The climate of this country, though in general temperate, is extremely variable. The transitions from heat to cold, however sudden in Britain, are less severely felt than upon the Continent. Yet these frequent changes are productive of many diseases, which, according to Dr. C. Bisset, are generated chiefly by the following causes : 1. From the cold and moist temperature of the air, consequent on a long course of weather, that was either dry and sultry, or warm, close, and moist; or intensely cold and dry, together with keen frost; and from the effects produced by the contrary temperature. 2. From cold and frosty weather, with piercing north, or east winds, after a long course of mild weather, with south winds, which again prevail after the opposite extremes, and produce a moist and temperate, or warm air : and 3. From cold weather during summer, and unseasonably warm or mild weather, together with south winds, in winter, and again attended with the contrary changes.
This island is peculiarly subject to showers, and to close, cloudy, foggy weather; which must be ascribed to its insular situation. Clouds are continually wafted over from the sea, by every wind, and condensed by the cold land-air, as also by the humid vapours arising from plants, and thus precipitated in rain. From this circumstance, an uninterrupted continuance of dry weather is seldom experienced in Great Britain. But, though such frequent changes, together with the moist and cold air so generally prevalent, render the inhabitants of this country liable to many disorders, yet the more malignant epidemics are less fatal, and occur less frequently, than in most continental regions ; because we enjoy the benefit of pure and temperate sea-winds, and are exempt from the two extremes of heat and cold. The moisture of the British air, indeed, tends to relax the fibres ; but it also promotes accretion, while its cool temperature condenses the solids, and invigorates the whole body. Hence it happens, that the natives of Great Britain are, in general, stouter, and more robust than those of other countries; and, though many persons here are subject to scorbutic and rheumatic complaints, arising from these various causes, to which must be added their gross and solid, or luxurious food, yet a far greater proportion of the inhabitants of this island lives to an advanced age, than of those of any continental country. This assertion, however, chiefly relates to salubrious farms and villages, where the people are more temperate, and less debauched by spirituous liquors, than in towns. We may farther remark, that the prevailing custom of wearing light and thin dresses, especially among females, is by no means conducive to longevity; for, as those votaries of fashion and caprice are, in all seasons, exposed to colds and rheumatic complaints, many of them at length contract pulmonary, or consumptive diseases, and fall victims of folly, at a period of life when they ought to be most useful to society.
The solid, nutritive food of the inhabitants, in general, is likewise a principal cause of many diseases originating from repletion; yet it must at the same time be admitted, that such substantial nutriment greatly contributestotheir strength, their full, athletic size, and florid complexion. - Those of our readers, who wish to acquire additional information on this subject, we refer to Dr. W. Falconer's elaborate "Remarks on the Influence of Climate, Situation, Nature of Country, Population, Nature of Food, Way of Life: on the Dispositions and Temper, Maimers and Behaviour, Intellects, Laws and Customs, Forms of Government, and Religion of Mankind" (4to. 18s. Dilly - Mawman, 1/81), in which this interesting topic is minutely and ingeniously discussed. Clock. See TiME-FIECE. CLOSE-STOOL, a chamberim-plement of considerable utility to patients and invalids ; though it has lately been in a great measure superseded by the invention of of water-closets. These, however, being attended with such expence as to preclude many families from their acquisition, it may be useful to mention an easy method of suppressing the fetid exhalation arising from vessels of the former description, when kept in sick-rooms, especially during the. night. A foreign writer suggests the following expedient: lake a handful (we suppose, three or four ounces) of green vitriol ; dissolve it in half a gallon of boiling water; and, when cold-, pour a quart of it on the feces immediately after each stool. In this simple manner, we are in-formed, the most unpleasant stench be effectually neutralized ; a circumstance of great importance in putrid and malignant levers. ("lot-burr. See Burdock. CLOTH, in commerce, a ma-nufacture made of wool, cotton, flax, hemp, etc. woven in a loom. In this place, however, we shall treat only of woollen cloths : these are of various qualities, fine or coarse, which depend on a variety of circumstances.
The best wools for manufactur-ing cloth are those of England and Spain, especially of Lincolnshire and Segovia. In order to use them to the best advantage, they should be previously scoured, in a hot liquor consisting of three parts of pure water, and one of urine. When it has soaked a sufficient time in this liquor, to disolve the grease, it is drained, and prop washed in running water : as soon as it feels somewhat rough, and is divested of all smell, except the natural one of the sheep, it is said to be properly scoured. The wool is next exposed to dry completely in the shade; after which it is beaten with rods upon wooden hurdles, or on cords, to cleanse it from the dust and grosser tilth, and prepare it for spinning, when it must be well picked, in order to separate the remaining impurities.
