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Title: An Essay on the Influence of Tobacco upon Life and Health
Author: Mussey, R. D. (Reuben Dimond), 1780-1866
Language: English
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*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "An Essay on the Influence of Tobacco upon Life and Health" ***

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                             BY R. D. MUSSEY, M. D.

                                Price ten cents.


                             BY R. D. MUSSEY, M. D.

          Professor of Anatomy and Surgery in the Medical Institution
          of New Hampshire, at Dartmouth College; Professor of Surgery
          and Obstetrics in the College of Physicians and Surgeons in
          the Western District of the State of New York; President of
           the New Hampshire Medical Society; Fellow of the American
              Academy of Sciences; and Associate of the College of
                          Physicians at Philadelphia.

                         PUBLISHED BY PERKINS & MARVIN.
                          PHILADELPHIA: HENRY PERKINS.


            Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1836,
                              By PERKINS & MARVIN,
         in the Clerk's Office of the District Court of Massachusetts.

                               ESSAY ON TOBACCO.

In the great kingdom of living nature, man is the only animal that seeks
to poison or destroy his own instincts, to turn topsy-turvy the laws of
his being, and to make himself as unlike, as possible, that which he was
obviously designed to be.

No satisfactory solution of this extraordinary propensity has been
given, short of a reference to that--

          "first disobedience and the fruit
  Of that forbidden tree, whose mortal taste
  Brought death into the world and all our wo,
  With loss of Eden."

While the myriads of sentient beings, spread over the earth, adhere,
with unyielding fidelity, to the laws of their several existences,
man exerts his superior intellect in attempting to outwit nature,
and to show that she has made an important mistake, in his own case.
Not satisfied with the symmetry and elegance of form given him by his
Creator, he transforms himself into a hideous monster, or copies upon
his own person, the proportions of some disgusting creature, far down
in the scale of animal being. Not content with loving one thing and
loathing another, he perseveres in his attempts to make bitter sweet,
and sweet bitter, till nothing but the shadow is left, of his primitive
relishes and aversions. This is strikingly exemplified in the habitual
use of the narcotic or poisonous vegetables.


Tobacco is generally regarded as having originated in America. Its name
appears to have been derived from _Tabaco_, a province of _Yucatan_, in
Mexico, from which place it is said to have been first sent to Spain;
or, as some assert, though with less probability, from an instrument
named _Tabaco_, employed in Hispaniola in smoking this article.

Cortez sent a specimen of it to the king of Spain in 1519. Sir Francis
Drake is said to have introduced it into England about the year 1560,
and, not far front the same time, John Nicot carried it to France; and
Italy is indebted to the Cardinal Santa Croce for its first appearance
in that country.

Traces of an ancient custom of smoking dried herbs having been observed,
it has been suggested that tobacco might have been in use in Asia, long
before the discovery of America. The fact, however, that this plant
retains, under slight modifications, the name of tobacco, in a large
number of Asiatic as well as European dialects, renders almost certain
the commonly received opinion, that it emanated from this country, and
from this single origin has found its way into every region of the
earth, where it is at present known. If this be the fact, the Western
hemisphere has relieved itself of a part of the obligation due to the
Eastern, for the discovery and diffusion of distilled spirit.

Early in the history of our country, the cultivation and use of
tobacco were by no means confined to central America. In Hawkins' voyage
of 1655, the use of this article in Florida is thus described: "The
Floridians, when they travele, have a kind of herbe dryed, which, with
a cane and an earthen cup in the end, with fire and the dryed herbes
put together, do sucke thorow the cane the smoke thereof, which smoke
satisfieth their hunger." Still earlier, viz. in 1535, Cartier found it
in Canada: "There groweth a certain kind of herbe, whereof in sommer,
they make great provision for all the yeere, making great account of it,
and onely men use it; and first they cause it to be dried in the sunne,
then weare it about their necks wrapped in a little beaste's skinne,
made like a little bagge, with a hollow peece of stone or wood like a
pipe; then when they please they make powder of it, and then put it in
one of the ends of said cornet or pipe, and laying a cole of fire upon
it, at the other end sucke so long, that they fill their bodies full of
smoke, till that it cometh out of their mouth and nostrils, even as out
of the tonnele of a chimney."

In Great Britain the progress of the custom of using tobacco was not
unobserved. The civil and ecclesiastical powers were marshalled against
it, and Popish anathemas and Royal edicts with the severest penalties,
not excepting death itself, were issued. In the reigns of Elizabeth, of
James and of his successor Charles, the use and importation of tobacco
were made subjects of legislation. In addition to his Royal authority,
the worthy and zealous king James threw the whole weight of his learning
and logic against it, in his famous 'Counterblaste to Tobacco.' He
speaks of it as being "a sinneful and shameful lust"--as "a branch of
drunkennesse"--as "disabling both persons and goods"--and in conclusion
declares it to be "a custome loathsome to the eye, hateful to the nose,
harmful to the brain, dangerous to the lungs, and in the black and
stinking fume thereof, nearest resembling the horrible Stigian smoke of
the pit that is bottomlesse."

In the English colonies of North America, it is no wonder that
legislation was resorted to, for the purpose of regulating the use of
this article, when it had become an object of so much value, as that
"one hundred and twenty pounds of good leaf tobacco" would purchase
for a Virginian planter a good and choice wife just imported from
England. In one of the provincial governments of New England, a law was
passed, forbidding any person "under _twenty-one_ years of age, or any
other, that hath not already accustomed himself to the use thereof, to
take any tobacko untill he hath brought a certificate under the hands
of some who are approved for knowledge and skill in phisick, that it
is useful for him, and also that hee hath received a lycense from the
Courte for the same. And for the regulating of those, who either by
their former taking it, have to their own apprehensions, made it
necessary to them, or uppon due advice are persuaded to the use

    "_It is ordered_, that no man within this colonye, after the
    publication hereof, shall take any tobacko publiquely in the
    streett, high wayes or any barne yardes, or uppon training dayes,
    in any open places, under the penalty of six-pence for each offence
    against this order, in any the particulars thereof, to bee paid
    without gainsaying, uppon conviction, by the testimony of one
    witness, that is without just exception, before any one magistrate.
    And the constables in the severall townes are required to make
    presentment to each particular courte, of such as they doe
    understand, and can evict to bee transgressors of this order."

In the old Massachusetts colony laws, is an act with a penalty for those,
who should "smoke tobacco within twenty poles of any house, or shall
take tobacco at any Inn or victualling house, except in a private room,
so as that neither the master nor any guest shall take offence thereat."

In the early records of Harvard University is a regulation ordering that
"no scholar shall take tobacco unless permitted by the President, with
the consent of his parents, on good reason first given by a physician,
and then only in a sober and private manner."

