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Title: Smoking and Drinking
Author: Parton, James, 1822-1891
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1868, by
in the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the
District of Massachusetts.



The next very important thing that man has to attend to is his health.

In some other respects, progress has been made during the last hundred
years, and several considerable obstacles to the acquisition of a
stable happiness have been removed or diminished.

In the best parts of the best countries, so much knowledge is now
freely offered to all the young as suffices to place within their reach
all existing knowledge. We may say with confidence that the time is not
distant when, in the United States, no child will live farther than
four miles from a school-house, kept open four months in the year, and
when there will be the beginning of a self-sustaining public library in
every town and village of a thousand inhabitants. This great business
of making knowledge universally accessible is well in hand; it has gone
so far that it must go on till the work is complete.

In this country, too, if nowhere else, there is so near an approach to
perfect freedom of thinking, that scarcely any one, whose conduct is
good, suffers inconvenience from professing any extreme or eccentricity
of mere opinion. I constantly meet, in New England villages, men who
differ as widely as possible from their neighbors on the most dividing
of all subjects; but if they are good citizens and good neighbors, I
have never observed that they were the less esteemed on that account.
Their peculiarities of opinion become as familiar as the color of their
hair, or the shape of their every-day hat, and as inoffensive. This is
a grand triumph of good sense and good nature; or, as Matthew Arnold
would say, of the metropolitan over the provincial spirit. It is also
recent. It was not the case fifty years ago. It was not the case twenty
years ago.

The steam-engine, and the wondrous machinery which the steam-engine
moves, have so cheapened manufactured articles, that a mechanic, in a
village, may have so sufficient a share of the comforts, conveniences,
and decencies of life, that it is sometimes hard to say what real
advantage his rich neighbor has over him. The rich man used to have one
truly enviable advantage over others: his family was safer, in case of
his sudden death. But a mechanic, who has his home paid for, his life
insured, and a year's subsistence accumulated, is as secure in this
respect as, perhaps, the nature of human affairs admits. Now, an
American workingman, anywhere out of a few largest cities, can easily
have all these safeguards around his family by the time he is forty;
and few persons can be rich before they are forty.

We may say, perhaps, speaking generally, that, in the United States,
there are no formidable obstacles to the attainment of substantial
welfare, except such as exist in the nature of things and in ourselves.

But in the midst of so many triumphs of man over material and
immaterial things, man himself seems to dwindle and grow pale. Not here
only, but in all the countries that have lately become rich enough to
buy great quantities of the popular means of self-destruction, and in
which women cease to labor as soon as their husbands and parents
acquire a little property, and in which children sit in school and out
of school from five to nine hours a day, and in which immense numbers
of people breathe impure air twenty-two hours out of every twenty-four.
In the regions of the United States otherwise most highly favored,
nearly every woman, under forty, is sick or sickly; and hardly any
young man has attained a proper growth, and measures the proper size
around the chest. As to the young girls and school-children, if, in a
school or party of two hundred, you can pick out thirty well-developed,
well-proportioned, robust, ruddy children, you will do better than I
have sometimes been able to do.

This begins to alarm and puzzle all but the least reflective persons.
People begin to wonder why every creature, whether of native or foreign
origin, should flourish in America, except man.

Not that there is anything mysterious with regard to the immediate
causes of this obvious decline in the health and robustness of the
race. Miss Nightingale tells us that more than half of all the sickness
in the world comes of breathing bad air. She speaks feelingly of the
time, not long passed, when the winds of heaven played freely through
every house, from Windsor Castle to the laborer's cottage, and when
every lady put forth muscular effort in the polishing of surfaces. That
was the time when bread was an article of diet, and the Devil had not
invented hot biscuit. The agreeable means of self-destruction, now so
cheap and universal, were unknown, or very costly; and the great mass
of the people subsisted, necessarily, upon the plain fare which affords
abundant nourishment, without overtasking the digestive powers.
Terrible epidemics, against which the medical science of the time
vainly contended, swept off weakly persons, shortened the average
duration of life, and raised the standard of health.

But now we can all pervert and poison ourselves if we will, and yet not
incur much danger of prompt extinction. Indeed, it is hard for the most
careful and resolute person to avoid being a party to the universal
violation of natural law. Children, of course, are quite helpless. How
could I help, at eight years of age, being confined six hours a day in
a school, where the word "ventilation" was only known as an object of
spelling? How could I help, on Sunday, being entombed in a
Sunday-school room, eight or nine feet high, crowded with children, all
breathing their utmost? I hated it. I loathed it. I protested against
it. I played truant from it. But I was thirteen years old before I
could escape that detested basement, where I was poisoned with
pernicious air, and where well-intentioned Ignorance made virtue
disgusting, contemptible, and ridiculous, by turns.

As all our virtues support one another, so all the vices of modern life
are allies. Smoking and drinking are effects, as well as causes. We
waste our vital force; we make larger demands upon ourselves than the
nature of the human constitution warrants, and then we crave the
momentary, delusive, pernicious aid which tobacco and alcohol afford. I
suppose the use of these things will increase or decrease, as man
degenerates or improves.

This subject, I repeat, is the next great matter upon which we have to
throw ourselves. The republication of these essays is only to be
justified on the ground that every little helps.

I think, too, that the next new sensation enjoyed by the
self-indulgent, self-destroying inhabitants of the wealthy nations will
be the practice of virtue. I mean, of course, the real thing, now
nearly forgotten, the beginning of which is self-control, and which
leads people to be temperate and pure, and enables them to go contrary
to custom and fashion, without being eccentric or violent about it.
That kind of virtue, I mean, which enables us to accept hard duties,
and perform them with cheerful steadfastness; which enables us to make
the most of our own lives, and to rear glorious offspring, superior to

It is surprising what a new interest is given to life by denying
ourselves one vicious indulgence. What luxury so luxurious as just
self-denial! Who has ever seen any happy people that were not
voluntarily carrying a heavy burden? Human nature is so formed to
endure and to deny itself, that those mistaken souls who forsake the
world, and create for themselves artificial woes, and impose upon
themselves unnecessary tasks, and deny themselves rational and
beneficial pleasures, are a thousand times happier than those
self-indulgent and aimless men, whom we see every afternoon, gazing
listlessly out of club-windows, wondering why it is so long to six

I heard a young man say, the other day, that smoking had been the bane
of his life, but that after abstaining for seven months, during which
he made no progress in overcoming the desire to smoke, he had come to
the conclusion that he was past cure, and must needs go on, as long as
he lived. He _was_ going on, when he made the remark, smoking a pipe
half as big and twice as yellow as himself. It was a great pity. That
daily longing to smoke, with the daily triumphant struggle against it,
was enough of itself to make his life both respectable and interesting.
During those seven months, he was a man. He could claim fellowship with
all the noble millions of our race, who have waged a secret warfare
with Desire, all the days of their lives. If he had kept on, if he had
not lapsed under the domination of his tyrant, he would probably have
ascertained what there was in his way of life which kept alive in him
the craving for stimulation. In all probability, he would have
conquered the desire at last.

And such a victory is usually followed by others similar. The cigar and
the bottle are often replaced by something not sensual. The brain,
freed from the dulling, lowering influence, regains a portion of its
natural vivacity; and that vivacity frequently finds worthy objects
upon which to expend itself.

NEW YORK, September, 1868.




I have sometimes thought that there are people whom it does pay to
smoke: those hod-carriers on the other side of the street, for example.
It cannot be a very pleasant thing to be a hod-carrier at this season
of the year, when a man who means to be at work at seven A.M. must wake
an hour before the first streak of dawn. There is an aged sire over
there, who lives in Vandewater Street, which is two miles and a quarter
from the building he is now assisting to erect. He must be astir by
half past five, in order to begin his breakfast at six; and at half
past six he is in the car, with his dinner-kettle in his hand, on his
way up town. About the time when the more active and industrious
readers of this magazine begin to think it is nearly time to get up,
this father of a family makes his first ascent of the ladder with a
load of mortar on his shoulder. At twelve, the first stroke of the bell
of St. George's Church (it is New York where these interesting events
occur) sets him at liberty, and he goes in quest of his kettle. On very
cold days, the dinner-kettle is wrapped in its proprietor's overcoat to
keep the cold dinner from freezing stiff. But we will imagine a milder
day, when the group of hod-carriers take their kettles to some sunny,
sheltered spot about the building, where they sit upon soft, commodious
boards, and enjoy their repast of cold meat and bread. The homely meal
being concluded, our venerable friend takes out his short black pipe
for his noontide smoke. How he enjoys it! How it seems to rest him! It
is a kind of conscious sleep, ending, perhaps, in a brief unconscious
sleep, from which he wakes refreshed for another five hours of the
heavy hod.

Who could wish to deny a poor man a luxury so cheap, and so dear? It
does not cost him more than ten cents a week; but so long as he has his
pipe, he has a sort of refuge to which he can fly from trouble.
Especially consoling to him is it in the evening, when he is in his own
crowded and most uninviting room. The smoke that is supposed to "poison
the air" of some apartments seems to correct the foulness of this; and
the smoker appears to be a benefactor to all its inmates, as well as to
those who pass its door.

Besides, this single luxury of smoke, at a cost of one cent and three
sevenths per diem, is the full equivalent of all the luxuries which
wealth can buy! None but a smoker, or one who has been a smoker, can
realize this truth; but it is a truth. That short black pipe does
actually place the hod-carrier, so far as mere luxury goes, on a par
with Commodore Vanderbilt or the Prince of Wales. Tokay, champagne,
turtle, game, and all the other luxurious commodities are not, taken
altogether, so much to those who can daily enjoy them, as poor Paddy's
pipe is to him. Indeed, the few rich people with whose habits I chance
to be acquainted seldom touch such things, and never touch them except
to please others. They all appear to go upon the system of the late
Lord Palmerston, who used to say to his new butler, "Provide for my
guests whatever the season affords; but for _me_ there must be always a
leg of mutton and an apple-pie." Let the Prince of Wales (or any other
smoker) be taken to a banqueting-hall, the tables of which should be
spread with all the dainties which persons of wealth are erroneously
supposed to be continually consuming, but over the door let there be
written the terrible words, "No smoking." Then show him an adjoining
room, with a table exhibiting Lord Palmerston's leg of mutton and
apple-pie, plus a bundle of cigars. If any one doubts which of these
two feasts the Prince of Wales would choose, we tell that doubting
individual he has never been a smoker.

Now the short pipe of the hod-carrier is just as good to him as the
regalias could be that cost two hundred dollars a thousand in Havana,
and sixty cents each in New York. If you were to give him one of those
regalias, he would prefer to cut it up and smoke it in his pipe, and
then he would not find it as good as the tobacco he usually smokes. The
poor laborer's pipe, therefore, is a potent equalizer. To the enjoyment
of pleasures purely luxurious there is a limit which is soon reached;
and I maintain that a poor man gets as much of this _kind_ of pleasure
out of his pipe as a prince or a railroad king can extract from all the
costly wines and viands of the table.

If there is a man in the world who ought to smoke, that ancient
hod-carrier is the man. A stronger case for smoking cannot be selected
from ordinary life. Does it pay him? After an attentive and sympathetic
consideration of his case, I am compelled reluctantly to conclude that
it does not.

The very fact that it tends to make him contented with his lot is a
point against his pipe. It is a shame to him to be contented. To a
young man the carrying of the hod is no dishonor, for it is fit that
young men should bear burdens and perform lowly tasks. But the hod is
not for gray hairs. Whenever, in this free and spacious America, we see
a man past fifty carrying heavy loads upon his shoulders, or performing
any hired labor that requires little skill or thought, we know that
there must have been some great defect or waste in that man's life. The
first dollar that George Law ever earned, after leaving his father's
house, was earned by carrying the hod at Albany. But with that dollar
he bought an arithmetic and spelling-book; which, when winter closed in
and put a stop to hod-carrying, he mastered, and thus began to prepare
to build the "High Bridge" over the Harlem River, where he made a
million dollars by using steam hod-carriers instead of Irish ones. The
pipe is one of the points of difference between the hod-carrier content
with his lot and the hod-carrier who means to get into bricklaying next
spring. Yonder is one of the latter class reading his "Sun" after
dinner, instead of steeping his senses in forgetfulness over a pipe.
He, perhaps, will be taking a contract to build a bridge over the East
River, about the time when his elderly comrade is buried in a
corporation coffin.

Of course, there are vigorous and triumphant men who smoke, and there
are dull, contented men who do not. It is only of the general tendency
of the poor man's pipe that I wish to speak. I mean to say that it
tends to make him satisfied with a lot which it is his chief and
immediate duty to alleviate. He ought to hate and loathe his
tenement-house home; and when he goes to that home in the evening,
instead of sitting down in stolid selfishness to smoke, he should be
active in giving his wife (who usually has the worst of it) the
assistance she needs and deserves. Better the merry song, the cheerful
talk, the pleasant stroll, than this dulling of the senses and the
brain in smoke. Nobler the conscious misery of such a home, than the
artificial lethargy of the pipe. It is an unhandsome thing in this
husband to steal out of his vile surroundings into cloudland, and leave
his wife and children alone to their noisome desolation.

If it does not pay this hod-carrier to smoke, it pays no man. If this
man cannot smoke without injustice to others, no man can.

Ladies, the natural enemies of tobacco, relented so far during the war
as to send tobacco and pipes to the soldiers, and worked with their own
fair hands many a pouch. Indeed, the pouch industry continues, though
we will do the ladies the justice to say that, as their pouches usually
have every excellent quality except fitness for the purpose intended,
few of them ever hold tobacco. Does the lady who presented General
Sheridan the other evening, in New York, with those superb and highly
decorated tobacco-pouches suppose the gallant General has had, or will
ever have, the heart to profane such beautiful objects with the noxious
weed? It is evident from these gracious concessions on the part of the
ladies, that they suppose the soldier is a man whose circumstances call
imperatively for the solace of smoke; and really, when the wearied men
after a long day's march gathered round the camp-fire for the evening
pipe, the most infuriate hater of the weed must have sometimes paused
and questioned the science which forbids the indulgence. But, reader,
did you ever travel in one of the forward cars of a train returning
from the seat of war, when the soldiers were coming home to re-enlist?
We need not attempt to describe the indescribable scene. Most readers
can imagine it. We allude to it merely as a set-off to the pleasant and
picturesque spectacle of the tired soldiers smoking round the

In truth, the soldier is the last man in the world who should smoke;
for the simple reason, that while he, more than any other man, has need
of all his strength, smoking robs him of part of it. It is not science
alone which establishes this truth. The winning boat of Harvard
University, and the losing boat of Yale, were not rowed by smokers. One
of the first things demanded of a young man who is going into training
for a boat-race is, _Stop smoking!_ And he himself, long before his
body has reached its highest point of purity and development, will
become conscious of the lowering and disturbing effect of smoking one
inch of a mild cigar. No smoker who has ever trained severely for a
race, or a game, or a fight, needs to be told that smoking reduces the
tone of the system and diminishes all the forces of the body. He
_knows_ it. He has been as conscious of it as a boy is conscious of the
effects of his first cigar. Let the Harvard crew smoke during the last
two months of their training, and let the Yale men abstain, and there
is one individual prepared to risk a small sum upon Yale's winning back
her laurels.

