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Title: Address to the Inhabitants of Rugby about the Cholera Morbus
Author: Arnold, Thomas
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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Transcribed from the [1831] Rowell and Son edition by David Price.  Many
thanks to the British Library for making their copy available.

                                  TO THE
                           INHABITANTS OF RUGBY
                                ABOUT THE
                             CHOLERA MORBUS.

                                * * * * *


A Meeting of the Inhabitants of this town has been called to consider the
best means of saving us from the attacks of the _Cholera Morbus_, which
has overrun so many parts of Europe.  You will be likely to hear a great
deal about this disorder, and you will naturally be anxious to learn
about it.  The following is the best account of it that I have been able
to collect, and I give it you, without either making more or less of it
than the truth will warrant.

                                * * * * *

CHOLERA MORBUS means in English “a disease of the bile.”  Those common
bowel complaints which occur every Autumn are instances of CHOLERA; the
bile is out of order, and the natural action of the bowels becomes
disordered.  But the CHOLERA which has been so much talked of on the
Continent of Europe is called SPASMODIC CHOLERA, that is “a disease of
the bile attended with spasms or cramps.”  To say the truth however, it
does not appear that CHOLERA is a very proper name for it; for it seems
much more a disease of the blood than of the bile.  It is by no means
always accompanied with disorder in the bowels, but it is as if a man’s
life blood were suddenly poisoned; as if it were choked up so that it
could not flow freely, and therefore there is a great feeling of weight
and pressure about the heart and chest.  The powers of life seem palsied,
the legs and belly become cold and cramped, and the pulse so weak that
you can scarcely feel it.  A man dies of the disorder keeping his senses
to the last generally within twenty-four hours, unless you can succeed in
restoring the natural action of the blood, and so relieving him from the
cramps, and chills, and oppression under which he had laboured.

This is a new disorder in this part of the world, and one asks naturally
how and where it first broke out.  It was first observed at a place
called Jessore in India, about a hundred miles north east of Calcutta.
This was in August, 1817, that is, more than fourteen years ago.  How it
arose, nobody can certainly tell.  Some say that the rice on which the
natives chiefly live, was very bad that year, and bred the disorder in
those who ate it.  But however this be, the disease has ever since been
travelling about in various directions in Asia, till in the Autumn of
last year, 1830, it made its appearance in Europe, and broke out at
Moscow in Russia towards the end of September.  From thence in the
present year it has spread to St. Petersburg, the capital of the Russian
Empire; to Berlin, the capital of Prussia; to Vienna, the capital of
Austria; and latterly to Hamburg, in Germany, a great city near the mouth
of the river Elbe, opposite to the eastern coast of England.  It is now
said to have crossed over to England within the last week, and to have
appeared at Sunderland, in Durham, and at Newcastle upon Tyne, in

The question now is, how does it travel?  Is it carried in the air, or is
it caught by one person from another?  There are a great many things to
be said on both sides, and no one seems yet to have settled the point.
On the one hand, as it _may_ be caught by one person from another, it
seems quite right to keep a strict watch over all ships coming from those
places where the Cholera is known to be prevailing, because the
inconvenience of delaying the ships for a little while is nothing in
comparison of the mischief of letting in so bad a disorder.  But on the
other hand, supposing the disorder to have once reached this country, the
case then becomes different: for as it _may_ be in the air, our fears of
one another _may_ be all utterly useless, and they bring with them a
great and certain evil, that of making us neglect the common duties of
kindness, and run away from our friends when we might be of service to

At any rate this much is certain,—that whether it be in the air or
whether it be caught from those who are ill of it, there are a great many
persons who will neither take it one way or the other.  If it is in the
air, all people living in the same place must be equally exposed to it,
but we see that at Vienna, out of a population of nearly 300,000 persons,
only 2,800 have taken the Cholera: at Berlin, out of a population of
200,000, the deaths have been about 1,184.  Or supposing that it is
caught by one person from another, still we find that few only catch it;
for of these 1,184 persons who have died at Berlin, more than 700 lived
in 400 different houses, which 400 houses were inhabited by above 16,000
people.  You see at once that they must have been very crowded, for this
is at the rate of 40 inhabitants to every house, and yet out of these 40
persons, placed in circumstances the most likely, one would think, to
make them catch it, not so many as two died from it.  It should be added
that there are in all about 7000 houses in Berlin, so that in 6600 of
these there were not more than 400 deaths, and as the whole population of
the City is only 200,000, it is plain that the houses in which the deaths
took place must have been much more closely inhabited than is generally
the case, for allowing 40 persons for every house in the whole town would
make the population 280,000, instead of 200,000.

It is quite clear then that all persons _will not_, or more properly
speaking that only a very few persons _will_ take the Cholera.  And now
the great point remains, what can we do to hinder ourselves from taking
it either from the air or from other sick persons?  To this question
experience has shown that the following answers may be given:—

1st.  By avoiding drunkenness, and even the use of spirituous’ liquors
altogether.  It is agreed on all hands that persons known to have been in
the habit of drinking freely have been particularly attacked by the
Cholera.  But then in order to escape this danger it is not enough to
leave off drinking at a minute’s warning when the disease is actually
amongst us.  We must leave off drinking _beforehand_, that so our bodies
may have time to get into a healthy state while the disease is yet at a
distance from us.

