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On getting into Debt.
255 be used to defray the expences of past time, particularly when that past time was the prime of a man's life; the time when he and his wife were in their full vigour, and with a smaller family to provide for, than perhaps they may have now. It is impossible for him to prosper, who is encumbered with debts. He has nothing he can call his own. Every exertion is, as a poor woman once aptly, but quaintly remarked, “like riding the dead horse," which can make no progress. I would earnestly advise all my readers to guard against beginning a practice so destructive of every comfort. It is far easier never to have a debt at all, than to have a small one; for, if a man owe a few shillings, he will be apt to think that adding a shilling now and then will make no great difference, till at last the shillings will run up to pounds. I know the being able to get credit is a great temptation, particularly to the very poor; but those who have for some time felt the comfort of going to bed without owing a penny to any one, will be very unwilling to incur the smallest debt; and they cannot teach their children this habit too early, for the more firmly it is grounded in them, the less likely they are to depart from it. Let them remember, that our Saviour commands us to render to all their due;" and an apostle says, “Owe no man any thing." Before I conclude, I must say a few words on the tradesman's custom of giving credit; which I consider a very bad one. In places where there are many shops of the same kind, tradesmen say, that if one gives credit the others must, or they will get no custom. I very much doubt this, for if a shopkeeper were always sure of being paid for his goods, he could afford to sell them much cheaper than if he knew that for part of them he shall not be paid at all; and most people would go where they could get things the cheapest. Numbers of tradesmen, moreover, are ruined by bad debts; but others do not appear to take warning. In many in
stances, I believe, this really arises from charitable motives, particularly among little shopkeepers. I know a poor woman, who, having nothing but what she and her husband worked for, managed, by means of great industry and exertion, to open a small shop for bread, &c. but she was soon ruined entirely from bad debts. Her bread was taken, but seldom paid for; and she assured me that people came to her with such fair promises, begging her so very earnestly to let them have a loaf of bread, and assuring her that they had had nothing to eat, that she really could not bring herself to refuse them. The consequence, as I said, was, that she was ruined; and I found, upon enquiry, that the very people who had ruined her were in the receipt of the largest wages of any in the parish, but they were spent in improper ways. I hope I have shewn that this really good motive for giving credit is a mistaken one, and only encumbers the poor with difficulties and temptations. It would be a far greater charity than this, if a tradesman were to give his poorest customers, in the middle of winter, or any other distress, a little flour, or coals, or soup, or other necessary; which he could afford, if all his debts were paid.
NECESSITY OF KEEPING THE AIR
PURE IN CASES OF FEVER.
It is grievous when any one of a family is suffering by disease, to feel that the malady is likely to spread, and that other parts of the family will probably soon be attacked by it. Many indeed are the cases in which whole families are attacked, and the fear of infection does often prevent that attendance which the seriousness of the case makes particularly ne
Necessity of pure Air in Cases of Fever. 257 cessary. It is usual to have recourse to fumigations, which seem to drive away the infected air, so that the persons in attendance are no longer annoyed with that unwholesome smell which otherwise fills the room of a person labouring under some sorts of fevers, or afflicted with putrid sores.
It is very important, however, to make a distinction here, -for, whilst some sorts of preparations really have a tendency to disinfect and purify the air, and thus to lessen the danger of infection, others only conceal the dangerous smell, by introducing one that is stronger. The fumigation most frequently used, is that of oil of vitriol poured upon nitre *, which searches every corner and crevice of the room, and this has been generally considered the best fumigation to use on such occasions.
A distinguished French apothecary, M. Labarraque, has discovered that a preparation called “ Chloruret of lime," or one not very unlike it, called " Chloruret of oxide of sodium,” has a most wonderful power of destroying putrid smells, and checking the progress of infection. A pint of it may be had for about eighteen-pence,-and it is to be diluted in ten, twenty, or thirty times the quantity of water, according to circumstances. If putrid meat be washed with this, the progress of putrefaction is stopped,- the floors of infected rooms may be sprinkled with it, or some of it may be placed in a dish and stirred up. It may remain in the room for some hours, perhaps from morning until evening, and then be changed. It will also take away the disagreeable and unwholesome smell arising from a drain, a water closet, &c. &c. The fumigation of “sulphuric acid and saltpetre” requires considerable care,--the acid burns holes in every thing it touches, and rusts grates and fire-irons, and every thing of that kind in the room; but the chloruret
produces no such effect-therefore, linen that has been applied to putrid wounds, &c. may be put into a solution of it, and they will thus be disinfected: this is an object on board ship, and other places, where fresh linen is not to be got.
Mr. Alcock, a Member of the Royal College of Surgeons, in London, has published a work on this subject, in which he bears witness to the extraordinary effects produced by these chlorurets; but he gives us a piece of advice, which is so important for all persons to consider who attend on the sick, that it is chiefly with a view of exciting attention to his recommendation, that we have introduced this subject. He tells us to pay the greatest possible attention to CLEANLINESS, and to endeavour to keep the air from being infected by admitting FRESH AND PURĖ air. Mr. A. warns those who read of the powerful effects which have been produced by the chlorurets, against supposing that nothing further was necessary to purify the foul wards of hospitals, and other places used by the sick; this, he says, would be an unfortunate conclusion, for the fact is far otherwise : although the pestilential air in a room may be immediately corrected, yet, unless the cause be removed, there will be more of this pestilence produced. Hence, therefore, the strictest attention to cleanliness, and the admission of fresh air, is essential to the welfare of the sick; for, although the chlorurets may destroy putrid infection, they cannot furnish that supply of pure air, without which health cannot be sustained, nor disease be successfully treated. Many persons are in the habit of using fumigations of vinegar, of aromatic pastiles, and of diffusing perfumes to cover any bad smell in the sick chamber: these practices are, however, founded on error, for if due attention be observed with respect to cleanliness and ventilation, not only will the accumulation of disagreeable effluvia be prevented, but the apartments of the sick
Necessity of pure Air in Cases of Fever. 259 will be kept as sweet as any room in a well regulated dwelling-house. There is no perfume equal to a perfectly pure atmosphere, and the best test of that purity is the total absence of any odour what
Not only should strict cleanliness be observed, but those precautions be added which may prevent the air surrounding the patient from being at all impregnated with putrid or tainted effluvia. If the discharges from a patient, unable to leave his bed or his room, be received in a vessel containing cold water, much of the unpleasantness of the sick room will be prevented; and in the removal of dressings, poultices, &c. from patients labouring under ulcers, and attended with offensive discharge, the same precautions should be observed — these are the means which common sense might dictate when no better can be obtained ; but by the addition before hand of either of the chlorurets to the water in which these matters are to be received, the putrid emells are instantly corrected, and their bad effects prevented. These substances, however, can in most cases be immediately removed, and this ought, then, to be done immediately.
It is not only in cases of disease that cleanliness and fresh air are needed; they are required at all times to prevent disease, and though we have before directed the attention of our readers to this subject, we think it needful to repeat it, especially at this season of the year :-let the rooms be well aired, the doors and windows be opened, immediately on leaving the bed-room in a morning. Remember that the atmosphere or air we breathe is made up of two sorts of air, one pure, the other impure: they are mixed up in such proportions as make them exactly suitable for us to breathe and live in; but when we have taken this wholesome air into our lungs, what we breathe out again is not so pure, so