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people of Asia live on rice, more prolifick than the corn-plant, and which needs no other preparation but to be strip'd of its pellicle, and boil'd. Africa lives on millet; America on manioc, potatos, and other roots. Even these subItanceës were not the primitive aliment of man. Nature presented to him at first his food allready dress’d, in the fruits of trees; she place’d, principally, for this purpose, between the tropicks, the banana and the bread-fruit; in the temperate zones, the ever-green oak, and especially the chestnut-tree; and, perhap, in the frigid zone, the pine, whose kernels are eatable: but, without quiting our own climates, the chestnuttree seems to merit the particular attention of our cultivatours. It produceës, without giveing any further trouble, a great deal more fubftantial fruit than a field of corn of the same extent as its branches; it affords, beside, in its incorruptible timber, for carpenters work, the means of building durable habitations."*
Whether it be possible for man, by any mean, either of temperance, medicine, or morality, to sublist without any, or, at least, with a comparatively insignificant quantity of food, seems un
* Studies of nature (Engleish version), iii, 653,
certain ; for, though the famous elixir vitae of the alchemills, (which,' by fupplying the successive waste of the matter and fpirit of the hu. man body, was calculateëd to render it perpetual,) fo long fought, has not yet been discover'd, it is not at all impossible, that, in a more enlightend age, and by the advancement of science, or fome fortunate experiment, this invaluable medicine may be one day hit upon, though not, it may be, within a very speedy period; it should be recollected, at the same time, that there are several instanccës, recorded by veracious writeërs, of persons who have sustain'd exceedingly long falts. Not to mention Simeon Stilites, who subfifted forty days, at a time, without food, in as much as his appetite is generally supposed, at least by the pious believeër, to have been duely temper'd by divine miracle, we are not at a loss, however, for more recent and authentick examples.
In the thirty-firit of Edward the third (1355), there is a pardon of execution of judgement granted to one Cicely de Rygeway, though indicted and condemn'd for kiling her husband, for that she had fasted for FORTY DAYS TOGETHER, in arctâ prisonâ, without meat or drink.*
* Plots Natural bistory of Stafford forire, 287
John Scot, a Scotish man, being cast in a suit of law, and knowing himself insolvent, took fanctuary in the abbey of Holyroodhouse, where, out of a deep discontent, he abstain'd from all meat and drink thirty or forty days together. Publick rumour bringing this abroad, the king himself resolve'd to have it put to trial : whereupon he was shut
up, in a private room in the castle of Edinburgh, whereunto no man had access, and had a little bread and water set by him, which he was found not to have tasteëd in thirty-two days. This proof of his abstinence being giveën, he was fec at liberty, and went to Rome, where he gave the like proof of it to pope Clement the seventh ; at Venice; and, in his return, at London; where, inveighing against Henry the cighth, for his divorceing queen Catharine, and his defection from the fee of Rome, he was thrust into prison, where he continue'd, allfo, fafting for fifty days together."
" Neither of these, however," says Plot, “ much exceeds the perpetual fast (as one may call it) of one Mary Vaughton of Wigginton in this county, who, from her cradle, lived with fo small a quantity both of meats and drinks, that all people admire'd how nature was thus fustaind without any sensible expansion; she not çating in a day a piece above the fize of half a crown in bread and butter; or if meat, not above the quantity of a pigeons leg at most. She drank neither wine, ale, nor beer ; but onely water, or milk, or both mix'd : and of either of these fcarce a spoonful in a day; and yet she was a maiden of a fresh complexion, and healthy enough: beside, as was very wel known, to many worthy persons with whom she had lived, that any greater quantitys, or different liquors, had allways made her fick."*
* Ibi, 286.
In the year 1603». was publish'd, by the kings special privilege, at London, by James Roberts, " A true and admirable historie of a mayden of Confolens, in the province of Poictiers, that, for the fpace of three years and more, hath lived, and yet doth [live], without receiving either meat or drinke : of whom his majesty, in per fon, hath had the view, and (by his command) his best and and chiefest phisitians have tryed all means to find whether this fast or abstinence be by deceipt or no. In this history is, also, discoursed, whether a man can live many dayes,
Katharine - M'Leod, daughter i to Donald M‘Leod, farmer, in Craig, in the parish of Kincardine, Rossshire, an unmarry'd woman, age'd, in 1769, about thirty-five years, fixteen years before contracted a fever, after which The became blind. She, afterward contracted another lingering fever, of which she never recover'd perfectly. Sometime, after this fever, her jaws fel, her eyelids close’d, and she lost her ap. petice. Her parents declared that, for the space of a year and three-quarters, they could not say that any meat or liquid went down her throat, because she had no evacuation; and when they force'd open her jaws at one time, and something down ter chroat, the cough'd and strain?d as if in danger to be choak’d., One. thing, dureing the time she ate and drank nothing, is remarkable, that. her jaws were unlock'd, and se recover'd her speech, and retain'd it for several days. Whatever liquid fhe took, she immediately threw up again. Her forehead was contracted and wrinkled, her cheeks ful red and blooming; she sept a great deal, and
* Ameses Typograpbical antiquities.