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No. 23. VOL. I.]
WASANTON. SATURDA、 AUGUST 3. 1816.
PUBLISHED WEEKLY, BY JOEL K. MEAD, AT FIVE DOLLARS PER ANNUM.
The following review has been received from a literary club established in this city; and as it contains some strictures on the history of an event which we shall always deeply regret, we have thought proper, for the further information of our readers, to give it an insertion in the Register.
HOLE No. 23.
we are disposed to question even the utility of works of this character. To persons ignorant of the medical science they produce nothing but confusion; and we should entertain but an humble opinion of the medical faculty, if they resort. ed to such sources for information-A smattering of medicine is more injurious than a total igno. rance-and the old woman who has derived all her knowledge from a careful perusal of Buchan, Rees or Ewell, might from the confusion it produ ces and her ignorance of the true causes and symp toms of diseases, as soon be induced to adminis ter poison as to apply the proper remedy-Medi cine is at best but a science of experiments-reducable to no fixed principles, and varying in proportion to the diversity of constitutions we find in the human family. He therefore who has tried the most experiments will perhaps be the most able practitioner of medicine-The young Esculapius who launches into the world fresh from the hand of Hypocrates, Galen, and the other fathers of the medical art, will perhaps be more ignorant of the prognostics of disease, and the method of administering a bolus or a glister, than the good old wife who has carefully noted the various changes which a disease assumes, know the efficacy of her simple nostrums, and can apply them with security and
For the National Register.
DR. EWELL'S MEDICAL COMPANION.
Je sais bien qu'il y a de bons remedes mais je ne
sais s'ie a de bons Medicines.-[Le Sage.] We think that these books have a tendency on
A work has just made its appearance in this city, called the "Medical Companion," purport. ing to be the third edition, and written, or compiled by one Dr. J. Ewell, physician in Washington. We confess that, from the hand bills posted at the doctor's doors and windows, in which this modest knight of the pestle has puffed himself, in a manner, we doubt not, quite satisfactory to himself, we had supposed the work would have afforded us much useful information, and contributed to simplify and extend the sphere of medical knowledge; but mortals are always destined to disappointment; and we have experienced it most woefully in the perusal of this "celebrated Family Physician," which, like the doctor's own narcotics, had very nearly overpowered us with sleep. We shall not detain the reader by wading through this bundle of plagiarisms and mass of compilations, in which every thing is borrowed but its stupidity, and every thing stolen but its nonsense. That it will never be worth 5 dollars to its subscribers, does not, we think, requirely to multiply quacks to destroy our confidence the prescience of a prophet to foretell, and we in the medical profession, and to make every man regret that the subscribers have paid so dearly a physician without being a doctor. It is not for their whistle. We had no idea that book mak- our intention to point out the paragraphs and paing had attained such a height in this country.ges which the doctor has purloined from sources The patronage which domestic literature receive, within every mans reach-because we conceive is so very limited, that no one could reasonably it to be a work of supererogation---Nor shall we prehave supposed a mere compilation from Buchan, sume to say that the doctor is a medical quack, Rush, Sydenham, &c. &c. would ever have made though he is certainly a literary one, and has borits way from the bookseller's shelves. To this, rowed and patched with less delicacy than any however, the doctor has contrived to procure no gentleman of the lancet that has ever come before inconsiderable number of subscribers, who, we the public-To be sure for the poetical scraps with doubt not, ere this, have repented their precipi- which he has garnished his medical wild boor, tancy. It is owing, in a great degree, to these we confess ourselves highly indebted to him; berepeated deceptions, that the growth of domestic cause in the midst of darkness a little lightning is literature is so deletory, and that American works very acceptable to prevent us from tumbling into of merit have so circumscribed a circulation. quagmires and falling over precipices. And if Men who are once deceived will endeavour to the doctor has not been very particular in the apavoid a similar deception in future, which thus plication of these extracts, for we presume that tends to check the enterprise and exertions of any thing like rhyme was sufficient, his object those who possess real science and genius. But being to swell the book; we are still obliged to VOL. I. A 2
