Page images

cite apprehensions for her life. She had frequent faintings, great pulsations and pains, sometimes of the head, sometimes of the feet; but the symptoms were irregular and anomalous, so as hardly to admit a definite appellation. After a confinement of a fortnight or more, the greater part of the time to her bed, she- was gradually restored to her former state of health.

As she had no cough that was fixed (though she had frequent occasional cough), nor made any complaints about her chest, I had hitherto made no particular inquiry into the state of the organs of respiration. But during her convalescence from this illness, I examined into this point minutely. I found the breath so straitened that she was unable to expand the chest, or take in a full and deep inspiration. She was un&6le at night to lie but on one side. She could not go up stairs, without stopping for want of breath. I found, also, that during the last year she had been frequently troubled with pains of the side.

These symptoms, connected with her impaired health for a twelvemonth before, will, I should think, be acknowledged to be nearly infallible signs of approaching pulmonary consumption. I therefore from this moment insisted upon her entirely relinquishing the use of animal food, and, in all other respects, conforming strictly to the regimen I recommended. Though I had failed in my attempts to cure confirmed cases, I had hopes of relieving this. Here was no fixed or confirmed cough, nor any exquisite hectic fever; the pulse was accelerated after dinner, but in the morning it was nearly natural. The regimen was entered upon strictly in December, 1808.

During the year 1809, she enjoyed a somewhat improved general state of health. She was without any serious attack of illness (unless it were temporary), and her appetite for food improved. But she still looked almost cadaverously pale. All the symptoms of the affection of the chest remained also stationary—I mean, the inability to take a full inspiration; to ascend the stairs without panting and resting; to take exercise without stopping; she could still lie down only on one side.

During the far greater part of 1810, the same symptoms persevered. She often thought herself a good deal better, but these were only transient intervals. I myself, having suffered some severe disappointments in my hopes of giving relief, became disheartened, and she frequently talked of going into the country. But toward the very end of the year the relief

[ocr errors]

became decisive. She became able to draw in her breath fully and freely; to hold it for a time after the inspiration; and she recovered the power of lying on either side without inconvenience. This was (as I have said) at the close of the year 1810, when she had used the regimen strictly for two years, and had greatly lowered her diet half a year more.

The improvement continued during the year 1811, though the marks of disease continued strongly imprinted on her features. She became much more active. She, who the year before was unable to go up stairs without panting and stopping for breath, was able this year to run up like a young healthy person. Though she was in a lower state of health than previous to her illness, she was equal to all her duties as a domestic servant. Her appetite was quite re-established, and was become strong and hearty. She was still more pallid than formerly; but the cadaverous appearance, which shocked every one who saw her, daily wore off.

During 1812 she improved still more in her looks; and, again became not void of the attractions of the sex. The health also became more firmly and regularly established. Her color, though not so strong as of a person in health, was about the same as before her illness. She was restored also to nearly the same state of constitution as before her illness. Her principal complaints were a return of the same convulsive paroxysms, to which she had been subject formerly; but these attacks were over in two or three days, and had no bad consequences.

Toward the end of September, 1812, she quitted her service rather abruptly, and went into the country. It appeared, in the sequel, that she was secretly pregnant; and she was in due season safely delivered. She now resumed the common habits of life; and I understood that in consequence her color quickly improved, and she became apparently more robust; but I have reason to think that there was no real amendment of the health. But having no opportunity of being correctly informed of her present situation, I must here close the account of the case.

I offer these facts with confidence, as convincing evidence that the symptoms of pulmonary consumption can be controlled by regimen, and its progress stopped. This is the case, in which the powers of life were the most impaired, of any in which this regimen has hitherto been applied with advantage.

November 29th, 1814.—I have lately been informed that

this young woman continues apparently in good health. I must observe, however, that no conclusions of any consequence can be drawn from this circumstance. Had she been for the two years that elapsed, since she left her place, in another service, living as servants commonly do, I have little doubt that the effect would have been apparent. But, in fact, she has been in place, not above three or four months of this time. For the remaining part of the time, she has lived with her parents, cottagers, in the country, and has been in very reduced circumstances. There can be no doubt, then, that she has used during this time little or no animal food. It may be said, therefore, that her regimen has, in part, been continued, though in an imperfect and irregular manner, during the last two years.



