Category Archives: Books

Bedside (from “Dr. Francis’ Address,” 1858)

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The bedside is the fountain from which must flow that wisdom which the disciple of Hippocrates summons to his aid in order to fulfill the vast trusts confided to his care. Herein is it that the Hospital is to prove a mighty blessing to the people. Thousands, indeed, may enter it as a refuge from poverty and common infirmities; but your great triumphs are to be announced in the restoration of tens of thousands of the sick inmates who, in the progress of time, may occupy your wards; triumphs secured by a sound pathology and the clinical wisdom of your enlightened prescribers. Within your collegiate walls the student is to look for practical medicine and surgery, and the records of medical science receive new confirmations by the illustrations of your clinique, or be rejected as fabulous by the result of your bedside revelations.

Dr. Francis’ Address, 1858

The End of Our Foundation

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The end of our foundation is the knowledge of causes, and secret motions of things; and the enlarging of the bounds of human empire, to the effecting of all things possible. The preparations and instruments are these. We have large and deep caves of several depths. The deepest are sunk 600 fathoms; and some are digged under great hills and mountains….These caves we call the lower region; and we use them for all coagulations, indurations, refrigerations, and conservations of bodies. We use them likewise for the imitation of natural mines; and the producing also of new artificial metals, by compositions and materials which we use, and lay there for many years. We use them also sometimes, (which may seem strange,) for curing of some diseases, and for prolongation of life, in some hermits that choose to live there, well accommodated of all things necessary, and indeed live very long; by whom also we learn many things.

Sir Francis Bacon: The New Atlantis, 1626

Brooklyn (from “Dr. Francis’ Address,” 1858)

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I am informed that Brooklyn exceeds considerably two hundred thousand inhabitants; and where, tell me, will you find a city of that numerical population, in civilized society, without the organization of a hospital? Inspect the numerous country towns or cities of Great Britain, many of them even of far less inhabitants, and you will learn that provisions of a like Christian character proclaim the wisdom and humanity of their people. So, too, you will find like demonstrations on the Continent. What was the population of Philadelphia when the great American sage, Franklin, projected the foundation of the Pennsylvania Hospital in 1752? Not twenty thousand. What was the pouplation of your neighbor, the city of New York, when Bard and Middleton, with Lieutenant-Governor Moore, and the countenance of John Fothergill and other philanthropists, projected the world-renowned hospital on Broadway, the first institution of that character in that metropolis? Certainly in numbers at that period not twenty thousand people. On the score of numbers, therefore, you have not been premature in your operations.

Dr. Francis’ Address, 1858

Coaster’s Island (1858)

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Cover-Newport Out of SeasonCoaster’s Island is divided from Newport by a broad inlet. It slopes gradually up from the water, and a large stone building stands in the midst of the green declivity; this is the Newport alms house. As we cross the ferry, propelled by an old salt who has rowed over to the little jetty at our signal, the commanding situation and salubrious exposure of the edifice, excites surprise at its public use. Where land is sold by the foot, as in our large cities, and at prices equally extravagant, it seems remarkable that so eligible a site for a gentleman’s domain should be appropriated to a municipal charity; the island was bequeathed for the purpose by Governor Coddington, the original purchaser of Aquidneck from the aborigines in 1638, and his portrait hangs over the bed where one of his descendants died, the victim of dissolute habits; who found a last asylum in the Hospital founded by his noble ancestor, and sent for this picture, the only item left of his patrimony…

Henry T. Tuckerman, Newport Out of Season, 1858

Impressions of England

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You will probably want me to give you my impressions of England. Well then, I saw many of the old towns and castles. Oxford made the greatest impression upon me of all the rest. After the richness of Oxford, even London pales its ineffectual historic splendor. I saw Greenwich Hospital; the ‘Leviathan;’ the Tunnel; Thames; and I saw—a Beadle! Clark, you never saw a beadle!—a real original Bumble! Something flamed forth from a middle-age church porch in Warwick; it blazed down the street, a figure in trappings of scarlet, and I thought it was the W. of Babylon—of the Apocalypse. But no; it held a bell, and wore a cocked hat; it approached me—stopped; raised the cockéd hat, and uttered these remarkable words, ‘Werry fine mornin’, Sir’ —replaced the chapeau, and walked away, like Hamlet’s father.

Editor’s Table, 1858

Dinner on the Lawn

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Cover-Newport Out of SeasonWe think of the days when the hospitable Colonel Malbone reassured his alarmed guests, and had the dinner table moved on to the lawn, and continued the repast in sight of his burning mansion; when Dr. Hunter, a refugee from the Stuart rebellion, went hence as surgeon to the expedition against Crown Point; when Vernon entertained Lafayette, and Lightfoot showed the natives what a scholar and epicure at old Oxford learned; when British soldiers turned the churches into stables, made the State House a hospital, and burned Beavertail lighthouse, and the ‘Isle of Peace’ became a scene of wantonness and devastation; when the petted Africans, of patriarchal slavery, made famous dishes for colonial bon-vivants; and a ship, under full sail before a gentle breeze, run her keel into the strand at noonday, with no living creature on board but a dog, and an untasted breakfast spread in the cabin—a mystery to this hour.

