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FOURTEEN years having elapsed since the first publication of this work, and the design having met the approbation of many respectable writers, the Author is induced to offer to the public an improved edition, amplified, extended, and rendered more worthy of attention by the addition of new, original, and valuable matter. Hopes were indeed entertained that, as this was the first publication on a subject hitherto untouched by any writer in the British empire, it would have excited the curiosity and employed the talents and research of other individuals more at leisure; nothing, however, during such a lapse of time, has been offered to the public exactly on the plan of this undertaking.
In the London Dispensatory, quotations have been made from this work, and the Author was a little flattered to find his labours valued, anda portion of them ingeniously condensed into the compass of a Table, exhibiting, at one view, the numerous descriptions of inebriating drinks, with the countries where, and the
effects and properties, whether resorted to as stimulants to sensuality, or for medicinal uses, alike illustrative of the general subject, and affording information to the practical chemist, the botanical student, and the curious observer of nature. While the evil consequences of undue or irregular indulgences have been carefully depicted and illustrated by appropriate anecdotes, strict regard has been paid to their connexion with revealed religion, and the laws that ought to regulate society, whether in the Pagan, Mahometan, Jewish, or Christian world. The efforts of Temperance Societies to prevent the progress of immorality, arising from the frequent and excessive use of intoxicating liquors, have been incidentally noticed, and although the detail may appear to some irrelevant, it cannot fail to prove acceptable to every person who has the well-being of his fellow-creatures at heart. Reference has also been made to the policy adopted in various countries of deriving a revenue from intoxicating liquors, the means employed in raising that revenue are explained, while their effects, as regards the community at large, are freely discussed.
On perusal of the Book, the learned reader will perceive the difficulties, which the Author has had to encounter in collecting materials for so novel a publica tion. Every quarter of the globe, it may be said, has been laid under contribution to aid the undertaking; and the patient labours of scientific research have been pursued with indefatigable activity (during the scanty leisure afforded by arduous official business), to render as complete and comprehensive as possible a subject, which, in
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the collection and arrangement of the materials, might have wearied or discouraged more enterprising writers. Having, however, brought the matter to a close, he trusts the public will do him the justice to believe that utility rather than pecuniary interest was the chief object of his researches, since the volume has far exceeded the bounds originally intended; and, should he prove so fortunate as to meet the approbation of the learned and curious, he will feel, in a great measure, repaid for the many difficulties he has had to encounter in the composition of a work, by which he has beguiled many a tedious hour, and sweetened many a solitary evening.
It may be well to observe, that the desire to compress the matter within the limits of a single volume, prevented the insertion of some practical calculations and observations connected with brewing and distilling, which will, however, be brought forward at a future period, should the success of the present work warrant it.