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1 Treatise of the Nature and Powers of the Baths and Waters of
Bareges, in which their superior Virtues for the Cure of Guns Shot Wounds, with all their Complications of inveterate Uleers, &c. &c. &c. By Sir Christopher Meighan, Knight of the noble Order of Christ, M. D. and Member of the Royal Academy of Sciences at Rouen. 8vo. 39. sewed. Millar.
O give the most succinct, yet not an unfatisfactory,
account of these very healing foreign waters, we learn from the seventh chapter of the first part of this work, “That the principle with which they are enriched, is a genuine Petron leum, or Rock-oil, such as comes to us from Naples, and other places; and which we apply to medicinal purposes. The immediately subsequent chapter is employed on the powers of these waters; and the ninth and last of the first part, very properly and practically distinguishes the constitutions to which these waters are adapted, from those to which they must prove injurious : a most important distinction! and the more necessary too, from their great efficacy, when judiciously applied : since we find the most potent and capital remedies the most liable to be abused by the rafh and ignorant, in consequence of the active principles on which their virtue and energy depend; and whose effects cannot be indifferent; according to the noted physical axiom,
Nil prodeft quod non ladere poßit idem. The second part treats of the external diseases, particularly of wounds, with all their complications, which have been cured by thefe waters. It contains, first, fix practical obfervations or histories of wounds, principally under the care and conduct of our Author. Two of them were the cases of the brave Lord Crawford and General Keith, which were both dangerously circumstanced, and proved very chronical, but finally received the most compleat cure at Bareges; and chiefly, including all proper chirurgical care, from the efficacy of the waters. This first chapter also contains fourteen other cases and cures, most of them very considerable ones; but we conceive a few of them, such as empyemas, schirrhus's, internal ulcers, and fome others, are ranged with less propriety among external diseases.
The second chapter treats of the cure of nervous contrace cions, of that of nodes, anchylofes and exoftoses, and contains nine cases, with practical obfervations. The first of thefe is a poft extraordinary one, being the perfect cure of a youth of twenty years old, whose legs had been, from his infancy, quite bent under him, by such a strong contraction of the Alexor murcles, that no force could effect the least extenfion of them.
The time of this miserable object's beginning with the Baths is not mentioned ; but Sir Christopher allures us, p. 107, that on his own return to Bareges the following June, he found him quite Itraight on his legs; and, during two seasons after, he saw him running on errands there for any who would employ him.' Such an uncommon and scarcely parallel'd cure will certainly justify all Dr. Meighan's exultation upon it; and may incline our Readers to imagine, that many of our mendicant cripples might receive the like cure from the fame Baths : but besides the confiderable impracticability and expence of transporting them to Bareges, it may be feared, that some of the laziest of them would be unwilling to accept a cure, which they might consider as depriving them of their trade and their subsistence. The other eight cures were, most of them, confined to the external cases mentioned in the title of this chapter, and were considerable. The third chapter, treating of the cure of cutaneous distempers, contains but two cases, which were both radically cured, the first after a continuance of two months at Bareges, and after two previous and unsuccessful courses of mercury at Montpelier ; and the second in six weeks. The fourth chapter, on the cure of venereal diseases at Bareges, gives three cales in detail; but alserts, that, in 1742 and 43, seventeen venereal patients were all cured with safety, ease and expedition, by this method; which is that of joining mercurial unctions with the baths and waters, but so as to avoid salivating. And here it may be observed, that these waters and baths, though all impregnated with the fame common principle, are from four different sources, or rather reservoirs, of different degrees of warmth, each of which is thereby more peculiarly adapted to particular cases and cir-, cumstances. The most considerable cure, related at length, on this head, is that of a servant of Lord Crawfurd's, whofe nails and hair had partly fallen off, after repeated salivations. The chapter on the rheumatism and pally, gives three cases of the former, one of the last ; and one of a hand frost-bitten three months before, and totally deprived of heat, motion, and sensațion. They were all entirely cured. The chapter of the gout, gravel and stone, contains only two cafes and cures ; but cites, in a summary manner, many others from Dr. Dessault, who had conceived a very high idea of their virtues against urinary concretions : and these biftories, which we may presume to be certain, on his credit, might incline us, with our Author, to think these waters ftill more effectual in nephritic cases than Mrs. Stephens's medicines; or those constructed on the same principles : their being a much more pleasant one will admit of no contest. But we must observe, that these instances of she success of these waters in such cases, are much less nume
rous than those we have read and heard of from the soap and lime water.'
The third part treats of internal distempers cured by these waters, and contains fourteen cales and cures. The first was that of a very broken conftitution, with hơemorrhoidal pains, indigestions, lofs of memory, trembling and extreme emaciation The second was the restoring to fome degree of vigour,' and to a capacity of walking, by the assistance only of a cane, a decrepid gentleman of 97; whofe disease might well be called old age, and his restoration some degree of rejuvenescence. The next was a very parallel case and recovery in a military patient of 96.
