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He has collected a vast variety of arguments and evidences, which establish, with accumulated force, his position-the Unity of the Human Races,' as to both species and origin. I think it impossible for an upright mind to refuse acquiescence in his conclusion. With him, too, I agree that there are difficulties, as in all science, which we cannot at present remove; but weighed against the positive arguments, they cannot rationally arrest our conviction. It is to be expected that the progress of observation, and the augmentation of accurate knowledge in meteorology, actinology, terrestrial magnetism, and probably some agencies in natural history not yet thoroughly understood, will contribute much to the resolving of the perplexity. There may also have been something preternatural in a judicial infliction upon Ham. Gesenius tells us from Plutarch, that this term, in the old Coptic, denotes both heat and blackness. It might be a case somewhat analogous to that of Gehazi.”
We have thus indicated the position of parties in this controversy. In America it has been agitated for some time back, and with no little keenness, on account of the bearing which it has on negro slavery ; in this country that source of prejudice would of course be removed; but Transatlantic writers have expended so much learning and industry on the subject, that if it is to be discussed here we must begin with an examination of their labours.
INDUSTRIAL MUSEUM, EDINBURGH.—The office of Director of the Chemical Department of the Industrial Museum, Edinburgh, has been conferred by Government on Dr George Wilson-an appointment which has given much satisfaction, and which, while securing that the interests of science will be attended to, also furnishes a guarantee that popular utility will be duly cared for.
TRAINING IN TAE UNIVERSITY OF EDINBURGH.-In the course of a recent discussion on university reform in the Commons, Lord Palmerston, after condemning the system of keeping boys for years learning the dead languages, said he happened to have passed three years of his life in studying at Edinburgh, and two years afterwards at Carubridge; and he was bound in frankness to Bay, that the information which he had learned at Edinburgh was infinitely more useful and general than what he had learned at Cainbridge-(hear, hear.) Indeed the two years he had spent at Cambridge seemed to be passed in forgetting what he had learned at Edinburgh-(a laugh.) Since that time he believed that the system at Cambridge had been very much liberalised, and that the range of instruction had been considerably enlarged.
ROYAL INFIRMARY, EDINBURGA.—This institution is deficient in funds to the extent of L.10,318 ; and an extraordinary public meeting was held on the 5th ult., for the purpose of devising means for the liquidation of the debt. A large committee was appointed with a view to raising subscriptions by house to house visitation. The embarrassments of the Infirmary have been the work of five years, and are owing to no sudden casualty. In 1850-1 the deficit was L.2973 ; in 1851-2, L.2797 ; in 1852-3, L.1312; and in 1853-4, L.2635. A large individual subscription has kept down the gross deficiency to the above amount. It will, of course, be borne in mind, in connection with this subject, that the Edinburgh hospital receives no Government grants like the Dublin institutions, and that it has few private bequests like the London hospitals, while no price is paid for the office of governor. It is not, therefore, to be wondered at if the coffers of an institution wholly dependant on voluntary effort should occasionally be empty.
CLERICAL LECTURE ON THE LAWS OF HEALTH.-The Rev. Dr Robert Le Professor of Biblical Criticism in the University of Edinburgh, delivered, se the 3d ultimo, a lecture on the laws of health, in Infirmary Street Church, Edinburgh, under the auspices of the Saturday Half-Holiday Association, of 1 character suited to be of essential service to the community, particularly if the hints he gives were to be supported by other clergymen. There was a DE merous attendance, chiefly composed of the working classes of both sera After showing that the adoption of every means to preserve health was religious duty incumbent upon all, and reading extracts from the works of I: Andrew Combe on physiology, the reverend lecturer proceeded to say that the chief essentials to secure health among the working classes were good food, cleanliness, comfortable clothing, dry and well-aired houses, frugality, sobriety: and rational amusement. Until these were attended to, the people wou.d never be comfortable, virtuous, or religious in the proper sense of the word. The causes which prevented the labouring population from enjoying whole some food, were whisky, tobacco, and bad cookery. If the money presently expended on whisky and tobacco were put to more legitimate uses, he Fas satisfied that two-thirds of the misery now prevailing would be remored. With respect to cookery, the Scotch women were as inferior to their English neighbours as they in turn were to the French. He referred to the expenment about to be tried in the Edinburgh Heriot out-door schools, and intimatri that, if the attempt to teach physiology proved successful, an effort was intended to be made to open a great kitchen, where girls would be taught cookery and other matters of domestic economy, so as to fit them for being good wives and mothers. It might appear a very strange thing for a clergsman to advocate amusements for the people, but he was of opinion that, were these more general and cheap, there would not be so much wretchedness in the land. The fact was, that Scotland was the only country in Europe which was coming to be without customs. Every amusement was frowned upon ; the people needed pleasurable excitement, and if they did not get them innocently, they would rush to those of a sinful tendency. The Jews had one fast in a year, and a great many holidays and feasts; whereas we had two fasts and no feasts at all. As a practical remedy for many existing social evils, he recommended the introduction into all our schools of classes for imparting a popular knowledge of the structure and functions of the body, and concluded by stating it as his opinion that a staff of intelligent medical men would be of essential service in visiting those in health-a system which had been adopted with great success during the cholera. The lecture was much applauded throughout, and a cordial vote of thanks passed to Dr Lee at the close.
TO OUR READERS.
