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in a chair, or leaning on a pillow placed on a table. The pulse continued accelerated, and the ankles swelled, the eyes inflamed, and the whole habit appeared extremely turgescent. Walking ten yards caused much fatigue, and brought on shortness of breath. But about the 21st or 22d of the month the expectoration became free and copious, a mild diarrhoea supervened, and all the symptoms subsided. He continued in a weak but convalescent state for a month or six weeks, when he was restored to health.
An attack of this kind, after having submitted to the most rigid abstemiousness upward of three years, was enough to shake the confidence of any man who had not the most firm conviction that he was doing the only thing that gave him a chance of ever enjoying health. But Mr. Newton was conscious of having received great benefit from his abstinence. He argued also from the state of his children, and said "That regimen must be the best which produces such health and strength as are visible in them." He therefore persevered in his habits with unabated zeal, and I am happy to say he has received the due reward of his confidence and perseverance; for though he appeared thin and meagre, he had for ten months very good health; and, as I heard him say, now for the first time during twenty years he passed a winter wholly free from his old disorder. He was not only without asthmatic paroxysms, but without any material difficulty of respiration.
But the following June, 1812, brought back at the very same period a relapse of the disorder. The general features of the paroxysm very nearly resembled that of the preceding year, and its duration was about as long. But it was by no means so violent at its access, and he recovered from it with much more facility. As soon as the disease had passed through its usual stages, he felt well. It was also preceded by little or no indisposition. During this attack the pulse was much accelerated; at one time it mounted to 118 strokes in the minute, and was rather strong and full.
Another respite as perfect as the former succeeded, in which for eleven months Mr. Newton enjoyed perfectly good health, free from asthma and other serious illness; and he adhered to his regimen with greater strictness, if possible, than ever. Often has he made his dinner on a little fruit, dried raisins, bread, and three or four potatoes; and upon this strict course of abstinence has found no defect of strength or nutrition. On the contrary, the symptoms with which he has been occasionally affected have been accompanied with marks of plenitude and oppression.
The same month of June, both in 1813 and 1814, and very nearly the same day, brought back the asthmatic paroxysms. But that of 1813 was very mild. Though the disease hung upon him for a month, the confinement to the house was not above five days. He had again an interval of eleven months of very good health. In the paroxysm of 1814 I did not see him, Mr. Newton having quitted London. But from the account he sent me of it, it was more severe than during either of the two former years. It lasted also five weeks. Since that time lie has been, and is, comfortable in health.
I would observe, as a point of pathology, that the swelling of the legs in this case has not been an anasarcous or dropsical swelling. The whole tumefaction has been tense and elastic, not yielding or pitting.
It is necessary, in order to form a fair judgment (f this case, to pass in review its most striking points. They are shortly these. Mr. Newton began to use distilled water in 1805, and adopted the complete regimen in 1808. From this period of 1805 to June, 1811, he had, upon the whole, very little asthma, hardly a singular regular fit of any duration; and we were persuaded that the disease was in a manner eradicated. But to our disappointment, and in a certain degree to our mortification, there has been, now for four years, an annual paroxysm, declining upon the whole, but not quite uniformly, in severity. It has regularly come on in the month of June, which whole month it occupies, and encroaches a little upon July. Such is its present habit, and such we may suppose that for the present it will continue. I shall briefly attempt to explain these phenomena.
First, it must be allowed, that the great freedom from asthma, for near six years, was not entirely due to his regimen. Diseases we know will change their forms. Asthma will end in consumption, hydrothorax, dropsy, disease of the heart, or other fatal maladies. It is obvious from the delicacy of Mr. Newton's frame, and the great severity of his disease, that he is not formed, under common habits, for long life. I am therefore satisfied that there was, about the time that Mr. Newton adopted a change of habit, some secret constitutional change which concurred with his diet to keep off the asthmatic paroxysms.
The records of medicine are full of such examples, which, gave occasion to much fallacy and false experience. I shall mention one which lately came under my own observation. An elderly gentlewoman was seized, in the month of June, 1814, with a paralytic disorder. She informed me that she had been subject for a great many winters to a cough, attended with copious expectoration. But during the preceding winter, though the most rigid that had been experienced for many years, she was wholly without her cough. It would be easy to collect numerous analogous facts, which indicate a change to have taken place in the habits of the constitution, unaccompanied by active disease, or any evident external signs.
Now, secondly, we have seen in the first case which has been related that gout, which had been many years latent, and, as it were, dormant in the constitution, became active and evident, producing its proper symptoms of pains and lameness, as the first effect of the vegetable regimen. I am, therefore, further satisfied that in Mr. Newton's case something similar, though less obvious, took place, and that the first effect of the vegetable regimen was to re-establish the asthmatic paroxysms. Whatever is a person's habitual disease, is to that person, relatively, a state of health; and such disease cannot disappear without an evidently sufficient cause, without a suspicion that it will be followed by something worse. If therefore the hypothesis be just, it must follow that this re-establishment of the regular asthmatic paroxysms was the sign of an improved state of the constitution.
