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Health, or, How to Live - Contents
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    IN the month of September, 1864, Mrs. W. and self spent three weeks at the health institution at Dansville, Liv. Co., N. Y., called “Our Home.” Our object in this visit was not to take treatment, as we were enjoying better health than usual; but to see what we could see, and hear what we could hear, so as to be able to give to many inquiring friends a somewhat definite report.HHTL 12.3

    As far as location and buildings are concerned, we cannot do better than to copy from the statement of Dr. Jackson addressed to Prof. Albert Hopkins, and Prof. John Bascon, Williams College, Williamstown, Mass., given in the Laws of Life for Sept. 1864, as follows:HHTL 13.1

    “I doubt whether on the whole continent of America there can be found a spot better calculated, from the various combinations of health-preserving agencies, to develop good health in its population than this. In looking around to see in what direction, and to what extent, combinations of hygienic agencies exist here, we find:HHTL 13.2

    “(A) Very fine and bracing air.
    “(B) Abundance of sunlight.
    “ (C) Pure water.
    “(D) A mild climate, especially in winter.
    “(E) Beautiful landscape scenery.
    “(F) Seclusion, or natural conditions for quiet, being located contiguous to a thriving village of about four thousand inhabitants, yet far enough from it to make us entirely independent of any unhealthful conditions which closer contact might naturally, and would almost necessarily create.

    “The house we purchased at the time of our coming here had been built about four years. It consisted of the main or center part of our present group of buildings, including a kitchen attachment, was four stories high, forty feet wide, one hundred feet long; and was finished, after a fashion, in its lower and second stories, the third and fourth being simply inclosed. There was no cellar under the main building. Now, we have put under the whole length of the building a large cellar, have built on the south end of the house a fine piazza three stories high and extending across the whole breadth of it. On the north end of the building which we purchased, we have put up what we call the “new part,” consisting of a building four stories, and three stories high, eighty feet in length and thirty feet in width, giving us a work room, store room, bakery, bath and packing rooms for ladies, and large and extensive suites of rooms. Back of this, we have built a wing, two stories high, and sixty feet in length by thirty in width, containing bath room, dressing room, packing room and lodging rooms for gentlemen.HHTL 13.3

    “On the south end, connecting with the south piazza, by a corridor which is sixteen feet high, ten feet wide and one hundred and fifteen feet long, which makes a beautiful place in the summer, and a warm promenade in the winter, we have erected a building and named it “LIBERTY HALL.” It is sixty-five feet long, thirty-two feet wide and eighteen feet high between joints, with a fine cupola, finished in ornate style, and both in design and construction is an honor to the architect. This Hall is our play-room, lecture room, and chapel. By means of our south Piazza and corridor, persons can walk from the north end of our building to Liberty Hall — a distance of three hundred feet — without being exposed at all to currents of cold air.”HHTL 14.1

    The Physicians of the institution, as stated in the Laws of Life for December, are,HHTL 14.2

    “JAMES C. JACKSON, M.D., Physician-in-chief,
    “F. WILSON HURD, M. D.,)
    “MISS HARRIET N. AUSTIN, M. D.,) Associate
    “MRS. MARY H. YORK, M. D.,) Physicians.
    “HORATIO S. LAY, M. D.,)

    In September there were at the Cure nearly three hundred patients. Their numbers have since increased, as we learned of Dr. Lay in December, to nearly four hundred.HHTL 14.3

    Baths given at “Our Home” are not as cold, neither given as frequently, as we expected to find them. They are tempered to the conditions and diseases of patients so as generally to be regarded by them as a luxury instead of with feelings of dread. The most heroic treatment, which a score of years since caused much prejudice upon the public mind against water as a curative agent, is abandoned by all well-informed hydropathic physicians. In our opinion no one, however low and sensitive to cold, need fear being injured by water at this institution.HHTL 14.4

    The tables are spread with an abundance of plain and nourishing food, which becomes a daily luxury to the patients, as the natural and healthful condition of the taste is restored. The glutton, who gratifies his depraved appetite with swine’s flesh, grease, gravies, spices, etc., etc., on looking over Dr. Hurd’s Tract on Cookery, may in his ignorance regard this style of living as a system of starvation. But a few weeks’ experience at “Our Home” would correct his appetite, so that he would eat plain, simple, and nutritious food with a far better relish than he now does that which is unnatural and hurtful. We never saw men and women gather around tables more cheerfully, and eat more heartily, than the patients at Dansville. The uniformity and sharpness of appetite was wonderful for a crowd of patients. It was the general leanness and lankness of these persons alone that could give the idea that they were sick. Besides the usual rounds of excellently-cooked wheat meal mushes, wheat meal biscuits, cakes, and pies, and occasionally other varieties, we found the tables bountifully loaded with the fruits of the season, such as apples, peaches, and grapes. No one need fear of starving at “Our Home.” There is greater danger of eating too much. The appetite of the feeble patient, who has been pining with loss of appetite over fashionable food, becomes natural and sharp, so that simple food is eaten with all that keen relish with which healthy country school children devour plain food. The food being nutritious, and the appetite keen, the danger of that class of patients who have become feebly by self-indulgence, is decidedly in the direction of eating too much.HHTL 14.5