Finding it impossible any longer to pay that attention to the Editorial department of this Journal which it requires, we have been induced, by a series of negotiations which commenced last December, to dispose of it to our excellent publishers, Messrs Sutherland and Knox. Our editorship terminated with the March number; and to the present proprietors and editors we are indebted for this opportunity of taking leave of our readers. In now doing so, we can conscientiously declare that our sole object has invariably been to advance the scientific, improve the practical, and elevate the political
status of the profession of medicine. In this endeavour we have been most ably supported by an array of distinguished contributors, whose names are identified with the past history of the MONTHLY JOURNAL, and whose valuable communications have been translated into every civilized language, as well as embodied in the systematic medical literature of the age. But it is not we, so much as the profession at large, which ought to thank them for performing a duty whereby the medical commonwealth, and through it the public, has so greatly benefited. To Dr Mercer Adam of Dumfries, however, we beg to express our individual obligations. For the last twelvemonths he has assisted us in translating from the foreign journals a Periscope which, as it has been principally the result of his labours, we can venture to say, is highly honourable to his literary ability and medical knowledge.
We have of late also done our best to instruct and interest our readers in the important subject of Medical Reform, the carrying out of which many recent public events have only demonstrated to be more and more imperative. We are satisfied that if the great body of practitioners who are pursuing their important vocation in our large towns and amongour rural population could only be roused to the consideration and due appreciation of this subject, nothing further would be required to crush the selfish views of a few individuals, who are pressing forward their own interests in the name of our chartered institutions. How preposterous would it then appear for certain parties in our colleges to assert that they are the representatives of the entire profession, and, in consequence of this, to argue that they only should possess all the offices, honours, and emoluments which are to be obtained under a new system of organization. If we may judge of the future by the past, nothing would be more injurious to our profession; nothing would cast a greater blight on the onward progress of medicine than would be the result of intrusting such men with increased powers and privileges. At the same time it is to be wished that a termination were put to the contest now proceeding between those who demand collegiate aggrandizement at the expense of the Universities, and those who like ourselves have endeavoured to support the efficiency of our great academical institutions. At present, cordial professional intercourse both in private and at our public societies is much diminished by the petty jealousies which a party warfare has engendered, and every well-wisher to the prosperity of medicine, and of those who really cultivate it, must desire to see the early settlement of this agitating matter.
For ourselves we have never swerved from the truth, and in stating it boldly, have performed what we conceive to be our duty. If that truth has offended any individual, we sincerely regret it. Bn: we were not to be deterred from criticizing at this juncture, the public acts of public men and public institutions, or from exposing the results of the collegiate system, because the partizans of the latter have accused us of personality, envy, and malice. From such feelings our conscience entirely acquits us. What we have said has been in all honour and for the common good-nor have we used an espression that we are not prepared on all occasions to defend, nor put forth opinions which we shall ever be ashamed of having supported. We have not belonged to any of the parties who have brought forward exclusive plans of medical reform to benefit particular institutions, and have considered all of them solely in reference to the public welfare. On the other hand we have endeavoured, not unsucessfully, in the pages of this Journal, to give increased development to medical truth in theory and practice, and we desire to see an organization sanctioned by Parliament, which shall be carried out by those who are likely to encourage its onward progress. Such, we feel satisfied, must be a necessary element in any medical reform which is calculated to secure the confidence of the thinking men among us. Let us, then, be careful to whom we entrust the task of founding and inaugurating our new medical government, remembering that whoever the parties may be, their important duties are to institute a system of proper education and examination, as well as to obtain equal privileges for individual practitioners; to give respectability and dignity to the profession as an influential body in the state, and to free it from the distracting and ignoble contentions which now disfigure it.
The Communication from Professor JOHNSTON of Durham will appear in the next Number.
Books received, and list of exchange Journals, also in our next.
ARTICLE I.-On the Composition and Physiological Action of the
Water recently used in the Durham County Jail. By JAMES F. W. JOHNSTON, F.R.SS.L. and E.
THE well from which the water was taken which forms the subject of the following communication was sunk in 1843, within the walls of the Durham County Jail. It has a depth of 84 feet, and is situated among the shales and sandstone of the coal measures on which the city of Durham stands. It is built inside with stone and cement, and the water at present stands in it to a depth of 21 feet. Over the water rests an atmosphere of carbonic acid gas.
The pipes formerly in connection with the pump were made of lead, but after a time these were eaten into large holes in several places, and coated inside with an incrustation which is said to have been nearly an inch in thickness. I never saw these incrusted pipes, and had no opportunity of examining the deposit formed in them. In 1851 the failing lead pipes were removed, and in their stead cast-iron pipes were introduced, which still remain.
When recently drawn from the well, the water is bright and clear, has no sensible smell, and only a very slight saline taste. When heated gently in an open vessel, it speedily becomes covered with a thin white film; when boiled, it becomes milky, and gives a white deposit, consisting of sulphate and carbonate of lime.
It appears that when this well was sunk no analysis of the water was made before it was applied to the general purposes of the prison. Its bright, clear, and sparkling appearance, no doubt satisfied those in whose province the matter lay, that it was not unfit for domestic use. For ten years, therefore—from 1843 to July 1853, when the pumping machinery went out of order-it was constantly used in the food and drink of the prisoners.
From time to time, however, suspicions seem to have arisen in the mind of the medical officer that there must be something unwholesome in this water. Certain peculiar forms of indisposition NEW SERIES.—NO. V. MAY 1855.