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cal knowledge in the fifteenth century. To be continued.
Facts and observations relative to the nature and origin of the flestilential fever, which hrevailed in this city, in 1793, 1797, and 1798. By the College of Physicians of Philadelfthia. Philadelphia. Thomas Dobson. 1798. 8vo. ff. 52. .Additional facts and observations , relative to the nature and origin of the festilential fever. By the College of Physicians of Philadelflhia. Philadelphia. T.Dobson. 1806. 8vo. fift. 99.
The first part of this work was published in 1798 ;—the second within the present year. The two are now included under one cover, and we shall briefly notice the contents of each. It is the design of these publications to prove, that the yellow fever is a contagious disease, and that it is introduced into our country by importation. In our last number we gave a review of an account of the yellow fever at New York the last season; and we then said, that this account rendered the opinion of its domestick origin, in that instance, the most probable. We purposely avoided giving a general opinion on this subject, and we shall not think ourselves inconsistent, if we declare that other accounts of the same disease at other times, or in other places, support an opinion which may appear contradictory. We presume not to determine the character of witnesses, but we can declare the result of the evidence which is offered. Time may reconcile apparent inconsistencies, or may bring to light truths which
have been concealed. For this purpose, time must be employed in careful and faithful observations by those whose situation permits. To us opportunities for such observations are rare, and we pray Heaven they may continue so. It is well known, that the Col. lege of Physicians of Philadelphia have from the year 1793 professed their belief,that the yellow fever was an imported and contagious disease. Deference should be paid to the opinion of so respectable a body; but it is the motto of modern days “nullius in vertà magistri ;” and those who seek for truth will investigate facts, rather than ask for opinions. In the first part of this work we have an account of the introduction of the pestilential fever into Philadelphia in 1798 by the ship Deborah. From the details given in the notes, and particularly in a letter from Dr. Daniel De Benneville, it appears very clearly, that in many instances the disease could be traced to a connection with the shipDeborah; and likewise that in other instances the persons, who had such connection, appeared to communicate the disease to their friends and attendants. It is how
ever to be remarked, that this ves
sel emitted a “ disagreeable and very offensive stench” to a consid. erable distance ; and that several among the persons who were supposed to derive their diseases from this ship, of whom Dr. De Benneville himself was one, did not go even upon the wharf at which she laid, but were only opposite the wharf, &c. On the other side, however, it would seem by the account that the disease, with which those persons were seized, was infectious. In the second part of this work the College declare their adher
enee to their former opinions; which, they say, have been confirmed by events and researches subsequent to the former declaration of those opinions. In this part we have some letters from respectable physicians and others, which deserve consideration.— There are also some “ minutes of the sitting managers of the Pennsylvania Hospital,” tending to shew, by events in that hospital, that the yellow-fever is an infectious, if not a contagious disease. There follow letters from Dr. C. Wistar, and Dr. G. Bensell. They relate “facts tending to prove the contagious nature of the yellowfever at Germantown in the year 1798.” These are such as must make the incredulous hesitate. “The history of the origin and progress of the yellow fever in New Haven, 1794,” is extracted from the N. York Evening Post, and is corroborated by private letters. In fact, almost the whole was originally derived from Drs. Eneas and Elijah Munson. This history traces that disease to infection from a chest of clothes imported from the W. Indies in the sloop Iris. On this subject there has been a strange contradiction of evidence. From the whole together, which this volume contains on the subject, it is fair to conclude, that the chest of clothes was the source of disease. ... We pass over other things less important to notice “ an account of the rise and progress of the fever, which prevailed in Southwark, during part of the summer and autumn of the year 1805, by Dr. W. Curie.” As this account is published by the College without comment, it has all the weight of their reputation in its favour. For we ought to presume that if any fellow of the College had
known anything which tended to invalidate it, that would have received equal publicity.
In this account it appears, that the first instances of the disease were in S. Crisman's family. Three of this family visited the quarantine ground on July 21st ; at which time unclean weasels were lying there. One of these vessels had put two persons on shore there nine days before, both of whom were dangerously ill of the yellow fever. On the 27th of July one of these persons in Crisman's family, and on the 28th the other two were attacked with yellow fever. The one, first seized, died on the 3d of August ; the others recovered. From these three persons the disease seems to have been communicated, by intercourse more or less direct, to others in succession. If nothing is omitted . in this account, we must conclude that the disease originated from the imprudent exposure of certain persons to infection at the quarantine ground.
