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ART. IX. Medical Memoirs of the General Difpenfary in London, for part of the Years 1773 and 1774. By John Coakley Lettfom, M. D. F. R. and A. S. S. and Phyfician to the General Difpenfary. 8vo. 5 s. Bound. Dilly. 1774.
HE General Difpenfary is a most useful inftitution, defigned not only for the relief of the poor at the Dispenfary, but likewife at their own houses. It is kept in AlderfgateStreet, and is open for the reception of letters and patients every day at eleven o'clock, Sundays excepted. All who are recommended have the benefit of advice and medicines at the difpenfary; but no patients are to be vifited at their own habitations, except those who refide within the city and liberties of London.
Dr. Lettfom is one of the phyficians appointed to attend the difpenfary, and he has favoured the Public with the refult of his obfervations during the laft and part of the prefent year, under the title of Memoirs of the General Dispensary, as above. The first Section of thefe Memoirs contains Obfervations on Fevers, with Symptoms of Putrefcency.
It has been found by modern experience, that the most effectual remedies in fevers of the putrid clafs, are, the free accefs of fresh air, the liberal use of the bark without waiting for remiffions, and wine or other cordial and antiseptic liquors for common drink. This method has been fuccessfully pursued by Dr. Lettfom in the courfe of his practice, and is illuftrated by a variety of cafes.
Sect. II. Speculations on Opium, with Cafes and Reflections. Dr. Cullen, in his-lectures on the Materia Medica, has introduced fome diftinctions concerning the ftimulant and fedative effects of opium. Thefe ideas have been adopted by our Author, and he has endeavoured to point out, in what cafes its ftimulant, and in what its fedative powers are indicated. Further than this, the reader will meet with little either phyfiological or practical information.
Sect. III. Obfervations on a Species of Leprofy.
The Lepra Ichtiofis of Sauvages is the fpecies here intended; fo called from its refembling the fcales of a fifh. Our Author gives us three hiftories of this difeafe, in which the cure was effected by a decoction of the inner bark of the elm tree, after other very powerful remedies had been tried without fuccefs. This decoction has long been used in St. Thomas's, and fome other of the London hospitals, in a variety of leprous and other cutaneous affections. The formula ufed by Dr. Lettfom, is the Decoctum Ulmi Pharmacop. Nofocom. Divi Thoma.
Sect. IV. A Defence of Inoculation.
The most striking objection which has ever appeared against inoculation, is that of Dr. Raft of Lions. The objection is
briefly this: From a furvey of the London bills of mortality for 42 years before inóculation commenced, and likewife for 42 years after this practice became general, it appears, that seventeen more burials in a thousand have been occafioned by the fmall pox, fince inoculation hath been generally adopted, than before." And confequently, that inoculation does more injury to the community by propagating the infection to many who might otherwife have efcaped, than by conducting a few individuals more eafily and fafely through the difeafe.
Dr. Lettfom endeavours to break the force of this objection, by fuggefting, that the meafles, and fevers in general, have gra dually increafed in fatality in nearly the fame proportion with the fmall-pox. And he further remarks, that the fpreading the infection, is rather to be attributed to the improved method of treating the accidental fmall-pox, than to inoculation.
Sect. V. Method of treating the confluent Small-Pox.
The fubject of this fection is of a very ferious nature. Dr. Lettfom apprehends he has difcovered, that mercury is an antidote to the variolous virus, and that it powerfully promotes fuppuration in the confluent fmall-pox. It is certain that Boerhaave had a favourable opinion of mercury as a corrector of this particular virus*. And Malouin relates the cafe of a female who was under a courfe of mercury for venereal complaints, and had a mercurial plaifter applied to the facrum: fhe was at this time feized with the fmall-pox; her whole body was full, except the part to which the plaifter had been applied, and here there was not a fingle puftule t. On the other hand, Gatti, Watson, and many others have not found that thofe who were prepared with mercurials had the difeafe at all more favourably, that those who were prepared without, And it appears likewife, that when the fmall-pox were epidemic at Edinburgh in the year 1733, the difcafe was fatal notwithstanding the free ufe of mercurials --And if we take Dr. Letifom's cafes into the queftion, we shall find them by no means conclufive in favour of mercury, either as a fuppurative or an antidote. Sect. VI. Remarks on the Hooping-cough, Kink-cough, or Pertuis.
