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ties, such as should only be inflicted on the greatest crimes. All
proportion of punishment is done away; and men who can • hardly be considered as culpable, are punished as atrocious • criminals.' * To create, by means of high duties, an overwhelming temptation to indulge in crimes, and then to punish men for indulging in it, is a proceeding wholly and completely subversive of every principle of justice. It revolts the natural feelings of the people, and teaches them to feel an interest in the worst characters—for such smugglers generally are—to espouse their cause, and to avenge their wrongs. A punishment which is not proportioned to the offence, and which does not carry the sanction of society along with it, can never be productive of any good effect. The true way to put down smuggling, is to render it unprofitable-to diminish the temptation to engage in it; and this is to be done, not by surrounding the coasts with cordons of troops, by the multiplication of oaths and bonds, and making the country the theatre of ferocious and bloody contests in the field, or of perjury and chicanery in the courts of law, but simply and exclusively by reducing the duties on the smuggled commodities ! It is this, and this only, that will put an end to smuggling. Whenever the profits of the fair trader become nearly equal to those of the smuggler, the latter will be forced to abandon his hazardous profession. But so long as the high duties are kept up-that is, so long as a high bounty is held out to encourage the adventurous, the needy, and the profligate to continue their career, an army of excise-officers, backed by all the severity of the Revenue laws, will be insufficient to hinder them.
Art. IX. Dello Stato Fisico del Suolo de Roma. Memoria
per servire d'illustrazione alla Carta Geognostica di questa citta. Di G. BROCCHI. Con due tavole in rame. Con un Discorso sulla condizione dell'aria di Roma negli antichi tempi. Roma, 1820. 8vo. pp. 281.
as an ardent cultivator of a science much indebted to his exertions, and one who has greatly contributed to establish the reputation of Italy in that branch of natural history. On a former occasion, we took an opportunity of reviewing his work on the geology of a very interesting part of that country; of that, namely, which presents the singular phenomena of marine de
* Esprit des Loix, liv. 13. cap. 8.
posites at high elevations, intermixed with others of terrestrial origin, and with volcanic substances. The present Essay, as far as the geological part of the work is concerned, contains little else than a repetition of the appearances described in his Subappenine Geology, applied to the illustration of the topography of Rome. It requires therefore no particular notice; as we have, in the article to which we have just referred, said every thing which the subject seemed to require. We purpose, at present, to offer a few remarks on his discourse respecting the condition of the air of Rome in ancient times; without, however, thinking it necessary to subscribe to all his opinions. The subject of Malaria, in general, is interesting, not merely to medical readers, but involves a question which concerns every one; not only those whom curiosity or idleness may lead to visit Italy, or whom commerce or military service drive to the poisonous regions of the globe, but those also who sit quietly at home, and hug themselves in a fancied security from its attacks.
Few of our general readers know that all the Fevers, properly so called, which mysterious Nature has provided for the partial depopulation of this globe, for checking, as it would appear, the too rapid increase of mankind, are divided into two classes; sometimes rather distinguishable by their causes than their effects. One of these appears to be produced by certain changes in the animal economy, which, while they derange the subject itself, compel it to generate a volatile and unknown substance, that may be communicated to other subjects; reproducing similar diseases ad infinitum. This unknown matter is contagion; and its produce are the various contagious fevers. The other class of fevers puts on a far greater diversity of aspect; but these are not contagious, inasmuch as they cannot be communicated from one individual to another. Numerically considered, the diseases of this class far exceed those of the former; and, considered as to their destructive effects, the ravages which they commit on health and life, surpass those of the contagious fevers in a very great degree. These are the diseases which form the peculiar scourge of hot climates; which interfere with the pursuits of commerce, and aggravate the ravages of war; often also defeating the best laid plans of politicians and leaders of armies.
As the invisible exciting cause of contagious fevers is a substance generated by the human body, so, that of the latter class is an equally invisible and diffusible substance, produced apparently from vegetating soils, under peculiar circumstances of heat and moisture. But as this matter is not intercommunicable from one person to another, so, neither can it be detained and preserved in dead matter, as is the substance that excites the fevers of the
first class. To suffer from it, it is absolutely necessary that the human body should be exposed to its influence where it is produced; nor does it appear, that, even in this its natural state, it can easily be wafted very far through the atmosphere. Whatever may be the nature of this obscure and invisible material, it is the essential ingredient of that which the Italians call Malaria; being the marsh miasma of medical writers.
Although the matter of contagion is a chemical compound, which may be preserved for a great length of time unchanged; and although it is known, from the effects of various chemical agents, that it is decomposed with great facility, no method of subjecting it to chemical analysis has yet been devised. It has been conceived, on the contrary, that the miasma, or poisonous matter of Malaria, might be examined; it has even been imagined that its nature had been detected; but we are decidedly of opinion, that no more progress has been made towards the solution of this problem, than of the other. We do not intend to enter at any length into the details of opinions and trials which have produced no results; but as physicians are always extren.ely ready to make hypotheses, and to catch at every current novelty of the day, so, in turn, azote, carbonic acid, hydrogen, carburetted hydrogen, and sulfuretted hydrogen, have been considered as forming the matter of miasma. It is true enough that some or all of these substances are produced by the same soils that generate these fevers; but it is equally certain, that the diseases abound in many places where these gases cannot be detected; and that, in many, where they are palpably generated in great quantity, such disorders are utterly unknown; while they are not excited by those gases when generated in our laboratories. As it had also been conceived that the miasma might consist of putrid animal and vegetable matters diffused in a moist atmosphere, Signor Brocchi here gives a detail of some experiments which he made with this view; by collecting the atmospheric water, or dews, and examining them by the usual chemical means. The result of these experiments, as of all others which had been made before, was nothing; and we still continue utterly ignorant of the nature of this pestilential substance.
