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Ammlanins Marcellinus, in the andria, and who declares, that he 22d book and 16tli chapter of his save there, in many teinples, cases history, says, “ The Serapion con- filled with books, the reliques of the tained an inestiinable library of ancient libraries. It is worthy of seven hundred thousand volumes, remark, that this author; as well as collected by the industry of the Seneca in his treatise De Tranquils Ptolemies and burnt during the war itate Animi, relate, that the num= of Alexandria, when that city was ber of volumes burnt by Cesar destroyed by the dictator Cesar.” amounted to four hundred thou
But both of the historians hare sand ; and as it appears that the erred on the same point. Ammi- total number of the books was but anus, in the course of his recital, seven hundred thousand, there reevidently confounds the Serapion maits, with what they were able and the Bruchion. It is clearly to save from the library in the Bruproved, that Cæsar destroyed some chion, at most but three or four buildings of the latter only, and hundred thousand to compose the not the whole city.
one in the Serapion. Suetonius, in his life of Do- The veracious Orosius, in 415, mitian, relates that this emperour is the last witness we have, who sent copyists to Alexandria to testifies to the existence of the litranscribe a great number of books, brary at Alexandria. The numewhich he wanted for his library. rous christiari writers of the fifth The library must then have exist- and sixth centuries, who have ed a long time after Cæsar. Be- transmitted to us many useless sides, we know that the Serapion facts, do not say one word on iras not destroyed until the year this important subject. We of our Lord 391 by the orders of have then no more certain docuTheodosius.
ments, respecting the fate of the Without doubt the library suf: library, from 415 until 636, or, acfered considerably on the last oc- cording to some, not until 648, casion. But after this it still ex- when Alexandria was taken by the isted, at least in part ; which we Arabs....a period of ignorance, of cannot doubt on the testimony of barbarism, of wars, of convulsions, Orosius, who, twenty-four years and of fruitless disputes between a afterwards, travelled into Alex- hundred different sects.
About the year of our Saviour time to the learned world, in a 640 the troops of the caliph Omar, latin translation, the oriental histo. under the command of Amrou, ry of the physician Abulpharagius, took Alexandria. For more than from whom we make the following ten centuries no person in Europe extract... At that time lived among Interested himself to know what the Musselmen John of Alexandria, became of this celebrated library. who was called the grammarian, At last, about the year 1660, a and who espoused the cause of the learned Oxonian, Edward Pococke, jacobite christians. He lived even who had collected in two journies at the time when Amrou-Ebno'l-As to the East many Arabian manu- took Alexandria. He attached scripts, made known for the first himself to the conqueror ; and
Amrou, who knew the progress and wonder.”-When this recital which John had made in the scien- was made known in Europe, its ces, treated him with great re- authenticity was admitted without spect, listening with much eager tontradiction. It there acquired ness to his philosophick discours- full credit, and in the opinion of es, which were altogether new to the vulgar it passed for certainty. the Arabians. Amrou was him- After Pococke we had the self a man of much judgment and knowledge of another Arabian hispenetration. Heretained this learn- torian, who was also a physician, ed man constantly near him. John and who gives nearly the same said to him one day : Thou hast recital. His name is Abdollatif, visited all the magazines of Alex- who wrote about the year 1200, andria, and hast set thy seal upon and of consequence a little before every thing which thou hast found Abulpharagius. We are indebted there. Of all that can serve thee for the publication to professor I request nothing ; but thou canst Paulus, who made it after a manreasonably leave us, what will be uscript in the Bodleian library. taseless to thee. What is it thou We here insert the passage in wishest? interrupted Amrou. The question. “ I have seen also the philosophical books, replied John, Portico which, after Aristotle and which are found in the royal pal- his disciples, became the academacé. I can dispose of nothing, said ick college, and also the college Amrou, without permission from which Alexander the Great built the chief of the faithful, Omar- at the same time with the city, in Ebno'l-Chattab. He then wrote which was contained the superb to Omar what John had requested library which Amrou bin-El-As of him, to which Omar replied.... rendered a prey to the flames by As to the books thou mentionest, the orders of the great Omar, to if they accord with the book of whom God be merciful.” God, there is without them in that As this little narrative quadrates book all that is sufficient ; but if with the character for ferocity and there be any thing repugnant to barbarism, which the christian histhat book, we have no need of torians, particularly those in the them : order them therefore to times of the crusades, attributed to be all destroyed. Amrou upon the Saracens, no person for a long this gave orders, that they should time thought proper to call it in be dispersed through the baths of question. On this point we shall Alexandria, and burned in heating undertake to justify the caliph them. After this manner, in the Omar, and his lieutenant Amrou ; space of six months, they were all not from love of the Saracens, but consumed. Hear what was done from love of truth.
