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'prison, it does not appear that any of these habitual drunkards
die by being forced to lead sober lives. Whenever debility of the constitution exists, it is to be cured by the usual medicinal 'means.” The patient, therefore, should not parley or make a truce with his habit. It must be at once broken to destroy the spell of its fascination. The recommendation of the physician to the Highland Chieftain to put as much sealing-was daily in bis cup, as would receive the impression of his seal, which is said to have been attended with the happy effect of curing his habit of inebriation, by the time the cup became filled with wax, is, after all, a dangerous recipe. “I would guard every person, says Dr. Lettsom, "from beginning even with a little drop of 'this fascinating poison, which, once admitted, is seldom, if ever afterwards overcome.”
Without professing to be skilled in the cure of this disease, we should think, from all we have read on the subject, that the plan of cure from which the most is to be hoped, is that which provides for a total abstinence at once from the fatal poison, and furnishes in its stead such refreshing stimulants as coffee, tea and nourishing diet in case of great and sudden bodily exhaustion; with these may be joined some agreeable occupation for the mind, some opportunities for the exercise of the kindliest affection of our natures, and, above all, some active and continued employment. We have little confidence in those panaceas which, a short time since, held out such consoling promises to the world, · and which are nothing more or less than compounds of the most nauseous drugs mixed with the favourite beverage of the drunkard. These might, indeed, be of some avail if they could never be disunited. But as it is always in his power to procure this divorce, it must be obvious that no confidence can be placed in the permanent action of these remedies. Indeed, we have no reliance in any plan of cure which does not cotemporaneously minister to the mind as well as the body, as a large portion of the disease is a mental malady.
When the habit becomes firmly fixed, and the body is in a sort of chronic sympathy with the mind, the disease may be pronounced incurable. No interval of sobriety seems to furnish any guarantee that this habit, if even for a time subdued, will not again be resumed. In one of the statements of the Temperance Societies in New England, we have met with an account, said to be well authenticated, of a man who made a vow that he would not touch spirits for forty years, under a be- , lief that before the expiration of the forty years, he would be in his grave. He kept his vow with great fidelity. At the expiration, however, of the forty years, he was foolish enough to
to think he had vanquished the habit, tasted a drop, and finally died a confirmed sot.
The following paragraph from our author, contains so much salutary counsel, that we cannot better conclude this part of the subject than by transcribing it:
“ Man is very much the creature of habit. By drinking regularly at certain times, he feels the longing for liquor at the stated returns of those periods--as, after dinner, or immediately before going to bed, or whatever the period may be, he even feels it in certain companies, or in a particular taveru at which he is in the habit of taking his libations. We have all heard the story of the man, who could never pass an inn on the road side without entering it and taking a glass, and who, when after a violent effort be succeeded in getting beyond the spot, straightway returned to reward himself with a bumper for his resolution. It is a good rule for drunkards to break all such habits. Let the frequenter of drinking clubs, masonic lodges, and other bacchanalian assen blages leave off attending these places, and if he must drink, let him do so at home where there is every likelihood that his potations will be less liberal. Let him also forswear the society of boon companions either in his own habitation or in theirs. Let him if he can manage it remove from the place of bis usual residence, and go somewhere else. Let him also take abundance of exercise, court the society of intellectual and sober persons, and turn his attention to reading or gardening, or sailing, or whatever other amusements he has a faucy for. By following this advice rigidly, he will get rid of that baleful habit which hauuts him like bis shadow, and intrudes itself by day and by night into the sanctuary of his thoughts. And if he refuses to lay aside the Circean cup, let bim reflect that disease waits upon his steps—that dropsy, palsy, emaciation, poverty and idiotism followed by the pale phantom death, pursue him like attendant spirits and claim him as their prey."
In the Statistics of Drunkenness, are embraced the items of its desolation. It furnishes a larger contingent than any other source of human misery to the lunatic asylum and the poorhouse. The results in England are nearly concurrent with those in our own country. The reports of the supervisors of the Bethlehem hospital in Great Britain, show, that the largest proportion of its unfortunate inmates owe their maladies to this fruitful cause of madness, poverty, wretchedness and disease. It is said that in the United States “there are two hundred thousand paupers, supported at an annual expense of ten millions of dollars. The reports of hospitals, penitentiaries, and alms-houses, justify the statement that three fourths or one * hundred and fifty thousand of these miserable beings were reduced to pauperisın by the single vice of intemperance.
* Beman on Intemperance.
ty thousand persons it is estimated are annually sent to an untiinely grave by the agency of this vice, whilst the last war, according to Niles' Register, did not cost the country a mortality by the sword of more than four hundred and fifty on an average per annum. In many cities in the union, one eighth part of their commerce is exercised in the traffic and carriage of spirituous liquors. The total consumption of spirits in the United States, amounted in 1810, according to Pitkins' Statistics, to 31,725,417 gallons, equal to about four gallons and a half to each individual. Assuming the babits of the people generally, to be the same as in 1810, and estimating the population at 12,000,000, the quantity now annually consumed will ainount to tifty-six millions of gallons, which at fifty cents per gallon, arises to an annual waste of 28,000,000 of dollars.
