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that the street in which Lady Primrose lived was sometimes
completely tilled with the cai'riag'es of ladies and g;entlemen
visiting- the person called the Pretender's Deliverer. On the
mind of Flora these flatteries produced no effect but that of
surprise : she had only, she said, performed an act of common
humanity, and she had never thought of it in any other light
till she found the world making so much ado about it. It has
been stated that a subscription to the amount of £1500 was
raised for her in London.

Soon after returning to her own country, she was married
(November 6, 1750) to Mr Alexander Macdonald, son of the
worthy Kingsburg'h, and who in time succeeded to that pro-
perty. Thus Flora became the lady of the mansion in which
the prince had been entertained ; and there she bore a large
family of sons and daughters. As memorials of her singular
adventure, she preserved a half of the sheet in which the prince
had slept in that house, intending that it should be her shroud ;
and also a portrait of Charles, which he had sent to her after
his safe arrival in France. When Dr Samuel Johnson, accom-
panied by his friend Boswell, visited Skye in 1773, he was
hospitably entertained at Kingsburgh, and had the pleasure (for
so it was to him) of sleeping in the bed which had accommodated
the last of the Stuarts : he remarked that he had had no ambi-
tious thoughts in it. In his well-known book respecting this
journey, he introduces the maiden name of his hostess, which
he says is one " that will be mentioned in history, and, if
courage and fidelity be virtues, mentioned with honour." He
adds, " she is a woman of middle stature, soft features, gentle
manners, and elegant presence" — a picture the more remark-
able, when it is recollected that she was now fifty-three years
of age.

Soon after this period, under the influence of the passion for
emigration which was then raging in the Highlands, Kings-
burgh and his amiable partner went to North Carolina, where
they purchased and settled upon an estate. She carried with
her the sheet in which the prince had slept, determined that it
should serve the purpose which she contemplated, wherever it
might please Providence to end her days. But this event was
not to take place in America. Her husband had scarcely settled
there when the war of independence broke out. On that occasion
the Highlanders showed the same faithful attachment to the
government (being now reconciled to it by mild treatment)
which they had formerly manifested for the house of Stuart.



Mr Macdonald, being" loyally disposed, was imprisoned by the
discontented colonists as a dangerous person ; but he was soon
after liberated. He then became an officer in a loyal corps called
the North Carolina Hig-hlanders, and he and his lady passed
through many stran^-e adventures. Towards the conclusion of
the contest, abandoning- all hopes of a comfortable settlement in
America, they determined to return to the land of their fathers.
In crossing the Atlantic, Flora met with the last of her adven-
tures. The vessel being attacked by a French ship of war,
nothing could induce her to leave her husband on deck, and in
the course of the bustle she was thrown down and had her arm
broken. She only remarked, that she had now suffered a little
for both the house of Stuart and the house of Hanover.

She spent the remainder of her life in Skye, and at her death,
which took place March 5, 1790, when she had attained the
age of seventy, was actually buried in the shroud which she
had so strangely selected for that purpose in her youth, and
carried with her through so many adventures and migrations.
Her grave may be seen in the Kingsburgh mausoleum, in the
parish churchyard of Kilmuir ; but a stone which was laid by
her youngest son upon her grave, being accidentally broken,
has been carried off in pieces by wandering tourists. Flora
Macdonald retained to the last that vivacity and vigour of
character which has procured her so much historical distinction.
Her husband, who survived her a few years, died on the half-
pay list as a British officer ; and no fewer than five of her sons
served their king in a military capacity. Charles, the eldest
son, was a captain in the Queen's Rangers. He was a most
accomplished man. The late Lord Macdonald, on seeing him
lowered into the grave, said, " There lies the most finished
gentleman of my family and name." Alexander, the second
son, was also an officer : he was lost at sea. The third son,
"Ranald, was a captain of marines, of high professional cha-
racter, and remarkable for the elegance of his appearance.
James, the fourth son, served in Tarlton's British Legion, and
was a brave and experienced officer. The last surviving son
was Lieutenant-Colonel John Macdonald, who long resided at
Exeter, and was the father of a numerous family. The engrav-
ing prefixed to this sketch is taken from a portrait of Flora,
which was originally in his possession, and which he approved
of as a likeness. There were, moreover, two daughters, one of
whom, Mrs Major Macleod of Lochbay, in the Isle of Skye,
died within the last few years.

