PUBLISHED BY ORDER OF THE HUMANE SOCIETY, of Philadelphia; to which is prefixed, the Constitution of the said Society.


Philadelphia: Printed by Joseph James, in Chesnut-Street.



OF the many calamities to which mankind are subject, there are none more produc­tive of distress, than sudden and violent deaths.

IN great cities, instances of this kind (from drowning, suffocation and other accidents) are very numerous; and this melancholy circum­stance is much aggravated by reflecting, that a large proportion of those who are thus lost to their friends and country, might be saved if they were properly treated.

THAT this is the case, appears clearly from the reports of several respectable societies in Europe, which were formed for the purpose, and have happily succeeded in the humane attempt, of restoring to life, persons apparently killed by the accidents above mentioned.

[Page 4] IT is now only twenty years since the first society of this kind was formed at Amsterdam, and but thirteen since the first existence of that in London, and yet near one thousand persons have been preserved from death by these two institutions. Societies of the same kind have been formed at Paris, Venice, Hamburgh and Milan; and from their reports, it also appears, not only that a large proportion of persons ap­parently dead, have been recovered, but that this recovery may be effected, after they have been a long time in that situation.

AS the inhabitants of this part of America are exposed, not only to all those accidents which occur in England and Holland, but to several others which rarely take place there (as those produced by excessive heat and cold, and by light ning) they must have additional inducements to form an institution of this kind: And altho' its objects are of the highest im­portance, the following plan for attaining them, will shew, that the business of such an institution is very practicable and easy.

First—AS people in general are uninformed of the proper methods to be pursued in such cases, and as medical assistance cannot always be procured in time, it will be necessary to lodge directions respecting the proper treat­ment in all those places where such accidents commonly occur.

[Page 5] Secondly—IT will be necessary to deposit at those places, such apparatus and medicines as have been found most useful in these cases; as the time lost in waiting for them, if they are not at hand, may deprive the unfortunate person of all chance of recovery.

Thirdly—It will also be necessary to place at proper distances, near rivers, a number of grapples and other instruments, for extract­ing speedily from the water, those who fall into it.

BY these means, the Societies above men­tioned, have had the satisfaction of restoring fa­thers to the fatherless, and living children to parents who were deploring their loss;—and have rendered to humanity, the important ser­vice of preserving from death, a large number of useful members of the community. Their great success influenced a number of gentlemen in Philadelphia, to associate themselves for the same purpose, under the name of the "Hu­mane Society;" who, as they are desirous of the concurrence of their fellow-citizens, have subjoined their constitution; and hope that those who approve of it, will unite with them in carrying it into execution.

[Page 6]


THE HUMANE SOCIETY, instituted in the year 1770, for the reco­very of drowned persons, having for some years past not been sufficiently attended to, it is now agreed to revive it; and further, to in­clude in its objects, persons disordered by noxious vapours, lightning, drinking cold wa­ter, and from the action of excessive heat and cold upon the body; for which purpose, the following plan is adopted:—

THAT every person, paying one dollar an­nually, for the use of the institution, shall be deemed a contributor.

THAT the contributors shall choose Twelve Managers, on the second Wednesday in March, of every year, who shall, as soon as con­venient, choose from among themselves, a pre­sident, two inspectors, and a secretary. They shall likewise choose a treasurer from among the contributors. They shall hold stated meetings on the second Wednesday of every month. Their business shall be to regulate all the af­fairs of the institution. Five Managers to make a quorum.

[Page 7]

DIRECTIONS, for RECOVERING PERSONS, who are supposed to be DEAD, from DROWNING.

I. AS soon as the body is taken out of the water, it must be conveyed to a house, or any other place, where it can be laid dry and warm, avoiding the usual destructive methods of hanging it by the heels, rolling it on a barrel, or placing it across a log on its belly.

II. THE clothes must be immediately strip­ped off, and the body wrapped up in blan­kets, well warmed. It should be laid on its back, with the head a little raised. If the wea­ther be cold, it should be placed near a fire; but if the weather should be warm, it will be suf­ficient to place it between two blankets well heated; taking care to prevent the room from being crouded, with any persons who are not necessarily employed about the body.

