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of these volumes ; and are bold to assert, that in so doing neither the critic, the historian, the politician, nor the philofopher will think his time thrown away.
Art. X. Experiments and Observations on Quilled and Red Peruvian
Bark; among which are included, some remarkable Effects arising from the Action of common Bark and Magneha upon each other; with Remarks on the Nature and Mode of Treatment of Fevers, putrid SoreThroat, Rheumatism, Scrophula, and other Diseases; in order to ascer. tain the Cases in which Bark may be administered, either alone, or combined with other Remedies, to the best Advantage: To which is added, an Appendix, on the Cinchona Caribbec. By Thomas Skcete, M, D.
8vo. 5s. boards. Murray, London. 1786. THIS appears to be the production of a young practitioner
in phyfic, but an industrious inquirer after knowledge. The Jesuit's bark is one of the grand specifics in medicine, and which the world is happy in the discovery of: it is natural, therefore, to suppose that any additional knowledge in its use and application must be a desideratum in physic, and acceptable to the public, especially when this knowledge tends to fhew how to derive from it the greatest efficacy. Dr. Skeete seems to have turned his thoughts this way more than medical men in general, and in so doing has rendered himself a useful member of society:
The treatise now under our observation is a collection of opinions and remarks of former writers on the bark, with the addition of many experiments and observations of its author. He tells us that he received part of his education at Edinburgh, and completed it under Dr. Saunders (to whom he dedicates the volume) and the other physicians of Guy's Hospital, in London ; that the work before us was originally written in form of a differtation, for one of the prize-medals of the Harveian society at Edinburgh, and obtained it; but that in its pristine ftate it alluded chiefly to the comparative powers of the Aat and quilled Peruvian bark, which he determines in favour of the latter ; but that the experiments he has now made on that drug have induced him to treat the subject more at large, and give the result of his inquiries to the public.
After giving us the history of its discovery, he describes the pature of bark in general; and points out those apparent qualities by which the best kind may be known: then, from a variety of experiments, shews the comparative powers of different menftrua upon the red and quilled bark, and how much of their specific virtue each was able to exiract from two drams of the powder. This is rather a curious inquiry, and as such we have thought proper to lay it before our readers.
• From two drachms of quilled bark: of red bark. Rectified spirits of wine extracts 14 grains. 18 grains, Caustic spirit of fal ammoniac
7 Dulcified spirit of fal ammoniac
6 Infusion with magnefia
He then enters into its mode of operating, and the different methods of administering it. As large quantities of it are sometimes necessary to be taken, he recommends it, in order to make it palatable and fit easy on the stomach, to be mixed with some one or other of the following ingredients, which he knows will not alter the effects of the bark itself. Milk, butter-milk, or old hock; or as an electuary, mixed up with brandy, and washed down' with Port-wine negus; or in a draught, with the mucilage of gum-arabic and some pleasant distilled water of the shops; or taken in wafer-paper.
But, continues he, as the decoction is superior in ftrength to any other mode of taking it, except when dissolved by fpirits, which would prove, from the quantity, injurious to the stomach, it fhould be contrived to render the decoction pleasant. New acids mixed with it will fometimes do this: so will liquorice, sugarcandy with gum arabic, or sugarcandy with the gum mixed with milk; or by rubbing the extract me to an emulsion, and mixing it with sugar and almonds : it may also be joined with some of the chalybeate preparations; or the extract may be made intd pills with fal martis: none of which additions will fo act on the bark as to destroy its eficacy.
But as the great end of mixing the bark with other things is, if poflible, to increase its efficacy, by extracting its virtues in greater proportion, Dr. Skeete asserts, from experiments de has made, and here laid down, that lime water, or magnesing will antwer that purpole.
For two drachms of quilled bark in powder, triturated witla two ounces of lime water three quarters of an hour, after remaining together about 15 minutes more, and palled througla filtering paper, resembled in colour the tincture of bark in proof spirits, and was more bitter to the tafe than the infusion
in cold water. But two drachms of the fame powder, and half a drachm of calcined magnefia, rubbed together in a mortar, with four ounces of distilled water, for the space of ten or fifteen minutes, (the water being gradually added, fo as to reduce the materials, in the first instance, to a paste) and then passed through filtering paper, gives a ftill redder colour, is bitterer and more aftringent, and exceeds, in specific gravity, the infusion of bark in lime water ; and is at the same time so strongly antisceptic, that it will not ferment in a week, even in summer time; whereas an infufion af bark with simple water will ferment in two days; and, add to this the mixture of magnesia with it, will prevent coftiveness.
From this he infers, that practitioners would do well to make their preparations of bark with magnesia; for though it does not extract its virtues equally with rectified spirits, it extracts them in greater proportion than any thing else will do, that will not, in the quantity to be taken, prove injurious to the patient.
In the second part of this volume our author proceeds to Thew the various diseases in which bark has been found useful, and the mode of treating patients under it. These disorders are fevers, putrid sore throats, rheumatisms, erysipelas, dysentery, small-pox, hæmorrhages, dropfies, epilepsy, and nervous disorders ; gangrenes, scrophulous affections, rickets, par-, ticular forms of phthifis pulmonalis, hydrocephalus, and the lues venerea.
The work closes with a short appendix, collected from other writers, of the Cinchona Caribbea, including the Jamaica bark, and that of St. Lucia, &c. Of this latter he' relates a curious circumstance in its chemical nature, which he received from a Mr. George Wilson, and is here given in his own words.
