172 which at present prevailed,and that no igno- rant candidate could be rejected at one col- lege and allowed to pass at another, which he now understood to be the case. Mr. O’Connell went on to say, that he looked upon the present close and irresponsible corporations as the cause of all the evils which affected the profession, and that, therefore, the power of doing mischief must be taken from them ; if they remained as at present, the seeds of mischief would still exist, and they would again spring up and grow ; until, therefore, they were removed, nothing could be effected. On being asked if he would be disposed to take medical reform by instalments, he said, " Yes, if I could not do better, and the first instalment would be the removal of these numerous corporations." The deputation then ex- pressed their pleasure at finding Mr. O’Con- nell so enlightened a medical reformer, and urged upon him the necessity of a represen- tative governing body for the whole profes- sion ; in short, that every member should have a vote in electing their rulers. "O, very well," said the learned gentleman; in fact, you want a little parliament for the profession ; that will do, only the parliament must not have the powers of an Aulic council to oppress their brethren." It was replied, that that could not be, as the executive council or senate, or by whatever name it was called, being elected by the faculty at large, would be responsible to them. After explaining the views of the Association, and their outlines of a plan of medical reform, which had been adopted by many other large associations, the deputation withdrew, highly satisfied with the result of their in- terview, and much pleased by the frankness and courtesy of the honourable member. On the above Report being laid on the table, Mr. SAMPSON said, he was glad to state that he had had a conversation with Mr. Vigors, M.P., who had expressed opi- nions nearly similar to Mr. O’Connell’s. It was moved by Mr. DAvrosoN, and se- conded by Dr. R. D. THOMSON, That a Petition be drawn up and presented to the two Houses of Parliament, praying them to enumerate the sick and infirm part of the population in the ensuing census, and that a Committee of three be appointed to draw up the Petition." It was then resolved, "That a Petition be drawn up and presented to the Houses of Parliament, directing their attention to the fatality of small-pox and increasingepidemics all over the kingdom, praying the Legisla- ture to adopt efficient means for the Vaccina- tion of the entire population of the people of the united kingdom, and entreating the Parliament to be pleased to entrust the exe- cution of the measure to competent persons well acquainted with the subject, and, therefore, to remodel that part of the ’ Vac- cination Extension Bill which empowers the Poor-Law Commissioners to regulate the practice of inoculation, vaccination, and medical reports, as well as to annul or fix medical contracts." By an inspection of the summary of the new law, given in THE LANCET of the 4th April, it will be found that the entire regu. lation of vaccination devolves upon the Poor-Law Commissioners, who, as in the case of the Poor-Law Amendment Act, have absolute power over the medical profession; 9 it becomes then the duty of the Association, which has affected such important altera- tions in the Poor-Law Amendment Act for the benefit of the profession, to watch over their interests in this new measure of legis- lation. The Council adjourned to the 5th May. ROYAL INSTITUTION. Friday, April 10, 1840. ON THE FORMATION OF THE MOUTH, AND THE STRUCTURE OF RECENT AND FOSSIL TEETH, By ALEXANDER NASMYTH. Mr. NASMYTH commenced his lecture by a. comprehensive and philosophical definition of assimilation, not as animal nutrition merely, but as that grand process by which all the changes of organic nature are conti- nually being effected. He described this function as extending throughout the whole atmosphere, which was every where engaged in modifying vegetable juices in the leaves of plants, whilst the apparently inert crust of this globe may be said to perform no less a part in assimilation than that of being, as it were, a general stomach to vegetables. He dwelt at some length on the changes effected by the current of life from the lowest vegetable to the highest animal, showing how, in passing through all organic beings, it kept every particle of matter in almost constant motion, modifying perpe- tually their combinations, but without es- sentially altering, much less destroying, one of them. He alluded, in a striking mauner, to the circumstance, that it is only after death has entirely removed the whole body of any animal from the sphere of vitality, that any part of it assumes a character of permanency or repose from incessant change. After this survey of the process of assimila- tion, the lecturer proceeded to consider its primary and essential organ-the mouth. In its most complex form, he said, the diges- tive apparatus was properly regarded as’ a development and extension of the buccal cavity, whilst, in its simplest form, it was nothing more than a rudiment of the latter. The various modifications of the mouth, in the scale of animal existence, and in con- formity with the peculiar exigencies of’the different classes, were next considered in a
which at present prevailed,and that no igno-rant candidate could be rejected at one col-lege and allowed to pass at another, whichhe now understood to be the case. Mr.O’Connell went on to say, that he lookedupon the present close and irresponsiblecorporations as the cause of all the evilswhich affected the profession, and that,therefore, the power of doing mischief mustbe taken from them ; if they remained as atpresent, the seeds of mischief would still
