Abbildungen der Seite

and social labour would tend to bring these unhappy crea. tures to a proper recollection. Confinement and an obligation to labour is, to those whose crimes arise from idleness and dissipation, a punishment as severe as can well be imagined; the dread of it, therefore, will have a powerful inHuence in deterring men from incurring it; and as to those who may incur it, the forced submission to a temperate and regular method of life will, no doubt, have a happy effect in bringing them to a voluntary sobriety. That difficulties would arise in the execution of such a plan, with respect to the nature of the employment, and to many other circumstances, the failure of a somewhat similar one gives us sufficient reason to apprehend; but, notwithstanding this, I doubt not, that by a proper exertion of skill and authority these difficulties might be surmounted. My purpose at present is only to give a hint of what appears to me a practicable scheme of great importance, and, as such, worthy the attention of the legislature.

But I despair of ever seeing the very desirable end of preventing crimes attained, to the degree which I think possible, till some method for the better education of the children of the poor be universally adopted. Whether the general establishment of Houses of Industry would effect this I am not fully satisfied; but I think that, under proper regulation and with some improvements, they are more likely to do it than any other practicable plan that has yet been suggested.

Yours, &c. 1784, July.

E. P.

LXXIV. The Effect of Music on the Nerves, and on the singing

of Birds,


June 3. IF

you will insert the following article in your next Magazine, you will oblige your very old correspondent, ,

V. “ Præhabebat porro vocibus humanis, instrumentisque harmonicis, musicam illam avium : non quod alia quoque non delectaretur ; sed quod ex musica humana relinqueretur in animo continens quædam, attentionemque et somnum conturbans agitatio ; duin ascensus, exscensus, tenores, et mutationes illæ sonorum, et consonantiarum, euntque redeuntque per phantasiam : cum nihil tale relinqui possit ex modulationibus avium, quæ, quod non sunt perinde a nobis imitabiles, non possunt perinde internam facultatem commo. vere.”

Vita Peireskii Gassendi. This curious quotation strikes me much, by so exactly representing my own case, and by describing what I have so often felt, but never could so well express. When I have heard fine music, I am haunted with passages therefrom night and day, and especially at first waking; which, by their importunity, give me more uneasiness than pleasure; which still tease my imagination, and recur irresistibly to my memory at seasons, when I am desirous of thinking of other matters,

1785, July

LXXV. Inquiry into the Effects of Spirituous Liquors. For the following curious Inquiry into the Effects of Spirituous

Liquors upon the Human Body, and their Influence upon the Happiness of Society, our Readers are indebted to Benjamin Rush, M.D. Professor of Chemistry in the University of

Philadelphia. By spirits I mean all those liquors which are obtained by distillation from the fermented juices of substances of any kind. These liquors were formerly used only in medicine; they now constitute a principal part of the drinks of many countries.

Since the introduction of spirituous liquors into such general use, physicians have remarked that a number of new diseases have appeared among us, and have described many new symptoms as common to old diseases. Spirits, in their first operation, are stimulating upon the system. They quicken the circulation of the blood, and produce some heat in the body. Soon afterwards they become what is called sedative; that is, they diminish the action of the vital powers, and thereby produce languor and weakness.

The effects of spirituous liquors upon the human body in producing diseases are sometimes gradual. A strong constitution, especially if it be assisted with constant and hard labour, will counteract the destructive effects of spirits for many years, but in general they produce the following dis

1. A sickness at the stomach, and vomiting in the morning. This disorder is generally accompanied with a want of


of appetite for breakfast. It is known by tremors in the hands, insomuch that persons who labour under it are hardly able to lift a tea-cup to their heads till they have taken a

a dose of some cordial liquor. In this disorder a peculiar paleness, with small red streaks, appear in the cheeks. The flesh of the face at the same time has a peculiar fulness and fabbiness, which are very different from sound and healthy fat.

2. An universal dropsy. This disorder begins first in the lower limbs, and gradually extends itself throughout the whole body. I bave been told that the merchants in Charlestown, in South Carolina, never trust the planters when spirits have produced the first symptom of this second disorder upon them. It is very natural to suppose, that industry and virtue have become extinct in that man whose legs and feet are swelled from the use of spirituous liquors.

3. Obstruction of the liver. This disorder produces other diseases, such as an inflammation, which sometimes proves suddenly fatal; the jaundice; and a dropsy of the belly.

4. Madness. It is unnecessary to describe this disease with all its terrors and consequences. It is well known in every township where spirituous liquors are used.

5. The palsy, and 6, the apoplexy, complete the group of diseases produced by spirituous liquors. I do not assert that these two disorders are never produced by any other causes; but I maintain, that spirituous liquors are the most frequent causes of them; and that when a pre-disposition to them is produced by other causes, they are rendered more certain and more dangerous by the intemperate use of spirits.

