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that Mr. Bruce's countrymen, the Scotch, were once accustomed to eat their beef in the same savage manner. The authority for this is a quarto pamphlet, intituled, “A modern Account of Scotland; being an exact description of the Country, and a true Character of the People and their Manners. Written from thence by an English Gentleman. Printed in the Year 1670." Reprinted in the Harleian Miscellany, vol. VI. p. 121. At p. 126 is the following passage: “ Their cruelty descends to their beasts, it being a custom, in some places, to feast upon a living cow, which they tie in the middle of them, near a great fire, and then cut collops of this poor living beast, and broil them on the fire, till they have mangled her all to pieces; nay, sometimes they will only cut off as much as will satisfy their present appetites, and let her go till their greedy stomachs call for a new supply; such horrible cruelty, as can scarcely be paralleled in the whole world.”
This I believe; and that it never would have been paralleled if Mr. Bruce had not travelled into Abyssinia.
Your readers will probably imagine, and I think they will be right in the idea, that a great part of this modern account of Scotland is burlesque. But, allowing that to be the case, there is a wonderful coincidence between the Scotch feast, and that which Mr. Bruce declares he was present at in Abyssinia.
XCVII. Useful Method of Flooring at Bengal.
MR. URBAN, RESIDING in a house which is built on a soil full of springs, and on that account without cellars, and the flooring being raised about a foot from the ground, which renders it exceedingly cold and uncomfortable, owing to the air admitted under it through air-holes; the following simple method of flooring used in Bengal by the natives, where there are no chimnies, and where this kind of flooring keeps the house dry, and serves in every part of it as an hearth for cooking, occurred to my recollection; and, as I am certain that it would have obviated all the inconveniences I complain of, had it been adverted to in the flooring of my house, it may possibly be of utility to others who may hereafter build in springy ground. At any rate, nothing is lost by the
communication to yourself, who can but judge whether or not to let it go farther. The area of the house or room to be floored is made perfectly level; unglazed earthen posts, about a foot high and large bellied, are placed close together over the whole surface, mouth downwards; the hol. low parts, round the necks and tops of the pots, are filled up with charcoal pounded fine (nothing being so dry or so difficult to make damp,) and the terrace over the whole is formed of brick-dust and lime, well worked, and made as hard as possible. I never knew of such an hearth giving way; and have been most sensible of its utility in keeping off dampness. 1797, Jan.
XCVIII. Principal Cause of Smoky Chimnies, with a Remedy.
MR. URBAN, I Do not know of a much greater domestic inconvenience than a smoky chimney, nor of any subject that has given rise to a greater number of unsuccessful experiments; which is, indeed, most likely to be the case, where the trials are made with so little regard to any philosophical principle, and with so much caprice and random fancy as those made on chimnies, as well in their first formation as their subse. quent various alterations.
Dr. Franklin, in his “Observations on smoky Chimnies, has very judiciously distinguished their separate and distinct defects or diseases, and has given a mode of cure applicable to the peculiar complaint, and which has been approved of by repeated experiments; and, indeed, his work has been the foundation of some late judicious modes of treating the defects of chimnies. But, notwithstanding all that has been written upon the subject, and though a chimney may be properly constructed, yet so much depends upon servants making fires, that it seems necessary to say something on that head.
A bad chimney is always the worst when it is first lighted, and a good chimney is often, by the improper method of making fires, made to appear a bad one until it is sufficiently heated in the inside, as is very obvious to those who by rising early have an opportunity of seeing servants light their fires; for, though their parlours may be in trim order
to receive the lady of the house and her family at breakfast, it is not till after the room has been first filled with clouds of smoke, the effects of which have been removed by opening the windows and doors, and frequent dusting and wiping the furniture, which often, where chimnies are in themselves really good, endure this daily great injury.
The common method of making a coal-fire is, to rake with a poker the dust and lighter ashes that have been left in the grate the preceding day, leaving a considerable quantity of cinders to be the basis of the intended fire; upon this are laid the shavings, or chips of wood or sticks, keeping the most combustible the undermost, to be lighted by a candle; upon these the coals are laid, by putting the smaller-sized with the hand in decent order, crowned with large ones ; at the back of which all the remaining contents of the coal-box are promiscuously thrown. The whole is then lighted: but, as any person might sít an hour upon it without injury, no heat is communicated to the chimney till a great part of the inside of the fire is burnt; in the mean tiine, the smoke in thick volumes rolls, with most seeming perverseness, into the room and other parts of the house, till such time as some heat, being communicated to the chimney, makes it, what is vulgarly called, draw. This grievance is so common, that there is hardly a house to be met with but it is found necessary to open doors and windows in a morning, to clear it of smoke.
