« ElőzőTovább »
positions of the father-land, and keep them immov-cast down the powerful ; society has been moved ably. The great object of each family that succes- to its lowest depths, and Europe convulsed for fifty sively arrives, is to fix itself as near as possible to years. But I ask you, what has this philosopher its relatives, if it has any; if not, to its countrymen. gained against whalebones transformed into corEvery settlement thus becomes the nucleus of a pure sets ? Absolutely nothing. In vain did he say German circle, which is born, marries, and dies that a woman in a corset was destitute of grace, within itself, and with the least possible admixture and seemed cut in two, like a wasp: the witticism of Anglo-Americans. In the reign of Queen Anne, obtained currency, but the thing remained. Peter a numerous colony from the Palatinate settled on I. humiliates and dissolves his formidable force, the upper waters of the Hudson, where, after a the Strelitz, scarcely a murmur being heard ; he century and a half, their descendants remain to this obliges the Russians to shave their beard, and he day a separate people. “ These honest folks,” is seriously menaced ; but what would have become says one of their countrymen, though living of him had he dared proscribe the Russian Jadies amongst Anglo-Americans for the third and fourth the use of whalebone, or had in any way meddled generation, can neither read nor write the English with their toilet? The Emperor Joseph II. prolanguage; and adhering to their axiom, never to hibited the use of corsets, and ordained that crimbecome Irish, (thus they designate the Anglo-Amer- inals only condemned to labor should wear them. icans, who take their revenge by nicknaming them all this was useless at the end of a few years. Dutch,) they are contented with their own German But what, then, is this formidable power, which
It is the same with them everywhere. carries the day against kings, philosophers, physiChance or preference directed the first settlers cians, reason, and common sense ? Who is there towards Pennsylvania. To Pennsylvania, accord that is ignorant of it? Who does not know its imingly, the stream has steadily set ever since ; and perious decisions, its sentences without appeal? the result is, that the German population of that in fact, does not fashion govern the world; and, state already balances the Anglo-Saxon ; and, in as regards your sex, is it not the only sovereign the adjoining state of Ohio, stands as three to seven. who reigns and governs ? Upon those who violate Next to these, the greatest number is found in her decrees she inflicts the chastisement of ridiMaryland, Indiana, Ilinois, and Missouri, neither cule, and at once all opposition ceases. Reason going far to the north or south of the same parallel. may raise her voice, but every ear is closed. ReaIn most of these states, the debates in the houses son advises, fashion acts; so that we may easily of representatives and the laws are printed alike in guess which will prove victorious. German and English. If this emigration continue You see, then, madam, why this subject, so in its present extent and cion, and in the course learnedly treated by so many doctors, has as yet of time—what is sufficiently probable—a disruption furnished such unsatisfactory results. I maintain of the great American confederacy should take the principle, however, that we must never weary place, a second Germany will have arisen beyond in preaching the good and the useful. Something ihe Atlantic, and monopolized, along the head | always results; and in this manner a great evil waters of the Delaware and Ohio, the possessions may become diminished, and a small one reduced of the children of Penn.
to nothing. How many strange customs, prejudi
cial to health, have disappeared with time and perFrom Chambers' Journal.
severance in good advice! I might cite the swad
dling-clothes and bandages of children, the hairy THE USE OF THE CORSET.
