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country. As a genealogist, we suppose no one would presume to dispute the palm with him. Cut off by his infirm state of health from much intercourse with the world, and debarred the privilege of personally visiting the memorable scenes in our annals, he has still succeeded in accumulating a mass of materials relating to the history, population, and statistics of the country, which is truly astonishing. His contributions from this stock to the Collections of the Massachusetts and New Hampshire Historical Societies, have been numerous and valuable ; and his Genealogical Register of the First Settlers of New England, an octavo volume of 350 pages, published in 1829, is a monument of his patient and minute research. We hope that ere long the public will be favored with a revised and enlarged edition of this useful work. We are glad to find such men as Mr. Farmer,
men whose experience and accuracy are a guaranty that their relations can be depended upon,- engaged in collecting and preserving the fading memorials of our little democracies. Every new village chronicle we regard as an addition not only to the stock of our national history, but to the materials of poetry and romance; for there is hardly one of them, that does not contain some event or tradition capable of being wrought up by a skilful hand into a tale of fancy.
We have only to regret, that works of such a permanent interest and value should appear in the perishable form of pamphlets. It seems highly desirable, that there should be some general repository, where these local histories may be brought together, so as to be easily found and consulted ; and the Collections of the various Historical Societies throughout the country appear to us to furnish the very receptacle that is needed.
The History of Amherst contains its full share of remarkable incidents and adventures, and is executed in a manner highly creditable to its learned author. We were a little surprised, however, that a writer of so much accuracy as Mr. Farmer, should (page 3) call Philip" the celebrated Narrayanset sachem.” We had always supposed that Philip was the sachem of the Wampanoags, an entirely distinct tribe from the Narragansets. On page 34, too, in the epitaph on the Rev. Daniel Wilkins, we find an error of a hundred years. It is said he graduated in 1636. It should be 1736. These, it is true, are slight errors, probably mere inadvertencies; but as the value of all works of this sort depends entirely on their accuracy, the public, we think, have a right to demand an especial attention to this point. Facts and dates need particularly to be looked after; and the compilers of our national and state histories, as well as of our town annals, should understand, that whilst the weightier matters are suitably cared for, the less must not be neglected.
3. — A Treatise on Digestion, and the Disorders incident to
it, which are comprehended under the Term Dyspepsia. Adapted for general Readers. By William SWEETSER, M. D., Author of a Treatise on Consumption, &c. Boston. Published by T. H. Carter. 1837. 12mo. pp. 359.
The author of this work is already favorably known by his Treatise on Consumption ; which, like the present, was addressed rather to the reading public at large, than to the medical faculty, to the patient rather than to the physician. It is no easy matter to write well on professional matters, in any profession, so as to be intelligible to those who are not familiar with professional habits of thought and expression, and at the same time to avoid tedious and awkward circumlocution. Technical terms involuntarily press upon the author's mind. If they are rejected, the substitutes are not always more intelligible, and are often less definite. If they are retained, they must be accompanied by explanations, which embarrass and distract the attention, and give a forbidding, schoolmaster sort of air to the performance. Dr. Sweetser has surmounted this difficulty in a very great degree. His style, although not elegant, is clear and intelligible, without any parade of fine writing, indeed without affectation of any kind; and in general free from the embarrassment of medical phrases.
There are perhaps no diseases better suited to a general treatise of this kind, than those which are the subjects of Dr. Sweetser's two publications. Both consumption and dyspepsy (we preser the good honest English word to the Greek termination adopted by Dr. S.) owe so much, of what is to afford either hope or benefit, to the care and management of the patient and his friends, that it is peculiarly fitting that the community at large, as well as physicians, should know something in regard to them. Where the knowledge which a patient possesses of his disease is of the right kind, the more he has of it the better. It will not lead him, beyond his depth, into the province of the physician; but, while it will direct him to a more intelligent use of the means which properly belong to his own sphere of observation and practice, it will prompt him to a more confiding reliance upon his medical adviser for direction in all matters which demand medical learning and skill.
There is a kind of knowledge of diseases, or rather of their remedies, which is not of this sort; and the more of which a sickly man has, the worse it is for him. For while it fills him with distrust of the skill and fidelity of the physician, who faithfully devotes all his faculties to the acquisition and practice of his profession, it puffs him up with an unseemly confidence in his own wisdom. Such knowledge it is neither the purpose nor tendency of Dr. Sweetser's publications to teach. İle nowhere invites or encourages the invalid to lay hands on medicines, the full effects of which on the human system he can at best but very imperfectly apprehend. On the contrary, he constantly warns him against the habitual use of medicine at all, and bids him to seek for health in a proper management of his daily pursuits, his diet, his clothing, his exercise, his sleep, his recreations. His works, therefore, have no affinity with the many “ Domestic Medicines,” and “Family Physicians," which profess to teach how to dispense with the attendance of the physician, by stealing his art, while they in fact multiply the occasions for his services, and increase the difficulties of his labors. And were mankind as willing to be preserved from disease, or cured of it, by a proper regulation of their own actions and appetites, as they are by being drugged, we should anticipate a ready and extensive demand for these useful volumes.
