Page images

we ought to understand by that word. That there is something within us, which perceives, thinks, and reasons, is manifest beyond contradi&tion ; and yet the nature of that fomething cannot be fully and perfectly comprehended in this life. Wherefore I shall resign the disquisition of this point to those, who, while they know too little of, and care less for things falling under their senses, take great pleasure in investigating those things which human reason is incapable of conceiving. However, thus far the foundest philosophers agree concerning it, that it is fomewhat incorporeal. For, how can sluggish matter, which is of itself void of all motion, be the source and first cause of thought, the most excellent of all motions? Wherefore, it is sufficiently evident, that this first mover within us is a spirit of some kind or other, entirely different and separable from terrestrial matter, and yet most intimately united with our body.

Moreover, to me it seems probable, that this active principle is not of the fame fort in all; that the almighty Creator has endowed man with one fort, and brutes with another ; that the former so far partakes of a divine nature, as to be able to exist and think after its separation from the body ; but that the latter is of such an inferiour order, as to perish with the body. The former was by some of the ancients called animus, the latter anima *; and they believed, that they were both ingendered in our fpe* Juv. sat, xv. 148.

Principio indulsit communis conditor illis

Tantum animani, nobis animum quoque. Vide etiam Davisii not, ad Ciceron. Tusc. disput. lib. i. cap. 10.

cies :

cies : but: this I take to be an erroneous position, For as their anima fuffices for the functions of life in brutes, so our animus stands not in need of such an assistant. Now, this matièr, if I am not mistaken, stands thus : fuch is the composition of our fabric, that, when any thing pernicious has got footing within the body, the governing mind gives such an impulse to those instruments of motion, the animal spirits, as to raise those commotions in the blood and humours, which may relieve the whole frame from the danger in which it is involved. And this is done in fo fudden a manner, that it should seem to be the effect of instinct, rather than voluntary motion ; though it be effected in us at the command of the animus, and in brutes by the power of the anima. And indeed, those


motions 'which are common. ly called natural and vital, as thofe of the heart, lungs, and intestines, which persevere through the whole course of life, even when the will cannot be concerned in them ; 'as they have their beginning from the mind, so they are perpetually under its direction. I could easily bring many arguments in confirmation of these sentiments, but they would be fuperfluous in this place." Besides that I am happily anticipated by the learned and ingenious Dr Porterfield, fellow of the royal college of physicians at Edinburgh, who, in a curious dissertation published fome years since *, has treated this subject with such perfpicuity, that there can be no room left for doubt.

But from philosophy I return to medicine. Our fagacious Sydenham was so far of this opinion, as to

Vid., medical essays published at Edinburgh, vol. ii. essay xii. and vol. iv. eslay xiv,


[ocr errors]

affert, that a disease is nothing else but an effort of nature to throw off the morbific matter, for the health of the patient * And Hippocrates, in his usual manner, laconically expressed the fame thing thus :

Nature is the curer of diseases t." Now, this I have observed more particularly in pestilential fevers, in which the violence of the distemper breaks forth on the skin in the form of poftules, carbuncles, and buboes ; all which are the very venom of the disease, as the common experiment of giving the finall-pox by inoculation plainly demonstrates. Thus having made it appear, that the small-pox is an invenomed fever, I come to explain its different forts; for as to its history, I refer to Dr Sydenham, who was the first that divided its whole course into certain stages, and gave

the method of cure in each. Most authors divide the small-pox into the distinct and confluent forts, and estimate both forts by the size, number, and manner of eruption of the pustules. But in the prognostic, they make so wide a difference between them, that they pronounce the former fort to be almost void of all danger, but the latter always dreadful in its consequences. Thus much indeed is most certain, that the confluent fort are, generally speaking, much worse than the distinct, and that many more die of those than of these.

But yet it sometimes happens, that a distinct fort may prove more dangerous than the common confluent fort. Moreover, there are many symptoms extremely dangerous, which are peculiar to the distinct kind, as I

* Observation. medic. circa morborum acutorum hiftoriam, at the beginning. + Nórwy Póosts in t goí. Epi. dem. lib. vi. Vol. II.


shall mew anon. For the danger does not so much arise from the quantity of the purulent matter, as from other circumstances, which shall be explained in their due place.

Wherefore, in my opinion, the small-pox may more accurately, and agreeably to the nature of the difeafe, be divided into fimple and malignant.

I call simple all that fort, in which the eruption is attended with a flight fever of short duration, the pufules fill kindly, make good matter in a few days, and, in fine, falk off in dry fcabs.

The malignant fort is that, in which the eruption appears with a malignant fever, the pustules hardly come to any tolerable degree of maturity, and either fuppurate not at all, or if they do in some measure, as the fever is never off, it is with great trouble that they at length end in little crusts.

That malignity appears in such various forms, ac cording to the different nature of the pustules, that its characteristic signs have given various appellations to the finall-pox : whereof the chief differences, which have fallen under my observation, are these that follow. For the puftules are either crystalline, warty, or bloody. I am well aware, that authors have run into a greater number of fubdivisions; but I look on the rest to be either a combination of fome or all of these, or only different degrees of the same kind : a thing which frequently happens in an irregular difease.

I call those pustules crystalline, which, instead of thick, well-digested matter, contain nothing but a thin, pale water, and are in fome measure pellucid.



And this fort is sometimes observed, not only in the confluent, but also in the distinct small-pox.

They are called warty, when the pustules contain no fluid, but grow hard and prominent above the skin in the manner of warts. These are peculiar to the distinct fort. The bloody pustules are produced more ways than

For I have seen cases, where, at the very beginning of the disease, the puftules were so many linall tubercles full of blackith blood, resembling thole raised on the skin when pinched with a forceps. And these were followed by an intermixture of purple and livid spots, such as physicians describe in the true plague. But it more frequently happens, that pustules coming out very thick, on the third or fourth day after, when they ought to fill, become livid, and a little bloody, with black spots spread over the whole body; which forebode death in a day or two, because they are real gangrenes. It very often falls out at this tinie, that a thin blood flows not only out of the patient's mouth, nose, and eyes, but also by every outlet of the body; but more especially by the urinary passages, through which it likewife issues fometimes on the first days of the distemper. These are manifestly of the confluent fort.

To thefe Dr Freind * bas added a fourth kind of small-pox, which he calls filiquose, in which the puNtules resemble little round, soft, hollow bladders, and contain no Auid. But this I place among the .crystalline sort; the only difference between them being, that in this case one part of the Auid, which had been thrown into the pustules, flies off through * Epift. de quibusdam variolarum generibus.


[ocr errors]
« PreviousContinue »