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toddled away from a small house, was lying basking in the sun, in the middle of the road. About two hundred yards before I got to the child the teams of three waggons, five big horses in each, the drivers of which had stopped to drink at a tavern at the brow of the hill, started off, and came, nearly abreast, galloping down the road. I got my gig off the road as speedily as I could, but expected to see the poor child crushed to pieces. A young man, a journeyman carpenter, who was shingling a shed by the road side, seeing the child, and seeing the danger, though a stranger to the parents, jumped from the top of the shed, ran into the road, and snatched up the child from scarcely an inch before the hoof of the leading horse. The horse's leg knocked him down; but he, catching the child by its clothes, flung it back out of the way of the other horses, and saved himself by rolling back with surprising agility. The mother of the child, who had apparently been washing, seeing the teams, and seeing the danger of the child, rushed out, and catching up the child, just as the carpenter had flung it back, and hugging it in her arms, uttered a shriek, such as I never heard before, never heard since, and I hope shall never hear again, and then dropped down as if perfectly dead. By the application of the usual means she was restored, however, in a little while ; and I being about to depart, asked the carpenter if he were a married man, and whether he were a relation of the parents of the child. He said he was neither. “Well then,” said I, - you merit the gratitude of every father and mother in the world; and I will show you mine by giving you what I have,” pulling out the nine or ten dollars which I had in my pocket. “No, I thank you, Sir,” said he, “ I have only done what it was my duty to do."
* Bravery, disinterestedness, and maternal affection' [in the carpenter we conclude] 'surpassing these, it is impossible to imagine. The mother was going right in among the feet of these powerful and wild horses, and amongst the wheels of the waggous. She had no thought for herself, no feeling of fear for her own life; her shriek was the sound of inexpressible joy-joy too great to support herself under.
Now can you conceive a more ungrateful wretch than that boy would be, if he should grow up not to love or obey his mother? She was willing to die for him-she was willing to run directly under the feet of these ferocious horses, that she might save his life; and if he has one particle of generosity in his bosom, he will do every thing in his power to make her happy.'
This illustration of maternal affection may speak for itself-the carpenter saved the child, a stranger offered hiin nine dollars for doing so,- but the mother shricked! But this is one of the many happy non-sequiturs with which these books abound. Next follows the harrowing story of a widow who let her only child wander out alone at night into a prairie infested with wild beasts, while she herself 'got well engaged in the worship of God;' and then was about as instrumental in its recovery as the last specimen of motherly forethought and promptitude. Upon the whole, it may be questioned whether such direct appeals to the filial feelings ever do answer. VOL. LXXI. NO. CXLI.
History abounds with the most beautiful instances of maternal devotion, which a child may read and apply in silence; while these writers, in their vulgar efforts to stimulate this most sacred of all human affections, remind us of a child who, having sown a seed, digs it up so often to see whether it is growing, that he finishes by destroying it altogether.
We have endeavoured to confine our remarks to such American books as we have found most in English circulation, and which, from the nature of their pretensions, most invite criticism. the same time, our researches have included many of other kinds, and several of which we are happy to be able to speak in far different terms. Their works of amusement, when not laden with more religion than the tale can hold in solution, are often admirable. Miss Sedgewick takes a high place for powers of description and traits of nature, though her language is so studded with Americanisms as much to mar the pleasure and perplex the mind of an English reader. Beside this lady, Mrs. Sigourney and Mrs. Seba Smith may be mentioned. The former, especially, to all other gifts adds a refinement, and a nationality of subject, which a knowledge of some of her poetical pieces had led us to expect. Indeed, the Americans have little occasion to go begging to the history or tradition of other nations for topics of interest. The first colonists—the Indians-Washington and Washington's mother-offer materials in abundance to kindle the cheek or moisten the eye, while the wildness and beauty of their native scenery offer a fund of fresh imagery, of which their juvenile writers have as yet but sparingly availed themselves.
Did our limits permit, it would be interesting to show how strongly the leading national features are traceable even in this puny form. An individual who had never so much as heard that the Americans were a calculating people would have no doubt of the matter, after a slight acquaintance with their juvenile literature. It is astonishing how early the value of a dollar, and the best way of turning it, may be instilled. Children talk to one another of the miseries of a dead capital,' and the duty of securing ‘good interest;' the book nearest their hearts is evidently their savings-bank book; while a favourite illustration, and apparently the strongest proof that can be adduced of a mother's kindness, is to remind the child that she gives it all gratis. An undutiful girl of ten years old, who is discontented with her home, is admonished that before she quits it her parents may bring in their bill ;-a calculation is made that the least that can be charged for her ten years' maintenance, at so much per week, amounts to one thousand and forty dollars ;'-—and
further, that the interest upon the money is above sixty dollars 4-year.
And this is called reasoning with a child! Out upon such modern tacticians! A knowledge of human nature is their motto and gathering cry; their condemnation may be summed up in their utter absence of this knowledge, in the unpardonable ignorance with which they mistake, and insult, underrate, or overtask the mind they profess to understand. Education is an incalculable engine-we see it in the result; but of its action we know, and ever shall know, but little. One mind is apparently made by it, another shows no sign of its influence; one opens visibly to receive it, another takes it in by unseen pores ; some thrive upon it from the outset, others pause and take a Midsummer shoot. Instead, however, of these facts furnishing any arguments in favour of that clumsy fumbling for the unformed intellect—that merciless hunting down of the tender and unfledged thought, which these books inculcate and exemplify-they may be regarded as directly forbidding all vain experiment and speculation upon a subject, the end of which is so important, and the action so mysterious. There is, doubtless, an immense deal of discretionary power in all parents and preceptors, but if the steps of childhood are to be thus dodged, even when in the openest paths, if nothing is to be learnt but what they teach, nor felt but what they prescribe, how awfully is the trouble and responsibility increased! Let us, therefore, not be caught by plans which are as onerous to the parent as dangerous to the child, but be mindful to sow the seeds of learning and piety in a sound and, as far as possible, established way,-remembering that all human systems are imperfect, but those most of all which time has neither digested nor proved.
