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´╗┐Title: Study and Stimulants
 - Or, the Use of Intoxicants and Narcotics in Relation to Intellectual Life, as Illustrated by Personal Communications on the Subject, from Men of Letters and of Science
Author: A. Arthur Reade, - To be updated
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.

*** Start of this LibraryBlog Digital Book "Study and Stimulants
 - Or, the Use of Intoxicants and Narcotics in Relation to Intellectual Life, as Illustrated by Personal Communications on the Subject, from Men of Letters and of Science" ***







The real influence of the intoxicants and narcotics in common use has
been a matter of fierce and prolonged controversy. The most opposite
opinions have been set forth with ability and earnestness; but the
weight they would otherwise carry is lessened by their mutually
contradictor-y character. Notwithstanding the great influence of the
physician's authority, people are perplexed by the blessings and
bannings bestowed upon tobacco and the various forms of alcohol.

What is the real influence of stimulants and narcotics upon the brain?
Do they give increased strength, greater lucidity of mind and more
continuous power? Do they weaken and cloud the intellect, and lessen
that capacity for enduring a prolonged strain of mental exertion which
is one of the first requisites of the intellectual life? Would a man
who is about to enter upon the consideration of problems, the correct
solution of which will demand all the strength and agility of his
mind, be helped or hindered by their use? These are questions which
are asked every day, and especially by the young, who seek in vain for
an adequate reply. The student grappling with the early difficulties
of science and literature, wishes to know whether he will be wiser to
use or to abstain from stimulants.

The theoretical aspect of the question has perhaps been sufficiently
discussed; but there still remains the practical inquiry,--"What has
been the experience of those engaged in intellectual work?" Have men
of science--the inventors, the statesmen, the essayists, and novelists
of our own day--found advantage or the reverse in the use of alcohol
and tobacco?

The problem has for years exercised my thoughts, and with the hope of
arriving at _data_ which would be trustworthy and decisive, I
entered upon an independent inquiry among the representatives of
literature, science, and art, in Europe and America. The replies were
not only numerous, but in most cases covered wider ground than that
originally contemplated. Many of the writers give details of their
habits of work, and thus, in addition to the value of the testimony on
this special topic, the letters throw great light upon the methods of
the intellectual life.

To each writer, and especially to Dr. Alex. Bain, Mr. R. E.
Francillon, Mark Twain, Mr. E. O'Donovan, Mr. J E. Boehm, Professor
Dowden, the Rev. Dr. Martineau, Count Gubernatis, the Abbe Moigno, and
Professor Magnus, who have shown hearty interest in the enquiry, I
tender my best thanks for contributing to the solution of the
important problem of the value of stimulants; also to Mr. W. E. A.
Axon for suggestive and much appreciated help. I should, however, be
glad of further testimonies for use in a second edition.

_January_, 1883.


I. Introduction


Abbot, The Rev. Dr.

Allibone, Mr. S. Astin

Argyll, The Duke of, F. R. S.

Arnold, Mr. Matthew

Ayrton, Professor

Bain, Dr. Alexander

Ball, Professor Robert S., LL. D., F. R. S.

Bancroft, Mr. Hubert Howe

Baxendell, Mr. Joseph, F. R. A. S.

Beard, Dr. G. M.

Bert, Professor Paul

Blackie, Professor John Stuart

Blanc, M. Louis

Boehm, Mr. J. E., R. A.

Bredencamp, Dr.

Brown, Mr. Ford Madox, R. A.

Buchanan, Mr. Robert

Buddenseig, Dr.

Burnaby, Captain Fred

Butler, Lieut. Col. W. F.

Burnton, Dr. Lauder, F. R. S.

Camp, Madame du

Carpenter, Dr. W. B., C. B., LL. D., F. R. S.

Chambers, Mr. William, LL. D

Childs, Mr. George W.

Claretie, M. Jules

Clarke, Mr. Hyde, F. S. S.

Collins, Mr. Wilkie

Conway, Mr. Moncure D., M. A.

Dallenger, Rev. W. H., F. R. S

Darwin, Professor

Dawkins, W. Boyd, M. A., F. R. S., F. G. S.

D'Orsey, The Rev. Alex. J. D., B. D.

O'Donovon, Mr. Edmund

Dowden, Professor, LL. D.

Edison, Professor

Ellis, Mr. Alex. J., F. R. S., F. S. A.

Everett, Professor

Fairbairn, Professor R. M.

Francillon, Mr. R. E.

Freeman, Mr. Edward A., D. C. L., LL. D.

Furnivall, Mr. F. J., M. A.

Gardiner, Mr. Samuel R., Hon. LL. D.

Gladstone, Rt. Hon. W. E., M. P.

Greville, Mdlle. II

Gubernatis, Count

Guenin, M. L. P.

Guy, Dr. William

Haeckel, Professor Ernst

Hamerton, Mr. Philip Gilbert

Hardy, Mr. Thomas

Harrison, Mr. Frederic

Henty, Mr. G. A.

Holmes, Mr. Oliver Wendell

Holyoake, Mr. George Jacob

Hooker, Sir J. D., F. R. S.

Howells, Mr. W. D.

Joule, Dr. J. P.

Lansdell, The Rev. Henry

Leathes, Rev. Stanley, D. D.

Lecky, W. E. H.

Lees, Dr. F. R.

Levi, Mr. Leone, F. S. A.

Lubbock, Sir John, Bart. M. P.

Magnus, Professor

Maitland, Mr. Edward, B. A.

Martin, Sir Theodore, K. C. B.

Martineau, The Rev. James, D. D.

Maudsley, Dr. Henry

May, Sir Thomas Erskine, K. C. B., D. C. L.

Mayor, Rev. John E. B., M. A.

Moigno, The Abbe

Morrison, Rev. J., D. D.

Mongredien, Mr. Augustus

Murray, Dr. J. A. H.

Murray, Mr. D. Christie.

Newman, Professor

Pattison, The Rev. Mark, B. D.

Payn, Mr. James

Pitman, Mr. Eizak

Plaute, M. Gaston

Plummer, The Rev. A.

Pocknell, Mr. Edward

Rawlinson, Professor George

Reade, Mr. Charles

Reed, Mr. Thomas Allen

Rodenberg, Dr. Julius

Russell, Dr. W. H.

Ruskin, Mr. John

Sen, Keshub Chunder

Simon, M. Jules

Skeat, Professor

St. Hilaire, M. Barthelemy

Spottiswoode, Mr. W., D. C. L., LL. D.

Siemens, Dr. C. W., D. C. L., F. R. S.

Smith, Mr. G. Barnett

Taine, M.

Trollope, Mr. Anthony

Thomson, Sir William, M. A., LL. D., D. C. L., F. R. S.

Trantmann, Professor

Tyndall, Professor, LL. D., F. R. S.

Tourgueneff, Mr. Ivan

Twain, Mark

Walford, Mr. Cornelius, F. S. S., F. I. A.

Watts, Mr. G. F., R. A.

Wilson, Professor Andrew, Ph. D., F. R. S. E.

Winser, Mr. Justin

Wurtz, M.



Bennett, Dr. Risdon

Brooke, The Rev. Stopford A., M. A.

Bryant, William C.

Chambers, Dr. King

Fraser, Professor Thomas R.

Herkomer, Hubert, A. R. A.

Higginson, Colonel Thomas Wentworth

Howitt, William

Kingsley, The Rev. Charles

Martineau, Harriet

Miller, Professor

Proctor, Mr. R. A., F. R. S.

Richardson, Dr. B. W., F. R. S.

Sala, Mr. George Augustus

Temple, Bishop

Thompson, Sir Henry, F. R. C. S.

Williams, Mr. W. Mattieu, F. R. A. S., F. C. S.

Yeo, Dr. Bumey, M. D.




I have no experience whatever respecting tobacco: my general opinion
is adverse to its use by a healthy man; but that opinion is not
founded on any personal experience, nor on any scientific knowledge,
as to give it any value for others. My opinion respecting alcohol is
that it is a valuable and necessary ingredient in forming and
preserving some articles of diet--yeast bread, for example, which can
only be produced by fermentation--and that its value in the lighter
wines, those in which it is found in, a ratio of from 5 to 10 per
cent., is of the same character. It preserves for use other elements
in the juice of the grape. As a stimulant, alcohol is, in my opinion,
at once a deadly poison and a valuable medicine, to be ranked with
belladonna, arsenic, prussic acid, and other toxical agents, which can
never be safely dispensed with by the medical faculty, nor safely used
by laymen as a stimulant, except under medical advice. As to my
experience, it is very limited; and, in my judgment, it is quite
unsafe in this matter to make one man's experience another man's
guide: too much depends upon temperamental and constitutional
peculiarities, and upon special conditions of climate and the like.

1. I have no experience respecting distilled spirits; I regard them as
highly dangerous, and have never used them except under medical
advice, and then only in rare and serious cases of illness. 2. Beers
and the lighter wines, if taken before mental work, always--in my
experience--impair the working powers. They do not facilitate, but
impede brain action. 3. After an exceptionally hard day's work, when
the nervous power is exhausted, and the stomach is not able to digest
and assimilate the food which the system needs, a glass of light wine,
taken with the dinner, is a better aid to digestion than any other
medicine that I know. To serve this purpose, its use--in my opinion--
should be exceptional, not habitual: it is a medicine, not a beverage.
4. After nervous excitement in the evening, especially public
speaking, a glass of light beer serves a useful purpose as a sedative,
and ensures at times a good sleep, when without it the night would be
one of imperfect sleep.

I must repeat that my experience is very limited; that in my judgment
the cases which justify a man in so overtaxing his system that he
requires a medicine to enable him to digest his dinner or enjoy his
sleep must be rare; and that my own use of either wine or beer is very
exceptional. Though I am not in strictness of speech a total
abstinence man, I am ordinarily a water drinker.

March 11, 1882.


I have no doubt that the use of alcohol as a rule is very injurious to
all persons--authors included. In about 17 years (1853-1870), in which
I was engaged on the "Dictionary of English Literature and Authors," I
never took it but for medicine, and very seldom. Moderate smoking
after meals I think useful to those who use their brains much; and
this seems to have been the opinion of the majority of the physicians
who took part in the controversy in the _Lancet_ about ten or
twelve years since. An energetic non-smoker is in haste to rush to his
work soon after dinner. A smoker is willing to rest (it should be for
an hour), because he can enjoy his cigar, and his conscience is
satisfied, which is a great thing for digestion; the brain is soothed

March 27, 1882.


In answer to your question, I can only say that during by far the
greatest part of my life I never took alcohol in any form; and that
only in recent years I have taken a small fixed quantity under medical
advice, as a preventive of gout. Tobacco I have never touched.

October 2, 1882.


In reply to your enquiry, I have to inform you that I have never
smoked, and have always drunk wine, chiefly claret. As to the use of
wine, I can only speak for myself. Of course, there is the danger of
excess; but a healthy nature and the power of self-control being
presupposed, one can hardly do better, I should think, than "follow
nature" as to what one drinks, and its times and quantity. As a
general rule, I drink water in the middle of the day; and a glass or
two of sherry, and some light claret, mixed with water, at a late
dinner; and this seems to suit me very well. I have given up beer in
the middle of the day, not because I experienced that it did not suit
me, but because the doctor assured me that it was bad for rheumatism,
from which I sometimes suffer. I suppose most young people could do as
much without wine as with it. Real brain-work of itself, I think,
upsets the worker, and makes him bilious; wine will not cure this, nor
will abstaining from wine prevent it. But, in general, wine used in
moderation seems to add to the _agreeableness_ of life--for
adults, at any rate; and whatever adds to the agreeableness of life
adds to its resources and powers.

November 4, 1882.


Has no very definite opinions as to the effects of tobacco and alcohol
upon the mind and health, but as he is not in the habit of either
taking alcohol or of smoking, he cannot regard those habits as
essential to mental exertion.

April 21, 1882.


I am interested in the fact that anyone is engaged in a thorough
investigation of the action of stimulants. Although the subject falls
under my own studies in some degree, I am a very indifferent testimony
as far as concerns personal experience. On the action of tobacco, I am
disqualified to speak, from never having used it. As to the other
stimulants--alcohol and the tea group--I find abstinence essential to
intellectual effort. They induce a false excitement, not compatible
with severe application to problems of difficulty. They come in well
enough at the end of the day as soothing, or cheering, and also as
diverting the thoughts into other channels. In my early intercourse
with my friend; Dr. Carpenter, when he was a strict teetotaler, he
used to discredit the effect of alcohol in soothing the excitement of
prolonged intellectual work. I have always considered, however, that
there is something in it. Excess of tea I have good reason to
deprecate; I take it only once a day. The difficulty that presses upon
me on the whole subject is this:--In organic influences, you are not
at liberty to lay down the law of concomitant variations without
exception, or to affirm that what is bad in large quantities, is
simply less bad when the quantity is small. There may be proportions
not only innocuous, but beneficial; reasoning from the analogy of the
action of many drugs which present the greatest opposition of effect
in different quantities. I mean this--not with reference to the
inutility for intellectual stimulation, in which I have a pretty clear
opinion as regards myself--but as to the harmlessness in the long run,
of the employment of stimulants for solace and pleasure when kept to
what we call moderation. A friend of mine heard Thackeray say that he
got some of his best thoughts when driving home from dining out, with
his skin full of wine. That a man might get chance suggestions by the
nervous excitement, I have no doubt; I speak of the serious work of
composition. John Stuart Mill never used tobacco; I believe he had
always a moderate quantity of wine to dinner. He frequently made the
remark that he believed the giving up of wine would be apt to be
followed by taking more food than was necessary, merely for the sake
of stimulation. Assuming the use of stimulants after work to aid the
subsidence of the brain, I can quite conceive that tobacco may operate
in this way, as often averred; but I should have supposed that any
single stimulant would be enough: as tobacco for those abstaining
entirely from alcohol, and using little tea or coffee.

March 6, 1882.


I fear my experience can be of little use to you. I have never smoked
except once--when at school; I then got sick, and have never desired
to smoke since. I have not paid particular attention to the subject,
but I have never seen anything to make me believe that tobacco was of
real use to intellectual workers. I have known of people being injured
by smoking too much, but I never heard of anyone suffering from not
smoking at all.

February 13, 1882.


In my opinion, some constitutions are benefited by a moderate use of
tobacco and alcohol; others are not. But to touch these things is

May 6, 1882.


I fear that my experience of the results of the use of stimulants will
not aid you much in your enquiry. Although I am not a professed
teetotaler or anti-smoker, practically I may say I am one: and when I
am engaged in literary work, scientific investigations, or long and
complicated calculations, I never think of taking any stimulant to aid
or refresh me, and I doubt whether it would be of any use to do so.

February 20, 1882.


In reply to your enquiries, I may say--first: I do not find that
alcohol is so good a stimulant to thought as coffee, tea, opium, or
tobacco. On myself alcohol has rather a benumbing and stupefying
effect, whatever may be the dose employed; whereas, tobacco and opium,
in moderate doses, tea, and especially coffee, as well as cocoa, have
an effect precisely the reverse.

Secondly: there are many persons on whom alcohol in large or small
doses has a stimulating effect on thought: they can speak and think
better under its influence. The late Daniel Webster was accustomed to
stimulate himself for his great speeches by the use of alcohol.

Thirdly: these stimulants and narcotics, according to the temperament
of the person on whom they are used, have effects precisely opposite,
either sedative or stimulating; while coffee makes some people sleepy,
the majority of persons are made wakeful by it. Some are made very
nervous by tobacco in the form of smoking, while on others it acts as
a sedative, and induces sleep. General Grant once told me 'that, if
disturbed during the night, or worried about anything so that he could
not sleep, he could induce sleep by getting up and smoking a short
time--a few whiffs, as I understood him, being sufficient.

If I were to judge by my own experience alone--which it is not fair to
do--I should say that coffee is the best stimulant for mental work;
next to that tobacco and quinine; but as I grow older, I observe that
alcohol in reasonable doses is beginning to have a stimulating effect.

March 13, 1882.


My views on tobacco and alcohol, and their action on the health, may
be summed up in the following four propositions:--

1.--Whole populations have attained to a high degree of civilization
and prosperity without having known either tobacco or alcohol,
therefore, these substances are neither necessary nor even useful to
individuals as well as races.

2.--Very considerable quantities of these drugs, taken at a single
dose, may cause death; smaller quantities stupefy, or kill more
slowly. They are, therefore, poisons against which we must be on our

3.--On the other hand, there are innumerable persons who drink
alcoholic beverages, and smoke tobacco, without any detriment to their
reason or their health. There is, therefore, no reason to forbid the
use of these substances, while suitably regulating the quantity to be

4.--The use of alcoholic liquors and of tobacco in feeble doses,
affords to many persons very great satisfaction, and is altogether
harmless and inoffensive.

We ought, therefore, to attach no stigma to their consumption, after
having pointed out the danger of their abuse. In short, it is with
alcohol and tobacco as with all the pleasures of this life--a question
of degree.

As for myself, I never smoke, because I am not fond of tobacco: I very
seldom drink alcoholic liquors, but I take wine to all my meals
because I like it.

March 1, 1882.


My idea is, that work done under the influence of any kind of
stimulants is unhealthy work, and tends to no good. I never use any
kind of stimulant for intellectual work--only a glass of wine during
dinner to sharpen the appetite. As to smoking generally, it is a vile
and odious practice; but I do not know that, unless carried to excess,
it is in any way unhealthy. Instead of stimulants, literary men should
seek for aid in a pleasant variety of occupation, in intervals of
perfect rest, in fresh air and exercise, and a cultivation of
systematic moderation in all emotions and passions.

February 9, 1882.


In answer to your letter, I beg to tell you that I do not know by
experience what may be the effects of tobacco and alcohol upon the
mind and health, not having been in the habit of taking tobacco and
drinking alcohol.

March 9, 1882.

MR. J. E. BOEHM, R. A.

It will give me great pleasure if I can in any way contribute to your
so very interesting researches, and I shall be glad to know whether
you have published anything on the subject you have questioned me on.
I find vigorous exercise the first and most important stimulant to
hard work. I get up in summer at six, in winter at seven, take an hour
and a half's hard ride, afterwards a warm bath, a cold douche, and
then breakfast. I work from ten to seven generally; but twice or
thrice a week I have an additional exercise--an hour's fencing before
dinner, which I take at 8 p.m. I take light claret or hock to my
dinner, but never touch any wine or spirits at any other times, and
eat meat only once in twenty-four hours. I find a small cup of coffee
after luncheon very exhilarating. I smoke when hard at work--chiefly
cigarettes. After a long sitting (as I do not smoke while working
_from nature_), a cigarette is a soother for which I get a
perfect craving. In the evening, or when I am in the country doing
nothing, I scarcely smoke at all, and do not feel the want of it
there; nor do I then take at evening dinner more than one or two
glasses of wine, and I have observed that the same quantity which
would make me feel giddy in the country when in full health and
vigour, would not have the slightest effect on me when taken after a
hard day's work. I also observed that I can work longer without
fatigue when I have had my ride, than when for any reason I have to
give it up. I have carried this mode of life on for nearly twenty
years, and am well and feel young, though forty-eight. I never see any
one from ten to three o'clock; after that I still work, but must often
suffer interruption. I found that temperament and constitution are
rarely, if ever, a legitimate excuse for departure from abstinence and
sober habits. I have the conviction that in order to have the eye and
the brain clear, you ought to make your skin act vigorously at least
once in twenty-four hours.

February 20, 1882.


In reply to your letter, I am accustomed to smoke. If I do not smoke,
I cannot do my work properly; and it is quite impossible to do any
work in the morning without smoking. Strong drink I do not need at
all, but I drink two glasses of Bavarian beer, which contains very
little alcohol.

April 18, 1882.


I have smoked for upwards of thirty years, and have given up smoking
for the last seven years. Almost all my life I have taken alcoholic
liquors in moderation, but have also been a total abstainer for a
short period. My experience is that neither course with either
ingredient has anything to do with mental work as capacity for it;
unless, indeed, we are to except the incapacity produced by excessive
drinking, of which, however, I have no personal experience.

Feb. 28, 1882.


I am myself no authority on the subject concerning which you write. I
drink myself, but not during the hours of work; and I smoke-pretty
habitually. My own experience and belief is, that both alcohol and
tobacco, like most blessings, can be turned into curses by habitual
self-indulgence. Physiologically speaking, I believe them both to be
invaluable to humankind. The cases of dire disease generated by total
abstinence from liquor are even more terrible than those caused by
excess. With regard to tobacco, I have a notion that it is only
dangerous where the vital organism, and particularly the nervous
system, is badly nourished.

March 7, 1882.


I have no decided opinion whatever as to the question you ask. I can
only say that I am a very small smoker, taking one or two cigars
daily, and I drink Rhine wine, but not daily, as most scholars or
those working with their brains generally do. There can be, I should
think, no question that immoderate use of alcohol produces most
destructive results.

Feb. 20, 1882.


In my humble opinion, every man must find out for himself whether
stimulants are a help to his intellectual efforts. It is impossible to
lay down a law. What would, perhaps, enable one man to write
brilliantly would make another man write nonsense. I myself, although
not an abstainer, should think it a great mistake to seek inspiration
in either tobacco or alcohol.

March 2, 1882.


In reply to your communication, asking for a statement of my
experience as to the effects of tobacco and alcohol upon the mind and
health, I beg to inform you that as I have not been in the habit of
using the first-named article at any period of my life, I am unable to
speak of its effects, mental or otherwise. With regard to alcohol, I
have found that although the brain may receive a temporary accession
to its production of thought, through the use of wine, etc., such
increased action is always followed by a decided weakening of the
thinking power, and that on the whole a far greater amount of
_even_ mental work is to be obtained without the use of alcohol
than with it.

Feb. 18, 1882.


I am unable to give you personal experience as to the use of tobacco,
inasmuch as I do not use it in any form. From observation of others it
appears to me that, when not used to excess, it is serviceable both as
a stimulant during work, and as a sedative after work is over.