Such is an authentic history of the heroic and amiable Flora
Macdonald. Like all incidents equally romantic, the aid she


extended to the prince, which unquestionably saved him from
captivity and a violent death, has given rise to various poetical
eftusions. One of the most pleasina: of these pieces, from the pen
of James Hog-g, narrating-, however, an incident as well as
sentiments purely imaginary, and entitled " Flora Macdonald's
Lament," may here be appended : —

Far over yon hills of the heather so green,

And down by the Corrie that sings to the sea,
The bonnie young Flora sat sighing her lane,

The dew on her plaid and the tear in her e'e.
She looked at a boat with the breezes that swung

Away on the wave lilie a bird of the main ;
And aye as it lessened, she sighed and she sung,

Fareweel to the lad I shall ne'er see again !
Fareweel to my hero, the gallant and young !

Fareweel to the lad I shall ne'er see again !

The moorcock that craws on the brow of Ben Connal,

He kens o' his bed in a sweet mossy hame ;
The eagle that soars on the cliffs of Clanronald,

Unawed and unhunted his eyrie can claim :
The solan can sleep on his shelve of the shore.

The cormorant roost on his rock of the sea.
But oh ! there is one whose hard fate I deplore.

Nor house, ha', nor hame, in his country has he.
The conflict is past, and our nanie is no more ;

There's nought left but sorrow for Scotland and me !


^^f^C^ MONG the leading conditions essential to health, are
^\/[^ cleanliness, and a constant supply of pure air ; and as
' 'it^'^\ ^^ ^^ important that all should be made acquainted
i0 '^ '^^'ith the dangers arising from a neglect of these
"^^conditions, we respectfully submit the following explana
,tions and advices on the subject. In treating of cleanli-
ness, it will be necessary to commence with a short ac-
•5 count of


The external covering of the bodj, as is well known, is a soft,
pliant membrane, called the shin, which protects the more deli-
cate substances beneath it from injury ; but it is less generally
understood that this covering- is not confined to the outer sur-
face only. It continues over the lips and up the nostrils ; lines
the mouth and tongue ; and still continuing onward, covers and
lines all the parts of the throat ; lines the windpipe, and ex-
tends through its innumerable branches in the lungs — lining all
the passages and cells, and presenting to the air which enters
the lungs an extent of surface equal to the whole external skin
of the body, or, as some think, much greater. The skin also
continues down the food-pipe, lining it and the stomach, and
the whole intestinal canal and the ducts which open into it. In
this manner, it may be said that the skin has neither beginning
nor end, but is a universal and continuous jcoating- of the body
inside and out.

Throughout its whole extent, the skin consists of three layers,
one over the other. The outermost, or cuticle, is an exceed-
ingly thin substance, which may be observed to peel off when
the hand is accidentally frayed, or when it is raised by a blister ;
the next is a layer which contains the colouring' matter, giving,
as the case may be, a shade from the slightest tan to the sooty
black of the negro ; and the third or lowest is the true skin, a
thick layer, which, when taken off animals, is tanned into
leather. As a whole, the skin is much more thin and delicate
at one part than another, that upon the soles of the feet and
palms of the hands being*, by constant use, the thickest and
most durable, and that within the mouth, lungs, &c. being* ex-
cessively fine, and easily injured. As respects these inner parts,
the skin is usually spoken of as the mucous membrane — the
membrane which is moist with a mucous fluid.

