Imatges de pÓgina

ing brethren as unnecessarily divulging the arcana of the art, as depreciating its credit and estimation, and as teaching the common mass of readers to know as much as themselves. This communicative disposition they conceive to be carried to a very faulty extreme. For when the secrets of the healing faculty are promulgated by its members, with such consummate knowledge and success, what is left for distinguishing the regularly initiated from those who are without the pale? The propagation of the Esculapian mysteries is viewed to be faulty on another account; in as much as in diminishing the importance, it lessens the profits of the practisers, and thus, for the gratification and emolument of one tell-tale author, the whole fraternity is disparaged.

Let us, however, do justice to those sons of physic who are thus accused of faithlessness, in uttering abroad those matters which ought to be viewed as under the restriction of closed doors. Contrast their conduct with that of another class of medical personages, who forever deal in nostrums, and are incessantly boasting of their wonder-working powers; who assure the credulous world they can cure every possible disease of mind and body; but with a cunning equal to their effrontery, permit no mortal to become acquainted with their remedies. Compare the conduct of him who withholds nothing from his fellow citizens, with that of him who keeps every thing to himself. There can scarcely be a stronger exhibition of generous communication on the one part, and of selfish concealment on the other, Whatever may be pleaded in behalf of the persons who refuse to make a magnanimous publication for the good of mankind, of such valuable means of cure as they may possess, or who secure the profits of them under the statute of patents, there certainly is a character of greater disinterestedness and philanthropy, and a temper of a brighter mould and finish in him, who, without fee or price, offers to his fellow creatures all he knows that will be beneficial to them.

We know it has been said, that a smattering in the knowledge of the animal economy, and of diseases, multiplies the number of patients, and encourages the practice of physic. Books on such subjects, addressed to the people at large, are peculiarly calculated to alarm their fears whenever they are unwell, and therefore, impel them to seek assistance from those on whose skill they rely. It has been surmised too, that the disciples of Buchan, Willich, and their coadjutors, have often been led, from superficial and conceited knowledge, to become prescribers to others, and have, by their blunders, rendered the attendance of the regular physician more needful than ever. Hence it has been argued, that publications of this kind fail to promote the plausible object of their composition, and in reality, produce a mischievous, and not a beneficial effect. It has ever. been urged against them, that they are of no service to any person but the writer, who may diffuse his fame and increase his wealth in proportion to the circulation of his book and the consequent disturbance it works in society.

Whatever may be the merits of this controversy among those who are toiling night and day in the service of the infirm and disabled, or in the compilation of volumes, for our own parts, as reviewers, we feel favourable to the general distribution of knowledge. We are not attached to monopolies of any kind, and less than any, to that which confines to a particular order, the information which will teach man how to prevent sickness and pain, and to remove these ills when they invade. He who publishes wholesome precepts and directions, cannot be denied the merit of good intention; and it would be hard to refuse him the additional credit of having done substantial good to those who have followed his advice. Having indulged these prefatory reflections, we advance to the consideration of the work before us.

The author has prefixed to it a dedication to the President of the United States, a preface explanatory of his design, and a number of recommendatory epistles from his friends. Then follows a chapter of preliminary observations, of which we were inclined to offer an extract for the gratification of our readers; but our limits forbade.

The body of the work is devoted to the consideration of the principal diseases which assail the human frame at different times of life. They begin with fevers, and end with rickets; without, however, observing any strict method or nosological arrangement. Each section stands by itself, and has little or no connexion with the preceding or subsequent matter.-But a table of contents and index are two good keys to the subjects discussed.

The diseases are severally considered in short and generally appropriate terms. After a definition, the observations are mostly comprised under the head of symptoms, causes, treatment, and regimen; to which, in some instances, are added paragraphs on prevention. And it is but justice to observe, that the author has manifested a careful and discriminating mind in condensing so much valuable instruction into such a moderate compass. The sententious and, at the same time, intelligible manner of conveying his directions, is at once calculated to give the reader a clear idea of his meaning, and favourable opinion of his understanding.

Besides the observations that are strictly medical, the work contains a variety of directions upon surgical subjects.

To render his compilation more generally useful and acceptable, the author has annexed to it a dispensatory. to it a dispensatory. This consists of twos parts: the first comprehends a table of medicines for family use, with their doses and qualities annexed; and the second contains a collection of recipes for the principal part of the compound medicines recommended in the course of the work. And this part of the publication is executed in a manner that justifies the opinion we hinted before, of Dr. Ewell's sagacity and skill.




I BEG leave to present this Book to Mr. Jefferson, not because he is President of 1807, but because he was the patriot of 1776% and still more, because, through the whole of a long and glorious life, he has been the philosopher and friend of his country: with all the ingenuity of the former, exposing the misrepresentations of illioeral foreigners; and with all the ardour of the latter, fanning the fire of American science, and watering the roots of that sacred olive which sheds her peaceful blessings over our land.

To whom, then, with equal propriety, could I dedicate a Book, designed at least, to promote health and longevity? And to

whom am I so bound by the tenderest ties of affection and gratitude, as to Mr. Jefferson? The early classmate and constant friend of my deceased father, and instrumentally the author of my acquaintance with the first characters in the state of Georgia; among whom, with peculiar pleasure, I would mention the honourable names of Milledge, Troup, Bullock, and Flournoy.

That you may long direct the councils of a united and wise people, steadily pursuing health, peace, and competence, the main pillars of individual and national happiness, is the fervent prayer, of your Excellency's much Obliged and

Very grateful servant,




At a period like the present, when party zeal is manifested in all the operations of or Government, I know of no person to whom I can dedicate, with greater propriety, this humble testimony of my devotion and respect, than to the distinguished individual, whose high and attractive qualities, of head and heart, have subdued all classes into veneration and esteem, and evinced that, in peace as well as he war, may be safely entrusted in the discharge of the highest duties of his country. Whatever, in the slightest degree, advances public good, or individual happiness, cannot be looked upon with indifference by such a person. Those quick and brilliant endowments which, in the darkest hours of danger and dismay, cheered heart and lighted the path to every


[ocr errors]
« AnteriorContinua »