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A CHAIN of

PhiLOSOPHICAL REFLEXIONS

A N D

INQUIRIES, &c.

OR INTRODUCTION to the following piece I assure the reader, that nothing could, in my present situation, have in

duced me to be at the pains of writing it, but a firm belief that it would prové a valuable present to the public. What entertainment soever the reasoning or notional part may afford the mind, I will venture to say, the other part seemech so surely calculated to do good to the body, that both must be gainers. For if the lute be not well tuned, the musician fails of his harmony. And in our present state, the operations of the mind, so far depend on the right tone or good condition of it's inftrument, that any thing which greatly contributes to preserve or recover the health of the body, is well worth the attention of the mind. These considerations have moved me to communicate to the public the falutary virtues of tar-water; to which I thought myself indispensably obliged, by the duty every man owes to mankind. And, as effects are linked with their causes, my thoughts on this low, but useful theme led' to farther inquiries, and those on to others remote, perhaps, and speculative, but, I hope, not altogether useless or unentertaining.

А

1. In

1.

I

N certain parts of America, tar-water is

made by putting a quart of cold water to a quart of tar, and stirring them well together in a vertel, which is left ftanding till the tar links to the bottom. A glass of clear water being poured off for a draught is replaced by the same quantity of fresh water, the vessel being shaken and left to stand as before. And, this is repeated for every glass, so long as the tar continues to impregnate the water sufficiently, which will appear by the smell and taste. But as this method produceth tarwater of different degrees of strength, I chufe to make it in the following manner : Pour a gallon of cold water on a quart of tar, and stir and mix them thoroughly with a sadle or flat stick for the space of three or four minutes, after which the već fel must stand eight and forty hours that the tar may have time to subside, when the clearwater is to be poured off and kept covered for use, no more being made from the fame tar, which may still serve for common purposes.

2 This cold infusion of tảr hath been used in fome of our colonies, as a preservative or preparative against the finall.pox, which foreign practice induced me to try it in my own neighbourhood, when the small-pox raged with great violence. And the trial fully answered my expectation : all those, within my knowledge, who took the car-water having either escaped that distemper, or had it very favourably. In one family there was a remarkable instance of seven children, who came all very well through the small-pox, except one young child which could not be brought to drink tar-water as the rest had done.

3. Several were preferved from taking the smallpox by the use of ihis liquor : ochers had it in the

mildelt

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(5) mildest manner,' and others that they might be able to take the infection, were obliged to intermit drinking the tar-water. I have found it may be drunk with great fafety and success for any length of time, and this not only before, but also during the distemper. The general rule for taking it is, about half a pint night and morning on an empty stomach, which quancity may be varied, according to the case and age of the patient, provided it be always taken on an empty stomach, and about two hours before or after a meal. For children and fqueamish persons it may be made weaker, and given little and often. More cold water, or less itirring, makes it weaker ; as less water, or more itirring, makes it stronger. It should not be lighcer than French, nor deeper coloured than Spanish white wine. If a spirit be not very sensibly perceiv'don drinking, either the tar must have been bad or already.us'd, or the tar-water carelessly made.

4. It feemed probable, that a medicine of such efficacy in a diftemper attended with so many purulent ulcers, might be also useful in other foulneffes of the blood; accordingly I tried it on sevesal persons infected with cutaneous eruptions and ulcers, who were soon relieved, and soon after cu. red. Encouraged by these successes I ventured to advife it in the foulest distempers, wherein is proved much more successful than salivations and wood-drinks had done.

5. Having tried it in a great variety of cases, I found it fucceed beyond my hopes; in a tedious and painful ulceration of the bowels, in a consumptive cough and (as appeared by expectorated pus) an ulcer in the lungs; in a pleurify and peripneumony. And when a person, who for some years had been fubject to erysipelatous fevers, perceived the usual fore-running symptoms to come on, I advised her

to

to drink tar-water which prevented the erysipelas.

6. I never knew any thing so good for the sto? mach as tar. water; it cures indigestion and gives a good appetite. It is an excelent medicine in an asthma. It imparts a kindly warmth and quick circulation to the juices without heating, and is therefore useful, not only as a pectoral and balfamic, but also as a powerful and safe deobftruent ini cachectic and hysteric cases. As it is both healing and diuretic, it is very good for the gravel. I believe it to be of great use in a dropfy, having known it cure a very bad anafarca in a person whose thirst, though very extraordinary, was in a short time removed by the drinking of tar-water,

7. The usefulness of this medicine in infammatory cases is evident, from what has been already observed (a). And yet some perhaps may suspect that, as the tar itself is sulphureous, tar-water must be of a hot and inflaming nature.

But it is to be noted, that all balsams contain an acid spirit, which is in truch a volatile falt. Water is a men'ftruum that diffolves all sorts of salts, and draws them from their subjects. Tar, therefore, being à balfam, it's falutary acid is extracted by water, which yet is incapable of diffolving it's gross refinous parts; whose proper menftruum is spirit of wine. Therefore tar-water, not being impregnated with resin, may be safely used in inflammatory cafes : and in fact it hath been found an admirable febrifuge, at once the fafest cooler and cordial.

8. The volatile falts separated by infusion from tar, may be supposed to contain it's specific vir

Mr. Boyle and other later chemists are agreed, that fixed fales are much the same in all bodies. But it is well known that volatile falts do' greatly differ, and the easier they are separated ya) Sect. 5

from

1

tues.

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