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is produced, because the excitability becomes defective. This is indirect debility. When the exciting powers or stimulants are withheld, weakness is induced. This is direct debility. Here the excitability is in excess.” Dr. Jackson objects “to the last part which says universally, that in cases of direct debility the excitability is in excess.” The word " universally,” the only one to which he objects, is not to be found in the proposition ; of course he is stopped by a non-entity of his own creation. If it be generally true, that the abstraction of stimuli causes an accumulation of excitability, Brown's position is perfectly correct. But we will leave the doctor, with his “squalid pauper, scantily supplied with food” (which, however, is seldom found in this land of plenty) and allow him to stimulate the “meagre brat” in his own way, while we pass to his next quotation. P. 26–7. “Every power that acts on the living frame is stimulant, or produces excitement by expending excitability. Thus, although a person accustomed to animal food, may grow weak if he lives upon vegetables, still the vegetable diet can only be considered the same in kind with the animal, though inferior in degree. Whatsoever powers, therefore, we imagine, and however they vary from such as are habitually applied to produce due excitement, they can only weaken the system by urging it into too much motion, or suffering it to sink into languor. P. 28th. The doctor, from having lost sight of Brown's distinction between direct and indirect debility, endeavours to make Brown contravene his own doctrine, in calling direct and indirect debility "identity of effect,” which, according to himself, must have“ identity of cause” in the increase and diminution of stimuli, which causes are diametrically opposed. Should the law be interpreted by its declared enemies, it would be converted into an engine of oppression. When the decided foes of Brown interpret his system, “how does the most fine gold become dim !" But we will follow Dr. Jackson after he thinks to have taken by surprise this outpost from Brown, and to have turned upon him his own artillery. P. 29, he objects to the doctrine, that opium produces sedative effects subsequently to a stimulant operation, although he grants in some instances that it has a stimulant operation. The great difficulty seems to consist in the sedative effects of opium being so soon discoverable, if its primarily stimulant operation be admitted. P. 32. Dr. J. attemps to disprove the Brunonian principle by several questions more specious than solid. Let us examine the nature of the doctor's toothach. Grant that the pain arises from an interruption of the natural actions of the minima vascula of the tooth, or from spasm in them, which implies contraction without its appropriate alternate relaxation Suppose that the grain of opium taken into the stomach so far invigorates the system, that it performs its accustomed functions of health with facility. The atony which was the most probable original cause of the spasm and pain is removed by the opium. The same reasoning applies to relief from cough by opium. P. 32.“ Who takes it Copium] to produce any action or sensation in the system?” Action consists in the alternate relaxation and contraction of the fibres. Convulsion and spasm, which imply rigid muscular contraction without its appropriate alternate relaxation, likewise imply interruption of action. In tetanus there is a rigid contraction of muscular fibres without their appropriate alternate relaxation. Opium is administered in large doses in tetanus, the cure of which consists in restoring to the system its natural power of action. Is there then a practitioner of medicine who does not administer opium “ to produce action in the system.” P. 34th. The doctor, speaking of the modus operandi of opium, observes, “ the effect is to produce disturbance in the whole system,” because“ opium arrests both the secretory and excretory processes throughout the whole body, unless, indeed, it is necessary to except those of the skin." If the doctor administer opium “to produce disturbance in the whole system,” he administers it as a poison and not as a medicine ; for as a medicine it is intended to quell“ disturbance in the whole system.” But it is denied that opium arrests the secretory and excretory processes throughout the whole body," when judiciously administered as a medicine. In the cure of spasmodic diseases, opium is administered by almost every judicious practitioner of medicine throughout the civilized world. In a “ musty old book"* we are told atona spasmos gignit.” Opium relieves from spasm, because it is a temporary stimulus which restores to the tsystem for a season the exercise of its usual functions. P. 35. “Let it suffice to request any Brunonian to show an instance where folia digitalis purpuriæ or acetis plumbi have produced sedative effects in consequence of either the removal of stimuli or the