If it be asked, finally, what this gentleman has really gained by his strict course of temperance and abstinence, I answer that, 1st. Life has been prolonged, and that, probably, several years. If I am right in supposing that there was a constitutional change about the year 1805, we may calculate that there have been five or six years, at least, already gained. It is impossible, however, to demonstrate this, and therefore I shall not dwell upon it. 2d. Instead of being an habitual invalid, Mr. Newton has enjoyed several years of relative comfort and good health, using much exercise, and walking occasionally several miles in the day. His frame is delicate; his pulse habitually too rapid. He furnishes another example of its being impossible to reduce the pulse to its natural standard by regimen. 3d. Instead of being the constant victim of asthma, rarely escaping a paroxysm for three months, Mr. Newton has had but one annual paroxysm for the last four years, besides the interval of almost total cessation for five previously. Those advantages he deems an abundant compensation for all the deprivations which sensualists may suppose he has imposed upon himself.
I cannot withhold offering in this place a conjecture with
regard to the regular recurrence of the asthmatic paroxysm at the same period of the year, which has occurred now for four successive years.
I suppose that it is allowed that the lungs themselves ar« the primary seat of the disease; and I will suppose further that the membrane investing the bronchiae and the air vesicles of the lungs is the part immediately affected. It must be presumed that this membrane is liable to the same sort of diseases as the other membranes of the body; but the consequences will depend upon the particular situation and functions of the part.
Now among other affections of membranes there is one which, though not very obvious, is not often adverted to; it is that there takes place a species of exfoliation or sloughing; the membrane is destroyed, it is thrown off, and is regenerated. This whole process, of course, takes up some time, during which there must, of necessity, be a derangement of the functions, and i suffering of the individual.
We see this phenomenon on the external surface of the body; the epidermis peels off; and occasionally preserves its continuity, and the form of the part which it invested. It comes off the hand or foot like a glove or stocking. At other times it separates in flakes, which is a daily occurrence. But the intestinal evacuations give us more frequent and incontestible evidence of the same fact. Every one must have observed, occasionally, membranes evacuated preserving the form of the intestine. It is much more common at the close of a diarrhoea to observe a number of flakes, or films, floating in the liquid matter of the stool. This is commonly the solution and termination of the disease. These films can be nothing else than an exfoliation of the internal or mucous membrane of the intestine.
It can hardly be doubted that the stomach itself is subject to a similar affection, though it is not possible to ascertain the fact by ocular proof. A person is seized with a constant vomiting, rejecting every thing which is taken into it, which lasts perhaps a month or six weeks. It will-then cease, as it were, spontaneously, and be no more heard of. What rational account can be given of such a phenomenon, unless it be what I have often suspected to be the fact, that the internal coat of the stomach exfoliates, and is regenerated?
I have had reason to suspect that the bladder is occasionally subject to a similar affection; and, in general, that none of the mucous surfaces are exempt from it.
We may readily transfer these observations to the mucous membrane lining the bronchiae. It gives, I think, a more rational account of most of the phenomena of .the astnmatic paroxysms than any pretended spasm upon the vessels or membranes. It accounts also, not inaptly, for the regular return of the disease. We know that the vital powers of all newly formed parts are weak. It is therefore easily conceivable that, under whatever circumstances the membrane has once perished and been regenerated, the same phenomena will recur under similar circumstances. It may be supposed to have received the same sort or quantity of vital power, as the horns of the stag, or the skin of the snake. It is enough, however, to have thrown out the idea.
As Mr. Newton has himself informed the public that he has introduced this regimen, which I recommend to the valetudinarians, as the regular habit of his family, and has at the same time announced the complete success of the experiment at the period of his publication, I need say no more than that he has continued to follow the same course now for nearly four more years, and that the result has continued to be completely satisfactory. More perfect and even robust health was never displayed among any set of young people. The female head of the family, to whose spirit, independence, and intelligence much of the emancipation from the yoke of vulgar and destructive prejudices must be ascribed, enjoys an activity of mind and body rarely equaled in her sex. Our feeble and delicate countrywomen will perhaps be shocked when they learn that this lady, bred up in habits as delicate and luxurious as the most sensitive of themselves, has been enabled, during the course of this present year, to walk thirty miles in one day. She has a high color, and is full of flesh. Such are the real mischiefs, and such the debility, which are the consequences of a vegetable regimen, when used by persons of good health and of sound constitutions.
Since the publication of Mr. Newton's work, another child has been added to his family, who is now three years old, and who has been dieted on the same plan. This child, like the others, is distinguished for health, vigor, and beauty.
Among this family of five children, there has been during eight years one example of an external disease. It was my wish and intention to give a detail of the circumstances; but I am prevented by injunctions with which I feel it necessary to comply. I must content myself, therefore, with saying that it continued some months, and then ceased. During its course, the general health continued perfect. We order regimen, as was properly remarked by a professional gentleman, who was a