Fumifugium: or, the Inconveniencie of the Aer and Smoake of London/Part 1
The Inconveniency of the Smoak
of London dissipated, &c.
IT is not without some considerableAnima, quasi ἂνεμΘ Analogy that sundry of the Philosophers have nam'd the Aer the Vehicle of the Soul, as well as that of the Earth, and this frail Vessell of ours which contains it; since we all of us finde the benefit which we derive from it, not onely for the necessity of common Respiration and functions of the Organs; but likewise for the use of the Spirits and Primigene Humors, which doe most neerly approach that Divine particle. But we shall not need to insist, or refine much on this sublime Subject; and, perhaps it might scandalize scrupulous Persons to pursue to the height it may possibly reach (as Diogenes and Anaximenes were wont to Deifie it) after we are past the Ætherial, which is a certain Aer of Plato's denomination, as well as that of the lesse pureIn Timæo, more turbulent and dense, which, for most part we live and breath in, and which comes here to be examin'd as it relates to the design in hand, the City of London, and the environs about it.
It would doubtlesse be esteem'd for a strange and extravagant Paradox, that one should affirme, that the Aer it selfe is many times a potent and great disposer to Rebellion; and that Insulary people, and indeed, most of the Septentrion Tracts, where this Medium is grosse and heavy, are extremely versatile and obnoxious to change both in Religious and Secular Affaires: Plant the Foote of your Compasses on the very Pole, and extend the other limb to 50 degrees of Latitude: bring it about 'till it describe the Circle, and then reade the Histories of those Nations inclusively and make the Calculation. It must be confess'd, that the Aer of those Climates, is not so pure and Desecate as those which are neerer the Tropicks, where the Continent is lesse ragged, and the Weather more constant and steady, as well as the Inclination and Temper of the Inhabitants.
But it is not here that I pretend to speculate upon these Causes, or nicely to examine the Discourses of the Stoicks and Peripateticks, whether the Aer be in it self, generally cold, humid, warm or exactly temper'd so as best conduces to a materiall principle, of which it is accounted one of the four; because they are altogether Physicall notions, and do not come under our cognisance as a pure and sincere Element; but as it is particularly inquinated, infected, participating of the various Accidents, and inform'd by extrinsecal Causes, which render it noxious to the Inhabitans, who derive and make use of it for Life. Neverthelesse, for distinction sake, we may yet be allow'd to repute some Aers pure comparatively, viz. That which is cleare, open, sweetely ventilated and put into motion with gentle gales and breezes; not too sharp, but of a temperate Lib. de Aere Aqu. & Locis.The more hot promotes indeede the Witt, but is weak and trifling; and therefore Hippocrates speaks the Asiatique people Imbelles and Effeminate, though of a more artificiall and ingenious Spirit: If over cold and keen, it too much abates the heat, but renders the body robust and hardy; as those who are born under the Northern Bears, are more fierce & stupid, caused by a certain internal Amiperistasis and universal Impulsion. The drier Aer is generally the more salutary and healthy, so it be not too sweltery and infested with heat or fuliginous vapours, which is by no means a friend to health and Longevity, as Avicen notes of the Æthiops who seldome arived to any considerable old Age. As much to be reproved is the moyst, viz, that which is over mix'd with aqueous exhalations, equaly pernicious and susciptible of putrefaction; notwithstanding does it oftner produce faire and tender skins, and some last along while in it; but commonly not so healthy, as in Aer which is more dry. But the impure and Uliginous, as that which proceedes from stagnated places, is of all other, the most vile and Pestilent.. In a word, That we pronounce for good and pure Aer, which heat not to sweats and faintnesse; nor cooles to rigidnesse and trembling; nor dries to wrinkles and hardnesse; nor moystens to resolution and over much softnesse.
