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APPLICABILITY TO INVALIDS.
out from Falmouth in September, solely for the use of invalids, and returns for them in May. The seavoyage itself, which is so generally found beneficial, is not prolonged to the extent it was in sailing vessels, and the accommodation is said to be much superior.
Far be it from me to say that the climate of Madeira can cure consumption ; but this I will say, , that, independent of its acknowledged efficacy in chronic affections, it is one that will do more to ward off threatened diseases of the chest, or even to arrest them in their incipient stages, than any
I am acquainted with. A dry, warm climate, with a healthy and equable state of the atmosphere, are, no doubt, the most powerful remedial agents we are acquainted with, more especially for parts where only such agents can be brought in contact. It is a remedy for which, in many cases, we have no adequate substitute, and the discredit into which its sanative efficacy has been brought, “is to be sought for, not in the remedy, but in the manner in which it has been prescribed.”* And the hearsay evidence, often received from doubtful authorit on which professional men recommend particular localities as applicable to certain diseases and peculiarities of constitution, is highly reprehensible. To some, however, the heat of a Madeira summer will be too relaxing, and they will be improved not
EFFECTS OF VEGETATION.
only by a removal to a lower temperature, but materially benefitted by the voyage-always remembering, that from the middle to the end of June will be the earliest period that an invalid, who has spent the winter at Funchal, can arrive with safety in this country. The spring is the season of trial, and as Funchal and the south side of the island are much exposed, a circumstance which adds to the favourable state at the other seasons, I feel assured that then the sheltered vale of Oratava, in Teneriffe, would be found preferable in many respects, besides being five degrees warmer than Funchal at this time of the year.
Although I believe that a person with healthy lungs will exist any where, yet it is generally acknowledged that vegetable is in some degree necessary to animal life, arising from the elimination, the absorption, and exhalation of certain gases, which constitute our atmosphere, the equilibrium of which is kept up by the mutual assistance of the animal and vegetable. If then, leaves be a respiratory apparatus, and that trees hybernate when they fall off, independent of the cold of our winter, we lose also the advantage derivable from a continued activity in vegetable life, beneficially modifying the qualities of our atmosphere; whereas, in more tropical countries, the extensive evergreen Flora, continuing to flourish throughout the whole year, contributes in no small degree to purify the air, and increase the salubrity of the climate, and, con
TEMPERATURE OF THE ISLAND,
sequently, the healthy condition of animal lifealthough a superabundance of vegetation is by no means conducive to health. It is the great equability of temperature that makes Madeira so justly celebrated; an equability that continues, not only throughout the seasons, but also through the range of the diurnal revolution.
After the most accurate investigation for several years, the annual mean temperature is found to be 65°, and the daily temperature is now (November) from 70° to 72°, and seldom falls more than 3° or 4° during the night ; and so slight are the dews falling in the town, that clothes are frequently hung out to dry during the night ; the lowest degree to which the glass was ever known to fall, even just before sunrise, was to 50°. With so little rain and dew, it may naturally be asked how vegetation appears so luxuriant? Outside the town, and in other parts more elevated on the island, very heavy dews fall, and, in addition, vegetation is amply provided for by the quantity of water coming from the hills, which irrigate even the lowest parts of the island. * Its insular position possesses many advantages over that of a continent, and this is here increased by the
* The quantity of rain that falls at Madeira is, no doubt, as great as that in some parts of Europe—but it is not in the town of Funchal, the residence of the invalids, that it falls, but in the higher parts. In it a continued day's rain is so little known, that invalids are almost always able to take out-door exercise at some time of the day.
DISEASES RELIEVED BY
height of the mountains that rise in the centre. As the equability and comparative mildness of temperature, experienced at sea, are greater than that on land, so is an island such as this, in these respects superior to a continent. I said before, that the temperature can be varied by ascending the hills, but this will seldom be required during the winter months, and few invalids remain in the summer when the siroc prevails for a few days.
It moreover holds out a hope, that no other country can fulfil to the same extent, of life to those remaining members of families, many of whom have been carried off one after another by hereditary phthisis. Cases of severe and protracted rheumatism may find the West Indies a preferable climate ; and speaking from personal experience, I should say
that asthmatic sufferers will not be totally free from attacks ; but I must at the same time state that mine were generally brought on by fatigues encountered among the hills, often at a very great elevation. No doubt many have been deceived by the promises held out of Madeira, and now rest beneath the cypress and orange grove. But who were they? Patients whose cases were so utterly hopeless that not a chance remained for them; and, besides the domestic inconveniences, the effects of their removal have been such, that some have died upon the voyage, and others immediately after landing. I am happy to say, professional men do not now yield to the importunities of patients, whose cases they look upon
A RESIDENCE IN THE ISLAND.
as irremediable, by sanctioning their removal to Madeira—an advice as cruel as it was useless.
It would be unnecessary in an unprofessional work of this kind to enumerate ALL the diseases for which a residence in this climate would be useful; but I may observe, that for general debility, affections of the chest, the throat, and the windpipe, and cases of loss of voice from public speaking, it will be found most desirable, though I must say, that for all complaints in which humidity is to be avoided, when relaxation and increased secretion are present, the Canaries, especially Teneriffe, are preferable, owing, I should think, to its highly volcanic soil, more scanty vegetation, and extreme dryness.
Those cases of threatened consumption, either owing to hereditary predisposition, or the sequel of inflammatory attacks, which are sent here with the lung congested, or advanced to solid tubercle, will derive benefit, but not by the mere visit of a few months : in such cases I should say patients ought to continue their residence for a very much longer period, even for years; diversifying their stay with occasional visits to the Canaries, which will give them the stimulus in all cases most useful, of amusement, change of climate, and of scene.
That Madeira can prolong life, even under the most unfavourable circumstances, the case of the late lamented Dr. Heineken is a proof. This gentleman came to the island when his case was pronounced, by some of the most acute physicians in