Newport Out of Season, 1858

Chambers (from Sir Francis Bacon’s “New Atlantis,” 1626)

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New Atlantis Book Cover New Atlantis
Sir Francis Bacon
fiction
paperback
52
Amazon

Sir Francis Bacon's "The New Atlantis" is a utopian novel about a mythical land called Bensalem, the inhabitants live happily with the sciences. "The New Atlantis" was published in 1627, the year after the Sir Francis Bacon's death. In "The New Atlantis," Bacon focuses on the duty of the state toward science, and his projections for state-sponsored research anticipate many advances in medicine and surgery, meteorology, and machinery. Although "The New Atlantis" is only a part of his plan for an ideal commonwealth, this work does represent Bacon's ideological beliefs. The inhabitants of Bensalem represent the ideal qualities of Bacon the statesman: generosity and enlightenment, dignity and splendor, piety and public spirit. These were the ideal qualities which Bacon wanted to see in 17th century England.

The chambers were handsome and cheerful chambers, and furnished civilly. Then he led us to a long gallery, like a dorture, where he showed us all along the one side (for the other side was but wall and window,) seventeen cells, very neat ones, having partitions of cedar wood. Which gallery, and cells, being in all forty, (many more than we needed,) were instituted as an infirmary for sick persons. And he told us withal, that as any of our sick waxed well, he might be removed from his cell, to a chamber: for which purpose, there were set forth ten spare chambers, besides the number we spake of before.

This done, he brought us back to the parlor, and lifting up his cane a little, (as they do when they give any charge or command) said to us: “Ye are to know, that the custom of the land requires, that after this day, and tomorrow, (which we give you for removing of your people from your ship,) you are to keep within doors for three days. But let it not trouble you, nor do not think yourselves restrained, but rather left to your rest and ease. You shall want nothing, and there are six of our people appointed to attend you, for any business you may have abroad.”

Sir Francis Bacon: The New Atlantis, 1626

The Feast

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At dinner today, at Mr.—, the second dish consisted of thin slices of two sorts of fish, literally raw. It seemed to be regarded as a rare delicacy, but I could not stretch my politeness enough to do justice to it. The dinner, otherwise, was excellent. You know the old man who made the ‘Bubbles from the Brunens,’ feelingly describes his consternation at the never-ending courses of a German public table; but he does not mention two-thirds of the dishes I have tasted at a single sitting. The feast commences, all the world over, with soup; then comes the dry soup-meat, ‘which a Grosvenor Square cat would not touch with his whiskers!’ but which is nevertheless rendered quite palatable by a highly seasoned gravy; the, cutlets, omelets, and messes of various sorts; followed by poultry, wild fowls, beef, etc.; fifthly, pudding, which with us is a sign that the meat is disposed of; but lo! ‘sixthly and lastly’ comes a huge quarter of veal, roast chickens, young lobsters, salad, etc.; seventhly, tarts and confectionary; ‘and, to conclude, a dessert of prunes, grapes, peaches, cakes, etc., the whole capped by sundery nibbles at a fair, round cheese, or peradventure, as today, with coffee, in Lilliputian cupts, which I took for baby’s play-things. Verily, one has a chance of finding something to his taste in this variety.

Random Passages, No. 6, 1837

Domestic

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Her first business is to fortify herself with a cup of café noir, and then trip it to mass. Her devotions over, she returns to partake of what we should call breakfast, but what is in reality just the ‘collation’ (colazione,) as Italians name it; made up as it mainly is of bread, cheap wine, and whatever fruit is procurable. This sumptuous meal finished, she sets her domestic, either man or woman, to making the lodgers’ beds, (fancy a hulking, bewhiskered, white-aproned wretch making your bed, good reader, and thus recognize that it is by no means all poetry, this sojourning in foreign lands,) and like any solid Mistress Jones or Brown, of our latitude, hies forth to market. But if she goes to market, like Mrs. Brown or Jones, she does not, by a very great deal, purchase marketing like unto that of those ladies; for first, she wends to the baker’s, for a loaf or two of bread; then to the oil merchant’s, for a cruse or measure of oil; then to the wine merchant’s, for sundry bottles of a white and red mouldy cider, that is conventionally known as wine; then to the most dirty and picturesque Piazza Navona, for a few carrots, a cabbage or two, some broccoli, a little lettuce, a tiny joint or knuckle of meat, and haply a handful of snails, and a pint of chickens’ heads, all which are in one way or other got to the place of their destination; the breat, meat, and vegetables to do duty after their several capacities as soup and salad, the perchance ventured upon snails, and chicken occiputs, to be stewed, and served as side dishes, the wine to wash down the banquet withal; and the oil to serve as salad dressing, and likewise food for certain household lamps…

Notes of Womankind Abroad, 1861

Baronet (from “Editor’s Table,” 1848)

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The Baronet himself, although he does not exactly sanction the proceedings on this occasion, must have not infrequently seen kindred specimens of ‘Irish hospitality;’ for we find him occasionally sitting over his toddy until he began to perceive a much larger company than the room really contained, and the lights more than doubled without any actual increase of their numbers. Still he seems to fancy that even this occasional rollicking is more manly than the course pursued by the ‘bloods’ of the present day; ‘mincing their fish and tidbits; amalgamating their ounce of salad on a silver saucer; employing six sauces to coax one appetite; burning up the palate to make its enjoyments the more exquisite; sipping their acid claret, lisping out for the scented waiter and paying him the price of a feast for the modicum of a Lilliputian, and the pay of a captain for the attendance of a blackguard;’ all this the baronet records as a fair set-off against the less habitual and venial follies of ‘old-school gentlemen.’

Editor’s Table, 1848