Page images
PDF
EPUB

sumed — though Mr. Weller does not it; I am in such extravagant spirits mention the fact — that the boy com- that I must lose blood, or look out for plied with a request so reasonable. some one who will bore or depress me. Just as much nutrition as that small Pray leave off wine: the stomach is copper coin left in the system of that quite at rest; no heartburn, no pain, boy, plus a small lump of sugar, did no distention." the claret which we drank yesterday I have also a short catalogue of perdeposit in ours; so, at least, we must sons who, having long lived innocent infer from the experiments of Messrs. of these agreeable drinks, began at Lallemand, Perrin, and Duroy. length to use them. Dr. Franklin's

To evidence of this purely scientific case is striking. That “water Amerinature might be added, if space could can," as he was styled by the London be afforded, a long list of persons who, printers, whose ceaseless guzzling of having indulged in wine for many years, beer he ridiculed in his twentieth year, have found benefit from discontinuing drank wine in his sixtieth with the the use of it. Most of us have known freedom usual at that period among such instances. I have known several, persons of good estate. “At parting," and I can most truly say, that I have he writes in 1768, when he was sixtynever known an individual in tolerable two, “after we had drank a bottle and health, who discontinued the use of a half of claret each, Lord Clare hugged any stimulant whatever without bene- and kissed me, protesting he never in fit. We all remember Sydney Smith's his life met with a man he was so much strong sentences on this point, scattered in love with.” The consequence of through the volume which contains the this departure from the customs of his correspondence of that delicious hu- earlier life was ten years of occasional morist and wit. “I like London better acute torture from the stone and gravel. than ever I liked it before," he writes Perhaps, if Franklin had remained a in the prime of his prime (forty-three "water American,” he would have anyears old) to Lady Holland, “and sim- nexed Canada to the United States at ply, I believe, from water - drinking. the peace of 1782. An agonizing attack Without this, London is stupefaction of stone laid him on his back for three and inflammation.” So has New York months, just as the negotiation was become. Again, in 1828, when he was becoming interesting; and by the time fifty-seven, to the same lady: “I not he was well again the threads were only was never better, but never half gone out of his hands into those of the so well ; indeed, I find I have been worst diplomatists that ever threw a very ill all my life without knowing it. golden chance away. Let me state some of the goods arising What are we to conclude from all from abstaining from all fermented liq- this? Are we to knock the heads out uors. First, sweet sleep; having never of all our wine-casks, join the temperknown what sweet sleep was, I sleep ance society, and denounce all men like a baby or a plough-boy. If I wake, who do not follow our example ? Takno needless terrors, no black visions of ing together all that science and obserlife, but pleasing hopes and pleasing vation teach and indicate, we have one recollections : Holland House, past certainty: That, to a person in good and to come! If I dream, it is not of health and of good life, alcoholic liquors lions and tigers, but of Easter dues are not necessary, but are always in and tithes. Secondly, I can take some degree hurtful. This truth belonger walks, and make greater exer- comes so clear, after a few weeks' in. tions, without fatigue. My understand- vestigation, that I advise every person ing is improved, and I comprehend who means to keep on drinking such political economy. I see better with liquors not to look into the facts; for out wine and spectacles than when I if he does, he will never again be able used both. Only one evil ensues from to lift a glass of wine to his lips, nor contemplate a foaming tankard, nor mix lible Church is to a Roman Catholic. his evening toddy, nor hear the pop and Science, or, in other words, the law of melodious gurgle of champagne, with God as revealed in nature, life, and that fine complacency which irradiates history, and as ascertained by experihis countenance now, and renders it so ment, observation, and thought, - this pleasing a study to those who sit on will be the teacher and guide of the the other side of the table. No; never Coming Man. again! Even the flavor of those fuids A single certainty in a matter of so will lose something of their charm. much importance is not to be despised. The conviction will obtrude itself upon I can now say to young fellows who his mind, at most inopportune moments, order a bottle of wine, and flatter themthat this drinking of wine, beer, and selves that, in so doing, they approve whiskey, to which we are so much themselves “jolly dogs”: No, my lads, addicted, is an enormous delusion. If it is because you are dull dogs that the teetotalers would induce some ra- you want the wine. You are forced to tional being — say that public benefac- borrow excitement because you have tor, Dr. Willard Parker of New York squandered your natural gayety. The - to collect into one small volume the ordering of the wine is a confession substance of all the investigations al- of insolvency. When we feel it neluded to in this article, — the substance cessary to “take something” at certain of Dr. Beaumont's precious little book, times during the day, we are in a conthe substance of the French professors' dition similar to that of a merchant who work, and the others, — adding no com- every day, about the anxious hour of ment except such as might be neces- half past two, has to run around among sary to elucidate the investigators' his neighbors borrowing credit. It is meaning, it could not but carry con- something disgraceful or suspicious. viction to every candid and intelligent Nature does not supply enough of inreader, that spirituous drinks are to the ward force. We are in arrears. Our healthy system an injury necessarily, condition is absurd, and, if we ought and in all cases.*

