Page images
PDF

ered in moral causes. Our country is certainly capable of affording rich and abundant materials for works of this nature. The territory of the United States is of immense extent, and comprehends within its boundaries, every variety of soil, and almost every modification of climate. Our fields are still unexplored by the botanist, and our mountains by the mineralogist. New diseases have arisen, whose origin and nature are still the subjects of controversy among our physicians; while the diseases of Europe, modified by our climates and modes of living, require new applications and different modes of treatment. Knowing, therefore, that we possess inexhaustible stores of new matter, it was with much pleasure we opened the work before us, the third of the kind devoted to medical pursuits, published in this country. In the formation of a work like this, the first object of attention, undoubtedly, for its importance, is a collection of facts on our diseases, particularly our autumnal epidemicks. the most respectable physicians of the southern and middle states have been and still are engaged in a controversy, respecting the origin, the nature, and the modes of treatment of the bilious remitting fever. A collection, therefore, of authentick documents, relative to this disease, so as to form a regular chronological account, may tend to elucidate these disputed points, and consequently to mitigate that rancour, with which this contest of opinion has been conducted, and which has thrown no small degree of odium on the medical profession, Next to these we class accounts of the vegetable and mineral productions of our own country. Here we find open to our view a

It is well known,that,

rich field of inquiry. This branch of knowledge has been too much neglected. Physicians of the interiour have, from necessity, acquired a kind of empyrical knowledge of our indigenous plants. This, however, has been in general confined within their own sphere of practice. Yet medicines, for which the physician of the city is indebted to his retort and crucible, are often found by the “culler of simples,” ready prepared in the great laboratory of nature. To these should be added accounts of the variations of the weather, and of diseases connected with these States. The Medical Musu.em, each number of which appears every four months, is divided into three, heads. . The first is devoted to original communications; the second, denominated the Philosophical and Medical Register, contains extracts from European journals, and gives accounts of those discoveries, which tend to the 'advancement of medicine and of the sciences, with which it is connected; the third division is simply an enumeration of new publications. The limits of a review will not permit us to examine in detail the Inultifarious productions, by which works like these are necessarily constituted. We shall only briefly notice those papers, which ap: pear valuable to us for practical observations, or for the successful exhibition of new remedies in the cure of diseases. On the yellow fever we find several communications. The first volume commences with the account of Dr.Mitchell, of the fever in Virginia, in 1741-3. This is communicated by Dr. Rush, and is the same, if we mistake not, to which he refers in his own work on that subject; and which gave him the hint, that first led to the adoption of his new mode of treating that disease. This paper is followed by some observations found in the note book of Dr. Kearsley, son., on the difference between the disease described by Dr. Mitchell, and that which appeared in Philadelphia about the same, period. At page 22 commences a series of letters from Dr. Drysdale to Dr. Rush, on the yellow fever of Baltimore in 1794. We have neither time nor inclina

tion to enter on the discussion of

the merits of the theories, advanced by the professor of medicine at the school of Philadelphia, and published in the last edition of his works. We shall only observe, that the elaborate work. of Dr. Drysdale is evidently a very close imitation of the style and peculiar arrangement of his celebrated medical prototype. They are, however, written with ability, and, we presume, with truth ; and we consider them as valuable additions to the mass of facts, already collected on this formidable disease. At page 60 we have some cases from Dr. Rush on the efficacy of the actite of lead in the cure of epilepsy. From his observations it appears, that in three cases, in which the exhibition of this medicine produced a radical cure, the subjects were under the age of puberty. On adults, however, he thinks its salutary action merely temporary. It was with much pleasure therefore, that we perused the account of Dr. Spence, (vol. II. p. 150) who believes himself cured of this formidable disease by the use of this medicine. It is worthy of observation, that during the progress of cure, the system discovered many of those effects, which seem to be excited only by the exhibition of mercury, particularly those local symptoms, by Vol. III. No. 1 1. 4D

