Imágenes de páginas

serious consequences in life, as it brings on real griefs and misfortunes.

5 For, as many are offended by, and nobody loves this sort of people; no one shows them more than the most common civility and respect, and scarcely that; and this frequently puts them out of humor, and draws them into disputes and contentions. If they aim at obtaining some advantage in rank or fortune, nobody wishes them success, or will stir a step, or speak a word to favor their pretensions.

6 If they incur public censure or disgrace, no one will defend or excuse, and many join to aggravate their misconduct, and render them completely odious: If these people will not change this bad habit, and condescend to be pleased with what is pleasing, without fretting themselves and others about the contraries, it is good for others to avoid an acquaintance with them; which is always disagreeable, and sometimes very inconvenient, especially when one finds one's self entangled in their quarrels.

7 An old philosophical friend of mine was grown, from experience, very cautious in this particular, and carefully avoided any intimacy with such people. He had, like other philosophers, a thermometer to show him the heat of the weather; and a barometer, to mark when it was likely to prove good or bad; but there being no instrument invented to discover, at first sight, this unpleasing disposition in a person, he, for that

purpose, made use of his legs; one of which was remarkably handsome, the other, by some accident, crooked and de: formed. If a stranger, at the first interview, regarded his ugly leg more than his handsome one, he doubted him.

8 If he spoke of it, and took no notice of the handsome leg, that was sufficient to determine my philosopher to have no further acquaintance with him. Every body has not this twolegged instrument; but every one, with a little attention, may observe signs of that carping, fault-finding disposition, and take the same resolution of avoiding the acquaintance of those infected with it. I therefore advise those critical, querulous, discontented, unhappy people, that if they wish to be respected and beloved by others, and happy in themselves, they should leave off looking at the ugly leg.

The art of procuring pleasant dreams, inscribed to

Miss ***, being written at her request. 1 As a great part of our life is spent in sleep, during which

we have sometimes pleasing and sometimes painful dreams, it becomes of some consequence to obtain the one kind, and avoid the other; for, whether real or imaginary, pain is pain, and pleasure is pleasure. If we can sleep without dreaming, it is well that painful dreams are avoided. If, while we sleep, we can have any pleasing dreams, it is, as the French say, tant gagné, so much added to the pleasure of life.

2 To this end it is, in the first place, necessary to be careful in preserving health, by due exercise and great temperance; for, in sickness, the imagination is disturbed ; and disagreeable, sometimes terrible, ideas are apt to present themselves. Exercise should precede meals, not immediately follow them ;-the first promotes, the latter, unless moderate, obstructs digestion. If, after exercise, we feed sparingly, the digestion will be easy and good, the body lightsome, the temper cheerful, and all the animal functions performed agreeably. Sleep, when it follows, will be natural and undisturbed.

3 While indolence, with full feeding, occasion nightmares and horrors inexpressible: we fall from precipices, are assaulted by wild beasts, murderers and demons, and experience every variety of distress. Observe, however, that the quantities of food and exercise are relative things : those who move much, may, and indeed ought to eat more; those who use little exercise, should eat little. In general, mankind, since the improvement of cookery, eat about twice as much as nature requires.

4 Suppers are not bad, if we have not dined; but restless nights naturally follow hearty supr.ers, after full dinners. Indeed, as there is a difference in constitutions, some rest well after these meals; it costs them only a frightful dream, and an apoplexy, after which they sleep till doomsday. Nothing is more common in the newspapers, than instances of people, who, after eating a hearty supper, are found dead a-bed in the morning. *

5 Another means of preserving health, to be attended to, is the having a constant supply of fresh air in your bed-chamber. It has been a great mistake, the sleeping in rooms exactly closed, and in beds surrounded by curtains. No outward air, that may come unto you, is so unwholesome as the unchanged air, often breathed, of a close chamber. As boiling water does not grow hotter by longer boiling, if the parti

* The use of animal food ought to be avoided as much as possible for suppers, not only to prevent incubus, (nightmare) and laborious dreams, but also for the preservation of health.

cles that receive greater heat can escape ; so living bodies do not putrefy, if the particles as fast as they become putrid, can be thrown off.

6 Nature expels them by the pores of the skin and lungs, and in a free open air, they are carried off; but in a close room, we receive them again and again, though they become more and more corrupt. * A number of persons crowded into a small room, thus spoil the air in a few minutes, and even render it mortal, as in the Black Hole at Calcutta. A single person is said to spoil only a gallon of air per minute, and Therefore requires a longer time to spoil a chamber full; but it is done, however, in proportion, and many putrid disorders hence have their origin.

