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the ancient courts of the ancient men, where, being by them affectionately received, I feed on that food which solum is mine, and for which I was born. I do not blush to discourse with those sages and ask them the motives of their actions; and they, in their benevolence, answer my questions. Then, for an interval of four hours, I feel no tedium, no annoyance; I forget all my sorrows, I cease to dread poverty, death does not terrify me; I transfuse the whole of myself into books and times that are past. And, as Dante says, ' No one acquires a science unless he retains what he is taught,' so have I noted down all that store of knowledge which I have collected in these conversations with the ancients; and have composed a little work on princely governments, in which I penetrate the subject as profoundly as I can, discussing what a principality is, how many kinds there are, how they are acquired, how kept, how lost; and if any poor speculation of mine ever pleased you, this should not displease you."
Machiavelli lived for nearly fourteen years longer; but, though he was recalled to Florence, and even employed on some important missions, he died at last in that poverty which nothing but his love of letters and research had made supportable. He left a widow and five children. A letter of his son Pietro's, which has been preserved, concludes with this short and sad sentence: "Our father has left us in extreme poverty, as you know."
LXXVIII. PRESSING TO DEATH,
AND FRAYING AND FASTING.
In a number of Oliver Cromwell's Newspaper, 'The Perfect Account of the Daily Intelligence,' dated April 16th, 1651, we find this horrid instance of torture :—
"Mond. April 14th.—This session, at the Old Bailey, were four men pressed to death that were all in one robbery, and, out of obstinacy and contempt of the court, stood mute and refused to plead; from whence we may perceive the exceeding great hardness some men are grown unto, who do not only swerve from instructions, exhortations, and goodnesse, but become so lewd and insolent that they render themselves the proper subjects for whom severe laws were first invented and enacted."
The very next paragraph in the paper is to the following effect :—
"Those of the congregate churches, and many other godly people in London and parts adjacent, have appointed Friday the 25th instant as a day of solemn fasting and prayer, for a blessing upon the armies at land, the fleet at sea, and negociations abroad."
LXXIX. A MERCIFUL SCHOOL-MASTER.
The Reverend William Budworth, vicar of Brewood, and the very learned master of the free grammar-school of Brewood, has been honourably distinguished among the pedagogues of the last century on account of the mildness of his discipline. It is quaintly said, "he never once in his life sent a boy home with anything like a piece of buckram attached to his posteriors, common as it was with those famous tutors Osbalston and Busby."—Nichols' Literary Anecdotes oftheXVIIlth Century.
In the context to this passage, however, Mr. Nichols says that Budworth was a prey to hypochondriasis; that when the fit was on him, he was meekness itself; but that, "on the convalescent turn, a different change of temper took place, and he would chastise pretty severely."
We must regret that the unseemly and disgraceful system of school punishment here alluded to is not yet wholly superseded; and that the amount of torture a boy receives is still left to depend on the moods and turns of his master's health and spirits.
LXXX. THE NEW REMEDIES.
"In spite of the opposition of the physicians of the seventeenth century," says Majendie, " in spite of the celebrated decree of the parliament which proscribed tartar emetic, in spite even of the witty sarcasms of Guy Patin, the utility of antimonial preparations has long been recognised ; in this instance, at least, prejudice yielded to evidence."
The new remedies of our own days, of which some have established their reputation, and others are still struggling for existence, have not had the same difficulties to contend with, which antimony so happily surmounted. They have not been opposed by acts of parliament, nor by pointed sarcasms; but then they have had two other adversaries almost as formidable,—the first being the force of habit, and the second the natural repugnance which every one feels to give remedies where a mistake in the fraction of a grain might be highly dangerous. Nevertheless, in many instances, the merits of the new remedies have triumphed over every obstacle, as Majendie observes in the preface to the eighth edition of his Formulary. "Le sortdes substances inscrites dans les premieres editions de cet ouvrage est desormais assure; vieilles habitudes, routine, repugnances, tout a disparu devant la verite' simple et utile." (The destiny of the substances mentioned in the early editions of this work is henceforth certain ; old habits, routine, and dislike have all disappeared before the simple and useful truth.) The following are some of these therapeutic novelties:—
Strychnine.—This substance is procured from the strychnos nux vomica, the faba St. Ignatii, or the upas Tieute'. When obtained from the first, it is always mixed with brucine; it may be procured much purer from the second, and perfectly so from the third. The power of strychnine, like that of the substances from which it is derived, is almost confined to the spinal marrow and the nerves which spring from it, and affects the head, if at all, only in a secondary manner. An over-dose produces tetanus and death ; a medicinal one (j of a grain three times a day, for example) restores the sensation of paralytic limbs, and has sometimes accomplished a cure in very desperate cases.
