« PreviousContinue »
In the language of Mr. Rickman,
rienced, on account of the nearly and which is wholly divested of the
ship presented the cup to Mr. Met-respect to its cause, whether domestic
M.'s perseverance in the fine wool "What I am going to suggest in
men, the shepherds, were necessitated The yellow fever always begins in to stand over until next year. An the lowest part of a populous mercanextra cup was presented to Mr. Furn- tile town near the water, and continues comb, on account of his five South there, without affecting the higher Down ewe hogs; and another to Mr. parts. The sphere, or circuit it acts Tollet, accompanied by the most flat- in is small, and it rages most where tering testimonies, by the noble donor, large quantities of new ground have of that gentleman's high desert, com- been made by banking out the river, pared with the trifling value of the for the purpose of making wharfs acknowledgment.
The appearance and prevalence of the Two small sheaves of Sicilian, or yellow fever in these places, being those the real Spring Wheat, which Lord where vessels arrive from the West Somerville had lately received from Indies, has caused the belief that the his relation Mr. Somerville, at present yellow fever was imported from thence: in Italy, his Lordship put into the but here are two cases acting in the hands of Lord Winchelsea and Mr. same place! the one, the condition of Adams, to be sown, and the merits of the ground at the wharfs, which being its produce to be reported at a future new made on the muddy and filthy meeting. The Smithfield club bill of bottom of the river, is different from premiums and regulations for the next the natural condition of the ground in Christmas show, the Duke of Bed- the higher parts of the city, and conford's proposals to let and sell cattle at Woburn-park farm, in June, and Lord Somerville's account of premiums for next year, were delivered to the company.
sequently subject to produce a different kind of effluvia or vapour: the other case, is the arrival of vessels from the West Indies.
"In the State of Jersey, neither of these cases has taken place; no shipping arrive there, and consequently there has been no embankment for the purpose of wharfs, and the yellow fever has never broke out in Jersey, This, however, does not decide the point, as to the immediate cause of the fever; but it shews that this species of
fever is not common to the country in its natural state; and I believe the same was the case in the West Indies, before embankments began, for the purpose of making wharfs, which always alter the natural condition of the ground; no old history, that I know of, mentions such a disorder as the yellow fever.
person seized with the yellow fever in an affected part of the town, and brought into the healthy part, or into the country and among healthy persons, does not communicate it to the neighbourhood, or to those immediately around him: Why then are we to suppose it can be brought from the West Indies, a distance of more than a thousand miles, since we see it cannot be carried from one town to another, nor from one part of a town to another, at home? Is it in the air-this ques. tion on the case, requires a minute examination. In the first place, the difference between air and wind is the same as between a stream of water and a standing water. A stream of water, is water in motion; and wind, is air in motion. In a gentle breeze, the whole body of air, as far as the breeze extends, moves at the rate of seven or eight miles an hour; in a high wind, at the rate of seventy, eighty, or an hundred miles an hour: when we see the shadow of a cloud gliding on the surface of the ground, we see the rate at which the air moves, and it must be a good trotting horse that can keep pace with the shadow, even in a gentle breeze; consequently, a body of air, that is in and over any place of the same extent as the affected part of a city may be, will in the space of an hour, even at the moderate rate I speak of, be moved seven or eight miles to leeward, and its place, in and over the city, will be supplied by a new body of air coming from a healthy part seven or eight miles distant the contrary way, and then on in continual succession. The disorder, therefore, is not in the air considered in its natural state, and never stationary. This leads to another consideration of the case.
body of air moves off, it will impreg nate eyery succeeding body of air, however pure it may be when it arrives at the place.
"The result from this state of the case is, that the impure air, or vapour, that generates the yellow fever issues from the earth, that is, from the new made carth, or ground raised on the muddy and filthy bottom of the river; and which impregnates every fresh body of air that comes over the place, in like manner as air becomes heated when it approaches or passes over fire, or becomes offensive in smell when it approaches or passes over a body of corrupt vegetable or animal matter in a state of putrefaction.
"The muddy bottom of rivers contains great quantities of impure, and often inflammable air, (Carburetted Hydrogen gas) injurious to life; and which remains entangled in the med till let loose from thence by some açcident. This air is produced by the dissolution and decomposition of any combustible matter falling into the water and sinking into the mud, of which the following circumstance will serve to give some explanation:
"In the fall of the year that New York was evacuated (1783), General Washington had his head quarters at Mrs. Berrians, at Rocky-Hill, in Jersey, and I was there:-the Congress then sat at Prince-Town. We had several times been told, that the river or creek, that runs near the bottom of Rocky-Hill, and over which there was a mill, might be set on fire, (for that was the termn the country people used); and as General Washington had a mind to try the experiment, General Lincoln, who was also there, undertook to make preparation for it against the next evening, Nov. 5th. This was to be done, as we were told, by disturbing the mud at the bottom of the river, and holding something in a blaze, as paper or straw, a little above the surface of the water.