A soldier should be in training always. Compelled to spend nine tenths
of his time in laboriously doing nothing, he is called upon
occasionally, for a few hours or days or weeks, to put forth exertions
which task human endurance to the uttermost. The soldier, too, of all
men, should have quiet nerves; for the phantoms of war scare more men
than its real dangers, and men's bodies can shake when their souls are
firm. That two and two make four is not a truth more unquestionably
certain than that smoking does diminish a soldier's power of endurance,
and does make him more susceptible to imaginary dangers. If a regiment
were to be raised for the hardest service of which men can ever be
capable, and that service were to be performed for a series of
campaigns, it would be necessary to exclude from the commissariat, not
tobacco only, but coffee and tea. Each man, in short, would have to be
kept in what prize-fighters call "condition"; by which term they simply
mean the natural state of the body, uncontaminated by poison, and
unimpaired by indolence or excess. Every man is in duty bound to be "in
condition" at all times; but the soldier,--it is part of his profession
to be "in condition." When remote posterity comes to read of the
millions and millions of dollars expended during the late war in curing
soldiers untouched by bayonet or bullet, the enthusiasm of readers will
not be excited by the generosity displayed in bestowing those millions.
People will lay down the book and exclaim: "How ignorant were our poor
ancestors of the laws of life! A soldier in hospital without a wound!
How extremely absurd!"

To this weighty and decisive objection minor ones may be added. The
bother and vexation arising from the pipe were very great during the
campaigns of the late war. Half the time the smokers, being deprived of
their accustomed stimulant, were in that state of uneasy longing which
smokers and other stimulators know. Men were shot during the war merely
because they _would_ strike a light and smoke. The desire sometimes
overcame all considerations of prudence and soldierly duty. A man out
on picket, of a chilly night, knowing perfectly well that lighting his
pipe would have the twofold effect of revealing his presence and
inviting a bullet, was often unable to resist the temptation. Many men,
too, risked capture in seeking what smokers call "a little fire." A
fine, stalwart officer of a Minnesota regiment, whose natural forces,
if he had given nature a fair chance, would have been abundantly
sufficient for him without the aid of any stimulant, has told me there
were nights when he would have gladly given a month's pay for a light.
Readers probably remember the incident related in the newspapers of one
of our smoking generals, who, after being defeated by the enemy, heard
of the arrival of gunboats which assured his safety, and promised to
restore his fortunes. The _first_ thing he did was to send an aid on
board a gunboat to ask if they had any cigars. He was right in so
doing. It was a piece of strategy necessitated by the circumstances.
Let any man who has been in the habit of smoking ten to twenty cigars a
day be suddenly deprived of them at a time when there is a great strain
upon body and mind, and he will find himself reduced to a state
bordering upon imbecility. Knowing what I know of the smoking habits of
some officers of high rank, I should tremble for the success of any
difficult operation, to be conducted by them in presence of an enemy,
if their cigars had given out the evening before; nor could a spy do
his employers a better service than to creep into the tents of some
generals the night before an engagement, and throw all their cigars and
tobacco into a pail of water.

Of all men, therefore, the soldier is the very last man who could find
his account in a practice which lowers the tone of his health, reduces
his power of endurance, litters his knapsack, pesters him with a system
of flints and tinder, and endangers his efficiency in critical moments.
If all the world smoked, still the soldier should abstain.

Sailors and other prisoners experience so many dull hours, and possess
so many unused faculties, that some cordial haters of tobacco have
thought that such persons might be justified in a habit which only
lessens what they have in superfluity. In other words, sailors, being
in a situation extremely unfavorable to spiritual life, ought not
merely to yield to the lowering influence of the forecastle, but add to
it one more benumbing circumstance. On the contrary, they ought to
strive mightily against the paralyzing effects of monotony,--not give
up to them, still less aggravate them. There is no reason, in the
nature of things, why a sailor, after a three years' voyage, should not
step on shore a man more alert in body and mind than when he sailed,
and all alive to communicate the new knowledge he has acquired and the
wonders he has seen. Why should he go round this beautiful world

We must, therefore, add the sailor to the hod-carrier and the soldier,
and respectfully take away his pipe. I select these classes, because
they are supposed most to need artificial solace, and to be most
capable of enduring the wear and tear of a vicious habit. Each of these
classes also can smoke without much offending others, and each is
provided with an "expectoratoon" which disgusts no one. The hod-carrier
and the soldier have the earth and the sailor the ocean. But, for all
that, the pipe is an injury to them. Every man of them would be better
without it.

But if we must deny _them_ the false solace of their pipe, what can be
said of the all-but-universal smoking of persons supposed to be more
refined than they, and whose occupations furnish them no pretence of an
excuse? We now see painters in their studios smoking while they paint,
and sculptors pegging away at the marble with a pipe in their mouths.
Clergymen hurry out of church to find momentary relief for their tired
throats in an ecstatic smoke, and carry into the apartment of fair
invalids the odor of ex-cigars. How it may be in other cities I know
not, but in New York a parishioner who wishes to confer upon his
clergyman a _real_ pleasure can hardly do a safer thing than send him a
thousand cigars of a good clerical brand. It is particularly agreeable
to a clergyman to receive a present which supplies him with a luxury he
loves, but in which he knows in his inmost soul he ought not to
indulge. No matter for all his fine arguments, there is not one
clergyman in ten that succeeds in this short life in reducing his
conscience to such a degree of obtuseness that he can buy a box of
cigars (at present prices) without a qualm of self-reproach. Editors,
writers for the press, reporters, and others who haunt the places where
newspapers are made, are smokers, except a few controlling men, and a
few more who are on the way to become such. Most of the authors whose
names are familiar to the public smoke steadily; even the poets most
beloved do so. Philosophers have taken to the pipe of late years. Mr.
Dickens, they say, toys with a cigar occasionally, but can hardly be
reckoned among the smokers, and never touches a cigar when he has a
serious task on hand. Mr. Prescott smoked, and O, how he loved his
cigar! It was he who, when his physician had limited him to one cigar a
day, ran all over Paris in quest of the largest cigars that Europe
could furnish. In my smoking days I should have done the same.
Thackeray smoked; he was very particular in his smoking; the scent of a
bad cigar was an abomination to him. That Byron smoked, and loved "the
naked beauties" of tobacco, he has told us in the most alluring verses
the weed has ever inspired. Milton, Locke, Raleigh, Ben Jonson, Izaak
Walton, Addison, Steele, Bolingbroke, Burns, Campbell, Scott, Talfourd,
Christopher North, Lamb, were all smokers at some part of their lives.
Among our Presidents, John Adams, John Quincy Adams, General Jackson,
and probably many others, were smokers. Daniel Webster once smoked.
Henry Clay, down to a late period of his life, chewed, smoked, and took
snuff, but never approved of either practice, and stopped two of them.
General Grant smokes, but regrets that he does, and has reduced his
daily allowance of cigars. Edwin Booth smokes, as do most of the
gentlemen of his arduous profession. Probably a majority of the
physicians and surgeons in the United States, under forty years of age,
are smokers; and who ever knew a medical student that did not smoke
furiously? This, perhaps, is not to be wondered at, since doctors live
upon the bodily sins of mankind.

The question is, Does it pay these gentlemen to smoke? _They_ know it
does not. It would be gross arrogance in any individual to lift up his
voice in rebuke of so many illustrious persons, but for the fact that
there is scarcely one of them who does not feel that the practice is
wrong, or, at least, absurd. Almost all confirmed smokers will go so
far as to admit that they wish they had never acquired the habit. Few
of them desire their boys to acquire it. None recommend it to other
men. Almost all smokers, who are not Turks, Chinamen, or Indians,
appreciate at once the wisdom of Sir Isaac Newton's reply to one who
asked him why he never smoked a pipe. "Because," said he "I am
unwilling to make to myself any necessities." Nor can any intelligent
smoker doubt that the fumes of tobacco are hostile to the vital
principle. We smokers and ex-smokers all remember how our first cigar
sickened us; we have all experienced various ill effects from what
smokers call "smoking too much"; and very many smokers have, once or
twice in their lives, risen in revolt against their tyrant, given away
their pipes, and lived free men long enough to become conscious that
their whole being had been torpid, and was alive again. No, no! let who
will deny that smoking is unfriendly to life, and friendly to all that
wars upon life, smokers will not question it, unless they are very
ignorant indeed, or very young. It will be of no avail to talk to them
of the man who lived to be a hundred years old and had smoked to excess
for half a century. Smokers have that within which keeps them well in
mind that smoking is pernicious. If there are any smokers who doubt it,
it is the few whom smoke is rapidly killing; such, for example, as the
interesting professional men who smoke an excellent quality of cigars
and "break down" before they are thirty-five. It is not honest,
legitimate hard work that breaks so many people down in the prime of
life. It is bad habits.

Smoking is a barbarism. This is the main argument against what is
termed moderate smoking. There is something in the practice that allies
a man with barbarians, and constantly tends to make him think and talk
like a barbarian. Being at New Haven last September, a day or two
before the opening of the term at Yale College, I sat in one of the
public rooms of the hotel late one evening, hoping some students would
come in, that I might see what sort of people college students are in
these times. Yale College hath a pleasant seat. Who can stroll about
upon that beautiful College Green, under those majestic elms, without
envying the youth who are able to spend four long years of this
troublesome life in the tranquil acquisition of knowledge amid scenes
so refined and engaging? The visitor is bewitched with a wild desire to
give the college two or three million dollars immediately, to enable it
to become, in all respects, what it desires, aims, and intends to
become. Visions of the noble Athenian youth thronging about the sages
of eld, and learning wisdom from their lips, flit through his mind, as
he wanders among the buildings of the college, and dodges the colored
men who are beating carpets and carrying furniture. In this exalted
frame of mind, suppose the stranger seated in the room of the hotel
just mentioned. In the middle of the small apartment sat one fat,
good-humored, uneducated man of fifty, smoking a cigar,--about such a
man as we expect to find in the "office" of a large livery stable. At
half past ten a young man strolled in, smoking, who addressed the elder
by a military title, and began a slangy conversation with him upon the
great New Haven subject,--boat-racing. About eleven, three or four
other young men came in, to whom cigars were furnished by the military
chieftain. All together they blew a very respectable cloud, and the
conversation, being so strongly reinforced, became more animated.
Boating was still the principal theme. The singular merits of Pittsburg
oars were discussed. A warm dispute arose as to who was the builder of
a certain boat that had won a race three years ago. Much admiration was
expressed for the muscle, the nerve, and, above all, for the style and
method, of the crew of the Harvard boat, which had beaten the Yale boat
a few weeks before.

Nevertheless, it did not occur to me that these smoking and damning
gentlemen could be members of the college. I supposed they were young
loafers of the town, who took an interest in the pleasures of the
students, and were exchanging opinions thereon with their natural
chief, the lord of the stable. At length one said to another, "Will
Jones be here this week?" The reply was: "No, I wrote to the fellow;
but, damn him, he says he can't get here till next Thursday." "Why,
what's the matter with the cuss?" "O, he's had the fever and ague, and
he says there's no pull in him." This led me to suspect that these
young fellows were the envied youths of whom I had been dreaming under
the elms,--a suspicion which the subsequent conversation soon
confirmed. There was nothing wrong or harmful in the subject of their
talk. The remarkable circumstance was, that all the difference which
naturally exists, and naturally appears, between an educated and an
uneducated person was obliterated; and it seemed, too, that the smoke
was the "common element" in which the two were blended. It was the
cigar that kept the students there talking boat till midnight with an
elderly ignoramus, and it was the _cigar_ that was always drawing them
down to his level. If he had not handed round his cigar-case, they
would have exhausted all the natural interest of the subject in a few
minutes, and gone home to bed. All of them, too, as it happened,
confessed that smoking lessens the power of a man to row a boat, and
lamented that a certain student would be lost to the crack crew from
his unwillingness to give up his pipe.

Smoking lures and detains men from the society of ladies. This herding
of men into clubs, these dinners to which men only are invited, the
late sitting at the table after the ladies have withdrawn, the
gathering of male guests into some smoking-room, apart from the ladies
of the party,--is not the cigar chiefly responsible for these
atrocities? Men are not society; women are not society: society is the
mingling of the two sexes in such a way that each restrains and
inspires the other. That community is already far gone in degeneracy in
which men prefer to band together by themselves, in which men do not
crave the society of ladies, and value it as the chief charm of
existence. "What is the real attraction of these gorgeous
establishments?" I asked, the other evening, of an acquaintance who was
about to enter one of the new club-houses on Fifth Avenue. His reply
was: "No women can enter them! Once within these sacred walls, we are
safe from everything that wears a petticoat!" Are we getting to be
Turks? The Turks shut women in; we shut them out. The Turks build
harems for their women; but we find it necessary to abandon to women
our abodes, and construct harems for ourselves.

Humiliating as the truth is, it must be confessed, tobacco is woman's
rival, her successful rival. It is the cigar and the pipe (it used to
be wine and punch) that enable men to endure one another during the
whole of a long evening. Remove from every club-house all the means of
intoxication,--i.e. all the wine and tobacco,--and seven out of every
ten of them would cease to exist in one year. Men would come together
for a few evenings, as usual, talk over the evening papers, yawn and go
away, perhaps go home,--a place which our confirmed clubbists only know
as a convenience for sleeping and breakfasting. One of the worst
effects of smoking is that it deadens our susceptibility to tedium, and
enables us to keep on enduring what we ought to war against and
overcome. It is drunken people who "won't go home till morning."
Tyrants and oppressors are wrong in drawing so much revenue from
tobacco; they ought rather to give it away, for it tends to enable
people to sit down content under every kind of oppression.

Men say, in reply to those who object to their clubs, their men's
dinner-parties, and their smoking-rooms: "Women overwhelm society with
superfluous dry goods. The moment ladies are invited, the whole affair
becomes a mere question of costume. A party at which ladies assist is
little more than an exhibition of wearing apparel. They dress, too, not
for the purpose of giving pleasure to men, but for the purpose of
inflicting pain on one another. Besides, a lady who is carrying a
considerable estate upon her person must devote a great part of her
attention to the management of that estate. She may be talking to Mr.
Smith about Shakespeare and the musical-glasses, but the thing her mind
is really intent upon is crushing Mrs. Smith with her new lace. Even
dancing is nothing but an exceedingly laborious and anxious wielding of
yards of silk trailing out behind!" etc.

Smoky diners-out will recognize this line of remark. When ladies have
left the table, and are amusing themselves in the drawing-room in ways
which may sometimes be trivial, but are never sensual, men frequently
fall into discourse, over their cigars, upon the foibles of the sex,
and often succeed in delivering themselves of one or more of the
observations just quoted. As these noble critics sit boozing and
smoking, they can sometimes hear the brilliant run upon the piano, or
the notes of a finely trained voice, or the joyous laughter of a group
of girls,--all inviting them to a higher and purer enjoyment than
steeping their senses in barbarous smoke. But they stick to their
cigars, and assume a lofty moral superiority over the lovely beings,
the evidence of whose better civilization is sounding in their ears.

