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as is known to be the case with regard to quicksilver and water, metals and their calces, &c.'

These and many other pertinent reflections and experiments, certainly merit the attention of those who wish to investigate this curious subject, and particularly of Dr. Crawford ; whom we hope they will incite to repeat, diverfify, and extend his experiments. Science cannot fail to be a gainer by an amicable contention of this kind.

ART. IV. Confiderations on the Eficacy of Ele&ricity in removing

Female Obflruction, &c. By John Birch, Surgeon. The Second Edition. 8vo.

I s. 6 d.

Cadell. 1780. N our Review of the first edition of this performance, we

observed, that the medical reader would naturally wish thai the Author had been more explicit, in describing the manner in which the electric shock was exhibited, in the cases related by him. The number of desperate cafes,' says the Author in the Preface" to this edition, arising from obstructed menses, which have been relieved by electricity since the first publication of this painphlet, brings a satisfactory reflection to my mind, and induces me to give a more particular description of my manner of applying it; that the practice may become general, and that an objection which has been illiberally urged against it may be removed : for, if any indelicacy attended the mode of treatment, that alone would have been an insuperable objection to the recommendation of it, and must have discous raged the use of so efficacious and so beneficial a remedy.'

The Author accordingly, in his Preface to the present edi: tion of his Pamphlet, has given a short and general description of his method of transmitting the electric Thock through the parts principally interested; in which the operation is lo conducted, as not to give offence to the most scrupulous delicacy of the patient. In cases of this nature, however, as well as in many other medical and chirurgical proceedings and operations, delicacy is a term merely relative; and if the Author had been a little more communicative in his first edition, he might very probably have prevented what he calls the objection which has been illiberally urged against his practice. In opera. tions, the scope of which is to save life, or even to restore health, common sense bas, by common consent, even in the most refined communities, given its sanction to certain means to obtain these ends; which, confidered fingly, and without a view to their object or consequence, might justly be considered as indecorous, indecent, or even gross, in an extreme degree.

No proceeding, however, which can justly merit any one of these epithets, as we now learn, takes place in the Author's 4

method

method of administering the shock. One of the directors (or sender metallic rods) is introduced through the pocket, or down the back of the stays, so as to reach to the lower part of the {pine, nearly upon the os facrum, while the other is placed below the peak of the stays. When the directors are thus fituated, the shock is expected to pass immediately through that part of the pelvis which is included between the directors. One of them is then removed from under the peak of the Itays, and placed under one foot, and afterwards under the other. Some lateral Thocks are afterwards transmitted across the pelvis, after having introduced a director through each pocket-hole.

This is an abridgment of the Author's description of the method which he has used in the generality of cases that have been submitted to his care; and where the disease has arisen only from an obstruction oi the uterine vessels,' and has not been attended with extreme debility, and periodical pains about the region of the uterus, he declares, that this method has always proved successful ;' and that he considers electricity as being as certain a specific for the removal of menstrual obstructions, as the bark for the cure of intermittents, or Mercury for the lues Venerea.'

ART. V. Continuation of the Account of Mr. Gibbon's Hiftory of the

Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire.
R. Gibbon introduces the nineteenth chapter of his Hir-

,

personal merit, either in peace or war, as he feared his Generals, and distrusted his Ministers, the triumph of his arms served only to establish the reign of the Eunuchs over the Roman world. Those unhappy beings, the antient production of oriental jealousy and despotism, were introduced into Greece and Rome, he says, by the contagion of Asiatic luxury. Their progress was rapid ; and the eunuchs, who, in the time of Augustus, had been abhorred, as the monstrous retiroue of an Egyp:ian Queen, were gradually admitted into the families of marrons, of Senators, and of the Emperors themselves. Restrained by the severe edicts of Domitian and Nerva, cherished by the pride of Diocletian, reduced to an humble station by the prudence of Constantine, they multiplied in the palaces of his degenerate fons, and insensibly acquired the knowledge, and at length the direction, of the secret counsels of Conftantius. The aversion and contempt which mankind has so uniformly entertained for that imperfect species, appears, our Historian fays, to have de. graded their character, and to have rendered them almost as in. capable as they were supposed to be, of conceiving any generous

