Some Ass of a French G.P.

Ronald Arbuthnott Knox by Howard Coster, half-plate film negative, 1938, National Portrait Gallery, London.
Ronald Arbuthnott Knox by Howard Coster, half-plate film negative, 1938, National Portrait Gallery, London.

[T]he Catholic religion differs from most other religions, differs even from most other denominations of Christianity, in that it was not merely cradled in an atmosphere of the miraculous, but lives and breathes in an atmosphere of the miraculous. Miracles are not always equally abundant, but the faith is always there; when the deacon Peter asks St Gregory in his dialogues why it is that miracles don’t happen nowadays, St Gregory first of all gives reasons why they shouldn’t happen, and then points out that they do. All the discoveries of science about the nature of diseases and so on have not lessened our faith in the possibility of miracle; rather, they have increased it. For, in proportion as medicine grows more exact in its methods and more careful in its habits of observation, in that proportion we can feel more certain, when such and such a cure is effected, that the finger of God was really there. When you hear doctors doubting about the miracles at Lourdes, you will find that the complaint they are making is not one against religion; diagnosis, they say; some ass of a French G.P. didn’t know his own business. If that is so, we can only hope that doctors will get more and more scientific; then the miracles at Lourdes will be more manifest than ever. Ronald Knox, In Soft Garments, A Collection of Oxford Conferences (1953).

A Great Admirable Blackness & Syderation

Orlando Gibbons.

We whose names are here underwritten: having been called to give our counsels to Mr. Orlando Gibbons; in the time of his late and sudden sickness, which we found in the beginning lethargical, or a profound sleep; out of which, we could never recover him, neither by inward nor outward medicines, & then instantly he fell in most strong, & sharp convulsions; which did wring his mouth up to his ears, & his eyes were distorted, as though they would have been thrust out of his head & then suddenly he lost both speech, sight and hearing, & so grew apoplectical & lost the whole motion of every part of his body, & so died. Then here upon (his death being so sudden) rumours were cast out that he did die of the plague, whereupon we … caused his body to be searched by certain women that were sworn to deliver the truth, who did affirm that they never saw a fairer corpse. Yet notwithstanding we to give full satisfaction to all did cause the skull to be opened in our presence & we carefully viewed the body, which we found also to be very clean without any show or spot of any contagious matter. In the brain we found the whole & sole cause of his sickness namely a great admirable blackness & syderation in the outside of the brain. Within the brain (being opened) there did issue out abundance of water intermixed with blood & this we affirm to be the only cause of his sudden death.

Account of the post-mortem examination of Orlando Gibbons (d. 5 June 1625); National Archives, State Papers Domestic, Charles I, 1625, III, 60.

To Be Placed on Irritable Wounds

BEEF AND HOG BLADDERS FOR THE HOSPITALS. – Those of our citizens who may have in their possession beef or hog bladder, are requested to send them to the various hospitals in the city.  They are used to contain ice to be placed upon irritable wounds.  The attention of the butchers is especially directed to this suggestion.

— From the Richmond Enquirer, 3 June 1862, p. 1, c. 6.