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izing the perils of their practice, as if the poison had struck its roots into the very souls of its victims.
But the alcohol habit grows outward, as well as inward. We have seen that each gratification of the poison vice is followed by a depressing reaction. But this feeling of exhaustion is steadily progressive, and the correspondingly increased craving for a repetition of the stimulant dose forces its victim either to increase the quantity of the wonted tonic, or else to resort to a stronger poison. The experience of individual drunkards probably corresponds to the international development of the alcohol habit. Its first devotees contented themselves with moderate quantities of the milder stimulants—must, hydromel, and light beer. But such tonics soon began to pall, and the jaded appetite of the toper soon resorted to strong wines, to hard cider, and finally to brandy and rum. Others increased the quantity, and learned to drink horsepails full of beer, in which “diluted and harmless form” many German students manage to absorb a quart of alcohol per day. (Appendix I.)
“People sometimes wonder,” says Dr. Jennings, “why such and such men, possessing great intellectual power and firmness of character in other respects, can not drink moderately and not give themselves up to drunkenness. They become drunkards by laro fixed, immutable law. Let a man with a constitution as perfect as Adam’s undertake to drink alcohol, moderately and perseveringly, with all the caution and deliberate determination that he can command, and if he could live long enough he would just as certainly become a drunkard-get to a point where he could not refrain from drinking to excess—as he would go over Niagara Falls when placed in a canoe in the river above the falls and left to the natural operation of the current. And proportionately as he descended the stream would his alcoholic attraction for it increase, so that he would find it more and more difficult to get ashore, until he reached a point where escape was impossible.” (“Medical Reform,"
Now and then the votaries of the stimulant habit exchange their tonic for a stronger poison. Claude Bernard, the famous French pathologist, noticed that the opium vice recruits its female victims chiefly from the ranks of the veteran coffee drinkers. In Turkey, too, strong coffee has prepared the way for tobacco and opium. In Switzerland arsenic eaters have exchanged their kirschwasser for a more potent tonic. Many French and Russian hard drinkers have learned to prefer ether to brandy.
But no poison-vice can be cured by milder stimulants. The Beelzebub of alcohol does not yield to weaker spirits; hence the fallacy of the antidote plan. Nothing was formerly more common with temperance people of the compromise school than to comfort converted drunkards with stimulating drugs and strong coffee, in the hope that the organism might somehow be induced to acquiesce in the quid pro quo. That hope is a delusion. The surrogate may bring a temporary relief, but it can not satisfy the thirst for the stronger tonic, and only serves to perpetuate the stimulant diathesis—the poison-hunger, which will sooner or later revert to the wonted object of its passion. Unswerving loyalty to the pledge of the total abstinence plan is not at first the easiest, but eventually the surest way; for, even after weeks of successful resistance to the importunities of the tempter, a mere spark may rekindle the smothered flames. “What takes place in the stomach of a reformed drunkard ?” says Dr. Sewall—" the individual who abandons the use of all intoxicating drinks? The stomach, by that extraordinary self-restorative power of Nature, gradually resumes its natural appearance. Its engorged blood-vessels become reduced to their original size, and a few weeks, or months, will accomplish this renovation, after which the individual has no longer any suffering or desire for alcohol. It is nevertheless true, and should ever be borne in mind, that such is the sensibility of the stomach of the reformed drunkard, that a repetition of the use of alcohol in the slightest degree, and in any form, under any circumstances, revives the appetite; the bloodvessels again become dilated, and the morbid sensibility of the organ is reproduced.”
The use of any stimulating drug may rewaken the dormant propensity, and it will not change the result if the stimulant has been administered in the form of a medical prescription. Strong drink is a mocker, in disease as well as in health, and the road to the rum-shop leads through the dispensary as often as through the beer garden.
The logical conclusion of all these premises thus reveals the two-fold secret of the alcohol habit: the anomaly of its attractiveness and the necessity of its progressiveness, and we at last recognize the truth, that the road to intemperance is paved with mild stimulants, and that the only safe, consistent, and effective plan of reform is total abstinence from all stimulating poisons.
THE CAUSES OF INTEMPERANCE.
“The discovery of the cause is the discovery of the remedy."— Bichat.
The undoubted antiquity of the poison-vice has induced several able physiologists to assume the hygienic necessity of artificial stimulation. But the not less undoubted fact that there have been manful, industrious, and intelligent nations of total abstainers, would be an almost sufficient refutation of that inference, which is sometimes qualified by the assertion that the tonic value of alcoholic drinks is based upon the abnormal demands upon the vitality of races exposed to the vicissitudes of a rigorous climate and the manifold overstraining influences of an artificial civilization. For it can, besides, be proved that the alleged invigorating action of alcoholic drinks is an absolute delusion, and the pathological records of contemporary nations establish the fact that endemic increase of intemperate habits can nearly always be traced to causes that have no correlation whatever to the increased demands upon the physical or intellectual energies of the afflicted community. Potentially those energies have lamentably decreased among numerous races who once managed to combine nature-abiding habits with a plethora of vital vigor.