Will the Coming Man Drink Wine?

THE teetotalers confess their failure. After forty-five years of zealous and well-meant effort in the “cause,” they agree that people are drinking more than ever. Dr. R. T. Trall of New York, the most thoroughgoing teetotaler extant, exclaims : "Where are we to-day ? Defeated on all sides. The enemy victorious and rampant everywhere. More intoxicating liquors manufactured and drunk than ever before. Why is this?” Why, indeed! When the teetotalers can answer that question correctly, they will be in a fair way to gain upon the “enemy” that is now so “rampant.” They are not the first people who have mistaken a symptom of disease for the disease itself, and striven to cure a cancer by applying salve and plaster and cooling washes to the sore. They are not the first travellers through this Wilderness who have tried to extinguish a smouldering fire, and discovered, at last, that they had been pouring water into the crater of a volcano.

Dr. Trall thinks we should all become teetotalers very soon, if only the doctors would stop prescribing wine, beer, and whiskey to their patients. But the doctors will not. They like a glass of wine themselves. Dr. Trail tells us that, during the Medical Convention held at St. Louis a few years ago, the doctors dined together, and upon the table were “forty kinds of alcoholic liquors.” The most enormous feed ever accomplished under a roof in America, I suppose, was the great dinner of the doctors, given in New York, fifteen years ago, at the Metropolitan Hall. I had the pleasure on that occasion of seeing half an acre of doctors all eating and drinking at once, and I can testily that very few of them— indeed, none that I could discover — neglected the bottle. It was an occasion which united all the established barbarisms and atrocities of a public dinner, — absence of ladies, indigestible food in most indigestible quantities, profuse and miscellaneous drinking, clouds of smoke, late sitting, and wild speaking. Why not? Do not these men live and thrive upon such practices ? Why should they not set an example of the follies which enrich them ? It is only heroes who offend, deny, and rebuke the people upon whose favor their fortune depends ; and there are never many heroes in the world at one time. No, no, Dr. Trall! the doctors are good fellows ; but their affair is to cure disease, not to preserve health.

One man, it seems, and only one, has had much success in dissuading people from drinking, and that was Father Mathew. A considerable proportion of his converts in Ireland, it is said, remain faithful to their pledge ; and most of the Catholic parishes in the United States have a Father Mathew Society connected with them, which is both a teetotal and a mutual-benefit organization. In New York and adjacent cities the number of persons belonging to such societies is about twenty-seven thousand. On the anniversary of Father Mathew’s birth they walk in procession, wearing aprons, carrying large banners (when the wind permits), and heaping up gayly dressed children into pyramids and mountains drawn by six and eight horses. At their weekly or monthly meetings they sing songs, recite poetry, perform plays and farces, enact comic characters, and, in other innocent ways, endeavor to convince on-lookers that people can be happy and merry, uproariously merry, without putting a headache between their teeth. These societies seem to be a great and unmingled good. They do actually help poor men to withstand their only American enemy. They have, also, the approval of the most inveterate drinkers, both Catholic and Protestant. Jones complacently remarks, as he gracefully sips his claret (six dollars per dozen) that this total abstinence, you know, is an excellent thing for emigrants ; to which Brown and Robinson invariably assent.

Father Mathew used to administer his pledge to people who knell before him, and when they had taken it he made over them the sign of the cross. He did not usually deliver addresses; he did not relate amusing anecdotes ; he did not argue the matter; he merely pronounced the pledge, and gave to it the sanction of religion, and something of the solemnity of a sacrament. The present Father Mathew Societies are also closely connected with the church, and the pledge is regarded by the members as of religious obligation. Hence, these societies are successful, in a respectable degree ; and we may look, with the utmost confidence, to see them extend and flourish until a great multitude of Catholics are teetotalers. Catholic priests, I am informed, generally drink wine, and very many of them smoke ; but they are able to induce men to take the pledge without setting them an example of abstinence, just as parents sometimes deny their children pernicious viands of which they freely partake themselves.

But ive cannot proceed in that way. Our religion has not power to control a physical craving by its mere fiat, nor do we all yet perceive what a deadly and shameful sin it is to vitiate our own bodies. The Catholic Church is antiquity. The Catholic Church is childhood. We are living in modern times ; we have grown a little past childhood ; and when we are asked to relinquish a pleasure, we demand to be convinced that it is best we should. By and by we shall all comprehend that, when a person means to reform his life, the very first thing for him to do, — the thing preliminary and most indispensable, — will be to cease violating physical laws. The time, I hope, is at hand, when an audience in a theatre, who catch a manager cheating them out of their fair allowance of fresh air, will not sit and gasp, and inhale destruction till eleven P. M., and then rush wildly to the street for relief. They will stop the play; they will tear up the benches, if necessary ; they will throw things on the stage ; they will knock a hole in the wail; they will have the means of breathing, or perish in the struggle. But at present people do not know what they are doing when they inhale poison. They do not know that more than one half of all the diseases that plague us most,—scarlet fever, smallpox, measles, and all the worst fevers — come of breathing bad air. Not a child last winter would have had the scarlet fever, if all the children in the world had slept with a window open, and had had pure air to breathe all day. This is Miss Nightingale’s opinion, and there is no better authority. People are ignorant of these things, and they are therefore indifferent to them. They will remain indifferent till they are enlightened.

Our teetotal friends have not neglected the scientific questions involved in their subject; nor have they settled them. Instead of insulting the public intelligence by asserting that the wines mentioned in the Bible were some kind of unintoxicating slop, and exasperating the public temper by premature prohibitory laws, they had better expend their strength upon the science of the matter, and prove to mankind, it they can, that these agreeable drinks which they denounce are really hurtful. We all know that excess is hurtful. We also know that adulterated liquors may be. But is the thing in itself pernicious ? — pure wine taken in moderation ? good beer? genuine Old Bourbon ?

For one, I wish it could be demonstrated that these things are hurtful. Sweeping, universal truths are as convenient as they are rare. The evils resulting from excess in drinking are so enormous and so terrible, that it would be a relief to know that alcoholic liquors are in themselves evil, and to be always avoided. What are the romantic woes of a Desdemona, or the brief picturesque sorrows of a Lear, compared with the thirty years’ horror and desolation caused by a drunken parent ? We laugh when we read Lamb’s funny description of his waking up in the morning, and learning in what condition he had come home the night before by seeing all his clothes carefully folded. But his sister Mary did not laugh at it. He was all she had ; it was tragedy to her,— this self-destruction of her sole stay and consolation. Goethe did not find it a laughing matter to have a drunken wife in his house for fifteen years, nor a jest to have his son brought in drunk from the tavern, and to see him dead in his coffin, the early victim of champagne. Who would not like to have a clear conviction, that what we have to do with regard to all such fluids is to let them alone? I am sure I should. It is a great advantage to have your enemy in plain sight, and to be sure he is an enemy.

