Obrazy na stronie

There is nothing of war about the proceeding, except its stimulus and excitement. On the side of the poor Austrians it is just the reverse. In his letter of the same date, describing the same places, and a march over the same road, the writer can scarcely find words to set forth the sufferings, impatience, and disgust existing around him. What was pleasant to the former was intolerable to the latter. What made all this difference? asks the journalist. “One condition only; the French are victorious, the Austrians have been defeated. The contrast may convey a distinctive idea of the extent to which moral impressions affect the efficiency of the soldier."

When Dr. Rush was asked by a young man, his patient, supposed to be near his death in consumption, whether he might learn to play on the flute, the doctor told him yes, and at once said to his parents that he would get well. Parke tells us in his travels that one day, in his journey through the burning desert, exhausted with privations and fatigue, and ready, as he supposed, to die, he chanced at that moment to spy a tiny flower that had reared its head above the ground. “What!” thought he will that Providence which has watched over this humble plant, not care for me, who have been taught to regard him as a Father?” The thought revived his sinking spirits, and he immediately felt both his strength and his resolution to be greatly invigorated. Not less potent is the agency of

FEAR. How much has been said of its injurious influence as predisposing to disease, especially during the prevalence of epidemics! A curious experiment was tried in Russia with four murderers, who were placed, without knowing it, in separate beds, where four persons had died with cholera. They slept soundly and safely, none of them taking the disease. They were then put into beds, on which they were told that persons had just died of malignant cholera. The beds, however, were perfectly new, and had not been used at all. The result was, that three of them took the disease, and died within four hours.

During the prevalence of that appaling epidemic in the city of Philadelphia and vicinity, not a single case occurred among the inmates of the Cherry Hill prison, which was ascribed to the fact that the existence of that pestilence in their neighbourhood was effectually concealed from them until its severity had-abated. Doubtless the freedom of physicians from fear is one of the main causes of the well-known immunity with which so many of them mingle among patients sick with the most contagious dis


The efficacy of fear has been exhibited in instances of recovery from complaints which bade defiance to every means that science could devise. Both Doctors Batchelder and Rush mention cases of gout which were effectually dispelled by a sudden fright. An old man who for several years had suffered an annual attack of gout, was lying in one of these paroxysms, when his son, by some accident, drove the shaft of a wagon through the window of his room, with a terrific noise and a disastrous smashing of the glass. The shock was electrifying, and he leaped from his bed with the agility of a boy, forgetting his crutches and cane, which were no longer needed.

By the same prophylactic aid of fear, Boerhaave once relieved a number of persons from epileptic fits, which were occasioned by witnessing the convulsions of others. In the hearing of these patients, he gave orders that hot irons should be applied to the first person who should be attacked. The expedient proved successful, and not one opportunity occurred for a resort to this frightful remedy. And who can doubt that most of the monomania which Dr. Moore calls the fashionable apology for murder, might be effectually prevented by the restraining agency of fear, if known that certain retribution would follow the crime.

Not long ago a man in New Hampshire was convicted of murder, committed in a state of partial derangement from strong drink. Just before his execution he acknowledged that his punishment was deserved, but added, that “had I known I should be hung for killing the man, I would have let him alone."

The teachings of Broussais respecting inflammation of the stomach, made such an impression on the minds, and so excited the fears of many, we are told, as to have greatly multiplied the cases in Paris at the time. Doctor John Hunter attributed the heart-disease, by which he ultimately died in a fit of passion, to his fear of having caught hydrophobia while dissecting the body of a patient who died of that disease. When Corvisart lectured at Paris on the heart, affections of that organ, whether real or imaginary, were greatly multiplied. He agrees with Testa, another writer on the same subject, that the feelings have great influence in changing the natural action of the heart, and producing disorder. The latter author considered the powerful and irregular operations of the passions as the most frequent cause of organic disease of the heart; which explains why this complaint was so much more common in Italy during seasons of political agitation, and especially in France at the time of the Revolution, than at any other period. The French Journal of Medicine records the case of an aged female, who, from agitation and

« PoprzedniaDalej »