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Tally looks for in such productions : the attainment of perfection in this kind of writing was in reserve for Mr. Fielding in a future work.
Soon after the publication of Joseph Andrews, the last comedy, which came from this writer's pen, was exhibited on the stage, intitled the Wedding Day: and, as we have already observed, it was attended with an indifferent share of success. The law from this time had its hot and cold fits with him ; he pursued it by starts, and after frcquent intermillions, which are ever fatal in this profeffion, in which who ver is fituated, is, for a long time, in the condition of the baaiman described in the Georgics, working his way against the stream; and if he should by chance remit from his labour, he is rapidly carried back, and loses from the progress he had made.
si bracchia fortè remifit, Atque illum in præceps prono rapit alveus amni. These occasional relaxations of industry Mr. Fielding felt, and he also felt the inconveniencies of them; which was the more severe upon him, as voluntary and wilful neglect could not be charged upon him. The repeated shocks of illness disabled him from being as assiduous an attendant at the bar, as his own inclination and patience of the most laborious application, would otherwise have made him. Besides the demands for expence, which his valetudinarian habit of body constantly made upon him, he had likewise a family to maintain ; froin business he derived little or no supplies, and his proipects therefore grew every day more gloomy and melancholy. To these discouraging circumstances, if we add the infirmity of his wife, whom he loved tenderly, and the agonies he felt on her account, the moasure of his afflictions will be well nigh full. To see her daily languishing and wearing away before his eyes, was too much for a man of his strong sensations; the fortitude of mind, with which he met all the other calamities of life, deserted him on this most trying occalion; and her death, which happened about this time, brought on such a vehemence of grief, that his friends began to think him in danger of losing his reason. When the first emotions of his sorrow were abated, philosophy administered her aid ; his resolution returned, and he began again to struggle with his fortune. He engaged in two periodical papers fuccessively, with a laudable and spirited design of rendering service to his country. The first of these was called the True Patriot, which was set on foot during the late rebellion, and was conducive to the excitement of loyalty, and a
love for the constitution in the breasts of his countrymen. A project of the same kind had been executed in the year 1715, when the nation laboured under the same difficulties, by the celebrated Mr. Addison, who afterwards rose to be secretary of ftate. The Freeholder by that elegant writer contains no doubt many reasonable animadversions, and a delicate vein of wit and raillery; but it may be pronounced with safety, that in the True Patriot there was displayed a solid knowledge of the British laws, and government, together with occasional fallies of humour, which would have made no inconfiderable figure in the political compositions of an Addison, or a Swift. The Jacobite Journal was calculated to discredit the shattered remains of an unsuccessful party, and by a well-applied raillery and ridicule to bring the sentiments of the disaffected into contempt, and thereby efface them not only from the conversation, but the minds of men. How excellently he fucceeded in this design, may be felt by the reader, if he will be at the small trouble of turning over the leaves, which clore the second volume of this edition.
“ Our author by this time attained the age of forty-three; and being incessantly pursued by reiterated attacks of the gout, he was wholly rendered incapable of pursuing the business of a barrister any longer. He was obliged therefore to accept an office, which feldom fails of being hateful to the populace, and of course liable to many injurious imputations, namely, an acting magiftrate in the commission of the peace for Middllejex. That he was not inattentive to the calls of his duty, and that, on the contrary, he laboured to be an useful citizen, is evident from the many tracts he published, relating to feveral of the penal laws, and to the vices and mal-practices which those laws were intended to restrain."- ,
Amidst these fevere exercises of his understanding, and all the laborious duties of his office, his invention could not lie still, but he found leisure to amuse himself, and afterwards the world, with the History of Tom Jones.—But for our author's account of this work, we must refer to the next Number of our Review.
An Efay on the medical Constitution of Great-Britain. To which
are added Observations on the Weather, and the Diseases wbich appeared in the Period included between the first of January 1758, and the Sun.mer Scifice in 1960. Together with a
Narrative Narrative of the Throat Diftemper and the miliary Fever, which were epidemical in the Dutchy of Cleveland in 1760. Likewise, Observations on the Effeits of some Anthelmintics, particularly of the Great Baftard Black Hellebore, or Bear's Foot. Oétavo, 5s. bound.' Millar.
THE author of this essay, as appears by his inscription of
1 it to Dr. Pringle, is Charles Biffet, a Surgeon ; of whose treatise upon the scurvy we gave an account, Review, vol. XIV. p. 14. He informs us, in the preface to this essay, that “ the principal design of it is to exhibit the effects produced in the human body by the vicissitudes of the seasons, and the different temperatures, and most remarkable changes of the weather throughout the year in Great-Britain, with a view to investigate the external causes and the genuses of all the diseases incident to the inhabitants of this island, whose dirposing and exciting causes depend wholly, or in a great meafure, on the air.” This opinion is as old as Hippocrates, who applied it to the air of Greece, and indeed universally to the state of this circumambient and inhaled Auid.