pig-tails, hair-powder, garters, and buckles of
What would you say if some one seriously pro
posed to you to forcibly compress one of your limbs ALTHOUGH I have every desire to justify the con- for a long period ?. They might indeed tell you fidence you honor me with, you must admit, mad- that the smaller it became, the more elegant it am, you put me to rather a severe proof. You ask would be; but you would not fail to resist such my opinion upon the employment of corsets- torture. Besides the pain, the compressed part whether they are, in fact, as injurious to the health would soon diminish in size, and waste away more of women as has been said ; and whether medical or less completely. The pale and thin muscles men have not, upon this point, somewhat exag- would no longer enjoy their natural vigor and acgerated ? I well know with what scruples and tivity, the vessels would diminish in size, and the fears your maternal affection fills you upon this part soon lose its strength and beauty. Now, do subject. Your daughter, whom I have attended you not think that this same compression, exerted from her infancy, approaches an age at which the upon parts of the body which contain the most deldesire to please is very natural. But is it possible icate and important organs, must be attended with to please without an elegant form ? and can this be yet more disastrous consequences? These organs, attained without a narrow waist?—in other words, pushed, squeezed, agglomerated together, necessawithout the agency of the corset? These are im- rily lose that development which is indispensable portant qnestions, not to be decided without care for their action and energy. And observe, this and circumspection. It is long since the subject pressure is not made upon any isolated point; it has been agitated, but always uselessly, the tri- embraces an extensive surface, and just that which umph of the corset only becoming the more assured. corresponds to the organs which are the very source Rousseau changed the opinions of his contempora- of life. Take a large corset, and measure its ries on many points. By his eloquent declamations height and diameters; and afterwards, when it is he obliged mothers to suckle their offspring; and, tightened to the degree fashion requires and suffermore than this, his doctrines and principles hav ing permits, compare these admeasurements with shaken kingdoms, raised nations against kings, and the body of the person who wears it, and you will
be astonished at the result. * North America and the United States as they are.
But where is the use of reasoning or experience London : 1826.
for those who are convinced not only that the cor
TRANSLATION OF A LETTER TO A LADY FROM DR.
direct violation of the laws of nature. The most It is for balls, parties, theatres, &c., that internoble organs are deprived of the play and develop- minable preparations for the toilet are especially ment essential to their functions. Even the very made, and that the most destructive conspiracy boues of the trunk and chest suffer under this per- against health is contrived. The lady of elegant picious influence. To convince yourself of this, form who repairs to these, is girt in every possible have the courage to examine a skeleton, the solid manner. Her shoes are as small and narrow as framework of our fragile organization. On the possible ; the entire body surrounded by a large one hand, you see the spine-the solid yet mobile and strong corset mercilessly laced; the clasps of support of the whole animal structure. A multi- her ess maintain the ground already gained; and tude of nerves escape from its lateral openings, her girdle exercises no less constriction. We need giving life to the internal organs, and establishing not mention bracelets, necklaces, &c., which nevrelations with the brain. This spinal column is ertheless exert injurious pressure upon the neck covered externally on each side by hundles of and arms; so that every part of the body is encirmuscles—the moving power. Now, I ask you cled with more or less tight ligatures. Thus fetwhether a corset, worn habitually tight, must not tered and bound up, she repairs to the place of interfere with, and prevent the action of, these assembly, where the air is contaminated by a crowdmuscles and those of the shoulders ? On the other ed company, while the mirrors are tarnished, and hand, observe that the ribs, forming a kind of bony the candles melt, in a temperature equal to that of and movable cage, represent a cone, having its Senegal. Nevertheless, she will remain here for apex above, and its base below. Well, the corset five or six hours, perhaps dancing, or singing in a acts in a totally opposite direction. It compresses more or less loud voice. It is not ntil she has reand binds in this base, whose expansion is indis- turned home, and removed the instruments of torpensable for the play of the lungs and the act of ture, that she can breathe. By a miracle of nature respiration. Can there exist a worse or more fatal she has not succumbed to efforts which the most practice? We laugh at the Chinese ladies; but robust man could not support for an hour. And, the deformed and squeezed-up state of their feet yet this is the feebler sex! does not at least affect the general health. A mother protects her daughter from the effects of