exist, and they would again spring up andgrow ; until, therefore, they were removed,nothing could be effected. On being askedif he would be disposed to take medicalreform by instalments, he said, " Yes, if Icould not do better, and the first instalmentwould be the removal of these numerous
corporations." The deputation then ex-
pressed their pleasure at finding Mr. O’Con-nell so enlightened a medical reformer, andurged upon him the necessity of a represen-tative governing body for the whole profes-sion ; in short, that every member shouldhave a vote in electing their rulers. "O,very well," said the learned gentleman; infact, you want a little parliament for theprofession ; that will do, only the parliamentmust not have the powers of an Aulic councilto oppress their brethren." It was replied,that that could not be, as the executivecouncil or senate, or by whatever name itwas called, being elected by the faculty atlarge, would be responsible to them. After
explaining the views of the Association, andtheir outlines of a plan of medical reform,which had been adopted by many other largeassociations, the deputation withdrew,highly satisfied with the result of their in-terview, and much pleased by the franknessand courtesy of the honourable member.On the above Report being laid on the
table, Mr. SAMPSON said, he was glad tostate that he had had a conversation withMr. Vigors, M.P., who had expressed opi-nions nearly similar to Mr. O’Connell’s.
It was moved by Mr. DAvrosoN, and se-conded by Dr. R. D. THOMSON, That aPetition be drawn up and presented to thetwo Houses of Parliament, praying them toenumerate the sick and infirm part of thepopulation in the ensuing census, and that aCommittee of three be appointed to draw upthe Petition."
It was then resolved, "That a Petition bedrawn up and presented to the Houses ofParliament, directing their attention to the
fatality of small-pox and increasingepidemics all over the kingdom, praying the Legisla-ture to adopt efficient means for the Vaccina-tion of the entire population of the peopleof the united kingdom, and entreating theParliament to be pleased to entrust the exe-cution of the measure to competent personswell acquainted with the subject, and,therefore, to remodel that part of the ’ Vac-cination Extension Bill which empowers
the Poor-Law Commissioners to regulatethe practice of inoculation, vaccination, andmedical reports, as well as to annul or fixmedical contracts."By an inspection of the summary of the
new law, given in THE LANCET of the 4th
April, it will be found that the entire regu.lation of vaccination devolves upon thePoor-Law Commissioners, who, as in thecase of the Poor-Law Amendment Act, haveabsolute power over the medical profession; 9it becomes then the duty of the Association,which has affected such important altera-tions in the Poor-Law Amendment Act forthe benefit of the profession, to watch overtheir interests in this new measure of legis-lation.The Council adjourned to the 5th May.
Friday, April 10, 1840.
ON THE FORMATION OF THE MOUTH, AND THESTRUCTURE OF RECENT AND FOSSIL TEETH,
By ALEXANDER NASMYTH.Mr. NASMYTH commenced his lecture by a.comprehensive and philosophical definitionof assimilation, not as animal nutritionmerely, but as that grand process by whichall the changes of organic nature are conti-nually being effected. He described thisfunction as extending throughout the wholeatmosphere, which was every where engagedin modifying vegetable juices in the leaves
of plants, whilst the apparently inert crustof this globe may be said to perform no lessa part in assimilation than that of being, asit were, a general stomach to vegetables.He dwelt at some length on the changeseffected by the current of life from thelowest vegetable to the highest animal,showing how, in passing through all organicbeings, it kept every particle of matter inalmost constant motion, modifying perpe-tually their combinations, but without es-sentially altering, much less destroying, oneof them. He alluded, in a striking mauner,to the circumstance, that it is only afterdeath has entirely removed the whole bodyof any animal from the sphere of vitality,that any part of it assumes a character ofpermanency or repose from incessant change.After this survey of the process of assimila-tion, the lecturer proceeded to consider itsprimary and essential organ-the mouth.In its most complex form, he said, the diges-tive apparatus was properly regarded as’ adevelopment and extension of the buccalcavity, whilst, in its simplest form, it wasnothing more than a rudiment of the latter.The various modifications of the mouth, inthe scale of animal existence, and in con-
formity with the peculiar exigencies of’thedifferent classes, were next considered in a
very interesting manner, the lecturer dwell- other animals, the essential and original ele-ing particularly on the baccal apparatus of ment of the apparatus of assimilation, byvarious fishes, and on the admirable machi- which his physical frame is built up from
nery which the crocodile, shark, &c., for materials supplied by surrounding Nature,instance, possessed for seizing, holding, and but it is also the organ of intellectual ex-tearing their slippery prey. The successive pression, without which he would not besets of teeth with which Nature has pro- able to take a single step in his mentalvided several fishes, were next alluded to. career, but would remain lower in the scaleThe whole of this part of the subject was of creation than the lowest brute ; in fact,illustrated by a great variety of valuable it was the organ for the communication of
specimens. Activity and energy in any ideas, and the improvement of the mind.animal were admirably shown to be the This duty which it performs is indispen-necessary consequences of rapidity, and sable in the existence of the race, in the im-