At a town-meeting in Portsmouth, N.H. in 1662, it was "ordered that
a cage be built, or some other means devised, at the discretion of the
Selectmen, to punish such as take tobacco on the Lord's day, in time
of publick service." But it does not appear that this measure had all
the effect intended, for, ten years afterwards, the town "voted that if
any person shall smoke tobacco in the meeting-house during religious
service, he shall pay a fine of five shillings for the use of the town."

But all these forces have been vanquished, and this one weed is the
conqueror. Regardless of collegial and town regulations, of provincial
laws, and of royal, parliamentary and papal power, tobacco has kept on
its way, till it has encircled the earth, and now holds in slavery a
larger number of human minds than any other herb.

                     _Effects of Tobacco upon Animal Life._

To the organs of smell and taste in their natural condition, it is one
of the most disgusting and loathsome of all the products of the
vegetable kingdom.[1]

[Footnote 1: This is proved by applying it to these organs in infancy,
among those children whose parents do not use tobacco. Caspar Hausser,
who was fed wholly on farinaceous food and water, from infancy to the
age of sixteen or seventeen years, was made sick to vomiting by walking
for a "considerable time by the side of a tobacco field."]

Dr. Franklin ascertained, that the oily material, which floats upon the
surface of water, upon a stream of tobacco smoke being passed into it,
is capable, when applied to the tongue of a cat, of destroying life in
a few minutes.

Mr. Brodie applied one drop of the empyreumatic oil of tobacco to the
tongue of a cat; it occasioned immediate convulsions and an accelerated
breathing. Five minutes after, the animal lay down on the side, and
presented, from time to time, slight convulsive movements. A quarter of
an hour after, it appeared recovered. The same quantity of the oil was
applied again, and the animal died in two minutes.

In December, 1833, aided by several gentlemen of the medical class, and
occasionally in the presence of other individuals, I made a number of
experiments upon cats and other animals, with the distilled oil of

                                 EXPERIMENT 1.

A small drop of the oil was rubbed upon the tongue of a large cat.
Immediately the animal uttered piteous cries and began to froth at
the mouth.

  In 1     minute the pupils of the eyes were dilated and the
                    respiration was laborious.
   " 2-1/2 do.    vomiting and staggering.
   " 4     do.    evacuations; the cries continued, the voice
                    hoarse and unnatural.
   " 5     do.    repeated attempts at vomiting.
   " 7     do.    respiration somewhat improved.

At this time a large drop was rubbed upon the tongue. In an instant
the eyes were closed, the cries were stopped, and the breathing was
suffocative and convulsed. In one minute the ears were in rapid
convulsive motion, and, presently after, tremors and violent convulsions
extended over the body and limbs. In three and an half minutes the
animal fell upon the side senseless and breathless, and the heart had
ceased to beat.

Slight tremors of the voluntary muscles, particularly of the limbs,
continued, more or less, for nineteen minutes after the animal was dead.
Those of the right side were observed to be more and longer affected
than those of the left.

Half an hour after death the body was opened, and the stomach and
intestines were found to be contracted and _firm_, as from a violent
and permanent spasm of the muscular coat. The lungs were empty and
collapsed. The left side of the heart, the aorta and its great branches
were loaded with black blood. The right side of the heart and the two
cavæ contained some blood, but were not distended. The pulmonary artery
contained only a small quantity of blood. The blood was every where

                                 EXPERIMENT 2.

A cat was the subject of this experiment. The general effects were very
much like those in the last, excepting, perhaps, that the oil operated
with a little less energy. This cat was said to have lived for several
years, in a room almost perpetually fumigated with tobacco smoke. The
history of the animal employed in Experiment 1, was unknown.

                                 EXPERIMENT 3.

Three drops of the oil of tobacco were rubbed upon the tongue of a
full-sized, but young, cat. In an instant the pupils were dilated and
the breathing convulsed; the animal leaped about as if distracted, and
presently took two or three rapid turns in a small circle, then dropped
upon the floor in frightful convulsions, and was dead in _two minutes_
and _forty-five_ seconds from the moment that the oil was put upon the

                                 EXPERIMENT 4.

To the tongue of a young and rather less than half-grown cat, a drop of
the oil of tobacco was applied. In fifteen seconds the ears were thrown
into rapid and convulsive motions,--thirty seconds fruitless attempts
to vomit. In one minute convulsive respiration; the animal fell upon the
side. In four minutes and twenty seconds violent convulsions. In five
minutes the breathing and the heart's motion had ceased. There was no
evacuation by the mouth or otherwise. The vital powers had been too
suddenly and too far reduced to admit of a reaction. The tremors, which
followed death, subsided first in the superior extremities, and in five
minutes ceased altogether. The muscles were perfectly flaccid.

                                 EXPERIMENT 5.

In the tip of the nose of a mouse, a small puncture was made with a
surgeon's needle, bedewed with the oil of tobacco. The little animal,
from the insertion of this small quantity of the poison, fell into a
violent agitation, and was dead in six minutes.

                                 EXPERIMENT 6.

Two drops of the oil were rubbed upon the tongue of a red squirrel. This
animal, so athletic as to render it difficult to secure him sufficiently
long for the application, was in a moment seized with a violent agitation
of the whole body and limbs, and was perfectly dead and motionless in
one minute.

                                 EXPERIMENT 7.

To the tongue of a dog rather under the middle size, five drops of the
oil of tobacco were applied. In forty-five seconds he fell upon the
side, got up, retched, and fell again. In one minute the respiration was
laborious, and the pupils were dilated. In two minutes the breathing was
slow and feeble, with puffing of the cheeks. In three minutes the pupils
were smaller but continually varying. The left fore leg and the right
hind leg were affected with a simultaneous convulsion or jerk,
corresponding with the inspiratory motions of the chest. This continued
for five minutes.

In nine minutes alimentary evacuations; symptoms abated; and the animal
attempted to walk. At ten minutes two drops of the oil were applied to
the tongue. Instantly the breathing became laborious, with puffing of
the cheeks; pupils much dilated. The convulsive or jerking motions of
the two limbs appeared as before, recurring regularly at the interval
of about two seconds, and exactly corresponding with the inspirations.
In twelve minutes the pupils were more natural; slight frothing at the
mouth, the animal still lying upon the side. At this time a drop of
the oil was passed into each nostril. The labor of the respiration was
suddenly increased, the jaws locked.

In twenty-two minutes no material change; the jaws were separated and
five drops of the oil were rubbed on the tongue. In one minute the
pupils were entirely dilated, with strong convulsions. In one and an
half minutes, in trying to walk, the animal fell. In three minutes the
eyes rolled up, and convulsions continued. In six minutes, the plica
semilunaris so drawn as to cover half the cornea. In seven minutes,
slight frothing at the mouth. In forty minutes the inspirations were
less deep, the convulsions had been unremitted, the strength failing.
From this time he lay for more than half an hour nearly in the same
state; the strength was gradually sinking, and as there was no prospect
of recovery, he was killed. In this case, the true apoplectic puffing of
the cheeks was present the greater part of the time.

