Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

ceed, as any noise or aların might occasion the death of both lady and child. The captain inquired when the lady had been confined? "Within this hour," the servant answered: Captain Macdonald stopped. The servant added, "They are just going to christen the infant."-Macdonald, taking off his cockade, said, “Let her be christened with this cockade in her cap; it will be her protection now, and after, if any of our stragglers should come this way? We will await the ceremony in silence;"which they accordingly did, and then went into the coach-yard, and were regaled with beef, cheese, ale, &e. They then went off, without the smallest disturbance.

My white cockade was safely preserved, and shewn to me from time to time, always reminding me to respect the Scotch, and the Highlanders in particular.-I think I have obeyed the injunction, by spending my life in Scotland, and also by hoping at last to die there.

ROSEMARY CLERK.

P.S. If the above anecdote can be of any interest to you or the public, it is very much at your service. I have mentioned all the names of the persons concerned, which you may retain or leave out, as you think fit.

Miss Law, Prince's Street, hearing of the above ancelote, sent me a present of the Prince's picture, and that of his lady, the Princess Stollberg.

Edinburgh, April 21st, 1817.

INSCRIPTION IN THE CHURCH OF ST HILARY.

The following inscription was lately discovered when digging in the church of St Hilary, in the island of Jersey. If we except one barbarism, and one strong license, the epitaph may bear a comparison with most of the inscriptions in the Latin Anthology.

ON THE ORIGIN OF HOSPITALS FOR THE SICK.

THE Greeks had no name to express what we understand by the word hospital. No has a different meaning in the classical Greek writers, and is first used, as we now translate it, by St Jerome and St Isidore. At Athens, provision was made in the prytaneum for the maintenance of those who had been severely wounded in war, as well as for that of their wives and children ; but there was no asylum for even these persons in case of sickness. Far less was any such accommodation within the reach of the poor citizens, or the mercenaries who always formed a large proportion of the Athenian force. At Lacedemon, where, according to the rule of Lycurgus, all the citizens eat in common, there was nevertheless no establishment which bore any resemblance to our hospitals. The Helots were abandoned in case of sickness; and a similar fate attended even the Ephori themselves, if they happened to have no private fortune. This neglect of the Athenian and Spartan legislatures was imitated by the other Greeian states. In the oath of Hippocrates, that illustrious physician swears, "that he will all his life visit the sick and give them his advice gratis." At that time the medical practitioners were both surgeons and apothecaries, so it would appear that Hippocrates furnished the sick in his neighbourhood with medicines without expecting any reward.

Enyses de stirpe meum Cornubia partum Vindicat. Hillarius jam tenet ossa sacer. Per Sporades Gallosque pium comitata ma ritum,

Deferor huc: visa est sors mihi nulla gravis. Viximus unanimes, et prima prole beati; In mundum duplici morte secunda venit. Pignora dividimus: comitatur me morien

490

tem Mortua; solatur filia prima patrem,

Among the Romans, in like manner, we should seek in vain for any establishments intended to alleviate the sufferings of the indigent siek. Nothing of the sort is mentioned among the pious institutions of Numa; and Servius, who distributed the people into classes, never thought of the numerous classes of poor, sick, and infirm. During the time of the republic there were frequent distributions of land, and divisions of the spoils taken from the enemies of the state, which ameliorated in some degree the lot of those who were called the cupite censi, be cause they could offer nothing to the lour and their life. service of their country but their vaYet all these largesses and gratifications were distributed among those who enjoyed good health, and no establishments for the sick were erected either urder

[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

the republic or under the emperors. These last indeed erected baths and therma for the use of the poor, and also made public distributions of food; and in these respects their example was followed by the wealthy patricians, who affected to give every day to their poor clients what went by the name of the sportula. We see by the descriptions of Juvenal, that the poor and infirm dependents of these nobles had no other resource to look to; for, according to him, the most acute dis tempers could not prevent them drag ging their steps to the portico, and soliciting their share in the sportula. "Quid macies ægri veteris quem tempore longo

Torret quarta dies olimque domestica febris, &a"

