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XCIII. Curious Chirurgical Operation.
MR. URBAN, A FRIEND has transmitted to me from the East Indies, the following very curious, and, in Europe, I believe, unknown chirurgical operation, which has long been practised in India with success; namely, affixing a new nose on a man's face.
Cowasjee, a Mahratta of the cast of husbandmen, was a bullock-driver with the English army, in the war of 1792, and was made a prisoner by Tippoo, who cut off his nose, and one of his hands. In this state he joined the Bombay army near Seringapatam, and is now a pensioner of the Honourable East India Company. For above twelve months he remained without a nose, when he had a new one put on by a man of the brickmaker cast, near Poonah. This operation is not uncommon in India, and has been practised from time immemorial. Two of the medical gentlemen, Mr. Thomas Cruso, and Mr. James Trindlay, of the Bombay Presidency, have seen it performed, as follows: A thin plate of wax is fitted to the stump of the nose, so as to make a nose of a good appearance. It is then flattened, and laid on the forehead. A line is drawn round the was, and the operator then dissects off as much skin as it covered, leaving undivided a small slip between the eyes. This slip preserves the circulation till an union has taken place between the new and old parts. The cicatrix of the stump of the nose is next pared off, and immediately behind this raw part an incision is made through the skin, which passes around both ale, and goes along the upper lip. The skin, is now brought down from the forehead, and, being twisted half round, its edge is inserted into this incision, so that a nose is formed with a double hold above, and with its ale and septum below fixed in the incision. A little Terra Japonica is softened with water, and being spread on slips of cloth, five or six of these are placed over each other, to secure the joining. No other dressing but this cement is used for four days. It is then removed, and cloths dipped in ghee (a kind of butter) are applied. The connecting slips of skin are divided about the 25th day, when a little more dissection is necessary to improve the appearance of the new nose. For five or six days after the operation, the patient is made to lie on his back; and, on the tenth day,
bits of soft cloth are put into the postrils, to keep them sufficiently open. This operation is very generally successful. The artificial nose is secure, and looks nearly as well as the natural one; nor is the scar on the forehead very observable after a length of time.
XCIV. The word PREMISES improperly applied,
MR. URBAN, I.HAVE noted in different publications, and frequently in your Magazine, that the word premises is used to signify house and land with their appendages. Dr. Harwood, amongst others, speaking of Hackney college, in your Magazine for May 1793, says, “ a gentleman offered 8000). for the premises," meaning the building with the ground, &c. Bailey, Sheridan, Entick, and others, in their dictionaries, give it this signification; and in every day's news-papers are advertisements of premises to be sold, and of sales upon the premises. This perversion of the word, I am apt to think, originated with the lawyers, and in this way-every grant or conveyance of lands necessarily consists of two parts, the premises and the habendum. In the premises the parties are described, the instruments necessary to shew the granter's title are recited, the consideration upon which the deed is made is set forth; and, lastly, the property granted is specified, all by way of preface or introduction to the second part, or habendum, which shews the estate or interest the granter is to have in the things granted; here then clearly appears the true legal import of the word, and, in this use of it, it retains its original and proper meaning; but in the covenants which follow the habendum, where it becomes necessary again to make mention of the property granted, if it happens to consist of various particulars, the lawyers, for brevity (to which by the by they are not much attached,) bave accustomed themselves to write “ the aforesaid premises," or “ the premises before mentioned,” and, from the frequency of these phrases, the word premises is universally taken as a collective noun signifying manors, messuages, lands, tenements, woods, and so on, the absurdity of which I think may be clearly pointed out by putting it for horses, cows, sheep, swine, household goods,
bank stock, exchequer bills, or any thing, in short, which may be the object of the deed, and which it has just as good a right to stand for as manors, messuages, &c. We may indeed with some degree of propriety, to avoid a repetition in the latter part of a deed of the several kinds of property passing by it, write, “the before granted premises," or the before assigned premises,” according to the nature of the instrument; because, by reference to the first part of it, it will appear, that what was thereby granted or assigned was property there specified, and which was intended to be then again spoken of, as all descriptions of persons, even up to the sages on the bench, use this word improperly.
XCV. Observations of a Youth who had just recovered his Sight.
Threckingham, Aug. 6. The following is a copy of a paper I lately found amongst many others on a file in my possession ; it is signed John Romley, Master of the free-school of Haxey, in the isle of Axholme, Lincolnshire. An account of some Observations made by a young Gentleman
who was born blind, or lost his sight so early that he had no remembrance of ever having seen, and was couched between thirteen and fourteen years of age.