not to be alarmed, we ought at least to The Coming Man, then, so long as he be ashamed. Nor does the borrowed enjoys good health, — which he usually credit increase our store ; it leaves will from infancy to hoary age, will nothing behind to enrich us, but takes not drink wine, nor, of course, any of something from our already insufficient the coarser alcoholic dilutions. To that stock; and the more pressing our need unclouded and fearless intelligence, the more it costs us to borrow. science will be the supreme law; it will But the Coming Man, blooming, robe to him more than the Koran is to a bust, alert, and light-hearted as he will Mohammedan, and more than the Infal- be, may not be always well. If, as he

* The teetotal tracts and books abound in exag- springs up a mountain-side, his foot geration, In a treatise which professes to be slips, the law of gravitation will rescientific I read such explosions as the following: "Wilkes Booth, the cowardly murderer of the late spect nature's darling too much to keep President of the United States, when he saw his him from tumbling down the precipice ; helpless victim in the box at the theatre, had not the and, as he wanders in strange regions, cruelty to strike the blow; his better feelings overcame him, and, trembling with suppressed agony at an unperceived malaria may poison his the thought of becoming an assassin, he rushed into pure and vivid blood. Some generous the nearest restaurant, crying out, - Brandy! Brandy! Brandy!' Then, gulping down the hellish

errors, too, he may commit (although draught, it instantly poisoned his blood, fired up his it is not probable), and expend a porbrain, transformed his whole nature into that of a tion of his own life in warding off evil raging fiend; and in this remorseless condition he from the lives of others. Fever may shot down that noble - hearted President, — the nation's great hope, – the people's best friend. blaze even in his clear eyes; poison Then, what killed the President of the United may rack his magnificent frame, and a Such falsehoods may provoke laughter, but cannot long convalescence may severely try his create conviction.

admirable patience. Will the Coming Man drink wine when he is sick ? Here other but occasionally. They both died the testimony becomes contradictory. of consumption, the eldest notover fortyThe question is not easily answered. five.

One valuable witness on this branch "2. Another consumptive family in of the inquiry is the late Theodore such a situation as has been already Parker. A year or two before his la- described had many sons and several mented death, when he was already daughters. The daughters were all struggling with the disease that termi- temperate, married, settled elsewhere, nated his existence, he wrote for his had children, died of consumption, befriend, Dr. Bowditch,“ the consumptive queathing it also to their posterity. But history" of his family from 1634, when five of the sons, whom I knew, were his stalwart English ancestor settled in drunkards, - some, of the extremest deNew England. The son of that an- scription ; they all had the consumptive cestor built a house, in 1664, upon the build, and in early life showed signs of slope of a hill which terminated in "a the disease, but none of them died of great fresh meadow of spongy peat,” it; some of them are still burning in which was “always wet all the year rum. There was one brother temperthrough," and from which “ fogs could ate, a farmer, living in the healthiest be seen gathering towards night of a situation. But I was told he died some clear day."* In the third generation of years ago of consumption.” the occupants of this house consump- To these facts must be added one tion was developed, and carried off eight more woful than a thousand such, — that children out of eleven, all between the Theodore Parker himself, one of the ages of sixteen and nineteen. From most valuable lives upon the Western that time consumption was the bane of Continent, died of consumption in his the race, and spared not the offspring of fiftieth year. The inference which Mr. parents who had removed from the fam- Parker drew from the family histories ily seat into localities free from malaria. given was the following: “Intemperate One of the daughters of the house, who habits (where the man drinks a pure, married a man of giant stature and great though coarse and fiery, liquor, like strength, became the mother of four New England rum) tend to check the sons. Three of these sons, though set- consumptive tendency, though the tled in a healthy place and in an innox- drunkard, who himself escapes the conious business, died of consumption be- sequences, may transmit the fatal seed tween twenty and twenty-five. But the to his children.” fourth son became intemperate, - drank There is not much comfort in this great quantities of New England rum. for topers; but the facts are interestHe did not die of the disease, but was ing, and have their value. A similar fifty-five years of age when the account instance is related by Mr. Charles was written, and then exhibited no con- Knight ; although in this case the poisumptive tendency! To this fact Mr. soned air was more deadly, and more Parker added others :