Our author treats distinctly of the British air in general: of the periods included betwixt the summer solstice and the first of August; betwixt the first of August and the autumnal equinox; betwixt the autumnal equinox and the winter sol stice; betwixt the winter solstice and the vernal equinox; and betwixt the vernal equinox and the summer solstice : of the constitution of the air in the year 1758, and of that of the subsequent spring, in the dutchy of Cleveland, Yorkshire. The heads of his two other chapters are briefly comprised in the title-page, as above. As this dutchy is the residence of our author, the whole of his meteorological observations must have been taken from the state and variety of the atinosphere in the different seasons, there, which may be supposed, without any considerable error perhaps, to be similar to the general state of it throughout England, at least, during these identical Periods.
Great attention and affiduity were necessary to form and to continue, very accurately, these periodical accounts, and no little observation was required to annex their general morbid confequences, with the medical reflections and conduct resulting from them; in all which respects Mr. Bisset appears to be duly qualified. Nevertheless, his being wholly possessed, as it were, by the subject, and all the minutiæ inseparable from it, will make him sometimes, we apprehend, appear too sub
til, til, even to his medical readers. For, as the fundamental notion of this treatise inculcates the state of the air to be the cause of all epidemical diseases, it may be a matter of fome perplexity, to observe this general cause acting so very differently on the blood of individuals, under the same disease, at the very same period. We are told, for instance, p. 165,« That the blood under these flow fevers (of March and April 1758] was, in a few instances, more or less fizy; in others it was dense and black, or somewhat putrid, or of a lax and broken consistence.” Now as these are the most material, and indeed almost all the morbid diversities that can happen to the blood, it seems difficult to account for the same air and disease producing such a different, and even opposite state of it, in their common subjects, who may be supposed about the same age too, as no difference of age is specified. In fact, there seems to be too little ascribed here to the great diversity of personal constitutions, from an unrelaxing attention
to the state of the air; since persons in these extreme and · even opposite dyscrafies of the blood, whatever might have
primarily caused or conduced to them, must, with great pro bability, be sick in any atmosphere, and at any season. We are also told, in the fame page, “ That in the second class of fevers, occurring in the fame spring, their prevalent symptoms were nervous, or catarrhal, or infiammatory," without being informed which class of these symptoms prevailed most generally. This is certainly not distinct and precise enough; most epidemic diseases, in the same time and place, having some principal or distinguishing symptom, as in our late colds, as they were called, a pain in the head, and that chiefly over the eyes, was the principal complaint of a great majority. Besides, that the symptoms of many diseases are either nervous, catarrhal, or inflammatory. Indeed, when we come to our author's practice in thefe fevers, he distinguishes, " that a moderate bleeding or two, according to the indications, had a good effect in both of them, provided the party was naturally strong and healthy,” adding, “this evacuation was fometimes necessary, when it was not indicated by the pulse.” But when he proceeds to the other proper remedies and regimen, in both these fevers, he directs but one in general for them both, in all their various symptoms, “ it being the temperate and opening one, with the allowance of, some wine, which, he says, 'was of signal service.” Now, though we profess no doubt of our author's conducting himself very properly in the different circumstances of his patients, throughout the different stages and symptoms of those
diseases ; yet, as his treatise is of a didactic nature, he ought to have been more exact in a few of its therapeutic, or practical, parts, with a view to the benefit of younger practitioners and their patients. The small pox, for instance, very soon ascertains itself in whatever subject or season it occurs ; but he would be thought a strange physician, who should direct the same regimen and remedies in its different degrees, stages, and symptoms.
We would not be supposed, however, from these quotations and remarks, to intend any general detraction from the confiderable merit and excellent purpose of this performance, which abounds with just medical reflections and very pertinent observations. The following passage, towards the conclusion, contains a good practical direction, as well as a proof of the author's candour and honesty. It may also serve as a specimen of his generally agreeable manner of writing; considering the unavoidable dryness and repetitions of a journal of the weather, and its attendant diseases.
" I fall here observe, by the by, that spirit of fal ammoniac is the most efficacious medicine, next to the Peruvian bark, of any yet known, against vernal intermittents. Tho' many cases occur that will yield to no other medicine but the bark, yet I have met with a pretty many that were only suppressed from time to time by the bark, but were compleatly cured by the alcaline spirit. Those patients who are cured by the spirit very rarely relapse; but 'tis well known that intermittents, unless they be of a mild nature, are very apt to recur after being suppressed by the bark. The alcaline spirit will often carry off vernal 'intermittents without premising any evacuation ; it is, however, in general more successful if a purge is previously given; and if the patient is plethoric, or if the disease is attended by symptoms of inflammation, or personates a remittent, bleeding will also be proper previous to the exhibition of the spirit. In some cases of a flow nature, with dense or somewhat fizy blood, the alcaline spirit is the most efficacious medicine; yet, in the first state of some tertians, under an acute continued, or remitting form, it is improper. I usually direct fifteen or twenty drops of it to be taken in a tea-cup full of cold spring-water, and to be repeated five or six times in each intermission. The success of this medicine may, indeed, be owing, in some measure, to the cold water, which alone, being drunk on an empty stomach, will carry off many vernal intermittents. And as the spirit of fal ammoniac generally requires two, or three, or more days • Vol. XXVI.