« PreviousContinue »
denoted the genus, and the second the species; at least in all methodical works written in Latin. Ammonia, in its common form, can scarcely be called a neutral carbonate: in some parts of the Pharmacopoïa it is styled a subcarbonate, which seems to be a much more correct appellation. Borax is designated in three different ways; we have mel boracis as a formula, sodæ boras as the established name, and subboras sodæ as its chemical explanation; surely two of the three would have been enough; and borax might have been retained without any inconvenience, since it produces no false impression. Hydrargyrus has long been made masculine in pharmacy, though Pliny writes hydrargyrum; an authority which would have been amply sufficient to justify the College, in following the example of those of Edinburgh and Dublin, and of the modern chemists, who have adopted a uniform termination for the Latin names of all the metals : although in English there is no reason whatever for writing platinum, rather than platina. Oxydum is a term of which the orthography requires much discussion ; as it stands, it means nothing. To express subacidum, or acidulum, by a derivative from öğüs, which was the original intention, we might either write ožueides, oxyides, or ožidov, oxydium, as Borçúdrov, medexúdiov, diminutives of a similar form; and this last term approaches much the nearest to the object in view ; očehsnov, oxidium, is a word actually occurring, but derived from o&os, vinegar: we might, however, as well talk of the palladum of our liberty, instead of palladium, as write either oxydum, or oxidum, instead of oxydium or oxidium; and the College, in altering the French orthography, has only substituted one bad thing for another. If oxydium were adopted in Latin, it would be
proper to write oxyd in English: but for oxide, which soine I chemists have preferred, there is absolutely no foundation
whatever. Potassa, howeyer barbarous, seems to be too well established to be superseded at present : in the former Pharmacopeïa, if the Greek word conia had been employed, instead of the uncouth term kali, we might by this time bave had a more classical name for this alkali in common use. It is difficult to define a sense of linimentum which shall comprehend the oxymel æruginis; its use as an external application can scarcely be allowed to enter into the definition; and the preparation might have remained among the Mellita, without the least impropriety. The powder and tincture, containing opium, have received new names, principally on account of the danger of being mistaken for opium, or its simple tincture, and partly, perhaps, to avoid the occasional interference of groundless prejudices. It
appears to be impossible, on any principle of scientific nomenclature, to defend the adoption of the same term for a class and a genus: an error which has been very unnecessarily committed in two instances, Syrupus and Ceratum having been employed as titles of their respective chapters, as well as to express the preparations more properly called syrupus simplex, and ceratum simplex, being the simplest possible of the preparations which bear those names. The general term spiritus seems to imply that the whole fluid either has been, or might be distilled: hence Dr. A. Duncan, in his most useful and elaborate manual, has very properly referred both the spiritus lavendula compositus, and the spiritus ammoniæ succinatus to the tinctures.
A few inconsistencies and inaccuracies, derived from the partial change of nomenclature, will probably be corrected in future editions. For example: the paragraph which remarks that fluids are to be measured, and solids to be weighed, unless the contrary is expressed, is perfectly inapplicable to the present state of the Pharmacopæïa, where no ambiguity is left in the terms; and the insertion of the word pondere, in many of the formulæ, is equally superfluous.
Under acidum muriaticum, we have aquæ selibra, for half a pint: under spiritus ammoniæ succinatus, minims of the essential oil are substituted for an equal number of drops, ordered in the first specimen. The directions for making the liquor ammoniæ acetatæ are somewhat indistinctly expressed. Under antimonii sulphuretum præcipitatum, we must read in pulverem subtilem tere,' the substance having already been called a powder. The tables of the new and old names are in many instances imperfect, and in some inaccurate.
Dr. Powell's translation must be considered almost as a second original, since it contains an explanation of the reasons for which most of the alterations have been adopted; as well as some further observations of considerable importance: and there can be no doubt that its circulation will be equally extensive with that of the Pharmacopæïa itself, or even still more so. Dr. Powell having acted as secretary to the select committee, employed in the revision of the work, no person had so good a right to offer his remarks to the public, and his undertaking has been sanctioned by the approbation of the president, and of the committee.
