had made war on the frontiers of Persia, in order to furnish themselves with the Nilean horses, mentioned by Herodotus, which were in high request with the kings of Persia, and which the Chinese obtained under the form of a tribute. About the same time the vine was transplanted into China: cotton was also carried thither, and it was, for a long time, considered there as a rarity. If the history of the arts in China be examined with attention, it will appear, that the greatest part of them may be dated from the time of the intercourse of the Chinese with the western nations. About the same time, they had communicated to them fome treatises of astronomy; so that when Se-ma-tfien composed his hiftory, he had an opportunity of being acquainted with those of other nations, and might avail himself of this knowledge, to flatter more plausibly the vanity of his sovereign, in giving a high and remote antiquity to the Chinese empire.-- From all this, our Author concludes, thai this first historian of China deserves but a very small degree of credit. Beside, what can we think of the history of China, when the fragments, anterior to the burning of the books, which yet remain, are destitute both of circumitantial relations and dates ; and since Se-ma-tsien, who is so often mistaken, and who believed in the fables of Tao-fe, has not had the courage to date farther back than the year 841 before Christ? It is surely evident from hence, that all the dates, which relate to the reigns of princes, anterior to this epocha, have been forged by more modern writers.
Se-ma-tfien, then, having left undetermined the duration of the reigns of the Chinese princes, in the two first imperial Dynasties, and also that of the reigns in a part of the third Dynasty, from what materials and sources did succeeding writers venture to determine these points of ancient history? Our Author's answer to this question fhews the uncertainty of the Chinese history in the most evident manner.
M. De GUIGNES fhews, that the historians who wrote under the Dynasty of Song in the tenth, eleventh, and twelfth centuries after Christ, are not a whit more credible than those already mentioned. The most esteemed among them is Se-makouang, who lived in the eleventh century. He compoted a grand history of China ; but as it only begins with the year 425 before Christ, it has no relation to the chronology of the remote ages; and the faine may be said of the chronological tables composed by this author, in which there are no dates anterior to 841 before Christ. - About the same time, another learned man called Lieou-jou, composed a history of the ages anterior to the year 425, A. C. which is a compilation of passages taken from all sorts of authors, from Tas-li, also, of whole absurd and lying feet he was a member. Other writers, of the same sečt, drew up chronicles, in which they went backward, though without any credible records or guide, as far as the creation of the world. - Nay, several were absurd enough to make use, in their histories, of the Y-king, an enigmatical book, that was superstitiously employed to foretel future events : they thought the combinations and riddles, that this book furnished for the discovery of future events, might be applied to the investigation of those that were past, and of the precise time in which they happened. Methods of this kind, which demonstrate the ignorance, credulity, and superstition of the Chinese writers, are not surely to be admitted into chronological researches.
Towards the conclusion of the eleventh century, Theou-bi composed an abridgment of the work of Se-ma-kouang, to which was added, the history, written by Lieou-jou, as above mentioned. In the fifteenth century, another writer treated the fame periods of the Chinese history, and his work was preferred. Here then we have the materials that form the abridgment of the Grand Annals, lately published.
These details shew the uncertainty of the ancient history of the Chinese; and from these and other confiderations for which we refer the reader to the publication before us) our Author concludes, that with respect to the two firft imperial Dynasties, it is not possible to ascertain either the duration of the reigns, or the number and series of the princes, or the places where they reigned, or the extent of their dominions, or the geography of the time. He has proved in another Memoir, that about the tenth and eleventh centuries before Chrift, there were no cities in China, -that the country was filled with different tribes of Barbarians, and that several little kingdoms had been formed, in the midst of these Barbarians, coward the end of the ninth centuty, A. C. which did not become powerful for a long time after this period. These little kingdoms were dispersed in five provinces only: all the other parts of China were inhabited, as far down as the seventh century, A.C. by people that were not Chinese ; and the emperors of the Dynasty of the Tcheou, whose establishment is placed in the year 1122 before Christ, notwithstanding the power that has been attributed to them, seigned only in a small part of Chen-li,
somewhere about the district at present called Si-gan. fou. Their particular history till the year 887, is almost unknown, except by the long discourses of the Chou-king, which, instead of relating events, are entirely employed about government and laws.
Such then is the true state of the Chinese history, which the Missionaries have represented as incontestable, and founded upon, authentic records, only because they have adopted, without examination, the conjectures, and even the fables, of ignorant, fuperftitious, or unfaithful writers.-On an impartial view of the whole matter, our Author thinks, that there is no evidence for that remote antiquity, which many late writers attribute to the Chinese empire, and that all the lights we have on this subject, concur in fixing its origin and establishment at some period between the year 1122 and 887 before the Christian æra.