Dr. Burton of York, publifhed his treatife on the non-naturals in the year 1738, and at the end of this treatise he has added an effay on the chin-cough. The following was his method of cure in this difeafe. "I ordered, fays he, a fcruple of cantharides, and as much camphor, which when well mixed, I ordered to be mixed with three drachms of the extract of bark; of which mixture I gave the children eight or ten grains
* Aphor. 1392.
every third or fourth hour, according to the circumftances of the cafes, in a spoonful of fome fimple water or julep, in which I had diffolved a little balfam copaivi; the childrens drink was emulfio communis, or the like. By following this method, I performed the cures very foon, fome in five or fix days."
Mr. Sutcliff of Settle in Yorkshire, has for twenty years fuccessfully adminiftered Dr. Burton's medicine, with fome little variation. He gives tincture of bark, tincture of cantharides, and elix. paregor. This compofition was exhibited in small quantities three or four times a day; and the dofe gradually increafed till a flight ftrangury was produced; the dofe was then diminished, or taken at more diftant intervals." The hooping, fays Mr. Sutcliff, generally ceafes in three or four days, from the first exhibition of the medicine: fometimes the paroxyfm recurs only once after the first dofe; but an expectora ting cough frequently continues for a week or two afterwards." This is doubtless a valuable difcovery; and we are happy to find, that the experience of Dr. Burton and Mr. Sutcliff has been confirmed by a variety of cafes which have fallen under the care of Dr. Lettfom.
The three laft fections contain fome detached cafes and reflections; tables of diseases and deaths for one year, and the formulæ of the general difpenfary. But for the particulars of thefe, we muft refer our readers to Dr. Lettfom's Memoirs.
ART. X. The Country Justice; a Poem. By one of his Majefty's Juftices of the Peace for the County of Somerfet. Part I. 4to. 1 s. 6d. Becket. 1774.
HE character of a country juftice, like that of alderman,
or bookfeller, hath ftood as a butt, for wits and witlings. to shoot at, with the fhafts of ridicule. But the times are changed. We have aldermen who poffefs as much wit as other folk; we have bookfellers who can read; and we have confervators of the peace who can not only read but write : witnefs the pleafing piece of poetry now before us, published in honour of that order of magiftracy of which the Author declares himself to be a member; and addreffed to the celebrated Dr. Burn, one of the commiffion for the counties of Weftmoreland and Cumberland, by a truly affectionate Brother."
Our Somersetshire Bard opens with a retrofpective view of the forlorn ftate of liberty and civil fecurity, in this country, before the inftitution of juftices of the peace, in the reign of Edward III. This moft falutary and excellent appointment and its purposes,' are thus celebrated:
The focial laws from infult to protect,
The rich from wanton cruelty restrain,
In defcribing ancient Juftice's Hall,' the Author indulges a vein of pleafantry, at the expence of the poor rich Londoners, whofe tafly villas, at the ftones-end of the feveral out-lets from our modern Babylon, have often attracted the notice of the fons of humour:
• Oft, where old AIR in confcious glory fails,
• Nor lightly deem, ye apes of modern race,
Nor do the royal architects escape our Author's reprehenfon: 'whose antic taste, Would lay the realms of Senfe and Nature waste.'
But we dwell with peculiar pleasure on the farther defcription of the ancient hall:
'Th' enormous antlers here recal the day
Here, fam'd for cunning, and in crimes grown old,
Oft, as the rent feaft fwells the midnight cheer,
Though known to ev'ry tenant of the vale.
'Here, where, of old, the feftal ox has fed,
Thefe, and fuch antique tokens, that record
Grin, frisk, and water in the walks of Kew.'
The moral character of a country juftice, fuch as that of every magiftrate ought to be, is admirably drawn, in the following lines:
Through thefe fair vallies, stranger, haft thou ftray'd,
In the plain hall the magistratial chair?
The general motives for lenity in the exercife of the justice's office, are next laid down, and enforced with that energy and pathos which cannot fail of doing honour to the heart of the Writer, as well as to his mufe. His apology for vagrants, too, is replete with benevolence, and comes farther recommended to us, by the additional charms of a flowing and elegant verfification. We must not be too free of our extracts from a performance whose chief defect is its brevity; but we cannot refift the temptation to pillage the ingenious Author of his declaration against that pernicious species of vagrants known by the name of Gypfeys:
• The Gypfey-race my pity rarely move; Yet their strong thirit of Liberty I love.