What is wine? Chemists tell us they do not know. Three fifties of a glass of wine is water. One fifth is alcohol. Of the remaining fifth, about one half is sugar. One tenth of the whole quantity remains to be accounted for. A small part of that tenth is the acid which makes vinegar sour. Water, alcohol, sugar, acid, — these make very nearly the whole body of the wine ; but if we mix these things in the proportions in which they are found in Madeira, the liquid is a disgusting mess, nothing like Madeira. The great chemists confess they do not know what that last small fraction of the glass of wine is, upon which its flavor, its odor, its value, its fascination, depend. They do not know what it is that makes the difference between port and sherry, but are obliged to content themselves with giving it a hard name.

Similar things are admitted concerning the various kinds of spirituous and malt liquors. Chemistry seems to agree with the temperance society, that wine, beer, brandy, whiskey, and rum are alcohol and water, mixed in different proportions, and with some slight differences of flavoring and coloring matter. In all these drinks, teetotalers, maintain, alcohol is power, the other ingredients being mere dilution and flavoring. Wine, they assure us, is alcohol and water flavored with grapes; beer is alcohol and water flavored with malt and hops ; Bourbon whiskey is alcohol and water flavored with corn. These things they assert, and the great chemists do not enable us drinkers of those seductive liquids to deny it. On the contrary, chemical analysis, so far as it has gone, supports the teetotal view of the matter.

What does a glass of wine do to us when we have swallowed it ?

We should naturally look to physicians for an answer to such a question ; but the great lights of the profession — men of the rank of Astley Cooper, Brodie, Abernethy, Holmes — all assure the public, that no man of them knows, and no man has ever known, how medicinal substances work in the system, and why they produce the effects they do. Even of a substance so common as Peruvian bark, no one knows why and how it acts as a tonic; nor is there any certainty of its being a benefit to mankind. There is no science of medicine. The “ Red Lane” of the children leads to a region which is still mysterious and unknown ; for when the eye can explore its recesses, a change has occurred in it, which is also mysterious and unknown : it is dead. Quacks tell us, in every newspaper, that they can cure and prevent disease by pouring or dropping something down our throats, and we have heard this so often, that, when a man is sick, the first thing that occurs to him is to “ take physic.” But physicians who are honest, intelligent, and in an independent position, appear to be coming over to the opinion that this is generally a delusion. We see eminent physicians prescribing for the most malignant fevers little but open windows, plenty of blankets, Nightingale nursing, and beef tea. Many young physicians, too, have gladly availed themselves of the ingenuity of Hahnemann, and satisfy at once their consciences and their patients by prescribing doses of medicine that are next to no medicine at all. The higher we go among the doctors, the more sweeping and emphatic is the assurance we receive that the profession does not understand the operation of medicines in the living body, and does not really approve their employment.

If something more is known of the operation of alcohol than of any other chemical fluid, — if there is any approach to certainty respecting it, — we owe it chiefly to the teetotalers, because it is they who have provoked contradiction, excited inquiry, and suggested experiment. They have not done much themselves in the way of investigation, but they Started the topic, and have kept it alive. They have also published a few pages which throw light upon the points in dispute. After going over the ground pretty thoroughly, I can tell the reader in a few words the substance of what has been ascertained, and plausibly inferred, concerning the effects of wine, beer, and spirits upon the human constitution. They cannot be nourishment, in the ordinary acceptation of that word, because the quantity of nutritive matter in them is so small. Liebig, no enemy of beer, says this : “ We can prove, with mathematical certainty, that as much flour or meal as can lie on the point of a table-knife is more nutritious than nine quarts of the best Bavarian beer ; that a man who is able daily to consume that amount of beer obtains from it, in a whole year, in the most favorable case, exactly the amount of nutritive constituents which is contained in a five-pound loaf of bread, or in three pounds of flesh.” So of wine ; when we have taken from a glass of wine the ingredients known to be innutritious, there is scarcely anything left but a grain or two of sugar. Pure alcohol, though a product of highly nutritive substances, is a mere poison, — an absolute poison, — the mortal foe of life in every one of its forms, animal and vegetable. If, therefore, these beverages do us good, it is not by supplying the body with nourishment.

Nor can they aid digestion by assisting to decompose food. When we have taken too much shad for breakfast, we find that a wineglass of whiskey instantly mitigates the horrors of indigestion, and enables us again to contemplate the future without dismay. But if we catch a curious fish or reptile, and want to keep him from decomposing, and bring him home as a contribution to the museum of Professor Agassiz, we put him in a bottle of whiskey. Several experiments have been made with a view to ascertain whether mixing alcohol with the gastric juice increases or lessens its power to decompose food, and the results of all of them point to the conclusion that the alcohol retards the process of decomposition. A little alcohol retards it a little, and much alcohol retards it much. It has been proved by repeated experiment, that any portion of alcohol, however small, diminishes the power of the gastric juice to decompose. The digestive fluid has been mixed with wine, beer, whiskey, brandy, and alcohol diluted with water, and kept at the temperature of the living body, and the motions of the body imitated during the experiment ; but, in every instance, the pure gastric juice was found to be the true and sole digester, and the alcohol a retarder of digestion. This fact, however, required little proof. We are all familiar with alcohol as a preserver, and scarcely need to be reminded, that, if alcohol assists digestion at all, it cannot be by assisting decomposition.

Nor is it a heat-producing fluid. On the contrary, it appears, in all cases, to diminish the efficiency of the heat-producing process. Most of us, who live here in the North, and who are occasionally subjected to extreme cold for hours at a time, know this by personal experience ; and all the Arctic voyagers attest it. Brandy is destruction when men have to face a temperature of sixty below zero ; they want lamp-oil then, and the rich blubber of the whale and walrus. Dr. Rae, who made two or three pedestrian tours of the polar regions, and whose powers of endurance were put to as severe a test as man’s ever were, is clear and emphatic upon this point. Brandy, he says, stimulates but for a few minutes, and greatly lessens a man’s power to endure cold and fatigue. Occasionally we have in New York a cool breeze from the North which reduces the temperature below zero, —to the sore discomfort of omnibus-drivers and car-drivers, who have to face it on their way up town. On a certain Monday night, two or three winters ago, twenty-three drivers on one line were disabled by the cold, many of whom had to be lifted from the cars, and carried in. It is a fact familiar to persons in this business, that men who drink freely are more likely to be benumbed and overcome by the cold than those who abstain. It seems strange to us, when we first hear it, that a meagre teetotaler should be safer on such a night than a bluff, red-faced imbiber of beer and whiskey, who takes something at each end of the line to keep himself warm. It nevertheless appears to be true. A traveller relates, that, when Russian troops are about to start upon a march in a very cold region, no grog is allowed to be served to them ; and when the men are drawn up, ready to move, the corporals smell the breath of every man, and send back to quarters all who have been drinking. The reason is, that men who start under the influence of liquor are the first to succumb to the cold, and the likeliest to be frostbitten. It is the uniform experience of the hunters and trappers in the northern provinces of North America, and of the Rocky Mountains, that alcohol diminishes their power to resist cold. This whole magazine could be filled with testimony on this point.

