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keep them to hard labour, and on hard fare for a space of time suitable to the nature and degree of the second offence, with the addition of proper chastisement, if other means 'would not do, upon a repetition of misbehaviour. The reason I would leave the management of the house so much to the respective parish officers, is because they, as the representatives of the parishes, are the persons most con
cerned, and consequently, it being their own business, are most likely to mind and do it beft.
This is the plan laid down for relieving the poor of all denominations; and one would think it no difficult undertaking to carry it into-execution, at the same time, that the public would hardly fail of being eased of a heavy burden, and the poor themselves better provided for. These, with many other judicious observations, are to be found in this pamphlet; which deserves to be carefully perused by all who have it in their power to remedy the abuses compained of. A spirit of benevolence, as well as good fense, reigns in every part of it': witness the manner in which he proposes the poor should be treated in these workhouses. But this is no where so conspicuous, as where he tells us, that it might not be amiss, if these hospitals were empowered to receive all distressed travellers, especially such as should come with lawful passes; and entertain and lodge them for one night, whereby the really distrefsed would find great comfort, the several parishes be excused the burden, and no persons, under the pretence of shipwreck, or otherwise, could have any plea for going about : from house to house to ask for alms and lodging.
ART. xv. Further experiments on substances resisting putre
faction. See our last, p. 43. AVING given a particular account of the man
ner of trying antiseptics on the fibrous parts of animals, I shall only (lays Dr Pringle) mention the result of some experiments made with them upon the humours.
1. Decoctions of wormwood and of the bark, also infufions of camomile-flowers, and of snake-root, preserved yolks of eggs, not only several days longer than water did alone, but also when a good quantity of sea-falt was added to it. I likewise found that salt of hartshorn preserved this substance better than four times its weight of fea-falt.
2. Ox's gall was kept some time from putrefaction by small quantities of lye of tartar, spirit of hart horn, crude
sal ammoniac, and the faline mixture, and still longer by a decoction of wormwood, infusions of camomile-flowers, and of snake-root; by solutions of myrrh, camphire, and falt of amber: All were separately mixed with gall, and found more antiseptic than sea-salt'; and seemingly in proportion to their effects upon flesh. Only nitre failed ;
which, tho’ four times stronger than sea-falt in keeping · flesh sweet, is inferior to it in preserving gall; and remark
ably weaker than crude fal ammoniac; which again is somewhat less powerful than nitre in preserving flesh. The nitre was soon opened by the gall, and emitted a vast quantity of air, which rose as from a fermenting liquor; and when this happened, the gall began to putrify. But the saline mixture generated no air, and opposed the putrefaction of gall more than it did that of Aesh.
3. The last trial was with the serum of human blood, which was preserved by a decoction of the bark, and an infufion of snake-root, nor with less efficacy than flesh. But saffron and camphire were not here above a fourth part fo antiseptic as before; whether it be that they are less preservative of this humour, or, as I suspect, that they were not well mixed. Nitre acted nearly with its full force, being about four times stronger than sea-falt : It generated some air, but much less than it did with the gall. No other humour was tried; but, from these specimens added to the former experiments, we may conclude, that whatever is preservative of flesh will be generally antiseptic, though perhaps not always with equal force.
4. Having already shewn how putrid flesh might be sweetened, I shall conclude this part of my subject with a like trial upon the yolk of an egg. A portion of this, being diluted with water, stood till it corrupted; when a few drops were put into a phial with two ounces of
water, and about twice as many drops were mixed with a strong infufion of camomile-flowers. At first both phials had some degree of a putrid smell ; but being corked, and kept a few days near fire, the mixture with plain water contracted a strong fætor, whilst the other smelled only of the flowers.
Thus far have I related the experiments made of antifeptics ; by which it appears, that, besides fpirits, acids, and salts, we are possessed of many powerful resisters of putrefaction, endued with qualities of heating, cooling, volatility, aftriction, and the like, which make some more adapted than others to particular indications. In some pu
trid cases, many proper antiseptics are already known; in others they are wanting. We are yet at a loss how to correct the sanies of a cancerous ulcer ; but, from such a mul. titude of antiseptics, it is to be hoped some may be found at last adequate to that intention. It may be farther remarked, that, as different distempers of the putrid kind require different antiseptics, so the fame disease will not always yield to the fame medicine. Thus the bark will fail in a gangrene, if the vessels are too full, or the blood sizy : But, if the vessels are relaxed, and the blood resolved or disposed to putrefaction, either from a bad habit, or the absorption of putrid matter, then is the bark a good specific. With the same caution are we to use it in wounds viz. chiefly in cases of absorbed matter, which infects the humours, and induces a hectic fever. "But, when inflammatory symptoms prevail, the fame medicine increasing the tension of the fibres, and fiziness of the blood, a state diretly opposed to the other, has such consequences as might be expected.
