Samuel Farr.

Elements of medical jurisprudence: or, A succinct and compendious description of such tokens in the human body as are requisite to determine the judgment of a coroner, and of courts of law, in cases of divorce, rape, murder, online

. (page 1 of 6)
Online LibrarySamuel FarrElements of medical jurisprudence: or, A succinct and compendious description of such tokens in the human body as are requisite to determine the judgment of a coroner, and of courts of law, in cases of divorce, rape, murder, → online text (page 1 of 6)
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BosTON Medical Library
in the Francis A. Countway
Library of Medicine - Boston

A / -


*t^ ^l A' A i\ ^^







O R.

A fv^'mA and compendious Defcrlption of fuch Tokens
in the Human Body as are requifite to determine the
^nt of a Coroner, and of Courts of Law, in Cafes
'' ?) '^ ^ '^Smfme, Raf*, Murder, &c.











iHE foundation of this little PFork is
taken fro?n a Fuhli cation made at Geneva
in the year 1767, called^ ' Joh. Fred.
Fafelii Elementa Medicins Forenfis.'
'This was a clafs-hook of a learned Fr of e^or^
hut I imagined fuch a form , o/nd the end-
lefs divifons which he has adopted^ zvould
appear tedious to an Englijh reader ^ who
generally admires zvorks more in detail, I
have therefore admitted only the materials
of that publication, and have digejled them
into regular chapters, in which I have
endeavoured, as much as pojfble, to follozu
the order of nature, beginning with births^
and ending zvith the diffolution of our frame.
By altering the form too, I have not
been obliged to adhere ftriBly to the text,
but have varied from it very confiderablv,
and fome chapters I have entirely addedy
as that upon Madnefs, &c, zvhilft others I


( iv )

have omitted as ufelefs in this Country, as
particularly one on tortures, &c. But I
hope, I have neither added what is tedious,
nor omitted what is necejfary to be known.
As nothing of the kind hath ever been pub-
liJJoed in this Country, I zvas willing to
take the ajfifiance of a learned foreigner ,
rather than travel a tra5l unbeaten, bv
myfelf I need fay nothing concerning the
utility of fuch a Work : it zvill readily be
pointed out to every ferious mind. Life and
death are ohje5is too important to be fported
with in the manner they are fometimes :
nor JJoould the valuable connexions of our
fellozu -citizens be ever facrificed to the ig-
norance of the faculty, the caprice of a
court, or the artifices of revenge and dif-


'rj!'Ki-velf 1
. 22, 1787. j





Introduction - Page i
c H A p. I.

On Pregnancy - - 3

CHAP. 11.

Of Parturition^ or Child-birth - 10

On Divorces - - 3-^

On Rapes - - - 41


Of the Murder of L^f ants - 48


On Homicide - - 72.


Of Idiot if m and Infanity - 115


Of Impofors - - - 120


On the Means of prefervlng the Publii;

Health « z 125



THERE is a kind of medical ^hat part
knowledge, which is not to of ph^yflJ?^
much concerned in the cureof difeafes,
as in the detedtion of error and the
convidion of guilt. A phyfician, a v/homem-
Hirgeon^ or a coroner, is often called ^ °^^ *
upon to make a depofition of what he
knows concerning fome particular
tranfacflions in a court of judicature, where e».
Such perfons then fhould be well ac-
quainted with the animal ceconomy,
and with thofe views of the fcience
which, in foreign countries, have been
dignified with a peculiar name, as the
medicine of the courts, legal medicine, ^^"^^
or medical jufifprudence.

