Henry Livingston, Jr.
1791 New-York Magazine; or Literary Repository

Recovery seems more likely from blowing air into hostrils, rather than from the smoke

Van Deusen-Kosinski Collection

New-York Magazine; or, Literary Repository
October, 1791, p.581

Recovery of Drowned Child

For the New-York Magazine.

Extraordinary Instance of Recovery in a Child supposed to be drowned

SOME time in September last, a female black servant child, between three and four years of age, and belonging to Samuel Verplank, Esq; of Fishkill, in Dutchess county, by some means unperceived by the family, fell into a well, wherein the water was deeper than the height of the child. Although the exact time when the accident happened cannot be ascertained, yet, from a number of circumstances it was generally agreed, that she was at least an hour under water. Upon being taken out, her skin was discolored -- the joints rigid -- the abdomen inflated, and in short, the representation of death was complete. Notwithstanding this combination of unfavourable appearances, Mr. Verplank's philanthropy impelled him to endeavour to re-illume the lamp of life. His long residence in Europe had made him acquainted with some of the methods which had been practiced there with success. He ordered a blanket to be spread before a fire, on which the child was laid, stripped of its clothes, and directed it to be rubbed with warm flannel on every part, and at the same time, tobacco smoke to be injected up its nostrils; in which operation a full paper was consumed.

These humane offices were continued without the least intermission during two hours; when, upon a fresh injection of smoke up its nose, it faintly turned aside its head, as if with disgust: the symptoms of returning animation grew more and more apparent, and a physician at that instant arriving, and administering proper additional restoratives, the child was able before night to walk, and after the repose of a night, enjoyed perfect health.


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