Now, one of the subtle, mysterious effects of tobacco upon "the male of
our species" is to disenchant him with regard to the female. It makes
us read the poem entitled Woman as though it were only a piece of
prose. It takes off the edge of virility. If it does not make a man
less masculine, it keeps his masculinity in a state of partial torpor,
which causes him to look upon women, not indeed without a certain
curiosity, but without enthusiasm, without romantic elevation of mind,
without any feeling of awe and veneration for the august Mothers of our
race. It tends to make us regard women from what we may style the Black
Crook point of view. The young man who boasted that he had seen the
Black Crook forty-seven times in three months must have been an
irreclaimable smoker. Nothing but the dulled, sensualized masculinity
caused by this peculiar poison could have blinded men to the ghastly
and haggard ugliness of that exhibition. The pinched and painted
vacancy of those poor girls' faces; the bony horrors of some of their
necks, and the flabby redundancy of others; the cheap and tawdry
splendors; the stale, rejected tricks of London pantomimes; three or
four tons of unhappy girls suspended in the air in various agonizing
attitudes,--to think that such a show could have run for seventeen
months! Even if science did not justify the conjecture, I should be
disposed, for the honor of human nature, to lay the blame of all this
upon tobacco.

To a man who is uncorrupt and properly constituted, woman remains
always something of a mystery and a romance. He never interprets her
quite literally. She, on her part, is always striving to remain a poem,
and is never weary of bringing out new editions of herself in novel
bindings. Not till she has been utterly conquered and crushed by
hopeless misery or a false religion does she give up the dream of still
being a pleasant enchantment. To this end, without precisely knowing
why, she turns the old dress, retrims it, or arrays herself in the
freshness of a new one, ever striving to present herself in recreated
loveliness. Uncontaminated man sympathizes with this intention, and
easily lends himself to the renewed charm. Have you not felt something
of this, old smokers, when, after indulging in the stock jests and
sneers at womankind, you lay aside your cigars, and "join the ladies,"
arrayed in bright colors and bewitching novelties of dress, moving
gracefully in the brilliant gas-light, or arranged in glowing groups
about the room? Has not the truth flashed upon you, at such moments,
that you had been talking prose upon a subject essentially poetical?
Have you never felt how mean and low a thing it was to linger in
sensual stupefaction, rather than take your proper place in such a
scene as this?

It is true, that a few women in commercial cities,--a few bankers' and
brokers' wives, and others,--bewildered by the possession of new
wealth, do go to ridiculous excess in dressing, and thus bring reproach
upon the art. It were well if their husbands did no worse. Now and
then, too, is presented the melancholy spectacle of an extravagant
hussy marring, perhaps spoiling, the career of her husband by tasteless
and unprincipled expenditures in the decoration of her person. But is
it wholly her fault? Is he not the purse-holder? Is it not a husband's
duty to prevent his wife from dishonoring herself in that manner? When
men are sensual, women will be frivolous. When men abandon their homes
and all the noble pleasures of society in order to herd together in
clubs and smoking-rooms, what right have they to object if the ladies
amuse themselves in the only innocent way accessible to them? The
wonder is that they confine themselves to the innocent delights of the
toilet. A husband who spends one day and seven evenings of every week
at his club ought to expect that his wife will provide herself both
with fine clothes and some one who will admire them. Besides, for one
woman who shocks us by wasting upon her person an undue part of the
family resources, there are ten who astonish us by the delightful
results which their taste and ingenuity contrive out of next to

It would be absurd to say that smoking is the cause of evils which
originate in the weakness and imperfection of human nature. The point
is simply this: tobacco, by disturbing and impairing virility, tends to
vitiate the relations between the sexes, tends to lessen man's interest
in women and his enjoyment of their society, and enables him to endure
and be contented with, and finally even to prefer, the companionship of
men. And this is the true reason why almost every lady of spirit is the
irreconcilable foe of tobacco. It is not merely that she dislikes the
stale odor of the smoke in her curtains, nor merely that her quick eye
discerns its hostility to health and life. These things would make her
disapprove the weed. But instinct causes her dimly to perceive that
this ridiculous brown leaf is the rival of her sex. Women do not
disapprove their rivals; they hate them.

Smoking certainly does blunt a man's sense of cleanliness. It certainly
is an unclean habit. Does the reader remember the fine scene in
"Shirley," in which the lover soliloquizes in Shirley's own boudoir,
just after that "stainless virgin" has gone out? She had gone away
suddenly, it appears, and left disorder behind her; but every object
bore upon it the legible inscription, _I belong to a lady!_ "Nothing
sordid, nothing soiled," says Louis Moore. "Look at the pure kid of
this little glove, at the fresh, unsullied satin of the bag." This is
one of those happy touches of the great artist which convey more
meaning than whole paint-pots of common coloring. What a pleasing sense
it gives us of the sweet cleanness of the high-bred maiden! If smokers
were to be judged by the places they have _left_,--by the smoking-car
after a long day's use, by the dinner-table at which they have sat
late, by the bachelor's quarters when the bachelor has gone down
town,--they must be rated very low in the scale of civilization.

We must admit, too, I think, that smoking dulls a man's sense of the
rights of others. Horace Greeley is accustomed to sum up his opinion
upon this branch of the subject by saying: "When a man begins to smoke,
he immediately becomes a hog." He probably uses the word "hog" in two
senses: namely, _hog_, an unclean creature; and _hog_, a creature
devoid of a correct sense of what is due to other creatures. "Go into a
public gathering," he has written, "where a speaker of delicate lungs,
with an invincible repulsion to tobacco, is trying to discuss some
important topic so that a thousand men can hear and understand him, yet
whereinto ten or twenty smokers have introduced themselves, a long-nine
projecting horizontally from beneath the nose of each, a fire at one
end and a fool at the other, and mark how the puff, puffing gradually
transforms the atmosphere (none too pure at best) into that of some
foul and pestilential cavern, choking the utterance of the speaker, and
distracting (by annoyance) the attention of the hearers, until the
argument is arrested or its effect utterly destroyed." If these men, he
adds, are not blackguards, who are blackguards? He mitigates the
severity of this conclusion, however, by telling an anecdote:
"Brethren," said Parson Strong, of Hartford, preaching a Connecticut
election sermon, in high party times, some fifty years ago, "it has
been charged that I have said every Democrat is a horse-thief; I never
did. What I _did_ say was only that every horse-thief is a Democrat,
and _that_ I can prove." Mr. Greeley challenges the universe to produce
a genuine blackguard who is not a lover of the weed in some of its
forms, and promises to reward the finder with the gift of two white

Mr. Greeley exaggerates. Some of the best gentlemen alive smoke, and
some of the dirtiest blackguards do not; but most intelligent smokers
are conscious that the practice, besides being in itself unclean, dulls
the smoker's sense of cleanliness, and, what is still worse, dulls his
sense of what is due to others, and especially of what is due to the
presence of ladies.

The cost of tobacco ought perhaps to be considered before we conclude
whether or not it pays to smoke; since every man who smokes, not only
pays his share of the whole expense of the weed to mankind, but he also
supports and justifies mankind in incurring that expense. The
statistics of tobacco are tremendous, even to the point of being
incredible. It is gravely asserted, in Messrs. Ripley and Dana's
excellent and most trustworthy Cyclopædia, that the consumption of
cigars in Cuba--the mere consumption--amounts to ten cigars per day for
every man, woman, and child on the island. Besides this, Cuba exports
two billions of cigars a year, which vary in price from twenty cents
each (in gold) to two cents. In the manufacture of Manilla cheroots,--a
small item in the trade,--the labor of seven thousand men and twelve
hundred women is absorbed. Holland, where much of the tobacco used in
smoky Germany is manufactured, employs, it is said, one million pale
people in the business. In Bremen there are four thousand pallid or
yellow cigar-makers. In the United States the weed exhausts four
hundred thousand acres of excellent land, and employs forty thousand
sickly and cadaverous cigar and tobacco makers. In England, where there
is a duty upon tobacco of seventy-five cents a pound, and upon cigars
of nearly four dollars a pound, the government derives about six
million pounds sterling every year from tobacco. The French government
gets from its monopoly of the tobacco trade nearly two hundred million
francs per annum, and Austria over eighty million francs. It is
computed that the world is now producing one thousand million pounds of
tobacco every year, at a _total_ cost of five hundred millions of
dollars. To this must be added the cost of pipes, and a long catalogue
of smoking conveniences and accessories. In the London Exhibition there
were four amber mouth-pieces, valued at two hundred and fifty guineas
each. A plain, small, serviceable meerschaum pipe now costs in New York
seven dollars, and the prices rise from that sum to a thousand dollars;
but where is the young man who does not possess one? We have in New
York two (perhaps more) extensive manufactories of these pipes; and
very interesting it is to look in at the windows and inspect the
novelties in this branch of art? In Vienna men earn their living (and
their dying too) by smoking meerschaums for the purpose of starting the
process of "coloring." Happily, the high price of labor has hitherto
prevented the introduction of this industry into America.

An inhabitant of the United States who smokes a pipe only, and good
tobacco in that pipe, can now get his smoking for twenty-five dollars a
year. One who smokes good cigars freely (say ten a day at twenty cents
each) must expend between seven and eight hundred dollars a year.
Almost every one whose eye may chance to fall upon these lines will be
able to mention at least one man whose smoking costs him several
hundred dollars per annum,--from three hundred to twelve hundred. On
the other hand, our friend the hod-carrier can smoke a whole week upon
ten cents' worth of tobacco, and buy a pipe for two cents which he can
smoke till it is black with years.

All this inconceivable expenditure--this five hundred millions per
annum--comes out of the world's surplus, that precious fund which must
pay all the cost, both of improving and extending civilization.
Knowledge, art, literature, have to be supported out of what is left
after food, clothes, fire, shelter, and defence have all been paid for.
If the surest test of civilization, whether of an individual or of a
community, is the use made of surplus revenue, what can we say of the
civilization of a race that expends five hundred millions of dollars
every year for an indulgence which is nearly an unmitigated injury? The
surplus revenue, too, of every community is very small; for nearly the
whole force of human nature is expended necessarily in the unending
struggle for life. The most prosperous, industrious, economical, and
civilized community that now exists in the world, or that ever existed,
is, perhaps, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Yes, take it for all in
all, Massachusetts, imperfect as it is, is about the best thing man has
yet done in the way of a commonwealth. And yet the surplus revenue of
Massachusetts is set down at only three cents a day for each
inhabitant; and out of this the community has to pay for its knowledge,
decoration, and luxury. Man, it must be confessed, after having been in
business for so many thousands of years, is still in very narrow
circumstances, and most assuredly cannot afford to spend five hundred
millions a year in an injurious physical indulgence.

It is melancholy to observe what a small, mean, precarious, grudging
support we give to the best things, if they are of the kind which must
be sustained out of our surplus. At Cambridge the other day, while
looking about among the ancient barracks in which the students live, I
had the curiosity to ask concerning the salaries of the professors in
Harvard College,--supposing, of course, that such learned and eminent
persons received a compensation proportioned to the dignity of their
offices, the importance of their labors, and the celebrity of their
names. Alas! it is not so. A good reporter on the New York press gets
just about as much money as the President of the College, and the
professors receive such salaries as fifteen and eighteen hundred
dollars a year. The very gifts of inconsiderate benefactors have
impoverished the college, few of whom, it seems, have been able to give
money to the institution; most of them have merely bought distinction
from it. Thus professorships in plenty have been endowed and named; but
the college is hampered, and its resources have become insufficient, by
being divided among a multitude of objects. I beg the reader, the next
time he gives Harvard University a hundred thousand dollars, or leaves
it a million in his will, to make the sum a gift,--a gift to the
trustees,--to be expended as they deem best for the general and
permanent good of the institution, and not to neutralize the benefit of
the donation by conditions dictated by vanity. Yale, I have since
learned, is no better off. At all our colleges, it seems, the
professors either starve upon twelve or fifteen hundred dollars a year,
or eke out a subsistence by taking pupils, or by some other arduous
extra labor. But what wonder that learning pines, when we every year
waste millions upon millions of the fund out of which alone learning
can be supported!

It is so with all high and spiritual things. How the theatre
languishes! There are but four cities in the United States where a good
and complete theatre could be sustained. In the great and wealthy city
of New York there has never been more than one at a time, nor always
one. How small, too, the sale of good books, even those of a popular
cast! One of the most interesting works ever published in the United
States is the "Life of Josiah Quincy," by his son Edmund Quincy. It is
not an abstruse production. The narrative is easy and flowing,
interspersed with well-told anecdotes of celebrated men,--Washington,
Lafayette, John Adams, John Randolph, Hancock, Jefferson, and many
others. Above all, the book exhibits and interprets, in the most
agreeable manner, a triumphant human life; showing how it came to pass
that Josiah Quincy, in this perplexing and perilous world, was able to
live happily, healthily, honorably, and usefully for ninety-three
years! Splendid triumph of civilization! Ninety-three years of joyous,
dignified, and beneficial existence! One would have thought that many
thousands of people in the United States would have hurried to their
several bookstores to bear away, rejoicing, a volume recounting such a
marvel, the explanation of which so nearly concerns us all. The book
has now been published three months or more, and has not yet sold more
than three thousand copies! Young men cannot waste their hard-earned
money upon a three-dollar book. It is the price of a bundle of cigars!

Mr. Henry Ward Beecher has recently told us, in one of his "Ledger"
articles, how he earned his first ten dollars, and what he did with it.
While he was a student in Amherst he was invited to deliver a
Fourth-of-July temperance address in Brattleboro', forty miles distant.
His travelling expenses were to be paid; but the brilliant scheme
occurred to him to walk the eighty miles, and earn the stage fare by
saving it. He did so, and received by mail after his return a
ten-dollar bill,--the first ten dollars he had ever possessed, and the
first money he had ever earned. He instantly gave a proof that the test
of a person's civilization is the use he makes of his surplus money. He
spent the whole of it upon an edition of the works of Edmund Burke, and
carried the volumes to his room, a happy youth. It was not the best
choice, in literature, perhaps; but it was one that marked the
civilized being, and indicated the future instructor of his species.
Suppose he had invested the sum (and we all know students who would
make just that use of an unexpected ten-dollar bill) in a new
meerschaum and a bag of Lone-Jack tobacco! At the end of his college
course he would have had, probably, a finely colored pipe,--perhaps the
prettiest pipe of his year; but he would not have had that little
"library of fifty volumes," the solace of his coming years of poverty
and fever and ague, always doing their part toward expanding him from a
sectarian into a man of the world, and lifting him from the slavery of
a mean country parish toward the mastership of a metropolitan
congregation. His was the very nature to have been quenched by tobacco.
If he had bought a pipe that day, instead of books, he might be at this
moment a petty D.D., preaching safe inanity or silly eccentricity in
some obscure corner of the world, and going to Europe every five years
for his health.

