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yet always kissing the rod. Kippis says, that to entitle him to the reputation of a great man, he has lived a century too late.
By this time I think I must have tired you; but I have not yet done. I have had a delegate to the National Assembly of France from St. Domingo with me; and we have had much talk, of various interesting kinds. I say nothing of it at present; but go and visit the banks of the Boyne, and bring me an account of the field of that famous battle that gave Ireland fetters, and England liberty and fame. You may deny the first part of my assertion, but what signifies your denying it? Your government is independent; but what is your government ? English faction: the ancient nation is trampled and oppressed. Ye English Irishmen! the time is come when you may be just with safety; the time is fast advancing when there will be no longer safety in your being unjust. The lapse of a hundred years has secured
your property ; why will you enforce a monopoly of rights?
But go, I pray you, and visit the banks of the Boyne, that hallowed spot, which the course of time renders every day more interesting ; where the champion of freedom beat down the supporter of arbitrary power, and established a
government founded on liberty, for the blessing of Englishmen, and for the example of the rest of the world. — But I must trust myself no farther; I long to see you again. Come, and let us talk these great subjects over: let us sit together over our evening glass, and cheer our hearts with those half-glances into futurity which present a brighter scene, when oppression shall be no more,
- when the whole race of man shall enjoy halcyon days, and the lamp of liberty shall be lighted in every corner of the earth.
Write to me as soon as you receive this; and let me have two sheets of your conversation, as you now have of mine.
I am always, my dear friend,
Liverpool, March 17. 1790.
DEAR SIR, As you appear particularly desirous that I should put on paper my sentiments respecting the proper management of your constitution, I sit down to comply with your wishes. I have nothing new to say; yet there may be some advantage in a regular though short discussion of the subject.
You have not the gout by hereditary right; it is of your own acquiring, and the excesses of the table have brought it on you. How may 'you expect to get quit of it, or at least abate its violence? By avoiding such excesses in future. This is common sense, and no one will deny it. But what is to be accounted excess ? Different men will give different answers ; and each will support his opinions by probable reasonings. The truth is, no general answer is applicable to every constitution, nor even to the same constitution under different habits of exercise, or in different periods of life. Where the gout has continued long, the life is far advanced, the strength much impaired, and yet considerable exercise is required, the doctrine of abstemiousness is to be applied with great caution; and if the frame be much emaciated, it is not to be applied at all. In such circumstances, a cordial regimen is the most safe, especially if it correspond with long established habits ; because it is now too late to aim at abating the violence of the disease, and the object is to keep up the strength under it.
Abstemiousness might suddenly lower this, and bring on complaints for
which the gout would be ill exchanged. But where the patient is young, the habits of excess of short duration, the constitution naturally good, and as yet unbroken; where the frame is corpulent, exercise not necessary, and therefore irregular, the precepts of strict temperance may be insisted on strongly and carried to a great extent. It may be applied with still greater confidence where the disease is not hereditary, but accidental, and has arisen altogether from pursuing a directly opposite course.
It will be easy to decide that your case comes under this last description. But, even here, temperance has its limits, beyond which it ought not to pass. After much attention to the history of your constitution, I endeavoured to assign these. I have seen nothing to alter my sentiments on the subject; but that there may be no misapprehension between us, I will shortly repeat the leading rules that were laid down for the preservation of your health :
1. Rise early, and in summer ride an hour before breakfast.
2. Eat freely of animal food at dinner, but confine yourself to one dish.
3. Avoid all high seasonings of every kind, all strong liquors of every sort, and be cautious in the use of butter, oil, or vegetable acids.
4. Eat a sparing supper, and go cool to bed.
5. Use regular exercise, if possible ; and ride, if not before breakfast, at least before dinner, many miles every fair day throughout the
year. Some persons conceive that if strong liquors be prohibited, so ought animal food; the first being necessary to the proper digestion of the last. But this is a mere prejudice. Things that have been long combined may perhaps not bear separation well, from the laws of custom, where the laws of nature are not concerned. Men, in almost every condition of society and region of the earth, make animal food a principal article of their diet; but the regular use of spirituous or vinous liquors is confined to a few persons only in any country; and they are forbidden both by the laws of Mahomet and of Brahma to a large proportion of the human race. I am so far from desiring you to abstain from animal food, that I absolutely wish you to eat it freely once every day. I am not afraid of
your indulging the cravings of your appetite, provided that it be not stimulated by heating condiments or strong liquors; and that it be not excited by that elegant but useless variety, with which modern luxury has covered the tables of the rich. Neither am I afraid of your drinking one or two glasses of wine after dinner, though I do not wish you to make a rule of the sort;