Feb. 9, 1882.


I have never been able to make any experiences on the influence of
alcohol upon the mind. I never drink it, and have never been tipsy. I
smoke very much, but only the pipe and cigarette. I take two meals
every day--one at eleven, consisting of a mutton chop, vegetables, and
a cup of tea. I make a hearty dinner at seven, and drink a bottle of
Bordeaux wine. I never work in the evening; and go to bed at half-past
ten. I think the use of tobacco very useless and rather stupid. As to
alcohol, I consider it very hurtful for the liver, and highly
injurious to the mind. The life of mental workers should be well
regulated and temperate in all respects. Bodily exercises, such as
riding, walking and hunting, are very necessary for the relaxation of
the mind, and must be taken occasionally. In my opinion, all
intellectual productions are due to a special disposition of the
cerebro-spinal system, upon which tobacco and alcohol can have no
salutary action. I fear that my answer will be of little help to you;
for in these matters I esteem theory nothing. There are, as the
Germans say, _idiosyncrasies_.

Feb. 17, 1882.

DR. W. B. CARPENTER, C. B., LL. D., F. R. S.

In reply to your enquiry, I have to inform you that I have never felt
the need of alcoholic stimulants as a help in intellectual efforts; on
the contrary, I have found them decidedly injurious in that respect,
except when used with the strictest moderation. For about eleven years
of the hardest-working period of my life, that in which I produced my
large treatises on Physiology, edited the Medical Quarterly Review,
and did a great deal of other literary work, besides lecturing, I was
practically a total abstainer, though I never took any pledge. I
undoubtedly injured myself by over-work during that period, as I have
more than once done since under the pressure of official duty; but the
injury has shown itself in the failure of appetite and digestive
power. After many trials, I have come to the practical conclusion that
I get on best, while in London, by taking with my dinner a couple of
glasses of very light Claret, and simply as an aid in the digestion of
the food which is required to keep up my mental and bodily power. But
when "on holiday" in Scotland, or elsewhere, I do not find the need of
this. I have never smoked tobacco, or used it in any form. I need
scarcely say that I have never used any other "nervine stimulants."
You are at perfect liberty to make use of this communication.

Feb. 17, 1882.


In reply to your note, I have only time to say that I never used
tobacco in any form all my life, and I can say the same thing
regarding my brother, Robert.

February 10, 1882.


I fear I shall be unable to add to your fund of information. Never
having used spirituous or vinous stimulants, or tobacco in any form, I
have no personal "experience" of the way they affect the mental
faculties of those who use them.

Sept. 30, 1882.


I should have been glad to reply to your question from my personal
experience, but I do not smoke, and have never in all my life drunk as
much as a single glass of alcohol. This plainly shows that I require
no "fillip" or stimulant when at work. Tobacco and alcohol may cause
over-excitement of the brain, as does coffee, which I am very fond of;
but, in my opinion, that alone is thorough good work which is
performed without artificial stimulant, and in full possession of
one's health and faculties. The reason we have so many sickly
productions in our literature arises probably from the fact that our
writers, perhaps, add a little alcohol to their ink, and view life
through the fumes of nicotine.

Feb. 26, 1882.


As I am not an adherent of the teetotal abstinence movement, I beg
that everything I write may be accepted with this reservation. I have
never seen that any great thinker has found any help or benefit from
the use of stimulants-either alcohol or tobacco. My observations and
experiences are unfavourable to both classes of stimulants. In my own
case, I gave up smoking before my scientific work began. Alcoholic
drinks I used moderately, but I was a water drinker chiefly. Of late
years, from illness, I have given up alcoholic drinks; but were I in
full health, I should use them moderately. In the course of a public
life of about forty years, I have seen the ill-effects of drinking
upon many journalists and others; but it appears to me that smoking
produces still greater evil. A man knows when he is drunk, but he does
not know when he has smoked too much, until the effects of
accumulation have made themselves permanent. To smoking are to be
traced many affections of the eyes, and of the ears, besides other
ailments. I have heard much said in favour of smoking and drinking,
but never saw any favourable result. The communication of the evil
results of these stimulants to offspring appears to me to constitute a
further serious objection to them, I approve fully of your object, but
as I do not go to the length of total abstinence advocates, I am
desirous not to be misunderstood. Several years of my life were spent
in the East, and my experience there only confirms me the more. I have
known many drunkards among literary men, and the stimulants they took
never helped their work; and it was only because they were men of
exceptionally strong brain that their excesses did not incapacitate
them. There are many excesses of this kind that are equally
misunderstood by those who indulge in them, and by temperance writers.
There are, in fact, many men of enormous power, who can smoke and
drink all day long. They constitute no standard: so far as I have
seen, the consequences show themselves only in the offspring, though
in this case it must be taken into account, that the children are
sometimes born before a man's health has been seriously injured. A man
of exceptional strength misleads and encourages others to indulge.

October 14, 1882.


When I am ill (I am suffering from gout at this very moment) tobacco
is the best friend that my irritable nerves possess. When I am well,
but exhausted for the time by a hard day's work, tobacco nerves and
composes me. There is my evidence in two words. When a man allows
himself to become a glutton in the matter of smoking tobacco, he
suffers for it; and if he becomes a glutton in the matter of eating
meat, he just as certainly suffers in another way. When I read learned
attacks on the practice of smoking, I feel indebted to the writer--he
adds largely to the relish of my cigar.

February 10, 1882.


My experience of stimulants has been insufficient to enable me to
give any important opinion about them. As to tobacco, my strong hope
is that my own sons will never use it; but if they should develop
peculiar and excitable nerves, or become very emotional, or have much
trouble, it is so likely that they might take to some worse habit that
I would prefer they should smoke.

February 22, 1882.


I am not a pledged abstainer: I have used both tobacco and alcohol in
various forms. Neither is at all necessary to my vigour of either body
or mind. My use of tobacco has been but slight. I have never Used
alcohol for years. I could never think deeply after the use of
tobacco; I have felt a quickening of thought at times after a slight
use of good wine; but I know, from physiological evidence, what
practice has certainly proved, that no permanent benefit to either
body or mind must be sought from its use. I have employed it with
great benefit at times--that is, where it was better to afford the
exhaustion following a mere stimulant, than to submit to an exhaustion
which the stimulant could for the moment counteract. This is the only
advantage, save to the palate, that I have known to be derived
personally from the use of alcohol.

February 11, 1882.


I drink a glass of wine daily, and believe I should be better without
any, though all doctors urge me to drink wine, as I suffer much from
giddiness. I have taken snuff all my life, and regret that I ever
acquired the habit, which I have often tried to leave off, and have
succeeded for a time. I feel sure that it is a great stimulus and aid
in my work. I also daily smoke two little paper cigarettes of Turkish
tobacco. This is not a stimulus, but rests me after I have been
compelled to talk, with tired memory, more than anything else. I am 73
years old.

February 9, 1882.

W. BOYD DAWKINS, M. A., F. R. S., F. G. S.

I have received your note asking about the effect of alcohol on my
health and work. I cannot say that they influence either; I find,
however, that I cannot drink beer when I am using my brain, and,
therefore, do not take it when I have anything of importance to think
about. I look upon tobacco and alcohol as merely luxuries, and there
are no luxuries more dangerous if you take too much of them. I find
quinine the best stimulant to thought.

February 16, 1882.

The Rev. ALEX. J. D. D'ORSEY, B. D.,

For my own part, I am decidedly averse to the use of tobacco and
stimulants. I am myself a total abstainer (not pledged), and I have
never smoked in my life. I always do my utmost to dissuade young and
old alike to abstain from even the moderate use of tobacco and
stimulants, as in the course of a long and laborious life, speaking
much and preaching without notes, I have always felt able to grapple
with my subject, with pleasure to myself and with profit, I trust, to
my hearers.

March 17, 1882.


As far as my experience goes, the use of stimulants enables one at
moments of severe bodily exhaustion to make mental efforts of which,
but for them, he would be absolutely incapable. For instance, after a
long day's ride in the burning sun across the dry stony wastes of
Northern Persia, I have arrived in some wretched, mud-built town, and
laid down upon my carpet in the corner of some miserable hovel,
utterly worn out by bodily fatigue, mental anxiety, and the worry
inseparable from constant association with Eastern servants. It would
be necessary to write a long letter to the newspapers before retiring
to rest. A judicious use of stimulants has, under such circumstances,
not only given me sufficient energy to unpack my writing materials,
lie on my face, and propped on both elbows, write for hours by the
light of a smoky lamp; but also produced the flow of ideas that
previously refused to come out of their mental hiding places, or which
presented themselves in a flat and uninteresting form. I consider,
then, the use of alcoholic and other stimulation to be conducive to
literary labours under circumstances of physical and mental
exhaustion; and very often the latter is the normal condition of
writers, especially those employed on the press. Perhaps, too, in
examining into the nature of some metaphysical and psychological
questions the use of alcohol, or some similar stimulant, aids the
appreciation of _nuances_ of thought which might otherwise escape
the cooler and less excited brain. On the other hand, while travelling
in the East during the past few years, and when, as a rule,
circumstances precluded the possibility of obtaining stimulants, I
found that a robust state of health consequent on an out-door life,
made the consumption of alcohol in any shape quite unnecessary. In
brief, then, my opinion is, that at a given moment of mental
depression or exhaustion, the use of stimulants will restore the mind
to a condition of activity and power fully equalling, and in some
particular ways, surpassing its normal state. Subsequently to the
dying out of the stimulation the brain is left in a still more
collapsed situation than before, in other words, must pay the penalty,
in the form of an adverse reaction, of having overdrawn its powers,
for having, as it were, anticipated its work.

E. O'DONOVAN. Feb. 17, 1882.


I distinguish direct and immediate effect of alcohol on the brain from
its indirect effect through the general health of the body. I can only
speak for myself. I have no doubt that the direct effect of alcohol on
me is intellectually injurious. This, however, is true in a certain
degree, of everything I eat and drink (except tea). After the smallest
meal I am for a while less active mentally. A single glass even of
claret I believe injures my power of thinking; but accepting the
necessity of regular meals, I do not find that a sparing allowance of
light wine adds to the subsequent dulness of mind, and I am disposed
to think it is of some slight use physically. From one to two and a
half _small_ wine glasses of claret or burgundy is the limit of
what I can take--and that only at dinner--without conscious harm. One
glass of sherry or port I find every way injurious. Whisky and brandy
are to me simply poisons, destroying my power of enjoyment and of
thought. Ale I can only drink when very much in the open air. As to
tobacco, I have never smoked much, but I can either not smoke, as at
present, or go to the limit of two small cigarettes in twenty-four
hours. Any good effects of tobacco become with me uncertain in
proportion to the frequency of smoking. The good effects are those
commonly ascribed to it: it seems to soothe away small worries, and to
restore little irritating incidents to their true proportions. On a
few occasions I have thought it gave me a mental fillip, and enabled
me to start with work I had been pausing over; and it nearly always
has the power to produce a pleasant, and perhaps wholesome,
retardation of thought--a half unthinking reverie, if one adapts
surrounding circumstances to encourage this mood. The only sure brain
stimulants with me are plenty of fresh air and tea; but each of these
in large quantity produces a kind of intoxication: the intoxication of
a great amount of air causing wakefulness, with a delightful confusion
of spirits, without the capacity of steady thought; tea intoxication
unsettles and enfeebles my will; but then a great dose of tea often
does get good work out of me (though I may pay for it afterwards),
while alcohol renders all mental work impossible. I have been
accustomed to make the effects of tea and wine a mode of separating
two types of constitution. I have an artist friend whose brain is
livelier after a bottle of Carlowitz, which would stifle my mind, and
to him my strong cup of tea would be poison. We are both, I think, of
nervous organization, but how differentiated I cannot tell. My pulse
goes always rather too quickly; a little emotional disturbance sets it
going at an absurdly rapid rate for hours, and extreme physical
fatigue follows. My conviction is that no one rule applies to all men,
but for men like me alcohol is certainly not necessary, and at best of
little use. I have a kindlier feeling towards tobacco, though I am
only occasionally a smoker.

P.S.--Since writing the above, I have asked two friends (each an
intellectual worker of extraordinary energy) how alcohol affects them.
Both agreed that a large dose of alcohol stimulated them
_intellectually_, but that the subsequent _physical_ results
were injurious.

March 3, 1882.


I think chewing tobacco acts as a good stimulant upon anyone engaged
in laborious brain work. Smoking, although pleasant, is too violent in
its action; and the same remark applies to alcoholic liquors. I am
inclined to think that it is better for intellectual workers to
perform their labours at night, as after a very long experience of
night work, I find my brain is in better condition at that time,
especially for experimental work, and when so engaged I almost
invariably chew tobacco as a stimulant.

April 4, 1882.

MR. ALEX. J. ELLIS, F. R. S., F. S. A.,

I am 67 3/4. I never took tobacco in any shape or form. For
twenty-five years I have taken no sort of stimulant, not even tea or
coffee. But for eight years in and amongst these twenty-five, but not
part of them, I took a little wine. This is eight years ago. I did not
find wine increased my power of work. I have led a working literary
life, always occupied, except when obliged to rest from over work. The
longest of these rests was three years, from 1849, while I was still
drinking wine. It is possible that wine may whip one up a bit for a
moment, but I don't believe in it as a necessity. I am not a
teetotaler or temperance man in any way, and my rejection of all
stimulants (my strongest drink being milk and much water) is a mere
matter of taste.

February 22, 1882.


In reply to your letter, I have to say that I think all stimulants,
whether in the form of alcoholic drinks, tea or coffee, or tobacco,
should be very moderately used. For my own part, I have never smoked
or snuffed, and my daily allowance of alcoholic drinks is a so-called
pint bottle of beer or two glasses of wine. I have more frequently
suffered from nervous excitability due to tea or coffee, than from any
other kind of stimulant. I can compose best when my brain is coolest
and my digestion easiest. I do not believe in artificial stimulus to
literary effort.

February 22, 1882.


I cannot say anything as to the effects of tobacco and alcohol upon
the health. I never use either, and so can only say that in my case
work has been done without their help. In the absence of data for
comparison as to the effects of indulgence and abstinence, it would be
foolish in me to express any comparative judgment; but it is only fair
to say that so far as I am capable of forming any opinion on the
matter, the abstinence has been altogether beneficial.

February 16, 1882.


It so happens that your question belongs to a class of topics in which
I have taken much theoretical interest. For my general views, I cannot
do better than refer you to a paper of mine in the Gentleman's
Magazine of March, 1875, called "The Physiology of Authorship;" but I
fully agree with you that the settlement of the question can only
depend upon the collection of individual experience. I have
consciously studied my own, and can state it shortly and plainly. I am
a very hard, very regular, and not seldom an excessive worker; and I
find that my consumption of tobacco, and my production of work are in
'almost exact pro-portion, I cannot pretend to guess whether the work
demands the tobacco or whether the tobacco stimulates the work; but in
my case they are inextricably and, I believe, necessarily combined.
When I take a holiday, especially if I spend it in the open air, I
scarcely smoke at all; indeed, I find that bodily exercise requires no
stimulant of any kind whatever. If I read, I smoke little; but if I
produce, tobacco takes the form of a necessity, I believe--for I am
indolent by _nature_, and tobacco seems to me to be the best
machine for making work go with the grain that I can find. [Footnote:
The wisdom of occasionally using these various stimulants for
intellectual purposes is proved by a single consideration. Each of us
has a little cleverness and a great deal of sluggish stupidity. There
are certain occasions when we absolutely need the little cleverness
that we possess. The orator needs it when he speaks, the poet when he
Versifies, but neither cares how stupid he may become when the oration
is delivered and the lyric set down on paper. The stimulant serves to
bring out the talent when it is wanted, like the wind in the pipes of
an organ. "What will it matter if I am even a little duller
afterwards?" says the genius; "I can afford to be dull when I have
done." But the truth still remains that there are stimulants and
stimulants. Not the nectar of the gods themselves were worth the dash
of a wave upon the beach, and the pure cool air of the morning.--
Philip G. Hamerton, in _Intellectual Life_, p. 21.] I have a very
strong suspicion that if I did not smoke (which I find harmless) I
should have to conquer really dangerous temptations. As things are,
though I am a very moderate wine-drinker (spirits I never touch, and
abhor), alcohol, practically speaking, bears no appreciable part in my
life's economy. I believe that to some people tobacco is downright
poison; to some, life and health; to the vast majority, including
myself, neither one thing nor the other, but simply a comfort or an
instrument, or a mere nothing, according to idiosyncrasy.

My general theory is, that _bodily_ labour and exercise need no
stimulant at all, or at most very little; but that intellectual, and
especially creative, work, when it draws upon the mind beyond a
quickly reached point, requires being a non-natural condition
non-natural means to keep it going. I cannot call to mind a single
case, except that of Goethe, where great mental labour has been
carried on without external support of some sort; which seems to imply
an instinctive knowledge of how to get more out of the brain machine
than is possible under normal conditions. Of course the means must
differ more or less in each individual case; and sometimes the owner
of a creative brain must decide whether he will let it lie fallow for
health's sake, or whether for work's sake he will let life and health
go. I always insist very strongly upon brain work-beyond an uncertain
point-being _non-natural_, and, therefore, requiring non-natural
conditions for its exercise. I can quite believe the feat of the
Hungarian officer [Footnote: The surprising endurance of the Hungarian
officer, who lately swam a lake in Hungary, a distance of eleven
miles, is ascribed to his abstinence from alcohol and tobacco.--
_Thrift_, for February, 1882.] would be impossible to a man who
smoked or drank. But I cannot at all believe in that officer's powers
of writing, instead of swimming, with a mind at full stretch, for the
half of eleven hours. As to economy, tobacco costs me a good deal; but
I look upon it as the investment of so much capital, bearing better
interest than any other investment could bear.

April 4, 1882.


I can tell you nothing of the effects of smoking tobacco, having had
no experience. I tried once or twice when young, but, finding it
nasty, I did not try again. _Why_ people smoke, I have no notion.
If I am tired of work, a short sleep sets me up again. I really have
nothing to say about alcohol--I have never thought about it. I drink
wine like other people, and I find brandy an excellent medicine on
occasion. I used to drink beer, but some of the doctors say it is not
good for me, and some have recommended whisky instead; but I really
have no views on the subject. I have drunk wine and beer, as I have
eaten beef and mutton, without any theories one way or another.

October 29, 1882.


Though I have no claim to be considered as one of the great thinkers
and popular authors, I am a small thinker and a decidedly unpopular
author, who has nevertheless done some work, I answer, that I have
been a teetotaler since the summer of 1841, when I was 16, and I have
never smoked except as a lark at school. I was a Vegetarian for about
25 years. I believe alcohol to be highly detrimental to head work.
Tobacco has, I think, done good in only one case that has come under
my notice during 40 years; it quieted an excitable man. My father, who
was a medical man of wide practice, was very strong against much use
of tobacco. He knew two cases of speedy death from the oil in the bowl
of a tobacco-pipe being applied to aching teeth. He had several cases
of much impaired digestion from smoking.

March 8, 1882.


In reply to your letter, I beg to say that I never smoked in my life,
and don't intend to begin. I take beer at luncheon and dinner, and
occasionally a glass or two of wine, but very often I am four or five
days without doing that.

March 9, 1882.


In answer to your questions, I beg to say that Mr. Gladstone drinks
one glass or two of claret at luncheon, the same at dinner, with the
addition of a glass of light port. The use of wine to this extent is
especially necessary to him at the time of greatest intellectual
exertion. Smoking he detests, and he has always abstained from the use
of very strong and fiery stimulants.

November 29, 1882.


Being a lady, though my _nom de plume_ be a man's, I have little
experience of either alcohol or tobacco. I must fairly say that though
claret agrees with my constitution when properly mixed with water,
wine without water, and every kind of liqueurs, makes me very ill,
especially when taken between my meals, which are only two in number--
breakfast at twelve, and dinner at seven. I never use any stimulant.
My sleep being scanty, I want sedatives rather than stimulants. I must
add, nevertheless, that once or twice in a year, when I felt very
tired, and had some work to conclude, especially at night, I happened
to smoke one cigarette or Russian papyrus, which revived me promptly,
and enabled me to finish my work. If you may be interested in my
fashion of working, I may inform you that I work very fast, two hours
at once, and then take a rest, or dinner. After resting two hours, I
can write two hours again. I write without scratching, or blotting,
about 100 lines of any French newspaper feuilleton, not the
_Temps_, which is larger, but the _Figuro_, or any similar
paper, in half-an-hour's time. I don't think that any-body could write
more quickly; I seldom make any corrections, and never copy my work,
which is sent to the printer as I write it. I use no stimulants of any
kind, but sometimes eat an orange or two. After working towards
midnight, I sometimes feel hungry, but I never eat for fear of
spoiling my night's rest. I lived many years in Russia, and my
experience is, that people who smoke too much suffer from their
throat. Emile Augrer has been very ill with his stomach, from smoking
too many strong cigars. He ceased, and has been completely healed.

April 28, 1882.


In reply to your favour of the 28th ult., I have the honour to inform
you that I do not smoke, because nicotine acts upon my system as a
most powerful poison. At the age of ten I had a Havana cigar given me
to smoke; after smoking it I fainted and did not come to myself till
after a _deep sleep, which lasted twenty-four hours._ When I was
twenty, the third part of a cigar was given me to smoke as a remedy
for the toothache. I could not finish it. A cold perspiration attended
with vomiting and fainting ensued. I therefore judge from the effects
of tobacco upon myself that it cannot be such a benefactor of mankind
as people have tried to make it out. I am convinced that in any case,
smoking lulls the mind to sleep, and when carried to excess tends to
produce stupefaction or idiotcy.

Perhaps you are aware that in Little Russia, the people call tobacco
the _Devil's herb_; and it is related that the devil planted it
under the form of an idolater. For my part I am quite prepared to
adopt the opinion of the Russian people. Before the time of Peter the
Great, smoking was strictly prohibited in Russia.

The Poet Prati sang one day:

  Fuma, passagia e medita
  E diverrai poeta.