After this process,it is oiled with oil of olives, and given to the spinners, who first card it on the knee with small fine cards, and then spin it on a wheel; care being taken to make the thread of the warp one third less than that of the woof, and to twist the former more compactly. The thread is then reeled and formed into skeins: that designed for the warp is wound on small tubes, pieces of paper, or rushes, so disposed that they may be easily put in the eye of the shuttle ; that intended tor the warp is wound on large wooden bobbins. As soon as it is warped, stiffened with size, and dried, it is moun . on the loom. The weavers, of.
whom there are two to each loom, tread alternately, on the right, and on- the left step of the treddle, which raises and lowers the threads of the warp equally ; between which latter they throw the shuttle transversely, the one to the other. Every time the shuttle is thrown, and a thread of the woof inserted in the warp, they strike it jointly with the same frame : to this is attached the comb, or reed, through the teeth of which the threads of the warp have been previously passed; the blow being repeated as often as is necessary. Having filled the whole warp with the woof, the cloth is unrolled from the beam on which it had been wound while weaving, and given to be cleansed from the knots, ends of thread, etc. ; an operation which is usually performed with iron nippers.
In this state it is carried to the fullery, and scowered with urine, or with a species of potters' clay steeped in water. As soon as the cloth is again cleared from the earth or urine, it is returned to the former hands, for taking off, as before, the smaller straws, etc.; when it is delivered to the fuller, to be beaten and fulled with hot water, in which a proper quantity of soap has been dissolved. After this second fulling, it is smoothed, or pulled lengthways by the lists, in order to take out all wrinkles and unevenness. This operation is continued till the cloth is brought to a proper breadth, when it is washed in clear water, to cleanse it from the soap, and afterwards given wet to the carders, to raise the hair, or nap, with the teasel (Dipsacus fullonum, L.) The cloth-worker then takes it in hand, and performs what is called, the first shearing, after which it is again.
delivered to the carders, who pass it repeatedly under the teasel, in proportion to the quality of the stuff. It is next returned to the cloth-worker, and from him to the carders, where the same operation is continued till the nap on the surface be properly ranged.
Thus prepared, the cloth is sent to the dyer, who, after having given it the proper colour, immerses it in pure water, and delivers it, while wet, to the worker. The latter lays the nap with a brush on the table ; and then suspends it on tenters, where it is sufficiently stretched, and brushed while wet, in order to bring it to its proper dimensions. As soon as it is completely dried, it is again brushed on the table, to finish the laying of the nap; after which it is folded, and laid cold under a press, to make it smooth, and to give it a gloss. When it is taken out of the press, and the papers for glossing it are removed, the cloth is fit for immediate sale, or use.
With respect to the manufacture of mixed cloths, or those in which the wools are dyed previously to their being wrought, the process varies but little from that just described, except in what relates to the colour.
Cloth, in general, constitutes one of the most necessary articles of domestic convenience: hence many ingenious persons have attempted to discover substitutes for Flax and Hemp, of which we shall give a short account, in their alphabetical order.
Woollen cloths being liable to be stained, or soiled, by a variety of accidents, different methods have been contrived to remove such spots, and thus restore the cloth to its former beauty, When stained with grease, fullers' earth, pure pot-ash, or other absorbents, will produce the desired effect.. Spots of ink, or other stains, may be taken out by the acid of sorrel, or the oxalic acid (essential salt of lemons), and the colour restored by alkalies, or by a solution of tin. It frequently happens, however, that spots are owing to different unknown causes, which render it necessary to recur to compositions possessing various powers. For this purpose, CHAPtal recommends white soap to be dissolved in alcohol : in this solution are to be mixed the yolks of four or five eggs, to which should be gradually added, some spirit of turpentine and fullers' earth, in such proportions as to give the whole mixture, when stirred, a due consistence for being formed into balls. The spots, after being wetted, are to be rubbed with these balls; when the cloth also should be well washed, and cleansed. Thus, every kind of spots (those of ink, or other solutions of iron excepted) may be effectually removed.
In February, 1796, a patent was granted to Mr. John Grimshaw, of Strines-hall, Derbyshire, calico-printer, for his invention of certain substances to be used in clearing, or bleaching, printed, stained, or dyed woollen, and other cloths. The principal ingredient employed by the patentee appears to be, the common grains which remain after brewing, and which are put into a close vessel, in order to become sour. This is usually effected in six days in hot, and in about eight days, in cold weather. As soon as the grains have acquired the necessary degree of acidity, three or four bushels of them are directed to be put into a common-sized calico-printer's copper pan, nearly full of water. Into this mixture the stained cloths are repeatedly immersed, and turned over a winch or reel placed across the pan. The operation is continued from five to fifteen minutes, during which the mixture is directed to boil gently; the pieces are then taken out, and washed immediately, either in hot or cold water, and treated in the same manner as goods that are cleared with bran. When twelve or sixteen pieces have been thus' cleaned, an additional bushel of sour grains is to be added, and the pan ruled up with water : when it boils, the operation may be repeated with other cloths, as before. - See Bleaching.