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of the acid spirit in distillation, which vellicating and contracting as a stimulus might have proved a counterpoise to the excessive lubricating and relaxing qualities of the oil.
62. Woods in decoction do not seem to yield so sipe and elaborate a juice, as that which is depoSiced in the cells or loculi terebinthiaci, and spontaneously oozes from them. And indeed though the balsam of Peru, obtained by boiling wood and fcumming the decoction, be a very valuable medi. cine and of great account in divers cases, particularly asthmas, nephritic pains, nervous colics and obstructions, yet I do verily think (and I do not say this without experience) that tar-water is a more efficacious remedy in all those cases than even that costly drug.
63. It hath been already observed that the restorative pectoral antihyfterical virtues of the most precious balsams and gums are possessed in a high degree by tar-water (a). And I do not know any purpose answered by the wood drinks, for which tar-water may not be used with at least equal success. It contains the virtues even of Guaiacum which seems the most efficacious of all the woods, warming and sweetening the humours, diaphoretic and useful in gouts, dropsies and rheums, as well as in the foul disease. Nor should it seem ftrange, if the virtues obtained by boiling an old dry wood prove inferior to those extracted from a balsam.
64. There is a fine volatile spirit in the waters of Geronfter, the most esteemed of all the fountains about Spa, but whose waters do not bear transporting. The stomachic, carcliac, and diuretic qualities of this fountain somewhat resemble those of tarwater, which, if I am not greatly mistaken, con.
(a) Sect. 9, 21, 22, 23.
which I never fer no restraint it may study, o
tains the virtues of the best chalybeat and sulphurcous waters; with this difference, that those wacers are apt to affect the head in taking, which tarwater is not. Besides there is a regimen of dier to be observed, especially with chalybeat waters, which I never found necessary with this. Tara water layeth under no restraint either as to diet, hours, or employment. A man may study, or exercise, or repose, keep his own hours, pass his time either within or without, and take wholesom nourishment of any kind.
65. The use of chalybeat waters, however excellent for the nerves and stomach, is often suspended by colds and infiammatory disorders; in which they are acknowledged to be very dangerous. Whereas tar-water is so far from hurting in those cases, or being discontinued on chat account, that it greatly contributes to their cure (a).
66. Cordials, vulgarly so called, act immediately on the stomach, and by consent of nerves on the head. But medicines of an operation too fine and light to produce a sensible effect in the primæ viæ, may, nevertheless, in their paffage chrough the capillaries, operate on the sides of those small vessels, in such manner as to quicken their oscillations, and consequently the motion of their contents, producing, in issue and effect, all the benefits of a cordial much more lasting and salutary than those of fermented spirits, which by their caustic and coagulating qualities do incomparably more mischief chan good. Such a cardiac medicine is tar-water. The transient fits of mirth, produced from fermented liquors, are attended with proportionable depreslions of spiric in their intervals. But the calm chearfulness arising from
this water of health (as it may be justly called) is permanent. In which it emulates the virtues of that famous plant Gen Seng, so much valued in China as the only cordial that raiseth the spirits without depressing them. Tar-water is so far from hurting the nerves as common cordials do, that it is highly useful in cramps, spasms of the viscera, and paralytic numbness.
67. Emetics are on certain occasions adminiftred with great success. But the overstraining and weakening of nature may be very justly apprehended from a course of emetics. They are nevertheless prescribed and substituted for exercise. But it is well remarked in Plato's Timæus that vomits and purges are the worst exercile in the world. There is something in the mild operation of tar-water, that seems more friendly to the economy, and forwards the digestions and secretions in a way more natural and benign, the mildness of this medicine being such that I have known children take it, for above six months together, with great benefit, and without any inconvenience; and after long and repeated experience I do esteem it a most excellent diet drink fitted to all seasons and ages.
68. It is, I think, allowed that the origin of the gout lies in a faulty digestion. And it is remarked by the ablest physicians, that the gout is so difficult to cure, because heating medicines aggravate it's immediate, and cooling it's remote caufe. But tar-water, although it contain active principles that strengthen the digestion beyond any thing I know, and consequently must be highly useful, either to prevent or lessen the following fit, or by envigorating the blood to cast it upon the extremities, yet it is not of so heating a nature as to do harm even in the fit. Nothing is more difficult or disagreeable than to argue men out of their prejudices ; I shall not therefore enter into controversies on this subject, but, if men difpute and object, shall leave the decision to time and trial.
69. In the modern practice, soap, opium, and mercury bid fairest for universal medicines. The first of these is highly spoken of. But then those who magnify it most, except against the use of it in such cases where the obstruction is attended with a putrefactive alkali, or where an inflammatory disposition appears. It is acknowledged to be very dangerous in a phthisis, fever, and some other cases in which tar-water is not only safe. but useful. . 70. Opium, though a medicine of great extent and efficacy, yet is frequently known to produce grievous disorders in hysterical or hypochondriacal persons, who make a great part, perhaps the greatest of those who lead sedentary lives in these islands. Besides, upon all conftitutions dangerous errors may be committed in the use of opium.
71. Mercury hach of late years become a medicine of very general use. The extreme minuteness, mobility, and momentum of it's pares, rendering it a most powerful cleanser of all obstructions, even in the most minute capillaries. But then we should be caurious in the use of it, if we consider, that the very thing which gives it power of doing good above other deobftruents, doth also difpose it to do mischief. I mean it's great momentum, the weight of it being about ten times that of blood, and the momentum being the joint product of the weight and velocity, it must needs operate with great force ; and may it not be justly feared, that so great a force entring the minutest
vefsels, and breaking the obstructed matter, might alto break or wound the fine tender coats of those Imall vessels, and so bring on the untimely effects of old age, producing more, perhaps, and worse obstructions than those it removed? Similar consequences may juftly be apprehended from other mineral and ponderous medicines. Therefore, upon. the whole, there will not perhaps be found any medicine, more general in it's use, or more salutary in it's effects than tar-water, - 72. To suppose that all distempers arising from very different, and, it may be, from contrary causes, can be cured by one and the same medieine must seem chimerical. But it may with truth be affirmed, that the virtue of tar-water extends to a surprising variety of cases very distant and unlike (a). This I have experienced in my neighbours, my family, and myself. And as I live in a remote corner among poor neighbours, who for want of a regular physician have often recourse to me, I have had frequent opportunities of trial, which convince me it is of so just a temperament as to be an enemy to all extremes. I have known ic do great good in a cold watery confticution, as a cardiac and stomachic; and at the same cime allay heat and feverish thirst in another. I have known it correct coftive habits in some, and the contrary habit in others. Nor will this seem incredible, if it be considered that middle qualities naturally reduce the extreme. Warm water, for instance, mixed with hot and cold will. lessen the heat in that, and be cold in this.
73. They who know the great virtues of common soap, whose coarse lixivial salts are the pro
(a) Seat. 3, 4, 5, 6, 21, &c.