Now, that through all these diversiries of Aer, Mores Hominum do Corporis temperamentum Sequi, is for the greater part so true an observation, that a Volume of Instances might be produced, if the Common notices did not sufficiently confirme it even to a Proverb. The Aer on which we continually prey, perpetually inspiring matter to the Animall and Vitall Spirits, by which they become more or lesse obfuscated, clowded and render'd obnoxious: and therefore that Prince of Physitians Hippocrates, wittily calls a sincere and pure Aer, The Internunce and Interpreter of Prudence. De Morbo Sacre. The celestiall influences being so much retarded or assisted, and improv'd through this omnipresent, and as it were, universal Medium: For, though the Aer in its simple substance cannot be vitiated; yet, in its prime qualities it suffers these infinite mutations, both from superiour and inferiour Causes, so as its accidentall effects become almost innumerable;
Let it be farther consider'd, what is most evident, That the Body feedes upon Meats commonly but at certain periods and stated times, be it twice a day or oftner; whereas, upon the Aer, or what accompanies it (est enim in ipso Aere occultus vitae cibus) it is allwaies preying sleeping, or waking; and therefore, doubtlesse the election of this constant and assiduous Food, should something concerne us; I affirme, more then even the very Meat we eat, whereof so little and indifferent nourishes and satisfies the most temperate and best Educated persons. Besides, Aer that is corrupt insinuates it self into the vital parts immediately; whereas the meats which we take though never so ill condition'd, require time for the concoction, by which its effects are greatly mitigated; whereas the other, passing so speedily to the Lungs, and virtually to the Heart it self, is deriv'd and communicated over the whole masse: In a word, as the Lucid and noble Aer, clarifies the Blood, subtilizes and excites it, cheering the Spirits and promoting digestion; so the dark, and grosse (on the Contrary) perturbs the Body, prohibits necessary Transpiration for the resolution and dissipation of ill Vapours, even to disturbance of the very Rational faculties, which the purer Aer does so far illuminate, as to have rendred some Men healthy and wise even to Miracle. And therefore the Empoysoning of Aer, was ever esteem'd no lesse fatall then the poysoning of Water or Meate it self, and forborn even amongst Barbarians; since (as is said) such Infections become more apt to insinuate themselves and betray the very Spirits, to which they have so neer a cognation. Some Aers we know are held to be Alexipharmac and even deleterious to Poyson it self, as 'tis reported of that of Ireland: In some we finde Carcasses will hardly putrifie, in others again rot and fall to pieces immediately.
From these, or the like considerations therefore, it might well proceed, that Vitruvius, and the rest who follow that Master-Builder,Lib. I. Cap. I. mention it as a Principle, for the accomplishment of their Architect, that being skilfull in the Art of Physick, amongst other Observations, he sedulously examine the Aer and Situation of the places where he designs to build, the Inclinations of the Heavens,Aeres Locurum. and the Climats; Sine his enim rationibus nulla salubris habitatio fieri potest: there is no dwelling can be safe or healthy without it. 'Tis true, he does likewise adde Water also, which is but a kinde of condensed Aer; though he might have observ'd, that Element to be seldome bad, where the other is good; omitting onely some peculiar Fountains and Mineral waters, which are percolated through Mines and Metalique Earths less frequent, and very rarely to be encounter'd.
Now whether those who were the Antient Founders of our goodly Metropolis, had considered these particulars (though long before Vitruvius) I can no waies doubt or make question of; since having respect to the nobleness of the situation of London, we shall every way finde it to have been consulted with all imaginable Advantages, not onely in relation to Profit, but to Health and Pleasure; and that, if there be any thing which seems to impeach the two last Transcendencies, it will be found to be but something Extrinsecal and Accidental onely, which naturally does not concern the Place at all; but, which may very easily be reformed, without any the least inconvenience, as in due time we shall come to demonstrate.
For first, the City of London is built upon a sweet and most agreeable Eminency of Ground, at the North-side of a goodly and well-condition'd River, towards which it hath an Aspect by a gentle and easie declivity, apt to be improv'd to all that may render her Palaces, Buildings, and Avenues usefull, gracefull and most magnificent: The Fumes which exhale from the Waters and lower Grounds lying South-ward, by which means they are perpetually attracted, carried off or dissipated by the Sun, as soon as they are born and ascend.