       *       *       *       *       *

From the foregoing, and from additional experiments, which it is not
necessary to give in detail, it appeared, that when applied to a wound
made in the most sensitive parts of the integuments, the oil of tobacco,
though it caused a good deal of pain, had a far less general effect than
when applied to the tongue. Rats were less affected than cats. _Two_
and sometimes _three_ drops rubbed upon the tongue of a rat, did not
kill in half an hour.

_Three large_ drops rubbed upon the tongue of a full-sized cat, usually
caused death in from _three_ to _ten_ minutes, and in one instance,
already stated, in _two_ minutes and _forty-five_ seconds. One drop
passed into the jugular vein of a large dog, occasioned an immediate
cry, followed in a few moments by staggering, convulsive twitchings of
the voluntary muscles, and vomiting.

In those cases in which full vomiting occurred, evident relief followed.
Young animals suffered much more than those, which had come to their
full growth and vigor. In those animals, whose lives were suddenly
destroyed by the tobacco, no coagulation of the blood took place. The
bodies of several cats were examined the next day after death, and only
in a single instance was a slight coagulum observed; and this was in a
cat, whose constitution possessed strong powers of resistance, and whose
death was comparatively lingering.

It is not improbable, that the charge of inhumanity may be made against
experiments prosecuted upon defenceless animals, with a poison so
painful and destructive in its operation as tobacco; the justice of this
charge is freely admitted, if such experiments be made merely for the
gratification of curiosity, and not with the object and reasonable hope
of making them useful to mankind, and of influencing, at least, some
few individuals, to abandon the practice (humane can it be called?) of
administering this poison to themselves and their children, till it
occasions disease and death. Indeed, there are but few, who would
willingly witness more than a single experiment of this kind, with no
prospect of benefit to result from it.

When applied to sensitive surfaces of considerable extent, even in a
form somewhat dilute, tobacco often produces the most serious effects.
The tea of tobacco has been known to destroy the life of a horse, when
forced into his stomach to relieve indisposition. When used as a wash,
to destroy vermin upon certain domestic animals, tobacco tea has been
known to kill the animals themselves. A farmer not long since assured
me, that he had destroyed a calf in this manner.

"A woman applied to the heads of three children, for a disease of the
scalp, an ointment prepared with the powder of tobacco and butter; soon
after, they experienced dizziness, violent vomitings and faintings,
accompanied with profuse sweats." [Orfila.]

The celebrated French poet, Santeuil, came to his death through horrible
pains and convulsions, from having taken a glass of wine, with which
some snuff had been mixed.

The tea of twenty or thirty grains of tobacco introduced into the human
body, for the purpose of relieving spasm, has been known repeatedly to
destroy life.

The same tea, applied to parts affected with itch, has been followed by
vomiting and convulsions. The same article, applied to the skin on the
pit of the stomach, occasions faintness, vomiting, and cold sweats.

I knew a young man, who, only from inhaling the vapor arising from the
leaves of tobacco immersed in boiling water, was made alarmingly sick.

A medical friend assured me that he was once thrown into a state of
great prostration and nausea, from having a part of his hand moistened,
for a few minutes, in a strong infusion of tobacco.

Col. G. says, that during the late war, under hard service on the
Canadian frontier, the soldiers not unfrequently disabled themselves for
duty, by applying a moistened leaf of tobacco to the armpit. It caused
great prostration and vomiting. Many were suddenly and violently seized
soon after eating. On investigation, a tobacco leaf was found in the

Dr. M. Long, of Warner, N. H., writes me, under date of April 26, 1834,
that, on the 6th of May, 1825, he was consulted by Mrs. F. on account
of her little daughter L. F., then five years old, who had a small
ring-worm, scarcely three-fourths of an inch in diameter, situated upon
the root of the nose. Her object was to ascertain the Doctor's opinion,
as to the propriety of making a local application of tobacco in the
case. He objected to it as an exceedingly hazardous measure; and, to
impress his opinion more fully, related a case, a record of which he had
seen, in which a father destroyed the life of his little son, by the use
of tobacco spittle upon an eruption or humor of the head.

Immediately after the Doctor left the house, the mother besmeared the
tip of her finger with a little of the "_strong juice_" from the
grandmother's tobacco pipe, and proceeded to apply it to the ring-worm,
remarking, that "if it should strike to the stomach it must go through
the nose." The instant the mother's finger touched the part affected,
the eyes of the little patient were rolled up in their sockets, she
sallied back, and in the act of falling, was caught by the alarmed
mother. The part was immediately washed with cold water, with a view
to dislodge the poison. But this was to no purpose, for the jaws were
already firmly locked together, and the patient was in a senseless and
apparently dying state. The Doctor, who had stopped three-fourths of a
mile distant, to see a patient, was presently called in. The symptoms
were "coldness of the extremities, no perceptible pulse at the wrists,
the jaws set together, deep insensibility, the countenance deathly."
He succeeded in opening the jaws, so as to admit of the administration
of the spirits of ammonia and lavender; frictions were employed, and
every thing done, which, at the time, was thought likely to promote
resuscitation, but "it was an hour, or an hour and an half, before the
little patient was so far recovered as to be able to speak."

"Till this time," says Dr. S., "the child had been robust and healthy,
never having had but one illness that required medical advice; but,
since the tobacco experiment, she has been continually feeble and
sickly. The first four or five years after this terrible operation,
she was subject to fainting fits every three or four weeks, sometimes
lasting from twelve to twenty-four hours; and many times, in those
attacks, her life appeared to be in imminent danger. Within the last
three or four years, those turns have been less severe."

The foregoing facts serve to show, that tobacco is one of the most
active and deadly vegetable poisons known; it acts directly upon the
nervous power, enfeebling, deranging, or extinguishing the actions
of life. Is it possible, that the _habitual_ use of an article of so
actively poisonous properties can promote health, or indeed fail to
exert an injurious influence upon health? It will readily be admitted,
that the daily use of any article, which causes an exhaustion of the
nervous power, beyond what is necessarily occasioned by unstimulating
food and drink, and the ordinary physical agents, as heat, cold, light,
together with mental and corporeal exertion, &c., is not only useless
but hurtful, tending directly to produce disease and premature decay.
Such is tobacco. Ample evidence of this is furnished by a departure,
more or less obvious, from healthy action, in the organic, vital
movements of a large majority of tobacco consumers.

