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for adders than men. But, on my draining off the waters, the air mended, and people resorted to it so fast, and increased to such a degree, that it soon acquired the perfection in which it now appears ; hence I may say with truth, that I have given, in this place, an altar and a temple to God, with souls to adore him. These are things which afford me infinite pleasure, comfort, and satisfaction, as often as I go to see and enjoy them.
" At the same season every year, I revisit some of the neighbouring cities, and enjoy such of my friends as live there, taking the greatest pleasure in their company and conversation; and, by their means, I also enjoy the conversation of other men of parts, who live in the same places, such as architects, painters, sculptors, musicians, and husbandmen, with whom this age most certainly abounds. I visit their new works; I revisit their former ones ; and I always learn something which gives me satisfaction. I see the palaces, gardens, antiquities; and, with these, the squares and other public places, the churches, the fortifications, leaving nothing unobserved, from whence I may reap either entertainment or instruction. But what delights me most is, in my journeys backwards and forwards, to contemplate the situation and other beauties of the places I pass through; some in the plain, others on hills, adjoining to rivers or fountains; with a great many fine houses and gardens.
“ Nor are my recreations rendered less agreeable and entertaining by my not seeing well, or not hearing readily every thing that is said to me; or by any other of my senses not being perfect; for they are all, thank God, in the highest perfection ; particularly my palate, which now relishes better the simple fare I meet, wherever I happen to be, than it formerly did the most delicate dishes, when I led an irregular life. Nor does the change of beds give me any uneasiness, so that I sleep every where soundly and quietly, without experiencing the least disturbance; and all my dreams are pleasant and delightful.”
Of Lord Bacon, “the great Lord Bacon,” we shall say but little. We do not profess to give, in the present article, a regular, serious, medical essay upon human life, nor to discuss at large its pretensions to perpetuity. We are desirous briefly of affording our readers an idea of what certain persons have said upon the subject; and of enticing them, if it may so be, to look into the writings of those worthies. The works of Lord Bacon, alone, are a mine of learning. If you miss one jewel you find another, sometimes rich, sometimes sparkling, always valuable. He had at once a deep and a heightened style; not so flowing as Jeremy Taylor, and scarcely so sublime as Sir Thomas Brown; yet better adapted perhaps than either for enforcing his own profound suggestions, for laying bare the discovered land of knowledge, and promulgating the experiments and latefound truths of science.' He is, we believe, wrong in some of his positions, although every thing he says is worth attention.
In his History of Life and Death, in particular, he says among other things, that a life of study conduces to longevity. We apprehend that he is here mistaken.
He says also, that the inhabitants of northern countries live longer than those of southern climates. This may be; but the evidences of longevity in hot, are as striking as those in cold countries : and the tables (which we have before referred to) of the old persons living in Greenwich hospital, and Kilmainham barracks, Ireland, show that heat and cold are not to be relied on either as friends or enemies to long living.
Lord Bacon seems to be of opinion, that the term of human life has not been shortened since the time of the sons of Noah. We give a short extract from his works; though his Advancement of Learning, or his Fables, would better justify our eulogy.
"The succession of ages, and of the generations of men, seems no way to shorten the length of human life; since the age of man down from Moses's time to the present, has stood at about eighty years, without gradually declining, as one might have expected. But, doubtless, there are times in every country, when men live to a longer or shorter term; and they generally prove longest lived, when the times afford but a simple diet, and give greater occasion to bodily exercise; and shorter-lived, when the times are more polite, or abound in luxury and ease: but these things have their changes and revolutions; whilst the succession of mankind holds on uninterrupted in its course. And, no question, but the case is the same in other animals; as neither oxen, horses, sheep, &c. have had their term of life short- . ened in the latter ages; and therefore, the lives of creatures, it should seem, were at once abridged by the deluge."
How this may be, we know not. One thing, however, is certain; namely, that persons have been known to attain ages almost incredible, without any thing appearing to account for their extreme longevity. Is it not fair to conclude from this, that there are seeds of long life within us, and that its growth would be great, were it not cut short by accident, by folly, or inherited disease?
The author of Hermippus Redivivus was John Henry Cohausen, a German physician, who did not quite make good his own theory, but died in a sort of nonage, when he was only eighty-five years of age. His book was translated into English by Dr. John Campbell, and has always been considered curious, as giving a summary of the many facts and opinions, which have been published respecting this very interesting subject. Hermippus Redivivus takes its name from the following inscription:
ÆSCULAPIO ET SANITATI
L. CLODIUS HERMIPPUS
QUI VIXIT ANNOS CXV. DIES V.
NON PARUM MIRANTUR PHYSICI
This, our author, in one part of his book, seems inclined to translate, pleasantly enough, into keeping a ladies' school' We confess that our interpretation is different:-But let the Latin decide. Hermippus, it seems, lived to the age of 115 years, and commends his plan to the consideration of physicians and posterity.
Formerly, life seems scarcely to have been in the same request that it now is. The people of Cea (one of the Cyclades) had a law, that compelled all those who survived the age of three-score to drink the juice of hemlock. We wonder of what age the senators were who fashioned this act of parliament! In China, they order matters differently, as we know. There, the gray-headed sages permit infanticide, on account of the excess of population. And this is well; for otherwise the people would be apt to inquire into the inconvenience, and might perhaps dispose of the old in a similar way, as the less useful part of the community
Suicide, which is now so heinous that we are consigned to a cross road, with certain offensive solemnities (which, however, have no effect but that of shocking the spectators), was once permitted and sometimes encouraged. The oddest instance of felo de se is one mentioned by Valerius Maximus, where an old lady, who has been happy all her life, is apprehensive that For
change her countenance." By what process of reasoning she arrived at this conjecture, we do not learn. This is the anecdote, as given by Valerius Maximus.