swift to destroy. Mr. Knight speaks, in “1. I know a consumptive family his Popular History of England, of the living in a situation like that I have men- “ careless and avaricious employers” tioned for, perhaps, the same length of of London, among whom, he says, the time, who had four sons. Two of them master-tailors were the most notorious. were often drunk, and always intem- Some of them would “huddle sixty or perate, - one of them as long as I can eighty workmen close together, nearly remember ; both consumptive in early knee to knee, in a room fifty feet long by life, but now both hearty men from sixty twenty feet broad, lighted from above, to seventy. The two others were tem- where the temperature in summer was perate, one drinking moderately, the thirty degrees higher than the tempera• Life and Correspondence of Theodore Parker.

ture outside. Young men from the By John Weiss. Vol. II. p. 513.

country fainted when they were first confined in such a life-destroying pris- enabled, for the moment, to disobey on; the maturer ones sustained them- her. Doubtless Nature was even with selves by gin, till they perished of con- them afterwards ; but, for the time, they sumption, or typhus, or delirium tre- could defy their mother great and wise. mens.” *

Alcohol supported them in doing wrong. To a long list of such facts as these Alcohol and tobacco support half the could be added instances in which the modern world in doing wrong. That is deadly agent was other than poisoned their part-their rôle, as the French air,- excessive exertion, very bad food, investigators term it — in the present gluttony, deprivation. During the war I life of the human race. knew of a party of cavalry who, for three Dr. Great Practice would naturally days and three nights, were not out of go to bed at ten o'clock, when he comes the saddle fifteen minutes at a time. in from his evening visits. It is his The men consumed two quarts of whis- cigar that keeps him up till half past key each, and all of them came in alive. twelve, writing those treatises which It is a custom in England to extract make him famous, and shorten his life. the last possible five miles from a tired Lawyer Heavy Fee takes home his horse, when those miles must be had papers, pores over them till past one, from him, by forcing down his most and then depends upon whiskey to unwilling throat a quart of beer. It is quiet his brain and put him to sleep. known, too, that life can be sustained Young Bohemian gets away from the for many years in considerable vigor, office of the morning paper which enupon a remarkably short allowance of joys the benefit of his fine talents at food, provided the victim keeps his sys- three o'clock. It is two mugs of lagertem well saturated with alcohol. Trav- beer which enable him to endure the ellers across the plains to California immediate consequences of eating a tell us that, soon after getting past St. supper before going home. This is Louis, they strike a region where the mad work, my masters; it is respectable principal articles of diet are saleratus suicide, nothing better. and grease, to which a little four and There is a paragraph now making pork are added; upon which, they say, the grand tour of the newspapers, human life cannot be sustained unless which informs the public that there the natural waste of the system is re- was a dinner given the other evening tarded by “preserving” the tissues in in New York consisting of twelve whiskey. Mr. Greeley, however, got courses, and kept the guests five hours through alive without resorting to this at the table. For five hours, men and expedient, but he confesses in one of women sat consuming food, occupying his letters that he suffered pangs and half an hour at each viand. What horrors of indigestion.

