« PoprzedniaDalej »
such an effectual regulator of their passions. Every lady, therefore, may avail herself of the instructions of this pocket-monitor; a monitor, who will give her the most profitable lessons, without the usual impertinence of advice. It will be of equal efficacy if worn by the men. But I expect my friend will have but little of their custom; for as the mere reputation of chastity is the utmost aim of a fine lady, to preserve even that, in a fine gentleman, is accounted mean and unmanly.
No. V. THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 28.
Σκήψας ἐλαυνει λοιμος έχθισος πολιν.
A plague has seiz'd us, and the tainted city
TO MR. TOWN.
Batson's Coffee-house, Feb. 26.
I MUST beg leave to trouble you on a most serious and melancholy subject; a subject, which I fear will be attended with the most dreadful consequences to the whole nation. Notwithstanding the last mail brought the college positive assurances from the French king's physicians, that the late plague at Rouen was entirely ceased, I have the strongest reasons to apprehend, that the contagion is already spread to this city. My own practice daily furnishes me with lamentable instances, that manifestly indicate a pestilential disorder in the blood and humours.
I was first induced to suspect, that some epidemical distemper was taking root among us, from my be
ing called in to a noble patient, who (as the public prints have informed you) has lately been afflicted with a violent boil on his back. From this patient there have issued continually great quantities of corruption of a yellow hue. His complaint seems to be in some sort constitutional, as it commonly breaks out with extraordinary virulence every seven years; and as this is the crisis, we cannot pronounce our noble patient out of danger, till he has got over the ensuing spring. It is moreover to be feared, that the contagion has likewise reached Ireland; where we hear that the best physicians are using the most forcing medicines, and are of opinion that nothing can relieve the unhappy people, till they have voided a stone. A great man there labours also under the abovementioned complaint of having a violent BOYLE on his back*.
I shall now proceed to give you the history of some other cases, which have fallen under my notice, and are to me an indisputable proof that the plague has got footing among us. Its malignancy shews itself. particularly about the court; and we are assured, that some parts of the country are also tainted with it. I have had the honour to attend several members of parliament, whose cases are very desperate. Some I found in a declining way, given over by all their friends; others are so weak, that they cannot stand alone; and many are so restless, that they are continually turning from side to side. As I found they had great need of support, I have advised them to drink plentifully of strong liquors, and guard against the ill consequences of a return.
I visited, the other day, a young gentleman, who has lately been promoted to a command in the squadron designed for the East Indies. I found him in a most languishing condition; his spirits were quite de
* Alluding to some disputes in Ireland.
pressed; he had a violent palpitation of the heart; and the whole nervous system was relaxed. I would have prescribed the well known diet-drink brought into practice by the late bishop of Cloyne; but he told me, every thing went against his stomach, that savoured of tar. However, I at length prevailed on him to submit to a long course of sea water. I have
observed the same prognostics in some of our land officers; to whom I have recommended the frequent use of exercise, together with a course of steel, and a powder composed of nitre and sulphur.
A friend of mine, one of the common-council men of this city, is infected to a strong degree with the present pestilence. His chief complaint is a canine appetite; and his wife assures me, she has often felt the wolf in his belly. The seat of this distemper is orginally in the palate, and discovers itself by a watering of the mouth from the salival glands, and a grinding of the teeth as in the action of mastication. This disorder being very common in the city, and likely to spread among the livery, I have directed him to perform quarantine for forty days, by abstaining from flesh during the present lent.
I know another, a very worthy alderman, who now lies in a most deplorable condition. He is swelled to a most enormous size; his whole face, and particularly his nose, is crusted over with fiery pustules of the confluent kind. He is afflicted with an insatiable thirst, and is very subject to falling-fits. I was sent for last night, when one of these fits had just seized him. He lay to all appearance dead on the floor, wallowing in the midst of a fetid mass, partly solid, partly fluid, which had issued from his mouth and nostrils with repeated eructations. I would immediately have administered to him a proper dose of Aq. Font. tepefact but on offering him the draught, he shewed the strongest symptoms of a confirmed hydrophobia.
I went out of charity to see a poor tragic author, (no reflection upon any of the profession, Mr. Town) who has been obliged to keep his room all the winter, and is dying by inches of an inveterate atrophy. By his extravagant ravings, sudden starts, incoherent expressions, and passionate exclamations, I judged his disorder to be seated in the brain, and therefore directed his head to be blistered all over. I cured another, a comic author, of a lethargy, by making a revulsion of the bad humour, from the part affected with stimulating cathartics. A short squabby gentleman of a gross and corpulent make was seized with a kind of St. Vitus' dance, as he was practising Harlequin for the masquerade: His whole body was convulsed with the most violent writhings and irregular twiches; but I presently removed his complaint by applying blisters to the soles of his feet.
The plague, as I observed before, puts on different appearances in different subjects. A person of quality, one of the club at White's, was seized with the epidemical phrensy raging there, which propagates itself by certain black and red spots. He had suffered so much loss by continual evacuations, that his whole substance was wasted; and when I saw him he was so reduced, that there was no hopes of a recovery. Another nobleman caught the infection at New-market, which brought upon him such a running, that he is now in the last stage of a galloping consumption. A reverend divine lately made a dignitary of the church, has unhappily lost his memory; and is so blind withal, that he hardly knows any of his old acquaintance: the muscles of his face are all contracted into an austere frown, his knees are stiff and inflexible, and he is unable, poor gentleman! to bend his body, or move his hand to his head. I have observed others seized at times with a strange kind of deafness; and at certain intervals, I have found them so prodigiously hard of hearing, that though a