Page images

passes to the foremast of a two-decker, which the boat thus tows through the water.


This little volume contains a number of theorems respecting the specific gravity of bodies, and the pressure of the air, together with their demonstrations. It describes the rude steam-engine as used at that time; and thus concludes: Lastly, the atmosphere, being of a great weight and striving to get in where there is a vacuum, I shall endeavour to shew how this vacuum is made, and in what manner this force is applied to drive the machine. In some convenient part of the tow-boat there is placed a vessel about two-thirds full of water, with the top close shut; this vessel being kept boiling, rarefies the water into a steam; this steam being conveyed through a large pipe into a cylindrical vessel, and there condensed, makes a vacuum, which causes the weight of the atmosphere to press on this vessel, and so presses down a piston that is fitted into this cylindrical vessel in the same manner as in Mr. Newcomen's engine,* with which he raises water by fire.' And he thus concludes the scheme I now offer is practicable, and if encouraged will be useful.' After this there can no longer be any question to whom the invention of the steam-boat is due-JONATHAN HULLS is the person.'

That Mr. Fulton made considerable improvements in the application of the steam-engine to the navigation of boats, is beyond all question: but while we cheerfully admit his merits in this respect, we conceive him entitled to none whatever for his various schemes for iron bridges, canals, and aqueducts, which were all previously in use in England, and to which country the invention of them exclusively belongs. The first iron bridge was erected at Colebrooke Dale, in the year 1779; and between that time and the year 1796, the date of Mr. Fulton's publication, many others had been erected in England; so that, in this department, his friends have as little to boast of in the way of invention as in that of steam-boats.

It is quite natural that the Americans should uphold the reputation of their own countrymen. We cannot blame them for it; and some allowance may reasonably be made for excess of panegyric in speaking of artists of native growth: but what excuse can be found for those who wantonly plunge into obloquy and falsehood, in order to disparage every thing English, and to extol every thing foreign-at the expense of their country? We have selected the following instance of audacious misrepresentation, from a hundred others, from a periodical paper published at Edinburgh.

After a glowing rhapsody on the superior taste and enterprize of the Americans, it thus proceeds.

'There are, in the State of Pennsylvania, two stone bridges, which,

[ocr errors]

Newcomen had brought his atmospheric steam-engine' to perfection about twentyfive years before.

[blocks in formation]


[ocr errors]

for grandeur of design and boldness of execution, will bear a comparison with the most celebrated structures of the same kind in Britain.


The first is the bridge over the Schuylkill at Philadelphia, which was begun in 1802, and was six years in building. It is 1300 in length, by forty-two feet in width. The space of each of the small arches is 150 feet, and of the middle arch 194 feet 10 inches. The top of the rock, on which the western pier is built, is forty-one feet nine inches below the common high-water tides, and eight hundred thousand feet of timber, board measure, were employed in and about the cofferdam with which it was built. This bridge cost three hundred thousand dollars.

'The bridge at Trenton over the Delaware, thirty miles above Philadelphia, is of very ingenious architecture, and is a quarter of a mile in length by thirty-six feet in width; its upper surface is a perfect level, and of the same elevation as the adjacent ground; it was begun in 1804, and completed in less than two years.'-Scotsman,* 6th Dec.

[ocr errors]

It happens that this very bridge over the Schuylkill is minutely described by Mr. Pope, in his Treatise on Bridge Architecture,' published in New York in 1811; and he sets out by saying, 'It is composed of three arcs of wood, supported by two stone piers, with two abutments and wing-walls.' From this account, (which the writer of the paragraph just quoted has evidently seen, and purposely misrepresented,) it appears that the whole length of the waterway is 494 feet 10 inches; and the two stone piers, each twenty-seven feet seven inches, making the whole length from one abutment to the other 550, instead of thirteen hundred feet; but the wing-walls are 750 feet, which, added to the bridge part, makes up the thirteen hundred. And this wooden bridge, which, with the purchase-money of the site, cost three hundred thousand dollars,'+' will bear comparison with the most celebrated structures in Britain'!-with the Waterloo Bridge, for instance, which cost eleven hundred thousand pounds sterling! The writer should have made the Waterloo Bridge of wood, and his comparison would have been complete.

