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first the right shoulder and then the left to the water; for by this means less resistance is opposed, than by presenting the whole breadth of the breast. The upright position a little inclined backwards, (which, like every other change of posture, must be done deliberately, by the corresponding movement of the head,) reversing in this case the motion of the arms, and striking the flat of the foot down and a little forward, gives the motion backward, which is performed with greater ease than when the body is laid horizontally on the back. The same motions either backward or forward may be accomplished in a sitting position; and neither of these ought to be considered too fanciful for practice from the yielding nature of the element, a frequent change of attitude becomes agreeable, and the greater the number of postures to which the body can be familiarized, the better-as the resources for repose are so much the more augmented. There is a mode of treading deliberately in the water, by which a person, with the head and shoulders above the surface, appears to walk the same as on dry land; and in fact as soon as familiarity bas established the sufficient adjustment and balance of the body, as well as the power of guiding the movements by the position of the head and neck, it becomes as easy to vary the postures in water as on shore. So equally does the element surrounding every portion of the body support its different parts, that we lose in a manner the consciousness of weight, and with it that instinctive impulse to prevent sinking, which creates a constant counteraction in some of the sets of muscles with which our bodies are furnished. It is perhaps to the cessation of these involuntary efforts, which however imperceptible must notwithstanding occasion fatigue, and are never entirely suspended except in sleep, that we owe some of the restorative qualities of that blessed state of repose. Akin to which, therefore, are in some respects the positions of rest in the water, which when fully attained are such, that one may with confidence stretch out the wearied limbs in utter inaction, until again refreshed and invigorated for renewed exertion.
There are besides other positions for swimming: by alternating first the one shoulder forward and then the other, speed is much accelerated; this screwing movement divides the water advantageously, and forcibly propels the body; but it is attended with considerable fatigue on account of the whole body being thus brought into simultaneous motion, and therefore is a practice which ought in general to be reserved for any emergency of urging our way through difficult water.
Swimming on the back, although at first somewhat difficult, soon becomes easy, and is in every respect a most important at
tainment; being attended with little fatigue, and in practice so safe, that it ought ever to be resorted to upon the occurrence of any difficulty. A swimmer seized with cramp should immediately turn on his back; and by continuing for a little to jerk out the affected limb in the air, taking care however not to elevate it so high as to disturb the equilibrium of the body stretched flat on the surface, he will soon find its natural powers restored. To advance in this position, he must push with the flat of the feet, without regarding an occasional dip of the head under water. He must not attempt to prevent this by dropping down a leg, as a person is instinctively disposed to do; which so far from producing the desired effect will infallibly occasion the body to sink. The limbs must on the contrary always be kept stretched to their full extent, and then there is no danger to be apprehended. The arms may likewise be used in swimming on the back, in which case they act like oars, while the legs are either laid across each other or used to assist.
At every stroke a swimmer ought to be able to urge himself forward a distance equal to the length of his body. Instead of advancing head foremost, the motions may be reversed so as to go feet first, and although the progress made in this method is but slow, it may for particular situations become advantageous. The resistance offered by the surface of water when violently struck by a flat object is little inferior to that of a solid body, as any one may experience who strikes it strongly with the palm of the hand, or with a flat piece of wood; in the latter case the resistance often proves sufficient to break the wood. In springing from a height into the water, therefore, great precaution is required, not only that the depth of water shall be sufficient to prevent the possibility of striking the bottom or a rock, but so to dispose the body as to avoid any awkward concussion from the water itself. In order to cleave the water therefore without injury to the body, the limbs must be kept firm together-the head protected by the hands clasped over it, so as to present a sharp edge, entering the water like an arrow-the feet last and kept close. By taking a diagonal direction in the spring, the risk is considerably diminished, as the resistance is more progressively overcome, and the hands and feet are in a better position for giving assistance. The eyes ought always to be kept open under water, as there is no danger in doing so, and by use, we acquire the complete power of discerning every thing around, and so of avoiding rocks or other interruptions.
For the purpose of diving, we possess to a certain extent the power of contracting the bulk of the body, by drawing it together while the weight remains unaltered. There is no power which is more remarkably augmented by habit and perseverance, than
that of remaining uninjured under water. On the shores of the Mediterranean in general, the natives practise diving with extraordinary success, in shell fishing, gathering bits of rope in the harbours, &c.—indeed they not unfrequently turn the acquirement to the purposes of thieving, by picking out the oakum from ships' bottoms, from which practice many unexpected and very serious accidents to vessels have occurred.
As to the length of time during which a person may be capable of floating, or the distance he may be able to swim, so many circumstances have influence, that nothing very precise can be said on the subject. In general a good swimmer ought to make about three miles an hour, and as thirst and the want of nourishment are less severely felt in the water than on land, by reason probably of the liquid imbibed by the pores of the body while immersed, a good day's journey may be achieved if the strength be used with due discretion, and the swimmer familiar with the various means by which it may be recruited. With the use of these advantages, people have been known to accomplish the extraordinary distance of thirty miles; and it is even recorded of the famous Neapolitan diver, (generally nicknamed Il Pesce, or the Fish,) that upon one occasion he actually performed the incredible distance of fifty miles on the coast of Calabria.
So much for Bernardi's method of teaching and theory of the art of swimming. As to its successful practice we shall allow the Canonico to speak in his own words.