"Colonels Humphries and Cob were at that time Aides-de-Camp of Gen. Washington, and those two gentlemen "An impure effluvia, arising from and myself got into an argument resome cause in the ground, in the man- specting the cause; their opinion was ner that fermenting liquors produce that, on disturbing the bottom of the an fluvia near its surface that is fatal river, some bituminous matter arose to life, will become mixed with the air to the surface, which took fire when contiguous to it, and as fast as that the light was put to it; I, on the con
trary, supposed that a quantity of in- sand of consequence would prevent flammable air was let loose, which as- any blaze. We applied a lighted cancended through the water, and took dle to the mouth of the barrel; as the fire above the surface. Each party held first vapour that flew off would be huto his opinion, and the next evening mid, it extinguished the candle; but the experiment was to be made. after applying the candle three or four "A scow had been stationed in the times, the vapour that issued out bemill-dam, and Gen. Washington, Gen. gan to flash: we then tied a bladder Lincoln, and myself, and I believe over the mouth of the barrel, which Col. Cob (for Humphries was sick), the vapour soon filled, and then tying and three or four soldiers with poles, a string round the neck of the bladder were put on board the scow: General above the muzzle, took the bladder Washington placed himself at one end off. of the scow, and I at the other; each "As we could not conveniently of us had a roll of cartridge-paper, make experiments upon the vapour, which we lighted and held over the while it was in the bladder, the next water, about two or three inches from operation was, to get it into a phial; the surface, when the soldiers began for this purpose, we took a phial of disturbing the bottom of the river with about three or four ounces, filled it the poles. with water, put a cork slightly into it, and introducing it into the neck of
"As General Washington sat at one end of the scow, and I at the other, I the bladder, worked the cork out, by could see better any thing that might getting hold of it through the bladder, happen from his light, than I could into which the water then emptied itfrom my own, over which I was nearly self, and the air in the bladder ascendperpendicular. When the mud at the ed into the phial; we then put the bottom was disturbed by the poles, the cork into the phial, and took it from air bubbles rose fast, and I saw the fire the bladder. It was now in a couvetake from General Washington's light, nient condition for experiment. and descend from thence to the surface of the water, in a similar manner as when a lighted candle is held so as to touch the smoke of a candle just blown out, the smoke will take fire, and the fire will descend and light up the candle. This was demonstrative evidence, that what was called setting the river on fire, was setting the inflammable air on fire, that arose out of the mud.
"We put a lighted match into the phial, and the air or vapour in it blazed up in the manner of a chimney on fire: 1 we extinguished it two or three times, by stopping the mouth of the phial, and putting the lighted match to it again; it repeatedly took fire, till the vapour was spent, and the phial be came filled with atmospheric air.
"These two experiments, that, in which some combustible substance
"I mentioned this experiment to (branches and leaves of trees) had been Mr. Rittenhouse, of Philadelphia, the decomposed by water, in the mud; next time I went to that city, and our and this, where the decomposition had opinion on the case was, that the air been produced by fire, without blazing, or vapour that issued from any com- shews, that a species of air injurious to bustible matter, vegetable or other life, when taken into the lungs, may wise, that underwent a dissolution and be generated from substances which decomposition of its parts, either by in themselves are harmless. fire or water in a confined place, so as not to blaze, would be inflammable, and would become flame whenever it came in contact with flame.
"It is by means similar to these, that charcoal, which is made by fire without blazing, emits a vapour destructive to life. I now come to apply these cases, and the reasoning deduced therefrom, to account for the cause of the yellow fever.*
In order to determine if this wa the case, we filled up the breach of a gun-barrel about five or six inches with saw-dust, and the upper part with dry sand to the top, and after spiking The author does not mean to infer up the touch-hole, put the breach into that the inflammable air, or carburet a smith's furnace, and kept it red hot, ted hydrogen gas, is the cause of the so as to consume the saw-dust; the yellow fever; but that, perhaps, it en
"First:-The yellow fever is not a disorder produced by the climate naturally, or it would always have been here in the hot months; the climate is the same now as it was fifty or an hundred years ago: there was no yellow fever then, and it is only within the last twelve years that such a disorder has been known in America.
Secondly:-The low grounds on the shores of the rivers, at the cities, where the yellow fever is annually generated, and continues about three months without spreading, were not subject to that disorder in their natural state, or the Indians would have for saken them; whereas, they were the parts most frequented by the Indians in all seasons of the year, on account of fishing. The result from these cases is, that the yellow fever is produced by some new circumstance not common to the country in its natural state, and the question is, what is that new circumstance?
"It may be said, that every thing done by the white people, since their settlement in the country, such as building towns, clearing lands, levelling hills, and filling up vallies, is a new circumstance, but the yellow fever does not accompany any of these new circumstances. No alteration made on the dry land produces the yellow fever; we must therefore look to some other new circumstances; and we come now to those that have taken place between wet and dry, between land and water.
from the river by embankment, there are upwards of eighty new wharfs made since the war, and the much greater part within the last ten or twelve years; the consequence of which has been, that great quantities of filth or combustible matter deposited in the muddy bottom of the river contiguous to the shore, and which produced no ill effect while exposed to the air, and washed twice every 24 hours by the tide-water, have been covered over several feet deep with new earth, and pent up and the tide excluded. It is in these places, and in these only, that the yellow fever is produced.