The salts of strychnine, that is, the products formed by its combinations with acids, are even more active than their base. The sulphate of strychnine produces marked effects in doses of ^, of a grain.
One of Dr. Bardsley's patients in Lancashire, who was experiencing the return of sensation in his paralysed limbs under the use of strychnine, asked if there was not something quick in the pills; quick for alive being still in use in that part of England.
Brucine.—There are some interesting points in the history of this alkaloid. One of the best vegetable tonics is the Cusparia bark, formerly called Angustura bark. Something, however, which resembled it sufficiently to pass for it, was found to be so poisonous that in several Continental states all the stores of Angustura bark were ordered to be burnt. It was discovered, on accurate examination, that the genuine drug had been mixed with another bark possessing poisonous qualities, and that in some samples the false Angustura alone was present. This destructive substitute was the bark of the brucea antidysenterica, or, according to others, of some species of strychnos. In 1819, MM. Pelletierand Caventou discovered brucine in the bark of the brucea antidysenterica; it is an alkaloid which possesses in a less degree the remarkable powers of strychnine. Like strychnine, it stimulates the spinal cord and produces tetanus; but twelve grains of brucine are scarcely equal to one of the more potent alkaloid. The two substances, as we before remarked, exist together in the various species of strychnos; and Majendie remarks that, in the faba St. Ignatii and the upas Tieut6, brucine plays the same part with reference to strychnine, that cinchonine does with reference to quinine; for the strongest kinds of Peruvian bark contain the greatest proportion of quinine, just as the St. Ignatius's bean and the upas Tieut6, which are much more active than the nux vomica, contain much strychnine and little brucine: in the upas Tieute', indeed, the strychnine is almost pure.
Morphia.—Of all narcotics, opium is unquestionably the most valuable ; yet it has some attendant disadvantages; it constipates, and often causes head-ache. Attempts had long been made to separate the good and evil principles of opium; and the black drop, the liquor opii sedativus, and other preparations, had in some degree effected their object. The discovery of morphia is another step gained in this important investigation. As morphia is almost insoluble, it is usually combined with acetic, or sulphuric, or muriatic acid; so that it is the acetate, or sulphate, or muriate of morphia which is administered. A quarter of a grain of any of these salts is perhaps equal to a grain of opium.*
Another principle, which promises to be useful, was discovered in opium about three years since. It is named codeine, from /mSeia, a poppy-head. Codeine is less powerful than morphia, but has succeeded, according to Majendie, in cases where every other therapeutic agent had failed.
Emetine.—This is the principle to which ipecacuanha owes its emetic powers; it may also be procured from the root of the violet. Emetine, when perfectly pure, is a medicine of great power, two grains being sufficient to
* As some few of our readers may wish to know how these new abridgments of medicine are procured, we will give as an example M. Robiquet's method of obtaining morphia.
A very concentrated solution of opium is boiled for a quarter of an hour with a little magnesia, in the proportion of about two hundred grains of magnesia to a pound of opium. An abundant greyish precipitate is formed, which is filtered, and washed with cold water. It is then dried, and digested iu weak alcohol, which is kept hot, but not allowed to boil. But little morphia and much colouring matter are thus removed. The precipitate, after having been again filtered and washed with a little cold alcohol, is boiled in highly rectified alcohol. The solution is filtered while hot, and as it cools it deposits crystallized morphia, which is deprived of its colouring matter by repeated crystallizations, and the employment of animal charcoal.