B This

( ^ ) ^

This knowledge, in itslnore exteri-
five fenfe, is divided into two diffe-
rent kinds, in one of which is cx-

tiow divi. plained thofe rules by which a judge
may form in a court of judicature, an

Judicial accurate opinion of the caufe which

caues. comes before him : in the other, an
acquaintance is acquired with the belt
methods of preferving th^ health of

Health of our fcllow-citizens. The firfl part is

community • t • i i • i i i

agam divided mto three, as the de-
polition is made in the civil courts, in
the criminal courts, or in the eccle-
fiaflical courts. But as the courts of
foreign countries are conftituted up-
on different principles from thofe of
this kingdom, I ihall not follow the
example of our learned profeifor, in
Natural di- arranging the rules of this bufinefs in
that divifion, but ihall give them in
different chapters, according to the
order of Nature, and let the reader
apply them as he Ihall think properr

G H A P.


C 3 )


H E R E are fo many decifions^
both in civil and criminal courts J^^^-y^ed-

lions de-

depcrrdent upon pregnancy, that an p'^"^ °" *
accurate knowledge of this aiFe(5lion ofu»
is abfolutely neceflary to be acquired
before a determination is made. And
notwithilanding there may be an ap-
parent indecency in the expolition,
yet truth, property, and perhaps a
life, are not to be facrificed to a falfc
delicacy, a miilaken modeily, or a
love of eafe.

A greater expanfion of the abdo-

^ ^ . Marks of

men than common, as it creates in a Pregnancy,
female the idea of pregnancy, may
depend upon a foetus, or any. other Diftin-
body, filling up the womb, or parts from^other
adjacent. If it be any foreign body, ces^.^"^"^
it is called a mole, or falfe concep-

. Mole what.

B a tioni



( 4 )

tion ; if a foetus^ true pregnane/.
This too is of two kinds, ordinary and
extraordinary. The firft, when one
or more fcetufesare lodo;ed in the hoi-
low of the womb itfelf ; the latter,

^f^r'^^^^' "^''^^^ ^^^y ^^^ depollted in the ova-
rium, the fallopian tube, or the gene-
ral cavity of the abdomen. The ova-
rium is that fubilanee in the female
body, which anfwers to the teflicle in
that of the male, and is fuppofed to
contain the germen of the future ani-
mal. The fallopian tube is a du£fe
which conveysthe male femen from the
womb to the ovarium, and is fuppofed
to embrace the uterus in the time of
conception. It is natural to fuppofe
then, that fometimes the fcetus may
be lodged in thefe bodies, and feek aR
exit which it can never obtain.

It is not uncommon for women of
abandoned charaders, or even married
women, to conceal and deny their ilate
of pregnancy ; and in fuch cafes, no

II ecu-

( s )

accurate judgment can be formed till
a proper examination be made by a
medical perfon, and thofe ligns of true
pregnancy be difcovered which are
generallvacknowledo-ed. Thefe fi2:ns
are various, and they may be diftin- signs,
guifhed into certain, uncertain^ and

The certain and moil common, and certain.
which may be taken about the time
when half the geilation is compleated^

ifl. A fwelling of the abdomen, swelling of
"which arifes from no m,orbid caufe, ^
which continues to increafe fo, that it
extends from the lower part even to
the fummit, which has a fhining ap-
pearance, and which is peculiarly
Iharpened about the navel. At the
fame time a troublefome fenfation, pe-
culiar to fuch a lituation, is perceived,
^nd other figns of pregnancy occur.

2d. The orifice of the v/orah is orincsof
thicker, more fooney, foft- and wi- ^'f ""^™^

^. 1 sy > -> - altered.

B 3 dened ;

( 6 )

Motion of

onof men-

Swelling of

Milk In

figns of

dened ; is fhorter, and exhibits nei-
ther a conical nor cylindrical figure.

3d. A motion of the foetus is per-
ceived in the womb.

4th. There is a fupprelTion of the
menftrual flux, when it cannot be ac-
counted for from fome evident difeafe,
and when the fymptoms which ac-
company it do not remit, as is the cafe
when it arifes from fome other caufe.
5th. A fwelling and hardnefs of
the breafiis, with an inflation of the
nipple, and the veins of the breafls
alTuming a blue colour. The diik
round the nipple is of a duiky brown
colour, and the little eminences are
much enlarged.

