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Order I. Pyrectica. Fevers.
To each of these belong several species, and to most of the species several varieties, as will be noticed in their
respective order. Ordinary Some slight deviation from the ordinary nomenclature nomencla may be observed in the generic names above: but the ture slightly deviated reader can have no difficulty upon this head, as he will from.
find the changes that have hereby been occasioned are in every instance founded upon a principle of correctness and simplification ; and consequently calculated to disentangle rather than to add to his incumbrances, and to facilitate his progress in the labyrinth before him. The term Ephemera, is, indeed, well known to every one.
Anetus and Epanetus are Greek terms, importing inter• mittent and remittent, from ávínus and havinkel. Ene
cia, from the same tongue, denotes continued action, and
is a derivation from ηνεκής. Prelimina- Before, however, we enter upon the practical part of necessary
this subject, it appears necessary to make a few remarks upon one or two other questions that have very largely occupied the attention of many pathologists, and especially concerning the proximate and remote causes of fever; and the tendency which fever has been supposed to evince of terminating suddenly, either favourably or
unfavourably, at fixed periods of its progress. Morbid Proximate and remote causes are rather terms of recauses of
cent than of ancient writers. In early times the causes diseases va- ce rious. of diseases chiefly contemplated were PROEGUMENAL
or predisponent, and PROCATARCTIC or occasional. Proegume- Thus, an hereditary taint, or habitual indulgence in
high living, may be regarded as a proegumenal cause of Procatarc- gout; and catching cold, or an unusual exertion of mustic what.
cular exercise, may form its procatarctic cause: both of which are absolutely necessary; for it is clear that the latter without the former, would not produce the malady ;
to be noticed.
nal cause what.
and it is just as clear that the former might remain harm- Order I. less in the constitution for years, were it not to meet with Pyrectica.
Fevers. the co-operation of the latter, which is often, on this ac- Es count, denominated an exciting cause. Generally speak- cause ing, the first was regarded as an internal, and the second w as an external cause; and in the instance selected they are so; but they are not so always.
To be acquainted with causes of these kinds is always useful; and, in guarding against the approach of diseases, it is often of the utmost importance: but they give us very little information upon the real nature of diseases, and the mode of managing them when present. And hence another set of causes have been adverted to, and have of late been chiefly studied, and particularly in the case of fever. “That only”, says Gaubius, “de- Proximate serves the name of a physical cause which so constitutes caus the disease, that, when present, the disease exists; while what. it continues, the disease continues; when changed or removed, the disease is altered or destroyed.” It is this which constitutes the PROXIMATE cause, and is, in fact, the essence of the disease, the actual source of all its effects. The REMOTE cause is that which directly produces the proximate; as a specific virus in syphilis, or a specific miasm in influenza, or epidemic catarrh.
In fever we can often trace the remote causes; though we are still too little acquainted with the nature of several of them to be able to restrict them to a specific mode of action; of the proximate cause, we know but very little at present, and it will probably be long before we shall know much more.
Let us, however, begin with the PROXIMATE CAUSE as Proximate that which has most excited the attention of physicians cause has
given rise in all ages. Upon this subject, indeed, a great deal of to various learned dust has been raised, and a great deal of valu- speculaable time consumed. Ancient speculations, for they are not entitled to the name of theories, have been overthrown: and modern speculations, in vast abundance, erected upon their ruins; which, in rapid succession, have also had their day and expired. It is an inquiry,
ORDER I. therefore, not likely to prove very productive; yet, as
ca. forming a part of medical science of which no student Proximate should be altogether ignorant, it seems necessary to car
ry it into a brief survey of the most popular doctrines which have been advanced upon the subject in different ages.
Fevers, then, in respect to their proximate cause, have and nervous pathology. been conjectured to originate from a morbid change,
either in the composition of the blood, or in the tone or power of the living fibre. The first view has given rise to various hypotheses, that rank under the common division of the HUMORAL PATHOLOGY. The second has given rise to other hypotheses appertaining to the common
division of the FIBROUS or NERVOUS PATHOLOGY. Chief hy The hypotheses derived from the one or the other of potheses that bave
these sources, that are chiefly entitled to attention, are been offered the following: of which the first two belong to the former upon the
division, and the remainder to the latter. subject of a
I. That of the Greek schools, founded on the doctrine of a concoction and critical evacuation of morbific matter.
II. That of Boerhaave, founded on the doctrine of a peculiar viscosity, or lentor of the blood.
III. That of Stahl, Hoffman, and Cullen, founded on the doctrine of a spasm on the extremities of the solidum vivum, or living fibre.