(Smoke, ramble alone and think, and thou will soon become a poet.)

That is what he himself does, but my belief is that owing to the abuse
of cigars, he so frequently raves (dotes) and his poetry is often

As for alcohol, I take it to be proved beyond all doubt, that when
taken in very small quantities it may, in certain cases, do good, but
that taken in large quantities it kills. After having burnt the
stomach, it deprives it of its power of digestion. I have seen a great
many persons begin to use alcoholic beverages in the hope of acquiring
tone, and afterwards get so accustomed to their use, that the best
Chianti wine passed into their stomach like water. In this case, as in
so many other cases, it is a question of measure. Alcohol has a like
injurious effect upon the brain as upon the stomach.

I am by no means an authority on the question which you have been good
enough to address to me, and can therefore only give you briefly a
statement of my own personal experience. Speaking of stimulants, I
would mention, for instance, the strange effect produced upon my
rather sensitive organism by a single cup of coffee. If I take a cup
of coffee at six o'clock in the evening I cannot get to sleep before
six in the morning. If I take it at noon I can get to sleep at
midnight I know that many people take coffee to keep awake when
working through the night. My own opinion is that you cannot work any
better with these stimulants. There is a sort of irritation produced
by drinking coffee which I do not consider helpful to serious and
sustained work. It is possible, however, that works of genius may be
produced sometimes in a state of nervous excitement, I suppose when
the shattered nerves begin to relax. Manzoni wrote his master pieces
when in a state of painful nervous distraction, but alcohol had
nothing to do with it; perhaps he had recourse to other stimulants.

(1) When we read that literary producers of any power have gone on
working up to the last, even in the near approach of death, we usually
find the work done has been of a not unwelcome kind, and often that it
has formed part of a long-cherished design. But when the disease of
which the sufferer is dying is consumption, or some disease which
between paroxysms of pain leaves spaces of ease and rest, it is
nothing wonderful that work should be done. Some of the best of
Paley's works were produced under such conditions, and some of the
best of Shelley's. Nor, indeed, is there anything in mere pain which
necessarily prevents literary work. The late Mr. T. T. Lynch produced
some of his most beautiful writings amid spasms of _angina
pectoris_. This required high moral courage in the writer.... It is
a curious, though well-known fact, however, that times of illness,
when the eyes swim and the hand shakes, are oftentimes rich in
suggestion. If the mind is naturally fertile--if there is stuff in
it--the hours of illness are by no means wasted. It is then that the
"_dreaming_ power" which counts for so much in literary work
often asserts itself most usefully.--_The Contemporary Review_,
vol. 29, p. 946.

(2) When the poet Wordsworth was engaged in composing the "White Doe
of Rylstone," he received a wound in his foot, and he observed that
the continuation of his literary labours increased the irritation of
the wound; whereas by suspending his work he could diminish it, and
absolute mental rest produced perfect cure. In connection with this
incident he remarked that poetic excitement, accompanied by protracted
labour in composition, always brought on more or less of bodily
derangement He preserved himself from permanently injurious
consequences by his excellent habit of life.--Hamerton. _The
Intellectual Life_.

I know that certain authors think they can write better when taking
artificial stimulants. I do not, however, believe that an artificial
irritation of the nerves can have any good effect upon our faculty of
apprehension. I am even inclined to think that when we write best,
_it is not owing_ to nervous _excitement_, but rather because our nerves,
after a period of extreme irritation, _leave us a few moments respite_,
and it is during these moments the divine spark shines brightly. When
creative genius has accomplished its task, the nerves once more relapse
into their former irritability and cause us to suffer; but at the time of
creation there is a truce of suffering.

I never use any stimulant to help me in my labours; yet when I have
been writing works of fiction, for instance my Indian and Roman Plays,
I have nearly always been subject to great nervous agitation. When I
suffered most from spasms, I had short intervals of freedom from pain,
during which I could write, and those around me asked in astonishment
how I could, in the midst of such suffering, write scenes that were
cheerful, glowing and impassioned.

I have occasionally in my time enjoyed these luminous intervals. I do
not know whether those who use alcohol as a stimulant have experienced
the same. No doubt they have succeeded in exciting their nervous
sensibilities; but I assert that the real work of creative genius is
accomplished in the intervals of this purturbation of the nerves which
by some is deemed so essential to intellectual labour. When the nerves
are excited to the highest pitch, they occasionally suffer, the
transitory cessation from which is the divine moment of human
creation. It seems to me, however, that this ought to be left to
nature, and that every attempt to produce artificial excitement, for
the purpose of producing creations of a higher class, is futile and
beset with danger.

March 4, 1882.


I thank you for having asked my opinion upon the effects of tobacco
and alcohol on the mind and the health of men who give themselves up
to intellectual work; and hasten to comply with your request. I am not
a very resolute adversary of tobacco, because I must admit that I
smoke, and at home use wine also: but if their use appears useful or
agreeable, I ought to add that whenever I have to undertake any long
arduous work, and above all, the reproduction of stenographic law or
parliamentary reports, of which the copy is required without delay, I
then make use of nothing but pure water. I limit myself as to
stimulant to the use of coffee, which enables me to pass whole days
and nights without feeling any want of sleep and, so to say, without
fatigue, notwithstanding the labour of the stenographic translations.
As you see, I consider that tobacco and alcohol do not act as
stimulants, but rather as narcotics. With me they induce after the
first moment of excitement a sort of calm and somnolence altogether
incompatible with severe work; and I prefer coffee, always on the
condition that as soon as the effort to be accomplished is finished
the use of it must cease. I will not invoke the precedents of the
celebrated men who have been led to make great use of coffee without
impairing their health. It is after many years' experience that I have
acted as I have indicated.

March 11, 1582.


In answer to your enquiry, I may state the result of my personal
experience and observation thus :-1. Alcoholic liquors, when taken in
such quantity as to excite the circulation, are unfavourable to all
inquiries requiring care and accuracy, but not unfavourable to efforts
of the imagination. 2. Tobacco taken in small quantities is not
unwholesome in its action on mind or body. When taken in excess it is
not easy to define or describe its action, the chief fact relating to
it being that it increases the number of the pulse, but lessens the
force of the heart. 3. My personal experience of such quantities of
wine as two or more glasses of port a day at my age (72) is that it
produces no perceptible or measurable effect when taken for, say,
three weeks or a month at a time, when compared with the like period
of total abstinence. 4. It may be said in favour of temperance or even
of extreme abstinence, that some of those men who have done most work
in their day--John Howard, Wesley, and Cobbett, for example--have been
either very moderate, or decidedly abstemious. But on the other hand,
such men as Samuel Johnson, who was a free liver and glutton, and
Thackeray, who drank to excess, have also got through a great amount
of work.

Feb. 25, 1882.


I find strong coffee very useful in mental work. Of alcohol, I take
very little, because I find it of no value as a stimulant. I have
never smoked.

November 4, 1882.


I am quite willing to answer your question about tobacco. I used to
smoke in moderation, but six years ago, some young friends were
staying at my house, and they led me into smoking more in the evenings
than I was accustomed to. This brought on disturbed nights and dull
mornings; so I gave up smoking altogether--as an experiment--for six
months. At the end of that time, I found my general health so much
improved, that I determined to make abstinence a permanent rule, and
have stuck to my determination ever since, with decided benefit. I
shall certainly never resume smoking. I never use any stimulants
whatever when writing, and believe the use of them to be most
pernicious; indeed, I have seen terrible results from them. When a
writer feels dull, the best stimulant is fresh air. Victor Hugo makes
a good fire before writing, and then opens the window. I have often
found temporary dulness removed by taking a turn out of doors, or
simply by adopting Victor Hugo's plan. I am not a teetotaler, though
at various times I have abstained altogether from alcoholic stimulants
for considerable periods, feeling better without them. I drink ale to
lunch, and wine (Burgundy) to dinner; but never use either between
meals, when at home and at work. At one time I did myself harm by
drinking tea, but have quite given up both tea and coffee. My
breakfast in the morning is a basin of soup, invariably, and nothing
else. This is very unusual in England, but not uncommon in France. I
find it excellent, as it supports me well through the morning, without
any excitement. My notion of the perfect physical condition for
intellectual work is that in which the body is well supported without
any kind of stimulus to the nervous system. Thanks to the observance
of a few simple rules, I enjoy very regular health, with great
equality and regularity of working power, so that I get through a
great deal without feeling it to be any burden upon me, which is the
right state. I never do any brain work after dinner; I dine at seven,
and read after, but only in languages that I can read without any
trouble, and about subjects that I can read without any trouble, and
about subjects that are familiar to me.

February 13, 1882.


I fear that the information I can give on the effect of tobacco will
be less than little: for I have never smoked a pipeful in my life, nor
a cigar. My impression is that its use would be very injurious in my
case; and so far as I have observed, it is far from-beneficial to any
literary man. There are, unquestionably, writers who smoke with
impunity, but this seems to be owing to the counterbalancing effect of
some accident in their lives or constitutions, on which few others
could calculate. I have never found alcohol helpful to novel-writing
in any degree. My experience goes to prove that the effect of wine,
taken as a preliminary to imaginative work, is to blind the writer to
the quality of what he produces rather than to raise its quality. When
walking much out of doors, and particularly when on Continental
rambles, I occasionally drink a glass or two of claret or mild ale.
The German beers seem really beneficial at these times of exertion,
which (as wine seems otherwise) may be owing to some alimentary
qualities they possess, apart from their stimulating property. With
these rare exceptions, I have taken no alcoholic liquor for the last
two years.

Dec. 5, 1882.


Frederick Harrison never has touched tobacco in any form, though much
in the society of habitual smokers, but finds many hours in a close
smoking room rather depressing. Has always taken a moderate amount of
alcohol (pint of claret) _once_ in the day, and finds himself
rather stronger with than without it. Age fifty, health perfect;
accustomed to much open-air exercise, long sleep, and little food.
Reads and writes from eight to ten hours per diem, and never remembers
to have been a day unfit for work.

March, 1882.


In answer to your question, certainly in my own case I should find
stimulants destructive to good work. I get through an immense deal of
literary work in the course of the day. I rise at eight, and seldom
put out my light until three in the morning. With lunch and dinner I
drink claret and water, and never touch stimulants of any kind except
at meals. On the other hand, I smoke from the time I have finished
breakfast until I go to bed, and should find it very difficult to
write unless smoking. I have a great circle of literary friends, and
scarce but one smokes while he works. Some take stimulants--such as
brandy and soda water-while at work; some do not, but certainly
nineteen out of twenty smoke. I believe that smoking, if not begun
until after the age of twenty-one, to be in the vast majority of cases
advantageous alike to health, temper, and intellect; for I do not
think that it is in any way deleterious to the health, while it
certainly aids in keeping away infectious diseases, malaria, fever,

While I consider a moderate use of wine and beer advantageous-except,
of course, where beer, as is often the case, affects the liver, I
regard the use of spirits as wholly deleterious, except when medically
required, and should like to see the tax upon spirits raised tenfold.
A glass of spirits and water may do no harm, but there is such a
tendency upon the part of those who use them to increase the dose, and
the end is, in that case, destruction to mind and body.

February 22, 1882.


Prefers an entirely undisturbed and unclouded brain for mental work,
unstimulated by anything stronger than tea or coffee, unaffected by
tobacco or other drags. His faculties are best under his control in
the forenoon, between breakfast and lunch. The only intellectual use
he could find in stimulants is the quickened mental action they induce
when taken in company. He thinks ideas may reach the brain when
slightly stimulated, which remain after the stimulus has ceased to
disturb its rhythms. He does not habitually use any drink stronger
than water. He has no peremptory rule, having no temptation to
indulgence, but approaching near to abstinence as he grows older. He
does not believe that any stimulus is of advantage to a healthy
student, unless now and then socially, in the intervals of mental


I never took enough of stimulants to tell whether it is good or ill
for "thinking and working." Tobacco is only good when you have a habit
of working too much, as it makes you lazy-minded.

April 3, 1882.


I have had no experience on the subject of the use of tobacco and
alcohol that is of any value, or you should be welcome to it.

Feb. 13, 1882.


If you will allow me to count myself out of the list of "great
thinkers "and _very_ "popular authors," I will gladly contribute
my experience in the points you publish. I never use tobacco, except
in a very rare, self-defensive cigarette, where a great many other
people are smoking; and I commonly drink water at dinner. When I take
wine, I think it weakens my work, and my working force the next

March 2, 1882.


I am afraid that my experience can be of little use to you, because I
have lived a very uniform life; and am therefore unable to compare the
consequences from following various _regimes_.. I use alcoholic
beverages moderately. I do not think they ever assisted or retarded my
mental work. As for tobacco, it is the object of my aversion, as it
must be to all non-smokers to whom the habits of the consumers of the
weed must always appear more or less as an impertinence. Besides, it
is difficult to imagine how the use of narcotics can be indulged in
with impunity to the health.

February 11, 1882.


In reply to your note, I beg to say--1st, that I have never been a
smoker. 2nd, that I became a total abstainer from alcoholic liquors
before I had attained the age of twenty. 3rd, that I have never kept
my bed, I am thankful to say, for a day, in my life. 4th, that up to
the age of twenty-four I rose at seven; and up to the age of
twenty-seven, at six; since twenty-seven, at five a.m. 5th, that it is
a common occurrence for me to have been (for some years past) at
mental employment from six a.m., to seven p.m. 6th, that I do not find
the least necessity for stimulants in the form either of tobacco or of

March 13, 1882.


I am not an habitual smoker, and therefore cannot speak about its
effects; I find it an irritant rather than a sedative. But I am quite
sensible of the virtue of an occasional glass of good wine, and am
certain I can work better with than without it.

April 15, 1882.


I am not a smoker, and am therefore unable to give you any evidence
on the subject.

February 7, 1882.


I have travelled in various parts of the world, from Greece to the
Pacific, and from the Coasts of Labrador to the Southern States of
North America, perhaps as much as any man living, and have never, in
heat or cold, felt any inconvenience from my forty-eight years of
abstinence. I have lectured for many nights consecutively on various
topics during the intervals of that time, and have written thousands
of articles on philosophy, temperance, physiology, politics and
criticisms in papers and magazines, and published pamphlets and
volumes equal to 25 octavos of small print; but have never required
anything stronger than tea or coffee as a stimulant. The Alliance
_Prize Essay_ (100 guineas) of 320 pages was composed and written
in 21 days. I never smoke, snuff, or chew. I have known _many_
literary men ruined by smoking, and in all cases the continued use of
tobacco is most injurious to the mind, as well as to the body. It
_slays_ the nervous recuperative energy.

November 17, 1882.

BARRISTER-AT-LAW, Professor of the Principles and Practice of Commerce
and Commercial Law, King's College, London.

I have no hesitation in saying that I have never found the need of
either tobacco or alcohol, or any other stimulants, for my
intellectual efforts. I have never used tobacco in any form, and
though occasionally, when my physical forces are much exhausted, I
have derived benefit from a single glass of wine or ale, as a rule,
and in my ordinary diet, I use nothing whatever but fresh water. This
is my personal experience, and though I have worked very hard-often
sixteen hours a day of continuous labour--I have always enjoyed,
thanks to Providence, the best of health.



I beg to say that in my opinion the use of tobacco is, in the great
majority of cases, prejudicial. As to alcohol, I would rather not
express any opinion.

February 17, 1882.


In reply to your enquiry respecting the use of tobacco and alcohol, I
shall be glad to give you all the information I possess on this
subject; though, of course, I am not in a position to judge whether my
few remarks will be of any service to you.

In the first place, as regards the influence of tobacco and alcohol
upon the health in general, it is clearly ascertained that under
certain circumstances, it may become highly injurious.

Apart from the disturbance produced in the whole nervous system, there
are serious diseases affecting certain organs of the body, which arise
solely from the abuse of both these stimulants. We note a serious
affection of the visual organs, which we plainly designate by the name
of: "Emblyopia ex abusu nicotiano et alcoholico." The symptoms of this
complaint consist chiefly in a gradual and steady decline of the power
of sight, coupled with partial colour blindness. I cannot here enter
into details as to the manner in which the range of sight is affected
as regards each of the different colours, and can only refer to the
characteristic weakening of the power to distinguish red from other

It will not be necessary, I presume, to extend my remarks to the evil
effects of tobacco and alcohol upon the human body, as you are
sufficiently acquainted with them, especially as far as alcohol is

Now as to the relation in which both stand to mental work. If I may be
allowed to state first of all the result of observations in my own
case, I must tell you that I have not found these drugs to be in any
degree helpful in the performance of mental labour. I find it
absolutely impossible to put any sensible thoughts on paper when I am
smoking. In former years I frequently tried to smoke a pipe or a cigar
over my work, but had always to give it up; I only got into proper
working condition after putting tobacco aside. Indeed, of late years I
have felt a growing antipathy to tobacco, so that, whilst I was
formerly passionately fond of smoking, I new, very rarely, indeed,
indulge in the practice.

My experience with regard to alcohol is precisely similar. I am very
fond of a little beer, but not when at work. The current of my
thoughts flows much more clearly and rapidly when I have had no drink.
I have a special aversion for wine, which, indeed, I do not drink at
all. Generally speaking, I can therefore say, that, in my own case,
tobacco and alcohol have a disturbing effect, when doing mental work.
This you will, of course, take as applying to myself alone. I know
some very respectable scholars in this town and neighbourhood who are
only capable of thinking and working properly when under the influence
of tobacco.

Breslau, February 28, 1882.


In reply to your enquiries, I have to say that my experience of the
effects of alcohol and tobacco upon intellectual work is a very
limited one, owing to the very moderate use I have made of either. So
far, however, as my experience goes, my conclusions are as follows:
tobacco, though it may, indeed, give a momentary fillip to the
faculties, lessens their power of endurance; for by lowering the
action of the heart, it diminishes the blood supply to the brain,
leaving it imperfectly nourished, and flaccid, and unable, there-fore,
to make due response to the demands of its owner, the man within, who
seeks to manifest himself through the organism. Of an organism thus
affected, as of an underpitched musical instrument, the tones will be
flat. Of stimulants, the effect is the contrary. Owing to the
over-tension of the strings, the music will be sharp. It is apt also
to be irregular and discordant, owing to the action set up in the
organism itself--an action which is not that of the performer or man.
That which alone ought to find expression, is the central, informing
spirit of the individual; and for both idea and expression to be
perfect, the first essential is purity, mental as well as physical.
Hence, however great a man and his work may be, under the influence of
alcohol or tobacco, or on a diet of flesh, they would be still greater
on pure natural regimen. Of course, there are cases in abundance in
which persons have become so depraved by evil habits, as to be utterly
incapacitated through the disuse of that to which they have been
accustomed. But no sound argument in favour of the abuse can be
founded on this.

March 20, 1882.


To myself tobacco is simply poison, and I believe it is so to very
many who use it. I have seen proofs that it is so among the friends of
my youth, who certainly hurt their health and shortened their lives by
smoking. But, on the other hand, I have known others who smoked with
impunity, and even with benefit to their nervous system. These,
however, are, in my experience, exceptional cases. Wine in moderation
is, I am sure, beneficial to brain workers; and I feel confident that
it is far better, as a rule, to assist the system by this, than by
food without wine or alcohol, which, in my experience, seems always to
lead to eating to an extent that is very apt to cause derangement of
the functions of the body. But, really, I have not made my
observations either with such care or on so wide a scale as to give
them any value.

February 18, 1882.


Having kept no record of my dietary and health, I can give you no
more exact report than my memory supplies. Of tobacco, I have nothing
to say, except that my intense dislike of it has restricted my
travelling to a minimum, and kept me from all public places where I
am liable to encounter its sickening effects. My first prolonged
experience of abstinence from wine and malt liquor ran through about
seven years, dating, I think, from 1842. The change was not great in
itself, and I always thought it favourable in its effects. At no time
of my life did I sustain a heavier pressure of work and of anxiety.
But in the spring of 1849, when I was living with my family in
Germany, I fell into a low state of health, indicated by fluttering
circulation in going upstairs, or up-hill; and, under medical advice,
I adopted the habit of taking, daily, I suppose about half-a-pint
bottle of _Vin ordinam._ I recovered completely, and adhered for
several years to the allowance (or its equivalent) which had been
prescribed to me. Under this regimen, however, I became, after a
time, subject to occasional slight attacks of gout, and to some
disturbance of digestion and of sleep. In spite of medical advice, I
determined to revert to the abstinence in which I had never lost
faith. For a time of, I suppose, from twelve to fifteen years, I have
persisted in this rule; not, indeed, being under any vow, but
practically not taking more than half-a-dozen glasses of wine per
annum. During this time, I have escaped, apparently, all tendency to
gouty affections; have returned to untroubled sleep and digestion;
and, notwithstanding the advance of old age (I am now 77), have
retained the power of mental application, with only this abatement
perceptible to myself, that a given task requires a somewhat longer
time than in fresher days. Though the sedentary life of a student is
not very favourable to the maintenance of muscular vigour, it has not
yet forbidden me the annual delight of reaching the chief summits of
the Cairn Gorm mountains during my summer residence in Inverness. I
will only add that I have never found the slightest difficulty,
physical or moral, in an instantaneous change of habit to complete
abstinence. Instead of feeling any depressing want of what I had
relinquished, I have found a direct refreshment and satisfaction in
the simpler modes of life. Few things, I believe, do more, at a
minimum of cost, to lighten the spirits and sweeten the temper of
families and of society, than the repudiation of artificial

December 1, 1882.


I don't consider alcohol or tobacco to be in the least necessary or
beneficial to a person who is in good health; and I am of opinion that
any supposed necessity of one or the other to the hardest and best
mental or bodily work, by such a person, is purely fanciful. He will
certainly do harder and sounder work without them. I am speaking, of
course, of a person in health; by a person not in health they may be
used properly, from time to time, as any other drug would be used.

February 13, 1882.


