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with which we are acquainted eat and drink, it appears to us difficult to conceive how a toad can be supported in such a dungeon. But if we reflect that the necessity of nourishment, which animals experience in their ordinary state, proceeds from the continual waste of their substance by perspiration; it will appear less incredible, that some animals in a torpid state, perspiring less because they use no exercise, should have less need of aliment; and that others, which are covered with scales or shells, which stop perspiration, such as land and sea turtles, serpents, and some species of fish, should be able to subsist a considerable time without any nourishment whatever. A plant, with its flowers, fades and dies immediately, if exposed to the air without having its roots immersed in a humid soil, from which it may draw a sufficient quantity of moisture to supply that which exhales from its substance, and is carried off continually by the air. Perhaps, however, if it were buried in quicksilver, it might preserve, for a considerable space of time, its vegetable life, its smell and color. If this be the case, it might prove a commodious method of transporting from distant countries those delicate plants which are unable to sustain the inclemency of the weather at sea, and which require particular care and attention.
I have seen an instance of common flies preserved in a manner somewhat similar. They had been drowned in Madeira wine, apparently about the time it had been bottled in Virginia, to be sent to London. At the opening of one of the bottles, at the house of a friend where I was, three drowned fies fell into the first glass that was filled. Having heard it remarked that drowned flies were capable of being revived by the rays of the sun, I proposed making the experiment upon these. They were therefore exposed to the sun, upon a seive which had been employed to strain them out of the wine. In less than three hours, two of them by degrees began to recover life. They commenced by some convulsive motions in the thighs, and at length they raised themselves upon their legs, wiped their eyes with their fore feet, beat and brushed their wings with their hind feet, and soon after began to fly, finding themselves in Old England, without knowing how they came thither. The third continued lifeless until sunset, when, losing all hopes of him, he was thrown away.
I wish it were possible, from this instance, to invent a method of embalming drowned persons in such a manner that they may be recalled to life at any period, however distant: for, having a very ardent desire to see and observe the state of America a hundred years hence, I should prefer to an ordinary death, the being immersed in a cask of Madeira wine, with a few friends, until that time, then to be recalled to life by the solar warmth of my dear country! But since, in all probability, we live in an age too early, and too near the infancy of science, to see such an art brought in our time to its perfection, I must, for the present, content myself with the treat, which you are so kind as to promise me, of the resurrection of a fowl or a turkey-cock.
PRECAUTIONS TO BE USED BY THOSE WHO ARE ABOUT TO UN.
DERTAKE A SEA VOYAGE.
When you intend to take a long voyage, nothing is better than to keep it a secret till the moment of your departure. Without this, you will be continually interrupted and tormented by visits from friends and acquaintances, who not only make you lose your valuable time, hul make you forget a thousand things which you wish to remember; so that when you are embarked and fairly at sea, you recollect, with much uneasiness, affairs which you have not terminated, accounts that you have not settled, and a number of things which you proposed to carry with you, and which you find the want of every moment. Would it not be attended with the best consequences to reform such a custom, and to suffer a traveller, without deranging him, to make his preparations in quietness, to set apart a few days, when these are finished, to take leave of his friends, and to receive their good wishes for his happy return.
It is not always in one's power to choose a captain; tho' great part of the pleasure and happiness of the passage depends upon this choice, and though one inust for a time be confined to his company, and be in some measure under his command. If he is a social sensible man, obliging, and of
a good disposition, you will be so much the happier. One sometimes meets with people of this description, but they are not common; however, if yours be not of this number, if he be a good seaman, attentive, careful, and active in the management of his vessel, you must dispense with the rest, for these are the most essential qualities.
Whatever right you may have, by your agreement with him to the provisions he has taken on board for the use of the passengers, it is always proper to have some private store, which you may make use of occasionally. You ought therefore to provide good water, that of the ship being often bad; but you must put it in bottles, without which you cannot expect to preserve it sweet. You ought also to carry with you good tea, ground coffee, chocolate, wine of that sort which you like best, cider, dried raisins, almonds, sugar, capillaire, citrons, rum, eggs dipped in oil, portable soup, bread twice baked. With regard to poultry, it is almost useless to carry any with you, unless you resolve to undertake the office of feeding and fattening them yourself. With the little care which is taken of them on board a ship, they are almost all sickly, and their flesh is as tough as leather.
