Imatges de pÓgina
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liam, that the epidemic which broke out at Boa Vista on Nov. 20th, 1845, had been brought thither by the · Eclair' in the preceding August. The manner in which the evidence was collected and reported, betrays the inexperience of a well-meaning man unskilled in the examination of witnesses, unequal to the sifting of evidence, and consequently eminently unfitted for the task he had undertaken to perform; and his Report was very leniently dealt with by the mild censure passed upon it by the Director-General of the Medical Department of the Navy, in these words:– Dr. M.William appears to have taken considerable pains to gain information; but after a careful perusal

of the papers he has sent, I am compelled to say, that I cannot conscientiously arrive at the conclusion the Doctor has done, 'viz., that the fever was caused by the intercourse with the ( “ Eclair.”

Having succeeded in obtaining from Great Britain a grant of money, and supplies of different kinds (in the distribution of which Dr. M-William appears to have played the popular part of almoner) in compensation for the losses inflicted upon them by the • Eclair,' the people of Boa Vista were encouraged to repeat an experiment which on its first trial had proved so successful, when the sickly season returned after the departure of Dr. M William in the following year. This gentleman being in England, addressed, in Nov. 1846, to Sir W. Burnett a letter, announcing the reappearance of the yellow fever at Boa Vista, on the authority of a most respectable ' and intelligent merchant' at the neighbouring island of San Nicolao, who had written to inform Dr. M William that some persons had died, and others were sick of the disease; that those on the island must, in case of need, be perfectly destitute of the assistance of any English medical man, as Dr. Kenny died last year; and that the English as well as the Portuguese residents were in a very serious and lamentable condition. Dr. M«William suggested that the Director-General might possibly deem the case sufficiently urgent to recommend assistance being immediately sent to Boa Vista, and offered his own services on the occasion, which Sir William Burnett declined. But the case was so strongly urged, and the emergency seemed to be so pressing, that he advised the Admiralty to send Dr. Gilbert King as medical inspector to Boa Vista. Touching at Madeira on the 10th of December, Dr. King received from the English Consul a full confirmation of all he had previously heard respecting the sad condition of Boa Vista." At San Nicolao, on the 21st he was informed that from fever and famine the island of Boa Vista was nothing less than a great


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charnel house. On the 23rd, the "Sphynx' man-of-war, with Dr. King on board anchored at Boa Vista: two boats approaching from the shore, were ordered to lie off,' and when questioned as to the sanitary condition of the island, The answer,' says Dr. King, which was given in plain English, and heard by every man and officer in the ship, fully confirmed the previous reports, and seemed to justify the worst anticipations. The ' fever (the second epidemic) had carried off a great number of persons, some of them of respectable station: the disease was raging in Port Sal Rey and the different villages throughout • the island, and numbers were then dying every day. Such ' was the information communicated to Commander Cragg, of ‘ the “Sphynx," by John Jamieson, the Consul's storekeeper, who was in one of the boats, and replied to the Captain's

questions. (King, p. 90.) Nothing daunted, however, by these dismal tidings, and prepared for the worst, Dr. King immediately entered one of the boats; the dénouement must be given in his own words:— Within a couple of hours after landing, I ascertained beyond doubt, that there was, besides

a case of rheumatic fever, only one case of endemic fever in • Port Sal Rey,—that of a poor slave, lying in a wretched hovel,

who had been ill about twenty days. A few days after, I had • sufficient reasons for believing that every other part of the island was equally healthy.'

Dr. King has done good service, though somewhat tardily, by the publication of his Volume, which enables the reader to see through the transparent deceptions which were successfully practised upon his too confiding predecessor in this very foul field of inquiry. We should not have devoted so much time to exposing this contemptible imposture had not the London College of Physicians* exalted it to undeserved importance by unwarily avowing the opinion that it affords conclusive proof that yellow fever can be imported: the value of their opinion would have been greater had the question been one of physic and not of evidence.

The unfortunate • Eclair' received the new name of "Rosamond,' but retained her old character; for no sooner had she returned to the tropics in 1847, than yellow fever reappeared in her off San Nicolao, almost in sight of Boa Vista ; and on her return home from foreign service in 1852, she was again found to have been very unhealthy. Her example with that of the Dauntless,' •Highflier,' ‘La Plata,' and other steamers, warns us that the general employment of steam in the Royal as well as mercantile marine, while it brings us in close connection with the tropics, at the same time by the great heat which it generates, and the space which it fills in the hold of a ship, requires that regulations should be enforced for the adequate ventilation of steamers in all weathers in the tropics. Not the least evil of quarantine is, that it deceives us with a false show of security, and blinds us to the true preventives of disease.

* In a Report to the Privy Council dated 31st December, 1850.

Since, then, there is no trustworthy evidence to prove that a yellow fever epidemic ever has been imported; but overwhelming evidence to prove that it is incapable of transmission by removing the sick from an infected to a healthy locality, even under circumstances most favourable to its propagation, and that in an infected locality, no quarantine, however rigid, no seclusion, however strict, will afford security ; let us not stultify ourselves in the eyes of our own children by enforcing quarantine in this climate as a safeguard against a tropical disease. Let us follow the enlightened example of our own colonies, Jamaica and Barbadoes: they see and feel epidemics of which we only hear and read; deriving their knowledge of these diseases from personal observation and experience, their physicians have proved to the world, by numberless successful examples, that instant removal from an unhealthy ship to an elevated and airy situation on shore is the only true course for restoring health to the sick and preventing the propagation of disease.