6th. A lymph flo\Vs from the
breall upon preiTure, which are flreaks
of true milk.

The uncertain figns of pregnancy,
are frequent vomitings, efpecially in
a morning ; a conflipation of the
belly; an incontinence or fuppreffion


( 7 )

of urine, difficult reipiration, irregu-
lar appetite, a fondnefs or averlion to
particular kinds of food, head-ach,
vertigo, pain of the teeth, yellow fpots
in the face, the belly growing flat, a
defcent of the orifice of the womb,
enlargement of the veins, fwelling of
the legs and feet, and pains in the
loins, &c.

The falfe figns of pregnancy have - j^ ^
arifen from fome-fuperftitious notions
which are now exploded, and there-
fore we Ihall omit to mention them in
this place.

It appears, however, that no accu- how to
rate judgment can be formed, but JSgrnent,
from the certain figns ; and a know-
ledge of thefe can only be acquired by
a minute examination and immediate
infpediiion of the parts. This, upon
account of decency, is generally com-
mitted to mldwives, ignorant perfpns^
who have no knowledge of the ani-
mal (economy, and may eaiily be de-
B 4 ceived.

( 8 )

celved. It would be much better
then, that this office Ihould be en-
trufted to the more regular practi-
tioner, who being a perfon of educa-
tion, would add the influence of his
judgment to his examination, and
would not be content with a iingle en-
quiry, which may be uncertain, but
would frequently repeat it, till he had
perfed:ly afcertained the truth.

Women fometimes likewife feien

Feigned *-^

pregnancy, thcmfelvcs to be pregnant when they
How difoo- ^'^^ not fo. The abfence of thofe
vered. figns before-defcribed, would be fufh-
cient to confute them ; but, as much
artifice is often ufed upon fuch occa-
fions, it may be neceflary to examine
signs. ^ ii^tle further, and here the following
figns prefent themfelves : An impro-
per age, either too tender or too per-
fect ; a preternatural defect of the
menfes, even in thofe of a fit age ;
too great a flow of them ; a copious
and inveterate iluor albus ; various


C 9 )

difeafes of the vagina, as tlie orifice of
it being entirely lliut, or a jundion of
its iides, fo as not to admit an entrance ;
various difeafes likewife of the womb,
fuchasa fchirrus, orfiefhy excrefenca^
growing up in It^ or its mouth being
entirely cipfed*




Pa,.urido„ pARTURITION may be re-
what. Jj^ ceived in feveral fenfes. At one
time it means the adtion of bringing a
child into the world : at another the
child itfelfj which is received into be-

When taken in the iirft fenfe^ it is
divided into ordinary and extraordi-
Ordinary ^^'^J' The Ordinary is, when the de-
livery is made in the common and
vifual manner, or rather by the com-
mon pafTages, notwithflanding any
difficylties which may occur in the
operation : for this is again divided
into natural and preternatural^ or arti-
Extraordi-= ficial. The extraordinary delivery is
^l' v/hen it is performxcd by the Ccefarean
Operation, operation^ which is an extraction of


( n )

tlie child, by making an incifion thro'
the abdominal mufcles into the uterus.
This is feldom performed upon the
living mother, but may be, and is in-
deed always advifeable, iliould the mo-
ther die before Ihe can be delivered^
and life is perceived in the child. In
this way ibme great perfonages, and
-particularly our Edward VI. is faid to
have been born. Another method
lately propofed in France, and abfo-
iutely put in practice upon living
fubjedls, is, by dividing the cartilage
which binds together the bones that
furround the womb, and thus enlarg-
ing the opening. This may likewife
be called extraordinary, though the
delivery be made by the natural paf-
fages ; yet the ilridlnefs of terms con-
fines it tothofe labours which are made
by pafTages different from the common.

When the w^ord parturition relates ^^r^^^
to the child itfelf, it may denote the [^.gf^^tht
time when it is born^ the conforma- ^^'''^^'


. ( 12 )

tionof its parts, or the external figure
which it prefents, the fiate of its life,
and the number which are brought
into the world.