III. AS soon as it can possibly be done, a bellows should be applied to one nostril, while the other nostril and the mouth are kept closed, and the lower end of the prominent part of the wind-pipe (or that part which is called by the anatomists, Pomum Adami) is pressed back­ward. The bellows is to be worked in this situation; and when the breast is swelled by [Page 8]it, the bellows should stop, and an assistant should press the belly upwards, to force the air out. The bellows should then be applied as before, and the belly should again be pres­sed; and this process should be repeated from twenty to thirty times in a minute, so as to imitate natural breathing as nearly as possible. Some volatile spirits, heated, should be held under the valve of the bellows, while it works. If a bellows cannot be procured, some person should blow into one of the nostrils, through a pipe or quill, while the other nostril and mouth are closed as before; or if a pipe or quill be not at hand, he should blow into the mouth, while both nostrils are closed; but whenever a bellows can be procured, it should be pre­ferred, as air forced in by this means, will be much more serviceable than air which has already been breathed.

IV. AT the same time, the whole body should be rubbed with the hand, or with hot woolen cloths. The rubbing should be mo­dearte, but continued with industry a long time, and particularly about the breast.

V. DURING this time, a large quantity of ashes, or salt, or sand, should be heated; and as soon as it is milk-warm, the body should be placed in it; the blowing and rubbing are then to be continued as before; and when the [Page 9]ashes, or salt, are cooled, some warmer must be added, so that the whole may be kept milk­warm.

THESE methods should be continued three or four hours, as in several instances they have proved successful, although no signs of life appeared until that time. When the pa­tient is able to swallow, he should take some wine, or rum and water; bleeding or purging ought not to be used, without consulting a physician, who should be called in as soon as possible.

To prevent the fatal Effects of drinking cold Water, or cold Liquors of any Kind in warm Weather.

1st, AVOID drinking while you are warm, or,

2d, DRINK only a small quantity at once, and let it remain a short time in your mouth before you swallow it; or,

3d, WASH your hands and face, and rinse your mouth with cold water before you drink. If these precautions have been neglected, and the disorder incident to drinking cold water hath been produced, the first, and in most in­stances, the only remedy to be administered, is sixty drops of liquid laudanum in spirit and water, or warm drink of any kind.

[Page 10] IF this should fail of giving relief, the same quantity may be given twenty minutes after­wards.

WHEN laudanum cannot be obtained, rum and water, or warm water should be given. Vomits and bleeding should not be used with­out consulting a physician.

The dangerous Effects of noxious Vapours, from Wells, Cellars, fermenting Liquors, &c. may be prevented,

BY procuring a free circulation of air, ei­ther by ventilators, or opening the doors or windows, where it is confined, or by changing the air, by keeping fires in the infected place, or by throwing in water, in which stone-lime has been dissolved.

THESE precautions should be taken, before entering into such suspected places, or a light­ed candle should be first introduced, which will go out, if the air is bad. When a person is let down into a well, he should be carefully watched, and drawn up again on the least change. But when a person is apparently dead, from the above-mentioned cause, the first thing to be done is to remove the body to a cool place in a wholesome air; then let the body be stripped, and let cold water be thrown from buckets over it for some time. This [Page 11]is particularly useful in cases of apparent death from drukenness.—Let the treatment now be the same as that for drowned persons. The head should be raised a little; and con­tinued frictions, with blowing into the nostril with a bellows, should be practised for several hours.

In Cases of Suffocation, from the Fumes of BURNING CHARCOAL,

THE general treatment recommended for curing the disorders brought on by noxious vapours, is to be applied; but the dangerous effects of this may be prevented, by taking care not to sit near it when burning; to burn it in a chimney; and where there is no chim­ney, to keep the door open, and to place a large tub of water in the room.

IN all these, as well as in cases of drowned persons, moderate purges and bleeding are only to be used, with the advice of a physi­cian.

To prevent the fatal Effects of Lightning,

LET your house be provided with an iron conductor; but when this cannot be had, avoid sitting, or standing, near the window, door, or walls of an house, during the time [Page 12]of a thunder gust. The nearer you are placed to the middle of a room, the better. When you are not in an house, avoid flying to the cover of the woods, or a solitary tree, for safety.

WHEN a person is struck by lightning, let continued frictions and inflations of the lungs be practised: Let gentle shocks of electricity be made to pass through the chest, when a skilful person can be procured to apply it; and let blisters be applied to the breast.

To prevent Danger from Exposure to the Excessive Heat of the Sun.