Still less is alcohol a strength-giver. Every man that ever trained for a supreme exertion of strength knows that Tom Sayers spoke the truth when he said : “ I’m no teetotaler : but when I 've any business to do, there’s nothing like water and the dumb-bells.” Richard Cobden, whose powers were subjected to a far severer trial than a pugilist ever dreamed of, whose labors by night and day, during the corn-law struggle, were excessive and continuous beyond those of any other member of the House of Commons, bears similar testimony : “The more work I have had to do, the Inore I have resorted to the pump and the teapot.” On this branch of the subject, all the testimony is against alcoholic drinks. Whenever the point has been tested, — and it has often been tested, — the truth has been confirmed, that he who would do his very best and most, whether in rowing, lifting, running, watching, mowing, climbing, fighting, speaking, or writing, must not admit into his system one drop of alcohol. Trainers used to allow their men a pint of beer per day, and severe trainers half a pint; but now the knowing ones have cut off even that moderate allowance, and brought their men down to cold water, and not too much of that, the soundest digesters requiring little liquid of any kind. Mr. Bigelow, by his happy publication lately of the correct version of Franklin’s Autobiography, has called to mind the famous beer passage in that immortal work : “ I drank only water ; the other workmen, near fifty in number, were great guzzlers1 of beer. On occasion I carried up and down stairs a large form of types in each hand, when others carried but one in both hands.” I have a long list of references on this point; but, in these cricketing, boat-racing, prizefighting days, the fact has become too familiar to require proof. The other morning, Horace Greeley, teetotaler, came to his office after an absence of several days, and found letters and arrears of work that would have been appalling to any man but him. He shut himself in at ten, A. M., and wrote steadily, without leaving his room, till eleven, p. M.,—thirteen hours. When he had finished, he had some little difficulty in getting down stairs, owing to the stiffness of his joints, caused by the long inaction; but he was as fresh and smiling the next morning as though he had done nothing extraordinary. Are any of us drinkers of beer and wine capable of such a feat ? Then, during the war, when be was writing his history, he performed every day, for two years, two days’ work, — one, from nine to four, on his book ; the other, from seven to eleven, upon the Tribune; and, in addition, he did more than would tire an ordinary man in the way of correspondence and public speaking. I may also remind the reader, that the clergyman who, of all others in the United States, expends most vitality, both with tongue and pen, and who does his work with least fatigue and most gayety of heart, is another of Franklin’s “ water Americans.”

If, then, wine does not nourish us, does not assist the decomposition of food, does not warm, does not strengthen, what does it do ?

We all know that, when we drink alcoholic liquor, it affects the brain immediately. Most of us are aware, too, that it affects the brain injuriously, lessening at once its power to discern and discriminate. If I, at this ten, A. M., full of interest in this subject, and eager to get my view of it upon paper, were to drink a glass of the best port, Madeira, or sherry, or even a glass of lager-beer, I should lose the power to continue in three minutes ; or, if I persisted in going on, I should be pretty sure to utter paradox and spurts of extravagance, which would not bear the cold review of to-morrow morning. Any one can try this experiment. Take two glasses of wine, and then immediately apply yourself to the hardest task your mind ever has to perform, and you will find you cannot do it. Let any student, just before he sits down to his mathematics, drink a pint of the purest beer, and he will be painfully conscious of loss of power. Or, let any salesman, before beginning with a difficult but important customer, perform the idiotic action of “taking a drink,” and he will soon discover that his ascendency over his customer is impaired. In some way this alcohol, of which we are so fond, gets to the brain and injures it. We are conscious of this, and we can observe it. It is among the winedrinking classes of our fellow-beings that absurd, incomplete, and reactionary ideas prevail. The receptive, the curious, the candid, the trustworthy brains, — those that do not take things for granted, and yet are ever open to conviction, — such heads are to be found on the shoulders of men who drink little or none of these seductive fluids. How we all wondered that England should think so erroneously, and adhere to its errors so obstinately, during our late war! Mr. Gladstone has in part explained the mystery. The adults of England, he said, in his famous wine speech, drink, on an average, three hundred quarts of beer each per annum ! Now, it is physically impossible for a human brain, muddled every day with a quart of beer, to correctly hold correct opinions, or appropriate pure knowledge. Compare the conversation of a group of Vermont farmers, gathered on the stoop of a country store on a rainy afternoon, with that which you may hear in the farmers’ room of a market-town inn in England ! The advantage is not wholly with the Vermonters ; by no means, for there is much in human nature besides the brain and the things of the brain. But in this one particular — in the topics of conversation, in the interest manifested in large and important subjects — the water-drinking Vermonters are to the beer-drinking Englishmen what Franklin was to the London printers. It is beyond the capacity of a well-beered brain even to read the pamphlet on Liberty and Necessity which Franklin wrote in those times.

The few experiments which have been made, with a view to trace the course of alcohol in the living system, all confirm what all drinkers feel, that it is to the brain alcohol hurries when it has passed the lips. Some innocent dogs have suffered and died in this investigation. Dr. Percy, a British physician, records, that he injected two ounces and a half of alcohol into the stomach of a dog, which caused its almost instant death. The dog dropped very much as he would if lie had been struck upon the head with a club. The experimenter, without a moment’s unnecessary delay, removed the animal’s brain, subjected it to distillation, and extracted from it a surprising quantity of alcohol, — a larger proportion than he could distil from the blood or liver. The alcohol seemed to have rushed to the brain; it was a blow upon the head which killed the dog. Dr. Percy introduced into the stomachs of other dogs smaller quantities of alcohol, not sufficient to cause death ; but upon killing the dogs, and subjecting the brain, the blood, the bile, the liver, and other portions of the body, to distillation, he invariably found more alcohol in the brain than in the same weight of other organs. He injected alcohol into the blood of dogs, which caused death ; but the deadly effect was produced, not upon the substance of the blood, but upon the brain. His experiments go far toward explaining why the drinking of alcoholic liquors does not sensibly retard digestion. It seems that, when we take wine at dinner, the alcohol does not remain in the stomach, but is immediately absorbed into the blood, and swiftly conveyed to the brain and other organs. If one of those "four-bottle men ” of the last generation had fallen down dead, after boozing till past midnight, and he had been treated as Dr. Percy treated the dogs, his brain, his liver, and all the other centres of power, would have yielded alcohol in abundance ; his blood would have smelt of it; his flesh would have contained it; but there would have been very little in the stomach. Those men were able to drink four, six, and seven bottles of wine at a sitting, because the sitting lasted four, six, and seven hours, which gave time for the alcohol to be distributed over the system. But instances have occurred of laboring men who have kept themselves steadily drunk for forty-eight hours, and then died. The bodies of two such were dissected some years ago in England, and the food which they had eaten at the beginning of the debauch was undigested. It had been preserved in alcohol as we preserve snakes.