"Having thus shewn, from the circumstances of the case, that the cause of the yellow fever is in the place where it makes its appearance, or rather, in the pernicious vapour issuing therefrom, I go to shew a method of constructing wharfs, where wharts are yet to be constructed, as on the shore of the East River, at Corlder's Hook, and also on the North River, that will not occasion the yellow fever, and which may also point out a method of removing it from places already infected with it. Instead, then, of embanking out the river and raising solid wharfs of earth on the mud bottom of the shore, the better method would be to construct wharfs on arches built of stone; the tide will then flow in under the arch, by which means the shore and the muddy bottom will be washed and kept clean, as if they were in their natural state without wharfs.
"The shores of the rivers at New "When wharfs are constructed on York, and also at Philadelphia, have, the shore lengthways, that is, without on account of the vast increase of com- cutting the shore up into slips, arches merce, and for the sake of making can easily be turned, because arches wharfs, undergone great and rapid al- joining each other lengthways serve terations from their natural state, as buttments to each other: but when within a few years; and it is only in the shore is cut up into slips, there can such parts of the shores, where those be no buttments; in this case, wharfs alterations have taken place, that the can be formed on stone pillars, or yellow fever has been produced. The wooden piles planked over on the top. parts where little or no alteration has In either of these cases, the space unbeen made, either on the East or North derneath will be a commodious shelter River, and which continue in their or harbour for small boats, which can natural state, or nearly so, do not pro- go in and come out always, except at duce the yellow fever.--The fact therefore points to the cause. "Besides several new streets gained
ters into some combination with miasm generated in low grounds, which produces the discase.
low water, and be secure from storms and injuries. This method, besides preventing the cause of the yellow fever, which I think it will, will render the wharfs mere productive than the present method, because of the space preserved within the wharf.
"I offer no calculation of the ex- but for the sake of saving the public pence of constructing wharts on arches trouble, we will answer it very briefly. or piles; but on a general view, I be- "Had Buenos Ayres continued to relieve they will not be so expensive as main a British possession, the enemies the present method. A very great part of Sir Home Popham, however they of the expence of making solid wharfs might have wished his ruin, would of earth is occasioned by the carriage not have dared to extend their malice of materials, which will be greatly re- beyond those wishes;-no trial or duced by the methods here proposed, prosecution would have been heard and still more so were the arches to of." be constructed of cast-iron blocks. I suppose that one ton of cast-iron blocks would go as far in the construction of an arch, as twenty tons of stone.
To enter into any detail of the trial would far exceed our limits, and to abridge or give a garbled detail would be acting unfairly and uncandidly "If, by constructing wharts in such perhaps to both parties; suffice it to manner that the tide water can wash say, that every page, every line of it, the shore and bottom of the river con- contains reiterated proofs of the contiguous to the shore, as they are washed stant attention paid by Sir Home to in their natural condition, the yellow the good of the service, and his zeal fever can be prevented from generat- for the interests of his country. We ing in places where wharfs are yet to be constructed, it may point out a method of removing it, at least by degrees, from places already infected with it, which will be by opening the wharfs in two or three places in each, and letting the tide water pass through; the parts opened can be planked over, so as not to prevent the use of the whart.
"In taking up and treating this subject, I have considered it as belonging to natural philosophy, rather than medicinal art; and therefore I say nothing about the treatment of the disease, after it takes place; I leave that part to those whose profession it is to study it. "THOMAS PAINE."
LIFE OF SIR HOME POPHAM. [Concluded from p. 204.]
cannot, however, pass over the trial in absolute silence; and, as a collateral proof of the disinterested opinion of the military commanding officer, we must take the liberty to beg the reader to refer to the Letter, No. 18. p. 57, of the Trial published by Mottley et Portsmouth, which goes to the fullest private confidential explanation of the views entertained by the Commodore.
The peroration of Sir Home Popham, at the close of the business, was in the following terms:-"I here close my defence, and throw myself upon the justice and wisdom of this honourable court. I have suffered much in my feelings and character; but I do trust and hope your judgment will relieve the one and rescue the other. If, in my zeal for the service, I have exceeded the limits of due dis cretion, I trust it will appear that I Sir Home was solely actuated by an anxious dePopham unadvised in his at- sire to promote the interests, the hotempt to prove that Buenos Ayres nour, and the glory of my country, formed the same district as the Cape: Aided by my brave followers, and the question turns on a much more under the protection of Divine Provi solid and advantageous basis for him- dence, I was put in the possession of self; and we have no hesitation in capital cities in two different quarters saying, that the man must be scepti- of the globe. Upon an examination cally dishonest to suppose or assert of my defence, I trust it will be found that Sir Home possessed not every that the head and front of my of power, authority, and assurance that fending hath this extent-no more.' the VERBAL instructions of a Minister I retire, trusting in your wisdom and could bestow; but candour compels justice for my honourable arquittal." us to allow he was certainly deficient Sir Home having with his friends in not being properly possessed with withdrawn, the court was cleared written testimony, as we find one of about eleven o'clock, and after four mere honour was rejected with scorn. hours deliberation was again opened, The third query answers itself:- and Sir Home having taken his place