In reply to your inquiries, I can give you my experience in a few
words. I can offer no opinion as to the effects of tobacco, as I have
never been a smoker. My experience of many years favours the view that
moderation in food and drink is the great secret of physical health,
mental activity and endurance. On several occasions while working
twelve and fourteen hours a day, I tried total abstinence, but I found
myself dyspeptic and stupid, and was obliged to resume my accustomed
potations. I have found that any unusual amount of alcohol, while
stimulating mental activity for a time, soon produced lassitude and

February 23, 1882.


When I was a school-boy of eight or nine, I was persuaded to buy some
cigars and put one to my mouth for a moment. I threw it away, and have
never touched tobacco since. I compute that I must have saved some
1500 pounds by abstaining from this narcotic. My two brothers--one 3rd
wrangler, the other 2nd classic--have also abstained for life. I know
no indulgence which leads people to disregard the feelings of others
so utterly as smoking does; nor can I believe a deadly poison can be
habitually taken without great injury to the nerves. Alcohol I have
not touched for more than two years, nor flesh meat, nor tea, nor
coffee. All my life long I have had no difficulty in adopting any diet
whatever; but I am sure that since I confined myself to fruits and
farinacea, life has gone easier with me. No one ever heard me complain
of the want of a dinner, or of the quality of what was set before me;
but I now know that a day or two's fasting will do me no sort of harm,
[Footnote: Twice in my life I have tried the experiment of a
_strictly_ vegetarian diet (_without milk, batter, eggs, fish
or flesh_)-once when I was about twelve years old, and again, for
forty-eight days, beginning On the 25th June, 1878. I had been for
some months taking regular exercise (a rare thing with me), walking on
four miles every morning from six to seven, so that I was in rude
health. I was just beginning a stiff piece of literary work on
Juvenal, which involved the daily examination of several hundred
passages of authors, chiefly Greek and Latin; and I wished to try how
far vegetarian diet would enable me to resist the depressing influence
of fasting. I mapped out my forty-eight days into four divisions of
twelve each, intending (if all went well) to fast every other day for
the first twelve; every third for the second; every fourth for the
third; and every sixth for the last twelve. I thought it prudent to
consult a doctor (a thing which I have scarcely ever had occasion to
do), who bid me go to the prison to be weighed every two or three
days and to show myself to him twice a week. I did not quite carry
out my scheme, but I did complete more than half--and the severer
half--with no ill effects, fasting June 25, 27, 29, July 2, 5, 7. 10,
13, completing that is, two-thirds of my design for the first twelve
days, and the whole of that for the second. I drank water freely on
the fasting days, but ate nothing for a period varying from
twenty-eight to about thirty-five hours. On the eating days, and for
the remainder of the forty-eight, I lived on fruits, vegetables, or
wholemeal biscuits or wheatmeal or oatmeal porridge. I never was more
fiercely eager for work in my life, nor did my pulse give way, but I
lost flesh rapidly, and had never much to spare. On the whole I lost
13 lbs., and was advised by the doctor to stay there, as it is much
easier to let yourself down than to pick up again. For years I have
been striking off one luxury after another in my diet when alone, till
at last I have come to dry bread (or biscuit or porridge) and water.--
_Herald of Health, September, 1881_.] and that whether I dine in
hall with my brother fellows, or take two or three biscuits in my own
room, makes no odds. I am more independent, and certainly more able to
influence the habits of the poor than I was.

March 2, 1882.


I am grateful to you for thinking of me in your generous enquiry
about the best conditions of literary and scientific composition. I
can hardly offer myself as an example, because my constitution is
rather too exceptional, but my experience may have some degree of
usefulness. I have already published a hundred and fifty volumes,
small and great. I scarcely ever leave my writing table. I never take
a walk, nor recreation, even after meals; and yet have not felt any
head-ache, constipation, or any derangement in the urinary organs. I
have never had occasion to have recourse to stimulants, coffee,
alcohol, tobacco, &c., in order to work, or to obtain clearness of
mind. On the contrary, stimulants give rise in my case to abnormal
vibrations in the brain, which are adverse to its quick and regular

Several times in my life I fell into the habit of taking snuff. It is
a fatal habit, dirty to begin with, since it puts a cautery to the
nose, filth in the pocket, is extremely unwholesome; for he who takes
snuff finds his nose stopped up every morning, his breathing
difficult, his voice harsh and snuffling, because the action of
tobacco consists in drawing the humours to the brain; fatal, at last,
because the use of snuff weakens and destroys, by degrees, the memory.
This last effect is fully proved by my own professional experiences,
and that of many others.

I learned twelve foreign languages by the method I published in my
"_Latin for all;_" that is to say, I draw up the catalogue of
1,500, or 1,800 radical or primitive simple words, and engraved them
upon my mind by means of mnemonic formulas. In that way I had learned
about 41,500 words, whose meaning is generally, or most frequently,
without connection with the word itself, and from 10,000 to 12,000
historical facts, with their precise date. All this existed
simultaneously in my mind, always at my disposal when I wanted the
meaning of a word or the date of an event. If anyone asked me who was
the twenty-fifth king of England, for instance, I saw in my brain that
it was Edward, surnamed Plantagenet, who ascended the throne in 1154.
With respect to philology or chronology, I was the most extraordinary
man of my time, and Francis Arago jokingly threatened to have me burnt
like a wizard. But I had again fallen into the practice of
snuff-taking during a stay of some weeks in Munich, where I spent my
evenings in a smoking room with the learned Bavarians, each of whom
ate four or five meals a day, and drank two or three jugs of beer. The
most illustrious of these learned men, Steinhein, boasted of smoking
6,000 cigars a year. I attained to smoking three or four cigars a day.
While drawing up my treatise on the Calculus of Variations, the most
difficult of my mathematical treatises, I unconsciously emptied my
snuff-box, which contained twenty-five grammes (nearly an ounce) of
snuff; and one day I was painfully surprised to find that I was
obliged to have recourse to my dictionary for the meaning of foreign
words. I found that the dates of the numerous facts I had learnt by
heart had fallen from my mind. Such a thing has rarely or seldom
happened before. Distressed at this sorrowful decay of my memory, I
made an heroic resolution, which nothing has disturbed since. On the
1st of August, 1863, I smoked three cigars and used twenty-five
centimes (2-1/2d.) worth of snuff; from the following day to June,
1882, I have neither taken a pinch of snuff nor smoked a single

It was for me a complete resurrection, not only of memory, but of
general health and well-being. It was only necessary for me to do,
what I did eighteen years later, to lessen nearly one-half the
quantity of food which I took every day, to eat less meat and more
vegetables, to obtain such incomparable health, of which it is hardly
possible to form any idea, unlimited capacity of labour, perfect
digestion, absence of wrinkles, pimples; and I beg leave to affirm
that those who tread in my footsteps will be as sound as I am. Add to
this the habit, irrevocably established, of never saying, I
_shall_ do, nor I am doing, but I _have done_, and you have
the secret of the enormous amount of work I have been able to
accomplish, and am accomplishing every day, in spite of my eighty
years. Nobody will dispute me the honour of being the greatest
hard-working man of my century.

I ought, finally, to add that I find it well for me to take at
breakfast a small half-cup of coffee without milk, to which, when only
two or three teaspoonful remain at the bottom of the cup, I add a
small spoonful of brandy, or other alcoholic liquor. That is my whole
allowance of stimulants. How happy would those be who should adopt my
_regime_. They would be able, without harm, to sit at their desk
immediately after breakfast, and to stay there till dinner-time. No
sooner would they be in bed, at about nine o'clock, but they would be
softly asleep a few minutes later, and could rise at five in the
morning, full of strength, after a nourishing sleep of eight hours.

July 20, 1882.


For my kind of work, I have found it absolutely necessary to abstain
altogether from the use of both alcohol and tobacco.

May 11, 1882.


I am 75 years of age. I have smoked moderately all my life; and for
the last fifty years have never, except in rare and short instances of
illness, retired to bed without one tumbler of whiskey toddy. You will
therefore see that I am utterly incompetent to pronounce on the
respective effects, on the mind and body, of moderate indulgence, and
of total abstinence, for I have never tried the latter.

A. MONGREDIEN. March 10, 1882.


I use no stimulants of any kind, and should be very sorry to do so. I
thought it was now generally admitted that the more work a man has to
do, the less he can afford to muddle himself in any way. But as I have
never tried the experiment in using either alcohol or tobacco, and
cannot afford to do it, I have no comparative experience to offer. It
might be beneficial; I do not believe it would, and prefer not to risk
the chance. _Fiat experimentum in corpore viliore_.

March 2, 1882.


I should have thought that the universal experience of mankind had
already been set on record without much ambiguity. It has been my
practice to smoke at work, and I do not think I could get along
without tobacco now, unless I made an effort, the profit of which
could scarcely justify the pains. As a matter of nature, I do not
believe that a man works either better or worse for the use of
tobacco, unless he smokes so much as to injure his general health.
Alcoholic drinks are, of course, mentally as well as physically
stimulative, and I have found them useful at a pinch. But everybody
knows that stimulants are reactionary, and it is pretty certain that
in the end they take more out of a man than they put into him. Under
extraordinary pressure they have their uses, but their habitual
employment muddles the faculties, and the last state of the man who
constantly works on them is worse than the first. Continually taken
alone, and as a stimulant to mental exertion, their influences on a
man of average formation are fatal. But I should have thought all
these things settled long ago, unless it were in junior debating

April 11, 1882.


In boyhood, I perceived that to my younger sisters mere drops of wine
caused coughing and spitting, and the heat of wine to my own palate
and throat was offensive. Beer, ale, and porter disgusted me by their
bitterness. Porter was peculiarly nauseous to me. I early saw the
ill-effects of wine on youths, and was frightened by accounts of
college drunkenness. For this reason, as well as from economy, I
never became a wine-drinker, further than to drink healths by just
colouring water in a glass. I have never dreamed of needing wine,
though often in old time ordered by physicians to drink it. Not
having then the same power to look over their heads-which experience
of their changes and their follies has brought to me-I used to obey a
little while, but quickly reverted to my glass of water, and never
had reason to believe, from my own case, that there was any advantage
from the wine. In 1860-1, the Parisian experiments proved that all
alcohol arrests digestion. Since then I have called myself a
teetotaler. To me it seems clear that love of the drink, or fear of
losing patients by forbidding it, are the true cause of the fuss made
in its favour. I grieve that so noble a fruit as grapes should be
wasted on wine. The same remark will hold of barley, of honey, of
raisins, of dates: from which men make intoxicating drinks. As to
tobacco-while I was in Turkey more than fifty years ago, I learned to
smoke Turkish tobacco in a long Turkish pipe, partly to relieve evil
smells, partly because it is uncivil there to refuse the proffered
pipe. I never was aware of good or evil from it, and with perfect
ease laid it aside when I quitted the soil of Asia. After this, a
cigar was recommended to me in England, as a remedy for loss of
sleep, but the essential oil of tobacco so near to my nose disgusted
me, and the heat or smoke distressed my eyes. I have never felt any
pleasure, rather annoyance, from English smoking; and since the late
Sir Benjamin Brodie published his pamphlet against it (perhaps in
1855), I have learned that the practice is simply baneful. They say
"it soothes"--which I interpret to mean--"it makes me inattentive and

March 2, 1882.


The story of my personal experiences of alcohol is one which would
require more time than I can now command to write properly. I can now
only say that I did not begin wine, as a habit, till I was
thirty-seven; that, at first, an occasional effect was favourable to
the brain power, but always followed by corresponding reaction towards
feebleness. About fifty-seven, I was obliged to give up wine
altogether; I found great general advantage from doing so, and no
disadvantage whatever as regards mental activity. I am now
sixty-eight, and take a glass of claret every third day, or oftener.
This medicine does not produce any perceptible effect on the brain
directly, but I have a fancy that I sleep better after wine; and sleep
I have always looked to as the best brain restorative. [Footnote:
SLEEP IS THE BEST STIMULANT.--The best possible thing for a man to do
when he feels too weak to carry anything through is to go to bed and
sleep for a week, if he can. This is the only recuperation of
brain-power, the only recuperation of brain-force; because during
sleep the brain is in a state of rest, in a condition to receive and
appropriate particles of nutriment from the blood, which take the
place of those that have been consumed in previous labour, since the
very act of thinking consumes or burns up solid particles, as every
turn of the wheel or screw of the steamer is the result of the
consumption by fire of the fuel in the furnace. The supply of consumed
brain-substance can only be had from the nutritive particles in the
blood, which were obtained from the food eaten previously; and the
brain is so constituted that it can best receive and appropriate to
itself those nutritive particles during a state of rest, of quiet, and
stillness of sleep. Mere stimulants supply nothing in themselves; they
goad the brain, and force it to a greater consumption of its
substance, until the substance has been so exhausted that there is not
power enough left to receive a supply, just as men are so near death
by thirst and starvation that there is not power enough left to
swallow anything, and is over.--_Scientific American_.] Spirits I
have never drunk; Though I have been a smoker for many years, I cannot
say anything as to its effects.

March 16, 1882.


In common with nine-tenths of my literary brethren, I am a constant
smoker. I smoke the whole time I am engaged in composition (three
hours _per diem_), and after meals; but very light tobacco--
_latakia_. [Footnote: Latakia, or Turkish, are called mild
tobaccos, and although they produce dryness of the tongue, from the
ammonia evolved in their smoke, they do not upset the digestion so
materially, nor nauseate so much as the stronger tobaccos, unless they
are indiscriminately used.--DR. B. W. RICHARDSON. ("_Diseases of
Modern Life_")] That it stimulates the imagination, I have little
doubt; and as I have worked longer and more continuously for thirty
years than any other author (save one); I cannot believe that tobacco
has done me any harm. Those who object to it have never tried it, or
find it disagrees with them. How can they, therefore, be in a position
to judge? I find cigars disagree with me but I do not on that account
pronounce them unwholesome for everybody. I drink very little
alcohol--only light claret, and occasionally dry champagne--but I do
not know what effect drinking alcohol has upon composition.



If a breef skech ov mei leif, and the deietetik maner ov it, wil be
ov servis tu you, ei gladly giv it. Your rekwest abzolvz me from the
impiutashon ov boasting. If you make it publik, pray let it be printed
in the parshiali reformd speling in hwich it iz riten.

Ei hav been an abstainer from the stimiulant alkohol nearli all mei
leif, and ei hav alwayz refraind from the seduktiv influens ov the
sedativ tobako. Ei hav therefor no eksperiens tu ofer ov their use,
eksept that about 1838 ei woz rekomended tu take a glas ov wein per
day az a tonik, and az a remedi for dispepsia, hwich then began tu
trubel me. After obeying this medikal preskripshon for a year or two,
and feinding no releef from it, ei gave up both the wein and the use
ov flesh, "the brandi ov deiet;" the dispepsia disapeard, and haz
never vizited me sins.

Ei am nou verjing on seventi. Ei intensli enjoi leif and labor, and
rekweir nuthing beyond the laborz ov the day, and the walk tu and from
mei ofis, hwich iz a meil, tu indius refreshing sleep. Ei keep up mei
leif-long praktis ov reteiring at ten o'klok, and being at mei desk at
siks. About three yearz ago ei adopted the kustom ov taking a siesta
for half an our after diner. It iz wel, az Milton obzervz, tu giv the
bodi rest diuring the ferst konkokshon ov the prinsipal meal.

The uzhual sumer vizit tu the sea-seid woz unnon tu me til ei woz
fifti yearz ov aje. From 1837 (the date ov the publikashon ov
"Fonografi") tu 1861 (the date ov mei sekond maraje), nearli a kworter
ov a sentiuri, ei wurkt on from siks in the morning til bed-teim, ten
o'klok, without an intervening thought ov a holiday. Ei felt no wont
ov a temporeri respit from labor bekauz ei tuk no ekseiting food or
drink; and ei shud az soon hav meditated a breach in the Dekalog az a
breach in mei daili round ov diutiz bei eidling at the sea-seid. In
1861 ei relakst, and komenst the praktis ov leaving mei ofis at siks
in the evening. At the same teim ei komenst viziting the variiis
watering plasez, or going tu the Kontinent in the sumer for four or
feiv weeks. This rekriashon ei have taken more for the sake ov mei
weif and two sunz than from eni feeling ov nesesiti for it on mei own

From mei own eksperiens ov the benefits ov abstinens from the sedativ
alkohol, and the stimulants tobako and snuf; and mei obzervashon ov
the efekts ov theze thingz on personz who indulj in them, ei hav a
ferm konvikshon that they ekserseiz a dedli influens on the hiuman

March 25, 1882.


I am much flattered by the interest that you attach to my opinion on
the subject of the influence that certain substances can have upon
thought and upon intellectual work. I must tell you frankly that I
have not found that tobacco or alcohol have an advantageous influence.
It is true that I have not made much use of them--I have never taken
pure spirits, such as brandy, but only of wine containing a little. I
have been obliged sometimes, in trying to fortify my health, to take
some Bordeaux wine, and I have not observed that any appreciable
effect resulted from it upon the facility of intellectual work. From
the point of view of health, I counted particularly upon the iron
contained in good Bordeaux wine, but I have found that the alcohol in
the wine over-excited the nervous system, provoked sleeplessness and
cramps; and I have finally adopted as a drink wine mixed with water,
and even this in very small quantities. As to tobacco, I have also
tried it; and far from thinking that it favours intellectual work, I
believe, with one of our learned writers (the Abbe Moigno, Editor of
the "_Journal du Mondes_"), that its use tends to weaken the
memory. Neither do I make use of coffee, which equally excites the
nervous system, although, like all the world, I have observed that
this substance gives a certain intellectual activity. What I have
found out most clearly is what everyone has observed from time
immemorial--that the clearest ideas, the happiest and most fruitful
expressions, come in the morning, after the repose of the night, and
after sleep--when one has it, but of which I have not a very large
share. I attach so much importance to the ideas which come during the
night or in the morning, that I have always at the head of my bed
paper and pencil suspended by string, by the help of which I write
every morning the ideas I have been able to conceive, particularly
upon subjects of scientific research. [Footnote: Curtis, I think, says
that whenever Emerson has a "happy thought," he writes it down, be it
dawn or midnight, and when Mrs. Emerson, startled in the night by some
unusual sound, cries, "What is the matter? Are you ill?" the
philosopher's soft voice answers, "No, my dear, only an idea."--
_Appleton's New York Journal, Nov., 1873.] I write these notes
in obscurity, and decipher and develop them in the morning, pen in
hand. This is the reply I can make to your interesting enquiry. I
shall be happy to know the conclusion to which you will be conducted
by the information which you will have been able to collect.


HEAD MASTER OF THE DURHAM COLLEGE. University Tutor and Lecturer, and
University Proctor.

I am a firm believer in the value of a moderate use of tobacco and
alcohol for the brain worker. I generally smoke one pipe in the
morning, _before_ work, and one at night, _after_ work (or
the equivalents of a pipe). I seldom smoke _while_ I work, and do
not find it helpful. I drink two glasses of sherry (or their
equivalents), as a rule daily, and take them at late dinner--not at
lunch. If troubled with sleeplessness, I find a glass of sherry, and a
few biscuits, followed by smoking, a tolerably safe cure, but not
always to be relied upon. I should be very sorry to attempt to do
without these two helps. Of the two I believe the smoking to be the
more valuable, especially when (what is far worse than heavy work)
_worry_ is pressing upon one. I am wholly sceptical as to the
value of work before breakfast. Let a man get up as early as he likes:
but don't let him try to work on an empty stomach. The Irishman was
wise who said that when he worked before breakfast, he always had
something to eat first.

April 6, 1882.


In reply to your letter, I should say that tobacco has some action on
the brain; but I think its action different in different people, and
at different times in the same person. I think the action soothing
after food, but exciting on an empty stomach. In the former case I
think it promotes thinking in this way:--that the mind concentrates
its attention better during the mechanical operation of "puffing",
than when it is liable to be disturbed when not so occupied. For this
reason I should say that smoking does help to get through work late at
night. I find frequently that having commenced to write with a fresh
pipe in my mouth, I go on a long time after it goes out; but as it
remains in my mouth, it seems to have almost the same effect till the
discovery, at some pause, that my pipe is out; and then it is a
relaxation to spare a moment to refill it. I do not look upon smoking
as a necessity to mental labour; but it seems to me, as a smoker, an
agreeable and useful method for concentrating thought upon any
subject. But I think it would be difficult to lay down any general
rule for persons of different constitutions.

March 10, 1882.


Although it does not appear to me that the method of your enquiry can
lead to any important results, you are quite welcome to any
information that I can give you on the subject. I was brought up to
take daily a moderate amount of beer or wine, and have continued to do
so all my lifetime, with the exception that my beer has been cut off,
and I have been recommended to take a little brandy and soda-water, or
whiskey and soda-water instead. I smoked an occasional cigar when I
was young, but never much liked tobacco, and gave up the practice
entirely when I was about five and twenty. I have never tried leaving
off alcoholic liquors, being advised medically that it would probably
be injurious to me to do so. I am, therefore, quite unable to say what
effect my doing so would have on my powers of thought and work.

March 28, 1882.


Your subject is important, and your method of enquiry sound. I wish I
could throw any light, but I cannot more than this. I tried to smoke
five or six times, but it always made me heavy and rather sick;
therefore, as it is not a necessary of life, and costs money, and
makes me sick, I spurned it from me. I have never felt the want of it.
I have seen many people the worse for it. I have seen many people
apparently none the worse for it. I never saw anybody perceptibly the
better for it.

Feb. 2, 1882.


You ask me whether I have found tobacco or wine a help to me in my
work. No! As to the first, for the sufficient reason that I have never
tried it. I never smoked a pipe or a cigar in my life, and have no
intention of commencing the practice. When, more than thirty years
ago, I entered upon my profession, I was told by my _confreres_
that I should soon follow their example, and they smiled at my
innocence when I declared that I thought they were mistaken. As to
alcohol, I am not a teetotaler, but I think I can truly say that I
never found the least benefit from wine or beer in my daily or nightly
work. Indeed, I consider them rather a hindrance, having a tendency to
make one heavy and sleepy. I have been, and am still, a tolerably hard
worker, without the use of artificial stimulants, and judging from my
own experience, and that of many others with whom I have been
connected in my professional labours, I don't believe in their
efficacy. If I take a glass of wine occasionally (not a frequent
indulgence with me) it is because I like it, not because I think it
helps me in my work.

