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Goldsmith, in France, died at 140; and C. J. Drakenberg, in Norway, at 146. All such cases are recorded thickly of barbarous ages and uncivilized countries, where the facts could not be verified ; and thus se find that, in one province of Russia, it is pretended that there were thirteen persons whose ages amounted to 1551 years, or, on an average, to 120 each, the three oldest being 128, 130, and 150; and the fire youngest being each 110. In another Russian return, it is pretended, that, of 726,278 births, 216 lived to the age of 100, and 220 to above 200, and four to the age of 136; whilst, in Norway, a report sets forth that, of 6929 births, sixty-three lived above 100 years. The Chinese are more veracious in their statements; for, in 1784, when Kien-Long made a census of his population of 200,000,000 souls, it appeared that there were only four ages exceeding a century.
It may be doubted whether the life of man ever reached to 120. The best-authenticated case of this age appears to be that of J. Jacobs, who had been a peasant on the estate of the Prince de Beautremont, and who travelled, at that age, from the Jura mountains to Versailles, to thank the National Assembly for having relieved him from the feudal yoke—“Libertas, quæ sera, tamen respexit.” He was received by all the members standing and uncovered, was allowed a chair, and to sit with his hat on. A collection was made for him amongst the members, which amounted to 500l. sterling. He was buried on Saturday, Jan. 31, 1790, in the church of St. Eustace, in Paris. The next best authenticated case is that of Mr. Ingleby, ninety-five years a domestic in the Webster family, who died in 1798, aged 117.
According to all statements, it would appear that all climates are favourable to longevity. We find these miraculous ages in Jamaica, Barbadoes, and burning Ethiopia and India; in the severe climates of Norway, Russia, Scotland, and the north of England; in the temperate elimes of Madeira and France; in the driest isle of Madeira, in the ever-misty isles of Scotland, -—in the well-drained lands of England, and in the bogs of Ireland,-in inland counties,-on the sea-shore, -on the mountain-top,-on the plain,--and in the filthy lanes and alleys of London. No theory of locality, air, regimen, or diet can tally with these stories of longevity; for we find long life amongst the poor and rich, the luxurious, the temperate, the abstemious, the active, and the indolent, the white, the black, the savage, and the civilized.
The only two facts that appear to answer to all cases are, that longevity is promoted by cleanliness and almost an abstinence from alcohol. The last of these is unquestionable; but even against the other, it must be observed, that longevity is found amongst the poor of sordid habitatious and filthy employments; and that it is said to have existed most amongst our ancestors, whose domestic habits were exceedingly filthy, and it now exists most in Scotland, and those parts of England where the cleanly habits of the south prevail the least. The Russians and the Irish are proverbially the least cleanly people of Europe, and yet they have their full share of statistical longevity. In Dublin Lying-in Hospital, in four years ending 1784, 2944 infants had died out of 7650 births. The hospital had been in a state of filth beyond credibility. A system of cleanliness and ventilation was introduced, and the number of deaths in the four following years was only 1116. A similar reduction of deaths,
a few years ago, was produced in the barracks of Barbadoes, by a system of cleanliness.
In England, most of the longevity now proved, of that which was formerly asserted-of longevity ancient and modern-has been found to the north of the Humber, and to the west of the Severn. It seems to have always run in a line from the south of the Tees, in a south-west direction, towards Herefordshire. There are very few cases of extreme longevity attributed to the midland, southern, and eastern counties. There is one case, that of John Balls, who died in Northamptonshire, on the 5th of April, 1705, (if it be true,) aged 126; a case of John Wilson, of Warkingworth, Suffolk, who lived to 116; and we have just seen the case of Ingleby, who died at Battle Abbey, in Sussex, in 1798, at the age of 117.
We may form some idea of the want of data and of authenticated facts that has hitherto prevailed on this subject of life and population, from the extraordinary circumstance that even Dr. Price committed the monstrous absurdity of calculating that the population of all England and Wales had decreased by one-fourth since the Revolution of 1688.