strength of assimilation. It was also very provement of its condition, and the commu-ingeniously remarked, that the character and nion of social life. By its means the ener-habits of an animal were often most deli- gies of the whole race may be said to be
cately indicated by the peculiarities of his sometimes concentrated in one focus. Itmouth and teeth. In the human subject, is a remarkable fact that no other conrorma-too, it was stated, no healthy vigour of frame tion of mouth than that of man could admitand constitution could exist without a well- at once of perfect articulation, and of a
formed, well-furnished mouth. The lecturer proper mastication of food. If it had beenthen quitted these more general considera- studded with teeth similar to those possess-tions, and entered into a particular account ed by carnivorous animals, the deeply-ser-of the teeth. rated cutting surfaces would not have ad-
All teeth (he said) might be regarded as mitted of the free action necessary for arti-cones or wedges, of which there may be one culation, and the flattened surfaces of theor more in each tooth, more or less acute. graminivorous animals would not have as-The grinders of herbivorous animals, though sisted him in masticating his animal food.approaching to a plane on the grinding sur- The constituents of teeth, the lecturerface at an adult age, were, nevertheless, at then observed, are four in number, and it isan early period, found to be composed of by their modifications that are formed theseveral wedges or cones, such as we see in interesting and characteristic varieties whichthe posterior convolutions of the tooth of will for a short time occupy our attention,the elephant : the front teeth being used and sosneof which are here placed before you.like scissors were generally wedge-shaped; Let me first devote a few words to thethe canine, situated next the incisors, were development and organisation of the teeth.generally simple cones, and were formidable The teeth may be said to be formed by aweapons in the mouths of the carnivorous reduplication of the mucous membrane oftribes and others. Interesting varieties of the mouth, called the pulp, which I havethis species were the tusks of the hippopo- discovered to be composed of vesicles ortamus, walrus, and several other animals. cellules ; ossific matter is deposited in theThe grinders of the carnivorous races pre- external layer of these cellules, and thussented a combination of simple cones ; in the ivory of the tooth is formed, which isruminating and other graminivorous animals hence neither more nor less than the ossifiedthey were convoluted throughout. Some- pulp.times the teeth were composed of a series I have long studied this interesting por.of cones or wedges bound together at their tion of animal development, which hithertobases, as in the grinders of the elephant, in has hardly ever been even approached bythe beautiful little incisors of the flying anatomists, and I have been fortunatelemur, and others. In some fishes, too, this enough to find that the surface of the pulp,peculiarity of form was beautifully shown, or that portion which may be called its for-In many species of this latter class the mouth mative portion, exhibits one of the mostwas provided with curious machinery, for striking, although one of the most minute,the purpose of breaking down the hard shells beauties of organisation displayed in anywith which their prey was surrounded ; and tissue.this is the only true exception to the cone, I have also been able to discover the ivoryor wedge shape, in the construction of teeth. in a state of transition on this formative sur-These are arranged in the forms of pave- face, examples of the appearances of whichments of different kinds. Before entering are now placed before you.upon the composition of the teeth, the lee- Of all the constituents of teeth, the ivoryturer took a retrospective view of the whole has been most studied, and longest known;subject. It has been observed (he said) that yet on this subject hardly any two anato-man may be regarded as fulfilling his des- mists have agreed, from the time that Hip-tiny by means of his hand; buthe considered pocrates taught that it was composed ofthat his mouth fulfilled a far more important hardened fat, down to Retzius, one of thepart in his animal and intellectual life, for latest and most remarkable writers on theit is not only in him, in common with all subject, who states that it is composed of
tubes, and considers that the intertubular produced a succession of surfaces efficientsubstance is unorganised. for that purpose. The surface presents three
I must confess that I have not as yet been substances in succession, differing in tex.able to satisfy myself as to the ji!istice of all ture, hardness, shape, and disposition. Thehis conclusions; I have not succeeded in de- enamel is the hardest, and presents a bean.monstratifg to my conviction that the fibres tiful undulating edge. The process of tritu.of the teeth are tubular. On microscopic ration wears down the ivory on the one
examination, I have, on the contrary, always hand, and the cement on the other, thesefound that they present a baccated or inter- heiug of softer texture than the enamel, andrupted appearance, like rows of beads. I thus an irregularity of surface is necessarilyhave also convinced myself that the sub- produced. The cement being again a littlestance between them is distinctly cellular, softer than the ivory, a most efficient grind-and not structureless, as he and his fol- ing surface is kept in constant order by thelowers hold ; and that it is not only dis- very act and habitual exercise of the func.tinctty cellular, but characteristically so in tion of mastication. This beautiful adapta.the different groups of animals. A few ex- tion of means to an end is only a single in.amples are now before you. stance of the design which is demonstratedWhen the growth of the ivory is com- in every part of the machinery of the mouth.