7 Physicians, after having for ages contended that the sick should not be indulged with fresh air, have at length discovered that it may do them good. It is therefore to be hoped, that they may in time discover, likewise, that it is not hurtful to those who are in health; and that we may be then cured of the ærophobia, (dread of air] that at present distresses weak minds, and makes them choose to be stifled and poisoned, rather than leave open the windows of a bed-chamber, or put down the glass of a coach. ·

8 Confined air, when saturated with perspirable matter,t will not receive more; and that matter must remain in our bodies, and occasion diseases : but it gives some previous notice of its being about to be hurtful, by producing certain uneasiness, slight indeed, at first, such as, with regard to the lungs, is a trifling sensation, and to the pores of the skin a kind of restlessness which is difficult to describe, and few that feel it know the cause of it.

9 The remedies, preventive and curative, follow : 1st. By eating moderately (as before advised for health's sake)

* The air of rooms, in which several persons are breathing and perspiring, ought to be frequently renewed.

“ It is not air,
That from a thousand lungs, reeks back to thine,

Sated with exhalations fell and sad.”_Armstrong. Close iron stoves emit a noxious effluvia, and are very pernicious to health in close rooms. If iron stoves, therefore, must be used, they ought to be the genuine Franklin stoves, which admit a perpetual current of fresh air into the room :-churches, school-houses, and all buildings occupied by many persons,ought to be furnished with perpetual ventilators.--Comp.

+ What physicians call the perspirable matter, is that vapor which passes off from our bodies, from the lungs, and through the pores of the skin. The quantity of this is said to be five-eighths of what we eat.

less perspirable matter is produced in a given time; hence the bed-clothes receive it longer, before they are saturated; and we may, therefore, sleep longer, before we are made uneasy by their refusing to receive any more. 2d. By using thinner and more porous bed-clothes, which will suffer the perspirable matter more easily to pass through them, we are less incommoded, such being longer tolerable.

10 These are the rules of the art. But though they will generally prove effectual in producing the end intended, there is a case in which the most punctual observance of them will be totally fruitless. I need not mention the case to you, my dear friend: but my account of the art would be imperfect without it. The case is, when the person who desires to have pleasant dreams has not taken care to preserve, what is necessary above all things, A GOOD CONSCIENCE.


On luxury, idleness and industry. 1 If there be a nation that exports its beef and linen to pay for the importation of claret and porter, while a great part of its people live upon potatoes, and wear no shirts, wherein does it differ from the sot, who lets his family starve, and sells his clothes to buy drink? Our American commerce is, I confess, a little in this way. We sell our victuals to the Islands for rum and sugar; the substantial necessaries of life for superfluities.

2 Foreign luxuries, and needless manufactures, imported and used in a nation, increase the people of the nation that furnishes them, and diminish the people of the nation that use them. Laws, therefore, that prevent such importations, and, on the contrary, promote the exportation of manufactures to be consumed in foreign countries, increase the wealth, population, and means of subsistence of the people that make them, and produce the contrary effect upon their neighbors.

3 It has been computed by some political arithmetician, that if every man and woman would work for four hours each day on something useful, that labor would produce sufficient to procure

all the necessaries and comforts of life, want and misery would be banished out of the world, and the rest of the twenty-four hours might be leisure and pleasure.

4 What occasions then so much want and misery? It is the employment of men and women in works that produce

neither the necessaries nor conveniences of life, who, witn those who do nothing, consume necessaries raised by the la. borious. To explain this,

5 The first elements of wealth are obtained by labor, from the earth and waters. I have land, and can raise corn. With this, if I feed a family that does nothing, my corn will be consumed, and at the end of the year I shall be no richer than I was at the beginning. But, if while I feed them, I employ them, some in spinning, others in making bricks, &c. for building, the yalue of my corn will be arrested, and remain with me, and at the end of the year we may all be better clothed and better lodged.

6 And if instead of employing a man I feed in making bricks, I employ him in fiddling for me, the corn he eats is gone, and no part of his manufacture remains to augment the wealth and convenience of the family. Look round the world and see the millions employed in doing nothing, or something that amounts to nothing, when the necessaries and conveniences of life are in question.

7 A question may be asked; Could all these people now employed in raising, making, or carrying superfluities, be subsisted by raising necessaries? I think they might. The world is large, and a great part uncultivated. Many hundred millions of acres in Asia, Africa, and America, are still in a forest, and a great deal even in Europe. On a hundred acres of this forest, a man might become a substantial farmer.

8 One reflection more, and I will end this long rambling letter. Almost all parts of our bodies require soine expense. The feet demand shoes; the legs stockings; the rest of the body clothing; and the stomach a good deal of victuals. Our eyes, though exceedingly useful, ask, when reasonable, only the cheap assistance of spectacles, which could not much impair our finances. But the eyes of other people are the eyes that ruin us. If all but myself were blind, I should want neither fine clothes, fine houses, nor fine furniture.


Extracts of a letter from DR. FRANKLIN, to the Rev.


Philadelphia, June 6, 1753. 1 I received your kind letter of the 2d instant, and am glad to hear that you increase in strength; I hope you will

* One of the founders of the religious Society of Methodists.

« AnteriorContinuar »