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When God created man, that he might not set limits to his happiness, he conferred on him the faculty of thought and said, “ Be thou the architect of thine own felicity.” Such is the answer I might justly expect, were I to importune Heaven to bestow on all my fellow-creatures a blessing, which seems to be so little prized, that we cheerfully sacrifice it to a momentary gratification. The diseases resulting from our deviations from the path of duty must not be laid to the charge of Heaven ; and in regard to them, I would give the same advice to my readers as Bias, the Greek philosopher, did to the graceless sailors, who, in a tremendous tempest, implored the gods to save them from shipwreck : “Don't pray so loud,” said he, that the gods may not notice that you are here.” Our voluntary misery is a natural consequence of our vices, for which we have a farther chastisement to expect from the justice of Heaven, which, in making man a free agent, by no means authorised him to ruin his health by the indulgence of his passions.
Natural health depends on the concurrence of so many things which are not under our own controul, and to which our virtues and vices contribute so little, that it may in some measure be considered as an accidental benefit, imparted by Heaven to those who are destined to long life and exemption from pain. Since I cannot,' as a physician, be immediately instrumental to the attainment of this important advantage by my readers, I will, however, wish it them as a friend ; and that they may be aware what this wish actually comprehends, I will devote the present paper to a delineation of the Character of Natural Health. It is the standard by which each may measure himself, when he desires to know what he may reasonably hope for in regard to the duration of his health and life. It is also the criterion of disease, and the line by which we must be guided, when we strive to amend the defects of natural, by the art of voluntary health.
The first requisite for a sound constitution is the good fortune to be born of healthy, vigorous, and virtuous parents, in the prime of life, and whose intercourse is the result of ardent attachment. It is undeniable that children may inherit the diseases of their parents. The resemblance of children to their parents in stature and features is an irrefragable proof of a certain conformity of structure ; and as this is manifestly transmitted in the external parts, it would be extremely absurd to suppose that the structure of the interior of the body had no share in this conformity. I have known numerous instances in my own practice, of consumptive parents having only such children as were either consumptive from their infancy, or became so in middle age from such trifling causes as could not possibly otherwise have produced it, had there not been in the constitution a predisposition to this species of disease. The same is frequently the case with the issue
persons afflicted with stone, palsy, inflammation of the eyes, toothache, and other complaints. · If then the defects of structure can be transmitted by parents to their offspring, how much more likely are the latter to be affected by vices of the fluids, from which the embryo is nourished? The constitutions of such are ruined in the outset; for they can have no hopes of health and long life. It may, perhaps, admit of argument, whether they are not in the right who think that unhealthy persons ought to be prohibited from marrying. So much, at
any rate, is certain, that parents who debilitate themselves by, a life of debauchery, and transmit their ruined constitutions to their posterity, are like the spider who devours her own young, since with life they communicate to their progeny the seeds of disease, and are the authors of their premature deaths.
As the passions and propensities of nurses may even be transmitted with their milk to the children of others whom they suckle; it cannot be surprising that parents should communicate not only their vices, but also the effects of them, to their posterity. It is true, indeed, that we frequently see virtuous parents who have wicked children, and well-disposed children who have vicious parents; but here the education and particular circumstances of the children produce the effect,, and the observation still remains fundamentally true. For this reason alone then, if for no other, the state of matrimony ought to impose upon parents the duties of virtue ; because vice of itself impairs the health, and an unhealthy constitution is inherited by their offspring. It is an ancient remark, that the offspring of ardent passion is in general more healthy than that of lukewarm duty. It was no doubt for this reason that the Spartan legislator forbade by law any other than a secret intercourse between new-married persons; hoping that the charm of mystery and novelty would keep passion alive. Many insist that experience demonstrates the correctness of his views.
From the public statements of births Boerhaave concluded that the healthiest children are those born in January, February, and March; and hence the calendar might be enriched with a new sign, denoting the best time for entering into the married state. It is in fact our duty to take all possible care that nothing be wanting on our part to ensure a sound, vigorous constitution to our progeny; especially when parents are so solicitous for heirs, and for their preservation, that they would rather not have children at all than lose them again. The natural health of children depends greatly upon the mother. It is she who, in the period of gestation, dispenses in a great measure life or death, infirmity or strength, a weakly or a robust constitution, a sickly life or a happy old age. The latter is promoted, when during that period she avoids all vehement passions, and takes care of her health, and abstains from all indulgence inconsistent with the moderate exercise of her bodily powers. When we would raise a good breed of horses, for example, we keep the dam at work and give her exercise ; and we ought to pursue a similar course in regard to our own species, for in this point we are only on a level with animals. There are circumstances enough which cannot be altered, because they are not under the controul of the mother; and therefore so much the more attention ought to be paid to those which it is in our power to alter. To these cases belong the ill-health of the mother, the bearing of twins, premature delivery, &c. All children born under such circumstances are, cæteris paribus, more weakly than others.