pleted, the primary function of the pulp On pursuing this inquiry, I found that thisceases; but its residue, I have often ob- crusta petrosa is present in an attenuatedserved, ossifies under the influence of dis- state, and can be demonstrated in a greatease in different parts of its substance, and number of teeth, which have hitherto beensometimes entirely. considered as devoid of any covering at all,The frequent occurrence of this fact, has external to the enamel. Here it is in the
led me to discover an interesting analogy of human tooth, and in that of the ox.formation in the pulps of all animals. I No part of the animal frame presents sohave found that the internal portion of the many definite peculiar varieties as the
pulp can exercise the function of ossific de teeth. The bones of different classes ofposition altogether, independently of that animals may vary to different degrees inwhich is carried on at the surface of it. external form, but will for the most part be
In this internal portion, in many of the in- found to present characteristic peculiaritiesferior animals the residue of the pulp is ob- of internal structure ; whilst the teeth, onserved (after forming a certain definite por- the other hand, seem to present in eachtion of regular ivory,) to assume a change class forms of internal arrangement properof function, and to form a substance similar to the individual class, and distinguishingto that which occurs in other animals from it from others. From this point of viewdisease. Interesting examples of the normal the importance of the teeth, to the natu-occurrence of this formation are presented ralist generally, and particularly in the
by the tec*th of the sloth family, of which study of geology, becomes apparent; and itthe appearances presented by the fossil ma- is with a few observations on this interest-gatherium is very interesting and beautiful. ing relation that I propose to terminate theIt occurs generally in the teeth of all fishes, present discourse.in the walrus, and many others; I have con- The modern science of geology may besidered it worthy of being ranked as a dis- considered the most comprehensive of alltinct fourth tooth-bone substance. the branches into which human knowledgeThe ivory of the tooth is often surrounded resolves itself. No progress can be made
by a hard covering, which is called the ena- in any department of physical philosophy,mel. This substance I have ascertained is which does not throw light upon its vastdistinctly cellular, and characteristically so and wondrous domain, and exalt the bril.in different animals, though this is in direct liancy of its truths. Though it exacts a
opposition to the statements of preceding knowledge of the perishable portions of thewriters. I have also been enabled to de- animal frame, it is obvious that its advancemonstrate that the tooth possesses an enve- chiefly depends on accession of informationlope which had escaped the notice of previ- respecting permanent animal relics, whichous observers, and of which the functions remain imbedded in the crust of our globe,are of considerable importance. A coating unaffected by the powerful chemical agentshas been long noticed and acknowledged as contained in the laboratory of Nature. Themost obvious, on the grinder of the elephant, skeleton, scales and teeth of animals, beingwhere it fills up the spaces which would the only parts which are found in a fossilotherwise be unoccupied between the layers state, it is evidently of paramount import-of enamel, cementing the whole of this con- ance that their general character and inter-voluted compound tooth into one solid mass. nal structures should be clearly understood.It is to be observed in all teeth of this kind, A slight investigation of the appearancewhich are required to perform the office of of these textures by the microscope willa grinding-stone, in pulverising the food ; amply reward the general student of Na-and this substance is provided, in order to ture, and the geologist will be convincedAll op the interstices, and that there may be of this interesting fact, that amidst thedebri4i
and comminuted fragments of fossil skele- tons thrown together chaotically, worn
down, and totally defaced without one ves-tige remaining in any portion, howeversmall, of an external indication, to serve asa mark of the frame to which the particular fragment belonged, or to help to guide as to a knowledge of the extinct races of theanimated tenants of earth in antediluvianages, he may still be enabled to demon-strate to perfect conviction that certain
fragments are the fragments of teeth, andfrom examining these by the microscopehe will be convinced that they must havebelonged to animals of a certain order andconformation. Put in possession of thisscrap of information, he can also furtherproceed to delineate the animal, in each par-ticular case, in all its details, with a nearlymathematical degree of certainty. Fromthis knowledge follows, necessarily, anidea of the country or locality in whichalone the animal thus restored could exist;and hence, from the examination of minute,insignificant, and, to common observers,utterly worthless fragments of tooth-bone,from slight particles of crumbling matter,we derive the means of directly contem-
plating whole regions of the face of theancient globe covered by its animal tenants ;and, consequently, the various subservientanimals and vegetables which these musthave required for their support.
