« PreviousContinue »
siderateness, to complain, is “ a perfect deletory of folly.” As madness is nearly allied to folly, he speculates upon the idea, that the gout may be applied for the cure of this extreme of mental malady. "And then,” he remarks, " for the recovery of those
poor creatures to their wits again, it will not need much consideration, whether they ought not to be excused the hard blows which their barbarous keepers deal them; and the therapeutic method of purging, bleeding, cupping, fluxing, vomiting, clystering, juleps, apozems, powders, confections, epithems, and cataplasms, with which the more barbarous doctors torment them; and instead of all their learned tortures, indulged (for a time only) in a little intemperance, as to wine or women, or so 0; or the scholar's delight of feeding worthily, and sleeping heartily, that they might get the gout, and then their madness was cured.”
It being thus evinced, that the gout is a specific for the prevention of the head-ache, the next step, in the vindication of its honour, is argument the fifth, viz., " that it preserves its patients from the great danger of fevers." Here we have, again, a keen ridicule of the jargon and slang of the schools of medicine.
“Every one knows,” says Philander, “ that a fever is a high, disorderly motion, or overboiling, of the blood, which seldom, or never, happens to gouty persons; because the malignant recrements of the blood, and nervous juice, which occasion fevers; are continually deposited in the joints of gouty persons, are there imprisoned, wasted, and consumed, by the purging, healing, cleansing, sanative fire of the burning gout. There is a natural motion and heat of the blood, partly on its natural crasis and constitution, (for, being composed of spirit, salt, and sulphur, principles vigorous and active, it spontaneously grows turgid and tumultuous, like generous wine, in narrow vessel pent,) and partly to the ferment implanted in the heart, which rarifies the liquor passing through its channels, and forces it to rise with a frothy effervescence.'
Maintaining that the gout cools down this effervescence, our author professes to pity the young and healthy, whose blood flows temperately; not, indeed, for their present ease, but because of their imminent danger. From his illustration of this danger, we may gather, that his pamphlet was written soon after the sea-fight off La Hogue.
“ For when a royal sun of France blazes and perishes in flames, painted by a brave Russel's masterly hand; when a vanquished admiral shifts off in boat inglorious ; a king of equal valour, from a safe station, all the while beholding the Monsieur's prudent care, to preserve a great commander; when a haughty mareschal is beat out of the
strongest bulwark, that fenced his master's treacherous rapine ; and to induce that master of his for once to keep the cartel, can, in spite of all his blustering, part with his sword ; when rebel invaders are disappointed, and execrable assassins punished ; at such tempting occasions as these, who can forfear a rightful, lawful, and brim-fuli glass? Yet, on so solemn a festival, if the healthy gives Nature but a fillip, it may, perchance, throw him into a fever, and that fever, perchance, cost him his life. Whereas, the man that's obnoxious to the gout, cheerfully ventures the duty of the day, well knowing, that when the worst comes to the worst, 'tis but roaring in purgatory some forty days, or so; and by that time the gout has wasted and cleansed off the tartareous recrements of undigested Falern, who knows but good news may come to make another holiday ? Purgatory, which cleanses the souls of the departed from their filth, and renders them, like burnt tobacco-pipes, clean and pure, and fit for Paradise, is a true picture of the fire of the gout, which spreads the morbific matter, that might otherwise throw the body into a hellish fever."
The crown of all these recommendations of the gout, is to be found in Philander's sixth argument, namely, “ that it cannot be cured,” which dictum, with an imposing gravity, he represents as a rude and vulgar mode of asserting, that the blessings which he has antecedently shewn to be incident to this bodily affection, will endure to the termination of the life of him who is so fortunate as to be visited by them. He expresses his extreme surprise, that any one should wish to rid himself of a companion, in default of whose due attendance,
may become obnoxious to fever and head-ache, be blinded in his understanding, lose the relish of health, and the safety of his life. To secure the advantage to be derived from this companion, he once more admonishes his friend to beware of tampering with the doctor; and holds out to him, as a warning, the example of Asa, the king of Israël, who, being diseased in his feet, “sought not to the Lord, but to the physicians," and, consequently, slept with his fathers. This leads him to a renewed attack upon medical practitioners, whom he proposes, by a bill in parliament, which he styles, a "strong cathartic act,” to purge out of his majesty's dominions. He then, briefly, recapitulates some of his principal pleas in favour of the gout; and hastily concludes, on the relaxation of a paroxysm, under the stimulus of which, he declares, he had been induced to write.
We have been somewhat copious in our extracts from this Letter, because it is a publication which our London friends cannot procure by a simple note, addressed to their bookseller in ordinary ; and which our country readers cannot, as a matter of course, receive as per order, by return of waggon, van, coach, or canal-boat. It is only to be found by those pains.
taking wights, who look, with a scrutinizing eye, into catalogues of scarce and curious books, or who have the patience to search for literary documents amongst the trash of the stalls. Our excerpts will, we flatter ourselves, vindicate our opinion, that the author of The Honour of the Gout was gifted with a considerable share of dry humour. He was evidently, also, a man of learning, and had a keen sense of the ridiculousness of false philosophy. From the vividness of his description of the pains of gouty paroxysm, for the accuracy of which, we are, according to his doctrine,“ happily” qualified to vouch, we have no doubt, that he was himself favoured by these visitations, which his natural buoyancy of spirits taught him to turn to the best possible account. Nor, as we firmly believe, has the satisfaction, which he no doubt experienced in penning this treatise, been confined to himself. As to ourselves, at least, we have, from time to time, spent an interesting hour in the perusal of it, when the acuteness and fury of the ethereal fire, which has pervaded our joints, has subsided into that gentle tingling, which stirs the faculties, and gives a man the pleasure to know and feel that he is alive. It is true wisdom which teaches us to bear, with good humour, the ills “ which flesh is heir to ;' and as an example of this genuine species of philosophy, we shall close this article, by a sonnet, which was composed by a poet, blind and poverty-stricken, on the approach of a fit of the gout.
