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(title page) Lectures on the Utility of Temperance Societies. Lecture I. On Intemperance as a National Evil. Lecture II. On Intemperance as a Source of Disease. Lecture III. On Temperance Societies
WILLIAM A. SHAW
iii-iv, 35 p.
WASHINGTON, N. C.
Call number Cp178.04 S53L (North Carolina Collection, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill)
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[Title Page Image]
"Let no man trust the first false step
Of guilt, it hangs upon a precipice
Whose deep descent in last perdition ends
TO THE MEMBERS OF
THE WASHINGTON TEMPERANCE SOCIETY.
PERMIT me to inscribe affectionately to you, the following Lectures, as a feeble testimonial of the regard which I entertain for you, as individuals and as co-operators in a most benevolent enterprize. In these Lectures I have endeavored to mitigate the asperity of many of those prejudices against Temperance Societies, which have been hastily adopted, from inattention or very superficial investigation--to call public attention, in this section of our State, to the great evils of Intemperance--and to point out the most effectual remedies for arresting the ravages of this appalling moral pestilence. I trust I have clearly proved that the intemperate violate the whole of the cardinal duties which are obligatory on mankind. To God, because they "Debase the great image that they wear, And level them(selves) with brutes." To their country, because they disqualify themselves for her service, sully her honor, and set a most pernicious example, thus adding to the growth and extent of moral evil. To themselves, because they destroy their health, their characters, and their temporal and eternal happiness. To the society in which they reside, because they are either maudlin drones or ferocious brutes.
I leave to the divine, the solemn responsibility of enforcing, by the clearest commands of the only revelation from Heaven, the awful denunciations which rest on the intemperate part of the community. Although, like Felix, they may procrastinate the calls of duty, the successors of Paul are no less bound, "to reason of righteousness, temperance and judgment to come."
Without arrogating to myself, or claiming the least credit from others for the feeble aid I have given to the cause of temperance, I would entreat every sober, reflecting man, to examine conscientiously how far as a gentleman, who cannot live happily out of refined society--how far as a Christian, who cannot bear to give the least countenance, by precept or example, to moral evil, he owes the duty of his example to exterminate the source of the greatest moral pestilence that ever blighted the happiness of civil society. To those who by word and action attempt to inflame odium, and heap scorn and ridicule on the heads of men who claim no other privilege, either personal or political, than the right of self preservation against the foul inundation of vices, which threaten to overwhelm themselves, their families, their posterity, and civilized society, I would address, with humble deference, the following lines of the poet Middleton:
"If men of good lives
Who, by their virtuous actions, stir up others
To noble and religious imitation,
Receive the greater glory after death,
As sin must needs confess; what may they feel
In height of torments, and in weight of vengeance.
Not only they themselves, not doing well,
But set a light up to show men to hell?"
The calm of peace is a season highly propitious to the grandest and noblest exertions of human intellect. The most magnificent public enterprizes, alike with the most humble efforts to improve the social condition of our race, amid the din and darkness and dismay of martial excitement are retarded, if not paralyzed--but they flourish in delightful luxuriance in the tranquil sunshine of uninterrupted peace. Signal examples are daily furnished to illustrate this glorious truth, and exhibit a most triumphant proof of the immense advantages of peace and order over the miseries and anarchy incident to a state of war. It were an easy task to enumerate many splendid instances of works of genius and perseverance of our countrymen, projected, invented and executed during the general repose of the nation. But it is to works of another class and far excelling the others in utility, that I intend to direct your attention: The strenuous efforts now making throughout our Union to ameliorate the social condition of all of our fellow citizens.The talents, the benevolence and the energy of thousands seem to be directed to a rigid scrutiny of the manners and customs of the people in mass. In fact in most parts of our country, the public sentiment of the most distinguished men, has been explicitly declared (at public meetings, and on all suitable occasions.) in favour of virtue, temperance and a high standard of moral and social order -- The cause is worthy of the era in which it has been commenced; and pre-eminently worthy of the nation in which it originated. Now is our golden time. At peace with all the world--we are in the first blush of manhood.--Our national character is not yet entirely formed. We can now choose whether we will be a nation remarkable for a virtuous, honourable, temperate and industrious
population--daily advancing in wealth, while the comforts of life are rolled to our doors on every car, or wafted to our homes by every breeze--while all the delights of polished ease and social refinement invite us to the highest and most rational earthly enjoyments--where love and justice, peace and good will, friendship and generosity, are not mere empty sounds--in short, where men act like men; or whether we will give a loose rein to the dominion of brutal passion, and base propensity to low gratification, until the cup of our iniquities shall overflow, and the righteous indignation of God shall sweep over the soil like a fiery tornado, and the dread ministers of his wrath, war, famine, pestilence, popular fury and conflagrations, shall scourge and desolate our now thrice blessed land!--History is philosophy teaching by example. Alas! the pen of history is yet in her hand, and the ink is not yet dry on the blotted page. She is yet recording the blood stained annals of Europe yet rocking to and fro, as if by the convulsive shocks of a perpetual earthquake.--War stalks there abroad--power is every day changing hands--every throne is a throne of thorns--there, thousands and tens of thousands are sacrificed on the altar of reform, struggling for liberty and civilization--there, fields are laid waste, villages are fired and cities depopulated--the discordant drum every where rolls its sepulchral notes along the plains, calling for more blood--mothers mourn over their sons--widows bewail their husbands--the cries of the defenceless orphan, and the shrieks of the violated virgin, ascend to call down the vengeance of heaven!--there, the fierce and savage passions of human nature burn fiercely and run riot in blood, slaughter and ferocious brutality!--So completely indeed are the foundations of social order threatened, that the Almighty Ruler of the Universe seems, for a period, to have "let alone" his creatures to the unbridled licentiousness of their own corrupt natures. True, the struggle is between the constantly opposing principles of truth and error, light and darkness, good and evil; and although the better cause must ultimately prevail, yet humanity must weep over the toil and tears, the blood and suffering by which so much good will ultimately be consummated.
Turn we from the contemplation of this gloomy but faithful picture of the recent state of Europe, "to happier climes, where peace and freedom reign." To an American Patriot. I trust the Constitution of the United States needs no adulation. It is enough to say that the lights of past ages, and their experience, together with the sagacity and discrimination of the present, have combined to render this government a model to mankind. How sacred then is the trust left in our hands for posterity! By maladministration, or by internal disorders, we may retard its progress, perhaps, for centuries; or we may "speed it sparkling
on its way" to a bright career of prosperity and glory. Are we thus responsible, and is human nature the same in all ages and countries? What resources then have we, to counteract the internal disorders, the crimes, the evils and vices which scourge other nations, but by destroying the operation of the causes of such evils among ourselves.--Permit me here to cite a brief extract from the Valedictory Address of the illustrious Washington, which, though political, is highly applicable to my present purpose:
"It will be worthy of a free, enlightened, and at no distant period, a great nation, to give to mankind the magnanimous, and, too, novel example of a people always guided by justice and benevolence. Who can doubt that, in the course of time and things, the fruits of such a plan would richly repay any temporary advantages which might be lost by a steady adherence to it? Can it be, that Providence has not connected the permanent felicity of a nation with its virtues? The experiment, at least, is recommended by every sentiment which ennobles human nature: Alas! Is it rendered impossible by its vices?"
It has been well remarked, "that Providence works by means, and that no disproportioned effect is produced by an inadequate cause." Shall we then fold our arms and abandon our country to the devastation of moral evil, to corruption and sensuality, and consequently to absolute destruction, without raising a warning voice or interposing an arm to arrest the progress of these scourges of human nature? It is idle to murmur at our situation, when our own exertions can change our condition and avert impending danger: and to pray for the progress of virtue and good order in society without correspondent, active and persevering efforts to suppress vice and disorder, is as impious as it is vain.
In casting his eye over the American, People, in mass, the philanthropist laments the sparing diffusion of religious and literary knowledge: he meets with hundreds in some districts, who are not even able to read and write. These, however, he looks upon as political defects which may and ought soon to be supplied by increased wealth or more wise legislation. But when he finds large numbers, perhaps the majority of a community, addicted to habits of drunkenness, with its attendant train of revel and dissipation, idleness and mischief, poverty and wretchedness, his heart almost sinks within him at the display of so much positive evil, so much wretchedness and woe. Without alluding to any particular sections of the country, the general prevalence of intemperance in the use of ardent spirits, (especially exhibited on public occasions,) cannot be denied. Before public attention was called to this subject by the agricultural population at the North, neither age nor sex, wealth nor talents, were entirely
exempt from the influence of intemperance--Public attention has since been called in many parts of this state to this evil, and much good has been effected, but far more remains to be accomplished. The baneful influence which it exercises in corrupting the purity of our elections, has been, it is true, often displayed to the minds of the public. But open and secret or solitary intemperance exists still to an extent which may well alarm not only every christian philanthropist, but every friend to his country.
Before this loathsome gangrene affects the whole body politic, we entreat you to hearken to the means which we would humbly suggest to avert this individual and national curse. I need hardly observe that the main pillars of a government purely republican are the people in mass. So long then as the people are steady, intelligent, sober and virtuous, these pillars must be durable as time itself. But no civil compact, commencing under auspices ever so favourable, can stand or be long upheld by a corrupt, vicious, and degraded population. It contains within itself the elements of its own destruction, just as a diseased body has within itself the seeds of its own decay. The rotting edifice of government soon begins to creak under every turbulent blast every tempestuous ebullition of popular fury beats on it, till down it comes reeling and crashing to its fall, and crumbles to utter ruin and desolation. Thus fell Greece and Rome after having reached the summit of accumulated glory, after having by turns swayed the sceptre over all surrounding nations, and after having arrogated to themselves, alternately, the swelling attribute of 'Mistress of the World.' Their higher and lower orders of society being equally corrupted and enervated, the real nobility of those states, (and of every state) the middle classes, constituted too feeble a bulwark for the liberties of the commonwealth.
