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Rise up rewarded for their trust

In Him, from whom all goodness springs,
And, shaking off earth's soiling dust
From their emancipated wings,
Wander for ever through those skies

Of radiance, where Love never dies!'

We are at a loss to conceive the inducement under which Mr Moore wrote the notes to this poem. The learning with which they are overlaid, though all second hand, could not have been collected by him without a good deal of labor; and yet no one class of readers will be instructed or pleased by it. The learned theologian will smile at it; the gentle reader will let the leaves, which contain it, remain uncut; while all will think that it savors too strongly of pedantry, to become a real scholar, like Mr Moore.

ART. XXIII.-A treatise on the Materia Medica, intended as a sequel to the Pharmacopoeia of the United States: being an account of the origin, qualities, and medical uses of the articles and compounds, which constitute that work, with their modes of prescription and administration. By Jacob Bigelow, M. D. author of American Medical Botany, and Professor of Materia Medica in Harvard University. Boston, Charles Ewer, 1822. pp. 424.

THIS treatise is founded upon the Pharmacopoeia of the United States, which has been lately adopted. To this work it is, as its title implies, a supplement or sequel, and consists of a commentary upon its several articles, and an account of their design, character, and application to use. A pharmacopœia is, in its nature, little more than a mere catalogue. It contains barely the names and origin of the simple substances employed in medicine, or of those which, if not simple, come already prepared into the hands of the apothecary; and the names, ingredients, and modes of preparation of those which are compounded by him. It is a pharmaceutical directory, which enumerates and describes such drugs and preparations as are called for by physicians, but enters not at all into a discussion of their virtues. It is a mere book of business, containing the information which it is necessary for the physician and apothecary to have in common. It informs the apothecary what New Series, No. 14.


the physican requires; it reminds the physician of what his apothecary keeps. As a book of instruction alone, it has, of course, little value; and requires to be accompanied by other works which enter into a description of the qualities and virtues of the articles it enumerates, in order to become of much use to the student. Such a work is this of Dr Bigelow. It is intended as the companion of the Pharmacopoeia. The establishment of a new system, which has altered in many particulars the pharmaceutical nomenclature formerly in use, new modelled many of the preparations, introduced some new articles and discarded some old ones, rendered such an undertaking at the present time peculiarly appropriate and seasonable. A consideration of the materia medica, in the most extensive manner of which it is capable, would embrace a consideration of the general principles upon which external agents produce changes in the actions of the system; of the relation between those changes, and the processes taking place in disease, in consequence of which the remedy removes or alleviates it; of the general objects or indications to be had in view in the treatment of disease, and of the nature of disease as connected with those indications; besides a simple detail of the qualities and uses of the separate articles of which the list of medicines is made up. Indeed a complete view of the materia medica embraces nearly the whole field of pathology and therapeutics. A complete treatise upon it would contain the greater part of that which is found in systems of practice, under a different arrangement, and considered in a different relation. Few writers, however, have proposed to themselves so extensive a plan; and the author of the work before us has confined himself to a simple detail of the history and uses of the articles enumerated by the Pharmacopoeia, without entering, except incidentally, into any of those discussions of a general character, to which we have alluded. So far as its plan extends, it is very complete; more so we suspect than any other modern treatise; and contains a greater mass of valuable information than is usually condensed into the same space. We can, of course, attempt no analysis of a book of this nature, particularly as the subjects, of which it treats, are possessed of little interest to general readers. But we proceed to give some slight account of the plan upon which it is written, with such remarks upon its character and execu..on as seem to us just.

The subjects are arranged in alphabetical order; a method which undoubtedly has the recommendations the author points out and accords best with the objects he has in view, although it gives less opportunity for considering the modus operandi of medicines, or the rationale on which we are to proceed in their administration, than an arrangement into classes. It is true that a sketch of a system of classification is given at the commencement of the volume, and some remarks in explanation of the meaning to be affixed to the terms designating the different classes. But we think it would have been a valuable addition to the work, had the author entered into a more extended consideration of the general objects for which these different classes of remedies are administered, and the nature of their operation, since there are many important truths with regard to these subjects, and much information which might have been thrown together in this way, before entering upon the details of the work, for which a place could not afterwards be found under the head of any particular article.

Each article is described as it respects its origin, its qualities, its medical uses, its forms of exhibition, and doses. Where there is danger that its quality may be occasionally inferior, that it may have deteriorated, or been adulterated, the circumstances and appearance by which this can be ascertained are described, and much information afforded by which physicians may determine if the medicines met with in the shops of druggists are of good quality, from the proper source, and unmixed with any foreign ingredient.

