Vie de Benjamin Franklin, écrite par lui-même - Tome II suivie de ses œuvres morales, politiques et littéraires

By Benjamin Franklin

Page 12

dans votre
lettre du 8 juin, à la nouvelle méthode de traiter la petite vérole; et
je saisis cette occasion, pour vous faire part de l'usage que j'ai
moi-même adopté.

Vous savez que depuis long-temps les bains froids sont employés ici
comme un tonique. Mais le saisissement que produit en général l'eau
froide, m'a toujours paru trop violent; et j'ai trouvé plus analogue à
ma constitution, et plus agréable de me baigner dans un autre élément,
c'est-à-dire, dans l'air froid. Je me lève donc, tous les jours, de
très-bon matin, et je reste alors sans m'habiller une heure ou une
demi-heure, suivant la saison, m'occupant à lire, ou à écrire.

Cet usage n'est nullement pénible. Il est, au contraire, très-agréable;
et si avant de m'habiller je me remets dans mon lit, comme cela m'arrive
quelquefois, c'est un supplément au repos de la nuit, et je jouis une
heure ou deux d'un sommeil délectable. Je ne crois point que cela puisse
avoir aucun dangereux effet. Ma santé, du moins, n'en est point altérée;
et j'imagine, au contraire, que c'est ce qui m'aide à la conserver.
C'est pourquoi j'appelerai désormais ce bain, _un bain tonique_.

10 mars 1793.

Je ne tenterai pas d'expliquer pourquoi les vêtemens humides
occasionnent des rhumes plutôt que les vêtemens mouillés; parce que j'en
doute. J'imagine, au contraire, que ni les uns ni les autres n'ont un
tel effet; et que les causes des rhumes sont absolument indépendantes de
l'humidité et même du froid. Je me propose d'écrire une petite
dissertation sur ce sujet, dès que j'en aurai le temps.

À présent, je me bornerai à vous dire que croyant mal fondée l'opinion
commune, qui attribue au froid la propriété de resserrer les pores et
d'arrêter la transpiration insensible, j'ai engagé un jeune médecin, qui
fesoit des expériences avec la balance de _Sanctorius_, à examiner les
différentes proportions de sa transpiration, en restant une heure
entièrement nud, et une heure chaudement vêtu. Il a renouvelé cette
expérience pendant huit jours consécutifs, et a trouvé que sa
transpiration étoit deux fois plus considérable dans les heures qu'il
étoit nud.

[13] Ceci est extrait de quelques lettres adressées à M. Dubourg.


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