But a nation has attained a high grade of excellency and beauty in her institutions, when reforms of momentous importance can be effected without bloodshed, or indeed without any other obstacles than those which personal ridicule and ill-natured obloqy oppose to wise, good and judicious means of reform. Such is now the most fortunate condition of this highly favored country, of which when the patriot looks along the vista of uncertain but still progressive time, a thousand bright hopes and eager anticipations crowd on his imagination, and his heart swells with gratitude to God, not only for the countless blessings already so lavishly bestowed, but also for the most animating visions of national glory and individual happiness, which HE who holds the destinies of nations, reserves to be conferred in due time (as he trusts) on his beloved country.
But so long as Intemperance is practised, cherished, and defended
in the richer circles of society can we wonder for a moment, that the influence of fashion and that innate principle of imitation, so characteristic of human nature, should have spread its contagious influence far and wide. through the generally well meaning and honest but illiterate yeomanry of our country. Can we wonder that the latter unschooled in all those polished arts, which alike refine, civilize and restrain mankind, should exhibit that vice in all its disgusting and depraved excesses? I ask then where the reform is to begin?--Have not all reforms always originated from those who are the least corrupted or contaminated by the evils which call for reformation? Was it ever heard or known, that a grand system of reform either religious or political was begun by any man, or set of men, who were reaping the pleasures and profits annexed to the existing evil, abuse or corruption! These considerations obviously bring us, at once, to the obligation, the expediency and absolute necessity of Temperance Societies being, at first instituted and constituted by temperate men. The principle of these societies which commends itself to every rational and upright man, resides in a pledge to the community of his setting a good example as an individual member. The utility, however, of private example, would be small, acting only on individuals; but when associated in great number, it acts on masses; and hence we have the strong and diffusive influence of public example, which irresistibly elevates public morals and corrects public opinion The object of Temperance Societies, is therefore to correct vitiated public sentimen, which, in proportion to their success, will as a necessary consequence promote social order. Abridging no rational or innocent enjoyment of the comforts of life they have enlisted among their advocates men of all ranks and professions, who entertain the most liberal views on this subject. They inculcate temperance, and practice it by way of example. They do not arrogate to themselves the right of dictating to any one "what they shall eat or what they shall drink." Their opposition (at least in North Carolina) is confined to open and manly reprobation of the use of pernicious drugs, injurious to him who uses them, in health, and destructive of the peace and order of society. The diseases arising from excesses of the table, come properly within the province and direction of the healing art. The admonitions from the oppressed functions will give the constitution of the glutton, some little truce for reflection. The organs of nutrition themselves will revolt at the sumptuous board groaning under the baked and boiled, and fried and roasted. But for the lover of ardent spirits, no art has any resources. "There is no balm in Gilead--there is no physician there" Alas! what physician can exult over the number of patients of this class, which he has been
an instrument of restoring temperate to society. They may be spared on the verge of the grave; but Shakspeare well writes their epitaph when he says,
Our natures do pursue
(Like rats that ravin down their proper bane)
A thirsty evil--and when we drink we die.
Having commenced the consideration of this subject as a national evil, let us take a nearer view of its consequences on civil society, tested by applying to it, briefly, the most enlightened views of Political Economy.
First, What are its effects on population? It deprives the United States annually of thirty thousand souls without taking into the estimate the number of helpless victims, involved in the disastrous fall of the victim of intemperance.--The last war, according to Niles's Register, did not cost the country a mortality by the sword, of more than four hundred and fifty on an average per annum.
It diminishes the wealth of a country, directly, by lessening labour and its product, wages; and indirectly, by the burdensome expense of pauperism --It is said*
* Beman on Intemperance.
"that there are in the United States two hundred thousand paupers supported at an annual expense of ten millions of dollars. The reports of hospitals, penitentiaries and alms houses, justify the statement that one hundred and fifty thousand of these miserable beings were reduced to pauperism by the single vice of intemperance." Besides these public there are thousands of private paupers in the community from the same cause, whose names are not enrolled. Again, the consumption of ardent spirits, which never is and never was a necessary comfort of life, is immensely expensive, and therefore their use gives rise to a wicked and extravagant waste of capital which might be more profitably expended -- The education of his children, as far as his pecuniary means will allow, has always been deemed, by an honest and conscientious parent, a duty of sacred obligation. The intemperate part of our population selfishly addicted to ardent spirits, generally suffer their children to grow up in ignorance and vice, the two greatest enemies to free institutions. Let us suppose a case which may be modified so as to admit of universal application. Suppose fifty neighbours in easy circumstances, spend each $20 per year for ardent spirits, (a very moderate estimate--about 6d a day.) they squander foolishly and wickedly, enough money to build them a commodious school house the first year, and the second year, enough to pay a first rate tutor $1000 a year to educate their children. Now it is a fact well known that some men who do not send their
* Beman on Intemperance.
children to school, spend two or three times the amount above estimated in ardent spirits annually. Can such men alledge 'hard times' as a reason for their thus neglecting the vital interests of their children, when conscience must tell them it is 'hard drink.' Thus does the intemperance of parents deprive thousands of children annually of that mental and moral instruction which would prepare all of them better for the important concerns of life, which would open the high road to respectability to some who, destitute of education, must grovel in the lowest walks of society--and who dares to say that it does not send down to the grave 'unpitied and unknown' very many, whose natural vigor of mind, aided by even a rudimental education, and their own untiring perseverance would have ranked them among the most useful citizens and the most brilliant ornaments of their country? Who let me ask was Newton, the celebrated Astronomer to whom the world owes so much in Philosophy? The child of poverty. Who were Franklin and Sherman and Patrick Henry? The sons of poor men who considered their hard earnings well bestowed in giving them the ability to read and write Am I harsh then in saying that children are robbed of their rights to (at least) an elementary education by the intemperance of parents? Nor does the evil stop here. Society is robbed of her right to the genius, the talents and the well directed labour of all her members. The Union is often robbed of her right to the most efficient services of those who live under the protection of her laws. Such are the trophies of intemperance, robbed from the life, the property, and the noble and aspiring mind of man. And what does society gain by the exchange? Squalid poverty in rags, sickness and suffering, half fed, half clothed and uneducated children!
But alas! the blackest charge still remains to be denounced against ardent spirits, that the habitual use of ardent spirits leads to the commission of most of the crimes perpetrated in our country. That it peoples prisons and penitentiaries and stains the public Journals almost every day with horrid details of every grade of crime. Every grade of crime did I say? How can crime have degrees of relative atrocity in the eyes of an habitual drunkard! How often indeed is drunkenness alledged by the guilty wretch himself as at once the cause and palliation of his crime? But "it is a well known and salutary maxim of our laws, that crimes committed under the influence of intoxication do not excuse the perpetrator from punishment." [Beck's Med. Jurisprudence, vol 1 p. 375 Albany Ed 1823]
No one who frequents our courts, need be told that almost every case of assault and battery, all riots and disorders 'against the peace and dignity of the State,' occur among persons who
drink freely of ardent spirits. And it is a fact well ascertained, that of persons guilty of violating all the laws which bind men together and of trampling under foot all the ties of social order, by far the majority have, from long habits of drinking ardent spirits, completely obtunded the moral sensibility. That no man becomes profligate or abandoned all of a sudden (Nemo fit repente turpissimus) is a maxim as old as it is just. Hence we find in investigating the characters of most criminals that they learned the rudiments of future villainies at taverns or tippling shops, from the dissolute vagabonds with whom a similarity of habits and propensities made them acquaintances and boon companions. Here they meet to entrap the unwary--to embolden the timid--to harden the humane--and to devise fresh enterprizes of robbery, fraud and every species of villainy. Thus step by step many who were once open to pity become familiar with atrocity and their feet make haste to shed blood.'
But the crimes of the habitual drunkard are not confined to the violation of the laws of the state. The dearest ties of kindred and the most tender relations of life are sundered as if the drunkard felt or owned no obligation, but that as long as he lived he ought to persevere in habits of intemperance. However much of gall embitters the cup of those whom he has vowed to cherish and protect, the base, selfish, and unfeeling wretch must continue to quaff the poisoned cause of all their distress, as if it were delicious nectar. The fell demon of Alcohol demands some human victim to be daily offered on his altars; and if none other can be found, by the wretches whom he possesses and inspires, their unoffending wives, and children fall sacrifices to their cruel neglect or drunken brutality. The most shocking murders ever recorded have been perpetrated by intemperate men, upon the lives of those that every thing in heaven and on earth called aloud on them to defend. But the drunkard listens to no voice, neither from heaven nor on earth. To day he slays his brother like Cain, and to morrow murders his wife and children like--himself. At least five cases (seemingly well authenticated) of the murder of wives by their intemperate husbands have met my eye in the public Journals within four months past. Permit me here to read an extract from one of these Journals. Judge Edwards, in pronouncing sentence of death on James Ransom, recently convicted in New York of the murder of his wife, made the following statement:
"Upon a review of this shocking transaction, the question naturally presents itself, what could so have perverted your nature: The answer is--Spirituous liquors. It has had the effect to estrange you from the most endearing relation, from the ties of blood, from your obligations to your fellow beings and to your
Creator. If any further evidence was wanting to manifest the desolating effects of ardent spirits, which have moved like a destroying angel over the land, we have it in the astounding fact, that within the last two months, three men have been arraigned before me on charges of murdering their wives: each of these offences were committed by intemperate men. As destructive as this practice is to society at large, as distressing as it is to all classes of the community, yet it is indubitably true that none are made to suffer more severely from it than married women. Complaints of abuses from drunken husbands, have increased to such an extent as to render it necessary that the law should be brought to bear with severity upon them. It is full time that the partners of these abandoned men should be made to realize that they have in the laws and ministers of justice, friends who are both able and willing to protect them from the brutal violence of their husbands."