From Sharpe's Magazinc. the slightest draughts of air, from the least damp, from the rays of a burning sun, and yet exposes
JACQUARD, THE SILK WEAVER OF LYONS. her to the dangerous compression of a large cor- The stranger who visits Lyons and becomes ac
quainted with the manufactories of that great merAlthough all portions of the body suffer, and cantile city of France, is struck the contrast tend to morbid changes, when submitted to great that he sees there, between the luxurious furniture and more or less prolonged pressure, there are prepared for the dwellings of the great, and the some organs which seem especially destined to en- poverty of those employed in its production. dure these evils. Among these are the lungs and The silk weaver may generally be known by his heart. It is through their agency that respiration pallid complexion, his narrow chest, and his emaand circulation are accomplished. They are, so to ciated limbs, which are the natural results of exspeak, the very roots of life. Now, I ask, what cessive labor and insufficient nourishment; but, must take place when the cavity containing them thirty years ago, these, his melancholy characteris narrowed, and when the extent of their action is istics, were far more remarkable than they are limited by the tyrannical exigencies of the corset? now. Lyons and its suburbs contain at least nineThe diseases which result are numerous, always ty thousand artisans, who work from four in the serious, and so much the more incurable, as they morning till nine at night, crowded into large facproceed froin a predisposition become constitution-tories that resemble bee-hives with their tiers of al. If you were aware of the fine texture, the cells. They are full of windows, each of which delicate network of the lungs, the sensibility of lights a machine, and, till within the period we these precious organs, the abundance of blood have mentioned, these machines, used for brocaded which penetrates their innermost recesses, there to silks, were complicated and difficult to manage, become revived, you would only be astonished that loaded as they were with numberless cords and these diseases were not more frequent still. And pedals by which the body was forced into the most yet, will it be believed that women, having the distorted and unnatural attitudes. The weaver chest thus compressed and narrowed, will read was mounted on a high stool, and directed the aloud, or engage in singing and declamation ? thread of the chain, and formed the pattern, by: From the most straitened organ the highest amount striking out his legs from right to left; but, beof action is demanded !
sides his part of the work, one or two others were But the chest is not the only organ exposed to necessary to guide the cords and pedals; and these this severe compression of the corset. The liver, were usually young women or children, who were placed immediately below the ribs at the very point obliged to preserve the same painful attitudes where constriction is greatest, equally suffers. through the whole day, and they freqnently beHence results pain in the side, indigestion, and came deformed for life, and more often still they diseases of the organ, with chronic jaundice. The were hurried to the grave. Many, who witnessed' stomach itself, compressed by the bone of the cor- so much misery, longed earnestly for such a revoset, does not enjoy its natural vigor and extensibil- lution in the state of mechanical science, as should ity. Hence distaste for food, painful digestion, free the children from work to which their own languor, pallid or pimpled countenance, &c. health and the moral feeling of their parents were Soemmering, a celebrated German physician, found alike yearly sacrificed; but amongst all who pitied a stomach nearly divided into two parts by the ex. their sufferings, who had the power to relieve cessive and long-continued pressure of a steel-busk. them? The honor of accomplishing this task was I know well that few women would submit to such reserved for Jacquard, an unpretending artisan, the tortore ; but some there are whom no rein or pru- genius of the loom, the child' of the people. Flordence can restrain.
ence and Venice, with all their boasted improve
Lyons, the whole face of whose commerce was to 1. letters came to converse with him, and to wonder be entirely altered by Jacquard's discovery, no that a man, whose reputation was European, gratitude and no admiration were called forth by it. should be found spending his old age in solitude, He returned there with his machine, and found and dividing his time between religious duties and himself, like Galileo of old, overwhelmed with sus- the cultivation of a small garden. He died on the picion and obloquy. He, the man of the people, 7th of August, 1834; he never saw his great inthe child of the loom, was portrayed in the darkest vention appreciated in his native city, and yet he colors to the ignorant and passionate multitude as had lived long in hope, and in his latter days in their inveterate foe; one who, for his own ambi- perfect peace; his work was done, and at eightytious and selfish purposes, was about to ruin their four craft, and to increase the distress of their families.
