Page images
PDF
EPUB

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 thofe parts of the world, to which the adventures relate.

As this hero is not lefs admired for his humanity and good fenfe, than for his conduct and courage; he has taken care that the relation of his enterprises should be a monument 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 phyfic, that I have thought it not unbecoming the place with which I am honoured in my profeffion, to write a fhort difcourfe on this fubject, and give it to the honeft 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 fay, does honour to our nation, and will in time be found of more public benefit than any difcovery in mechanics, which has been produced thefe hundred years.

Having therefore had the fatisfaction, in the beginning, to recommend this experiment to the admiralty, I now join a fhort difcourfe on the fcurvy to the reprinted edition of Mr Sutton's book, as a convincing and happy proof of the fuccefs which attends it. And the author has alfo added fome other authentic accounts to the fame purpose. From all these things duly confidered, it is to be hoped that the evil spirit of oppofition, which, as is mentioned in Mr Sut* See p. 36. 37.

ton's

ton's account, &c. exerted itself even against the making a trial, will now be rebuked and cast out.

To conclude, as any one verfed in mechanics will eafily fee (as we formerly obferved) that this management of the air may be applied to many other purpofes of life, (to fome inftances of which I have been an eye-witness), fo it will prove a great lofs to mankind, if it is not univerfally brought into practice : efpecially, fince, by the generofity and difinterestedness of the inventor, the whole expenfe may be confidered as a trifle. Many more confiderations might be urged; but they will readily occur to the wifdom of thofe whofe province it is to direct our naval affairs.

The foregoing preface was written, and ready to be put to the prefs, 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 Majefty's navy with this ufeful machine. Thus, laudable difcoveries, though discountenanced at firft, do at laft break through all difficulties, and meet with fuitable encouragement.

R. M.

An

201

An HISTORICAL ACCOUNT of a NEW METHOD for extracting the foul AIR out of SHIPS, &c.

[ocr errors]

SIR,

Ursuant to your defire, I now fend you an hiftorical account of my fcheme, 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 failors on board the fleet at Spithead were fo dangerously ill for want of fresh air, that they were put afhore to recover their health; and the ships to which they belonged, tunk to fuch a degree, that they infected one another. In compaffion to my fellow-creatures, I thought myself obliged to do all that was poffible for their relief in these unhappy circumftances, 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 fuch force as to put 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 fufficient 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 fhut, and then open again in three minutes.

Having proceeded thus far with good fuccefs, I stopped up all the chimneys in the houfe, the garret excepted, and then lighted two large fires, which VOL. II. D d drew

drew the air down the chimney with fuch violence, as to put out four or five candles immediately: whereupon I concluded, that, a fire being always kept on board a fhip, 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 fweet and pure, and fit for respiration.

From this time I made it my bufinefs to confult the officers and failors of the navy, who all agreed that fuch a change of air would be of the greatest use imaginable, in preferving the lives of the men on board. his Majefty's fhips. I particularly remember, that, being at a coffeehouse near the admiralty, I placed myfelf nigh fome gentlemen of the navy, and inquired of them, as I had before of others, as to the ufefulness of the forementioned change of air, who all, to a man, acknowledged that it would be of the utmoft fervice; and, upon their unanimous approbation of it, I told them that I could procure fuch a change of air: upon which one of the company went to another table, and the reft followed him; and I heard him tell the others, that he heartily pitied me, as being really mad, and out of my fenfes.

Upon this unexpected treatment, I refolved to apply to fome perfon 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 commiffioner 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

withdraw immediately, without giving him any further trouble about it.

Mr Gashery was fo kind as to fpeak in my behalf to Sir Charles, and thereupon I was introduced into his prefence. I defired Sir Charles to be fo good as to permit me to afk him fome questions relating to my affair, which he was pleafed to permit. I asked him, whether he had ever confidered the principles upon which the operations of the cupping glafs were founded that, rarefaction being made in the glafs by means of the fire, and the glafs prefied to the skin, the air in the blood preffes out the fkin; and, the fkin being cut, and a fecond rarefaction made, the blood preffes forward to the place where the rarefaction was made. I told him, that in like manner I propofed to procure a change of air on board his Majesty's fhips, by means of a fire in the cook-room, and laying proper pipes for that purpose.

Sir Charles, upon my difcourfe with him about my scheme, not only expreffed his approbation of it, but favoured me with the following letter to Sir Jacob Ackworth, furveyor of his Majefty's naval works.

SIR,

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 ufe for preserving the lives of the men aboard his Majesty's fhips. He will be willing to talk with you, if an experiment can be made, fo that he may not lofe the benefit of the invention.

D d 2

I

« PreviousContinue »