The fevers generated by contagion, though they differ in severity, do not offer any very great discordances of character. If to mild and severe ones we add the contagious dysenteries, we include all the disorders produced by this peculiar substance, admitting the plague to be of a distinct nature. But it is a very curious and important fact, that the vegetable miasma produces a great diversity of ailments; some of them so little resembling others, that, were it not that we can trace them to a common cause, we should scarcely suspect them of any affinity. We know not what our medical readers may think of such an opinion; but our conclusion is, that the identity of the cause is here sufficient to prove the identity of the resulting diseases, at least if radically considered; and this view is further confirmed by the very remarkable fact, that all the diseases nearly that are produced by miasma, are cured by the same remedies; excepting always such diversities of treatment as may be demanded by accidental or peculiar symptoms, arising from collateral circumstances, or from the particular organs that are affected. Thus, it is easily understood, that, in addition to the common remedy by which the great constitutional effect of the poison is to be counteracted, it may often be necessary to have recourse to local and particular remedies.
The principal and most destructive disease produced by miasma, is the remittent fever of hot climates; a fever so varying in its characters as sometimes to be continuous, at others intermittent; in which latter case, it passes into the popular division of Ague. Of this nature are the well known jungle fevers of India, the pestilential disease of Batavia, the fevers of the hot and moist African shore, the indigenous yellow fever of the West Indies, and many others, known under different names to physicians, which we need not enumerate. Of similar character, but far less severe, in ordinary seasons at least, are the fevers of the Don, of the Crimea, of Holland, of Greece, and the disease of Italy, the malaria fever of our author. When most virulent, these have the character of remittents; when less so, they are intermittents; presenting all the various types of that variety-quartan, tertian, and quotidian. In colder climates, or in situations where the miasma is generated, either in less abundance or in a state less concentrated, possibly also from a different state of the patients affected by it, the milder agues take the place of the severe intermittents, as happens in our own country. In these cases the disease is rarely fatal, at least immediately, however it may lay the foundations of incurable chronic disorders. It further appears, that the same miasma may, under peculiar circumstances, produce dysentery; and of this character are the prevailing disorders of this nature so fatal in campaigns, and so comnion in the warmer climates of the globe; although there is also a dysentery of a contagious nature, arising from the same poison, that produces the fevers of that class. To dysentery we may add cholera ; as being also, under certain circumstances, the produce of the exhalations of marshy ground.
There is an affinity between all these disorders, of such a nature that it is by no means surprising to find them all depending essentially on one cause. But miasma, or that substance which produces the intermittent fever, has also the power of exciting other disorders of apparently widely different characters, often unattended with any appearance of fever. The disorders to which we here allude, put on as many appearances as they affect parts; nor dare we here enter on all the medical explanations which would be requisite to render their varieties intelligible to our readers. Where peculiar organs are affected, as for example the eye, it is natural to expect that the general morbid action must be modified in a correspondent manner; and hence it is that physicians, in attending to the local peculiarities, have almost invariably overlooked the general cause of derangement. When no organs of a peculiar structure are affected, the only leading symptom is pain; and that, very commonly, confined to a narrow spot. Yet it will always be found, that even where these pains are most limited and most trifling, there is a general derangement of the body present, which is however very commonly overlooked; as, in other cases, the pain itself is passed over as of no moment, while the physician is in vain attempting to find a cause for, or to discover the nature of, the constitutional malady. These pains are well known to our general readers when they go by the name of sciatica, toothach, rheumatism, periodical headach, &c.; and, like ordinary intermittents, they are the produce of miasma or malaria, however generated. That this is the fact, is proved by their being produced by that substance, or in the situations where it is present; by their alternating with, or passing into, the common ague; and by their yielding to the same remedies. On this very extensive and important branch of medical science, however, neither our limits nor the plan of this article will permit us to enlarge.
We have now lastly to remark, that the miasma has the power of producing certain organic derangements of the liver, spleen, and other internal organs. In many cases, these are indeed the consequences of previous fever: but, in others, it is unquestionable that these glandular diseases occur with out fever, for which they appear to be substitutes; being directly produced by the operation of the miasma. Hence the liver complaint of the East Indies, and the diseases of our own fens, which are indicated by the deranged health and sallow complexions of the inhabitants, even where they have altogether escaped the intermittent fever. In Italy, the malaria produces the very same effects in many places; when the unfortunate inhabitants, in vain flattering themselves that they have escaped the fever, fall victims to dropsy and other disorders arising from organic derangement. Among the more obscure