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of this agent by an incompetent person; that
is, by anybody not thoroughly acquainted
with medical science. The practical value of
these objections may be estimated from the
fact, that, out of ten thousand cases of
operation in which it was employed at St.
Bartholomew's Hospital, not one death took
place in consequence of its administration.
Were this all we knew, however, the question
of its influence on the ultimate result of
operations, would have still to be settled; but
surgeons do not appear to consider that it
acts at all prejudicially in the manner here

It is alleged that the whole number of
recorded " Deaths from Chloroform " does not
exceed twenty. In some of these no medical
man was present; in others, it was administered
without precaution, and in excess; in
some, again, death seems to have been owing
to other causes. There appears to be no reason
for supposing that stupefaction by chloroform
would be at all more likely to be followed by
fatal results, than casual intoxication, as
contradistinguished from habitual drunkenness.

The other objections to the use of chloroform
are such as were raised against the
circulation of the blood, and vaccination, and,
possibly, against rhubarb and senna, at their
first discovery. They partly proceed from a
lazy dislike to learn anything; partly from
that conservative instinct, which in some
minds supplies the place of intelligent
circumspection as a safeguard against the dangers
of innovation.

The alleged abuse of chloroform for criminal
ends has attracted the attention of the Legislature,
and a Bill for the Prevention of Offences
has been presented to the House of Peers by
Lord Campbell, in which rather prominent
and discreditable mention is made of that
anaesthetic fluid. A well-written pamphlet,
by Dr. John Snow, will place this subject in a
rational light before any one desirous of
investigating it. Here it is sufficient to remark
that chloroform, in order to prove effectual,
requires a voluntary inhalation of some length;
that animals, to be affected by it, must be caused
to breathe it by main force; and that, in short,
it is no more easy to stupify any one against
his will by means of chloroform, than it is by
means of brandy-and- water. There can be little
doubt, that the persons who represent
themselves to have been robbed under its influence
were mistaken as to the cause of their
anaesthesia, which was, in all probability,
traceable, not to the terchloride of formyle,
but to a certain combination of carbon,
oxygen, and hydrogen, termed technically
hydrate of oxide of ethyle- otherwise alcohol,
otherwise ardent spirit, in some one or other
of its various forms and combinations. No
doubt, a rogue may employ the terchloride of
formyle in furtherance of his base designs;
but it must be with that concurrence on the
part of his victim which the juvenile bird-
catcher finds necessary in the application of
the chloride of sodium, or common salt, to
fowling purposes.

It may be inquired, in what manner does
chloroform produce its extraordinary effect
on the nervous system? The chloride of
hydrocarbon, the nitrate of ethyle, benzin,
which is a bicarburet of hydrogen, aldehyde,
bisulphuret of carbon, and sulphuric
ether all differ from it more or less; the
nitrous oxide or protoxide of nitrogen,
differs from it entirely in chemical composition;
yet they agree with it in a greater or less
degree in the property of producing insensibility
to pain. Our ignorance on this subject
is not perhaps to be wondered at, when we
consider that philosophers, notwithstanding
considerable experience, have not as yet
succeeded in forming a perfectly satisfactory
theory of ordinary intoxication.

The discovery of chloroform is one of the
many proofs which we are daily receiving of
the advantage which is derived from the
modern method of applying the intellect to
the investigation of natural science, instead of
abusing it in visionary speculations. In this
discovery, the application of which to the
relief of mortal suffering has been denounced
by superstition, as an infringement of piety, a
truly Christian philosophy should surely
discern a recompense of the pursuit of truth,
conducted in the desire and affection of good;
and should behold an earnest of similar
rewards to follow upon perseverance in the same
course and spirit. Who knows to what extent
the revelation of Nature's secrets may
progressively increase the amount of human
comfort and happiness?—- seeing in how large a
measure the knowledge of chloroform has stilled
the shriek of agony and pain, which is so direful
a discord in " the still sad music of humanity."


            WORK away!
      For the Master's eye is on us,
      Never off us, still upon us,
            Night and day!
            Work away!
      Keep the busy fingers plying,
      Keep the ceaseless shuttles flying;
      See that never thread lie wrong;
      Let not clash or clatter round us,
      Sound of whirring wheels, confound us;
      Steady hand! let woof be strong
      And firm, that has to last so long!
            Work away!

      Keep upon the anvil ringing
      Stroke of hammer; on the gloom
      Set 'twixt cradle and 'twixt tomb
      Shower of fiery sparkles flinging;
      Keep the mighty furnace glowing;
      Keep the red ore hissing, flowing
      Swift within the ready mould;
      See that each one than the old
      Still be fitter, still be fairer
      For the servant's use, and rarer
      For the master to behold:
            Work away!