I have only named a few of the principal disorders produced by spirituous liquors. It would take up a volume to describe how much other disorders natural to the human body are increased and complicated by them. Every species of inflammatory and putrid fever is rendered more frequent and more obstinate by the use of spirituous liquors.

The danger to life from the diseases which have been mentioned is well known. I do not think it extravagant, therefore, to repeat here what has been often said, that spirituous liquors destroy more lives than the sword. War has its intervals of destruction ; but spirits operate at all times and seasons upon human life. The ravages of war are confined to but one part of the hunian species, viz. to men ; but spirits act too often upon persons who are exempted from the dangers of war by age or sex; and, lastly, war destroys only those persons who allow the use of arms to be lawful; whereas spirits insinuate their fatal effects among people whose principles are opposed to the effusion of hu. man blood.

Let us next turn our eyes from the effects of spirits upon health and life to their effects upon property; and here fresh scenes of misery open to our view. Among the inhabitants of cities they produce debts, disgrace, and bankruptcy. Among farmers they produce idleness, with its usual consee quences, such as houses without windows, barns without roofs, gardens without inclosures, fields without fences, hogs without yokes, sheep without wool, meagre cattle, feeble horses, and half-clad dirty children, without principles, morals, or manners. This picture is not exaggerated. I appeal to the observation of every man in Pennsylvania, whether such scenes of wretchedness do not follow the tracks of spirituous liquors in every part of the state.

If we advance one step further, and examine the effects of spirituous liquors upon the moral faculty, the prospect will be still more distressing and terrible. The first effects of spirits upon the mind shew themselves in the temper. I have constantly observed men, who are intoxicated in any degree with spirits, to be peerish and quarrelsome ; after awhile, they lose by degrees the moral sense. They violate promises or engagements without shame or remorse. From these deficiencies in veracity and integrity, they pass on to crimes of a more heinous nature. It would be to dishonour human nature only to name them.

Thus have I in a few words pointed out the effects of spirituous liquors upon the lives, estates, and souls, of my fellow creatures. Their mischiefs may be summed up in a few words. They fill our church-yards with premature graves—they fill the sheriff's docket with executions—they crowd our gaols-and, lastly, they people the regions but it belongs to another profession to shew their terrible consequences in the future world.

I shall now proceed to combat some prejudices in favour of the use of spirituous liquors.

There are three occasions in which spirits have been thought to be necessary and useful.

1. In very cold weather.
2. In very warm weather. And
3. In times of hard labour.

1. There cannot be a greater error than to suppose that spiritnous liquors lessen the effects of cold upon the body, On the contrary, I maintain that they always render the body more liable to be affected and injured hy cold, The temporary warmth they produce is always succeeded by chilliness. If any thing besides warm clothing and exercise is necessary to warm the body in cold weather, a plentiful meal of wholesome food is at all times sufficient for that purpose. This, by giving a tone to the stomach, invigorates the whole system, while the gentle fever created by diges. tion adds considerably to the natural and ordinary heat of the body, and thus renders it less sensible of the cold.

2. It is equally absurd to suppose that spirituous liquors lessen the effects of heat upon the body. So far from it, they rather increase them. They add an internal heat to the external heat of the sun; they dispose to fevers and inflammations of the most dangerous kind; they produce preternatural sweats which weaken, instead of an uniform and gentle perspiration which exhilarates the body. Half the diseases which are said to be produced by warm weather, I am persuaded, are produced by the spirits which are swallowed to lessen its effects upon the system.

3. I maintain, with equal confidence, that spirituous liquors do not lessen the effects of hard labour upon the body. Look at the horse with every muscle of his body swelled from morning till night in the plough or the team, does he make signs for spirits to enable him to cleave the earth, or to climb a hill ?-No. He requires nothing but cool water and substantial food. There is neither strength nor nourishment in spirituous liquors ; if they produce vigour in labour, it is of a transient nature, and is always succeeded with a sense of weakness and fatigue. These facts are founded in observation ; for I have repeatedly seen those men perform the greatest exploits in work, both as to their degrees and duration, who never tasted spirituous liquors.

But are there no conditions of the human body in which spirituous liquors are required? Yes, there are; i. In those cases where the body has been exhausted by any causes, and faintness, or a stoppage in the circulation of the blood has been produced, the sudden stimulus of spirits may be necessary. In this case we comply strictly with the advice of Solomon, who confines the use of “strong drink” only to him “ that is ready to perish.” And, 2dly, When the body has been long exposed to wet weather, and more especially if cold be joined with it, a moderate quantity of spirits is not only proper, but highly useful, to obviate debility, and thus to prevent a fever. I take these to be the only two cases that can occur in which spirituous liquors are innocent or necessary.

But if we reject spirits from being part of our drinks, what liquors shall we substitute in the room of them? For

« ZurückWeiter »