2nd.  Another great defence against the Cholera, and indeed against all
disorders, is _cleanliness_.  This is true both of personal cleanliness,
and also of cleanliness in our houses, streets, &c.  As to the first of
these, we do not enough consider the great importance of keeping the skin
in a healthy state.  The skin is a natural drain to many of the bad
humours of the body.  Every one knows how useful it is to get a man into
a perspiration or sweat when he is ill, to set the pores of his skin
open.  Now dirt chokes up these pores, and thus stops what may be called
the proper drainage of the body.  It is very much to be wished that
people in this country were more aware of the advantages of bathing or
washing themselves thoroughly; not their faces and hands only but their
whole bodies and limbs; it would be as useful to their health, as it
would be comfortable.  Again, cleanliness in our houses is very
important; to get rid of all close smells by throwing open the windows,
to sweep away the dirt out of holes and corners, from under beds, chests
of drawers, and other places where it is apt to be left for a long-time
undisturbed.  Much harm is done also by any thing that stands near a
window so as to hinder the fresh air from pouring into the room
thoroughly, and in the same way all that crowds a room is bad, all that
hinders the air from having a free course into every corner of it.  Small
rooms are sometimes very much choked up by bedsteads and curtains, which
not only are in the way of the air, but are also great hiding places for
dirt.  As to the heaps of dirt and the filthy slops that we often meet
with before the doors of small houses, these are absolutely public
nuisances, and the Parish itself should take care that these things are
looked to in time, for it will be too late when the Cholera is actually
amongst us.

3rd.  A third great defence against the Cholera is _not to be afraid of
it_.  Whether it is in the air, or whether it may be caught from other
people, fear in either case makes us especially apt to take it.  Every
one knows how seldom Doctors take any disorder from the sick persons whom
they visit, and the great reason of this is, because they are not afraid:
they are used to be in the way of sickness, and therefore it does not so
much alarm them.  To be cheerful and active therefore, to go about our
common business and our common amusements, and to think as little about
the Cholera as possible, would be very great means of keeping us safe
from it.  But you will say that a man cannot be cheerful with the fear of
death before his eyes, that it will weigh upon his spirits, in spite of
all he can do to shake it off.  Fear indeed is hard to be reasoned with,
and the fear of death is hardest of all; but though it may not be
reasoned with it can be prayed against.  True it is that the chance of
taking the Cholera _is_ a very fearful thing, if we are not fit to die:
the prospect of a sudden and painful disease carrying us off in
twenty-four hours, _is_ a very terrible one, if death is without hope to
us.  But what if fear be taken usefully, and make us set about obtaining
that which will make us justly bold?  What if the thought of this new
disorder, which kills those whom it does kill in so very short a time,
should lead us to think seriously of death, and why it is that we fear
it?  What if it should make us see clearly what is the STING OF DEATH,
and labour and pray earnestly to be delivered from it?  What if it should
lead us to seek the Lord while he may be found, to turn to HIM in all
sincerity, who died and rose again for us, that we might not fear to die,
because our Hope is to rise as HE is risen?  Truly, if the fear of the
Cholera leads us to seek this only real way of not being afraid of it, it
will be both to our bodies and our souls not so much a curse as a

My object in writing this has been merely to give some information to
those who do not see much of books or newspapers.  Of course those who
do, know already just as much about the Cholera, and very likely much
more than I do.  And further for those persons who if they read a
newspaper do not keep it by them, I have thought it right to reprint the
Directions published by Sir Henry Halford, the President of the London
Board of Health, and circulated with his authority in London.

                                                   AN INHABITANT OF RUGBY.


_Advice to Families for the prevention and cure of this dreadful malady_.

      (As extracted from the _London Gazette_ the 20th Oct., 1831.)

    “It is important to point out the instant measures which may safely
    and beneficially be employed where medical aid cannot immediately be
    procured.  All means tending to restore the circulation and maintain
    the warmth of the body, should be had recourse to without delay.  The
    patients should always immediately be put to bed, wrapped up in hot
    blankets, and warmth should be sustained by other external
    applications, such as repeated frictions with flannels and
    camphorated spirits; poultices of mustard and linseed (equal parts)
    to the stomach, particularly where pain and vomiting exist; similar
    poultices to the feet and legs to restore their warmth.  The
    returning heat of the body may be prompted by bags containing hot
    salt or bran applied to different parts of it.  For the same purpose
    of restoring and sustaining the circulation, white wine whey with
    spice, hot brandy and water, or sal volatile, in a dose of a
    tea-spoonful, in hot water, frequently repeated, or from 5 to 20
    drops of some of the essential oils, as peppermint, cloves, or
    cajeput, in a wine-glass of water, may be administered: with the same
    view, where the stomach will bear it, warm broth, with spice may be
    employed.  In very severe cases, or where medical aid is difficult to
    be obtained, from 20 to 40 drops of laudanum may be given in any of
    the warm drinks previously recommended,

                                                           “HENRY HALFORD,
                                                _President of the Board_.”

                                * * * * *

                  _Rowell and Son_, _Printers_, _Rugby_.

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