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CHA P. few persons being fun-struck in Africa, and thefe owed it to
their own imprudence *. But I am informed this mif. fortune, called by the French coup de foleil, is not uncommon in the Southern States of America. In the afternoon, I experienced the benefit of putting on a flannel shirt; for, after the pores have been opened by the heat of the day, the body ought to be carefully guarded against the damps and dews of the evening and night.
89. After what has been said, I need not dwell on the necessity of unseasoned Europeans avoiding exposure to the rains in the wet season, and keeping the feet dry and warm at all times. When a person unluckily gets wet, he should change his cloaths immediately; or, if that cannot be done, keep up the perspiration by continued exercise. Rubbing the body with rum or other spirits, is a good precaution, after getting wet.
90. The cold bath is an excellent preservative of health, commended.
particularly in hot climates, the relaxing effects of which it tends greatly to counteract. It removes the sordes from the skin, leaves the pores open and free, and braces and invigorates the whole constitution. It is not, however, to be plunged into by all persons indiscriminately. Those who are plethoric or feverish, or whose lungs are diseased, ought to abstain from it. Yet it is seldomer improper in hot than in cold climates; and in Africa, I have known many benefited, but not one hurt by it. But let those who feel any indisposition take advice before they use it, which I the rather admonish them to do, as this is almost the only instance in which I have ventured to step out of the precincts of com
Cold bath re
* M. Adanson was sun-struck, by exposing himself without his hat in the ex. treme heat of the day, and in the hottest season of the year, at Senegal.
mon observation into those of the faculty. The best time C HA P. of the day for cold bathing is the morning. All the purposes of it are answered by a single immersion. The body ought to be immediately dried, and exercisé used, for which it is an excellent preparative. 91. The last specific direction which I shall offer is, to the spirits
to be kept keep up the spirits, and to use every temperate mean to banish anxiety and melancholy."'For this purpose, I can recommend nothing better than keeping the mind constantly occupied with some pursuit, either of business or recreation. Where business cannot be pursued as a recreation, I have no scruple to mention innocent games, even to a young colony. Playing at cards, draughts, chess, and above all billiards, for such trifling stakes as would agreeably engage the attention, might fill up a leisure hour with very good effects on the health. Those who have a taste for reading, writing letters, keeping diaries, natural history, gardening, drawing, or music, possess ample resources against that liftless ennui which preys on the spirits of the idle and the tasteless. For want of a relish for such elegant, innocent, and improving studies, officers of the army, when cantoned in places where there were no public amusements, have sometimes been betrayed into deep gaming, drinking and other pernicious excesses. It requires but a slight knowledge of human nature to see, that the mind, as well as the fluids, must be kept in constant circulation, and that every method should be used to keep up a gentle flow of spirits. This direction, experience has taught me to believe, to be of the last importance to health, particularly in hot climates.
92. So important does it appear to me, that I will venture' The mind to say, with due deference to the faculty, that the mental
glected by phænomena have not yet received that medical attention to phyficians.
tou much nc
C HA P. which they are entitled. If I be not much mistaken, there
has been a little blameable neglect in this particular. I have not lived in the world without obfervation; and I know liberal physicians will excuse me for venturing to hint, that the practice of some of their body appears to be formed upon a theory which individuals have avowed, and which, therefore, we may conclude others secretly enter: tain, namely, that all the faculties of man owe their origin to causes merely material. These gentlemen seem to proceed, as if their patients were composed entirely of mechanical powers and chemical properties, combined, in some unaccountable way, with a certain mysterious, but material, principle, called life. Their language, at least seems to indicate, that they consider fick men as little or nothing more than modifications of matter and motion-a sort of chymico-mechanical automata. They clear the primæ vie, empty the bowels, brace up the nerves, &c. relax the contracted fibres, expel wind, correct acidities, and bring about digestions, and derivations, and revulsions of various kinds of matter. I am far from faying that these terms are improper; although I fear I may have used them improperly. I only mean to remark, that terms taken from matter and it's properties abound much more in the medical nomenclature, than such as relate to mind and it's operations. For aught I know, this may be necessary and unavoidable; yet I cannot help suspecting that the more frequent use of such terms betrays a degree of indifference to the mind, as combined with, and influencing the body, in the human system. If we except the general terms “ passions of the mind,"
depressing passions,” and a few others, physicians seldom use words that imply man to be a being, composed of a bo, dy, reason and affections, diversified and modified, and act
ing on one another, in a variety of ways. Hence moft of C H A P. their prescriptions relate almost exclusively to the body.
93. There is indeed an old book, formerly of some authority in Europe, which prescribes many admirable medicines for a "wounded fpirit." But our present race of physicians seem to disregard this antiquated volume, as quite foreign to modern practice.
94. Be this as it may, I believe it will be allowed that, in fome diseases, the symptoms of the mind are as much to be attended to, as those of the body. I farther believe, that the exhibition of a deep tragedy, a humorous comedy, a concert of music, according to the mood of the patient, or any spectacle which would engage the attention and interest the passions, without agitating them too much, would be of use in more cases than are generally imagined. 95.
It has been observed that boys, girls, women, and old Children, men, stand a transition from a cold to a hot climate, better than men in the prime of life. These last, it is true, are and men amore exposed to the causes of disease than girls, women, fand the cliand old men; but, I believe, upon the whole, not more than boys. May not one reason of this be, that men of mature age are more thoughtful than women by nature, than boys and girls, who have not yet arrived at the season for anxious reflection, and than old men who have passed beyond it? Yet I am not sure that the answer to this query would be in the affirmative. For it seems to be certain that persons of a flender habit are generally more healthy in hot climates than those who are inclined to corpulency; though it is commonly thought, that the minds of the latter are more placid and tranquil than those of the former. It is also observed, that men above forty stand the climate of Africa better than those who have not reached that age.
C HA P.
96. I should tremble for the incursion I have made into
the domains of the faculty, did I not believe that liberal Apology to the faculty
physicians will pardon a few good natured remarks, made with a view to awaken their attention to the influence of mind in very many diseases, where a proper attention to the powerful causes, lodged in it, might have the most beneficial consequences.
97. To such physicians, I would respectfully submit the foregoing hints, which being chiefly preventive, do not, like curative prescriptions, require any great knowledge of medicine. I must confess, however, that observation and experience have rendered me not a little confident of the utility of these hints, in guarding against the effects of a sudden change of climate. By observing them, the constitution can scarcely fail to accomodate itself to it's new situation. And this happy consequence will be experienced sooner or later, according to the original strength or weakness of the stranger's frame; the more or less manly education he may have received, or the early habits he may have formed. For the effects of the climate must of course be different on different constitutions. The foregoing rules are general, and the application of them must be left to the good sense and prudence of individuals. For my own part, although I arrived on the coast, in the most unhealthful season of the year, I escaped all the diseases. of the country.
This I áfcribe entirely to a cautious observance of the preMortality at
ventives above recited. During a mortality, which raged at Scaped by the Senegal, while I was there, fix out of eleven sailors, belong
ing to the vessel in which I returned to Europe, were carried off in a month; but not a single gentleman or officer on fhore was so much as attacked, owing no doubt, to the temperance and regularity, which their situations enabled