“ The weary springs of life stood still at last." From all parts of the district furious mobs assembled against him, and his life was three times in friends, and a very small number of admirers, ac
The morning after Jacquard's death, a few imminent danger; this blind hatred rose at last to companied his remains to the cemetery of Oullins, such a height that the Lyonnese authorities gave and buried him by the side of Thomas, the acadeway before the storm; and the new machine was mician; the inhabitants of the village consecrated a broken to pieces by their orders, in the great square marble slab in their church to his memory, which of the town, while the people loudly applauded the
mentions simply and modestly his pure life and his ridiculous scene enacted before them.--" The iron”
industry. (to use Jacquard's own words) “ was sold as old
In his lifetime, like most other great men, Jaciron—the wond, for fuel.”
quard found little but persecution, neglect, and It was not till France began to feel the fatal ef- indifference, in his own country; it was only after fects of foreign rivalry, that the silk-weavers of his death that he was really known, and his memoLyons regretted the narrow prejudices which had
ry duly honored. The municipal authorities at prevented their reaping the benefit themselves of Lyons opened a subscription for the purpose of Jacquard's discovery ; they then perceived that raising a statue of the celebrated mechanic, and, they had destroyed the machine which would have while the city owed chiefly to him its yearly in-. spared their labor, and infinitely multiplied their re
creasing wealth, it was long before many
thousand In the mean time a few more enlightened francs were collected. The statue of Jacquard, manufacturers, among whom were Dépouilly and from the chisel of Foyatier, was raised at last on Schirmer, having adopted the machinery of Jac- the 16th of August, 1840, in “la place Sathony;' quard, had so abundantly profited by it, that its where had been placed already the bust of the fame spread rapidly through Switzerland, Germa- Abbé Rozier, another benefactor to the city of ny, Italy, and America, where a new opening to Lyons. industry, and a fresh means of increasing wealth,
It is refreshing, in the midst of the feverish strife. were joyfully hailed.
of mere opinion, to turn to the example of JacManchester, essentially a manufacturing city re
quard. Humble and prosaic as his life may at first ceived the Jacquard machinery, in 1813, with popu- sight appear, he stood alone with his genius, surlar enthusiasm ; and the name once denounced in
rounded by ignorance and tumult, waiting patiently every factory is now honored throughout Europe. until his discovery should be permitted to produce By slow degrees did this reward reach Jacquard ; the great results in commerce which it could not he had it, after a twenty years' struggle against fail of effecting when once it was fairly tried.. ignorance, envy, and selfishness; and all that time While doubtless a thousand voices were raised to he knew that he had succeeded, that he had cre- procure a hearing for fresh schemes and new docated a mighty agent for the prosperity of his native trines in science, he expected silently the hour in: country, and that a day would surely come in which which his knowledge should be most usefully emhe should see it at work. He was gifted with per- ployed for the benefit of his country, Jacquard and severance and rectitude of purpose in proportion to his machine were alike realities, and the world has. his genius; his disinterestedness was such, that he
now acknowledged them as such. would take out no patent to appropriate the benefits of his discoveries, and he constantly refused the magnificent offers made to him by foreigners ; sim
From the N. Y. Commercial Advertiser. ply bat firmly he refused to devote to them the ser
THE CONDITION OF ENGLAND. vices he believed were due to France, and waited patiently till she should be ready to receive them at In employing this term, now one of frequent rehis hands. We have seen the humble mention currence in the parliamentary debates, we do not. made of him with the bronze medal he obtained in mean either the physical, the social, or the political 1801 ; it was not till 1819 that a better informed condition of the country as existing at the present jury proclaimed the superiority of his machinery moment, but rather its condition in the three parover the costly and unhealthy processes which it ticulars specified, and with more especial reference was intended to replace, and awarded to him the to the future. For we conceive the British islands, silver medal: the cross of the Legion of Honor or at least that portion of them known specifically completed this national recompense.
as England, to be now in a state of change and Towards the close of his life, Jacquard, having progress, the issue of which cannot be anticipated lost his wife, who had been a sharer in all his anx- without a strong and lively interest. In fact, we ieties, and for whom he had the strongest affection, know of no more interesting subject for contemplaretired to the pretty village of Oullins, about three tion than the probable course of events in that great miles from Lyons, and took up his abode in a small country, among that remarkable people, in the next house, the use of which had been left to him by twenty years. will, for his life. There he received the visits of We believe that a revolution is going forward many illustrious travellers ; statesmen, and men of there ; a revolution, vast, radical, thorough, and