Imatges de pÓgina
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contagious, it would be utterly impossible to account for its partial invasions, as evidenced in the many instances already cited; thus two corps marching together, and keeping up an unreserved intercourse, the disease shall prevail in one, and be unknown in the other; troops passing through countries suffering from it, entirely escape ; or they experience severe attacks, while the inhabitants of the countries through which they pass are exempted : detachments of a regiment, arriving from a particular place, suffer severely, while the rest of the regiment, which has remained stationary, shall hardly furnish a single case, although the former may be living in the same barracks, and their sick in the same hospital. Above all, they contend, that the non-infectious quality of cholera is clearly established by the escape, in so many instances, of the attendants on the sick.”—(P. 106.) Mr. Scot concludes the subject, by observing that

Many of the principal circumstances which have been noticed in the history of cholera, are left wholly unexplained by either doctrine ; and, amid such a variety of conflicting opinions and contradictory appearances, it seems fruitless, if not presumptuous, to offer any decided judgment. The question will, doubtless, receive its decision, when our knowledge of the laws of infection, in general, is more matured, but its merits have, at least, been attempted to be fairly exposed, as their consideration may, in abler hands, perhaps, throw some additional light on the subject.”—(P. 108.)

As a means of cure, Mr. Scot looks with much favour upon the moderate and discriminating letting of blood, and among the internal remedies, he most approves of, are, stimulents, opium, and calomel, all to be used cautiously and moderately.

We remark a material difference of opinion between Mr. Scot and Dr. Lizars upon a subject which we should have expected to have been settled one way or another long ere now. We allude to cold drinks, These, Mr. Scot thinks, are " in the highest degree dangerous, and almost fatal.”—(P. 141.)

" When thirst,” he says, " is present, it seems to subdue all other feelings, and the ignorant soldier, as well as the medical man, who firmly believes that cold water is almost certain death, alike eagerly seek and swallow it. Two melancholy instances are recited, where medical officers have exerted their last and utmost efforts to reach, unperceived, even the water of the bathing-tub,-so intolerable are the pangs of this cruel thirst.”(P. 55.)

Dr. Lizars, on the contrary, states that,

“Draughts of cold water may be permitted, ad libitum, even ice in the mouth."—(P. 73.)

Can the modifications of climate in any way account for so remarkable a difference ?

The diction of Mr. Scot's recent addition to his Report, viz. the Introductory Remarks, bears evident traces of haste, but as a work, the Report is of most sterling merit. It is a faithful collection of facts, from which the searcher after truth may derive much sound information. It contains not the theories of an individual, but the well-arranged results of the extensive experience of a number of able Indian medical officers.

Though the remote causes and precise nature of cholera have hither

to baffled human research, yet do we see no reason why we should not look hopefully forward to a time when the eye of science shall pierce the clouds which at present obstruct its view.

" True is it: Nature hides
Her treasures less and less. Man now presides
In power, where once he trembled in his weakness-

Knowledge advances with gigantic strides." We cannot for a moment doubt, that the disease which we call cholera, is produced by natural causes, and is subject to laws as certain as those by which worlds and atoms are alike governed. These causes will, uniformly, produce the same effects, these laws will admit of no variation.

The facts which seem to contradict each other, differ only because various agencies, the operation of which we have failed to detect, have entered into the individual cases. That skill will yet decide authoritatively as to the best and surest remedies and modes of cure, we have a confident, and we trust, a reasonable expectation. With all its mystery, and with all its terrors, there seem to be few diseases more under the control of medicine than cholera. In its early stages its progress can generally be arrested by judicious treatment, and it is only when the functions of the body are becoming unfit to perform their offices, that the prescriptions of the medical man lose their power,

Aware that the primary causes which concur in producing cholera, have received the carnest and continued attention of many, infinitely better qualified than ourselves, to form an opinion, and remembering that, nevertheless, no satisfactory conclusion has been arrived at, we cannot presume to hold any opinion formed by ourselves, far less to dogmatize upon the subject. 'Where doctors so materially differ, we shall not pretend to decide, but we may, perhaps, be permitted to suggest a theory, which seems to us, at least, possible, and which, were it correct, would account for some of the seeming eccentricities of the disease.

We are familiar with the fact, that cholera, however propagated or perpetuated, -travels and progresses. In 1848, as in 1832, it has advanced westward from India, traversing Asia and Europe, and across the Atlantic to America. From East to West, it has encircled the globe. Were cholera a strongly infectious disease, we might suppose it to be communicated from man to man, and that thus it advanced. Much, however, in the history of its progress, would still be left unexplained by this supposition.