From the _habitual use_ of tobacco, in either of its forms of snuff,
cud, or cigar, the following symptoms may arise; a sense of _weakness_,
_sinking_, or _pain_ at the pit of the _stomach_; _dizziness_ or _pain_
in the _head_; occasional _dimness_ or _temporary loss of sight_;
_paleness_ and _sallowness_ of the _countenance_, and sometimes
_swelling_ of the _feet_; an _enfeebled state_ of the _voluntary
muscles_, manifesting itself sometimes by _tremors_ of the _hands_,
sometimes by _weakness_, _tremulousness_, _squeaking_ or _hoarseness_
of the _voice_, rarely a _loss_ of the _voice_; _disturbed sleep_,
_starting_ from the early _slumbers_ with a _sense_ of _suffocation_
or the feeling of _alarm_; _incubus_, or _nightmare_; _epileptic_ or
_convulsion fits_; _confusion_ or _weakness_ of the _mental faculties_;
_peevishness_ and _irritability_ of _temper_; _instability_ of
_purpose_; seasons of great _depression_ of the _spirits_; long _fits_
of unbroken _melancholy_ and _despondency_, and, in some cases, _entire_
and _permanent mental derangement_.[2]

[Footnote 2: I have recently seen two cases; one caused by the
excessive use of snuff, the other by the chewing of tobacco
and swallowing the saliva.]

The animal machine, by regular and persevering reiteration or habit,
is capable of accommodating itself to impressions made by poisonous
substances, so far as not to show signs of injury under a superficial
observation, provided they are slight at first, and gradually increased,
but it does not hence follow that such impressions are not hurtful.
It is a great mistake, into which thousands are led, to suppose that
every unfavorable effect or influence of an article of food, or drink,
or luxury, must be felt immediately after it is taken. Physicians often
have the opportunity of witnessing this among their patients.

The confirmed dyspeptic consults his physician for pain or wind in the
stomach, accompanied with headache or dizziness, occasional pains of the
limbs, or numbness or tremors in the hands and feet, and sometimes with
difficult breathing, disturbed sleep, and a dry cough, and huskiness of
the voice in the morning. The physician suggests the propriety of his
laying aside animal food for a time; but the patient objects, alleging
that he never feels so well as when he has swallowed a good dinner.
He is then advised to avoid spirit, wine, cider, beer, &c.; the reply
is, "it is impossible, that the little I take can do me hurt; so far
from that, it always does me good; I always feel the better for it.
I do not need any one to tell me about that." He is asked if he uses
tobacco. "Yes, I smoke a little, chew a little, and snuff a little."
You had better leave it off altogether, Sir. "Leave it off? I assure
you, Doctor, you know but little about it. If I were to leave off
smoking, I should throw up half my dinner." That might do you no harm,
Sir. "I see you do not understand my case, Doctor; I have taken all
these good things, for many years, and have enjoyed good health. They
never injured me. How could they have done so without my perceiving it?
Do you suppose I have lived so long in the world without knowing what
does me good, and what does not?" It would appear so, Sir, and you are
in a fair way to die, without acquiring this important knowledge.

The poor man goes away, in a struggle between the convictions of truth
and the overwhelming force of confirmed habit. Under the sustaining
power of a good constitution, and in the activity of business, he never
dreamed of injury from the moderate indulgence, as he regarded it, in
the use of stimulants, as spirit, wine, tobacco, &c., till the work was
done. His is the case of hundreds of thousands.

The vital principle, in the human body, can so far resist the
influences of a variety of poisons, slowly introduced into it, that
their effects shall be unobserved, till, under the operation of an
exciting or disturbing cause, their accumulated force breaks out, in the
form of some fearful or incurable disease. The poison, which comes from
vegetable decompositions, on extensive marshes and the borders of lakes,
after being received into the body, remains apparently harmless, in some
instances, a whole year, before it kindles up a wasting intermittent, or
a destructive bilious remittent fever.

Facts of this nature show, that pernicious influences may be exerted
upon the secret springs of life, while we are wholly unconscious of
their operation. Such is the effect of the habitual use of tobacco
and other narcotics, and of all stimulants which, like them, make
an impression upon the whole nervous system, without affording the
materials of supply or nutrition.

It is an alleged fact, that, previously to the age of forty years,
a larger mortality exists in Spanish America than in Europe. The very
general habit of smoking tobacco, existing among children and youth
as well as adults, it has been supposed, and not without reason, might
explain this great mortality. Like ardent spirits, tobacco must be
peculiarly pernicious in childhood, when all the nervous energy is
required to aid in accomplishing the full and perfect developement of
the different organs of the body, and in ushering in the period of
manhood. I once knew a boy, eight years of age, whose father had taught
him the free use of the tobacco cud, four years before. He was a pale,
thin, sickly child, and often vomited up his dinner.

To individuals of sedentary habits and literary pursuits, tobacco is
peculiarly injurious, inasmuch as these classes of persons are, in a
measure, deprived of the partially counteracting influence of air and
exercise. I have prescribed for scores of young men, pursuing either
college or professional studies, who had been more or less injured by
the habitual use of this plant.

In the practice of smoking there is no small danger. It tends to produce
a huskiness of the mouth, which calls for some liquid. Water is too
insipid, as the nerves of taste are in a half-palsied state, from the
influence of the tobacco smoke; hence, in order to be tasted, an article
of a pungent or stimulating character is resorted to, and hence the
kindred habits of smoking and drinking. A writer in one of the American
periodicals, speaking of the effect of tobacco, in his own case, says,
that smoking and chewing "produced a continual thirst for stimulating
drinks; and this tormenting thirst led me into the habit of drinking
ale, porter, brandy, and other kinds of spirit, even to the extent, at
times, of partial intoxication." The same writer adds, that "after he
had subdued his appetite for tobacco, he lost all desire for stimulating
drinks." The snufftaker necessarily swallows a part of it, especially
when asleep, by which means its enfeebling effects must be increased.

The opinion that tobacco is necessary to promote digestion is altogether
erroneous. If it be capable of soothing the uneasiness of the nerves
of the stomach, occurring after a meal, that very uneasiness has been
caused by some error of diet or regimen, and may be removed by other
means. If tobacco facilitate digestion, how comes it, that, after laying
aside the habitual use of it, most individuals experience an increase of
appetite and of digestive energy, and an accumulation of flesh?

It is sometimes urged, that men occasionally live to an advanced age,
who are habitual consumers of this article; true, and so do some men who
habitually drink rum, and who occasionally get drunk; and does it thence
follow that rum is harmless or promotes long life? All, that either fact
proves, is, that the poisonous influence is longer or more effectually
resisted, by some constitutions than by others. The man, who can live
long under the use of tobacco and rum, can live longer without them.

