« ZurückWeiter »
would direct the particular attention of Mr. Long, because if the existence of consumption arises from acrid matter, and if, as he tells, this acrid matter be inherent in the human frame, how the deuce is it, that there can be in one individual, a“ predisposition to consumption,” which is not to be found in another ? Acrid matter is common to all-acrid matter is the cause of consumption-ergo, the cause of consumption is common to all. If St. John Long can invent a deobstruent by which he can pass this syllogism peacefully through the seat of his intellect, we shall worship him as a seer to whom nothing is difficult. Again he says,
• Diarrhæa and dysenteric affections arising in persons not labouring under consumption may be traced to other causes, particularly to cold, irregularity of diet, and extreme heat, or vicissitude of climate. Cholera morbus, especially when it does not assume an epidemic character, is produced by similar causes.'-p. 18.
So here are cold, irregularity of diet, extreme heat, and vicissitude of climate, coming in for a share of the honour of abridging human life, after we had made up our minds, on St. Long's authority, that acrid matter enjoyed the monopoly of the process.
And is it possible that the revelation of a simple, sure, and by no means repugnant remedy, for the cure of all disorders, should be made to a man so utterly destitute of mental powers, as the person now before us? Can providence have set its face in so marked a manner against superior intelligence, against cultivation of mind, against a persevering, an earnest, but humble, search into the mysterious economy of nature, as to select a clod, a boor, a full grown innocent, a creature, whose mind has been in fallow since the hour of his birth, a being, without one legitimate claim upon the admiration of his fellow-creatures—to select we say, such a living antithesis to all that is noble, and meritorious in our nature, as an object of preference and confidence, as a privileged agent for its benevolent dispensations? The thing is absurd. To justify, in some measure, theso charges, let us have recourse to proofs. We quote the following specimen of Mr. St. John Long's physiological profundity.
• The stomach, the great receptacle for the various species of animal and vegetable food by which man is supported, was formerly supposed to aid in the digestive process by the contraction and attrition of its sides; but later and more accurate inquiries and experiments have discovered that this important functional duty is performed by means of a fluid secreted by the stomach itself, and which possesses the extraordinary and wonderful power of assimilating, and as it were amalgamating, either the simple or more varied and incongruous articles of food, which the real or artificial wants of man require. This process being accomplished, the digested mass is propelled into the intestinal canal, where it soon intermixes with the secretions of the liver, and that viscus known by the name of the pancreas. The bile and other Auids secreted by these organs again materially contribute towards the completion of the process of nature,
until, finally, the food is reduced to one homogeneous mass. In this state it is found in the smaller intestines, on the inner surface of which are placed innumerable minute vessels, that perform the functions of absorption and the carrying of the nutritious parts of the food, denominated chyle, to certain glandular bodies situated on the surface of the mesentery, or that membrane connecting the intestines together. The chyle, after being detained here for some time, is finally brought, by innumerable channels, towards one ultimate recipient or vessel, which anatomists have named the thoracic duct ; this again pours its contents into the general mass of blood; and thus the nourishment and accretion of the body are accomplished.'—pp.14, 15.
