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have seen ascribed to the sudden discontinuance of animal food, by writers who either reason at random, or who draw hasty inferences from a partial view of facts. The charge is so obviously groundless, that it is not worth while to enter into a formal refutation of it. Nothing, however, is more certain than that palsies have taken place in persons who were living on a vegetable diet. Besides the common experience of the poor, who can claim no exemption from these diseases, direct evidence has been given of this fact, by persons who have adopted a diet of this kind. For example, Dr. Desaguliers is recorded to have had a paralytic attack, after he had used a vegetable diet for ten months. And I have seen myself, in the course of the present year (1813), a woman affected very nearly as the subject of the present case, that is to say, with the cheek paralytic, and unable to close the eyelids of the same side. This woman, from the necessity of her circumstances, did not use animal food above once a week; and her palsy therefore could, with no degree of probability, be ascribed to it. We must look then to other causes of these diseases.
17th December, 1814.-I understand that this lady continues in improved health ; but I have not been able to see her for some months.
Tumor of the Arm.
230 November, 1814.-A medical gentleman, aged thirtyseven, has had for a number of years a tumor on one of his fore-arms, which had caused great uneasiness. It was at first not larger than a pin's head, but gradually, in the course of years, has increased to the size of a small pea, and was so exquisitely painful that he could not bear it to be touched. There was also much shooting, and other uneasiness through it. independent of external violence. It appeared after he had grown up, but while he was a very young man.
This gentleman adopted this regimen, but from other motives, in the year 1809. His health improved very greatly under it; but for the whole first year, there was no sensible change in the sensations of the tumor. It was equally sensible to the touch, and had the same shooting pains. But at the expiration
of the twelvemonth, or thereabouts, it became greatly soothed, and finally it ceased to give pain, except very trifling, occasionally, and it became much less tender to the touch.
In its appearance, this little tumor remains unchanged. He thinks it has increased a little in size; but so little, that perhaps he is mistaken. It is still no larger than a pea.
Though this little highly painful and irritable tumor is well known to the surgeons, and occasionally extirpated, I cannot find that they give it any specific name, which must be my apology for the general appellation given to this case.
This gentleman adopted the regimen for the sake of his health, which had been very considerably deranged for some years. I shall only say, in general, that it has very much improved in consequence. But I do not think the symptoms sufficiently definite to make it proper to relate them minutely.
On this subject, I have heard him assert that for two years before he changed his diet, his spirits were so low that he was unable to smile. It is no new observation, that vegetable diet has been useful in melancholic disorders. A case is given by Dr. Lobb, of a gouty pain of the stomach, with flatulency and melancholia, cured by vegetable diet. The disorder yielded in a few months, but the regimen had been continued fifteen years.
He has also been in the habit of illustrating the superiority of this regimen by saying, that the difference of comfort, experienced between it and the common mode of life, is quite as great as what persons experience between the common mode of life and directly riotous living. At the same time he acknowledges that, for the pleasure of the palate, the common mode of living bears the palm. It may however be doubted whether this be not the mere consequence of habit.
SOME REMARKS ON SCROFULA.
The observations I have been enabled to make on this disease are not numerous. Diseases termed scrofulous are for the most part external, and fall principally under the care of surgeons. The more common form of the disease, marked by tumors or ulcers about the throat, however disagreeable or tormenting, is aot a dangerous complaint. The stamina in such a disease may be strong; the disease often subsides entirely; and the patient may live healthy for many years. On this account, such subjects can bear animal food and fermented liquors; and the current of prejudice is too strong in favor of this practice to afford any chance at present of a successful resistance to it. Of the more serious affections, terminating in death or mutilation, and which are the fit objects of this regimen, I have not obtained any proper examples. . Serofula frequently takes place in children who are confined nearly to vegetable food. It is, therefore, one of the evils charged by superficial observers upon this species of food. In order not to withhold from my reader some of the most confident assertions which I have met with on this subject, I shall here insert an extract from a work of Dr. Beddoes, which, I suspect, has had no small influence in forming the present state of public opinion.
