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That wine is powerful as a medicinal agent is certain; that its habitual use, within fixed limits, is beneficial to some constitutions, is equally so. But we have not less assurance that, in numerous other cases, it is habitually injurious, in relation both to the digestive organs and to the functions of the brain.1
The practice of snuff-taking is, perhaps, the most baneful that popular custom and familiarity have sanctioned as innoxious and gratifying. From the gullet it finds its way into the stomach, and occasionally a portion will be apt to escape under the epiglottis into the lungs, and in either case immediate and distant mischief of a very afflicting nature is likely to ensue:-loss of appetite, distressing sickness, gastric oppression, præcordial anxiety, acetous fermentation, flatulent distension, and deadly languor.
There can be no more valid reasons for persisting in the undeniably hurtful custom of taking snuff, than there could be for that of any other poison; and whoever will inconsiderately incur the imminent risk of occasioning irremediable and destructive mischief by so baneful a practice, will find no admissible excuse in the transient gratification afforded.
Sydenham said of horse-exercise, that if any man were possessed of a remedy which would do
1 Holland (Medical Notes and Reflections).
equal service to the human constitution with riding gently on horseback twice a day, he would be in possession of the philosopher's stone.
Riding was, probably, his favourite exercise, as it is not only conducive to health and long life, but to study and speculation. It not only braces the nerves of the body, but enlivens the faculties of the soul; the one being so actuated by the other, and their sensations so woven together and intermixed, that, where the proper temperament of the body is not preserved, the faculties of the soul cannot exert themselves with vigour. The motion of riding keeps up the human economy in the manner described by Juvenal-" Mens sana in corpore sano;" and at the same time that it helps digestion, it drives away all those noxious vapours so fatal to the English nation in particular, and so destructive to reason and judgment in general. It is performed at less expense of spirits than walking, or any other exercise, and seems to have been instituted by Providence at once for the pleasure and preservation of mankind.
We recommend the practice of bathing the feet at least once a week, the bath being prepared with decoction of sage, camomile, fennel, green leaves of angelica, sweet marjoram, and bay salt.'
I fear the omission of the Bath (or Buxton, as the case may be) waters this season may be attended with ill consequences: for God's sake (dear madam)
1 Bacon. (See Life by Shaw, iii. 188.)
leave all things when it is necessary to think of the preservation of your health.'
To indulge all pleasing amusements, and avoid all images that give disgust, is, in my opinion, the best mode to attain, or confirm health.2
I am convinced nothing is so conducive to health as travelling, and absolutely necessary to some constitutions.3
Against melancholy Johnson recommended constant occupation of mind, a great deal of exercise, moderation in eating and drinking, and, especially, to shun drinking at night.*
The power of opium in checking various morbid affections in their earliest stage, even such as have no direct relation to the nervous system, is too much neglected in modern practice. In common catarrh, for instance, twenty or thirty drops of laudanum, or an equivalent dose of some other opiate, given with a warm diluent at bed-time, and followed, in the morning, by whatever laxative may be required, will often arrest altogether a complaint which the later use of purgatives, antimonial and saline medicines, would only tardily remove."
The stomach should never be filled to a sense of uneasy repletion: the rate of eating should always be slow enough to allow thorough mastication, and to obviate that uneasiness which follows food hastily
Lady M. W. Montague (Letters).
Holland (Medical Notes and Reflections).
swallowed there should be no urgent exercise, either of body or mind, after a full meal.'
By health I understand as well freedom from bodily distempers as that tranquillity, firmness, and alacrity of mind, which we call good spirits, and which may properly enough be included in our notion of health, as depending commonly upon the same causes, and yielding to the same management, as our bodily constitution.2
Health, in this sense, is the one thing needful; therefore no pains, expense, self-denial, or restraint, to which we subject ourselves for the sake of health, is too much. Whether it require us to relinquish lucrative situations, to abstain from favourite indulgences, to control intemperate passions, or undergo tedious regimens; whatever difficulties it lays us under, a man who pursues his happiness, rationally and resolutely, will be prepared to submit.3
1 Holland (Medical Notes and Reflections).
3 Id. ibid.
THE man, whom I call deserving the name, is one whose thoughts and exertions are for others rather than himself, whose high purpose is adopted on just principles, and never abandoned while heaven or earth afford means of accomplishing it. He is one who will neither seek an indirect advantage by a specious road, nor take an evil path to secure a real good purpose. Such a man were one for whom a woman's heart should beat constant while he breathes, and break when he dies.1
In my apprehension, the man that has a great mind is he that uses his utmost moral diligence to find out what are the best things he can do, and then, without being deterred by dangers or discouraged by difficulties, does resolutely and steadily pursue them, so far as his abilities will serve; and this out of an internal principle of love to God and man, and with a sincere aim to glorify the one and benefit the other.2
Your father so read that the learning, he took in by study, by judgment he digested, and converted into wisdom to benefit his country; to which also
1 Scott (Peveril of the Peak).