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V.-NOTE ON MADEIRA.

In his work on climate, Sir James Clark speaks of Madeira as the locality best suited to consumptive patients generally, the winter temperature being considerably higher and more equable, and the summer heats much more moderate, than at any of the Italian places. A little further on, however, objecting to the artificial climate of warmed rooms, Sir James observes: “Long residence in a very equable climate is not congenial to health, even with all the advantage of exercise in the open air. A moderate range of temperature, and of atmospheric changes, seems necessary to the maintenance of health; and hence it is that many invalids who derive great benefit from a temporary residence in a wild sheltered situation, do not bear long residence in such an atmosphere without injury. Dr. Combe, during his residence at Madeira, remarked that the invalids were better when the temperature was less steady, and the weather more variable, than when the season was unusually mild and equable. I have remarked the same effects resulting from a long residence in some of the more sheltered spots in our own island. Such situations form excellent residences for a time, after which the patient ceases to improve, and rather loses than gains strength. A long residence in very mild sheltered positions, I reg:1d as unsuitable to young persons disposed to tubercular disease."

With reference to the prevalence of consumption among the native population, considerable discrepancy of opinion appears to have existed among the English physicians on the island. Drs. Heineken and Gourlay state, that no disease is more common. Dr. Renton, on the other hand, says that the natives are comparatively exempt from this disease, though he admits that, “owing to their mode of living, bad food, &c., diseases of the lungs are frequent, and these being neglected, or improperly treated, often prove fatal in a chronic form, simulating phthisis."

From Dr. Renton's notes of cases taken during a period of eight years, it appears that of forty-seven patients with confirmed phthisis among strangers, thirty-two died within six months after their arrival ; six went home in summer, returned and died the next winter; six who left the island also died not long after, and three were not heard of (also probably died). Of thirty-five patients with incipient phthisis, twenty-six left Madeira much improved, and good accounts of them were subsequently received ; five also left in an improved condition, but were not afterwards heard of; and four died subsequently. Dr. Renton further states that the number of consumptive patients who arrived at Madeira between the 1st January 1838, and the 31st May 1840, was one hundred and eighty-two; fifty-eight with tubercular disease of the lungs; of these, fifty died, and twenty-two left the island. Of one hundred and eight patients threatened with tubercular disease, ninety-three remained free from symptoms, thirteen fell off, and two were lost sight of.

Sir James Clark observes, that two inches less of rain falls annually at Madeira than at Rome or Florence, and that at Madeira “the rain falls at particular seasons, chiefly in autumn, leaving the atmosphere dry and clear during the remainder of the year. In March, winds are frequent, and April and May are showery." It will be seen, however, from the subjoined table, that according to the observations of Heineken and Heberden, made during

ten years, and recorded in the Philosophical Transactions, the winter is the most rainy season.

AVERAGE AMOUNT OF RAIN AT FUNCHAL FOR EACH SEASON,

AND FOR EACH MONTH.

......... 4.74

January...6:91 July ......0.08 Winter .........13:48
February 2:59 August ...0:35 Spring
March ...2:44 Sept. ......N•94 Summer......... 1.04
April ......1:41 October ...2.85 Autumn......... 8.53
May ......1.09 Nov. ......4:74

Year

27.59 June ......0.61 December 3.17

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The most recent work on Madeira is the Treatise on its Climate and Meteorology by the late Dr. Mason (who resided there two years for his health), edited by Sheridan Knowles, which tends to prove that it has been overestimated as respects its advantages in consumptive disease. “ The medical profession,” says the author, “persist in regarding the climate as essentially dry, whereas, if any confidence can be placed in the data obtained by Dr. Heineken and myself, it must be admitted to be saturated with humidity during the greater part of the year, in which respect it is little superior to the climate of London, while, as regards the action of humidity on the organization, it is infinitely inferior. At the temperature of 50°, which is near the mean of London, the air is saturated, and is capable of holding 100 parts of moisture in solution; while at 68', which is rather above the mean temperature of Funchal, it will contain 200 parts.” As illustrating the dampness of the climate, Dr. M.

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may instance the impossibility of keeping iron, in any form, from being rapidly oxidized. The different powders, such as opium, squills, &c., soon lose their pulverulent form, and become firmly united into a solid mass, neutral salts rapidly deliquesce, pianofortes frequently require tuning," &c.

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During the rainy or winter season the land and sea breezes are very irregular, and the sky is not so clear and cloudless; on the contrary, it is rare to see it clear and free from detached clouds even for two or three hours together. There is also a great deal of dew at night, when it is at all clear. The number of rainy days is set down by previous writers at seventy-three in the year. During the last year

of Dr. Mason's residence in the island, it was one hundred and one, which, however, was regarded as an exception. The sirocco of Italy is hot, moist, and relaxing. This wind at Madeira, termed liste by the Portuguese, is essentially hot, dry, and of a highly stimulating nature, so that it soon exhausts those in health, and is very trying to invalids.

From my own experience, continues Dr. Mason, I should be inclined to corroborate Dr. Gourlay's opinion, that consumption and scrofula are frequent in Madeira; and also to add, that affections of the digestive organs are very general, being the principal causes of death with a majority of the inhabitants. I am afraid that were the subject more thoroughly investigated, as it ought to be, few places would be found where the system is more liable to general disorder, while, at the same time, I suspect that the average

duration of life would turn out to be inferior to that of our own country.

399

METEOROLOGICAL TABLES.

TABLE I.
MEAN TEMPERATURE OF THE YEAR, AND OF EACH SEASON,
AT THE FOLLOWING CITIES OF GREAT BRITAIN,

FRANCE, GERMANY, &C.
(Centigrade Thermometer.)

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TABLE II. MEAN TEMPERATURE OF THE YEAR, AND OF EACH SEASON, IN

THE CHIEF CITIES OF ITALY, &c.

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