By the success of the bark in so many putrid cafes, it should
appear that aftriction had no small share in the cure.' And indeed, the very nature of putrefaction consists in a separation or disunion of the parts. But as there are other
cases, in which aftringency is less wanted, we may find in contrayerva-root, snake-root, camphire, and other fubstances, a highly antiseptic power, with little or none of the other quality. And since several of these medicines are also diaphoretic, their operation is thereby rendered more successful.
I come now to the last thing proposed, which was, to give an account of some observations made on substances hastening or promoting putrefaction; an inquiry not less useful than the former. For, setting aside the offensive idea commonly annexed to the word, we must acknowledge putrefaction to be one of the instruments of nature, by which many great and curious changes are brought about, With regard to medicine, we know, that neither animal nor vegetable substances can become aliment, without undergoing fome degree of putrefaction. Many distempers proceed from a deficiency of this action. The Crises of fevers seem to depend upon it; and perhaps even animal heat, according to a late ingenious theory.
But, in the prosecution of this subject, I have met with very few real leptics; and found many fubftances, commonly accounted such, of a quite opposite nature. The
most general means of accelerating putrefaction is, by heat, moisture, and stagnating air; which being fufficiently known and ascertained, I passed over, without making any particular experiments on those heads. Lord Bacon, as well as some of the chemists, has binted at a putrid fermentation, analogous to what is found in vegetables ; and this having so near a connection with contagion, I made the following experiment, for a further illustration of this matter.
5. In the yolk of an egg, already putrid, a small thread was dipped, and a small bit of this was cut off and put into a phial, with half of the yolk of a new-laid egg diluted with water. The other half, with as much water was put into another phial, and both being corked, were set by the fire to putrefy. The result was, that the thread infected the fresh yolk; for the putrefaction was sooner perceived in the phial that contained it, . than in the other, But this experiment was not repeated.
In this manner the putrefaction of meat advances quicker in a confined than a free air ; for, as the most putrid parts are also the most fugitive, they incessantly issue from a corruptible substance, and disperse with the wind; but in a stagnation of air, they remain about the body; and by way of ferment excite it to corruption.
6. As for other septics, recited by authors, I found. rone of them answer the purpose. The alcaline falts have been considered as the chief putrefiers. But this is disproved by experiments. Of the volatiles it may be indeed observed, that, tho' they preserve from the common marks of putrefaction, with a force four times greater than that of fea-lalt; yet, in warm infufions, a small quantity of these salts will soften and resolve the fibres, more than water does by itself. They also hinder the coagulation of blood; and when taken by way of medicine, thin and resolve it, but are not therefore septics. For, so little do these falts putrefy, or even resolve the fibres, when applied dry, that I have kept, since the beginning of June last, notwithstanding the excessive heats, a small piece of Aesh in a phial, preserved only with salt of harithorn, at present perfectly found, and firmer than when first falted.
7. From the specimens we had of the antiscorbutic plants, it is likewise probable none of that tribe will prove feptic. Horse-radish, one of the most acrid, is a very powerful antiseptic. And tho' carrots, turnips, garlick, unions, celery, cabbage, and colewort, were tried (as alcalescents)
they did not hasten, but somewhat retarded, the putrefaction.
8. The case was different with fuch farinaceous vegetables as were examined ; viz. white-bread in infusion, decoctions of flour, barley, and oat-meal ; for these did not at all retard putrefaction; but after it was somewhat advanced, they check'd it by turning four. By a long digestion the acidity became confiderable ; which, by conquering the putrescency of the flesh, and generating much air, did not ill represent the state of weak bowels, which convert bread, and the mildest grains, to such an acid, as prevents a due resolution and digestion of animal food*.
9. I examined cantharides, dried vipers, and Rufian castor, all animal substances, and therefore most likely to prove septic. The flies were tried both with fresh beef, and with the serum of human blood ; the vipers only with the former ; but neither of them haftened putrefaction, And as for the castor, so far from promoting this process, that an infufion of 12 grains opposed it more than the standard falt.
10. After finding no septics where they were most expected, I discovered some which seemed the least likely ; viz. chalk, the testacea, and common falt,
Twenty grains of crabs-eyes prepared, were mixed with 6 drachms of ox's gall, and as much water; into another phial was put nothing but gall and water, in the same quantity with the former; and both being placed in the furnace, the putrefaction began much sooner, where the powder was, than in the other phial. I infused afterwards in the lamp-furnace 30 grains of prepared chalk, with the usual quantity of flesh and water; and observed, that the corruption not only began fooner, but went higher by this mixture ; nay, what had never happened before, that in a few days the flesh resolved into a perfect mucus. The experiment was repeated with the same effect; which being to extraordinary, I suspected some corrosive substance had been mixed with the powder : But, for a trial, a lump of chalk being pounded, 30 grains of it proved fully as septic as the former. The same powder was compared with an equal quantity of salt of wormwood, and care was taken to shake both the mixtures alike: But after three
* It is to be remarked that in making this experiment, I did not then attend to a fermentation that ensued, and which was the cause of the acidity. This kind of fermentation between animal and vegetable substance being hitherto overlooked, shall be therefore set forth in my next paper,