Page images

merit. The following table is strange, if true, as they say in America:

"Comparative Statement of the Number of Students attending some of the Elementary Classes in the Medical Schools in Edinburgh, during the last two Sessions; distinguishing the University from the Extra-Collegiate Lecturers.

[blocks in formation]

Medical Bibliography. A & B.

By JAMES ATKINSON, Surgeon to H.R.H. the late Duke of York., Senior Surgeon to the York County Hospital, and the York Dispensary, &c.—London, 1834. 8vo. pp. 380 and viii.

THIS is the commencement of a list of medical writers and their works, with remarks and critiques. Some of these are sensible enough, while others are so strangely facetious, that they remind us rather of a village wag, who would rub a sleeper's face with burnt cork, or pull away the chair from an expectant sitter, than of a senior surgeon to a county hospital. Take a couple of examples.

"ALCMAEON, CROTONINENSIS. If this author was the disciple of Pythagoras, in the 35th age of the world, or about 497 years before Christ, as is reported, it well becomes me to beg pardon of his manes, for not having already introduced him.

[ocr errors]

"He is mentioned as being the first veterinary surgeon who wrote on the anatomy of animals, and was possibly a relation of the famous Milo, of Croton, who could bear a bull (I don't say bull and bear, ne quid nimis!') upon his shoulders. Milo night have been the apprentice of Alcmaeon; and now and then, pro re nata, in the way of his profession, have had occasion to carry a sick bull into the surgery to his master. Let us here observe, in a parenthesis, how surprisingly one trifling incident of history may clear up another, and the sons of Alcmaeon shall never repine."" (P. 39.) "Questions simple as these always console me for my deficiency or direct stupidity in regard to mathematics, alias Mathew's mad


tricks; and (faute de l'emportement) such they do appear to me. I dare not even hint that the mathematician and the conjuror are synonymous, lest possibly, some one of the mathematical galaxy might affix one branch of his compass into my sinciput, (not sensepot,) and by concentric circles, or elliptic crossings with the other, scoop out the poor pittance of brain, which stingy nature obviously, has given to me. If such however were done, oh, what a figure I should cut; for I still venture to reckon on my having so many brains as to induce me to consider a man as nothing without brains. And I will further presume on the fact, (miserable dictûr !) calling Oxford and Cambridge to witness, that he who had been the first in order of mathematics has sometimes dwindled to be the last in the scale of nature. Quo te dementia!" (P. 161.)

The following is much better, though certainly out of place:

"There is not perhaps any science wherein so many monstrous good jokes and superlative romances are exhibited as in the science of medicine. For instance: it is a monstrous good joke in any practitioner to suppose that his patients will always abide by him; and yet it is a common error. It is a monstrous good joke, to be observed, that men, of the first science and longest practice, cannot frequently gain the confidence of their patients; when a Merry Andrew doctor and his mountebank can take a town by storm in a moment; nay, can persuade the mob, mobility, and nobility, (as well as the gens de lettres,) that they have actually cured them of diseases which they never had. It is a monstrous good joke, apparently to affect, that arsenic shall poison one man, who was well; and as quickly cure another, who was ill. It is a monstrous good joke, to perceive, in a town, that a man who came to that town without any character, (because he had not any to bring,) shall, to a moral certainty, supplant, in a very short time, by hook or by crook, every other man there, who had one. But this monstrous good joke is practised, and with success, every day. It is a monstrous good joke, that a medical man, who is confessedly without brains, shall contrive completely to suck the brains of another, who has not brains to perceive it. It is a monstrous good joke, to observe, sometimes, that the best informed practitioner in a town shall seldom get a fee; whilst the greatest medical fool in the town shall seldom miss one." (P. 325.)

The editions of Aretæus are far more numerous than they are often supposed to be: we can afford room only for a part of the enumeration.

66 EDITIONS IN 1700.

"Patavia, 8vo. 1700, Eloy; Haller deems it imperfect. 4to. 1719, with Boerhaave's Greek text,

Crassus's Latin version, and by J. Groenvelch.

"Clarendon. Typ. Oxon. fol. Gr. et Lat. Etiologica, Semeiotica, formá majori, 1723, Sedition. Set Therapeutica, sive, &c. Wigan's

"This most perfect and beautiful edition is in chartis maximis, and is produced from a survey of the most elaborate and impartial texts, codices, and translations. It has the advantage of Michael Mattaire's Tract de Aretæi dialecto, or the Ionic dialect used by him, with the Lexicon; it is the first specimen of any Greek medical author from the Clarendon press, (only 300 copies,) and is rated by authors splendidissima, accuratissima, plenissima,' or, as we Roman catholics superlatively express, 'a plenary indulgence.'

"Kestner, however, observes of this edition, and it is worth notice, 'optandum tamen foret, versionem hanc non rejectam esse sub calcem græci textûs, sed aut ad latus ejus positam, aut eidem subjectam saltem,' as being very useful to fellows, I don't imply of the universities, nor you, nor me, 'quique sine cortice natare norunt,' who can swim without bladders? Kestner delays giving an opinion of the comparative merits of the Oxford edition, because he had never obtained a sight of it; and, similarly, I was a long while before I could get a sight of his book. This Oxford edition was collated with the Harleian, and Vatican proofs, codices, or editions.

"For the editions, &c. of Aretæus, see Wigan, and pay particular attention to his preface.

"London, 4to. 1726, three first books with Petit's Comm. by Mattaire.