Wherever a chimney draws well after the first fire, it is as good an one as can be desired, and the fault lies in making the fire; and it is unwise to try any experiments, or make alterations, lest you make a good chimney a bad one. To cure this, I have tried various ways of making a fire; but none have answered so well as the following, which is in reality only reversing the common mode. The grate is entirely emptied of its contents, and the coals are thrown promiscuously (without having very large ones amongst them) to the heighi of two or three bars, according to the depth of the grate; upon wbich the wood is laid, and the cinders are placed at the top, and the fire is lighted by a candle in the usual way; or, if convenient, by a fire-shovel of wellburnt cinders from another fire, upon which the cold cinders must be immediately thrown.
The smoke is very inconsiderable, and goes directly up the chimney; and the cinders are very soon heated. In time the upper surface of the coal takes fire; and, as the smoke issues out,it is arrested by the porous quality of the
cinders, and, passing also through a burning substance, great part of it is consumed; and what issues from the whole mass, to go up the chimney, is very inconsiderable, and of a different appearance to the smoke escaping from fires made in the comnion form. It is obvious that a great por. tion of combustible matter, which is now commonly wasted, is by this means consumed in the fire, and the benefit of it enjoyed; the cinders acting upon the smoke somewhat as a filtering-stone does upon water, and the fuel they catch helps them to burn clearer, and, what may appear extraordinary, preserves them longer from being consumed. If any one is in doubt about this fact, I refer him to the very satisfactory experiments of Dr. Franklin. As this fire consumes downwards, the upper strata of the coals are reduced to cinders before the lower ones; and the appearance of smoke is gradually diminished, though it must be an undoubted fact ibat as much really issues from the coals. It burns also clearly to the very bottom, without the necessity of stirring it with the poker; and, as it gives as much heat, and lasts twice as long as a fire made in the common way, these are additional arguments in its favour, and will have their proportioned weight where fuel is the dearer.
It is a very proper fire to be left to itself for a length of time, and is the best that can be for a sick chamber, or for those who are fond of fires in their bed-rooms at night; the great inconveniences of which are, that, in the usual mode, they require frequent stirring, and are apt to fill the room with sulphureous vapour, and endangering suffocation.
Servants are in general obstinate, and will require to be instructed a few times; which, with a perceptible abatement of their own trouble, will perhaps induce them to follow this method, which I will venture to pronounce the best in all cases; and the only care necessary is, to keep the coals and cinders well separated.
After all, the chimney may be found to smoke, but then it is from some other cause, and requires its appropriate remedy; as this is offered for one distinct, yet very prevailing inconvenience. If this method was steadily persevered in, I do farther venture to pronounce, that almost nine out of ten, of chimnies called bad drawing ones, will obtain a very good name, and that much labour and dirtiness will be avoided, as well as good respirable air preserved uncontaminated, and many tender lungs escape daily torture.
As the experiment is in every one's power to make, I shall not trouble you with any of mine farther than to say, that I
have tried it in a great variety of supposed hopeless cases, and never knew it fail of success. 1797, Jan.
XCIX. Scurvy caused by common Culinary Saft.
Enfield, June 501797. OBSERVING that you sometimes dedicate a page to medical subjects, I have taken the liberty to send you two cases of scurvy, which establish a fact, respecting the nature and cause of that disease, of much importance to be generally known. These cases, with the subsequent conjectures, were lately communicated to an eminent physician in town, by whom they would have been submitted to the consideration of the College, for insertion in the Medical Transactions, had that valuable work been continued ; but, as I am sorry to say there is no probability at present of such a circumstance taking place, I wish to see them recorded in the Gentleman's Magazine, where I believe they will stand the best chance to be generally read by medical men.
A Letter, addressed to Dr. Francis Milman, Physician Er
traordinary to the King's Household, containing Two Cases of Scurvy occusioned by the Patients having eaten largely of common Culinary Salt. To which are added, Conjectures respecting the Propriety of attempting to cure some obstinate Maladies by scorbuticising the iluman System. By John Sherwen, Enfield.
I sit down with pleasure to fulfil my promise, by stating the particular circumstances respecting the late illness of Master H-_-, which I mentioned to you in a former letter as an instance of the true Marine Scurvy. It is not my wish to take up your time with a tedious detail; but it may be necessary, in order to identify the disease, to inform you, that for several days blood was observed to be almost constantly ouzing from a small fungous sore on the ancle, which had before been very nearly, but not completely, cicatrized. This ouzing of blood was at first supposed to arise from some accidental friction, and was not deemed of much consequence, till numerous purple spots, and some broad livid