exhaustion of the principle of life.” Is there any who deny folia digitalis purpuriæ in small doses increase the action of the system? In the usual dose, although it may diminish arterial action, it increases the action of the secretory and excretory vessels ; otherwise the kidneys and skin would not perform the office of conducting the effused water from the system of the dropsical patient. If Dr. J. mean by the “ principle of life” excitability, and if acetis plumbi diminish the excitability, or in other words the susceptibility of the fibre to action from the influence of stimuli, then it follows that acetis plumbi produces sedative effects in consequence of the exhaustion of the principle of life.” If we admit that the acetis plumbi acts as a refrigerant, and if caloric be a stimulus, then acetis plumbi produces sedative effects in consequence of the removal of stimuli.” What
Hoffman. + The reader who is desirous of much valuable critical knowledge on this subject is referred to Dr. Fisher's paper communicated to the M, M. society,
the doctor says respecting stimuli differing in kind as well as degree, we are perfectly willing to receive as sound doctrine. What he says respecting sedatives differing in kind as well as degree, we will notice when he shall have presented more solid objections to the Brunonian doctrine of sedatives. P. 36. “But it does not appear that Brown's inferences are logical, although his premises be granted.” Why not? Because wine and water are both stimuli, and the ratio between wine and water in their stimulant powers is as 100 : 1; and a man “ can drink in the course of an hour a pint of wine,” and therefore should be able to stimulate his system to the same degree by swallowing in the same space of time one hundred pints (or twelve gallons and two quarts) of water, “ and that no effect may be attribu- . ted to the cold, let the water be warm.” When the doctor shall have improved the generative power of our race, in such a manner that the human stomach can contain twelve gallons and two quarts, he will then have opportunity to decide whether “ Brown's inferences are logical.” But view the argument in another light. Let the man drink a pint of water the second hour after he has drunken his pint of wine, and suppose the stomach retain the whole of the wine until after the water has been drunken. Suppose there is one third more of the surface of the stomach in contact with the wine diluted with the water, than there was in contact with the wine before the water was drunken, (and this hypothesis must exceed the truth); then the stimulus communicated to the stomach, before drinking the water will be to stimulus communicated to that organ after the water is drunken as 3-5 X 100 : : 4-3 X 50 1-2 i. e. as 100 : 67 1-3. Brown's principles applied according to Dr. Jackson's hypothesis will therefore make the pint of water diminish the force of the stimulus thirty-two and two thirds per cent; this is probably not far from the truth. In this calculation no allowance is made for mechanical pressure. This course of reasoning with the conclusion proceeds from the hypothesis that a square inch of the stomach will be stimulated one hundred degrees by a certain quantity of wine, one degree by the same quantity of water, and fifty degrees and a half by the same quantity of a mixture of equal parts of wine and water.
We will pass unnoticed the former part of Brown's eighth proposition, as laid down by Beddoes, and likewise the remarks which Dr. J. makes respecting the properties of the nerves and muscles, and proceed to consider the latter part of the proposition. P. 37. “ As soon as it (excitability) is affected anywhere, it is affected everywhere, nor is excitement ever increased in a part, while it is diminished in the system; in other words, different parts can ever be in opposite states of excitement.” Brown has here, we acknowledge, fallen into an error. He has laid down a principle as universally true, which is only gente
rally so: and, on the general truth of this proposition, rests the doctrine. of the sympathies. But Dr. J. has been unfortunate in the case he has presented to disprove the universal truth of the proposition. We will now “go” where we are bidden, “to the bedside of a patient tossed by the most violent convulsions, or tortured by the most excruciating spasms.” And does our learned critic, who so forcibly appeals to observation, presume to call “convulsion” and “ spasm” muscular excitement! If he had wished to present a specimen of muscular excitement, he should have referred his reader to a circus, where he could have shown him the vault and the summerset. Brown's excitement is John Hunter's action. When a muscular fibre is affected with spasm, it is so rigidly contracted that it cannot relax, and therefore cannot act, for action consists in the alternate relaxation and contraction of the fibre. Can the doctor pretend that the man, affected with spasm, or convulsed, is more competent to muscular, than to mental