In the month of February last, I put, to one pound of the St. Lu. cia bark in fine powder, fix pints of rectified spirit of wine, and digested them together for fix weeks, then filtered off the tincture, and proceeded to evaporate it to the consistence of an extract. By an unlucky accident, before the process was completed, the pan tilted over, and only one pint of the tincture was faved ; which yielded eight scruples of extract, greatly loaded with a deep green oil, very acrid and bitter to the faite. I separated, by pressure, one drachm and a half of this oil, and the extract still continued to be loaded with it, through the whole of its substance. The oil is very active. It is so very disagreeable, and dwells so long on the taste, that the leaft touch of it with the tongue produces naufea. A single drop occafioned a tedious and intolerable fickness in my apprentice, who tafted it. The taste of the extract, thus prepared, is the fame, and but lietle inferior in its effects.
Having completed my process with the spirituous digestion, ļ poured upon the residuum, from which the tincture had been filtered,
three gallons of water. These were boiled together very carefully, and more water was added from time to time, until the quantity it was boiled in amounted to nine gallons. The whole was then reduced to three gallons, which being strained cautiously through fine canvas, and then evaporated to an extract of a proper pilular confiftence, yielded 'twelve ounces and seven drachms.
This was quite free from oil, and, although very bitter, did not, on tafting, produce the nausea as above-mentioned. There remained, after these processes with the spirit and water, an infipid earth, weighing fix ounces.. two drachms:
• Of the watery extract, my apprentice took a scruple repeatedly, without experiencing any nauseating effects; whereas, less than half that quantity of the
bark in substance, or even two or three grains of the fpirituous extract, never fail to excite nausea, and moit commonly: vomiting, also. I think, therefore, that we may fairly conclude the emetic quality to be resident in the green oil and resin ; and that it is not improbable, if the oil could be entirely separated, that the pure resin would lose almost (if not altogether) these effects.
. It remains now to be tried, whether the watery extract, thus deprived of the emetic quality, still retains its febrifuge properties ; which I have yet had no opportunity of determining.'
Throughout the whole of this treatise Dr. Skeete thews himself fanguine in favour of the red Peruvian bark; and we are of opinion his arguments are not without foundation ; that those who condemn it have not given it a fair trial; and that, when a greater quantity is imported, and its price reduced, its ufe will be more general.
ART. XI. The Task; a Poem, in Six Books. By William Cowper, of
the Inner Temple, Eja. To which are added, by the fame Author, An Epiftle to Joseph Hill, Esq. Tyrocinium, or, a Revieru of Schools; and the History of John Gilpin. Small 8vo. 48. Johnson. 1785. London.
THE business of a reviewer would often be insupportable, if
works of genius did not now and then reward his labour. Of the many hundred poems which pass through our hands, how few are there which survive the usual period of publication and how few are there which merit a place in a work which professes to record the progress of genius and of fcience? “ A little learning” has been “ a dangerous thing" to many a mechanic, who might have excelled in the exercise
of his lawful profession; and a little imagination, joined to an ear just correct enough to listen to jingle, has increased the number of poetasters and versifiers, whose vanity, grown into conscious excellence by habit, daily impels them to pefter the public with poems, which can neither be read or remembered ENG. Rey, Vol. VI. April 1786.
with ple-sure. An eminent writer has said, that all men, at one time or other of their lives, are poets. That unfortunate moment has accordingly been laid hold of; and many, who might have lived respected as good citizens, and men of sense, proc aim themselves dunces, for the sake of being ranked in the nun.ber of poets. No subject has been left untouched by the poets of the present age. Religion, love, and politics, are, in their turns, the unhappy objects of their choice ; and a
ge volume has frequently owed its birth to the admiffion of a school-boy fonnet in the corner of a newspaper.
While we are thus heavily taxed by dullness and vanity, we have a singular pleasure in announcing to the public the works of a poet of the first rank. Fiom the former volume of Mr. Cowper's poems in 1782, there was every reason to expeet works of a higher nature ; nor have the public been disappointed. Whatever pleasure results to the reader of taste from the effufions of fancy, the liveliest strokes of a fine imagination ; whatever cmbellishment philosophy and found sense can receive from elegant versification, from vigorous and welladapted metaphor ; is to be found in the Talk. The history of the poem, we are informed by the author, is this : A lady, fond of blank verse, demanded a poem of that kind from the author, and gave him the Sora for a subject. He obeyed; and, having much leisure, connected another subject with it; and, pursuing the train of thought to which his lituation and turn of mind led him, brought forth, at length, instead of the trifle which he at first intended, a serious affair a volume.
The contents of the first book are, Hiftorical Deduction of Seats, from the Stool to the Sofa -- A School-boy's Ramble-A Walk in the Country --The Scene described --Rural Sounds, as well as Sights, delightful - Another Walk-Mistake, concerning the Charms of Solitude, corrected--Colonnades commended-Alcove, and the View from it-The WildernessThe Grove - The Thresher – The Necessity and the Benefits of Exercise The Works of Nature fuperior to, and, in some Instances, inimitable by Art --The Wearisomeness of what is commonly called a Life of Pleasure-Change of Scene fometimes expedient-A Common described, and the Character of crazy Kate introduced upon it-Gipfies-- The Blessings of civilized Life That State moft favourable to Virtue --The South-Sea Islanders compassionated, but chiefly Omai--His prefent State of Mind supposed --Civilized Life friendly to Virtue, but not great cities-Great Cities, and London in particular, allowed their due Praise, but confined --Fête Champetre. - The Book concludes with a Reflection on the fatal Effects of Diffipation and Effeminacy upon our public Measures.