We consider it proved that large bodies of men have, collectively, propagated the malady, and that the question of contagion is thus reduced to one of degree, but that this degree is a very


one, we are at the same time disposed to concede. We therefore reject the idea that cholera has, to any considerable extent, been propagated by infection.

We find that to the question—what is cholera ? some investigators have answered that it is purely an atmospherical disease, whilst others, grounding their opinion upon the capricious nature, and isolated scenes of many of its attacks, have conjectured that it was produced by some poisonous vapour exhaled from the soil.

It appears to us, that while neither of these theories are in themselves satisfactory, the difficulties in the way may, to a considerable extent, be overcome, by combining the two together. Thus, let us suppose that a foreign element has entered into the composition of the air. We shall also suppose that this unusual ingredient is not in itself noxious. The atmosphere, with this addition to its parts, hangs over a country, or is wafted across one. We do not stop to enquire in what manner it sometimes

“Streams like a thunder-storm against the wind," because this we do not consider a very formidable objection. It will not be disputed that deleterious exhalations do sometimes arise from portions of the earth, but all that we shall at present presume is, that certain vapours, in themselves innoxious, are frequently emitted in particular localities, These may be either occasional or continuous. Now, what we would suggest is, that when the subtle ingredient held in the atmosphere is brought into contact with the telluric emanation, a chemical action takes place, and a poisonous agent is the result. Predisposition will account for one person being seized by the disease, while others similarly situated escape. It is thus we would endeavour to suggest an answer to Mr. Scot's enquiry, “in what manner does cholera diffuse itself, so as to touch one place, avoid another, and spread at times in the most opposite and unexpected directions ?" (p. xx.) Mr. Scot informs us, in various passages of his work, that the crews or passengers in vessels have never experienced attacks of cholera which could not be traced to communications with the shore. We understand him to state, that no instance is on record of the disease occurring in a ship when at sea. Yet, did cholera cross the broad Atlantic, covered with the ships of Europe and America, and it was not till it reached the soil that its effects were experienced.

It is consistent with our personal observation, that in Scotland, the towns and villages where cholera was most severe in 1848, were, for the most part, the chief sufferers in 1832 ; nay, in the town with which we are most familiar, exactly the same localities were most smitten by the disease in both attacks, although their situations are infinitely superior to those of other districts, which escaped the epidemic.

Observations have proved, that during a visitation of Cholera, a change frequently takes place in the electricity of the atmosphere, the magnet loses power, and hence it has been inferred that a derangement of this fluid, so important in the economy of nature, is the real cause of the epidemic. We are inclined however to believe, that the electrical phenomena which have been detected, are themselves the effects of some cause which is felt by inanimate, as well as animated nature. It is possible that the same influence which robs a human being of health may diminish the attractive power of the magnet. Mr. Scot argues, and we think with effect, that electricity is not likely to be one of the causes, or at least not one of the chief causes of Cholera. He concludes the subject by remarking that :

“ Were electricity the principle of life, and were changes in its quantity so noxious as has been alleged, the great Author of the universe would doubtless have made it more uniform; and we may conclude that so power

ful, so unconfinable, and so variable an agent, whose powers shake the globe itself, is yet in ordinary circumstances, by the wisdom of the Creator, made innocuous and of no effect on the living body." (P. 90.)

It may be, that we shall never be permitted by providence, to wrench from nature, the secret causes of Asiatic Cholera, but we have a sure trust in the goodness of God, and in the ever-advancing knowledge of the human race, that we shall yet arrive at such an understanding of the disease, as shall enable us to point out the surest means of alleviating suffering, and frequently of warding off the stroke of death.

LITERARY NOTICE. The Red Republic; or Scarlet-Coloured Beast of the Apocalypse, being an Enquiry into the period of the prophesying of the Two Witnesses, and the character of the Beast that kills them. By the Rev. ALEXANDER Hislop, Arbroath. Edinburgh : William Whyte and Co. 1849.

The minister of the “ East Free Church, Arbroath,” is a bold man, as this title of his book will prove. But any one that peruses his suggestive pages will also see that he is a man of extensive information, as regards the times in which we live, and possessed of that sharp-shooting faculty as a writer, which, when founded on any sound logic, is very dangerous to the weakness even of more talented authors than such writer himself.

