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than lime-water: which the ingenious Dr. Langrish has found to be remarkable also for its effects in curing the bladders of dogs, after being fretted with soap-lees. The power of soap and lime-water to alleviate the painful symptoms attending the stone is so great, that as far as I remember I have only met with one patient who did not find himself considerably relieved by them. But it is to be observed that this patient neither took them in full quantity, nor persisted in their use for a long enough time: and when he was afterwards cut, the stone taken out of his bladder was almost as thick set with sharp prickles as the back of a hedgehog: so that in this case no remarkable ease could be procured to the patient by the medicines, until they had quite dissolved these sharp points, and rendered the surface of the stone smooth and equal; which was not to be done but after a very long time, especially as the stone was of a pretty hard texture.
It may be proper to take notice, that when along with the stone there is any ulceration in the bladder, soap does mischief, and lime-water often fails of giving any considerable relief. However, even in this case it is perhaps one of the best remedies we know.
5. Soap and lime-water, taken in large quantities, and persisted in for many years together, appear to be innocent, and no way injurious to health. Lord Walpole, who used these medicines for upwards of 8 years, was not only relieved of the painful symptoms of the stone, but had his health improved by them in other respects. His appetite, healthful look, and a degree of spirits uncommon at his age, continued till the end of 1756, when his last illness began first to attack him. And as his health did not appear to be any way injured by these medicines; so when his body was opened after death, his kidneys and ureters were observed to be quite sound and natural, as was likewise his bladder; only its coats appeared a little thicker than usual, owing probably to the long-continued friction of the stones upon it. Neither the kidneys, ureters, nor bladder, were loaded or crusted with any calcareous matter; an effect most unjustly ascribed to soap and lime-water, since in the urinary passages, to which the air has no access, they cannot deposit their calcareous part; and since the white stuff observable in the urine of such patients as take these medicines in large quantities, is only the usual sediment of the urine changed in its nature and colour, with perhaps some of the dissolved particles of the stone.
As the urinary passages were no way injured, so neither were the stomachi, guts, and other viscera of the lower belly. These had all a healthful appearance, except the gall-bladder, which was almost full of biliary concretions: nor is it surprising that soap and lime-water, which prevent the growth of urinary calculi, should have no effect on biliary stones, since, though these medicines dis solve the former out of the body, yet they do not make the smallest impression on the latter.
It will perhaps be needless to take notice, that the lingering nervous fever, of which Lord Walpole died, cannot, with any colour of reason, be ascribed to the large use of soap and lime-water; since, if they could have produced such an effect, they must have done it in much less time than 8 years and a half.
It may not be amiss to observe, that though soap and lime-water taken in large quantities are no way injurious to health, yet in some cases they may become improper, on account of the particular state of the patient. Thus, in a scorbutic or putrid disposition of the humours, soap at least ought to be totally omitted; and such patients, as are much troubled with the hæmorrhoids, ought to be sparing in its use, as the alkaline salt with which it abounds will scarcely fail to exasperate their pain. Where the patient is naturally very costive, less lime-water and more soap ought to be used; and on the contrary, where the body is too loose, little or no soap is to be taken, but the cure is to be trusted to lime-water alone; which in this case ought to be drank to the quantity of 2 English quarts a day."
III. Dr. Pringle's Paper read after Dr. Whytt's Letter. p. 219'
Dr. Pringle begs leave to inform the Society, that having read the copy of his letter, within these few days, to Dr. Shaw, Mr. Hawkins, and Mr. Graham, those gentlemen found his account agreeable to their several observations; only Mr. Graham took notice that of late years Lord Walpole, in his journies to Norfolk, had twice voided some blood with his urine, but with little uneasiness; and that at other times he had passed some sand and stony particles, though never larger than the head of a small pin, attended with frettings of the parts, scarcely painful. But Mr. Graham was not sure whether these accidents were prior or subsequent to the sequel of the case, communicated to the Society by his lordship.
Dr. Pringle thinks it may be also proper to acquaint the Society with another circumstance in Lord Walpole's case, which he had both from Dr. Shaw and Mr. Graham, viz. that after using the soap and lime-water for some time, his lordship was freed from a very obstinate dry and scurfy eruption, which had resisted several other medicines. But as there were no marks of a putrid scurvy, that species expressly alluded to towards the end of Dr. Whytt's letter, the Society will easily understand how the lithontriptic medicines may be prejudicial to one troubled with the true putrid scurvy, such as is most incident to sailors, and yet not be improper for those that are subject to the scurfy eruptions, which are commonly, though erroneously, called scorbutic.
