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Since the powers of human invention have in some measure produced the effect formerly ascribed to benignant spirits of
"Charming the narrow seas
and also from the increased facilities for locomotion which travellers have of late years enjoyed, an excursion to the continent is regarded much in the light as a visit to an English watering-place, being frequently undertaken with less preparation. Accounts of France, Italy, and Germany, have consequently become so plentiful—several of them the result of observations made during a two or three months' tour—that the presentation to the public of anything in the shape of a book of travels in those countries requires to be prefaced by some explanation of the author's motives; and, although, after having been acquainted for twenty years with the continent, and after repeated visits abroad, and residences for a longer or shorter period in many of the places I have more particularly mentioned, during the last twelve years, I might be justified in offering without apology a more voluminous publication ; yet as my object is not
but is chiefly to impart information respecting some matters in which (though all travellers are interested) the class of travellers for health are more especially concerned, I have restricted my memoranda within very narrow limits, cursorily alluding to the leading objects of interest, manners, &c of particular localities, and refraining altogether from lengthened descriptions, with which the public has been so repeatedly favoured; and I have more particularly dwelt upon those points most likely to interest valetudinarians, and the medical profession; though, having previously entered more fully into the consideration of some of them (Medical Institutions, &c. of the Continent; Baths of Germany) in separate publications, I have avoided repeating what I have already said respecting them.
Little was known in this country about the climates of the continent previous to the publication of the standard work of Sir J. Clark, (in which will be found a mass of detailed information on the climates of England, as well as those abroad,) and numerous invalids were in consequence sent to various places which were but ill calculated to ameliorate their condition; others left their homes, when in a state little likely to be benefited by any change. Desirous of contributing to the diffusion of information on this important subject, I appended some remarks on climate to the observations on Italian Medical Institutions, which appeared nine years ago in a medical periodical; and two years later, when in Scotland, I published a 12mo. of little more than a hundred pages, containing a brief account of some of the localities in Italy and their climates, and also of the mineral springs of Rhenish Germany, which at that period were but little known in England;* since which, my opportunities of observation having been greatly increased, I have endeavoured to make these subjects more generally known and appreciated; and also in the present work to point out the advantages and disadvantages which several places present, with reference to a coutinued residence;
* Notes on Italy and Rhenish Germany, with Professional Notices of the Climates of Nice, Pisa, Florence, Rome, and Naples, and of the Mineral Springs of Baden, Wisbaden, Schwalbach, Ems, and Aix-la-Chapelle. Laing and Forbes, Edinburgh.
and likewise for the more temporary sojourn of invalids.
The importance of directing attention to some of the more common predisposing causes of several of the diseases and disordered states of health, which are sometimes irremediable, and for the relief of which recourse is so frequently had to foreign travel, climates, &c, must be my apology (if any be required) for the length of some of the quotations in the Appendix, and also for the allusions which I have thought requisite to introduce, relative to some points connected with our social system; the chief object of this work being, as I have before said, to diffuse information which may conduce to the removal, or, what is of more consequence, to the prevention of disease.
London, June 1, 184.1.