Though we say of this gentleman that he was blind, as we do of all people who have ripe cataracts, yet they are never so blind from that cause but that they can discern day from night, and, for the most part, in a strong light, distinguish black, white, and scarlet; but they cannot perceive the shape of any thing; for, the light by which these perceptions are made being let in obliquely through the aqueous humour, or the anterior surface of the crystaline (by which the rays cannot be brought into a focus upon the retina,) they can discern in no other manner than a sound eye can through a glass of broken jelly, where a great variety of surfaces so differently refract the light, that the several distinct pencils of rays cannot be collected by the eye into their proper foci ; wherefore, the shape of an object in such a case cannot at all be discerned, though the
colour may. And thus it was with this young gentleman, who, though he knew these colours asunder in a good light, yet, when he saw them after he was couched, the faint ideas he bad of them before were not sufficient for him to know them by, afterwards, and therefore he did not think them the same which he had before known by those names. Now, scarlet he thought the most beautiful of all colours, and of others, the most gay were the most pleasing; whereas, the first time he saw black it
after little while, he was reconciled to it; but, some months after, seeing by accident a Negro woman, he was struck with horror at the sight. When he first saw, he was so far from making any judgment about distance, that he thought all objects whatsoever touched his eyes (as he expressed it,) as what he felt did his skin, and thought no objects so agreeable as those which were smooth or regular, though he could form no judgment of their shape or guess what it was in any object that was pleasing to him. He knew not the shape of any thing, or any one thing from another however different in shape or magnitude; but, upon being told what things were, the form of which he before knew from feeling, he would carefully observe, that he might know them again; but having too many objects to learn at once, he forgot many of them; and (as he said) at first he learned to know, and again forgot, a thousand things in a day. One particular only(though it may appear trifling) I will relate: having often forgot which was the cat and which the dog, he was ashamed to ask, but catching the cat (which he knew by feeling,) he was observed to look at her steadfastly, and then setting her down, said to puss, "I shall know you another time.” very much surprised that those things which he had liked best did not appear most agreeable to his eyes, expecting those persons would appear most beautiful that he loved most, and such things to be most agreeable to his sight that were so to his taste. We thought he soon knew what pictures represented which were shewn to him, but we found afterwards we were mistaken; for, about two months after he was couched, he discovered at once that they represented solid bodies, when to that time he considered them as partya coloured plains, or surfaces diversified with variety of paint; but even then he was no less surprised, expecting the pictures would feel like the things they represented, and was amazed when he found those parts, which by their light and shadow appeared now round and uneven, felt only flat like the rest, and asked which was the lying sense, feeling or seeing?
Being shewn his father's picture in a locket at his mother's
watch, and told what it was, he acknowledged a likeness, but was vastly surprised, asking how it could be that a large face could be expressed in so little room? Saying, it should have seemed as impossible to him as to put a bushel of any thing into a pint. At first he could bear but very little light, and the things he saw he thought extremely large; but, upon seeing things larger, those first seen he conceived less, never being able to imagine any lines beyond those be saw. The room he was in, he said, he knew to be but part of the house, yet he could not conceive that the whole house could look bigger. Before he was couched, he expected little advantage from seeing, worth undergoing an operation for, except reading and writing; for, he thought, he said, he could have no more pleasure in walking abroad than he had in the garden, which he could do safely and readily. And even blindness, he observed, had this advantage, that he could go any where in the dark much better than those that can see: and, after he had seen, he did not soon lose this quality, nor desired a light to go about the house in the night. He said, every new object was a new delight; and the pleasure was so great that he wanted ways to express it. But his gratitude to his operator he could not conceal, never seeing him for some time without tears of joy in his eyes, and other marks of affection; and, if he did not happen to come at any time when he was expected, he would be so grieved that he could not forbear crying at his disappointment.
A year after first seeing, being carried upon Epsom Downs, and observing a large prospect, he was exceedingly delighted with it, and called it a new kind of seeing. And now, being lately couched of his other eye, he says that objects at first appeared large to this eye, but not so large as they did at first to the other; and, looking upon the same object with both eyes, he thought it looked about twice as large as with the first-couched eye only, but not double, that we can any ways discover. -1796, Aug.
JOHN ROMLEY, 1731,
XCVI. Feasting on Live Flesh.
MR. URBAN, MR. Bruce's account of the Abyssinians feasting upon live flesh is well known; but, I believe, it is not so well known