Once, and only once, in the lifetime of man, an intelligent human eye has been able to look into the living stomach, and watch the process of digestion. In 1822, at the United States military post of Michilimackinac, Alexis St. Martin, a Canadian of French extraction, received accidentally a heavy charge of duck-shot in his side, while he was standing one yard from the muzzle of the gun. The wound was frightful. One of the lungs protruded, and from an enormous aperture in the stomach the food recently eaten was oozing. Dr. William Beaumont, U. S. A., the surgeon of the post, was notified, and dressed the wound. In exactly one year from that day the young man was well enough to get out of doors, and walk about the fort; and he continued to improve in health and strength, until he was as strong and hardy as most of his race. He married, became the father of a large family, and performed for many years the laborious duties appertaining to an officer’s servant at a frontier post. But the aperture into the stomach never closed, and the patient would not submit to the painful operation by which such wounds are sometimes closed artificially. He wore a compress arranged by the doctor, without which his dinner was not safe after he had eaten it.

By a most blessed chance it happened that this Dr. William Beaumont, stationed there on the outskirts of creation, was an intelligent, inquisitive human being, who perceived all the value of the opportunity afforded him by this unique event. He set about improving that opportunity. He took the young man into his service, and, at intervals, for eight years, he experimented upon him. He alone among the sons of men has seen liquid flowing into the stomach of a living person while yet the vessel was at the drinker’s lips. Through the aperture (which remained two and a half inches in circumference) he could watch the entire operation of digestion, and he did so hundreds of times. If the man’s stomach ached, he could look into it and see what was the matter ; and, having found out, he would drop a rectifying pill into the aperture. He ascertained the time it takes to digest each of the articles of food commonly eaten, and the effects of all the usual errors in eating and drinking. In 1833 he published a thin volume, at Plattsburg on Lake Champlain, in which the results of thousands of experiments and observations were only too briefly stated. He appears not to have heard of teetotalism, and hence all that he says upon the effects of alcoholic liquors is free from the suspicion which the arrogance and extravagance of some teetotalers have thrown over much that has been published on this subject. With a mind unbiassed, Dr. Beaumont, peering into the stomach of this stout Canadian, notices that a glass of brandy causes the coats of that organ to assume the same inflamed appearance as when he had been very angry, or much frightened, or had overeaten, or had had the flow of perspiration suddenly checked. In other words, brandy played the part of a foe in his system, not that of a friend; it produced effects which were morbid, not healthy. Nor did it make any material difference whether St. Martin drank brandy, whiskey, wine, cider, or beer, except so far as one was stronger than the other.

“Simple water,” says Dr. Beaumont, “is perhaps the only fluid that is called for by the wants of the economy. The artificial drinks are probably all more or less injurious ; some more so than others, but none can claim exemption from the general charge. Even tea and coffee, the common beverages of all classes of people, have a tendency to debilitate the digestive organs. The whole class of alcoholic liquors may be considered as narcotics, producing very little difference in their ultimate effects upon the system.”

He ascertained too (not guessed, or inferred, but ascertained watch in hand) that such things as mustard, horse-radish, and pepper retard digestion. At the close of his invaluable work Dr. Beaumont appends a long list of “ Inferences,” among which are the following: “That solid food of a certain texture is easier of digestion than fluid; that stimulating condiments are injurious to the healthy system ; that the use of ardent spirits always produces disease of the stomach if persisted in ; that water, ardent spirits, and most other fluids, are not affected by the gastric juice, but pass from the stomach soon after they have been received.” One thing appears to have much surprised Dr. Beaumont, and that was, the degree to which St. Martin’s system could be disordered without his being much inconvenienced by it. After drinking hard every day for eight or ten days, the stomach would show alarming appearances of disease; and yet the man would only feel a slight headache, and a general dulness and languor. If there is no comfort for drinkers in Dr. Beaumont’s precious little volume, it must be also confessed, that neither the dissecting-knife nor the microscope afford us the least countenance. All that has yet been ascertained of the effects of alcohol by the dissection of the body favors the extreme position of the extreme teetotalers. A brain alcoholized the microscope proves to be a brain diseased. Blood which has absorbed alcohol is unhealthy blood, — the microscope shows it. The liver, the heart, and other organs, which have been accustomed to absorb alcohol, all give testimony under the microscope which produces discomfort in the mind of one who likes a glass of wine, and hopes to be able to continue the enjoyment of it. The dissecting-knife and the microscope so far have nothing to say for us, —nothing at all : they are dead against us.

Of all the experiments which have yet been undertaken with a view to trace the course of alcohol through the human system, the most important were those made in Paris a few years ago by Professors Lallemand, Perrin, and Duroy, distinguished physicians and chemists. Frenchmen have a way of co-operating with one another, both in the investigation of scientific questions and in the production of literature, which is creditable to their civilization and beneficial to the world. The experiments conducted by these gentlemen produced the remarkable effect of causing the editor of a leading periodical to confess to the public that he was not infallible. In 1855 the Westminster Review contained an article by Mr. Lewes, in which the teetotal side of these questions was effectively ridiculed; but, in 1861, the same periodical reviewed the work of the French professors just named, and honored itself by appending a note in which it said : “ Since the date of our former article, scientific research has brought to light important facts which necessarily modify the opinions we then expressed concerning the rôle of alcohol in the animal body.”Those facts were revealed or indicated in the experiments of Messrs. Lallemand, Perrin, and Duroy.

Ether and chloroform, — their mode of operation ; why and how they render the living body insensible to pain under the surgeon’s knife ; what becomes of them after they have performed that office, — these were the points which engaged their attention, and in the investigation of which they spent several years. They were rewarded, at length, with the success due to patience and ingenuity. By the aid of ingenious apparatus, after experiments almost numberless, they felt themselves in a position to demonstrate, that, when ether is inhaled, it is immediately absorbed by the blood, and by the blood is conveyed to the brain. If a surgeon were to commit such a breach of professional etiquette as to cut off a patient’s head at the moment of complete insensibility, he would be able to distil from the brain a great quantity of ether. But it is not usual to take that liberty except with dogs. The inhalation, therefore, proceeds until the surgical operation is finished, when the handkerchief is withdrawn from the patient’s face, and he is left to regain his senses. What happens then ? What becomes of the ether ? These learned Frenchmen discovered that most of it goes out of the body by the road it came in at, — the lungs. It was breathed in ; it is breathed out. The rest escapes by other channels of egress ; it all escapes, and it escapes unchanged! That is the point; it escapes without having left anything in the system. All that can be said of it is, that it entered the body, created morbid conditions in the body, and then left the body. It cost these patient men years to arrive at this result ; but any one who has ever had charge of a patient that has been rendered insensible by ether will find little difficulty in believing it.