It is easy to see that no public asylum was open for their reception. Both Greeks and Romans, then, the two most polished nations of antiquity, consecrated no retreats for the unfortunate. This was most probably the consequence of their constitutions and forms of government. Divided at all times into freemen and slaves, the legislatures of these two nations never bestowed much attention on the second of these great bodies of men--but always regarded them as of a different race, and, as it were, the dregs of humanity. A slave dangerously ill was left entirely to the care of his fellows in servitude; in many instances his master would not even be at the expense of burying his corpse, and allow ed it to be thrown out to the vultures. The Esquiline Mount, whitened, according to Horace, by the great number of bones left there in heaps by these birds of prey, is a sufficient proof how little care was taken of the funerals of the poor. These unhappy men, of whom there was always a great number even in the best days of Athens and Rome, had then no other resource in their calamities but private charity, the strength of their constitutions, or the crisis of nature,

a seigneurial hospital destined for their reception. But it is not till the establishment of Christianity that we can find any traces of those institutions, which are now so common in Christendom, for the accommodation of the infirm and the unfortunate. In spite of all the persecutions to which the first Christians were exposed, we find that, about the year 258, Laurentius, chief of the deacons, assembled a great number of poor and sick, who were supported by the alms of the church. But it was in the year 380 that the first regular hospital was built. St Jerome informs us, that Fabiola, a Roman matron of distinguished piety, founded for the first time a nosocomium, that is, as he himself explains it, "a house in the country for the reception of those unhappy sick and infirm persons who were before scattered among the places of public resort-and for the purpose of furnishing them in a regular manner with nourishment, and those medicines of which they might stand in need." This establishment was situated at some distance from the city, and in a healthy part of the country.

When Constantine transferred the seat of the empire to Byzantium, he caused an hospitium to be erected for the use of those strangers and pilgrims who had by his time begun to visit the East from motives of religion. This edifice was constructed after the model of the house which Hircanus had built at Jerusalem, about 150 years before the commencement of our

æra.

That prince sought, by the establishment to which I allude, to purify himself in the eyes of the Jews, from the stain which he had contracted by the sacrilegious rifling of the tomb of David. The riches which he had procured in that impious manner, would, he flattered himself, be less unfavourably regarded, if he should share them with the poor pilgrims, whom zeal or curiosity drew in mul titudes to the capital of Judæa. This, according to Isidore, is the origin of the name in, i, e, hospital for strangers, which was given to this building. In the year of our Lord 550, the Emperor Justinian constructed, at Jerusalem, the celebrated hospital of St John, which was the cradle of the military order of the knights of Rhodes and Malta. His successors imitated his example with so much

The temple of Esculapius, in the island of the Tiber, was indeed a sort of hospital, although far from corresponding exactly to what we call by that name; at least, the law of the Emperor Claudius, which declares that slaves abandoned by their masters in the island of Esculapius, should be held free in case of their recovery, seems to intimate that there was in that place

zeal, that Ducange thinks Constantinople contained at one time thirty-five different charitable institutions of this nature. Those who travelled to the holy land were there received gratis into commnodious hotels, and from these the caravanserais of the East have taken their origin-buildings which a few centuries ago attracted so much admiration from Europeans, accustomed to the hostelleries of their own countries, at that time at once dear and filthy. The Emperor Julian attributed in a great measure to these charitable institutions the rapid progress of Christianity, and had it in view to attempt the reestablishment of Paganism by similar means. "We pay not sufficient attention (says he in a letter to Arsaces, sovereign pontiff of Galatia) to those means which have most contributed to the extension of the Christian superstition -I mean kindness to strangers, and attention to the burial of the poor. Erect forthwith in all your cities, hospitals for the reception of strangers, not only those of your own faith, but all indifferently; and if they stand in need of money, let them be supplied by the imperial officers."

