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In treating on inflammation of the eyes, sore throat, croup, inflammation of the liver, gout, rheumatism,and erysipelas, we observe nothing very new or incorrect. In inflammation of the lungs, it is recommended to employ, with bleeding, the tincture of digitalis, in the quantity of 30 drops the first day; from 100 to 120, on the second, increasing it gradually till the pulse falls. In spitting of blood, the same powerful and suspicious medicine is recommended; 80 or 100 drops, it is said, may be given, in a few hours, without any risk.
We believe, with Dr. C., that amputations are sometimes unnecessarily performed; but instead of imputing it, as he does, to that horrid brutality, “ a propensity for lopping off limbs,” we believe the error proceeds most frequently from the alarm and confusion which attend the hour of battle, and from that urgent demand for immediate relief, which allows no time to deliberate, and no opportunity consult. Cases frequently arise, under ever varying circumstances, against which the most prompt and best instructed surgeon cannot be fully provided." Dr. Cuming himself is a proof, that even a writer may fail to supply safe and satisfactory rules of conduct on such occasions:
Every surgeon possessed of anatomical knowledge can quickly determine, if you find the nerves and tendons injured the muscles much lacerated, and spicula drove into the very heart of a limb, with or without much hæmorrhage. In such a case, amputate immediately.' p. 308.
Certainly amputation is not necessary in every case where nerves and tendons are injured, muscles lacerated, or spiculæ driven into a limb. On the contrary, were these directions faithfully followed, we are confident, that many a gallant defender of his country would unnecessarily suffer that species of mutilation, which Dr. Cuming is so earnestly and properly solicitous to prevent.
In treating on fractures of the leg, the doctor proposes the following practice :
• Prior to the application of the splints a circular roller must be applied round the foot, beginning at the toes, this precaution though absolutely requisite is frequently neglected; its utility is unquestionably very great, and is an improvement which many surgeons have no idea of, they visit their patient daily and find an amazingly swelled and ædematous foot, so much so, that nature unassisted is often compelled to relieve herself, by committing violence on the part in rupturing the lymphatics,
Supposing the existence of such a case as a morbid excess of callus (for to this Dr. C. attributes the deformity of which he complains, but which we should impute to mismanagement of the fracture) the attempt to restrain it by pressure, instead
of producing the desired effect, would doubtless interrupt the flow of the lymph, and consequently produce that ædematous swelling of the foot, which the roller is proposed to prevent. We would refer Dr. Cuming, for just notions respecting exuberancy of callus, to the works of Mr. Pott; but unluckily Dr. Cuming is not one of those who submit “ to the dogmatical dictates of book instructors.” It is still more unlucky, that he should so warmly recommend the same measure of conceit and self-sufficiency to his inexperienced readers.
Under the article Trismus, an interesting case of Locked Jaw is mentioned, in which the copious use of opium and ether was successful. A more iinportant part of the work is that relating to Sphacelus. “ Under the blessing of Providence," the doctor says, “ I consider myself the discoverer of a sovereign remedy Mortification, which has slain its thousands and tens of thousands, and the bare name of which is calculated to inspire one with terror, may now be viewed with a cool and collected look ; being in possession of a remedy which disarms it of all its horrors, and renders innocuous its lethiferous poison.” Pref. .
The remedy so elegantly alluded to, is the fine powder of nitre, which is ordered, after due scarification, to be laid thickly on the part. The sovereign power of this application, we think, is not yet fully established : Dr. Cuming mentions its success in three instances ; but it still requires, and undoubtedly deserves, repeated and attentive trials. Dr. Cuming, however, as might be expected from him, is perfectly convinced of its infallible efficacy; nor is he less assured of the injurious effects of bark, administered in the substance. “ The human stomach," he observes," is not like that of the ostrich; it will not digest either wood or iron !" p. 46. The same expression is repeated, p 354; surely one dose of this absurdity was sufficient. Speaking of the use of bark in sphacelus,
. I the other day in a conversation with a physician in London of great eminence, respecting the administration of bark in cases of sphacelus, was happy to find his sentiments exactly in unison with my own; and he, was through fatal xperience thoroughly convinced of the folly of the fashionabl- practice of throwing in large quantities of bark in substance. For he was visiting a patient affected with mortification in conjunction with a surgeun, who was of opinion that too much of this drug could not be given, though the patient's appetite was already destroyed by its effects and those of the disease. pp. 356, 357.
We ack vowledge that the aukwardness of this passage irduced us to select it; the remarkable account of visiting a patient “ effected with mortification in conjunction with a surgeon," is not the only instance, by many, in which we have reason to remark a want of the simplicity and clearness which are essential in works of science. Indeed we have seldom seen a worse style in the compositions of a professional man*; all our extracts are specimens of it. This circumstance, and the uncontrouled impetuosity of Dr. C.'s temper, and the evident carelessness and haste with which he has thrown his observations together, have deprived the work of that full, accurate, systematic, and sober character, which would have been suitable to its professed design. It abounds with good instructions ; but they are often desultory, general, and accompanied with much useless and digressive matter.
Art. X. An Essay on the Character, (and the) Immoral and Anti
christian Tendency of the Stage. By John Styles. 12mo. pp. 144. Price
3s. 6d. Williams and Smith. 1806. IN the proposed selection of useful subjects, by which our
performance was distinguished equally from those works which absurdly pretend to criticise all publications without exception, and from those which assume an arbitrary power of reviewing such books only as best suit their convenience, the drama, in its present degraded state, was of course excluded. It is, indeed, only as printed compositions, that the tragic, comic, operatical, and fareical productions of the stage, have ever obtained the notice of any periodical publication that pretended to literary character. We have, notwithstanding, had repeated occasions to intimate our opinion of the moral tendency of the stage t; and it seems that the author of this small volume was prompted by one of our incidental remarks, to examine and discuss the subject.