    The change from the common meat-eating, greasy style of living, to a plain and healthful diet, is indeed a great change, and with some it requires time for its accomplishment. Those who are performing hard labor, whether physical or mental, should make the change gradually. It is distinctly taught by the physicians at the Dansville health institution that it endangers the constitution to make so great a change suddenly, while taxing the mental or physical energies. With their arrangements of pleasant exercise, and their noon season of quiet and rest, the change is easily and safely made. As we had lived almost entirely without meat, grease, and spices, for more than a year, we were in a condition to have our wants in the line of food fully met at the tables at “Our Home.”HHTL 15.1

    The manners of all connected with this institution, from the physician-in-chief down to the attendants in the bath-rooms, were affable and cheerful, in harmony with the friendly name — “Our Home.” As a physician Dr. Jackson is unquestionably master of his business. He is a clear and impressive speaker, and is decidedly thorough in whatever he undertakes.HHTL 16.1

    The morning lectures, most frequently from Dr. Jackson, but occasionally from Dr. Hurd, were able, and deeply interesting. All who were able were required to attend the lectures at Liberty Hall, and perform their daily prescribed walks upon the hillside, or descend into the village. In all their amusements we could not unite. For the object for which they were intended, and when confined to the institution, these seem less objectionable. But we fear the influence of card-playing and dancing, upon young men and women, who at the same time profess to be Christians, when they shall leave the institution and be exposed to the vices so common with card-players and dancers. But it is just to say that the patients are left to the greatest freedom of conscience in these matters. The views and feelings of the most conscientious Sabbath-keeper are treated with tenderness and respect the same as those of the popular, pleasure-loving professor.HHTL 16.2

    It should be understood that this is not a theological institute It is emphatically a hygienic institution, a “Home” for the suffering invalid, where he can, if not too low, recover lost health, and learn to no longer insult the Maker by abusing the laws of his being. The religion at the institution is of about the same stripe of the popular professors everywhere, all of which, as is generally understood, we think needs reforming in about the same ratio that the able Doctors of “Our Home” think the popular practice needs reforming.HHTL 16.3

    To the inquiry of many — “Are they not Spiritualists at Dansville?” — we would say that we neither saw nor heard more of Spiritualism at “Our Home” than we see and hear in any community where they do not profess this ism. Two things at least have a tendency to give the impression that this class of health reformers are Spiritualists; first, the popular publications of Dr. Trall are offered for sale in connection with the most rabid works on Spiritualism and women’s rights; and second, at “Our Home” the ladies wear what is commonly called the short dress, which is so frequently worn in its ultra style by brazen-faced and doubtful female Spiritualists. These things have a tremendous prejudicial influence abroad against the invaluable good of this institution. We recognize the principles from which arise the valid objections to the present fashionable style of woman’s dress, and look for a remedy that will save to the world her appearance as a woman, and save her from public ridicule, and to herself influence. But we have serious objections to woman’s dress being so long as to constitute her a street-sweeper, and we strongly incline to the opinion that existing evils in her dress can be fully removed without adopting those extremes which we sometimes witness. More on this subject hereafter.HHTL 16.4

    Some of the cures performed are marvelous. Charles Melville, the only little son of Eld. J. N. Andrews, is a case of mote. This boy became lame in one of his legs. His hip and leg seemed withering, and malformation appeared to be taking place in the ankle. To see this brilliant little fellow literally drag his leg after him, was enough to touch a heart of stone. He was placed under the care of the physicians at “Our Home,” and in the period of fifteen weeks was so far recovered as to be returned to his parents. And when we saw him, a few days later, he would run and skip about the yard, as nimbly as other boys. The size of his leg was increasing, and the cure promised full restoration. Any good father or mother would, if the world were theirs, and purest gold, cut it in two and give half of it for such a cure on such a son.HHTL 17.1

    A brother King, more than sixty years of age, came to “Our Home” from Massachusetts in August, 1864, with a cancer broken out upon the lip. In December following he was sent home cured. Under the popular practice his life would have been regarded of little more worth than a three-cent postage-stamp. We might mention others, but these are the most noted.HHTL 17.2

    Prices of board and treatment, though reasonable for the times, are higher than people in common circumstances in life can afford to pay for a very lengthy sojourn at Dansville, unless their cases are very urgent. Critical cases, unless beyond all reasonable hope, we would recommend to the care of the skillful Physicians at Dansville. To these who are active yet suffering from failing health we urgently recommend health publications, a good assortment of which we design to keep on hand. Friends, read up in time to successfully change your habits, and live in harmony with the laws of life. And to those who call themselves well, we would say. As you value the blessings of health, and would honor the Author of your being, learn to live in obedience to those laws established in your being by High Heaven. A few dollars’ worth of books, that will teach you how to live, may save you heavy doctor bills, save you months of pain upon a sick bed, save you suffering and feebleness from the use of drugs, and, perhaps from a premature grave. God has strongly related man to life. If he will live in obedience to the laws of life, and give nature a chance, she will manifest her wondrous power in restoring the sick, and in preserving health to those who are well.HHTL 18.1

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