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the case is the same in other animals; as neither oxen, horses, sheep, &c. have had their term of life shortened in the latter ages; and therefore the lives of creatures, it should seem, were at once abridged by the deluge. And the like may happen from other grand accidents; as particular inundations, long continued droughts, earthquakes, &c. This observation seems likewise to hold with regard to the size or stature of the body, which alters not with the succession of generations; though Virgil, following the common opinion, predicted posterity should diminish in their size.* For though, it is certain, there have antiently been men of a gigantic stature; as appears from their remains found in Sicily and elsewhere, in antiques, sepulchres, monuments, and caverns; yet there has no such thing been continued in the same places for these three thousand years, of which we have any authentic account:t though this matter likewise is subject to revolutions and changes, through the manners and civil customs of men, no less than the former. The more regard should be had to these observations, because men are possessed with a notion, that the age of the world is constantly upon the decline,
*Grandiaque effossis mirabitur ossa sepulchris.
+ And possibly the bones here mentioned might be the bones ofelephants, not of men.
both as to the length of life, and the size and strength of the body; and that all things decay and tend to the worse..
In the cold northern countries men generally live longer than in hot ones; which happens from hence, that the skin of the body is there more constringed, the juices of the body less dissipated, the spirits themselves less sharp and predatory, or more easy to repair; and the air, as being but little heated by the sun, less consuming. Under the equinoctial however, where they have a double winter and a double summer, and a greater equality in the spaces of day and night, they live to a considerable age, if nothing else prevent it; as in Peru, Ceylon, &c. . · The inhabitants of islands are generally longer lived than the inhabitants of continents; for the people of Russia live not so long as those of the Orcades; nor those of Africa under the same parallel, as those of the Canaries: the Japanese, also, are longer lived than the Chinese, though the latter are extravagantly fond of long life. The cause seems to be this, that' the sea-breezes warm in cold climates, and cool in the hot.
Lofty situations are more conducive to long life than low ones; especially if not upon the tops of mountains, but upon high lands as to the situation in general; such as Arcadia in Greece, and part of Ætolia ; where the inhabitants were
very long lived. And the case would be the same in mountains themselves, on account of their pure and clear air, if not accidentally affected by the vapours, rising from the vallies, and hanging about all mountains. Whence the inhabitants of snowy mountains are not very long lived: as in the Alps, the Pyreneans, and the Apennines; but all middle sized hills, and in vallies also, men are found to live longer. Again, on the tops of the mountains running towards Æthiopia and the Abyssines, men lived to a very great age, and, at this day, often to a hundred and fifty; for here, by reason of the sands at the bottom, little or no vapour can rise up to the top of the mountains.
Marshy, and fenny lands, especially those lying upon a flat, suit better with the natives than with strangers, as to the prolonging, or shortening of life: and what seems strange, the salt marshes, which are, at certain seasons, overflowed with sea-water, prove more unwholesome than the fresh.
The particular countries remarkable for long lived inhabitants, are Arcadia ; Ætolia; India, on this side the Ganges; Brazil; Ceylon ; Britain ; Ireland; the Orcades, and our Western Islands.
The wholesomeness of the air, especially in a perfect degree, is a secret, and concealed thing;
discoverable rather by experiment than by reasoning, and conjecture. Trial hereof may be made, by exposing a fleece of wool to the air, for some days ; to see if it loses little of its weight. Again, by observing if a piece of flesh will continue long in the air uncorrupted: and again, if the weather-glass plays within a small compass. But of these, and the like experiments, let farther enquiry be mare.*
Not only the goodness, or purity, but also the equality of the air, has regard to long life. The intermixture of hills and vallies, though pleasing to the sight and the sense, may be held suspect as to lengthening of life; but a moderately dry plain, neither too barren, nor totally without trees and shade, is better suited to procure longevity.
Inequality of air is prejudicial in a mansion place; but the change of air in travelling, after being accustomed to it, is serviceable : whence many great travellers have proved long lived. So likewise, such as dwell continually in the same little cottage, without change of place, are long lived; for that air consumes less to which the body is accustomed; but change of air nourishes and repairs more.
* See the author's Sylva Sylvarum, under the articles, Air, Plague, &c.
Though the revolution and number of successions conduce nothing to the length, or shortness of life, as we observed above; yet the immediate state of the parent, both on the side of father and mother, must, doubtless, greatly regard it. Thus some beget children when they are old, others when young; some at a proper age; some when unsound, and ill disposed; some when morbid and languid; some when full, and in liquor: some after sleep, and in the morning; some after a long intermission, or frequent repetition of the conjugal act; some in the heat of a love-fit, which is commonly the case of a spurious issue; and some again, when the edge of love is taken off, as after long cohabitation. And the like particulars hold also of the mother; whereto may be added her state whilst she goes with child, her health and diet, together with the time, or month, she goes to. It is a difficult thing to reduce all this to rule, with regard to longevity; the more so, because what a man miglit judge for the best, may happen to prove the worst : so that alacrity in generation, which produces children of a robust and active body, may contribute less to lengthen life, from the acrimony and inflammation of the spirits attending it.
We before observed, that a large participation of the mother's juices contributes to the longevity