him for administering this poetical snuff powder and movements of the enemy? why were they or to keep us awake.. dered to retreat to Washington instead of BladensBut our object is not so much to exhibit the burg? and why was not the latter the first object doctor's literary and medical incapacity, as to of defence? It must surely be obvious to the point out his prejudices and mistatements in re-most cursory observer, that this village was a lation to the capture of Washington, which has point to which the enemy could have been com. alone called our attention to his book. We were pelled to march by the destruction of the bridges, quite at a loss to conceive the connection between and that three days preparation with 6000 men a subject purely historical and one entirely medi- would have been amply sufficient to have ena'cal-and before we had seen the "celebrated Fa- bled the general to erect breast works, half mily Physician," were inclined to think that the moon batteries and other objects of defence, which doctor had deduced some fatal disease from that would thus have retarded the progress, if it did not unfortunate event; but upon examining the dif- tend to the defeat of the invading foe. But to referent medical heads, even to the bloody flux, un- turn to the doctor-one would suppose that this der which we thought the doctor might perhaps professional gentleman had absolutely been an eye have placed it; we were surprized to find it witness of the battle he describes, but whether it wholly detached, and in a manner unconnected originated from his unwillingness to shed blood with the preceding subjects. The doctor was with any other instrument than that of the doubtless influenced by vanity to give the very lancet, or whether it proceeded from that exquipartial history of this event we find in his medi-site humanity of which he so much boasts, we are cal companion; because, the doctor, like Falstaff, unable to say; but the fact is that the doctor seems to be very fond of the society of great men, could never be prevailed upon to advance nearer whether enemies or friends, and like Cockburn, than 5 miles to the scene of action. The instinct no doubt, equally attached to the service of the which influenced Falstaff not to injure the "true god of wine. The sentimental conversation be- Prince," seems to have taken possession of the tween him and his friends Ross and Cockburn, doctor, and though he could with the utmost sang was, perhaps, very interesting to himself, but we froid bleed 50 Americans to death, he had an unare sure it must be as insipid, even if it were true, conquerable abhorrence to letting out the blood as the doctor's nostrums, to the generality of his of an Englishman with his sword. The doctor readers. Whether it originated from ignorance has not been correctly informed when he asserts or design we are unable to say; but the doctor has that the "enemy instantly displayed a heavy counfortunately introduced men into the battle of lumn to the right and passed the ford higher up Bladensburgh, who were, at the time, forty miles the creek." The enemy did not throw out his off. Among these we find the name of cap flanking parties at all till he had crossed the tain Grayson, of the marine corps, who was then in Baltimore, and must doubtless feel bridge, nor did many of the troops retreat till they were actually flanked to the left and had been hurt at thus being lugged into a battle that redounded so little to the honor of his country.-ordered to retire. The principal part of the exeThis battle has been variously described, and thecution was performed by the Baltimore and Washcauses of our failure frequently developed. Some ington artillery before the enemy effected his obhave ascribed it to negligence on the part of theject, and before com. Barney and the marine corps came up. The "hideous lanes," mentioned by government: some to a panic in the American army: and others to an incapacity on the part of the doctor, were made by capt. Burch's artillery, the commanding general. Perhaps the real cause at the commencement of the action, and had they was a combination of these three. There was been properly supported, the lanes might, perhaps to the doctor's regret, have been made much more hideous. Had com. Barney's flotilla men, and the marine corps been earlier on the ground, (another faux pas of the general) the action would. unquestionably have been much more sanguinary, and the enemy's access to the city, in all probabiBut the doctor was not on the lity, foreclosed. field of battle, and only beheld it, like many others, at the distance of five miles, thro' woods and thro' mountains, from the third story of his house. His optics must indeed have been very acute to have seen the rockets in a clear day, at the distance
however a possibility of saving the city even with the army then out, if judicious measures had been taken by the general at an earlier period: and that army had not been ordered to retreat with out specifying the point at which to rally. It is acknowledged by all that the district militia behaved valiantly, and that some of the corps, in particular, fought till they were repeatedly and peremptorily ordered to retire. 'We would barely ask, why were the troops dragged for three days through Prince George's county? why were they kept in such perfect ignorance of the force I
of five miles, particularly when there intervened se- || destruction of the capitol, president's house, pub.
