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consideration of hospitals. I wish any observations of mine could be of use to you, they should be at your service. But it is a subject I am very little acquainted with. I can only say, that, if a free and copious respiration is of use in diseases, that seems, from the experiments I mentioned to M. Dubourg, to be best obtained by light covering and fresh air continually changing; the moisture on the skin, when the body is warmly covered, being a deception, and the effect, not of greater transpiration, but of the saturation of the air included under and in the bedclothes, which therefore can absorb no more, and so leaves it on the surface of the body. From these experiments I am convinced of what I indeed before suspected, that the opinion of perspiration being checked by cold is an error, as well as that of rheum being occasioned by cold. But as this is heresy here, and perhaps may be so with you, I only whisper it and expect you will keep my secret. Our physicians have began to discover that fresh air is good for people in the small-pox, and other fevers. I hope in time they will find out, that it does no harm to people in health.

We have nothing new here in the philosophic way. I shall like to hear how M. Lavoisier's doctrine supports itself, as I suppose it will be controverted. With the greatest esteem, I am ever, Dear Sir, Yours most affectionately,


P. S. Enclosed I send you some pamphlets relative to our American affairs for your amusement. Sir John Pringle bids me present his compliments. He interested himself much in the election.


Inquiries on the Causes of Taking Cold.

London 29 June, 1773. DEAR FRIEND, I have not time now to write what I intend upon the cause of colds, or rheums; and my opinions on that

; head are so singular here, that I am almost afraid to hazard them abroad. In the mean time, be so kind as to tell me at your leisure whether in France you have a general belief, that moist air, and cold air, and damp shirts or sheets, and wet floors, and beds that have not been lately used, and clothes that have not been lately worn, and going out of a warm room into the air, and leaving off a long-worn waistcoat, and wearing leaky shoes, and sitting near an open door or window, or in a coach with both glasses down, are all or any of them capable of giving the distemper we call a cold, and you a rheum, or catarrh? Or are these merely English ideas? I am ever, with the greatest esteem and respect, Dear Sir, yours, &c.


Preparatory Notes and Hints for writing a Paper concerning what is called Catching Cold.

Definition of a Cold. It is a siziness and thickness of the blood, whereby the smaller vessels are obstructed, and the perspirable matter retained, which being retained offends both by its quantity and quality ; by quantity, as it outfills the vessels, and by its quality, as part of it is acrid, and being retained, produces coughs and sneezing by irritation.

How this Siziness is produced. 1. By being long exposed in a cold air, without exercise; cold thickens glue.

2. By a diminished perspiration, either first from breathing and living in moist air, or, second, from the clogging of the pores by clammy sweat dried on and fastening down the scales of the skin ; or, thirdly, by cold constringing the pores partially or totally, sleeping or waking; or, fourthly, by having eat food of too gross particles for free perspiration, as oysters, pork, ducks, &c. People are found frequently costive after much bathing.

3. By repletion, as when more is thrown into the habit by eating and drinking than common perspiration is capable of discharging in due time; whence the vessels are distended beyond their spring, and the quantity of contained fluid, that should be briskly moved to preserve or acquire a due thinness, is too weighty for their force, whence a slow motion, — thence viscidity. This repletion is increased by a constipation of the belly happening at the same time. In an approaching cold, more water is made than usual.

4. By cooling suddenly in the air after exercise. Exercise quickening the circulation, produces more perspirable matter in a given time, than is produced in rest. And though more is likewise usually discharged during exercise, yet on sudden quitting of exercise, and standing in the air, the circulation and production of perspirable matter still continuing some time, the over quantity is retained. It is safer not to go into water too cold.

5. By particular effluvia in the air, from some unknown cause.

General colds throughout a country. By being in a coach close, or small room with a person having a cold.

6. By relaxation of the solids, from a warm and moist air, so that they are too weak to give due motion to the fluids.

Of partial colds affecting parts only of the body. Causes of feverishness attending colds.

Ill consequences often attending colds, as pleurisies, consumptions, &c. Some never taking cold, some frequently; cause of the difference.

Present remedies for a cold should be warming, diluting, bracing.

Means of preventing cold; temperance, choice of meats and drinks, warm rooms, and lodging, and clothing in winter; dry air, care to keep the belly open, and frequent discharge of water; warm bathing to cleanse the skin ; rubbing after sweat, especially in the spring.

Difficulties that first put me on thinking on this subject. People get cold by less, and not by more, viz.

By putting on a damp shirt on a dry body, -Yes.

By putting on a dry shirt on a wet body, though this wets the shirt ten times more, - No.

By sitting in a room, where the floor has been newly washed,- Yes.

By going into a river, and staying there an hour (no sheets so wet), -No.

By wetting the feet only, -Yes.

By wetting all the clothes through to the body, and wearing them a whole day,- No.

By sitting in a room against a crevice, -Yes.
By sitting as long in the open air, -No.

Few of these effects take place, if the vessels are kept empty.

Reapers in Pennsylvania;
Drinking cold water when they are hot.
If it makes them sweat, they are safe,
If not, they fall ill, and some die.

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People hot, should drink by spoonfuls; the reason.

Taking cold. The disorder only called so in Eng. lish, and in no other language.

American Indians, in the woods, and the whites in imitation of them, lie with their feet to the fire in frosty nights, and take no cold while they can keep their feet


Feet and hands apt to be cold in that disorder, and why. Is it the siziness, or the greater evaporation ?

Hottentots grease themselves, -occasions other evacuations more plentiful. Greasing keeps the body warm. Bad to hold the water too long. Parts colder when first unclothed than afterwards, why?

It was a disgrace among the ancient Persians to cough or spit.

Probably as it argued intemperance.

Vessels when too full, leak. Quicksilver through leather. Thin fluid leaked evaporates.

Corners of eyes, &c. Sizy will not all evaporate. What is left corrupts. Hence consumptions. Hectic fevers, from absorption of putrid pus. It ferments the blood like yeast.

People seldom get cold at sea, though they sleep in wet clothes. Constant exercise, moderate living. Bad cooks. Yet air is very moist. Wet floors. Sea surrounding, &c.

Exercise cures a cold. Bishop Williams riding several times from London, or Exeter, to Salisbury.

Bark good for a cold, taken early.

Particular parts more accustomed to discharge the irritating perspirable matter, as under the arms in some, feet in others, &c.

Experiment of two razors.
Every pain or disorder now ascribed to a cold.
It is the covering excuse of all intemperance.

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