An opinion has prevailed in some communities, that the use of tobacco
operates, as a preservative against infectious and epidemic diseases.
This must be a mistake. Whatever tends to weaken or depress the powers
of the nervous system predisposes it to be operated upon, by the causes
of these diseases. If tobacco afford protection, in such cases, why does
it not secure those who use it, against cholera? In no communities,
perhaps, has that disease committed more frightful ravages, than where
all classes of persons are addicted to the free use of this article.
In Havana, in 1833, containing a stationary population of about _one
hundred and twenty thousand_, cholera carried off, in a few weeks, if
we may credit the public journals, _sixteen thousand_; and, in Matanzas,
containing a population of about _twelve thousand_, it was announced
that _fifteen hundred_ perished. This makes one-eighth of the population
in both places; and if, as in most other cities, the number of deaths,
as published in the journals, falls short of the truth, and a
considerable deduction be made from the whole population on account
of the great numbers who fled on the appearance of the disease, the
mortality will be still greater. In Havana, after the announcement of
the foregoing mortality, and after a subsidence of the epidemic, for
some weeks, it returned, and destroyed such numbers as to bring back the
public alarm. The degree, in which the practice of smoking prevails, may
be judged of by a fact, stated by Dr. Abbot in his Letters from Cuba,
namely, that, in 1828, it was then the common estimate, that, in Havana,
there was an average consumption of _ten thousand dollars' worth of
cigars in a day_.

Dr. Moore, who resides in the province of Yucatan, in Mexico, assures
me that the city of Campeachy, containing a population of _twenty
thousand_, lost, by cholera, in about thirty days, commencing early in
July, _four thousand three hundred and a fraction_, of its inhabitants.
This is a little short of one-fourth of the population; although Dr.
Moore says that the people of Campeachy make it as a common remark, "we
have lost one in four of our number." With reference to the habits of
the people in that part of Mexico, Dr. Moore says, "every body smokes
cigars. I never saw an exception among the natives. It is a common thing
to see a child of two years old learning to smoke."

The opinion, that the use of tobacco preserves the teeth, is supported
neither by physiology nor observation. Constantly applied to the
interior of the mouth, whether in the form of cud or of smoke, this
narcotic must tend to enfeeble the gums, and the membrane covering the
necks and roots of the teeth, and, in this way, must rather accelerate
than retard their decay. We accordingly find, that tobacco consumers are
not favored with better teeth than others; and, on the average, they
exhibit these organs in a less perfect state of preservation. Sailors
make a free use of tobacco and they have bad teeth.

The grinding surfaces of the teeth are, on the average, more rapidly
worn down or absorbed, from the chewing or smoking of tobacco for a
series of years; being observed in some instances to project but a
little way beyond the gums. This fact I have observed, in the mouths
of some scores of individuals in our own communities, and I have also
observed the same thing in the teeth of several men, belonging to the
Seneca and St. Francois tribes of Indians, who, like most of the other
North American tribes, are much addicted to the use of this narcotic.
In several instances, when the front teeth of the two jaws have been
shut close, the surfaces of the grinders, in the upper and lower jaw,
especially where the cud had been kept, did not touch each other, but
exhibited a space between them of one-tenth to one-sixth of an inch,
showing distinctly the effects of the tobacco, more particularly
striking upon those parts, to which it had been applied in its most
concentrated state.

The expensiveness of the habit of using tobacco is no small objection
to it. Let the smoker estimate the expense of thirty years' use of
cigars, on the principle of annual interest, which is the proper method,
and he might be startled at the amount. Six cents a day, according to
the Rev. Mr. Fowler's calculation, would amount to $3,529 30 cents; a
sum which would be very useful to the family of many a tobacco consumer
when his faculties of providing for them have failed.

Eighty thousand dollars' worth of cigars, it was estimated, were
consumed in the city of New York in 1810; at that rate the present
annual consumption would amount to more than _two hundred thousand
dollars_. The statement of Rev. Dr. Abbot, in his Letters from Cuba,
in 1828, already alluded to, is, that the consumption of tobacco,
in that Island, is immense. The Rev. Mr. Ingersoll, who passed the
winter of 1832-3 in Havana, expresses his belief that this is not an
overstatement, he says, "call the population 120,000; say half are
smokers; this, at a bit a day (i.e. 12-1/2 cents) would make between
seven and eight thousand dollars. But this is too low an estimate, since
not men only but women and children smoke, and many at a large expense."
He says, that "the free negro of Cuba appropriates a bit (i.e. 12-1/2
cents) of his daily wages, to increase the cloud of smoke that rises
from the city and country." This, in thirty years, would amount to
$7,058 72, a respectable estate for a negro, or even for a white man.

    The Rev. O. Fowler, from considerable
    attention to the statistics of tobacco
    consumption in the United States,
    estimates the annual cost at              $10,000,000
    The time lost by the use of it, at         12,000,000
    The pauper tax which it occasions, at       3,000,000

This estimate I must believe to be considerably below the truth. It has
been estimated, that the consumption of tobacco in this country is eight
times as great as in France, and three times as great as in England, in
proportion to the population.

The habit of using tobacco is uncleanly and impolite. It is uncleanly
from the foul odor, the muddy nostril, and darkly-smeared lip it
confers, and from the encouragement it gives to the habit of spitting,
which, in our country, would be sufficiently common and sufficiently
loathsome without it.

"True politeness," said a distinguished English scholar, "is kindness,
kindly expressed." The using of tobacco, especially by smoking, is any
thing but kindness or the kindly expression of it, when it creates an
atmosphere, which, whether it comes directly from the pipe, the cigar,
or deeply imbued clothing, or worse than alligator breath, is absolutely
insupportable to many, who do not use it, causing depression of
strength, dizziness, headache, sickness at the stomach, and sometimes
vomiting. By what rule of politeness, nay, on what principle of common
justice may I poison the atmosphere my neighbor is compelled to breathe,
or so load it with an unhealthy and loathsome material as to make him
uncomfortable or wretched so long as I am in his company? What would
be said of the physician, who, having acquired a strong liking for
asafetida, should allow himself in the constant habit of chewing it,
to the great annoyance, from his foul breath, of many of his patients,
as well as more or less of the healthy individuals of the families who
employ him? Or how would a _gentleman_ traveller be regarded, who should
not only keep his breath constantly imbued with this asafetida, but also
insist upon spurting successive mouthfuls of the tincture of it upon the
floor of a stage-coach, or of the cabin of a steam-boat? Would he be
commended, either for his cleanliness, politeness, or kindness? Nay,
would he be tolerated in such a violation of the principles of good
breeding? I have seen numbers, who have been made sick, dizzy, and pale,
by the breath of a smoker; and I have seen a person vomit out of a
stage-coach, from _the influence_ of that indescribable breath, which
results from alcoholic liquor and tobacco smoke.