The fourth was the cure of inveterate vomitings and retchings for the space of 12 months standing. The fifth was very similar. The fixth was the cure of a violent nephritic cho. lic in the term of ten weeks. The seventh was a redress against the torments of a bilious cholic;' by which perhaps Dr. M. means a very considerable abatement of the pain. The cighth was a female case, and compleat cure, The ninth was also a compleat cure of frequently returning paroxysms of the cholic, with all their tormenting, debilitating symptoms, which was accomplished by these waiers in seven weeks, after having long eluded many other medicines. Caftile foap however was added to them the last twenty days, to accelerate the
The tenth is the perfect recovery of a man bitten by'a viper ; the spot of the bite being greatly inflamed and livid, with a painful tension as high as the knee. He drank 3 gallons in 24 hours, sweated proligiously, and his pains abated; this evacuation still continuing, all the symptoms vanished, and on the the third day after, to the surprize of every body, he walked well about Bareges. The eleventh and twelfth cases are those of inve:erate jaundices, the last accompanied with a hard tumour in the liver. The first was perfectly cured in a month, the second in nine weeks, by the internal and external use of the waters. Dr. Meighan inyeighs here not a little againft the fashionable habit of snuff, though he supposes it occasionally useful as a medicine ; very justly reflecting (in which we have often had the honour of co-inciding with him) that surely nature entailed no such incessant want on the sense of smelling.'
To crown the extraordinary virtues of these waters, Sir Cr, aíħrms, that with respect to that most interesting disease, the. asthma, he never saw any species of it, which refifted their efficacy. Nevertheless he favours us but with three cases of it, the first of an humoral asthma, of many years ftanding, which was perfectly cured in ten weeks. The second may be called a calculous asthma, as the patient, an Englishman, expectorated, dur, ing five weeks, a viscid phlegm, with a gritty matter (or substance)
to his great relief: after which his cough becoming more violent, he frequently brought up small hard stones, amounting, in the whole, to the weight of two drachms and one fcruple. He was then repeatedly purged with manna in clarified whey, still kept to the internal use of the waters, and was compleatly cured in three months. The last case, the 56th, is the cure of a most violent and convulsive asthma of thirty years continuance; but which the temperate fource at Bareges commuted into per fect health in the space of one season, which, we think, extends to three months.
General, and indeed very rational and useful rules for administering these waters and baths are immediately annexed to these three parts: they amount to thirty, and seem so many proofs of this writer's prudent caution and considerable experience. Hence we imagine no person,. visiting these springs for health, will go unprovided of this treatise.
Dr. M.'s enquiry into the cause of heat in bituminous waters": proceeds on the most simple, and yet the most rational and obvious principle; as he ascribes their heat to subterraneous fire. His manner of arguing on this occasion, and his many great authorities in support of his hypothesis, not a little inforce it:
besides which it derives great probability from his chemical ex• periment of distilling equal quantities of spirit of vitriol and oil of turpentine (after a due incorporation) in a retort.
The whole work concludes with two letters ; the first of them from that primitively good man, and experimental Phyfiologist, the late Dr. Hales, to W. Morehead Efq; in commendation of Dr. M.'s former edition of this work, which, as the Author informs us, was much shorter and less compleat than the present. This attestation certainly does his performance no little honour, and thence may conduce to realize some of those salutary purposes, which that great philanthropist had habitually in view, in all his contemplations and actions.
We could wish to have presented our medical Readers a larger specimen of this ingenious and learned physician's reasoning and expression, than what this medullary extract, as we may call it, of the whole, can comprize; as we should not doubt of its proving acceptable to them. His theory, whenever any branch of his subject naturally disposes him to theorize, generally results ; from his confideration of the most evident, racher chan from his contemplating the remoter, causes of diseases. His style is ju-. diciously varied and adapted to the different parts and sections of his treatise ; being truly descriptive, and somewhat poetical, on : the romantic and paftoral situation of Bareges, and the condi- •
țion of its inhabitants ; and just properly technical in his medi, cal cases and reflections. His accuracy in the idiom of our phrase and language, with a very few trifling exceptions, is so confiderable, that we thought it even surprising in a' person who must have frequently disused it in his situation on the continent. The erudition of a physician and of a gentleman are clearly apparent throughout the work; in which we do not recollect any aythor to be cited, or referred to, from mere parade ; but with a inanifest pertinence to his subject. All this, we say, might have been more agreeably exhibited to our Readers, in selecting farther specimens from the work : but the many publications, among which our attention is necessarily divided, oblige us to defire they will accept, with this brief account of the virtues of these waters, what we think the character of this treatise containing them ; without detailing the proofs of it, for which we refer them to the perusal of the whole.
P.S. We think it incumbent on us to inform the Public, that, since our writing the foregoing pages of the present article, (in which it is manifest we have credited all that Dr, Meighan affirms concerning these waters and their cures, and of the provisions at Bareges, for entire trųh and fact) we have seen a ge; nuine letter from an English officer, dated at Bareges, August 20, ! 764, to a worthy physician of his acquaụntance here, This gentleman went there for the cure of the consequences of a wound received the latter end of the late war; and it is certain these waters, after a trial of five wecks, have succeeded much less in his case, than in any one of thofe related by Dr. M.: for that gentleman says, that at the expiration of that term, he scarcely finds any change;' subjoining, that of an hundred persons there, not one has found a cure; and rot above a dazen think, they have received any relief.' Sir Cr. fays, p. 19,
herds and flocks are their principal commodities ; ' 'and adds, P: 21, that“ þesides abundance of milk and cream, here is exquisitely fine mutton, particularly a sort called Boureague, brought from an adjoining Spanish mountain; numbers of a kind of wild deer called ljard, whose Acth is very juicy; allo pheasants, gelinotes, i. e. wood-hens, quails and white partridges; with an incredible quantity of trouts in many lakes, situated on the tops of mountains, as well as in torrents issuing thence.' But the ferter-writer, who propofed to leave Baregės this month, (Septomber) says, ? You are lodged as badly as you can possibly conceive, for which you pay very extravagantly, Your living is not a bit better, for I assure you they have not either beef or mutton. Of the filh or game indeed he writes nothing. Now, shough we would not too capriciously discredit what our learned mind ennobled physician has advanced in his very specious,