The treatise now before us begins with a description of the organs and processes of digestion in man and animals. The changes wrought in these various processes are so great, and the means by which they are accomplished are so wonderful, that one might expect to find, in every thinking man, a liberal curiosity in regard to them, independently of any practical benefit to which the knowledge may be applied. In reality, however, little of such curiosity seems to exist in regard to sound physiological information. A man eats, and feels the better for it, or believes he does, and there is the end of the matter. And for most men, it is well it should be so. But intelligent, educated men, one would think might not be the worse, for extending their inquiries a little beyond the concise Scripture account of the process.
Dr. Sweetser's description of the digestive function, is entirely subservient to the leading purpose of his book, to teach his readers how to promote its healthy performance. It does not attempt to give any views, which are not contained in other strictly medical works. But it gives, in language easily understood by general readers, a full and clear account of the changes wrought upon the food, in the several stages of its transformation into nourishment for the body. This is followed by
two chapters on the different kinds of food, for animals and for
We are thus prepared for the discussion of “ Dyspepsia or the disorders of digestion.”
A description of dyspepsy, by a history of its symptoms, is perhaps necessary to the completeness of a treatise of this sort, and may in many cases be useful. But we would hardly advise invalids to meditate on their own symptoms, and compare them with the book, to find out whether they are dyspeptic or not. If they have any doubts on this subject, they had better send for their physician at once, and let him draw out of them their case, and put them upon its remedy. Few men, even of the most practised physicians, have command enough over their own phantasies, to weigh correctly the value of their morbid sensations, or even to distinguish in all cases between such as are physical, and those which have only a lighter and more fugitive existence.
No such qualification is needed in regard to the chapters which follow, on the causes of dyspepsy. They are full of good sense,
and abound in salutary cautions. The several causes are considered in detail, and with a sufficient degree of fulness. We copy a part of the remarks on “ The abuse of medicine," which Dr. Sweetser regards as a frequent cause of the disease.
“The injudicious use of medicine is doubtless the occasion of no little injury to the human constitution. As all active medicines tend to disturb the natural movements of life, they are never to be resorted to before inquiring whether the end will warrant the means. In other words, whether the evil they are designed to oppose is more serious, than what they themselves will probably induce. Let it ever be remembered, too, that nature of herself is fully adequate to the removal of trifling and incidental difficulties; or requiring at least only negative aid, that is, the avoidance of all impediments, as improper diet, exposure, &c. to her recuperative efforts.
“Few habits are more adverse to the welfare of the constitution, than that of applying to medicine for every slight disorder; since, the necessity for it growing with its use, it is oftentimes contributing to the very evils it is intended to remedy. Thus, if for every tritling disturbance of the stomach and bowels, we call in the assistance of emetics, cathartics, or stimulants, those organs, accustomed, if I may so speak, to depend on foreign aid, will in a measure cease to avail themselves of iheir own energies under embarrassments. The physical as well as the moral powers should be educated to a certain degree of self-dependence. But active medicines are also injurious in a more positive manner, operating as local irritants, and to produce various sympathetic derangements in the system.
“ There has ever existed a class of nervous valetudinarians, in whom a pain, or an ache, or the least ailment can hardly exist, unless the pill-box or essence-bottle is called into requisition. And it is quite amusing, often, to hear them expressing their astonishment that
their health can be so poor, when they are constantly taking such quantities of medicine.
“ Some persons are in the daily practice of overburdening the stomach, and then swallowing medicinal tinctures or pills to get rid of its unnatural load. Hence it is, that we so commonly see dinner pills advertised for sale.” — pp. 253 – 255.
Equally judicious, in our view, in general, are the directions for the treatment of dyspepsy, with which the work is concluded. In the same vein of good sense and sound judgment, the author deprecates the habitual resort to active medicines for the cure, as well as for the prevention of the disease. Here, as well as there, he recommends chiefly a reliance upon a proper regulation of the diet, and a proper management of the regimen; attention to exercise, the state of the mind, &c. And in regard to all these and many other particulars, he gives suitable directions. He does not of course mean to say, that there are no cases of dyspepsy that occasionally demand more energetic remedies. But such cases require the prescriptions of a physician, and therefore do not come within the scope of the present work.
4. – 1. Report made to the Mayor and Aldermen of the City
of Boston, on the Subject of Supplying the Inhabitants of that City with Water. By Daniel TreadwELL.
Boston. 1925. 2. Report on the Subject of Introducing Pure Water into
the City of Boston. By Loammi BALDWIN, Esq., Civil
Engineer. Boston. 1834. pp. 78. 3. Report on the Introduction of Soft Water into the City
of Boston. By R. H. Eddy, Civil Engineer. Boston. 1836.
40. 4. Report of the Commissioners appointed under an Order
of the City Council of March 16th, 1837, to devise a Plan for Supplying the City of Boston with Pure Water. Boston. 1837. pp. 95.
The city of Boston, under the necessity which in the nature of things must sooner or later come upon every city and large town, of looking abroad for a supply of pure and soft water, has been for the last thirteen years causing investigations to be made upon this important subject. The Reports named above embody the results of those inquiries. We are gratified, upon looking into them, to perceive, that whilst the situation of our metropolis, on a small peninsula, is such as to make it early VOL. LXVI. — NO. 99.