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It has been universally found, when ships have been wrecked especially in cold weather, that those who abstain from spirits endure the fatigue, exposure, and cold, better than those who indulge in them. Hence the lives of the officers are more frequently preserved than those of the men, simply because their general habits and responsibility for the safety of the ship make them keep sober, and thus preserve them.
A traveller in South America tells us that the heaviest loads he ever saw carried, were borne on the backs of some Indians whom he saw at work in the mines. These men were never allowed ardent spirits.
The individuals trained in Europe for pugilistic combats, are never allowed ardent spirits. Yet nothing requires more bodily strength than boxing, or is more likely entirely to exhaust the whole frame.
Within a few years various kinds of labor have been carried on without the use of spirits, which have been generally supposed to require their use particularly, such as haying, raising, shipbuilding, &c., and the result has always been in
vor of abstinence.
The testimony of medical men concurs to show that an entire abstinence from ardent spirits is most favorable to perfect health, and of course to bodily strength and ability to labor.
There is nothing then to counterbalance the evils produced by the abuse of ardent spirits. The best that can be said of them is that their use in small quantities does not impede us in our labor, though perhaps even this is not universally true. There is no good reason, then, why they should not be banished entirely from common use. TI only way to avoid the abuse is to get rid of the use, to get rid of them, in short, altogether.
All who are in the habit of taking a moderate quantity of ardent spirits with their meals, or while at labor, should be willing to relinquish this indulgence. They should consider that all drunkards have been once moderate drinkers; and, that, however safe they may feel themselves, yet all drunkards once felt as secure. No man is secure so long as he drinks at all. Let every man quit it therefore at once, entirely, and for
If it is not necessary for our own safety, it is for that of others.
The reform must come from the moderate drinkers. The excessive ones never will reform. Let all who drink moderately resolve in future, not to drink at all, and we shall soon see a change in the face of society. Even to the moderate drinkers, in an economical point of view, the relinquishment of ardent spirits is something of an object. Suppose a man to spend but
twenty dollars a year for his liquor, which is a small allowance for all the expenses of a moderate drinker, and in thirty years, from the age of 20 to 50, if this sum were laid by and regularly invested every year with the interest, so as to bring compound interest, it would amount at the end of that time to more than fifteen hundred dollars.
XVIII. ON CLOTHING.
[From the Companion to the British Almanac.]
A VERY striking fact, exhibited by the Bills of Mortality, is the very large proportion of persons who die of consumption. It is not our intention to enter into any general remarks upon the nature of that fatal disease. In very many cases the origin of a consumption is an ordinary cold ; and that cold is frequently taken through the want of a proper attention to clothing, particularly in females. We shall, therefore, offer a few general remarks upon this subject, so important to the health of all classes of persons.
Nothing is more necessary to a comfortable state of existence than that the body should be kept in nearly an uniform temperature. The Almighty wisdom, which made the senses serve as instruments of pleasure for our gratification and of pain for our protection, has rendered the feelings arising from excess or deficiency of heat so acute, that we instinctively seek shelter from the scorching heat and freezing cold. We bathe our limbs in the cool stream, or clothe our bodies with the warm fleece. We court the breeze or carefully avoid it. But no efforts to mitigate the injurious effects of heat or cold would avail us, if nature had not furnished us, in common with other animals (in the peculiar functions of the skin and lungs), with a power of preserving the heat of the body uniform, under almost every variety of temperature to which the atmosphere is liable. The skin, by increase of the perspiration, carries off the excess of heat; the lungs, by decomposing the atmosphere, supply the loss ;-so that the internal parts of the body are preserved at a temperature of about ninety-eight degrees, under all circumstances. In addition to the important share which the function of perspiration has in regulating the heat of the body, it serves the further purpose of an outlet to the constitution, by which it gets rid of matters that are no longer useful in its economy.
The excretory function of the skin is of such paramount importance to health that we ought at all times to direct our attention to the means of securing its being duly performed; for if the matters that ought to be thrown out of the body by the pores of the skin are retained, they invariably prove injuri
When speaking of the excrementitious matter of the skin, we do not mean the sensible moisture which is poured out in hot weather, or when the body is heated by exercise; but a matter which is too subtile for the senses to take cognizance of which is continually passing off from every part of the body, and which has been called the insensible perspiration. This insensible perspiration is the true excretion of the skin.
A suppression of the insensible perspiration is a prevailing symptom in almost all diseases. It is the sole cause of many fevers. Very many chronic diseases have no other cause. warm weather, and particularly in hot climates, the functions of the skin being prodigiously increased, all the consequences of interrupting them are proportionably dangerous.
Besides the function of perspiration, the skin has, in common with every other surface of the body, a process, by means of appropriate vessels, of absorbing or taking up, and conveying into the blood vessels, any thing that may be in contact with it; it is also the part on which the organ of feeling or touch is distributed.