We all perceive that smoking has made bold and rapid encroachments of
late years. It is said that the absurdly situated young man who passes
in the world by the undescriptive name of the Prince of Wales smokes in
drawing-rooms in the presence of ladies. This tale is probably false;
scandalous tales respecting conspicuous persons are so generally false,
that it is always safest and fairest to reject them as a matter of
course, unless they rest upon testimony that ought to convince a jury.
Nevertheless, it is true that smoke is creeping toward the
drawing-room, and rolls in clouds where once it would not have dared to
send a whiff. One reason of this is, that the cigar, and the pipe too,
have "got into literature," where they shed abroad a most alluring
odor. That passage, for example, in "Jane Eyre," where the timid,
anxious Jane, returning after an absence, scents Rochester's cigar
before she catches sight of his person, is enough to make any old
smoker feel for his cigar-case; and all through the book smoke plays a
dignified and attractive part. Mr. Rochester's cigars, we feel, must be
of excellent quality (thirty cents each, at least); we see how freely
they burn; we smell their delicious fragrance. Charlotte Brontë was,
perhaps, one of the few women who have a morbid love of the odor of
tobacco, who crave its stimulating aid as men do; and therefore her
Rochester has a fragrance of the weed about him at all times, with
which many readers have been captivated. "Jane Eyre" is the book of
recent years which has been most frequently imitated, and consequently
the circulating libraries are populous with smoking heroes. Byron,
Thackeray, and many other popular authors have written passages in
which the smoke of tobacco insinuates itself most agreeably into the
reader's gentle senses.

Many smokers, too, have been made such by the unexplained rigor with
which the practice is sometimes forbidden. Forbidden it must be in all
schools; but merely forbidding it and making it a dire offence will not
suffice in these times. Some of the most pitiable slaves of smoke I
have ever known were brought up in families and schools where smoking
was invested with the irresistible charm of being the worst thing a boy
could do, except running away. Deep in the heart of the woods, high up
in rocky hills, far from the haunts of men and schoolmasters (not to
speak of places less salubrious), boys assemble on holiday afternoons
to sicken themselves with furtive smoke, returning at the close of the
day to relate the dazzling exploit to their companions. In this way the
habit sometimes becomes so tyrannical, that, if the victims of it
should give a sincere definition of "vacation," it would be this, "The
time when boys can get a chance to smoke every day." I can also state,
that the only school I ever knew or heard of in which young men who had
formed the habit were induced to break themselves of it was the only
school I ever knew or heard of in which all students above the age of
sixteen were allowed to smoke. Still, it must be forbidden. Professor
Charlier, of New York, will not have in his school a boy who smokes
even at home in his father's presence, or in the street; and he is
right; but it requires all his talents as a disciplinarian and all his
influence as a member of society to enforce the rule. Nor would even
his vigilance avail if he confined himself to the cold enunciation of
the law: Thou shalt not smoke.

To forbid young men to smoke, without making an honest and earnest and
skilful attempt to convince their understandings that the practice is
pernicious, is sometimes followed by deplorable consequences. At the
Naval Academy at Annapolis, not only is smoking forbidden, but the
prohibition is effectual. There are four hundred young men confined
within walls, and subjected to such discipline that it is impossible
for a rule to be broken, the breaking of which betrays itself. The
result is, that nearly all the students chew tobacco,--many of them to
very great excess, and to their most serious and manifest injury. That
great national institution teems with abuses, but, perhaps, all the
other deleterious influences of the place united do less harm than this
one abomination.

On looking over the articles upon tobacco in the Encyclopædias, we
occasionally find writers declaring or conjecturing that, as smoking
has become a habit almost universal, there must be, in the nature of
things, a reason which accounts for and justifies it. Accounts for it,
_yes_; justifies it, _no_.

So long as man lives the life of a pure savage, he has good health
without ever bestowing a thought upon the matter. Nature, like a good
farmer, saves the best for seed. The mightiest bull becomes the father
of the herd; the great warrior, the great hunter, has the most wives
and children. The sickly children are destroyed by the hardships of
savage life, and those who survive are compelled to put forth such
exertions in procuring food and defending their wigwams that they are
always "in training." The pure savage has not the skill nor the time to
extract from the wilds in which he lives the poisons that could deprave
his taste and impair his vigor. Your Indian sleeps, with scanty
covering, in a wigwam that freely admits the air. In his own way, he is
an exquisite cook. Neither Delmonico nor Parker nor Professor Blot ever
cooked a salmon or a partridge as well as a Rocky Mountain Indian cooks
them; and when he has cooked his fish or his bird, he eats with it some
perfectly simple preparation of Indian corn. He is an absolutely
_unstimulated_ animal. The natural working of his internal machinery
generates all the vital force he wants. He is as healthy as a buffalo,
as a prize-fighter, as the stroke-oar of a university boat.

But in our civilized, sedentary life, he who would have good health
must fight for it. Many people have the insolence to become parents who
have no right to aspire to that dignity; children are born who have no
right to exist; and skill preserves many whom nature is eager to
destroy. Civilized man, too, has learned the trick of heading off some
of the diseases that used to sweep over whole regions of the earth, and
lay low the weakliest tenth of the population. Consequently, while the
average duration of human life has been increased, the average tone of
human health has been lowered. Fewer die, and fewer are quite well.
Very many of us breathe vitiated air, and keep nine tenths of the body
quiescent for twenty-two or twenty-three hours out of every
twenty-four. Immense numbers cherish gloomy, depressing opinions, and
convert the day set apart for rest and recreation into one which
aggravates some of the worst tendencies of the week, and counteracts
none of them. Half the population of the United States violate the laws
of nature every time they take sustenance; and the children go, crammed
with indigestion, to sit six hours in hot, ill-ventilated or
unventilated school-rooms. Except in a few large towns, the bread and
meat are almost universally inferior or bad; and the only viands that
are good are those which ought not to be eaten at all. At most family
tables, after a course of meat which has the curious property of being
both soft and tough, a wild profusion of ingenious puddings, pies,
cakes, and other abominable trash, beguiles the young, disgusts the
mature, and injures all. From bodies thus imperfectly nourished, we
demand excessive exertions of all kinds.

Hence, the universal craving for artificial aids to digestion. Hence,
the universal use of stimulants,--whiskey, Worcestershire sauce, beer,
wine, coffee, tea, tobacco. This is the only reason I can discover in
the nature of things here for the widespread, increasing propensity to
smoke. As all the virtues are akin, and give loyal aid to one another,
so are all the vices in alliance, and play into one another's hands.
Many a smoker will discover, when at last he breaks the bond of his
servitude, that his pipe, trifling a matter as it may seem to him now,
was really the power that kept down his whole nature, and vulgarized
his whole existence. In many instances the single act of self-control
involved in giving up the habit would necessitate and include a
complete regeneration, first physical, then moral.

Whether the Coming Man will drink wine or be a teetotaller has not yet,
perhaps, been positively ascertained; but it is certain he will not
smoke. Nothing can be surer than that. The Coming Man will be as
healthy as Tecumseh, as clean as Shirley, and as well groomed as
Dexter. He will not fly the female of his species, nor wall himself in
from her approach, nor give her cause to prefer his absence. We are not
left to infer or conjecture this; we can ascertain it from what we know
of the messengers who have announced the coming of the Coming Man. The
most distinguished of these was Goethe,--perhaps the nearest approach
to the complete human being that has yet appeared. The mere fact that
this admirable person lived always unpolluted by this seductive poison
is a fact of some significance; but the important fact is, that he
_could not_ have smoked and remained Goethe. When we get close to the
man, and live intimately with him, we perceive the impossibility of his
ever having been a smoker. We can as easily fancy Desdemona smoking a
cigarette as the highly groomed, alert, refined, imperial Goethe with a
cigar in his mouth. In America, the best gentleman and most variously
learned and accomplished man we have had--the man, too, who had in him
most of what will constitute the glory of the future--was Thomas
Jefferson, Democrat, of Virginia. He was versed in six languages; he
danced, rode, and hunted as well as General Washington; he played the
violin well, wrote admirably, farmed skilfully, and was a most
generous, affectionate, humane, and great-souled human being. It was
the destiny of this ornament and consolation of his species to raise
tobacco, and live by tobacco all his life. But he knew too much to use
it himself; or, to speak more correctly, his fine feminine senses, his
fine masculine instincts, revolted from the use of it, without any
assistance from his understanding.

There is no trace of the pipe in the writings of Washington or
Franklin; probably they never smoked; so that we may rank the three
great men of America--Washington, Franklin, and Jefferson--among the
exempts. Washington Irving, who was the first literary man of the
United States to achieve a universal reputation, and who is still
regarded as standing at the head of our literature, was no smoker. Two
noted Americans, Dr. Nott and John Quincy Adams, after having been
slaves of the weed for many years, escaped from bondage and smoked no
more. These distinguished names may serve as a set-off to the list of
illustrious smokers previously given.

Among the nations of the earth most universally addicted to smoking are
the Turks, the Persians, the Chinese, the Spanish,--all slaves of
tradition, submissive to tyrants, unenterprising, averse to
improvement, despisers of women. Next to these, perhaps, we must place
the Germans, a noble race, renowned for two thousand years for the
masculine vigor of the men and the motherly dignity of the women.
Smoking is a blight upon this valuable breed of men; it steals away
from their minds much of the alertness and decision that naturally
belong to such minds as they have, and it impairs their bodily health.
Go, on some festive day, to "Jones's Woods," where you may sometimes
see five thousand Germans--men, women, and children--amusing themselves
in their simple and rational way. Not one face in ten has the clear,
bright look of health. Nearly all the faces have a certain tallowy
aspect,--yellowish in color, with a dull shine upon them. You perceive
plainly that it is not well with these good people; they are not
conforming to nature's requirements; they are not the Germans of
Tacitus,--ruddy, tough, happy, and indomitable. To lay the whole blame
of this decline upon smoking, which is only one of many bad habits of
theirs, would be absurd. What I insist upon is this: Smoking, besides
doing its part toward lowering the tone of the bodily health, deadens
our sense of other physical evils, and makes us submit to them more
patiently. If our excellent German fellow-citizens were to throw away
their pipes, they would speedily toss their cast-iron sausages after
them, and become more fastidious in the choice of air for their own and
their children's breathing, and reduce their daily allowance of
lager-bier. Their first step toward physical regeneration will be, must
be, the suppression of the pipe.

One hopeful sign for the future is, that this great subject of the
physical aids and the physical obstacles to virtue is attracting
attention and rising into importance. Our philanthropists have stopped
giving tracts to hungry people; at least they give bread first. It is
now a recognized truth, that it takes a certain number of cubic yards
for a person to be virtuous in; and that, consequently, in that square
mile of New York in which two hundred and ninety thousand people live,
there must be--absolutely _must_ be--an immense number of unvirtuous
persons. No human virtue or civilization can long exist where four
families live in a room, some of whom take boarders. The way to
regenerate this New York mile is simply to widen Manhattan Island by
building three bridges over the East River, and to shorten the island
by making three lines of underground or overground railroad to the
upper end of it. We may say, too, there are circles--not many, it is
true, but some--in which a man's religion would not be considered a
very valuable acquisition, if, when he had "got" it, he kept on chewing
tobacco. Such a flagrant and abominable violation of the Creator's
laws, by a person distinctly professing a special veneration for them,
would be ludicrous, if it were not so pernicious.

The time is at hand when these simple and fundamental matters will have
their proper place in all our schemes for the improvement of one
another. The impulse in this direction given by the publication of the
most valuable work of this century--Buckle's "History of Civilization
in England"--will not expend itself in vain. If that author had but
lived, he would not have disdained, in recounting the obstacles to
civilization, to consider the effects upon the best modern brains of a
poison that lulls their noblest faculties to torpor, and enables them
languidly to endure what they ought constantly to fight.

It is not difficult to stop smoking, except for one class of
smokers,--those whom it has radically injured, and whose lives it is
shortening. For all such the discontinuance of the practice will be
almost as difficult as it is desirable. No rule can be given which will
apply to all or to many such cases; but each man must fight it out on
the line he finds best, and must not be surprised if it takes him a
great deal longer than "all summer." If one of this class of smokers
should gain deliverance from his bondage after a two years' struggle,
he would be doing well. A man who had been smoking twenty cigars a day
for several years, and should suddenly stop, would be almost certain
either to relapse or fall into some worse habit,--chewing, whiskey, or
opium. Perhaps his best way would be to put himself upon half allowance
for a year, and devote the second year to completing his cure,--always
taking care to live in other respects more wisely and temperately, and
thus lessen the craving for a stimulant. The more smoke is hurting a
man, the harder it is for him to stop smoking; and almost all whom the
practice is destroying rest under the delusion that they could stop
without the least effort, if they liked.

The vast majority of smokers--seven out of every ten, at least--can,
without the least danger or much inconvenience, cease smoking at once,
totally and forever.

As I have now given a trial to both sides of the question, I beg
respectfully to assure the brotherhood of smokers that it does _not_
pay to smoke. It really does not. I can work better and longer than
before. I have less headache. I have a better opinion of myself. I
enjoy exercise more, and step out much more vigorously. My room is
cleaner. The bad air of our theatres and other public places disgusts
and infuriates me more, but exhausts me less. I think I am rather
better tempered, as well as more cheerful and satisfied. I endure the
inevitable ills of life with more fortitude, and look forward more
hopefully to the coming years. It did not pay to smoke, but, most
decidedly, it pays to stop smoking.



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. Trall 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 testify
that very few of them--indeed, none that I could discover--neglected
the bottle. It was an occasion which united all the established
barbarisms 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 _knelt_
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 _we_ 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 wall; 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, small-pox, 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

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, if 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 fifths 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 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, gin, 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

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 teetotaller 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 frost-bitten. 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. A 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 teetotaller: 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 to do, the more 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
guzzlers[1] 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, prize-fighting 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 he 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."

          [1] We owe to Mr. Bigelow the restoration of this strong
          Franklinian word. The common editions have it "drinkers."

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-bier, 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 wine-drinking
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 he 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

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
of applying 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
forty-eight 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 sixty-two, "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.

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? 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."[2] 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

"1. 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 forty-five.

          [2] Life and Correspondence of Theodore Parker. By John
          Weiss. Vol. II. p. 513.

"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

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."

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 life. 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 lager-bier 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 keeping 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
muddied, 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. Delmonico'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 cold-water 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 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 feel 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 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 France; that he wished every grapevine 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

The teetotalers have 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
safe 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 steam-engine 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 great-grandmothers 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 self-preserving 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.


There are two kinds of drunkards,--the Regular and the Occasional. Of
each of these two classes there are several varieties, and, indeed,
there are no two cases precisely alike; but every drunkard in the world
is either a person who has lost the power to refrain from drinking a
certain large quantity of alcoholic liquor every day, or he is one who
has lost the power to refrain from drinking an uncertain enormous
quantity now and then.