which the action of the latter is characterised. Its effects also on the alimentary canal very nearly resembled the symptoms of the colica pictonum. It may be questioned, whether the salutary operation of the sugar of lead might not be produced by a more gradual exhibition, by which those unpleasant consequences produced in Dr. Spence might be avoided. At any rate, this paper deserves consideration for its practical importance, though we are by no means disposed, with the 1)octor, to ascribe its beneficial effects to the co-operation of lunar influence. In the first volume, p. 189, we find an important paper, by Dr. Physick, of Philadelphia, on the use of blisters in checking the progress of mortification. It is. unnecessary however to notice every individual paper. It is sufficient, we think, to mention: the very respectable names of Rush, Physick, Dewees, Woodhouse, and of Coxe the editor, as: authors of a great proportion of these communications, to insure a favourable reception of the Museum. On the subject of our indigenous medicinal plants, the inquiries of Dr. Coxe are, in some. degree, superseded by the labours: of Professor Barton, the editor of a periodical work, a considerable, portion of which is exclusively de-, voted to this important branch of medicine. The communications, however, of Dr. Mease and of Dr. Watkins, published in the Museum, must be considered valuable. additions to our domestick materia medica. The second division of the Medical Museum is made up of extracts from European publications on discoveries or improvements in chemistry, or the arts; of medical news and of domestick jour

nals of the weather, of diseases, &c. We notice with much pleasure a considerable portion of it devoted to subjects connected with the cow-pock. On this interesting disease the editor has not only made copious extracts of new and important facts, published in European journals, but added all the the remarks and useful information he has gradually collected relative to vaccination in our own country. In volume 2d, p. 200, he has presented us with the very interesting examination of Mr. Goldson's second pamphlet, by Dr. Pearson of London, read before the Vaccine Institution, Goldensquare. We recommend this paper to the perusal of those whose Iminds may have been thrown into a state of oscillation, by an acquaintance with that publication. We cannot refrain from mentioning in this place an extract from a letter from London, p. 93, volume 2, in which the writer laments the fatal effects resulting from the exhibition of quack medicines. Mr. Clayton of Yorkshire has cautioned the publick against the use of “ Ching's worm lozenges.” We shall extract his short account. He stated that he had two clildren to whom he administered this medicine. One of them died shortly after, but his disease was

attributed to worms, with which he had long been afflicted. Within a very short period the elder survivor became dangerously ill, a com/lete salivation ensued ; medical aid was now procured, but too late to relieve the child, who died in great agony within a few hours. On dissection, a large portion of mercury was found in the intestines. A coroner's jury was assembled, who, together with the surgeon, gave this verdict, “Died by mercurial poison, administered

in the form of Ching's Lozenges." We hear with much satisfaction, that the Medical Society of London is taking effectual measures to discover these evil spirits of quackery, with an intention of banishing them from society, and holding them up as proper objects for the contempt and detestation of the world. In the Register we find some valuable abstracts of meteorological observations made at Philadelphia. These would have been rendered more useful by the addition of an account of diseases, connected with different states of the weather, though the necessity of this is in some degree obviated by journals of the diseases at the Philadelphia Dispensary, The third division of the Museum is simply an enumeration of new medical publications. We cannot help regretting, that the register was not, in some degree, curtailed, or the limits of the work extended to make room for reviews of new domestick or of republished European works, on subjects connected with the science of medicine. This would be interesting to all, but particularly to physicians, who, residing at a distance from our capital cities, have no opportunity of ascertaining the value of a work, before they have risked a purchase. By judicious observations on new publications, they will be enabled at once to perceive those, which are calculated to aid them in their practice, rather than merely to ornament the shelves of their libraries. We hope the able editor of the Museum will give the characters of the works, which he may enumerate in his subsequent numbers. Upon the whole, we consider the Philadelphia Medical Museum as a very respectable publication. We have perused the multifarious productions in these two volumes with much satisfaction, and not without in provement. We have compared it with several European publications of the same kind, and find it inferiour to none in execution. It is remarkably free from typographical errours. The engravings, since added by the editor, though not promised in the prospectus, add much to the value of the work, and are favourable specimens of the engraphick powers of Lawson. We sincerely hope, that Dr. Coxe will meet with that encouragement from the publick, which his attention and abilities as an editor and the respectable character of his work have led him to expect.

ART 63. Aooscari, or the Venetian Erile ; a Tragedy in five acts, as fier/ormrd at the Charleston Theatre. 13 y John B. White. Charleston, printed for the author by J. Hoff, No. 6, Broad-street. 1806.

