« PreviousContinue »
of judging whether an animal or a vegetarian diet is best; and from my long and unaltered experience, I am thoroughly convinced that a vegetarian diet is greatly superior.
Among other advantages to be derived from a discontinuance of the use of animal food and the adoption of a vegetarian diet, my experience has satisfied me of the following:-that the poor can live happier and cheaper; the working man can perform his labour with more pleasure and with less exhaustion; that there is not one iota of detraction from gustatory delight; that children thrive better and are more healthy, being far less predisposed to epidemics, whilst they are at the same time full of life and cheerful vigour; that the animal propensities can be more easily governed; that the mind can dwell on one subject for a greater length of time without fatigue; that the thinking faculties are more vigorous and healthy; and that the finer sensibilities of the soul are elevated to a higher standard.
Although my occupation is a trying one, and to make it sufficiently remunerative I have been obliged during the last thirteen years, with callous hands. to work with both body and mind, up early and late, leaving no stone unturned likely to produce the smallest comfort, with a pedestrian speed passing everyone, not stumbling over straws nor creating unnecessary difficulties, but having an object in view, determined to use every legitimate means to accomplish it; and although 43 years of age, with a wife and eight children, the eldest 21 years, the youngest 18 months, my late employer, for whom I worked sixteen years, told me when I left him, that I had done more work on his premises than any other man that he ever had or ever should have. I feel as young as ever, but I am indebted to the vegetable kingdom alone for the health and vigour which I so happily possess.
But there is a difficulty with some in unlearning old customs. This meat-eating practice is an old custom; but it becomes an antiquated error when dealt with im partially with the aid of science and reason.
Think, then, and investigate the subject, and try whether the system of diet advocated is not the best, and whether you cannot obtain a sufficient amount of nourishment from the vegetable kingdom, without having recourse to animal food. I know that difficulties will arise, especially in the shape of opposition from friends, some of whom will tell you that "Vegetarianism won't do!" So said a gentleman one day at a tea-table where oysters, and ham, and beef-sandwiches were indulged in with uncommon delight. And as the statement was made in my hearing, and at my expense, and in reply to observations put forth in relation to pure diet, I considered it my duty to reply: "I find from a long experience that Vegetarianism will do. And I am happy to inform parents especially, that the physical and mental progress of my children on vegetarian diet are convincing proofs that Vegetarianism will do. Lest any person who has to labour hard for his living should fall short of the blessings of its adoption, through fear of not being able to obtain sufficient nourishment from the vegetable kingdom to enable him to perform his accustomed daily work with equal energy and ease, I beg to state for the encouragement of such, that I have not been engaged half my time giving orders; nor with a pen behind my ear; nor standing at a counter of mahogany, serving out calico, ribbons, and silks; nor am I a black-coated gentleman, ensconced in a comfortable sinecure; but that I am familiar with fire and smoke, mould and dust, exposed frequently to the inclemencies of all weathers; and all who know me are perfectly satisfied that I am as well able to fulfil my calling now as I was thirteen years since, which is a convincing proof that Vegetarianism will do. And if individuals possessed of education and intelligence would only calmly and deliberately investigate the chemical and physiological bearings of the subject, they would undoubtedly be astonished at their discoveries of truth, as were some of the ablest men of the present day at the results of their own chemical analysis. And I question, if such were not the victims of prejudice, custom, and perverted taste, whether they would not soon be induced to give the principle a fair trial, and then experimentally find that Vegetarianism will do; and that the assertion that Vegetarianism won't do' is one only fit for a place in the vocabulary of popular errors."
I hope and trust that all who have given any attention to Vegetarianism will not be dissuaded from leaving off eating the flesh of animals as a necessary article of diet through hearing such proofless, groundless statements as the above; for I find my own experience to be no exception, but only a fair sample of many hundreds
more who have judiciously adopted a natural and pure diet. And since I have made use of vegetables, fruits, and farinacea (capable of a hundred varieties of preparation) in preference to the remains of the animal creation, with the contrast before my eyes I cannot but exclaim:
How much more delightful far
Is it to sit down and feast o'er nature's bounties,
Unalloyed with blood!