It seems remarkable that fewer cases of excessive longevity, real or fictitious, are to be found in those counties in which the average of human life is the greatest. Shropshire and Yorkshire (even if allowance be made for the greater extent of the latter) claim the greatest number of excessively-long lives; and yet the average duration of existence in these counties is less than that of Cardigan, Cornwall, and Gloucestershire, in two of which the population is entirely agricultural, whilst in one (Cornwall) it is maritime and mining; and in Yorkshịre, a great portion of it is not only manufacturing, but employed in manufactures very destructive to life. The average of existence in Lancashire is low, from its population being manufacturing, and yet a number of the highest cases of longevity are to be found in that county.
A theory prevails that long life runs in families, and yet Sir John Sinclair found that, amongst 508 persons who had passed the age of eighty, only 303 could make it appear that they had even one parent, male or female, who had been as old as themselves. All data upon the subject is involved in confusion; and it must be still more confused : for although we have better means than formerly for arriving at statistical facts and details, individual habits become more diversified as commerce increases, as the powers of intermixture and change of locality are multiplied; and as knowledge, mixed with error, and diversified to infinity, is diffused amongst all classes, both of rich and poor, individual diversities become beyond all calculation, and defy all powers of classifying and generalizing. Alcohol slays its thousands and tens of thousands amongst the poor, and quackery, with ill-directed passions, performs the same service for the rich-quackery, not only advertised and wholesale, but individual and secret. A short digressive anecdote, which I had from a friend, may be both illustrative and amusing.
Sitting in the parlour of an eminent administerer of very useful medicated baths, in Marlborough-street, a gentleman entered the room full of sturdy health, and overflowing with fine animal spirits.
" Šir," said he, " I suppose you are going to take a medicated bath ???
“No, Sir, I am waiting for a friend who is taking one; thank God, I have perfect health."
Sir, I take one every day, well or ill, and generally two a day." “ I hive never taken five shillings-worth of medicine in my life." “ Oh! Sir, I see you are a most temperate liver.”
No, Sir, I am ashamed to say, that from cighteen to the present hour I have been the reverse. Of all men living, my poor father was the most regular and temperate, and his afflictions were many, severe, and fatal.”
I see how it is. When Judge found any witnesses of extreme old age, he questioned them as to their habits, and made memoranda of their answers. He discovered that the temperate and intemperate were about equal, but he found that all healthy persons and long-livers were early risers. You, Sir, must be a VERY, VERY early riser—a very early riser indeed ?”
“ Quite the reverse, Sir, my Parliamentary duties are such, that, in London, my average hour of going to bed is three in the morning, and my hour of rising twelve.”
After this, it was clear that not a word I said, or had said, was believed. The theorist imagined that the consistency of health with irregularity and late hours was so impossible, that the assertion was a most impudent imposition.
“ Sir," cried he, in a tone of offended consequence, only try the experiment. Go to bed and get up early, and when you rise, you will find yourself able to grasp your handful of halfpence, at arms-length, as firmly as a giant; get up next day an hour later, and you will grasp them feebly; get up the next day two hours later, and you will find you cannot grasp them at all—no, Sir, not at all."
Bless you, Sir, get up any hour I may, I can grasp, as firmly as a vice, more sovereigns than I shall ever possess."
Sir," said this victim of quackery, evidently disbelieving every word I said, “ I was going down Regent-street yesterday, when I felt in my head I don't know how-it was a certain sort of I don't know what-an indescribable something—a ah-a ah–I can't exactly explain myself, hut you must know very well what I mean; so I went into a doctor's shop, and I said, give me three grains of calomel, seven of jalap, four of rhubarb, with-and-and-all of which I find agree with my constitution; and so, Sir, I took the dose, and went home, and I said to my wife, • Now, my dear, I will take no food to-day—I am determined to give nature fair play.'
“ Zounds, Sir," said I, breaking out into a feigned fit of impatience, and almost of indignation," is that what you call fair play ?- you turn your stomach into a doctor's shop-you swamp, overwhelm poor natureBurke her, till she is nearly extinct, and this you call giving nature fair play!-a plague on such fair play!"
Here the bath was announced, and the sturdy, non-ailing gentleman went to take his cure for his non-ailments!
