the trouble to compose, compile, and write so long an answer to that which required no answer at all? Why? Dr. Kinglake had, not long since, asserted, that his doctrine has not lately been assailed, though “ it is impossible to reconcile his assertion to truth; for,” says Mr. R., “ he must know, or ought to have known, that it was assailed in my Treatise on the Gout; one of the latest and principal publications, and probably the principal publication that has ever appeared on that subject." This is modest !

Though we have just now spoken of Dr. Kinglake's treatise in no very favourable terms, it is not our intention to deny that it contains some just and rational observations; or that the cooling treatment of gout, in some cases, and with suitable precautions, may be a safe as well as efficacious practice. Even Mr. Ring will allow so much; for, speaking of the external application of cold water as a remedy for gout, he says:

“ If Dr. Kinglake were satisfied with an acknowledgement of its efficacy, or even of its general utility, it would be very uncandid and illiberal to deny it that merit.”_"The cold bath, in every form -cold affusions, cold ablutions, and cold applications—are, and bave long been, some of the most favourite and popular remedies in almost all sorts of febrile and inflammatory complaints, except the gout; and even in that disease the efficacy of the practice is acknowledged, but the safety of the practice is denied.”_" A thousand cases would not prove bis practice to be safe, but a single one is sufficient to prove it unsafe.” (p. 43-47.)

This is going rather too far; for surely a remedy for any disease, which proved noxious but once in a thousand times, would deserve to be held in the highest esteem. Would Mr. Ring admit such a rule to be applied to his favourite cow-pock? Could he listen with patience to the man who should tell him, that a thousand successful cases were in. sufficient to establish its power of preventing the smallpox, but that a single instance of failure was enough to deprive it of all claims to confidence ? In his eagerness to run down his opponent,. he is apt to lose sight of consist. ency; and whatever praise may be due to the doctrine of Dr. Kinglake is given away to others, whilst the whole weight of opprobrium is thrown upon him. At page 151, however, of the Answer," there is something tantamount to an admission, that little real necessity existed for its appearance : Mr. Ring, adopting the words of a medical reviewer, says Dr. Kinglake seems to think that the generality of practitioners adopt his treatment in the gout;

[ocr errors]

her one Dr. Kinglake must have. thau for bly

[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small]

we appeal to the knowledge of every individual of the faculty, whether one in fifty of his acquaintances ever dreams of following Dr. Kinglake's plan." It is tolerably plain, then, that this “ Answer” must have been intended rather for the gout-afflicted sons of opulence, than for the followers of Æsculapius; and we all know how sensibly alive those gentlemen are to every thing which concerns so interesting, so fashionable a disease. At page 28, it is asserted, that the doctor's numerous publications will serve, if no other, at least the purpose of an advertisement; but few people, we apprehend, will be long in doubt where the advantages of advertising are most likely to be felt,-at Taunton, or in London.

This precious volume is made up, principally, of state. ments and observations relative to Dr. Kinglake's practice, collected from the medical journals and from other sources; of pretty copiars quotations from the writings of Cullen, Dr. Peter Reid, and the late and present Dr. Gregory; with a catalogue of the opinions, concerning gout, of more than thirty authors of all ages, up to Hippocrates; the whole mixed together, and seasoned, with several strainings of wit by Mr. Ring ; such as calling Dr. Kinglake an old woman, a goose, a man without brains, and a babe. Take an instance :-“ A goose (says he) goes into water when he has a fever; yet nobody ever supposed that a goose was a sage-nobody ever supposed that a goose was a philosopher, or a physician. This would be almost as bad as to suppose that physician may be a goose.Really, any one reading this, might naturally suppose, that the person who wrote it had been in the habit of attending upon geese all his life. He desires to be thought facetious, but fails in the very essence of that quality; his terms are gross and ill-tempered, and he wants the delicacy of hand to point them. `In the 122d page of his book, we are presented with a fine string of incongruous epithets, applied to the doctor's memoir on Digitalis. We are told, in the first place, that it bas made the purchasers as well as the press groan; then, that it is " a bitter herb, like those of Sar. dinia, and, like the bitter herbs of Sardinia, provoked laughter;" but it also “ soon excites nausea, and iš, in general, soon rejected :" it is, moreover," a direct sedative;" and finally, to crown all, if it does not “ act as a narcotic, and produce sleep, nothing can." . .

. We are unwilling to detain the reader any longer with such trifling; but feel disposed, before parting, to transcribe, and offer a few comments upon, two detached passages relative to empiricism and medical reform, which have, for a long time, been the subject of much, and probably beneficial discussion. Let us not, however, be supposed to quote with any strong feeling of admiration : it is Mr. Ring that writes.

“ Ignorant and illiterate as any author may be, (and the press continually groans with the lucubrations of ignorant and illiterate authors,) no one is so ignorant or illiterate as not to know, that England is the hot-bed of empiricism, and of all the vitest medical impositions under the sun. Here they have free toleration, and a full scope. Here they bave acts of grace, latent and patent. Here they are cherished and nourished, and fostered with the perpetual sunshine of public favour.” (p. 48.)