Having reached this demonstration, the experimenters naturally thought ot anplying the same method and similar apparatus to the investigation of the effects of alcohol, which is the fluid nearest resembling ether and chloroform. Dogs and men suffered in the cause. In the moisture exhaled from the pores of a drunken dog’s skin, these cunning Frenchmen detected the alcohol which had made him drunk. They proved it to exist in the breath of a man, at six o’clock in the evening, who had drunk a bottle of claret for breakfast at half past ten in the morning. They also proved that, at midnight, the alcohol of that bottle of wine was still availing itself of other avenues of escape. They proved that when alcohol is taken into the system in any of its dilutions, — wine, cider, spirits, or beer, — the whole animal economy speedily busies itself with its expulsion, and continues to do so until it has expelled it. The lungs exhale it; the pores of the skin let out a little of it; the kidneys do their part; and by whatever other road an enemy can escape it seeks the outer air. Like ether, alcohol enters the body, makes a disturbance there, and goes out of the body, leaving it no richer than it found it. It is a guest that departs, after giving a great deal of trouble, without paying his bill or “ remembering ” the servants. Now, to make the demonstration complete, it would be necessary to take some unfortunate man or dog, give him a certain quantity of alcohol, — say one ounce, — and afterwards distil from his breath, perspiration, &c., the whole quantity that he had swallowed. This has not been done ; it never will be done ; it is obviously impossible. Enough has been done to justify these conscientious and indefatigable inquirers in announcing, as a thing susceptible of all but demonstration, that alcohol contributes to the human system nothing whatever, but leaves it undigested and wholly unchanged. They are fully persuaded (and so will you be, reader, if you read their book) that, if you take into your system an ounce of alcohol, the whole ounce leaves the system within fortyeight hours, just as good alcohol as it went in.

There is a boy in Pickwick who swallowed a farthing. “Out with it,” said the father; and it is to be presumed — though Mr. Weller does not mention the fact — that the boy complied with a request so reasonable. Just as much nutrition as that small copper coin left in the system of that boy, plus a small lump of sugar, did the claret which we drank yesterday deposit in ours ; so, at least, we must infer from the experiments of Messrs. Lallemand, Perrin, and Duroy.

To evidence of this purely scientific nature might be added, if space could be afforded, a long list of persons who, having indulged in wine for many years, have found benefit from discontinuing the use of it. Most of us have known such instances. I have known several, and I can most truly say, that I have never known an individual in tolerable health, who discontinued the use of any stimulant whatever without benefit. We all remember Sydney Smith’s strong sentences on this point, scattered through the volume which contains the correspondence of that delicious humorist and wit. “ I like London better than ever I liked it before,” he writes in the prime of his prime (forty-three years old) to Lady Holland, “and simply, I believe, from water-drinking. Without this, London is stupefaction and inflammation.” So has New York become. Again, in 1828, when he was fifty-seven, to the same lady: “ I not only was never better, but never half so well ; indeed, I find I have been very ill all my life without knowing it. Let me state some of the goods arising from abstaining from all fermented liquors. First, sweet sleep ; having never known what sweet sleep was, I sleep like a baby or a plough-boy. If I wake, no needless terrors, no black visions of life, but pleasing hopes and pleasing recollections : Holland House, past and to come ! If I dream, it is not of lions and tigers, but of Easter dues and tithes. Secondly, I can take longer walks, and make greater exertions, without fatigue. My understanding is improved, and I comprehend political economy. I see better without wine and spectacles than when I used both. Only one evil ensues from it; I am in such extravagant spirits that I must lose blood, or look out for some one who will bore or depress me. Pray leave off wine: the stomach is quite at rest; no heartburn, no pain, no distention.”

I have also a short catalogue of persons who, having long lived innocent of these agreeable drinks, began at length to use them. Dr. Franklin’s case is striking. That “ water American,” as he was styled by the London printers, whose ceaseless guzzling of beer he ridiculed in his twentieth year, drank wine in his sixtieth with the freedom usual at that period among persons of good estate. “At parting,” he writes in 1768, when he was sixtytwo, “ after we had drank a bottle and a half of claret each, Lord Clare hugged and kissed me, protesting he never in his life met with a man he was so much in love with.” The consequence of this departure from the customs of his earlier life was ten years of occasional acute torture from the stone and gravel. Perhaps, if Franklin had remained a “ water American,” he would have annexed Canada to the United States at the peace of 1782. An agonizing attack of stone laid him on his back for three months, just as the negotiation was becoming interesting; and by the time he was well again the threads were gone out of his hands into those of the worst diplomatists that ever threw a golden chance away.

What are we to conclude from all this ? Are we to knock the heads out of all our wine-casks, join the temperance society, and denounce all men who do not follow our example ? Taking together all that science and observation teach and indicate, we have one certainty: That, to a person in good health and of good life, alcoholic liquors are not necessary, but are always in some degree hurtful. This truth becomes so clear, after a few weeks’ investigation, that I advise every person who means to keep on drinking such liquors not to look into the facts ; for if he does, he will never again be able to lift a glass of wine to his lips, nor contemplate a foaming tankard, nor mix his evening toddy, nor hear the pop and melodious gurgle of champagne, with that fine complacency which irradiates his countenance now, and renders it so pleasing a study to those who sit on the other side of the table. No ; never again ! Even the flavor of those fluids will lose something of their charm. The conviction will obtrude itself upon his mind, at most inopportune moments, that this drinking of wine, beer, and whiskey, to which we are so much addicted, is an enormous delusion. If the teetotalers would induce some rational being — say that public benefactor, Dr. Willard Parker of New York — to collect into one small volume the substance of all the investigations alluded to in this article, — the substance of Dr. Beaumont’s precious little book, the substance of the French professors’ work, and the others,—adding no comment except such as might be necessary to elucidate the investigators’ meaning, it could not but carry conviction to every candid and intelligent reader, that spirituous drinks are to the healthy system an injury necessarily, and in all cases.2

The Coming Man, then, so long as he enjoys good health, — which he usually will from infancy to hoary age, — will not drink wine, nor, of course, any of the coarser alcoholic dilutions. To that unclouded and fearless intelligence, science will be the supreme law; it will be to him more than the Koran is to a Mohammedan, and more than the Infallible Church is to a Roman Catholic. Science, or, in other words, the law of God as revealed in nature, life, and history, and as ascertained by experiment, observation, and thought, — this will be the teacher and guide of the Coming Man.

A single certainty in a matter of so much importance is not to be despised. I can now say to young fellows who order a bottle of wine, and flatter themselves that, in so doing, they approve themselves “jolly dogs ” : No, my lads, it is because you are dull dogs that you want the wine. You are forced to borrow excitement because you have squandered your natural gayety. The ordering of the wine is a confession of insolvency. When we feel it necessary to “ take something ” at certain times during the day, we are in a condition similar to that of a merchant who every day, about the anxious hour of half past two, has to run around among his neighbors borrowing credit. It is something disgraceful or suspicious. Nature does not supply enough of inward force. We are in arrears. Our condition is absurd, and, if we ought not to be alarmed, we ought at least to be ashamed. Nor does the borrowed credit increase our store ; it leaves nothing behind to enrich us, but takes something from our already insufficient stock ; and the more pressing our need the more it costs us to borrow.

But the Coming Man, blooming, robust, alert, and light-hearted as he will be, may not be always well. If, as he springs up a mountain-side, his foot slips, the law of gravitation will respect nature’s darling too much to keep him from tumbling down the precipice ; and, as he wanders in strange regions, an unperceived malaria may poison his pure and vivid blood. Some generous errors, too, he may commit (although it is not probable), and expend a portion of his own life in warding off evil from the lives of others. Fever may blaze even in his clear eyes ; poison may rack his magnificent frame, and a long convalescence may severely try his admirable patience. Will the Coming Man drink wine when he is sick? Here the testimony becomes contradictory. The question is not easily answered.

