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The Founders of Canterbury

Reigate, 17th January, 1849

Reigate, 17th January, 1849.

My Dear Godley,

—I have observed a peculiarity in the atmosphere this winter, which may entirely account for the state of your lungs. The violent changes in the temperature of the air (which is the food of the lungs) remind me of Spring in Canada. Besides these violent changes once or twice a week, there are sudden or brief changes on a warm day, from 56 (about the mark of the thermometer in the shade during June and July last) to 40 and below. The sudden introduction of cold air into weak lungs, burns them or chills them, for the operation is the same in tearing or inflaming, whether the caloric be suddenly forced into or out of the tender membrane. To guard against this there is a precaution which never fails if you take care to use it well: I mean wearing a respirator whenever the temperature is low. On the hottest days, you should have it in your pocket, and put it on if you feel a chill, and wear it always on cold days when you are out of doors, or out of a warm room. Fire in the bed room is also most desirable; and in the morning, if the fire has gone out, you should put on the respirator till the air is warmed. The sole use of the respirator is to warm the food of the lungs. In a cold church the respirator is much wanted, in such cases as I take yours to be.

Besides this precaution, I fancy that when you come to town you ought to give your lungs as much pure food as possible, by at least sleeping out of the smoke of London, and page 39breathing as much country air as possible. This is with a view of allowing the lungs to gain strength; that is, allowing nature to repair damage occasioned by an unwholesome mode of life, which life in London and in dining-out society, most surely is.

I should also recommend a few packings and sweatings of the Water Cure, with a view of determining blood to the skin, and so relieving the congestion elsewhere.

By all these means, I should feel confident of your getting into the summer without further damage, perhaps in perfect health for the summer. On the approach of winter again, you will have to look out.

In such cases, timely remedy and precaution are all in all.

I am writing all this, because Nature intended me for a Doctor (though not of medicine), and still more probably from selfish motives. However, in my selfishness this time, you are selfishly concerned. Now that the book is nearly out, I am thinking of what is to be done with the subject this Session: and upon this subject I am full of ideas, not to say matured plans, which I long to communicate to you. One of them, the most important as to time, since it relates to launching the question for the session, has been formed on the supposition that you would be in town, and in communication with your friends, for two or three days before the debate on the Address. It consists, in brief, of giving you for Gladstone, and others if you liked, stitched, but unbound copies of the Book, and postponing the publication till after the debate on the Address: so that, if the book stimulated them to action at the opening of Parliament, either by speaking or by giving notice of motion so as to appropriate the subject, they might take this step before the book was out. With these views, I shall be glad to know on what day you intend to be in town, and for that and many other reasons, delighted to hear that you are well enough to justify your coming to town at all.

By "before the Book is out," I mean as if it were not out; page 40that is, without reference to it. Rintoul says, that after it shall be out, there can be no stir in Parliament about colonization without reference to it. Therefore, I fancy, that any body who intends to stir, would prefer moving before the Book is out; whilst, on the other hand, a sight of the book before its publication would enable him to judge of its probable effects on the public, of the degree of public interest which the subject is likely to obtain this year, and therefore, of the tone or line to be taken in broaching the question for both Parliament and public for this year.

Another reason for this course is, that the book is awfully personal as regards Lord Grey. Now suppose that this does not fail in its object, which is to raise myself from the slough into which he trampled me; the effect would be to damage him: and then, after he was damaged, those who moved in Parliament would seem to attack the wounded. Gladstone himself, if he moves at all, has an interest in doing so before the book is out.