Adde to this, that the Soil is universally Gravell, not onely where the City it self is placed; but for severall Miles about the Countreys which environ it: That it is plentifully and richly irrigated, and visited with Waters which Christalize her Fountains in every Street, and may be conducted to them in such farther plenty, as Rome her self might not more abound in this liquid ornament, for the pleasure and divertisement, as well as for the use and refreshment of her Inhabitants. I forbear to enlarge upon the rest of the conveniencies which this August and Opulent City enjoies both by Sea and Land, to accumulate her Encomiums, and render her the most considerable that the Earth has standing upon her ample bosome; became, it belongs to the Orator and the Poet, and is none of my Institution: But I will infer, that if this goodly City justly challenges what is her due, and merits all that can be said to reinforce her Praises, and give her Title; she is to be reliev'd from that which renders her less healthy, really offends her, and which darkens and eclipses all her other Attributes. And what is all this, but that Hellish and dismall Cloud of SEA-COAL? which is not onely perpetually imminent over her head, For as the Poet,
Conditur in tenebris altum caligine Cœlum.Aeneid. II.
but so universally mixed with the otherwise wholsome and excellent Aer, that her Inhabitants breathe nothing but an impure and thick Mist accompanied with a fuligimous and filthy vapour, which renders them obnoxious to a thousand inconveniences, corrupting the Lungs, and disordring the entire habit of their Bodies; so that Catharrs, Phthisicks, Coughs and Consumptions rage more in this one City than in the whole Earth besides.
I shall not here much descant upon the Nature of Smoaks, and other Exhalations from things burnt, which have obtain'd their severall Epithetes, according to the quality of the Matter consumed, because they are generally accounted noxious and unwholsome, and I would not have it thought, that I doe here Fumos vendere, as the word is, or blot paper with insignificant remarks: It was yet haply no inept derivation of that Critick, who took our English, or rather, Saxon appellative, from the Greek word σμύχω corrumpo and exuro, as most agreeable to its destructive effects, especially of what we doe here so much declaim against; since this is certain, that of all the common and familiar materials which emit it, the immoderate use of, and indulgence to Sea-coale alone in the City of London, exposes it to one of the fowlest Inconveniencies and reproches, that can possibly befall so noble, and otherwise, incomparable City: And that, not from the Culinary fires, which for being weak, and lesse often fed below, is with such ease dispell'd and scatterr'd above, as it is hardly at all discernible, but from some few particular Tunnells and Issues, belonging only to Brewers, Diers, Lime-burners, Salt, and Sope-boylers, and some other private Trades, One of whose Spiracles alone, does manifestly infect the Aer, more, then all the Chimnies of London put together besides. And that this is not the least Hyperbolie, let the best of Judges decide it, which I take to be our senses: Whilst these are belching it forth their sooty jaws, the City of London resembles the face rather of Mount Ætna, the Court of Vulcan, Stromboli, or the Suburbs of Hell, then an Assembly of Rational Creatures, and the Imperial seat of our incomparable Monarch. For when in all other places the Aer is most Serene and Pure, it is here Ecclipsed with such a Cloud of Sulphure, as the Sun it self, which gives day to all the World besides, is hardly able to penetrate and impart it here; and the weary Traveller, at many Miles distance, sooner smells, then sees the City to which he repairs. This is that pernicious Smoake which sullyes all her Glory, superinducing a sooty Crust or furr upon all that it lights, spoyling the moveables, tarnishing the Plate Gildings and Furniture, and corroding the very Iron-bars and hardest stones with those piercing and acrimonious Spirits which accompany its Sulphure; and executing more in one year, then expos'd to the pure Aer of the Country it could effect in some hundreds.Claud. de rap. Pros. l. I.
Fœdat nube diem;
It is this horrid Smoake which obscures our Churches, and makes our Palaces look old, which fouls our Clothes, and corrupts the Waters, so as the very Rain, and refreshing Dews which fall in the several Seasons, precipitate this impure vapour, which, with its black and tenacious quality, spots and contaminates whatsoever is expos'd to it.Ovid.
———Calidoque involvitur undique fumo.