“ He relates, that going into Asia with Sextus Pompeius, and passing by the city of Julis, he was present at the death of a lady, aged about ninety. She had declared to her superiors the reason which induced her to quit the world; and after this, she prepared to swallow down the poison; and imagining that the presence of Pompey would do great honour to the ceremony, she most humbly besought him to come thither on that occasion. He granted her request, and exhorted her very eloquently, and with the utmost earnestness, to live. However, this was to no purpose; she thanked him for his kind wishes, and besought the gods to reward him, not so much those she was going to, as those she was quitting. “I have hitherto,' said she,
• experienced only the smiles of fortune; and that, by an ill-grounded fondness for life I may not run the hazard of seeing that goddess change her countenance towards nie, I voluntarily quit the light, while yet I take pleasure in beholding it, leaving behind me two daughters, and seven grandsons, to respect my memory.' She then turned about to her family, and exhorted them to live in peace and unity, and having recommended the care of her household, and the worship of her domestic deities, to her elder daughter, she, with a steady hand, took the glass that was filled with poison. When she had it, she addressed her prayer to Mercury, and having besought him to facilitate her passage to the better part of the receptacle of departed spirits, she, with wonderful alacrity, drank off the deadly draught. When this was done, with the same composure and steadiness of mind she signified in what manner the poison wrought; how the lower parts of her body became cold and senseless by degrees, and when the noble parts began to feel the infection, she called her daughter to do the last office, by closing her eves. As for us, says Valerius, who were almost stupified at the sight of so strange a spectacle, she dismissed us with weeping eyes. For the Romans thought compassion no way incompatible with fortitude.”
We have already referred to the law of Cea. There was a custom also at Marseilles, it seems, which is worthy of being recorded with it. The “ magistrates," it is said,
“Kept constantly in their own custody an efficacious poison, which none were allowed to use, till, by a memorial setting forth the reasons which inclined them to quit the world, they obtained the permission of the senate of this city, which consisted of six hundred, to make use of this method of leaving the light of the sun behind them. Upon their presenting such a petition, the senate examined their reasons, with such an equal temper or medium, as neither indulged a rash passion for dying, or opposed a just desire of quitting this earthly stage; whether such persons wanted to free themselves from the per
cutions of ill fortune, or were not willing to run the hazard of losing, in case they had enjoyed them, good Fortune's smiles. Such was this senate's rule; they did not pretend to constrain any person to poison themselves, but then they gave them the liberty to do this, if they would, whenever they judged it proper. Consequently, no one could kill himself in due form, and according to law, in those days at Marseilles, unless the government had first permitted him by a public approbation, founded on the perusal and serious consideration of the motives inducing him to such an action.”
Our author then proceeds to discuss the great question as to the possibility of prolonging life, and brings forward fact and fable, reason and figure, in support of it, in a way that is altogether agreeable, if not entirely convincing. He is for beginning “ by times;" and thus he illustrates hisdoctrine :
“ The owner of a house well situated, elegantly furnished, and affording variety of prospects, that please the eye, and cheer the mind, is always intent upon keeping it in repair, and does not put off or delay sending for masons and carpenters, till it is on the very point of tumbling about his ears. He knows that all things will decay in time, but he knows that industry and art may make it a long time first, and therefore by wise precautions he strengthens one weak place, supports another, and removes that pressure that might endanger a third ; by this means, with little labour, and without any clatter, he keeps things in tolerable order, and lives in it with ease and decency, till such time as his lease expires, and even then quits his tenement in no rotten or despicable condition."
He then goes on to speak of “ Asclepiades the Persian,” who “ looked upon a physician as ignorant of his profession who could not defend himself from diseases; and this notion he supported by his own example."-(Our author does not mention how long the Persian's patients lived.) He quotes Roger Bacon, also, in favour of long life, and extracts from Boerhaave as to the effect of vegetable odours; and, finally, refers to Pliny, regarding an Indian nation at the source of the Ganges, “ who have no mouths, but are nourished with sweet savours.
In one instance, our good Dr. Cohausen is very classical and lively. After some argument he thinks, we suppose, that it is desirable to relieve the dryness of his style with a little of the imaginative and fantastical ; and, accordingly, he puts on the robe of Plato; and thus, as he says, he enacts the Athenian.
" When the blooming Thysbe, whom the graces adorn, and the muses instruct, converses with the good old Hermippus, her youth invigorates his age, and the brisk flame that warms her heart communicates its heat to his; so often as the lovely virgin breathes, the kindly vapours fly off full of the lively spirits that swim in her purple veins ; these old Hermippus greedily drinks in, and as spirits quickly attract spirits, so they are presently' mingled with the blood of the old man. Thus the vapour, which but a moment before was expelled by the brisk beating of the heart of Thysbe, is communicated by the æther to Hermippus, and passing through his heart, serves to invigorate his blood, so that almost without a metaphor, we may say, the spirits of Thysbe give life to Hermippus. For what is there more easy to apprehend, than that the active spirits of this brisk and blooming maid should, when received from the air, thaw the frozen juices of her aged friend, and thereby give them a new force and a freer passage; and thus Hermippus possessing at once the strength his nature retains, and borrowing fresh spirits from the lovely Thysbe, what wonder that he, who enjoys two sorts of life, should live twice as long as another man?"
Leaving the fanciful now, our author proceeds to facts.