"Tis here our love-nature can indulge its reminiscences:
Since no holy principle is violated to produce such luscious repasts.
Repasts capable of eliciting the highest species of cultivated refinement; whilst at the same time they contain all the elements necessary to produce strength, health, and happiness.
Reviews and Notices of Books.
FALLACIES OF MR. G. H. LEWES
The Physiology of Common Life. By GEORGE HENRY LEWES, Author of "Sea-side
We cannot deny to this book the talent of cleverness, and as little can we admit its soundness or profundity. Of all books of its class it is the most unreliable; for it not only constantly mingles fact with hypothesis, placing them upon the same level, but, in all controverted points running against the prejudices of the author, it misrepresents the views which are intended to be negatived. We will again take for illustration the way in which he treats the theory of animal heat, and also the doctrine of the teetotalers, whose leading teachers are politely denounced as "shallow quacks," teaching for money-and this by a writer who writes professionally in favour of strong drink, and who, in a late number of the "Cornhill Magazine," has put forth as original views on " Biology" and the "Correlation of Forces," what in figure, fact, and argument may be found in a work of one of the temperance teachers published many years before!*
The Westminster Review" for July, 1860, in a notice of Mr. Lewes's views of the nervous system, contains a just rebuke:-"The discussion is so skilfully managed as invariably to persuade the uninformed that Mr. Lewes has the best of it; yet those who are qualified to criticise his criticisms would not find it difficult to expose at least as many weak points in his argument as he thinks he has detected in the scheme he opposes. We feel bound to call in question his authority, and to express our conviction that educated physiologists, not the uninstructed public, constitute the proper tribunal before whom such questions should be raised. We have ample reason for the belief that, in this country at least, there is not a single physiologist of repute who would not hold with us, either that Mr. Lewes is fundamentally wrong in his general principles, or that he uses his terms in such a different sense from that which physiologists have come to attach to them that the question becomes one of words rather than of things."
Mr. Lewes cannot deny that "an intimate relation subsists between respiration and animal heat," but he has four objections to the theory of Liebig. The first is based on the fact that, occasionally, a corpse has been found in a heated state. What then? No one argues that heat, under certain exceptional circumstances, may not be generated in an animal body out of the usual way by a rapid chemical change. That "waste" in factories, or coals in ships, should generate heat and flame by chemical decay does not alter the other fact that the usual way of obtaining warmth is by means of an organised system within the factory and the vessel, adapted to the graduated consumption of fuel. Second, it is objected that in lock-jaw the temperature rises, without increased respiration. Again, we ask, what then? No one has ever argued that the nervous system, in a diseased or excited state, may not originate an increased development of heat independent of its ordinary source, or arrest respiration, and thus accumulate heat. There are several conditions of this kind known very well, but these exceptions prove that there is a contrary rule both within and without their sphere. Third, it is objected that while female respiration is inferior, the temperature is hardly lower. This is the second objection in a new form, and is worthless. The influence of ovolution of course increases temperature relatively, notwithstanding respiration. In the fecundating process of plants, and the incubation of birds, &c., heat is increased from a special
See Works of DR. LEES, Vol. iii., Article on Biology.
cause, in like manner; but how can that negative the wider truth? Fourthly, the stormy petrel has a lower temperature than the domestic duck. M. Brown-Séquard attributes this to the better feeding of the duck; but lo! says Lewes, the mercury shows the duck to have a higher temperature than the goose. We wish he had told us whether it was the wild or stuffed one?
Mr. Lewes's attack on teetotalism is very much narrowed and modified, as compared with the notorious article in the "Westminster Review" of 1855-only fragments of which re-appear in the present volume. He gives up entirely to the tender mercies of Dr. Lees, that famous syllogism and definition "Food is force: alcohol is force: therefore alcohol is food!" And we are glad to see that the current number of that quarterly admits that the rile of science has now satisfactorily dissipated the views which it formerly put forth on the action of alcohol:-"The shallow quacks" turn out to be right, and the pretentious reviewer utterly and ridiculously wrong!
Still, the references made to teetotalism exhibit the most glaring examples of mis statement, which in a man of Mr. Lewes's culture we cannot attribute to blunder-they are purely sophistical.