The Waterloo Bridge, however, the people of Edinburgh, and of America also, may be assured, is of stone. It has nine arches of 120 feet span each; it has eight piers of twenty feet each, making the distance from one abutment to the other 1240 feet; the wings at

* This paper, which, from its inveterate scowl, appears to issue from the cave of Tro phonius, has the faculty of drawing to itself the worst qualities, the scum and feculence of the worst Jacobinical journals, which it doles out, from week to week, in a tone of dull unvarying malignity, at once wearisome and disgusting.

Every other disaffected journal has its moments of relaxation from spleen and ill-will, from persecuting all that is great, and ridiculing all that is high and holy; but this paper never remits its frantic warfare. Even Cobbett (its admired prototype) occasionally contrives to diversify the savage growl of the tiger with the mop and mowe of the ape; but the Scotsman' never lays aside the sulky ferociousness of the bear.

Most of our readers, we presume, have now, for the first time, learned the existence of such a paper. In fact, its language, which is utterly abhorrent from British feelings, naturally confines it to a particular circle-and to this we leave it.

† About 68,000l. sterling.


each end are seventy feet, so that the whole length of the bridge and wings are 1380 feet. On the Strand side, the arched approaches are 360 feet, and on the Surry side 760 feet; so that the total length of arched road way is 2500 feet.

The Trenton Bridge is also most circumstantially described by Mr. Pope. The two abutments and four piers are of stone, which support the wooden superstructure;' the four arches next to the Pennsylvania side are each 194 feet span, and that on the New Jersey side 156 feet span; so that the whole length of waterway from one abutment to the other is 932 feet; and, including the piers, 1008 feet: and this the 'Scotsman' calls ' a quarter of a mile in length' so does Mr. Pope, but then he adds the wing-walls to make up that length. And this bridge too, (which was finished in less than two years,) will bear a comparison with the most celebrated structures of the same kind in Britain'!

[ocr errors]

ART. V.-1. The History of Small-por. By James Moore, Member of the Royal College of Surgeons, &c. Longman. pp. 312.

2. The History and Practice of Vaccination. By James Moore. Callow. 1818. pp. 500.

FROM the commencement of our labours, with one or two ex

ceptions, we have purposely abstained from medical disquisitions, under the impression that they occupy a more appropriate place in publications devoted especially to their admission. The question, however, which we now propose to canvass is one in which all men are not only interested, but upon which, with the evidence before them, all are competent to decide-a question too which annually involves the lives of nearly forty thousand individuals in the British islands alone, and the constitution and personal appearance of vast numbers besides. It is, whether the recently proposed substitute for small-pox can establish its claims of being an effectual and safe preventive of that distemper? Until this question be finally decided, its agitation can never be out of time; but we have, perhaps, chosen the fittest of all periods for our remarks upon it, since the doubts of many as to the efficacy of vaccination, which had died away under the weight of evidence in its favour, have, by recent circumstances, been revived. At the moment in which we are writing, there are numberless parents suffering under the most cruel apprehensions lest their children should in after-life be obnoxious to one of the most formidable and fatal of all diseases. The vaccinated child, it is said, may resist the small-pox influence for a longer or shorter period, according to its peculiarity of constitutional temperament; but there is nevertheless a limit to this exemption, and the same small

AA 2

small-pox which cannot now be communicated even by inoculation, may, in after-life, spontaneously occur as the result of a prevailing infection. To enlarge, however, upon the importance of our present undertaking would be a waste of words; we shall therefore procéed to the business before us.

At the head of the present article we have placed the titles of two works, recently published by Mr. Moore, the one on small-pox, and the other on vaccination—as it is conceived that a succinct history of the former will impart a somewhat more lively interest to the investigation of the merits of the latter.