Besides answering merely as a covering to the body, the skin
performs various useful functions in our general economy well
worth knowing. On examination with a microscope, it is found
No. 31. 1


that the lower or true skin consists of a vast combination of
glands, ducts, blood-vessels, and nerves, the whole of which, com-
municating- with the interior on the one hand and the surface on
the other, are concerned in keeping the general skin in order
and the body in health. Of the nerves, which are universally-
distributed over the surface, it is here only necessary to say that
they are the instruments of the sense of touch, and convey to the
mind the consciousness of pleasant or unpleasant sensations. As
an organ of sensation, therefore, the skin acts an important part,
and on this account alone the keeping of it in a healthy condi-
tion is deserving of careful consideration. Our interest at pre-
sent, however, is confined to the functions of exhalation and
absorption. An unthinking person would suppose that the sur-
face of the body, from its general smoothness, was so close in
texture that neither air nor liquid could pass readily through
it. Such would be a mistake. The whole membrane may
be likened to a sieve. Throughout its entire extent, externally
and internally, there are a multitude of small holes or outlets,
so closely set together, that we could not anywhere puncture
ourselves with the point of a needle without touching one of
them. These holes, called pores, communicate with the ducts
beneath, and these ducts terminate in glands or receptacles in
the muscles.

In the annexed cut we offer the representation of a section of a
piece of skin, greatly magnified. The surface is covered with
small conical eminences, marked A, (vr\/\/\^i\\VNjN^\f
called fapillcB ; in these are the extre- :^i^ '^ * * ^ ^^^
mities of the nerves of sensation, and
also the outlets or pores. B marks the
layer containing the colouring matter
and the true skin ; the ducts, marked
C, supply nourishment to the skin ; and
those of a spiral form, marked D, con-
vey the perspiration to the surface.
Intermingled with the whole are nu-
merous blood-vessels and nerves.

By the apparatus now described, portions of the fluids no
longer required in the system are conveyed to the surface of the
body, when they escape into the atmosphere usually in the form
of vapour, but sometimes as perspiration. In the extreme heat of
summer, or when engaged in hard work, this liquid exhalation
is very apparent. Not being observable in ordinary circumstances,
it is styled the insensible perspiration. In this office of an ex-
haler, the skin acts as an auxiliary to the lungs, which throw off
more copiously the waste liquid of the system in the form of
vapour and deteriorated air. The amount of these two kinds of
exhalation — the cutaneous or skin exhalation, and pulmonaiy or
lungs exhalation — has engaged the inquiries of various writers
on human physiology ; two Frenchmen, Lavoisier and Seguing



having- had the honour of presenting" the most accurate survey of
the subject. Dv Andrew Combe, in his valuable treatise on the
Physiology of Health, alludes as follows to the result of Seguin's
investigation. He found that " the largest quantity of insensible
perspiration from the lungs and skin together amounted to thirty-
two grains per minute, three ounces and a quarter per hour, or
five pounds per day. Of this, the cutaneous constituted three-
fourths, or sixty ounces in twenty-four hours. The smallest
quantity observed amounted to eleven grains per minute, or one
pound eleven and a half ounces in twenty-four hours, of which
the skin furnished about twenty ounces. The medium or average
amount was eighteen grains a minute, of which eleven were from
the skin, making the cutaneous perspiration in twenty-four
hours about thirty-three ounces." As seventeen ounces of water
at an ordinary temperature are equal to about a pint, it appears
that a man in good health and in general circumstances exhales
through the skin nearly two pints of liquid daily. That such a
large quantity should escape unnoticed, seems indeed strange ;
but, as Dr Combe g-oes on to observe, " When the extent of sur-
face which the skin presents, calculated at 2500 square inches, is
considered, these results do not seem extravag'ant. But even,"
says he, " admitting that there may be some unperceived fallacy
in the experiments, and that the quantity is not so great as is here
stated, still, after making every allowance, enough remains to
demonstrate that exhalation is a very important function of the
skin. And although the precise amount may be disputed, it is
quite certain that the cutaneous exhalation is more abundant
than the united excretions of both bowels and kidneys ; and that,
according as the weather becomes warmer or colder, the skin and
kidneys alternate in the proportions of work which they severally
perform, most passing off by the skin in warm weather, and by
the kidneys in cold. The quantity exhaled increases after meals,
during sleep, in dry warm weather, and by friction, or whatever
stimulates the skin ; and diminishes when digestion is impaired,
and in a moist atmosphere."

