Зображення сторінки

gret that, as Dr. Cheyne is so confident of being able to account, to his entire satisfaction, on natural principles, for the fact in question, he did not favour the public with his reasons : for those, I doubt not, would satisfy his friends; and they, who should not be convinced, would have an opportunity of being further enlightened ; and the public at large would be saved a disagreeable state of doubt and uncertainty, for Dr. Cheyne's bare assertion cannot be supposed to carry conviction to any mind on a disputed point. But as Dr. Cheyne has not thought proper to give us his reasons, perhaps I may provoke him to it; for I will give mine, and am as confident, as he can be in his opinion, that the fact in question cannot be accounted for on natural principles.

66 The documents relative to the long ailing state of Mrs. Mary Stuart are before the public, and cannot admit of a rational doubt. The symptoms of her disorder were of the nervous kind, and very anomalous. The nervous system is the least known part of the aninal economy; yet, notwithstanding its great extent and its great obscurity, there are in it certain land-marks, on which light appears and certainly rests. We know, for instance, that the nerves are the organs of sense and motion in the animal economy; we know that they may be effected either in a primary or secondary manner.

6 As they are the organs of sense and motion, they are as it were the connecting medium between spirit and matter, between the moral and physical man. Hence strong affections of the mind often greatly agitate the nerves; and, when in disorders of the nerves, the nerves are often primarily affected, strong emotions of the mind have often suddenly and completely removed very afflicting and obstinate diseases. But, when the nervous disorder is of the secondary kind, for instance, when it is caused by the pressure of blood vessels on the nerves, no such effect can be expected, nor do I believe that any one of the kind can be pointed out in the whole extent of medical science. Now, that this was the nature of Mrs. Stuart's disorder, we have the most unexceptionable authority for asserting, not less than Dr. Cheyne himself. I have before me the certificates of the medical gentlemen who attended that lady. Dr. Cheyne, in his certificate, asserts, that she laboured under determination of blood to the head ; and that he was told, she had been very frequently relieved by large blood-lettings, blisterings, issues, &c. Dr. Mills, the attending physician, who had visited Mrs. Stuart for three years before her recovery, says, her complaint was generally of an apoplectic tendency. Surgeon M‘Namara says, that the most distressing symptom of which Mrs. Stuart complained when he saw her, was a severe pain in the head, for the relief of which he was determined to put an issue on the scalp. Here, then, is the combined testimony of the medical gentlemen who attended Mrs. Stuart, setting forth in plain terms, that her disorder was of that nature, which, I say, never was, and never could be, removed by affections of the mind. But, I can go further, and say, that such affections of the mind, as are known to relieve certain nervous diseases, most certainly tend to aggravate the disease in question. It is said, that the religious enthusiasm of Mrs. Stuart accounts for the change which suddenly took place in her state of health. This enthusiasm consists in ardent hope and in strong desires, and these affections of the mind are certainly of the exciting kind, and would as certainly increase the determination of blood to the head, as strong doses of wine might be supposed to do. I am sure my good neighbour, Dr. Mills, would never have ventured to offer strong doses of wine to his patient, Mrs. Stuart, and will Dr. Cheyne venture to oppose the conclusions, which. I think, irresistibly follow from what I have said; and therefore the case of Mrs. Mary Stuart, of Ranelagh convent, cannot be accounted for op natural principles; therefore it is miraculous.

6 Before I take my leave of Dr. Cheyne, I shall just advert to a conclusion, which, I think, he admits, and which I capnot believe to be strictly correct. It is that there can be nothing miraculous in any thing which can be accounted for on natural principles. If I mistake not, I could point out some miracles in holy writ, which could be accounted for on natural principles. Yet the sanctity of the performer; his confident appeal to Heaven; the command he assumes over nature; nature's prompt obedience to his call; and such like circumstances, were sufficient to convince human reason of the truth of the miracle, independent of the authority of holy writ. For this part of my

sü hject, I would refer Dr. Cheyne to bis spiritusil director, Rev. Mr. Daly; who, we must suppose, is eminently versed in the seriptores.

A combination of strong circumstances well ascertained and well proved surround the miracle Jately performed at Ranelagh. I shall not enumerate them, as I fear I bave trespassed too long on some of your readers. But if Dr. Cheyne ventures to give his reasons to the public, I promise, Mr. Editor, I shall soon revisit your columns.

Truth, Mr. Editor, was never more persecuted than in the present age. It is not that which true, but that which is pleasing, flattering, and lucrative, that engages general attention : and, as the stern accents of truth are ever in discordance with the soft music of pleasare and profit, truth is assailed on all sides by an host of enemies. Never were the enemies of justice more numerous or more various, from the insidious petty pickpocket and petty picklock, to the daring robber, who knocks down and destroys. You, Mr. Editor, are among the few who dare to step forward in defence of truth, and to hold no compromise with misrepresentation and falsehood. I prefer your company to that of more exalted personages, and remain your very faithful and obedient servant,

EDWARD SHERIDAN, M. D. .. 46, Great Dominick-street, August 28, 1823.