Few get drunk habitually who can refrain. If they could refrain, they
would; for to no creatures is drunkenness so loathsome and temperance
so engaging as to seven tenths of the drunkards. There are a few very
coarse men, of heavy, stolid, animal organization, who almost seem
formed by nature to absorb alcohol, and in whom there is not enough of
manhood to be ashamed of its degradation. These Dr. Albert Day, the
superintendent of the New York State Inebriate Asylum, sometimes calls
Natural Drunkards. They like strong drink for its own sake; they have a
kind of sulky enjoyment of its muddling effect upon such brains as they
happen to have; and when once the habit is fixed, nothing can deliver
them except stone walls and iron bars. There are also a few drunkards
of very light calibre, trifling persons, incapable of serious
reflection or of a serious purpose, their very terrors being trivial
and transitory, who do not care for the ruin in which they are
involved. Generally speaking, however, drunkards hate the servitude
into which they have had the misfortune to fall; they long to escape
from it, have often tried to escape, and if they have given up, it is
only after having so many times slidden back into the abyss, that they
feel it would be of no use to climb again. As Mrs. H. B. Stowe remarks,
with that excellent charity of hers, which is but another name for
refined justice, "Many a drunkard has expended more virtue in vain
endeavors to break his chain than suffices to carry an ordinary
Christian to heaven."

The daily life of one of the steady drunkards is like this: upon
getting up in the morning, after a heavy, restless, drunkard's sleep,
he is miserable beyond expression, and almost helpless. In very bad
cases, he will see double, and his hands will tremble so that he cannot
lift to his lips the glass for which he has a desire amounting to
mania. Two or three stiff glasses of spirituous liquor will restore him
so far that he can control his muscles, and get about without betraying
his condition. After being up an hour, and drinking every ten or
fifteen minutes, he will usually be able to eat a pretty good
breakfast, which, with the aid of coffee, tobacco, and a comparatively
small quantity of liquor, he will be able to digest. After breakfast,
for some hours he will generally be able to transact routine business,
and associate with his fellows without exciting their pity or contempt.
As dinner-time draws near he feels the necessity of creating an
appetite; which he often accomplishes by drinking some of those
infernal compounds which are advertised on the eternal rocks and
mountain-sides as Bitters,--a mixture of bad drugs with worse spirits.
These bitters do lash the torpid powers into a momentary, morbid,
fierce activity, which enables the victim to eat even a superabundant
dinner. The false excitement subsides, but the dinner remains, and it
has to be digested. This calls for an occasional drink for three or
four hours, after which the system is exhausted, and the man feels dull
and languid. He is exhausted, but he is not tranquil; he craves a
continuation of the stimulant with a craving which human nature, so
abused and perverted, never resists. By this time it is evening, when
all the apparatus of temptation is in the fullest activity, and all the
loose population of the town is abroad. He now begins his evening
debauch, and keeps up a steady drinking until he can drink no more,
when he stumbles home to sleep off the stupefying fumes, and awake to
the horror and decrepitude of a drunkard's morning.

The quantity of spirituous liquor required to keep one of these unhappy
men in this degrading slavery varies from a pint a day to two quarts.
Many drunkards consume a quart of whiskey every day for years. The
regular allowance of one gentleman of the highest position, both social
and official, who made his way to the Inebriate Asylum, had been two
quarts of brandy a day for about five years. The most remarkable known
case is that of a hoary-headed man of education and fortune, residing
in the city of New York, who confesses to taking "fifty drinks a day"
of whiskey,--ten drinks to a bottle, and five bottles to a gallon. One
gallon of liquor, he _says_, goes down his old throat every day of the
year. Before he is fit to eat his breakfast in the morning he has to
drink twelve glasses of whiskey, or one bottle and one fifth.
Nevertheless, even this poor man is able, for some hours of the
morning, to transact what people of property and leisure call business,
and, during a part of the evening, to converse in such a way as to
amuse persons who can look on and see a human being in such bondage
without stopping to think what a tragedy it is. This Old Boy never has
to be carried home, I believe. He is one of those most hopeless
drunkards who never get drunk, never wallow in the gutter, never do
anything to scare or startle them into an attempt to reform. He is like
a certain German "puddler" who was pointed out to me in a Pittsburg
iron-works, who consumes exactly seven dollars' worth of lager-bier
every seven days,--twenty glasses a day, at five cents each. He is also
like the men employed in the dismal work of the brewery, who are
allowed as much beer as they can drink, and who generally do drink as
much as they can. Such persons are always fuddled and stupid, but
seldom drunk enough to alarm their neighbors or themselves. Perhaps
they are the only persons in all the world who are in any degree
justified in passing their lives in a state of suspended intelligence;
those of them at least whose duty it is to get inside of enormous beer
barrels, and there, in darkness and solitude, in an atmosphere reeking
and heavy with stale ale, scrape and mop them out before they are
refilled. When you see their dirty, pale faces at the "man-hole" of the
barrel, down in the rumbling bowels of the earth, in one of those vast
caves of beer in Cincinnati, you catch yourself saying, "Drink, poor
devils, drink! Soak what brains you have in beer!" What can a man want
with brains in a beer-barrel? But then, you think again, even these
poor men need their brains when they get home; and _we_ need that they
should have brains on the first Tuesday in November.

It is that _going home_ which makes drunkenness so dire a tragedy. If
the drunkard could only shut himself up with a whiskey-barrel, or a
pipe of Madeira, and quietly guzzle himself to death, it would be a
pity, but it could be borne. He never does this; he goes home to make
that home perdition to some good souls that love him, or depend upon
him, and cannot give him up. There are men at the Asylum near
Binghamton, who have admirable wives, beautiful and accomplished
daughters, venerable parents, whose portraits are there in the
patient's trunks, and who write daily letters to cheer the absent one,
whose absence now, for the firsts time in years, does not terrify them.
_They_ are the victims of drunkenness,--they who never taste strong
drink. For _their_ deliverance, this Asylum stands upon its hill
justified in existing. The men themselves are interesting, valuable,
precious, worth every rational effort that can be made to save them;
but it is those whom they left at home anxious and desolate that have
the first claim upon our consideration.

With regard to these steady, regular drunkards, the point to be noted
is this: very few of them can stop drinking while they continue to
perform their daily labor; they absolutely _depend_ upon the alcohol to
rouse their torpid energies to activity. Their jaded constitutions will
not budge without the spur. Everything within them gapes and hungers
for the accustomed stimulant. This is the case, even in a literal
sense; for it seems, from Dr. Day's dissections, that the general
effect of excessive drinking is to enlarge the globules of which the
brain, the blood, the liver, and other organs are composed, so that
those globules, as it were, stand open-mouthed, empty, athirst,
inflamed, and most eager to be filled. A man whose every organ is thus
diseased cannot usually take the first step toward cure without ceasing
for a while to make any other demands upon himself. This is the great
fact of his condition. If he is a true drunkard, i.e. if he has lost
the power to do his work without excessive alcoholic stimulation, then
there is no cure possible for him without rest. Here we have the simple
explanation of Mrs. Stowe's fine remark just quoted. This is why so
many thousand wives spend their days in torment between hope and
despair,--hope kindled by the husband's efforts to regain possession of
himself, and despair caused by his repeated, his inevitable relapses.
The unfortunate man tries to do two things at once, the easiest of
which is as much as he can accomplish; while the hardest is a task
which, even with the advantage of perfect rest, few can perform without

The Occasional Drunkard is a man who is a teetotaler for a week, two
weeks, a month, three months, six months, and who, at the end of his
period, is tempted to drink one glass of alcoholic liquor. That one
glass has upon him two effects; it rouses the slumbering demon of
Desire, and it perverts his moral judgment. All at once his honor and
good name, the happiness and dignity of his family, his success in
business, all that he held dearest a moment before, seem small to him,
and he thinks he has been a fool of late to concern himself so much
about them. Or else he thinks he can drink without being found out, and
without its doing him the harm it did the last time. Whatever may be
the particular delusion that seizes him, the effect is the same; he
drinks, and drinks, and drinks, keeping it up sometimes for ten days,
or even for several weeks, until the long debauch ends in utter
exhaustion or in delirium tremens. He is then compelled to submit to
treatment; he must needs go to the Inebriate Asylum of his own
bed-room. There, whether he raves or droops, he is the most miserable
wretch on earth; for, besides the bodily tortures which he surfers, he
has to endure the most desolating pang that a decent human being ever
knows,--the loss of his self-respect. He abhors himself and is ashamed;
he remembers past relapses and despairs; he cannot look his own
children in the face; he wishes he had never been born, or had died in
the cursed hour, vividly remembered, when this appetite mastered him
first. As his health is restored, his hopes revive; he renews his
resolution and he resumes his ordinary routine, subdued, distrustful of
himself, and on the watch against temptation. Why he again relapses he
can hardly tell, but he always does. Sometimes a snarl in business
perplexes him, and he drinks for elucidation. Sometimes melancholy
oppresses him, and he drinks to drive dull care away. Sometimes good
fortune overtakes him, or an enchanting day in June or October attunes
his heart to joy, and he is taken captive by the strong delusion that
now is the time to drink and be glad. Often it is lovely woman who
offers the wine, and offers it in such a way that he thinks he cannot
refuse without incivility or confession. From conversation with the
inmates of the Inebriate Asylum, I am confident that Mr. Greeley's
assertion with regard to the wine given at the Communion is correct.
That sip might be enough to awaken the desire. The mere odor of the
wine filling the church might be too much for some men.

There appears to be a physical cause for this extreme susceptibility.
Dr. Day has once had the opportunity to examine the brain of a man who,
after having been a drunkard, reformed, and lived for some years a
teetotaler. He found, to his surprise, that the globules of the brain
had not shrunk to their natural size. They did not exhibit the
inflammation of the drunkard's brain, but they were still enlarged, and
seemed ready on the instant to absorb the fumes of alcohol, and resume
their former condition. He thought he saw in this morbid state of the
brain the physical part of the reason why a man who has once been a
drunkard can never again, as long as he lives, safely take one drop of
any alcoholic liquor. He thought he saw why a glass of wine puts the
man back instantly to where he was when he drank all the time. He saw
the citadel free from the enemy, swept and clean, but undefended,
incapable of defence, and its doors opened wide to the enemy's return;
so that there was no safety, except in keeping the foe at a distance,
away beyond the outermost wall.

There are many varieties of these occasional drunkards, and, as a
class, they are perhaps the hardest to cure. Edgar Poe was one of them;
half a glass of wine would set him off upon a wild, reckless debauch,
that would last for days. All such persons as artists, writers, and
actors used to be particularly subject to this malady, before they had
any recognized place in the world, or any acknowledged right to exist
at all. Men whose labors are intense, but irregular, whose gains are
small and uncertain, who would gladly be gentlemen, but are compelled
to content themselves with being loafers, are in special danger; and so
are men whose toil is extremely monotonous. Printers, especially those
who work at night upon newspapers, are, perhaps, of all men the most
liable to fall under the dominion of drink. Some of them have persuaded
themselves that they rest under a kind of necessity to "go on a tear"
now and then, as a relief from such grinding work as theirs. On the
contrary, one "tear" creates the temptation to another; for the man
goes back to his work weak, depressed, and irritable; the monotony of
his labor is aggravated by the incorrectness with which he does it, and
the longing to break loose and renew the oblivion of drink strengthens
rapidly, until it masters him once more.

Of these periodical drunkards it is as true as it is of their regular
brethren, that they cannot conquer the habit without being relieved for
a while of their daily labor. This malady is so frequent among us, that
hardly an individual will cast his eyes over these pages who cannot
call to mind at least one person who has struggled with it for many
years, and struggled in vain. They attempt too much. Their periodical
"sprees," "benders," or "tears" are a connected series, each a cause
and an effect, an heir and a progenitor. After each debauch, the man
returns to his routine in just the state of health, in just the state
of mind, to be irritated, disgusted, and exhausted by that routine;
and, at every moment of weakness, there is always present the
temptation to seek the deadly respite of alcohol. The moment arrives
when the desire becomes too strong for him, and the victim yields to it
by a law as sure, as irresistible, as that which makes the apple seek
the earth's centre when it is disengaged from the tree.

It is amazing to see how helpless men can be against such a habit,
while they are compelled to continue their daily round of duties. Not
ignorant men only, nor bad men, nor weak men, but men of good
understanding, of rare gifts, of the loftiest aspirations, of
characters the most amiable, engaging, and estimable, and of will
sufficient for every purpose but this. They _know_ the ruin that awaits
them, or in which they are already involved, better than we other
sinners know it; they hate their bondage worse than the most
uncharitable of their friends can despise it; they look with
unutterable envy upon those who still have dominion over themselves;
many, very many of them would give all they have for deliverance; and
yet self-deliverance is impossible. There are men among them who have
been trying for thirty years to abstain, and still they drink. Some of
them have succeeded in lengthening the sober interval, and they will
live with strictest correctness for six months or more, and then,
taking that first fatal glass, will immediately lose their
self-control, and drink furiously for days and nights; drink until they
are obliged to use drunken artifice to get the liquid into their
mouths,--their hands refusing their office. Whether they take a large
quantity of liquor every day, or an immense quantity periodically,
makes no great difference, the disease is essentially the same; the
difficulties in the way of cure are the same; the remedial measures
must be the same. A drunkard, in short, is a person so diseased by
alcohol, that he cannot get through his work without keeping his system
saturated with it, or without such weariness and irritation as furnish
irresistible temptation to a debauch. He is, in other words, a fallen
brother, who cannot get upon his feet without help, and who can
generally get upon his feet with help.

Upon this truth Inebriate Asylums are founded; their object being to
afford the help needed. There are now four such institutions in the
United States: one in Boston, opened in 1857, called the Washingtonian
Home; one in Media, near Philadelphia, opened in 1867, called the
Sanitarium; one at Chicago, opened in 1868; and one at Binghamton, New
York, called the New York Inebriate Asylum. The one last named was
founded in 1858, if the laying of the corner-stone with grand
ceremonial can be called founding it; and it has been opened some years
for the reception of patients; but it had no real existence as an
asylum for the cure of inebriates until the year 1867, when the present
superintendent, Dr. Albert Day, assumed control.

The history of the institution previous to that time ought to be
related fully for the warning of a preoccupied and subscribing public,
but space cannot be afforded for it here. The substance of it, as
developed in sundry reports of trials and pamphlets of testimony, is
this: Fifteen or twenty years ago, an English adventurer living in the
city of New York, calling himself a doctor, and professing to treat
unnamable diseases, thought he saw in this notion of an Inebriate
Asylum (then much spoken of) a chance for feathering his nest. He
entered upon the enterprise without delay, and he displayed a good deal
of nervous energy in getting the charter, collecting money, and
erecting the building. The people of Binghamton, misled by his
representations, gave a farm of two hundred and fifty-two acres for the
future inmates to cultivate, which was two hundred acres too much; and
to this tract farms still more superfluous have been added, until the
Asylum estate contains more than five hundred acres. An edifice was
begun on the scale of an imperial palace, which will have cost, by the
time it is finished and furnished, a million dollars. The restless man
pervaded the State raising money, and creating public opinion in favor
of the institution. For several years he was regarded as one of the
great originating philanthropists of the age; and this the more because
he always gave out that he was laboring in the cause from pure love of
the inebriate, and received no compensation.

