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Various opinions have been expressed regarding the comparative merits of this island with other situations of like resort ; but I think both medical men, and those who have tried it themselves, must now acknowledge that we have no European climate that can in any way be compared with it, or that affords the same advantages that it does, as a winter residence for invalids, more especially since steam has brought it within a six days' voyage of England. And as steamers now go out expressly for the use of invalids, the sea voyage itself, which is so generally found beneficial, is therefore not prolonged to the extent it was in sailing vessels, and the accommodation is said to be much superior. Even for those who can well afford the expense, it is a serious thing for invalids, especially for females, to resign their
company's steam-ship, the “Royal Tar,' Captain G. Brooks, starting for Madeira, from Southampton, on the 18th of October next.
“ Homewards—In the spring of next year, one of the Peninsular and Oriental Steam Navigation Company's steam-ships will make two, or as many more trips as may be necessary, between Madeira and Gibraltar, for the conveyance of passengers desirous of returning, via the Peninsula, and will return from Madeira direct for Southampton, the same as last spring.
“Rates of passage money, which include a liberal table, with wines, spirits, &c., and also bedding, linen, and cabin furniture of every description_From Southampton to Madeira, first class, £30; second class, £21; children under ten years, half price; children under five, one third ; children in arms (with the parent), free. Steward's fees, 15s. each first class passenger
“ Rates of passage out in the autumn, and home in the spring—Direct to and from Madeira, £55; by way of the Peninsula, £50. The Royal Tar carries an experienced surgeon. To secure passages, select berths, &c., apply at 44, Regent-street, Piccadilly; and the Peninsular and Ori. ental Steam Navigation Company's offices, 57, High-street, Southampton, and 51, St. Mary Axe, London.”
The royal mail steamers for the West Indies proceed direct from Southampton to Madeira, leaving England the 2nd and 17th of every month. This mode has only just commenced. All the steamers make the trip in from six to seven days.
The Brazil packets still continue to touch regularly at Funchal. The East and West India ships also call there generally; but will only take passengers to or from the island when their berths to their final destination are not occupied; and this in England cannot be known till the last moment, so they are the least to be depended on.
Three regular traders, the Grace Darling, Florence, and Vernon, fitted
home and friends in search of a milder atmosphere; and few places that we are acquainted with will compensate, by the benefits they afford, for the comforts of the one or the endearments of the other. But if such there be, I am constrained to say that place is Madeira.
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. For such, a dry warm climate, with a healthy and equable state of the atmosphere, are, no doubt, the most powerful remedial agents we are as yet acquainted with, especially for parts
up with very comfortable accommodation for passengers, sail regularly once a fortnight. Many persons prefer them to the steamers; the passage is about twelve days on the average; the expense about £20. Besides these, there are always small Portuguese vessels trading to Lisbon and Gibraltar.
Again, a steamer leaves Falmouth for Lisbon on Mondays, regularly. First cabin fare, £15; second cabin, £9 10s., which includes table, &c. A steamer leaves Lisbon for Madeira every fortnight, and returns in a few days after she lands her passengers. Fares from Lisbon to Madeira (at present), first cabin, £10; second cabin, £7, including table; deck, £3. An English stewardess attends. The British mail contract-boats, which sail on Mondays from Falmouth, call at Vigo, Lisbon, Cadiz, and Gibraltar -touching at Oporto, and return by the same route, which is performed in eighteen or twenty days.
With all these means of access and return, few can now complain of the inability of getting to, or leaving the island.
Persons wishing to leave Rome, or any of the countries bordering the Mediterranean, for Madeira, can always do so, via Gibraltar ; and there are also Sardinian vessels constantly going from Genoa to Madeira.
For much information upon the subject of Madeira, I would refer the reader and the invalid to a useful little work published by Mr. Driver, “ Letters from Madeira ;" and in particular to “ The Invalid's Guide to Madeira," by W. W. Cooper, M.R.C.S.; and, for a more detailed account of the climate, to the papers of Doctors Renton and Heineken, published in the Edinburgh Medical and Surgical Journal ; also Clark on the Influence of Climate ; and a most interesting and valuable scientific communication, by Dr. James Macauley, on the Physical Geography, &c. of the Island, referred to at page 82.
upon which such agents only can act. 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 he sought for, not in the remedy, but in the manner in which it has been prescribed.” And the hearsay evidence, often received from doubtful authority, on which professional men recommend particular localities as applicable to certain diseases and peculiarities, is highly reprehensible. How frequently do physicians in extensive practice regulate the winter residences of their patients by the accounts they have last received from some friend or patient who, having been benefitted by the climate, entertained with the society and amusements, or solaced by the friends they have met at Pau, Rome, Nice, or Pisa, have returned loud in their praises of these places. To some, however, the heat of a Madeira summer will be too relaxing, and they will be improved not only by a removal to a lower temperature, but materially benefitted by the voyage home-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 their favourable condition 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. The rainy season is autumn, and generally in November ; but it lasts only a few days, and seldom rains for six hours together : so that one is always enabled to take out-door exercise. 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 ; more of this, however, when we come to consider the subject of the temperature in detail, and the meteorological observations that have been made upon the climate by competent authorities.
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; this arises from the absorption and exhalation of certain gases, which constitute our atmosphere, the equilibrium of which is kept up by the mutual assistance of
CLIMATE OF MADEIRA.
the animal and vegetable. If, then, leaves be a respiratory apparatus, and that trees hibernate when they fall off, independent of the cold of our winter, we lose also the advantage derivable from a continued activity of 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 consequently the healthy condition of animal life ; although 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 at the period of our visit, (November, 1837,) from 70° to 72°, and it seldom fell more than three or four degrees 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 point to which the glass was ever known to fall, even just before sunrise, was 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 irrigates even the lowest parts of the island.
“The nights in Madeira are,” says a recent visitor, “of surpassing beauty. The moon displays a radiance, to the brilliancy of which any approach is seldom made in this country. Venus, too, shines with beautiful refulgence, casting a shadow from objects. The lunar rainbow, a meteor never or rarely seen in our country, is said to be there of frequent occurrence, which indicates a remarkable clearness of the atmosphere. Twice during
* In some letters lately published by Dr. A. Combe, it is stated that on the 10th of February, 1842, the Fahrenheit thermometer fell so low as 44o at half-past seven A.m.; but this is, I believe, a very rare occurrence indeed.
last winter, I observed the appearance. On one of the nights, in the month of March, it was visible, on mists or clouds, on the mountains for two or three hours, in distinct and beautiful display, while the full moon was not far above the horizon. The brilliancy of the heavens, the serenity of the air, the genial mildness of the atmosphere, render the nights, especially when the moon with more pleasing light, shadowy sets off the face of things,' more inviting even than the day to be abroad in. The absence of chillness and damp here, permits one with safety to enjoy this,'the pleasant time, the cool, but not the silent;' for many of the natives, indolent during the day, then delight in their gardens and terraces ; and the air is filled with the music of the guitar, and a sweet little instrument, peculiar to the island, the machettinho. The air is then, too, redolent with the sweet aroma of the orange and citron groves; and heliotropes, daturæ, jessamines, roses, with many a 'flowery odour' besides, unite their tribute to increase the delicious fragrance of the atmosphere."*
Its insular position possesses many advantages over that of a continent, and this is here increased by the height of the mountains that rise in the centre. As the equability and comparative mildness of temperature experienced at sea, is 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 advanced summer when the L’Este or 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
* Dr. James Macaulay on the Physical Geography, Geology, and Climate of the Island of Madeira Edinburgh New Philosophical Journal. April to October 1840. Vol. xxix.