How painful to see young men in our scientific and literary
institutions--men, who are soon to lead in our national councils, to
shape the morals and the manners of the circles of society, in which
they will move--making themselves downright sick, day after day, and
week after week, in order to form a habit of taking a disgusting poison,
steeping their nerves and their intellects in its narcotic influence,
the direct tendencies of which are to impair their health, to enfeeble
their minds, and to disqualify them for a place in cleanly and polite

The use of tobacco, like that of alcoholic liquor, should be abandoned
totally and forever. The plan of taking less and less daily, is seldom
successful. This is what is called "trying to leave off." If a little
less be taken one day, generally a little more is taken the next. A
respectable patient, for whom I have prescribed on account of a severe
nervous affection, has been "_trying_" for the last six months to quit
her snuff, and she is apparently no nearer the accomplishment of her
object than when she began. It does not answer to treat, with the least
deference, an appetite, so unnatural and imperative as that created
by a powerful narcotic; it must be denied abruptly, totally, and

In several of our penitentiaries, tobacco is not allowed to the inmates,
almost all of whom were consumers of it. The testimony of the agents of
these institutions is, that none are injured by quitting this narcotic,
but, that in a few days, seldom over twenty, their uneasiness and
agitation subside, their appetite is increased, and their appearance is
manifestly improved. A distinguished physician has assured me, that he
never knew a person sustain the least permanent injury from the disuse
of tobacco, but, on the contrary, every one had received decided benefit.
My own observation is in perfect accordance with this remark; I have
known a large number of this description, and can say that I have never
conversed with an individual, who, after having been freed from the
habit a year, did not confess that an advantage, greater or less, had
resulted from his self-denial.

                _Cases Illustrative of the Effects of Tobacco._

A gentleman of distinction, in the profession of law in New Hampshire,
wrote me under date of Dec. 10, 1833, as follows.

    "At the age of twelve years, misled by some boyish fancy,
    I commenced the use of tobacco, and continued it with little
    restraint for about _nineteen years_. Generally I was in the
    habit of chewing tobacco, but sometimes for two, three or four
    months together, I exchanged chewing for smoking. I have always
    led a sedentary life. After attaining to manhood, my ordinary
    weight was about 130 pounds; once or twice only rising to 135,
    and falling not unfrequently to 125, and sometimes to 117. My
    appetite was poor and unsteady, the nervous system much disordered,
    and my life was greatly embittered by excessive and inordinate
    fear of death. My spirits were much depressed. I became exceedingly
    irresolute, so that it required a great effort to accomplish, what
    I now do, even without thinking of it. My sleep was disturbed,
    faintings and lassitude were my constant attendants.

    "I had made two or three attempts to redeem myself from a habit,
    which I knew was at best useless and foolish, if not prejudicial.
    But they were feeble and inefficient. Once, indeed, I thought I was
    sure that the giving up the use of tobacco injured my health, and
    I finally gave up all hopes of ever ridding myself of this habit.

    "In the summer of 1830, my attention was called to the subject, by
    some friends, whom I visited, and by the advice and example of a
    friend, who had renounced the practice with the most decided
    advantage. I thought seriously upon the subject, and felt what had
    scarce occurred to me before, how degrading it was to be enslaved
    by a habit so ignoble. I threw away my tobacco at once and entirely,
    and have not since used the article in any form. Yet this was not
    done without a great effort, and it was some months before I ceased
    to hanker for the pernicious weed. Since then my health has
    decidedly improved. I now usually weigh 145 pounds, and have arisen
    to 152; rarely below 145. My spirits are better. There is nothing
    of the faintness, lassitude, and fearful apprehensions before
    described. My appetite is good and my sleep sound, I have no
    resolution to boast of, yet considerably more than I formerly had.

    "In fine, I cannot tell what frenzy may seize me; yet with my
    present feelings, I know not the wealth that would induce me to
    resume the unrestrained use of tobacco, and continue it through

To Dr. A. Hobbs, I am indebted for the following case which occurred in
his own family connection.

    "Mr. J. H. began to chew tobacco at an early age, and used it
    freely. When about fifty-five years old, he lost his voice and
    was unable to speak above the whisper for _three_ years. During
    the four or five years which preceded the loss of his voice, he
    used a quarter of a pound of tobacco in a week. He was subject to
    fits of extreme melancholy; for whole days he would not speak to
    any one, was exceedingly dyspeptic and was subject to nightmare.
    When about fifty-eight years old, that is, about thirteen years
    ago, he abandoned his tobacco. His voice gradually returned, and
    in one year was pretty good; his flesh and strength were greatly
    increased, and he now has a younger look than when he laid aside
    his narcotic."

    _April, 1834._

The case of Mr. L. B., a shoemaker, now about fifty-two years of age,
exhibits strikingly the injurious effects of tobacco. About fourteen
years ago, he consulted me on account of dyspepsia, obstinate
costiveness, and palpitation of the heart, which symptoms had existed
for several years. The palpitation he had observed about seven years
before. In a small degree it occurred almost daily. For years a slight
fluttering was generally felt, in the morning, for a short time after
breakfast, which compelled him to sit still, avoiding mental as well
as muscular exertion. After an hour or more, he was better. He was,
besides, subject to severe paroxysms of palpitation, occurring at
irregular periods. Six or seven of these took place in a year. These
turns were excited under stomach irritations or oppression from
indigestible food. They came on instantaneously, and often left in
a moment; 'the pulse was nothing but a flutter.' So great was the
prostration, that, during the paroxysm, he was obliged to lie still
upon the bed. The length of the paroxysm was various; sometimes an
hour, sometimes several hours.

He was in the habit of using tobacco in all its forms of cud, cigar and
snuff; he drank tea and coffee freely, and spirit and cider moderately.
I advised him to the entire disuse of tobacco, tea, coffee, and all
other drinks, save water, and to live on plain and unstimulating food.
He followed the advice in regard to drinks, in so far as to confine
himself to water, and threw away the cud and cigar, but continued to
take snuff. Under this change his health was improved, and the turns of
palpitation were less frequent, and generally less severe. Two years
afterwards, he abandoned flesh meat as an article of diet, and still
indulged himself in the habit of snuff-taking. In this way he continued
for about six years, his general health being considerably improved; he
was subject, however, to an occasional attack of palpitation. At length
he had a paroxysm, which was so terribly severe and protracted, as to
keep him nine hours and an half motionless upon his back, under the
incessant apprehension of immediate dissolution. In the course of this
nine and an half hours he made up his mind to take no more snuff. He
has kept his resolution, and has not had an attack since, now about six
years. He says he has sometimes felt a slight agitation or tremor, but
this has been rare. He continues to exclude flesh meat from his diet.
His breakfast consists of roasted potatoes and toasted bread, with
a little butter; his dinner, bread and milk; supper, the same as the
breakfast. His only drink is water. Once his fingers were tremulous,
now they are perfectly steady; and his memory, which was alarmingly
impaired, is very much improved.