One valuable witness on this branch of the inquiry is the late Theodore Parker. A year or two before his lamented death, when he was already struggling with the disease that terminated his existence, he wrote for his friend, Dr. Bowditch, “ the consumptive history ” of his family from 1634, when his stalwart English ancestor settled in New England. The son of that ancestor built a house, in 1664, upon the slope of a hill which terminated in “ a great fresh meadow of spongy peat,” which was “always wet all the year through,” and from which “ fogs could be seen gathering towards night of a clear day.” 3 In the third generation of the occupants of this house consumption was developed, and carried off eight children out of eleven, all between the ages of sixteen and nineteen. From that time consumption was the bane of the race, and spared not the offspring of parents who had removed from the family seat into localities free from malaria. One of the daughters of the house, who married a man of giant stature and great strength, became the mother of four sons. Three of these sons, though settled in a healthy place and in an innoxious business, died of consumption between twenty and twenty-five. But the fourth son became intemperate, — drank great quantities of New England rum. He did not die of the disease, but was fifty-five years of age when the account was written, and then exhibited no consumptive tendency ! To this fact Mr. Parker added others : —

“ I. I know a consumptive family living in a situation like that I have mentioned for, perhaps, the same length of time, who had four sons. Two of them were often drunk, and always intemperate, — one of them as long as I can remember ; both consumptive in early life, but now both hearty men from sixty to seventy. The two others were temperate, one drinking moderately, the other but occasionally. They both died of consumption, the eldest not over fortyfive.

“2. Another consumptive family in such a situation as has been already described had many sons and several daughters. The daughters were all temperate, married, settled elsewhere, had children, died of consumption, bequeathing it also to their posterity. But five of the sons, whom I knew, were drunkards, — some, of the extremest description ; they all had the consumptive build, and in early life showed signs of the disease, but none of them died of it ; some of them are still burning in rum. There was one brother temperate, a farmer, living in the healthiest situation. But I was told he died some years ago of consumption,”

To these facts must be added one more woful than a thousand such, —that Theodore Parker himself, one of the most valuable lives upon the Western Continent, died of consumption in his fiftieth year. The inference which Mr. Parker drew from the family histories given was the following : “ Intemperate habits (where the man drinks a pure, though coarse and fiery, liquor, like New England rum) tend to check the consumptive tendency, though the drunkard, who himself escapes the consequences, may transmit the fatal seed to his children.”

There is not much comfort in this for topers ; but the facts are interesting, and have their value. A similar instance is related by Mr. Charles Knight ; although in this case the poisoned air was more deadly, and more swift to destroy. Mr. Knight speaks, in his Popular History of England, of the “careless and avaricious employers” of London, among whom, he says, the master-tailors were the most notorious. Some of them would “huddle sixty or eighty workmen close together, nearly knee to knee, in a room fifty feet long by twenty feet broad, lighted from above, where the temperature in summer was thirty degrees higher than the temperature outside. Young men from the country fainted when they were first confined in such a life-destroying prison ; the maturer ones sustained themselves by gin, till they perished of consumption, or typhus, or delirium tremens.” 4

To a long list of such facts as these could be added instances in which the deadly agent was other than poisoned air, — excessive exertion, very bad food, gluttony, deprivation. During the war I knew of a party of cavalry who, for three days and three nights, were not out of the saddle fifteen minutes at a time. The men consumed two quarts of whiskey each, and all of them came in alive. It is a custom in England to extract the last possible five miles from a tired horse, when those miles must be had from him, by forcing down his most unwilling throat a quart of beer. It is known, too, that life can be sustained for many years in considerable vigor, upon a remarkably short allowance of food, provided the victim keeps his system well saturated with alcohol. Travellers across the plains to California tell us that, soon after getting past St. Louis, they strike a region where the principal articles of diet are saleratus and grease, to which a little flour and pork are added ; upon which, they say, human life cannot be sustained unless the natural waste of the system is retarded by "preserving ” the tissues in whiskey. Mr. Greeley, however, got through alive without resorting to this expedient, but he confesses in one of his letters that he suffered pangs and horrors of indigestion.

All such facts as these — and they could be collected in great numbers — indicate the real office of alcohol in our modern life: It enables us to violate the laws of nature without immediate suffering and speedy destruction. This appears to be its chief office, in conjunction with its ally, tobacco. Those tailors would have soon died or escaped but for the gin ; and those horsemen would have given up and perished but for the whiskey. Nature commanded those soldiers to rest, but they were enabled, for the moment, to disobey her. Doubtless Nature was even with them afterwards ; but, for the time, they could defy their mother great and wise. Alcohol supported them in doing wrong. Alcohol and tobacco support half the modern world in doing wrong. That is their part — their rôle, as the French investigators term it — in the present life of the human race.

Dr. Great Practice would naturally go to bed at ten o’clock, when he comes in from his evening visits. It is his cigar that keeps him up till half past twelve, writing those treatises which make him famous, and shorten his lite. Lawyer Heavy Fee takes home his papers, pores over them till past one, and then depends upon whiskey to quiet his brain and put him to sleep. Young Bohemian gets away from the office of the morning paper which enjoys the benefit of his fine talents at three o’clock. It is two mugs of lagerbeer which enable him to endure the immediate consequences of eating a supper before going home. This is mad work, my masters ; it is respectable suicide, nothing better.

There is a paragraph now making the grand tour of the newspapers, which informs the public that there was a dinner given the other evening in New York consisting of twelve courses, and kept the guests five hours at the table. For five hours, men and women sat consuming food, occupying half an hour at each viand. What could sustain human nature in such an amazing effort ? What could enable them to look into one another’s faces without blushing scarlet at the infamy of such a waste of time, food, and digestive force ? What concealed from them the iniquity and deep vulgarity of what they were doing ? The explanation of this mystery is given in the paragraph that records the crime : “ There was a different kind of wine for each course.”

Even an ordinary dinner-party,— what mortal could eat it through, or sit it out, without a constant sipping of wine to keep his brain muddled, and lash his stomach to unnatural exertion. The joke of it is, that we all know and confess to one another how absurd such banquets are, and yet few have the courage and humanity to feed their friends in a way which they can enjoy, and feel the better for the next morning.

When I saw Mr. Dickens eating and drinking his way through the elegantly bound book which Mr. Delmonico substituted for the usual bill of fare at the dinner given by the Press last April to the great artist, —a task of three hours’ duration, — when, I say, I saw Mr. Dickens thus engaged, I wondered which banquet was the furthest from being the right thing, — the one to which he was then vainly trying to do justice, or the one of which Martin Chuzzlewit partook, on the day he landed in New York, at Mrs. Pawkins’s boarding-house. The poultry, on the latter occasion, “ disappeared as if every bird had had the use of its wings, and had flown in desperation down a human throat. The oysters, stewed and pickled, leaped from their capacious reservoirs, and slid by scores into the mouths of the assembly. The sharpest pickles vanished, whole cucumbers at once, like sugar-plums, and no man winked his eye. Great heaps of indigestible matter melted away as ice before the sun. It was a solemn and an awful thing to see.” Of course, the company adjourned from the dining-room to “the bar-room in the next block,” where they imbibed strong drink enough to keep their dinner from prostrating them.