Feb. 18, 1882.


I have smoked from my seventeenth year, and could not do without it
now. On the whole, I am but a moderate smoker, and seldom smoke whilst
walking, but at work I must have my cigar, and find it agrees very
well with my health. Most of my learned and literary friends smoke;
but two or three of them have given it up in their later years without
visible effect upon their health or mental strength. As to alcohol, I
could not stand to drink brandy. Sometimes I drink a glass, but only
as an exception. I find it much more convenient for me, and a good
help to work, to take now and then a bottle of hock or champagne; but,
as a rule, I drink half a bottle of claret at dinner, and a pint of
beer at supper. I generally write in the morning from nine to
half-past one, when I dine; and from five o'clock in the afternoon to
nine, when I take supper, but I could not bear to drink either wine or
beer while at work.

March 12, 1882.


I am not able to give you any very positive expression of opinion on
the matter respecting which you write, but I can say that I have
smoked tobacco and taken wine for years, and though I cannot aver that
I should not have done as well without them, I have felt comforted and
sustained in my work by both at times, especially by the weed.
However, I was very well in the last campaign in South Africa, where
for some time we had neither wine nor spirits. Climate has a good deal
to say to the craving for a stimulant, and men in India, who never
drink in England, there consume "pegs" and cheroots enormously. Of
course, tobacco is to be put out of account in relation to great
workers and thinkers up to the close of the middle ages, but the
experience of antiquity would lead one to infer that the moderate use
of wine, at all events, was not unfavourable to the highest brain
development and physical force. Bismarck and Moltke are very great
smokers; neither is a temperance man. In effect, I am inclined to
think that tobacco and stimulants are hurtful mostly in the case of
inferior organizations of brain physique, where their use is only a
concomitant of baser indulgences, and uncontrolled by intelligence and
will. I am quite in favour, therefore, of legislative interference,
and almost inclined to supporting the Permissive Bill.

Feb. 23, 1882.


You are evidently unaware that Mr. Ruskin entirely abhors the
practice of smoking, in which he has never indulged. His dislike of
it is mainly based upon his belief (no doubt a true one) that a cigar
or pipe will very often make a man content to be idle for any length
of time, who would not otherwise be so. The excessive use of tobacco
amongst all classes abroad, both in France and Italy, and the
consequent spitting everywhere and upon everything, has not tended to
lessen his antipathy. I have heard him allow, however, that there is
reason in the soldiers and the sailors' pipe, as being some protection
against the ill effects of exposure, etc. As to the effect of tobacco
on the brain, I know that he considers it anything but beneficial.

Feb. 12, 1882.


The problem you have undertaken to solve is, indeed, one of intense
importance and interest, and all who can ought to help its solution in
the interests both of science and morality. I feel thankful for the
honour you have done me in inviting my opinion on the subject. As a
teetotaler I abstain wholly from intoxicating drinks and stimulants,
and discourage the use of the same in others. From boyhood up to the
present time--I am now 44--I have never been in the habit of drinking
or of smoking, nor did it ever occur to me that such habits were
essential to health or helpful to brain work. It is my firm conviction
that neither the head nor the hand derives any fresh power from the
use of stimulants. It is only habits already contracted which give to
alcohol and tobacco their so-called stimulating properties, and
engender a strong craving for them, which those who are not enslaved
by such habits never experience. I must not, however, place alcohol
and tobacco on the same level. The latter is comparatively harmless;
the former is a prolific source of evil in society, and often acts
like deadly poison.

July 29, 1882.


Some twenty years ago I had occasion to study the condition of the
working classes, when I did not fail to observe the pernicious effects
produced upon their health and morals by the use of Strong liquors. I
remember that one of the most painful results of my inquiry was that
whilst some look for pleasure in the abuse of intoxicating liquor,
others, unable to procure sufficient food, seek to blunt the edge of
their appetite by drinking a little brandy. As my researches were made
so long ago, my testimony will now be of little value. Everything
changes in twenty years, and I would fain hope that during this period
a change for the better has taken place in the habits of the people. I
have not much to say on the use of tobacco. I believe that when taken
in excess, it has a stupefying effect. I know that it may act as a
poison, for a friend of mine, a member of the Senate, who has just
died, assured me repeatedly that he was dying from the effects of
constant smoking.

I look upon the use of tobacco, as a practice much to be deprecated,
as its tendency is to separate men from the society of women.

March 8, 1882.


As to the benefit of alcohol and tobacco, my opinion is that there is
no _general_ rule. As for myself, my experience is, that the less
stimulant I take, the better--I have given up beer with benefit to
myself, and I have almost given up wine. I take, on an average, about
five glasses of claret per week, more by way of luxury than of use.
Tobacco I never use, as smoking seems to me to be rather a waste of

March 18, 1882.


I have no difficulty in making known to you my views on the effects
of tobacco and alcohol. I believe both to be extremely injurious, as
they are the cause of many diseases, even when taken in small
quantities, and much more so when indulged in to excess. I have never
used them personally, but I have only too often observed their
baneful influence on individuals of my acquaintance. I do not even
consider wine to be harmless, especially as it is most usually
adulterated. I have abstained from it for many years, indeed for
nearly a lifetime, with great advantage. In our climate none of these
stimulants are needed, and I very much question whether they are more
necessary elsewhere.

Accept my thanks for the questions you have addressed to me.

Feb. 24, 1882.


In reply to your enquiry, I beg to say that I have never smoked, and
that I take wine only at meals, and in moderation. I have never
observed any noticeable effect from wine so taken on mental work, but
should think it quite insignificant.


DR. C. W. SIEMENS, D. C. L., F. R. S.

My experience has only extended to a very moderate use of alcohol and
tobacco. I find that even the most moderate use of tobacco is
decidedly hurtful to energetic mental effort. With regard to alcohol,
a very moderate amount does not appear to depress the mental
condition, under ordinary circumstances, but I find that although I
never indulged in its use I can do very well without it, and I am
doing with less and less. Under certain conditions, however, I find
that alcohol has a beneficial effect in restoring both mind and body
to a state of power and activity.

Dec. 4th, 1882.


I should probably not be accepted as an authority upon the tobacco
question, as I have never smoked a pipe or cigar in my life. As to the
use of alcohol, the moderate quantity I have taken has not been
detrimental to me, and, in consequence of the state of my health, it
has sometimes been necessary. No doubt a larger quantity of stimulant
than is essential is taken by many literary men, and by other classes
of the community; but a moderate quantity would, I believe, be found
beneficial by most writers. Of course, if a man finds that he can do
quite as well without alcohol, he is undoubtedly wise in discarding

March 28, 1882.


I regret that it is not in my power to give you the information you
ask. I have not made the question a study, and have no fixed opinion
about it. All that I can say is that I have never made use of alcohol
in any form as an essential stimulant. Coffee suits me much better.
Alcohol, so far as I can judge, is good only as a physical stimulant
after great physical fatigue, and even then it should be taken in very
small quantities. As for tobacco, I have the bad habit of smoking
cigarettes, and find them useful between two ideas,--when I have the
first but have not arrived at the second; but I do not regard them as
a necessity. It is probable that there is a little diversion produced
at the same time, a little excitement and exhilaration. But every
custom of this kind becomes tyrannical, and the observations which
accompany your letter are very judicious. Among the men of letters and
men of science around me there is not one to my knowledge who in order
to think and to write has recourse to spirituous liquors; but
three-fourths of them smoke, and almost all take before their work a
cup of coffee. I have seen English journalists writing their articles
by night with the aid of a bottle of champagne. With us, the articles
are written in the day time, and our journalists have, therefore, no
necessity to resort to this stimulant.

March 28, 1882.


I have been a smoker nearly all my life. Five years ago I found it
certainly was hurting me, causing my hand to shake and producing
somnolence. I gave it up for two years. A doctor told me I had smoked
too much (three large cigars daily). Two years since I took to it
again, and now smoke three small cigars (very small), and, so far as I
can tell, without any effect.

Feb. 11, 1882.


The question of usefulness or the reverse of tobacco or alcohol is
one of health, and to be answered by medical men, if they can. It
seems to me that neither is of the slightest consequence as a
stimulus or help to intellectual efforts, but that either may be used
without harm or the reverse if in small enough quantities, so as not
to hurt the digestion.

Feb. 13, 1882.


I am not a smoker, so that I am unable to make any statement
regarding the effect of tobacco. As to alcohol, I never make use of
spirits in order to stimulate my brain, but often, after working
hard, I drink a glass of beer or wine, and immediately feel relieved.

March 14, 1882.


With regard to the use of alcohol and tobacco, I do not think any
general rule can be laid down. Some powerful thinkers are very
considerable smokers, while other powerful thinkers would have been
damaged, if not ruined, by the practice. A similar remark applies in
the case of alcohol. In my opinion, the man is happiest who is so
organised as to be able to dispense with the use of both.

Feb. 14, 1882.


In answer to your enquiry I have to state that I have no personal
experience of the influence of tobacco and alcohol on the mind, as I
do not smoke or use alcoholic drinks. My observations on other people
lead me to the conclusion that tobacco is generally a bad thing, and
that alcohol taken in very small quantities can produce a good effect
in some cases of constitutional debility.

March 14, 1882.


I have not had a large experience in the matter of alcoholic drinks.
I find that about two glasses of champagne are an admirable stimulant
to the tongue, and is, perhaps, the happiest inspiration for an after
dinner speech which can be found; but, as far as my experience goes,
wine is a clog to the pen, not an inspiration. I have never seen the
time when I could write to my satisfaction after drinking even one
glass of wine. As regards smoking, my testimony is of the opposite
character. I am forty-six years old, and I have smoked immoderately
during thirty-eight years, with the exception of a few intervals,
which I will speak of presently. During the first seven years of my
life I had no health--I may almost say that I lived on allopathic
medicine, but since that period I have hardly known what sickness is.
My health has been excellent, and remains so. As I have already said,
I began to smoke immoderately when I was eight years old; that is, I
began with one hundred cigars a month, and by the time I was twenty I
had increased my allowance to two hundred a month. Before I was
thirty, I had increased it to three hundred a month. I think I do not
smoke more than that now; I am quite sure I never smoke less. Once,
when I was fifteen, I ceased from smoking for three months, but I do
not remember whether the effect resulting was good or evil. I repeated
this experiment when I was twenty-two; again I do not remember what
the result was. I repeated the experiment once more, when I was
thirty-four, and ceased from smoking during a year and a half. My
health did not improve, because it was not possible to improve health
which was already perfect. As I never permitted myself to regret this
abstinence, I experienced no sort of inconvenience from it. I wrote
nothing but occasional magazine articles during pastime, find as I
never wrote one except under strong impulse, I observed no lapse of
facility. But by and by I sat down with a contract behind me to write
a book of five or six hundred pages--the book called "Roughing it"--
and then I found myself most seriously obstructed. I was three weeks
writing six chapters. Then I gave up the fight, resumed my three
hundred cigars, burned the six chapters, and wrote the book in three
months, without any bother or difficulty. I find cigar smoking to be
the best of all inspirations for the pen, and, in my particular case,
no sort of detriment to the health. During eight months of the year I
am at home, and that period is my holiday. In it I do nothing but very
occasional miscellaneous work; therefore, three hundred cigars a month
is a sufficient amount to keep my constitution on a firm basis. During
the family's summer vacation, which we spend elsewhere, I work five
hours every day, and five days in every week, and allow no
interruption under any pretext. I allow myself the fullest possible
marvel of inspiration; consequently, I ordinarily smoke fifteen cigars
during my five hours' labours, and if my interest reaches the
enthusiastic point, I smoke more. I smoke with all my might, and allow
no intervals.

March 14, 1882.


The subject you enquire about is one of vital consequence to
brain-workers. I am distinctly of opinion that all stimulants are
decidedly injurious to the physical system, and that as a consequence
they tend to weaken and destroy the mental powers. I believe tobacco
to be a more insidious stimulant than alcoholic beverages. It can be
indulged in more constantly without visible degradation; but surely it
saps the powers of the mind. In this view I gave it up some years ago.
Many men say they smoke to make them think. I notice that a number of
them seem to think to very small purpose, either for themselves or
mankind generally. I am not a total abstainer, and theoretically have
had a belief that pure wine ought to be beneficial to the human
system. In practice I have not found it so, though I have always been
a very moderate drinker. I certainly never drank a glass of wine or
any other liquor in view of mental stimulus, and did not know it was
ever seriously regarded as having any such effect, except in so far
as it might invigorate the body, which I now find it does not do; but
in case of sedentary occupations is positively injurious in its
effects. Until mankind can rise above beer and tobacco, the race will
remain degraded, as it now is, mentally, socially and physically.

P.S.--I have never had so large an amount of mental labour on hand as
now--three works in the press (including an encyclopedia, whereof all
the articles are written by myself), all requiring much thought and
research. I am taking no stimulants whatever.

March 9, 1882.

MR. G. F. WATTS, R. A.

In answer to your letter asking for my experience and opinion as a
worker, on the subject of tobacco and alcoholic stimulants, I must
begin by saying that reflection and experience should teach us the
truth of the adage that "What is one man's meat is another man's
poison," and that what may be wisely recommended in some cases is by
no means desirable in all; in fact, that it is equally unwise and
illiberal to dogmatise upon any subject that is not capable of
scientific proof. Being myself a total abstainer from tobacco, and
equally so, when not recommended by my doctor, from wine and all
stimulants, I confess to having a strong prejudice against them. The
use of wine seems to be natural to man, and it is possible he would be
the better for it if it could be restrained within very moderate
limits; but I have good reason for concluding that the more active
stimulants are altogether harmful. It is natural as time goes on that
new wants should be acquired, and new luxuries discovered, and
doubtless it is in the abuse, and not in the use, of such things that
the danger lies; but we all know how prone humanity is to abuse in its
indulgences. It is, I believe, an admitted fact that even people who
are considered to be strictly temperate as a rule, habitually take
more wine than is good for them. With regard to tobacco, I cannot help
thinking that its introduction by civilised races has been an unmixed
evil. History shows us that before it was known the most splendid
mental achievements were carried put, and the most heroic endurance
exhibited, things done which if it be possible to rival, it is quite
impossible to excel. The soldier, and sailor, the night-watchman
especially in malarious districts may derive comfort and benefit from
its use, and there I think it should be left; for my observation has
induced me to think that nothing but evil results from its use as a
luxurious habit. The subject is doubtless one of vital interest and
importance; but I must end as I began by disclaiming a right to

Feb. 19, 1882.


The question you ask concerning the effects of alcohol and tobacco
upon the health of brain-workers, relatively (I presume) to myself, is
a complex one. Personally, I find with often excessive work in the way
of lecturing, long railway journeys, and late hours, writing at other
times, that I digest my food with greater ease when I take a little
claret or beer with meals. Experiment has convinced me that the slight
amount of alcohol I imbibe in my claret is a grateful stimulus to
digestion. As to smoking, I take an occasional cigar, but only after
dinner, and never during the day. As to health, I never suffer even
from a headache. I usually deliver 18 lectures a week, often more; and
I have often to make journeys of over 50 miles after a hard day's work
here, to lecture in the country. My writing is done at night chiefly,
but as a rule, I don't sit after 12-30. My work is exceptionally
constant, yet I seem to be exceptionally healthy. I regard my claret
or wine to meals in the same light in which others regard their tea,
as a pleasant stimulus, followed in my case by good effect. At the
same time, there may be others who may do the same amount of work as
abstainers. My position in this matter has always been that of
recognising the individual phases of the matter as the true basis of
its settlement. What I can urge is, that I am an exceptionally healthy
man, doing what I may fairly claim to be exceptionally hard work, and
careful in every respect of health, finding that a moderate quantity
of alcohol, with food, is for me better than total abstinence.
Whiskey, or alcohol, in its strong forms I never taste.

Feb. 14, 1882.


Referring to your note, I may say that I have never used stimulants
to incite intellectual work, but have found occasionally in social
gatherings a certain intellectual exhilaration arising from its use,
which conduces to quickness of wit, etc., but perhaps not so much from
alcoholic liquors as from coffee, a cup of coffee being with me a good
preparation for an after-dinner speech. My moderate use of a stimulant
has not disclosed to me beneficial or hurtful effects. I often go long
intervals without it; and have never indulged in it, to great extent,
so that my testimony is of a narrow experience. My use of tobacco is
so inconsiderable as to show nothing.

March 9, 1882.


In reply to your letter of the 7th February, I have the honour to
recall you the opinion which is current to-day among doctors of the
highest authority, namely, that the abuse of alcohol and tobacco
offers the greatest inconvenience from the point of view of health.
Alcoholism produces a state of disorder of the organism to which a
great number of maladies attach themselves. It is not a question of
the moderate use of excitants, but the limit between use and abuse is
difficult to trace, because it varies according to the country, the
climate, and the habits of the individual constitution.

March 14, 1882.



"There are few people, I believe, who are aided in the actual
performance of brain-work by alcohol; not that many, nay, most
persons, are not rendered more ready and brilliant in conversation, or
have their imagination quickened for a time. But the steady, continued
exercise of the mental powers demanded of professional men is more
often impeded than aided at the time by alcohol."

_Contemporary Review_, vol. 34, p. 343.


"It has been said that moderate doses of alcohol stimulate work into
greater activity, and make life happier and brighter. My experience,
since I became a total abstainer, has been the opposite. I have found
myself able to work better. I have a greater command over any powers I
possess. I can make use of them when I please. When I call upon them,
they answer; and I need not wait for them to be in the humour. It is
all the difference between a machine well oiled and one which has
something, among the wheels which catches and retards the movement at
unexpected times. As to the pleasure of life, it has been also
increased. I enjoy Nature, books, and men more than I did--and my
previous enjoyment of them was not small. Those attacks of depression
which come to every man at times who lives too sedentary a life rarely
visit me now, and when depression does come from any trouble, I can
overcome it far more quickly than before. The fact is, alcohol, even
in the small quantities I took it, while it did not seem to injure
health, injures the fineness of that physical balance which means a
state of health in which all the world is pleasant. That is my
experience after four months of water-drinking, and it is all the more
striking to me, because for the last four or five years I have been a
very moderate drinker. However, the experience of one man is not that
of another, and mine only goes for what it is worth to those to whom,
as much alcohol as is contained in one glass of sherry, or port,
alters away from the standard of health. I have discovered, since
abstinence, that that is true of me. And I am sure, from inquiries, I
have made, that it is true for a great many other people who do not at
all suspect it. Therefore, I appeal to the young and the old, to try
abstinence for the very reasons they now use alcohol--in order to
increase their power of work and their enjoyment of life. Let the
young make the experiment of working on water only. Alcohol slowly
corrupts and certainly retards the activity of the brain of the
greater number of men. They will be able to do all they have to do
more swiftly. And this swiftness will leave them leisure--the blessing
we want most in this over-worked world. And the leisure, not being led
away by alcohol into idleness, into depression which craves unnatural
excitement, into noisy or slothful company, will be more nobly used
and with greater joy in the usage. And the older men, who find it so
difficult to find leisure, and who when they find it cannot enjoy it
because they have a number of slight ailments which do not allow them
perfect health, or which keep them in over-excitement or
over-depression, let them try--though it will need a struggle--whether
the total abandonment of alcohol will not lessen all their ailments,
and by restoring a better temper to the body--for the body with
alcohol in it is like a house with an irritable man in it--enable them
not only to work better, but to enjoy their leisure. It is not too
much to say that the work of the world would be one-third better done,
and more swiftly done, and the enjoyment of life increased by
one-half, if no one took a drop of alcohol."

Speech at Bedford Chapel,
July 20th, 1882.

(BORN 1794; DIED 1878.)

I promised to give you some account of my habits of life, so far, at
least, as regards diet, exercise, and occupation. I have reached a
pretty advanced period of life, without the usual infirmities of old
age, and with my strength, activity, and bodily faculties generally in
pretty good preservation. How far this may be the effect of my way of
life, adopted long ago, and steadily adhered to, is perhaps uncertain.

I rise early, at this time of the year about 5 1/2; in summer, half an
hour, or even an hour, earlier. Immediately, with very little
incumbrance of clothing, I begin a series of exercises, for the most
part designed to expand the chest, and at the same time call into
action all the muscles and articulations of the body. These are
performed with dumb-bells, the very lightest, covered with flannel;
with a pole, a horizontal bar, and a light chair swung around my head.
After a full hour, and sometimes more, passed in this manner, I bathe
from head to foot. When at my place in the country, I sometimes
shorten my exercises in the chamber, and, going out, occupy myself for
half an hour or more in some work which requires brisk exercise. After
my bath, if breakfast be not ready, I sit down to my studies until I
am called.

My breakfast is a simple one--hominy and milk, or in place of hominy,
brown bread, or oat-meal, or wheaten grits, and, in the season, baked
sweet apples. Buckwheat cakes I do not decline, nor any other article
of vegetable food, but animal food I never take at breakfast. Tea and
coffee I never touch at any time. Sometimes I take a cup of chocolate,
which has no narcotic effect, and agrees with me very well. At
breakfast I often take fruit, either in its natural state or freshly

After breakfast I occupy myself for awhile with my studies, and then,
when in town, I walk down to the office of _The Evening Post_,
nearly three miles distant, and after about three hours, return,
always walking, whatever be the weather or the state of the streets.
In the country I am engaged in my literary tasks till a feeling of
weariness drives me out into the open air, and I go upon my farm or
into the garden and prune the trees, or perform some other work about
them which they need, and then go back to my books. I do not often
drive out, preferring to walk.

