« السابقةمتابعة »
eyes once a week, and frees them from all rheums, driving them back by way of repercussion; taken into the stomach, it will heal and cleanse it; for, my Lord Sunderland, President of York, taking it downwards into his stomach, it cured him of an imposthume, which had been of a long time engendering out of a bruise he had received at football ; and so preserved his life for many years.'
5 These are the words of Howell, in his letters, where he enlarges on the praise of tobacco.
"IV. But there is still another medicine of astonishing virtues, which have been circumstantially related by Matthiolus, an Italian physician of the sixteenth century; it is 'a liquid which, when skilfully prepared, proves a powerful antiseptic (an opposer of corruption] to every thing steeped in it; and so, by removing all tendency to corruption, it is a comforter and a restorative, and preserves and prolongs the lives of those who use it. It not only cherishes the natural heat, and preserves it in its full vigour, but it likewise renovates, as it were, and vivifies the animal spirits, gives an agreeable warmth to the stomach, sharpens the apprehension and understanding, clears the eyesight, and repairs the memory; it is more peculiarly beneficial to those who are of too cold a temperament, and who are subject to crudities of the stomach, and other disorders proceeding from cold affections. It therefore affords a sovereign relief to all who are tormented with pains in the stomach or bowels, proceeding from wind or indigestion ; as also to those who are subject to giddiness, the falling sickness, a relaxation of the nervous system, inveterate melancholy, hypochondriacal disorders, palpitations of the heart, tremors, and fainting fits.'
Matthiolus subjoins the method of using this medicine :
“«R. Once a day a table spoonful of aquavitæ, distilled from the best wine. But, with all deference to his authority, aquavitæ, distilled even from the best wine, is not superior in any of its virtues to our great staple, whiskey ; for, from the researches of our own patriotic philosophers, these two conclusions may be deduced : 1st, That whiskey is a liquor pleasant to the taste; and, 2dly, That it is a wholesome spirit.
6 V. I shall conclude with a receipt which might have been considered as of general importance in the seventeenth century, and may prove of no less importance in the nineteenth.
56 Bartholomeus Carrichters, in his Secret, b. ii. c. 12, published a recipe, which is mightily commended by Hector Schlands, in an epistle to his learned friend, Gregorius Horstius ; see Horstii Epist. Medic. i. $ 7, 1612: ‘R. Dog's grease, well dissolved and cleansed, 4 ounces; bear's grease, 8 ounces ; capon's grease, 24 ounces; three trunks of the misletoe of hazel, while green; cut it in pieces, and pound it small, till it becomes moist, bruise it together, and mix all in a phial. After
have exposed it to the sun for nine weeks, you shall extract a green ointment, wherewith if
anoint the bodies of the bewitched, especially the parts most affected, and the joints, they will certainly be cured.'
“ This recipe was tried with amazing success in the case of a young girl, whose condition was truly deplorable, for she vomited feathers, bundles of straw, and a row of pins stuck in blue paper, as fresh and new as any in the peddler's stall, pieces of glass windows, and nails of a cart-wheel, as may be
seen in the Wonderful and true Relation of the bewitching a young Girl in Ireland, 1669, by Daniel Higgs.
" It is with the utmost diffidence that I give my own sentiments in the Materia Medica, especially on a subject which has been expressly treated by such men as Dr. Bartholomeus Carrichters, and Dr Hector Schlands. May I then be permitted hum bly to propose this query: Is there not some reason to conjecture that the recipe, so effectual in the case of bewitching, would answer equally well in the case of chilblains ?
“I am, &c.,
No. 87. TUESDAY, MARCH 7, 1780.
Men fear death, as children fear to go in the dark; and as that
natural fear in children is increased with tales, so is the other.
THERE is in the mind of man a fund of superstition, which, in all nations, in all ages, and in all religions, has been attended with effects powerful and extraordinary. In this respect, no one people seem entitled to boast of any superiority over the rest of mankind. All seem, at one time or other, to have been alike the slaves of a weak, a childish, or a gloomy superstition. When we behold the Romans,
wise and great as they were, regulating their conduct, in their most important affairs, by the accidental flight of birds; or, when threatened by some national calamity, creating a dictator, for the sole purpose of driving a nail into a door, in order to avert the impending judgment of heaven; we are apt, according to the humour we are in, to smile at the folly, or to lament the weakness of human nature.
A little reflection, however, is sufficient to show, that, with all our advantages, we ourselves are, in this particular, equally weak and absurd. The modern citizen of Rome, who thinks he can appease an offended deity, by creeping on his knees up the steps of St. Peter's so many times a day; or the pious Neapolitan, who imagines that carrying forth the relics of St. Januarius is sufficient to stop an eruption of Mount Vesuvius, are equal objects of pity with the good Roman who devoutly assisted at driving the nail into the temple of Jupiter Capitolinus.
It is amusing to observe the conduct of our first reformers in this particular. Their penetration led them to discover the gross errors and manifold superstitions of the Church of Rome, and their spirit and strength of mind, aided by fortunate circumstances, enabled them to set themselves free from those shackles in which Europe had been held for so many ages.
But no sooner had they done so, than they and their followers adopted another mode of superstition, in the place of that which it had cost them so much pains to pull down. To masses, and crucifixes, and images, were substitued a precise severity of manner, and long sermons, and a certain mode of sanctifying the Sabbath, which were inculcated as constituting the sum of virtue, and as com
prehending the whole duty of a Christian. So ingenious are men in finding out something to put in the place of true piety and virtue! Neither is this confined to one religion or to one sect. To the same cause will be attributed the broad brim and plain coat of the Quaker, the ablutions of the Gentoo, the pilgrimages of the Mahometan, the severe fasts observed in the Greek church, with numberless other instances that might be mentioned.
There is a species of superstition which, perhaps, might be traced back to a similar origin, that often lays strong hold of the imagination, and fills the mind with terrors and apprehensions, which reason and philosophy have not power to eradicate, when once they have fairly got hold of us. Of this sort is the dread of apparitions, of spirits, and of witches. Mr. Addison, in an excellent paper in The Spectator, has shown the folly of those apprehensions, and has cautioned parents to be particularly careful to preserve their children from those little horrors of imagination which they are apt to contract when they are young, and are not able to shake off when they grow up. He justly observes, that next to a clear judgment and a good conscience, a sound imagination is the greatest blessing of life. Perhaps it might be going too far to attribute to this essay of Mr. Addison the reformation so strongly recommended by him. It is, however, certain, that . all these apprehensions, formerly productive of so much real uneasiness, are now, in a great measure, unknown. We have so far succeeded in “plucking the old woman out of our hearts," and we no longer see a brave soldier afraid to walk through a dark passage, or an pid sailor shrink with horror at the thought of passing the night in a solitary apartment.