Time of When it relates to the time in

which it is born^ it may be conlidered

Perfea. either as perfed: or mature^ or imma-
ture and imperfed:, The former^ when
geflation has been carried on at lead

impcrfed. nine months : the letter, when it is

completed before that time; and in

' this lall cafe, another diviiion may be

Abortions, made into abortions, v/here the deli-
very is made before the feventh

Premature, month ; and premature births, where
the child is born between the feventh
and the end of the ninth. To this
head alfo belong too late deliveries.

signs of The ftgns of an immature child

Sf' ''^ are taken from the following particu-

Length. I ft. From its length, for if it be not

one foot long, we may be nearly cer-
tain that it is not completely foi-med.

2d. From

( n )

?.d. From its weight, which fhould ^^Yt^ghx,
exceed five pounds.

3d. From the figure of the head^ Figure of
8cc. An incomplete child has a de- '
formed face refembling an old per-
fon^ with a wide mouth and llender
ears like membranes ; its eyes are
fliut 5 the hair of its head is of a whi-
tiHi call; the divifion between the
bones of the fkull, called the rhom-
foidal future, gapes wide ; the bones
themfelves are moveable ; and the lips
of the mouth refemble pieces of
bloody flefli.

4. From its habit of body, which Habit of
is for the mofl part thin and tender, ° ^'
and covered with a lliort down, and is
of a reddifh hue, particularlv on the
extremities and the face. If it be a
male, the fcrotum is of a round figure,
and the tellicles are not contained in

ah. From its limbs, which are

"^ ^ Limbs.

thm and weak, and the nails upon its


tion of

C H )

fingers are foft, lliort^ not extending
beyond the fingers ; nay, if it be very
fmall, as of one or two months, the
nails are by no means perceptible,
either upon the fingers or the toes.

6th. From the c6nformation or
Gonftitution of its bones ; for it is evi-
dent from experience, that in every
month of geilation, there is fome al-
teration in this refped; ex. gr. in
£ foetus of five months, the orbits of
the eyes are entirely formed into bony
fockets, and in one of feven months,
the fmall bones, fubfervient to the or-
gan oFhearing are fo perfe(ft, as fcarce-
ly to differ from thofe of a complete

t-mb'iiicai 7"^* From the umbilical cord,

cord. which is very fiender.

Other dr- ^th. From Other curious circum^

iiances which attend this little em-
bryo, fuch as a conilant indulgence in
fleep, an abflaining from crying, an
intolerance of cold, an indifpohtion to



( 15 )

fuck, or to ufe its limbs, or the muf-
cles of other parts, fuch as thofe
which are fubfervient to the evacu-
ation of urine, or the depoiiting of the

The fig-ns by which we diilinsiuilh signs o£

^ , ■' ^ perfea

a perfedt child are taken, chud*

ill. From its fize, its lencrth be- ..
ing at leaft one foot fix inches^

2d* From its weight, which weight.
fliould be at leafl fix pounds.

3d. From the formation. of its p„j.^2^.-qj^
bones, w^hich is known only by expe- o^^K^nes.
rience. But in general a child can
hardly be called complete, all whofe
bones and every part are not entirely
formed, though age may give fome
addition to their fub fiance.

4th. From the umbilical cord, umbincai
which is thick and firm. ^^^'^'

5th. From other circumflances, oth
oppofite to thofe in that which was
imperfedl, fuch as that he cries,
moves his limbs, opens his eyes^ fucks


er cir-

( i6



at the breaftj is not always afleep, Cait
bear cold, has a white fkin^ can eva-
cuate urine and the feces, has long
nails, and his head covered with hair.
That which relates to the con-
formation of a child,- after it is brought
into the world, is diftin2;\iiilied into
monfirous, and not monftrciis : the
former including all deviations from
the ordinary figure of man* Monfters
are again divided into perfedb and im-^
perfecft. A perfed: monfter is that
which abfolutely differs in all its parts^
from the human appearance, as when
it refembles any brute animals, as a
imperfea. dog, an ape. See. An imperfedt mon-
fter is where only a partial alteration
is made in its figure; and this may
again differ, according as this partial
alteration is made in the head, or other
parts; and this as it may be born with-
out a head, or with the head of a
beail, &c. Where a monfler differs
from /a complete child, til' other parts


