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injury by washing decks, under the increasing temperature of the forenoon."
The transition from a warm hammock, in a crowded lower deck, to the main and quarter decks, early in the morning, on many occasions, in winter, is greater than the shock from the warm to the cold bath ; and this evil is much augmented by its long continuation. Yet custom, and the robust health of many seamen, prevent them from complaining : but we are not to measure the bad consequences of cold and moisture by their effects on such individuals; it is on the delicate their' baneful influence becomes daily evident; who are, in fact, a kind of test to the rest of mankind, by which they are enabled to judge of the salutary tendency of the place they live in, and the habits they practise.
I am fully aware, that the time here pointed out for washing the main and quarter decks, will be objected to by many officers, on account of its breaking in on the forenoon; but, magna est veritas et prevalebit. Let such individuals recollect, that every thing in the shape of show or parade, and even ordinary duty itself, ought to be sacrificed to the most important of all purposes ; viz. taking care of the health of our brave seamen, the real source of strength and national independence.
But, unfortunately, we seldom hear the interrogatory, Under what regulations will a ship be most healthy? The great consideration is, generally, Under what system will she look best?
Of the Means of preventing Drunkenness, and ascertain
ing the Air's capacily for Moisture.
O'er the dread feast malignant Chemia scowls,
To trace out the extent of human calamity produced in the different classes of society by the varied effects of wine, spirits, and malt liquor, would furnish materials for one of the most melancholy tales ever heard by the human ear : for, alas ! there are too many “ who drown the memory of the past, the frightful anticipations of the future, the remains of moral feeling, and the bloom
Few seamen have a healthy color: this undoubtedly arises from humidity, and the vitiated constitution of the atmosphere of the lower deck,
of health, in the ocean of ebriety. There is an external character, a manner, an aspect in the inebriate, even when sober, which stamps him from the man of habitual temperance ; he becomes heavy and awkward in his gait, bloated in his countenance, his eyes and eyelids are inflamed, he falters in his speech, his nose is red, his complexion sallow, his face covered with eruptions, his breath fetid, his skin and muscles are flaccid, and his hands tremble."
Yet, with this most frightful picture of human misery before our eyes, there are a great many who maintain that drinking to excess, occasionally, has a salutary tendency on the human constitution :
“Qu'il faut à chaque mois
S'enivrer au moins une fois." And having this belief confirmed by its temporary soothing effects on the sensorium, they are soon induced to consider chaque jour a more agreeable period to repeat the stimulus, than chaqu mois, and thus the habit becomes established.
It will be found more difficult to remove drunkenness from a ship than any other evil of the present day: for it is neither to be cured by actual punishment, nor by any other means whatever, when it has once taken deep root in human nature. Yet, a wellregulated and effective police, under the immediate direction of a patient and judicious first lieutenant, will greatly lessen the unequal distribution of
grog, and prevent, at least, tumultuous drunkenness. Particular care ought to be taken, that every one drink his own allowance, or that it be stopped ; and, thus, the possibility of borrowing, buying, and selling, will be effectually checked. The bad effects arising from the great extent to which these practices were carried on in many ships, during the late war, were truly wonderful, and difficult to detect. If espionnage is to be tolerated on any occasion, this is where it would have the most salutary effect. In some ships, I have observed that the first lieutenant had a few sober and confidential men to help him to unriddle the drunken mysteries of the lower deck, by which means he was enabled to detect, regulate, or punish the offenders.
It is interesting to know, that large potations do not exert a uniform influence over the same individual. This seems to be owing to the state of the atmosphere at the time ; for instance, during the continuation of moist or foggy weather, a greater quantity of ardent spirits may be drunk without producing the same
! Medico-Chirurigical Journal.
2 During the late war (when prize-money was plentiful), a privaté marine informed me, he was in the habit of saving thirty pounds per annum y selling his grog.
baneful effects on the brain or constitution, that would have taken place under a cold dry atmosphere.'
This, I believe, is to be accounted for on the well-known chemical principle, “ that all condensation produces heat, and all evaporation cold.”. Hence, it will follow, that the greater capacity the air has for moisture, the greater will be the abstraction of heat from the body by it. On the contrary, when the air is nearly saturated with humidity, little heat will be evaporated; and, when fully saturated, none at all: the point of saturation being where the cooling process stops. And thus the sensation of cold is produced not altogether from the low temperature of the atmosphere, but partly from the difference there is between the air and the point at which condensation of vapour takes place; and, partly too, from the strength of the wind at the time. 3
These observations are important, as, by the hygrometric state of the atmosphere, we are enabled to calculate, pretty accurately, the quantum of injury the men will be exposed to in washing decks, and to ascertain the fittest weather to be chosen for that purpose.
The best hygrometric measure is that recommended by Mr. Colebrooke. Two thermometers, with the scales detached from the bulb, are to be used. The bulb of the one is to be wetted with a rag, and, after a short time, the mercury will be observed to fall to that point at which condensation of vapor takes place. And the difference between this point, and the other thermometer, showing the temperature of the atmosphere, will give the exact degree of dryness in the air ; or, in other words, its capacity for moisture.