Pet. Vander Aa, Lugd. Bat. fol. major, 1731,

De Causis et signis Acut. et Diut. Morb. Lib. iv. Gr. et Lat. notis Var. -as Boerhaave, Scaliger, Triller, Pet. Petit, Wigan, Mattaire; cum Junii Pauli Crassi vers. Latin. è recognitione G. M. T., subjectá.

"Dr. Clarke observes that this edition is not so elegant, but more useful than the Oxford edition. The extremes of beauty and of use are seldom combined. It contains the whole of Petit's Comm. It is an excellent edition.

"Ianson Vander Aa, Lugd. by Boerhaave, from


fol. 1735, Greek edition of 1554, and the same

as 1731.

"This is the most copious and complete Greek edition. But, as Boerhaave does not enumerate this edition of his own, it is merely a new titled edition, by rogues of booksellers. Rogues of booksellers-impossible!

"See British Journal of 1751, for observations on some singular diseases of Aretæus and Coelius Aurelianus." (P. 18.)

Our author informs us that he does not know German,

which he calls "most odontolgoid and difficult," and he consequently seldom mentions German books in his list; when he does, their titles are sadly mangled: thus, one of Blumenbach's works is entitled Geschiete der Knocken, instead of Geschichte der Knochen; and, instead of Ueber den Bildungstrieb, we have Uber den bil dungstrict. (P. 324.) At p. 161 we have Avenbrugger's treatise on Percussion thus mentioned: "Vienna, Svo. 1781, De percussione Thoracis -Inuentum novum ex.' Without pretending to guess at the meaning of this, we will just observe, that the first edition of Avenbrugger's treatise is dated 1761, and that its title is "Leopoldi Auenbrugger, Medicine Doctoris, in Cesareo Regio Nosocomeo nationum Hispanico medici ordinarii. Inventum novum ex percussione thoracis humani ut signo abstrusos interni pectoris morbos detegendi. Vindobonæ. MDCCLXI."

[ocr errors]

In reviewing such a literary oddity as the volume before us, we may stand excused if we are infected by its example, and mention the dedication last: it is a very choice bit. "To all idle medical students in Great Britain, sit sacrum." We have been obliged (hard fate!) to content ourselves with the word sacrum: not so our author; his dedication is engraved, and he has the thing itself, so that it constitutes, probably for the first time, an exquisite rebus.

Observations on the Preservation of Sight, and on the Use, Abuse, and Choice of Spectacles, Reading-Glasses, &c. By JOHN HARRISON CURTIS, Esq. London, 1834. Small 8vo. pp. 48. THE design of this treatise is good; not so the execution. First of all, there is far too little in the book; and then Mr. Curtis is continually falling into a most disagreeable error of Hygienic writers, who are fond of representing the most innocent things as dangerous and destructive; who would wish to make us eat, drink, and sleep in Sanctorius's chair, like the hypochondriac in the Spectator; or would advise us to lie down on the rug after dinner, like a desperate Abernethian. Thus, we are told, at p. 11, that "rubbing the eyes on waking is a destructive habit, which many people have contracted." A destructive habit! Pshaw! Our author wants to frighten his dark-eyed readers, and tells them that their eyes "are weaker, and more susceptible of injury from various causes, than grey or blue eyes." (P. 23.) We would recommend the dark-eyed to console themselves with the reflection, that in those countries where the solar light is most intense eyes are generally black. Mr. Curtis says, "The lighter the

pupil, the greater and longer-continued is the degree of tension the eye can sustain." (P. 23.) By pupil the author means the iris: but what does tension mean? Exertion?

When short-sighted people want glasses, Mr. Curtis says, "I would strenuously advise all such to be satisfied with glasses as slightly concave as possible: by which I mean, that they should employ no higher power than is necessary to enable them to see distinctly objects at from forty to fifty feet distance." (P. 43.) Objects of what size? Very great, or very little? Beer's Augenkrankheiten, or the Observations on the Preservation of the Sight? The truth is, that, to try the power of distant vision, objects of well-known size should be selected as the standard: for instance, a page printed in small pica may be placed before the doubting student; and, if he cannot read it with facility at six inches distance, he is short-sighted.

Before taking leave of Mr. Curtis, we cannot but suggest to him, that the referring us for testimonials of the value of his work on the Eye to the Literary Gazette, Court Journal, Town, Beau Monde, &c. has the air of a wicked jest, and should be omitted in his future advertisements.

The Anatomy and Surgery of Inguinal and Femoral Hernia. Illustrated by Plates drawn from Nature, and interspersed uith Practical Remarks. By E. W. TUSON, F.L.S., Assistant Surgeon to the Middlesex Hospital, &c.-London, 1834. Folio, pp. 16, and three Plates.

We do not know who was the inventor of dissected plates: the earliest specimen of these stratified engravings that has fallen into our hands was published at Amsterdam, in 1645. It is called Pinax Microcosmographicus, and the title-page sets forth that it had been written by Stephen Michael Spacher, of the Tyrol, for the benefit of physicians, surgeons, and apothecaries; and that it was then translated "into our mother-tongue," (the Dutch, to wit,) and artistically engraved (artificiose sculptus) by Cornelius Dancker. The plates are good, considering the period when they were executed, and are adorned with many quaint devices; the explanations are in Latin and Dutch.

But we must now speak of Mr. Tuson's book, whose claims to praise are of a far higher order. It is a very handsome work, and does great credit to the author, as well as to the artists whom he has employed. The upper part of the first plate contains the anatomy of inguinal hernia, and the lower part of the same plate the anatomy of femoral hernia. The second plate gives the dissection of an oblique inguinal



« PreviousContinue »