After inquiring into the origin and progress of theatrical exhibitions, and the principal causes which have contributed to their success, he considers the effects which they have produced on morals and on happiness, and briefly estimates the character of the stage, as it has been drawn by historians, philosophers, legislators, and divines. He then considers whether the stage is in a state of moral improvement at present, and adduces the following obvious proof of the reverse :
• The recent introduction of the German Drama may be considered as a phenomenon in the world of dissipation. The writings of Con reve and Dryden are absolutely pure when compared with the vile disgusting offspring of the profligate Kotzebue ; and yet the plays of this writer have
e are glad to find that grammatical accuracy is not essential to the usefulness of a physician; Dr. C. improves upon the hemistich of Ovid, thus, Per mediam viam ite, quia tutissimam est !'
+ E.R. Vol. I. pp. 749,80 2. Vol. III. p. 77.
been the principal source from whence an English audience, for several winters past, have derived their instruction and amusement :even women have submitted to the shameful task of translating pages which modesty never could
peruse without horror.' p. 50. The author next illustrates the dangerous and immoral tendency of the stage, by some observations on the writers, the actors, and the audience. Of the first, he remarks, that
• The great dramatic favorites have generally been men of libertine principles. Shakespeare and Congreve, Dryden and Kotzebue, have borne away the palm from every competitor. The talents of these writers have been eminent; but a “ peck of refuse wheat” would more than bùy the virtue of all the tribe. Who is there that does not feel the bitterness of regret, while contemplating the greatest intellectual powers, the strongest energies of native genius, exhausted and spent in degrading the human character, which they were intended to exalt and improve? Enlisted on the side of virtue, what might not these men have achieved ? But viewed as they are, the menial servants of the Stage, who can think of them without pity” pp. 55, 56.
Mr. S. apologizes, in a note, for so severe a censure on Shakspeare, but not in the most judicious manner.
He attributes the licentiousness which disgraces some passages of Shakspeare's plays, solely to his becoming a writer for the stage. The author evidently was not aware, that Shakspeare's poems are more censurable, on this account, than his dramatic pieces. The ribaldry of the latter was doubtless designed to gratify the barbarous taste of his audience, of whose gross manners it is an accurate representation ; and it is adapted rather to disgust, than to seduce, the minds of modern readers. In some of his poems, he more dangerously indulges a libidinous imagination, yet not more than the most polite writers of Queen Elizabeth's age. Sir Philip Sidney's Arcadia, dedicated to his sister, Lady Pembroke, and even called by her name, affords parallel instances. We do not, therefore, deem Mr. S. fortunate, in placing Shakspeare at the head of his libertine writers. Poor Dryden, also, might, we think, have passed unnoticed; for he never was a great favourite with the public as a dramatic, writer; and though licentious, yet less so than most of his contemporaries. With Congreve and Kotzebue, who have an indisputable claim to signal and lasting infamy, a living writer might have been joined, as their equal in talents and in guilt. He has, indeed, contributed more than any other importer, to the mischief which our country has sustained from Kotzebue's atrocious productions : but his own “ School for Scandal” demonstrates, that he needed no foreign auxiiiary in fighting the battles of licentiousness. As the son of an actor, and the manager of a playhouse, he most strikingly displays, in his theatrical compositions, the genuine effects of the stage on the moral character of literature.
On the general character of players, our author quotes an admirable passage from Dr. Witherspoon. We earnestly recommend to all who doubt whether an attendance on the theatre may not be innocent, the whole of that 'excellent writer's treatise on the stage. It is printed with his Essays and Sermons; but a separate edition of it would be a public benefit.
Of the effects of theatrical amusements on the audience which they collect, the author adds,
• I cannot help considering the Theatre in this view, as the enchanted ground of iniquity; it is here that Vice lifts up its head with undaunted courage ; that the most licentious and abandoned females endeavour, by meretricious ornament, and every art which lascivious wantonness can invent, to allure the young and inconsiderate, who, with passions enkindled by what is passing on the Stage, are thrown off their guard, and
thus fatally prepared to fall the victims of seduction. The avenues to the Theatre, the box-lobby, and many of the most conspicuous places in it, are filled with women of this description. On the Stage there is every thing to excite improper ideas in the mind, and in the audience every thing to gratify them. The emotion is soon inflamed to a passion ; reason quickly yields to its powerful empire, and ruin is too often the fatal consequence.' pp. 74, 75.
In the following chapter, our author considers the stage with respect to its influence in retarding the progress of vital Christianity; contrasting its morality with that which the Gospel inculcates, and demonstrating its tendency to raise the passions above their proper tone, and to induce a dislike of grave and serious subjects, which have nothing but their simplicity and importance to recommend them. These topics are ably discussed; but it is evident that they apply to dramatic compositions only in common with other works of the imagination, and not to the stage abstractedly considered. The habitual perusal of plays, poetry, and novels, has an effect on the mind, similar to that which the use of highly-seasoned viands produces on the bodily appetite and palate. In both cases, that whici is plain, substantial, and salutary, will be loathed, as comparatively insipid. The effect of a rage for theatrical exhibitions, is likely to go farther, and to produce a distaste for all reading whatever, except as it recals impressions that have been received from a favourite performer.
That persons who understand, or even who merely profess to believe, the Gospel, should frequent a play-house ; that parents of this description should countenance, or even suffer, an attendance at it by their children ; that youths who are preparing for the solemn engagements of an evangelical mis nistry, should visit scenes so unhallowed ; are facts which no