It is this which scatters and strews about those black and smutty Atomes upon all things where it comes, insinuating it self into our very secret Cabinets, and most it is this which diffuses and spreads a Yellownesse upon our choycest Pictures and Hangings: which does this mischief at home; is Avernus to Fowl, and kills our Bees and Flowers abroad, suffering nothing in our Gardens to bud, display themselves, or ripen; so as our Anemonies and many other choycest Flowers, will by no Industry be made to blow in London, or the Precincts of it, unlesse they be raised on a Hot-bed, and govern'd with extraordinary Artifice to accellerate their springing, imparting a bitter and ungrateful Tast to those few wretched Fruits, which never arriving to their desired maturity, seem, like the Apples of Sodome, to fall even to dust, when they are but touched. Not therefore to be forgotten, is that which was by many observ'd, that in the year when New-castle was besieg'd and blocked up in our late Wars, so as through the great Dearth and Scarcity of Coales, those fumous Works many of them were either left off, or spent but few Coales in comparison to what they now use: Divers Gardens and Orchards planted even in the very heart of London, (as in particular my Lord Marquesse of Hertfords in the Strand, my Lord Bridgewaters, and some others about Barbican) were observed to bear such plentiful and infinite quantities of Fruits, as they never produced the like either before or since, to their great astonishment: but it was by the Owners rightly imputed to the penury of Coales, and the little Smoake, which they took notice to infest them that year: For there is a virtue in the Aer, to penetrate, alter, nourish, yea and to multiply Plants and Fruits, without which no vegetable could possibly thrive; but as the Poet.Repositories: Finally, Georg. 7.
Aret ager: vitio moriens sitit aëris herba:
So as it was not ill said by Paracelsus, that of all things, Aer only could be truly affirm'd to have Life, seeing to all things it gave Life. Argument sufficient to demonstrate, how prejudicial it is to the Bodies of men; for that can never be Aer fit for them to breath in, where nor Fruits, nor Flowers do ripen, or come to a seasonable perfection.
I have strangely wondred, and not without some just indignation, when the South-wind has been gently breathing, to have sometimes beheld that stately House and Garden belonging to my Lord of Northumberland, even as far as White-hall and Westminster, wrapped in a horrid Cloud of this Smoake, issuing from a Brew-house or two contiguous to that noble Palace: so as coming up the River, that part of the City has appear'd a Sea where no Land was within ken; the same frequently happens from a Lime-kelne on the Banke-side neer the Falcon, which when the Wind blowes Southern, dilates it self all over that Poynt of the Thames, and the opposite part of London, especially about S. Paul's, poysoning the Aer with so dark and thick a Fog, as I have been hardly able to pass through it, for the extraordinary stench and halitus it sends forth; and the like is neer Fox-hall at the farther end of Lambeth.
Now to what funest and deadly Accidents the assiduous invasion of this Smoak exposes the numerous Inhabitants, I have already touch'd, whatsoever some have fondly pretended, not considering that the constant use of the same Aer (be it never so impure) may be consistent with Life and a Valetudinary state; especially, if the Place be native to us, and that we have never lived for any long time out of it; Custome, in this, as in all things else, obtaining another Nature, and all Putrefaction, proceeding from certain Changes, it becomes, as it were, the Form, and Perfection of that which is contain'd in it: For so (to say nothing of such as by assuefaction have made the rankest poysons their most familiar Diet) we read that Epimenides continu'd fifty years in a damp Cave, the Eremites dwelt in Dens, and divers live now in the Fens; some are condemn'd to the Mines, and others, that are perpetually conversant about the Forges, Fornaces of Iron and other Smoaky Works, are little concern'd with these troublesome accidents: But as it is not (I perswade my self) out of choyce, that these Men affect them; so nor will any man, I think, commend and celebrate their manner of Living. A Tabid Body might possibly trail out a miserable Life of seven or eight years by a Sea-cole Fire, as 'tis reported the Wife of a certain famous Physician, did of late by the Prescription of her Husband; but it is to be considered also, how much longer, and happier she might have survived in a better and more noble Aer; and that old Par, who lived in health to an Hundred and fifty years of Age, was not so much concern'd with the change of Diet (as some have affirm'd) as with that of the Aer, which plainly wither'd him, and spoyl'd his Digestion in a short time after his arrival at London.