It is in vain that we search the writings of the ancients for the description of any disease that can be recognised as small-pox, and the inference is therefore more than presumptive that the Greek and Roman fathers of medicine never saw the malady in question. The contrary position has, indeed, been maintained by those who can discern nothing in modern science of any kind which was not familiar in a different form to the ancients. Mr. Moore more judiciously assumes the ignorance of the Greek and Roman writers respecting it, on the ground of their utter silence on the subject. Erysipelas,' he says, 'erythema, lepra, herpes, and scrofula, are fully described by them; pimples, vesicles, and pustules, are also spoken of; but there is no account of a distemper clearly characterized, like the small-pox by the Arabians, though these were far inferior writers to Aretaus or Galen, or Celsus.'

Whence then the origin of small-pox? and whence its prevalence through the whole of the civilized world? Dr. Freind expresses his opinion that its seeds were first sown in Egypt. Dr. Mead supposed it to be of Ethiopian origin, and that from Æthiopia it extended itself into Arabia and Egypt. Hic igitur morbus mihi vera pestis sui generis esse videtur; quæ in Africa primum genita, præsertim in Æthiopia, quæ pars ejus intolerabiliter est torrida, in Arabiam deinde et Ægyptum (ut vastatrix illa populorum magna pestis) iis, quas diximus, modis delata est.'

Were there, however, nothing stronger against the hypotheses of these learned physicians than the circumstance of small-pox being, with respect to its prevalence, in a great measure independent of climate or local peculiarities, this in itself would be a sufficient re futation of their notions of its origin. The mistake of these writers as to the actual nature and probable production of this distemper seems to arise principally from their confounding the ideas of contagion and infection: thus, in the quotation from Mead, it is evident that he conceives the small-pox to be a species of plague, engendered by the nature of the Æthiopian atmosphere; but it is Known that real plagues, the ν σημαία επιχώρια of Hippocrates, are incapable of being imparted, from one individual to another, in any


part of the world, whatever may be the nature of the soil, the climate, or the atmosphere, in which such communication is made.*

Notwithstanding then that our most distinct and accredited accounts of small-pox are to be found in the Arabian writers who flourished during the dark ages of European learning, it seems difficult to conceive the spontaneous origin of its virus in this, or indeed in any other part of the world; and we are naturally led to search for its existence in still more ancient records.

In the second chapter of his volume, Mr. Moore has endea voured, and we think successfully, to prove, by the details handed down from the earliest Christian missionaries to China, that smallpox existed in that country from a very remote period;' and that even the artificial mode of communicating the distemper was known and practised by the Chinese many centuries antecedent to the diffusion of the poison through other regions of the globe.

The missionaries (says our author) who were sent into China by the church of Rome, from their address and insinuation gained access to their historical records; and they have transmitted detailed accounts of the history of the Chinese, and of their knowledge in various branches of science. There is a memoir written upon small-pox by the missionaries at Pekin, the substance of which is extracted from Chinese medical books, and especially from a work published by the Imperial College of Medicine, for the instruction of the physicians of the empire. This book is entitled, Teou-tchin-fa, or a treatise from the heart on smallpox; which states that this disease was unknown in the very early ages, and did not appear till the dynasty of Tcheou, which was about 1122 years before Christ. The Chinese name for the malady is a singular one, Tai-tou, or venom from the mother's breast; and a description is given of the fever, the eruption of pustules, their increase, flattening, and crusting. In the same Chinese book there is also an account of a species of inoculation discovered seven centuries previously; but according to a tradition it had been invented in the dynasty of Long, that is, about 590 years after Christ. Father d'Entrecolles, the Jesuit, (continues our author,) mixes, in his correspondence from China, some information respecting the small-pox, which confirms the material part of the above information, for he notices having read some Chinese books which mention the small-pox as a disease of the earliest ages. He also describes a method of communicating the disease, which was occasionally used, and called sowing the small-pox: this was generally performed by planting some of the crusts up the nose, an operation which was approved of by some, but disapproved by most authors.'

* This indeed constitutes the great leading distinction between contagious and infectious diseases-that the one are independent of place and circumstance, the other not. A great deal has recently been said on the non-contagious nature of the plague, and it should seem, at least, probable, that this disorder is incapable of transference in the way that our quarantine laws suppose; but utterly to deny its infectious quality is to fly in the face of all fact. Plague is an infectious, but not, perhaps, properly a contagious distemper.

A A 3


« PreviousContinue »