This is exactly the description which we would expect from St. John Long. It is to be presumed that a man who offers himself to the world, as one capable of exercising sovereign sway over the human empire of solids and juices, would endeavour to provide himself with some little acquaintance with the character, rank, and relative positions of his subjects. We should expect St. John then, to be very well aware of some general facts touching the animal economy; we should find him to have squeezed out the substance of some two-penny publication, and to talk very knowingly about chyle, and pancreas, and the thoracic duct. In this way he is likely to astonish the ladies in particular, together with all the old women that are to be found amongst the other sex, But to detect and expose the impostor, it is only necessary to try his knowledge upon minute points, such as professional men only can be expected to be acquainted with, but such, too, as professional men cannot possibly be ignorant of. The gastric juice, we are told by this enlightened philosopher, in the paragraph just quoted, possesses the wonderful power of assimilating the various articles of food received into the stomach, "and this process,' (the assimilation of the food in the stomach,) he adds, being accomplished, the digested mass is propelled into the intestinal canal.? St. John Long, we take the liberty of saying, utterly mistakes the matter; the process of assimilation merely commences in the stomach, nor is it accomplished until portions of the nutritive food have been passed from the intestines, to become perfect blood in the lungs. St. John, in the same passage, commits a still greater blunder than this. “The bile,' he says, and other fluids, materially contribute towards the completion of the process of nature, (what process of nature ?) • until, finally, the food is reduced to one homogeneous mass.' Here we have the cunning leech apprehended in the meshes of his own net. How foolish in him to embark on the high sea of science, without rudder and compass! The true course of the digestive process is this : food of whatever kind is converted, in the stomach, after a given time, into one homogeneous mass. The moment it leaves the stomach for the small intestines, a separation commences, and steadily goes on, as the mass proceeds along the course of the intestines, until a complete division of its elements is effected. The bile and other fluids which mix with it, instead of assisting to form a homogeneous mass, as Dr. St. John Long declares, actually do the very contrary; they serve to resolve the mass, and to disunite its parts from each other. It is a blunder, therefore, of the most disgraceful kind, to affirm that the food is found in the form of a homogeneous mass' in the small intestines. We see, then, how limited is the scientific ambition of the illustrious cure-monger of the nineteenth century; a smattering of information is all he desires, or perhaps is able to attain-just as much as will carry him through the little coterie which he cultivates, of persons nearly as ignorant, but infinitely less knowing than himself. Another specimen of that easy union of confidence and ignorance which characterizes this absurd book remains to be exposed. Mr. St. Long thus unburdens his mind of some of its loose accumulations:
• That poison, or medicines of a poisonous and deleterious quality are administered in almost all cases cannot be denied, and of this truth the hundreds of prescriptions I have in my possession furnish ample proof. It must also be acknowledged, that it is equally illogical in deduction as it is unphilosophical in principle, to argue that good should be derived from evil or that nourishment and healing properties are to be educed from poison and acrimonious acids(!) Affinities are not to be generated from contraries; nor is it reasonable to suppose, that any medicine whose quality is that of irritating the body should have the properties of healing it.
•What healthful union can there be between mercury, prussic acid, henbane, digitalis, acetate of lead, sulphuric acid, nitrous acid, and flesh and blood ?
• In most instances blood-letting produces more ultimate injury to the system than any temporary relief it may afford ; because it does not remove the deteriorated qualities of the blood, but quantity from quantity, not quality from quantity; therefore the blood that remains in the system must be the same as that taken away ; but, on the other hand, if it be contended that blood is always pure, and incapable of contamination, how happens it that the solids, which are derived from this pure fluid, fall at any time into a state of disease? or why should the blood at any tiine be interfered with, as the removal of it does not remove the disease of the solids?
• Besides, I am opposed to the abstraction of blood from the human body, as being the primary source of life and nutrition, and I am of opinion, that each time it is intermeddled with or abstracted, a portion of the principle of vitality is removed.'- pp. 3–5.
Does not the very utterance of such trash as this, at once stamp the man as a simpleton ? To hear St. John Long discoursing about logic and philosophy, is quite as distressing as to hear, we should think, a certain authority quoting Scripture. How can good be derived from evil ? enquires the Theban of Harley-street. We ask, in return, in what does the evil consist? Is it in mercury, henbane, or any of the medicines mentioned in this catalogue per se ? Assuredly not; but it consists in the quantity of those me
morell burning, cohen, way. Wanion
which? Welihat health and blon We a
dicines which may be administered. Thus, if we give a drachm of Prussic acid to a man, the extinction of life will be the instantaneous consequence; but let that man be labouring under pulmonary consumption in its early stage, and let him persevere for a given time in taking doses of some few minims, the result, in all probability, will be, complete relief from the disorder, and the pro. longation of the patient's life. What element, what principle, is it in nature which is capable of doing us good in one of its modifications, that is not also potent to do us evil in another? If we take pure wine in moderate quantities, the effect is highly salutary to the animal state; let it be drunk to excess, and arsenic is not more deleterious. Fire consumes the body; but is the temperature which burning coals communicates to it of no importance to its health? Well, then, may we not say, after the manner of St. John Long, what healthful union can there be between the juice of the grape and Aesh and blood ; between devouring flames and the combustible body of man? We are come to a pretty pass indeed, when the task of exploding the most valuable agents for restoring health that we have devolves upon such a clown as this! The ignorance, or rather the rustic simplicity, betrayed by the quack, in the first part of the above quotation, is altogether put into the shade by the stupid blundering of the second part. Blood letting, says St. John Long, is injurious in most instances, because it does not remove the deteriorated qualities of the blood; what remains in the system, after blood-letting, will be of the same quality as that which has been abstracted; so that it is only the taking of quantity from quantity that can be effected by venesection. A notable discovery of St. John's! But what medical nian, we beg to know, ever advanced such a reason for blood-letting as that imputed to the faculty by this writer ? Who ever dreamed, but this stupid person himself, of taking away the deleterious qualities of the blood by venesection? The object of such an operation is obvious and simple. It is well established, that in cases of ordinary inflammation, there is an unnatural impulse of blood towards the inflamed part. To lessen the action of the blood becomes an object of undoubted necessity, and that object cannot be better attained than by lessening the stream which is poured round the body. It is, therefore, for the purpose of taking quantity from quantity, not under the empirical pretence of extracting its acrid qualities, that blood is ever proposed to be removed. We shall waste no more argument upon a person who seems utterly incapacitated even to understand it.