Art. VIII.- The Private Journal of F. S. LARPENT, Esq., Judge

Advocate of the British Forces in the Peninsula. Three Vol

umes: 1853. THE THE death of the Duke of Wellington produced an effect on

literature unparalleled in any age or country. When the flag of England, half-mast high, telegraphed the catastrophe, the • broad sheet proved too small for extemporaneous effusions, long

prepared by provident editors, and the press, with all its steam powers of authors and type, could not satiate public curiosity, taken aback by the close of a life prolonged far beyond the allotted three score years and ten. "Dead stock rose from the warehouse; reams of recollections reappeared, rehatched to the woeful times. Non ragionam di lor, — the occasion called forth spirits worthy to raise a fitter monument, and eulogy so exhausted itself in the pulpit and parliament, in poetry and in prose, that we come too late in the field either to bury or praise Cæsar. The solemn ceremonial of the 18th of November was the unbought homage of a practical nation, not lavish in

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such honours, not prone to theatrical representations or morbid sentimentalities; and when England, all tears, laid Wellington alongside Nelson, a seal was set alike to the greatness of the hero, and to the sorrow of his country at his loss.

We have selected this work out of the many under which our table groans, and in offering a few remarks, request our readers to bear in mind how nearly hopeless any attempt must be to 'book something new'on a subject so exhausted. We touch the threadbare topic from the very peculiar position of Mr. Larpent, and the period when this journal was kept. It contains the verbatim report of a case martial made by a civilian transported from the circuit to the camp, and admitted behind the scenes in the last act of the martial tragedy, and placed in the immediate contact with the Deus ex machina, the Duke,'as it will be convenient to us to call Wellington; and no one can close this evidence without feeling that the witness is credible, and has told the truth to the best of his belief and knowledge, nor will require a better certificate of character than the confidence entertained by his sagacious chief for this most valuable * addition to the staff of this army.' (Desp. March 16. 1813.)

Few barristers of three years' standing can have united to Coke-upon-Littleton lore more of those accomplishments which grace the leisure of the gentleman than Mr. Larpent. We collect in every page intimations of the ways and idiosyncracies of the lawyer, the scholar, the artist, the botanist, the musician, and last not least, the boon companion. A recruit who worked so well at his desk, was gallant as a grenadier in the field, and a gastronome of the first order, was naturally welcomed in cabinet and camp. Mr. Larpent loved to see everything and be everywhere, and his Paul Pry propensities led him into sundry dangers and indigestions, as he has pleasantly recorded ; indeed, his self-portraiture forms a charm of his book second only to his graphic sketches of the Duke, the sun and centre of the campaign. This journal, really private, was written to a near and dear female relative, with entire artlessness, and with no attempt at book-making or fine writing. The plain tale is put down like a drawing made out of doors, unvarnished and full of daylight, with just such a dash of danger and gunpowder added as gives dignity: 'good,' as the Duke said of Allan's battle picture, and • not too much smoke. The journal, moreover, possesses the singular attraction, that it was composed in the full tide of affairs, on the scenes themselves, at head-quarters, and by one living among the most intelligent and best informed; accordingly it conveys the hopes, fears, and feelings of the moment as put down every week, nay, almost every day, and is the moral barometer

as it were of the army. • A few lines pencilled at the time, says Gray, ‘are worth a cartload of recollections ;' and in this respect no work written after the event had come off can compete, since authors, however unconsciously, cannot escape from some embroidery of their subject, or from some drawing upon subsequent knowledge for opinions and even incidents, which they think they remember as accurately as when they happened.

While a true image is presented in these pages of the spiritstirring scene, the pomp and circumstance of glorious war, the joys of the conflict and victory, — the pleasures of soldier life chequered with privations, and the miseries entailed on the country and combatants, are no less faithfully detailed. In these private letters the personal adventures of the writer, and many incidents of the highest interest to a home circle, but which public history passes as beneath her notice, abound; yet by these the individual is realised, and the reader sympathises with the sayings and doings of one like themselves. This Journal, again, is printed as it was written, without tamperings or interpolations of the editor, processes unfair alike to author and reader, and to be tolerated neither by men, gods, or booksellers.

The editor, Sir George Larpent, felt forbidden by motives of delicacy from offering to the world during his Grace's life' time the many personal anecdotes and opinions with which this * Journal abounds, and it has thus reposed in the sacred confidence of the family desk four times the nonum prematur in annum of Horace; and well it is that a decent time should elapse ere heroes are unrolled, as poor Nelson was by Dr. Pettigrew. The ashes of the illustrious dead are not lightly to be disturbed, or the foibles of their days of nature torn from the tomb for daws to peck at. When or whether at all confidential communications, never destined by the writers to be made public, are to be published, is not now the question; and, at least if ever there were a hero in the eyes of his valet, or one to whom, so far as he himself was concerned state and social reasons apart every thing he said or did might be published at Charing Cross, the Duke was that man; while it was most repugnant to all his notions of a gentleman, that notes should be taken of private conversations, he in truth has been his own best commentator, in the publication of his own Despatches. Le style est l'homme ; yet in giving this treasure to the present as to posterity, he trusted to no one the difficult and delicate duty of editor. Every printed page passed under his own review, and bears marks of his revising pen drawn through all names and facts by which unnecessary pain might be occasioned to any one. So extensive

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