But returning to the subject of longevity, it is to be observed that certain classes of men live to a great age, such as painters (painters and glaziers are the reverse): Da Vinci, Michael Angelo, Titian, Guercini, Guido, Maratti, lived to a good old age. The musicians have lived long; and, notwithstanding all that is said against sedentary employments, we
shall find that men who live by the brain, who are educated, and, consequently, whose nervous systems are more called into exertion than the muscular, exceed in longevity the labouring classes, even when they are well fed, and not over-worked.
Dr. Cheyne commences his Essay on Health by saying that he who lives medically lives miserably. By excess of gluttony and drinking he had brought himself to a prodigious size, and suffered under all the worst effects of excessive plethora; he reduced his diet to eight ounces of flesh and twelve of bread, with one pint of wine per diem, and he got rid of his enormous bulk, and of all his complaints, and lived to the age of seventy-two. This quantity of food he considered the maximum requisite for a hard-working man.
The sources of longevity, and, what is of more consequence, of health whilst we live, have always been classed under six heads :-parentage, air, diet, exercise, sleep, and government of the passions. In going deeply and extensively into the subject, the exceptions to all these elements of long life are found almost as numerous as the examples; and the only infallible, uniform, and universal inference that can be drawn is, that, cæteris paribus, men live longest, and enjoy the best health, who most abstain from wine, spirits, or alcohol under any shape.
Of the bard's glowing and devoted lay,
While winter frowning on his dreary way
And from his eye, where dwells the sickly ray
And fev'rish brightness of the year's decay,
From the bleak north comes joyless o'er the plain ;
It breathes of tempest, and the bitter strain
Thou hoary tyrant! the lyre's soul would fain
Dec.-VOL. XLII. NO. CLXVIII.
THE POLICY OF ENGLAND WITH REFERENCE TO
FRANCE AND SPAIN.
“Strip a Spaniard of his virtues and you make him a Portuguese,” is one of the sayings of proud Spain. Portugal may retort upon her neighbours—“Strip a Portuguese of his honesty, and you make him a modern Spaniard.”
It may be safely affirmed that all men of all parties in this country are united in a common feeling of disgust at the conduct of the Queen Regent's Government in regard to its financial position. The honest are disgusted with the knavery, the knaves with the folly of its proceedings. That the Carlists should refuse to recognize the loans which a constitutional government had contracted would excite no surprise; but that they who profess themselves the regenerators of their country should have inflicted upon it an incurable wound—that they who, in the face of the world, have raised the standard of liberty, and assumed the title of patriots, should be the first to sully the purity of the one, and to proclaim the effrontery and invalidity of their pretensions to the other—may neither be passed by as a matter of course, nor escape with the license of contempt.
Spain had invoked the aid, and appealed to the sympathy of England in behalf of her constitutional infant, the palladium of her infant constitution; and that invocation was answered, and that sympathy felt by those who were honestly interested in the happiness and prosperity of the great family of nations; and though many were averse to the cause of the Regent, believing that that of Don Carlos was legitimate, and that the aim of the Constitutionalists was not liberty but anarchy-not improvement but revolution ; yet it cannot be doubted that even among those whose prudence distrusted the Constitutionalists, there were many whose secret hearts leaped within them at the idea of Spanish regeneration, who would have been foremost as the advocates of that cause if its adherents had justified their hopes. The Cortes' Declaration of Rights spoke home to the hearts of Englishmen. Its simplicity, its manliness, its moderation, were so many claims to our respect; it gained more than our respect-it reminded us of the time when we too had had a struggle with despotism-it excited our sympathies and our hopes that Spain might follow where England had led. The recollection of Somers was revived by Martinez, and the Declaration of the Spaniard reminded us so strongly of the Bill of Rights of our countrymen, that we turned with affection to the patriots of Spain.
Alas! while our eyes were yet fixed upon Spain with a generous and fond anxiety for her liberty and her fame, the unwelcome truth was exhibited that the Government of Madrid was unworthy of our sympathy. It must be proclaimed with the trumpet-tongues of a free people that the first requisite of freedom is honesty, that the slave is more respectable than the rogue. If the Government of Torreno is bent upon exhibiting to the world the spectacle of utter degradation--if we are unwillingly to be convinced that the principles of just patriotism which his party had professed were assumed merely as a blind in less prosperous days, to be laid aside in the first moments of incomplete success, then M. Torreno and his party must be told that in such circumstances England will ccase