Some years ago, Dr Smith made investigations as to the ex-
tent of loss by perspiration during' hard labour in a heated atmo-
sphere. Eight workmen, in a larg*e gas-work in London, where
they require to work diligently, and be exposed to a high tem-
perature at the same time, were weighed before going to work,
and immediately afterwards. In an experiment in November,
they continued to work for an hour and a quarter, and the
greatest loss sustained by any one man was two pounds fifteen
ounces. In another experiment in the same month, one man lost
four pounds three ounces in three quarters of an hour; and in an
experiment of the same kind in June, one man lost as much as
five pounds two ounces in an hour and ten minutes. It must be
borne in mind, however, that this extraordinary difference was
not caused by any direct loss of bodily substance, but by a dimi-



nution of g-eueral weight, resulting: from the decomposition of
the food recently taken, as well as from the exhalation of other
waste fluids then lurking" in the system. The experiment is here
narrated for the purpose of impressing- on the mind the magni-
tude of the operations which the skin, as an exhaling membrane,
has sometimes to perform.

As nature does nothing- in vain, we may ask what has been
her design in causing such an exhalation of vapour and liquid
from the body ? The design has been the purifying of the sys-
tem. The lungs are a cleansing apparatus ; they inhale air in a
pure condition, and having absorbed its valuable property, oxygen,
they expel it in a vitiated state. This vitiated air, known by the
name of carbonic acid gas, when drawn back into the lungs with-
out any mixture of atmospheric air, soon causes suffocation and
death ; and even when mixed to any extent with pure air, it
cannot be drawn into the lungs without injury to health. So,
also, are the pores of the skin a cleansing apparatus, and, as men-
tioned, they are auxiliary to the lungs. The two apparatuses
work towards the same important end, of throwing off decom-
posed and useless matter, and are in such close sympathy with
each other, that when one is deranged, the other suffers, and
health is consequently impaired. Thus, in all the irritations
and affections of the external skin, the mucous membrane of the
alimentary canal and lung-s sympathises directly and powerfully ;
and, on the other hand, any derangement or affection of the
mucous membrane at once acts on the skin and its pores.

Besides their exhaling functions, the pores and other minute
organs in the skin absorb air and moisture from the atmosphere,
though less actively than the lungs, and are therefore inlets as
well as outlets to the system. When the pores are in a state of
great openness, or relaxation from heat, the power of absorption
is materially increased. Hence, contagious diseases are more
readily caught by touch when the body is warm and moist, than
when dry and cold. A pure and bracing atmosphere is well
known to be more conducive to health than one which is heavy
and relaxing.

When the skin is in a proper condition, and the atmosphere
pure, the vital functions, suffering no impediment from external
circumstances, proceed with the requisite energy, and the feelings
enjoy that degree of buoyancy which is the best criterion of a
good state of health. Of the evils arising from a vitiated
atmosphere, particularly in dwellings, we shall afterwards speak.
Meanwhile, we conjSne ourselves to the injuries likely to ensue
from a derangement of the perspiratory organs in the skin. Thg
derangement most to be avoided is the stopping of the pores, and
consequent suppression of the insensible perspiration. Sudden
exposure to cold, after being heated, ordinarily produces this
•effect. Wlien it occurs, the duty of expelling the excess of
matter which would have escaped by the pores is thrown upon



the lungs, the bowels, or the kidneys, causing* undue irritation
and disorder. Very commonly the lungs are the readiest to
suffer. They become clogged with phlegm, which produces an
irritation, and this irritation causes a cough, and with the cough
expectoration (spitting). In instances of this kind, the sufferer
is said to have a cold ; but, correctly speaking, his pores have
been shut by some cold exposure.

When in a perfectly healthy condition, the skin is soft, warm,
and covered with a gentle moisture ; the circulation of the blood,
is also in a state of due activity, giving it a fresh and ruddy
coloui*. The degree of redness, as, for instance, in the cheeks, is
usually in proportion to the exposure to the outer atmosphere ;
such exposure, when not too severe, causing active circulation of
the blood not only throughout the body, but to the most minute
vessels on the surface. Hence the pale and unhealthy hue of
persons confined to the house and close sedentary employment,
and the ruddy colour of those who spend much of their lives in
the open air. A\Tien the exposure is too severe, or more than can
be conveniently counterbalanced by the animal heat, a chil], as
already stated, is the consequence, and the skin assumes a pale
appearance, the forerunner, it may be, of bodily indisposition :
the insensible perspiration has been suppressed, and the lungs
have got into a state of serious irritation. Warmth and other
remedies restore the healthy functions of the pores ; but when
the cold is neglected, inflammation of the bronchiee, or air-tubes
communicating" with the lungs, or some other pulmonary affec-
tions, ensue, the lamentable issue of which may be — death.