See National Gazette also, Jan. 10, 1832 where Ransom "acknowledged (though before he had protested that he had no knowledge whatever of the murder) the justice of his conviction and sentence, and stated that he had committed the deed while under the influence of hellish passions, engendered by his Intemperance."--He was executed in New York, Jan. 7, 1832.
Tobyn beautifully says,
The man that lifts his hand against a woman,
Save in the way of kindness, is a wretch!
Whom 'twere courtesy to call a coward!
How accursed then must be that cup and how deadly that potion, which so far steels the heart and maddens the mind, as to lift up the hand of a man against the life of the wife of his bosom. Would to God that the evils of drunkenness, dreadful as they are, could stop here. But it pains the inmost soul to read the savage cruelties of drunken parents to their children and of masters to their apprentices and servants. Transporting as must be the sound of "father." when first modulated by the lips of tender infancy, (causing the parents heart to leap for joy and yearn towards his child,) how does it chill the blood with horror, to have our credulity taxed to believe uncontradicted statements like the following:
(From the Raleigh Register, March, 1831.)
"A more extraordinary instance of sheer wickedness has never fallen under our observation, than is recorded in the Catskill (N Y) Recorder, of a man by the name of Morris Welsh. It proves how infinitely further human, or inhuman, nature goes, than the boldest writer of fiction dare invent, and put in his
book.--This man came home one evening intoxicated, and commenced beating his sick wife. He then deliberately took his infant child, four days old, and one by one broke the bones of its fingers and arms, struck it on its head with his fist and at last threw it into the fire! The child was discovered to be missing, and the suspicions of the neighbors were excited.--Search was made and the mutilated, half burnt body of the child was found concealed under the floor of the house."
To say a word on the above case by way of comment would be most superfluous cruelty. I should not have ever alluded to it but for the absolute necessity of the whole truth being arrayed against this dreadful vice --Its utter extermination is the end and aim of every benevolent heart. Let it be dragged forth then from the domestic hearth, (which it makes from its beastliness and brutality the chief scene of suffering here.) and exposed to the frowns of an indignant community. Can we expect that the innocent and unfortunate sufferers from drunken relatives will tell the tale of their sorrows when, at the same time they must divulge their own shame? Never! An amiable woman whose heart is daily wrung with anguish, would forever conceal her wrongs from the too prying and censorious world; as the tender dove clasps her wings to her wounded side, to hide the precious drops of her life blood oozing from her once downy but now torn and bleeding bosom. O Woman! lovely, sensitive, affectionate woman! Who that has witnessed thy sufferings can feel aught but loathing and detestation of the drunkard and his demoniac draught! What dost thou not suffer, what have I not seen thee suffer from the fiend-like brutality of those who should have died e're they inflicted one pang on thy virtuous bosom! Have I not seen thee insulted, abused and outraged by those who once avowed thee the joy of their hearts, and the guiding star of their eyes. Have I not beheld those eyes which once beamed on thee with benignant tenderness, flashing with causeless rage and blood shot with senseless fury! And have I not heard that voice once soft and musical with the tones of kindness, now hoarse with drunkenness and gruff with discord, filling thy heart with trembling and thine eyes with tears! And yet some who would gladly obstruct the progress of Temperance and depress society to their level, rather than to elevate themselves to the standard of refinement, at which it aims--who had rather keep their darling vice, than keep up with the spirit of the age, exclaim, "Why are females solicited to join Temperance Societies?" Because they are more interested than all the rest of creation besides, if the desire to escape suffering beyond description, is to them a matter of concern--Because they are, in this country, less intemperate than our sex. And because their influence in promoting
the progress of good or evil, (on which-soever side they array themselves.) is proverbially known and duly appreciated--But their co-operation with the friends of the Temperance reformation, so far from proving their disposition to intemperance, proves the reverse--because they voluntarily give up the use of the grand source of all intemperance, to set an example to all who will profit by it. If a lady belongs to an institution to promote charity to the poor, does it not afford greater evidence of her charity, than of her poverty? In such a cause as this who would not suffer the obloquy, contempt and hatred of those who have no more chivalry nor humanity than to behold unmoved the wrongs and sufferings of woman, the poverty and distress of families, and lastly the dreadful end of the drunkard.
The tranquil pleasures of the social fireside-- the quiet unobtrusive bliss of the domestic hearth, is so entirely blasted by the presence of a drunkard, that this evil alone should induce every good member of society to exclude ardent spirits entirely from use. No man can sincerely love female beauty, virtue, excellence or accomplishment, contributing as they do to the most refined terrestrial enjoyment, without being a decided foe to the use of ardent spirits. Viewing their use as the great cause of domestic wretchedness, that they are unnecessary as well as noxious, he should avoid them as he would contamination. It is but a poor sacrifice made in behalf of a sex, whose self-sacrificing disposition, where they love, has been tested and admired from remote antiquity.
Man is indeed pre-eminently "Lord of the creation" if his numerous and diversified sources of pleasure and excitement, may be allowed as proofs of his dominion over nature.--But the circle in which woman moves is circumscribed--her duties are chiefly those which spring up in the management of her household--her happiness, therefore, is indissolubly connected with the endearing intercouse of the pure virtuous and social affections. "Love," says Madame de Stael, "is a digression in the life of man--it is the whole history of the life of woman." Imagine to yourselves then the horror of a wedded female, at discovering for the first time, that the man she loves, and who has solemnly vowed to love and protect her, is an habitual drunkard. Perhaps, before marriage, she knew from common report that he was temperate in the use of ardent spirits. But habit is powerful and no man practises duplicity long after he has attained his object. Connubial bliss soon pulls upon his taste--he loves the tavern and his bottle comrades better than his wife and children. Alas! What a discovery to a virtuous, affectionate, unsuspecting wife--How her heart sinks, amid all those confused and distracting emotions, that overwhelm the mind of the female
victim of treachery. The talisman of happiness is broken, and the spell dissolved! The bright hopes of conjugal tenderness are blasted, and the prospect before her is all dark and desolate. Neglect contempt, brutal treatment, squandered fortune, poverty all the marriage portion of the drunkards wife, are all now her own. Hours of agony and tears of heart-rending bitterness sap the vigour of life by piecemeal, until worn down by the violence of contending sorrows, a premature grave closes over the victims of a heartless drunkard--or if perchance she survives him a few years, how exquisitely painful is her condition. Her first love, her young hopes, her tenderest affections are blasted and never bloom luxuriantly again.--Should she be an orphan, as is often the case, the death of her husband leaves her, perhaps, berest of every earthly friend. I have no hesitation in declaring as the result of much observation, my solemn conviction that the intemperance of husbands, of fathers, of brothers and of sons, above all other vices, detracts most from the happiness of the female sex
Indeed tippling leads to most other vices; and where habitually and freely used ardent spirits drown reason and silence the voice of conscience. The avenues by which sober delinquents return to the paths of wisdom and virtue, are thus closed up to the confirmed drunkard. Hence thorough reformations of this latter wretched class of human beings, are as difficult as such cases of cure are known to be rare.
In a word, it is hard to say whether drunkenness produces more of wickedness than of misery, in any community wherever it finds an entrance. It is the Keystone to the Arch of vice--the ring leader to almost every crime--a guide to infamy, a sworn pander to debauchery--a murderer of wives--a most frequent cause of premature widowhood and orphanage. The parent of more diseases than any other source. (of human imprudence) it opens the gates of death oftener and wider than war itself. The gall of social life, it turns the pleasures of refined society into bitterness--destroyer of all order, concord and decency--the greatest foe to virtue and religion--and the common irreconcilable enemy of God and man.
There seems to be a moral fitness in the opposition of physicians to the vices of society. Of all the avocations of life, none brings a man into such close, familiar, and confidential inter course with his fellow men, as the practice of the healing art. If he be a man of ordinary talents for observation, a limited experience soon convinces him, that by far the majority of human diseases result from a neglect of the simplest rules for the preservation of health; errors and excesses in diet; intemperance in the use of unwholesome drinks; and obstinate pertinacity in needless exposure to the exciting causes of disease. Of all these causes, the greater number of ills, and by far the more formidable diseases, arise from errors in diet and excess in improper drinks. Indeed these two mutually abet each other, until their joint action mars the health of the body, and leaves the blind slave of inordinate appetites, a wretched invalid, with the wreck of a good constitution -- His mind is rendered imbecile; his body is surrendered to indolence--unfit to live and unprepared to die, he drags out, thus, a miserable existence.
