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neglect; which is in a very moving and handsome manner complained of in the voyage of the great Lord Anfon * ; an immortal work, which will be always read with a pleasure, equal to the bencfit to be reaped from it, with regard to our navigation and commerce to those parts of the world, to which the adventures relate.
As this hero is not less admired for his humanity and good senfe, than for his conduct and courage ; he has taken care that the relation of his enterprises should be a inonument of the one, as well as of the other. The accounts given of that strange disease, so fatal to our feamen, the fea-fcurvy, are hints fo new and useful in physic, that I have thought it not unbecoming the place with which I am honoured in my profession, to write a short discourse on this subject, and give it to the honest and ingenious author, to be published together with his reprinted Account of a new method for extracting the foul air out of ships, &c.: an invention, which, I may venture to say, does honour to our nation, and will in time be found of more public benefit than any discovery in mechanics, which has been produced these hundred years.
Having therefore had the satisfaction, in the beginning, to recommend this experiment to the admiralty, I now join a short discourse on the scurvy to the reprinted edition of Mr Sutton's book, as a convincing and happy proof of the success which attends it. And the author has also added some other authentic accounts to the fame purpose. From all these things duly considered, it is to be hoped that the evil spirit of opposition, which, as is mentioned in Mr Sut* See p. 36. 37
ton's account, &c. exerted itself even against the making a trial, will now be rebuked and cast out.
To conclude, as any one versed in mechanics will easily fee (as we formerly observed) that this management of the air may be applied to many other purpofes of life, (to fome instances of which I have been an eye-witness), so it will prove a great loss to mankind, if it is not universally brought into practice : especially, since, by the generosity and disinterestedness of the inventor, the whole expense may be considered as a trifle. Many more considerations might be urged ; but they will readily occur to the wisdom of those whofe province it is to direct our naval affairs.
The foregoing preface was written, and ready to be put to the press, when Mr Sutton brought me the agreeable news, that the Right Honourable the Lords of the Admiralty had just then given him orders, to provide all the ships of his Majesty's navy with this useful machine. Thus, laudable discoveries, though discountenanced at first, do at last break through all difficulties, and meet with suitable encouragement.
An HISTORICAL Account of a NEW
Method for extrading the foul Air out of SHIPS, &c.
Ursuant to your desire, I now fend you an histo
rical account of my scheme, together with the reasons that first inclined me to employ my thoughts about it. In the year 1739, I was informed by a gentleman, that the sailors on board the fleet at Spithead were so dangeroully ill for want of fresh air, that they were put ashore to recover their health; and the ships to which they belonged, itunk to fuch a degree, that they infected one another. In
In com passion to my fellow-creatures, I thought myself obliged to do all that was possible for their relief in these unhappy circumstances, and from this time tried what could be done by fire. I at length found, that by ftopping the air out of a room that had three fireplaces, and making two large fires in two of them, I could bring the air to draw down the third chimney, with such force as to pụt out a candle. I then lighted a fire in the other chimney ; which fo rarefied the air in the room, that the incumbent air pressed to enter in, and with a force sufficient to raise a pully with half · a hundred weight; and as foon as the room was cooled, by the coming in of the air, the door would shut, and then open again in three minutes.
Having proceeded thus far with good success, I stopped up all the chimneys in the house, the garret excepted, and then lighted two large fires, which VOL. II. D d
drew the air down the chimney with such violence, as to put out four or five candles immediately : whereupon I concluded, that, a fire being always kept on board a ship, and a pipe or cavity made to the well, one end of it being heated by fire, a change of air would follow, and that by this means rendered sweet and pure, and fit for respiration.
From this time I made it my business to consult the officers and failors of the navy, who all agreed that such a change of air would be of the greatest use imaginable, in preserving the lives of the men on board his Majesty's ships. I particularly remember, that, being at a coffeehoule near the admiralty, I placed myself nigh fome gentlemen of the navy, and inquired of them, as I had before of others, as to the usefulness of the forementioned change of air, who all, to a man, acknowledged that it would be of the utmost service; and, upon their unanimous approbation of it, I told them that I could procure such a change of air : upon which one of the company went to another table, and the rest followed him ; and I heard him tell the others, that he heartily pitied me, as being really mad, and out of my senses.
Upon this unexpected treatment, I resolved to apply to some person of confequence in the navy, of approved integrity; and well knowing that Sir Charles Wager was a gentleman of this character, and withal of the greatest humanity, I waited upon Mr Gashery, a commissioner of the navy, and acquainted him that I would communicate my invention to Sir Charles, by word of mouth; and that if I did not, in a few minutes, convince him of its usefulness, I would
withdraw immediately, without giving him any further trouble about it.
Mr Galhery was so kind as to speak in my behalf to Sir Charles, and thereupon I was introduced into his presence. I desired Sir Charles to be fo good as to permit me to ask him fome questions relating to my affair, which he was pleased to permit. I asked him, whether he had ever considered the principles upon which the operations of the cupping glass were founded ? that, rarefaction being made in the glass by means of the fire, and the glais prefied to the skin, the air in the blood presses out the skin ; and, the skin being cut, and a second rarefaction made, the blood presses forward to the place where the rarefaction was made. I told him, that in like manner I proposed to procure a change of air on board his Majesty's ships, by means of a fire in the cook-room, and laying proper pipes for that purpose.
Sir Charles, upon my discourse with him about my scheme, not only expressed his approbation of it, but favoured me with the following letter to Sir Jacob Ackworth, surveyor of his Majesty's naval works.
HE bearer hereof, Mr Sutton, has found out a
method to extract the foul air out of the wells of ships, which will be of great use for preserving the lives of the men aboard his Majesty's ships. He will be willing to talk with you, if an experiment can be made, so that he may not lose the benefit of the invention. Dd 2