TRAGEDY, according to Aristotle, is an imitation, in ornamental tanguage, of an action insiortant and comfilete, and fossc.going a rertain degree of magnitude, having its forms distinct in their res/cctive farts, and by the refresentation of fiersons acting, and not by narration affecting, through the mean of fity and terrour, the hurgation of surh fiassions.

This firo/losizum of the great Stagirite partakes as much of the nature of a definitiou, as of a rule; for that, which was once necessary, continues indispensable, and the original intent of tragedy has now the permanency of usage, and the security of prescription. It is,

however, much to be lamented, that the part of the poetic, which treats of tragedy, is only abstract and elementary, and that the mind has not the satisfaction of its history from so authoritative a source. Its origin is only to be traced in the obscurity of mythology through the confusion of vague theorists and countless commentators. That tragedy, however, originated in ancient divine worship is very plain. Its first appearance is evidently in the hymns, which were sung in honour of Bacchus, at the sacrifices of the goat,” its bite being particularly destructive of the vine. This sacrifice grew into an annual festival. The hymns and songs were increased, and dancing was added to the musick of the chorus.

The first state of every human invention is imperfect. As it is a principle in the physical world, that all things, at their production, are subject to increase and maturity, so is it an ordinance in intellectual creation, that every thing, invented by human intelligence, is capable of improvement ; and therefore every great system, at its origin, is no more than the inception of perfection, or the first act of successive improvement. This truth is more familiarly proved by observing and tracing the effects, on men generally, of those institutions which were made for

* Hence the word Tragedy, from Tozyo; and won. The commentators, not content with this most natural and obvious interpretation, have given us several. Some of thern turn Teayada into Teaywooz, and so derive it from Tevş, the lees of wine, with which the old actors besmeared their faces. Others inform us that revi; significs new wine, a skin of which was usually given to the poet, like the butt of sack to our laureat. —Francklin's Disserta. on ancient Tragedy.

their amusement. At first, there is a very powerful charm, arising from the invention ; but as soon as the novelty subsides, they eagerly look for something more to supply its place. Such is the uneasiness of delight with a populace, that they cannot be long gratified, unless the additions of pleasure be made commensurate with the extent of their power of being pleased. This was what gradually improved and perfected tragedy. The sameness of the hymns of the chorus fatigued, and, in order to relieve the audience, Thespis invcntcd,and rehearsed in character, some tale in the intervals of the chorus. Still satiety and repletion were wearisome, and it was left for Æschylus to perform so much by improvement, that he is justly denominated the father of tragedy. The single personage, which Thespis introduced in the intervals of the chorus, wanted interest; Moschylus therefore introduced a second, and thus formed dialogue and episode. These raised action and interest, and a continuity of events followed, which awakened, and closely possessed the attention of the audience, till the chorus was almost forgotten, or, at most, retained only as an auxiliary in the drama. The constituent parts of ancient tragedy were, the prologue, the episode, the exode, and the chorus. The prologue answered to the exordium in oratory, giving an idea, in some measure, of the whole. It afforded sufficient insight into the construction of the drama, so as to excite interest in the audience, without admitting it so far, as to take away the effect of what was to succeed, and operate as surprise. This answers to the first act of modern tragedy. The episode is all that part of the tragedy, which was between

the hymns of the chorus, and contained the whole of the plot. This answers to our second, third, and fourth acts, containing all the important parts of the fable. The Stagirite is so strict and rigid in his rules of episode, that he forbids the introduction of any matter, to make a part of it, which could possibly be taken away, without being missed. Much therefore depends on the episode, so that the plot be conducted to produce the most unexpected peripeteia, and the most sensible pa. thos.” This division determines the character of the dramatick poet. The exode was that part which was recited, after the chorus ceas. ed singing, and is our fifth act, containing the catastrophe and disentangling of the plot. It has been a question in dramatick criticism, whether modern tragedy has been injured, or im: proved, by the omission of the chorus. Whether a set of constant spectators to the general action, and sometimes coadjutors in it, and always attendants on the high characters, would not give and receive more interest in what was delivered and passed before them, than can be effected by modern arrangement. The heroes of latter tragedy have to com: municate their schemes, secrecies, and sufferings to the audience through an insipid confident or a trusty servant, or the strong convulsions of passion subside in the tedium of a long soliloquy. What can be more absurd, than a high-wrought female character communing with a drab, and deli

[ocr errors][merged small]
« PreviousContinue »