But the time came when his real object and true character were
revealed. In 1864 he carried his disinterestedness so far as to offer
to _give_ to the institution, as part of its permanent fund, the entire
amount to which he said he was entitled for services rendered and
expenses incurred. This amount was two hundred and thirty-two thousand
dollars, which would certainly have been a handsome gift. When he was
asked for the items of his account, he said he had charged for eighteen
years' services in founding the institution, at thirty-five hundred
dollars a year, and the rest was travelling-expenses, clerk hire, and
salaries paid to agents. The trustees were puzzled to know how a man
who, at the beginning of the enterprise, had no visible property, could
have expended so much out of his private resources, while exercising an
unremunerated employment. Leaving that conundrum unsolved, they were
able at length to conjecture the object of the donation. One of the
articles of the charter provided that any person giving ten dollars to
the institution should be a stockholder, and entitled to a vote at the
election of trustees. Every gift of ten dollars was a vote! If,
therefore, this astounding claim had been allowed, and the _gift_
accepted, the audacious villain would have been constituted owner of
four fifths of the governing stock, and the absolute controller of the
entire property of the institution! It was a bold game, and the
strangest part of the story is, that it came near succeeding. It
required the most arduous exertions of a public-spirited board of
trustees, headed by Dr. Willard Parker, to oust the man who, even after
the discovery of his scheme, played his few last cards so well that he
had to be bought off by a considerable sum cash down. An incident of
the disastrous reign of this individual was the burning of one of the
wings of the building, after he had had it well insured. The insurance
was paid him ($81,000); and there was a trial for arson,--a crime which
is easy to commit, and hard to prove. Binghamton convicted the
prisoner, but the jury was obliged to acquit him.[3]

          [3] The man and his confederates must have carried off an
          enormous booty. The local trustees say, in their Report for

          "Less than two years ago the Asylum received about $81,000
          from insurance companies for damage done by fire to the north
          wing. About $20,000 have since been received from the
          counties; making from these two sources about $100,000; and,
          although the buildings and grounds remain in the same
          unfinished state as when the fire occurred, except a small
          amount of work done in one or two wards in the south wing,
          the $100,000 have nearly disappeared.... Aside from the
          payment of interest and insurance, this money has been
          expended by Dr. ----, and in just such ways as he thought
          proper to use it.

          "It may well be asked why this is so. The answer is, that Dr.
          ---- assumes and exercises supreme control, and allows no
          interference, at least on the part of the resident

          "His control and management of everything connected with the
          institution has been as absolute in fact, if not in form, as
          if he were its sole proprietor. He goes to Albany to obtain
          legislation giving him extraordinary police powers, without
          as much as even informing the trustees of his intentions.
          When the iron grates for the windows of the lower ward were
          obtained, the resident trustees knew nothing of the matter,
          until they were informed that the patients were looking
          through barred windows. Everything has been done in the same
          way. He is not known to have had any other official relation
          to the institution by regular appointment than that of
          corresponding secretary, and yet he has exercised a power
          over its affairs which has defied all restraint. He lives
          there with his family, without a salary, and without
          individual resources, and dispenses hospitality or charity to
          his kindred with as much freedom and unreserve as if he owned
          everything and had unlimited means at his command. In fact,
          incredible as it may seem, he claims that he is virtually the
          owner of the institution. And his claim might have challenged
          contradiction, had his plans succeeded."

Such things may be done in a community where almost every one is
benevolent enough to give money towards an object that promises to
mitigate human woe, but where scarcely any one has leisure to watch the
expenditure of that sacred treasure!

The institution, after it was open, remained for two years under the
blight of this person's control. Everything he did was wrong. Ignorant,
obstinate, passionate, fussy, and false,--plausible and obsequious at
Albany, a violent despot at the Asylum,--he was, of all the people in
the world, the precisely worst man to conduct an experiment so novel
and so abounding in difficulties. If he had a theory, it was that an
inebriate is something between a criminal and a lunatic, who is to be
punished like the one and restrained like the other. His real object
seemed to be, after having received payment for a patient six months in
advance, to starve and madden him into a sudden departure. The very
name chosen by him for the institution proves his hopeless
incompetency. "Inebriate Asylum!" That name to-day is, perhaps, the
greatest single obstacle to its growth. He began by affixing a stigma
to the unfortunate men who had honored themselves by making so gallant
an effort at self-recovery. But let the man and his doings pass into
oblivion. There never yet was a bad man who was not, upon the whole, a
very stupid ass. All the genuine intelligence in the world resides in
virtuous minds. When, therefore, I have said that this individual was
an unprincipled adventurer, I have also said that he was signally
incapable of conducting an institution like this.

While we, in the State of New York, were blundering on in this way,
permitting a million dollars of public and private money to be lavished
in the attempt to found an asylum, a few quiet people in Boston, aided
by a small annual grant from the Legislature, had actually established
one, and kept it going for nine years, during which three thousand
inebriates had been received, and two thousand of them cured! The thing
was accomplished in the simplest way. They hired the best house for the
purpose that chanced to be vacant, fitted it up at the least possible
expense, installed in it as superintendent an honest man whose heart
was in the business, and opened its doors for the reception of
patients. By and by, when they had results to show, they asked the
Legislature for a little help, which was granted, and has been renewed
from year to year ever since. The sum voted has never exceeded five
thousand dollars in any year, and there are three men in Boston at this
moment reclaimed from drunkenness by the Washingtonian Home who pay
taxes enough to support it.

In an enterprise for the management of which no precedents exist,
everything of course depends upon the chief. When you have got the
right man at the head, you have got everything; and until you have got
the right man there, you have got nothing. Albert Day, the
superintendent for nine years of the Washingtonian Home at Boston, and
during the last year and a half the superintendent of the Asylum at
Binghamton, has originated nearly all that is known of the art of
curing the mania for alcohol. He struck into the right path at once,
guided by instinct and sympathy, rather than by science or reflection.
He was not a professional person; he was simply a business man of good
New England education, who had two special qualifications for his new
position,--first, a singular pity for drunkards; and, secondly, a firm
belief that, with timely and right assistance, a majority of them could
be restored to self-control. This pity and this faith he had possessed
for many years, and they had both grown strong by exercise. When he was
a child upon his father's farm in Maine, he saw in his own home and all
around him the evils resulting from the general use of alcoholic
liquors, so that when the orators of teetotalism came along he was
ready to receive their message. He is one of the very few persons now
living in the world who never partook of an alcoholic beverage,--so
early was he convinced of their preposterous inutility. Losing his
father at thirteen, he at once took hold of life in the true Yankee
way. He tied up his few worldly effects into a bundle, and, slinging it
over his shoulder, walked to a farmer's house not many miles away, and
addressed to him a plain question, "Do you want to hire a boy?" to
which the farmer with equal directness replied, "Yes." From hoeing corn
and chopping wood the lad advanced to an apprenticeship, and learned a
mechanical trade; and so made his way to early marriage, decent
prosperity, and a seat in the Legislature of Massachusetts. From the
age of sixteen he was known, wherever he lived, as a stanch teetotaler,
and also as one who would befriend a drunkard after others had
abandoned him to his fate.

I once heard Dr. Day relate the occurrence which produced in his mind
the conviction that drunkards could be rescued from the domination of
their morbid appetite. One evening, when he came home from his work, he
heard that a certain Jack Watts, the sot of the neighborhood, was
starving with his wife and three young children. After tea he went to
see him. In treating this first patient, Albert Day hit upon the very
method he has ever since pursued, and so I beg the reader will note the
manner in which he proceeded. On entering his cottage he was as polite
to him, as considerate of his dignity as head of a household, as he
could have been to the first man of the village. "Mr. Watts," said he,
after the usual salutations, "I hear you are in straitened
circumstances." The man, who was then quite sober, replied: "I am; my
two youngest children went to bed crying for food, and I had none to
give them. I spent my last three cents over there," pointing to a
grog-shop opposite, "and the bar-keeper said to me, as he took the
money, says he, 'Jack Watts, you're a fool'; and so I am." Here was a
chance for a fine moral lecture. Albert Day indulged in nothing of the
kind. He said, "Mr. Watts, excuse me for a few minutes"; and he went
out, returning soon with a basket containing some flour, pork, and
other materials for a supper. "Now, Mrs. Watts, cook something, and
wake your children up, and give them something to eat. I'll call again
early in the morning. Good night."

Perfect civility, no reproaches, no lecture, practical help of the kind
needed and at the time needed. Observe, too, that the man was in the
condition of mind in which patients usually are when they make the
_confession_ implied in entering an asylum. He was at the end of his
tether. He was--to use the language of the bar-room--"dead beat."

When Mr. Day called the next morning, the family had had their
breakfast, and Jack Watts smiled benedictions on the man whom he had
been wont to regard as his enemy, because he was the declared enemy of
Jack Watts's enemy. Now the time had come for a little talk. Jack Watts
explained his circumstances; he had been out of work for a long time,
and he had consumed all his substance in drink. Mr. Day listened with
respectful attention, spoke to him of various plans for the future, and
said that for that day he could give him a dollar's worth of
wood-chopping to do. Then they got upon the liquor question. In the
softened, receptive mind of Jack Watts, Albert Day deposited the
substance of a rational temperance lecture. He spoke to him kindly,
respectfully, hopefully, strongly. Jack Watts's mind was convinced; he
said he had done with drink forever. He meant it too; and thus he was
brought to the second stage on the road to deliverance. In this
particular case, resting from labor was out of the question and
unnecessary, for the man had been resting too long already, and must
needs go to work. The wood was chopped. The dollar to be paid for the
work at the close of the day was a fearful ordeal for poor Jack, living
fifteen yards from a bar-room. Mr. Day called round in the evening,
paid him the dollar without remark, fell into ordinary conversation
with the family, and took leave. John stood the test; not a cent of the
money found its way into the till of the bar-keeper. Next morning Mr.
Day was there again, and, seeing that the patient was going on well,
spoke to him further about the future, and glided again into the main
topic, dwelling much upon the absolute necessity of total and eternal
abstinence. He got the man a place, visited him, held him up, fortified
his mind, and so helped him to complete and lasting recovery. Jack
Watts never drank again. He died a year or two ago in Maine at a good
age, having brought up his family respectably.

This was an extreme case, for the man had been a drunkard many years;
it was a difficult case, for he was poor and ignorant; and it made upon
the mind of Albert Day an impression that nothing could efface. He was
living in Boston in 1857, exercising his trade, when the Washingtonian
Home was opened. He was indeed one of the originators of the movement,
and took the post of superintendent because no one else seemed capable
of conducting the experiment. Having now to deal with the diseased
bodies of men, he joined the medical department of Harvard University,
and went through the usual course, making a particular study of the
malady he was attempting to cure. After nine years' service he was
transferred to the Asylum at Binghamton, where he pursues the system
practised with success at Boston.

I visited the Binghamton Asylum in June of the present year. The
situation combines many advantages. Of the younger cities that have
sprung into importance along the line of leading railroads there is not
one of more vigorous growth or more inviting appearance than
Binghamton. Indications of spirit and civilization meet the eye at
every turn. There are long streets of elegant cottages and villas,
surrounded by nicely kept gardens and lawns, and containing churches in
the construction of which the established barbarisms have been avoided.
There is a general tidiness and attention to appearances that we notice
in the beautiful towns and villages of New England; such as picturesque
Northampton, romantic Brattleboro', and enchanting Stockbridge,
peerless among villages. The Chenango River unites here with the
Susquehanna; so that the people who have not a river within sight of
their front doors are likely to have one flowing peacefully along at
the back of their gardens. It is a town, the existence of which in a
State governed as New York is governed shows how powerless a government
is to corrupt a virtuous and intelligent people, and speaks of the time
when governments will be reduced to their natural and proper
insignificance. Such communities require little of the central power;
and it is a great pity that that little is indispensable, and that
Albany cannot be simply wiped out.

Two miles from Binghamton, on a high hill rising from the bank of the
Susquehanna, and commanding an extensive view of the beautiful valleys
of both rivers, stands the castellated palace which an adventurer had
the impudence to build with money intrusted to him for a better
purpose. The Erie Railroad coils itself about the base of this
eminence, from the summit of which the white puffs of the locomotive
can be descried in one direction nine miles, and in the other fifteen
miles. On reaching this summit about nine o'clock on a fine morning in
June, I found myself in front of a building of light-colored stone,
presenting a front of three hundred and sixty-five feet, in a style of
architecture that unites well the useful and the pleasing. Those
numerous towers which relieve the monotony of so extensive a front
serve an excellent purpose in providing small apartments for various
purposes, which, but for them, could not be contrived without wasting
space. At present the first view of the building is not inviting, for
the burnt wing remains roofless and void,--the insurance money not
having been applied to refitting it,--and the main edifice is still
unfinished. Not a tree has yet been planted, and the grounds about the
building are little more pleasing to the eye than fifty acres of
desert. On a level space in front of the edifice a number of young men
were playing a game of base-ball, and playing it badly. Their
intentions were excellent, but their skill was small. Sitting on the
steps and upon the blocks of stone scattered about were fifty or sixty
well-dressed, well-looking gentlemen of various ages, watching the
game. In general appearance and bearing these persons were so decidedly
superior to the average of mortals, that few visitors fail to remark
the fact. Living up there in that keen, pure air, and living in a
rational manner, amusing themselves with games of ball, rowing,
sailing, gardening, bowling, billiards, and gymnastic exercises, they
are as brown and robust as David Copperfield was when he came home from
the Continent and visited his friend Traddles. Take any hundred men
from the educated classes, and give them a few months of such a life as
this, and the improvement in their appearance will be striking. Among
these on-lookers of the game were a few men with gray hairs, but the
majority were under thirty, perhaps thirty-two or thirty-five was about
the average age.

When I looked upon this most unexpected scene, it did not for a moment
occur to me that these serene and healthy-looking men could be the
inmates of the Asylum. The insensate name of the institution prepares
the visitor to see the patients lying about in various stages of
intoxication. The question has sometimes been asked of the
superintendent by visitors looking about them and peering into remote
corners, "But, Doctor, where do you _keep_ your drunkards?" The
astonishment of such inquirers is great indeed when they are informed
that the polite and well-dressed gentlemen standing about, and in whose
hearing the question was uttered, are the inmates of the institution;
every individual of whom was till very recently, not merely a drunkard,
but a drunkard of the most advanced character, for whose deliverance
from that miserable bondage almost every one had ceased to hope. A
large majority of the present inmates are persons of education and
respectable position, who pay for their residence here at rates varying
from ten to twenty dollars a week, and who are co-operating ardently
with the superintendent for their recovery. More than half of them were
officers of the army or navy during the late war, and lost control of
themselves then. One in ten must be by law a free patient; and whenever
an inebriate really desires to break his chain, he is met half-way by
the trustees, and his board is fixed at a rate that accords with his
circumstances. A few patients have been taken as low as five dollars a
week. When once the building has been completed, the grounds laid out,
and the farms disposed of, the trustees hope never to turn from the
door of the institution any proper applicant who desires to avail
himself of its assistance. The present number of patients is something
less than one hundred, which is about fifty less than can be
accommodated. When the burnt wing is restored, there will be room for
four hundred.

