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fro The letters ciutator, theoet, and certainto use the eas a
the pageantry of his appearance, it may very well happen that the vulgar learned may fuffer themselves to be dazzled by the pomp and flourish in the style of Homer: whereas a man who does not understand Greek, sees, to use the expression, the naked mind of the poet, and examins as a neutral and unprejudiced scrutator, the body of his thoughts.'
The letters in the last of these volumes are mostly wrote from London ; and contain, amidst a variety of incidents, many ingenious remarks on the manners, state, and constitution of this kingdom. The following is the character of the English, as drawn by this author.
• Your Excellency defires that I woud give you what I think the character of the English ; but I feel my own incapacity to answer your demand in the manner your Excellency may expect. Nothing is more difficult than to draw the character of a people. Among all the nations of the earth, there are so many particular characters, which are exceptions to that of their nation, that the most faithful general characters frequently appear destitute of all resemblance when we compare them with individuals: I shall confine myself thercfore, Sir, to some detachd observations that I have made on this subject. The English nation does not appear to me to be endowed with that creative genius, which is attended with á lively and brilliant imagination, that finds relations between objects which are the most diftant from each other, and that reconciles ideas which appear the most paradoxical ; but in return, it poffcfes in a supreme degree that sagacious spirit of discernment, which discovers, with a glance of the eye, the essential and accessary differences that are between things, and even between the images of things : that scrutative fpirit, which proceeding from consequence to consequence, arrives at last by slow, but sure steps, to the principle, the foundation of the truth which it inquires after. In a word, the English are true reasoning machines. This quality is not here confined to any particular rank in society; on the con. trary, the artisan, the laborer, the beggar, reasons here in the same manner as the lord or philosopher. What confirms me in this opinion is, the mode of expression by which these people communicate their ideas to each other. In other nations I find an infinit difference in the manner of expression between persons of rank and the common people ; becaus theic constantly expres badly what they conceive badly: but in England the meanest of the people expres then felves with strength and elegance ; which proves to a demonstration that they think clearly.
• The second distinguishing property of the English is activity. In fact, I know of no people who are in general more induitri. ous. This quality arises perhaps from their temperament, from a rapid circulation of blood. It is not my busines here to inquire into the physical caus of it, but it is certain fact, and of which I have been an ocular witnes; that if an Englishman, in perfect health, holds the bulb of a good thermometer in his hand for some minutes, he will make the mercury rise two or three degrees higher than a Frenchman, Italian, German, or one of any other nation whatever. We are tempted to think that this heat of the blood gives the English that great activity in all they undertake; and as by that mean they more frequently repeat the same actions, that activity becoms in turn the source of their superior addres, dexterity, and perfection. .
· The third particular quality of the English, is that of candor, and that frankness of behaviour which is the consequence. They think too justly, to wish to deceive their brethren by fals appearances, by those vain compliinents which flatter litle minds, and which at the same time are so well known to be fals, and to which we must give the fine name of politenes. We must not imagin, however, that rusticity predominates in England, and least of all among those whose title, birth, or fortune have given them the advantage of a liberal education; or that the bulk of the English resemble Şir James Roastbeef, in the Frenchman at London, and that their franknes is attended with brutality or stupidity. On the contrary, I find in this country much true politenes, much attention, and a strong desire to pleas. Foreigners accuse the English of being civil, social, engaging, fond of pleasur, ready to contract tricndships, and to receive favors, while they are traveling in other countrys, but when they return home, to forget those very friends, or to receive them with coldnes; and in general to treat strangers with great indifference. But they do not consider that most of these strangers confine themselves when in England, to London, and that the most of the English gentry are as much strangers in I.ondon as a Frenchınan, German, or Italian ; that but few of them have any hous there, their setled residence being in the çountry; and when they come to the capital, it is only for their private afiairs, or to attend the business of parliament; so that they are constantly engaged ; and moreover not having convenience for receiving their foreign friends at their lodgįngs, they can only offer thein an entertainment at a tavern, where they frequently dine themselves; or take them to the play, and now them the principal curiositys of the town.
But go into the country, visit them on their own estates, and they will give you a reception that is equaly polite and hearty; they will load you with civilitys and favors, and on your departure will furnish you with letters of recommendation to their friends dispersd over all England; these will receive you equaly well, and will procure you new acquaintance. So that a stranger who is in any degree amiable, and known to be a man of character, may travel, with infinit pleasur, over all England; like a ball that is sent from one player to another. Beside, London during the cours of the whole year swarms with strangers of every kind, among whom are many of fur. picious characters; so that a hous would resemble Noahs ark, whose master thoud readily receive all strangers that were drawn thither by the smell of the kitchen, or the reputation of a jovial host. The same may be said of all great citys; and it is not so easy as some may imagin to gain admittance into a good hous at Paris.
