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build of the little schooner, that she had gone
to pieces instantly on striking; and, within
sight of the Semiramis, within hearing of the
death-shrieks that rent the air from six
hundred and thirty human beings, who, shackled
together with heavy irons, were dashed
among the waters, and perished a slow and
helpless death, two only of their gaolers
survived to tell of the number that had

Surely this sad tale may at least be added
to the catalogue of ills produced by England's
"good intentions " in striving to suppress the
slave trade.


AN innocent-looking little book lies on our
parlour-table, an extensive demand for which
would imply that English households abound in
perils, and are hourly at the mercy of
emergencies. Harmless as it looks, its purpose is
alarming. It is called " Household Surgery;
or, Hints on Emergencies." Its object appears
to be to establish a surgery in every house, as
Buchan introduced a Domestic Medicine
Chest into every dressing-room. It is meant
to arm the heads with power over the limbs
of families; but it teaches masters and
mistresses, husbands and wives, fathers and
mothers, the theory of what they can never
learn without practice; yet the very aim,
end, and purpose of their existencetheir
prayers at night, their smallest actions by day
are all so much anxious prudence, so many
fervent hopes, that they may have no
practice. Happily their caution is nearly always
rewarded, and their prayers granted; for
although it is said that accidents happen in
the best regulated families, they don't happen

If staircases were precipices, door-steps
glaciers, coal-cellars powder-magazines, and
kitchen-ranges steam-boilers continually bursting;
if shower-baths were cataracts, lucifer-
matches blunderbusses, and if copper flues
made a point of exploding on washing-days;
if little girls preferred swallowing pins to
plums, and little boys liked oil of vitriol
better than almond hardbake; if half-
sovereigns were coined expressly to choke little
children with, and flat-irons forged only
to burn fingers; if good plain cooks were
seized with frequent propensities to sweeten
apple-pies with sugar of lead; if carving-
knives were daggers for footmen to wound
inflexible housemaids with; if an impulse
natural to nurses impelled them to throw
babies out of windowthen " Household
Surgery" would be a very useful manual.
But in the present mode of arranging houses,
and conducting domestic establishments, the
occasions for such knowledge as it conveys,
occurs too seldom to provoke occasion for the
book itself.

What is the use of Hints on Emergencies
that only happen once in a life-time; or pages
of precautions against accidents which do not
afflict one in a hundred? As a linendraper
won't learn navigation in case he may be
ever called on to pilot a ship; nor a tinker
master pneumatics lest somebody may some
day ask him to construct a diving-bell; so a
gentleman in easy circumstances will
assuredly not acquire the science of surgery,
lest himself, or somebody belonging to him,
might at some moment between this and this
day twenty years break a leg. Indeed if
either of these works of super-erogation were
to be called into action, and drawn into either
emergency, the ship would inevitably founder;
the diver would be smothered, and the patient
lamed for life. In operative surgery,
especially, a little learning is not merely a
dangerous, it is a fatal thing.

Theodore Hook's " Cousin William " has
already painted the perils of domestic medicine
in the proceedings of that bold Buchaneer
his aunt, who robbed everybody within
her power of their health, as thoroughly as
Dick Turpin cleaned out everybody in his
power of their wealth: but she was a harmless
nuisance compared with an Uncle Thomas,
a Mr. Briggs, or an Aunt Margery, armed
with a pair of forceps, a lancet, or a scalpel.
Euphemia has swooned! " Open an artery!"
exclaims Uncle Tom, and rushes to his textbook,
ties up the arm, opens his lancet, then
the vein; and lastly, being perfectly innocent
of its existencethe artery below. This is a
mortal injury. Euphemia lingers, and only
revives after the application of much
professional skill and a year's illness.

How very straight-forward and mechanical
appears the act of tooth-drawing! Mr. Briggs
tries his hand on the dentals of his heir; but
breaks down the gums, lacerates the cheeks,
and fractures the jaw-bone of his eldest-born.
Everybody supposes it easy to lance an infant's
gums, or divide, with a pair of scissors, the
little membrane which holds down the tongue
and causes what is called "tongue tie," but
there are blood-vessels around, which cannot
be wounded without danger. Aunt Margery
brings the sweetest of her nieces to death's
door by trying that very operation. The art
of surgery is so much a matter of tact and
manual dexterity, that even some professionals
cannot always practise it with certain
impunity to patients. It is not every member of
the Royal College of Surgeons who can apply
a common bandage with the requisite
evenness, smoothness, and neatness. The hand of
the surgeon should be of this peculiar
character; it should combine muscular power
with very great delicacy of touch. The late
Mr. Listnn's hand was likened to the trunk of
the elephant. Its grasp was all powerful,
but the delicacy of his touch was so exquisite,
that he could lay distinct hold of the minutest
object. But where is this exquisite combination
of manual aptitude to be found in families?
Mrs. Briggs may be very clever in picking up
pins, and Mr. Briggs's grasp has possibly all