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The sum of the weights required to break the former was ... ... ... ........................................ 9lb. O OZ.
The sum of those required to break the latter was ....................
............. 71b. 4 oz. . Each of the portions immersed in the wine being stretched by a weight of six ounces, the sum of the extension was six degrees nearly. That of the standard, in similar circumstances, was twelve degrees.
From the foregoing trials (says our Author) it appears, that the firmness, elasticity, and strength of the intestines of a kitten, are considerably increased by immersing them three days in port wine. I have found, however, that a much less time than this is sufficient for the wine to produce its full effect. In several experiments a mavifest increase of cohesion appeared to have taken place in less than an hour; and after ten hours have elapsed, I believe no further aug. mentation is produced.
Experiment 2d. Being desirous of trying the effects of sherry wine, I took six por tions of the small intestines of a kitten as before. Three of them were immersed during ten hours in sherry, and three in water, as a standard.
The weights required to break the former were, to those required to break the latter, as 14 to 11 nearly. The extensibilities were nearly as 8 to 12. Hence (says Dr. C.) it appears that the strength of the intestine is somewhat more increased by immersing it in sherry than in port wine; but that the latter gives rather greater elasticity than the former.'
Dr. Crawford is, however, aware of the objections which may be urged, that although the wine acts as a tonic and corroborant upon the storpach of a dead animal, it may not produce the same effects upon a living one, and in order to meet these objections lie introduces the following observations.
• It must be admitted, that the changes which medicinal substances hare a tendency to cause in the simple solids, may be modified in a great degree, and in some cases altogether counteracted by the principle of life. But there are many reasons which render it probable that in this instance the effects of the wipe upon the living and dead fibre are not very dissimilar to each other. We know that port wine produces a considerable constriction upon the tongue and palate; that when the stomach is much distended with food, a moderate quantity of wine gives it additional tone and vigour, and that it increases the general strength of the body.'
Ex se scuzTag csu. Port wine, we bere see, is referred to by Dr. Crawford, as “ producing a considerable constriction • upon the tongue and palate,' more than is produced by sherry · wine; and we know generally that the topic effects of the former, are superior to those of the latter; and yet it appears, by the candid confession of our ingenious experimentalist, that the
• strength of the intestine is somewhat more increased by immersing it in sherry than in port wine.
But we must here find room for one experiment more. Dr. C. informs us, that for the purpose of trying the effects of wine upon the stomach of a living animal, he instituted the following experiment.
Experiment 3rd. I took two kittens of the same 'litter, as nearly equal in bulk as possible. They were about a fortnight old. To one of them I gave two tea spoonfuls of port wine, mixed with an equal quantity of milk. To the other I gave as much pure milk. At the expiration of an hour they were drowned. The stomach of the kitten that had swallowed the wine was then separated from the duodenum and esophagus; and an incision being made along the shortest line from the cardia to the pylorus, the coagulum of milk and wine was removed ; the stomach was laid upon a flat piece of cork and divided longitudinally into two equal parts. These were then cut in such a manner that each of the portions should be so of an inch broad.
The sum of the weights required to break
them was.................................................. 24 oz. • The same experiments being made with similar portions of the stomach of the other kitten;
The weights required to break them were 19 oz.
The sum of the extension of the former when each of the pieces was stretched by a weight of six ounces was ... ... ... ... ............ To of an inch.
The sum of the extension of the latter when i
stretched by an equal weight was ................ 1 inch. • The stomach which had been exposed to the action of the wine was much firmer to the touch than the other. It contained less gastric juice in a separate state, and it had acquired a faint red colour.
Some of our readers will probably feel a degree of repugnance against any thing in the shape of experiment on living animals : in the present case, however, it may be remarked, that there was nothing like torture employed. The anjinals subjected to the experiments, would probably have been killed, hail they not been selected for this purpose ; and the matters introduced into the stomach previously to depriving them of life, could not have occasioned any considerable uneasiness.
We have extracted at length the above experiment, in order to do justice to the arguments and inferences of Dr. Crawford ; but we must still take occasion to object to the unqualified deduction which he is disposed to draw from this experiment upon living matter. Does it follow, that because the stomach, or that part of it which was subjected to trial, became firmer to the touch from the action of the wine, that therefore all the other parts of the frame partook in a degree of this auginented tone? Should not the experimenter have subjected a part of the intestine which the wine bad not touched, to the comparative trial with the same part from another animal which had taken no wine, in order that the Dr. might have formed a just estimate of the general, not merely local influence of the agent in question ? And is it not possible that some materials, (for example, the metallic tonics,) might have proved less influential in occasioning an immediate and local increase of hardness, while their effects upon distant portions of the organization would have been greater ? Indeed, this last supposition we find in some measure verified by subsequent experiments, in which less corrugation and less hardness were produced upon the fibre, by substances of a superior tonic power, than by such as allowedly possess this principle in a minor, or less marked degrees
Dr. Crawford, in pursuing his experiments with vinous and spirituous liquors, found, that while these fluids increase the strength of the stomach both in a dead and living animal, they on the contrary diminish the cohesion of the skin in the latter. This he ascertained by subjecting portions of the skin to the same material, and in the same manner as he had done parts of the stomach; and from this fact he reasons in the following manner.
