‹‹                                                            ››
    By the words, necessary of life, I mean whatever, of all that man obtains by his own exertions, has been from the first, or from long use has become, so important to human life that few, if any, whether from savageness, or poverty, or philosophy, ever attempt to do without it.  To many creatures there is in this sense but one necessary of life, Food.  To the bison of the prairie it is a few inches of palatable grass, with water to drink; unless he seeks the Shelter of the forest or the mountain's shadow.  None of the brute creation requires more than Food and Shelter.  The necessaries of life for man in this climate may, accurately enough, be distributed under the several heads of Food, Shelter, Clothing, and Fuel; for not till we have secured these are we prepared to entertain the true problems of life with freedom and a prospect of success.  Man has invented, not only houses, but clothes and cooked food; and possibly from the accidental discovery of the warmth of fire, and the consequent use of it, at first a luxury, arose the present necessity to sit by it.  We observe cats and dogs acquiring the same second nature.  By proper Shelter and Clothing we legitimately retain our own internal heat; but with an excess of these, or of Fuel, that is, with an external heat greater than our own internal, may not cookery properly be said to begin?  Darwin, the naturalist, says of the inhabitants of Tierra del Fuego, that while his own party, who were well clothed and sitting close to a fire, were far from too warm, these naked savages, who were farther off, were observed, to his great surprise, "to be streaming with perspiration at undergoing such a roasting."  So, we are told, the New Hollander goes naked with impunity, while the European shivers in his clothes.  Is it impossible to combine the hardiness of these savages with the intellectualness of the civilized man?  According to Liebig, man's body is a stove, and food the fuel which keeps up the internal combustion in the lungs.  In cold weather we eat more, in warm less. The animal heat is the result of a slow combustion, and disease and death take place when this is too rapid; or for want of fuel, or from some defect in the draught, the fire goes out.  Of course the vital heat is not to be confounded with fire; but so much for analogy.  It appears, therefore, from the above list, that the expression, animal life, is nearly synonymous with the expression, animal heat; for while Food may be regarded as the Fuel which keeps up the fire within us -- and Fuel serves only to prepare that Food or to increase the warmth of our bodies by addition from without -- Shelter and Clothing also serve only to retain the heat thus generated and absorbed.
‹‹                              random                              ››
W