exertion? Is he willing to avow the singular doctrine, “ that the sensibility in every part, except the seat of the disease, is comparatively paralyzed, while the sensibility is scarcely affected " in the seat of the disease,” or perhaps instead of being diminished, is increased “in the seat of the disease?” Brown is censured for not having shown why the brain may not have 45° of excitement, while the rest of the system shall have but 40°. Does the doctor expect Brown to prove a negative? The affirmative should at least have been plausibly shown. P.45 and 46. Dr. J. finds a “ stumbling block” in Brown's mode of describing the action of a local application in the production of a general disease, and in his not pointing out explicitly the difference between the action of the causes which produce general, and that of those which produce local disease. If any illustration be necessary, let us compare a slight cut of the finger with the lesion of a tendon in the bottom of the foot by a broad nail. In the last case the functions of the whole system are interrupted in their exercise, and tetanus ensues, which is a general disease proceeding from a local cause : in the former, the functions of the system are not disturbed in their exercise, and it remains a local disease. Although the functions of the system are not disturbed, the excitability and excitement may both be affected, and in a manner not dissimilar to the affection of the dray-horse by the whip of his driver; i. e. muscular exertion may be increased. The doctor's wish to associate the Brunonian principle respecting the attack of the system by general and local disease with going “ star gazing to learn the practice of medicine,” corresponds very well with his general desire to render ridiculous every doctrine which that great philosopher has advanced. P. 47. Dr. J. sums up his leading objections to Brown's system under four heads: 1. the deductions are not supported by “a sufficient number of facts." The gentleman should have pointed out what
constitutes “a sufficient number of facts.” 2. “ It does not account for many natural healthy operations in living beings.” The doctor should have pointed out wherein it is defective. The objections under the other two heads are similar to the preceding ones, too indefinite to be discussed within the limits of a review. He proceeds to point out and obviate the causes of the popularity of Brown's work. He makes it popular because of “its simplicity," and simplicity, because it implies facility in being learned “indulges indolence." Does simplicity of doctrine necessarily imply exemption from labour in its application to practice? does it necessarily “indulge indolence" because the smith, simply by the application of fire, assays his ore, and fashions and attempers the metal to the well finished cutlery? because a few simple axioms have been applied by Euclid to the solution of the complicate principles of geometry, does it follow that the study of Euclid's Elements necessarily indulges the student's indolence? when Brown tells his reader “symptoms are fallacious," he tells him to be cautious in trusting his diagnosis to superficial observation, for it is liable to mislead him: he drives him to the “ wearisome task of close observations, and slow and careful instructions.” When Brown would dissuade his pupils “from poring over the observations of others in musty old books,” he recals them from the system-makers and school-men to the path of careful observation and cautious experimenting. He exhorts them not to weaken their optics in searching for truth by the glow-worm light of fabled antiquity, when they may examine in sunbeams the surrounding operations of nature. He was almost the first physician who introduced the torch of philosophy into the lurid chambers of disease. The trammels of system, and the fetters of authority, the philosopher shook off. He there examined, and compared, and thought, and called his pupils “ from poring over their musty old books,” to “ go and do likewise.” The reverence with which Dr. J. speaks of Brown's rivals, aspiring after glory, exposes to view the hot-bed, which produced and still fosters his prejudices against the Elementa Medicinæ. When Dr. J. compares Brown with Mahomet, he commits an act, at which justice bleeds. Shall Brown, the illuminations of whose sublime genius neither the damps of a prison nor the horrors of poverty would obscure, be compared with Mahomet, because, when assailed by a systematised opposition not only in the means of procuring bread, but in what was dearer than life, personal reputation, he boldly brandished his lance at his assailants, and proudly challenged his superior claims to the confidence of his countrymen, and the applause of ages unborn. Il-fated Brown! thy talents created enemies, whose rancour is immortalised by thy fame! thy imprudencies, alas ! furnished them with weapons of annoyance. But thy genius and thy misfortunes have aroused a more just posterity to vindicate thy