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happens from drawing water into them instead of air, when a person in the fright attempts breathing while the mouth and nostrils are under water.
2. That the legs and arms are specifically lighter than salt water, and will be supported by it; so that a human body would not sink in salt-water, though the lungs were filled as above, but from the greater specific gravity of the head.
3. That therefore a person throwing himself on his back in salt water, and extending his arms, may easily lie so as to keep his mouth and nostrils free for breathing; and by a small motion of his hands may prevent turning, if he should perceive any tendency to it.
4. That in fresh water, if a man throws himself on his back, near the surface, he cannot long continue in that situation but by the proper action of his hands on the water. If he uses no such action, the legs and lower part of the body will gradually sink till he comes into an upright position, in which he will continue suspended, the hollow of the breast keeping the head uppermost.
5. But if, in this erect position, the head is kept upright above the shoulders, as when we stand on the ground, the immersion will, by the weight of that part of the head that is out of water, reach above the mouth and nostrils, perhaps a little above the eyes, so that a man cannot long remain suspended in water with his head in that position.
6. The body continuing suspended as before, and upright, if the head be leaned quite back, so that the face looks upwards, all the back part of the head being then under water, and its weight consequently in a great measure supported by it, the face will remain above water quite free for breathing, will rise an inch higher every inspiration, and sink as much every expiration, but never so low as that the water may come over the mouth.
7. If therefore a person unacquainted with swimming, and falling accidentally into the water, could have presence of mind sufficient to avoid struggling and plunging, and to let the body take this natural position, he might continue long safe from drowning till perhaps help would come. For as to the clothes, their additional weight while immersed is very inconsiderable, the water supporting it, though when he come out of the water, he would find them very heavy indeed.
But, as I said before, I would not advise you or any one to' depend on having this presence of mind on such an occasion, but learn fairly to swim; as I wish all men were taught to do in their youth: they would, on many occurrences , be the safer for having that skill, and on many more the happier, as freer from painful apprehen. sions of danger, to say nothing of the enjoyment in so delightful and wholesome an exercise. Soldiers particularly should, methinks, all be taught to swim; it might be of frequent use either in surprising an enemy, or saving
themselves. And if I had now boys to educate, I should prefer those schools (other things being equal) where an opportunity was afforded for acquiring so advantageous an art, which once learned is never forgotten.
I am, Sir, etc.
ON THE SAME SUBJECT.
*** I am apprehensive that I shall not be able to find leisure for making all the disquisitions and experiments which would be desirable on this subject. must, therefore, content myself with a few remarks.
The specific gravity of some human bodies, in comparison to that of water, has been examined by Mr. Robinson, in our Philosophical Transactions, volume 50, page 30, for the year 1757. He asserts, that fat persons with small bones float most easily upon the water.
The diving.bell is accurately described in our Transactions.
When I was a boy, I made two oval pallets, each abont ten inches long, and six broad, with a hole for the thnmb, in order to retain it fast in the palm of my hand. They much resembled a painter's pallets. In swimming I pushed the edges of these forward, and I struck the water with their flat surfaces as I drew them back. I remember I swam faster by means of these ballets, but they fatigued my wrists. I also fitted to the soles of my feet a kind of sandals; but I was not satisfied with them, because I observed that the stroke is partly given by the inside of the feet and the ancles, and not entirely with the soles of the feet.
We have here waistcoats for swimming, which are made of double sail-cloth, with small pieces of cork quilted in between them.
I know nothing of the scaphandre of M. de la Chapelle.
I know by experience, that it is a great comfort to a swimmer, who has a considerable distance to go, to turn himself sometimes on his back, and to vary in other respects the means of procuring a progressive motion.
When he is seized with the cramp in the leg, the method of driving it away is to give to the parts affected a sudden, vigorous and violent shock; which he may do in the air as he swims on his back.
During the great heats of summer there is no danger in bathing, however warm we may be, in rivers which
have been thorougly warmed by the sum. But to throw one's self into cold spring water, when the body has been heated by exercise in the sun, is an imprudence which may prove fatal. I once knew an instance of four young men, who, having worked at harvest in the heat of the day, with a view of refreshing themselves plunged into a spring of cold water: two died upon the spot, a third the next morning, and the fourth recovered with great diftculty. A copious draught of cold water, in similar circumstances, is frequently attended with the same effect in North America.
The exercise of swimming is one of the most healthy and agreeable in the world. After having swam for an hour or two in the evening, one sleeps coolly the whole night, even during the most ardent heat of summer. Perhaps, the pores being cleansed, the insensible perspiration ncreases and occasions this coolness. It is certain that inuch swimming is the means of stopping a diarrhoea, and even of producing a constipation. With respect to those who do not know how to swim, or who are affected with a diarrhoea at a season which does not permit them to use that exercise, a warm bath, by cleansing and purifying the skin, is found very salutary, and often' eflects a radical cure. I speak from my own experience, frequently repeated, and 'that of others to whom I have recommended this.