The effects of this enormous consumption, are exhibited in the statements of the different insane hospitals and almshouses in our country. From a very sensible and exceedingly well written tract before us,* we find that in the town of Portsmouth, (N. H.) from a careful examination of the circumstances of the tenants of the alms-house, sixtyfour out of eighty-five owed their pauperism to intemperance; and in Portland, (Me.) seventy-one out of eighty-five. In the state of New York in 1824, out of six thousand eight hundred and ninety six who received public alms, four thousand seven hundred and forty-one were brought to this condition by liquor, and in the city of Baltimore in the year ending April, 1826, of seven hundred and thirty-nine persons, who were received into the alms house, five hundred and fifty-four, that is three fourths, were abandoned to intemperate habits.
The criminal calendars throughout the country likewise owe the largest portion of their respective contributions to drunken
In the report of the New York Society for the prevention of pauperism, it is stated that three fourths of the assaults and batteries charged in the city and county of New York, proceed from the degrading use of ardent spirits. And a much larger portion of crimes of a deeper dye we have no doubt have a similar origin. Sir Matthew Hale, an authority beyond all exception, from his profound sagacity and extensive means of observations, says, “ The places of judicature which I have so long held in this kingdom, have given me opportunity to observe the original cause of most of the enormities that have been committed for the space of nearly twenty years; and by due observation I bave found, that ifthe murders and manslaughters, the
* Palfrey's Discourses on latemperance.
burglaries and robberies, the riots and tumults, the adulteries, and other great enormities, that have happened in that time, were divided into five parts four of them have been the issue and product of excessive drinking, of taverns and ale-house meetings."
In the economical view of this subject, we ought not to lay out of account the positive loss which society sustains by the physical and moral depravity of a drunkard. He ceases to be a producer and becomes a consumer in the worse sense of the term. Besides, a nation of drunkards would be the feeblest community that ever existed on the face of the earth. A man's value in society, depends on his moral and physical efficiency, and just in proportion to the sober men in a community, will be its power of internal wealth and its means of resisting external danger. The extraordinary military power of the French, in spite of their being greatly surpassed by the English in mere physical organization, we have attributed mainly to their great sobriety. The water-drinker is the man for great enterprizes, heroic devotion, and unceasing vigils.
We have drawn this article out to such an unexpected length that we must very briefly sum up the little which we have yet to say on this subject.
It is certainly with no view to throw our own society off its guard, that we reiterate what we have before said, that notwithstanding the alarming prevalence of intemperance in many portions of this confederacy, we think, that for a series of years, there has been an obvious improvement in the habits of the people of the South. The absurd and cruel despotism of the table, which repudiated all heeltaps, and compelled a man in the bacchanalian slang “ to fill what you will but drink what you fill,” is entirely banished, and now scarcely finds a resting place in the lowest ale-houses. The locking of doors and secreting of hats to prevent the escape of some suffering guest from the banquetting room, would now be considered as a breach of decorum calling loudly even for personal redress. For a man to be seen drunk in decent society would now be regarded not as a pleasant jest, but as a powerful reproach. If this improvement in the habits of the people is true of the more fashionable ranks of society, it is no less so of those who use a less expensive stimulus than wine. We attribute this, in the interior at least, to the influence of christianity, and to the fact, that the gospel has furnished a more blessed excitement than the mischiefmaking ingenuity of man.
We had designed to say something of the character and tendency of the associations which have been formed under 1830.]
The Anatomy of Drunkenness.
the appellation of Temperance Societies in many parts of the United States, but our limits forbid anything but a brief remark.
That they have done good, and may do good, by precept and example, under proper limitations, we have no doubt. But the danger of all associations, to aid the law, or go beyond the law, is the peril of attempting too much; and, consequently, accomplishing little. The means are not always proportioned to the end, and sometimes these means wear more the aspect of pharasaical arrogance than becomes a christian spirit. When men form combinations of this description, they go on the presumption that they are better than their neighbours, and this belief once entertained, the domestic inquisition which would carryus to his side-board to ascertain the quantity of brandy each man consumes, would seem to be altogether justifiable. Besides, in this age of cant and fanaticism, there is some danger of the whole government of society being put into the hands of these public and irresponsible associations. The meetings, by which they are called together, are exceedingly flatteriug to human vanity, and the occasions which they furnish for display, abundantly gratifying. Of all the societies that meet at Free Mason's Hall, in London, to take under their parental care the rights and interests of the whole human race, how many of the quacks, who come forth with the most lusty arrogance, know one jot of the disease for which they prescribe, or have ever even seen their patients. These decorous mobs, after all, are dangerous associations, without they are constantly under the restraiuts of a wise discretion—"a wise and masterly inactivity" they seldom consult.
But, that Temperance Societies, by collecting, accumulating and diffusing the details and statistics of drunkenness, may do much good, we have no doubt. Let them beware of instituting inquisitions into the habits of their neighbours, or combinations proscribing all men whose habits may not be as ascetic. as their own, lest a reaction should take place which would destroy the best part of their labours. They surely ought to recollect, that if drunkenness is a vice, one of the noblest attributes of man, is the fortitude which enables him to use all the pleasures of life, without impairing his magnanimous discharge of its duties, and that there is quite as much virtue in heroically
resisting temptation, as in flying with craven timidity from its • spells.
VOL. V.--NO. 9.