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The next requisite to health and long life, according to our author, is 'Perfect Birth;' by which, he means, birth after a full period of gestation. It is perfectly obvious, however, that cases of premature birth are so rare, comparatively, that no sound conclusion can be formed upon the subject; and Sir John himself mentions one instance of a man upwards of 100 years of age, who was born in the seventh month.
The third point is Gradual Growth,' under which title we find nothing in the least interesting, except a curious trait of the author's credulity in reporting a vulgar story of Bishop Berkeley having, by some peculiar systematic process, made a poor orphan boy grow to the height of seven feet before he was sixteen years of age; in consequence of which preternatural elongation, he became stupid, and died of old age at twenty!
We have next a dissertation on different constitutions and formations;—the issue of which is, that men perfectly well formed and of a middle size, are likely to be most healthy; with other truisms of equal importance. He then observes, that women have, upon the whole, a better chance of long life than men ; though he declines determining whether this be owing to any generic superiority in their constitution, or to their being less exposed to accidents and intemperance. The last of the circumstances tending to prevent longevity is, we are told, the renova tion of the distinctions of youth,' by getting new hair, teeth, &c. in advanced life. It affords a singular view of the author's notions of classification to find this enumerated among the circumstances by which longevity is promoted. It cannot even be very well said to be indicated by it; as, in most of the instances specified, those renovations took place but a very few years before the death of the individual.
Our ambitious author proceeds next to consider what qualities of Mind are most favourable to health. It must have given him some alarm to find, that men of great talents do not in general live long. Violent passions, too, we are told, or bad temper, are unfavourable to long life; except in the case of fat persons, who it seems receive much benefit from peevishness and anger.
After this, there follows a long chapter on the effects of Climate and Situation, containing exhortations to fly from large towns, and directions where to build villas; all which, with our author's usual accuracy, are classed under the head of circumstances independent of individual choice or exertion. The sum and substance of the inquiry, is a series of familiar and most obvious truths;-that extremes of heat and cold are unhealthy, but of the former the most so;-that the neighbourhood of the gea, and of running waters, is salubrious;-that trees are useful
for shelter, but that too many of them choke up the air ;-that it is desireable to be near good water and fuel ;-and that towns are not so healthful as the country. The only thing the least interesting is, that the natives of cold countries are longer lived than those of hot, even where the latter are perfectly healthy; and that small islands, and lofty situations, are, of all other situations, the most favourable to long life. There must be many exceptions, however, to the first rule, if what is stated in this book as to the common longevity of the natives of Bermudas, Barbadoes and Madeira, be true; nor can the second be received implicitly, when we reflect on the miserable insalubrity of most of the West India islands.
The fourth chapter treats of miscellaneous circumstances tending to promote longevity, independent of the choice or attention of the individual. Among these, we were rather surprised to find his ordinary occupation enumerated, and, still more, his connubial connexion; for which classification, however, this pious and satisfactory reason is assigned by the worthy author, viz. that it is generally sanctioned by the approbation of his parents, and ought always to be so, if they are in life!' The first of these miscellaneous circumstances, is rank and situation in life; on occasion of which, Sir John observes, with great truth and originality, that the rich frequently injure their health by eating and drinking too luxuriously, and by keeping their houses and persons 100 warm. With his usual accuracy and regard to consistency, he then tells a story of an Irish doctor who lived for fifty years without having had a death in a numerous family, in consequence of having no glass in his windows, and encouraging a perpetual whirlwind in his mansion; while, but a few pages before, he commemorates, with much approbation, the equally successful practice of another doctor, who lived to a hundred, by sleeping under eight blankets, and constantly inhabiting a stove-room heated up to 70 degrees of Fahrenheit."
The next miscellaneous circumstance connected with health, is Education, upon which Sir John, after boasting of having more children than usually fall to the lot of literary men,' is obliging enough to present his readers with a short dissertation. In the course of this, we meet with a variety of original and learned remarks; such as, that the first food of children-should be milk; and that Camper agrees with Plato in preferring for the children of the rich-roasted meat to boiled.' We are likewise informed, that good air and regular exercise are advantageous; and that Aristotle well observes, that an elegant person is preferable to many letters of recommendation.' All this we readily subscribe to; but when the learned author proceeds to observe,that Swift recommends running up and down stairs as an ex
cellent exercise; and that he would have found it both amusing and wholesome, if he had had a number of fine children to have joined in the recreation;' we cannot help suspecting, that his partiality to classical authorities has imposed in some measure on his usual prudence and caution. We really can scarcely conceive a more hazardous and inconvenient plan of exercise, for a crowd of heedless children, than a steep stair-case; whether they run up and down after their papa, or each other.
The following section is on the comparative healthiness of different occupations. Husbandmen are supposed the most healthy; and soldiers and sailors next. Learned persons do not, in general, live long. Inhabitants of cities are most remarkably shorter lived than those who reside in the country; and unmarried persons than those who have entered into matrimony. The first part ends with some remarks on the miseries of extreme old age, and the advantages of a timely death. In three several places, the worthy author informs us, with the most laudable gravity, that the air of a certain valley in Norway is so excessively salubrious, that the inhabitants frequently live much longer than they wish, and get themselves removed to less blessed situations, that they may have the comfort of dying the sooner.
The second part, which alone can constitute the Code of Health and Longevity, professes to comprehend all the rules by which these great ends may be attained; and accordingly, sets out with a long dissertation on the benefit which may be expected from the observance of such rules.