'I having been appointed to instruct the youths of the Royal Naval Academy of Naples in the Art of Swimming, a trial of the proficiency of the pupils took place, under the inspection of a number of people assembled on the shore for that purpose on the tenth day of their instruction. A twelve oared boat attended the progress of the pupils, from motives of precaution. They swam so far out into the Bay, that at length the heads of the young men could with difficulty be discerned with the naked eye, and the Major-General of Marine, Forteguerri, for whose inspection the exhibition was intended, expressed serious apprehensions for their safety. Upon their return to the shore, the young men however assured him, that they felt so little exhausted, as to be willing immediately to repeat the exertion.'
A young man Niccola Sciarrone, quite unacquainted with swimming, was placed under my care. On the eleventh day of his instruction we entered the water together, accompanied by Signor Romolo, an excellent swimmer; we proceeded far into the bay of Naples, making a circuit before our return to the shore of nearly six miles; upon this occasion likewise a numerous concourse of spectators assembled.'
These are no doubt sturdy achievements for beginners, even under all the advantages of the genial climate of Naples, and ́ stand somewhat in need of being attested by the following offi
cial report on the subject, drawn up by a commission (appointed by the Neapolitan government) which had devoted a whole month to the investigation of Bernardi's plan.
1st. It has been established by the experience of more than an hundred persons of different bodily constitutions, that the human body is lighter than water, and consequently will float by nature: but that the art of swimming must be acquired, to render that privilege useful.
'2d. That Bernardi's system is new, in so far as it is founded on the principle of husbanding the strength, and rendering the power of recruiting it easy. The speed, according to the new method, is no doubt diminished, but security is much more important than speed, and the new plan is not exclusive of the old when occasions may require great effort. " 3d. It is established that the new method is sooner learnt than the old, to the extent of advancing a pupil in one day as far as a month's instruction according to the old plan.'
We take leave of this subject with the hope that swimming may at length_be admitted as a regular brauch in the training of our youth. Dependent as we are, more than any nation within the circle of Europe, on the facilities and resources of the ocean which surrounds our coasts, which invites our familiarity, and upon whose fickle bosom so great a proportion of the population of these islands pursue their daily course, it is surprizing that we should have so long suffered ourselves to remain utterly destitute of any regular means of instruction, in an art so important. We shall in vain search our numerous sea-ports for one establishment where our sons may be trained to hardihood in an element on which the best years of their lives may perhaps have to be passed; and we shall equally in vain search our libraries for one tolerably useful and practical treatise on the art of swimming.
ART. IV.-1. Lettres sur l'Angleterre. Par A. de Staël-Holstein. Paris. 1825.
2. Journal Hepdomadaire des Arts et Métiers, de la Fabrique et de la Méchanique pratique; des Découvertes, Inventions, Perfectionnemens, Procédés utiles de l'Industrie, et de l'Economie manufacturière, rurale et domestique de l'Angleterre. Paris.
3. Documens relatifs au Commerce des nouveaux Etats de l'Amerique, communiqués par le Bureau de Commerce et des Colonies aux principales Chambres de Commerce de France. Paris. Septembre, 1825.
THE attempts which have been made since the communications
between the two countries have become more frequent, to give a true picture of England to the French people, have pro
duced little or no effect. We are hardly better known to them now than we were ten years ago; neither do we foresee at what period such knowledge is likely to accrue to them. To us the injury is small: we are not either better or worse, intrinsically, for the opinion of others; but the detriment to the willing blind is great; and for this reason solely do we speak our regret. We do think that—however the French may excel us in some of the trifles and amusements of life, and in many things where we do not envy their superiority-we could afford them millions of valuable lessons in all that is great and important. From them we might learn to be more refinedly depraved, more sensual, more selfish, and more specious than we are. By us they might be taught the means which have given wealth and power to these little islands, so much beyond what nature promised them; and here find what the course of policy is which can make the most free of empires the strongest. As long as the advantage is so much on our side, we can have little selfish reason to regret that no encouragement is held out to a free interchange of commodities.
This obstinate misrepresentation proceeds from one sole and general cause: the French do not wish to know us; nay, they wish not to know us. To know us would be more than they could bear; and they turn aside with soreness from every true estimate of British prosperity.
This feeling is so general throughout society, that we hardly recollect a single manifestation of the contrary; neither would any person dare to show an opposite sentiment, under the risk of excommunication. To acknowledge any thing good in England stamps a Frenchman unworthy of his country; and the best title to be deemed a true patriot is, to assert universal superiority. To this passion every writer is compelled to sacrifice; and if, to his own shortsightedness and blunders, he does not add this national contraction of mind, we doubt whether he could find a reader, nay, a printer, among his countrymen. France requires to be told by every man that she is, in all things, the first of nations; and she would rather hear that flattering falsehood, than be made one jot better than she is. She skips along merrily among contemporaries; she succeeds in most things which she cares about, because she cares chiefly about trifles; and, with many cankers in her heart, she rejects the probe, as long as her mirror reflects a ruddy complexion, and shows her a fair prospect of pleasure.
Among the writers who have ventured to become an exception to this rule, and have dared to find something tolerable here, is the son of Mad. de Staël, who has produced a volume from which the French might learn many practical truths. The author pos