Images de page
PDF
ePub

ing. And good effects have been produced by both methods in some instances. But then large doses have proved dangerous and even fatal in cases of much prostration, and where there existed an inflamed or highly irritable condition of the gastrointestinal mucous membrane, or serious lesions in some of the viscera, and disposition to chronic diarrhoea. The indiscriminate use of Dr. Chambers’ medicine was attended with a good deal of danger, and in some instances with speedily fatal consequences. Such remedies ought only to be employed under the direction of a prudent physician, and adapted by him to individual cases.

We need be at no loss to determine the principle on which the substances alluded to, for the most

It is by destroying existent associate feelings, and creating others of an opposite character. To hin that has yielded to habits of intemperance, many pleasing associations are awakened by the sight, or the thoughts of his loved liquor. Day after day perhaps it has cheered his depressed feelings, dispelled from his mind the real or inaginary evils which were weighing with a painful pressure upon it, or relieved the distressing bodily sufferings to which he is subjected. Such have repeatedly been its immediate effects, and the cause which produces them will be loved and sought after ; even its taste will become delightful. Now could we in place of such tempting associations, connect with the liquor those of a forbidding and

part act.

W

painful character, as sickness, distress, or a disgusting taste, analogy would certainly lead us to hope for some advantage. The principle of association or suggestion extends its actuating influence over the whole animal constitution, and our sensual as well as intellectual tastes and habits are in continued obedience to its control. Under its influence the most lovely objects may excite our disgust, and the most hateful become agreeable. Administer antimony frequently to a child in his favorite food or drink, and see how soon he would get to loath them, even without the medicine. This is a matter of so familiar observation that judicious mothers and nurses ever wish to avoid administering medicines in substances which they are desirous a child should take for nourishment. Many a child has long loathed a favorite sweetmeat because it had been made the vehicle of a nauseous drug. The taste however is so firmly established in the drunkard by previous associations, that new ones can by no means always permanently eradi. cate it.

Some have thought that intemperance is strictly a physical malady, and that the urgent desire for strong drinks, like fever, bulimia, &c. originates in morbid material changes, which like other diseases are to be restored by internal remedies. Little ignominy consequently should attach to the drunkard, and moral treatment would be but of minor consideration. Now that it becomes a disease no one doubts, but then it is a disease produced and maintained by voluntary acts, which is a very different thing in my view from a disease with which providence inflicts us.

Our laws rightfully recognise a difference between a crime committed under voluntary and involuntary insanity. On the like principle stealing may be regarded as a physical malady, meriting pity rather than blame. The thief longs most ardently for gold ; his feelings and condition are truly distressing without it, and thus by a sort of physical necessity arising out of a morbid condition generating this desire, he is impelled to take it, in the same way that the drunkard is driven to swallow rum to satisfy his morbid desire. Now strong motives are and should be held up in the community to prevent those vices which affect its safety and well being. Ignominy and disgrace should ever be associated with intemperance, no matter how much, there is not yet enough to prevent the spreading evil. It is a crime striking deeply into the very root of all peace and good order in society. Its effects are not confined, as some foolishly assert, to the individual ; the common expression that a drunkard is an enemy but to bimself conveys a falsehood ; his evil influence extends to his family, his friends, and indirectly to society at large. It is a crime equally, or perhaps even more injurious in its effects on the community, than many which receive the severest of the law's penalties. There is scarcely a vico but that follows in

a

the train of intemperance. There may be philosophy in the belief, that evil habits are dependent on material disease, and are frequently to be encountered by medicinal agents, but let it prevail, and peace and good morals must fall before it. Calomel and phlebotomy will never eradicate from the mind of the thief his unlawful desires. And I feel convinced that should the opinion ever prevail that intemperance is a disease like fever, mania, &c., and no more moral turpitude be affixed to it, drunkenness, if possible, will spread itself even to a more alarming extent than at present.

ARTICLE X.

OBSERVATIONS ON ABORTION.

By E. HALE, JR. M. D.

Fellow of the Society.

The frequency with which abortion occurs among us, and the importance of the consequences which either directly or indirectly result from it, render it a subject of great interest in medical practice. And yet the difficulties which attend the practice seem to have been less fully discussed than in regard to those of most other branches of professional knowledge, of equal importance.

I have no data upon which to form any very accurate opinion in respect to the actual number of abortions, in comparison with the number of births at maturity ; but from several circumstances I have the impression that the number is much greater than seems generally to have been supposed. Denman, Burns, and other writers speak of abortion as of

« PrécédentContinuer »