( 17 )

befides the head, it is dullnguiilied
into two forts, as any parts in general
are affeded, or as more particularly
the change is wrought in the genitals
only, and then it is called an herma- Herma-
phrodite, which is likewife perfed or ^ '° '^^'

In an enquiry into the nature of
monfiers in general, three objeds of
confideration prefentthemfelves. iftv
What is the caufe of Monllers ? 2d.
"Whether they are poiTefTed of life ?
3d. Whether a perfect moniler can
be coniidered as a human being ?

lil. The caufe of monfiers is vari- Monfiers.
ous, as depending on fuch changes in
the conllitution of the mother, as can -
hardly be accounted for.

Whatever view we take of the Theor>'of
theory of generation, whether a ger- s^"^^^^^'^'^'
men be formed in the ovarium of the
female, which is only impregnated by
the femen of the male, or whether the
homunculus is contained in that femen,
C and

( i8 >

arid the female affords a nidus for it$
formation ; flill we fee a ftrong re-
femblance to both parents in their
offspring : and accidents^ or other
caufes, contribute to make an entire
akeration in the form of the foetus,
and produce monflers. We will not
fuppofe unnatural connejftions, or that
any impregnation can arife from that
fource; but imagination has a great
power over the body of a female,
efpecially during geftation ; and the
fluid in which the fcstus fwims, or the
womb itfelf may be difordered, fo as
to occafion great changes. Neitlieif
need we have recourfe to the the-
ory of the ingenious Buffon to explain
how thefe are brought about ; or fup-
pofe that every part of the human bo-
dy has a reprefentation in the fecun-
dating quality of both parents^ to form
its conltruftion. The fir ft rudi-
ments or germen of the human body
k aot a hunmn creature, if it be even

a living

( 19 )

a living one ; it is a foundation only
Upon which the human fuperfirudiure
is raifed. This is evident to anatomi-
cal obfervatioa. Were a child to be
born of the fl|iag,e v^4iich it prefents in
the firfl ilages of pregnancy, it would
be a monfter indeed, as great as any
which was ever broug;ht to li2;ht.
How eafy then is it for diforder to
prevent the exertion of that plaflic
■force, which is neceifary to form a
complete animal.

2d. Monilers may live, but it de- whether
pends on what parts are affected, how ?^^^^if,°g7
long life fhall be continued to them.
Where the m^onflrous parts are con-
fined to the extremities, or even to
thofe places which difcinguiHi herma^t
phrodites, \nq find from experience,
that the vital powers are itrong and
vigorous ; and were it not that fuch
beings often Hy from fociety, lead
fedantary lives, and are deprived of
fame wholefome e^yercifes to the hu-
C 2 man

Ate there
ttionfters ?




( 26 )

nlan conftitution, life might be en-
joyed by them, and to as great an ex-
tent as by any other perfons.

3d. With regard to perfect mon-
gers, moil of the authorities which af-
fert that any thing of that kind can
cxiit^ feem to be of no credit. But
Hiould any ever appear, we ihould
confide r that it is not form or Ihape^
but reafon and intelKgence, w^hich
diftinguilh human creatures from brute

We are next to confider the nature
of hermaphrodites ; and as thefe are
living beings, and fometimes capable
of all the fundions of fociety, fuch dif-
tin(flions ought to be made relating to
them, as will place their fituation in
the moft proper light, and the moil
favourable to their happinefs. They
are great obje6ls of our pity and com-
placency, for they are not only de*
prived of the common pleafures of
mankind, but are fubjecl to diforders