It is the pride of the science of modern medicine, that disdaining the arts and crafts and mystery in which practitioners in former ages (with many honorable exceptions) strove to envelop it, they have divested such parts of the profession as can be useful to mankind, of all unmeaning technical jargon. Thus by the dictates of an enlightened humanity, honorable to the science, the physician becomes the conservator of the health of his fellow men, teaching them by familiar illustrations what to do and what to avoid, in order to prevent disease: but if they be afflicted,
soothing them by his kind attentions, and employing all the resources of his art with a view to their safe, certain, and speedy cure. Nor does it lessen his obligations to the circle of society in which he moves, if he should be treated with ingratitude. He who attempts to benefit his fellow men, by unmasking to them their darling errors and their beloved vices, must make up his mind to bear obloquy, and look for little, at first, save ridicule, reproach and contumely. The more wide spread and prevalent the evil, the more general of course will be the opposition. I shall think myself fully recompensed, however, should any advice mitigate the sufferings of any of my erring fellow creatures, or save a single human being from the horrors of Intemperance.
The diseases which this unfortunate class of beings bring down on their own heads, so "that they live not out half their days," have been ably treated of by medical writers. These diseases are generally of the most painful kind, and some of them of the most speedily fatal character. Those which do not rapidly extinguish life, sap the strength of the constitution by a secret and ever active state of wasting and decay. This is undoubtedly the case in nine out of ten persons of ordinary strength of constitution. Of these diseases I shall merely give a brief summary--
1st Those in which the brain, the most noble organ, as it is the seat of mind is affected. They are those dreadful maladies, generally so fatal in their attacks and termination, apoplexy, palsy epilepsy, madness, idiocy -- These diseases all impair the mind, by injuring or impeding the functions of the brain. Some of them destroy the operations of the understanding entirely. In my last lecture I endeavored to shew that ardent spirits had a tendency to drown the reason, and leave man the subject of the most base and brutal passions. Divested of the elevated prerogative of an immortal mind rich with intellectual power, he becomes the grovelling slave of mere animal propensity. The lowest and most degraded state of man is that in which he is so entirely subjected to the animal functions, as to be exclusively addicted to selfish gratifications. On the contrary, self control, or self denial, as it is oftener called, is one of the highest attainments of sound, moral and intellectual philosophy. To refuse the real comforts of life, under ordinary circumstances, would evince an ingratitude, nearly allied to absurd stoicism. But artificial enjoyments which tend to vice, being neither good nor perfect cannot come from above--They are the inventions of man, the creatures of the irregular indulgences of appetites, "wicked, sensual and devilish." The influence of ardent spirits on the brain soon exhibits itself in loss of memory confusion of ideas, diminution of judgment and mental stupefaction. Is it matter of Surprise, then, that the drunkard should yield more easily to the
base and ferocious passions, and perpetrate the most horrid crimes? His vicious excesses impair his mental functions, and hence the former acquire daily increased vehemence from habit not restricted at all by sober intellect. Hence, by a very natural process, the besotted drunkard by degrees becomes a maniac, a termination worse than death itself. The Lunatic Asylum owes a large proportion of its inmates to intemperance in the use of intoxicating drinks. So conspicuous are the pernicious effects of habitual intoxication on the mind, that both in Great Britain and the United States, the law regards the habitually intemperate as lunatics, incapable of managing their property "In the State of New York we have a statute which places the property of habitual drunkards under the care of the Chancellor, in the same manner as that of lunatics."*
* Beck's Med. Jurisprudence, v 1. p. 376, q. v. Act passed March 16, 1821
But to demonstrate the inflexible justice, as well as the parental supervision of the law, it must be added that drunkenness is never allowed as a plea in extenuation of any crime. "A drunkard who is voluntarius doemon, hath no privilege thereby, but what hurt or ill soever he doth, his drunkenness doth aggravate it."**
* Beck's Med. Jurisprudence, v 1. p. 376, q. v. Act passed March 16, 1821
** Sir Edward Coke.
This is a rule of law in Great Britain and the United States to this day I have been thus minute in regard to the influence of ardent spirits on the brain, and by consequence the mind, to display before you the incompatibility of a clear head and sound mind with habits of intemperate drinking. The tendency of ardent sprits to produce imbecility of intellect has been observed and attested by the concurrent opinions of medical writers. The Poet of Nature too, perceived and has well expressed this fact, where he makes Cassio exclaim--
** Sir Edward Coke.
"Oh, that men should put an enemy in
Their mouths, to steal away their brains!"
2d Of the influence of ardent spirits on the body. "Vouch,--safe to me," said an ancient sage to his divinity, "this boon: a sound mind in a sound body." Intemperance can grant neither of these petitions. The intemperate whose constitutional liability does not fix on them some one or other of the above diseases of the mind, may depend, with moral certainty, on some two or three of the following. Fevers of various kinds and degrees, inflammatory and typhoid; inflammatory diseases of the brain--of the eyes--of the lungs, as consumption; dropsy of the chest; gout; ***
*** "Dr. Darwin, a great authority on all subjects connected with life, says that he never knew a glutton affected with the gout who was not at the same time addicted to liquor. He also observes, it is remarkable that all the diseases from drinking spirituous liquors, are liable to become hereditary, even to the third generation, gradually increasing, if the cause be continued, until the family becomes extinct."
*** "Dr. Darwin, a great authority on all subjects connected with life, says that he never knew a glutton affected with the gout who was not at the same time addicted to liquor. He also observes, it is remarkable that all the diseases from drinking spirituous liquors, are liable to become hereditary, even to the third generation, gradually increasing, if the cause be continued, until the family becomes extinct."
dropsy of the abdomen and cellular membrane; diseases of the heart--of the intestines--of the liver; dyspepsia, and a host of nervous, cachectic and cutaneous diseases. The number and severity of these diseases in the intemperate may be estimated by the great mortality which attends them, being as before stated, thirty thousand annually in the United States. But this estimate I am induced to believe is far too low. Many die from the excesses of their lives, whose constitutions would otherwise have enabled them in all human probability to have resisted ordinary diseases, to which all are more or less exposed. Many die in a work house or alms house, to which they were consigned by intemperance. And many die from intemperance whose death is imputed to altogether different causes. In the enumeration of diseases arising from ardent spirits, let me not however forget to enumerate Intemperance itself as one of the most fell and fatal diseases. It is not only prime minister of the court of death, leading on a host of other diseases, but, is in reality a most obstinate and dangerous disease itself. The habit of using ardent spirits begets of itself a morbid thirst for their continued use, which betrays a depraved state of the nerves of the stomach and a peculiar excitement of the irritable brain. The same inordinate appetite for solid food*
* See Dr. Good. v. 1. p. 72. Limosis Avens.
is well known to physicians as a peculiar condition of that most distressing Proteus like disease, which assumes so many forms. I mean Dyspepsia. To give a brief account of Intemperance as a disease, it may be defined in contradistinction to canine, "Porcine**
* See Dr. Good. v. 1. p. 72. Limosis Avens.
** Porcus, a hog.
Hydrophobia" An habitual dread of cold water--denoted by a constant desire of drinking ardent spirits--with a sense of dryness of the mouth and throat. The disease seldom begins with violence at first--the patient for a long time may have short paroxysms only once or twice a day--by degrees the fits become more frequent and he will then have ten, fifteen or twenty or thirty paroxysms in the 24 hours. If he is of strong constitution he is longer brandy-ridden than bedridden. The pulse at first is extremely full, strong and corded--gradually increasing in frequency till all the symptoms resemble a febrile paroxysm in the hot stage--the face becomes red, tumid and bloated; the eyes are differently affected; at first twinkling with occasional flashes, but soon becoming dull, stupid and leering from beneath the eyebrows. The mind is much affected in this disease. One drunken idea seems to chase another through the brain in such confusion, that he talks rather incoherent nonsense, repeats a question which has been replied to, perhaps a dozen times --
** Porcus, a hog.
breaks off in the middle of a story he was relating. The tongue however is voluble in the first stage, the patient praising his wife, horses, or dogs, as the best of all possible things of the same kind, while each seems to strive for the mastery in his estimation. The second stage exhibits him whooping and yelling like a demon, or singing, if a mixture of hiccup and howling may be called singing--at length he gives way to impudence, vulgarity and abuse, uttering oaths, curses and blasphemy, curdling the very blood of the bystanders, until finally scarcely able to mutter a word, his knees give way under him, he falls down on the spot and soon sinks into a profound stupor, resembling much the profound slumber of a highly pampered sow--On awaking from this deathlike torpor, he realizes all the indescribable wretchedness, so well known as "the horrors"--his face is pale and haggard, his eyes red and tumid--he complains of a sensation of pain, as of a nail driven into his forehead--his hands tremble and his nerves are much and generally affected--his mouth and throat are dry--his tongue parched and furred with a viscid saliva--he has great loss of appetite, hiccup, retching and occasionally a convulsion. By bad counsel from others, and desperation of relief from the stings of conscience and corporeal suffering, he resorts again and again to the exciting cause of his well meant and well merited punishment. Ardent spirits heated his blood yesterday, he hopes perhaps it will cool it to day. The paroxysm returns again as usual and each succeeding attack of drunken fever is more violent than the preceding. The symptoms above described, return with aggravated horrors, and by degrees induce that dreadful disease delirium tremens. The mind at length becomes seriously affected and if the patient can sleep his slumbers are disturbed by fearful dreams concerning spectres and demons, from which he starts up in bed half upright, and implores his attendants to save him from the frightful visions of his distempered fancy. The constitution soon becomes unable to sustain such sufferings, beyond all description horrible--after repeated convulsions, the patient becomes comatose, the pulse sinks, the extremities become cold--cold clammy sweats break out, the features become horribly distorted and death closes the scene. This is no highly coloured sketch from fancy. But one of those faithful pictures which almost every physician is too often called to witness with feelings of incontrollable horror. This disease is not always, or indeed generally, speedily fatal. For a long time the face of the patient may rise upon society, red and blushing like the full moon just appearing through the trees--when he gets nearer his nose looks studded (not with diamonds) but with carbuncles--(this organ, the nose, I have always deemed a perfect sign post of the "Entertainment"
that is always to be found within)--the cheeks generally glow in rich profusion with grog blossoms--while the whole face blushes like Aurora, owing to the congestion of the capillaries of the skin. The patient may live long indeed--long enough to outlive character, destroy resources, and outrage friends,--may live till all is lost here and hereafter. I should be a most unfaithful physician did I not say something of the causes, the cure and the prevention of this dreadful malady. The causes are predisposing and exciting. 1st. The predisposing causes are idleness, a state and condition of mind where a rational man can find nothing to do! 2d. Indolence, a state and condition of mind and body, where a rational man has a total disinclination to do any thing! 3d Imbecility, a pusillanimous state of mind and body, by which a rational man consents to be led, by the nose, into vice!*
* "Oh indolence and imbecility of character, if ye are not positive vices, yet to how much exquisite misery do ye not lead."--Sir Walter Scott.