More attention is paid to these circumstances than has usually been devoted to them in works upon materia medica, but yet not more than their real importance demands. People in general are not aware, and even physicians are not, to what changes the articles administered in disease are liable from a variety of different causes. Drugs, which are imported, are selected and brought from foreign countries, not by physicians and apothecaries, but by merchants. They are brought as an article of traffic and not as a mean of restoring health, and they are therefore liable to all the varieties in virtues and quality to which other articles of commerce are liable, from intentional adulteration and deceit, besides the circumstance that those engaged in the purchase are not often judges, and are therefore more likely to be deceived. They are also more

apt to be influenced by a regard to cheapness of price, than the excellence of an article, as the profit in the sale of an indifferent one at home, will not be lessened in proportion with the price abroad. Cheapness of price will also induce merchants to seek out new sources of supply for drugs which are scarce and in demand; competition between different sources will induce foreign dealers to reduce their price; whilst a reduction of price is generally accompanied by a deterioration of quality, or a change of the article for some other of a similar but inferior kind. And indeed such is the effect of different climates and different soils upon drugs of vegetable origin, that it is seldom that the same drug, coming from different places, is of exactly the same quality, although in common use it passes for the same, and is used in a like way.

Of such alterations and substitutions Dr Bigelow gives us a number of striking examples.

The genuine African columbo has, for some years past, been nearly excluded from our shops, by an article brought in large quantities from New Orleans, possessing about half the bitterness of real columbo, and apparently the root of Frasera Walteri. It is just beginning to be discovered, that the real Peruvian bark is a scarce article in the markets of the United States, and that its place is taken by a cheaper bark, of a different character, brought from Carthagena and Caraccas, under the name of yellow bark, and which there are reasons for supposing to belong to a species of Portlandia. Our importing merchants and druggists inform me, that this Carthagena bark, under the name of yellow Peruvian bark, constitutes probably nine tenths of the reputed cinchona now consumed in the United States, its wholesale price being to that of real bark of Peru as about one to fifteen.

The adulteration of medicines is so easily, if not frequently, effected, that it is not always safe to buy large quantities of any medicinal substance in powder. In Gray's supplement to the Pharmacopoeias may be seen half a dozen recipes for a "Pulvis corticis Peruviani factitius," one of which consists of Peruvian bark, mahogany saw-dust, and oak saw-dust, ground together. In the same work is an artificial Cayenne pepper, which it is conscientiously recommended to color with vermilion, instead of red lead, which last is injurious. In this city, the occupant of a wind mill was lately indicted in one of our courts, for grinding gypsum into cream of tartar. Dr Paris mentions a fire in London occasioned by the owner of certain premises being employed in making Balsam of Copaiba.

The misapplication of names is frequently, even in articles of small consumption, a source of important error. I have seen the Hyoscyamus Niger offered for sale in this city under the name of blessed thistle, a harmless plant, still retained by the dispensatories. From the influence of English names, we very often find Carthamus substituted for Crocus, Celastrus scandens for Solanum dulcamara, and the latter for Atropa belladonna.' Pref. pp. 8, 9.

This is truly an important subject, and one to which physicians should pay more attention than they are accustomed to do, particularly those who are in the habit of dealing out their own drugs. Where apothecaries prepare and deliver medicines, it is of less moment to the faculty, because their standing and reputation will lead them to be cautious and faithful. We have been feelingly warned, within these few years, of the dangers that assail us through the medium of our food and drink. Mr Accum has excited an effectual alarm upon the subject of death in the pot, but what is this to death in the pill, though some evil-minded persons stand ready no doubt to say, what they affect to believe, that no less was to be expected? That the indulgences of the palate, highly seasoned viands, luxurious diet, unsparing potations should bring him to death's door, has been the lot of man from the infancy of his race? Intemperance of one kind or another has been the foe of his life and health from time immemorial, and it matters little whether the evil is perpetrated by unadulterated ragouts of the finest flavor and quality, or by a tough beef steak seasoned with artificial Cayenne pepper; whether the demon lurks in the shape of the sparkling juice of rich Madeira, or of the execrable mixtures sold under the accommodating name of bitters, for the morning drams or phlegmcutters of our backwoodsmen. This might be submitted to; it is one of the ills that flesh is heir to. But when druggist and apothecary, pestle and mortar, enter into the lists against us; when death attacks us through our medicines as well as our diseases; when we swallow poison and saw-dust in the potion which we hoped to find a healing draught; when we find there is no balm in Gilead which is not sophisticated by vermilion, red lead, or plaster of Paris; this is indeed the unkindest cut of all, and we can only dispose ourselves to yield up the contest with what dignity we may, and fall with the dying exclamation of Cæsar upon our lips.

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