(To be continued.]
For the Monthly Anthology.
THE FAMILY PHYSICIAN.
No. 5. I am a sincere believer in the verted in many instances by propusefuiness of doctors and physick. er management ; and that the I believe that diseases may be proper manageinent will more promitigated, and diseases may be a- bably be discovered by men wlié
VOL III. No. 1. B
devote their whole attention to this selves, that charity and a love of business,than by the sick and their truth govern their hearts. neighbours.
These things must be so, while I am however aware, that ve- human nature remains what it is. ry sensible men are hereticks Toil and trouble will ever be shunon this subject. They say, the ned. Society indeed renders them doctors theorize, instead of observ- more tolerable by the compensaing nature modestly and careful- tion it gives for them; and as this ly ; and that their physick often advances in real improvement, the irritates and sometimes destroys compensation will increase, and the patients, who would otherwise of course the labour will more throw off their diseases more casi- readily be procured. To correct ly and more certainly. Now there
our errors, we must trace them to is some truth in this charge, and their source. This consideration I will join them in the opinion, has induced me, to present the prethat my brethren are too prone to ceding and the following obsertheorize. This is not peculiar to vations on the causes, which lead them ; it belongs to mankind gen- the faculty into the habit of theerally, and arises from indolence orizing. and an impatience to appear wise. I have lightened the censure, All knowledge must be acquired which is thrown upon us by slowly and with difficulty. The spreading a part of it on the broad labour becomes too tedious, and shoulders of poor human nature ; men are ready to guess at the truth, I mean to charge the remainder rather than wait its slow and pain- to a fault of our patients and their ful development. This happens friends. every day in common affairs ; and The importance and essential as the injury,which results from it, duty of a physician, is to advise the is not very great, it is disregarded. sick what to do ;-to direct their The error deservedly arrests at- whole conduct. As the sick tention, when the subjects are should never call a physician, ungreat principles, either in physicks less they have more confidence in or morals. It is remarkable, that his knowledge and judgment men form an attachment to the than in their own ; so when they vagaries of their own minds, which have received his advice, they is oftentimes stronger, and excites should follow it implicitly. If inmore zeal, than a simple conviction deed it is so opposite to their own of real truth. This circumstance settled opinions, as to destroy that aggravates very much the evils confidence, then the motive for arising from a false theory. In following his advice must cease to our profession, men grow as warm operate. But the patient and his in the support of their peculiar friends are seldom satisfied with tenets, I had almost said as the the advice alone ; they want to theologians; and as the sectarian know the name of the disease, the in religion hopes, that all will be nature of the case, and the reasons damned, who do not worship with for the mode of treatment. In him, so the father of a medical short, they want to be taught in hypothesis is willing to rejoice if half an hour, and that too while all die, who are treated according they are under the influence of to principles differing from his strong feelings, what it may have own. They both persuade them- cost the physician months they kearn, and might employ him the learned, and one, discoursing hours to detail ; at a moment per- on the subject, were to state that haps, when the circumstances do it is found by experiment whennot permit him, to make up his ever any body, specifically heavier own opinion decidedly ;-and he than the atmosphere, is thrown inis too apt to think his reputation to the air it falls to the ground; requires, that he should attempt and that the acquaintance with this to gratify them. They ask only principle might enable us to confor simple reasons and simple ex- struct many useful machines ;planations, not wishing to look in- of one, so discoursing, many, not to the arcana of our art. Now sim- only of the vulgar, but of the betple reasons and simple explana- ter informed, would inquire why tions are precisely what it is most this thing was so; and they would difficult to give them, and most hardly value the philosopher's difficult for them to comprehend. knowledge of this law of nature, Accordingly, to save his credit, the nor be willing even to credit it, if doctor dresses up for them an he could not talk nonsense to them explanation in unmeaning words, about the causes of attraction, &c. from which they fancy they under. The truth is, that the knowledge stand a kind of something; and of the law, or, as it is sometimes from the habit of talking nonsense called, the general fact, is all that to others, and finding them satis- is wanted; and this may be just ked with it, he gets to value it as usefully applied, as if we could himself. Here is the stumbling understand how such a property block on which he falls.