This is sometimes called social conviviality,--But it is not--social conviviality, is "the feast of reason and the flow of soul." It is not to be found in the fumes of revelry, or drunken debauch. 4th. Going into the infected district--He has nothing to do--is disposed to do nothing--his heart is too good to refuse, and he goes therefore to some place of common resort where men meet to kill time--swill liquor--and kill themselves. 5. Curiosity.--The desire to know the taste and qualities of a drink in such common use as ardent spirits. Few men ever go into the infected district, predisposed, but they are tempted by solicitations and pressing importunities aided by curiosity to lift the fatal poison to their lips. 6. Imitativeness.--An ardent and irresistible desire to be like and act like the company we keep; This quality is common alike to man and to the monkey.
* "Oh indolence and imbecility of character, if ye are not positive vices, yet to how much exquisite misery do ye not lead."--Sir Walter Scott.
"Whate'er he saw the barber do,
He mimick'd strait, and did it too."
This is a most powerful predisposing cause. The eagerness to imitate the manners of persons our superiors in age, (who we take for granted ought to be our superiors in wisdom) and to adopt their habits, is one of the first traits of juvenile ambition. The desire to seem a man is more often precocious in the young, than their possession of such qualities as render them really manly. Hence the young coxcomb mounts his spectacles, the necessary helps of age, and sometimes of wisdom--uses tobacco in some shape or other and drinks his grog with the air of a man of fashion. 7. A practice which cannot be too much reprobated, of introducing ardent spirits, on almost every occasion, in company. To excite hunger and thirst, and to quench hunger
and thirst. To keep out the cold, and to keep out the heat. To dispose to wake, and to dispose to sleep. To allay mental excitement, to increase mental excitement. To make wise, to make stupid. To bury a quarrel, and to revive a quarrel To make devout before sermon, and to harden after sermon. To make merry at a wedding, and to make sad at a funeral. So absurd, shameless and contradictory are the effects attributed to ardent spirits, that we must seek for reasons more deeply seated for their incessant use--the love of ardent spirits, and the pursuit of happiness in blind, devious, and forbidden paths, which must mislead, delude, and ruin. The drunkard condemns himself, like Sysiphus, to roll the sempiternal stone up the mountain of rest and felicity, but e're its inviting summit is attained, his burden rolls back upon him, and again renews his sufferings and his toil.
8. Imprudent, and impudent solicitation.--"Take something to drink, it will do you good" involves many a man, once sober and virtuous, in misery and crime. By impudent solicitation I mean, when the price of your compliance is the sacrifice of your honour and integrity. This kind of solicitation reigns on an election ground. A modern ELECTION ground is the most complete manufactory of drunkards in the Union. What a pernicious influence is thus exercised on government, on society, and on individuals!
The exciting cause without which indeed all the other causes combined could not induce the disease is drinking ardent spirits. It matters not of what quality or by what name it is called. "Disguise thyself as thou wilt (Alcohol) still thou art a bitter draught."
I feel it right here, to strive to correct a very common error in the minds of some honest, and on other subjects, sensible men. Considering ardent spirits as one of the comforts of life in health, they use them with great complacency, and thank God for them, as a blessing flowing from his bountiful providence. Their piety is greatly in advance of their discretion. They ought with equal gratitude to thank Providence for hemlock and deadly nightshade, laurel and prussic acid, as comforts of life. They are vegetable poisons--so is alcohol. All of them are endowed with qualities noxious to man, but susceptible of being modified by science, so as to become remedies of most potent efficacy as medicines. We ought indeed to be grateful to Providence, for his lavish distribution of plants of remedial virtue to heal our diseases. But none but a madman would enrol a host of vegetable poisons, on his list of the daily comforts of life. The poisonous qualities of the hemlock and others above stated are too well known, to need further mention. The poisonous effects of
Alcoholic liquors are much better known to society by their great agency in causing death or incurable diseases, than from any other source. Alcohol, the intoxicating principle of ardent spirits, is better known by physicians and by chemists. "Mr. Brodie (of great eminence in England) injected proof spirits into the stomach of a rabbit. In five minutes he lay motionless and insensible; the pupils of the eyes were dilated--there were slight convulsive motions of the extremities; the respiration was laborious, and he finally died at the end of an hour and fifteen minutes. In his further experiments he found the stomach highly inflamed by the injection of this poison (proof spirits) but never observed any preternatural appearances in the brain. The symptoms however, produced by spirits he observes are very analogous to those caused by injuries of the brain."*
* Eclectic Repertory vol. 2, p. 269.
Rum, according to Mr. Brande a celebrated chemist, contains 53.68 per cent of Alcohol. Brandy 53.36, Gin 51-60--all more than half made up of Alcohol. Some idea may now be formed of the poisonous effects of Alcoholic liquors. In Mr. Brodie's experiments, pure Alcohol was used--in the cases of persons who use any of the above forms of ardent spirit, it is easy for them to perceive how large doses of this poison render them liable to the most painful diseases, to loss of intellect, and to loss of life. Surely this cannot be one of the comforts of life.
* Eclectic Repertory vol. 2, p. 269.
It has been by some contended, that these evils result from the abuse of ardent spirits. This is true to a much greater extent than they ask for, or may be willing to allow. The ordinary and habitual use of a powerful drug without the advice of a physician, is an abuse, not warranted by the practice of intelligent men themselves, in regard to medicines far less dangerous to human life.
When this powerful drug was, where it ought ever to have remained, on the shelves of the apothecary, and only used as other medicines, it was generally administered in the dose of one fluid dram**
** About a small dessert spoonful--now men require from half a pint to half a gallon a day, when they are well, to make them feel better.
--Hence the origin of the word "a dram" was derived from this specific medicine. As soon as it became a drug of cheap and common use, the dose was proportionably enlarged. It became a source of most lucrative manufacture and commerce through the habitable globe; and nothing rivalled so much the accursed thirst for gold, as the accursed thirst for rum, gin, brandy and whiskey. It was manufactured in oceans, disseminated among millions, and sold for mines. It brought in its train millions
** About a small dessert spoonful--now men require from half a pint to half a gallon a day, when they are well, to make them feel better.
of woes, millions of crimes, and millions of deaths. All drank--every thing human drank--from the infant to the centenarian--from the saint to the savage--from the king to the beggar--all ranks, all sexes, all trades, and almost all religions, herein found a universal leveller--universal as the grave! It stood like an incubus upon the globe--it now stands like the arch-enemy of mankind, upon the deep and broad river of light, religion and knowledge, and utter in a thousand voices, louder than thunder, "So far shalt thou go, and no farther, and here shall thy pure waves be stayed." But other voices are heard, whose tones peal with awful majesty, and melt with benignant love. They are the soul thrilling tones of Truth and Religion: "There shall be light"--there shall be knowledge--there shall he love to God.--And the crystal river rolls on--with irresistible impetuosity it rushes by, and sweeping every obstacle beneath it, and above it, it is seen gliding in gentle grandeur toward the ocean of eternity.
No matter of fact is susceptible of clearer demonstration than the insidious and alarming growth of the use of this drug, when fostered by example, and encouraged by habit Every person of limited or extensive experience, knows that stimulant medicines of this kind cease to produce any but transient effects, unless taken in increased and rapidly repeated doses--and here is the whole secret of the process by which the deluded victim of the bottle quaffs off glass after glass, till he goes far beyond the standard where he aims to bring himself--when he will feel perfectly happy. Unless very bestial, he does not court sleep so much as solace; and resorts to his beloved potations less to drown his senses, than to forget his cares. By degrees the unfortunate slave to a vitiated appetite, has no satisfaction apart from drinking ardent spirits of the strongest kind. Indeed, cases have come under my care where the patient ate scarce a morsel, but seemed to live only to drink, and to drink only to live. I need hardly add, that they have paid the penalty of their infatuation. Some will drink before or after every meal; at midnight will get up to drink; and at day light will pay their orisons to the idol of their devotion--Night or day, they will send off miles to replenish, if they should be so miserable as to exhaust, their supply of the deluding draught. To be deprived of ardent spirits, when the disease is thus far formed, fills the unfortunate slave of intemperance with a torture of body and mental agony, inconceivably excruciating, except by those who have witnessed their sufferings.