You will not be displeased if I conclude these hasty remarks by informing you, that as the ordinary method of swimming is reduced to the act of rowing with the arms and legs, and is consequently a laborious and fatiguing operation when the space of water to be crossed is considerable; there is a method in which a swimmer may pass to great distances with much facility, by means of a sail. This discovery I fortunately made by accident, and in the following manner.
When I was a boy, I amused myself one day with flying a paper kite; and, approaching the bank of a pond, which was near a mile broad, I tied the string to a stake, and the kite ascended to a very considerable height above the pond, while I was swimming. In a little time, being desirous of amusing myself with my kite, and enjoying at he same time the pleasure of swimming, I returned; and, loosing from the stake the string with the little stick which was fastened to it, went again into the water, where I found, that, lying on my back and holding the stick in my hands, I was drawn along the surface of the water su a very agreeable manner. Having then engaged another how to carry my clothes round the pond, to a place which I jointed out to him on the other side, I began to cross the pond with my kite, which carried me quite over without the least fatigue, and with the greatest pleasure imaginable. I was only obliged occasionally halt a little in my course, and resist its progress, when it appeared that, by following too quick I' lowered' the kite too much:
by doing which occasionally I made it rise again. I have never since that time practised this singular mode of swimming, though I think it not impossible to cross in this manner from Dover to Calais. The packet-boat, however, is still preferable. ***
TO M. DUBOURG.
London, July 28, 1760. *** I greatly approve the epithet which you give, in your letter of the 8th of June, to the new method of treating the small-pox, which you call the tonic or bracing method; I will take occasion, from it, to mention a practice to which I have accustomed myself. You know the cold bath has long been in vogue here as a tonic; but the shock of the cold water has always appeared to me, generally speaking, as too violent, and I have found it much more agreeable to my constitution to bathe in another element, I mean cold air. With this view I rise almost every morniug, and sit in my chamber without any clothes whatever, half an hour or an hour, according to the season, either reading or writing. This practice is not in the least painful, but, on the contrary, agreeable; and if I return to bed afterwards, before I dress myself, as sometimes happens, I make a supplement to my night's rest of one or two hours of the most pleasing sleep that can be imagined. I find no ill consequences whatever resulting from it, and that at least it does not injure my health, if it does not in fact contribute much to its preservation. I shall therefore call it for the future a bracing or tonic bath. ***
TO THE REV. FATHER BECCARIA. Describing a new musical Instrument composed
London, July 13, 1762. I once promised myself the pleasure of seeing you at Turin, but as that is not now likely to happen, being just about returning to my native country, America, I sit down
to take leave of you (among others of my European friends that I cannot see) by writing.
I thank you for the honourable mention you have so frequently made of me in your letters to Mr. Collinson and others; for the generous defence you undertook, and executed with so much success, of my electrical opinions; and for the valuable present you have made me of your new work, from which I have received great information and pleasure. I wish I could in return entertain you with any thing new of mine on that subject; but I have not lately pursued it. Nor do I know of any one here that is at present much engaged in it.
Perhaps, however, it may be agreeable to you, as you live in a musical country, to have an account of the new instrument lately added here to the great number that charming science was before possessed of. As it is an instrument that seems peculiarly adapted to Italian music, especially that of the soft and plaintive kind, I will endeavour to give you such a description of it, and of the manner of constructing it, that you or any of your friends may be enabled to imitate it, if you incline so to do, without being at the expence and trouble of the many experiments I have made in endeavouring to bring it to its present perfection.
You have doubtless heard the sweet tone that is drawn from a drinking glass, by passing a wet finger round its brim. One Mr. Puckeridge, a gentleman from Ireland, was the first who thought' of playing tunes, formed of these tones. He collected a number of glasses of different sizes, fixed them near each other on a table, and tuned them by butting into them water, more or less, as each note required. The tones were brought out by passing his fingers round their prims. - He was unfortunatety burned here, with his instrument, in a fire which consumed the house he lived in. Mr. E. Delaval, a must ingenious member of our Royal Society, made one in imitation of it, with a better choice and form of glasses, which was the first I saw or heard. Being charmed with the sweetness of its tones, and the music he produced from it, I wished only to see the glasses disposed in a more convenient form, and brought together in a narrower compas, so as to admit of a greater number of tones, and all within reach of hand to a person sitting before the instrument, which I accomplished, after various intermediate trials, and less commodious forms, both of glasses and construetion, in the following manner.
The glasses are blown as near as possibie in the form of hemispheres, having each an open neck or socket in the middle. The thickness of the glass near the brim about a tenth of an inch, or hardly quite so much, but thicker as it comes nearer the neck, which in the largest glasses is about an inch deep and an inch and half wide within, these dimensions lessening as the glasses themselves diminish in size, except that the neck of the smal