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possibly bear it, going to bed immediately afterwards : half an ounce at least to every cup, which I render palatable with sugar and a little cream. •
A long continuance of the use of strong coffee will affect the nerves, no doubt; but one good fit of asthma, I am satisfied, shatters the nerves much more than many pounds of coffee; and, in this instance, of two evils we must, as in every other, choose the least.
1800, April, and July. A NEW CORRESPONDENT.
CIII. Singular Predilection for the Term of Forty Days,
Wells, Norfolk, Aug. 28. THE founders of our legal polity, when they have bad occasion to limit a short interval of time for any particular purpose, have shewn a strong predilection for the term of forty days; e. g.
• Anciently no man was suffered to abide in England above forty days, unless he were enrolled in some tithing or decennary." Blackstone's Comm. I. 114.
6 Vidua maneat in capitali messuagio mariti sui per qua-, draginta dies post obitum mariti sui infra quos dies assignetur ei dos sua. Mag. Chart. c. VII. “Il que
tient per un fee de service de chivaler covient estre ove le roi per 40 jours bien et convenablement array pour le guerre." Litt. 95.
“ By privilege of parliament, members of the House of Commons are protected from arrest for forty days after every prorogation, and forty days before the next appointed meeting.” Blackstone's Comm. I. 165.
The acts for preventing the introduction of the plague direct--" that persons coming from infected places must remain on ship-board forty days before they be permitted to land.”
Many more instances might be produced; but it will suffice to observe, that the period we are speaking of is so well known in the law as to have acquired a peculiar denomination, that of quarantine,* a distinction which, I
* Blackstone's Comm. II. 135.
believe, is not bestowed on any other portion of the year except its usual calendary divisions.*
The frequent adoption of this precise interval, which consitutes no aliquot part of the year, nor is capable of an aliquot division into months or weeks, is somewhat extraordinary; yet it would be a little unfair to presume that our ancestors, in this instance, were actuated by mere caprice. Perhaps it may be no improbable supposition, that their preference arose from finding the period in question connected with some remarkable events in Sacred History; and that it is so connected, will appear from the following coincidences :
The diluvial rain lasted forty days.
The three miraculous fasts of Moses, Elijah, and our Saviour, lasted each forty days.
The Christian Lent continues forty days.
These, it must be confessed, are very striking; and perhaps no other arbitrary portion of the year has ever been so highly distinguished,
Those who are in the habit of reflecting upon the operations of the human mind, well know, that although, in a contest of motives, the will ever yields to the stronger, yet in matters of indifference, where the judgment is suspended in equilibrio, and yet must decide, the most trifling circumstance, the most remote allusion, is sufficient to turn the scale. 1800, Sept.
* The preference of the number forty is not confined to matters of time only: forty shillings is the qualification of a freeholder at an election ; forty shillings the limited value for causes in the county-court, the court-baron, &c.
ADAMS, Rev. Dr. 106.
the Duke of Marlborough, 322.
Letter to, 192.
Cæsar, remarkable story in his Commentaries, 337.