The skin is supplied with glands, which provide an oily matter that renders it impervious to water, and thus secures the evaporation of the sensible perspiration. Were this oily matter deficient, the skin would become sodden, as is the case when it has been removed, —a fact to be observed in the hands of washerwomen, when it is destroyed by the solvent powers of the soap. The hair serves as so many capillary tubes to conduct the perspired Auid from the skin.
The three powers of the skin-perspiration, absorption, and feeling, are so dependent on each other, that it is impossible for one to be deranged without the other two being also disordered. For if a man be exposed to a frosty atmosphere, in a state of inactivity, or without sufficient clothing, till bis limbs become stiff and his skin insensible, the vessels that excite the perspiration and the absorbent vessels partake of the torpor that has seized on the nerves of feeling, nor will they regain their lost activity till the sensibility be completely restored. The danger of suddenly attempting to restore sensibility to frozen parts is well known. If the addition of warmth be not very gradual, the vitality of the part will be destroyed.
This consideration of the functions of the skin will at once
point out the necessity of an especial attention, in a fickle climate, to the subject of clothing. Every one's experience must have shown him how extremely capricious the weather is in this country. Our experience of this great inconstancy in the temperature of the air ought to have instructed us how to secure ourselves from its effects.
The chief end proposed by clothing ought to be protection from the cold; and it never can be too deeply impressed on the mind (especially of those who have the care of children), that a degree of cold that amounts to shivering cannot be felt, under any circumstances, without injury to the health; and that the strongest constitution cannot resist the benumbing influence of a sensation of cold constantly present, even though it be so moderate as not to occasion immediate complaint, or to induce the sufferer to seek protection from it. This degree of cold often lays the foundation of the whole host of chronic diseases, foremost amongst which are found scrofula and consumption.
Persons engaged in sedentary employments must be almost constantly under the influence of this degree of cold, unless the apartment in which they work is heated to a degree that subjects them, on leaving it, to all the dangers of a sudden transition, as it were from summer to winter. The inactivity to which such persons are condemned, by weakening the body, renders it incapable of maintaining the degree of warmth necessary to comfort, without additional clothing or fire. Under such circumstances a sufficient quantity of clothing of a proper quality, with the apartment moderately warmed and well ventilated, ought to be preferred, for keeping up the requisite degree of warmth, to any means of heating the air of the room so much as to render any increase of clothing unnecessary. To heat the air of an apartment much above the ordinary temperature of the atmosphere, we must shut out the external air ;the air also becomes extremely rarefied and dry, which circumstances make it doubly dangerous to pass from it to the cold, raw, external air. But in leaving a moderately well warmed room, if properly clothed, the change is not felt; and the full advantage of exercise is derived from any opportunity of taking it that may occur.
The only kind of dress that can afford the protection required by the changes of temperature to which high northern climates are liable, is woollen. "Nor will it be of much avail that woollen worn,
unless so much of it be worn, and it be so worn as effectually to keep out the cold. Those who would receive the advantage which the wearing woollen is capable of affording,
must wear it next the skin'; for it is in this situation only that its health-preserving power can be felt. The great advantages of Woollen cloth are briefly these ; the readiness with which it allows the escape of the matter of perspiration through its texture-its
power of preserving the sensation of warmth to the skin under all circumstances-the difficulty there is in making it thoroughly wet-the slowness with which it conducts heatthe softness, lightness, and pliancy of its texture.
Cotton cloth, though it differs but little from linen, approaches nearer to the nature of woollen, and on that account must be esteemed as the next best substance of which clothing may be made.
Silk is the next in point of excellence, but it is very inferior to cotton in every respect.
Linen possesses the contrary of most of the properties enumerated as excellences in woollen. It retains the matter of perspiration in its texture, and speedily becomes imbued with it; it gives an unpleasant sensation of cold to the skin ;-it is very readily saturated with moisture, and it conducts heat too rapidly. It is, indeed, the worst of all the substances in use, being the least qualified to answer the purposes of clothing.
There are several prevailing errors in the mode of adapting clothes to the figure of the body, particularly amongst females. Clothes should be so made as to allow the body the full exercise of all its motions. The neglect of this precaution is productive of more mischief than is generally believed. T'he misery and suffering arising from it begin while we are yet in the cradle. When they have escaped from the nurses' hands boys are left to nature. Girls have for awhile the same chance as boys in a freedom from bandages of all kinds; but as they approach to womanhood, they are again put into trammels in the forms of stays. The bad consequences of the pressure of stays are not immediately obvious, but they are not the less certain on that account; the girl writhes and twists to avoid the pinching, which must necessarily attend the commencement of wearing stays tightly laced; the posture in which she finds ease is the one in which she will constantly be, until at last she will not be comfortable in any other, even when she is freed from the pressure that originally obliged her to adopt it. In this way most of the deformities to which young people are subject originate; and, unfortunately, it is not often that they are perceived until they have become considerable, and have existed too long to admit of remedy.