It is a sign of good natural health when children grow slowly and uniformly, and do not shoot up all at once like mushrooms. Few persons of extraordinary stature are at the same time strong and healthy. The tallest giants are the most unfit for soldiers, as many one besides Goliah has served to prove. Such persons in general have a time in which they grow very rapidly: the vessels thus become prematurely
indurated, and the danger of consumption is always to be apprehended. It was therefore no very lucid thought of Alexander the Great, when in one of his campaigns he ordered bedsteads of much greater length than the ordinary stature of man to be made for his soldiers, merely with a view, as Curtius informs us, to impose upon posterity. Did he imagine posterity would conclude that little men could not perform such great exploits as his Macedonian giants had achieved ? Was he not himself short of stature-he who would fain have climbed to some new planet in search of fresh conquests? On the contrary, we should suppose short men capable of great actions rather than tall, because the former are in general more robust than the latter. Boerhaave attests, from authentic documents, that persons whose growth is scarcely perceptible possess the strongest constitutions. The
of man has three periods: the first is that of growth; in the second the body ceases to grow ; and in the third it shrinks. It has been observed that in the ordinary course of nature these three periods are of equal length; so that a person who continues gradually growing for twenty-five years may calculate upon the probability of attaining the age of seventy-five.
Boerhaave learned from people who made it their profession to procure recruits for the army and navy, the signs by which they were guided in their traffic, and the circumstances from which they judged whether a man possessed a sound, healthy, and robust constitution. Such a man, at least in Europe, has a large broad chest, like Plato the octogenarian, but a receding rather than prominent belly. It is a great mistake of those who congratulate themselves on the increase of the latter. Least of all does it promise length of life; and upon the whole, fat is one of those disguised punishments of heaven, on account of which people rejoice as foolishly as they grieve over some of its disguised benefits. The shoulders, arms, thighs, and legs, in healthy people, are firm, round, muscular, and covered with long, rough hairs; and what the fair sex would not think a beauty, namely, a coarse skin, is a very usual quality of persons capable of living half a century without illness. Such persons, indeed, bave no doublechins, no pursy cheeks, no load of superfluous flesh ; but the hinder part of the lead is large. As a high, broad forehead is considered an indication of extraordinary mental faculties, so amplitude of the hinder head denotes great bodily powers, to which those of the mind are usually in an inverse ratio. The blood of a naturally healthy and hearty person is neither black and clotted, nor thin and pale-red. For though the last-mentioned properties of the blood are perfectly consistent with health, they betray also a certain unsteadiness in it. The best blood is of a dark-red, not fluid, but it runs freely when a vein is opened. It has a certain degree of viscosity, which is requisite to enable us to go through hard labour ; and it is owing to this very property that persons of sound constitutions do not so soon perspire with strong exercise as those of a weaker temperament,
Besides these circumstances, the energy with which the involuntary movements as well as the voluntary actions are performed, must be taken into account. We expect in a sound, healthy person, a slow, doep, easy, and uniform respiration : when, on the contrary, respiration is performed with any difficulty, when it is attended with a wheezing or rattling, this is a sure sign of weak health. This observation,
VOL. V. NO, XXI.
however, does not apply in all cases to sleep, because the most healthy often rattle and snore loudly in their soundest slumbers. The pulse must be slow, full, strong, uniform, and invariable, even though the body be subjected to those changes, which, in weaker persons, produce great alterations of the pulses. Hence the purchasers of slaves were accustomed to count the number of their inspirations and pulsations in a minute; after which they made them run, and then took notice whether the rapidity of those functions was much accelerated. He who can stand this test may congratulate himself on the strength of his constitution and health ; for among the infirm and sickly there are many who cannot turn in bed without producing an alteration of pulsation. It is an indication that the digestive powers are strong, when the natural evacuations do not take place too often, and the body is not too much relaxed : for this proves that the food is duly elaborated. On the contrary, the more weakly a person is, the more frequent are those evacuations, the fuller and the more uneasy his stomach feels after meals, and the more difficult is bis digestion. It is not uncommon to hear hearty old people make the observation, that they never could tell where their stomach lay ; and this is a sign of excellent health. The sleep of the healthy is sound as death, but refreshing and invigorating. Such a one performs the severest labour without fatigue; all the energies of nature are poured into his muscles ; but his head, on the other hand, too commonly remains empty. Strong healthy people are rarely found among those gifted with great talents, and those who have attained extraordinary longevity have seldom puzzled their brains with abstruse subjects.
