Page images

acet. plumb. every hour for twelve hours with the best results. He very rarely gives calomel.

Dr. Knight remarked that he should dislike exceedingly to be obliged to treat cholera infantum without mercurials. He does not administer much opium. When he finds the stomach quiet he gives calomel, chalk mixture, and kino. He agreed with those members who regarded the disease as less frequent and more amenable to treatment than formerly. He entertains also the same opinion in regard to bilious fever.

Dr. W. M. Yandell, of Mississippi, does not think cholera infantum either so violent or common in Mississippi as he found it twenty years ago, when he practiced in Middle Tennessee. Still, there is more or less of it almost every summer in Mississippi. He thinks that in many instances its connection with miasma can be clearly traced. He used both quinine, calomel, chalk mixture, and opium. He thought that this disease was not an exception to other diseases as they prevailed in the South, and that in most instances quinine was demanded.

Dr. D. W. Yandell had been governed a good deal in the management of cholera infantum by the indications laid down by a German physician, whose name he had forgotten. Where the discharges were dark, green, or sour, he trusted to alkalies exhibited in strong mint tea. Where, on the other hand, the dejections were light-colored, he relied upon a dose or two of calomel, and then gave chalk mixture and tr. opium. Where there was much febrile disturbance he used cold water bath, the acids and ice. He had seen cases relieved almost at once by quinine. In properly selected cases he regarded this salt as one of the most valuable of remedies. He had used it that day with a child who lived in the lower part of the city with the most satisfactory results. He had been called to visit a child once in Tennessee whose case was regarded as hopeless. A simple dose of quinine arrested the vomiting, and in a day it was convalescent. He might cite other instances. He not unfrequently found a change of air succeed after all medicine had failed. He had known children exhausted by this disease to be relieved by a trip to Cincinnati. During his sojourn in the country for two summers in Tennessee, he had seen but little of the complaint, and thought that in the particular

district in which he had lived it was neither a very frequent nor obstinate disease.

Dr. Gross proposed that members should report at the meeting to be held in January next, whether morning sickness is or is not present in the majority of cases of pregnancy falling under their observation.

Dr. Richardson proposed that members examine all cases of hooping-cough that may present themselves between this and the next regular meeting, and report at that time relative to the ulceration on the frenun linguæ, which is said to be one of the features of the affection. He himself had seen but one case of hoopingcough, and in that the ulcer was present.

The meeting then adjourned to meet on the first Tuesday in August at the house of Dr. Yandell.


Bibliographical Notices.

ART. IV.-Autobiography of Charles Caldwell, M. D., with a Preface, Notes, and Appendix: By HARRIOT W. WARNER. Philadelphia: Lippincott, Grambo & Co., 1855.

AN autobiography offers perhaps the only instance in which the reviewer is privileged to bestow his attention on the personal qualities of the author rather than the intrinsic merits of the book. Published, as this volume is, posthumously, it removes what little force the foolish adage" de mortuis nil nisi bonum" might otherwise have, and places, not the auctorial, but the personal and moral attributes of the writer in a position where criticism is fair, where censure, if deserved, cannot be censured again.

It requires no little hardihood for a distinguished man to lay bare the motives and springs of action of a long life, and to leave them as a target for comment after his own departure, and we own that when we heard that Dr. Caldwell had left behind him a book which perpetuated his enmities beyond his death, and deprived him from that shield of attack, the sod that covers his grave, we were astonished that any man could thus give immortality to all those hatreds and jealousies which a long life of ambitious struggle had engendered, and which most men would have gladly buried with them. A careful perusal of the book before us has solved the enigma. Rich in anecdote, stirring in description, and often intensely interesting in its portraitures of the characters of cotemporaries, the work is one to attract the medical mind, and secure a perusal of its entire contents. And it is impossible to withhold from its hero a degree of admiration, excited by his intense individality, amounting to egotism, his wonderful energy and directness of purpose, and the rude, strong way in which, throughout, he marches on to the accomplishment of his ends.