In the Byzantine historians, and in the ancient charters, these hospitals receive different names; as, Nosocomium, retreat for the sick-Xenodochium, Xenon, retreat for strangersPtochium, Ptochodochium, Ptochotrophium, hospital for the poor and mendicants-Brephotrophium, asylum for indigent children-Orphanotrophium,

formed, by order of the French govern→ ment, about the year 1788, in which a committee of medical persons, and architects, gave their united opinions as to the general rules which ought to be observed in all buildings of this nature. Their principal remarks are these that all the wards should be separate-that a free communication, by means of covered galleries, should be kept up between all parts of the house-so large as to admit of the utmost purity of air, and to be serviceable, as promenades, for the convalescents.

orphan-hospital-Gerocomium, hospital for old men-Pandochæum, gratuitous hotel or caravansery-Morotrophium, hospital for idiots.

In the very interesting work of Durand, entitled, "Parallele des Edifices de tout genre," we find a comparative view of the plans of a great many different hospitals of various kinds, such as those of Milan, Geneva, Plymouth, St Louis at Paris, Langres, the Incurables at Paris, the Lazaretto for persons afflicted with the plague at Milan, &c. The great hospital at Milan, on account of its vast dimensions, and the form of a cross in which it is built, and also on account of the numerous galleries which every where surround the building, was long looked upon as the best model of hospital architecture. The architects of the different hospitals in Paris, as well as those of this country, have all taken useful hints from it. A report was

The hospitals of this city, and of Glasgow, have been long regarded with much admiration by all visitors; and the Lunatic asylum, lately erected in the latter city, is perhaps the most noble monument of the professional talents of the late Mr Stark.* Q. Edinburgh, March 1817.

[ocr errors]

66

ON SITTING BELOW THE SALT.

MR EDITOR,

In your last number I read a short paper, entitled, "On sitting below the Salt," in which the author gives several quotations, to prove that the ancient custom mentioned in the “ Black Dwarf," and "Old Mortality," of placing the guests above or below the salt, according to their respective dig-. nities, was not a mere fabrication of the writer's brain. In common with your correspondent, I have heard men of information, and even of antiquarian research, express their doubts as to the existence of such a custom during any period of our history.

Being an ardent admirer of the two works which have recently called our attention to this fashion of our ancestors, and as it is in these works alone, in as far as my information enables me to judge, that such a practice has been alluded to in modern times, I feel anxious to contribute towards the exculpation of their mysterious author, from the charge of mingling the spirit of fiction with the voice of truth.

In addition, therefore, to the proofs which have been adduced in your first number, I beg leave to call your attention to the following extracts, which have escaped the notice of J. M.; and which, besides shewing the universali

* The reader may find much information upon this interesting subject, in Beckmann's History of Inventions, vol. 4.

ty of the practice, are somewhat curious in themselves, and worthy the perusal of your readers.

I find the distinction of seats, in relation to the position of the salt-vat, familiarly known to English writers as far back as 1597, at which time were published the earlier works of Joseph Hall, successively bishop of Exeter and Norwich, and one of our first legitimate satirists. As Hall's satires have never been printed in a commodious form, they may not have fallen into the hands of the generality of your readers, and as the one which contains the allusion to the custom in question is short, and affords a good example of that writer's style, I shall insert it at full length.

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

"Now, as for his fare, it is lightly at the cheapest table, but he must sit under the salt, that is an axiome in such places:-then having drawne his knife leisurably, unfolded his napkin mannerly, after twice or thrice wiping his beard, if he have it, he may reach the bread on his knife's point, and fall to his porrige, and between every sponefull take as much deliberation as a capon craming, lest he be out of his porrige before they have buried part of their first course in their bellies." (F. 3.)

In the works of our carly dramatists there are not unfrequent allusions of a similar nature.

Thus, in the play called Cynthia's

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

That this custom was not limited to our own island, but was familiar at least in France, is evinced by the following passage from Perat, who flourished about the middle of the sixteenth century. In speaking of the manners suitable to men of noble birth, in regard to the different kinds of ridicule and pleasantry, he says of one species, Neque ejusmodi dicacitates nobilitatem honestant: quamvis enim clientium caterva, amicorum humili ores, totaque omnino infra salinum stipata cohors, scurrantem dominum, et (ut ait Flaccus,) imi Derisorem lecti, cachinnationibus suis insulsis adulari soleant; ii tamen," &c.-De Inst. Nob. p. 36.