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sentiment, or of performing any worthy action. But the Eupuchs were skilled in the arts of flattery and intrigue; and they alternately governed the mind of Constantius by his fears, his indolence, and his vanity. Whist he viewed in a deceitful mirror the fair appearance of pubļic prosperity, he supinely permitted them to intercept the complaints of the injured provinces, to accumulate immense treasures by the sale of justice and of honours; to disgrace the most important dignities, by the promotion of those who had purchased at their hands, the powers of oppression, and to gratify their resentment against the few independent spirits, who arrogantly refused to folicit the protection of flaves. Of these flaves the most diftinguished was the Chamberlain, Eusebius, who ruled the monarch and the palace with such absolute sway, that Constantius, according to the sarcasm of an impartial historian (Ammian. I. 18. C. 4.), possessed some credit with this haughty favourite. By his artful suggestions, the Emperor was perfuaded to subscribe the condemnation of the unfortunate Gallus, and to add a new crime to the long list of unnatural murders, which pollute the honour of the house of Conftantine,

Our Historian now proceeds to give an account of the elevation and death of Gallus--the danger and elevation of Julian the Sarmatian and Persian wars--the victories of Julian in Gaul, he and concludes the chapter in the following manner :

• His falutary influence (Julian's) reitored the cities of Gaul, which had been so long exposed to the evils of civil discord, Barbarian war, and domestic tyranny; and the spirit of industry was revived with the hopes of enjoyment. Agriculture, manufactures, and commerce, again fourished under the protection of the laws; and the curie, or civil corporations,' were again filled with useful and respectable members : the youth were no longer apprehensive of marriage; and married persons were no longer apprehensive of pofterity: the public and private festivals were celebrated with customary pompi and the frequent and secure intercourse of the provinces displayed the image of national prosperity. A mind like that of Julian, must have felt the general bappiness of which he was the author; but he viewed, with peculiar fatisfaction and complacency, the city of Paris; the feat of his winier residence, and the cbject even of his partial affection. That splendid capital, which now embraces an ample territory on either lide of the Seine, was originally confined to the small island in the midit of the river, from whence the inhabitants derived a supply of pure and salubrious water. The river bathed the foot of the walls ; and the town was accessible only by two wooden bridges. A foreit overspread the northern side of the Seine ; but on the south, the ground, which row bears the name of the University, was insensibly. covered with houses, and adorned with a palace and amphitheatre, baths, an aqueduct, and a field of Mars for the exercise of the Roman ircops. The severity of the climate was tempered by the neighbour. hood of the ocean ; and with some precautions, which experience

had

had taught, the vine and fig-tree were successfully culcivated. But, in remarkable winters, the Seine was deeply frozen; and the huge pieces of ice that floated down the stream, might be compared, by an Afiatic, to the blocks of white marble which were extracted from the quarries of Phrygia. The licentiousness and corruption of Antioch, recalled to the memory of Julian the severe and simple manners of his beloved Lutetia ; where the amusements of the theatre were unknown or despised. He indignantly contrafted the effeminate Syrians with the brave and honest simplicity of the Gauls, and almott forgave the imtemperance, which was the only ftain of the Celtic charačier. If Julian could now revisit the capital of France, he might converse with men of science and genius, capable of understanding and of inftruding a disciple of the Greeks; he might excuse the lively and graceful follies of a nation, whose martial spirit has never been enervated by the indulgence of luxury; and he must applaud the perfection of that inestimable art, which foftens, and refines, and embel. Jishes the intercourse of social life.'

The twentieth chapter does much honour to the judgment and political discernment of the Historian, and contains a great deal of valuable instruction. Mr. Gibbon confiders the motives, the progress, and the effects of the conversion of Conftantine, together with the legal establishment and constitution of the Christian or Catholic Church.

• T'he victories and the civil policy of Constantine,' says he, 'no longer influence the state of Europe; but a considerable portion of the globe still retains the impression which it received from the conversion of that monarch; and the ecclefiaftical inftiiutions of his reign are still connected, by an indiffoluble chain, with the opinions, the passions, and the interest, of the present generation.