The translation is in general faithful and accurate ; but the work is not free from a few errata. We are told, p. 67, that an ounce of dilute nitric acid “ will saturate nearly one hundred of white marble," instead of about 42 grains. For the tincture of rhubarb, p. 273, we are directed to employ an ounce and a half of cardamom seeds, instead of half an ounce. In the pulvis cretæ compositus cum opio, p. 322, the proportion of opium is somewhat increased, not “ lessened.” Dr. Powell observes that spirit is added to the liquor hydrargyri muriatis, to prevent the vegetation of mucor, to which all saline solutions are liable:" surely not strong mercurial solutions, even if extremely weak ones should be. He says, p. 167, that, “a bladder is mentioned for straining the galbanum, but-a canvass bag is preferable:” now " galbanum is almost entirely soluble in water,” and if it were boiled in a canvass bag, much of its substance might be lost: and it was never meant that it should be strained through a bladder. The distinction of fluidounce is sometimes omitted, as might
naturally be expected in the use of a new term. Thé most striking inaccuracies, however, are those of the “ prosodial table,” and of the quantity of words used” in the catalogue of the materia medica. These may be considered as things too puerile to deserve the notice of a practical physician : but for one who has no longer the fear of the birch before his eyes, it would have been better to have left them altogether to schoolboys, than to have committed so many little errors of any kind, in a work which ought to be a standard of precision. We find not only Accāia, acidum sulphūricum, antimonium, rosa centifolia, scammõnea, staphisāgria, confectio rūsæ, crocus, and sūpo, in which the modern pronunciation is not affected by the quantity, but also ammoniæ and ferri carbonas, which is still more carbone notandum. Jalăpa may be questioned, from the analogy with rāpa : strobili agrees with the Latin dictionaries, but there are at least two instances in the Greek plays, in which strobilus occurs : syrůpus is marked sirūpus by Ainsworth, though supposed to be derived from the barbarous term osgátion, or from an oriental word like sherbet, or sorbitio; it would have a more classical appearance if it were written ougēnos, as if an extracted juice. In caryophyllus, and glycyrrhiza, the vowels are short, although the syllables are long by their position. Alošs, pilūlæ, and pulvis aloes composītus, can only be errors of the press.
Notwithstanding these slight imperfections, Dr. Powell appears, on the whole, to have executed his task with considerable judgment and ability; and, together with his colleagues of the select committee, Dr. Heberden, Dr. Ash, and Dr. Maton, amply to deserve the thanks of the Profession at large.
SEVENTY-EIGHT STUDIES FROM NATURE, ENGRAVED BY
WILLIAM GREEN, FROM DRAWINGS MADE BY HIMSELF. London, printed by Barfield, for Messrs. Longman, Hurst, Rees, and Orme, Paternoster-Row; and W. Green, Ambleside, Westmoreland. 1809. Large folio. Price five guineas, boards.
These Studies consist principally of such objects as Landscape-painters select for their fore-grounds, and of the Cote tages and Rocks of Cumberland and Westmoreland. They are etched in soft ground, with a degree of freedom and mastery of the pencil, which may be looked at with considera able advantage by students in landscape, and by all persons with pleasure.
In the title-page (as the reader has seen) these prints are spoken of as being Engravings, and the word, though incorrect, is probably in this instance, not meant to deceive the public, but it is inadvertently used by the Ambleside Artist, in conformity with language, which the reiterated endeavours of publishers and prospectus-mongers, in their numerous advertisements, have but too far succeeded in introducing, and which has therefore obtained among us to a certain degree; but of which the effect has been to confound those verbal distinctions, which would else, by assisting the public discernment, have tended to the improvement of its taste.
With prospectus-mongers and their artifices, the reader is probably not very well acquainted. They have rather been felt than seen, and are far from being universally recognized. They have only been known to exist since non-descript animals were brought hither from Botany-bay, and though I cannot swear that they were imported from thence, I may