There is, I confesse, a certain Idiosyncrasia in the Composition of some persons, which may fit and dispose them to thrive better in some Aers, then in other: But, it is manifest, that those who repair to London, no sooner enter into it, but they find a universal alteration in their Bodies, which are either dryed up or enflam'd, the humours being exasperated and made apt to putrifie, their sensories and perspiration so exceedingly stopp'd, with the losse of Appetite, and a kind of general stupefaction, succeeded with such Cathars and Distillations, as do never, or very rarely quit them, without some further Symptomes of dangerous Inconveniency so long as they abide in the place; which yet are immediately restored to their former habit, so soon as they are retired to their Homes and enjoy the fresh Aer again. Dr. Whistler.And here I may not omit to mention what a most Learned Physician and one of the Colledge assur'd me, as I remember of a Friend of his, who had so strange an Antipathy to the Aer of London: that though he were a Merchant, and had frequent businesse in the City, was yet constrained to make his Dwelling some miles without it; and when he came to the Exchange, within an hour or two, grew so extremely indispos'd, that (as if out of his proper Element) he was forced to take horse (which us'd therefore constantly to attend him at the Entrance) and ride as for his Life, till he came into the Fields, and was returning home again, which is an Instance so extraordinary, as not, it may be, to be paralell'd in any place of Europe, save the Grotto del Cane, nere Naples, the Os Plutonium of Silvius, or some such Subterranean habitation. For Diseases proceed not from so long a Series of causes, as we are apt to conceive; but, most times from those obvious, and despicable mischiefs, which yet we take lesse notice of, because they are familiar: But how frequently do we hear men say (speaking of some deceased Neighbour or Friend) He went up to London, and took a great Cold, &c. which he could never afterwards claw off again.
I report my self to all those who (during these sad confusions) have been compelled to breath the Aer of other Countries for some years: if they do not now perceive a manifest alteration in their Appetite, and clearnesse of their Spirits; especially such as have liv'd long in France, and the City of Paris; where, to take off that unjust reproch, the Plague as seldome domineers, as in any part of Europe, which I more impute to the Serenity and Purity of the Aer about it, then to any other qualities which are frequently assign'd for the cause of it by divers Writers. But if it be objected that the purest Aers are soonest infected; it is answered, that they are also the soonest freed again; and that none would therefore choose to live in a corrupt Aer, because of this Article: London 'tis confess'd, is not the only City most obnoxious to the Pestilence; but it is yet never clear of this Smoake which is a Plague so many other ways, and indeed intolerable; because it kills not at once, but always, since still to languish, is worse then even Death it self. For is there under Heaven such Coughing and Snuffing to be heard, as in the London Churches and of People, where the Barking and the Spitting is uncessant and most importunate. What shall I say?
Hinc hominum pecudumque Lues.—Lucan.
And what may be the cause of these troublesome effects, but the inspiration of this infernal vapour, accompaning the Aer, which first heats and sollicits the Aspera Arteria, through one of whose Conduits, partly Cartilaginous, and partly membranous, it enters by several branches into the very Parenchyma, and substance of the Lungs, violating, in this passage, the Larynx and Epiglottis, together with those multiform and curious Muscles, the immediate and proper Instruments of the Voyce, which becoming rough and drye, can neither be contracted, or dilated for the due modulation of the Voyce; so as by some of my Friends (studious in Musick, and whereof one is a Doctor of Physick) it has been constantly observ'd, that coming out of the Country into London, they lost Three whole Notes in the compasse of their Voice, which they never recover'd again till their retreat;Cic. de Nat. Deor. Adeo enim Animantes (to use the Orators words) aspiratione Aeris sustinentur, ipseque Aer nobiscum videt, nobiscum audit, nobiscum sonat: In summe, we perform nothing without it.
Whether the Head and the Brain (as some have imagined) take in the ambient Aer, nay the very Arteries through the skin universally over the whole body, is greatly controverted; But if so, of what consequence the goodnesse and purity of the Aer is, will to every one appear: Sure we are, how much the Respiration is perturb'd, and concern'd, when the Lungs are prepossessed with these grosse and dense vapours, brought along in the Aer; which on the other side being pure and fitly qualified, and so conducted to them, is there commixed with the circulating blood, insinuating it self into the left ventricle of the heart by the Arteria Venosa, to rarifie and subtilize that precious vehicle of the Spirits and vital flame: The Vena Arteriosa, and Arteria Venosa disposing themselves into many branches through the Pulmonique lobes, for its Convoy the Aer (as we sayd) being first brought into them out of the Bronchia (together with the returning blood) to the very Heart it self; so as we are not at all to wonder, at the suddain and prodigious Effects of a poysonous or lesse wholesome Aer, when it comes to invade such noble Parts, Vessells, Spirits and Humours, as it visits and attaques, through those subtile and curious passages. But this is not all.