The danger of suppressing* the perspiration is increased by
another circumstance. Along with the liquid exhalation passes
off the superabundant heat of the body. If, therefore, we check
the insensible perspiration, this superabundant quantity of heat
is unable to make its escape by the surface, and returns upon the
vital organs within. Fevers, rheumatism, and other dangerous
maladies, are the consequence of this form of derangement, the
end of which also is too often — death. In the greater number of
cases, the skin may be said to be in a condition neither precisely
healthy nor unhealthy, but between the two. The pores, par-
tially clogged, are unable to expel the insensible perspii'ation with
sufficient energy, and the kidneys and lungs are correspondingly
charged with an excess of duty — not perhaps to a degree sen-
sibly inconvenient, yet in some measure detrimental to g'eneral
health, as well as to the activity of the mental functions depen-
dent on it.


It must be obvious, from what has been said, that cleanliness is
indispensable in securing not only a healthy condition, but also
much comfort both of body and mind. Cleanliness is attained
by an attention to various circumstances and practices j for the


most part people are clean only by halves. Dress, washing",
bathing", household arrangements, all require consideration.

Dress. — Purification of the skin may be greatly promoted by
the wearing of clean garments. That garment which is placed
next the skin, the shirt, be it of linen, cotton, or woollen, ought
to be changed less or more frequently according to circumstances
• — such as the degree of labour, the nature of the employment, the
warmth of the climate, and so on. The reason for the change is
evident. The shirt is the immediate receiver of a large propor-
tion of the matter thrown out by the pores, and much of what it
receives it retains. Besides, therefore, becoming unseemly from
its appearance, it becomes foul, and the foulness reacting on the
skin, irritates and clogs it. Custom is the great regulator in
affairs of this kind; but is not always correct. Some change
their linen daily, others every two or three days, the greater
number weekly. What is very inconsistent, those who change
their garments the least frequently are the manual labouring
classes, who should change them more frequently than any one
else. As it is principally for the benefit of this numerous
body that we pen these pages, we must speak as explicitly as

Addressing men (and women too) who labour daily at a me-
chanical employment, we would offer ths following advices : —

1. Do not sleep in the shirt which you wear during the day.
Have a night shirt and a day one. Cotton makes the best, as
it is certainly the cheapest, night shirt, A clean day shirt should,
if possible, be put on twice a week, and a clean night shirt once
a week. Do not be contented with the old-fashioned j)ractice of
putting on a clean shirt only on Sundays. The washing of a
shirt is a very small matter ; and it must be a wretchedly-paid
employment that cannot afford a trifle for this useful and agree-
able purpose. \ ■

2. If you labour at an employment in which fumes and exhala-
tions of a deleterious kind are apt to be absorbed by the clothes
you wear, make a rule of changing your whole garments every
evening when done with work ; and let your work-clothes be
washed pretty frequently, and well exposed to sun and air. This
advice is particularly offered to house-painters, plumbers, and
all who work in oils, pigments, and metals. By inattention to
this practice, the health of house-painters is extremely liable to
injury. They may be said to be gradually killed by the absorp-
tion of poison through the skin, as well as by the lungs. One
ordinary symptom of the disease which they contract is known
by the name oi painter's' colic. Indeed, every individual employed
at chemical-works, dye-works, gas-works, and the like, should
be extremely attentive to the cleanliness of their clothes and
persons. After ten hours' exposure in such places, both the skin
and garments are to a certain extent saturated with noxious
fumes, and though for several years these may produce no other



sensible eiFect than the inconvenience of an offensive odour, yet
they are most assuredly undermining* the health of the parties
exposed. Washing* the body thoroug-hly after the hours of
labour, will enable" the skin to throw off the greater part of the
effluvia it may have absorbed ; and shaking" and exj)osing the

Online LibraryWilliam ChambersChambers's miscellany of useful and entertaining tracts (Volume v.5-6) → online text (page 32 of 59)