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Health, or, How to Live

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    PHYSICAL DEGENERACY

    WE copy the following from the Maine Farmer.HHTL 347.1

    When editors, physicians and ministers, begin to see the physical degeneracy of our world, and to speak out as they ought on the subject, the people will awake. Too many, we say it in sorrow, do not undertake the business of thinking for themselves. They trust it to their minister, their doctor, or their editor. Hence, the importance that these should be right. But woe to them, if the people get right first.HHTL 347.2

    We would call attention to the following communication upon physical degeneracy. It is a subject of the first importance to the community. There can be no doubt, that the rising generation are not so robust — and not so healthy, as those that have preceded them. The cause, to our mind, is obvious. We have departed from the simple habits, and laid aside too much the athletic exercises of our ancestors. And in proportion as we have so departed, are we visited with debilities and disorders, which weaken and derange the system. Simple diet, and plenty of exercise in the open air, is what nature requires. Deprive her of this, and she deprives you of the energy, elasticity and activity of frame and of mind, for the mind is more or less influenced by the health of the body. We highly appreciate the efforts which some physiologists are making to bring back society to those simple and frugal habits, which can alone insure that vigor and capability to endure hardships, which as a people we ought to possess. The evil is not confined to one sex — both alike, are guilty of the errors which are bringing about the degeneracy of which we speak, and perhaps the ladies carry things to greater extremes than the gentlemen. At any rate, they are more addicted to tea and coffee intemperance.HHTL 347.3

    What is to become of the world? exclaimed a worthy woman to us not long since. There is not a young girl of my acquaintance, continued she, that is learning to spin or weave, and a great many of them think it a disgrace to be seen at the wash-tub. For my part, I think, said she, the rising generation will be more idle and effeminate than the present, and if they are, the Lord have mercy upon them. We could not help smiling at the good woman’s earnest exclamations — but there is too much truth in her remarks.HHTL 348.1

    MR. HOLMES: In the 19th number of the current volume, there is an original article, entitled “Physical Degeneracy” in which the writer lays down the fact incontestably that there is a manifest degeneracy, in regard to the physical powers of the people of the present age. No man can open his eyes and look about him and examine the bills of mortality, without acknowledging this fact.HHTL 348.2

    The writer asks a number of questions, and calls loudly on you to answer them. I have not seen your answer. As a medical man, I think it was your duty to have answered them. But as you have neglected to do it, I have thought it my duty to say something by way of answer. I do not propose, or expect to give all the causes, and perhaps not a hundredth part of them. It is a subject that concerns all classes of the community and should engage the attention of the whole people, for it is a melancholy fact, that the bills of mortality, show that too many have died that belonged to the middle-aged.HHTL 348.3

    Is not one cause, a neglect of that coarse, plain, but substantial diet and clothing, and the industrious habits used and practiced before the American Revolution?HHTL 348.4

    The present system of high living, which is now becoming fashionable, is not such as is dictated by nature, nor is it such as you would prescribe for your horse or for your hog. Why do you not provoke their appetites by all the niceties of cookery, with mixtures of sweet, and salt, and sour, and pepper, and spice etc., etc. You dare not risk your horse under such treatment. Yet you do risk yourselves, and are anxious to risk yourselves and families under such a regimen. You encourage cooks to vie with each other, in making mixtures of food to please the palate and lure to destruction.HHTL 348.5

    The tyrant fashion prompts to the practice of these follies. There is not moral courage enough to stand against the pressure of public opinion in this respect, although it is bringing misery upon us. One does it, another must, and such has been the blind deference paid to the dictates of this spirit, and so guilty is every one in regard to it, that the stage, the press and the pulpit have refrained from attacking it as they ought. But very few have dared to lift up their voices against it, and they have been hissed at, and stigmatized by the names of Grahamites, cold-waterites, etc., etc.HHTL 349.1

    We are not the first nation, Mr. Editor, that has gone the same path to destruction.HHTL 349.2

    The sins, says the prophet, of the cities of the plain were fullness of bread and idleness. Effeminacy and luxury destroyed Rome, when all the arms of the surrounding nations could not do it in their primitive days, and when they did not number a quarter so many as when they bowed to the yoke after the days of the Emperors.HHTL 349.3

    Alexander the Great, while practicing the plain and simple rules of temperance, was invincible to all the toils of war, but was finally conquered by giving way to his own appetite.HHTL 349.4

    A vitiated public opinion, backed by intemperance and gluttony, must be stronger and more invincible than Goliah with all his armor. In vain may the gospel be preached — in vain may we remonstrate with a man besotted by gluttony and other species of intemperance. The man is gone, irretrievably gone, there is, there can be no hope, unless we first make a rational man, as it regards diet and regimen — and sound in the principles of temperance in all things.HHTL 349.5

    Are not our temperance societies and papers very much to blame for not occupying the whole ground. — Some give themselves up to appetites. They say that they have but one life to live, and I am determined to enjoy that. What sort of enjoyment can a glutton or a drunkard have? What sort of enjoyment does an idle spendthrift have? If they will not be reclaimed — if they will hurry on to death, let them die, for the world loses nothing by their death, but when a rational, sane, and good man, drops off prematurely, the world sustains a loss indeed.HHTL 349.6

    There might be many other causes mentioned which aid in producing the degeneracy of which we complain. But we have named the principal and chief cause. It is time to pause and look around for the remedy. Look back to our forefathers and practice the simple habit which they did.HHTL 350.1

    Study well written books on dietetics — make the preservation of your health a religious study. Learn to conquer your passions as you go through this world. All good people have made it a duty so to do. I would recommend a total shift of habits from those practiced at the present day, as the only remedy. It is a subject of the first earthly importance, for if health be lost, what of a worldly nature can be enjoyed, and even the mind will suffer, when burdened with an enfeebled body. Woman! thou arbiter of Fashion, I call upon you to assist in this reform. Do you wish to be widows? But widows, a greater or less number of you must be, unless there shall be a change of habits of life. This will appear abundantly evident, if you examine the cause and see how many middle aged men have died, who have left families either destitute, or without a guide and protector. And this mortality, I contend, is brought about by foolish and unpardonable indulgence in the fashions of the day. — Health Journal.HHTL 350.2

    PORES OF THE SKIN. — Besides the mouths of these little oil glands, many anatomists have considered the skin — and the cuticle of course — as pierced with little openings called pores, almost innumerable. Some have reckoned them at 1,000,000 to every square inch. — Others, deny all this. But one thing is very certain, which is, that what we call sweat, or the accumulated perspiration of the body, when it becomes abundant, is constantly escaping through the skin and its cuticle, in the form of a thick mist or fog, as we may see by holding a bright mirror close to it, which will immediately become tarnished. Or, if we sit where the sun shines across us, upon a wall, we can see the shadow of the mist which ascends from us rising like a sheet of thin smoke upon the wall.HHTL 350.3

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