Upon entering the building, we find ourselves in a spacious, handsome,
well-arranged, and well-furnished hotel. The musical click of
billiard-balls, and the distant thunder of the bowling-alley, salute
the ear; one of the inmates may be performing brilliantly on the piano,
or trying over a new piece for next Sunday on the cabinet organ in the
temporary chapel. The billiard-room, we soon discover, contains three
tables. There is a reading-room always open, in which the principal
periodicals of both continents, and plenty of newspapers, are
accessible to all the patients. A small library, which ought to be a
larger one, is open at a certain hour every day. A conservatory is near
completion, and there is a garden of ten acres near by in which a
number of the inmates may usually be seen at work. A croquet-ground is
not wanting, and the apparatus of cricket is visible in one of the
halls. The chapel is still far from being finished, but enough is done
to show that it will be elegant and inviting soon after the next
instalment of excise-money comes in. The dining-room is lofty and
large, as indeed are all the public rooms. The private rooms are equal,
both in size and furniture, to those of good city hotels. The
arrangements for warming, lighting, washing, bathing, cooking, are such
as we should expect to find in so stately an edifice. We have not yet
reached the point when housework will do itself; but in great
establishments like this, where one man, working ten minutes an hour,
warms two or three hundred rooms, menial labor is hopefully reduced. In
walking about the wide halls and airy public apartments, the visitor
sees nothing to destroy the impression that the building is a very
liberally arranged summer hotel. To complete the illusion, he will
perhaps see toddling about a lovely child with its beautiful mother,
and in the large parlor some ladies visiting inmates or officers of the
institution. The table also is good and well served. A stranger, not
knowing the nature of the institution, might, however, be puzzled to
decide whether it is a hotel or a college. No one, it is true, ever saw
a college so handsomely arranged and provided; but the tone of the
thing is college-like, especially when you get about among the rooms of
the inmates, and see them cramming for next Monday's debate, or writing
a lecture for the Asylum course.

This institution is in fact, as in appearance, a rationally conducted
hotel or Temporary Home and resting-place for men diseased by the
excessive use of alcoholic drinks. It is a place where they can pause
and reflect, and gather strength and knowledge for the final victorious
struggle with themselves. Temptation is not so remote that their
resolution is not in continual exercise, nor so near that it is tasked
beyond its strength. There lies Binghamton in its valley below them in
plain sight, among its rivers and its trees, with its thousand pretty
homes and its dozen nasty bar-rooms. They can go down there and drink,
if they can get any one to risk the fifty dollars' fine imposed by the
law of the State upon any one who sells liquor to an inmate of the
Asylum. Generally there is some poor mercenary wretch who will do it.
Until it has been proved that the sight of Binghamton is too much for a
patient, the only restraint upon his liberty is, that he must not enter
the town without the consent of the superintendent. This consent is not
regarded in the light of a permission, but in that of a physician's
opinion. The patient is supposed to mean: "Dr. Day, would you, as my
medical adviser, recommend me to go to Binghamton this morning to be
measured for a pair of shoes? Do you think it would be salutary? Am I
far enough advanced in convalescence to trust myself to breathe the air
of the valley for an hour?" The doctor gives his opinion on the point,
and it is etiquette to accept that opinion without remark. Not one
patient has yet visited the town, with the consent of the
superintendent, who has proved unequal to the temptation. If an inmate
steals away and yields to his craving, he is placed in confinement for
a day or two, or longer if necessary. It occasionally happens that a
patient, conscious of the coming on of a paroxysm of desire, asks to
have the key of his room turned upon him till it is over. It is desired
that this turning of the key, and those few barred rooms in one of the
wards, shall be regarded as mere remedial appliances, as much so as the
bottles of medicine in the medicine-chest. It is, however, understood
that no one is to be released from confinement who does not manifest a
renewed purpose to refrain. Such a purpose is sometimes indicated by a
note addressed to the superintendent like the following, which I
happened to see placed in his hands:--

    "DR. DAY:--

    "DEAR SIR: I cannot let the circumstance which happened yesterday
    pass by without assuring you that I am truly sorry for the disgrace
    I have brought on the institution, as well as myself. I certainly
    appreciate your efforts to guide us all in the right direction, and
    more especially the interest that you have taken in my own welfare.
    Let me assure you now, that hereafter, as long as I remain with
    you, I shall use every endeavor to conduct myself as I should, and
    cause you no further trouble."

Lapses of this kind are not frequent, and they are regarded by the
superintendent as part of the means of restoration which the
institution affords; since they aid him in destroying a fatal
self-confidence, and in inculcating the idea that a patient who lapses
must never think of giving up the struggle, but renew it the instant he
can gain the least foothold of self-control.

The system of treatment pursued here is founded on the expectation that
the patient and the institution will co-operate. If a man does not
desire to be reclaimed, and such a desire cannot be awakened within
him, the institution can do no more than keep him sober while he
remains an inmate of it. There will, perhaps, one day be in every State
an asylum for incurable drunkards, wherein they will be permanently
detained, and compelled to live temperately, and earn their subsistence
by suitable labor. But this is not such an institution. Here all is
voluntary. The co-operation of the patient is assumed; and when no
desire to be restored can be roused, the experiment is not continued
longer than a few months.

The two grand objects aimed at by the superintendent are, to raise
the tone of the bodily health, and to fortify the weakened will. The
means employed vary somewhat in each case. The superintendent designs
to make a particular study of each individual; he endeavors to win his
confidence, to adapt the treatment to his peculiar disposition, and to
give him just the aid he needs. As the number of patients increases,
this will become more difficult, if it does not become impossible. The
more general features of the system are all that can be communicated to
others, and these I will endeavor briefly to indicate.

It is interesting to observe the applicants for admission, when they
enter the office of the Asylum, accompanied generally by a relative or
friend. Some reach the building far gone in intoxication, having
indulged in one last farewell debauch; or having drunk a bottle of
whiskey for the purpose of screwing their courage to the sticking-point
of entering the Asylum. A clergyman whom this institution restored told
me that he reached Binghamton in the evening, and went to bed drunk;
and before going to the Asylum the next morning he had to fortify his
system and his resolve by twelve glasses of brandy. Sometimes the
accompanying friend, out of an absurd kind of pity for a poor fellow
about to be deprived of his solace, will rather encourage him to drink;
and often the relatives of an inebriate can only get him into the
institution by keeping him intoxicated until he is safe under its roof.
Frequently men arrive emaciated and worn out from weeks or months of
hard drinking; and occasionally a man will be brought in suffering from
delirium tremens, who will require restraint and watching for several
days. Some enter the office in terror, expecting to be immediately led
away by a turnkey and locked up. All come with bodies diseased and
minds demoralized; for the presence of alcohol in the system lowers the
tone of the whole man, body and soul, strengthening every evil
tendency, and weakening every good one. And this is the reason why men
who are brought here against their will are not to be despaired of.
Alcohol may only have suspended the activity of their better nature,
which a few weeks of total abstinence may rouse to new life. As the
health improves, ambition often revives, the native delicacy of the
soul reappears, and the man becomes polite, docile, interested,
agreeable, who on entering seemed coarse, stupid, obstinate, and

The new-comer subscribes to the rules, pays his board three months in
advance, and surrenders all the rest of his money. The paying in
advance is a good thing; it is like paying your passage on going on
board ship; the voyager has no care, and nothing to think of, but the
proposed object. It is also one more inducement to remain until other
motives gain strength.

Many hard drinkers live under the conviction that if they should cease
drinking alcoholic liquors suddenly, they would die in a few days. This
is a complete error. No "tapering off" is allowed here. Dr. Day
discovered years ago that a man who has been drinking a quart of
whiskey a day for a long time suffers more if his allowance is reduced
to a pint than if he is put at once upon the system of total
abstinence. He not only suffers less, but for a shorter time. The
clergyman before referred to informed me that, for two years and a half
before entering the Asylum, he drank a quart of brandy daily, and he
felt confident that he would die if he should suddenly cease. He
reached Binghamton drunk; he went to bed that evening drunk; he drank
twelve glasses of brandy the next morning before eleven o'clock; he
went up to the Asylum saturated with brandy, expecting to make the
preliminary arrangements for his admission, then return to the hotel,
and finish the day drinking. But precisely at that point Albert Day
laid his hand upon him, and marked him for his own. Dr. Day quietly
objected to his return to the town, sent for his trunk, caused the
tavern bill to be paid, and cut off his brandy at once and totally. For
forty-eight hours the patient craved the accustomed stimulant
intensely, and he was only enabled to sleep by the assistance of
bromide of potassium. On the third day the craving ceased, and he
assured me that he never felt it again. Other morbid experiences he
had, but not that; and now, after two years of abstinence, he enjoys
good health, has no desire for drink, and is capable of extraordinary
exertions. Other patients, however, informed me that they suffered a
morbid craving for two or three weeks. But all agreed that the sudden
discontinuance of the stimulant gave them less inconvenience than they
had anticipated, and was in no degree dangerous. It is, indeed, most
surprising to see how soon the system begins to rally when once it is
relieved of the inimical influence. Complete recovery, of course, is a
slow and long effort of nature; but the improvement in the health,
feelings, and appearance of patients, after only a month's residence
upon that breezy hill, is very remarkable.

There is an impression in the country that the inmates of such asylums
as this undergo some mysterious process, and take unknown medicines,
which have power to destroy the desire for strong drink. Among the
quack medicines of the day is a bottled humbug, pretending to have such
power. It is also supposed by some that the plan which Captain Marryat
mentions is efficacious,--that of confining a drunken sailor for
several days to a diet of beef and brandy. Accounts have gone the
rounds of the papers, of another system that consists in saturating
with brandy every article of food of which the inebriate partakes.
Patients occasionally arrive at the Asylum who expect to be treated in
some such way; and when a day or two passes without anything
extraordinary or disagreeable happening, they inquire, with visible
apprehension, "When the treatment is going to begin." In this sense of
the word, there is no treatment here. In all nature there is no
substance that destroys or lessens a drunkard's desire for intoxicating
liquors; and there is no such thing as permanently disgusting him with
brandy by giving him more brandy than he wants. A drunkard's drinking
is not a thing of mere appetite; his whole system craves stimulation;
and he would drink himself into perdition while loathing the taste of
the liquor. This Asylum simply gives its inmates rest, regimen,
amusement, society, information. It tries to restore the health and
renew the will, and both by rational means.

Merely entering an establishment like this is a long step toward
deliverance. It is a confession! It is a confession to the patient's
family and friends, to the inmates of the Asylum, and, above all, to
himself, that he has lost his self-control, and cannot get it back
without assistance. He comes here for that assistance. Every one knows
he comes for that. They are all in the same boat. The pot cannot call
the kettle black. False pride, and all the thin disguises of self-love,
are laid aside. The mere fact of a man's being an inmate of an
inebriate asylum is a declaration to all about him that he has been a
drunkard, and even a very bad drunkard; for the people here know, from
their own bitter experience, that a person cannot bring himself to make
such a confession until, by many a lapse, he has been brought to
despair of self-recovery. Many of these men were thinking of the asylum
for years before they could summon courage to own that they had lost
the power to resist a physical craving. But when once they have made
the agonizing avowal by entering the asylum, it costs them no great
effort to reveal the details of their case to hearers who cannot
reproach them; and, besides relating their own experience without
reserve, they are relieved, encouraged, and instructed by hearing the
similar experience of others. All have the same object, the same peril,
the same dread, the same hope, and each aids the rest as students aid
one another in the same college.

In a community like this, Public Opinion is the controlling force. That
subtle, resistless power is always aiding or frustrating the object for
which the community exists. Public Opinion sides with a competent
superintendent, and serves him as an assiduous, omnipresent police.
Under the coercive system once attempted here, the public opinion of
the Asylum applauded a man who smuggled a bottle of whiskey into the
building, and invited his friends into his room to drink it. An inmate
who should now attempt such a crime would be shunned by the best two
thirds of the whole institution. One of their number, suddenly overcome
by temptation, who should return to the Asylum drunk, they would all
receive as cordially as before; but they would regard with horror or
contempt a man who should bring temptation into the building, and place
it within reach of those who had fled hither to avoid it.

The French have a verb,--_se dépayser_,--to uncountry one's self, to
get out of the groove, to drop undesirable companions and forsake
haunts that are too alluring, by going away for a while, and, in
returning, not resuming the old friends and habits. How necessary this
is to some of the slaves of alcohol every one knows. To many of them
restoration is impossible without it, and not difficult with it. To all
such, what a refuge is a well-conducted asylum like this! Merely being
here, out of the coil of old habits, haunts, pleasures, comrades,
temptations, which had proved too much for them a thousand
times,--merely being away for a time, so that they can calmly survey
the scenes they have left and the life they have led,--is itself half
the victory.

Every Wednesday evening, after prayers, a kind of temperance meeting is
held in the chapel. It is the intention of the superintendent, that
every inmate of the Asylum shall become acquainted with the nature of
alcohol, and with the precise effects of alcoholic drinks upon the
human system. He means that they shall comprehend the absurdity of
drinking as clearly as they know its ruinous consequences. He
accordingly opens this meeting with a short lecture upon some one
branch of the subject, and then invites the patients to illustrate the
point from their own experience. At the meeting which I happened to
attend the subject of Dr. Day's remarks was suggested (as it often is)
by an occurrence which had just taken place at the institution, and had
been the leading topic of conversation all that day. At the last
meeting, a young man from a distant State, who had been in the Asylum
for some months and was about to return home, delivered an eloquent
farewell address to his companions, urging them to adhere to their
resolution, and protesting his unalterable resolve never, never, never
again to yield to their alluring and treacherous foe. He spoke with
unusual animation and in a very loud voice. He took his departure in
the morning, by the Erie Road, and twelve hours after he was brought
back to the Asylum drunk. Upon his recovery he related to the
superintendent and to his friends the story of his lamentable fall.
When the train had gone three hours on its way, there was a detention
of three hours at a station that offered little entertainment to
impatient travellers. The returning prodigal paced the platform; found
it dull work; heard at a distance the sound of billiard-balls; went and
played two games, losing both; returned to the platform and resumed his
walk; and there fell into the train of thought that led to the
catastrophe. His reflections were like these: "How perfect is my cure!
I have not once _thought_ of taking a drink. Not even when I saw men
drinking at the bar did it cross my mind to follow their example. I
have not the least desire for whiskey, and I have no doubt I could take
that 'one glass' which Dr. Day keeps talking about, without a wish for
a second. In fact, no man is perfectly cured till he can do that I have
a great mind to put it to the test. It almost seems as if this
opportunity of trying myself had been created on purpose. Here goes,
then, for the last glass of whiskey I shall take as long as I live, and
I take it purely as a scientific experiment." One hour after, his
friend, who was accompanying him home, found him lying in a corner of a
bar-room, dead drunk. He had him picked up, and placed in the next
train bound for Binghamton.