[ocr errors][merged small]

The suppression of monasteries by Henry VIII. being entrusted to ignorant or interested individuals was attended by the destruction of many valuable libraries. Bayle, bishop of Ossory, in his preface to Leland's New Year's gift to Henry VIII. laments the havock that was thus made in literature ; he says,—“ a great number of those who purchased the monasteries reserved the books, some to scour the candlesticks and some to rab the boots. Some they sold to the

and some they sent over the sea to the bookbinders, not in small num bers, but at times whole ships full, to the wondering of foreign pations. Yea, the universities of this realm are not at all clear in this detestable fact. I know a merchantman, that bought the contents of two noble libraries for forty shillings ; a shame to be spoketi of. This stuff hath he used instead of grey paper for the space of more than these ten years, and has yet store enough for as many years, more to come.”


[ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][merged small]

MR. Epitor,-Among the variety of means resorted to by the needy, or by the avaricious, to draw money from the pockets of the lower orders of society, perhaps nove bave been more successful than the publication of the many cheap tracts and periodical works, which crowd the stall of the petty book-, seller, os fill the window of a modern stationer--some of these are not without their share of literary merit, others are suffi. ciently dull and badly written, many, however, have a mischievous tendency; but the same spirit generally pervades the whole, a determined hostility to the Catholic religion ; and it frequently happens, that in indulging a blind zeal for attacking the priesthood of the Catholic church, the writers of these periodical productions overshoot their mark, and their shafts fall upon the ministers of the reformed churches. From amongst this heap of motley scribbling a prospectus has fallen into my hands, which has been distributed by an association esta blished in the Borough, for the purpose of preventing the alarming growth of popery. The sapient members of this society have, in a truly edifying manner, employed their time in reprioting the appalling tales and prophetic reveries of the tolerant sir Harcourt Leesby means like these they may obtain a few pence from the credulous, and may perhaps have the good fortune to frighten an old nurse or two. Another set of a “ feu plain Christians,” taking advantage of the period when the fears of every reflecting Protestant are justly excited by the unceasing efforts of the Catholics to diffuse their religion throughout the kingdom, &c.” have made an attempt to lighten the pockets of " that portion of their fellow Christians whose circumstances preclude them from the purchase of numerous and expensive volumes,” by furnishing them with an edition, in twopenny numbers, of part of the fabulous history of John Fox; and to add to the attractions of this jumble of falsehood and credulity, they have kindly undertaken to supply their readers with an additional stock of fiction and absurdity-and to catch the taste of the ignorant fanatic, they have introduced priests exhibiting imaginary representations, which, however, have no reference to the subject of the text; but this is a mere trifle with such zealous editors, for having determined that the climax of inconsistency shall be complete, they have habited their executioners in Spanish dresses-have made the pope* a calm spectator of the martyrdom of saint Lawrence, and have exhibited an indelicate engraving, which they dignify with the term of “ the martyrdom of a Christian lady.” It seems to me somewhat suprising that the acts and monuments of John Fox, a work every day to be met with in the workshop of the mechanic, and in the closet of the more elevated enthusiast, should have so rarely attracted the notice of any modern Catholic writer. That Parsons, a nearly cotemporary Catholic author, accuses Fox of wilful corruptions, forgeries, and lies; and that he asserts that more than one hundred and fifty one species of falsehood alone are to be found in the small space of three pages, many of us have read; and yet the work of Parsons is little known, and rarely to be met with. That Wood, the

* Pope Xystus, or Sextus, was put to death, for the faith, three days before St. Lawrence, who was chief of the deacons of the Roman church, consequently a Roman Catholic. It is related, that Saint Lawrence seeing his holy bishop led away to martyrdom, and himself left behind, thus addressed him— Whither art thou going, O father, without thy son? Whither art thou hastening, O holy priest, without thy deacon? Thou wast never accustomed to offer sacrifice without me, thy minister; try me then now, and make the experiment, whether thou hast chosen a fit minister to whom thou hast committed the dispensing the blood of our Lord.” To whom the holy pope replied—“ I am not going to leave thee, my son, nor to forsake thee, but only am going a little before thee; after three days thou shalt follow me. I am old, and therefore my conflict is more light and easy; but thou art young, and shall sustain far greater conflicts for the love of Christ, and shall triumph in a more glorious manner over the tyrant !” This prophecy was literally fulfilled.

« НазадПродовжити »