· Sir Walter Scott has observed that, in the Hebrides, where moisture is frequent, less harm is sustained by drinking spirituous liquors than elsewhere.
“Water, in being converted into vapor combines with more than five times the quantity of caloric that it required to bring ice-cold water to a boiling beat, and occupies a space 800 times greater than it does when in the form of water."
3 The natural heat of the human body is 98° of Fahrenheit's thermometer-any temperature applied to it lower than 98° gives a sensation of cold, but if the temperature applied is not below 62°, the sensation of cold will not continue long, but be soon changed to a sensation of heat; and in this climate, air, &c. applied to the living man, does not diminish, the temperature of the body, unless the temperature of it be below 62°; if it is above that, it increases it.-Cullen's First Lines, vol. 1. p. 130.
Although this observation may be generally correct, yet there are circumstances where I most humbly beg to differ from this celebrated physi-, cian. An individual, living in a moist lower deck, for instance, at a time when the air has a great capacity for moisture, will experience the sensation of cold, though the thermometer may range several degrees above 62° : besides, the cooling process is much increased by diminished almospheric pressure.
When (as already stated) the air has a great capacity for moisa ture, much injury will be sustained by those exposed to it, and vice versa.
Every surgeon in the royal navy ought to keep two sick-lists (some now do); the first, containing those men's names who are totally incapable of performing any kind of duty, called the Sicklist ; and, in the second, or Convalescing-list, those men's names are to be entered, who are in a state of progressive improvement from disease to full health ; those also who have recently been under the influence of mercury, and those who have a disposition to pulmonary and hepatic affections (although they may be free from complaint at the time), are to be considered on this list, at least, during washing of decks. All convalescing patients should only receive half allowance
grog, and this ought to be considered the sine qua non of that list, as it will have a beneficial tendency two ways; first, inasmuch as it will be sufficient for the patient's present state of health, and secondly, the high regard he generally has for it as a whole, will prevent him hanging on the surgeon's hands.
By following the above regulations, we should have a large convalescing-list, it is true ; but then the sick-list would be proportionately kept down, as well as so frequent recurrence of acute disease.
DRY ROT IN SHIPS.
Water restrain'l gives birth ass and plants, and thickens into earth.
PRIOR. The following observations on Dry Rot in Ships, will be considered, by many, as going out of my department ; but, perhaps, I may be excused, when it is recollected, that a man-ofwar in a rapid consumption, is not only a melancholy spectacle in itself, but is rendered doubly so, in associating this national loss with a conviction that a ship’s crew cannot remain long in a healthy state, when the martial walls of their habitation are quickly mouldering into dust. Moreover, the study of the laws which regulate heat and cold, moisture and aridity (the chief agents of
destruction), are closely linked with the duties of a professional man, and the growth and dissolution of all organized bodies ought to be familiar to him. Besides, the means hereafter to be pointed out for the preservation of His Majesty's ships, will also have a salutary tendency on the health of our seamen, and, on that account, have a double claim to our attention.
Notwithstanding that apparently endless variety which we observe in the vegetable kingdom, it appears, on analysis, that Nature has employed only three simple substances, oxygen, hydrogen, and carbon, in the formation of all the gradations of vegetable productions, from the majestic oak, to the dunghill mushroom.
And, what is equally wonderful, the natural food of the fifty thousand plants already known, is as simple and uniform as their component parts : they all require atmospheric air and water only, with the addition of light and caloric to produce vegetation."
Mr. Parkes observes, that all living vegetables have the power of decomposing water, and combining, in different proportions, the hydrogen of the water with the carbon of the soil, as well as that of the carbonic acid of the atmosphere, to form the numberless productions of vegetable nature.
It is delightful to trace the chain of connexion between life and death in vegetables, and contemplate on the important offices which water has to perform, during the growth and dissolution of the vegetable kingdom.
Death is the common consequence of all life, and, during that continual decomposition of one generation of plants after another, which takes place in every part of the terrestrial globe, a great quantity of carbonic acid is liberated in union with hydrogen, by which our atmosphere would soon have become contaminated, had not some means been provided for its renovation.
Some plants are said to yield, also, small traces of nitrogen, silex, and lime, &c. but these substances have undoubtedly been taken up by the
? When we attempt to follow Nature farther, and consider the endless variety there must be in the vessels and secreting organs of plants, in order to endow them with the power of producing that countless number of fruits, oils, resins, wax, sugar, &c. which we observe in Nature; and when we remember, that trees of every description, from the cedar to the shrub, and plants, from those of the most sensitive kind within the Tropics, to the most hardy evergreen in our own regions—and herbs, of every shade of color and quality, the most delicious, as well as those of the most poisonous nature, are all formed from the same simple substances (though combined in different proportions); we arrive at the ne plus ulira of human understanding, and are compelled to stop and wonder that such different products should be heated by one sun, fed by the same common nutriment, and grow in the same mediuin.