veral large hills and a thick wood of nearly four lic offices and private buildings, evince a mangnity miles in extent. But this is very probable, if, as and barbarity that are only to be found among the we understand, the Dr. afterwards saw the rockets rudest nations of the world, and the man who would at Baltimore, when the enemy uns .ccessfully at- attempt to justify these atrocities, merits the contempted to attack that city. Our knight of the tempt ..nd indignation of every lover of his country. lancet seems to think that because he has patched We respect general Ross for his courage and fidelihis book with poetical scraps, he is therefore entity to his country, but we cannot, at the same time,
tled to the license of a poet, and must not be con- avoid execrating him and his accomplices; the doc fined within the narrow limits of probability and tor's eulogies to the contrary notwithstanding, for truth, The Dr. is very facetious when he speaks the acts he committed himself, and suffered to be of the poltroonism of some of the troops whom a committed by those under him, while in possession. friend of his met retiring from the ground-In of the city. We are, perhaps, better acquainted this, as in many other circumstances, we suppose with the conduct of the British troops while in the Dr. is merely showing the delicacy of his hu- Washington than the doctor himself; and in oppomor-or again exercising his poetical license for sition to his authority, we declare as a fact, that the amusement of his readers; but some of these Ross knew the library to be in the capitol, and men relate an anecdote of the author equally as ri- when he was asked to spare it, he excla.med, diculous, and as they cannot be charged with poet-"pshaw, we have no time to be trifling with books,” ising, they are consequently more entitled to be- He knew also, that Washington's, Tomlinson's and lief. As soon as the Doctor had descended from Sewell's houses were private buildings yet they his arial elevation in the third story of his house were ordered to be consumed, He was apprised also in which he had been gazing at the "rockets red of the pillaging of several private houses, yet he glare" through the medium of his mental eye; one took no measures to prevent it. Among them was of these passions which he says in his book sometimes the house of a gentleman whom the doctor calls an produces a diarrhoea, seized him and he fled; if a emigrant, which he says, "was plundered of a lobster can be said to fly, to the residence of a sick few articles," but which was in truth, robbed of lady in the neighborhood. From having seen the property to the amount of $10,000! and that of rockets, or from the uproar occasioned by the retreat another gentleman who, though in the house at the of the American army, the doctor was siezed with time, and though he expostulated with the British an idea, that the enemy was at his back and would officers then present, he was plundered in the most certainly devour him, notwithstanding his humaniwanton manner, of $1,500 worth of goods and ultity, and grasping the lady's arm, with convulsive mately had his horse taken from him by this very energy, pretended to feel her pulse for nearly an liberal British general. These are facts we are hour, when it seems he was informed by a divine prepared to substantiate. Cockburn, with his own in the next house that Ross and Cockburn were hands set fire to the capitol and president's house, not anthropophagi, but "perfect gentlemen," to the by way of distinction, and afterwards boasted of great relief of the unfortunate knight of the pestle. the exploit. This illustrious rear admiral also It was then he beheld the capitol "in flames, which, broke into Mr. Gales' prinung office and did all with a noise like thunder, filled all the saddened the injury to the establishment, his petty malice night with a dismal gloom." We believe it can no could dictate, and yet these are the men this where be found but in the doctor's book, that wielder of the pestle has so outrageously bedizen. light should produce gloom, particularly when, ined with praises for their forbearance, their liberali. addition to the flames, the moon shone with unusu. ty, and their virtue. Hinc procul este profani.al brilliancy; but it is one of our authors touches There is another fact in relation to the doctor at the sublime, and as such is calculated to elicit our himself, which we think it our duty to relate, in admiration. It is unnecessary to follow our author order to destroy the illiberal prejudice he wishes through his fulsome panygerics on the courage, the to excite against those emigrants who, he says, humanity, and the generosity of the enemy. It were going to make him the "bloody victim of their would be as sickening to our readers as it is to us. diabolical rage and fury." We feel assured that no American can feel any other sentiment than indignation at the conduct of men, who, contrary to the usages of civilized warfare, could, without one sentiment of remorse, or one sigh of regret, destroy the monuments of the arts and the repositories of literature and sciences
The doctor's humanity became so excessive after he had received the " 6 doubloons”* from Cockburn, for dressing the wounds of a poor
"But it is, I assure you, says Cockburn, all the specie we have with us"-p. 648. So it would appear that the whole British army could muster no more than 6 doubloons-a most facetious and proba he not pay the doctor in the plate some of his men had just before ble story, good doctor. Why, in the name of common sense, did Vpilfered from Irm?
