Imatges de pÓgina

admits of free division; in which case, I afterwards place a part, or the whole of the fragments in the anterior chamber, where they become absorbed in the space of a few weeks, without producing either pain or inconvenience. But as, unless the cataract admits of having its nucleus divided, it requires a considerable time to effect its absorption, and sometimes also several operations, in order to obviate these inconveniences, I now, in such cases, at once extract it. In performing the operation of extraction, as just described, I have the great advantage of first ascertaining with the needle, whether the cataract admits of division or not, which is not possible where the usual method of extraction is performed; when, however ill adapted the case may be to that operation, or however favourable to the absorbent practice, the patient is, nevertheless, exposed to dangers peculiar to extraction, and from which dangers the absorbent practice is wholly exempt. pp. 142-144.

We cannot but regard this volume as a very valuable accession to the chirurgical library, not of our own country alone, but of Europe. It requires, as we have already observed, to be methodized and condensed; but it is written with an air of candour, with a spirit of research, with a full and comprehensive knowledge of the subject, an ardent love of it, and a successful pursuit of it, which deservedly place its author in the first rank of ophthal mic surgery.

The volume closes with a Supplement, for which we are sorry that there should have been any occasion.-It is in entitled, ' A Letter to the Right Honourable and Honourable the Directors of Greenwich Hospital, containing an Exposure of the Measures resorted to by the Medical Officers of the "London Eye Infirmary," for the purpose of retarding the Adoption and Execution of Plans for the Extermination of the Egyptian Ophthalmia from the Army and from the Kingdom, submitted for the approval of Government.' Into this we cannot possibly enter, and especially with only one side of the question before us. The case is certainly a very strong one, and drawn up with a manly spirit and deep feeling of injustice. The party, against whom the Letter is directed, will necessarily reply to its charges: but we sincerely lament that, in an honourable profession, and amidst the medical officers of establishments so valuable as those before us, any other contest should exist than the generous one of striving how the public may be best benefited by the means such institutions so extensively possess, and by the talents they are so well calculated to elicit.

ART. VIII. Naufrage de la Frégate La Méduse, faisant partie de l'Expédition du Sénégal, en 1816. Par J. B. Savigny, Ex-chirurgien de la Marine, et Alexandre Corréard, IngénieurGéographe; tous deux Naufragés du Radeau. Paris. 1817. THIS HIS well-authenticated little volume presents the details of a scene of horror that can scarcely be conceived to have taken


place among men in a state of civilized society. 'Never,' says a French critic on the subject, was there a recital more terrible; it makes one shudder in every page, and tremble at every line. The subterraneous scenes of Ann Radcliffe, and all the imaginary horrors of our melodrames and our tragedies, shrink to nothing before the real horrors of this dreadful catastrophe.'

The French possessions on the west coast of Africa, extending from Cape Blanco to the mouth of the Gambia, having been restored at the general peace, an expedition, consisting of a frigate and three other vessels, was sent, in the month of June 1816, to take possession of them. It was complete in all its parts, as the French expeditions usually are, including men of science, artisans, agriculturists, gardeners, miners, &c. amounting, with the troops, to nearly four hundred persons, exclusive of the crews. The naval part was entrusted to M. de Chaumareys, who had the command of the frigate, La Méduse, of forty-four guns.

Owing to a very relaxed state of discipline, and an ignorance of the common principles of navigation which would have disgraced a private merchant ship, this frigate was suffered to run aground on the bank of Arguin. Attempts were made to get her off, attempts, however, which, according to the narrative before us, were as inefficient and discreditable to the naval officers, as the gross ignorance which had carried the ship into that situation; and it was soon discovered that all hopes of saving her must be abandoned, and that nothing remained but to concert measures for the escape of the passengers and crew. Some biscuit, wine, and fresh water were accordingly got up and prepared for putting into the boats, and upon a raft which had been hastily constructed; but, in the tumult of abandoning the wreck, it happened that the raft, which was destined to carry the greatest number of people, had the least share of the provisions; of wine, indeed, it had more than enough, but not a single barrel of biscuit. No embarkation list had been made out-no disposition of any kind for the distribution of those on board.

There were five boats; in the first were the Governor of Senegal and his family, in all thirty-five; it might (say our authors) have carried twice as many: the second took forty-two persons; the third twenty-eight; the fourth, the long-boat, eighty-eight; the fifth, twenty-five; and the jolly-boat, fifteen, among whom were M. Picard, his wife, four children, and three young ladies. The military had, in the first instance, been placed upon the raft-the number embarked on this fatal machine was not less than one hundred and fifty; making, with those in the boats, a total of three hundred and ninety-seven.

On leaving the wreck, M. Corréard, geographical engineer, (one


of the writers of the Narrative,) who had volunteered to accompany his men on the raft, wishing to be assured that proper instruments and charts for navigating it had been put on board, was told by the captain that every thing necessary had been provided, and a naval officer appointed to take charge of it: this naval officer, however, jumped into one of the boats, and never joined them.

The boats pushed off in a line, towing the raft, and assuring the people on board that they would conduct them safely to land. They had not proceeded, however, above two leagues from the wreck when they, one by one, cast off the tow-lines. It was afterwards pretended that they broke; had this even been true, the boats might at any time have rejoined the raft; instead of which, they all abandoned it to its fate, every one striving to make off with all possible speed.