66

The foregoing quotations, however curious in themselves, may, I fear, in regard to the subject which they are intended to illustrate, have appeared redundant or unnecessary to some of your readers, particularly after the satisfactory instances brought forward by J. M. of the prevalence of the same

custom.

On a general view, it would for

134

Fall of Volcanic Dust in the Island of Barbadoes. eurious subject of research, and might throw considerable light on the manners and institutions of our ancestors, to investigate thoroughly the history of this singular fashion, and to mark the different changes which an individual of talent and enterprize was allowed to make in taking up his position at table, according to tent utility, and the effects of such changes on his general habits, and on the behaviour of those who were formerly his companions in obscurity.

increase

of his

Rid

The passages quoted by J. M. from that most curious work, the Memorie of the Somervilles, clearly demonstrate the wide distinction of rank that existed in this country at comparatively a recent period, between noble and ignoble tenures between the Goodman, Rentaller or Yeoman, and the Laird or Baron. It would be an interesting inquiry to trace the circumstances which contributed to break down the jealous barriers of feudal honours, and to point out the period and manner in which the nature of the holding came to be at last almost overlooked in augmenting or disparaging gentility.

On a more minute investigation, it would be equally curious to examine the specific distinctions which existed between the two men who were placed together, the one above and the other below the salt-vat, and to study that beautiful combination of character, by which they formed the links in the social chain which united the nobility of one end of the table, with the humble tenants of the other, leading by an almost imperceptible transition from the meanest appendage of a feudal feast, to the mailed retainer and the plumed baron. W Danovu. 247 Tiu2, But I am unwilling to anticipate the observations of your correspondent, who will, I trust, make good his promise, of favouring the public with a continuation of his remarks.

have drawn up a detail of the circumIn compliance with your request, I stances (as far as I was an eye-witness)of the fall of volcanic dust in the is land of Barbadoes, which occurred on May 1st, 1812, and which was produced by an eruption of the volcano, in the neighbouring island of St Vincent, lying to leeward, or to the west ward of Barbadoes.

As

Ju

b

I was at that time resident on the north-east coast of the island of Bar baloes, or in what is termed the windward part of that island, about eleven miles from the principal town. On the shore of this district, it may be

stantly a heavy surf rolling, produced to there is almost con by the trade wind impelling the sea on a coast completely iron-bound by rocks and rocky shoals. it of

1

985 bi

In the mean time, to exercise the learning and ingenuity of your antiquarian friends, I beg leave to propose the following queries, the solution of which will tend greatly to faci-During the night preceding May litate the labours of future enquirers. to be signal guns of distress from some 1st, I was awakened by what I took ships, wrecked at no great distance; in a very short time the explosions became so frequent, as to induce me rather to believe that they proceeded from two vessels engaging each other. In the town, these explosions, as I

1st, Were the two great classes of society assembled at the same table, connected by means of two individuals on each side, seated together, the one as it were placed opposite to the upper or noble half of the salt-vat, the other to the lower or ignoble half, and com

[ocr errors]

bining, in their persons, the different [May Did these opposite extremes unite in characters of both parties? or 2dly, the person of an individual on either side of the table, placed immediately in front of the salt-vat? or 3dly, Was there no such "union of extremest things" permitted, but a vacant space or gap opposite the salt-vat on both

sides, leaving a blank in the fair chain of gradation, similar to that which has been caused in the scale of nature's works by the extinction of the mighty Mastodon, which formerly inhabited the salt-licks of North America ?evoked

tions, observations, and queries, may Hoping that the preceding quotameet with a favourable reception, if not on their own account, at least from tion of others more able to communithe chance of their exciting the attencate information on such curious topics, I remain, respectfully, your obedient servant, Edinburgh, 1st May 1817. P. F.&3 *: 701 trup teme ni ON THE FALL OF VOLCANIC DUST IN THE ISLAND OF BARBADOES.

CAM10391 HU

[The following excellent letter, containin Barbadoes, has been communicated to us ing an account of the fall of volcanic dust by a friend.]

11

SIR,

« AnteriorContinuar »