What if there appear to be an Arsenical vapour, as well as Sulphur, breathing sometimes from this intemperate use of Sea-Cole, in great Cities? That there is, what does plainly stupifie, is evident to those who sit long by it; and that which fortun'd to the Dutchmen who Winter'd in Nova Zembla, was by all Physicians attributed to such a deleterious quality in the like fuell, as well as to the Inspissation of the Aer, which they thought only to have attemper'd, as is by most esteem'd to be the reason of the same dangerous halitus of Char-Cole, not fully enkendl'd. But to come neerer yet.
Boetius a Boet.New Castle Cole, as an expert Physician affirms, causeth Consumptions, Phthisicks, and the Indisposition of the Lungs, not only by the suffocating aboundance of Smoake; but also by its Virulency: For all subterrany Fuell hath a kind of virulent or Arsenical vapour rising from it; which, as it speedily destroys those who dig it in the Mines; so does it by little and little, those who use it here above them: Therefore those Diseases (saith this Doctor) most afflict about London, where the very Iron is sooner consum'd by the Smoake thereof, then where this Fire is not used.
And, if indeed there be such a Venemous quality latent, and sometimes breathing from this Fuell, we are lesse to trouble our selves for the finding out of the Cause of those Pestilential and Epidemical Sicknesses (Epidemiorum Causa enim in Aere, says Galen) which at divers periods, have so terribly infested and wasted us: or, that it should be so susceptible of infection, all manner of Diseases having so universal a vehicle as is that of the Smoake, which perpetually invests this City: But this is also noted by the Learned Sir Kenelme Digby, Discourse of Sympathetick Powder.in confirmation of the Doctrine of Atomical Effluvia's and Emanations, wafted, mixed and communicated by the Aer, where he well observes, that from the Materials of our London Fires, there results a great quantity of volatile Salts, which being very sharp and dissipated by the Smoake; doth infect the Aer, and so incorporate with it, that, though the very Bodies of those corrosive particles escape our perception, yet we soon find their effects, by the destruction which they induce upon all things that they do but touch; spoyling, and destroying their beautiful colours, with their fuliginous qualities: Yea, though a Chamber be never so closely locked up, Men find at their return, all things that are in it, even covered with a black thin Soot, and all the rest of the Furniture as full of it, as if it were in the house of some Miller, or a Bakers Shop, where the Flower gets into their Cupboards, and Boxes, though never so close and accurately shut.
This Coale, says Sir K. flies abroad, fowling the Clothes that are expos'd a drying upon the Hedges; and in the Spring-time (as but now we mention'd) besoots all the Leaves, so as there is nothing free from its universal contamination, and it is for this, that the Bleachers about Harluem prohibit by an express Law (as I am told) the use of these Coles, for some Miles about that Town; and how curious the Diers and Weavers of Dammask, and other precious Silks are at Florence, of the least ingresse of any Smoaky vapour, whilst their Loomes are at work, I shall shew upon some other occasion: But in the mean time being thus incorporated with the very Aer, which ministers to the necessary respiration of our Lungs, the Inhabitants of London, and such as frequent it, find it in all their Expectorations; the Spittle, and other excrements which proceed from them, being for the most part of a blackish and fuliginous Colour: Besides this acrimonious Soot produces another sad effect, by rendring the people obnoxious to Inflammations, and comes (in time) to exulcerate the Lungs, which is a mischief so incurable, that it carries away multitudes by Languishing and deep Consumptions, as the Bills of Mortality do Weekly inform us. And these are those Endemii Morbi, vernaculous and proper to London. So corrosive is this Smoake about the City, that if one would hang up Gammons of Bacon, Beefe, or other Flesh to fume, and prepare it in the Chimnies, as the good House-Wifes do in the Country, where they make use of sweeter Fuell, it will so Mummifie, drye up, wast and burn it, that it suddainly crum∣bles away, consumes and comes to nothing.
The Consequences then of all this is, that (as was said) almost one half of them who perish in London, dye of Phthisical and pulmonic distempers; That the Inhabitants are never free from Coughs and importunate Rheumatisms, spitting of Impostumated and corrupt matter: for remedy whereof, there is none so infallible, as that, in time, the Patient change his Aer, and remove into the Country: Such as repair to Paris (where it is excellent) and other like Places, perfectly recovering of their health; which is a demonstration sufficient to confirm what we have asserted, concerning the perniciousnesse of that about this City, produc'd only, from this exitial and intolerable Accident.