He falsely imputes to the temperance men the doctrine that all dilutions of alcohol produce similar effects. What they say is, that alcoholics always produce a poisonous effect, differing in degree and manifestation, but still poisonous or abnormal. No one ever either said or meant that gin and beer produced the same exact effect upon the mucous-coat of the stomach; or that half-a-pint of ale produced apoplexy. But though dilution does certainly modify some of the effects of alcohol-indeed, taken purely it would kill at once-it yet remains true that its effects are abnormal. Now, Dr. Edward Smith, in the very latest experiments on the subject, arrives at the conclusion that while dilution or quantity modifies the intensity of alcoholic action, it does not alter its direction. We do not say WHATEVER is true of a quart of pure alcohol is true of a minim largely diluted, as Mr. Lewes dishonestly alleges; but we do say, with Dr. Smith, that the watered minim no more acts in the direction of food than the pure quart. Mr. Lewes charges teetotalers with "exaggerations," and manufactures, with equal conscientiousness, another temperance maxim-viz., "that moderation necessarily becomes excess." We need hardly say, that no teetotal manual contains any such distorted or ambiguous statement; and the cause must be very strong indeed which necessitates so accomplished a pleader as Mr. Lewes to resort to such misstatements in order to raise even the appearance of argument against it. The doctrine really held is one universally recognised in medical science-the tendency of narcotics to create an appetite for themselves, which cannot be satisfied by the original quantity. Mr. Lewes himself thus states and admits the truth more nakedly:-" He who drinks will drink again; and moderation oils the hinges of the gate leading to excess. Nobody doubts the danger. Terrible is the power of this tricksy spirit."
The alleged" exaggerations," it appears, then, are unsubstantiated fictions of the venal "shallow quacks" of literature, who play into the hands of a prejudiced public by misrepresenting arguments which they cannot confute. Mr. Lewes says that "the nerve-particles stimulated to-day will not be living to-morrow," when fresh alcohol is applied. But how is this? If beer or wine be taken at dinner and at supper, and at odd intervals between (and our argument concerns that daily use of alcohol which does produce drunkards - and against fact theory can avail nothing), it seems to be a connected series of nerve-particles which are affected; and upon such, it is admitted, the law must hold good. Like produces like, here as elsewhere; and the exhausted nerve-tissue cannot be the parent of a vigorous successor. Facts agree with this.
Let anybody try the experiment, who has been accustomed to abstain, of drinking a single pint of beer, and he will find that it produces a much stronger effect than formerly. Let him continue it daily, and he will find the effect wear off. The first pipe of tobacco makes sick; but on the following day it produces less sickness, in a week none at all. It is against such facts Mr. Lewes argues-to what purpose let our readers judge.
In fact, however, he knows the truth, and in another extract has stated it. "Every organism has an allotted amount of vitality, which it may expend in a shorter or a longer time, but which it cannot increase."
*Dr. Lees, in his "History of Alcohol," published in 1843, distinctly says, "It cannot be questioned that physiological experiments have demonstrated that nervous and mental conditions intimately affect the production of animal heat; lessening or increasing the quantity of carbonic-acid liberated, and of oxygen consumed," In the Discussion with Mr. Jeaffreson, in 1843, Dr. Lees thus stated the doctrine of the teetotaler: "Alcohol, mixed with water, does not operate differently from pure alcohol. The dilution may modify its degree of action, but it does not alter its kind of action. Our position is this: so far as alcohol operates at all, in any form, it operates as a poison." Dr. Edward Smith, seventeen years later, arrives at the same conclusion, as well as the French doctors. These say, in their remarkable work, that "facts establish, from a physiological point of view, a line of demarcation between alcohol and foods. These latter restore the forces, without the organism betraying, by disturbed functions or outward agitation, the labour of reparation, which is accomplished silently in the woof of the vital tissues. Alcohol, contrariwise, immediately provokes, even in a moderate dose, an excitement of the nervous system which extends through the entire economy. The celebrated Colonel Bernard, in his 25th lecture before the Faculty of Sciences, teaches the same doctrino" If prussic-acid, when pure, produces instant death, its destructive powers may be reduced by successive dilutions to the very lowest degree."