Is it not probable that when wine is mixed with the blood and carried by the circulation to the surface, it will produce a similar effect upon the skin of a living animal *. If this be admitted (he goes on to say) it will I apprehend throw some light upon the mode of operation of wine when it is employed as a medicine. There is, I think, no doubt that vinous liquors principally act upon the nervous system. They appear, when taken in moderate quantities, to excite the energy of the brain, and to increase the activity of the vital principle. But besides these effects, we learn from the preceding experiments, that wine augments the tone and vigour of the stomach, and at the same time relaxes and debilitates the skin. Does it not by means of these properties, determine from the centre to the surface of the body? and hence does it not, when judiciously administered, assist in preventing morbid affections from falling upon parts which are essential to life, and conspire with the efforts in nature in throwing off what is injurious by the pores of the skin ?
Although adds our Author) the preceding experiment may appear to throw some light upon the operation of wine as a medicine, yet I am far from thinking that they contribute in any degree to determine the question respecting the utility of this liquor as a common
* " From the experiments of Dr. Monro, it appears that alcohol and opium are capable of being taken up by the absorbents, and mixed with the blood.'--Author.
beverage. For, not to mention the tendency of wine to produce the phlogistic diathesis, we know that when it is taken into the stomach in considerable quantity, it frequently runs into acetous fermenta. tion. And I have found that vinegar diminishes the cohesion of tbe stomach and intestines, as well as that of the skin, and of all other parts of the animal body.
• It appears from experiments third and seventh, that when we give a large quantity of ardent spirit to a living kitten, the effects produced upon the cohesion of the stomach are very different from those which take place when we introduce a small quantity of wine, i diluted with an equal weight of milk. For in the latter instance the cohesion is increased; in the former the stomach is inflamed, but its cohesion does not sensibly deviate from the natural standard. And I we know that in a dead animal pure spirit upon its first application to the stomach occasions a very considerable augmentation of strength.
These facts appear to lead to the following conclusions :- Vinous and spirituous liquors introduced into the stomach of a living animal, have a direct tendency to stimulate the fibre and increase its cohesion. When these liquors are diluted to a certain, degree, the increase of activity and of tone which they impart are such as can be sustained without injury. But when ardent spirit is given in considerable quantity to a young animal, it violently inflames the fibres of the stomach, and it would appear that the spirit does not possess the power of communicating an increase of cohesion to a part which is highly inflamed.'
We have ventured upon this long extract from our ingenious Author, as we conceive that it comprises a great deal that is of practical importance, mingled and tinctured as it appears to us with somewhat of an erroneous theory.
With respect to wine determining from the centre to the < surface of the body, and in this manner conspiring with the efforts of nature to throw off what is injurious to the pores of the skin, we would ask whether this therapeutical hypothesis is not. grounded too much upon the antiquated notions of a materies morbi floating about in the system, which it is the object of medicinal agency to dislodge? And even assurning the possibility of accomplishing this object, would not the effect be more surely produced by such substances as are more regularly and certainly sudorific, than by wine; which, notwithstanding its universality of relaxing agency upon the skin of a dead animal, is far from invariably producing this effect upon the surface of the living body?
Again, Dr. Crawford, while in point of fact, he very justly infers the injurious quality of wine as a common beverage, argues upon the quo modo of such injury, in what seems to our comprehension an erroneous manner. That wine has a tendency to increase the phlogistic diathesis, and is therefore
generally mischievous in its daily and habitual use, we readily admit with our Author; but when he infers its noxious influence from its running into acetous fermentation, and there. by producing vinegar, which vinegar 5 diminishes the coheósion of the stomach, &c.' we think his pathology, as before hinted, rather too much imbued with merely chemical notions.
But our principal object in calling the attention of the reader to the above extract, is for the purpose of representing in a lively manner to those who may not be already convinced of it, the obvious injury that the stomach and contiguous parts must almost necessarily sustain, from a continued use of spirituous liquors. Let the individual who is in the practice of daily potation of even diluted spirits, consider, that the tem-. porary excitation which they occasion is a greater or a less degree of actual inflammatory action; and that thús, besides the injury to the nervous system which this insidious practice has more than a tendency to produce, absolute disor. ganization and schirrous obstructions (the consequences of continued inflammatory excitations) must almost unavoidably, in a larger or smaller measure, be its result. Palsies, on the one hand, and dropsical affections, on the other, are probably often induced by the habits in question, when either the subject of them, or his friends, have not the most distant suspicion that the calamities alluded to are self-inflictions. It may be inferred from the above experiments, as indeed we know from daily observation, that wine is a less pernicious material for habitual ingurgitation, than ardent spirit; but even wine cannot be taken in any considerable quantity, and with daily repetition, without producing some degree of that mischief which is occasioned by the use of spirits of a less disguised and more unequivocal character.
The success with which spirits are given to some young animals, in order to check and stunt their growth, ought to serve as a caution against the use of spirituous and stimulating liquors in any form, especially to young persons. The parlour-boarder tea and wine, have perhaps done more in after life towards the production of vapours, and the long train of nervous affections, than is generally suspected. We have already, in a former article *, insisted upon the absolute impropriety of giving any thing to young and growing persons beyond substantial nutriment. Excitation without nourishment is ever to be deprecated.
Narcotic substances are the second agents, the effects of which Dr. Crawford endeavoured to ascertain ; first, upon the intes
* See our Review of “ Southey on Consumption."