Autumn is computed the third season of the year ; and with respect to the animal body, is doubtless the most unhealthy.— Hence Tertuelian calls it "merest of valetudinarians ;" but the ancient Germans, though acquainted with the three other seasons, appear to have been uninfluenced by the severity of autumn ; as they had no particular term to express it, unless we admit the word "harvest, " in modern German, "Htrlst, " as equivalent to what they at present call "Erndte, " or the gathering in the fruits of the earth.
The circumstances which render this season the least conducive to a healthy state of the body, are the following : 1. Because the vege-table kingdom, with very few ex-ceptions, returns the salubrious leaves of trees and plants to their primitive, maternal earth, where they undergo spontaneous decom-position. This decay, or process of putrefaction, produces a remark-able change in that surrounding medium which supports animal life, and the relative purity of which, determines the most im portant function of the system, namely, that of respiration. 2. As, by the greater pressure and humidity of the atmosphere, the pores of the skin are so affected that they become unable to perform their office of exhalation, with the same facility as in winter and summer, it follows that perspirable matter, or at least, its grosser particles, will in autumn be liable to remain on the surface, in a state inclining to putrefaction, and to be re-absorbed, to the great detriment of the human or animal body. Hence arise bilious and putrid fevers, with a long train of other complaints, according to the constitution and particular circumstances of the individual.
Parental Nature, however, has amply provided the means of obviating such disastrous effects. With this intention, she has given us a great variety of sub-acid fruit, and acescent vegetables, which, at that season, attain to their perfection, and are eminently qualified to counteract the putrid disposition of the fluids. To assist her in this benevolent intention, we ought to choose an appropriate diet; and, at the same time, defend the surface of the body with a proper dress, which is warm, light, and sufficiently porous, in order to admit the evaporation of perspirable volatile humours.
Notwithstanding all the objections made by theorists, against the use of Flannel, worn next the skin, we venture to pronounce it the most beneficial covering; provided the conditions and exceptions we shall state under that article, be duly attended to. But to see the fashionable females of the metropolis, as well as in the country, at all seasons of the year, dressed in muslin, cotton, and other light stuff's, scarcely sufficient to proteft them against a sudden blast of wind—such deviations from the rules of prudence, and real economy, may, indeed, deserve the lash of the Roman satyrist, who speaks of the bitter complaints of Proserpine, in chilly autumn, but they cannot be corrected by Reason, till the shrine of that whimsical idol ' Fashion, ' be shaken, and its ground-work demolished, by a more dignified system of Education.—See that article.