When children are fed,” says Dr. Beddoes, “ on vegetables, with little or no admixture of animal food, they die in great numbers of scrofulous affections. In the families of the poor, who cannot command better aliment, this is one principal cause of mortality; and in the families of the rich, who in consequence of the erroneous medical notions, sometimes will not allow a proper proportion of animal food, scrofula often takes place (though in a slighter degree, for it is checked by other circumstances), and the foundation of consumption is laid. There are (as a writer of superior merit on the king's evil observes), among the higher classes, some who keep their children to the fifth, or even the seventh year, upon a strict vegetable and milk diet, believing that they thus render the constitution signal service. I have, however, frequently pointed out to parents, whom I have heard boasting of the advantages of this management, either an enlarged abdomen, or some other sign of an incipient scrofulous indisposition, which has convinced them that their children were far from being so healthy as they supposed. . In our temperate latitudes, a diet of this kind is certainly not proper after the age of two years. Where a feelle constitution coincides with hereditary disposition to scrofula, or rickets, tender meat and soups are particularly serviceable. Dr. Weikard perfectly agrees with me in opinion. He observes, that children brought up according to the fashion of the great (without animal food) are particularly liable to rickets. Dr. Kuempf attests, that by animal diet he has restored a great variety of children, who had been dreadfully reduced by
water-gruel, milk, and vegetables. Dr. Vogel also asserts, that animal food is falsely held to be a cause of atrophy, and that children, from whom such food is withheld, oftener fall into an atrophy than those to whom it is allowed. (C. G. T. Kortum de vitus scrophulosis. I. 3. 50.) These testimonies may be received with fuller assurance, because in other respects the authors are strongly disposed in favor of that theory, which still not unfrequently deludes English parents with the false hope of rendering the blood of their children pure, and their humors mild, by millet pudding, and by other preparations of vegetable substances in over-proportion.”
It is no wonder that, with such strong assertions as these staring them in the face, parents should be terrified at the thoughts of confining their children to vegetable food ; and should apprehend that they were inflicting an irreparable injury on the dearest objects of their affection. These are the doctrines, which, coming from what has been thought the best authority, pass from mouth to mouth, and have excited such an hostility to simple nutriment. It is therefore incumbent on me to examine a little the validity of this accusation.
“When children are fed on vegetables, with little or no admixture of animal food, they die in great numbers of scrofulous affections." It is difficult to disprove assertions to which we cannot attach definitè ideas. Scrofulous affections are commonly external disorders, unattended with danger. What diseases Dr. Beddoes understood by this term, is not very clear; I will suppose, however, fatal chronical diseases attended with ulcerations, or abscesses, as lumbar abscess, psoas abscess, white swelling, etc.
Now, Dr. Watt has given us (annexed to his treatise on chincough) a register of all the deaths of children to the age of ten years at Glasgow, for thirty years. The diseases are arranged under the following heads : Small-pox, Measles, Chincough, Stopping, Water in the Head, Teething, Bowelhives, Still-born. I cannot find here a single head under which these fatal “scrofulous affections” can be properly included. Though, certainly, some such diseases must in thirty years have occurred, and even not unfrequently, and we may therefore allow that these bills are defective, yet it is equally evident that such cases must have formed a small proportion indeed of the mass of mortality in childhood.
The London bills of mortality give as little countenance to this assertion. Let us take a single year: it shall be the first that offers, namely, the years 1795 and 1796, which are the
first found in Dr. Willan's “Reports on the diseases of London.” The whole mortality of London, from the 22d of De. cember, 1795, to the 17th of December, 1796, stated in the bills, is 18,664.* Of these there are stated to have died of abscess, twenty-one; sores, four; evil, five; ulcers, two; rickets, one: total, thirty-three. These are the only heads, out of this great mass of mortality, under which fatal “scrofulous affections” can be arranged. Of this whole mortality of London, two thirds of the deaths take place before sixteen years of age. We see, therefore, how small a proportion of the diseases of early life are fatal “scrofulous affections.”
I look in vain for a private authority for the support for this assertion. Dr. Woolcombe has given a catalogue of nearly 5000 patients, admitted at the Plymouth public dispensary, for near seven years. In this long catalogue there are found, arthropuosis, ope; hydrarthus, ten; rachitis, nineteen ; scrofula, forty-one. Of chese cases, one under the head of rachitis is marked as having been fatal. If it were true, that “great numbers of children die of this sort of disorders, we should certainly have some vestiges of the fact, either in public or in private records.
In opposition to the accusation of vegetable diet causing tumefaction of the abdomen, I must testify that, twice in my own family, I have seen such swellings disappear under a vegetable regimen, which had been formed under a diet of animal food. I must refer to pp. 161 and 166 of this work. These facts I cannot but regard as entitled to infinitely more attention than any observations on the poor, who are addicted to many depraved habits, and exposed to complicated causes of disease.
We may judge from these facts, how idle and ill grounded these apprehensions really are. But the general charge of vegetable diet causing scrofulous disease must be allowed so much weight, as to amount to a demonstration, that it has often been observed under such a diet; and, in consequence, that such a diet has of itself no tendency to cure it. In the last four years, several cases of glandular swellings have occurred to me at the general dispensary; and I have made particular inquiries into the mode of living of such children. In the majority they had animal food. In one child, of under
* In the same work, the total number of deaths, in the year 1796, is stated at 19,228. (See Willan on the diseases of London, p. 58.) There must be an error, therefore, in the number given above ; but it does not affect the argument.