This was the text of Dr. Day's discourse, and he employed it in
enforcing anew his three cardinal points: 1. No hope for an inebriate
until he thoroughly distrusts the strength of his own resolution; 2. No
hope for an inebriate except in total abstinence as long as he lives,
both in sickness and in health; 3. Little hope for an inebriate unless
he avoids, on system and on principle, the occasions of temptation, the
places where liquor is sold, and the persons who will urge it upon him.
Physicians, he said, were the inebriate's worst enemies; and he advised
his hearers to avoid the tinctures prepared with alcohol, which had
often awakened the long-dormant appetite. During my stay at Binghamton,
a clergyman resident in the town, and recently an inmate of the Asylum,
had a slight indisposition resulting from riding home from a meeting
ten miles in the rain. One of the physicians of the place, who knew his
history, knew that he had been an inebriate of the most pronounced type
(quart of liquor a day), prescribed a powerful dose of brandy and
laudanum. "I dare not take it, doctor," he said, and put the damnable
temptation behind him. "If I _had_ taken it," said he to me, "I should
have been drunk to-day." The case, too, required nothing but rest,
rice, and an easy book. No medicine was necessary. Dr. Day has had
under his care a man who, after being a confirmed drunkard, had been a
teetotaler for eighteen years, and had then been advised to take wine
for the purpose of hastening a slow convalescence. His appetite resumed
its old ascendency, and, after drinking furiously for a year, he was
brought to the Asylum in delirium tremens. Dr. Day expressed a strong
hope and belief that the returned inmate mentioned above had _now_
actually taken his last glass of whiskey; for he had discovered his
weakness, and was in a much more hopeful condition than he had been
before his lapse. The Doctor scouted the idea that a man who has the
misfortune to break his resolution should give up the struggle. Some
men, he said, _must_ fall, at least once, before the last rag of
self-confidence is torn from them; and he had had patients who, after
coming back to him in Boston four times, had conquered, and had lived
soberly for years, and were still living soberly.

When the superintendent had finished his remarks, he called upon his
hearers to speak. Several of them did so. One young gentleman, an
officer of the army during the war, made his farewell speech. He
thanked his companions for the forbearance they had shown him during
the first weeks of his residence among them, when he was peevish,
discontented, rebellious, and had no hope of ever being able to conquer
his propensity, so often had he tried and failed. He would have left
the Asylum in those days, if he had had the money to pay his fare on
the cars. He felt the importance of what Dr. Day had advanced
respecting the occasions of temptation, and especially what he had said
about physicians' prescriptions, which he knew had led men to drink.
"If," he added, "I cannot live without alcohol, I would rather die. For
my part, I expect to have a struggle all my life; I don't think the
time will ever come when it will be safe for me to dally with
temptation, and I feel the necessity of following Dr. Day's advice on
this point." He spoke in a simple, earnest, and manly manner. He was
followed by another inmate, a robust, capable-looking man of
thirty-five, who also spoke with directness and simplicity. He hoped
that fear would help him to abstain. If he could only keep sober, he
had the best possible prospects; but if he again gave way he saw
nothing before him but infamy and destruction. He spoke modestly and
anxiously, evidently feeling that it was more than a matter of life and
death to him. When he had concluded, a young gentleman rose, and
delivered a fluent, flower address upon temperance; just such a
discourse as might precede a lapse into drinking.

On Monday evening of every week, the Literary Society of the
institution holds its meeting, when essays are read and lectures
delivered. The course of lectures delivered last winter are highly
spoken of by those who heard them, and they were all written by inmates
of the Asylum. Among the subjects treated were: Columbus, a Study of
Character: Goldsmith; The Telegraph, by an Operator; Resources of
Missouri; Early English Novelists; The Age, and the Men for the Age;
Geology; The Passions, with Poetical Illustrations; The Inebriate
Asylum, under the Régime of Coercion. It occasionally happens, that
distinguished visitors contribute something to the pleasure of the
evening. Mrs. Stowe, the newspapers inform us, was kind enough some
time since to give them a reading from Uncle Tom's Cabin; and the copy
of the book from which she read was a cheap double-columned pamphlet
brought from the South by a freedman, now the porter of the Asylum. He
bought it and read it while he was still a slave, little thinking when
he scrawled his name across the dingy title-page that he should ever
have the honor of lending it to the authoress.

Nearly twelve years have now elapsed since Dr. Day began to accumulate
experience in the treatment of inebriates, during which time he has had
nearly four thousand patients under his care. What proportion of these
were permanently cured it is impossible to say, because nothing is
heard of many patients after they leave; but it is reasonably
conjectured that two thirds of the whole number were restored. It is a
custom with many of them to write an annual letter to Dr. Day on the
anniversary of their entering the Home under his management, and the
reading of such letters is a highly interesting and beneficial feature
of the Wednesday evening temperance meetings. The alcoholic mania is no
respecter of persons. Dr. Day has had under treatment twenty-one
clergymen, one of whom was a Catholic priest (who had delirium
tremens), and one a Jewish Rabbi. He has had one old man past seventy,
and one boy of sixteen. He has had a Philadelphia "killer" and a judge
of a supreme court. He has had steady two-quarts-a-day men, and men who
were subject only to semiannual debauches. He has had men whose "tears"
lasted but forty-eight hours, and one man who came in of his own accord
after what he styled "a general spree" of three months' continuance. He
has had drunkards of two years' standing, and those who have been
slaves of strong drink for thirty years.

Some of his successes have been striking and memorable. There was Dr.
X---- of Tennessee, at thirty-five a physician of large practice,
professor in a medical college, happy in an excellent wife and seven
children. Falling into drink, he lost at length his practice, his
professorship, his property, his home; his family abandoned him to his
fate, and went to his wife's father's in another State; and he became
at last a helpless gutter sot. His brother, who heard by chance of the
Home in Boston, picked him up one day from the street, where he lay
insensible, and got him upon the train for the East. Before he roused
from his drunken stupor, he was half-way across Virginia. "Where am I?"
he asked. "In Virginia, on your way to Boston." "All right," said he,
in a drunkard's drunkenest manner,--"all right! give me some whiskey."
He was carried into the Home in the arms of men, and lay for some weeks
miserably sick. His health improved, and the _man_ revived. He clutched
at this unexpected chance of escape, and co-operated with all his heart
with the system. Dr. Day wrote a hopeful letter to his wife. "Speak not
to me of a husband," she replied; "I have no husband; I buried my
husband long ago." After four months' stay in the institution, the
patient returned home, and resumed his practice. A year after, his
family rejoined him. He recovered all his former standing, which to
this day, after nine years of sobriety, he retains. His ninth annual
letter to his deliverer I have read. "By the way," he says in a
postscript, "did you receive my letters each year of the war?" Yes,
they reached Dr. Day months after they were written; but they always
reached him. The secret of this cure, as the patient has often
asserted, was total abstinence. He had attempted to reduce his daily
quantity a hundred times; but never, until he entered the Home, was he
aware of the physical _impossibility_ of a drunkard's becoming a
moderate drinker. From the moment when he had a clear, intellectual
comprehension of that truth, the spell was broken: abstinence was easy;
he was himself again.

Then there was Y----, a Philadelphia street savage,--one of those
firemen who used to sleep in the engine-house, and lie in wait for
rival companies, and make night and day hideous with slaughter. Fearful
beings were those Philadelphia firemen of twenty years ago! Some of
them made a nearer approach to total depravity than any creatures I
have ever seen that wore the form of man,--revelling in blood, exulting
in murder, and glorying in hellish blows with iron implements, given
and received. It was difficult to say whether it gave them keener
delight to wound or to be wounded. In all communities where external
observances and decorums become tyrannical, and where the innocent
pleasures of youth are placed under a ban, there is sure to be a class
which revolts against the invisible despot, and goes to a horrid
extreme of violence and vice. This Y---- was one of the revolters. Once
in many weeks he would return to his decent home, ragged and penniless,
to be reclothed. It is only alcohol that supports men in a life of
_wanton_ violence like this; and he, accordingly, was a deep and
reckless drinker. His sister prevailed upon him, after many months of
persuasion, to go to the Home in Boston, and he presented himself there
one morning, black all over with coal-dust. He explained his appearance
by saying that he had come from Philadelphia in a coal-vessel. Dr. Day,
who had been notified of his coming, received him with that emphatic
politeness which produces such magical effects upon men who have long
been accustomed to see an enemy in every one who behaves decently and
uses the English language in its simplicity. He was exceedingly
astonished to be treated with consideration, and to discover that he
was not to be subjected to any disagreeable process. He proved to be a
good, simple soul, very ignorant, not naturally intelligent, and more
capable, therefore, of faith than of knowledge. The Doctor won his
confidence; then his good-will; then his affection. Something that was
read in the Bible attracted his attention one day, and he asked to be
shown the passage; and this was the beginning of his reading the Bible
regularly. It was all new to him; he found it highly interesting; and,
this daily reading being associated in his mind with his reform, the
book became a kind of talisman to him, and he felt safe as long as he
continued the practice. After a six months' residence, he went to work
in Boston, but always returned to spend the evening at the Home. At the
beginning of the war he enlisted. He was in Colonel Baker's regiment on
the bloody day of Ball's Bluff, and was one of the gallant handful of
men who rescued from the enemy the body of their slain commander. He
was one of the multitude who swam the Potomac amid a pattering rain of
bullets, and walked barefoot seven miles to camp, The first man that
met him there offered him whiskey, Mistaken kindness! Senseless offer!
A man who is sinking with fatigue wants rest, not stimulation; sleep,
not excitement. "Don't offer me _that_," he gasped, shuddering. "I
dread that more than bullets." Instead of the whiskey, he took twelve
hours' sleep, and consequently awoke refreshed, and ready for another
day's hard service. At Antietam he had the glory and high privilege of
giving life for mankind. A bullet through the brain sent him to heaven,
and stretched his body on the field in painless and eternal sleep. It
lies now in a cemetery near his native city; a monument covers it; and
all who were connected with him are proud to point to his grave and
claim him for their own. What a contrast between dying so, and being
killed in a motiveless street-fight by a savage blow on the head with a

Perhaps, long as this article already is, I may venture to give, with
the utmost possible brevity, one more of the many remarkable cases with
which I became acquainted at the Asylum.

One Sunday morning, a loud ringing of the front-door bell of the Home
in Boston induced Dr. Day himself to answer the summons. He found a man
at the door who was in the most complete state of dilapidation that can
be imagined,--ragged, dirty, his hat awry, torn and bent, spectacles
with one eye gone and the other cocked out of place, the perfect
picture of a drunken sot who had slept among the barrels and
cotton-bales for six months. He was such a person as we thoughtless
fools roar at in the theatre sometimes, about 10.30 P.M., and who makes
the lives of sundry children and one woman a long and hopeless tragedy
up in some dismal garret, or down in some pestilential cellar.

"What can I do for you?" inquired the superintendent.

"My name is A. B----; will you take me in?"

"Have you a letter of introduction from any one?"


"We must have something of the kind; do you know any one in Boston?"

"Yes; there is Dr. Kirk; _I've preached in his church_; he ought to
know me; I'll see if he does."

In a few minutes he returned, bearing a note from that distinguished
clergyman, saying that he thought he knew the man; and upon this he was

He was as complete, though not as hopeless a wreck as he appeared. He
had been a clergyman in good standing and of ability respectable; but
had insensibly fallen under the dominion of a mania for drink. For ten
years he had been a downright sot. He had not seen his family in that
time. A benevolent man who chanced to meet him in New York described to
him the Washingtonian Home, made him promise to go to it, and gave him
money for the purpose. He immediately spent the money for drink; but
yet, in some forgotten way, he smuggled himself to Boston, and made his
appearance at the Home on that Sunday morning. Such cases as this,
hopeless as they seem, are among the easiest to cure, because there are
knowledge, conscience, and pride latent in the man, which begin to
assert themselves as soon as the system is free from the presence of
alcohol. This man was easily made to see the truth respecting his case.
He soon came to understand alcohol; and this alone is a surprising
assistance to a man at the instant of temptation. He remained at the
Home six months, always improving in health, and regaining his former
character. He left Boston twenty-two months ago, and has since lived
with perfect sobriety, and has been restored to his family and to his

Inebriate asylums, rationally conducted, cannot fail to be worth their
cost. They are probably destined to become as generally recognized a
necessity of our diseased modern life as asylums for lunatics and
hospitals for the sick. It is not necessary to begin with a
million-dollar palace, though it is desirable that the building should
be attractive, airy, and large enough to accommodate a considerable
number of patients. When the building has been paid for, the
institution may be self-sustaining, or even yield a profit. It is
possible that the cure of inebriates may become a specialty of medical
practice, to which men, gifted with the requisite talent, will devote
their lives. The science of the thing is still most incomplete, and
only one individual has had much success in the practice. Albert Day is
a good superintendent chiefly because he is a good Yankee, not because
he is a great scientific healer. It seems instinctive in good Yankees
to respect the rights and feelings of others; and they are accustomed
to persuade and convince, not drive, not compel. Albert Day has treated
these unfortunate and amiable men as he would have treated younger
brothers taken captive by a power stronger than themselves. His polite
and respectful manner to his patients on all occasions must be balm to
men accustomed to the averted look and taunting epithet, and
accustomed, too, to something far harder to bear,--distrust and
abhorrence of themselves. Others, of course, will originate improved
methods, and we shall have, at length, a Fine Art of assisting men to
overcome bad habits; but _this_ characteristic of Dr. Day will never be
wanting to an asylum that answers the end of its establishment.

The disease which such institutions are designed to cure must be very
common; for where is the family that has not a drunkard in its circle
of connections? It is true that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound
of cure; but not on that account must the pound of cure be withheld.

The railroad which connects New York and Binghamton is the Erie, which
is another way of saying that I was detained some hours on the journey
home; and this afforded me the novel experience of working my way up
town in a New York street-car an hour or two before daylight. The car
started from the City Hall at half past two A.M., and received, during
the first three miles of its course, twenty-seven persons. It so
happened that nearly every individual of them, including the person
coming home from the Asylum, was out of bed at that hour through
alcohol. There were three drunken vagabonds asleep, who were probably
taking a cheap lodging in the car by riding to Harlem and back,--two
hours and forty minutes' ride for fourteen cents. In one corner was
coiled away a pale, dirty, German Jew of the Fagin type, very drunk,
singing snatches of drinking choruses in broken English. Next to him
was his pal, a thick-set _old_ Charley Bates, also drunk, and
occasionally joining in the festive songs. A mile of the ride was
enlivened by an argument between C. Bates and the conductor, on the
subject of a cigar, which Mr. Bates insisted on smoking, in violation
of the rule. The controversy was carried on in "the English language."
Then there were five German musicians, perfectly sober and very sleepy,
with their instruments in their hand, returning, I suppose, from some
late saloon or dance-house. One woman was in the car, a girl of twenty,
who appeared to be a performer in a saloon, and was now, after having
shed her spangles and her ribbons, going home in dirty calico drawn
tight over a large and obvious hoop, under the protecting care of a
nice young man. There were several young and youngish men,
well-dressed, in various stages of intoxication, who had probably been
at the lawless "late houses," singing and drinking all night, and were
now going home to scare and horrify mothers, sisters, or wives, who may
have been waiting five hours to hear the scratch of their latch-key
against the front door.

What a picture did the inside of that car present, when it was filled
upon both sides with sleepy, bobbing drunkards and servants of
drunkards, the girl leaning sleepily upon her neighbor's shoulder, the
German musicians crouching over their instruments half dead with sleep,
old Fagin bawling a line of a beery song, and the conductor, struggling
down through the midst, vainly endeavoring to extract from boozy
passengers, whether they were going "through," or desired to be dropped
on the way. It was a fit ending to a week at the Inebriate Asylum.


Cambridge: Electrotyped and Printed by Welch, Bigelow, & Co.

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