The Delmonico banquet was a very different affair. Our public dinners are all arranged on the English system ; for we have not yet taken up with the fine, sweeping principle, that whatever is right for England is wrong for America. Hence, not a lady was present! Within a day’s journey of New York there are about thirty ladies who write regularly for the periodical press, besides as many more, perhaps, who contribute to it occasionally. Many editors, too, derive constant and important assistance, in the exercise of their profession, from their wives and daughters, who read books for them, suggest topics, correct errors, and keep busy editors in mind of the great truth that more than one half the human race is female. Mrs. Kemble, who had a treble claim to a seat at that table, was not many miles distant. Why were none of these gifted ladies present to grace and enliven the scene ? The true answer is : Wine and smoke ! Not our wine and smoke, but those of our British ancestors who invented public dinners. The hospitable young gentlemen who had the affair in charge would have been delighted, no doubt, to depart from the established system, but hardly liked to risk so tremendous an innovation on an occasion of so much interest. If it had been put to the vote (by ballot), when the company had assembled, Shall we have ladies or not ? all the hard drinkers, all the old smokers, would have furtively written “not” upon their ballots. Those who drink little wine, and do not depend upon that little ; those who do not smoke or can easily dispense with smoke, — would have voted for the ladies ; and the ladies would have carried the day by the majority which is so hard to get, — two thirds.

It was a wise man who discovered that a small quantity of excellent soup is a good thing to begin a dinner with. He deserves well of his species. The soup allays the hungry savage within us, and restores us to civilization and to one another. Nor is he to be reckoned a traitor to his kind who first proclaimed that a little very nice and dainty fish, hot and crisp from the fire, is a pleasing introduction to more substantial viands. Six oysters upon their native shell, fresh from their ocean home, and freshly opened, small in size, intense in flavor, cool, but not too cold, radiating from a central quarter of a lemon, — this, too, was a fine conception, worthy of the age in which we live. But in what language can we characterize aright the abandoned man who first presumed to tempt Christians to begin a repast by partaking of all three of these, — oysters, soup, and fish ? The object is defeated. The true purpose of these introductory trifles is to appease the appetite in a slight degree, so as to enable us to take sustenance with composure and dignity, and dispose the company to conversation. When a properly constituted person has eaten six oysters, a plate of soup, and the usual portion of fish, with the proper quantity of potatoes and bread, he has taken as much sustenance as nature requires. All the rest of the banquet is excess ; and being excess, it is also mistake ; it is a diminution of the sum-total of pleasure which the repast was capable of affording. But when Mr. Delmonico had brought us successfully so far on our way through his book ; when we had consumed our oysters, our cream of asparagus in the Dumas style, our kettle-drums in the manner of Charles Dickens, and our trout cooked so as to do honor to Queen Victoria, we had only picked up a few pebbles on the shore of the banquet, while the great ocean of food still stretched out before us illimitable. The fillet of beef after the manner of Lucullus, the stuffed lamb in the style of Sir Walter Scott, the cutlets à la Fenimore Cooper, the historic pâtés, the sighs of Mantalini, and a dozen other efforts of Mr. Deltnonico’s genius, remained to be attempted.

No man would willingly eat or sit through such a dinner without plenty of wine, which here plays its natural part, — supporting us in doing wrong. It is the wine which enables people to keep on eating for three hours, and to cram themselves with highly concentrated food, without rolling on the floor in agony. It is the wine which puts it within our power to consume, in digesting one dinner, the force that would suffice for the digestion of three.

On that occasion Mr. Dickens was invited to visit us every twenty-five years “ for the rest of his life,” to see how we are getting on. The Coming Man may be a guest at the farewell banquet which the Press will give to the venerable author in 1893. That banquet will consist of three courses ; and, instead of seven kinds of wine and various brands of cigars, there will be at every table its due proportion of ladies, the ornaments of their own sex, the instructors of ours, the boast and glory of the future Press of America.

Wine, ale, and liquors, administered strictly as medicine,—what of them? Doctors differ on the subject, and known facts point to different conclusions. Distinguished physicians in England are of the opinion that Prince Albert would be alive at this moment if no wine had been given him during his last sickness ; but there were formerly those who thought that the Princess Charlotte would have been saved, if, at the crisis of her malady, she could have had the glass of port wine which she craved and asked for. The biographers of William Pitt— Lord Macaulay among them — tell us, that at fourteen that precocious youth was tormented by inherited gout, and that the doctors prescribed a hair of the same dog which had bitten his ancestor from whom the gout was derived. The boy, we are told, used to consume two bottles of port a day ; and, after keeping up this regimen for several months, he recovered his health, and retained it until, at the age of forty-seven, the news of Ulm and Austerlitz struck him mortal blows. Professor James Miller, of the University of Edinburgh, a decided teetotaler, declares for wine in bad cases of fever; but Dr. R. T. Trall, another teetotaler, says that during the last twenty years he has treated hundreds of cases of fevers on the coldwater system, and “ not yet lost the first one”; although, during the first ten years of his practice, when he gave wine and other stimulants, he lost “about the usual proportion of cases.” The truth appears to be that, in a few instances of intermittent disease, a small quantity of wine may sometimes enable a patient who is at the low tide of vitality to anticipate the turn of the tide, and borrow at four o’clock enough of five o’clock’s strength to enable him to reach five o'clock. With regard to this daily drinking of wine and whiskey, by ladies and others, for mere debility, it is a delusion. In such cases wine is, in the most literal sense of the word, a mocker. It seems to nourish, but does not; it seems to warm, but does not ; it seems to strengthen, but does not. It is an arrant cheat, and perpetuates the evils it is supposed to alleviate.

The Coming Man, as before remarked, will not drink wine when he is well. It will be also an article of his religion not to commit any of those sins against his body the consequences of which can be postponed by drinking wine. He will hold his body in veneration. He will leel all the turpitude and shame of violating it. He will not acquire the greatest intellectual good by the smallest bodily loss. He will know that mental acquisitions gained at the expense of physical power or prowess are not culture, but effeminacy. He will honor a rosy and stalwart ignoramus, who is also an honest man, faithfully standing at his post ; but he will start back with affright and indignation at the spectacle of a pallid philosopher. The Coming Man, I am firmly persuaded, will not drink wine, nor any other stimulating fluid. If by chance he should be sick, he will place himself in the hands of the Coming Doctor, and take whatever is prescribed. The impression is strong upon my mind, after reading almost all there is in print on the subject, and conversing with many physicians, that the Coming Doctor will give his patients alcoholic mixtures about as often as he will give them laudanum, and in doses of about the same magnitude, reckoned by drops.

