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BY THOMAS WALKER, M. A.
TRINITY COLLEGE, CAMBRIDGE,
BARRISTER AT LAW, AND ONE OF THE POLICE MAGISTRATES OF THE METROPOLIS.
PUBLISHED EVERY WEDNESDAY AT 12 O'CLOCK, BY H. RENSHAW,
356, STRAND, NEARLY OPPOSITE WELLINGTON STREET.
No. VI.] WEDNESDAY, JUNE 24, 1835.
I was asked the other day by an inhabitant of one of the great squares, what there could possibly be to do for the head of a parish ward, supposing parishes to be divided as I propose. Let us suppose the parish, in which the square is situated, to be divided, and the square to be one of the wards, and that the management of every thing which relates generally to the interests of the parish, such as lighting, paving, cleansing, police, and pauperism, was centered in the parish council, consisting of the heads of the different wards. Now the square being inhabited by rich people, a rich man would be elected for its head, one who had a common interest with those, over whom he was immediately placed, which interest he would represent in the council, and superintend in the ward. He would have a voice in raising the general supplies, and authority to see to their particular application in his own ward. He would have a perfect knowledge of his district, and a constant eye to its good management. He would be an
easy channel for the other inhabitants to apply throngh, in case of any complaint to redress, or any suggestion to offer. He would be the guardian of the peace of his ward, and responsible for it, with his subordinate officers to assist him. His personal superintendence would be à check to any thing detrimental to the common interest. He would be able to collect the bulk of the rates free of expense, returning the defaulters, if any, to be dealt with by the council. He would have authority sufficient to maintain the interests of his ward, and would be sufficiently controlled not to be able to maintain them at the expense of the interests
of the interests of the parish. He would have a compact and practicable field for the discharge of his public duty, and would have an opportunity, if he were so minded, as no doubt many would be, to distinguish his year, or years, of office by acts of munificence and public spirit. Whatever information or returns were wanted, they could, through his means, be easily and accurately obtained. In such a ward the duties would be lighter and more simple than in poorer and less cultivated ones; but still there would be evils to prevent, and advantages to procure, as well as to see to the due management of the ordinary business; and such a superintendence, made universal, could not fail to ensure the spread of good government and of local improvement, with great rapidity. I shall have more to say on this subject in my observations on parish government in the aggregate, which I will endeavour to condense in my next number, so as to conclude the subject.
THE ART OF ATTAINING HIGH HEALTH.
I must begin with a few remarks on my last article. I have there dwelt on the ill-consequences of being heated by exercise just before or after meals. There is one case which seems to be almost an exception ; I mean that of dancing immediately before or after supper-at least, I never suffered any inconvenience from it in my ailing days, though I cannot speak from much experience. But further, I do not call to mind any instances in other persons, and at any rate they cannot be so common as would be the case from any other mode of equal exertion under similar circumstances. The reason I take to be this—that from the enlivening effect upon the spirits, the digestive powers are able to overcome any tendency to fermentation ; and if that be so, it proves the extreme healthfulness of the exercise, when taken rationally and for its own sake, instead of, as it usually is, as an exhibition, in overcrowded and over-heated rooms at the most unseasonable hours.
I particularly recommended in my last number attention to the state of the mind, because the effect of the spirits is very great and often even instantaneous in accelerating or retarding the digestive powers ; and upon the digestive powers immediately depends whatever happens to our physical being. Whenever food is taken into the stomach, it begins directly to undergo a change, either from the action of the gastric juice, which is the desirable one, or from that of the natural heat. In the latter case, a sensation of fulness and weight is first produced, and then of more active uneasiness, as fermentation proceeds; and at last, when digestion commences, it is upon a mass more or less corrupted, according to the quantity and nature of the food, the time it has remained, the heat of the body, and perhaps other circumstances. The mind will frequently regulate all this, as I have repeatedly experienced ; for a feeling of lightness or oppression, of fermentation or quiescence, will come or go as the spirits rise or fall, and the effect is generally immediately perceptible in the countenance, and felt throughout the whole frame. Such influence has the mind on the digestive powers, and the digestive powers on
the body; and when we speak of a light or heavy heart, we confound it with a less romantic organ. The heart, it is true, will beat quicker or slower, but the lightness or heaviness we feel, is not there. There is no sickness of the heart; it needs no cordial; and the swain who places his hand in front, whatever the polite may think, is the right marksman. There lies our courage, and thence proceed our doubts and fears. These truths should make us careful how we live; for upon the digestive organ mainly depend beauty and strength of person, and beauty and strength of mind. Even the most eminently gifted have never been proof against its derangement. It is through the digestion that grief and all the brooding affections of the mind affect the frame, and make the countenance fallen, pale, and liny, which causes Shakspeare to call it “ hard-favoured grief,” and to say that “ grief is beauty's canker.” On the other hand, joy, or any pleasurable affection of the mind, which promotes digestion, at the same time fills and lights up the countenance. Often when I have been taking a solitary meal, the appearance of an agreeable companion, or reading any good news, has produced an instantaneous effect upon my digestive organs, and, through them, upon my whole frame. In the same way a judicious medical attendant will, in many cases, by talking his patient into an appetite, or raising his spirits, do him more good than by any medicines. That all this is through the stomach, I will prove by two instances. First, no one will doubt that the scurvy proceeds from the state of that organ, and that through that organ alone it can be cured. Now, I have read in medical writers, that after a tedious voyage sailors, grievously afflicted, have repeatedly been known to have instantaneously experienced a turn in the disorder on the sight of land, and that soldiers besieged have been affected in like manner, on the appearance of succour; that is, the spirits have produced the same effect that medicine or proper food would have produced, which must have been through the same organ. The second instance is what I have several times observed in my own person. When I have had any local inflammation from hurts, however remotely situated, what has affected my digestion, has at the same moment affected the inflammation. Fasting too long, eating too soon, taking too much wine, or having my spirits lowered, have instantly been unpleasantly perceptible in the seat of the inflammation; whilst taking food or wine when wanted, or having my spirits raised, have produced the direct contrary effect. How this is effected anatomically, I leave to the scientific to explain. I only know it from observation ; but I do know it, and how to profit by it, and I tell it to my readers that they may profit by it too, which brings me to a repetition of my rule-Content the stomach, and the stomach will content you.
To the caution I gave against stooping after meals, I should add that it is particularly to be avoided with anything tight round the body, and the same may be said of all the actons I have enumerated. They are also pernicious in proportion as the meal has been full or rich. Any thing greasy or strong, especially the skin of the fat of roast meat, when disturbed by exertion, will produce the most disagreeable effects, or perhaps bring on a regular bilious attack. Packing up, preparatory to a long journey by a public vehicle, used often to : be a cause of serious inconvenience to my health from my mode of doing it. First of all laying in a hearty meal, because I had a great distance to go, the very reason why I ought to have been abstemious; then having to finish packing after eating, with more things than room for them, the hurry, vexation, and exertion of arranging them, together with the fear of being too late, and bustling off, caused such a fermentation as not only made my journey most uncomfortable, but made me generally out of sorts for some time after. When I had brought myself into a regular state of health, and took care always to be beforehand with my arrangements, eating sparingly, and setting off composedly, I found an immense difference,