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with blood. At last a shout of victory reached my ear, and, as the smoke gradually dispersed, I could perceive the bleeding corpses with which the ground was thickly strewed, and the cannon encumbered with the heaps of the slain. About two hundred men in French uniforms were grouped together in some disorder; some loading their muskets, whilst others wiped the clotted gore from their bayonets. Eleven Russian prisoners graced the triumph of the victors.
The Colonel was stretched bleeding upon a shattered ammunition-chest. A few soldiers eagerly surrounded him, and offered him their assistance. As I approached, “Where is the senior Captain?” asked he, of a Sergeant who supported his head. A shrug was the significant reply. “ The senior Lieutenant then?” “ There is Monsieur P., who joined yesterday from Fontainbleau," said the Sergeant, in a tone of the most enviable sang froid. The Colonel smiled bitterly, and, turning towards me, said, “ You are in command of the place; fortify the breach with these waggons, for the enemy is in force; “but General C. will support us.” “Colonel," I replied, with a look of anxiety, "you are severely wounded.” “ Tut, man, what of that ? the redoubt is taken!”
THE PHILOSOPHY OF HUMAN HEALTH. BEING A VIEW OF THE MEANS OF CULTIVATING AND PRESERVING HEALTH, PROLONGING LIFE, AND PROMOTING TERRESTRIAL HAPPINESS.
BY FELIX WEEKS RICHARDSON.
(Concluded from p. 335.) We will now allude to the kinds of exercise that are considered the most efficacious. Such exercises as require us to be much abroad in the open air, in which we take an interest, and which will engage the mind, will prove the most beneficial. Of this description are active sports and games, gardening, and geological and botanical excursions, occupied with those whom we love and esteem in examining the qualities and arrangements of the works of nature.
I. Walking appears to suit every constitution, and is the readiest mode of taking exercise, and it gives vigour to the system and bloom to the complexion; but as it only calls into action the muscles of the lower extremity, and allows little scope for the play of the arms and chest, it is not therefore sufficient to constitute adequate exercise. Hence the salutary effects of combining with it gymnastic exercises which are entirely neglected at our public schools, such as Christ's Hospital, Eton, &c.—and also useful, exhilarating sports, as cricket, swimming, rowing a boat, angling, &c., which expand the chest, greatly increase the bodily strength, employ most of the muscles of the body, and improve the elegance of our movements.
It is very hurtful for weakly persons, and those of sedentary habits, to take long walks without preparatory training. When soldiers, after having been a long time in garrison, are about to take long marches, they begin with slow and short walks for some time before hand, and increase the walk every day, until they become fit for the undertaking. There are many young persons known to have seriously injured themselves, to have brought on affections of the heart and blood-vessels, and permanent debility, by long pedestrian excursions and violent exercise, when they have not pre- . viously been accustomed to much exertion.
II. A very salubrious exercise is riding, and especially if the langs happen to be weak; for it does not hurry the breathing so much as walking does. It brings into exercise every part of the muscular frame, promotes the circulation of the blood, Occupies the mind in the control of the horse, and enlivens by the change of scene.
III. Dancing, fencing, skating, and other pursuits of a similar nature, are also cheerful, healthy, and elegant exercises, which promote muscular and general growth and strength.
IV. Swimming is a very bracing exercise, and should be acquired by every one, as it will be the means of preserving life if the body should at any time be accidentally plunged into deep water.
V. Reading aloud, reciting, &c., are likewise exceedingly useful and invigorating muscular exercises, and should be daily practised.
We will now proceed to briefly point out the influence of the mind apon the bodily health. The brain is the “local habitation" of the moral and intellectual faculties, is nourished by the same blood as the body, and is most intimately connected with it by means of the nerves, which are diffused in innumerable branches over every part of the frame, and are indispensable to the right performance of its different functions. Such, then, being the mutual dependence between the brain and the body, it must be evident that when the one is diseased or excited the other will be affected thereby. When the nerves, for example, supplying any organ, are injured by disease, the nervous influence is then imperfectly transmitted to it from the brain; or, if they happen to be divided, the power of sensation or voluntary motion is destroyed in that part. Again, depressing passions and violent mental emotions will cause diminished circulation and impeded respiration ; whilst exciting passions, conversely, will accelerate the circolation and quicken respiration. When the powers are prostrated by insupportable labour, they react on the brain, and render it unfit for study, and head-ache, nervous complaints, insanity, and diseases of the digestive organs are occasioned. The principal sufferers are men of business, who make labour the sole object of existence, and they only live a portion of the time allotted to the human race : and hence the necessity for abridging the hours of labour. When the blood is deteriorated by an impure atmosphere, it circulates in this state through the brain, which is deprived of its necessary stimulus, and oppression is the consequence.