A physician, with whom I was intimately acquainted, during the greater
part of his medical pupilage, which included the latter part of his
tobacco experience, has given the following account of his own case.
He has a preference for withholding his name from the public, and has
described himself as 'the patient.' The circumstances of the case as
related, may be relied on. I was present each time when he threw away
his tobacco.

    "The patient," says he, "at the early age of fourteen, under the
    impression that it was a manly habit, commenced chewing tobacco;
    and a long and painful course of training was required before the
    stomach could be brought to retain it. At length the natural
    aversion of this organ to the poison was so overcome, that an
    exceedingly large quantity might be taken without producing nausea.
    For several years the patient continued its uninterrupted use,
    swallowing all the secretions of the mouth saturated with this
    baneful narcotic, without experiencing much disturbance of health.
    At length he began to be harassed with heart-burn, attended with
    copious eructations of an intensely acid fluid, together with other
    indications of dyspepsia. A watery stomach was suspected, and
    smoking was at once recommended in addition to chewing, to alleviate
    the accumulation of water in the stomach and to assist digestion.
    Smoking was accordingly practised after every meal, with little
    alleviation of the difficulty. The patient, however, being determined
    to be benefited by its use, resorted to it more frequently, smoking
    not only after eating, but several times between meals. Yet to
    his great surprise, his troublesome symptoms were gradually
    augmented, notwithstanding his strenuous adherence to the practice.

    "To the heart-burn and acid eructations, soon succeeded nausea,
    loss of appetite, a gnawing sensation in the stomach, when empty,
    a sense of constriction in the throat, dryness in the mouth and
    fauces, thickening or huskiness of the voice, costiveness, paleness
    of the countenance, languor, emaciation, aversion to exercise,
    lowness of spirits, palpitations, disturbed sleep; in short, all
    the symptoms which characterize dyspepsia of the worst stamp. He was
    well nigh unfitted for any kind of business, and his very existence
    began to be miserably burdensome.

    "At last, being advised to abandon the use of tobacco in all its
    forms, and being fully persuaded that he either must relinquish
    it voluntarily, or that death would soon compel him to do it, 'he
    summoned all his resolution for the fearful exigency, and after a
    long and desperate struggle, obtained the victory.' 'All the
    inconvenience' he experienced, 'was a few sleepless nights, and an
    incessant hankering after the accustomed fascinating influence of the
    cigar and cud.'

    "In a few days a manifest improvement in health was apparent, his
    appetite and strength returned, his sleep became more sound and
    refreshing, and he directly found himself in the enjoyment of better
    health than he had possessed at any time during ten years of vile
    submission to a depraved and unnatural appetite.

    "After abstaining from it about two months, he again, by way of
    experiment, returned to the cud, cigar, and pipe; and but a few
    days were requisite to recall all his former dyspeptic symptoms.
    He again relinquished the habit, under the full conviction that
    tobacco was the sole cause of his illness, and he firmly resolved
    never to make further use of it."

After recovering a second time from the effects of his poison, this
gentleman assured me that, at times, his feelings had bordered on those
of mental derangement; he thought every body hated him; and he in turn
hated every body. He had often, after lying awake for several hours in
the night, under the most distressing forebodings, arisen, smoked his
pipe to procure a temporary alleviation of his sufferings, in fitful and
half delirious slumbers. He even thought of suicide, but was deterred
by the dread of an hereafter. In a few weeks after relinquishing the
indulgence, all these feelings were gone; and when I last saw him, about
two years, I believe, after quitting his tobacco, he was in fine health
and spirits.

The following letter from Dr. Moore describes his own case.

    "_Wells, (Me.) April 10, 1833._

    "DEAR SIR,--

    "It was not until this late hour, that I received your letter of the
    4th inst. With pleasure I hasten to answer your inquiries with regard
    to my experience in the use of tobacco.

    "In the autumn of 1817, I commenced (I know not why) the use of
    tobacco. It was not until the spring of 1825, that I experienced
    any ill effects from it, except now and then, heart-burn, acid
    eructations, and occasional fits of melancholy. At that time I
    became dyspeptic. My food gave me much uneasiness; I had a sinking
    sensation at the pit of the stomach, wandering pains about the
    limbs, especially by night, disturbed sleep, loss of appetite,
    great difficulty of breathing from slight exercise, debility,
    emaciation, depression of spirits. Such have been my symptoms and
    feelings the last seven years; and in that time I have had two
    attacks of hæmoptysis, [spitting of blood,] which I attribute
    solely to the relaxing effects of this narcotic.

    "The various remedies for dyspepsia were all tried in my case
    without the least benefit. About the first of December last, I
    gave up the use of tobacco, and to my astonishment, within the
    first twenty-four hours, my appetite returned; food gave no
    uneasiness and strength returned. I have been generally gaining
    flesh, so that now my weight is greater than it ever was except

    "I never was in the habit of using more than half an ounce of
    tobacco a day. This would be but a moderate allowance for most
    persons, who use the cud. I never was a smoker; my use of it was
    wholly confined to chewing.

    "A gentleman called a few weeks ago to consult me. His countenance
    was pallid and ghastly. He said that he had no appetite, was
    extremely debilitated, had palpitation of the heart, and copious
    perspiration on slight exercise, wakefulness by night, and was
    gloomy. Sir, said I, do you use tobacco? 'I do.' How much on an
    average daily? 'One fig.' I told him he must renounce its use,
    which he promised to do. He took no medicine. I saw him again in
    ten days. He said he was well and was _fully_ satisfied that his
    complaints were owing to the use of tobacco.

    "A friend of mine in this town, who has made a constant use of
    tobacco, by chewing for more than _thirty_ years of his life, was
    prevailed upon, a few months ago to lay it aside, in consequence
    of having constant vertigo, [dizziness]; he is now well, and all
    who knew him are astonished to witness the increase of his flesh,
    since he desisted from its use.

    "I can now count ten persons who were in a feeble state of health,
    and who have renounced tobacco by my advice, most of whom were
    troubled with nervous diseases and dyspepsia. They have all
    acquired better health.

    "You are at liberty to make what use of these remarks you please,
    and I will vouch for the truth of them.

    "Your obedient servant,
        "E. G. MOORE.


Dr. Moore's case is peculiarly interesting, inasmuch as for some years
he was regarded by many of his friends, as near a fatal consumption.
In the February preceding the date of his letter, I met him in a
stage-coach, and was struck with his healthful appearance, and
interested with the account of his restoration. The following letter
from the same gentleman confirms the views contained in his first

    "_Wells, May 7, 1836._

    "DEAR SIR,--

    "Yours of the 3d inst. has just been received; and in answer to
    your inquiry I have to say, that my health is better than when
    I last saw you in 1833; although, since that time I have been
    afflicted with all my former unpleasant symptoms, viz. loss of
    appetite, debility, tremors, dizziness, palpitations of the heart,
    anxiety of mind, melancholy, &c. &c.