Art. III.-1. Brandy and Salt; a Remedy for various External
and Internal Complaints, discovered by William Lee, Esq., fc.
&c. By J. Vallance. London. 2. Organon ; ou l'Art de Guérir. Traduit de l'original Alle.
mand du Dr. Samuel Hahnemann. Par Erneste George de
Brennów. Paris. 1832. 3. Principles of Homeopathy. By P. Curie, M.D. formerly
Surgeon of the Military Hospital of Paris, &c. &c. London.
1837. 4. Practice of Homøopathy. By P. Curie, M.D. London.
1838. 5. Hydropathy; or the Cold Water Cure; as practised by
Vincent Priessnitz, of Graefenberg, Silesia, Austria. By R. J.
Claridge, Esq. London. 1842. 6. The Water Cure. A practical Treatise on the Cure of
Diseases by Water, Air, Exercise, and Diet, fc. &c. By James Wilson, Physician to His Serene Highness Prince
Nassau, &c. &c. London. 1812. 7. Quacks and Quackery Unmasked; or Strictures on the
Medical Art as now practised by Physicians, &-c.; with Hints upon a simple Method in connection with the Cold Water
Cure. By J. C. Feldmann, M.D. London. 1842. IN Lady Mary Wortley. Montagu's letters from Italy she thus
describes the physician who attended her in a dangerous illness :
• He will not allow his patients to have either surgeon or apothecary. He performs surgical operations with great dexterity, and whatever compounds he gives he makes in his own house, which are very few, the juice of herbs and these waters being commonly his sole prescriptions. He has very little learning, and professes to draw all his knowledge from experience, which he possesses perhaps in a greater degree than any other mortal, being the seventh doctor of his family in a direct line. His forefathers have all left journals and registers solely for the use of their posterity, none of them having ever published anything; and he has recourse on every difficult case to these manuscripts, of which the veracity at least is unquestionable.'
Here is an example of an individual who lived less than a century ago, but who belonged to the primitive order of medical practitioners, such as flourished in the early ages of society, before the healing art was taught in schools, or had begun to assume the character of a science. The family of the Asclepiades were practitioners of the same description, Hippocrates hiinself being described as one of them, and the seventeenth in a lineal succession from its founder Æsculapius.
And we have no doubt that Lady Mary's Italian physician, as well as his predecessors of ancient times, had accumulated a considerable store of important practical knowledge, derived from the only true source of all knowledge-observation and experience; and beyond all comparison more uselul to the world than the speculative doctrines which were promulgated by some distinguished professors on the first establishment of medical schools. It was about the time of Lady Mary's illness that the celebrated John Brown began to direct his attention to the study of medicine. The Brunonian theory, and the name of its founder, have been celebrated over the whole of Europe, while the reputation of the humble Italian never extended beyond the limits of the narrow district in which he
practised, and has probably even there long since perished; but we suspect that the patients of the former must have had a poor chance of recovery compared with those who shared the attentions of the latter.
We are not, however, so heterodox as to maintain that the method pursued by the Asclepiades, or by the practitioner of Lovere, is the best that can be devised for the attainment of a knowledge of medicine and surgery. We have no right to place John Brown, nor even Boerhaave or Cullen, in the same category with the best professors of modern times. Combinations of individuals, and the division of labour, are as useful in these as in other sciences, and have done for them what could never have been done by the most earnest individual exertions. A better knowlerige of anatomy, physiology, and chemistry has laid the foundation of more just notions of disease; the studies pursued in the wards of our hospitals have assumed altogether a practical forin; and in the application of remedies the question is no longer how far they dovetail in with a prevailing theory, but what has been actually observed to be the result where they have been adininistered in other cases.
Still, whatever may be the amount of actual knowledge which has been handed down to us from age to age, and however improved the method of studying may be, it is evident that the inedical sciences have not yet attained, and to us it does not appear probable that they ever will attain, the same degree of perfection with some other branches of knowledge. In the living body not only is there in operation the combined influence of the mechanical and chemical laws of matter, but to these is superadded another set of laws, and another order of phenomena, namely those of vitality. Hence it is that there are few other sciences equally complicated with these; or in which it is so difficult to obtain an exact knowledge of facts, or to make extensive and well-founded generalizations. It is also evident that the art of applying these sciences to practice can never meet the demand which is made upon it, or satisfy the expectations, we will not say of society as a body, but of the individuals who compose it. It may do much, but it cannot do all that is wanted; for if it could, pain would be banished from the world, and man would be immortal. No one will hesitate to admit this as a general proposition; but that is quite a different matter from the application of it in a particular instance to our own peculiar case. The instinct of self-preservation is powerful within us, and it is from this natural and obvious cause, as well as from others to which we shall advert hereafter, that mankind have been led in all ages to look for other means of obtaining relief in illness be