( 21. y

wliidi are painful, uncomfortable, and
inconvenient. A perfedl hermaphro- Perfea,
dite or a being partaking of the dlf-
tinguifning marks of both fexes, with
a power of enjoyment from each, is
not believed by any one ever to have
cxiiled. Imperfect hermaphrodites, imperfea.
or monfiers whofe organs of genera-
tion are aifecled, are frequently p-re^
fented to us. They may be divided,
accord ine to the fexes, into what are
called' androgynus, and androgyna, Androgy-
The firil is the male, who has in ge^ ^'^^^'
aeral his own organs tolerably per-
fedt, buthas fome divifion in theilefli
above, below, on or in the fcrotuni,
wdiich puts on the appearance of the
female pudendum. The penis like-
wife may be fo obliterated, as to give
no external appearance of the male,
but the beard, and the conftitution of
his body, confirm him to be of that
fex. The andrcgyna is a w^oman, Androgyoa
who has the parts of generation nearly
C 3 like

( " )

like another, but at the fame time thd
clitoris grows to a great fize, and gives
the form of the male penis. This is
a very inconvenient diforder, as fhe is
fometimes deprived of the pleafures
peculiar to her fex, and fuffers much
from diforders of the part. From her
breafls, and the deficiency of beard
however, fhe is diftinguillied from
the male ; though it frequently and
unfortunately happens, that fuch wo-
men are more fubje6h than others to
robuil and mafculine confli tut ions.
It is evident that the fexes here afe
as completely marked as In other per-
fons, and to all legal intents and pur-
pofes, they are man and'xvoman.

Some important enquiries may
a rife upon this fubje(^. As lil:. How
phrodites, lar they are to be conliaered as mipo-
impo'^cnt. tent. This is, I believe, generally the
x:afe, but not always, and mufl depend
«ihouid upon proof. 2d. Whether they ihould
-th^ymarry? be permitted to marry ? This depends


( ^3 1

upon the former, but mufl, I ihould
think, be left to their own choice.
3d. Whether change of the fexes May they
might be allowed ? This is certainly ^ ^""^^ ^^'
contradided in the terms, and will
admit of no diipute.

With regard to the ftate of life of
a child, the following queilion requires
to be decided : At what time may a ^^^^^q^^
foetus be fuppofed to be™ to live ? ^ foetus be^

ti gin to live?

To anfwer this we mull conlider, that
conception is made in the ovarium of
a female after coition with a male, concep-
when the fubtile aura of the fernen
hath fo far penetrated into the germen,
which may be fuppofed to contain
the outline of the future man, as to
produce a turgefcence and motion of
its circulating humours. At this
time it may be faid, that life begins,
i, e. immediately after conception.
Hence thofe feem to err, i ft, who would
perfuade us, that the foetus acquires
life when it is fo particularly adlive,
C 4 tha^

( 24 )

that the mother becomes fenfible of its
motions. 2d. Thofe who think that
life does not begin till the feventh or
fourteenth day, or even till a month
after conception. And 3d. Thofe
who fuppofe that a foetus, as long as
it continues in the womb, where it
does not breathe, cannot be called a
living animal. The whole depends
on our ideas of life and animation, and
the a6l of generation to create it. If
' generation be the caufe of animating
the rudiments of the future being, and
if that animation be conflrued to be
underilood by what is meant by life,
then it mufl certainly begin imme-
diately after conception, and nothing
but the arbitrary forms of human
inflitutions can make it otherwifc.

On this occafion we may enquire,

what part of the human body is the

foui.° feat of animation, or the foul > To

which we anfwer, that evidently it re-

1 3 4 5 6

Online LibrarySamuel FarrElements of medical jurisprudence: or, A succinct and compendious description of such tokens in the human body as are requisite to determine the judgment of a coroner, and of courts of law, in cases of divorce, rape, murder, → online text (page 1 of 6)