Such is the standard by which the reader may judge whether he possesses a great degree of natural health. On this point our own sensations are the best instructors. We are in good health when we feel well after an abundant meal; if we can breathe with freedom five or six hours after the repast, when the chyle mingles with the blood; if we do not perceive that one part of the body is heavier or less alert than another : for these are symptoms of an unobstructed circulation in the whole. It is well when all the solid parts are firm, elastic, wellformed, and duly proportioned, and when all the corporeal functions are readily and easily performed. It is well when all the juices are properly mixed, duly secreted, and carried into the circulation for the nourishment of the body, and when the surplus passes off at the right time. It is well when no part has any pecuilar feeling of pain, heat, or cold; in short, when violent exercise may be taken without our experiencing inconvenience. It is well when we do not find the lessons of prudence burdensome; and still better when we have no violent passions or propensities to contend with. As moths consume a garment, so do strong passions consume the body, and urge the blood and heart to an unnatural celerity of motion.
The blessing here described is a gift of Nature ; but still so much is certain, that our parents on the one hand, and those who are intrusted with our education in early youth on the other, have it in their power to contribute materially to procure us health and bodily vigour. There are persons who, merely by constant exercise, have acquired almost superhuman power ; but the groundwork of them must have been laid by Nature.
ENGLISH PLAYERS IN PARIS.
HAMLET. It was a comfortable and refreshing thing to a lover of the drama, to hear it whispered that the English players had arrived in Paris. After the purgatory of the Français and the Odeon-after seasons of unnatural recitation and passion-tattering bombast, artificial action, and ear-splitting rhodomontade, which Talma and Duchesnois alone can make endurable--after seeing Shakspeare masquerading in the parodies of Ducis, and Otway pilloried and pilfered in the clumsy imitation of La Fosse d'Aubigny-it was like a gushing spring in the desert to mark the announcement of Othello in bis own original form, ta be represented at the Porte St. Martin by real flesh-and-blood Englishmen and Englishwomen. I fastened my eyes upon the play-bill, and stuck myself almost as close to it as it was to the wall, while I read it over and over again.
High as I had felt my confidence, which a moment before was plumed by the very wings of Shakspeare's fame, and seemed soaring far above each poor impediment, a cold shivering seized upon me at the sight of the names in the bill. “Othello by Mr. Barton!—who the deuce is Mr. Barton ?" cried I, suddenly slapping my forehead, as if to rouse my reminiscences. " Monsieur, me parle-t-il?" asked " a periwig-pated fellow" beside me, who was gaping at the play-bill, and who thought I had addressed him. “ It can't be Bernard Barton, the quaker poet!" continued I, unmindful of my neighbour, and seizing my chin as if memory had changed its throne and lodged itself in that “beaked promontory."
“ Poëte !” echoed the man ; “ Sacre bleu ! Je. crois bien que vous en êtes un.” “ No, no; impossible !" exclaimed I, following the chain of my abstraction. “ Si, si! J'en suis sûr," cried my tormentor; au moins, si vous n'êtes pas Poëte, vous êtes Fou. C'est la même chose, n'est ce pas ?” “ Fou !" called I indignantly, and I was very near changing the word to a dissyllable, when, looking round me, I saw a malicious grin on the faces by which I was environed. There. seemed a disposition to insult, and two or three “Goddems” were. muttered close to me, I pretended unconcern, but was not unmoved. by these symptoms; for, after a moment's pause, and a parting glance: at the play-bill, I walked out of the group, and turned down a bye. street from the Boulevard. As I got round the corner I heard Poëte, Anglais, and Goddem, murmured, half at me and half to each other, by the knot I left, and I was not sorry to effect my retreat so quietly.
This little interruption to the flow of my feelings was soon forgotten. It was five o'clock, and the savoury smell from a Restaurat reminded. me of a duty to perform. I accordingly walked in, and placing myself at a table, I consulted the carte. I was all English at this moment. I never felt so national. The spirit of Shakspeare seemed thrilling through my veins, and I proudly anticipated his approaching triumph. “Quelle soupe, Monsieur ?" asked the waiter.
« Point de soupe, ni des grenouilles," replied I surlily-John Bullishly; " donnez moi un bifteck aur pommes de terre." I was resolved to have as good. an imitation of an English dinner as the place afforded. The beef