wretch that a British (but the doctor is inclined | to interrupt the progress of Mr. E.'s book to obto think an American) soldier had stabbed, that livion, but this account of the capture of Washupon the departure of the enemy, he repaired ington struck our eye, and we conceived it a duty with a British guard, (who were among those left we owed to ourselves, and to truth, to correct by the generous Ross to the mercy of the Ameri- the doctor's errors, and develope his partialities, can savages, and were, no doubt, well versed in with a view, at least, to suggest to the future that kind of business,) to a neighbour's house, who historian of this event, the propriety of consulting had a fine large hog in his yard, with a view to a more correct & authentic record than that which impress grumphy into the British service. But the doctor has furnished. Upon the style of this one of those emigrants who have called down the work, it is unnecessary to say any thing. Being doctor's wrath, happened to pass by at the time, as various and diversified as the authors from (the owner being absent,) and, by seasonable whom the doctor has borrowed; it consequently threats, prevented the doctor from putting his presents a medley that cannot be reduced to any designs into execution, and compelled him and standard: but as the historical part of it seems to his suit to retire without their prey. We certainly be the doctor's own, we are thus enabled to proapplaud the doctor's humanity to those wounded nounce his style below mediocrity. Before we wretches that were left behind by the enemy; conclude we would humbly admonish Mr. E. to but his humanity seems to have been confined to omit the account of the capture of Washington them alone, for the wounded of the American in the future editions of his book, if he be solicit army received but a small portion of his humane ous to promote its sale, and save himself from and benevolent attentions. The doctor's everlast- the shafts of future ridicule and contempt. Critical Society, Washington. ing slang about the liberality, tenderness, and noble sentiments of the British army while in Washington, is rather loathsome, after the outrages they committed, and certainly is very inconsistent with the feelings of an American patriot. We are unwilling to detract from the merit even of an enemy, but it surely is very disgusting to see an American loading that enemy with praise, while he labours to disparage and darken character of his own countrymen. The doctor's anecdotes of Col. Troop, though a man of great moral and political excellence, have no more connection with the capture of Washington, than his book has with the man in the moon; and how ever gratifying it may be to his vanity, he might at least have spared us the trouble of wading through that additional quantum of trash. Even the merit which the doctor assumes for having, by his remonstrances, saved Mr. Caldwell's house and the Washington Bank from conflagration, is, we, understand, surreptitious. Those buildings, if report be true, were saved through the cession of a young woman who then resided on the capitol hill.
To be sure, the doctor says he did all he could to save the rope-walks of Chalmers, Ringgold and Heath; but it was all in vain, and those ropewalks were as much private property as the houses that were spared. But it seems the enemy were determined to "spare nothing that made in favour of our navy," and thus the private rope-walks of those gentlemen became a prey to the conflagrating hand of the enemy-an act of great liberality, no doubt, in the eye of the worthy doctor.
We must here pause: it was not our intention
It will be recollected, that, before the last session of congress, the secretary of the treasury submitted to the state banks several propositions, in succession, with a view to enable the treasury to transfer its funds from places, where they accumuthelated beyond the local demand, to places where the local demand exceeded the funds; with a view to equalize the exchange between the different states; and with an ulterior view to restore the lawful national currency. The state banks, in general, declined acting upon the propositions, without offering, in any instance, an efficient substitute, for the accomplishment of objects so important to them, as well as to the government, and to the people of the U. States.
The subject, under these circumstances, was presented for the consideration of congress, and the powers of the legislature have been put in motion, to relieve the community from an indefinite continuance of the evils, which were produced by the suspension of payments in coin, at the principal state banks. The establishment of a inter-national bank, and a resolution, which provides for collecting the public revenue in the lawful currency of the United States, after the 20th Feb. 1817, are preparatory, but decisive measures.That they will be enforced and strengthened by congress, cannot be doubted by any man who is not prepared to doubt the wisdom, policy and energy of the government. It must, therefore, be an error fatal, probably, to many of the state banks (against which they are anxiously admonished) to indulge a hope, that the next session will retract, or relax the measures of the last. It is believed that not only the national legislature, but the legislature of every state in the union must take a stand in opposition to the enormous abuses of the banking system.
The resolution of congress of the 29th of April 1816, directs and requires the secretary of the trea
sury to make some attempt to facilitate the collection of the revenue in the lawful currency, even before the 20th of February 1817; and he has accordingly addressed a circular letter to the state banks, of which a copy is subjoined. The propositions contained in the circular, and the notice accompanying it, are amicable, fair and prac-Banks have converted their unproductive capital tical; and the benefits to be derived from their a- of Gold and Silver, into the productive capital of doption are expected to be principally these : Public Stock, and a restoration of the metallic capital is alone wanting to enable them, also, to resume their payments in coin.
the metallic currency. The Banks in the States to the South, and to the West, of Maryland, are ready and willing, it is believed, to co-operate in the same measure. The objection, or the obstacle, to the measure, principally rests with the Banks of the middle States; but the most important of these
i. That by requiring the banks to pay their notes of a low denomination in coin, the public debtors will be supplied with a current medium to answer the call upon them.