ART. II. Histoire de la Societé Royale de Medecine, Année 1776.-The History
of the Royal Society of Medicine, for the Year 1776, with the Medical and Philosophical Memoirs for the same Year. Published from the Registers of the Society. Vol. I. With Plates. 410. Paris. 1779. F societies of this kind are of great utility towards the ad
vancement of literature and science in general, they seem to be of peculiar importance to the improvement of medical science, the progress of which is fingularly flow and impercep'tible; and which, notwithstanding a considerable number of valuable discoveries, is yet at an immense distance from perfection. This flow progress will surprise us less, if we consider the innumerable difficulties that attend this science, and the various branches of knowledge it requires. This latter circumstance renders associations of this kind peculiarly necessary ; nay, the establishment of medical academies is the only possible method by which any confiderable improvement can be made in the knowledge that is requisite in the art of healing : for tbus the sum of the labours, researches, and discoveries, of the industrious and attentive observers of nature are collected, and every man, who is diligent and laborious, may, however limited in genius and erudition, throw in his mite to the general treasure, and thus contribute to multiply its valuable contents,
The principal object of the institution and labours of the Royal Society of Medicine, which is the subject of this article, is to extend medical knowledge, and ascertain the discoveries relative to that science, and the conclufions that may be deguced from them. More especially, it is one of the great ob
jects of this institution, to investigate the immediate causes of disorders, by an exact and circumftantial observation of the effects which physical causes produce on the animal economy, This requires an afliduous examination of the state of the at. mosphere, and of its meteors, a description of the places inhabited by men or animals, and an account of the nature of their food, and means of subfiftence ;-as also, observations on the diseases that are usual in each season, climate, and habitation; and these objects make an effential part of the plan of researches formed by this new medical academy.
Its plan, however, is not confined to these objects; it extends to particular observations relative to the practice of physic, to surgery, anatomy, and medical chymistry. The examination also of mineral waters, botanical researches, and all the parts of natural philosophy, that are connected with medical science, will form a considerable part of the labours of the academicians. In the publication of its materials, the new society proposes to observe the method employed by the academy of sciences; thus each volume will be divided into two parts; one will contain the history of the society, comprehending its establilhment, regulations, laws, the eulogies of its deceased members, the list of its members and correspondents, and of their works, the proposal of prizes, and many facts and observations relative to the objects already mentioned. --The other part is to contain the memoirs, composed either by the members of the society residing at Paris, or by physicians and natural philosophers in other parts of the kingdom, and in foreign countries; and which, after having been read at the meetings of the society, have been judged worthy of public view.
After this general sketch of the plan of this useful inftitution, it will not be improper to inform our readers of the manner in which the plan is executed in this first volume. After the de, dication to the King, who has granted his peculiar patronage and protection to the Medical Society, we find an instructive and excellent preface, relative to the various objects that enter into the plan of the society, and every way proper to affift even those who are not physicians, to co-operate with success in the advancement of medical science with those that are. This preface contains interesting details concerning the manner of making meteorological observations, botanical researches, chymical analyses, &c. Accordingly, we find in the list of the members several men of learning, and men in place, who do not belong to the medical faculty.
This society has also adopted a custom that prevails in the greatest part of the literary academies; we mean, that of composing audigies, or rather historical relations of the lives, talents, genius, labours, discoveries, and merit of deceased members.
In this volume, we find the eulogies of Messrs. Bouillet, Le Beau, and Haller, composed by M. VICQ-D'AZIR, secretary to the society.
The historical part, and the memoirs of this volume, contain such a considerable number of materials, that the mere enu. meration of them would swell this article beyond the bounds that we are obliged to prescribe to it.
The historical part exhibits several curious cases relative to surgery and the practice of physic, of which we shall indicate a few of the most interesting:
A young girl, after having been afficted with a violent, convulsive, and obstinate cough, that relifted all the remedies employed to remove it, was, at length, reduced to such a state, that The could not swallow any kind of nourishment solid or liquid : The threw them up perpetually as soon as they entered the csophagus. In this cruel extremity, M. Macquart, considera ing attentively all the symptoms that had preceded and accompanied the disorder, and those also which were produced by the remedies that had been employed, was persuaded, that the cause of this extraordinary complaint was an abscess formed in the lower part of the celophagus, or gullet, and by calculating the time that had passed, he persuaded himself also, that the abscess was ripe, full of matter, and just at the period proper for being opened. However, the feat of the disorder did not admit of any chirurgical operation, nor of the introduction of any instrument, and it is on such critical occasions, that a physician has need of all the expedienis and resources that knowledge and genius can furnish. M. Macquart hit upon a happy expedient: he introduced mercury into the crophagus of the patient: this fluid metal arrived soon at the seat of the disorder, and acting, by its enormous weight, on the thinner sides of the abscess, burst it, occafioned a speedy evacuation of the matter it contained, opened a free paffage to food of every kind, and performed a cure, which appeared truly astonishing
Under the article of chirurgery, there is a piece of great moment, entitled, A Report concerning the bad Consequences of Castration,- practised as a Method of obtaining a radical Cure of Hernias, &c. The Royal Society of Medicine was consulied by the Ministry on this subject, which undoubtedly deserves all its attention. The answer, or report, was given by three members named by the society, and contains an account of the inconveniencies that result from the temerity with which a great number of ignorant practitioners and empirics perform the operation here mentioned ; together with new regulations for this branch of chirurgical practice.
Under the articles of chirurgery, there are also some ingenious obfervations on the cure of several ulcers, performed by the