St. John Long is an inveterate plagiarist. He gives us an Outline of his general mode of Treatinent,' which we can assure the reader is neither more nor less than a combination of the choicest morsels in the hand-bills of his predecessors. He paries indeed the phrase occasionally, so as just to evade the legal offence of piracy ; but throughout it is easy to see that his . Outlinc' is
framed on the models we have just alluded to. The following comparison ought to satisfy the most unreasonable. Quoth Long
In my practice, I adopt the following rules. I never reduce the strength of my patients. I have no recourse to any surgical operation, and avoid risking life on any chance or experiment whatever; nor do I make use of mercury, or any other poisonous substance. My general practice consists of applications, and certain fumigations, so innocuous and gentle in their nature, that they may be employed either by myself or the patients, without producing any unpleasant effect whatsoever. I administer nothing internally, which would not afford nourishment; and when I apply the same remedies externally, they are perfectly harmless and healing-nothing in small quantities which might not be taken to any extent without injurynothing to adults that would hurt children ; and as an unquestionable proof of the safety of my treaiment, patients, who were cured by me, have tried the experiment of attending my practice, and making use of the same means which they had employed while labouring under their malady; and the only effects produced were of an invigorating nature. The properties of these remedial means, immediately impart to the entire frame a healing quality, which regulates the secretions, strengthens the nervous system, and, directing itself with peculiar effect to the stomach, to the digestive organs, gives that vigour and energy, which promotes the healthful action of the whole body. Thus it not only causes the removal of tubercles from the lungs, but has a powerful tendency to eradicate other diseases ; such as abscesses on the liver, bronchial and asthmatic affections, &c. If my plan of treatment were adopted in the incipient state of consumption, I am convinced that none would fall a sacrifice to it; for I can extract from the system latent diseases insidiously lurking and sure to undermine the constitution, unless seasonably counteracted. Obsta principiis, is one of the most important of the aphorisms of the great father of physic. These facts I daily prove by my tests, which at once discover whether there does or does not exist infanımation; and many persons at the earliest age, in whom consumption was hereditary, have applied to me, and were thus saved from the whole train of evils that must otherwise inevitably have ensued.
• Several ladies who came to me with diseases of the lungs and liver, bronchial and asthmatic affections, had uterine diseases also, which they at first, through a misconceived feeling of delicacy, concealed from my knowledge.
- When their lungs were healed, and their general health restored, these diseases were also removed ; and where the sight and hearing were defective, these senses were invariably improved. in fact, all diseases which happen to be in the body, are influenced at the same time.'—pp. 33–40.
Now follow the extracts from the elder oracles of health, which we shall take the liberty of combining together, without any reference to the respective authors. Partridge, and the celebrated Signor Doloso Euprontorio furnish the principal parts :
• Gentlemen, my medicines are the quintessence of pharmaceutical energy. The cures I have done are beyond the art of the whole world. Imprimis, I have an excellent hypontical, captical, odoriferous, carmonative, renovative, corroborating balsam of balsams, the true Pantemagogon of the triple kingdom, which works seven several ways, and is seven years