DISORDERS from this cause, or (as they are vulgarly termed) strokes of the sun, may be expected, when a person who is exposed to his rays, is affected with a violent head­ach, attended with throbbing or with gid­diness; where the disorder takes place, these symptoms are followed by faintiness and great insensibility, with violent heat and driness of the skin, redness and driness of the eyes, difficulty of breathing, and, according as the disease is more or less violent, with a difficulty, or entire inability of speaking or moving.

TO guard against these dangerous effects of heat, it will be proper,

[Page 13] 1st, TO avoid labour, or violent exercise, or exposing yourself to the rays of the sun, immediately after eating a hearty meal:

2d, TO avoid drinking spirits of any kind, when you are thus exposed. These add an internal fire to the heat of the sun, and are par­ticularly hurtful in harvest. Vinegar and wa­ter, sweetened with molasses or brown sugar, butter-milk and water, small beer, whey, or milk and water, are the most proper drinks for people who are exposed to excessive heat. But the less a person drinks of liquors of any kind in the forenoon, the better will he endure the heat of a warm day. It will also be proper,

3d, TO wear a white hat, or to cover a black one with white paper, when you are necessarily exposed to the hot sun, and to avoid standing still when in such a situation.

4th, TO retire into the shade as soon as you begin to be affected with pain or throbbing in the head, with giddiness or with faintiness.

If these precautions have been neglected, and the symptoms above described have come on, it will be proper,

1st, TO remove the person so affected into a cool, dry place, and to loosen all his garments, particularly those around his neck and breast.

[Page 14] 2d, TO examine whether the pulse at the wrists or temples beats forcibly, and if it does, to bleed immediately; but if the pulse be weak, or cannot be perceived, bleeding must not be performed.

3d, TO place his feet and legs (or if it can be done) the lower half of his body, in warm water. But if this remedy fails,

4th, DR. Tissot advises to apply linen cloths wet with cold water, or with cold water and vinegar, to the temples and all over the head.

5th, TO administer plentiful draughts of vinegar and water sweetened.

IN all cases of this kind, a physician should be sent for, unless the patient recovers speedily.

To prevent the Effects of excessive Cold.

Persons are in danger of being destroyed by it, when they become very drowsy, or are affected with general numbness or in­sensibility of the body. As the cold which proves fatal, generally affects the feet first, great care should be taken to keep them as warm as possible.

[Page 15] 1st, BY protecting them when you are ex­posed to cold with wool, or woollen socks within the shoes or boots, or with large wool­len stockings drawn over them, or when you ride, with hay or straw wrapped round them.

2d, BY keeping up a brisk circulation in the blood vessels of the feet, by moving them con­stantly; or when this is impracticable, from a confined situation, and two or more persons are exposed together,

3d, BY placing their feet, without shoes, against each other's breasts.

IF notwithstanding these precautions, a per­son should be rendered sleepy or insensible by cold, he must exert himself and move about quickly, for if he should sleep in the cold, he will inevitably perish. When a person who is travelling in company, begins to be affected in this manner, his companions should force him to walk briskly or to run.

WHEN cold has produced apparent death, the body should be placed in a room without fire, and rubbed steadily with snow, or cloths wet with cold water, at the same time that the bellows is applied to the nose, and used as in the case of drowning. This treatment should be continued a long time, although no signs of life appear, for some persons have recover­ed, [Page 16]who were to appearance lifeless for se­veral hours.

When the limbs only are affected by cold, they should be rubbed gently with snow, or bathed in cold water with ice in it, until their feeling and power of motion returns; after which, the bathing or rubbing with snow is to be repeated once every hour, and continued a longer or shorter time, as the pains are more or less violent.

THE person thus affected should be kept from the fire, for warmth and acrid appli­cations of every kind are very injurious.

Managers of the HUMANE SOCIETY.

  • JOHN JONES, President;
  • JOHN R. B. RODGERS, Inspector.
  • ROBERT PARRISH, Inspector.
  • CHARLES MARSHALL, Secretary.

This keyboarded and encoded edition of the work described above is co-owned by the institutions providing financial support to the Text Creation Partnership. This Phase I text is available for reuse, according to the terms of Creative Commons 0 1.0 Universal. The text can be copied, modified, distributed and performed, even for commercial purposes, all without asking permission.