CHAP. VI. Of the Frequency of nervous Disorders, in later Years, beyond what they have been observed in former Times
Verifimilitude, it well be no hard Matter to account for the Frequency o f Nervous Diftempers obferv'd o f late Years, beyond what they have been in former Times. There is nothing more common, than to hear Men (even thofe, who, on other Subje&s, reafon juftly and folidly) afcribe their Diftempers, acute or chronical\ to a wet Room, damp Sheets, catching Cold, ill or under-dreis’d Food, or eating too plentifully o f this or the other Diih at a certain Time, and to fuch like trivial Circutnftances, being unwilling to own the true Caufe, to wit, their continu’d Luxury and Lazinefs, becaufe they would gladly continue this
Courfe ahd yet be well, i f poifible. And there hive not wanted learned Phyficians, who have afcrib'd the Frequency o f thefe Nervous Diftempersof late, efpecially among the Fair Sex, to Coffee, Tea, Chocolate, and Snujff: I would not affirm, that there could be no Abufcs o f thefe, othcrwife innocent Foods or Amufcments, or that thefe men tion’d Circumftartccs, and Accidents may have no Effe&s, but they are fo Weak, Infenfible, and Tranfkory, i f they mcec with Conilitutions tolerably Clean and Healthy, that whoever Would attribute any confiderable t)iforder to theni, argues with as much Reafon and true Philofophy, as he who afcribes his good Liquor intirely to the Yeft or other Helps o f its Fermentation, or the Death o f d Man kill’d by a Gun-fhot to the Paper or Tow that held down the Bullet: Health and Life, however Frail and Brittle, are too ftrong Forts to be taken or deftroy’d by fuch puny and infufficicnt Pop-gun Artillery. The Mattel-, as I take it, Hands thus i
$ .11. S i n c e our Wealth has increas’d, and our Navigation has been extended, we have ranfack’d all the Parts o f the Globe to bring together its whole Stock o f Materials for Riot, Luxury, arid· to provoke Jlxufs. The Tables of the Rich and Great (and indeed t>f all Ranks who can afford it) are furnifh’d with Provifiotis o f Delicacy, Number, and
Plenty, fufficient to provoke, and even gorge, the raoft large and voluptuous Appetite. The whole Controverjy among us, feems to lie in out-doing one another in fuch Kinds o f Profufion. Invention is rack’d, to furnilh the Materials o f our Food the raoft Delicat# and Savoury poflible: lnftead o f the plain Simplicity o f leaving the Animals to range and feed in their proper Element, witht heir natural Nourilhment, they are phyfick'd almoft out of their Lives, and made as great Epicures, as thofe that feed on them; and by Stalling, Cramming, Bleeding, Lameing, Sweating, 'f urging, and ‘fhrujiing down fuch unnatural and high-feafon’d oods into them, thefe Nervous Difeafes are produced in the yfnimals themfelvcs, even before they are admitted as Food to thofe who complain o f iiich Difordcrs. Add to all this, the tor turing and lingering W ay o f taking away the Lives of fome of them, to make them more delicious : and the Dreifing o f them, by culinary Torments while alive, for their Purchafer’s Table : All which muft necelTarily iharpen, impoifon, corrupt, and putrify their natural Juices and ¿Jubilances. The Liquors alfo that are ufed for Vehicles to fuch Food, are the higheft and moft fpirituous, the moft icorched by the Solar Beams, or inflam’d by repeated t)iftillations, to carry off the prefent Load, and leave a Diipofition and Craving for a new ope in the ihorteft
Time poffible. Any one who has but a tolerable Knowledge in Philofophy, or is acquainted with the Animal OEconomy, can eafily tell what the neceffary Confequence o f fuch a Diet muft be in naturally weak Habits.