The "Westminster Review," in noticing Mr. Cooke's book on "The Seven Sisters of Sleep," says of opium, tobacco, hemp, &c., "Certain it is, that when any of these narcotics is habitually made use of, the system grows to it; so that the doses which would at first have been poisonous come to be tolerated with comparative impunity; but the converse result is no less certain, that when this accommodation has taken place, the system becomes so dependent upon its accustomed stimulus as to be most intolerant of its withdrawal. It is a pity some of the introductory pages should not have been devoted to a sober exposition of the remarkable properties which all these narcotics have in common; in particular, their tendency-which we hold to be the gravest objection to their habitual use even in moderation -to weaken the controlling and directing power of the will, and to render the individual who yields to their seductions, the slave either to a dreamy imaginativeness or of grosser passions."
Mr. Lewes's hypothesis of daily new-nerve particles will hardly get over these facts. However, the law is here stated in language almost identical with that of Dr. Lees, in the first volume of his "works," where the etiology of the passion for strong drinks is discussed. The great and good Dr. Channing has said of intemperance, that "the danger of this vice lies in its almost imperceptible approach. It comes with noiseless steps, and binds the first cords with a touch too light to be felt," but, alas! which does operate to a fatal end, though "the man of thought and genius detects no palsying poison in the draught which seems a spring of inspiration to intellect and imagination."
Mr. Lewes says:-"In compliance with the dictates of physiology and the custom of physiologists, we are forced to call alcohol food, and very efficient food too."
Fine words for the "groundlings," but what is their value? The "dictates of physiology" is a mere abstraction, and the "custom of physiologists," as Mr. Lewes's own book abundantly shows, can be quoted just as well for a legion of exploded errors as for a few ascertained truths. Besides it is not true that all physiologists do what is affirmed-call alcohol food; but it is true they call it poison. Even Mr. Lewes himself does so (with the sapient proviso, that when it is diluted poison, it is not poison). Professors Carpenter and Miller do not call it food. The great German physiologists, Lehmann and Moleschott, distinctly discard its claim to be ranked amongst the elements of normal human diet; and so do many of the distinguished American physiologists. But even were it true that it is the custom of physiologists to call alcohol food, that would not justify the conclusion that it is not poison. It might, for anything in the form of the proposition, be both; at any rate, the custom of classing it with poison, and calling it food, logically comes to that. For anything in the premises, it might be food in one respect, poison in another. But mark the second step in Mr. Lewes's tricksy reasoning. If it be not food, then neither is sugar food, nor any of the substances which do not enter into the composition of the tissues." But how does the fact that sugar will not make bone or flesh, prove that alcohol is not an irritant poison? Was ever a more glaring non sequitur committed? That spirit possesses a negative attribute of not-building up, or even the positive one of warming, cannot disprove the fact that it will waste nervous power, or unduly stimulate tissue, or preternaturally carbonise the blood, or alter the natural state of the corpuscles and discs, or cause men somehow to enjoy less health than if they abstained. The author, who begins by complaining of a want of discrimination in teetotalers, is thus guilty of lumping together all sorts of distinctions and differences.
Mr. Lewes may allege that the last statement cited was to meet the teetotal position that alcohol was not food, because it does not nourish; to which we reply, that, in this case, he is, by implication, again fabricating reasons, instead of dealing with those really held. Our position is, first, that alcoholic drinks are injurious; second, that alcohol cannot make tissue; third, that it cannot warm; and, therefore, not for one but three reasons, is not "food"-i. e. proper food, or food properly so called.
What, then, "forces" Mr. Lewes to call alcohol food?-even if it be "respiratory food" -i. e. fuel! Is it the absurd logic so often exposed, or is it fact? His implied fact will no better serve his turn than his reasoning; both being based on the absurd assumption that whatever has any one of the properties of something else, must be classed with that something! The logic is this:
Sugar and starch are combustible food;
Therefore, alcohol is combustible food.
This, again, is not only begging the thing to be proved, but it is putting a part for the whole. We deny that the idea of "combustibility" is equivalent to the idea of "food." By the same method we could prove any absurdity, as for example:
Wood is fuel;
Therefore, furniture is fuel.