• Charity also forms a considerable part of the distinguishing character of an Englishman; but it has here a very different external appearance froin what it has in France. We here fee no hospitals where dutcheses by the bed side of the sick give them their remedys on their knees. The care of this is here left to nurses, who are paid by the public, whose trade it is, who understand the business better, and whose presence does not lay any constraint on the poor patient. There is here no ostentatious charity; for the English church does not admit of the dogma of the merit of good works. The charity of the English is not theologic, but philosophic; it extends to those only who are incapable of labor, and not to the encouragement of idlenes. Here all charitable establishments are either in favor of infancy, infirmity, or imbecility. A fturdy beggar is but a bad trade in England. They are dirmisd with a halfpenny or farthing, which are their small copper money, and of the latter of which a beggar must amas 1008 pieces to have a guinea. The English count it a great charity also, to aid those who strive to bear up against their misfortunes; or privately to allist such foreigners as may be. com embarrasd among them. They extend their benevolence even to prisoners, and think it a disgrace to humanity to suffer them to perish in gloomy and noxious dungeons. The prisons of London are spacious, and contain within their walls, large gardens, and even coffee houses, where they assemble to read the public news papers, and to amuse or regale themselves. . All that I find reprehenGble in the general character of the English, for in fact there is nothing perfect in this
world, world, is, a certain insensibility, which in the common people fometimes proceeds to ferocity, and which even reigns in their very pleasures. Such as the murdering chace; the baitan ing of bulls and other animals; their races, in which both men and horses fometimes perilh ; the brutal combats between the men themselves, and other things of the same kind. The English not only see all these barbaritys without emotion, but even pay for the pleasur of seeing them. I am inclined to think that the climate, their method of living, especialy among the marine, ancient custom, wrong education, and other causes, either physical or moral, must have given this insensibility to the English, and that the fault does not lay in the heart.
• These are fome strokes of the general character of the Englim, and which may at least affist a more able painter in drawing a complete picture. I entreat your Excellency will regard this fketch merely as an effort to obey your commands, and as an instance of the desire that I all tiines have, to show that ardent zeal, with which I have the honor to be, &c.'
Upon the whole, these letters form an entertaining and in.' structive miscellany; and though we are of opinion that the translator has adopted the use of auricular orthography in too great an extent, yet he has rendered the sense of his author in a stile that is easy and perspicuous.
IV. Obfervations upon Mr. Pott's General Remarks on Fractures,
&c. in Three Letters to a poung Surgeon intending to settle in tbe Country. With a Poffcripi, concerning the Cure of compound Dislocations ; in which the usual Merbod of treating Wounds of ibe Tendons and Ligaments is briefly considered. By Thomas
Kirkland, Surgeon. 8ve. Pr. iso 6d. Becket and De Hondt. IN thefe Letters Mr. Kirkland informs us, that since May
1753, he has constantly laid fractured thighs in the manner recommended by Mr. Pott, but argues, against the propriety of amputation in many cases of compound fractures ; alledging, that, however adviseable such a method may be in great hospitals, where the air partaking of a putrid quality, are more liable to gangrenes, and malignant symptoms, it is often unnecessary in the country; and as his chief reason for diffenting from Mr. Pott's opinion on this subject, he mentions the success of the country furgeons," who, says he, unless the parts are fo destroyed as to be evidently irrecoverable, fels dom amputate, and as seldom fail in their attempts to cure. From the best information I can procure, I do believe the 187
Anaten of the mor do the enty, which cons, do
Kirkland's Observations, &c? country practitioners, who have been really bred surgeons, do not take off more than one limb in twenty, which has received a compound fra&ure ; nor do they, upon an average, lole more than one in ten of those they attempt to cure without amputation. And surely, if matter of fact is of any con.. sequence, though Mr. Bilguer is far from having proved the inutility of amputation, yet he certainly has given proof enough to thew, that immediate amputation is not often neceffary.”
• Upon the whole, so far as I can judge of this matter, immediate amputation in compound fractures ought not to take place, where the joints have not suffered violently by the injury, unless the muscles and tendons are so crushed, or other, ways destroyed, as to make putrefaction not a probable, but an inevitable consequence : and it evidently appears from the anatomy of the part, that when the mortified flesh, &c. is digested off, the limb cannot be made useful; and even when the joints have received considerable injury, the necessity of immediate amputation will depend upon particular circumstances; for if only part of the ligaments are torn, and the fractured head of the bone can be taken away, the patient may often be cured, so as to have a tolerable good limb : but if the greatest part of the ligaments connecting the joint are spoiled, there cannot be any hopes of making a good cure ; and, in such cases, by deferring amputation, we lose time, omit a good opportunity of performing it, while the parts are uninflamed, and suffer the patient to undergo unnecessary pain from the subsequent in.. flammation ; without any profpet of future advantage.
• But my connections with those of my profellion have not only led me to know the success of many surgeons, whose situation affords them only common accidents, but also of several, who, as well as myself, have had the care of the workmen in collieries, lime-kilns, lead-mines, and the like, where the most violent injuries of this kind frequently happen. In these places, the bones are, for the most part, not only broken into many pieces, and their extremities, now and then, separated, so as to come away ; but they are also often forced into the ground, the principal arteries sometimes divided, and the muscles, &c. are frequently lacerated, and crushed with immense weights, even so much, that coal sieck, &c. in great quantities, is driven into the very substance of the fleth, so as . to render the accident as formidable as possible; and yet, it is a notorious fact, that, where the part is not absolutely destroy. ed, these desperate cases felcom fail of being cured, without the loss of the limb : from all which I am induced to think, that notwithstanding Speedy ampuration may be necessary and right in great hospitals, yet this ought to be no precedent for