Born before the American Revolution on the Western frontier of North Carolina, Caldwell was even in his boyhood a recluse and a student. In his very childhood he seems to have manifested that quality which in later years we recognize as the governing clement in his character. Throughout the work he denies, impliedly, any obligations to the social duties of life. Absorbed in what he deemed his duty to himself, he evidences an entire abrogation of his duty to others. Not for him were the amenities of daily intercourse with his fellow-man, the pleasures of society, or the softening charms of friendship. Scorning them himself, he scorned all others who differed from him in the estimate of their value.

Passing over the history of his early youth, except to note that the few intimacies he then formed seem to have been interrupted and embittered by an unyielding spirit on his part, we find him in the fall of 1792 a student of medicine in the University of Pennsylvania. He avoided the intercourse of his fellow-students, and to this end embarrassed his narrow means that he might occupy a room alone. Punctual at lectures, studious without intermission, sleeping but three or four hours a day, he seems to have resolved on first taking his seat in the lecture-room, to some day occupy the chair then filled by Rush. His preceptors at that time were Rush, Shippen, Wistar, Kuhn, Hutchinson, and Griffitts, and of all these he gives characteristic sketches, and it is singular that in speaking of their personal qualities, he seems most impressed with Kuhn, the cold, icy, precise, unsociable repeater of Cullen's Outlines, who finally left his chair under the odium of wholesale plagiarism.

Medical science at that day was as doctrinal as "fore ordination and decree;" schools of medicine existed in the form of Brunonianism, Rushism, Tullyism, and for aught we know a dozen other isms. Dr. Caldwell represents Rush, and so far as we can judge, correctly, as being ambitious of occupying the position of head of a band of disciples. Whether he did, as asserted, use his position and personal gifts as inducements to attach students to him, first as a man, and consequently as a medical doctrinarian, we cannot judge from the evidence before us. To this motive Dr. Caldwell attributes certain advances made to him by Rush. This seems at

first entirely probable, until a further acquaintance with our author informs us that he himself never made an acquaintance, or advanees toward one, without some direct personal gain in view. Of course one acting on this principle assigns to others the same. motive. Dr. Rush is described as possessing great social charms. We consider the fact in itself as presumptive evidence of goodness of heart, and honesty of purpose. Exceptions exist, but they are exceptions.

All those with whom Caldwell was thrown in contact seem to have been impressed with the acuteness of his intellect, and his indomitable purpose to excel. But one by one we find his friends dropping from him, either in coldness and indifference, or open enmity. His life was one series of antagonism. In the Philadelphia Medical Society, while yet a student, he triumphed over the older members of the profession in a debate upon the origin of yellow fever. But he was not content to triumph in the argument. A mere boy, he lashed the older men of the profession into a rage which only subsided into permanent enmity, by allusions to their personal conduct during a recent epidemic, which, however true, it was both imprudent and unnecessary to assail. And yet, as an octagenarian, he writes the history of this affair, and repeats the insults then offered, as if to prove that the blood of age was not yet icy, and that he cared less about the success of his doctrines, than of his own exaltation.

Rush had been kind to him. But the time for quarrel soon came. He wrote to Rush describing the effect a wetting in a shower had in allaying an ephemeral fever in his own person. Rush used the fact in his lectures, without credit to Caldwell as the author, and out of this sprang an enmity which resulted in high words at its final examination, in Rush's refusal to sign his diploma, and in Caldwell's bold assurance that he could do very well without the name. It was finally arranged, Rush's signature was added to the parchment, but no good feeling existed afterwards. And these were the meaus which he took to obtain a professorship in his Alma Mater, and failing at the end, claimed to be deprived of his deserts!

In 1819, after more than twenty years residence in Philadelphia, during all which time he was chafing under a sense of neglect, he

« PreviousContinue »