November, 1814.—I shall in this place introduce the case of a gentleman who has eminently distinguished himself by his exertions to diffuse the knowledge of the great benefit to be obtained from the strict attention to regimen, both through the medium of the press, and by exhibiting to all, who chose to apply, a beautiful family of children bred up, with regard to diet, on the principles I have labored to establish. These exertions were wholly disinterested on his part; and though they may have exposed him to the ridicule or the obloquy of the selfish or supercilious pretenders to exclusive knowledge, will ever, in the estimation of true philanthropy, do equal honor to his head and his heart, and entitle him to the noble distinction of a benefactor of mankind. He has already given a statement of the facts regarding his own disease, as they stood when I published my "Reports on Cancer," that is to say, in the beginning of 1809. In his own publication, entitled "The Return to Nature," he contented himself without referring to this statement. But as several unforeseen circumstances have occurred since that time, I have thought it right to bring forward at one view the whole chain of facts. In framing this statement, I shall take as my guide several letters, which are before me, some oral communications, and a few personal observations.

T. F. Newton, Esq., aged 48, became subject to asthmatic attacks at a very early period of life. The first seizure was when he was seven years old, in one of the islands of the West Indies. Soon afterward, he removed to England, and suffered only occasionally from this cause till he went to Oxford. During the whole time that he was at Christ Church College, he had repeated attacks of it, and in the night, at least, it was constantly upon him; in so much that he looked with pleasure to his return to the West Indies, in hopes of relief from the voyage. But in this he was disappointed, as from that period he was more affected, as well in the West Indian Islands as in North America, in various parts of the continent of Europe, and afterward in England.

The attacks usually continued from one week to three, during which he could not lie down in his bed, but was obliged, night after night, to rest inclined upon a table. He was not without considerable intervals of ease, and had occasionally a respite of some months; but it very seldom extended beyond three; and even during these intervals there was a constant sensation of uneasiness at the breast upon inspiration.

During the years 1804 and 1805, Mr. Newton lived in Herefordshire, and he was never more indisposed than during those years. The complaint seemed very much to increase upon him; especially in the violence of the spasmodic motion, with which, during the paroxysms, the head was precipitated to the table, on which he used to lean, whether during the day or the night. Sometimes for a week together he did not venture to lie down in bed, from apprehension of suffocation; and I am persuaded, from my own observations, that no example of this disease, not in its very last stages, could be more severe, attended with more stricture on the respiration, and turgescence about the head.

In this last year (1805), my relation, Dr. Blount, of Hereford, put into his hands my book on the Origin of Constitutional Diseases, and recommended him to adopt the use of distilled instead of common water. He never was a greater sufferer than at the time he made this change; but he found it to be immediately beneficial. The general state of health improved, and during the first two years and a half he had but twice any returns of asthma. These attacks were sharp, but of very short duration.

Mr. Newton was fully convinced that this attention alone would be enough to preserve his health; and hoped that in time the disposition to asthma would, without any other pre

caution, wear off. But I had seen enough of the fallacy of these expectations to indulge in such hopes. I assured him repeatedly that unless he attended strictly to the whole of the regimen he would be ultimately disappointed.

Therefore, at length, after many scruples, and no small apprehension of injury, he resolved to join to his attention to the fluids a strict vegetable regimen. The immediate motive to this was, I believe, a respect and confidence in my opinion; though I apprehend that a feeling and consciousness that his health was not in a firm state concurred in determining his resolution. He began greatly to diminish the quantity of animal food toward the close of 1807, and became very strict about the beginning of the following summer (1808).

For three years and upward after this, Mr. Newton had very little asthma. Three or four paroxysms came on which were, for the time they lasted, as severe as any he ever suffered; but they passed off very quickly, causing a confinement of two or three days only.

But the health was at this time in a very precarious and even critical state. The pulse was commonly very rapid, sometimes rising even to 120 strokes in the minute. There was frequently great quickness of respiration, with copious mucous defluxions; and through the first and second winters he kept himself principally within doors, being afraid to expose himself to the cold, and particularly to the damps of the evening. But though often indisposed, and in a valetudinary condition, the health gradually and progressively amended under the vegetable reginen.

Toward the end of May, 1811, Mr. Newton began to feel indisposed; the lungs became loaded with phlegm; there was a sensation of heaviness about the head, and excessive itching about the eyes. Going up stairs caused great breathliness and uneasiness. After two or three uneasy nights he experienced a very severe attack of asthma, which began on the 2d of June. The head was drawn spasmodically forward, as in the former paroxysms, the pulse was so quick as scarcely to be counted, the feet swelled, and at night there was a disposition to idle talking, which must be deemed a species of mild delirium, though he was in a measure conscious of it. The stricture on the breath was great, but the respiration was more free than in the former severe fits. He could not, however, enter a bed for six nights. Then the paroxysm appeared to be fast declining. But it returned again with nearly as much violence as at first. For the greater part of another fortnight he passed his nights upright

« PreviousContinue »