IV. That of Brown and Darwin, founded on the doctrine of accumulated and exhausted excitability, or sensorial power.
V. To which we may add that fevers have, by some physiologists, as Dr. Clutterbuck and Professor Marcus, been identified with inflammation; and their proximate cause been ascribed to increased action in some particular
organ. I. Hypo I. It was the opinion of Hippocrates that fever is an thesis of concoction: effort of nature to expel something hurtful from the body, doctrine of either ingenerated, or introduced from without. Bethe Greek schools. holding a violent commotion in the system, followed by
an evacuation from the skin and kidneys, with which the
paroxysm terminated, he ascribed the commotion to a ORDER I. fermentation, concoction, or ebullition, by which the Pyre
Fevers. noxious matter was separated from the sound humours; Proximate and the evacuation to a despumation or scum which
1. Doctrine such separation produces, or rather to the discharge of of concocthis morbid scum from the emunctories that open exter- tio nally. Galen supported this view with all the medical learning of his day; and it is the only explanation of fever to be met with in medical writings, through the Extent of
its range. long course of three thousand years; in fact, till the time of Sydenham, who still adhered to it, and whose pages are full of the language to which it naturally gave birth.
It blended itself almost insensibly with the dialect of Blended the chemists of the day, notwithstanding the professed chemistry of
with the hatred of Paracelsus and Van Helmot towards the the day. whole range of Galenic doctrines, and the solemn pomp with which the former had condemned and burnt the entire works of Hippocrates and Galen. And hence, under the influence of chemistry, at this time assuming a soberer aspect, the supposed animal despumation was contemplated as possessed, according to different circumstances, of different chemical qualities and characters; and particularly as being acid, alkaline, effervescent, or charged with some other acrimonious principle, too highly exalted, or in too great a proportion. This doctrine, considered merely hypothetically, is Highly in
genious and not only innocent, but highly ingenious and plausible. partially It is in unison with several of the phænomena of pyrectic correct. diseases; and derives a strong collateral support from the general history of exanthems or eruptive fevers, in which we actually see a peccant matter, producing general commotion, multiplying itself as a ferment, and at length separated and thrown off at the surface by a direct depuration of the system.
There is no writer, perhaps, in our own day who has How far carried this view of the subject farther, or even so far as
ranke. Professor Frank, who regards typhus, plague, petecchial and all pestilential fevers, and indeed nervous
Proximate cause, I. Doctrine of concoction.
ORDER I. fevers of every kind, whether continued or remittent, not
only as proceeding from specific contagions in the same
tur *. In what re- So far however as relates to exanthems, the opinion is
sufficiently correct. But the moment it is brought forward as the proximate cause of fever properly so called, in which there is no specific eruption, it completely fails.
For first, no explanation is here given as to the means by which any such concoction or fermentation, or multiplication of morbific matter in any way takes place. Next, there are many fevers produced evidently by cold, fear, and other excitements, as well mental as corporeal, in which most certainly there is no morbific matter introduced, and wherein we have no reason to conceive there is any generated internally; while the disease, limited perhaps to a single paroxysm, closes nevertheless with an evacuation from the skin or the kidneys. And, thirdly, we sometimes behold fevers suddenly cured, as Dr. Cullen has observed, by a hemorrhage so moderate, as for example a few drops of blood from the nose, as to be incapable of carrying out any considerable portion of a matter diffused over the whole mass of the blood; while we are equally incapable of conceiving how such diffused morbific matter could collect itself at a focal point, or pass off at a single outlet; or of tracing in the discharge, after the minutest examination, any properties different from those of blood in a state of full health.
I have observed that this hypothesis is, however, harmfollowed by an injurious practice. * De Cur. Hom. Morb. Epit. Tom. I. p. 130. compare with the $ p. 127.