could sustain human nature in such an All such facts as these - and they amazing effort ? What could enable could be collected in great numbers — them to look into one another's faces indicate the real office of alcohol in our without blushing scarlet at the infamy modern life: It enables us to violate of such a waste of time, food, and dithe laws of nature without immediate gestive force? What concealed from suffering and speedy destruction. This them the iniquity and deep vulgarity of appears to be its chief office, in con- what they were doing? The explanajunction with its ally, tobacco. Those tion of this mystery is given in the tailors would have soon died or escaped paragraph that records the crime : but for the gin; and those horsemen “ There was a different kind of wine would have given up and perished but for each course." for the whiskey. Nature commanded Even an ordinary dinner-party, those soldiers to rest, but they were what mortal could eat it through, or

Quoted by Governor Andrew, in his "Argu- sit it out, without a constant sipping ment," from Knight, Vol. VIII. P. 392.

of wine to keep his brain muddled, and lash his stomach to unnatural exertion. sistance, in the exercise of their proThe joke of it is, that we all know and fession, from their wives and daughters, confess to one another how absurd such who read books for them, suggest topbanquets are, and yet few have the ics, correct errors, and keep busy edicourage and humanity to feed their tors in mind of the great truth that more friends in a way which they can enjoy, than one half the human race is female. and feel the better for the next morn- Mrs. Kemble, who had a treble claim to ing

a seat at that table, was not many miles When I saw Mr. Dickens eating and distant. Why were none of these gifted drinking his way through the elegantly ladies present to grace and enliven the bound book which Mr. Delmonico sub- scene ? The true answer is: Wine stituted for the usual bill of fare at the and smoke! Not our wine and smoke, dinner given by the Press last April to but those of our British ancestors who the great artist, a task of three hours' invented public dinners. The hospitaduration, -- when, I say, I saw Mr. Dick- ble young gentlemen who had the affair ens thus engaged, I wondered which in charge would have been delighted, banquet was the furthest from being no doubt, to depart from the established the right thing, - the one to which he system, but hardly liked to risk so trewas then vainly trying to do justice, or mendous an innovation on an occasion the one of which Martin Chuzzlewit of so much interest. If it had been put partook, on the day he landed in New to the vote (by ballot), when the comYork, at Mrs. Pawkins's boarding-house. pany had assembled, Shall we have The poultry, on the latter occasion, ladies or not? all the hard drinkers, “ disappeared as if every bird had had all the old smokers, would have furthe use of its wings, and had flown tively written "not" upon their ballots. in desperation down a human throat. Those who drink little wine, and do not The oysters, stewed and pickled, leaped depend upon that little ; those who do from their capacious reservoirs, and not smoke or can easily dispense with slid by scores into the mouths of the smoke, — would have voted for the laassembly. The sharpest pickles van- dies; and the ladies would have carried ished, whole cucumbers at once, like the day by the majority which is so hard sugar-plums, and no man winked his

to get, - two thirds. eye. Great heaps of indigestible matter It was a wise man who discovered melted away as ice before the sun. It that a small quantity of excellent soup was a solemn and an awful thing to is a good thing to begin a dinner with. see.” Of course, the company ad- He deserves well of his species. The journed from the dining-room to “the soup allays the hungry savage within us, bar-room in the next block," where and restores us to civilization and to they imbibed strong drink enough to one another. Nor is he to be reckoned keep their dinner from prostrating a traitor to his kind who first proclaimed them.

that a little very nice and dainty fish, hot The Delmonico banquet was a very and crisp from the fire, is a pleasing indifferent affair. Our public dinners are troduction to more substantial viands. all arranged on the English system; Six oysters upon their native shell, for we have not yet taken up with the fresh from their ocean home, and freshfine, sweeping principle, that whatever ly opened, small in size, intense in flavor, is right for England is wrong for Amer- cool, but not too cold, radiating from a ica. Hence, not a lady was present! central quarter of a lemon, — this, too, Within a day's journey of New York was a fine conception, worthy of the age there are about thirty ladies who write in which we live. But in what language regularly for the periodical press, be- can we characterize aright the abansides as many more, perhaps, who con- doned man who first presumed to tempt tribute to it occasionally. Many editors, Christians to begin a repast by partaktoo, derive constant and important as- ing of all three of these, — oysters,

« PreviousContinue »