In my announcement of a work on thissubject, part of which has since been pub-lished, I first brought under public notice,early in the year 1838, the application ofthese microscopic observations to the re-
cognition of a new type, characteristic ofthe various forms of animal structure.The subject being of a very alluringand fascinating nature, has been eagerlycaught at by several writers, and has beenpursued with much scientific research andindustrious collection of materials. It is a
department of science which any one can
readily appreciate by making a few micro-scopic sections, and testing them by meansof a few simple rules.Having been long engaged in the study of
the treatment of the diseases of the teeth, Iconsidered it my duty to investigate anynovel doctrines which might throw newlight upon maladies which are daily pass.ing under my notice. And this duty, likeall others which are executed with willing-ness and alacrity, I have found to be asource of unmingled pteasure, for in per-forming it I have not only been rewardedby arriving at a comprehension in manyphenomena of decease which had beenhitherto obscure, but I have been so fortu-nate as to establish results which are alsoof the greatest interest in themselves, andwhich constitute, I may venture to state, aconsiderable advance in this department ofanatomical science.
WESTMINSTER MEDICAL SOCIETY.
Saturday, April 11, 1840.
Dr. CHOWNE, President.NEURALGIC PAINS OF THE ABDOMEN AFTER
PARTURITION SIMULATING PUERPERAL PERI-
DR. GOLDING BIRD detailed to the societythe result of his observations on the natureand treatment of those severe neuralgicpains of the abdomen occurring after partu-rition, in women of nervous temperament,and the subjects of uterine irritation. Thesepains, from their severity, and from theirbeing ushered in by rigors, followed byheat and sweating, were very likely to be,and often have been, mistaken for peritonitis-an error of immense importance, asthe depleting and depressing measures gene-rally required in the treatment of the latterdisease were almost always injurious andeven dangerous to patients labouring underthe particular form of neuralgia in question.As a brief outline of the symptoms presentedin these cases, it may be observed, that awoman previously the subject of uterine
irritation, as shown by painful menstruation,leucorrhoea, or wandering pains in the hips,loins, and back, becomes pregnant, andpasses through the period of utero-gestationtolerably well ; labour ensues, and all doeswell for a snace of time. varvina from a fewhours to two or three weeks, when from theslightest exciting cause, as, a few hours’constipation, the ingestion of some injuriousarticle of diet, an arrest of any one of thesecretions, but especially of the cutaneoustranspiration, or a direct stimulus appliedto the generative organs, a peculiar train ofsymptoms sets in, preceded by severe rigors,heat, and sweating, and consisting of intensepain over the abdomen, but especially aboutthe uterine region, coming on in paroxysmsevery ten or fifteen minutes, or sometimesat longer intervals, causing the patient toscream out, and writhe in agony like aperson in a fit of colic ; excessive neuralgictenderness of the whole abdomen being pre-sent in the absence of the paroxyms of pain.I Slight delirium and intense depression ofspirits mark these attacks; the tochiaa ceaseon their onset ; the pulse is generally veryrapid, but small, yet jerking like an hxmor-rhagic pulse; the tongue variabte, accordingto the state of the intestinal tube ; the skingenerally soft and moist; sometimes, al-
though rarely, warm and dry.
The diagnosis of this disease from perito-nitis is not very difficult, if attention be
paid to the character of the symptoms. Theoccurrence of the pain in paroxyms, the in-ability to retain a fixed position in bed, thecapability of supporting pressure on the ab-
domen whenthe patient’s attention is arrested’ by an ahrupt question, or her infant’s cries,will generally serve to distinguish this neu-