In the country I dine early, and it is only at that meal that I take
either meat or fish, and of these but a moderate quantity, making my
dinner mostly of vegetables. At the meal which is called "tea," I take
only a little bread and butter, with fruit, if it be on the table. In
town, where I dine later, I make but two meals a day. Fruit makes a
considerable part of my diet, and I eat it at almost any part of the
day without inconvenience. My drink is water, yet I sometimes, though
rarely, take a glass of wine. I am a natural temperance man, finding
myself rather confused than exhilarated by wine. I never meddle with
tobacco, except to quarrel with its use.

That I may rise early, I, of course, go to bed early: in town, as
early as 10; in the country, somewhat earlier. For many years I have
avoided in the evening every kind of literary occupation which tasks
the faculties, such as composition, even to the writing of letters,
for the reason that it excites the nervous system and prevents sound

My brother told me, not long since, that he had seen in a Chicago
newspaper, and several other Western journals, a paragraph in which it
is said that I am in the habit of taking quinine as a stimulant; that
I have depended upon the excitement it produces in writing my verses,
and that, in consequence of using it in that way, I had become as deaf
as a post. As to my deafness, you know that to be false, and the rest
of the story is equally so. I abominate all drugs and narcotics, and
have always carefully avoided every thing which spurs nature to
exertions which it would not otherwise make. Even with my food I do
not take the usual condiments, such as pepper, and the like.

March 30, 1871.
_Hygiene of the Brain_, New York, 1878.


"The physiology of the action of alcohol has a very practical bearing
on the physical regimen of the mental functions. Alcohol has the power
of curbing, arresting, and suspending all the phenomena connected with
the nervous system. We feel its influence on our thoughts as soon as
on any other part of the man. Sometimes it brings them more completely
under our command, controls and steadies them; sometimes it confuses
or disconnects them; then breaks off our power and the action of the
senses altogether. The first effect is desirable, the others to be
avoided. When a man has tired himself with intellectual exertion a
moderate quantity of alcohol taken with food acts as an anaesthetic,
stays the wear of the system which is going on, and allows the nervous
force to be diverted to the due digestion of the meal. But it must be
followed by rest from mental labour, and is, in fact, a part of the
same regimen which enforces rest--it is an artificial _rest_. To
continue to labour and at the same time to take the anaesthetic is an
inconsistency. It merely blunts the painful feeling of weariness, and
prevents it from acting as a warning. I very much doubt the quickening
or brightening of the wits which bacchanalian poets have
conventionally attributed to alcohol. An abstainer in a party of even
moderate topers finds their jokes dull and their anecdotes pointless,
and his principal amusement consists in his observation of their
curious bluntness to the groundlessness of their merriment. There is
no more fatal habit to a literary man than that of using alcohol as a
stimulant between meals. The vital powers go on getting worn out more
and more without their cry for help being perceived, and in the end
break down suddenly, and often irrevocably. The temptation is greater
perhaps to a literary man than to any other in the same social
position, especially if he has been induced by avarice, or ambition,
to work wastefully against them; and if he cannot resist it, he had
better abjure the use of alcohol altogether.... Mental activity
certainly renders the brain less capable of bearing an amount of
alcohol, which in seasons of rest and relaxation does not injuriously
affect it. When any extraordinary toil is temporarily imposed, extreme
temperance, or even total abstinence, should be the rule. Much to the
point is the experience of Byron's Sardanapalus:--

  "The _goblet_ I reserve for hours of ease, I war on

"It is true that Byron assumes in his poetry the character of a
_debauche_, and says he wrote Don Juan under the influence of gin
and water. But much of that sort of talk is merely for stage effect,
and we see how industrious he was, and read of his training vigorously
to reduce corpulence, and of his being such an exceptionally
experienced swimmer as to rival Leander in crossing the Hellespont....
The machinery of sensitive souls is as delicate as it is valuable, and
cannot bear the rough usage which coarse customs inflict upon it. It
is broken to pieces by blows which common natures laugh at. The
literary man, with his highly-cultivated, tightly-strung sensations,
is often more than others susceptible of the noxious, and less
susceptible of the beneficial results of alcohol. His mind is easier
to cloud, and there is a deeper responsibility in clouding it....
Equally when we descend into the lower regions of Parnassus, the
abodes of talent and cleverness, and the supply of periodical literary
requirements, we find the due care of the body absolutely essential to
the continued usefulness of the intellect. The first thing to which
one entering the profession of literature must make up his mind is to
be healthy, and he can only be so by temperance.... Tobacco should not
be indulged in during working hours. Whatever physiological effect it
has is sedative, and so obstructs mental operations."

_Manual of Diet in Health and Disease_.
1876, p. 162.


"The stimulating action on the brain of quantities far short of
intoxicating, is accompanied with a paralysing action which seems most
rapidly and powerfully to involve the higher faculties. Mental work
may seem to be rendered more easy, but ease is gained at the expense
of quality. The editor of a newspaper will tell you that, if he has
been dining out, he cannot with confidence write a leading article until
he has allowed sufficient time to elapse from the effect of the wine
he has drunk, in moderation, to pass away; and even the novelist,
whose brain-work is in the regions of imagination, will relate a
similar experience.... In a person accustomed to the use of tobacco
the intellectual work is difficult when smoking cannot be indulged in,
the mind cannot easily be concentrated on a subject, and unrest is
produced--but this disappears when recourse is had to smoking; and
probably some of its reputation as a soothing agent has on this
account been acquired. The circulation is also a little excited, and
no doubt this assists in rendering brain work more easy. In a short
time, however, the circulation is slightly depressed, the pulse
becoming smaller; and this may assist in producing the soothing effect
generally experienced."

_The Use and Abuse of Alcoholic Stimulants and Tobacco_.


"It is no credit to me for being an abstainer. The credit is due to
my father, who gave up smoking, drinking, intoxicating drinks, and
eating meat at the same time, about twenty years ago; and as I was
only ten years old then, I naturally grew into my father's habits (I
now eat meat, however). The blessings of that reform have come down
upon my children."

Sherlock's _Heroes in the Strife_.


"I have been a busy worker with the brain all my life, and have
enjoyed very unusual health. I am now fifty-three, and have not been
confined to the house by illness since I was seventeen, except for a
short time during the war, when suffering from the results of a wound.
This favourable result I attribute to (1) a good constitution--and an
elastic temperament; (2) simple tastes, disinclining me to stimulants
and narcotics, such as tea, coffee, wine, spirits, and tobacco; (3) a
love of athletic exercises; (4) a life-long habit of writing by
daylight only; (5) the use of homoeopathic medicines in the early
stages of slight ailments. I have never been a special devotee of
health, I think, but have followed out my natural tastes; and have
certainly enjoyed physical life very much. It may be well to add that,
though, as I said, my constitution was good and my frame always large,
I had yet an unusual number of children's diseases, and have often
been told that my life was several times preserved, in infancy,
against all expectation, by the unwearied care and devotion of my
mother. This may encourage some anxious parents."

Nov. 11, 1877.
_Hygiene of the Brain_, N.Y., 1878.


I have read with very great pleasure the letter of Mr. Bryant.... Let
me observe that while the modes of my own life and those of Mr. Bryant
very much accord, in a few particulars they differ, as, I suppose,
must be the case in almost any two individuals. Mr. Bryant never takes
coffee or tea. I regularly take both, find the greatest refreshment in
both, and never experienced any deleterious effects from either,
except in one instance, when, by mistake, I took a cup of tea strong
enough for ten men. On the contrary, tea is to me a wonderful
refresher and reviver. After long-continued exertion, as in the great
pedestrian journeys that I formerly made, tea would always, in a
manner almost miraculous, banish all my fatigue, and diffuse through
my whole frame comfort and exhilaration, without any subsequent evil

I am quite well aware that this is not the experience of many others,
my wife among the number, on whose nervous system tea acts
mischievously, producing inordinate wakefulness, and its continued
use, indigestion. But this is one of the things that people should
learn, and act upon, namely, to take such things as suit them, and
avoid such as do not. It is said that Mithridates could live and
flourish on poisons, and if it be true that tea or coffee is a poison,
so do most of us. William Hutton, the shrewd and humorous author of
the histories of Birmingham and Derby, and also of a life of himself,
scarcely inferior to that of Franklin in lessons of life-wisdom, said
that he had been told that coffee was a slow poison, and, he added,
that he had found it very slow, for he had drunk it more than sixty
years without any ill effect My experience of it has been the same.

Mr. Bryant also has recourse to the use of dumb-bells, and other
gymnastic appliances. For my part, I find no artificial practices
necessary for the maintenance of health and a vigorous circulation of
the blood. My only gymnastics have been those of Nature--walking,
riding, working in field and garden, bathing, swimming, etc. In some
of those practices, or in the amount of their use, Nature, in my later
years, has dictated an abatement. In Mr. Bryant's abhorrence of
tobacco, I fully sympathize. That is a poisoner, a stupefier, a
traitor to the nervous system, and, consequently, to energy and the
spirit of enterprise, which I renounced once and for ever before I
reached my twentieth year. The main causes of the vigor of my
constitution and the retention of sound health, comfort, and activity
to within three years of eighty, I shall point out as I proceed. First
and foremost, it was my good fortune to derive my existence from
parents descended on both sides from a vigorous stock, and of great
longevity. I remember my great-grandmother, an old lady of nearly
ninety; my grandmother of nearly as great an age. My mother lived to
eighty-five, and my father to the same age. They were both of them
temperate in their habits, living a fresh and healthy country life,
and in enjoyment of that tranquillity of mind which is conferred by a
spirit of genuine piety, and which confers, in return, health and

The great destroyers of life are not labor and exertion, either
physical or intellectual, but care, misery, crime, and dissipation. My
wife derived from her parentage similar advantages, and all the habits
of our lives, both before and since our marriage, have been of a
similar character. My boyhood and youth were, for the most part, spent
in the country; and all country objects, sports, and labors,
horse-racing and hunting excepted, have had a never-failing charm for
me. As a boy, I ranged the country far and wide in curious quest and
study of all the wild creatures of the woods and fields, in great
delight in birds and their nests, climbing the loftiest trees, rocks
and buildings in pursuit of them. In fact, the life described in the
"Boy's Country Book," was my own life. No hours were too early for me,
and in the bright, sunny fields in the early mornings, amid dews and
odour of flowers, I breathed that pure air which gave a life-long tone
to my lungs that I still reap the benefit of. All those daily habits
of climbing, running, and working developed my frame to perfection,
and gave a vigor to nerve and muscle that have stood well the wear and
tear of existence. My brain was not dwarfed by excessive study in
early boyhood, as is too much the case with children of to-day. Nature
says, as plainly as she can speak, that the infancy of all creatures
is sacred to play, to physical action, and the joyousness of mind that
give life to every organ of the system. Lambs, kittens, kids, foals,
even young pigs and donkeys, all teach the great lesson of Nature,
that to have a body healthy and strong, the prompt and efficient
vehicle of the mind, we must not infringe on her ordinations by our
study and cramping sedentariness in life's tender years. We must not
throw away or misappropriate her forces destined to the corporeal
architecture of man, by tasks that belong properly to an after-time.
There is no mistake so fatal to the proper development of man and
woman, as to pile on the immature brain, and on the yet unfinished
fabric of the human body, a weight of premature and, therefore,
unnatural study. In most of those cases where Nature has intended to
produce a first-class intellect, she has guarded her embryo genius by
a stubborn slowness of development. Moderate study and plenty of play
and exercise in early youth are the true requisites for a noble growth
of intellectual powers in man, and for its continuance to old age.

My youth, as my boyhood, was spent in the country, and in the active
exercise of its sports and labors. I was fond of shooting, fishing,
riding, and walking, often making long expeditions on foot for
botanical or other purposes. Bathing and swimming I continued each
year till the frost was in the ground and the ice fringed the banks of
the river. As my father farmed his own land, I delighted in all the
occupations of the field, mowing and reaping with the men through the
harvest, looking after sheep and lambs, and finding never-ceasing
pleasure in the cultivation of the garden.

When our literary engagements drew us to London, we carefully avoided
living in the great Babel, but took up our residence in one of its
healthy suburbs, and, on the introduction of railways, removed to what
was actual country. A very little time showed us the exhausting and
unwholesome nature of city life. Late hours, heavy dinners, the
indulgence of what are called jovial hours, and crowded parties, would
soon have sent us whither they have sent so many of our literary
contemporaries, long, long ago. After an evening spent in one of the
crowded parties of London, I have always found myself literally
poisoned. My whole nervous system has been distressed and vitiated. I
have been miserable and incapable the next day of intellectual labor.
Nor is there any mystery about this matter. To pass some four or five
hours in a town, itself badly ventilated, amid a throng of people just
come from dinner, loaded with a medley of viands, and reeking with the
fumes of hot wines--no few of them, probably, of very moral habits,
was simply undergoing a process of asphyxia. The air was speedily
decomposed by so many lungs. Its ozone and oxygen were rapidly
absorbed, and in return the atmosphere was loaded with carbonic acid,
carbon, nitrogen, and other effluvia, from the lungs and pores of the
dense and heated company; this mischievous matter being much increased
from the products of the combustion of numerous lamps, candles, and

The same effect was uniformly produced on me by evenings passed in
theatres, or crowded concert or lecture rooms. These facts are now
well understood by those who have studied the causes of health and
disease in modern society; and I am assured by medical men that no
source of consumption is so great as that occasioned by the breathing
of these lethal atmospheres of fashionable parties, fashionable
theatres, and concert and lecture halls; and then returning home at
midnight by an abrupt plunge from their heat into damp and cold.
People have said to me, "Oh! it is merely the effect of the unusual
late hour that you have felt!" But, though nite hours, either in
writing or society, have not been my habit, when circumstances of
literary pressure have compelled me occasionally to work late, I have
never felt any such effects. I could rise the next day a little later,
perfectly refreshed and full of spirit for my work.

Another cause to which I attribute my extraordinary degree of health,
has been not merely continued country exercise in walking and
gardening, but, now and then, making a clean breach and change of my
location and mode of life. Travel is one of the great invigorators of
the system, both physically and intellectually. When I have found a
morbid condition stealing over me, I have at once started off on a
pedestrian or other journey. The change of place, scene, atmosphere,
of all the objects occupying the daily attention, has at once put to
flight the enemy. It has vanished as by a spell. There is nothing like
a throwing off the harness and giving mind and body a holiday--a treat
to all sorts of new objects. Once, a wretched, nervous feeling grew
upon me; I flung it off by mounting a stage-coach, and then taking a
walk from the Land's End, in Cornwall, to the north of Devon. It was
gone for ever! Another time the "jolly" late dinners and
blithely-circulating decanter, with literary men, that I found it
almost impossible to avoid altogether without cutting very valuable
connections, gave me a dreadful dyspepsia. I became livingly sensible
of the agonies of Prometheus with the daily vulture gnawing at his
vitals. At once I started with all my family for a year's sojourn in
Germany, which, in fact, proved three years. But the fiend had left me
the very first day. The moment I quitted the British shore, the
tormentor quitted me. I suppose he preferred staying behind, where he
was aware of so many promising subjects of his diabolical art. New
diet, new and early hours, and all the novelties of foreign life, made
his approach to me impossible. I have known him no more, during these
now thirty years.

Eighteen years ago I made the circumnavigation of the globe, going out
to Australia by the Cape of Good Hope, and returning by Cape Horn.
This, including two years of wandering in the woods and wilds of
Australia, evidently gave a new accession of vital stamina to my
frame. It is said that the climate of Australia makes young men old,
and old men young. I do not believe the first part of the proverb, but
I am quite certain that there is a great deal in the second part of
it. During those two years I chiefly lived in a tent, and led a quiet,
free, and pleasant life in the open forests and wild country,
continually shifting our scene as we took the fancy, now encamping in
some valley among the mountains, now by some pleasant lake or river.
In fact, pic-nicing from day to day, and month to month, watching, I
and my two sons, with ever new interest, all the varied life of beast,
bird, and insect, and the equally varied world of trees, shrubs, and
flowers. My mind was lying fallow, as it regarded my usual literary
pursuits, but actually engaged with a thousand things of novel
interest, both among men in the Gold Diggings, and among other
creatures and phenomena around me. In this climate I and my little
party enjoyed, on the whole, excellent health, though we often walked
or worked for days and weeks under a sun frequently, at noon, reaching
from one hundred to one hundred and fifty degrees of Fahrenheit; waded
through rivers breast high, because there were no bridges, and slept
occasionally under the forest trees. There, at nearly sixty years of
age, I dug for gold for weeks together, and my little company
discovered a fine gold field which continues one to this day. These
two years of bush life, with other journeys on the Australian
Continent, and in Tasmania, and the voyages out and back, gave a world
of new vigor that has been serving me ever since. During the last
summer in Switzerland, Mrs. Howitt and myself, at the respective ages
of sixty-eight and seventy-six, climbed mountains of from three to
five thousand feet above the level of the sea, and descended the same
day with more ease than many a young person of the modern school could

As to our daily mode of life, little need be said. We keep early
hours, prefer to dine at noon, are always employed in "books, or work,
or healthful play;" have no particular rules about eating and
drinking, except the general ones of having simple and good food, and
drinking little wine. We have always been temperance people, but never
pledged, being averse to thraldom of any kind, taking, both in food
and drink, what seemed to do us good. At home, we drink, for the most
part, water, with a glass of wine occasionally. On the Continent, we
take the light wines of the country where we happen to be, with water,
because they suit us; if they did not, we should eschew them. In fact,
our great rule is to use what proves salutary, without regard to any
theories, conceits, or speculations of hygienic economy; and, in our
case, this following of common sense has answered extremely well.

At the same time it is true that many eminent men, and especially
eminent lawyers, who in their early days worked immensely hard,
studied through many long nights, and caroused, some of them, deeply
through others, yet attained to a good old age, as Lords Eldon, Scott,
Brougham, Campbell, Lyndhurst, and others. To what are we to attribute
this longevity under the circumstances? No doubt to iron constitutions
derived from their parentage, and then to the recuperative effect of
those half-yearly flights into the Egypt of the country, which make an
essential part of English life. To a thorough change of hours, habits,
and atmosphere in these seasons of villeggiatura. To vigorous athletic
country sports and practices, hunting, shooting, fishing, riding,
boating, yachting, traversing moors and mountains after black-cock,
grouse, salmon, trout and deer. To long walks at sea-side resorts, and
to that love of continental travel so strong in both your countrymen
and women, and ours.

These are the _saving_ causes in the lives of such men. Who knows
how long they would have lived had they not inflicted on themselves,
more or less, the destroying ones. There is an old story among us of
two very old men being brought up on a trial where the evidence of
"the oldest inhabitant" was required. The Judge asked the first who
came up what had been the habits of his life. He replied, "Very
regular, my lord; I have always been sober, and kept good hours." Upon
which the Judge dilated in high terms of praise on the benefit of
regular life. When the second old man appeared, the Judge put the same
question, and received the answer, "Very regular, my lord; I have
never gone to bed sober these forty years." Whereupon his lordship
exclaimed, "Ha! I see how it is. English men, like English oak, wet or
dry, last for ever."

I am not of his lordship's opinion; but seeing the great longevity of
many of our most eminent lawyers, and some of whom in early life
seemed disposed to live fast rather than long, I am more than ever
confirmed in my opinion of the vitalizing influences of temperance,
good air, and daily activity, which, with the benefits of change and
travel, can so far in after life save those whom no original force of
constitution could have saved from the effects of jollity, or of
gigantic efforts of study in early life. For one' of such hard livers,
or hard brain-workers who have escaped by the periodical resort to
healthful usages, how many thousands have been "cut off in the midst
of their days?" A lady once meeting me in Highgate, where I then
lived, asked me if I could recommend her a good doctor. I told her
that I could recommend her three. She observed that one would be
enough; but I assured her that she would find these three more
economical and efficient than any individual Galen that I could think
of. Their names were, "Temperance, Early Hours, and Daily Exercise."
That they were the only ones that I had employed for years, or meant
to employ. Soon after, a gentleman wrote to me respecting these "Three
Doctors," and put them in print. Anon, they were made the subject of
one of the "Ipswich Tracts;" and on a visit, a few years ago, to the
Continent, I found this tract translated into French, and the
title-page enriched with the name of a French physician, as the
author. So much the better. If the name of the French physician can
recommend "The Three Doctors" to the population of France, I am so
much the more obliged.

May 20, 1871.
_Hygiene of the Brain_, New York, 1878.


Found great benefit from the use of tobacco, though several times he
tried to give it up. He smoked the poorest tobacco, however, and Mr.
C. Kegan Paul thus describes the care Charles Kingsley took to
minimise the dangers of the habit:--

"He would work himself into a white heat over his book, till, too
excited to write more, he would calm himself down by a pipe, pacing
his grass-plot in thought, and in long strides. He was a great smoker,
and tobacco was to him a needful sedative. He always used a long and
clean clay pipe, which lurked in all sorts of unexpected places. But
none was ever smoked which was in any degree foul, and when there was
a vast accumulation of old pipes, they were sent back again to be
rebaked, and returned fresh and new. This gave him a striking simile,
which in 'Alton Locke,' he puts into the mouth of James Crossthwaite,
'Katie here believes in Purgatory, where souls are burnt clean again,
like 'bacca pipes.'"


I was deeply impressed by something which an excellent clergyman told
me one day, when there was nobody by to bring mischief on the head of
the narrator. This clergyman knew the literary world of his time so
thoroughly that there was probably no author of any mark then living
in England with whom he was not more or less acquainted.

It must be remembered that a new generation has now grown up. He told
me that he had reason to believe that there was no author or authoress
who was free from the habit of taking pernicious stimulants, either
strong green tea or strong coffee at night, or wine, or spirits, or

The amount of opium taken to relieve the wear and tear of authorship
was, he said, greater than most people had any conception of, and all
literary workers took something.

"Why, I do not," said I; "fresh air and cold water are my stimulants."

"I believe you," he replied, "but you work in the morning, and there
is much in that!"