“ The arrogance and presumption of such irregulars—however injurious it may prove for a season, by creating a temporary delusion --will nevertheless in time open the eyes of tbe legislature, and cause a revision of that clause of the Act of Union with Scotland, which allows decayed universities to make mock-doctors. Either Dr. Young's proposal should be a lopted, and salaries allowed in lieu of such perquisities; or an impartial tribunal appointed, to examine candidates, instead of permitting their certificates to be signed by other mock-doctors, selected by themselves, of course partial to them, and probably full as ignorant and illiterate as thenselves.

" While such abuses are tolerated, and even sanctioned and encouraged by the legislature, it is no wonder that we are becoming a pation of quacks. It is no wonder that so many surgeons and apothecaries are becoming physicians, and so many of the very dregs of society are becoming surgeons. It would, indeed, be cruel and impolitic to prohibit any one from practising physic or surgery; but it is equally cruel and impolitic to allow any man to assi:me the title of a physician, or surgeon, who las not undergone an examination before some regular tribunal, and given proofs of his competency to discharge those important duties.” (p. 184.)

In this last remark we thoroughly coincide with our author; it is on every account desirable, that all candidates for employment in any branch of the medical profession, should have previously undergone such a trial of their abilities, as may ensure to the public a supply of wellinstructed practitioners, or at least secure them from being preyed upon by the grossly ignorant. But we cannot assent to the opinion of some, who imagine that the payment of a large fee for license to practice is necessary to raise the respectability of the profession; not esteeming wealth to be any fair criterion of merit, and considering the neces. sary expenses of a good education to be already sufficiently heavy, without the imposition of any additional tax, we believe that any such regulation must be more injurious than beneficial in its effects. It would be an improvement in the discipline of our medical schools, were they to adopt the system of progressive examinations, as the French have done, instead of the single one which, at present, in those cases where any examination is submitted to, takes place at the conclusion of the usual course of study. A new stimulus would thus be given to exertion; and many, who are now in the habit of wasting a large portion of the time allotted to study, would be under the necessity either of being uniformly diligent, or of abandoning their pursuit.

We agree likewise with Mr. Ring in thinking, that a stop should be put to the practice of decayed universities trading in medical degrees, and bestowing the title of doctor on any one who can produce a certificate, and pay the fees: like rotten boroughs, they are a nuisance to the state; and, like them, tend to bring discredit on the order to which they belong. To expect, however, that the legislature can put an end to quackery, is looking for impossibili ies; it is too deeply rooted in human nature to be eradicated by statutes or proclamations; impudence and cunning are its parents, whilst ignorance and credulity nurse it : cultivate the understandings of the people-give them a better knowledge of nature, and of themselves--and the empire of quackery will gradually decline. We do not much approve of the busy interference of Parliament, for the purpose of making the profession respectable; and rejoice at the defeat of the illiberal bill which was brought in during the last session. The best security for its respectability consists in the public encouragement given to skilful and honourable practitioners; the best pledge for its farther advancement will be found in the improving sense and intelligence of the people.

ART. VII.Travels in Beloochistan and Sinde, accompanied

by a Geographical and Historical Account of those Countries, with a Map. By Lieut, Henry Pottinger, of the Honourable East India Company's Service, &c. &c.

London, Longman and Co. 1816. 4to. pp. 423. The countries which were the theatres of these travels were rendered classic ground by the celebrated expedition of Alexander the Great. This conqueror was contemplating in his comprehensive mind the establishment of an eastern boundary to his vast empire, when his victories had brought him to the neighbourhood of the Caspian Sea ; and to accomplish his purpose, he proceeded towards the Indus, and obtained the first important success in the neighbourhood of that river, over the forces of Porus, on the shores of the Hydaspes. The Macedonian prince here found it necessary to urge his army onward by the hope of plunder; and thus encouraged, they undertook a dangerous voyage down the stream of the Indus, with a thousand ships, ac. cording to Quintus Curtius, and two thousand, if we are to believe the narratives of Ptolemy and Arrian.

The uniformity of the condition of these inhospitable territories for two thousand years, is shewn by many concurring circumstances in the accounts of the ancient historians, and the details of the modern traveller who is the author of this work, but who professes to have no acquaintance with the early writers. "After Alexander had arrived at the ocean, intending himself to proceed by land towards Persepolis, he sent forward Leonatus to sink wells in the intervening desert, that his army might be supplied with water. The probability, however, is, that they were of no use to him; and that, when opened for a few hours, the water became impregnated with salt, as at the present time.

Alexander now entered on these extensive districts, having enlarged and fortified two cities, the one of which he denominated Nicæa, and the other Bucephalia, with a third called Patala ; deeming them to be fit establishments at the extreme boundary of his dominions. While Nearchus was proceeding by sea, and a detachment which had been commanded by his general Craterus took the direction of the heights of Drangiana and Arachosia, (called by Mr. Pottinger the Wushutee Mountains,) the King pursued an intermediate course, and marched along the shores, endeavouring to maintain during his progress, but with little success, the communication with his fleet. The deserts which were thus traversed, and which by the classical writers are called the countries of the Arabitæ, Oritæ, Icthyopagi, with the sterile regions of Gedrosia to the north, receive through their whole extent from Mr. Pottinger the names of Lussa, Beloochistan, and Mukran, and are included between the 58th and 68th degrees of east longitude, and between the 25th and 28th degrees of north latitude.

A march of five days brought the army to the river Ara.

« ElőzőTovább »