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gone, that he lay down on the snow, several times, from a desire to sleep ;' and nothing but the roughest usage from a person who fortunately was with him, prevented his doing so. It was absolutely necessary to kick and buffet him, to keep him awake. Had he gone to sleep, it most assuredly would have been the sleep of death!
Were one to choose their manner of weakening the grasp of the grim tyrant, there is not, probably, so easy a way of doing so, as by the benumbing, soporific influence of frost.
A friend of mine, some time ago, found a man lying on the snow, in the neighbourhood of Quebec, quite dead; he was at a little distance from the road; he had probably got benumbed by the cold, and had stepped aside to indulge, for a few minutes, his desire of sleep. Poor man! he awakened no more! His countenance bore no marks of suffering: it was as placid and unruffled as if the heart had still continued to beat, and the blood to circulate.
The manner in which a cold iron and a cold atmosphere affect the body, is very different. The cold iron deprives the body
of its heat in such a violent manner, as quite to derange the part in contact, rupture the blood vessels, and destroy their continuity. The cold atmosphere deprives the parts (on which it acts) of their heat in a less violent manner: the blood vessels are not ruptured, nor the continuity of the parts destroyed, but both are so strongly acted upon that their functions are destroyed. The blood vessels no longer retain the powers of expansion and repulsion. It is well ascertained, that air is decomposed in the lungs, and parts with its caloric to the blood, which carries it through the system. Shall I hazard a conjecture? Heat (in cases where frost proves fatal), is perhaps taken off from the body, faster than it can be supplied by the lungs to the blood, and carried into circulation. A general torpor, a stoppage of the circulation of the fluids,-death, in short, ensues.
One would naturally enough suppose, that an effect occasioned by cold should be removed by heat. This idea has occasioned theloss of many a limb. It has generally been supposed, that cold is a material substance, of a nature directly opposed to
heat. This is now generally allowed to be an error, there being no such substance as cold—no such thing in nature. The word expresses a negative quality, viz. the absence of heat.
Impressed with the idea that heat must be a good remedy for evils produced by cold, hot water has been often applied to parts that have been frost bitten, and the consequences have always been fatal. The reason appears to be this, that the part frost bitten, having become diseased by the heat of the body rushing violently, and in great quantity, out from it, the application of hot water will make the heat rush violently into it; and if any part of the work of destruction remains undone, the heat of the warm water will do it. Experience has proved, that the application necessary to restore the parts to their wonted tone, must be of a very moderate degree of heat-very little, indeed, above freezing. The heat may then insinuate itself so gradually and gently, as not to increase the evil. Snow, or cold water, have been found to be the most efficacious applications, being of a temperature sufficiently
low, yet still possessing a degree of heat sufficient to produce an effect on the parts, and restore circulation; or, perhaps, the caloric, or animal heat, meeting with snow, a non-conductor, may remain in the part frost bitten, and, of itself, restore it to its proper tone.
Excuse me for troubling you with these speculations. I own that they are rather out of my province, though not altogether foreign, in considering the effects of a Canadian winter. I have yet some details to give you of the effects of frost, which must be quite new to you. Professing to make you acquainted with this country, I should but ill perform my task, did I omit any point of information essential for giving you a knowledge of winter, which occupies one half the year. In my next communication I shall endeavour to make good my promise.
In giving you the striking features of the Canadian winter, I ought not to omit, that during the most severe cold in January, a great and very sudden change takes place almost every year, and continues for a day or two. From a most severe frost, when the thermometer shewed 60 degrees below the freezing point, it suddenly became so warm, that the thermometer shewed three degrees above freezing. In short, the weather this winter changed in a few hours from nearly the greatest degree of cold that ever was known here, to a complete thaw.
It is a law of nature, that when fluids become solid, heat is given out to the atmosphere. On this principle, when water becomes ice, heat must be given out; and an accumulation of this heat may produce