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of the body upon going into a cold bath; and if we pass suddenly from such an atmosphere into a warm room, what happens to the skin will in some degree happen to the membrane lining these cavities ; a glow or inflammation will ensue, according to the difference between the two temperatures and the length of time passed in the cold.
When the application of cold or moisture to a superficial part only is succeeded by an inflammation of the respiratory cavities, the consent of the whole system casily explains this remote local affection. The cause of disease pervades at once, and feels as it were, or searches the whole body, but affects only in a degree to draw our notice to the organ which, from habit or structure is most tender. Should any other part, from previous circumstances, have been rendered more sensible to its influence, we shall in consequence have either a sore throat, a diarrhea, a stiff neck, or the rheumatism, in place of a catarrh.
CHILDREN are so susceptible of inflammation that a great part of the mortality among them is, as far as I have observed and can judge, to be ascribed to the ignorance of mothers and nurses of the power which even a moderate change of temperature, if suddenly made, has to effect their tender and irritable frame.
Names of the Parents.
Names of the Parents.
4 2 34
3 4 7
* This enquiry was made by Dr. BedDoes, at Shifnal in Shrophire, where firing is very plentiful and cheap. It was asked of each grown up perfon there, how many children he had had, and how many were dead? In the first column you have the name of the family; in the next the number of the children alive; and the third the number of the children dead. Whenever, accurate registers of the mortality of the human species, in climates equally warm, thall be kept, I expect that not half so many infants will be found to die as in GREAT BRITAIN.
Now which, think you, is the most likely, that there should be something wrong in our management ? or that three parts in four of our fellow creatures should, in one of the most airy towns in GREAT BRITAIN, be doomed unavoidably to perish before they come to their full growth, without answering any other purpose than to give trouble and endure pain? If this last be the case, then of all the things in this wide world, the human frame is the worst contrived and executed. And I leave you to judge whether such a supposition-stands to reason. If then our management of our children be wrong in any material points, a stop may be put to this excesive mortality, for we should have only to find out what these points are, and shape our conduct accordingly. One may
with the greater propriety embrace an opportunity of diffeminating the knowledge, “how COLDS, FEVERS, and RHEUMATISMS, are caught,” as their remote and proximate causes, and the manner in which they are to be got rid of, though in my opinion perfectly ascertained, is far from being generally understood even by the members of the medical profession; and if any perfon, not belonging to that profession, should suspect this to be a wanton paradoxical assertion, he may find in the case of opium, and of the cool treatinent of small
pox, &c. instances equally striking, where one generation of pathologists passed away after another, without being able, in the case of opium *, to perceive the plainest appearances, or, in that of small-pox, to draw the fimpleft conclusion. So servilely imitative an animal is man! So loath to employ his own powers of perception and thought!
The sudden, and sometimes severe, changes of weather to which this climate is subject, are perhaps the mnost unhappy circumstances' attending our situation ; and the pernicious effects of them upon the human confitution are fo frequently experienced, that diseases of the breast may be truly considered as endemical among the inhabitants of this island. We frequently find a cold and keen day fucceeded by one as mild as spring or warm as summer; or, what is still worse, the forenoon accom, panied with a sharp, dry, biting north-east wind; and the latter part of the day uncommonly warm. It is imposfible but this sudden change from cold to heat must, in
* One cannot compare Haller's clear and fatisfactory parallel of wine and opium, published in 1769 (El. Physiolog. t. V. p. 610–11.) with CULLEN's perplexed and hypothetical doctrine of opium, and his whole article sedentia, published in 1789 (Mat. Medica, t. ii. 217, et seq.), without a sense of humiliation ! Dr. Bepdoes.
delicate constitutions especially, be productive of mischief.
When alterations of weather from cold to heat succeed gradually, those falutary powers of accommodation with which the animal economy is furnished, may prevent any mischief or disorders, though an alteration in the constitution proportioned to that in external nature must necessarily succeed those changes; but that which might, without inconvenience to the constitution, be produced gradually, will, if too sudden and abrupt, be felt as a difease; as a man may with ease and safety gradually descend a flight of steps, when a sudden jump from them would endanger his life. Thus we bear without injury the heat of spring after the coldest winter, though it must be confessed that disorders take on at that season a more inflammatory appearance.
But where the change is more violent than in the transition from one season to another, as when Europeans go to the East or West Indies, until the constitution becomes accommodated to the climate, the uncommon heat to which such persons are exposed, must have a most powerful effect on their irritable frames. Immediately on the arrival of northern strangers within the tropics, their circulation becomes quicker, their perspira