We drinkers have been in the habit, for many years, of playing off the wine countries against the teetotalers ; but even this argument fails us when we question the men who really know the wine countries. Alcohol appears to be as pernicious to man in Italy, France, and Southern Germany, where little is taken except in the form of wine, as it is in Sweden, Scotland, Russia, England, and the United States, where more fiery and powerful dilutions are usual. Fenimore Cooper wrote: “I came to Europe under the impression that there was more drunkenness among us than in any other country, — England, perhaps, excepted. A residence of six months in Paris changed my views entirely ; I have taken unbelievers with me into the streets, and have never failed to convince them of their mistake in the course of an hour.....On one occasion a party of four went out with this object; we passed thirteen drunken men within a walk of an hour, — many of them were so far gone as to be totally unable to walk.....In passing between Paris and London, I have been more struck by drunkenness in the streets of the former than in those of the latter.” Horatio Greenough gives similar testimony respecting Italy: “Many of the more thinking and prudent Italians abstain from the use of wine ; several of the most eminent of the medical men are notoriously opposed to its use, and declare it a poison. One fifth, and sometimes one fourth, of the earnings of the laborers are expended in wine.”

I have been surprised at the quantity, the emphasis, and the uniformity of the testimony on this point. Close observers of the famous beer countries, such as Saxony and Bavaria, where the beer is pure and excellent, speak of this delicious liquid as the chief enemy of the nobler faculties and tastes of human nature. The surplus wealth, the surplus time, the surplus force of those nations are chiefly expended in fuddling the brain with beer. Now, no reader of this periodical needs to be informed that the progress of man, of nations, and of men depends upon the use they make of their little surplus. It is not a small matter, but a great and weighty consideration, — the cost of these drinks in mere money. We drinkers must make out a very clear case in order to justify such a country as France in producing a billion and a half of dollars’ worth of wine and brandy per annum.

The teetotalers, then, are right in their leading positions, and yet they stand aghast, wondering at their failure to convince mankind. Mr. E. G. Delavan writes from Paris within these few weeks: “ When I was here thirty years since, Louis Philippe told me that wine was the curse of Franee; that he wished every grape-vine was destroyed, except for the production of food; that total abstinence was the only true temperance; but he did not believe there were fifteen persons in Paris who understood it as it was understood by his family and myself; but he hoped from the labors in America, in time, an influence would flow back upon France that would be beneficial. I am here again after the lapse of so many years, and, in place of witnessing any abatement of the evil, I think it is on the increase, especially in the use of distilled spirits.”

The teetotalers have always underrated the difficulty of the task they have undertaken, and misconceived its nature. It is not the great toe that most requires treatment when a man has the gout, although it is the great toe that makes him roar. When we look about us, and consider the present physical life of man, we are obliged to conclude that the whole head is sick and the whole heart is faint. Drinking is but a symptom which reveals the malady. Perhaps, if we were all to stop our guzzling suddenly, without discontinuing our other bad habits, we should rather lose by it than gain. Alcohol supports us in doing wrong! It prevents our immediate destruction. The thing for us to do is, to strike at the causes of drinking, to cease the bad breathing, the bad eating, the bad reading, the bad feeling and bad thinking, which, in a sense, necessitate bad drinking. For some of the teetotal organizations might be substituted Physical Welfare Societies.

The Human Race is now on trial for its life! One hundred and three years ago last April James Watt, a poor Scotch mechanic, while taking his walk on Sunday afternoon on Glasgow Green, conceived the idea which has made steam man’s submissive and untiring slave. Steam enables the fifteen millions of adults in Great Britain and Ireland to produce more commodities than the whole population of the earth could produce without its assistance. Steam, plus the virgin soil of two new continents, has placed the means of self-destruction within the reach of hundreds of millions of human beings whose ancestors were almost as sale in their ignorance and poverty as the beasts they attended. At the same time, the steam-engine is an infuriate propagator ; and myriad creatures of its producing — creatures of eager desires, thin brains, excessive vanity, and small self-control — seem formed to bend the neck to the destructive tyranny of fashion, and yield helplessly to the more destructive tyranny of habit. The steamengine gives them a great variety of the means of self-extirpation, — air-tight houses, labor-saving machines, luxurious food, stimulating drinks, highly wrought novels, and many others. Let all women for the next century but wear such restraining clothes as are now usual, and it is doubtful if the race could ever recover from the effects ; it is doubtful if there could ever again be a full-orbed, bouncing baby. Wherever we look, we see the human race dwindling. The English aristocracy used to be thought an exception, but Miss Nightingale says not. She tells us, that the great houses of England, like the small houses of America, contain greatgrandmothers possessing constitutions without a flaw, grandmothers but slightly impaired, mothers who are often ailing and never strong, daughters who are miserable and hopeless invalids. And the steam-engine has placed efficient means of self-destruction within reach of the kitchen, the stable, the farm, and the shop ; and those means of self-destruction are all but universally used.

Perhaps man has nearly run his course in this world, and is about to disappear, like the mammoth, and give place to some nobler kind of creature who will manage the estate better than the present occupant. Certainly we cannot boast of having done very well with it, nor could we complain if we should receive notice to leave. Perhaps James Watt came into the world to extinguish his species. If so, it is well. Let us go on, eating, drinking, smoking, over-working, idling, men killing themselves to buy clothes for their wives, wives killing themselves by wearing them, children petted and candied into imbecility and diphtheria. In that case, of course, there will be no Coming Man, and we need not take the trouble to inquire what he will do.

But probably the instinct of self-preservation will assert itself in time, and an antidote to the steam-engine will be found before it has impaired the whole race beyond recovery. To have discovered the truth with regard to the effects of alcohol upon the system was of itself no slight triumph of the selfpreserving principle. It is probable that the truly helpful men of the next hundred years will occupy themselves very much with the physical welfare of the race, without which no other welfare is possible.

  1. We owe to Mr. Bigelow the restoration of this strong Franklinian word. The common editions have it “drinkers.”
  2. The teetotal tracts and books abound in exaggeration. In a treatise which professes to be scientific I read such explosions as the following : “ Wilkes Booth, the cowardly murderer of the late President of the United States, when he saw his helpless victim in the box at the theatre, had not the cruelty to strike the blow; his better feelings overcame him, and, trembling with suppressed agony at the thought of becoming an assassin, he rushed into the nearest restaurant, crying out, — ‘Brandy ! Brandy ! Brandy !' Then, gulping down the hellish draught, it instantly poisoned his blood, tired up his brain, transformed his whole nature into that of a raging fiend ; and in this remorseless condition he shot down that noble - hearted President, — the nation’s great hope, — the people’s best friend. Then, what killed the President of the United States? I answer, ‘Brandy! Brandy! Brandy!’” Such falsehoods may provpke laughter, but cannot create conviction.
  3. Life and Correspondence of Theodore Parker. By John Weiss. Yol. II. p.513.
  4. Quoted by Governor Andrew, in his “Argument,” from Knight, Vol. VIII. p. 392.