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not even in the first stages of existence, if the powers of life are greatly sunk, is it possible to restore them; the principle of conservation may be, by care, cherished and prolonged for a short time; but it will then sink and be finally extinguished.
These facts prove no more than the importance of prudence and foresight in the conduct of life. I cannot, therefore, too earnestly impress the necessity of attempting to extinguish, as far as it is possible, the germ and embryo of future disease. To distinguish the signs of distant mischief is often in the power more of the enlightened parent, guardian, or friend than of the regular professional adviser. I consign, therefore, these my labors to the reflections of the discerning and benevolent few. To the mass of mankind, absorbed in selfish pursuits, or struggling to ward off poverty, I expect them to remain unknown, or if known, to be ungrateful. But I hope they will meet with a better fate in the domestic circle of retired persons, whose rule of life is to practice what is fundamentally right; to do their duty to themselves, to their relatives, to their fellow-creatures, and so to obtain the approbation of their own consciences, and the favor of the great Author of their being. If among these respectable circles it disseminates the knowledge of great practical truths, and produce the proper fruits of knowledge—more just principles, more rational manners, and an increase of solid comfort, my end will be fully answered.
VEGETABLE DIET IN WHITESTOWN SEMINARY, NEAR UTICA, NEW YORK.
Mant people suppose that obtaining an education is necessarily attended with much expense, and that consequently none but the richer classes can be benefited by it. This is, however, a mistake. Almost any person may, by adopting a plain vegetable diet, attend school as long as desirable, with but very little pecuniary means; and in so doing he will enjoy better health, and accomplish more within a given time than those who adopt an opposite course.
At Whitestown Seminary, near Utica, N. Y., a considerable number of students obtain their education on the above plan. I spent a year at that place, commencing with the winter term in the month of December, 184V. There were from 150 to 200 students there, of both sexes, and from all parts of the United States.
The inmates had the privilege of either boarding in the boarding-house kept in one of the buildings, or of furnishing their own food in their separate rooms. The larger number chose the latter plan. The price for board in the boarding-house was $1 25 per week for those who drank tea and coffee, and $1 for those who took only water. The food furnished was very good, though plain. Flesh meat was given, I believe, once a day. The number who drank tea and coffee was very small, the most either caring nothing about it, or wishing to save the twentyfive cents a week.
On an average it cost those who boarded themselves about fifty cents per week, though some lived for considerable less. They would use bakers' bread, crackers, apples, and the like, and roasted potatoes, and such cakes and other articles as they could cook themselves on the stove top, in an oven attached to the pipe. Tea and coffee, were never used, I believe, and meat very seldom. It was found to be very unpleasant cooking, and working with it, and disagreeable to have it in the rooms, which were small; and others from experience had found they were better without animal food.
There were a few, however, who did not live far off, that brought their provisions from home—flesh meat, butter, cakes, pies, and rich food generally, such as is used by farmers in that fertile country. It was evident that among these there was more dullness, more illness and complaining, than among all the rest put together.
Many at the beginning of the term, for the saving of time and trouble, would live altogether on such articles as they could get at the bakers and stores, which were of course generally of the finer kinds, for coarse bread and crackers could not be had. But before a long time they would grow tired of these fine things, much sooner than those who partook of the plainer articles of their own cooking, and they would then resort to the latter plan.
Fine flour was found much more difficult to make into eatable articles, by unexperienced cooks, than the coarser kinds of meal, so it was but little used, and the students never felt as well after eating it. Corn meal was the easiest to prepare, and was the most used; and a person would live longer on it, made into different kinds of cakes and puddings, than upon any other one thing without becoming tired of it; it was also the cheapest article to be found on which a person could subsist.
Butter, molasses, sugar, and other sweets were generally used to a moderate extent, but they were sometimes even omitted. It was found that the less variety they had, and the longer they lived on a few plain, simple articles, the less desire there was to eat too much; and nothing could be eaten with a greater relish than when the fewest articles were taken at a time.
A few of us, for the sake of trying an experiment, lived for several weeks on simple Indian corn cake, of our own baking, without butter or salt. We found in so doing that there was no part of the time in which we felt as well, or could study more than during this experiment. There was no time that we ate with a better relish, and had less desire for rich food. It cost about eighteen cents a week.
Although most of the students would usually study a great deal by candle-light—all the time at night except what was absolutely necessary for sleep—sore and weak eyes were nearly or altogether unknown. Weak eyes is a very common complaint in some schools, where the students live in a different manner in regard to diet. Although the climate was severe, colds, I think, were not so common as in most other places. The cure for many, when they got a cold, was to lessen the quantity of food and bathe more in cold water, and it was not long that a cold could withstand the effects of abstemiousness and water-treatment.
In the winter season many got into the habit of taking but very little exercise. Some perhaps would not walk half a mile a day on an average, and take no other exercise, and yet all appeared to go on well enough, certainly much better than with people generally who take so little exercise. The cause of this must have been, I think, the mode of living adopted.
In the summer season most of the students worked habitually three or four hours each day for exercise. Gardening and other farm work of the kind could always be obtained at a short distance from the seminary, in the summer season. The pay was from six to eight cents an hour. By working this way during the odd hours and holidays, many were able to clear all their expenses, attend school a year or two, and then leave with as much money as they brought with them. They felt better, and could study more, than those who did not work.
In the summer term there were two or three who, from an excess of vanity, would not labor with their hands at all. And they would neither board themselves, nor board in the boardinghouse where good plain food only was furnished, but went to a private house in the village. There they paid nearly double price, so that they could get a greater variety of rich food and luxuries. They were about as different in other respects from the rest as in their manner of living. When the seven o'clock bel1 rung for breakfast it was as common a time for them to get up as any. In the first place, then, they would loose three hours of the best part of the day for both exercise and study (for the students generally rose at four in the summer); and then go right to their breakfast, they would be far from feeling as fresh and brisk as those who rose early, and worked and exercised two or three hours before the morning meal. It was a general remark, and a true one, that these would-be-gentlemen studied but little, and learned nothing. One of them came to stay two or three years, he said, but soon complained of headache, or something else, all the time he was there, so that he could not study. He left in a short time. Those who worked a part of the day, and studied the rest, always slept well when night came, and be ready to get up in the morning. Those lazy flesh-eaters complained that they could not sleep well in the night, and then would remain in bed dozing all the morning. But the plain livers, who practiced lyi ng in bed no longer than