I then remembered, when I had to work a short time at night, a
physician who called on me observed that I must not allow myself to be
exhausted at the end of the day. He would not advise any alcoholic
wines, but any light wines that I liked might do me good. "You have a
cupboard there at your right hand," said he; "keep a bottle of hock
and a wine glass there, and help yourself when you feel you want it."
"No, thank you," said I; "if I took wine it should not be when alone,
nor would I help myself to a glass; I might take a little more and a
little more, till my solitary glass might become a regular tippling
habit; I shall avoid the temptation altogether." Physicians should
consider well before they give such advice to brain-worn workers.


"In labour of the head, alcohol stimulates the brain to an increase
of function under the mental power, and so effects a concentrated
cerebral exhaustion, without being able to afford compensating
nutrition or repair. ....There is the same common fallacy here as in
the case of manual labour. The stimulus is felt--to do good. 'I could
not do my work without it.' But at what cost are you doing your work?
Premature and permanent exhaustion of the muscles is bad enough; but
premature and permanent exhaustion of brain is infinitely worse. And
when you come to a point where work must cease or the stimulus be
taken, do not hesitate as to the right alternative. Don't call for
your pate ale, your brandy, or your wine. Shut your book, close your
eyes, and go to sleep: or change your occupation, so as to give a
thorough shift to your brain; and then, after a time, spent, as the
case may be, either in repose or recreation, you will find yourself
fit to resume your former task of thought without loss or
detriment.... Look to the mental workers under alcohol. Take the best
of them. Would not their genius have burned not only with a steadier
and more enduring flame, but also with a less sickly and noxious
vapour to the moral health of all around them, had they been free from
the unnatural and unneeded stimulus? Take Burns, for example. Alcohol
did not make his genius, or even brighten it.... Genius may have its
poetical and imaginative powers stored up into fitful paroxysms by
alcohol, no doubt: the control of will being gone or going, the mind
is left to take ideas as they come, and they may come brilliantly for
a time. But, at best, the man is but a revolving light. At one time a
flash will dazzle you; at another, the darkness is as that of
midnight; the alternating gloom being always longer than the period of
light, and all the more intense by reason of the other's brightness.
While imagination sparkles, reason is depressed. And, therefore, let
the true student eschew the bottle's deceitful aid. He will think all
the harder, all the clearer, and all the longer!"

_Alcohol: its Place and Power_. 866, p. 122.


"I would venture to add an expression of my own firm conviction that
a life of study is aided by the almost entire avoidance of
stimulants, alcoholic as well as nicotian, I do not say that the
moderate use of such stimulants does harm, only that so far as I can
judge from my own experience it affords no help. I recognise a slight
risk in what Abbe Moigno correctly states--the apparent power of
indefinite work which comes with the almost entire avoidance of
stimulants; but the risk is very slight, for the man must have very
little sense who abuses that power to a dangerous degree. Certainly,
if the loss of the power be evidence of mischief, I would say (still
speaking of my own experience, which may be peculiar to my own
temperament) that the use of stimulants, even in a very moderate
degree, is mischievous. For instance, I repeatedly have put this
point to the test:--I work say from breakfast till one o'clock, when,
if I feel at all hungry, I join my family at lunch; if now at lunch I
eat very lightly, and take a glass of ale or whisky-and-water, I feel
disposed, about a quarter of an hour later, to leave my work, which
has, for the time, become irksome to me; and perhaps a couple of
hours will pass before I care for steady work again: on the other
hand, if I eat as lightly, or perhaps take a heartier lunch, but
drink water only, I sit down as disposed for work after as before the
meal. In point of fact, a very weak glass of whisky-and-water has as
bad an influence on the disposition for work as a meal unwisely heavy
would have. It is the same in the evening. If I take a light supper,
with water only, I can work (and this, perhaps, is bad) comfortably
till twelve or one; but a glass of weak whisky-and-water disposes me
to rest or sleep, or to no heavier mental effort than is involved in
reading a book of fiction or travel. These remarks apply only to
quiet home life, with my relatives or intimate friends at the table.
At larger gatherings it seems (as Herbert Spencer has noted) that not
only a heartier meal, but stimulants in a larger quantity, can be
taken without impairment of mental vivacity, and even with advantage,
up to a point falling far short, however, of what in former times
would have been regarded as the safe limit of moderation. Under those
circumstances, "wine maketh glad the heart of man," and many find the
stimulus it gives pleasant,--perhaps dangerously so, unless the
lesson is soon learned that the point is very soon reached beyond
which mental vivacity is not increased but impaired.

"I must confess it seems to me that if we are to admit the necessity
or prudence of adopting total abstinence principles, because of the
miseries which have been caused by undue indulgence--if A, B, and C,
who have no desire to make beasts of themselves, are to refrain from
the social glass because X, Y, and Z cannot content themselves till
they have taken half-a-dozen social glasses too many--society has an
additional reason to be angry with the drunkards, and with those
scarcely less pernicious members of the social body who either cannot
keep sober without blue ribbons or pledges, or, having no wish to
drink, want everyone to know it. I admit, of course, if it really is
the case that the healthy-minded must refrain from the innocent use of
such stimulants as suit them, in the interest of the diseased, it may
be very proper and desirable to do so: but only in the same way that
it might be very desirable to avoid in a lunatic asylum the rational
discussion of subjects about which the lunatics were astray. For
steady literary or scientific work, however, and throughout the hours
of work (or near them), it is certain that for most men something very
close to total abstinence from stimulants is the best policy."

_Knowledge_, July, 29, 1882.

"I have recently had rather interesting evidence of the real value of
the use of so-called stimulants. When lecturing daily, and also
travelling long distances, I always adopt a very light diet: tea, dry
toast, and an egg for breakfast; nothing then till six, when I take
tea, dry toast, and a chop; after lecturing I take a biscuit or so
with cheese, and a glass of whisky-and-water, 'cold without.' I tried
this season the effect of omitting the whisky. Result--sleeplessness
till one or two in the morning. No other harm, but weariness during
following day. Taking the whisky-and-water again, after trying this a
night or two, acted as the most perfect sedative."

_Knowledge_, Dec. 1, 1882.


"The evidence is all perfect that alcohol gives no potential power to
brain or muscle. During the first stage of its action it may enable a
wearied or a feeble organism to do brisk work for a short time; it may
make the mind briefly brilliant: it may excite muscle to quick action,
but it does nothing substantially, and fills up nothing it has
destroyed, as it leads to destruction. A fire makes a brilliant sight,
but leaves a desolation. It is the same with alcohol.... The true place
of alcohol is clear; it is an agreeable temporary shroud. The savage,
with the mansions of his soul unfurnished, buries his restless energy
under its shadow. The civilised man, overburdened with mental labour,
or with engrossing care, seeks the same shade; but it is shade, after
all, in which in exact proportion as he seeks it, the seeker retires
from perfect natural life. To search for force in alcohol is, to my
mind, equivalent to the act of seeking for the sun in subterranean
gloom until all is night.... In respect to the influence of smoking
on the mental faculties, there need, I believe, be no obscurity. When
mental labour is being commenced, indulgence in a pipe produces in
most persons a heavy, dull condition, which impairs the processes of
digestion and assimilation, and suspends more or less that motion of
the tissues which constitutes vital activity. But if mental labour be
continued for a long time, until exhaustion be felt, then the resort
to a pipe gives to some _habitues_ a feeling of relief; it
soothes, it is said, and gives new impetus to thought. This is the
practical experience of almost all smokers, but few men become so
habituated to the pipe as to commence well a day of physical or mental
work on tobacco. Many try, but it almost invariably obtains that they
go through their labours with much less alacrity than other men who
are not so addicted. The majority of smokers feel that after a hard
day's labour, a pipe, supposing always that the indulgence of it is
moderately carried out, produces temporary relief from exhaustion."

_Diseases of Modern Life_.

"I gave up that which I thought warmed and helped me, and I can
declare, after considering the whole period in which I have subjected
myself to this ordeal, I never did more work; I never did more varied
work; I never did work with so much facility; I never did work with
such a complete sense of freedom from anxiety and worry, as I have
done during the period that I have abstained altogether."

Speech at Exeter Hall, Feb. 7, 1877.


"As to smoking stupefying a man's faculties or blunting his energy,
that allegation I take to be mainly nonsense. The greatest workers and
thinkers of modern times have been inveterate smokers. At the same
time, it is idle to deny that smoking to excess weakens the eyesight,
impairs the digestion, plays havoc with the nerves, and interferes
with the action of the heart. I have been a constant smoker for nearly
forty years; but had I my life to live over again I would never touch
tobacco in any shape or form. It is to the man who sits all day long
at a desk, poring over books and scribbling 'copy,' that smoking is

_Illustrated London News_, Sep. 30, 1882.


"I can testify that since I have given up intoxicating liquors I have
felt less weariness in what I have to do. I have been busy ever since
I was a little boy, and I therefore know how much I can undertake, and
I certainly can testify that since I gave up intoxicating liquors--
although I did not like the giving them up, inasmuch as I rather
enjoyed them, when I used them, and inasmuch as I never felt the
slightest intention to exceed, nor am I at all among those who cannot
take one glass, and only one, but must go on to another--I have
certainly found that I am very much the better for it. Whatever
arguments I may hear about it, it is impossible for me to escape from
the memory of the fact that I have found myself very much better able
to work, to write, to read, to speak, and to do whatever I may have to
do, ever since I abstained totally and entirely from all intoxicating

Speech at Torquay, Sept 10, 1882.


"I will tell you who can't take alcohol, and that is very important
in the present day. Of all the people I know who cannot stand
alcohol, it is the brain-workers; and you know it is the brain-workers
that are increasing in number, and that the people who do not use
their brains are going down, and that is a noteworthy incident in
relation to the future. I find that the men who live indoors, who have
sedentary habits, who work their nervous systems, and who get
irritable tempers, as such people always do, unless they take a large
balance of exercise to keep them right (which they rarely do), I say
that persons who are living in these fast days get nervous systems
more excitable and more irritable than their forefathers, and they
cannot bear alcohol so well."

Speech at Exeter Hall, Feb. 7, 1877.


"I have just read your quotations from the Abbe Moigno, and your own
comments thereon. I have tried experiments very similar to those you
describe, with exactly the same results; in fact, so far as
intellectual work is concerned, I might describe my own experience by
direct plagiarism of your words.

Besides these, I have tried other experiments which may be interesting
to those who, without any partizan fanaticism, are seeking for
practical guidance on this subject.

As many of your readers may know, I have been (when of smaller girth)
an energetic pedestrian, have walked over a large part of England,
Scotland, Wales, and Ireland, crossed France twice on foot, done
Switzerland and the Tyrol pretty exhaustively; in one walk from Paris
taking in on the way the popular lions of the Alps, and then
proceeding, via, Milan and Genoa, to Florence, Rome, Naples, and
Calabria, then from Messina to Syracuse, and on to the East. All this,
excepting the East, on foot. At another time from Venice to Milan,
besides a multitude of minor tours, and my well-known walk through

In the course of these, my usual average rate, when in fair training,
was 200 miles per week. The alcohol experiments consisted in doing a
fortnight at this rate on water, scrupulously abstaining from any
alcoholic drink whatever, and then a fortnight using the beverages of
the country in ordinary moderate quantity. I have thus used British
ales and porter, Bavarian beer, French wines, Italian wines, Hungarian
wine in the Tyrol, Christiania ol, &c., according to circumstances,
and the result has been the same, 'or with very little variation. With
the stimulant I have, of course, obtained a temporary exhilaration
that was pleasant enough while it lasted, but after the first week I
found myself dragging through the last few miles, and quite able to
appreciate the common habit of halting at a roadside "pub." or
wine-shop, for a drink on the way. No such inclination came upon me
when my only beverage was water, or water plus a cup of coffee for
breakfast _only_ (no afternoon tea). Then I came in fresh,
usually finishing at the best pace of the day, enjoying the brisk
exercise in cool evening air. Physical work of this kind admits of
accurate measurement, and I was careful to equalise the average of
these experimental comparative fortnights.

The result is a firm conviction that the only beverage for obtaining
the maximum work out of any piece of human machinery is water, as pure
as possible; that all other beverages (including even tea and coffee),
ginger-beer, and all such concoctions as the so-called "temperance
drinks," are prejudicial to anybody not under medical treatment. To a
sound-bodied man there is no danger in drinking any quantity of cold
water in the hottest weather, provided _it is swallowed slowly_.
I have drunk as much as a dozen quarts in the course of a stiff
mountain climb when perspiring profusely, and never suffered the
slightest inconvenience, but, on the contrary, have found that the
perspiration promoted by frequent and copious libations at the
mountain streams enabled me to vigorously enjoy the roasting beat of
sun-rays striking so freely and fiercely as they do through the thin
air on the southward slopes of a high mountain.

I am not a teetotaler, and enjoy a glass of light wine, but always
take it as I sucked lollypops when a child, not because "it is good
for my complaint," or any such humbug, but simply because I am so low
in the scale of creation, as imperfect, as far from angelic, as to be
capable of occasionally enjoying a certain amount of purely sensual
indulgence, and of doing so from nothing higher than purely sensual

If all would admit this, and freely confess that their drinking or
smoking, however moderate, is simply a folly or a vice, they would be
far less liable to go to excess than when they befool themselves by
inventing excuses that cover their weaknesses with a flimsy disguise
of medicinal necessity, or other pretended advantage. In all such
cases the physical mischief of the alcohol is supplemented by the
moral corruption of habitual hypocrisy."

_Knowledge_, August 18, 1882.


"With regard to the effect of moderate doses of alcohol on mental
work much difference of opinion exists. Many students find that,
instead of helping them in their work, it hinders them. It dulls
their receptive faculties. Others, on the contrary, find real help in
moderate quantities of wine. These differences of effect would seem
to depend greatly on differences in constitutional temperament. It is
certainly capable, for a time, of calling some of the mental
faculties into increased activity. Some of the best things that have
ever been said have been said under the influence of wine. The
circulation through the brain is quickened, the nervous tissue
receives more nourishment, the imagination is stimulated, and ideas
flow more rapidly, but it is doubtful if the power of close reasoning
be not always diminished. It is useful for reviving mental power,
when from accidental circumstances, such as want of food, &c., it has
been exhausted, but it should never be relied upon as an aid to
continuous effort or close application."

_Fortnightly Review_. Vol. 21, p. 547.


From a review of the 124 testimonies, including those which appear in
the Appendix, I find that 25 use wine at dinner only; 30 are
abstainers from all alcoholic liquors; 24 use tobacco, out of which
only 12 smoke whilst at work; one chews and one took snuff. Not one
resorts to alcohol for stimulus to thinking, and only two or three
defend its use under special circumstances--"useful at a pinch," under
"physical or mental exhaustion." "Not one resorts to alcohol" for
inspiration. This is an important discovery, and indicates the
existence of more enlightened views in reference to the value of
alcohol, since Burns sang the praise of whisky:--"It kindles wit and
weakens fear." That some literary men still "support" themselves by
alcoholic stimulants, is no doubt true; and, if M. Taine is not
mistaken, some of the leader writers of the London papers can write
their articles only by the aid of a bottle of champagne. When the
creative faculty flags, or the attention wanders, a writer, who is
working against time, is strongly tempted to fly to stimulants for

But leader writing, or any other kind of writing, done under the
influence of any kind of stimulants, is, remarks Blackie, unhealthy
work, and tends to no good. "It may safely be affirmed," thinks the
editor of the _Contemporary Review,_ "that no purely conscientious
writing was ever produced under stimulation from alcohol. Harriet
Martineau was one of those workers who could not write a paragraph without
asking herself, 'Is that wholly true? Is it a good thing to say it? Shall
I lead anyone astray by it? Had I better soften it down, or keep it back?
Is it as well as I can say it?' Writing like that of Wilson's 'Noctes,' or
Hoffman's madder stories, may be produced under the influence of wine,
but 'stuff of the conscience', not." The workman himself is injured, as
well as the quality of his work lessened. Mr. Hamerton says he has seen
terrible results from the use of stimulants at work; and anyone who has
read literary history, or who has had any experience of literary life in
London, knows that the rock upon which many men split is--drink.
Whatever journalists may gain from alcohol, other writers who have
tried it say nothing in its favour. Mr. Howells does not take wine at
all, because it weakens his work and his working force. To Mark Twain
wine is a clog to the pen, not an inspiration. "I have," he says,
"never seen the time when I could write to my satisfaction after
drinking even one glass of wine." Dr. Bain finds abstinence from
alcohol and the tea group essential to intellectual effort. They
induce, he says, a false excitement, not compatible with severe
application to problems of difficulty; and the experience of other
workers, whether literary or scientific, is precisely similar. But the
use of alcoholic stimulants at work is one thing; at dinner, another.
The former practice is absolutely injurious; and the highest medical
authorities have pronounced against the latter. Some of the most
vigorous thinkers and laborious workers, however, find that wine aids
digestion and conduces to their power of work. To Mr. Gladstone it is
"especially necessary at the time of greatest intellectual exertion."
As a rule, it is taken at the end of the day, when work is over; but
when he resumes literary composition the quality of a writer's work
seems deteriorated. One of the most esteemed novelists of the present
day informs Dr. Brunton that, although he can take a great deal of
wine without its having any apparent effect on him, yet a single glass
of sherry is enough to take the fine edge off his intellect. He is
able to write easily and fluently in the evening, after taking dinner
and wine, but what he then writes will not bear his own criticism next
morning, although curiously enough it may seem to him excellent at the
time of writing. The perception of the fingers, as well as the
perception of the mind, seems blunted by the use of alcohol. Dr.
Alfred Carpenter relates that a celebrated violin player, as he was
about to go on the platform, was asked if he would take a glass of
wine before he appeared, "Oh, no, thank you," he replied, "I shall
have it when I come off." This answer excited Mr. Carpenter's
curiosity, and he inquired of the violinist why he would have it when
he came off in preference to having it before his work commenced, and
the reply was, "If I take stimulants before I go to work, the
_perception of the fingers is blunted,_ and I don't feel that
nicety and delicacy of touch necessary to bring out the fine tones
requisite in this piece of music, and therefore I avoid them." "But to
touch these things is dangerous, "says Mr. Hubert Bancroft, though
less dangerous to touch them _after_ work than _before_
work. The most careful man is sometimes thrown off his guard, and
drinks more than his usual allowance. It is, Mr. Watts believes, an
admitted fact that even people who are considered strictly temperate
habitually take more than is good for them. What quantity _is_
good for every man, no one can say with certainty. So far as wine is
taken to aid digestion, Blackie, who considers that wine "may even be
necessary to stimulate digestion," holds that "healthy _young_
men can never require such a stimulus."

A belief exists that men who abstain from alcohol indulge to excess in
some other stimulant. There is some foundation for this belief.
Balzac, for instance, abstained from tobacco, which he declared
injured the body, attacked the intellect, and stupefied the nations;
but he drank great quantities of coffee, which produced the terrible
nervous disease which shortened his life. Goethe was a non-smoker,
but, according to Bayard Taylor, he drank fifty thousand bottles of
wine in his life-time. Niebuhr greatly disliked smoking, but took a
tremendous quantity of snuff. A great number of teetotalers "make up
for their abstinence from alcohol by excessive indulgence in tobacco,"
and abuse their more consistent brethren who venture to expostulate
with them. John Stuart Mill "believed that the giving up of wine would
be apt to be followed by taking more food than was necessary, merely
for the sake of stimulation." Sir Theodore Martin, also, thinks the
absence of alcohol likely to lead to increased eating, and to an
extent likely to cause derangement of the body. The power of alcohol
to arrest and preserve decomposition may, it is admitted by temperance
writers, retard to some extent the waste of animal tissue, and
diminish accordingly the appetite for food; but they contend that the
effete matter which has served its purpose and done for the body all
that it can do is retained in the body to its loss and damage. "The
question comes to be," says Professor Miller, "whether shall we take
alcohol, eat less, and be improperly nourished, or take no alcohol,
eat more, and be nourished well? Whether shall we thrive better on a
small quantity of new nutritive material with a great deal of what is
old and mouldy, or on a constant and fresh supply of new material? ...
The most perfect health and strength depend on frequent and complete
disintegration of tissue with a corresponding constant and complete
replacement of the effete parts by the formation of new material."

"This is not a question which can be settled by reasoning: it must be
decided entirely by experience. No one who has always been in the
habit of using stimulants can be heard on this point, because, having
had no experience of life without alcohol, such a person cannot draw a
comparison between life with and life without that agent." These are
the words of Dr. Buckle, of London, Ontario, and this practical way of
testing the question will commend itself to all. What is the
experience, then, of those who have tried both moderation and total
abstinence? The Rev. Canon Farrar found that "even a single glass of
wine, when engaged in laborious work, was rather injurious than
otherwise." Mr. A. J. Ellis did not find that wine increased his power
of work, and Professor Skeat says the less stimulant he takes the
better. Contrary to medical advice, Dr. Martineau reverted to
abstinence, and for twelve or fifteen years he has been practically a
total abstainer, and, at 77, he retains the power of mental
application. For many years, the Rev. Mark Pattison found great
advantage from giving up wine. Lieutenant-Colonel Butler finds that a
greater amount of _even_ mental work is to be obtained without
the use of alcohol. The belief that alcohol invigorated the body was
held by Mr. Cornelius Walford, but he now finds that it does not do
so, and believes that in sedentary occupations it is positively
injurious even when taken with meals. Professor Skeat has given up
beer with benefit to himself, and has almost given up wine. M.
Barthelemy St. Hilaire has abstained from wine for many years, indeed,
for nearly a life-time, with great advantage. Mr. Hamerton has
abstained for long periods from stimulants, feeling better without

Mr. Oliver Wendell Holmes's practice approaches nearer to abstinence
as he grows older. The Bishop of Durham finds that, on the whole, he
can work for more consecutive hours, and with greater application,
than when he used stimulants. This, too, is the testimony of Bishop
Temple. The Rev. Stopford Brooke is enthusiastic in his praise of
total abstinence: it has enabled him to work better; it has increased
the pleasure of life; and it has banished depression. Sir Henry
Thompson declares himself better without wine, and better able to
accomplish his work. Dr. Richardson declares that he never did more
work, or more varied work; that he never did work with so much
facility, or with such a complete sense of freedom from anxiety and
worry as he has done during the period he has abstained from alcohol.
On the other hand, Sir Erskine May's experience of abstinence was that
it made him "dyspeptic and stupid;" and Dr. W. B. Carpenter "can get
on best, while in London, by taking with his dinner a couple of
glasses of very light claret, as an aid to digestion." But when on
holiday, he says, he does not need it. A _natural_ stimulant then
takes the place of an artificial one; and so long as a man is healthy,
eating well, and sleeping well, he is, Dr. Brunton declares, better
without alcohol.

