January 1, 1793
Dr Beddoes: Considering fresh meat, or the muscular part of animals, chemically, I see no reason why it should not be efficacious in preventing or curing the scurvy. In winter they[Ostiack Tartars of the Oby] ravenously devour their frozen fish raw, esteeming them a preservative against the 'scurvy.'
Observations On The Nature And Cure Of Calculus, Sea Scurvy, Consumption, Catarrh, And Fever: Together With Conjectures Upon Several Other Subjects Of Physiology And Pathology
Considering fresh meat, or the muscular part of animals, chemically, I see no reason why it should not be efficacious in preventing or curing the scurvy. Oxygene it contains, when raw , in a state of loose combination , though probably not in such large proportion as vegetable substances, even such as are not acid. I had noticed in travellers of great respectability passages that confirm this idea. The nations inhabiting the cold and dreary regions on the eastern shores of Asia , and the opposite coasts of America, seem to have learned from experience, that fresh, or at leaſt unsalted fish is a preventative of the scurvy, or a remedy for it .
Thus Dr. Pallas (Reise, iii. 47) describes the Ostiack Tartars of the Oby, as preparing their winter stores altogether without salt. “They are extremely apt, when disabled by age or infirmities, to become scorbutic. In winter they ravenously devour their frozen fish raw, a practice which the neighbouring Russians imitate , esteeming them a preservative against the 'scurvy.' (46.)
Mr.Meares (Voyage, Introd. p. 30 .) speaking of an American tribe, says, “She made us sensible that the same disorder (scurvy) prevailed in her nation; and that whenever the symptoms appeared, they removed to the southward, where the climate was more genial, and where plenty of fish was to be obtained, which never failed to prove the means of their recovery.”
The reader will probably agree to consider the frozen as fresh fish. If it were possible to preserve meat on ship board, in this simple manner, one great source of the scurvy would probably be cut off. Cookery combines the oxygene anew; would our sailors eat raw animal food?
Dr. Lind, though he has full confidence in green vegetables, and affirms that the scurvy never can become a general, fatal, and destructive calamity, where they abound, and the proper method of treatment is known and pursued (p. 541.); he concludes from a number of comparative trials (p. 538), that certain patients in Haslar hospital in general grew better, notwithstanding they abstained altogether from vegetables.
"This strict abstinence from the fruits of the earth," says he, "was continued long enough to convince me, that the disease would often, from various circumstances, take a favourable turn, independent of any diet, medicine, or regimen ." We have nothing, I presume, to oppose in point of conclusiveness to such experiments made by a physician so intelligent and so experienced in this particular disease.