Legion. An amalgamated journal.

A breath of city air

There is, I confesse, a certain Idiosyncrasia in the Composition of some persons, which may fit and dispose them to thrive better in some Aers, then in other: But, it is manifest, that those who repair to London, no sooner enter into it, but they find a universal alteration in their Bodies, which are either dryed up or enflam’d, the humours being exasperated and made apt to putrifie, their sensories and perspiration so exceedingly stopp’d, with the losse of Appetite, and a kind of general stupefaction, succeeded with such Cathars and Distillations, as do never, or very rarely quit them, without some further Symptomes of dangerous Inconveniency so long as they abide in the place; which yet are immediately restored to their former habit, so soon as they are retired to their Homes and enjoy the fresh Aer again. And here I may not omit to mention what a most Learned Physician and one of the Colledge assur’d me, as I remember of a Friend of his, who had so strange an Antipathy to the Aer of London: that though he were a Merchant, and had frequent businesse in the City, was yet constrained to make his Dwelling some miles without it; and when he came to the Exchange, within an hour or two, grew so extremely indispos’d, that (as if out of his proper Element) he was forced to take horse (which us’d therefore constantly to attend him at the Entrance) and ride as for his Life, till he came into the Fields, and was returning home again, which is an Instance so extraordinary, as not, it may be, to be parallell’d in any place of Europe, save the Grotto del Cane, nere Naples, the Os Plutonium of Silvius, or some such Subterranean habitation. For Diseases proceed not from so long a Series of causes, as we are apt to conceive; but, most times from those obvious, and despicable mischiefs, which yet we take lesse notice of, because they are familiar: But how frequently do we hear men say (speaking of some deceased Neighbour or Friend) He went up to London, and took a great Cold, &c. which he could never afterwards claw off again.

John Evelyn, Fumifugium, or The inconveniencie of the aer and smoak of London dissipated together with some remedies humbly proposed, 1661.

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Garrett Dash Nelson

January 30th, 2009 at 9:09 pm