« PreviousContinue »
advises. He is so particular in his directions about it, that I need say little. I shall only add, thát thêriaca, and the like folid medicines, being offensive to the stomach, are not the most proper sudorifics. I should rather commend an infusion in boiling water of Virginia snake-root, or in want of this, of some other warm aromatic, with the addition of about a fourth part of aqua theriacalis, and a proper quantity of fyrup of lemons to sweeten it. From which, in illnesses of the same kind with the gaol-fever, which approaches the nearest to the pestilence, I have seen very good effects.
Whether either of these methods of bleeding or of sweating will answer the purpose intended by them, must be left to a larger experience to determine ; and the trial ought by no means to be neglected, especially in those cases which promise but little success from the natural course of the disease.
A DISCOURSE on the SMALL
POX and MEASLES.
P R E F A CE.
Considerable part of this discourse was written n by me many years since; and the whole had been finished and given to the public long ago, would the business of my profession, in which I have been constantly engaged, have allowed me time to do it. However, I flatter myself, that this intermission of the work will in the main túrn to the advantage of the reader : because whatever inconveniencies may attend age, they are for the most part amply compensated by daily acquisitions of knowledge and experience. Wherefore, without farther apology, I shall now briefly lay down the motives which firft induced me to write on this fubject.
In the year 1717 the learned Dr Freind published the first and third books of Hippocrates's epidemics, illustrated with nine commentaries concerning fevers. Of these the feventh treats of purging in the putrid fever, which follows upon the confluent small-pox; and, in support of his opinion, he has annexed to it the letters of four physicians to himself on that subject; one of which is mine. For after having been several years one of the physicians to St Thomas's hospital, in the year 1708, I observed, that fome of my patients recovered from a very malignant fort of fmall-pox, even beyond expectation, by a looseness seizing them on the ninth or tenth day of the disease, VOL. II. .
and sometimes earlier. Hence I took the hint, to try what good might be done by opening the body with a gentle purge on the decline of the distemper, especially where the patient had constantly been costive from the beginning; which is far from being an uncommon case. The success was in a great measure answerable to my wishes : for, by this method, I recovered many who were in the most imminent danger.
At that time, and indeed during the remainder of his life, I was strictly joined in friendship with Dr Freind ; and as we frequently conversed on the business of our profession, I explained this point of practice to him, and met with his approbation. Soon after this, he was called to a consultation with two other eminent physicians, on the case of a young nobleman, who lay dangerously ill of the small-pox : whereupon he proposed my method. But they obstinately opposed it until the fourteenth day from the eruption, when the case appearing quite desperate by convulsions with a lethargy coming on apace, they consented to give him a gentle laxative draught; which had a very good effect. Hereupon Dr Freind gave his opinion to repeat it; but that was over-ruled, and the patient died the seventh day after. The doctor himself has given an ample account of this case *
This affair foon made fo great a noise, that even the gentlemen of the faculty were divided upon it; some commending, others finding fault with Dr Freind's advice : which fo essentially affected his reputation, that he thought himself under a necessity of * Freindi opera, p. 263.
vindicating it : and therefore he entreated me to fend him the purport of our former conversation in writing. . Such was our friendship, that I soon complied with his request ; and he shewed my letter to Dr Radcliffe, (who at that time was very deservedly at the head of his profession, upon acccount of his great médical penetration and experience, and had honoured me with a considerable share of intimacy), and told him withal, that he intended to publish his defence. Whereupon Dr Radcliffe obtained leave of me for Dr Freind to annex my letter to his book. But after two or three theets had been printed off, he was prevailed on by some friends to drop his undertaking: and thus both his work and my letter lay by for some years, that is, until he published his commentaries on fevers. While he was employed in this work, he had fresh thoughts of printing the aforesaid letter with it; for which purpole I revised and enlarged the letter, translated it from the original English into Latin, and, in short, new-modelled it into the form in which it appears in that book,
It very rarely happens, that a new method of cure in any disease gives universal satisfaction : however, not only Dr Freind and myself invariably persisted in this from the first time I mentioned it to him ; but several physicians likewise, both in town and country, to whom we imparted it, found its falutary effects. But there never are wanting some men of fo invidious a turn of mind, that their principal pleasure consists in blackening the reputation, and decrying the productions of others; as if what they strip their neighbours of, was to be added to their own characters. Thus Dr Freind's book had no sooner appeared in public, O 2
but but fome of this stamp flew to arms, as if to fave the common wealth. In front of this band stood forth Dr John Woodward, physic-professor at Grelhamcollege, a man equally ill-bred, vain, and ill-natured, who, after being for some time apprentice to a linendraper, took it into his head to make a collection of Thells and follils, in order to pass upon the world for a philosopher ; thence having got admission into a physician's family, at length, by dint of interest, ob tained a doctor's degree. This man published a book, entitled, The state of physic and difcafes *, wherein he took.great fiberties with Dr Freind, and those in the faune sentiment with him, but pointed his arrows moft particularly at me ; and these were neither arguments nor experiments, of which he had none, but barefaced calumuy and raillery, which he poured forth in abundance. It is much against my will, that I thus revive the remembrance of that libel, which already is well nigh funk into oblivion; and for which the author has been justly exposed by Dr Freind : nor should I have wasted paper on this insignificant story, had not the arrogance and vanity of the man extorted it from me. And, in fine, if I have dwelt longer on this whole affair than might be expected, my motives were, first, to explain who was the author of this method of practice, and then, how little foundation Dr Woodward had for his per fonal reflections and brawling.