We recommend this work both to physicians and to all persons, who have any concern in making or in executing quarantine laws. If our commerce is subjected to embarrassments from quarantine, for God's sake let us have this process so perfect as to secure us from foreign disease. It is a strange sort of respect for the liberties of the people, which subjects merchants and mariners to great pecuniary and personal embarrassments, and at the same time permits any idle boy to take from us the benefit of such sacrifices.
Well aware that the discussion of this subject will not interest a large portion of readers, we omit many remarks, which the occasion presents.
WHEN an English traveller itells us that he went abroad for health and spirits we very naturally conclude, that a narrative of his adventures will exhibit little else than a severe caricature of the various subjects of his observations. But the most invidious examination will discover in this work very few of those misrepresentations which would be expected as the usual effect of strong national prejudice operating on the impatience of ill health. The author travelled in the exercise of a singular indulgence for foreign peculiarities which earlier travels had so matured, that his avowed and honourable predilection for his native land in no instance intrudes itself to degrade the character of any other. This work presents to the reader much of that kind of minute, local information, which is amusing to any one, and to an inexperienced tourist indispensibly necessary, but which many travellers disdain to notice,and still more want skill to manage. The lounger may find in it much to wile away an idle hour with, and, if his heart has not been cankered and corroded, and his mind unnerved by sloth, will feel himself quickened into something like life, by some well wrought scenes of woe, drawn from history, and several striking instances of the mutability of for
tune. To the romantick it offers no gorgeous displays of sentiment, and indeed nothing but fine descriptions of the wild and picturesque. And a political theorist would probably be disappointed in not finding the order and uniformity of the work interrupted and disfigured by the introduction of dry and useless calculations. The only strange and unusual trait which distinguishes this work, is, that we may glean from it more knowledge of individual and national character, and more topographical information than gazetteers or geographical compilations generally afford. If there is any fault sufficiently great to he noticed, it is, that his descriptions of works of art are sometimes too incomplete to gratify a connoisseur, and not always clear to one who is not. Here his periods are sometimes prolonged, till they become, what they generally are not, obscure and confused.
The Shade of Plato; or, a defence of religion, morality, and government. A floem in sour fiarts. By David Hitchcock. To which is firefired, a sketch of the author’s life. Hudson, H. Croswell. 12mo, price 25 cents.
THE Muses, like most otherladies, have long had the reputation of being somewhat capricious in the distribution of their favours, and since their favourites join in the accusation, we are compelled to believe that it must be just. If, however, they were formerly capricious, they have of late become iawless. The inspiration of poe: try which was formerly reserved for those minds, in which refinement and feeling had been mourished by solitary thought and un
broken study, has of late been felt even at the work bench, and the plough. What mysterious connexion, what secret analogy there is between stitching shoes and making verses, we are at a loss to discover ; but certain it is, that the cobler’s stall has lately been remarkably fruitful of poets. Our own country is not without her claims to a share in the honour which England may assume from this fecundity in “self-taught bards;” and Mr. Hitchcock, the author of the book, whose title we have just quoted, is to be the supporter of our renown. Our bard, we must acknowledge, is yet unfledged, and indeed has scarcely broken his shell ; but we doubt not that if he should be warmed by the incubation of some American Capel Loftt, he will hereafter rise on as strong a wing, and sustain as daring a flight as either of the Bloomfields.
We have the following account of Mr. Hitchcock prefixed to the volume.
It cannot be expected that we should undertake either a criticism or analysis of this production. It is an essay, in eight-syllable metre, on Religion, Politicks, and Morals, which the author put into the mouth of Plato; and, though his style is hardly such as the Gods would adopt, if they should visit the earth, yet as every man possesses some rank in intellectual dignity, whose mind is superiour to his circumstances,this writer's merit must be admitted,and his poetry endured.
The author has a right to one extract.