The first topic which is regularly discussed, is that of Air. And here, the redundant learning of the worthy author overflows in a sort of bad lecture on the composition of the atmosphere, extended through little less than thirty of his massive pages. We are here presented with an account of its chemical composition and various properties, and with numerous tables, showing the relative proportions of its ingredients, with the derivation of their modern names,-its volume in square inches, and its weight in pounds avoirdupois; the knowledge of all which must obviously be of singular benefit to the invalid, who opens the book in search of directions for the restoration of his health. We cannot even compliment Sir John Sinclair upon the accuracy of this misplaced philosophy. He tells us, indeed, with great truth, that a fluid easily divisible, and liable to perpetual agita tions, must be constantly in motion;' but his doctrines are rather more questionable, when he assures us that it is owing to the elasticity of air that it is enabled to descend to the bottom of mines and coal-pits, and that it is by means of its fluidity that it is the medium of sound. It is evidently in consequence of its pressure or gravitation, that it descends; and of its elasticity, that it trans
mits the vibration of sounds. Sir John also thinks it necessary to announce, that men breathe when they are asleep, as well as when they are awake, and to confirm his assertion that they require a certain supply of fresh air, by the story of the Blackhole at Calcutta, and other anecdotes equally interesting and original. We are then told, that air may be too hot, or too cold, too moist, or too dry, too light, or too heavy; and that we should do the best we can to counteract the bad effects of these extremes, by the construction of our houses and clothing, and the regulation of our diet and exercise. In temperate climates, we are admonished to be very much in the open air; and the following interesting story is told in illustration of this precept,-which we glad. ly insert as a specimen of the vigour and vivacity which characterize the whole performance.
The advantages of fresh air, are happily exemplified by the following anecdote, related by a phyfician, of two fifters, whofe fyftem, in that respect, happened to be different. The elder, Maria, was fond of reading or needle-work, and in general of every thing that fuited a fedentary life. She was weak; her nerves were very irritable; and every change of weather affected her. She was perpetually obliged to have recourfe to medicines, which, being good of their kind, would undoubtedly have had the defired effect in ftrengthening her conftitution, had they been properly affifted by moderate and gentle exercife. But Mifs Maria was always at home, always in the hands of a phyfician and apothecary, and always ailing.
Her filter Jane, on the other hand, was a very lively girl, and naturally poffeffed of good fenfe. She did not neglect to apply to her works and ftudies at proper times, but fhe had made it a rule to walk out whenever the weather permitted. Bad weather had feldom any other effect upon her, than to deprive her of her ufual exercife. By thefe means he enjoyed an excellent ftate of health; and, whenever the happened to have any complaint, her phyfician had the fatisfaction never to be disappointed in the effects of his medicines. ' I. 223.
After about an hundred pages on air, we come next to Food; and first of all to liquid food, and to a preliminary dissertation on the necessity of such aliment. There are ten sections to prove that men are the better of occasionally swallowing fluids; we content ourselves with quoting the last.
When the body is exhaufted, how refreshing is a fingle draught of a wholefome beverage: when the mind is borne down with care, how rapidly is it exhilarated by a cheerful glafs: and when the whole frame is likely to fink under the preffure of difeafe, there is no medicine fo likely, in certain cafes, to reflore it to its former health and ftrength, as the genuine juice of the grape.' 1. 237.
We now get on to the enumeration of the different kinds of fluids which are used for drinking; and find that the first division comprises the simple fluids of Water and Milk; and that nei
ther of these fluids is simple. The chapter on Water is very long; and the signs of good water are detailed with much diligence. One of its characteristics, it seems, is to be saponaceous; and another is, that a few drops of it let fall on good copper will occasion no spot thereon.' Rain-water, snow-water, hailwater, and ice-water, are then criticised and compared. Sir John is not of opinion that the swellings of the neck which annoy the inhabitants of the Alps, are occasioned by the use of snow-water; and observes, with more pertinency than is very usual with him, that the very same disease is prevalent in Sumatra, where ice and snow are never seen; and that it is wholly unknown in Chili or Thibet, although the rivers of those countries are chiefly supported by the melting of the mountain snow. It ought to have been mentioned, on the other hand, that Captain Cooke found several of his people affected with those swellings, after having been confined for some time to the use of water formed from the dissolution of ice taken from the middle of the ocean.
The following suggestions seem to be of substantial utility; and we feel it to be a duty, therefore, to do every thing in our power to make them more generally known.
There is an excellent mode of preferving water, and by which it is filtrated at the fame time, adopted at Paris. The water is put in what is called a fountain, which is a large and ftrong earthen jar, about four feet in height, placed on a wooden pedeftal. At the bottom there is gravel to the height of fix or eight inches, which fhould be cleared once a year. The fountain may be had for a louis d'or; and the waterman receives a trifle for filling it twice a week, which is fufficient for the generality of families. The water, thus filtrated through the grave!, becomes as pure as crystal, and is drawn by a cock, at the bottom of the fountain. As the water of the Seine is rarely pure, and in a dry fummer even noxious, fuch a machine is very convenient, and even indif penfable. It is not liable to the many accidents, and conftant wear, of our filtering ftones, nor does it require the attention of those with charcoal, recently invented at Paris. It certainly would be of the highest importance, to have fo fimple, but fo ufeful an article, introduced into this country.' I. 253,254.
The same contrivance on a larger scale, and adapted for the use of a community, is described in the following account of the process for purifying the water of a small river near Paisley, which we know to have been attended with the most complete success.
A well, about 25 yards from the river, and funk below the level of its bed, receives its water by a covered cut. This cut is about eight feet wide, and four deep it is filled with chipped freeftone, which are broke fmaller as it approaches the well. To prevent the intermingling of the earth, they are covered with Ruffia mats, over which the ground is levelled. A great deal of the filtering is effected by this first and fimple operation. Over the well is a fmall fteam-engine, which raifee