The main idea of his work we find in the following sentences. “Here, then, we have the three leading characteristics of the beast from 'the abyss,' or Roman empire, in its last form. Its ten horns are discrowned; its whole body is pervaded with blasphemous names; it is double-dyed' with blood. To this conclusion we are led by a patient induction of particulars, comparing spiritual things with spiritual, from a mere consideration of the symbols of the prophetic page, with nothing before us but the history of the past, as reflecting light on the representations of God's inspired word. When we turn our eyes to the events of the present, now passing on the stage of time, do we see anything that gives confirmation to our anticipations,-anything that answers to the prophetic description of the beast from the bottomless pit? We do. What is that monster form, which, within the last year, over wide Europe, in Paris, in Vienna, in Berlin, has been raising its portentous head, perplexing monarchs, breaking society into pieces, and filling men's hearts with alarm ? It is the Red REPUBLIC.',

He interprets the original word (vortivos) as the scarlet-colouredbloodthirsty beast. There is the most glaring inconsistency, in appearance, in regarding the Red Republic as a development of the Church of Rome ; nor do we deny that there is real inconsistency in the view ; but it is refreshing to find another combatant entering the arena of Apocalyptic wrangling and wrestling, and throwing dust so dexterously into the eyes of those who have been throwing dust into the eyes of the public, with all gravity of demeanour, with every variety of purpose, and with the strongest faith in their respective imaginations.

When we speak of this wrangling and wrestling, let us not be misunderstood. With due reverence for “ The Revelation of St. John," we are sorry to say that we do not cherish the smallest amount of reverence for the disputants who so profanely and rashly twist the words to suit their own flitting fancy.

And nothing has struck us with more astonishment, as we have been hearing month after month, since February 1848, of new publications on the Apocalypse, and of courses of sermons, given by the popularity-huntingportion of the clergy to their congregations; (it would be a strange sight to see some of these productions and to compare them together)-nothing, we say, has struck us with more amaze than the apparent fact, that the parties in question seem to have entirely forgotten those awful words with which the Apocalypse is ended; “ I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book : And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.” Rev. xxii. 18, 19.

The views we have of the whole subject prevent us from doing more in our present critical remarks, than showing the inconsistency of the pseudointerpreters of “the Revelation,” even among themselves, and on their own assumptions.

“ The broad street of the great city" where the dead bodies of the slain witnesses are to be exposed, is not, according to Mr. Hislop, with “ any reason” considered as constituted by, or “in the literal city of Rome," but by and in Great Britain! One of his opponents he rather profanely calls by the name of his book, the “ Seventh Vial ;” and as this individual slays his Witnesses in Bohemia, Mr. Hislop puts it to him as the “ Seventh Vial” how he can afterwards expose them in Rome. Now, this is really straining at a gnat and swallowing a camel. If we are to believe all that Mr. Hislop would have us believe, and to reconcile all his inconsistencies, we may easily admit the statement of the person he calls the “ Seventh Vial.”

The approaching ascendancy of Popery is another favourite idea of Mr. Hislop's, in opposition to the views of those who see in the present position of the Pope the downfall of Rome.

We do not think men are justified in rashly interpreting the Apocalypse. We do not think it is a fair subject on which to exercise the mere fancy, or even that uncultured and illogical ingenuity, which sometimes appears

in great force, in men who are the least capable of acting as guides or pioneers, on any new path of investigation whatsoever.

And yet, we appeal to the more reflective portion of the community, whether the various modes of interpretation adopted by recent writers on this subject, if not by almost all who have ventured to tamper boldly with a mystery so great, does not serve to remind one of the various ways in which two or three fanciful people inay look at a cloud floating on the horizon ;-one seeing the figure of a crocodile ; another protesting that, with half an eye, you may mark the striking resemblance to the advancing head and arm of a giant; and a third suggesting whether it be not“ whale” The mob of greedy devourers of novelty are ready, Polonius-like, to agree with each succeeding interpreter; and to forget almost about the matter in a very short time.

But we would seriously ask the more reasonable among the self-constituted interpreters of the Apocalypse, whether it is not high time to establish the starting point of Apocalyptic interpretation, on a snrer basis than has yet been found for it; and whether it is not better, to find undoubted trutlis on which all may agree, than disseminate profane fancies among the tooro ignorant of their brethren?

It is so true, that the ordinary writers on this subject do injustice to the Church of Rome, and confound its bad and good together, that we can imagine a member of that Church asking, with the greatest justice, “ If, for so many long centuries, the Church of Rome has been the Beast, Babylon,

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