( Originally Published 1851 )
It has been very well said by a celebrated author, that " great cities are the graves of the human species." Another author has observed that if the havoc committed upon the human race by the un-wholesome atmosphere and pernicious habits of great and populous places were equally made in the country, the human kind could only be perpetuated by a continual series of special miracles. Great cities would, in fact, very soon be depopulated, were not the havoc which death makes in them continually repaired by the influx of population from the country. The atmosphere of populous places is, in truth, being perpetually poisoned and corrupted. Putrid animal and vegetable substances necessarily abound in them; high walls and crowded houses obstruct the free passage of the air; and while miasmata thus created and confined are poisoning the atmosphere, thousands of human beings are breathing it, and, of course, adding to its impurity. It is impossible that such a state of things should be otherwise than unfavorable to human health, and destructive of human life.
In the country, on the other hand, every circumstance is favorable to man. The air, the scenery, the nature of his occupations, the habits of life which those occupations superinduce, and the exemption from the perpetual strife and agitation which are almost inseparable from a town life, render his life not only much more pleasant but much more health- fui, and, upon the average, much more extended:
Had we all a free choice as to a town or a country life, few, we apprehend, would hesitate as to embracing the former. But such is not, and cannot be the case. Towns are necessary. The residents in the country need a thousand things which can only be produced by the association of great numbers of men. Ilusbandmen are necessary to cultivate the earth; hut they must have tools, and apparel, and furniture, and houses, and these can only be produced by the residents in towns.
Happily, the dispositions and tastes of men are as various as the circumstances in which they are placed by their Creator. The dwellers in the free air and beautiful scenery of the country would shrink from being compelled to pass their lives amid the smoke and bustle of a populous town. The inhabitants of the town, contrariwise, would tremble at the darkness and stillness which mark the night-time in the country, and would he rendered uneasy by that very calm, which, to a lover of nature, is so exceedingly delightful and inspiring. All this is ordained for the wisest purposes, and for our happiness and welfare. All are thus rendered contented with their condition, and efficient in their employment.
But the pure air of the country, and its exceedingly beautiful scenery, have so excellent an effect upon the human health, and upon the human heart, that we recommend our readers never to neglect a proper opportunity of inhaling the one and beholding the other. The busiest and most important avocations afford some few snatches of leisure; and these can never be better or more wisely employed than in seeking the beauties of nature in their native haunts. During three-fourths of the year the country presents a perfect succession of beauties to the eye of taste, and of enjoyments to the well-attuned soul; and there are few indeed who cannot contrive to quit the busy hum and bustle of the town for a brief space, during one or the other of those periods. To those who are but inattentive observers of nature, the country cannot fail to pre-sent innumerable objects of interest and contemplation.