All sailors entertain an opinion, which undoubtedly originated formerly from a want of water, and when it has been found necessary to be sparing of it, that poultry never know when they have drunk enough, and that when water is given them at discretion, they generally kill themselves by drinking beyond measure. In consequence of this opinion, they give them water only once in two days, and even then in small quantities: but as they pour this water into troughs inclining on one side, which occasions it to run to the lower part, it thence happens that they are obliged to mount one upon the back of another in order to reach it; and there are some which cannot even dip their beaks in it. Thus continually tantalized and tormented by thirst, they are unable to digest their food, which is very dry, and they soon fall sick and die. Some of them are found thus every morning, and are thrown into the sea; while those which are killed for the table are scarcely fit to be eaten. To remedy this inconvenience, it will be necessary to divide their troughs into small compartments, in such a manner that each
of them may be capable of containing water; but this is seldom or never done. On this account, sheep and hogs are to be considered as the best fresh provisions that one can have at sea; mutton there being in general very good, and pork excellent.
It may bappen that some of the provisions and stores, which I have recommended, may become almost useless by the care which the captain has taken to lay in a proper stock: but in such a case you may dispose of it to relieve the poor passengers, who, paying less for their passage, are stowed among the common sailors, and have no right to the captain's provisions, except such part of them as is used for feeding the crew. These passengers are sometimes sick, melancholy and dejected; and there are often women and children among them, neither of whom have any opportunity of procuring those things which I have mentioned, and of which, perhaps, they have the greatest need. By distributing amongst them a part of your superfluity, you may be of the greatest assistance to them. You may restore their health, save their lives, and in short render them happy; which always affords the liveliest sensation to a feeling mind.
The most disagreeable thing at sea is the cookery: for there is not, properly speaking, any professed cook on board. The worst sailor is generally chosen for that purpose, who for the most part is equally dirty. Hence comes the proverb used
among the English sailors, that God sends meat, and the Devil sends cooks. Those, however, who have a better opinion of Providence will think otherwise. Knowing that sea air, and the exercise or motion which they receive from the rolling of the ship, have a wonderful effect in whetting the appetite, they will say, that Providence has given sailors bad cooks to prevent them eating too much; or that, knowing they would have bad cooks, he has given them a good appetite to prevent them from dying with hunger. However, if you have no confidence in these succors of Provi. dence, you may yourself, with a lamp and a boiler, by the help of a little spirits of wine, prepare some food, such as soup, hash, &c.
A small oven made of tin-plate is not a bad piece of furniture; your servant may roast in it a piece of mution or pork. If you are ever tempted to eat salt beef, which is often very good, you will find that cider is the best liquor to quench the thirst generally caused by salt meat or salt fish, Sea biscuit, which is too hard for the teeth of some
people, may be softened by steeping it; but bread doublebaked is the best: for being made of good loaf bread cut into slices, and baked a second time, it readily imbibes water, becomes soft, and is easily digested; it consequently forms excellent nourishment, much superior to that of biscuit, which has not been fermented.
I must here observe, that this double-baked bread was originally the real biscuit prepared to keep at sea; for the word biscuit, in French, signifies twice baked.* Peas often boil badly, and do not become sost; in such a case, by putting a two-pound shot into the kettle, the rolling of the vese sel, by means of this bullet, will convert the peas into a por ridge, like mustard.
Having often seen soup, when put upon the table at sea in broad Aat dishes, throwu out on every side by the rolling of the vessel, I have wished that our tininen would make our soup-basins with divisions or compartments : forming small plates, proper for containing soup for one person only. By this disposition the soup, in an extraordinary roll, would not be thrown out of the plate, and would not fall into the breasts of those who are at table, and scald them. Having entertained you with these things of little importance, permit me now to conclude with some general reflections upon navigation.
When navigation is employed only for transporting new cessary provisions from one country, where they abound, to another where they are wanting; when by this it prevents famines, which were so frequent and so fatal before it was invented and became so common; we cannot help considering it as one of those arts which contribute most to the happiness of mankind. But when it is employed to transport things of no utility, or articles of luxury, it is then uncertain whether the advantages resulting from it are sufficient to counterbalance the misfortunes it occasions by exposing the lives of so many individuals upon the vast ocean. And when it is used to plunder vessels and transport slaves, it is evidently only the dreadful means of increasing those calamities which afflict human nature.
One is astonished to think on the number of vessels and men who are daily exposed in going to bring tea from Chi
. It is derived from bis, again, and cuit, baked.