The Translation of the Pharmacopoeia is an useful work, and
does the author credit for industry and good intentions. At first, indeed, we could not help smiling to see doctors' stuff interlined with translation ; but the value of the information, and the utility likely to flow from it, soon reconciled us to a book at first sight not a little ridiculous.
It may seem strange, that a school-book, or an apprentice-book, should be made of the Pharmacopoeia : it will, however, appear rational enough to those who are aware (and who is not ?) that apothecaries, knowing Latin very imperfectly, make up remedies from directions composed in Latin ; and that boys intending to be apothecaries are taught the Latin of VIRGIL and HORACE, which is not the Latin they want to learn, and about as like the Latin of doctors as the sublimest passage of MILTON is like to the City article of the Morning Chronicle. To learn to read a prescription, is a trick or a trade, and has but little to do with the Latin of the Classics; and why, therefore, should it not be directly taught, instead of guessed at, the penalty of mistake being death, but not to the mistaker, but an innocent patient ? Can there be a more shocking spectacle, than a boy ignorant, or only partly knowing the prescription-trick, pulling down poison after poison, and from an uncertain reading of the prescriber's hieroglyphics, sending the sufferer to his grave by the very means he eagerly grasps at as his hope of restoration and succour ? The most obvious remedy would be, to abolish Latin in pre- scriptions. The use of it, to a philosophical eye, is as absurd as a rotten borough, and has the same claim to respect. Doctors' Latin is to the physical what a corrupt borough is to the political constitution. Latin has been long in growing out of use, and is therefore respectable, though pernicious. But until Latin can be abolished from the sick chamber and the drug-shop, here is the succedaneum : let the young scoundrel poisonmongers be taught the prescription-trick by means of Mr. MAnoHam's interlineary Pharmacopoeia.