Under these circumstances, it will not be doubted by any candid and intelligent citizen, that a 2. That by requiring the debtors of the United simultaneous and uniform movement of the State States to pay debts of a small amount in coin, a Banks would, at this period, be successful, in the channel of circulation is kept open, for the even-revival of the public confidence, and the restoratual return of the money to the banks, as a de- tion of the lawful currency of the United States. posit. An appeal, is, therefore, made to these Banks; in the hope and the confidence, that they will adopt a policy dictated by their own real and permanent interests, as well as by the justice due to the community.
3. That by an early commencement of small payments in coin, the public confidence in the convertibility of notes into money will gradually revive, and the public mind be seasonably prepared to support the general resumption of coin pay. ments in February next.
By a resolution of Congress, passed on the 29th of April, 1816, it is declared, that "from and after the 20th day of February next, no duties, taxes, debts, or sums of money accruing, or becoming payable, to the United States, ought to be collect
In every view of the course now pursued by the treasury, we think the experiment proper to be tried. If it succeed, the advantages are incalculable. If it fail, because the requisite co-opera-ed, tion of the state banks is refused, the nation will be completely awakened to a sense of its danger, as well as to the necessity of providing for its relief, by means independent of those institutions.
or received, otherwise than in the legal currency of the United States, or Treasury Notes, or Notes of the Bank of the United States, or in Notes of Banks, which are payable and paid on demand, in the said legal currency of the United States." But in addition to this positive limitation, the Resolution "requires and directs the Secretary of the Treasury to adopt such measures, as he may deem necessary, to cause, as soon as may be, all such duties, taxes, debts, or sums of money, to be collected and paid in the legal currency of the United States, or Treasury Notes, or Notes of the Bank of the United States, as by law provided and declared, or in Notes of Banks, which are payable and paid, on demand in the legal currency of the United States." After the 20th of February, 1817, therefore the Revenue must be collected in the mode prescribed; but, even previous ly, the Secretary of the Treasury is required and directed to pursue the proper measures, for an earlier establishment of that mode of collection.
Circular addressed by the Secretary of the Treasury to the State Banks, in order to facilitate the execution of the Resolution of Congress, passed 29th of April, 1816.
Treasury Department, July 22, 1816.
By the Constitution and Laws of the United States, Gold, Silver, and Copper coins are made the only lawful money of the United States, current as a legal tender in all cases whatsoever.
By particular acts of Congress, Treasury Notes issued by the government, and notes issued by the Bank of the United States, are made receivable in all payments to the United States.
But, in consequence of the suspension of payments in coin, at many of the principal State Banks, the lawful money of the United States suddenly ceased to be a circulating medium, and the Treasury Notes issued by the government, having suffered an undue depreciation, the government, as well as private citizens, yielded to the necessity of receiving and paying the notes of the State Banks, as a national currency.
It is the sincere desire of this department, to execute the duty thus assigned to it, in a manner the most convenient and acceptable to the State Banks, and, indeed, rather to invite the Banks to a spontaneous adoption of the measures, which appear to be necessary upon the occasion, than to proceed by the mere force of official regulations. In the draft of a Treasury Notice, which accomsus-panies this communication, and which you will consider in the light of an amicable proposition, the views of the Department are conveyed as to the incipient and preparatory steps, that may, I think, be safely taken, with reference to a geneThe effect of such preparations has not however, ral resumption of payments in coin, on the 20th become visible; and an apprehension has at length of February next. If the State Banks concur in been excited in the public mind, that the tempta- the opinion, so far as their interests and operations tion of profit according to the present irregular are effected, their voluntary assent to the arrangecourse of banking, is too great, to admit of a ment will undoubtedly produce the most benefivoluntary return to the legitimate system of bank-cial consequences, and I shall proceed to announce ing, upon the basis of a metallic capital. it in official form. Permit me, therefore, to request an early communication of the decision of your Bank, upon the subject.
The present opportunity is embraced to repeat
The State Banks have hitherto excused the pension of their payments in coin, upon the alleged necessity of the act; and assurances have been given, repeatedly, that preparations were making to resume those payments.
The banks of the New England States, (which have always paid their own notes in coin) are ready and willing to co-operate in the general revival of