But I hear it now objected by some, that in publishing this Invective against the Smoake of London, I hazard the engaging of a whole Faculty against me, and particularly, that the Colledge of Physicians esteem it rather a preservation against Infections, then otherwise any cause of the sad effects which I have enumerated. But, as I have upon several encounters, found the most able, and Learned amongst them, to renounce this opinion, and heartily wish for a universal purgation of the Aer by the expedients I propose; so, I cannot believe that any of that Learned Society, should think themselves so far concern'd, as to be offended with me for that, which (as well for their sakes, as the rest who derive benefit from it) I wish were at farther distance; since it is certain, that so many of their Patients are driven away from the City, upon the least indisposition which attaques them, on this sole consideration; as esteeming it lesse dangerous to put themselves into the hands of some Country Doctor or Emperic, then to abide the Aer of London, with all its other advantages. For the rest, that pretend to that honourable Profession; if any shall find themselves agreev'd and think good to contend, I shall easily allow him as much Smoake as he desires, and much good may it do him. But, it is to be suspected, and the answer is made (by as many have ever suggested the Objection to me) That there be some whom I must expect to plead for that, which makes so much work for the Chimny-Sweeper; Since I am secure of the Learned and Ingenuous, and whole Fortunes are not built on Smoake, or raised by a universal Calamity; such as I esteem to be the Nuisances, I have here reproved: I do not hence infer, that I shall be any way impatient of a just and civil Reply, which I shall rather esteem for an honour done me, because I know, that a witty a Learned man is able to discourse upon any Subject whatsoever; some of them having with praise, written even of the praise of Diseases themselves, for so Favorinus of old, and Menapius since commended a Quartan Ague, Pirckhemierus the Gout, Gutherius celebrated Blindnesse, Hiensius the Louse, and to come nearer our Theam, Majoragius the nasty Dirt; Not I suppose that they affected these pleasant things, De materiis insamibus quae Græci ἁδοξυς appelant. Noct. Att. L 27 c. 12.but as A. Gellius has it exercendi gratia, and to shew their Wits; for as the Poet,
Sunt etiam Musis sua ludicra, mista Camænis
But to proceed, I do farther affirm, that it is not the dust and Ordure which is daily cast out of their Houses, much lesse what is brought in by the Feet of Men and Horses; or the want of more frequent and better conveyances, which renders the Streets of London dirty even to a Proverb: but chiefly this continual Smoake, which ascending in the day-time, is, by the descending Dew, and Cold, precipitated again at night: And this is manifest, if a peice of clean Linnen be spread all Night in any Court or Garden, the least infested as to appearance; but especially if it happen to rain, which carries it down in greater proportion, not only upon the Earth, but upon the Water also, where it leaves a thin Web, or pellicule of dust, dancing upon the Surface of it; as those who go to bathe in the Thames (though at some Miles distance from the City) do easily discern and bring home upon their Bodies: How it sticks on the Hands Faces, and Linnen of our fair Ladies, and nicer Dames, who reside constantly in London (especially during Winter) the prodigious wast of Almond-power for the One, Soap and wearing out of the Other, do sufficiently manifest.
Let it be considered what a Fuliginous crust is yearly contracted, and adheres to the Sides of our ordinary Chymnies where this grosse Fuell is used; and then imagine, if there were a solid Tentorium, or Canopy over London, what a masse of Soote would then stick to it, which now (as was said) comes down every Night in the Streets, on our Houses, the Waters, and is taken into our Bodies.
And may this much suffice concerning the Causes and Effects of this Evill, and to discover to all the World, how pernicious this Smoake is to our Inhabitants of London, to decrie it, and to introduce some happy Expedient, whereby they may for the Future, hope to be freed from so intollerable an inconvenience, if what I shall be able to produce and offer next, may in some measure contribute to it.
- I doe assent, that both Lime & Sulphur are in some affections specifies for the Lungs; but then they are to be so prepared, as nothing save the parest parts be received into the body (for so Physicians prescribe Flores sulph. &c.) and not accompanied with such gross and plainly virulent vapours, as these fires send forth: Nor are they (as accurately prepar'd as Art can render them) to be perpetually used, but at certain periods, in Formes, and with due Regiment.