XXVII. On the Virtues of Soap in Dissolving the Stone, in the Case of the Rev.
This paper gives an account of the relief obtained in the case of the Rev.
M. Simpson, of Pencaitland, who had been afflicted with symptoms of gravel and stone, by the daily use of soap, taken in the form of pills, which he first took in doses of a drachm a day, but afterwards increased to the quantity of 5 or 6 drachms in 24 hours; and then diminished the dose again to oz. per diem. In this manner he persisted in the use of the soap-pills for about 17 years, and at length died of a diarrhoea in 1756, in the 83d year of his age. His body was opened; but no, stone or gravel was found in the bladder, which appeared to be in a natural state, except at the neck, where the coats seemed to be scirrhous, and were about of an inch thick. It is supposed the stone, which previously existed in the bladder, as had been ascertained by the catheter in 1735, was of a soft texture, and had been dissolved by the soap.
A Letter from Dr. Adam Drummond to Dr. Adam Austin, relating to the Rev. Matthew Simpson's Case. Communicated by J. Pringle, M. D., F. R. S. p. 226.
In this letter it is stated by Dr. D. that he was present when Mr. Balderstone sounded Mr. Simpson, and that both of them perceived, very distinctly, a large stone; that Mr. Simpson himself felt it; which they were the more solicitous he should do, as he had been sounded before by Dr. Simpson, who had declared there was no stone. But the particular magnitude of the stone they could not well determine at the end of a large catheter; though he remembered Mr. Balderstone, who was well versed in that business, conjectured it to be pretty large.
XXVIII. On the Impressions of Plants on the Slates of Coals. By Mr.
The impressions of various kinds of plants are frequently, Mr. C. thinks always, found in some of the strata lying over coal; but more particularly in a stratum of earthy slat, which always lies immediately on the coal-stratum, not only in the coal-pits of this kingdom, but, of many other parts of Europe, as France, Saxony, Bohemia, Silesia, &c. Most of these impressions are of the herbæ capillares et affines, the gramineous, and the reed tribes: but among themare many rare and beautiful impressions undoubtedly of vegetable origin, and impressed by plants hitherto unknown to botanists. Besides these found over coal-pits, there are likewise found in some parts of this kingdom, as at Robinhood's-bay in Yorkshire, Coalbrookdale in Shropshire, &c. many curious impressions of the fern tribe in regular nodules of iron-stone; and, in the latter place, not only impressions of plants, but even the cones or iuli of some kinus of trees are met with, very perfect and fair, and curiously imbedded in masses of
Most part of the impressions of ferns, grasses, &c. are easily recognizable, they so minutely tally to the plants they represent. Others indeed, though they do not exactly answer any known species, yet have characters so distinctly expressed, that they are easily arranged under their respective genera. Pl. 4, fig. 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10 exhibits 7 of these impressions, out of many in his possession. Fig. 4 is from Mr. Mytton's collieries at Drilt, near Oswestry, in Shropshire; as are also those figured No. 5, 7, and 10: they are found sometimes 2 feet in length, and are generally covered with a thin crust of coal.. No 5 seems of the red tribe: the knobs placed in rows, which are like the vesicles on the quercus. N° 6, from a coal-pit in Yorkshire; seems to be owing to something of the fir kind. N° 7 seems to be of the same kind as N° 5. The extraordinary impression is from Mostyn-colliery in Flintshire. It is a little obscured; but, when attentively viewed, exhibits a reticular impression, the meshes, which are rhomboidal hollows, and the sides of the rhombs, or the network are raised, or in relief. N° 9 is from Newcastle.
These impressions are not only met with in small pieces; but large evident branches, some feet in length, have been found. He had, in the collieries of Derbyshire, frequently traced branches with, seemingly, long narrow leaves proceeding from them, and parts of other vegetables, above a foot in length: but the hardness of the substance they are immersed in renders it impossible to get them out without breaking them to pieces: And these impressions, he thinks, are to be ascribed to the Mosaic or universal deluge.
XXIX. A Catalogue of the Fifty Plants from Chelsea Garden, presented to the Royal Society by the Company of Apothecaries, for the Year 1756, pursuant to the Direction of Sir Hans Sloane, Baronet. p. 236.