    "You may ask what could be the cause of all these unpleasant
    sensations. I will tell you. It was returning to the gratification
    of a depraved appetite in the use of tobacco; and I have no
    hesitancy in declaring it as my opinion, that could the causes of
    the many acts of suicide, committed in the United States, be
    investigated, it would be found, that many instances were owing to
    the effects of _tobacco_ upon the nervous system.

    "It is now nearly two years since I have had any thing to do with
    this enemy of the human race, and my health has never been better.
    I have a good appetite for food. My dyspeptic affection troubles
    me so little, that I hardly think of it. I never weighed so much
    before by several pounds.

    "One of the persons of whom I wrote before, is still in this
    vicinity, and uses no tobacco; he enjoys uninterrupted health.
    The others do not now reside in this place.

      "E. G. MOORE."

It is presumed that, henceforward, Dr. Moore will retain so little doubt
as to the effects of tobacco, as to avoid making further experiments
with it upon his own constitution.

Jonathan Cummings, Esq., an intelligent farmer, now living in Plymouth,
N. H., in a letter to Dr. Chadbourne, about three years ago, says that
he was accustomed to manual labor from childhood, and enjoyed almost
uninterrupted health, till he was twenty-five years old, about which
time he commenced chewing and smoking tobacco; having for some time
taken snuff for _weakness of his eyes_. His stomach soon became
affected, he had faintings and tremblings, and was unable to perform the
labor he had been accustomed to do. "I went on in this way," says he,
"for thirty years; tobacco seemed to be my only comfort; I thought that
I could not live without it.

"Two years ago, finding my strength still more rapidly declining, I
determined to be a slave to my appetites no longer, and I discontinued
the use of tobacco in every form. The trial was a severe one, but the
immediate improvement in my general health richly paid me for all I
suffered. My appetite has returned, my food nourishes me, and after
_thirty_ successive years of debility, I have become _strong_.

"My weight, during the time I used tobacco, varied from 130 to 140
pounds, but never exceeded 150; I now weigh over 180 and am a vigorous
old man. I am in a great measure, free from those stomach and liver
complaints, which followed me for thirty years. I do more work than I
did fifteen years ago, and use none of what you Doctors call artificial
stimulants; for I have more recently reformed as to tea, which I had
drank, at least twice a day, for forty-five years. It is useless,
therefore, for folks to tell me that it won't do to break off old
habits; I _know_, for I have tried it."

In an estimate of the expenses, incurred by what he calls his _bad
habits_, he puts his _tobacco_ only at _two dollars_ a year, (which he
says, is much below its actual cost,) his _snuff_ at _one dollar_, and
his tea at _four dollars_. At annual interest he computes that the
amount would be $615; "not reckoning loss of time and, now and then,
a Doctor's bill any thing." "A pretty little sum," says he, "for one
in my circumstances, having always been pressed for money."

In a letter I received from him about a year ago, he remarks, that,
among the symptoms of ill health, while he used tobacco, were "a hollow,
faint feeling at the stomach, want of appetite, and sometimes severe
spasms at the stomach. All the time I used tobacco my complaint was
supposed to be liver complaint, and I took medicine for it. I was
troubled with my food lying in my stomach, for hours after eating;
frequently I took rhubarb and salæratus, to help digestion; when the
weight passed off, it left my stomach debilitated and full of pain, and
I then took my pipe to relieve it." There were frequent seasons when he
was obliged to quit labor, although this was his whole dependence for
a living.

Some additional particulars I recently obtained, viz. in April,
1836, in a personal conversation with Mr. Cummings. He remarked,
that he continued to take a little snuff for about four months after
discontinuing smoking and chewing. "While in the habit of smoking," said
he, "there was a hollow place in my stomach large enough to hold my two
fists, which nothing could fill; food would not do it; drink would not
do it; nothing but tobacco smoke." After quitting the tobacco "the
hollow place was gradually filled up;" the appetite increased, food
digested better, and all the unpleasant symptoms were removed in about
a month after the entire disuse of the snuff.

He observed to me that he never in his life used tobacco to excess,
but always "temperately"; although he admitted, the employing it in
three forms might have been equivalent to a rather free use of it in
one mode. The effects of tobacco on the senses of seeing and hearing,
in his case were very striking. He used spectacles for several years,
during his indulgence in tobacco, and he assured me that at the age of
fifty-five years, he could not read a word in any common book, even in
the strongest sunshine, without spectacles. He had also a ringing and
deafness in both ears for ten years, and at times the right ear was
entirely deaf. During the last year of his tobacco life this difficulty
very perceptibly increased. "In about a month," said he, "after quitting
tobacco in its last form, that is, snuff, my head cleared out, and I
have never had a particle of the complaint since; not the least ringing,
nor the least deafness." And it was not many months before he could
dispense with his spectacles, and "from that time to the present," says
he, "I have been able, without spectacles, to read very conveniently
and to keep my minutes, having been a good deal engaged in surveying
lands." He remarked, however, that when compelled to employ his eyes
upon a book for some hours in succession, especially at evening, he
found his spectacles convenient. He certainly hears quick, and his eye
is altogether keener and stronger than usual with men of his age. He is
now in his _sixty-third_ year. That the defective vision and hearing
were owing, in a great degree, to the tobacco, must be inferred from
the fact of his food and drinks having been nearly the same, before and
since quitting that article, with the exception of tea, which, as he
drank it twice a day for many years, may doubtless claim a share in the
mischief done to the organs of the senses. Said he, "I never lived high,
my food was always plain, and I eat now the same things I did formerly."
For organs so enfeebled as his, and for so long a time, to regain their
powers to so great an extent, denotes a native energy of constitution,
far above the standard of mediocrity.

       *       *       *       *       *

How can a temperance man use tobacco? With what consistency can he
ask his neighbor to abstain from alcohol, on the ground of its being
injurious to body and mind, while he indulges himself in the habitual
gratification of an appetite, unnatural and pernicious, and holding,
in some respects, a strong alliance with that produced by an alcoholic
beverage? How long shall the widow's mite, consecrated, under many
personal privations, to the great object of doing good to mankind, be
perverted to sustain a disgustful and hurtful habit, by the beneficiary
of an Education Society?

How long are the sacred altars of God to be polluted with this
unhallowed offering, and the garments of the priesthood to remain
uncleansed from its defilements? How long shall transgressors be called
upon to listen, with a spirit of conviction and repentance, to sermons
on the great duties of Christian _self-denial_, prepared and pronounced
under the inspiration of this poison?

*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "An Essay on the Influence of Tobacco upon Life and Health" ***

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