When the mind, on the contrary, is kept in a state of excessive activity, it produces an exhausting effect on the body, because all the nervous influence is withdrawn from the body, and is solely employed in carrying on the mental functions. Scientific and literary men and students give up all their time to the acquisition of knowledge; and the consequence is the blood is driven with increased force to the brain, and the excitement has never time to subside, and produces fatigue, anxiety, irritability of temper, and often insanity and fever. The numerous muscles of the body, from disuse, become flaccid and emaciated, the digestion disordered, nutrition impaired, the viscera of the chest diseased, and the whole frame the prey of diseased and irritable nerves. And it is in this way that many ardent but
ignorant young men find an early grave, as H. K. White for example; some die by suicide, as in the case of Chatterton; and others by various kinds of mental derangement.
It is likewise extremely prejudicial to health to doom the mental faculties to inactivity. As by disuse the muscles of the body become emaciated, and the various organs lose their natural structures, so by neglect or inadequate exercise does the brain become weakened. The victims of this evil are, first, those who from their wealth have not learnt to work, and are not compelled to labour to support themselves; and they waste their time in indolence and imagined ease, and have nothing to excite and interest them, are irritable and always grumbling, and are a burthen to themselves and their friends. The remedy for these deplorable evils is to mix up a certain amount of useful work, such as gardening, farming, &c., with their pursuits, to walk and take plenty of exercise in the open air instead of always driving about in splendid equipages, and to fully develop the moral, intellectual, and social parts of their nature.
II. Another large class of persons, who suffer from non-exercise of the mind, are assistants, servants, and the labouring portion of the community, Their occupations only call into action a few of their mental faculties, whilst the others are neglected, weakened, and incapable of controlling the animal propensities; and we are not, therefore, surprised that the men should seek excitement at the tavern and cheap theatre, and the women often become outcasts of society, not in consequence of any innate vice, but because the long hours leave them no time for reflection, improving the intellect, and cultivating the sentiments of conscientiousness, benevolence, and veneration. The antidote for these miseries is to shorten the hours of preternatural toil.
The fourth essential for cultivating and preserving health, prolonging life, and advancing terrestrial happiness, is personal cleanliness, the neglect of which induces many diseases; and it will therefore be necessary to show how dirt operates, and how it may be guarded against.
The skin does not serve the mere purpose of a covering to the body, concealing from the sense of sight the astounding mechanism hid beneath it, but is a vital organ, which has diffused throughout its entire substance innumerable capillaries or minute vessels, which secrete from the blood, in the course of every twenty-four hours, from twenty to thirty ounces of perspiration, which is of no use in the system, and exudes from the surface of the skin through imperceptible pores or small holes. The object of this secretion is to regulate the temperature of the body by the evaporation from the surface. This matter is principally fluid, which readily passes off in a fine vapour; but it is also composed of certain salts and animal matters which are not evaporated, but form a layer of hard stuff upon the skin, and impedes the egress of moisture from its orifices: and hence the necessity for daily cleansing, not merely the face and hands, but the whole of the body, in order to remove all foreign substances that may accumulate upon its surface.
The perspiration cannot be retained in the body; and, if bathing or ablution be neglected, the pores of the skin become stopped up with dirt, and the fluid cannot pass off by its natural channels, and it will try to obtain a passage by the lungs, the kidneys, or some other secreting organ. These organs are thus overtasked, and have imposed upon them an office for which they were not constructed, and are hindered from performing
their proper functions. To this cause is attributable cutaneous eruptions, colds, pulmonary consumptions, head-aches, and numerous other diseases more or less hurtful.
This explanation shows how important it is to establish pablic baths not one or two expensive ones in a large town, but a sufficient number for the entire population-in every city, town, and village throughout the length and breadth of the land. Every large dwelling ought to have bath-rooms, and no public school or institution should be without them.
Most labourers and mechanics, owing to their various occupations, are constantly surrounded with dirt, which is frequently of a deleterious nature, such as paints, the filings of various metals, and other poisonous substances, which produce injurous effects upon the system and abridge life. The remedy consists in diurnal bathing, or sponging the body every morning with cold water, and rubbing it well dry with a coarse towel, changing the garments after work, and often renewing the clothing next to the skin. We are sure that, if personal cleanliness were generally attended to, it would lead to decency in the habits of living; for the working classes, having once experienced the comforts derived from clean skins, would not be content to again put on their dirty clothes, and, as a natural sequence, they would have clean dwellings, not dirty garrets and cellars, situated in dark and filthy lanes, courts, and alleys, but in well-drained, open, and clean localities, where they could experience the blessings of daylight, pure air, and the genial warmth of the sunbeams, and then we might bid final adieu to epidemic and contagious diseases, to the beer-shop and gin-palace-those pestilential moral evils—and we should witness the rising generation becoming temperate, moral, intellectual, and social beings, and our national prosperity and happiness would increase. Such being the case, all, we are certain, must hail with evident satisfaction and delight the benevolent efforts that are now being made by a few philanthropic men for the establishment of baths and washing-houses for the industrious poor.