. In the confideration of a subject which may be examined with impartiality, but cannot be viewed with indifference, a difficulty immediately arises of a very unexpected nature; that of ascertaining the real and precise date of the conversion of Conftantine. The eluquent Lactantius, in the midft of his court, seems impatient to proclaim to the world, the glorious example of the sovereign of Gaul; who, in the first moments of his reign, acknowledged and adored the majesty of the true and only God. The learned Eufebius has ascribed the faith of Conflantine to the miraculous fign which was displayed in the heavens, whilst he meditated and prepared the Italian expedition. The historian Zofimus maliciously afferts, that the Emperor had imbrued his hands in the blood of bis eldest son, before he publicly renounced the gods of Rome and of his ancestors. The per. plexity produced by these discordant authorities, is derived from the behaviour of Conftantine himself. According to the strictness of eco clesiastical language, the first of the Christian Emperors was unwor. thy of that name, till the moment of his death ; since it was only during his last illness that he received, as a catechumen, the impoti. tion of hands, and was afterwards admitted, by the initiatory rites of baptism, into the number of the faithful. The Chriftianity of Constantine must be allowed in a much more vague and qualified fenfe ; and the piceft accuracy is required in tracing the flow and al

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most imperceptible gradations by which the monarch declared himself the protectos, and at lengih the profelyte, of the church. It was an arduous talk to eradicate the habits and prejudices of his education, to acknowledge the divine power of Christ, and to understand that the truth of his revelation was incompatible with the worship of the gods. The obitacles which he had probably experienced in his own mind, instructed him to proceed with caution in the momentous change of a national religion ; and he infenfibly discovered his new, opinions, as far as he could enforce them with safety and with effect. During the whole course of his reign, the stream of Christianity flowed with a gentle, though accelerated motion : but its general direction was sometimes checked and sometimes diverted, by the accidental circumstances of the times, and by the prudence, or possibly by the caprice, of the monarch. His minillers were permitted to signify the intentions of their matter, in the various language which was best adapted to their respective principles ; and he artfully balanced the hopes and fears of his subjects, by publishing in the same year two ediets; the firit of which enjoined the folemn observance of Sunday, and the second directed the regular consultation of the Aruspices. While this important revolution yet remained in suspence, the Chrif. tians and the Pagans waiched the conduct of their sovereign with the fame anxiety, but with very opposite sentiments. The former were prompted by every motive of zeal, as well as vanity, to exaggerate the marks of his favour, and the evidences of his faith.: The latter, till their juit apprehenfions were changed into despair and resentment, attempted to conceal from the world, and from themselves, that the gods of Rome could no longer reckon the Emperor in the number of their votaries. The same passions and prejudices have engaged the partial writers of the times to connect the public profession of Christi. anity, wish the most glorious or the most ignominious æra of the reign of Constantine,

" Whatever symptoms of Christian piety might transpire in the discourses or actions of Conftantine, he persevered till he was near forty years of age in the practice of the established religion ; and the same conduct which in the court of Nicomedia might be imputed to his fear, could be ascribed only to the inclination or policy of the sovereign of Gaul

His liberality restored and enriched the temples of the gods: the medals which issued from his Imperial mint are impressed with the figures and attributes of Jupiter and Apollo, of Mars and Hercules; and his filial piety increased the council of Olympus by the solemn apotheosis of his father Conftantius. But the devotion of Constantine was more p.culiarly directed to the genius of the Sun, the Apollo of Greek and Roman mythology; and he was pleased to be represented with the symbols of the God of Light and Poetry. The unerring ibafts of thac deity, the brightness of his eyes, his laurel wreath, immortal beauty, and elegant accomplishments, feem to point him out as the patron of a young hero. The altars of 'Apollo were crowned wiih the vosive offerings of Constantine; and the credulous multitude were taught to believe, that the Emperor was permitted to behold with morial eyes, the visible majesty of their tutelar deity; and that, either waking or in a vision, he was blessed with the auspicious onens of a long and victorious reign. The Sun was uni

versally

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