The gnawing and unquenchable thirst in this disease, leads me to place its proximate cause in the pharynx, where the sensation of thirst originates, and where the first impression of spirituous
drinks is felt; and in the stomach, the nerves of which are generally found much affected: connected with these is a peculiar excitement of the brain, which seems to be a sympathetic association, probably generated by habit Perhaps it may be objected, that this is the effect and not the cause of intemperance. But I think it much more correct to say, that it is primarily the effect of the use of ardent spirits, and that this effect becomes, secondarily, the proximate cause, which in reality constitutes, continues, and is the essence of the disease. As a proof of this conclusion being just. I remark that the experience of physicians has demonstrated that this morbid thirst remains for a long time after the use of spirituous liquors is discontined; and in two cases I attribute to it, the return of the individuals, and their deaths within a few months after. It may also serve to account, in some degree, for those extraordinary anomalies in intemperance, I mean periodical drunkards, who are constantly tantalizing their friends with delusive hopes of their recovery.
The effect of Chambers's medicine, in destroying this morbid condition, adds I think a further support to the view of the subject presented. The whole subject, however, from its vast importance to the interests of humanity, is worthy of a more minute examination.
In examinations of the bodies of drunkards after death, physicians have observed as might be anticipated, a general lesion of the most important organs. The membranes of the brain thickened and sometimes inflamed. The stomach inflamed and its coats indurated. The liver enlarged, schirrous and full of tubercles. The liver always suffers in the intemperate. "Free livers make large livers," is an old medical adage. Obstructions to the portal circulation, to the ducts of the liver, and congestions of the pori biliarii, are the inevitable result of intoxicating drinks. The engorgement of the liver, and its retarded circulation throws back on the brain more than its due supply of blood. It is carried too fast by the arteries to be returned by the veins of the brain. This gives rise to apoplexy, to severe headache, inflamed eyes, red nose and swelled face. The stomach suffers greatly, the digestion is impaired and there is great loathing of food, with hiccup, acidity and heartburn. The brain and nervous system soon exhibit the most distressing injuries, epileptic convulsions, nervous tremors; and the mind becomes imbecile, subject to melancholy, and not unfrequently to permanent insanity
Of the cure of the disease of Intemperance
It requires much tact and discrimination to conduct cases of this description to a favourable termination. The unfortunate slave of ardent spirits has now thrown himself on the bed of
affliction by his own unrestrained infatuation. His mind and body present an appearance at once hideous and loathsome--He is excessively timid, melancholy and peevish--and his frame exhibits all the symptoms of a terribly shattered constitution. His hands tremble so immoderately that he cannot raise a cup of any liquid to his lips, without spilling most of its contents. This is generally vomited as soon as swallowed; he can scarcely retain any thing in his irritable stomach. Added to this the stings of remorse and awful forebodings of eternity fill his mind with gloomy despondency. A threatening convulsion, constantly inpending over him, agitates his whole frame with dreadful horror. Another most distressing symptom, is constant watching. He desires to sleep, to relieve his agonized system, but his mind is so excited, filled with terror, and haunted by horrid images of imaginary phantoms that sleep cannot, sometimes for days and nights, alight upon his eyelids. When he does sleep, he starts from his sleep unrefreshed, and speaks of the dreadful visions which disturb his feverish imagination. I have never seen this symptom so distressing in any other disease, except in mania, especially typhomania. It is sometimes extremely difficult to keep him in bed, and this can only be effected by blending great gentleness with judicious firmness.
Physicians will, from the above symptoms, easily recognize most of the symptoms of delirium tremens. This by degrees so alienates the mind of the patient that he soon falls into the state of mania a potu--a species of insanity known only to the lover of ardent spirits. This disease seldom requires the use of the lancet except in apoplectic cases, and it must be left to the discrimination of the physician to employ or omit this remedy. Scruple doses of calomel followed by infusion of senna, salts and manna have succeeded best in my practice. Pills of aloes scammony, calomel and castile soap, to correct the state of the liver and intestines are next to be given. If there be danger of the brain becoming seriously affected, blisters, to the back of the neck and to the extremities, are invaluable remedies. To these may be added one to the epigastric region, if the irritability of the stomach continues obstinate. Cold applications to the head--if ice can be obtained it is preferable to any other application--pledgets of linen dipped in vinegar and cold water should be kept to the forehead, so long as the heat of the skin is above the natural standard, and renewed very often, because they soon become warm. The proper drinks for the patient are iced water, cold lemonade and cinnamon or ginger tea, to relieve the constant nausea and retching. Light farinaceous diet, panado, arrow root and other vegetable jellies can be most easily retained. But there are symptoms of so menacing and distressing
a character, that attend this disease, that we are often compelled to suspend all other remedies, till they are mitigated or relieved. A disposition to convulsions and that incessant sleeplessness, called by physicians pervigilium, or constant watching. Perhaps the unfortunate patient has not closed his eyes for three or four days or nights, and hence his misery is greatly aggravated. Large and repeated doses of laudanum have been administered under these circumstances, and even in enormous doses with little relief. My rule has been to continue the administration of opiates in very large doses until sleep is induced. It is better if practicable to prepare the system for the use of this drug, but if this is not to be safely done, it should be used boldly, at once, and its effects counteracted by other means, which will suggest themselves to the attending physician.
My reason for pursuing this practice, is that I have never seen the above distressing symptoms relieved, except by some hours of profound refreshing sleep. This calms the mind, the nerves are less tremulous, and the distressing symptoms generally much relieved. After sleep, the chief indication (supposing the system prepared by the remedies first alluded to) is to restore the tone of the stomach and the strength of the patient. The patient, notwithstanding the dreadful ordeal which he has just passed, calls clamorously for his accustomed drink, the cause of all his woes. Honor, humanity, and correct practice, call loudly here on the physician and friends, to deny him peremptorily ardent spirits. It will protract the disease, and probably destroy his existence in a very few days. All that has been done will be undone, and the shattered constitution cannot bear a repetition of the remedies indispensable to his recovery. But he requires some stimulants in lieu of spirituous liquors, nor would it be safe to withhold them:--the best are aromatic spirits of ammonia, sulphuric ether, and to relieve spasm, tincture of valerian. But the chief reliance is to be placed on the sulphate of quinine solution. The astonishing effects of this remedy, after its use for one or two days, in restoriug the appetite and strength of the system, have caused me to rank it as the chief remedy, in this stage of the disease. Its use should be regulated by the physician, both as to the dose and frequency of exhibition. And here I must condemn a practice but too common, of allowing spirituous tinctures of bitter tonics, to a patient of this class. Instead of restoring a reclaimed man to society, such a course of practice will almost infallibly perpetuate his disease. As soon as his strength will admit, he will divorce his bitters, and resume his usual intemperate habits. Nor should wine be advised in lieu of ardent spirits or tinctures. Wine will not be strong enough in the course of a few days, for the former habitual slave of
ardent spirits, and he will generally resume his accustomed favorite drink. This admonition was impressed on me by a fatal case in my own practice. The want of any regular treatise on the subject of the treatment of this disease is a great desideratum in medical science. I trust this will constitute an apology to professional men, and to all, for the few observations hazarded on this important subject. The disease is of far more frequent occurrence and more dangerous in its results than many other diseases, on which whole volumes have been written. Having briefly alluded to the plan of medical treatment, I shall say a few words on the moral management in the convalescent state. It has long been a question among intelligent men, whether the habitually intemperate should at once relinquish the habit of drinking entirely. Or whether they should refrain by degrees. The weight of medical authority is decidedly in favour of the former practice. Dr. Trotter says "we daily see in all parts of the world men, who by profligacy and hard drinking have brought themselves to a gaol; yet if we consult the register of the prison, it does not appear that any of these habitual drunkards die by being forced to lead sober lives." "I would guard every person, says Dr. Lettsom, from beginning even with a little drop of this fascinating poison, which once admitted is seldom, if ever afterwards overcome." Should the sudden abstraction of the accustomed stimulant, cause debility or exhaustion there are other resources, far less dangerous than ardent spirits, to which we can safely resort. Nourishing diet and stimulating drinks as coffee and tea made strong, or if necessary other stimulating medicines, as Quinine, Ether, Aromatic spirits of Hartshorn and tincture of Valerian. Conjoined with these stimulants, should be called in as auxiliaries, agreeable employments and exercises both of the mind and body. At this particular stage the advice of conscientious and judicious physicians and friends may be of incalculable utility. The mind of the unfortunate subject of intemperance, has experienced a lucid interval. He that advises the parleying with a vicious habit to an individual who has solemnly resolved upon amendment, would do well to reflect that, he is morally responsible for all the injury the re-lapsed drunkard may do to society -- and that bad counsel may be the remote cause of his present and perhaps eternal ruin. Let him on the contrary be advised to entire abstinence--to abandon all drinking clubs, boon companions, taverns, tippling houses, muster grounds and public or private treats and election grounds. A single taste of the cause of all his sorrows will chain him down, Promethus like, to his rock, and the vulture again will prey upon his liver. Every one knows, that, the propensity to resume a habit (for instance, chewing, snuffing, or drinking,)
which we have resolved to relinquish, is very powerful and almost resistless, where we see others using a substance, to which we have long been addicted. This assimilation of habits to our company is so characteristic of human nature in every age, that it is one of the old maxims of antiquity, "Tell me with whom you go and I will tell you what you do." The grand preventive is to avoid the predisposing and exciting causes--especially avoid the chief exciting causes, "tasting a drop of ardent spirits unless prescribed by a skilful physician." And as soon then as the occasion for its use subsides, refrain entirely from it as you would from any other medicine. This is a certain preventive, and I declare my total disbelief of any other being either safe or certain. If you already enjoy health and feel well, delude not yourself with the idea of feeling better by the use of powerful stimulants, whose transitory effects and their ever consequent depressing tendency, will confirm in you a most degrading and pernicious habit. Strength and vigour and health (if you are sick) are not to be acquired by stimulants--but by tonics, diet, exercise and proper regimen. However false the French maxim "Le mieux est l'eunemi du bien" may be in morals, I have always practised on it in medicine--"to let very well alone"--"I was well--wished to be better--took physic--and died," was the epitaph of an Italian Count, composed by himself. Whether he took emetics and cathartics or cordials and stimulants, history does not inform us. Whoever has contracted the habit of using ardent spirits therefore, if he regards his health, alone, should refrain from it, because independent of his being secure from intemperance, he may calculate with rational probability on longer life, by living in accordance with, rather than by thwarting the operations of nature. Thus an animal breathing oxygen gas will at first be more lively than in atmospheric air, but will die sooner in oxygen--so a moderate toper may for many years enliven his prime of life, but who will deny that he may not bring on premature old age, and even shorten his existence? Finally, believing as I do from much reflection, that man as a human being is not nor ought he to be degraded except for vice or crime, I consider that the most benevolent plans of reform are those which practise intolerance against vice, rather than against persons who are vicious. Nor is the most perfect hatred of vice incompatible, with the most tender compassion for its deluded subject--and if he can be reclaimed, society has gained a useful citizen and sometimes virtue has acquired a powerful auxiliary. I have described Intemperance as a disease--although like many other diseases it results from criminal excess, it is still a disease, requiring both medical and moral management, for its removal, and the prevention, of its recurrence. But I nevertheless
consider this habit no less a vice, (for being a disease)--and the intemperate commits no less a crime against God--because he disappoints his destiny by degrading his species--against his family, because he either starves them, or embitters their existence--against himself because he daily commits moral suicide--and against society because he mars its harmony and happiness.