Personal cleanliness also requires that daily care be paid to the teeth, which are great ornaments of the human countenance. A large portion of the community entirely neglect this desirable feature; and the consequent evils are deposits of tartar, premature decay, and that tormenting pain, the tooth-ache, caused by inflammation and disease of the nerves and vessels supplying the part, and of the lining membrane of the roots of the teeth, which often become loose and fall out, and the beauty and contour of the face is frequently destroyed.
That the human body be kept in a right temperature is the fifth requisite for health. We are subject in this climate to great and sudden alterations in the temperature of the air, which produces pulmonary consumption, rheumatism, sore throat, coughs, colds, ear-ache, face-ache, and all the aches that human flesh is heir to, and which may be traced to the influence of cold and moisture applied to the surface of the body. That baneful disease, pulmonary consumption, is usually preceded by a cold, which is occasioned by the preternatural warmth of our modern apartments, the scanty attire of females, lying in damp beds, keeping on wet clothes, by the sudden application of cold to the body when heated, and by every thing else which checks the perspiration. By going when the body is over-heated into the cold air, the entrances to the lungs become congested by streams of cold and damp air repeatedly passing between them for the purpose of respiration; and when again you suddenly remove to a warmer temperature, the blood
rushes with violence into the blood-vessels, and is like the pain the cold hands experience on being brought near the fire on a frosty day, a sensation of heat is perceived about the throat, and is the commencement of inflammation, which spreads, and coughs, colds, inflamed faces and eyes, and other complaints, are the consequences. You will now be able to understand how injurious it is to remain in apartments more than temperately warm, to sit too near a fire when the body is heated, and to go from warm rooms, theatres, balls, churches, and all places of public resort, into the cold air without waiting till the body is nearer the temperature of the external atmosphere, or putting on a sufficiency of additional clothing, and protecting the nostrils and mouth with a handkerchief against the passage of cold air into the throat and windpipe. And when you go from the cold air into a warm room, you should sit at some distance from the fire, until the temperature of the body approaches to that of the room. All apartments ought to be properly heated during cold weather, whenever it may occur-summer or winter. All public rooms ought to be warmed with proper stoves; for common fires are insufficient, as the major portion of the heat passes up the chimney.
Clothing should always be in proportion to the temperature of the atmosphere. It is one of the laws of heat that it always passes from the warmer to the colder body, until it is of the same temperature as surrounding objects. If the end of a poker, for instance, be made red hot and exposed to the air, it will soon acquire the same temperature. Now the degree of heat of the human body is 98 Fahr., whilst the temperature of the atmosphere of this climate is generally below this point. So it must be evident that the excess of heat of the body must pass away into the atmosphere; and the consequence is that the surface of the body will become chilled, because the blood will not be freely circulated through the capillaries, and will be driven in excessive quantity upon the internal organs, and produce morbid results, such as colds, bowel complaints, and the like. The lower animals are, by providential design, secured from these effects by skins, hair, feathers, &c., suited to the climate to which they belong ; but man has no such protection, but is endowed with the glorious gift of intelligence to teach and enable him to procure a sufficiency of flannel, and other non-conductors of heat, to preserve the natural temperature of his body at all seasons and in every clime.
We have previously stated that distortion of the spine was produced by want of exercise ; and it now remains to show that the same disease is caused by the unnatural and injurious habit of tight lacing, to obtain what is mistakingly called a genteel figure. The chest is formed to contain the lungs--the organs of respiration, the heart—the organ of circulation, and other important structures. The cavity of the chest is fashioned, and these vital organs are protected by twenty-four ribs, twelve on each side. These bones are sufficiently fixed to resist all compression and other outward accidents, and yet moveable enough to assist respiration by their alternate rising and falling, and allow full play and dilation of the lungs and the other internal parts. From this cursory glance at the beautiful mechanism of the chest, it must be evident that whatever tends in any way to diminish its size, and interfere with its full expansion, will obstruct the motion of the ribs, which are necessary to respiration, disturb the functions of the internal parts themselves, and inflict a serious injury on the whole system. The object of clothing is not to give