This is the 35th presentation of this kind, completing a collection, to the number of 1750 different plants..
XXX. Remarks on the Opinion of Henry Eeles, Esq. concerning the Ascent of Vapour, published in the Philosoph. Transact. Vol. xlix, p. 124. By Erasmus Darwin,* M. D. Dated, Litchfield, March 23, 1757. p. 240. The probability, supporting the hypothesis of Mr. Eeles, rests on this: That
* Dr. Darwin, F. R. S. was born at Elston, near Newark in Nottinghamshire, December 12, 1731; and he died near Derby, April 18, 1802, consequently in the 71st year of his age. father was a gentleman who possessed a good landed estate, and had a taste for literature and science. And it would appear that the son's talents were first called into action by a correspondence with his father. After his early education at Chesterfield school, he was entered at St. John's college Cambridge, where he took the degree of M. B. in 1755, defending in his thesis an opinion that the motion of the
'every particle of vapour is endued with a portion of electric fire; and there is 'no other sufficient cause assigned for their ascending.' Dr. D.'s design is therefore first to attempt to show that another theory, founded on principles better
heart and arteries is produced by the immediate stimulus of the blood. After quitting Cambridge, and having prepared himself for his intended profession of the practice of medicine, by an attendance on the lectures of Dr. Hunter, in London, and a course of Studies at Edinburgh; he first attempted to fix himself as a physician at Nottingham, but being disappointed of his hopes of practice in that place, he repaired to Litchfield in 1756, where he settled for many years in considerable practice. In 1757 he married Miss Howard, of Litchfield, who died in 1770, and by her had three. sons, the eldest.of whom died at Edinburgh in 1778, whilst he was prosecuting with the utmost assiduity his medical studies in that university; the second an attorney at Derby, who died about 2 years before his father; the third son a physician, in great reputation at Shrewsbury, who married the daughter of the ingenious Mr. Wedgewood, so celebrated for his improvements in the porcelain manufacture, and to whose politeness we have been indebted for some particulars concerning the late Dr. D. Soon after the decease of his wife, Dr. D. commenced his laborious work, the Zoonomia, (which however was not published till 1794) or the laws of organic life; in the first part of this work, the author treats of physiology and pathology; in the second, or the practice of physic. His observations on the animal economy, though not always accurate, are always ingenious; but his arrangement of diseases is founded on distinctions by no means obvious, and therefore not likely to be of that use which the author intended to those who study medicine as a science, or practise it as
About 1780 he married the widow of colonel Pole. Soon after his marriage with this lady, he removed to Derby, where he resided till within a few months of his death. Besides the Zoonomia, before mentioned, Dr. D.'s other prose works are Phytologia, in 1800, containing in the 1st part, a multi tude of curious experiments and observations in natural history, and organized matter; the second part treating on the economy of vegetation, and, the 3d on agriculture and horticulture. And a Treatise on Female Education, written for the use of the two Miss Parker's (his natural daughters) whom he had established as conductors of a ladies school at Ashborne. He had moreover a principal concern in the System of Vegetables and Families ef Plants, translated from the Latin of Linneus, and published by a society at Lichfield, in 4 vols. 8vo. His poetical works consist of his Botanic Garden, or the Loves of the Plants, in 2 vols. 4to. the 2d vol. published first in 1790, and the 1st vol. in 1791. And his Temple of Nature. So that there are three eminent points of view in which the literary character of Dr. D. more particularly presents itself: first, as a medical philosopher; secondly, as a philosophical agricultor; and thirdly, as a poet in every one of which, if his merit was not of the first rank, he was at least very acute, ingenious, and plausible. Besides his three grand works, he was the author of numerous other small pieces, in the Philos. Trans. and elsewhere. Thus, next to medicine and poetry, mechanics, botany, and other branches of natural history engaged his attention; he not only pursued these studies with ardor himself, but zealously encouraged them in others. Soon after he settled at Derby, he instituted a philosophical society and library, both of which were in a flourishing condition at the time of his decease. Dr. D. was above the middle stature, gross and corpulent in his person; his features coarse, and his countenance heavy; if not quite void of animation, it certainly was by no means expressive. In his gait and dress he was rather clumsy and slovenly.
Besides the printed works already mentioned, Dr. D. left various MSS. now in the possession of his son Dr. Darwin, of Shrewsbury, consisting of essays written when young, some poetical compositions, letters, &c. but none of them (it would appear) sufficiently finished or interesting for publication.