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Surely, a stronger proof cannot be given of the baleful and depressing effects of luxury upon the human character; how much it benumbs the faculties and stifles the embryo genius; how much it emasculates the spirit, and paralyzes the best energies of body and mind.
I do not doubt that the great ornament of our island, our immortal Shakspeare, ate flesh daily. Nor do I see what this proves but that among all the flesh eaters the genius of Shakspeare was the most transcendent. But he, who understood human nature the best perhaps of all the sons of men, was not ignorant that luxury debased the intellect: for he said
“Fat paunches have lean pates; and dainty bits
Love's Labors Lost. No one is ignorant that an increased portion of animal food is often prescribed in disease, as is asserted, with great success. I have already remarked upon what I deem this great abuse, and the fallacy by which it is commonly supported. I shall defer what I have to say of its alleged use in scrofula to another part of these papers; and shall here content myself with some observations on its supposed utility in diabetes, and one or two other cursory observations.
The treatment of this disease by a rigid abstinence from vegetables is said to have been first suggested by Dr. Home; but the practice was introduced by Dr. Rollo, with the assistance of Mr. Cruikshank, at Greenwich Hospital, about the year 1796. Dr. Rollo professed to have cured one case by this method, but in a second of longer standing he failed. However, the practice was for a time universally imitated, and various examples of its efficacy have been given. Many examples of its failure have also occurred. The method of treatment has been extolled by some as a most important discovery. One of Dr. Rollo's friends pronounced it to be “another triumph to the pneumatic physicians, which blends with it relief to human misery hitherto incurable.” Dr. Latham has also spoken of it in his treatise on diabetes, in language equally warm.
It must be observed, however, that various examples of this disease being cured or subsiding spontaneously have been related by medical writers; and the methods employed have been occasionally the very opposite to this used by Dr. Rollo. Willis, who was the first that observed the sweetness of the urine in this disease, relates the case of the nobleman who recovered from it two or three times by a milk diet, and the use of some any further measure than a strict enforcement of temperance and abstinence. All certainly can not.
There can be no doubt, then, that animal food is unfavorable to the intellectual powers. In some measure this effect is in stantaneous, it being hardly possible to apply to any thing requiring thought after a full meal of meat; so that is has bee not improperly said of the vegetable feeders, that with them is morning all day long. But its effect is not confined to t' immediate impression. As well as the senses, the memory, t understanding, and the imagination, have been observed improve by a vegetable diet.
Notwithstanding those palpable and well-known observatio I see it is asked, in a tone of triumph, Whether it is poss that the species of food which has formed a Fox and a ] can be unfavorable to the production of talent? Why did the writer (see Dr. Rees's Encyclopedia, Article Man) who used this argument carry it to its full extent, and provet plentiful use of the bottle does not injure the intellect? 1 is well known that one of those illustrious men indulged freely in his daily potations; nor was the other, I believ markable for his temperance. But was it ever asserted the use of animal food absolutely extinguished talent, a duced all men to idiotcy? or that it affected all alike, no difference of talent can be observed among those w it? Animal food, it is obvious, excites and stimulates time the whole nervous system; and as some under its ini are able to perform prodigious feats of strength, so other perhaps, be excited to intellectual exertions equally gising to But such phenomena do not prove that animal food pre deal either healthy strength, or healthy intellect.*
I think it might be asked, with much more reason, ho pens it that the families of the whole body of the British could produce but one Fox and one Pitt to head the con parties of our senate ? how happens it that the same bo GTI produced not one man, no, not one, who is the acknow therm inheritor of the talents of these illustrious statesmen s the one; though the prize of successful exertion is the mos
a more did that can be proposed to honorable ambition—the the dignities, and honors of the first empire of the son of
si me pre* The habits of Milton, it is said, were what would be being a termed austere. He was abstemious in diet, chaste, an early industrious. He tells us that a lyrist may indulge in wine and life, but that he who would write an epic to the nations must and drink water.-S.
yer ald whether
tions of the stomach, that she was often under the necessity of giving up every kind of vegetable food; even the best fermented bread became uneasy; so much so that her diet has been for weeks solely of an animal nature. I saw her once under these circumstances, when she had many symptoms of the scurvy, such as spongy gums, livid spots on her arms and legs, etc. At this time she lost one or two of her teeth; but the indigestion wore off, and she ate pot herbs for some time without any inconvenience.”—Potter, on Scurvy, p. 36.
We see, then, that though this lady suffered less pain of the stomach from animal food, the abstaining from vegetables still injured the system, and produced deep scorbutic symptoms. It is, therefore, highly probable, that this lady lost more than she gained by the plan she pursued; and that it would have been better for her to have suffered the pain, than to have purchased ease in the manner she did.
It has been said, that the great fondness that men have for animal food is proof enough that nature intended them to eat it; as if men were not fond of wine, ardent spirits, and other things, which cut short their days; as if the Russians were not fond of tallow; the Esquimaux of train oil; and savages (I might say, perhaps, some of our own vulgar) of blood, entrails, and all sorts of garbage, the thoughts of which sicken a civilized man. The raw and almost putrid flesh of the seal is the delight of the Pesserais of the Tierra del Fuego; and of this the rank fat is to their taste the most delicious part.
But those who think that a simple declaration of their liking a thing is a sufficient apology for the use of it, I would beg to consider whether it is not an argument that proves a great deal too much. A savage has been seen to gnaw a bone of a human body with just as much relish as we suck a bone of mutton. Forster says, “ In the province of Matto-grosso, in Brazil, a woman told his excellency, Chevalier Pinto, who was then governor, that human flesh was extremely palatable, especially if taken from a young person. And during the last dearth in Germany, a shepherd killed first a young person, to satisfy the cravings of hunger with his flesh, and afterward several more, in order to please his luxurious palate.” Mar. as good as the flesh of the ox or the hog: Swift, on which he has grounded his "? venting the children of poor people burden to their parents or connk viz., “that a young healthy ob & most delicious, nourish