Although there is no comparison between the evils of smoking and those
of drinking, most of the writers seem to attach more importance to the
question of smoking, and some regard the question of alcohol as of no
consequence. Mr. Cornelius Walford considers tobacco a more insidious
stimulant than alcoholic beverages. It can, he points out, be indulged
in constantly without visible degradation; but surely it saps the
mind. Mr. Hyde Clarke is of the same opinion, and remarks, "a man
knows when he is drunk, but he does not know when he has smoked too
much, until the effects of accumulation have made themselves
permanent." There is a growing conviction that tobacco does quite as
much harm to the nervous system as alcohol. [Footnote: There can be no
room to question the presumption that an excessive use of tobacco
_does_ occasionally deteriorate the moral character, as the
inordinate use of chloral or bromide of potassium may deprave the
mind, by lowering the tone of certain of the nervous centres, in
narcotising them and impairing their nutrition. Whether the nicotine
of the tobacco can act on nerve-cells as alcohol acts may be doubtful,
but the victim of excess in the use of tobacco certainly often very
closely resembles the habitual drinker of small drams--the tippler who
seldom becomes actually drunk--and he readily falls into the same
maudlin state as that which seems characteristic of the subject of
slow intoxication by chloral, or of the victim of bromide.--_The
Lancet_, Nov. 12, 1881.]

The question is often asked, "Does tobacco shorten life?" No evidence
has yet been adduced proving that moderate smoking is injurious,
though Sir Benjamin Brodie believed that, if accurate statistics could
be obtained, it would be found that the value of life in inveterate
smokers is considerably below the average; and the early deaths of
some of the men whose names are so frequently quoted in defence of
smoking, favours the idea that all smoking is injurious. Few literary
men live out their days. It is a matter of general belief that Mr.
Edward Miall weakened his body and shortened his life through his
habit of incessant smoking. "Bayard Taylor," says Mr. James Parton,
"was always laughing at me for the articles which I wrote in the
_Atlantic Monthly_, one called 'Does it pay to smoke?' and the
other, 'Will the Coming Man drink Wine?' I had ventured to answer both
these questions in the negative. He, on the contrary, not only drank
wine in moderation, but smoked freely, and he was accustomed to point
to his fine proportions and rosy cheeks, comparing them with my own
meagre form, as an argument for the use of those stimulants. 'Well,'
he would say, on meeting me, glancing down at his portly person, and
opening wide his arms, with a cigar in his fingers, 'doesn't it pay to
smoke? How does _this_ look? The coming man may do as he likes;
but the man of the present finds it salutary."' Commenting on Mr.
Taylor's early death, Mr. Parton points out that some fifty New York
journalists have either died in their prime or before reaching their
prime. A similar mortality, he notes, has been observed in England.
Dickens died at 58, and Thackeray at 52. A "great number of lesser
lights have been extinguished that promised to burn with
long-increasing brightness." Mr. Parton asks, "Is there anything in
mental labour hostile to life? Was it over-work that shortened the
lives of these valuable and interesting men?" He thinks not, but that
they died before their time because they did not know how to live.
Like Carlyle, William Howitt was scandalised by the tippling habits of
some of the literary men whom he met, and equally scandalised by their
smoking habits. Replying to a correspondent who urged that most
literary men and artists smoke, he said, "No doubt; and that is what
makes the lives of literary men and artists comparatively so short.
May not too much joviality and too much smoking have a good deal to do
with it? I myself, who have not smoked for these seventy years, have
seen nearly the whole generation of my literary contemporaries pass
away. The other day (Dec. 7, 1878), I ascended in the Tyrol, a
mountain of 5,000 feet, inducting a walk of six or seven miles to it,
and as many back, in company with some friends. I did it easily,
and felt no subsequent fatigue. I would like to see an old smoker of
eighty-six do 'that." There can be no doubt that excessive smoking is
one of the causes of the early deaths of literary men, though not the
greatest The opponents of tobacco have tried to make capital out of
the early death of Jules Noriac, who is reported to have died of
smoker's cancer; but it transpired that he lived very irregularly.
[Footnote: Considerable difference of opinion would appear to exist
among the "chroniqueurs" of the Parisian press as to the real nature
of the malady to which M. Jules Noriac, the witty, humorous, and
observant writer of "The Hundred and First Regiment," the essay on
"Human Stupidity," and numerous dramatic pieces of a more or less
ephemeral kind, has just fallen a victim. It has been generally
understood that M. Noriac died from a mysterious malady which has not
long since been recognised by French physicians as the "smoker's
cancer." It is alleged that the deceased man of letters suffered for
two whole years from the ravages of this dreadful and occult disease,
and that his countenance became so transformed through the wasting
action of the ailment that he could scarcely be recognised even by
his most intimate friends. This statement, could it be substantiated,
would serve as a very powerful argument to those who inveigh against
the use of tobacco. Hitherto the fundamental point on which the
opponents of the weed have dwelt is that as the active principle of
tobacco, nicotine, is acknowledged to be in its isolated form a
poison, its introduction into the system in any shape or form must be
injurious, and that it is difficult to point to any human organ which
may not be detrimentally affected by smoking, snuffing, or chewing.
From a cognate point of view, it is worthy of remark that a
contemporary, in a curiously interesting study of the originals of
the characters in the famous "Scenes de la Vie de Boheme," draws
attention to the circumstance that Henri Murger's consumption of
coffee was so excessive as to bring on fever and delirium. Exhaustion
and nervousness followed; and finally he was attacked by an obscure
disorder of the sympathetic nerves which control the veins, at times
turning his whole body to the colour of purple. The doctors who
treated him seem to have known nothing of the ailment, for they dosed
him with sulphur and aconite. He died a horrible--and very painful
death, at the age of thirty-eight. This was in 1860; but only four
years afterwards we find the English physician quoted above, Dr.
Anstie, in his "Stimulants and Narcotics," recognising "a kind of
chronic narcotism, the very existence of which is usually ignored, but
which is, in truth, well marked and easy to identify as produced by
habitual excess in tea and coffee." The common feature of the disease
is muscular tumour; and out of fifty excessive consumers of tea and
coffee whose cases were noted by Dr. Anstie, there were only five
patients who did not exhibit the symptom named. They were suffering,
in fact, from "theine" poisoning. The paralysing effects of narcotic
doses of tea was further displayed by a particularly obstinate kind
of dyspepsia; while the abuse of coffee disordered the action of the
heart to a distressing degree. The friends and biographers of M.
Jules Noriac are unanimous as to the fact that he was inveterate in
the use of tobacco. He was wont to smoke to the butt-end, one after
the other, the huge cigars sold by the French "Regie," and known as
"Imperiales," and a cynic might opine that if the deceased gentleman
had smoked fragrant Havanas in lieu of the abominable stuff vended by
the "Regie" he would not have been afflicted with the "cancer des
fumeurs," nor with any kindred ailment He kept fearfully late hours,
he worked only at night and he smoked "all the time." If towards
morning he felt somewhat faint he would refresh himself with crusts
of bread soaked in cold water, thus imitating to a certain extent our
William Ptynne, who would from time to time momentarily suspend his
interminable scribble to recruit exhausted nature with a moistened
crust; only the verbose author of "Histriomastix" used to dip his
crusts in Strong ale. And the bitter old pamphleteer, for all that
his ears had been cropped and his cheeks branded by the Star Chamber,
lived to be nearly seventy. Jules Noriac was never to be seen abroad
until noon. His breakfast, like that of most Frenchmen, was
inordinately prolonged; and afterwards rehearsals, business
interviews, dinner, and the play would occupy him until nearly
midnight. His delight was to accompany some friend home, and then
walk the friend, arm-in-arm, backwards and forwards in front of his,
the friend's, door, discoursing of things sublunary and otherwise
until two in the morning. Then he would enter his own house and sit
down, pipe in mouth, to the hard labour of literature until six or
seven in the morning. What kind of slumber could a man, leading such
a life as this, be expected to enjoy? On the whole, it would appear
that M. Jules Noriac's habits were diametrically opposed to the
preservation of health and the prolongation of life, and that he died
quite as much from too much Boulevard and too much night work, as
from too much smoking. There are vast numbers of French journalists
and men of letters who, without being necessarily "Bohemians,"
consume their health and shorten their lives by this continuous and
feverish race against time. Their days are spent chiefly on the
Boulevards or in the cafes, and it is only at the dead of night that
they devote themselves to serious work. The French "savant," On the
other hand, is rarely seen on the Boulevards. It is by day that he
works, and he spends his evening in some tranquil "salon," and lives,
as a rule, till eighty. The painter, again, must be a day worker, if
he wishes to excel as a colourist. He is but a holiday "flaneur" on
the Boulevards. They are but a part of his life; but of the
"chroniqueur" and the "feuilletonniste" out of the small hours
devoted to fagging at the production of "copy," those Boulevards are
the whole existence.--_Daily Telegraph_, October 9, 1882.] On
the other hand, the advocates of tobacco cite Carlyle as a proof that
tobacco does not shorten life. They credit him with saying that he
could never think of this miraculous blessing without being
overwhelmed by a tenderness for which he could find no adequate
expression. No wonder, therefore, that he called his doctor a
"Jackass," who advised him to give up smoking in order to cure
dyspepsia. In Carlyle's case long life was a doubtful advantage, and
in the matter of smoking he did not practice what he preached.
[Footnote: Describing the German Smoking Congress, he said:--Tobacco,
introduced by the Swedish soldiers in the Thirty-years' War, say some,
or even by the English soldiers in the Bohemian or Palatine beginnings
of said war, say others, tobacco once shown them, was enthusiastically
adopted by the German populations, long in want of such an article,
and has done important multifarious functions in that country ever
since. For truly in politics, morality, and all departments of their
practical and speculative affairs we may trace its influences, good
and bad, to this day. Influences generally bad; pacificatory but bad,
engaging you in idle, cloudy dreams; still worse, promoting composure
among the palpably chaotic and discomposed; soothing all things into
lazy peace; that all things may be left to themselves very much, and
to the laws of gravity and decomposition. Whereby German affairs are
come to be greatly overgrown with funguses in our time, and give
symptoms of dry and of wet rot wherever handled.--_History of
Frederick the Great,_ vol. I, p. 387.] Many cases are known to us,
however, where dyspepsia in smokers has been completely cured by the
abandonment of smoking.

The most recent case is that of Dr. Richardson, who was a dyspeptic
during the whole time he was a smoker. "At length," he says, "I
resolved to give up smoking. It was hard work to do so, but I
eventually succeeded, and I have never been more thankful than for the
day on which it was accomplished." In Carlyle's case a six months'
abstinence could not drive out his enemy, which he declared was the
cause of nine-tenths of his misery. A more successful illustration of
the "harmlessness" of stimulants is supplied in Mr. Augustus
Mongredien, well-known as an able expositor of the principles of Free
Trade. He is now 75 years of age, and has smoked moderately all his
life, and for the last fifty years has never, except in rare and short
instances of illness, retired to bed without one tumbler of
whiskey-toddy. But this is an exceptional case of longevity. All the
evidence favours the opinion that tobacco, like alcohol, shortens
life. It is certain that abstinence is beneficial, as shown by the
long lives of some of our hardest brain-workers. It is worthy of note,
too, that all the tough old Frenchmen still in the enjoyment of
unimpaired mental faculties never smoked. M. Dufaure, M. Barthelemy
St. Hilaire, Victor Hugo, M. Etienne Arago, brother of the astronomer,
Abbe Moigno, belong to the non-smoking school of public men. So did M.
Thiers, M. Guizot, M. Cremieux, M. Raspail, and the octogenarian,
Comte Benoit-D'Azy, who died in full possession of his mental

Reference has been made to idiosyncrasy, a matter of great importance,
which should be borne in mind when considering the influence of any
habit on the organism, whether animal or human. Professor Christison
cites a remarkable case in which a gentleman unaccustomed to the use
of opium took nearly an ounce of laudanum without any effect. This
form of idiosyncrasy is very rare. Not only are some constitutions
able to bear large doses of poison, but others cannot take certain
kinds of food. Milk, for instance, cannot be taken by one person; pork
by a second; porridge by a third. In the use of the various
stimulants, as in the use of the various foods, the Same difference
prevails among men. "The more I see of life," says Sir Henry Thompson,
"the more I see that we cannot lay down rigid dogmas for everybody;"
and I have come to the same conclusion that it is unsafe to make one
man's experience another man's guide. Kant could work eight hours a
day after drinking a cup of tea and smoking a pipe of tobacco.
Professor Mayor finds that a day or two's fasting does him no harm,
and he thrives on "dry bread and water." Professor Boyd Dawkins finds
quinine the best stimulant; Darwin found a stimulant in snuff; Edison
finds one in chewing; Professor Haeckel finds coffee the best, and Mr.
Francillon and Mark Twain bear testimony to the value of smoking.
These differences point to the conclusion that the same rules cannot
be laid down for all. One thing is clear, however, that our best
writers, clearest thinkers, and greatest scholars do not regard the
use of alcohol as essential to thinking, and very few find tobacco an
aid. With one or two exceptions, the writers take care to minimise the
dangers incurred in the use of stimulants. Though they smoke, they
smoke the weakest tobacco; though they drink, they drink only at
meals. They work in the day time, take plenty of out-door exercise,
and rest when they are tired. Many regard tobacco as a snare and a
delusion; and all regard it as unnecessary for the brain of the
youthful student. The greatest workers and thinkers of the middle
ages, Dr. Russell remarks, never used it; [Footnote: Homer sang his
deathless song, Raphael painted his glorious Madonnas, Luther
preached, Guttenberg printed, Columbus discovered a New World before
tobacco was heard of. No rations of tobacco were served out to the
heroes of Thermopylae, no cigar strung up the nerves of Socrates.
Empires rose and fell, men lived and loved and died during long ages,
without tobacco. History was for the most part written before its
appearance. "It is the solace, the aider, the familiar spirit of the
thinker," cries the apologist; yet Plato the Divine thought without
its aid, Augustine described the glories of God's city, Dante sang his
majestic melancholy song, Savonarola reasoned and died, Alfred ruled
well and wisely without it. Tyrtaeus sang his patriotic song, Roger
Bacon dived deep into Nature's secrets, the wise Stagirite sounded the
depths of human wisdom, equally unaided by it Harmodius and
Aristogeiton twined the myrtle round their swords, and slew the tyrant
of their fatherland, without its inspiration. In a word, kings ruled,
poets sung, artists painted, patriots bled, martyrs suffered, thinkers
reasoned, before it was known or dreamed of.--_Quarterly Journal of
Science_, 1873.] and Mr. Watts thinks that its introduction by
civilised races has been an unmixed evil. It is a remarkable fact that
out of 20 men of science, only two smoke, one of whom, Professor
Huxley, did not commence until he was forty years of age. Even among
those who smoke there is a considerable difference in the times chosen
for smoking. Though the Rev. A. Plummer declares himself a firm
believer in the use of tobacco, he smokes _before_ work,
_after_ work, rarely while at work. Mr. Wilkie Collins smokes
after work, and Mr. James Payn smokes all the time he is working. Mr.
Francillon's consumption of tobacco, and his power of work, are in
almost exact proportion. Similar testimony comes from Mark Twain.
Assuming that the prince of American humorists is not joking, his
experience of cigar-smoking is unique. When Charles Lamb was asked how
he had acquired the art of smoking, he answered, "By toiling after it
as some men toil after virtue." I hope that young smokers will not
conclude that by following the example of Mark Twain, their brain will
become as fertile as his. To them tobacco is bad in any form. It
poisons their blood, stunts their growth, weakens the mind, and makes
them lazy. "It is not easy," says Mr. Ruskin, "to estimate the
demoralizing effect of the cigar on the youth of Europe in enabling
them to pass their time happily in idleness." It has been forbidden at
Annapolis, the Naval School, and at West Point, the Military Academy
of the United States, having been found injurious to the health,
discipline, and power of study of the students. "At Harvard College,"
says Dr. Dio Lewis, "no young man addicted to the use of tobacco has
graduated at the head of his class;" and at the lycees of Douai, Saint
Quentin, and Chambery it has been found that the smokers are inferior
to non-smokers. No public enquiry has yet been made as to the
influence of tobacco upon English youths, but I am assured by several
leading schoolmasters that the smokers are invariably the worst
scholars. It cannot be too widely known, therefore, that tobacco, like
alcohol, is of no advantage to a healthy student, and I advise young
men to avoid it altogether. Darwin regretted that he had acquired the
habit of snuff taking, and Mr. Sala says that had he his life to live
over again, he would never touch tobacco in any shape or form. Never
begun, never needed. "I do not advise you, young man," says Oliver
Wendell Holmes, "to consecrate the flower of your life to painting
the bowl of a pipe, for, let me assure you, the stain of a
reverie-breeding narcotic may strike deeper than you think. I have
seen the green leaf of early promise grown brown before its time under
such nicotian regimen, and thought the amber'd meerschaum was dearly
bought at the cost of a brain enfeebled and a will enslaved."

My conclusions, then, are as follows:--

1.--Alcohol and tobacco are no value to a healthy student.

2.--That the most vigorous thinkers and hardest workers abstain from
both stimulants.

3.--That those who have tried both moderation and total abstinence
find the latter the more healthful practice.

4.--That almost every brain-worker would be the better for abstinence.

5.--That the most abstruse calculations may be made, and the most
laborious mental work performed, without artificial stimulus.

6.--That all work done under the influence of _alcohol_ is
unhealthy work.

7.--That the only pure brain stimulants are _external_ ones--
fresh air, cold water; walking, riding, and other out-door exercises.


Abstinence and dyspepsia

  Do. benefits of

Alcohol dangerous

  Do. a stupefier

  Do. and speech-making

  Do. not a necessity

  Do. hurtful to the liver

  Do. a restorative

  Do. useful under exceptional circumstances

  Do. and digestion

  Do. as a medicine

  Do. and gout

  Do. bad for rheumatism

  Do. as a soother

  Do. as a stimulant to the brain

  Do. necessity of, to aid the subsidence of the brain

  Do. abstinence from, followed by over-eating

  Do. and longevity

Air, fresh, importance of

American boys, tobacco forbidden to

Athletics, love of

Balzac quoted

Best time for working

Brain-work non-natural

Brain-work and biliousness

Byron's temperament

Carlyle, inconsistency of

Carpenter, Dr. Alfred, quoted

Chewing as a stimulant

City life, exhausting and unwholesome nature of

Cobbett's abstemiousness

Coffee, a slow poison

  Do. as a stimulant

College drunkenness

Conscientious writing

Country pursuits, value of

Depression, the remedy for

Drunkards among literary men

Dyspepsia, cures for

Early rising, value of

Exercise, importance of, to brain-workers

Eyesight injured by alcohol and tobacco

French boys, smoking forbidden to

  Do. literature, the cause of the sickly productions in

Frenchmen, a group of old

Genius and alcohol

German smokers

Goethe quoted

Gout and alcohol

Hoffman's stories

Howard's, John, abstemiousness

Hugo, Victor, value of fresh air to

Holmes, Oliver Wendell, quoted


Idleness induced by smoking

  Do.  do.  drinking

Imagination, the, stimulated by tobacco

Indigestion and smoking

Infection, tobacco a protection against

Johnson, Dr., a glutton

Journalists, use of alcohol by

Juvenile smoking, evils of

Lamb, Charles, quoted

Leisure, how to gain

Life, agreeableness of, promoted by the use of alcohol

  Do.    do.    do.  non-use of alcohol

Literary life in London, dangers of

Longevity and alcohol

  Do. and tobacco

Lynch, T. T., quoted

Manzoni and nervous distraction

Mill, John Stuart, practice of

Miall, Edward, an incessant smoker

Mortality of literary men

Nervous excitement and composition

Niebuhr's habits

Night thoughts

Night work, value of

Noriac, Jules, habits of

Opium, use of, by literary men

Pain no drawback to mental work

Parton, James, quoted

Permissive Bill

Physicians, advice of, to brain-workers

Quinine as a stimulant

Riding, value of

Rules, impossibility of laying down, for all

Ruskin, Mr., quoted

Sleep the best stimulant

Smoking, first effects of

Smoking and working

Smoking and digestion

Smoking a sedative

  Do. a vile and odious practice

  Do. a cure for excitable nerves

  Do. a disinfectant

  Do. a greater evil than drinking

Smoke drunk

Smoking and longevity

Snuff as a stimulant

Snuff-taking and the memory

Speech-making and alcohol

Stimulants and unhealthy work

  Do. reactionary

  Do. a judicious use of

  Do. a taste for, imparted to children

Taylor, Bayard, quoted

Tea, effects of

Teetotalism, a generator of due disease

Thackeray, value of alcohol to

Tobacco, soothing influences of

Tobacco and exposure

  Do. and nerve

  Do. cost of

  Do. and longevity

  Do. and sleeplessness

  Do. and the memory

Travelling, benefits of

Vegetarianism, practice of

Walking, value of

Webster, Daniel, value of alcohol to

Wilson's "Noctes," how produced

Wordsworth on poetic excitement

Wesley's abstemiousness

Working, best time for

Youths injured by smoking

*** End of this LibraryBlog Digital Book "Study and Stimulants
 - Or, the Use of Intoxicants and Narcotics in Relation to Intellectual Life, as Illustrated by Personal Communications on the Subject, from Men of Letters and of Science" ***

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