“ 'Tis strange, that thou should'st leave the downy bed,
The Turkey carpet, and the soft settee ;
To fix thy odious residence with me.
Should'st leave those dwellings for a roof like mine,
And where thou wilt not find one drop of wine.
And fill these bones with agonizing pangs,
And teach the affluent how to bear thy fangs.
Art. III.- The Workes of that famous Chirurgeon Ambrose
Parey. Translated out of Latin and compared with the French, by Th. Johnson, Esq. London, printed by Th. Cotes and R. Young. Annô, 1634.
The illustrious name of Ambrose Parè (or Parey) is familiar to the ear of every medical man in any degree conversant with the literature of his profession. Parey was one of those extraordinary persons upon whom nature appears to have bestowed a peculiar aptitude for the study of a particular science, and who, by the exertion of their superior genius, confer a lasting obligation on mankind. Like our own famous surgeon, John Hunter, he was not a man of profound learning; but he possessed that which is often more valuable than learningoriginality of thought and capacity of invention.
Ambrose Parey was born at Laval, in the district of Maine, in the year 1509. From his earliest youth he studied the art of surgery, which he prosecuted both in the hospitals and in the army. So distinguished was the reputation which he enjoyed in his profession, that in the year 1552 he was appointed surgeon in ordinary to Henry II., and subsequently served the succeeding monarchs, Francis II., Charles IX., and Henry III. in the same capacity, as we learn from the dedication of his works to the latter sovereign. Being, in faith, a Huguenot, and firmly attached to his religion, Parey would undoubtedly have perished on that awful night which witnessed the massacre of St. Bartholomew, had not Charles IX., who duly appreciated his professional services and talents, sent for him ere the work of destruction begun, and afforded him the sanctuary of the royal chamber. Could any thing increase the detestation with which the character of Charles IX. must be for ever regarded, it is this fact, that, where his own personal interests were concerned, he could subdue the madness of his fanaticism,-but that where the lives of his subjects were the only sacrifice, he did not hesitate to offer them upon the altar of his bigotry. In the course of his professional life, Parey was frequently called upon to accompany the French armies in various campaigns, and he has left us an account of these expeditions in a short tract, entitled “ The Apology and Treatise, containing the Voyages made into divers Places, by Ambrose Parey, of Laval, in Maine, Councellor and Chief Chirurgeon to the King.” It is to this portion of his works that we propose to confine our attention on the present occasion, which we are induced to do by the very interesting nature of these travels, which will be found to afford much amusement, independently of their value in a professional point of view. Having long been regarded as the head
of his profession, and highly esteemed for his private virtues. Parey died in 1590, at the age of 81.
“ It was an enthusiastic desire of learning his profession, (says Mr. John Bell in his introduction to his excellent work on the Principles of Surgery,) that induced Parey to follow the French armies while yet very young; and we have a singular testimony of his early abilities from an old physician, who,
after the taking of the city of Turin, always called for young Parey “ when any great surgical work was in hand, because he was delighted with the bold and spirited manner in which he parformed all the great operations.” To the Seigneur le Mareschal Montjan, this old physician said, at parting, “ My Lord, you have got a surgeon young in years, but old in experience and wisdom. Keep him carefully, for he will do you both service and honour.” Parey himself tells this tale of his early days in the mere garrulity of old age, but along with this ebullition of vanity there is good sense and even modesty ; for he adds, soon after, “ But the good old man did not know that I had lived three years in the Hotel Dieu, attending the sick."
Parey begun his career in the Hotel Dieu. He perfected himself by practising in the camps and armies, and having lived in familiar society with the king and nobles of France, he finished a long, honourable, and busy life in the city of Paris. It is seen in the history of the French academy, that the princes and generals willingly took the field when they could prevail upon Parey to go out along with them; and ať the time when all the noblesse of the kingdom were shut up in Mentz, which was besieged by Charles V. in person, at the head of 100,000 men, they sent a sort of embassy to the king, their master, beseeching him to send Parey to them. An Italian captain, for a great reward, introduced him into the city. They instantly sent at midnight to awaken the prince, who commanded the city, with the good news of his arrival. The governor begged of him that he would go, next day, and shew himself upon the breach: he was received with shouts of triumph. Mentz was then the bulwark of France; and it has always been ascribed to the presence of this single man, (so perfect was their confidence in him), that they kept the city till the gallant army which lay around it, perished beneath its walls. Charles lost upwards of thirty thousand men by disease and by the enemy.
The name of Parey is held in the highest veneration by his countrymen, as the following very absurd paragraph from Larrey's Memoires de Chirurgie Militaire will testify :-“A notre passage à Laval qui a vu naître Ambrose Paré, le père de la chirurgie Française, nous nous fimes indiquer la maison qu'il avait habitée. En y entrant, je fus saisi d'un sentiment de veneration tel