is impressed on matter. I know very well how much Let us take a similar case in a these remarks may expose the science, with which a physician faculty to the wits, who,when their should be particularly conversant. own bones do not ache, are not The doctor is asked, what is the apt to spare us. But it is certain principle of life, and the inquirer ly true, that a man may be learned, expects to hear of some essence and well versed in the practice of or quintessence, or of something physick, and yet may not be ready like an electrick fluid, of which to answer, to the ignorant, the in- the experimentalist may exhibit quiries above stated. For my own at least a fleeting sight. He anpart, I should think well of any swers, that he knows not what life young man, who plainly refused to is; that he knows only the laws do it.
of life. He explains by stating, There are several reasons for that living, vegetable, and animal all this. One great one is, that bodies are endued with certain while all the world talk of the im- properties and powers, which are portance and advantages of ex- not found in dead matter ; that perience, few people understand these are attributed to the princithe nature and extent of experi- ple of life ; and that if they are mental knowledge. We are all discoveru, although the other be acquainted with the phenomena, unknown, the object of the medi, which depend on the principle of cal philosopher is obtained. Now gravitation. But if these phe. such an answer is not satisfactory, nomena were not so constantly even to men of understanding, who obvious, as to render them fam- are not conversant with natural Iliar; if they were known only to philosophy ; and they will be much better pleased with a pre- for one little operation. The tender, who gives them an hy- blacksmith is continually performpothesis about some humour float. ing mechanical and chemical ing in the blood, or through the operations, and these are variousnerves, which is the essential spi- ly combined. No one would unrit, or animating principle of living dervalue his handicraft, because beings. The truth is, that men he could not make his employer, who are unacquainted with such understand in five minutes all subjects, are more taken with that those scientifick principles, on philosophy, which represents the which his operations depend. He world as supported on the shoul- indeed is not required to underder of Atlas, who sits on an ele- stand the sciences on which his phant, who rests on a tortoise, &c. art is founded, while the physicianz Many learned seekers after knowl- is. But the difficulty is, not that edge commit similar errours. the artist does not understand the
I have stated one reason, which subject, for I am now supposing renders it difficult for physicians, to that he does ; but that he cannot answer the scientifick questions of make another comprehend at once their patients. Perhaps I have the combination of principles, enlarged too much in the illustra- with which principles individually tion of this reason ; but it is a fave the inquirer is unacquainted. It ourite subject. This reason is foun- is like talking to a blind man, who ded on the presumption, that the knows not what colours are, of the physician is perfectly able to give a effect of a mixture of colours. satisfactory answer to one, qualified Now I have been writing a page to understand it. There is a diffi- to persuade men that they are culty of another kind, which like- blind, so far as respects subjects wise may exist, while the physician which they have not investigated ; is perfectly competent to the ne- and I may add, that, in many incessary explanation ; and it is one stances, no common minds can which many persons feel, while suddenly flashlight enough on they do not clearly recognize it. such subjects, as to make them
The practice of physick is an rightly impress their torpid organs art ; and the precepts of this art, of sight. If I have succeeded to as of every other, are drawn persuade my readers, that their from the principles, not of one sci. neighbours are thus blind, it is as ence only, but of many. The much as I have a right to expect. point of art in any operation is, if It is hard to persuade a man, that I may so express myself, at the he himself does not see every intersection of the rules or lines, thing, which is put before his eyes; which are afforded by the different although this happens every day principles, on which that opera- to every man, both in the physical tion is founded. But as circum- and moral world. stances vary, the point of inter- The limits of a periodical pub. section shifts, and so the conduct lication require, that I should post. of the artist. Many principles pone, for the present, the further then require to be stated and ex- consideration of this subject. plained with precision, to account