Do we put our chairs and tables in the same category with our coal and wood? Do we even class still more combustible naphtha and turpentine with household fuel? Alcohol is the naphtha of the living house-only far more dangerous than the other.
Mr. Lewes's definition of food, then, is defective. That is not food which has only one of the properties of food: to be food it must have all the attributes of that class of substances. Now, the property of innocency, or physiological neutrality-or as Turner, Liebig, and Gregory call it, "indifference," and the fixed property of "satisfying," instead of creating" or "increasing" appetite,-are as essential a part of the complex notion of food or diet, as reason is a part of the notion "man.'
But is alcohol fuel?-if we are to call it food or fuel at all. "We deny this, on the ground of fact, not theory. In all normal states of the body the blood is charged with certain oleaginous and metamorphic compounds awaiting combustion by the action of oxygen inbreathed. Mr. Lewes admits that the fixed quantity of oxygen cannot do two things at viz. burn up both the oil and the alcohol. Now, if the alcohol unites with the oxygen, it must leave the normal oil unburnt. But this oil would have given out far more heat than alcohol can; and hence the blood would lose the difference, and retain waste matter which ought to have been expelled. In short, alcohol would rob the blood of its oxygen, and poison it at the same time.
Since our first review of this work, however, three months ago, the publication of the French work of Drs. Lallemand and Perrin in Paris, and the experiments of Dr. Edward Smith, of London, have caused the entire theory of the combustibility of alcohol in the blood to burst like a bubble; for ever refuting the notion that alcohol is in any sense food, and remitting it to the old teetotal category of NARCOTIC FOISONS, in company with chloroform, amylene, and sulphuric ether. It is also proved by the same experiments that neither Alcohol nor Tea are a "saving-box for the tissues," and that alcohol does not replace foodanother crotchet which our author greedily adopted from Professor Moleschott, and nicknamed "science."
Teetotalism in Harmony with the Bible. By the Rev. WILLIAM CAINE, M.A. Manchester: William Bremner. London: Job Caudwell, 335, Strand.
The Duty of Christians in Relation to the Temperance Movement. London: Alliance Depôt, 335, Strand. Leeds: H. W. Walker. Manchester: W. Bremner.
BOTH the above pamphlets will repay an attentive perusal. They are eminently Christian in spirit, object, and tendency; and they amply vindicate the scriptural basis and claims of total abstinence.
The Aberdeen Sanitary Reformer and Family Guide to Health. Manchester: W. Bremner. London: Partridge & Co.
WE hail this excellent monthly contemporary, whose career starts with our own, and whose aims tend much in the same direction. The third number (March 1861) contains articles on the health of our infant population; diseases and treatment; hooping cough; a common dietetic fallacy; how far, and by what means, can we be secured against fever infection? the young practitioner. The periodical is edited by the Rev. Alexander Munro, the proprietor of Loch-Head Hydropathic Establishment, near Aberdeen.
Co-operation. By M. D. HILL, Recorder of Birmingham. London: Printed by Emily Faithful & Co., Victoria Press, Great Coram-street, W.C.
THIS lucid and able paper is a communication to Lord Brougham, made by its author shortly after a visit to Rochdale, in August, 1860. The benefits, the difficulties, and the dangers of the co-operative system are wisely and faithfully pointed out. The writer concludes by saying: "I know of no institutions of such promise as co-operative societies to furnish you with an an equal amount of assistance in solving the high and glorious problem of life - the advancement of the greatest happiness of the greatest number."
TEN WAYS TO COMMIT SUICIDE.-Wearing thin shoes and stockings, and insufficient clothing in rainy weather; leading a lazy, excited, gambling life; sleeping on feathers in a 7 by 9 room; eating hot, stimulating food, too fast and at improper times; beginning with tea and coffee in childhood, and adding tobacco and spirits in due time; marrying in haste, and living in continual ferment thereafter; following unhealthy occupations to make money; taking bitters and confectionery; gormandizing between meals; giving way to passion, or keeping in a perpetual worry; going to bed at midnight, getting up at noon, and eating when you can catch it. To which may be added a recipe for killing children: paregoric, cordials, candy and rich cake, and when they are made sick thereby, mercury, tartar-emetic, castor oil, and sulphur.