At this time, the raft had sunk below the surface to the depth of three feet and a half, and the people were so squeezed, one against another, that it was found impossible to move; fore and aft, they were up to the middle in water. In such a deplorable situation, it was with difficulty they could persuade themselves that they had been abandoned; nor would they believe it until the whole of the boats had disappeared from their sight. They now began to consider themselves as deliberately sacrificed, and swore to be revenged of their unfeeling companions, if ever they gained the shore. The consternation soon became extreme. Every thing that was horrible took possession of their imaginations; all perceived their destruction to be at hand, and announced by their wailings the dismal thoughts by which they were distracted. The officers, with great difficulty, and by putting on a show of confidence, succeeded at length in restoring them to a certain degree of tranquillity, but were themselves overcome with alarm on finding that there was neither chart nor compass, nor anchor on the raft. One of the men belonging to M. Corréard had fortunately preserved a small pocket-compass, and this little instrument inspired them with so much confidence, that they conceived their safety to depend on it; but this treasure, above all price, was speedily snatched from them for ever; it fell from the man's hand, and disappeared between the openings of the raft.

None of the party had taken any food before they left the ship, and hunger beginning to oppress them, they mixed the biscuit, of which they had about five-and-twenty pounds on board, with wine, and distributed it, in small portions, to each man. 'Such,' say the narrators,' was our first repast, and the best which we made during our whole abode upon the raft.' They thought themselves, however, not quite lost; and the hope of speedy vengeance on those who had so basely deserted them tended to revive their courage.


They succeeded in erecting a kind of mast, and hoisting one of the royals that had belonged to the frigate.

Night at length came on, the wind freshened, and the sea began to swell; the only consolation now was the belief that they should discover the boats the following morning. About midnight the weather became very stormy; and the waves broke over them in every direction.

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'During the whole of this night,' say the narrators, we struggled against death, holding ourselves closely to the spars which were firmly bound together. Tossed by the waves from one end to the other, and sometimes precipitated into the sea; floating between life and death; mourning over our misfortunes, certain of perishing, yet contending for the remains of existence with that cruel element, which menaced to swallow us up; such was our situation till break of day--horrible situation! how shall we convey an idea of it which will not fall far short of the reality!'

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In the morning the wind abated, and the sea subsided a little; but a dreadful spectacle presented itself-ten or twelve of the unhappy men, having their lower extremities jammed between the spars of the raft, unable to extricate themselves, had perished in that situation; several others had been swept off by the violence of the waves: in calling over the list it was found that twenty had disappeared. Already,' says the narrator, with exquisite simplicity, (after informing us that the only feeling from which they derived consolation in their awful condition, was the hope of revenge,) already was the moral character of the people greatly changed! Two young seamen threw themselves into the sea, after deliberately taking leave of their comrades; some fancied that they saw the land; and others, ships approaching to rescue them.

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All this, however, was nothing to the dreadful scene which took place the following night. The day had been beautiful, and no one seemed to doubt that the boats would appear in the course of it, to relieve them from their perilous state; but the evening approached, and none were seen: from that moment a spirit of sedition spread from man to man, and manifested itself by the most furious shouts : night came on; the heavens were obscured with thick clouds; the wind rose, and with it the sea; the waves broke over them every moment; numbers were swept away, particularly near the extremities of the raft; and the crowding towards the centre of it was so great, that several poor wretches were smothered by the pressure of their comrades, who were unable to keep on their legs. Firmly persuaded that they were all on the point of being swallowed up, both soldiers and sailors resolved 'to sooth their last moments by drinking till they lost their reason.' They bored a hole in the head of a large cask, from which they continued to swill till the salt water, mixing with the wine, rendered it no longer potable.


Excited by the fumes, acting on empty stomachs and heads already disordered by danger, they now became deaf to the voice of reason; boldly declared their intention to murder their officers, and then cut the ropes which bound the raft together: one of them, seizing an axe, actually began the dreadful work-this was the signal for revolt; the officers rushed forward to quell the tumult, and the man with the hatchet was the first that fell-the stroke of a sabre terminated his existence.

The passengers joined the officers, but the mutineers were still the greater number; luckily they were but badly armed, or the few bayonets and sabres of the opposite party could not have kept them at bay. One fellow was detected secretly cutting the ropes, and immediately flung overboard; others destroyed the shrouds and halyards, and the mast, deprived of support, fell on a captain of infantry, and broke his thigh; he was instantly seized by the soldiers and thrown into the sea, but was saved by the opposite party. A furious charge was now made upon the mutineers, many of whom were cut down at length this fit of desperation subsided into egregious cowardice; they cried out for mercy, and asked forgiveness on their knees. It was now midnight, and order appeared to be restored; but after an hour of deceitful tranquillity, the insurrection burst forth anew the mutineers ran upon the officers like desperate men, each having a knife or a sabre in his hand, and such was the fury of the assailants, that they tore their flesh and even their clothes with their teeth: there was no time for hesitation; a general slaughter took place, and the raft was strewed with dead bodies.

Some palliation must be allowed on account of their miserable condition; the constant dread of death, want of rest and of food had impaired their faculties-nor did the officers themselves entirely escape. A sort of half-waking dream, a wandering of the imagination, seized most of them: some fancied they saw around them a beautiful country, covered with the most delightful plantations ; others became wild with horrors, and threw themselves into the sea. Several, on casting themselves off, said calmly to their companions, I am going to seek for assistance, and you shall soon see me return.'

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In the midst of this general madness,' says the narrative, one saw these unhappy men rushing upon their companions, sword in hand, and demanding from them the wing of a chicken to appease the hunger which was preying upon them; others asked for their hammocks, that they might go between decks and get a little sleep; many imagined themselves to be still on board the Méduse. Even after this fatal night many imagined themselves, in the morning, to have awaked from a frightful dream, in which battles and slaughter had disturbed their rest.'

On the return of day it was found, that in the course of the pre

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