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BY JAMES OGILVY, M.D., EDIN.
CONSULTING PHYSICIAN TO THE COVENTRY PROVIDENT DISPENSARY.
The thirst for scientific information on the part of all classes is a very gratifying feature of the present times : much has been done to meet this taste in various departments of useful knowledge: but it appears to me that, with reference to ANATOMY, a want still remains to be supplied.
The following Lectures are well calculated to afford much information on the structure and functions of the different organs of the human frame. They are written in a remarkably clear, comprehensive, and accurate style; and are, moreover, interspersed with many useful practical hints as to the care of the body. A considerable amount of instruction is conveyed in a small compass; and much credit is due to the Lecturer for the ability displayed in the compilation.
There is little doubt that,---were more attention paid to the study of the wonderful mechanism of the human frame; to the unceasing action of the heart; to the constant flow of blood through all the different organs of the body; to the nevertiring movements of the lungs in breathing; to the intimate sympathy existing between every part of the system; and the danger to health and life from derangement of any of these structures,—much benefit would result, and the enjoyment of better health, and longer life, would be attained.
WHEN the Author had closed the delivery of the following Lectures, he received applications from several of his youthful audience for recommendations of suitable books on the subjects which had been discussed. He well knew that the books required were such as should be small in size, elementary in character, simple in style, and low in price. The small and valuable “Catechism on Anatomy" in Pinnock's series, seemed to come the nearest to his views of what was wanted; but this treats the subject so generally and laconically, and employs so many technical terms, that it is more adapted to medical students, than to general readers.
Another ingenious and clever little volume, entitled “The House I Live in,” is one that cannot fail to impart useful information on the structure and functions of the human frame. But some parts of even that interesting publication the Author considered as written in a style too scientific and abstruse for the class referred to. He therefore deemed that a small, cheap, elementary treatise on Anatomy was a desideratum; and this, by the earnest request of his auditors, he has endeavoured to supply: how far he has succeeded, he must leave to a candid and generous public to decide.
He is well aware that his not being of the medical profession, may be regarded by some as a disqualification for such a work as that which he has undertaken. He ventures, however, to suggest the opinion, that a non-professional man is in less danger of presuming on the amount of intelligence possessed by his readers, and is less liable to use technical terms, than those who are most at home in the science, and to whom such terms are
“ Familiar in their mouths as household words." The aim of the Author has been to master the subject thoroughly himself, and so to accommodate his style that ordinary readers may have no difficulty in understanding it.
He trusts that his little book may be useful in affording some instruction to young persons in general, to families, to schools, to Bible classes, and similar institutions; and he hopes that those who read it may rise from its perusal with a desire to know more.
It has been his constant and earnest desire and endeavour to direct the attention of his readers to the wisdom, the power, the goodness, and the mercy of God, so wonderfully displayed in the mechanism of the human frame: and happy will he be, if he should be successful in raising the thoughts, and in awakening the devout admiration of any towards “ Him in whom we live, and move, and have our being;” for “ It is He that hath made us, and not we ourselves.”
The Author has occasionally touched upon the subject of Physiology; and has made a few remarks on Life, Health, and Disease in general; being fully aware that a mere detail and description of the several parts and functions of the human frame without such observations, would be like a Tree without leaves or fruit; a Skeleton without muscles or skin; or,—to borrow a figure from his own profession—an analysis of a Discourse without arguments or illustrations.
Those of his readers who heard the substance of the following Lectures delivered, will perceive that several alterations and additions have been made: these, he trusts, will be regarded as improvements.
It is more than probable, that if any Members of the Faculty should condescend to cast their eyes over the following pages, they may dispute some of the statements made: the Author, however, has not ventured to assert anything for which he could not quote high professional authority ; but, alas!
" Who shall decide when Doctors disagree ?” He begs to add, that the following Lectures were succeeded by three on “Mental Philosophy; or, the Faculties and Exèrcises of the Human Mind ;" which, if he meet with encouragement from the public, he may also send out from the press, uniform with the present Course, under the title of “Mental Philosophy Simplified."
near Coventry, July, 1854.