In my first Lecture I have anticipated much of what I had to say on the plan, the utility and necessity of these pacific associations for the most noble purpose. Disdaining any aid besides truth and reason, they have in many parts of our country effected a reform so silent, so very general and so thorough, that no doubt can be entertained of the final result. Nor can they be satisfied until they see the extinguishment of the traffic in ardent spirits, except as a medicinal drug. This is the best test of a sober community.
Great and undeserved odium has in many places been heaped upon these societies. Viewed in their proper light, however, by liberal men, they are benevolent institutions encouraging by precept and example, entire abstinence from ardent spirits and strict temperance in the use of wine, or any intoxicating beverage. This is the whole ground of offence against them. Howard received a high meed of merited praise for mitigating the severity of prison discipline; and Wilberforce also, for his efforts in abolishing the slave trade. But what are either of these, compared to the liberation of the countless millions of the human race from the galling bondage of intemperance, its multiplied vices, its dreadful enormities, and its appalling injuries to civil society! What fills prisons with dishonest, weak, and wicked criminals? What fills alms houses with paupers? What makes tens of thousands of men poor and wretched, and leaves their widows indigent and destitute? What throws on the charity of this cold world great numbers of helpless poor orphans? I assert, without fear of confutation, that by far the most frequent cause of all these evils is Intemperance. The man who conceived the noble design of preventing so much evil, and who had the moral courage to stem the obloquy incident to so hold an innovation on the corrupt and selfish habits of his species, deserves a high rank among the benefactors of mankind.
The United States owe it to themselves, individually and federally, to rid themselves of this scourge of the nations, this pestilence that walketh in noon day as well as in darkness. For it
may be easily proved by the light of revelation of reason and of history, that, unsustained by virtue, liberty soon becomes an empty pageant, and the nation falls to the ground, like a badly cemented building. Though virtue may exist without freedom, yet freedom cannot long exist without virtue. A nation may be free as respects her foreign relations, while at home her population may be the slaves to vice and every species of disorder. We ought hence to guard against demoralization, as against an insidious and formidable foe. In treating of Intemperance as a national evil. I endeavored to show the policy as well as the indispensable necessity of arresting the march of this greatest enemy to good government. Already does the world owe to the United States, the triumph of the grandest political experiment ever made since the foundation of civilized society. She owes it to herself--she owes it to her advancement in prosperity and glory--she owes it to the nations of the globe, to complete that triumph by the nobler experiment, (which cannot fail of success.) of inscribing on the effulgent banner of Liberty the resplendent image of Virtue. The eyes of foreign nations are turned towards the western hemisphere, and contemplating with eager watchfulness the expansion of those fruits which spring up indigenous and spontaneous, only on the soil of freedom. If we present them only the spectacle of their own vices, shooting forth in wilder luxuriance, in a land of liberty, then has the blood of the Revolution been shed in vain. If by great union, amicable concert, and zealous co-operation, the beauty and grandeur of moral order and wise government should prevail, the soul thrilling prediction will literally come to pass, 'MAN'S GREATEST EMPIRE IS THE LAST!'
Such a moral reformation in regard to Intemperance, has already been effected in many of the northern towns--I had almost said States, that the most cheering presage of deliverance from this great evil is now very generally entertained by the states-men, the patriots and philanthropists of the whole Union. That a great change has also taken place in the southern States, especially in cities and villages, any one of very limited observation will at once be satisfied. Even within a few years, the change has been as heart cheering as it is surprising to the close observer. These happy results have been doubtless owing to the diffusion of light by discussion; by Temperance unions and associations rallied in defence of truth; by the weight of public opinion and example; and last, not least by the power of a free and true press. These measures cannot fail in any community favorable to their proper exercise. But where an evil is wide spread through the country many obstacles must be encountered, and may be overcome by firmness, concert, and persevering exhibition
of the truth by precept and example. In the western States also, much good has been said to have followed these plans of ameliorating the condition of society. In a word, besides the diminution of the importation of ardent spirits from upwards of five millions (in 1824) to one million (in 1830) it is estimated that there are now one million of persons in the United States members of Temperance Societies. Within the last year many foreign nations have imbibed from the United States the noble enthusiasm, of renovating their civil society and restoring primitive simplicity and moral purity around their homes and neighborhoods; and such associations in England and in Scotland, have produced the same beneficial effects on the peace and happiness of individuals, and on the order and harmony of society, that have attended their formation in this the land of their origin.
There are some general principles entertained by the friends of temperance, to which they invite free, impartial and candid examination and discussion. They are those conclusions of reasoning which constitute the bonds of their association and union.
They maintain that Temperance Societies ought to be composed of individuals all opposed to Intemperance.
As the whole community are interested, they should be formed without discrimination of sex or rank, or religious or political creed, or office, or profession, or calling.
These societies must consist obviously of the following classes of persons:
1. Of persons who from infancy have abstained entirely from ardent spirits, and resolve to continue so.
2. Of persons habitually temperate, who resolve to continue so.
3. Of persons who from having been occasionally or habitually intemperate, determine henceforth to be temperate, and resolve to continue so.
These are the persons--now follow the principles of association, and the reasons on which those principles are founded.
They maintain that the whole structure of civilized society, by which it is cemented and on which it is immovably based, is founded on the principle of a reasonable concession to the community, of rights which when given up, promote greater order, decency, health and harmony, and enhance all the delights of social intercourse.
* In Sweden (on the authority of the New York Journal of Commerce, April 20th, 1831,) it is probable there are now Temperance Societies.
They maintain that 'ardent spirits,' however compounded, disguised or diluted are unnecessary to man as a luxury or comfort of life, in health, and only necessary when judiciously prescribed
as a timely medicine in sickness. Even then they are far inferior to wine.
They maintain that alcohol, the essence of ardent spirits, is like most other powerful medicinal agents, an active poison: all its compounds must therefore partake of the baneful properties of the constituent principle; therefore perceiving no temperance in the daily use of a noxious drug by a healthy person, they resolve on entire abstinence
For example, brandy is strongly impregnated with alcohol--laudanum is strongly impregnated with opium. In the view of correct medical reasoning and experience, in small doses they are both slow, but in large doses equally fatal poisons; and therefore the use of either, in health, is equally culpable. What right have we to despise the Turk as a stupid opium eater, when we stupify ourselves with a poison one hundred fold more deadly, and whose artificial excitement is incalculably more disgusting and dangerous to society. Compared to the inebriating fumes of spirits, every one who has taken opium, knows that opiate impressions are harmless and even refined. The free use of opium calms the passions although it stultifies and degrades the man, into sloth. But the free use of ardent spirits not only brutalizes the man, but often converts him into a furious demon.
They maintain, that the way to practice a virtue most purely is to conform to her dictates most nearly. Therefore they graduate the standard of Temperanee aceording to the habits of those who have heretofore abstained entirely from the use of ardent spirits.
