Dr. Dio Lewis

This is evidence and backup for a discussion here: Don't believe everything you hear...

In his 1883 book In a Nutshell: Suggestions to American College Students, Dio Lewis wrote:

CLIMATE.
Of all the agencies which determine our destiny, climate is the most potent. A climate with sharp alternations of heat and cold, calm and fury, rouses the elasticity of muscle and brain. The sharp and severe changes in the climate of our Northern regions make that part of our country the breeding-place of strong, wise men. The original settlers of the Carolinas were a grand, chivalrous people; the climate emasculated them. The climate of Southern California fascinates a visitor, but a New England family removing to Santa Barbara undergoes a curious deterioration. The children learn less and less at school, and the adults gradually lose their interest in ideas and the larger movements of the world, and fall into that personal gossip characteristic of Southern peoples.

To our ritual we might add the following collect: "We thank thee, O Lord, for our rugged climate. We thank thee that our forefathers were led in thy good providence to the coast of New England, where the severe climate compels a sturdy, vital manhood, and not to Southern regions, where the climate indulges and pampers, till the faculties fall asleep. We thank thee for trials and struggles, without which we should ever remain idle children."

Then he has a section on consumptives being better off in colder climates than warm, which is borne out by some of the other "oops" articles to be found about lots of East-coast doctors having sent tuberculosis sufferers to southern California, where they tended to die.

After that is a brief, illuminating section:
OUR RICH INHERITANCE.
The inhabitant of the tropics is the son of a rich man. He has no occasion to use his faculties, and they sleep. THe inhabitant of the arctic regions is the son of a very poor man, and is compelled to struggle for existence. The inhabitant of the temperate zone is the son of a man who has enough to give his offspring every opportunity, on condition of stout and persistent effort. From the bracing northern regions come the great thinkers of two continents.

Gentlemen, I congratulate you on the climatic conditions under which your education is being pursued.

Sandra comments: So although subtitle of the book is "Suggestions for American College Students," I guess by "American" he meant New England, and I guess he meant male college students. The man wasn't really very sexist, though, considering (from what I can find of his; I only own this one book), for the time.



Below are the ads from the back. On the left are chapters listed from one of his other books, and although by modern standards these advertisements aren't very good at all, it did inspire me to buy that book. Chastity was reprinted in the 1970's. So I guess that advertisement did work, only 125 years later. I don't guess the other two items are still available.