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fortunately made by accident, and in the following manner:
When I was a boy, I amused myself one day with flying a paper kite; and, approaching the back of a pond, which was near a mile.broad, I tied the string to a stake, and the kite ascended to a very considerable height above the pond, while I was swimming. In a little time, being desirousof amusing myself with my kite, and enjoying at the same time the pleasure of swimming, I returned, and loosing from the stake the string with the little stick which was fastened to it, went again into the water, where I found, that, lying on myjback, and holding the stick in my hands, I was drawn along the surface of the water in a very agreeable manner. Having then engaged another boy to carry my clothes round the pond, to a place which I pointed out to him, on the other side, I began to cross the pond with my kite, which carried me quite over without the least fatigue, and with the greatest pleasure imaginable. I was only obliged occasionally to halt a little in my course, and resist its progress, when it appeared that, by following too quick, I lowered the kite too much; by doing which occasionally I made it rise again. I have never since that time practised this singular mode of swimming, though I think it not impossible to cross in this man uer from Dover to Calais. The packet-boat, hoar ever, is still preferable.
NEW MODE OF BATHING.
EXTRACTS Or LETTERS TO M. DUBOURO.
London, July 28, I768.
I Greatly approve the epithet which you give, in your letter of the 8th of June, to the new method of treating the small-pox, which you call the tonic or bracing method; I will take occasion, from it, to mention a practice to which I have accustomed mj. self. You know the cold bath has long been in vogue here as a tonic: but the shock of the cold water hath always appeared to me, generally speaking, as too violent, and I have found it much more agreeable to my constitution to bathe in another element—I mean cold air. With this view I rise early almost every morning, and sit in my chamber without any clothes whatever, half an hour or an hour, according to the season, either reading or writing. This practice is not in the least painful, but on the contrary, agreeable; and if I return to bed afterwards, before I dress myself, as it sometimes happens, I make a supplement to my night's rest of one or two hours of the most pleasing sleep that can be imagined. I find no ill consequences whatever resulting from it, and that at least it does not injure my health, if it does not in fact contribute to its preservation.—I shall therefore call it a bracing, or tonic bath.
March I0, I773. I Shall not attempt to explain why damp clothes occasion colds, rather than wet ones, because I doubt the fact; I imagine that neither the one nor the other contribute to this effect, and that the causes of colds are totally independent of wet, and even of cold. I propose writing a short paper on this subject, the first moment of leisure I have at my disposal. In the meantime, I can only say, that having some suspicions that the common notion, which attributes to cold the property of stopping the pores and obstructing perspiration, was ill-foinded, I engaged a young physician, who is making some experiments with Sanctorius's balance, to estimate the different proportions of his perspiration, when remaining one hour quite naked, and another warmly clothed. He pursued the experiment in this alternate manner for eight hours successively, and found his per•piration almost double during those hours in which he was naked.
OBSERVATIONS ON THE OES'ERAI.LT PRfVAIUNfl
To Vie same.
Your observations on the causes of-death, and the experiments which you propose for recalling to life those who appear to be killed by lightning demonctrate equally your sagacity and humanity. It appears that the doctrines of life and death, in general, are yet but little understood.
A toad buried in the sand will live, it is said, until the sand becomes petrified; and then, being inclosed in the stone, it may Jive lor we know not how many ages. The facts which are cited in support of this opinion, are too numerous and too circumstantial not to deserve a certain degree of credit. As we are accustomed to see all the animals with which we are acquainted eat and drink,it appears to us difficult to conceive, how a toad can be supported in such a dungeon. But if we reflect that the necessity of nourishment which animals experience in their ordinary state, proceeds from the continual waste of their substance by perspiration; it will appear less incredible, that some animals, in a torpid state, perspiring less because they use no exercise, should have less need of aliment; and that others, which are covered with scales o.r shells, which stop perspiration, such as land and sea turtles, serpents, and some species offish, should be able to subsist a considerable time without any nourishment whatever. A plant, with its flowers, fades and dies immediately, if exposed to the air without having its roots immersed in a humid soil, from which it may draw a sufficient quantity of moisture to supply that which exhales from its substance, and is carried off continually by the air. Perhaps, however, if it were buried in quick-silver, it ■night preserve, for a considerable space of time, its vegetable life, its smell and colour. If this be the case, it might prove a commodious method of transporting from distant countries those delicate plants which are unable to sustain the inclemency of the Wmuim at sea, and which require particular care and attention.
I have seen an instance of common flies preserved in a manner somewhat similar. They had been drowned in Madeira wine, apparently about the time it was bottled in Virginia, to be sent to London. At the opening of one of the bottles, at the house of a friend where I was, three drowned flies fell into the first glass that was filled. Having heard it remarked that drowned flies were capable of being revived by the rays of the sun, I proposed making the expert mem upon these. They were therefore exposed to the sun,upon a sieve which had been employed to strain them out of the wine. In less than three hours, two of them by degrees began to recover life. They commenced by some convulsive motions in the thighs, and at length they raised themselves upon their legs, wiped their eyes with their fore feet, beat and brushed their wings with their hind feet, and soon after began to fly, finding themselves in Old England, without knowing how they came thither. The third continued lifeless until sunset, when, losing all hopes of him, he was thrown away. I wish it were possible, from this instance, to inrent a method of embalming drowned persons in such it manner, that they may be recalled to life at any period, however distant: for, having a very ardent desire to see and observe the state of America a hundred years hence, I should prefer to an ordinary death, the being immersed in a cask of Madeira wine, with a few friends, until that time, then to be recalled to life by the solar warmth of my dear country! But since, in all probability, we live in an age too early, and too near the infancy of science, to see such an art brought in our time to its perfection, I must, for the present, content myself with the treat, which you are so kind as to promise me, of the resurrection of a fowl or a turkey-cock.
TO BE USED BY THOSE WHO ARE ABOUT TO
Whes you intend to take a long voyage, nothing is better than to keep it a secret till the moment of your departure. Without this, you will be contmually merrupted and tormented by visits from friends and acquaintances, who not only make you .ose you. valuable, time, but make you forget a thousand things which you wish to remember; so that when you are embarked and fairly at sea, you recollect, with much uneasiness, affairs which you have not terminated, accounts that you have not settled, and a number of things which you proposed to carry with you, and which you find the want of every moment. Would it not be attended with the best consequences to reform such a custom, and to suffer a traveller, without deranging him, to make his preparations m <*>«**[*>, to set apart a few days, when these are finished, to take leave of his friends, and to receive their good wishes for his happy return.
It is not always in one's power to choose a cap.am . though great part of the pleasure and happiness of the passage depends upon this choice, and though one must for a time be confined to his comoarrv. and be in some measure under his command, if he is a social sensible man, obliging, and of a good disposition, you will be so much the happier. One sometimes meets with people of this description, but 'hev are not common; however, if yours be not olhis number, if he be a good seaman, attenuve, careul and active in the management of his vessel, you must dispense with the rest, for these are the most essential qualities.
Whatever right you may have, by your agreement with him to the provisions he has taken on board for the use of the passengers, it is always proper to have some private store, which you may make use of occasionally. You ought therefore to provide good weler that of the ship being often bad . but you must