It is obvious, that if any other standard than abstinence were adopted, those who never previously used ardent spirits would find it necessary to begin now, in order to conform to the newly stipulated standard Thus a new mode of teaching ethics would be established, whose first lesson to inculcate virtue, consists in paving the way to seduction--in instilling the first grand rudiments of vice! The truth then is irresistible, that no proper standard can be adjusted, with a view to the successful promotion of temperance, save that of entire abstinence from ardent spirits. Who would persuade to any virtue, by encouraging the moderate or temperate practice of its opposite vice? "Touch not--taste not--handle not," is the dictate of the highest wisdom, deducible from revelation and from reason. Virtue acknowledges no votaries but such as are wholly virtuous, and live in a constant and determined hostility to vice.
They maintain that no man becomes suddenly a drunkard; that the growth of all habits, whether good or bad, is gradual--(habit being nothing but the frequent repetition of the same act;) therefore there can be no preventive so certain or so safe as entire abstinenee.
They are deeply sensible of the magnitude of the evil of Intemperance, and are convinced that it is the prolific parent of a large portion of the sickness, suffering and crime of their fellow creatures.
They maintain that public opinion, enlighted by precept and enforced by corresponding example, concentrated and acting in pacific concert, are all the means required to arrest the scourge of Intemperance, in any civilized society.
Precept without example would be futile. Precept with individual example, like a chemical process, would be confined in its action only to particles; while precept, strongly fortified by numbers, would, like an immense planetary body,
act by attraction on masses. Thus the sun not only lights and sustains himself, but myriad satellites wheel around him, in their respective orbits, blest by his light and balanced by his power.
Conformably to these views, as before observed, the only prerequisite to membership is an assent to these or similar general truths, which are the bond of union; and as a pledge for the firm maintenance of these principles, the voluntary and honorary engagement of each and every individual is manifested by signing his name to the constitution of the particular association of which he is a member.
Some pledge themselves neither to buy nor sell, to drink, nor offer from mere courtesy to others, any compound containing ardent spirits. Some would exclude alcoholic wines--some all wines, and intoxicating liquors of every kind. Allowing every man the right to exercise his own judgment, in things of this kind, it must be conceded that the wine bibber and the bloated ale tippler make very equivocal members of a Temperance Society. Malt liquors are next to spirituous in their pernicious and fatal effects on the mind and body. They are a fruitful source of apoplexy, imbecility of mind, and grossness of body. Lovers of malt "lard the lean earth as they walk along."
Any association of persons who accord in these, or similar principles, reject the use of ardent spirits themselves, and discountenance it judiciously but firmly in others, may, and do ordinarily, assume the name of a 'Temperance Society.' Such persons are not as they have been misrepresented, neither disorganizers, fools nor fanatics; but they are friends to their country, its institutions and its laws; friends to decency and good order, to morality and to piety. May such be found in every age, who have the firmness and intelligence to bear ridicule, reproach and contumely, in advancing the truth and stemming the tide of the base, ferocious and corrupt passions of human nature, which, without active opposition, would break loose and run riot over every thing stable in Government, beautiful in Virtue and holy in Religion.
Objections--A great many objections have been, as might reasonably be expected, urged against Temperance Societies. None of these, so far as I have examined, have any real weight. Some are the suggestions of minds not well acquainted with the subject--of course their opposition is founded on very silly grounds. Others are the dictates of the most sensual appetites for spirituous liquors--of course their objections are grossly and manifestly the suggestions of a grovelling selfishness: they are hostile to any sacrifice or self denial on their part, for the benefit of the public. There is another class of objections which spring up and answer equally well, to be applied, to every proposed innovation, for the general welfare. I mean the imputation of unhallowed combination--union of Church and State--and all such senseless slang. Whenever I hear such imputations thrown out against men who would sacrifice their lives as soon or sooner than the objectors, to prevent a union of the ecclesiastical and civil
power, I must, I always suspect, either the head or the heart of such an objector to be unsound. With such I do not condescend to reason. But there is another class of objections urged by inquirers after truth, timid and cautious, modest and respectful. They fear that the scheme of promoting Temperance by voluntary associations, is impracticable. To such we would point out what wonderful effects have already been produced by similar institutions and associations. Look at Sunday schools--at Bible societies--Tract and Missionary societies: What immense benefits have not resulted from the wielding of these pacific engines, inimical to nothing but ignorance and vice. 'Let us alone,' is all they ask of the government, 'and we will submit to you, so long as the Constitution is inviolate.' But besides this, we have demonstrative proof that these societies for the promotion of Temperance, have produced already a great and almost radical revolution in the habits of the people in the northern States. The facts are undeniable and constitute an encouragement to every State in the Union to follow so laudable and successful an example. Undoubtedly, without great union and concert of action, the benefits of these, like all other badly encouraged societies, will be circumscribed. But if we do not have the hearty concurrence and co-operation of any community they should at least be sparing of their censure. For the fault is not to be laid at the door of the avowedly active friends of Temperance, but is to be clearly ascribed to the opposition of its enemies, and the lukewarmness of neutrals.
It is a very remarkable fact, that most if not all of the great blessings and benefits ever conferred on mankind, have been matured by achieving a series of victories over the pride, the arrogance and the obstinate resistance of the very persons for whose benefit they were undertaken.
"Truths would you teach, to save a sinking land
All fear, none aid you, and few understand."
Among very many instances may be adduced the propagation of the Christian religion by the apostles--the discovery of America by Columbus--the invention and propagation of the art of printing--the application of steam to navigation, by Fulton. Indeed many of these victories were consummated by the blood of some of the noblest martyrs and benefactors of mankind: and in all the instances, at the expense of great toil and treasure, hardship and suffering, reproach and contumely.
It has been alleged that these associations will give rise to secret drinking. Then be it so--'Hypocrisy is the homage which vice pays to virtue.' No evil can result, but on the contrary great good, because it is easy to detect who are intemperate
men. A sober man walking in company with a man who drinks ardent spirits, will often instantly discover it by the breath; and the bloated and disfigured countenance, impeded articulation, and unreasonable conduct, are generally safe criteria by which to detect the solitary or public toper. Again, admit it does produce secret drinking. Is nothing gained by driving vice into darkness? It is the moral turpitude with which a vice is regarded that drives it into obscurity. Hence solitary dram drinking. Would you have it before your eyes, open, shameless and at noon day? Is its example so salutary or its effects so innocent on your children? Then see to what your conclusion would lead you--You would call the robber from his den, and the murderer and incendiary from their lurking place, and bid them 'be open in their villainy and honestly pursue their calling.' No! says the law, at the peril of your life--dare not! And the destroyers of the peace and order of society hie them to their hiding places. It is a fact which, though expressed in rhyme, well comports with reason and is well attested by experience, that
"Vice is a monster of such hideous mien,
As to be hated needs but to be seen--
But seen too oft, familiar with her face,
We first endure, then pity, then embrace."
Alas! the French Revolution of 1792, if any instance were needed to prove this, holds up the most bloody and most disgusting beacon the world ever saw since the age of the Emperor Justinian.
It has been objected by some, that they feel under no obligations to restrict themselves in the use of an article which they deem essential to their comfort, and which has not yet injured them. The objection, plausible as it may seem, is highly erroneous, selfish and antisocial. It is erroneous from its bad example; selfish from its proneness to sordid appetites; and antisocial because it is hostile to the order and happiness of society.--We will concede, for the sake of argument, more to you than the truth will warrant, that you can use ardent spirits without injury to your own health and happiness Then suppose an article of most active and deleterious qualities, used by you with perfect impunity, you knew was a baneful poison to others--was indeed a fruitful source of disease, as dreadful and destructive as the Cholera of India, which is now scourging Europe--would you not deny yourself the use of this article, even though it were a luxury, in order to benefit so immensely numerous a portion of your fellow creatures? Nay, would you not entreat them to abstain from its use, earnestly exclaiming, 'If you whom it kills and ruins to use this powerful liquid, will abstain from it. I, who
can use it with safety, will never permit another drop of it to touch my lips!' It is obvious that this generous self denying conduct is the very foundation stone of Temperance Societies. The temperate deny themselves to set a good example before the intemperate--they drink not and dash the poisoned bowl from the lips of others--they avoid the infected district and endeavor to persuade all others to do so; and thus the plague, whether moral or physical, is stayed; and health, peace and happiness again pervades the community.
Another objection, and the last I shall notice, is a scrupulons affectation on the part of some, and a real aversion on the part of others, to take on themselves any voluntary obligation. To those who are conscientious in their scruples on this subject, it may be well to state, that as soon as they find the obligation injurious to their health or happiness, or to the best interests of society, they may honorably be absolved from their pledge.
These are among the most prominent objections which I have deemed worthy of notice or refutation. Many others doubtless might be urged, but none of them can stand the test of reason or of expediency, or the application of any of the grand principles of true philanthropy and virtue. They sink into insignificance and contempt in view of the noble efforts to hail society 'redeemed, regenerate and disenthralled.'
It is the sacred duty of every person of mature age and intellect, to co-operate in this glorious cause: of the divine, the moralist, the sage, the physician, the father, the mother, the son and the daughter. It is the imperative duty of the divine, as 'no drunkard' has any promise of ever becoming a proselyte to the gospel of the cross; of parents, because sons may be left by them in affluence or competence, who, unless their moral principles are fixed, and their habits sober, will be the mark of every scoundrel, adept and adventurer. An inexperienced youth, heated by the intoxicating bowl, falls an easy prey to the devices of a cool sharper or a cozening villain. If they have daughters, the misfortune of marryiug a drunken husband will be the worst of all earthly calamities!--I repeat it, the worst of all earthly calamities!
In a subsequent Lecture I propose to inculcate on the youth of this country, the duty of cultivating Temperance.