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be doubted on which side we in England consider the pre-ponderance of proof to lie? The most unfavourablestatistics respecting chloroform that I have seen-those ofMr. W. Roger Williams, published in THE LANCET ofFeb. 8th-give the mortality as 1 in 1236 administrations.Perhaps if the Commission had performed 1236 experiments(instead of 43U only) they might have found one animal inwhom their usual sequence of events-viz., stoppage ofrespiration before cessation of the heart’s action-did notoccur. Further, as the report of the Commission admits,different animals are differently affected by the same drug;pariah dogs, for example, being indifferent to the action ofmorphine, and monkeys and dogs being not affected byammonia held to the nostrils as are rabbits. Why, then,should the Commission, solely from their experiments onthe lower animals draw the conclusion that chloroformacts on human beings-those, moreover, not healthy, but inevery phase and stage of disease-exactly as it does on dogs,monkeys, &c. ?
I purposely, for brevity’s sake, omit reference to theobservations on ether in the report, contenting myself withthe remark that, though the Commissioners think morehighly than we in England of chloroform, they have nothingof real importance to urge against ether. To which anæs-thetic, therefore-particularly when its inhalation can befacilitated by the previous administration of nitrous oxidegas-many anaesthetists, including myself, will continue togive the preference, believing that no other anaesthetic hasyet been proved to be equally safe.Meanwhile, one may hope that the evidence which shall
finally establish the truth respecting this most importantsubject may receive material additions from the inquiryinto the mortality under anaesthetics which you have insti-tuted.-I am, Sirs, your obedient servant,
GEORGE EASTES, M.B.
ROYAL COLLEGE OF SURGEONS, IRELAND:BIENNIAL PRESIDENCY.
To the Editors of THE LANCET.
SIRS,—On Monday, June 4th, 1883, at the annual meetingof the College, after full notice had been sent to everyFellow, it was proposed by Mr. Thomson, seconded byMr. Corley, and carried, ‘° That from and after June, 1887,the President of the Royal College of Surgeons of Irelandshould be eligible and may be invited to hold office for asecond year." In June, 1887, Mr. Corley was elected pre-sident, but for reasons best known to himself did not seekre-election. In 1888 Mr. FitzGibbon was elected, and, hadhe desired it, I would most willingly have stood aside andhave allowed the will of the College to take effect. Now,I have been urged by one hundred Fellows to seek re-electionin June next, and I will do so if it is the wish of themajority of the Fellows, as I only desire to do what theythink is best for the interest of the College. For this reason Ihave addressed a circular to the large number of the Fellowswhose opinions I did not already know, and beg through youto thank the eighty who have replied to me, and to expressa hope that the remainder will advise me in this matter,which seems to me to be so important a change that everyindividual Fellow should be consulted on the subject.
I am. Sirs. vours faithfullv.AUSTIN MELDON, President R.C.S.I.
TOXIC EFFECTS OF CANNABIS INDICA.
.To the Editors of THE LANCET.
SIRS,—The value of cannabis indica as a remedy is soreal that it is of the utmost importance to determine if
possible to what the uncertainty of its action is due. For
upwards of the last fifteen years I have used cannabisindica frequently and with manifest advantage, and on onlytwo occasions do I remember unpleasant physiologicaleffects therefrom, once from a single dose of half a grainof an extract, and once recently from two single doses ofone-third of a grain repeated at an interval of eight hours.These exceptions I attribute either to some idiosyncrasy inthe individual, or, and less likely, to some special activityof the extract. I was early led to endorse the opinion of
one of our great authorities that the most reliable prepara-tion of the drug is the extract prepared by Messrs. Squireof Oxford-street. The action of this extract, however, isliable to unequal results, but never, in my experience, touncertainty of action.Some five years ago, and again this week, I called on
Messrs. Squire, and learned from them that from the timeDr. O’Shaughnessy first introduced gunjah or cannabi&indica into England, and gave some to the late Mr. PeterSquire for conversion into an extract, up to the present daythat their firm has been continuously supplied by theoriginal collectors of the plant, and each sample has provedgood, yielding efficient preparations. A point of practiceimportance and interest, however, is this, that Messrs.Squire have found that the active principles vary indifferent specimens of the plant from year to year, so thatas manufacturers they cannot predicate the actual degreeof potency to be attributed to an extract or tincture pre-pared under identical conditions, until the preparation hasbeen adequately tested for any given year. This leads meto remark on the necessity of using cannabis indica withdue care as to dose at the onset; and, granting this is done,to express my belief that it will be found a safe and most.valuable sedative and hypnotic in the insomnia of renaldisease, the jactitation of senile chorea and paralysisagitans, and in menorrhagia, as well as in migraine andpersistent headache and allied conditions. To separate theessential from the accidental opens up an important fieldfor research in reference to the component alkaloids existingin cannabis indica, on which it may be hoped analyticalchemistry will ere long be able to give valuable information,
I am, Sirs, yours faithfully,H. CRIPPS LAWRENCE.
To the Editors of THE LANCET.
SIRS,—I am sorry to see that none of your readers betterqualified than I have answered Dr. Wood’s letter ofMarch 28th, with regard to the College of Physicians ofLondon not allowing its members to dispense. The factthat no member can " engage in trade " or
" dispense medi- ;
cine " puts the diploma in many respects above most of thedegrees in medicine, and is, I believe, one reason why manyhospitals place the possessors of the diploma of the Londoncollege on a different footing from those holding that of theEdinburgh college.
I think Mr. James Stewart has some right, as mentionedin THE LANCET of April 5th, to complain that the membersof the Dublin College are not put on the same footing withregard to hospital appointments in England as those of theLondon College, as both diplomas are safeguarded in thesame way, but I do not see why he includes those of Edin-
burgh, as a member of the latter College may, and in somecases does, keep an open surgery or run a penny dispensary.We want in our profession less dispensing, amongst theupper ranks at least. I am, Sirs, yours truly,April 8th, 1890. DISPENSING M.D.
NORTHERN COUNTIES NOTES.(FROM OUR OWN CORRESPONDENT.)
Newcastle.A SCHEME for the removal of the infirmary to the neigh-
bourhood of the Moor was mooted for the first time at thelast quarterly meeting by Alderman Stephens, one of thegovernors. It is well known that the surroundings of theinfirmary are open to serious objections, and that theseobjections are likely to increase as time goes on. On theone hand there is a noisy cattle market, and on the otherthe constant traffic of an extensive goods station, while theatmosphere is polluted by the smoke from the river Tyneand from Gateshead. It was mentioned that the latebequest of £10,000 from Mr. Fleming might be used ,
as a nucleus for a building fund, which will requireat least to be raised to £ 100,000. Alderman Stephensmust be content to see his proposition shelved for a-
while pending the ripening of public opinion, but thereis no doubt that the removal of the infirmary to a more